A few months ago, with the help of a few beers, a friend and I decided to run the Minneapolis Marathon. Many of our friends have already qualified for Boston 2012, and while cheering on the sidelines is a rush in itself, it's not good enough for most runners - especially the crazy competitive type, such as myself.
Minneapolis in June sounded perfect, as did the training leading up to the race, which would be optimal in the usually awesome Philly spring weather. It was a flawless plan. Until Boston decided to get all elite on our asses.
I knew the day was coming when achieving a BQ would require me to run faster than 3:40. I just hoped I would qualify before that day. Now, with 3:35 as the *new* BQ for my age group, I am left feeling a little uneasy. Yes, it's only five minutes faster than the previous BQ time, which, in a marathon is like one less stop at the porta-potty.
But nothing in life is guaranteed. Even if I run a 3:35, a spot in the coveted Boston Marathon is not promised. Therefore, I'm shooting for a 3:30 in Chicago. Instead of cramming in a spring marathon, I've decided it would be better to focus on preparing my body for the brutal beating it will take come July, when marathon training for Chi-town begins.
How is this different from my current work-out regimen? I have no idea. That's a lie. I do have an idea - and it includes track workouts, long runs at marathon pace, consistent weight-training, and some solid stretching. Thinking about all that makes me cringe with excitement. I realize that there will be days when I curse marathon training, but just the same, there will be those times when I can't wait to lace-up my shoes and hop outside for an easy 8 mile run.
Can I really shave 20 minutes off my marathon time? I can. I have to. I will. Or I'll die trying.