‘Wall’ can’t stop Lauridsen at NY Marathon
"Hitting the wall" took on new meaning for Baldwin High School's Kyle Lauridsen when he recently ran in the New York City Marathon.
A series of injuries that occurred during his training for the 26-mile marathon had kept him from running any further than 15 miles at one time before the event. But, he was determined to run the race to accomplish his goal and fulfill his senior project.
Lauridsen had made it into the famed marathon as a result of a lottery pick. There are 37,000 openings for the race and 78,000 apply either through regular channels and qualifying or going the lottery route. Lauridsen found out in June that he'd been a lottery selection.
But, when he hit that "wall" on Nov. 7 at mile 20 in the Bronx, he wasn't feeling too lucky.
"By that point, my body had had enough," said Lauridsen. "My arches in my feet felt broken and every muscle you can name in my legs was screaming at me. It felt like someone was ripping my stomach out of my body though my throat.
"I believe this is what runners call hitting the wall," he said. "This was my favorite part of the race, however. I felt it ironic that I hit the wall in the Bronx. The people in the Bronx seem to be hitting the wall in life. It is when you decide to keep on going through that and not give up that allows people to succeed in the race and it's the same for the people in the Bronx."
Although he was hurting all over, Lauridsen didn't give up. He drew inspiration from the people in the surroundings so far from Baldwin City.
"The poorest people there were definitely the best fans, these people who could barely support themselves still found a way to come out and support everyone in the run," he said. "Those people helped me through it. For the next five miles, I alternated between walking a half mile and running a half mile. I just couldn't get myself going by that point.
"I finished out the race by running the last mile and sprinting the last few hundred meters past all sorts of people," said Lauridsen. "For the next few days, my legs and arches tortured me."
The next day, Lauridsen flew home, along with his parents, Scott and Laura Lauridsen, who had accompanied him on the trip. There had been site-seeing before the marathon and it's a trip that won't be forgotten.
Wasn't easy from start
While Lauridsen may have experienced hitting the wall during the actual marathon, there were plenty of road blocks he had to overcome during training as well.
Plans to run in the New York City Marathon started last December. He first approached BHS cross country and track coach Mike Spielman about the marathon.
"I talked to coach Spielman about it at school, but it seemed like he thought I was joking at first," said Lauridsen. "But when February rolled around, I sent my application to run.
"You can qualify for this marathon, but you have to run a 2:45 marathon, which is even faster than Boston's 3:10 qualifying time," he said. "Since I obviously don't meet the requirements for guaranteed entry, I applied for the lottery."
He also started his workouts. Lauridsen ran in shorter races, such as a 5-mile and a couple of 5-kilometers. That's when he suffered his first injury. It was Compartment syndrome, a problem in the calves where pressure was building up in both calves.
"In June, I went in to surgery for a quick fix of the problem, which put my running on hold," he said. "I began running again a month later. The recovery wouldn't have been so long, but midway through the recovery process my right leg became infected and I had to have another operation and spent three days in the hospital."
June wasn't all bad. That is when he found out he was a lottery selection for the marathon, so plans stepped up.
Still more injuries
After the surgeries and hospital stays, Lauridsen still wasn't out of the injury woods.
"I heeded coach Spielman's advice and began to slowly build up my mileage again, and my longest run before the summer ended was a 10 miler," said Lauridsen. "The basic concept to my training was based around the cross country training schedule. I practiced with the team during the week to drop some weight and build up some endurance.
"However, my training differed from the rest of the team on the weekends when I would log a longer mileage run," he said. "This was the plan coach and I came up with. But, the plan soon needed some amending after I pulled my left hip flexor the first week of practice. This plagued my training for about a month."
The longer runs had to be put on hold so he would have the strength to still be able to run with the cross country team. It didn't allow Lauridsen to be where he wanted to be prior to the New York trip.
"After my hip flexor healed, I was well behind schedule," he said. "I wanted to log a final long run of 20 miles four weeks out from the marathon. However, when four weeks rolled around, I was only at 15 miles. So, going into the marathon, my longest run was only a 15 miler, so I felt under prepared.
"The remaining few weeks I let my training taper off as I tried to let my body and muscles recover for the race," Lauridsen said.
Off to New York
Lauridsen and his mom and dad flew out of Kansas City on Nov. 4, one day after his 18th birthday. Runners must be at least 18 to be in the marathon, so he was one of the youngest there. After site seeing for a few days, race day -- Nov. 7 -- rolled around.
With 37,300 entrants, it was a zoo trying to get to the starting point on time, but he made it.
"At 10:10, the canon fired. The only problem was I was still in the waiting area," he said. "I saw little specs running across the bridge which were the professional athletes. After an eternity of waiting, we finally made our way to the bridge and began the journey.
"I was right on my 10-minute mile pace for awhile. I crossed the halfway point right on pace," said Lauridsen. "The race started on Staten Island, crossed the Verazzano Bridge into Brooklyn, then across the 9th Street bridge into Queens, across the Queensboro bridge and into Manhattan, then a mile in the Bronx, then back to Manhattan where we finished in Central Park. I was feeling decent until around my 18, I had slowed a little bit, but was still feeling strong up to that point. I kept moving till I hit the 20-mile mark in the Bronx."
That's when he "hit the wall." But, thanks to the folks in the Bronx, Lauridsen made it, completing the 26-mile course in six hours and one minute to place 57th in his age group. He attained his goal and is still working on another involving the many miles.
"All in all, I'm a little worse for the wear, but I would have given so much more to accomplish my goal," said Lauridsen. "Now that it's over, I'm looking forward to running another one in the near future. Also, I ran the marathon for Team American Cancer Society. I have currently raised about $500, and I have to turn in the funds at the end of November, so it's not too late for the community to get involved."
It turned out to be quite a senior project -- wall and all.
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