Looking back on this whole Goofy/Boston thing, it seems pretty crazy. I signed up for the Goofy Challenge and very, very long time ago. At that point, I didn't really have any aspirations, other than finishing. It wasn't until I came across the book "Run Less Run Faster" that I started to think that I could improve my times. I ended up starting a training program to finish a half-marathon in 1:45 (I think), and ended up finishing in 1:34:04. That's the moment when I started to think that maybe I could train hard enough to qualify for Boston.
The reason why I thought that I maybe had a chance was this: when I finished that half marathon way ahead of my estimated time, I had only gotten through half of a training plan. I knew it was still a long shot, but I thought that if I set my goals pretty high, maybe it would force me to follow through on my training. The other thing that kept me honest with my training was that I told a couple people about my plan (sort of). I don't normally tell anybody what I'm hoping to do in a race, just in case I blow up. But by telling some people about this lofty goal, I felt I had to follow through.
I decided that I'd like to be able to look back on my training so I could see what did and did not work for me, so I started a blog. Originally, it was on www.iamtri.com, and I started it when I applied to Team Marathon Bar. I kept it going when I made the Team, and decided to just keep it going even though my sponsorship season is over. I moved it here for a few different reasons, but that's another story. Once I had made the decision to go for Boston, and it was time to start training, I put a post on IAMTRI describing my goals.
Now, I'd like to say at this point that I appreciate when anybody comments on my stuff. I assume nobody reads my blog, so when I get a comment, I'm very happy. This comment was a little different though. It was pretty much the first feedback I received after I put out in the world that I was going to attempt to finish the marathon portion of the Goofy Challenge in under 3:11. When I first read it, I was still pretty excited about making the decision to attempt a BQ time and also excited because I had just started my training. So my first reaction was not something I'm going to write down (as it wasn't very nice). So, now that you are about to burst with anticipation, wondering what could have possibly been said, here it is, word for word:
"Jason, have you run a marathon before? If so, what More…'s your PR? I haven't looked at the qualifying times in a while, but if you are 26, your BQ time is 3:05 from what I remember. A 1:34:04 half-marathon is a great time, but that would probably equate into a 3:15 marathon (factoring in a slower pace for doubling the distance). I've run 3 Boston Marathons (20 marathons total, my PR is 3:19:18 when I was 40), and I honestly think you need to determine if your goal is completing the Goofy Challenge, or qualifying for Boston. I don't honestly think it's feasible to do both in the same weekend unless your regular half-marathon and/or marathon times are significantly faster than what you posted."
So first off, this guy didn't do his research. All you have to do is go to the Boston Marathon webpage to see that a qualifying time for my age is 3:10:59, not 3:05 as he states. Secondly, just because you haven't been able to achieve a 3:10:59 marathon doesn't mean that I can't. Oh, you've run Boston 3 times, and 20 marathons before? Well that must make you able to predict how hard I'm going to train.
Now, I understand that this guy was just giving some constructive criticism, and I can appreciate that. But why did it have to be so negative? Couldn't he have just said "good luck", or maybe even "that's quite a lofty goal, I hope you are planning on training a lot". I would definitely have accepted either one of those.
Anyways, the point of this post is that if you have goals, (and I mean realistic goals; if I had said I was going to try and win the marathon, that would be another story) then go after them. As you can see, there are going to be people who doubt you. It just makes it that much sweeter when you can prove them wrong and say, "IN YOUR FACE SUCKA!"