“We need a sub-4 in Pittsburgh.”, Joe says to me.
My stomach drops. My heartbeat quickens. I can feel it in my throat. “My only goal for Pittsburgh was to break 04:30:00….04:29:59 or better, remember?! You DO realize my last time in Pittsburgh was 04:37:36, right? I honestly do not think I can make that much progress in such a short period of time and pull that off on PITTSBURGH’s course.”
“We must train hard and we must believe. We need that sub-4 in Pittsburgh to make the leap to 3:35:00 in Steamtown. On to Boston is not a dream. It is a reality. You will hate me but you will remember me…and you shall keep me young.”, Joe replies. The conversation fades and as he continues on traveling and racing his 148th career marathon, I busy myself with work and family and contemplate giving up running altogether.
A week later, I admit my internal panic to Joe…& my contemplation to quit. “A sub-4 hour marathon in Pittsburgh. I just don’t think I CAN. I don’t want to walk away from that course feeling like a failure…again.”
“Let’s define “FAILURE”…”, Joe starts out in reply… and so our mental training begins, along with our continued base training.
I have not posted this blog sooner, for fear of bringing down my readers. I want to inspire and uplift you. I want my words to encourage you all to keep running and keep trying; to keep reaching for your goals. The beauty of this journey, however, is also found in the honesty and brutality of the struggle. I must embrace this…I must redefine my view of “failure”. For the brief period of time that I had “given up” on chasing Boston, I felt momentary relief. As the thought of this sunk in, however, this was quickly followed by guilt and depression. Sleep did not feel as good. Food did not taste as good. Colors did not seem as bright. Laughter did not feel real or natural. Time seemed abundant, never ending, and, in a word, “pointless”. Nothing drives me to live as fully and look forward as optimistically as running does… as CHASING BOSTON does. Am I nervous? Yes. Do I have doubts in my ability? Absolutely. Am I afraid that I will fall short and crumble beneath the emotional weight of such a “failure”? Terrified, actually. But, as the conversations between Joe & I inevitably always turn to quotes and song lyrics which relate our innermost thoughts and inspirations; “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure…than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”~Theodore Roosevelt. So, after a brief relief from the stress of what we are about to attempt, I found myself more miserable than I could ever be as a result of trying and falling short. So, as November comes to a close, I have renewed my resolve and reinstated my commitment to this adventure. Joe is now taking over my training and running has resumed 6 days/week. We are still in the base training phase, but as this year comes to a close and the new year begins, our training shall expand and increase and our progress accelerate. There are many things we hope to achieve in 2017, but not a single one can occur if we remain content to stay as we are…so here we go again; ON TO BOSTON!✨