Once upon a time, I decided that I wanted to run a marathon before I turned 30. And so I did. And it was good. And I liked that marathon, and knew that I could do better than 4:13, and so I ran another one. And it was better. But the Boston Marathon qualifying standard of 3:35 still seemed like a pipe dream, something that was reserved for runners far more experienced, more dedicated, more *real* than I was. Because I wasn't *really* a runner. I just pretended to be one, because the medals are cool.
But as time and miles ticked by, I started to feel like a *real* runner, and then, this spring, Boston started to feel within reach. I didn't go for it at the Xenia Marathon, and I finished in 3:39. Four minutes off from BQ, but 6 minutes better than my original spring marathon goal. I could have pushed harder and I may have made it, but I had my sights set on the New Jersey Marathon. Unfortunately, that one turned out to be a complete disaster - but it had to happen sometime. No guts, no glory!
This week begins my first serious attempt to get to Boston. I'm using the plan outlined in the FIRST program, the BQ-version of the marathon training program that I've used to take 34 minutes off since I ran my first 26.2. They say it best - "The Road to Boston is Steeper."
After I blew it in my hometown, I asked the pace group if I could take home the 3:35 flag. It will hang in my basement where I can see it from the treadmill, a reminder of what I'm aiming for to keep my legs moving when those speed intervals and long tempo runs get in my head and I want to quit. Because that feeling happens a lot. I'm setting my sights on 3:30, to give some extra breathing room. This is the first really serious goal that I've set for myself, other than just finishing the damn thing to begin with. I may fall flat on my face and short of my goal, but at least I can say that I tried. There's always next year :)