Back in December, I used this blog to ask myself the question: “What Next?” I was coming off a fantastic season of running; one which saw me complete a marathon in less than four hours, and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to set my sights on another lofty goal just yet. Goals are awesome when you reach them, but extremely disappointing when you fall short, again and again! Now that I finally reached that elusive 4 hour time, proving, at least to myself, that I am a good distance runner, would I be capable of switching to simply running for fun? Exercise and sociability are the reasons most of my friends run, and I was wondering if I would be able to join their ranks as a casual runner.
Well, after two months of consideration, I’ve arrived at my final answer: “I don’t think so!” While running is great fun, fun can’t be the only reason I run! My personality is simply too obsessive to allow me to run without having at least some type of goal, even if it’s just in the back of my head. I could link this tendency to several facets of my personality, but whatever the root cause is, it boils down to me being happiest when I have challenges in my life. Undoubtedly, some of these challenges turn into obsessions, which become a source of stress, but that’s a risk I have to take. Nothing good in this world comes without hard work, stress and a chance for failure. So, without further fanfare, here is my next goal, announced to the world: I want to run in the Boston Marathon!
All goals need to have plans, and I’m already implementing the first step of mine; losing weight. Distance runners are the leanest people on earth, and if I want to be one of the top 10 percent of these elite athletes, I need to start looking and training like one. I’ve gotten this far in my running eating and drinking whatever I want, whenever I want, but that’s not good enough for a Boston Qualifier. I know a little bit about nutrition, so it’s about time I “walk the talk” and follow my own advice. I’ve got two weeks down, and six left of base building which for me means calorie reduction and daily workouts. I’m counting every calorie I eat and every calorie I burn, and the plan’s been working so far.
I will follow up the base building phase with 16 weeks of intense training for Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth on June 22nd. I will place most of my emphasis on training, and not on calorie reduction during this period as I’ll need abundant energy to complete the workouts Martin has planned for me. I hope to make a modest improvement on my PR from last October during this first marathon of 2013. I’ll probably register for the Fargo Half Marathon in May and use it as a tune up for Grandma’s.
That pretty much fills you in on “What Next?” I’m going to attempt to continue to improve as a distance runner with the goal of eventually qualifying for the Boston Marathon. By the way, I will need to complete a marathon in less than 3 hours, 30 minutes to qualify: That’s 18 minutes faster than my PR in the Twin Cities. It’s a loft goal for sure, but it’s certainly possible. In the meantime, I will try to push the goal to the back of my head and simply savor the day to day joy of running while I train for Grandma’s Marathon.