Sunday, October 12, 2014

The time is now

The past couple of weeks have been absolutely crazy.  A very long story summed up in a couple of brief sentences: My doctor thought I might have a stress fracture in my left tibia.  Waited over a week (stupid insurance!) to get an MRI, which showed I do NOT have a stress fracture.  

Obviously a ton went on in that time span,including of course tons of tears from yours truly when it seemed I might not be able to race in the Columbus Marathon on October 19th, but the most important thing is that I have been cleared to run.  Not that I ever stopped... oops, that was supposed to be a secret.  I did take five days off from running, and I do think that period of rest helped a great deal.  I got back into the pool a couple of times, which was a lot of fun.  I tried to keep the miles that I did run short and easy, and promised myself that if I had any pain at all, I'd stop.  Fortunately for me, I didn't have any pain while running after that five-day rest.  That being said, running AMA (against medical advice) is NOT something I'd recommend to anyone.  I'm really good at giving advice, and not so great at taking it.  

Moving on, though... something's happening in just six days.  Oh yeah, I'm running a little race.  *insert scream* I can't believe it... the time has come.  The time is now... well in less than a week.  Soon enough.  I will be joining 18,000 other runners who are running in either the half-marathon or the full like me, and marathon #2 will become a reality.  I first started thinking about marathon #2 before my first marathon was even finished.  In my darkest moments of that race, right around miles 22-23, I said to myself, "Yes, this is awful.  Yes, I hurt worse than I imagine.  But yes, I will do this again."  I knew I had more in me than I had given on that day.  Now, when I crossed the finish line, there was no more left to give.  But I realized during that race that I indeed could train harder, run faster, and give more of myself to this beast that we call a marathon.

Me smiling (FAKE!) just a minute or so after finishing my first full

After my first marathon, my husband texted Jen (my coach/cheerleader/training partner) and told her that I was only 16 minutes from a BQ (Boston Qualifying time).  When Jen relayed this to me, I was surprised in two respects:  one, that my husband even knew what the BQ time was for my age group, and two, that I was only 16 minutes away from it.  I really didn't even know what the Boston Marathon was all about until the race was ran in 2013, and the horrific events that took place put the race at the forefront of everyone's minds.  I instantly decided that I would someday qualify for and run the Boston Marathon, even though at that point I still hadn't even raced in my first half-marathon.  After I raced in the Cap City half marathon less than a month later, the idea of racing in a full marathon was tucked deep into the recesses of my brain until I was finally prepared to face it again about 7 months later.  Following the Glass City Marathon, many of my running friends told me that Boston was definitely within my reach.  Jen's husband (a seasoned runner and triathlete) laughed when he heard I spent the first 20 miles of my marathon chatting it up with my new MIT runner-pals. "That's a good 5-10 minutes right there!" he chided.  

My chat-buddies during my first full--they made those first 20 miles fly by!

All of the people who I felt knew more than I did about these things were saying I could BQ... that's when I let the thought actually seep into my head.  Me... BQ.  Wow.  For my age group (35-39), the time standard is a 3:40:00.  What that means: I have to actually go a 3:39:59 or faster to achieve BQ status.  And that's just to qualify... once a person gets the time standard, they can attempt to register, but typically it takes a time that is a good two minutes or so faster than the actual standard to actually get accepted to run in the Boston Marathon.  Putting it another way, I'd have to shave off about 40 seconds per mile to earn my BQ.  For you non-runners out there, that is a LOT.  Like, a LOT LOT.  However, training hard all summer has given me the confidence that I need to believe that maybe, just maybe... I might have it in me.  Despite a PR in the half marathon that, when doubled, is only a 3:39... despite my lingering sore calf that Dr. Bright said is "something" (but nothing to stop me from racing--his words, I promise!)... despite my own fear that taking out a marathon in the kind of pace that I'll need to do in order to BQ will lead me to crashing and burning by mile 20... despite all of these things, there is this little fire in my heart that says, "But Marcie... the time is now."  

And, indeed, the time is now.  It is time for me to put my money where my mouth is. I haven't been all that vocal about trying to BQ.  It's been a dream that my close running friends know about, yes, but I haven't made it known to many others.  Well, here I am, putting it out there.  I know I usually start with my C goals and work my way up... not today.  My A goal is to qualify for the 2016 Boston Marathon (registration has already ended for the 2015 race) by running a sub-3:40 marathon.  There, I said it.  Seeing it in print makes it all the more real.

My B goal is to PR.  A PR is nothing to sneeze at, and especially given the fact that just a few days ago I wasn't even sure if I'd be able to race, I will be very happy with a shiny new PR.  

I have this shirt :)  Love it!

And my C goal?  Yep, to finish.  Again, my almost-race-ending-injury has caused to really reevaluate things, and I realize that finishing a marathon is no small feat. I will be grateful for the chance to do so.  My heart is filled with gratitude--that is, in fact, what mile 1 says on my mantra band from Races2Remember.  On Sunday, I will run with gratitude, thankful that I am able to run.


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