Even with the exciting moments, life can seem like a lot of the ‘same old, same old’. We always remember the life changing events, or remarkable milestones that come with a great achievement or incredible experience. With years of toeing a starting line around 30 times for 19 years, I have many great ‘times’ stockpiled in my head. But there will soon be a new experience I hope to never forget. The Eugene Marathon in 2015 was my first chance to ‘race’ at that distance as an adult, and just as a base goal I idly set the BQ standard (3:05) as my target with a stretch goal of 2:40. Boston was definitely in the back of my mind as a bucket list event, one I figured was not likely to occur.
Obviously, my family is aware of the passion and dedication behind my running hobby. It has kept me sane and strong through the ups and downs of life. I share my successes and failures with them, keeping them updated on how things are going. In light of this, as I began to get ready for Eugene and casually touching on the subject of Boston, they gave me a concrete standard. My mom and sisters let me know that if I managed to qualify, they would help me reach that historic race. I was shocked and excited with this new opportunity. In spite of a rather rough training period, I managed to cross the line in just over 2:47. It was an incredible experience, and really set the ‘what-if’ fire in me.
In October, I was given the opportunity to run another marathon, most importantly to help someone in a life changing way. Local runner Andie Proskus, was unable to run a full on her own, so her friends contacted me about using a specially made race chair to allow her that experience. We had a great time running 26.2 in Portland, and I met a lot of new people through that experience. Before this event, my older sister thought it would be a great idea to set up a gofundme page, to help cover the trip expenses. The response has blown me away. As I write this, over $2000 has been donated.
When I consider my performance at Eugene, and how relaxed I was coming through 20 miles at two hours I believe that I am capable of much more than a 2:47. My ‘solid’ goal is 2:40, which wouldn’t even put me in the top 100! I find that exhilarating. I ran Eugene alone for the most part and the chance to pace someone would make it a totally different experience.
As with Eugene, I will not be following a set training plan. Sundays will likely be my long days, being at least 10 miles. Every other week would be longer, with the distance increasing as time goes on. I want to get in at least 3 at twenty miles before April. Friday or Monday I will do a tough 10 mile hilly course at low 6 minute pace. There will also be hill repeats, track work and tempo runs sprinkled in as well. I will continue to race as I normally do through the year. To help with upper body strength I will start a pull up routine 3 days a week using several different methods.
The second part of my training will be diet. I currently weigh about 136, which leaves me little reserves for sustained effort. Optimally, by April I will be almost ten pounds heavier. Through a friend, I got to meet a few people at Betty Lou’s, a local business that makes a variety of healthy snacks and foods. They are very generously going to sponsor me to help me reach my goals and have given me a nice selection of treats, including protein powder, nut balls, and powdered peanut butter. I will also be consuming protein shakes daily and making it a point to consume an appropriate amount of meat every day. I will also try to get back into the habit of eating multiple smalls meals a day to reduce the risk of being of being hungry.
While running and racing is pretty much a daily part of my life, to have such a large goal with a deadline is a rarity. I toe most lines with a realistic and often quite accurate projection of what I will run and with the lead in mind. 2:40 is a huge goal, and one that will take a lot of work to reach. It will be a tough winter and spring, where the mindset I get to April with will be as meaningful as the strength in my body. 26.2 miles is no joke, having a lofty goal with the true intention of achieving it will not just happen. With the help of my family, friends, running partners, and generous strangers, on Monday April 18th I will be at a starting line thousands of miles away. I will not wear my watch but instead use my body and my mind to measure pace and effort. In respect for those who will help me get there, I will commit myself to my training and make their generosity and sacrifice worth it.
Thank you in advance, this road to Boston is going to be tough, but the end result will be a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.