When You Least Expect It

I started running 6 years ago.

At the time I was toned, tanned, fit, and healthy. For maybe the first time ever.

On the one hand I had lost weight. And did so healthfully.

On the other hand I had come to terms with my social life. Meaning I was single.

That wasn’t changing.

Others were meeting the person of their dreams. EVERYONE was meeting the person of their dreams. And moving in together. And marrying. And building pretty little white picket fences around their idyllic homes where they lived their idyllic lives. Together.

And then there was me.

Table for 1 please.

Yet after countless years of frustrating heart-aching attempts to turn frogs (toads, newts, salamanders, you name it) into princes, I was finally, as of the summer of 2010, ok with being single. More than ok. I revelled in it.

And that of course is when it all happened. I met D. We fell in love. And we’ve lived happily ever after ever since.

They say it always happens when you least expect it, right?

I started running 6 years ago. Yes that same year of 2010. It was really a renaissance year in my life.

I was toned, tan, fit, and healthy.

Did I already say that?

Well it bears repeating.

So there!

Anyway, I started running. It was for fun. I wasn’t particularly stellar but to this day I am defiantly proud that I raced a half marathon as my very first race. With only 17 days to train. And completed it in 1:51 and change.

My love affair with running was officially born. Kicking from the womb like a skittish colt auditioning for The Rockettes at Radio City.

I mixed some metaphors there didn’t I?

Oh well. I digress. My love affair with running was born. And with it the quest to get stronger. Faster. And one day just maybe, qualify for Boston.

But like my former dating life, I’m realizing sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs to get to your prince.

Training is hard. Maddening at times. And I find myself fitfully still without a BQ. While of course everyone around me is qualifying for Boston or making miraculous progress in doing so.

So a new leaf. Maybe I’m not meant to be a Boston Qualifier. And that’s ok. More than ok. Because I am now running freely again. For fun again.

But who knows? Maybe it’s when I finally let go of Boston. Just like all those years ago when I finally let go of finding Mr. Right.

Maybe it’s when I least expect it. Like when I met D.

Maybe one day I will cross that finish line. Look at my watch. And realize it.

That I become a Boston Qualifier.

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6 comments

  1. Not everyone around you is qualifying for Boston, or making miraculous progress towards a BQ. I went from couch to marathon finisher in 18 weeks (a miraculously stupid thing to have done in hindsight…may fortune favor the foolish) and I threw down what I considered a decent first attempt – 4:27 (hey, I beat Oprah). In the next 4 year, with regular training and 14 additional marathons, I beat that finish time only once…by 52 seconds. My last three attempts have been over 5 hours.

    I consider my marathon efforts of late to be pretty pathetic. But I know many slower runners who would love to crack 5 hours just once.

    My all time best half marathon time is 1:44…just a few minutes faster then “not particularly stellar” finish time of 1:51…with 17 days training (again…may fortune favor the foolish). It is the only time I cracked 1:51. It has earned me multiple “A” coral placements…including my upcoming Half Marathon at Disney World (where many of my running friends there refer to me as “speedy”).

    If I were maintain that pace for a full marathon, I would still fall far short of a BQ.

    Part of run speed is just plain natural talent. What you did on 17 days training, I did only once in 5 years. What I did in 18 weeks, many could never do no matter how hard they try. Others would be to embarrassed to talk about such a poor performance. But pure talent can get us quite far in running. Hard work will usually improve that to a certain degree (well, not in my case…but I digress). But our natural ability can only carry us so far.

    I will never qualify for Boston. I am so far away from that possibility that it is an easy thing to accept. You are tantalizingly close and you are working so hard to grasp that brass ring. I hope you reach your goal someday. But it is good to hear that you are not losing sight of why you run, and are doing it again for the simple joy of running. I pushed myself too hard and have lost that passion in the process. I accomplished my dream in the process. But the price I paid may not have been worth it.

    Do not measure your success by how many minutes you are off in BQ qualifying. Measure it by the happiness and health that running provides you….

    1. You have taught me a lot over the last few years Raymond and you continue to do so. Thank you!

      Perspective is indeed everything. I have another friend who texted me this message before my last race:

      “Go hit it out of the park tomorrow. Remember also — we do this for fun.”

      This same friend also told me that he “refuses to beat himself up over a run.”

      Like you, he has already achieved some tremendous athletic successes. Like you he is teaching me the importance of perspective and gratitude for our sport.

      Thanks Raymond šŸ¤—

      It really isn’t about the finish times. It’s about the health, happiness, and friendships we gain along the way.

  2. OMG! CONGRATULATIONS!!! šŸ™ŒšŸ‘šŸ’

    1. Not so fast. Get it? šŸ™ƒšŸ˜‹. I’m saying MAYBE one day I’ll qualify.

  3. You went and worked for it, you gave it your all! that’s something that you should take pride in. I’ll bet now that your not fixated on BM that you will actually run even better and faster. I noticed that once I was no longer worried about the race and I was running for just me I ran much better. personally I think that you are going to qualify when you least expect it. Things are going to just fall in place.

    You know……. I’ve been thinking allot about this whole training thing. Honestly nothing drove me down more then the routine of training. That’s not to say that we don’t need to “train” for a run but what I see is people train only to waste away post race and then start all over again. For me I’ve been thinking about perpetual training LOL I just made that up; “perpetual training” pretty funny huh? Yeah I’m proud of myself uhu-huh. But really after the Disney run I had to ask what was the point; I was happier running when I wasn’t trying to build for the race. So why not just run to maintain what I built? I’ve been working on a flexible routine to try doing just that.

    1. I like perpetual training! You oughtta patent the term šŸ‘šŸ½

      And you’re right. Running is supposed to be fun. The pressure I was putting on myself was starting to eat into that. But I think I nipped it in the bud!

      I think everyone has their own balance as to what is healthiest and what is most fun for them as runners and athletes. I know some people who love to race as often as possible. And I know others who are perpetual trainers šŸ˜ƒ

      I suspect I’m somewhere in the middle. But I may take some extended perpetual training after my next race in May. I do like the sounds of that!

      Thanks Bill. I very much appreciate your feedback and support!

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