It was about this time, roughly, three years ago that I set my sights on qualifying for the Boston Marathon. At the time, I needed something to focus on. I needed something that would challenge me, help me reconnect to the athlete that was living somewhat dormant inside of me, and give me a sense of purpose (beyond wife/mother/employee/etc.). Boy did it ever!
My quest to qualify began in the spring of 2013. The entire journey has been chronicled here on Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking. In fact, the purpose of starting this online journal was to share the trials and triumphs of the experience. In a nutshell, what I thought would be a year-long trip took me two. I learned so much along the way and it truly was one of my greatest personal accomplishments of my lifetime. Publishing a book is next. ; )
After qualifying for the Boston Marathon on my fourth try, in April of 2014, I had two options considering that my original intention was to qualify for Boston, run Boston, and be done with marathons. I could either slack off and go to Boston to enjoy a really long run for fun. OR, I could prove that I deserved to be there, and, if all the stars aligned on that Patriots’ Day in 2015, maybe qualify for 2016.
Even then, I didn’t intend to go back this year. Just knowing that I had potentially earned a spot was enough. With my time of 3:33:06, I’m fairly certain that I would have made the window had I decided I wanted to go for another round.
Truthfully, that decision is a little bittersweet as I watch so many runners prepare for the April race. Every time I come across an Instagram image, read a blog, or see a post come up on my Facebook feed regarding training for Boston, my heart sinks just a tiny bit. That could be me.
However, I chose not to enter the race and while those reminders sting just a bit, I’m glad I decided to not go this year for a number of reasons.
- I’m still basking in the experience from last year. The magic that is your first Boston Marathon is one that I want to fully marinate in for quite some time. Sometimes I feel like I need to pinch myself. Did that REALLY happen?! It is not necessarily a once-in-a-lifetime experience but at this point, for me, it is. I’d like to hold onto that for a while longer.
- I once heard someone explain their reason for not running Boston every year that they qualified and it really hit home for me. The wise one explained that she was creating space for someone who had never run the race before (like me) to experience it. There are only so many spots available, after all. I thought that was a really awesome perspective and I hope that my absence allows a first-timer their own magical Boston Marathon.
- As I’ve been eluding to, there are some changes on the horizon for my family. If all goes according to plan (which I don’t expect it to because this move has been three years in the making) I don’t know where I’ll be in April. Or how I would manage to train through the relocation process. The thought makes me cringe so I know it would stress me out. As if moving isn’t stressful enough!
- Let’s be real. It costs a ton. Between race registration, shoes (because training alone requires a few replacement pairs as mileage creeps higher and higher), airplane tickets, a hotel room, car rental, meals and snacks (and if I’m being real, WINE), souvenirs, commemorative marathon apparel and tchotchke, and so on, it is not a cheap trip and I just can’t swing it two years in a row.
- On that note, I’d rather put whatever travel dollars I can swing this year to attend my daughters Army AIT graduation in Texas coming up next month. Plus, a trip to SoCal to search for a place. And, Mr. Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking and I have a BIG anniversary coming up this spring. Hawaii, maybe?
- Not training is really nice. I mean I’m running and all, but not having some big hairy goal looming over me, eating up every single spare minute or requiring 5 AM wake-up calls on Sunday mornings is rather lovely.
- Finally, I want to earn it. Again. I worked really hard to prove myself when I ran Boston last year. I’m proud of my PR and qualifying for 2016. Perhaps I could have used that momentum to repeat the cycle. But for some strange reason, I think I’ll ultimately find more satisfaction in stepping away, and if I so choose at some later date to try to qualify again (like when I hit the next age division), diving back into it for the fresh challenge. I think it will mean more to have to bust my butt for it again.
This by no means is intended to downplay the accomplishments of those repeating Boston year after year. It is a very personal journey and we each have our own reasons for wanting to run the Boston Marathon.
So with that I say GOOD LUCK to everyone working their asses off training for this year’s event and to those of you that have yet to qualify but are working your asses off too, keep at it! It is soooooo worth it!