“There are no regrets in life, just lessons”
This past Saturday, on the nicest morning Fargo has seen in a long time, I crossed the finish line of my sixth full marathon. Topping that off, I got from mile 1 to mile 26.2 in a new personal record time of 3:39:04. It was my best race to date and I felt pretty amazing, mentally and physically, the entire way.
Oh yeah, and I didn’t qualify for the Boston Marathon.
This blog could easily be one full of disappointment, regrets and what-ifs. After all, anyone who knows me or has followed my training the past two years knows how badly I want to earn my way to Boston. As nothing more than an average Joe, I’ve always known a BQ time was a long shot for me – but for some reason, still something I’ve felt is worth working towards. Even tho I missed the mark by fewer than five minutes, I’m oddly not at all upset. In fact, I feel incredibly proud of myself for trying. I’m so happy with my performance and have zero regrets in how I raced those 26.2 miles.
I ran this race hard; hands down the best marathon I’ve ever run. I knocked about 7 minutes off my previous PR. It was a gorgeous morning for a run and I enjoyed every mile. Best of all, I had wonderful friends who showed up all along the course to cheer me on, and I was greeted with even more proud friends and family at the finish line. What more could someone ask for?
Yes, I started off that day with 3:34:59 as my goal. At 50-ish degrees, partly sunny and a light breeze, I had ideal weather for a great run. I kept up the pace I needed for about 18 miles before I really started to lose steam. Yet, when I got to mile 22 and came to the realization that, mathematically, my Boston time was no longer attainable, I wasn’t that upset. Very early on, this race had become less and less about Boston and more and more about something bigger. For the first time in a long time, I was really focused on me, just doing what I love to do. Even when my pace was slipping away, I still felt amazing about how well I was running. Of course, it helped knowing I was in good position to put up a new PR. But also, I made a promise to myself when I began setting goal finish times for marathons: That I’d never be disappointed in myself for missing a goal time; for “just finishing” a marathon – no matter what.
Barring any serious injuries or a life-altering moment, I’ll have plenty more chances to qualify for Boston. This race gave me more confidence, and some good lessons I can apply to my next round of training and race-day strategy. So, yeah, I’ll keep trying. Even if I’m never quite good enough to make the cut, what’s the worst that could happen – a new PR?!