There is one question I have been asked more times than any other over the last month. The one question I have skirted around the answer to time and time again. The one question I just really haven’t wanted to answer until now.
What is your goal for Boston?
My answer up until this point has been pretty wishy washy. For some reason I was scared to answer it.
Oh I just want to enjoy it, oh I don’t really have a goal, oh I don’t care about the clock, oh if it’s a good day then a PR would be nice.
I have thinking about this question quite a bit over the last week, and have been wondering if I really wanted to set a goal out there for everyone to see. I have always been a big goal person which was clearly evident when I chased down my BQ for over a year. But last year I stopped having my sites set on specific times so publicly for some reason. Sure I still had these goals in the back of my mind but I just didn’t tell anyone.
Was I afraid of failing? Was I sick of telling people that I didn’t meet my goal? Was I tired of the pressure I put on myself? Was I doubting myself? Probably a combination of a lot of things.
This all made me really hesitant to put a time goal on Boston because I don’t want my success there to be measured by a number on the clock. There are a lot of things that come into play – the late start, the unpredictable weather, the travelling, the tough course, etc, that are just completely out of my control. Lots of things happen on race day, but those just make the race what it is.
Then I had the Boston specific worries because I do not want to walk away from this race with any disappointment…
What if I set a goal and don’t reach it? Will I be sad? Will I be disappointed in myself? Will it ruin my Boston experience if I am disappointed?
As the race got closer, I started thinking about Boston and what this race means to me and what it took for me to get here. How many times I tried and missed, but also how determined I was to get there. I kept on trying and now I am going to run the Boston Marathon! The biggest thing I have learned about myself getting to the start line of this race is that if I don’t meet my goals, guess what, I am just going to try again.
Then it just clicked. Yes, I have goals for this race. I have trained hard for this race. Why on earth would I run so many Boston specific courses, 6 weeks over 60 miles and 6 20+ mile runs if I didn’t want to do well there? Sure my training wasn’t perfect and I skipped some track workouts and didn’t hit a couple tempo runs, but I still trained very hard.
So here we go, I am putting the numbers out there:
- A goal: PR 3:39:34 or less.
- B goal: Run my 2nd fastest marathon of 3:44:27 or less.
- C goal: Beat my nemesis 3:57 time.
- D goal: Cross the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
- Run a smart race. Be in control of myself and listen to all the advice I have gotten along the way about the course. I have a plan of attack for this race and I WILL follow it.
- Run a strong race. Use all those 20+ mile runs and a smart race strategy to be able to finish strong.
- Run a happy race. Soak up Boston for every ounce that it’s worth. There will be no headphones, I will have my name on my shirt, I will enjoy Boston and take the race in… I only get my first Boston once.
It might be a magical day where everything clicks and I run the race of my life, and it might be a race where I know it’s not my day but soak it up for everything that it is. It’s my first Boston, no matter what the time on the clock, it is going to be amazing and an experience I will never forget. Running a PR would just be icing on the cake.
I feel in a better place mentally than I have before any other marathon and I am just plain excited. No nerves (yet), no not believing in myself, but just ready to handle whatever that day brings. I cannot wait!
Goals are there to push us, they are there to challenge us. If they were easy and we knew we could reach them, they wouldn’t mean so much when we do reach them. Which is exactly why this start line means so much to me.