You do something once, it may be considered a fluke. You do it twice, maybe a coincidence. But do it three times…well then, that’s a habit.
So I got into the habit of qualifying for the Boston Marathon by running my 3rd Boston Qualifying time in the last 8 months. And this time I made sure I was more than 5 minutes under my qualifying time with a 3:18:30 finish. This more or less makes it certain that I will be accepted into the Boston marathon in 2018.
In my previous two boston-qualifying marathon finishes, I was overcome with emotion and bawled like a baby in the arms of my family after I finished. The immense pressure leading up to those races and the sense of achievement and relief on completion led to an uncontrollable outburst. This time around, with a mile to go, I began thinking about how I would be after I finish. Would I cry, yell, jump or dance? Would it be another sob-fest? I knew I was on pace for a sub 3:20 under any circumstances. This was huge…Being more than 5 minutes under my qualifying time would more or less make it certain that I would be accepted into the Boston 2018 field and not have the heartbreak on missing out like I did in 2017. I was smiling to myself as I raced through those last few minutes.
As I ran past the mile 26 marker and the cheers of the supporters grew louder, my mind was racing with a sense of excitement, wondering more about my reaction after the finish, rather than the finish itself. Any moment now, I was expecting the well of emotions to start rising up through my body and start choking me up. But it was starkly different. As I ran through the finish, I felt a strange sense of calm and control. No bawling, no crying, or out-pour. Just stopped my watch, gave hi-fives all around, collected my medal and headed out of the finish chute in quick order. And when I perched myself on the ground for a well-deserved rest, I had a ‘Oh yeah, I just BQ’d again’ smirk on my face.
That feeling was what I will hang on to the most as I reflect back. This is now a habit. Something that was unthinkable and improbable just 18 months ago is now …just routine. Oh, how things can change if you just focus and work towards it.
As I turned in for the night that day, I gave myself a little pat on the back…”Rest well bubba, you are now in a different league of marathoners”
A Mid 40s runner from the mid-west.