During this offseason, I've really had a chance to evaluate my current state of mind as it pertains to endurance sports. I've been able to do a little soul searching with the extra time on my hands and really start thinking about the future. I feel like at this point in my endurance sports career I'm at a crossroads. I've conquered most distances in running and triathlon outside of ultra-endurance events. I do have a desire to do ultra events in the future, but I feel like I need to get a few more years under my belt before I even think about attempting one. That brings me to a point now where I need to decide what my goal is over the next few years. Do I just want to stay active and participate in marathons and triathlons or do I really want to get to work and push myself to reach new heights? Do my goals become just a desire to complete certain races or do I really shoot for the moon and try to push my body?
I know as endurance athletes we live a life that's hard to keep balanced all the time. Training takes priority over certain areas of our life and it's a sacrifice to stay healthy, active, and ready to race throughout the year. It's no secret that to get better you have to put in the time and work. This is where I decide I'm willing to put in that time and work. I love this sport. I love the way it challenges me and pushes me to expect better in all areas of my life. The confidence I've gained the past three years was something I struggled to gain the 26 years prior. Before endurance sports, I was constantly fighting an inner battle with myself. I lacked confidence in many areas of my life. I knew I was smart. I knew I worked hard. I just didn't know how to harness my full potential. I was scared to make mistakes and scared to fail. I rarely went out on a limb and threw myself out there to hurt, to fail, to really feel something. This lack of confidence kept me from realizing my full potential. I look back now and see many crossroads in my life where I took the safe route; missed opportunities to really do something special. This time I'm not playing it safe. I'm going all in. I want to qualify for Boston. I know I'll fall down and have to pick myself back up. I know it won't be easy. I know I'll put in the work though. I know I'll make it happen.
To some, this may seem easy. Some people qualify in their first marathon. I didn't have the luxury of a strong running background. I grew up overweight and didn't run until I finally woke up in Feb 2009. My current personal best at the marathon is a 4:02 in Chicago last year. To qualify for Boston I need to run a 3:10 to even have the chance to register. To actually get into Boston in 2012 I would have had to run a 3:08:46. You can see I have a lot of work ahead. I don't expect this to happen overnight. I actually think it will take me a couple of years. Realistically I can expect to run about a 3:40 marathon based on my latest half marathon results in 2011. The road to Boston starts now. Yes, I'll still be doing triathlons. Yes, I still plan on doing more Ironman races. For now, my goal for 2012 is to get faster and start chipping away at that marathon time though. I'm working on my race schedule for next year as we speak. I have my early season races pretty much nailed down. It's the back half of the year that has me still looking. More details to come soon.
Dream big. Work hard. Make it happen. - Boston or Bust