Saturday, November 6, 2010

Choosing Athens

Well, I lied.  I said I wasn't going to recap every detail of the past two years, but I will.... for two reasons. First, my goal with this is to trace the journey to Boston.  So every little detail matters in order to paint a clear picture.  Secondly, I always have so much to share, even if I'm my only audience (that sounds pathetic, doesn't it?).
I begin this next post at 4:01 a.m.  Let me just say, yesterday's post took me over 3 hours to complete.  In the course of writing that entry, I was interrupted no less than 50 times for a variety of break up a fight, help Lucy into her pajamas, honor Emma's request to "videotape her and Lucy dancing to California Gurls" (now there's a shocker... and by the way, a video I will NOT be posting as images of my daughters' futures in clubs flashed before my eyes) and many other pressing issues that being mom to 4 bring about.  At 4 a.m., however, the only interruptions I might encounter are letting the dog out and going downstairs to get more coffee.  Although I may need earplugs because John is currently snoring very loudly, which is quite distracting.  On to the post.
Driving home from the Columbus Marathon in 2008, I say to John "Hey, I think I want to make it my goal in 2009 to qualify for the Boston Marathon."  "Ok."  "No, SERIOUSLY John, I really think I can do this.  I mean, you should have seen the people crossing the finish line.  They were in no better shape than I am.  I totally bet I could do this."  "Ok."  "Dude, are you LISTENING to me?  I know you don't believe me.  What is wrong with you?  I am not joking.  That's it.  I'm doing it.  You think this is another crazy idea that I'll soon forget about, don't you?  WELL I WON'T!" (Now imagine my arms crossed, steely stare out the window, and mad silence).  Welcome to poor John's life.  Two little "ok's" and that is just about what he heard.  I guarantee there are many days now that he wishes he would have said, "You are right, Katie.  I don't think you can do it.  I think you are nuts.  We have four kids, we both work, life is nuts, oh and by the way, you are just not that fast."  But no, he played the good husband (now I realize it was probably to shut me up or get out of the trouble he was in for not even doing anything wrong) and says "Of course I think you can do it.  You are a great runner and you are very capable.  I think it's a great goal...."  And so a sucker was born.
When we arrived home, I'm not even sure I showered (gross).  I hopped on the computer, and fired away an invitation to someone  I was certain I could talk into doing this nonsense with me.  Ok, I guess I wasn't "certain".  This person had made it very clear that she believed the human body was "not meant to run 26.2 miles".  This person had already attempted a BQ twice, ending miserably both times.  This person, of course, was Sarah.  My glimmer of hope was that I imagined it would "bug" her that I was training for something she once went after but didn't get.  That it would drive her nuts to think that maybe I would go out there and nail that Boston qualifier at first attempt.  That is the avenue I chose to use to rope her in.  Maybe it was dirty, but I believe it was necessary.  My friend is fiercely competitive and if there was one thing I knew I could count on, it was the fact that she would not allow that to happen without getting a qualifier herself (oh crap, don't think I ever told her this.... sorry, Sarah).  I also knew I more than likely would not succeed without her by my side pushing me.  It was because we started running together that my pace was faster and my times were dropping.  She pulled me a little faster each time we went out.  Pleasant?  Hell no.  But wonderful, nonetheless.  I was finding a competitive side in myself I did not realize existed.  I was having the time of my life discovering my running potential.
It didn't take much convincing.  To this day I believe that Sarah would have gone back out there, with or without my prompting, and finish what she started (this, I have told her).  That is just the way she is.  I was just the competitive catalyst that came along at the right time for her to do it.  After maybe two e-mails, I get her reply of "Ok, fine.  Let's do it."  And now became the job of finding the qualifying marathon.
My brother mentioned that there was a marathon in Athens, Ohio in April.  The course was flat and fast.  Perfect for a PR.  Sarah and I discussed it and decided the Flying Pig would not be a good one to attempt this.  It was October and we had time to train for an April marathon.  Athens would require little travel (just one overnight), the weather would "probably" be good and we could start training right away.  So we picked it, looked at a couple of training plans and chose one sent to me by my friend Ronda's sister-in-law, Katie (who did qualify for Boston at the Flying Pig... on her first attempt.  Whatever!).  The plan belonged to Hal Higdon, a running coach and contributing editor to Runner's World magazine.
We had our marathon and we had our training plan.  All we needed to do was begin.  And begin we did!

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