For 3 1/2 months, my training focus has been on speed and short races, contrary to working on marathon endurance. But my ultimate goal is to increase my speed so that I can meet the qualifying standards for the Boston Marathon. Why are so many marathon runners on the Boston track? What is the attraction to make this the Holy Grail of marathons?
Since I have never run Boston, yet, I don’t really know what the race actually holds in store for entrants. Are the roads paved in gold in Boston? Do they pass out twenty dollar bills at the water stations in Beantown? Do they serve filet mignon and lobster at the finish? I don’t know, but I want to find out.
Why am I so concerned about qualifying for the Boston Marathon? Because it’s a new challenge. I have completed a marathon… five times. Now what? The main attraction is the idea that you have to be good enough and fast enough and tough enough to even earn a place at the starting line. Secondary to that, once you have run Boston, you can wear your Boston jacket to your future races. And people will whisper to their friends, “Look, s/he ran Boston!” And you will be the envy of all runners. Maybe.
But what is really important is that you set a goal and follow through with it. How well anyone runs Boston is not really relevant. The challenge here is the journey to Boston. The commitment, the dedication, the early mornings, the early evenings for that matter…the sacrifices that you make to obtain the Holy Grail of marathons. The sense of accomplishment and pride, these are the reasons that you train to qualify for Boston.
Sure, you will feel proud when someone notices your Boston jacket, but the real satisfaction will be felt at the finish line of the race that qualifies you. The moment when you look at your watch and see that you did it. That feeling will be overwhelming and empowering. Gives me goose bumps just imagining it.
So, if you see me running around town, or if you read my running posts and tweets, I hope some of you may feel inspired to set a fitness goal for yourself. And for those of you who are chasing the same dream, I will look for you at the starting line!