Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Will I Try For A BQ?

I've had quite a few folks ask me if I will attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon again in the near future. After I've had time to sit and ponder it, I figured I'd write up a little post and maybe work through some of my thoughts on the topic.


Ryan and I watched the movie 4 Minute Mile a few weeks ago (I'd totally suggest it if you haven't seen it yet). After it finished I looked at him and said, "I think I could definitely qualify for Boston {someday}, I just don't know if I want to put in the effort that it will take." Because, let's be real, the training is pretty insane! To qualify, I'd realistically need to run around a 3:32 marathon (which means take 13 minutes off my current PR).

If I am totally honest with myself (and everyone else), I don't think I have ever actually been ready to attempt to qualify for Boston. Sure, I've put in the miles, but I don't think my fitness level has been on par with what it should be is necessary. Speed work is HARD and at times most of the time IT SUCKS. Not to mention, my mental game, and believing that I could legitimately run "that fast for that long" is pretty non-existent. [Running is 100% ABSOLUTELY a mental sport!]
You see, I'm so close (at least in the grand scheme of things; 3:45 vs 3:35) to qualifying that it's hard for me to want to hang up my BQ attempting hat and say "never again", but then, at the same time, I'm not super stoked on failure. Hear me out, I am NOT saying that I am a failure at running if I don't qualify for the Boston Marathon, but what I AM saying is that if I have a goal to BQ and then don't hit it, THAT feels like I've failed... at that specific goal during that certain race.


I had a friend who was surprised to learn that their PRs (personal records) are faster than mine. Although I run a lot of races, I don't race a lot. Maybe it's because I worry I won't hit my goals (so, in turn, I don't attempt them so I won't be disappointed if I don't meet them), maybe I'm scared I will lose the love of running, or maybe it's just because I love the camaraderie, the time spent on the course, and the sport more than a specific time on my Garmin. Whatever it is, times don't define me (or you). I run and therefore I am a runner. And THAT is something no race can take away from me!

So, I guess, as you can see, I am not necessarily leaning more one way than the other. I would LOVE to qualify and run the Boston Marathon at some point in my life, but I am not sure if I am ready to put in the effort that I know it will take, at least not at the present time (because, in the back of my mind, the fear of doing the work, not hitting my goal, and losing my passion for the sport in the process is a total possibility and I don't know if that is worth the risk).

If you were me, which way would you be leaning? Or would it even be a difficult decision for you?

15 comments:

Erica @ Erica Finds said...

I think your training would enable you to run a BQ. Granted, it is a lot harder now than when I first qualified. It used to be 3:40 and really it was 3:40.59 and it didn't sell out. My first BQ and 4th attempt was a 3:31 (right course, right day)

If you think it would take the fun out to try then just let it go, but I think with your level of effort and fitness you could do it on the right course on the right day. It is always an "A" goal and you can be happy with a B goal if you ran smart, right? Also, you get 5 minutes at 35 and 5 more at 40 ;)

robin@kneadtocook.com said...

Love this heartfelt, honest post Carlee. Once I gave up worrying about time goals, I discovered my love of running distance. Everyone has their own journey and you will figure it all out. In the meantime - continue to inspire others and grow your ability. Sending you love.

Boston Bound Brunette said...

I loved this honest post!! You are always so honest in my opinion. I have to agree with you 100 percent. I feel the same way about running. When I put too much pressure on myself, running starts to feel like a chore. Revel Canyon chewed me up and spit me out and after that I lost my love for running and all of the doubts sunk in. I'm trying to get back into it but I have had to set the goals aside for a while. I would love to run Boston someday too but it's a journey and I'm in no big hurry even though my time is much more achievable than yours because I'm old! Lol!! Keep inspiring and believe in yourself!

As good as it Gets! said...

Carlee, one of your greatest gifts is your infectious love of people and running. You are an ambassador of health, kindness and fun. If you decide to try to BQ, we all will be in your corner as you would be in ours. If you don't, we will still be there cheering you on. Lofty goals are wonderful because they are scary, but also listening and knowing yourself and what is important to you is necessary. Balance is all things. No matter what, we will support you. 😍

Kaella Carr said...

I love and appreciate your honesty Carlee. I love that you race but you also run for fun. I love that you haven't lost your love for running! Your positive attitude is what makes you such a special person. I believe you will accomplish anything you want to because you have what it takes to put in the time and effort. xxx

Jen Rawson said...

I can completely understand this. Racing is scary. It's even scarier when you put your goals out there because you know everyone is watching you and there's added pressure to the pressure you've already put onto yourself.

However, there's a lot to be said for working hard for a goal and being accepting of fear and failure. I think it can make us a better person.

For you, you like to run a lot and love the social side of racing. I get that and I love that about you, but if you truly want to BQ I think that has to be set aside for the goal. Racing too much can hinder progress.

I think you will choose whichever path is right for you.

Megan Johnston said...

I'm totally echoing everyone, but I love your honesty. It's hard putting goals out there and then not meeting them - and how much that does to our psyche and belief in our own capabilities. I know you've got it in you - but I think it also comes down to when YOU'RE ready and when YOU want to make it happen. Sometimes our best races happen without planning on it too!

Steffany Rubel said...

It is so hard to constantly put yourself out there. I get it. I have put trying to break four hours in the marathon on hold. I'm pretty much at he same point as you except I don't know if I will try again. It's not worth the injury (that keeps happening when I try to break 4) or the frustration.

Montana Ross said...

I completely understand and sympathize with both points of view. For marathoners, Boston is the "ultimate" in the sport just like for OCR athletes the World Championships are the ultimate goal. I had that goal at the beginning of the year but amended it because I didn't really have the desire to push myself that hard in training. I'm sure whatever you do you will be awesome at it! The joy of running is important to keep!

Carly Pizzani said...

I totally understand where you're coming from. A couple of years ago I made it my mission to get a 1:45 PR in the half marathon and I trained my butt off for two races that year. I ran a new PR of 1:46. I was crushed and I felt like I failed. BUT with hindsight and time, I am so proud of the effort I put into training and prioritizing, of putting a goal out there and going after it and for dealing with how it felt to NOT achieve it. That's a long story to say I think you should go for it!! I think it is achievable for you, for sure, but in a worst case scenario of it didn't happen, you might be surprised by what you'll gain from trying.

Kerri O said...

There's no success without possibility of failure. But also, trying and not reaching a goal doesn't make you a failure. It makes you a tryer! Some call my marathon attempt a failure. I hurt my hip, ran it anyway, and had a terrible (compared to my training runs) time. But I did it, I finished. And i'my proud I tried. I guess I'm saying if BQ is something you want, go after it, don't be afraid to try and leave it all out on the course! BUT if it's not a priority to you and you really just don't want to make the time in your life, totally no shame in that either. Lol, my 2 cents.

meg said...

Ohmygosh, I feel ya! And I want to cheer you on in a no pressure, but I believe in you, even though I'm a stranger, sorta way, ha! Seriously though, don't give up! I KNOW you can & will BQ! I started reading your blog right after the new year, one of the first posts being your goals for 2016, including your goal to work on self-acceptance/self-esteem. I get that 110% & just recently had a lightbulb moment myself: It's not (just) about being brave enough to do the training, or show up at the starting line, or even to get ourselves across the finish line; it's being brave enough to believe in ourselves. Like you said, it's such a mental feat. I want that BQ for you because I know how much it'll mean to you. Also, it's worth it! <3

Susie Suzlyfe said...

The BQ happened for me when I took away the pressure. I just kind of let it happen. You have the speed, there is no question of that, you just have to figure out the rest of it. You will BQ, but being happy in your running and happy in your life should remain paramount!

Helly B said...

I feel ya a bit...I'm nowhere near a BQ; I'm searching for a freaking sub 4:30 marathon, lol! I just KNOW I can do it but just...haven't. It's extremely frustrating and my DNF last year at Phoenix when I felt I was ready really bummed me out. Interestingly, when I didn't get it again at Chicago (or even PR), I wasn't as sad. I think I'm getting better at having fun regardless of the outcome (or process).

I think you can totally BQ and I think your love for running is so strong, "failure" (in quotations b/c it's not, ever) can't break that.

If I was as close as you, I'd keep trying ;)

Kelly(M&M) said...

Oh wow, how I needed to read this post! You have put some of my exact thoughts on paper, in a much more eloquent way! I found your blog last year as I was trying to find other people who were trying to BQ, so I love following your journey. I set my goal to BQ way back in 2005 when my first marathon was a 5:11. :-) There have been times I have wondered if it is worth it, but I know that having this goal has kept me striving and pushing and learning. I try to teach my kids that it is not failing when you don't reach a goal, you just learn something new. That doesn't mean it is not disappointing every.single.time, but I don't let it define me. I have friends who got a BQ on their first marathon and I am happy for them, but I know Boston will be a dream come true for me. That being said, I am in the process of deciding what to do. I just ran Phoenix (and met you at the expo-yeah!!) and finally got a PR after 8 years. (I got a 3:45:12). Right now I have been chasing the 3:40 since 2005 (right when I was entering the 3:45 age category, they took away 5 minutes- I think I cried for a month!). So, as of September I will be in the 3:45 age category for 2018. And since I just ran a 3:45:12 with a potty break and having to stop to rehydrate, rehydrate, rehydrate at mile 23, I am pretty confident I can beat that time. However, I still want to prove I can do a sub 3:40 and try for Boston 2017 again. I am on the fence. Thanks for letting me get out some of my thoughts. I think you are amazing and I know you can get your BQ! However, I agree that running with friends is so much more fun and when I saw the 3 of you on the course it brought a smile to my face and made me look forward to Rock n Roll Seattle, when I have promised it is all about fun and no time goals! I can't wait! That being said, I might sign up for the Newport Marathon to go for the BQ one more time...