This coming Monday is the 115th running of the Boston Marathon. I have checked the weather for the day, gotten my new Red Sox hat ready and cleared my day (with the exception of a long run of my own). I have collected the bib #'s of the runners I know will be running. I will be watching splits and cheering from home.... just where I'm supposed to be watching :)
My friend Molly and her best friend Sam are running it together. Molly is a cancer survivor with a story like none other. Molly qualified for Boston two years in a row at the Chicago Marathon and when I inquired about her registering for Boston, her response totally shocked me. She said "Oh I don't know. I guess I haven't really thought about it. Isn't that hilly?" So at first I thought she was kidding, but nope, Molly was dead serious. She never went after a BQ. She just wanted to run marathons. So I did my best to convince her that Boston was a REALLY BIG DEAL and that she HAD to run it because she earned with way there, whether intentional or not. I told her how much I wanted to qualify with the Columbus Marathon (yes, this conversation was prior to that). So we had fun discussing meeting up in Boston, her meeting Sarah, who said she would run it again, and me meeting Sam. We imagined a really fun trip with a huge support crew!
When I did not qualify, Molly offered to get me a charity number. She told me that sometimes when things don't go according to plan, you have to change the plan and think differently (Oh my God, if anyone on earth knows that, she does). I could train really hard over the winter and get a PR in Boston... so essentially, qualify for the first time... in Boston. I waffled back and forth, but finally decided that for me, I needed to qualify to run it. I am not taking away from anyone who chooses to run without qualifying. This was just me. I just could not do it. And as it turns out, there is no way I could have trained to qualify for Boston in Boston this winter. I was not running for too long to have fit proper training in. As always, the dots are connecting and the big picture has become clear.
But Molly's words of wisdom were correct, hence the new ultra plan! Things have not gone according to the original plan, so the plan must change. I once posted a quote on our running club site that said "If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll keep getting what you've always gotten." Duh! No more running marathons simply to qualify for Boston, but rather as training runs and because I really do love it. The BQ will come. This I know. But it will not come the way I originally expected nor in the time frame I wanted. Lower times, rolling registration, blah, blah, blah... the worrying is not worth it anymore. It will come in it's own time. In the meantime I will plan for my very first ultramarathon, which I really hope to be this fall. Yesterday I registered for the Air Force Marathon. This takes place 3 weeks before Chicago. Seems insane, but only if you are looking at a traditional marathon training plan. I promised myself that when I was 100% healthy... meaning injury free and pain free when running, I would consider this option. It has been a little over one week and I have done some serious testing of my calves and I am happy to say I am an injury free, pain free and healthy runner. So I am going to use the Air Force marathon as my last long run before the Chicago Marathon. I was hoping to sneak in New York this fall, but that is not to be, so I'll take advantage of a great marathon one hour from home. I could see John's muscles tense when I told him, but then I said "Listen, I'm going up the day of... no stress, no hotels, no fuss. Just as if I were running in Harrison. Only it's 6 miles longer and I'll get a t-shirt and collect a medal. If I get stuck behind walkers because I'm late to the start, then fine. This is truly my "whatever" marathon." So then he says... "Cool. I'll go with you." I love that boy!
Best of luck to all running Boston! Molly, Sam, Kathleen, Sarah K... and many others. My thoughts, prayers and hopes are with you all for a fabulous marathon. Seize the day. Virtual high fives for all as you cross the mats and your splits come across my screen! Be safe and enjoy!