April 15, 2013 has been on my radar since the summer of 2011, when I decided I would sign up for the Hartford Marathon exactly a year and a half beforehand. I wanted to qualify for Boston, and I wanted to race it.
Well, one of those things happened. And it was awesome.
The actual running of the race part, well, not this year. To be honest, I’m okay with that. I really got to thinking about what Boston means when one of my running friends said to me: “You were going to run Boston? You don’t need that! You’re an athlete“, implying that my qualification for Boston, though an accomplishment to be sure, is just one little milestone in a running career that will be long and fruitful if I listen to my body and keep working hard. Which is true – though Boston qualification is a coveted thing in the world of recreational runners, it’s the same standard for everyone and what makes a person truly great is pushing their own limits, not the ones set by someone else. Maybe telling people that I qualified for Boston will earn me some admiration, but who really needs that? I should be running for myself, not so that people think I’m cool (because let’s be honest…I gave up on that a long time ago)
Some may argue that the atmosphere of Boston is something to be missed, which obviously is true because the Irish Catholics in my home state sure do know how to bring the party (hollaaaa!) and turn out in droves to spectate this race. But when I really think about it, I’d rather have a few more marathons under my belt so that I can truly appreciate it.
So if you’re one of the scores of people who has told me, “Well, there’s always next year…” I appreciate the sentiment but actually, there is always right now. Today is a perfect time to strive to be a better athlete, to push yourself just a little harder, to fuel your body properly, to actually stretch for once, or to start cross training like a good little girl. I probably won’t see you in Boston next year, but you can bet I’ll be racing wherever I am. And to those who are (hopefully sleeping) in Boston right now, anticipating the morning, I hope you have one hell of an awesome day. Enjoy it. You earned it.