Someone asked me the other day what I am giving up by pursuing this Boston goal. It's not a question that had occurred to me before, and I can certainly come up with a list of the things adversely affected:
1. Saturday mornings with my family.
2. My ego--I mean, who really thinks I can do this? I come across blogs and online accounts that shame me into asking that question all the time. I'm not as hard-core as so-and-so. I'm nowhere near as talented as so-and-so. Comparisons are odious. But they also can't be helped.
3. Sleeping in.
4. Racing more frequently. I love races. They are like scheduled shots of adrenaline. But doing them too often is at the expense of doing really well in any of them. So they're mostly out-of-bounds for now.
5. Other hobbies, especially reading. I've set another goal for myself of reading 30 books this year. For the old me, that would have been a snap. But between my running and my kids, right now that's downright ambitious.
Still, looking at that list, there's no question in my mind that the effort is worth it. Even if I fail in the end, I've already gained a lot from this process. For one thing, I'm in the best shape of my post-pregnancy life, and also in the best shape of my pre-pregnancy life barring the year I ran New York. For another, I'm finally in the habit of getting up at 5:30 a.m. most days to get my workout done at the only time, really, that it's guaranteed to happen. That's set up some good habits that will last beyond Boston.
Beyond that, I've re-acquainted myself with what it takes to do something lengthy, hard, and complex. Who knows where I'll apply that skill later (maybe I should call it project management)? And I've been humbled by the support I've gotten from people, both those I know and those I don't know. I've gotten to know many people better through this. I've heard about other people's running and fitness goals, and their non-fitness ones. Regardless of whether I make it, I'm going to feel an invisible cheering section following me through the races where I attempt to qualify. I hope I can return the favor for all of them in some way.
Yeah, there are sacrifices. But (in case the person who asked me that question is reading this) the net effect is way over on the benefit side.
Post-Script: Do you ever double-book yourself?
I sure do. I do it all the time, and find myself finagling out of messes I've gotten myself into, over and over again. So it shouldn't have been surprising to me that, all high from my birthday and excited about my running, I went to register for the Slacker Half-Marathon in June--and came thudding back to earth when I realized that's the same weekend as my 20th high school reunion. Which is already paid for. And in Missouri. Too far from Loveland, CO, to be able to run the race that weekend.
Therefore, I'm changing the plan again. Since I couldn't find a half-marathon nearby, I will ask my husband if I can journey a bit further afield and run the Garden of the Gods 10 Mile Race on June 12 (check out the photos on the Web site--what a wonderful place to run!). I'll need to do it at less than a full effort, since my marathon training program will begin the very next day (see above about doing races too frequently). But I think the beauty of the course and the fun of travel will be enough to inspire me to keep my fitness up during what could be a lull period between the Boulder Spring Half and training for St. George.