*Tommy was one of the first members of Team ARM- he’s been a great leader and inspiration to the team! Thanks for sharing your story, Tommy!
“From the evening of my very first run with Team ARM, I knew I would be racing the marathon at The Oakland Running Festival. Sure, it was all part of my training in prep for the Ironman, but it was still an "A" race for 2011; and I wanted to qualify for Boston. It would take a 3:10 to do it, and a 3:05 if I wanted to register on day 5 instead of Day 7 (if you're curious about the new registration process for 2012 go to http://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/participant-information/register.aspx.). My marathon PR was 3:25 was on a flat course and Oakland would not be the easiest race to do it. But it was the race I chose, and I was going to make sure I was ready.
I ran with Monte and Liz from the beginning of training. In December, we ran in the dark, the cold, and the rain. We ran through the dim streets of Hillsborough, being led only by the biggest houses with the best Christmas lights. In January, we did track workouts with no lights at Burlingame - only the thunder and lightening making us run faster. We ran Crystal Springs every Saturday morning with the Team. One morning, we did an eighteen miler - Monte's longest run to date, and my fastest at that distance, we ran at a blistering 7:20 pace, the last in 6:50.
In February, I was taking minutes off my mile splits every week; Monte was always a step and a half ahead. On the day I did a 5:30 mile (the last in a set of three), I knew I was headed toward something special. We saw new faces at the store every week. Whether it was during Tuesday night track workouts, the Thursday morning runs with Julie and Katherine, or Saturday afternoons just shooting the breeze with Faisal, Jenny, or Todd, it was great to be part of a Team, a running family.”
Race day came with a quiet confidence. The day was all mine, and I just had believe in my training (and in Monte's coaching). The plan was to run the first 16 and Monte would be there to pull me in. I went out fast (as usual), running a couple of 6:10's. The Oakland hills came and forced me to a 7:30 pace - good. I hit Mile 10 - the highest point of the race and it was time to fly. Feeling oddly strong, I did the next 3 at a sub-6 pace - uh oh. "Keep it together Tommy - just get to Monte, just get to Monte".
Monte and the crew (Julie & Liz) appeared at mile 16 where they had taken over the aid station. Monte joined me and we were on our way to the finish, 10 miles ahead. Me, at a sub-3hour pace, Monte always a step and a half ahead. I felt good up to mile 20,and held on through mile 23. Then, the wheels started to come off. I was almost at blackout for the last 3.2 miles. I knew Monte was coaching but I could barely listen and keep my body moving forward at the same time. I saw two of my friends and mile 24 and I couldn't so much as muster a grin - I was in pain. Checking my watch all too often, my footfall was not much more then a shuffle. I don't remember feeling my legs or being able to look ahead more than 20 yards. The city center seemed to stand still and I was barely making any progress toward it.
The last few city blocks were the long, crowded, and seemingly endless. I barely remember seeing the finish line. But I ran through and then came to. My family was there! My running crew was there! My two best buds were there! I crossed at 3:01:51 - a Boston Qualifier and more than six minutes off of my goal. I cried as I hugged my mom and thought about all the hard work I had put in with Monte and Team ARM leading up to this moment. I was going to Boston.