I remember when I first started running back in the fall of 2009 that running even 5 miles in a row seemed completely unattainable. But, I kept at it, slowly and steadily, and managed to get to a place where I could do it. So I’d add a bit to my next milestone, then go after that a little bit at a time. When I toed the line to run my first 10K (which is 6.2 miles), I had never run 6 miles in a row before, and I wasn’t even certain that I’d finish, but I went ahead anyway. After reaching that, I began to add a little bit more here and there. I distinctly remember trying to run 10 miles. It took me four attempts before I actually made it.
So now I’m at the place where I have a few marathons under my belt; some went well, some … not-so-much. In the midst of training for my first (in Chicago 2010), a friend asked if I was going to qualify for Boston, and I remember thinking he might as well be asking if I plan to go to the moon. A complete and utter impossibility.
In my most recent race, the 2011 Marine Corps Marathon, I proved to myself that I could, in fact, improve my running beyond what I thought was possible. And it’s from that perspective that I’ve decided to dedicate this year to shaving an additional 27 minutes from my marathon P.R. to get down to 3:15:00, or the Boston Marathon qualification time for a man of my advancing age. It definitely feels like a stretch goal, but I now know what hard work and dedication can lead to, and I feel like I’m ready to take those next steps. The coaching I’ve been getting from Luke Humphrey has been an incredible boost for me, too, and so I believe I’m going after this goal in a measured, smart way. So the plan looks like this:
- Glass City Marathon, April 22, 2012. My base goal is to run a 3:34:00 here. If the stars (and weather) align, I may go for a 3:30:00.
- California International Marathon, December 2, 2012. This will be the marathon where I go for a 3:15:00.
I’m sure I’ll have other races along the way to see how my fitness is progressing, but those are the major ones. So there it is in black and white: I’d like to qualify for Boston. And 2012 is the year I start to do that.