I've been waiting to write about the Boston Marathon until I had received the official news that I was in. I have always dreamed about qualifying for the Boston Marathon, but never really believed it would happen. I've run two other marathons (well, three when you count Ironman Florida) in the past. Both races were more social than anything else (which, by the way, is a wonderful way to run a marathon). But, my latest marathon (several years ago) was about 25 minutes off from the qualifying standard.
Clearly, when I decided to try to qualify at the Richmond marathon I was still delirious from Ironman Florida. Coach Som told me once that he thought a hard-run marathon was more difficult than an Ironman race (Rick told me the same thing), but that just seemed illogical to me.
Believe it, folks.
Completing an Ironman is magical (see Cyndi's latest blog post for a beautiful description of it). I loved every single moment of that race. I had a smile on my face from the moment I made it to the first buoy in the Gulf of Mexico until I crossed the finish line (in my dehydrated daze).
I didn't feel the magic during the Richmond marathon.
Instead, I felt tired and cranky.
I had some specific splits I was aiming for along the way (miles 6, 13.1 and 20). I knew the pace I needed to run to qualify, so I kept a close eye on my watch. I figured if I was way off by mile 13.1, I would just slow down and enjoy the scenery. But, I was right on target, so I just kept plugging away. As I ran down Brook Road, I spied a blond blur to my right. Flying by me was the amazing speedster, Grandison. She smiled and told me I looked great. I, in my grumpy state, muttered, "No, I don't." Nice attitude, SusieQ!
The final two miles were much more difficult than I expected. I told myself I just had to hold my pace for two more miles. I felt my legs slowing down. My quads in particular were not happy with me. I wasn't happy with me, either.
The final stretch of the marathon is downhill. I just hoped I wouldn't trip over my own feet as I bumbled down the hill. Scary.
I gave it one last kick as I closed in on the finish line. I knew it would be close, so I asked my legs for one last effort. Whew.
I stopped just past the finish. I stood slumped over for at least a minute. One volunteer asked me if I was all right. I smiled and said, "Yes. I think I just qualified." He gave me a big smile and patted my back.
Suddenly, I wasn't so cranky anymore. Tired, but not cranky.
Sometimes with a little work (well, more like a lot of work) and great coaching, our dreams are achieved. Along with Rick, Grandison, Liz and Som, I'm headed to the Boston marathon!