“I believe that God made me for a purpose. He made me for China. But He also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure. To give it up would be to hold Him in contempt.” Eric Liddell, Scottish 400 meter gold medalist, missionary and martyr.
I think admitting your dreams to yourself is one of the scariest things that one can do. It invites disappointment. It actually creates the space for failing. If you don’t admit a dream, if you don’t speak out loud a desire and it doesn’t happen it makes no difference. You have lost nothing.
But if you are brave enough to actually say it then it can break your heart. We don’t see many movies made about those athletes or teams that experience heartbreak. The ones who gave everything they had to a dream that never came to fruition. Or all the average runners who have tried for years to accomplish something out of the ordinary…qualify for Boston perhaps…yet never make it. I think that’s what makes Boston special. It’s a dream that can live in the hearts of those of us who have full time jobs, families, completely non-running related commitments, yet have an opportunity to participate in something special.
“When you’re a dreamer, heartbreak and failure come with the territory. But I can tell you it’s worth it because it’s a way of living that is both moving and memorable.” Lauren Fleshman
Why am I talking about all this? Because I have a dream to run Boston. I’ve always thought about it, but this past April made me wish for it even more. Not just wish for it, but dream for it. And as much as it scares me to do so, to admit it.
Why not start now? I’m healthy and have as much time on my hands as anyone else with a full time job and no kids (yet). Years, sacrifice, and multiple attempts, is what it takes most people of my current speed and marathon record to qualify, so here we go! Where do I start?
For the next three months I’m going to concentrate primarily on strength training and base milage. In May – August of 2015 I completed Kayla Itsines BBG 12 week program and saw significant changes in strength and pace when I picked back up my long runs. Summer is the busiest season of work for me (which includes full time summer camp), so not having long Saturday runs or two-a- days to worry about it the best scenario. April – July will be three days a week of strength circuits with three – four days of running to maintain base aerobic fitness.
Half marathon training and VO2 max:
In July I plan to start a more advanced 12-week half-marathon training plan. Hal Higdon’s plans have been my favorite training plans since my very first half marathon and I have used both his beginner and intermediate half-marathon plans. His advanced plan includes a track workout, a tempo run, a mid-distance pace run, a long run and two easy days. The point of all this is to increase VO2 max (simplified: the rate in which the body can use oxygen). The higher the VO2 max, the better for any endurance athlete. My goal will be to race a half marathon at a pace that would convert to a Boston qualifying VO2 max. For example, based on my current race times my VO2 max is 38-39. The Boston qualifying time for my age division is a 3:35 marathon, which is about a 43 VO2 max. I have a lot of work to do (to say the least) which is why I plan to pursue it in a shorter distance first. If I can’t reach that fitness level (sometimes its just genetic) in a half marathon, there isn’t really a chance at pursuing it for all 26.2.
But if in November I can complete a half marathon in under 1:42:00, which right now seems utterly difficult though not impossible, I will pursue running a marathon that is a certified Boston qualifying race.
So there you have it. I have said it out loud. I have written it down. I have shared it with you. It may now be either a daring accomplishment or a failed attempt but regardless I will not say I never tried.