In my very first blog, I briefly mentioned I’m hoping to do well enough in the New Jersey Marathon to qualify for the 2014 Boston Marathon.
According to the Boston Athletic Association, the Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the world’s most prestigious road racing events. This is because it is the only marathon for which you need to qualify to be in it. To qualify for my age group, I need to run the New Jersey Marathon in 3 hours, 45 minutes. This comes to an 8:35-minute mile pace.
I haven’t written anything else about the Boston Marathon since my very first blog.
This is not by accident.
I didn’t want to talk about this since I was afraid if didn’t qualify, my entire blog and everything I said in it would be a failure. I was afraid that I, too, would be a failure.
I now realize I was wrong.
If I don’t qualify for the Boston Marathon, I will still be glad I tried to. I’m extremely thankful to get the opportunity to take part in a marathon, which is something many people never get the chance to do over the course of their lifetime. If I don’t qualify, I’ll still be in terrific shape and have developed the dedication and determination to maintain this fitness level indefinitely. Also, I have greatly enjoyed all these weeks and months of training. I’ve experienced races of all different lengths, and learned so much about running marathons from other runners who have done so. Finally, if I don’t qualify, it will in no way change my love of running.
In fact, many people—marathoners, as well as the authors of some of my marathon training books, say the goal of one’s first marathon should be not to qualify for anything. Instead, I should just strive to finish it and use it as a learning experience for future marathons.
I completely understand the rationale behind this and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it. Here are my thoughts: It’s still better to have a specific, timed goal for something than for the goal to be just to finish “whenever.”
According to Running Times Magazine, there’s a saying I’m reading over and over, which is “distance running is 10 percent physical and 90 percent mental.” When the difference between qualifying and not qualifying is only a few minutes—which is probably true in my case—trying to get to the finish line by a specific time is actually a motivator in and of itself. Having a set goal, which has been pre-determined by such a prestigious event, is pretty exciting to me. It might just provide me with enough motivation to get me to run a little bit faster than I otherwise would have, in order to reach that goal. And based upon my results from recent races I’ve been in, I just might have a decent chance at reaching it.