It has been just over five years since I started running. I have set a few goals along the way, running my first mile, or 5K, or marathon. I always approached each goal without much concern. I just want to finish was my objective. Even as I improved and became competitive in my age group, I still focused on the "big picture". I have always said, "when this stops being fun, that's the time I stop running." No, I am not at that point.
The point that I am at is that for the first time I have a very specific goal. As most of you know, it is to qualify for the Boston Marathon. "QUALIFY", that's the scary word. In order to get to Boston, I "MUST" finish my chosen race in a specific time in order to "QUALIFY".
I will be running the Mohawk-Hudson Marathon in Albany, NY, on October 11th. I ran this course last year and set a PR. I had no pressure to run a specific time. It was simple, run, have fun, and see what happens. The results were good, I took almost 20 minutes off my previous PR. This year I need to repeat with an improvement of 15 minutes to be safe.
I have been training hard. Most of the early part of the year was spent on speedwork. My 5K, 10K, 15K and half-marathon times have all improved. In 2009, I have set a PR at each of these distances. The last distance is the marathon. I feel very good physically. I have not had any injury issues. I do have two more "long" runs of 20+ miles prior to the marathon. It has been hot here in Orlando, no surprise. It was hot last year as well! Long runs are so much more difficult in the hot weather. You have to respect that thin line between running at your race pace and not pushing to the point of heat exhaustion.
As much as I try to tell myself, "it's just another marathon", it is not. I don't want to lose sleep over this and I haven't as yet, but it does play on my mind. I can control many of the aspects of this marathon. Knowing the course will be the biggest positive factor. I love running in "cold" weather. Last year the temperature was 44 degrees on marathon morning. I would love to have a carbon copy of that day. No control over that.
I have had tremendous support from my running group and friends who realize what it will mean to "QUALIFY". Training runs, hundreds of miles over the years. Friends have promised to make the trip to Boston for the marathon, now that's pressure to produce. It is also a tremendous motivation. I know when I run Boston, it will be for many runners, not just myself.
This post was more of me "venting" some of my emotions. Will I feel better? Will it help? I guess I have to wait until Sunday, October 11th.
The title for this post comes from a quote by Sir Winston Churchill. "This is no time for ease and comfort. It is the time to dare and endure."