SEPTEMBER 17, 2015
Hi, I am Allan Fetters, a fellow runner and Pony Express Blogger from Bakersfield. Well at least that is where my mortgage is paid. I am a road warrior on a couple of different fronts, first with my job, as I travel a considerable amount, which proves that no matter how busy you are, or where you are, you can always pack your shoes and go for a run. I run, when I’m at home in Bakersfield, traveling for work or while on vacation. This road warrior attitude has enabled me to run in some great places as I continue training.
I just got back in to running 4 years ago after a 25 year hiatus; yes I was overweight and suffering from High Blood pressure. I didn’t come from a competitive running background although I was pretty dedicated to running and triathlons for several years, so the fundamentals of training were familiar. I didn’t have any intentions on starting to run at first, I was just trying to lose some weight and get healthy. I wasn’t necessarily fat, but I had thickened up from years of sedimentary lifestyle. The weight loss came from watching what I eat; yes I cataloged everything I put in my mouth even to this date, no matter, if I am at home or vacation. Watching my calories along with walking, just walking, although intense at times enabled me to lose 50 pounds. Losing this weight had many of my friends concerned with my health, as I did look a bit gaunt. I actually got back to my High School weight. Now with a new wardrobe and a healthy view of life, I looked for another challenge… to start running. Ok, I’m a bit of a type “A” personality, so just running wasn’t enough of a challenge; I wanted to run a marathon.
A marathon probably wasn’t the wisest of challenges, but a work associate and I felt that we had a pretty good base as we had been logging over 28,000 steps a day for a couple of months. Also having a training partner helped, as we pushed each other in our quest of running a marathon. My training partner and I trained and raced, all summer and fall in preparation of running the Two Cities Marathon in Fresno. Race day came, and went fairly well for the first 15 mile, I was on pace to BQ, then I felt something in my right hamstring. I never said I was a smart runner, so I continued to push through the pain, as I was still on pace. Well I finished, missing my goal by only 9:00. Once I crossed the line and stopped, I couldn’t move under my own power. Fortunately, my son was at the race as he had to carry me back to the car. Initially, I didn’t realize there was a problem, even after the first visit to the doctor, but when the pain persisted and with a second visit to an orthopedic doctor, I found that I had fractured my pelvis.
Fast forward a year, yes I was down for a year, during that time and rehabilitation my passion to Boston Qualify never left me. Next up, was to try again, this time at CIM. I had a great run and achieve my goal of qualifying for Boston. The only issue was the deadline for the following spring’s race had already passed, so I had to wait for over a year for a chance to go to Boston. So what would I do?
My CIM qualification time was good enough that I also qualified to run the New York City Marathon. I spent all of 2012 training and racing in preparation for this race. I was excited for the opportunity to run with over 40,000 runners through the 5 Boroughs of New York City. I was fit, and ready to run.
My wife accompanied me to New York. It was tough flying from Bakersfield as the eastern seaboard was having some stormy weather. Yes, Hurricane Sandy. We made it to New York, got to our hotel in Manhattan. The next day, we went for a shakeout run around Central Park, before going to the race expo. All was good. Got my bib, did a little shopping and enjoyed the city, despite still having some questionable weather. Then I go the new, the race was canceled. I couldn’t believe it, all my training, my preparation and I couldn’t run; I was heartbroken. Runners are resilient, even though we were all heartbroken, we gathered in Central Park on Sunday, race day and ran; over 25,000 runners were in town and took part in this impromptu event. It was great, seeing runners from around the world following their dreams and celebrating running. I knew at that point I had to return to run this race in this great city. Hurricane Sandy was a horrendous disaster to the East Coast, although the event was canceled, I am proud of how the running community pulled together with limited resources and gave back to the nearby communities impacted by the hurricane.
2013 was all about Boston, the Granddaddy of marathons. I spent the whole year in preparation for this dream. I trained, raced and trained some more to be ready for this race. Boston is a wonderful city; being a marathoner during marathon week, you are treated like a “Rock Star” by the people of Boston. The race was as you could imagine, a fast start out of Hopkinton, the screaming girls of Wellesley College, the dreaded Newton Hills, and then it was Right on Hereford Street, and Left on Boylston Street to the FINISH LINE. I finished, although not as well as I would have wished. Following the race, my wife and I head back to our hotel for a shower and some quick post on Facebook. While back at the hotel relaxing, I kept receiving text asking if I was all right, I didn’t understand it as the inquiries were coming from friends that I knew had already seen my Facebook post. Little did I know that shortly after I finished, two bombs were detonated at the finish line. I couldn’t believe it; I had just run through that same area. Although personally not affected, it was traumatic just being in the city. The not knowing of what else might happen had us all on pins and needles as no one knew exactly if the danger was over. My wife and I were happy to depart early Tuesday, as the city was still under lockdown.
As I indicated earlier, runners are resilient, and following this race and the tragic events that occurred, I pledged that I would come back in 2014 to show my support to the City of Boston and this great event the Boston Marathon. I didn’t automatically qualify to return to Boston, so that meant I would have to BQ again if I wanted to be a part on the sentimental return to Boylston Street. I wanted this bad, so I figure that since I hadn’t had a great run in Boston, that I could use my current level of fitness to get ready for another marathon in 6 weeks, so I did. I was able to requalify, and was heading back to Boston, so I thought.
I continued my training, with limited racing through the hot Bakersfield summer as I started having some issues with Plantar Fasciitis. At first it was a minor hindrance to my running, a little pain when I first woke up, but after a few miles I was good to go. Then that August I ran Ragnar Great River in Minnesota. I did my part for the team on this 200 mile relay, but was shot after that race. I could barely walk, no less run, thus my running days were over. I spent the rest of 2013 and most of 2014, trying every known remedy and physical therapy to get back on my feet, but nothing worked. I was devastated, as I was scheduled to head back to New York in 3 months, let alone I had BQ’d and was to run in Boston in April of 2014.
Well I can tell you, that 12 month was one of the toughest years a runner could go through; no running and missing two of the biggest races in marathons.
As my one year anniversary approached, I decided to try and give running one more try as I was scheduled to head back to where my running ended the year before at Ragnar Great River. Despite not having much of a running base and plenty of icing after each leg, I was able to complete my first running event. I was ready to get back after it and get back into shape so I could fulfill my dream.
First up, the New York City Marathon; I only had 3 months to get ready to run this race that had eluded me for two years. It was a cold and windy November day for the start on Staten Island. These conditions made the course very challenging for all the runners, including me. I had a decent race, enjoying the many sights and sounds of this great city. I would definitely recommend this race to anyone. There is something about running a race with over 40,000 of your closest friends and follow runners. After running New York, I felt that my Plantar Fasciitis pain had subsided enough that I could start preparing for my next race and hopefully a chance get back to Boston.
2015 has been a busy year of running. I have tried several different plans to aid in getting back to my pre “PF” form. I am currently training for my third marathon of this year, the Santa Clarita Marathon on November 8th. I am feeling good, as both my mileage and speed are coming back. I plan to run a couple of Half Marathon in early October, to test my endurance and speed in preparation for the big day in November.
I am anxiously awaiting the inaugural Pony Express Marathon next May. It will be exiting to run this new course in Sacramento. My goal hasn’t change, I WILL RETURN TO BOSTON, and it would be great if the Pony Express Marathon is the race that gets me there.
Good luck with your training, and I look forward to seeing you on race morning.