The shorter answer is that for people like me, the trials are our Olympics. Of the 150-200 women who will start at the Trials, maybe 20 of them have a realistic shot at making the Olympic team. For the rest of the group, the Trials (not the Olympics) is the Big Dream Race.
The longer answer is below. This is also as close as I'm going to get to a Grandma's Training Journal series...after writing those leading up to my last two marathons, I'd hoped to do another, but life got too busy!
Selfishly, I never want to wonder "what if?" I want to know that I did everything I could to accomplish something big that's important to me. I'd rather give my all and fail then wonder if I could have if I'd only tried. Even if I never get the standard, I'll be glad I tried for it instead of accepting that a certain marathon time was my limit.
I want to set an example for my daughter. I feel like this is a "stock" answer to this type of question, but I want her to see what it means to truly dedicate yourself to a goal. She knows I wake up at 4:45 a.m. and run before work, she knows I run every day, she sees me do the extras like foam rolling and strength training, and she sees me fuel my body well for performance. She doesn't understand the implications of these things now, but I hope when she's older she appreciates them. I also hope it helps her have a healthy relationship with her body (seeing it as strong and valuing it for what it can do) and with food (seeing it as fuel and something that helps her body).
I want to motivate others. I fully believe that if I can do this then anyone can. Genetics and personal history set some parameters on maximum athletic potential, but any one of us can find our personal best. I'm never going to compete with Jordan Hassay and Molly Huddle, but I can sure work to whittle down my own personal records. Although races are by nature a competition, the older I get the less I care how I fare against anyone else; that's why I went to CIM to take what was by far the worst placing of my adult life in a female field (65th) with a time that would win most marathons. I cared most about pushing myself to my limits, and I always push farther in races that I do not win. I think most/all runners would chose a PR over a win any day!
Chasing goals is a healthy part of human nature. I feel very blessed to not only have a goal that I feel passionate about, but also to be passionate about the process. Marathon training is miles and miles day after day after day for one race. I can't imagine anyone doing it without loving the training! I have family goals and I have professional goals, but this is my "selfish" goal...something I do for me, although I hope it positively affects others along the way.
I might never achieve the OTQ standard. But, if I hadn't started chasing the standard, I would definitely not have ever run a 2:47:14 (6:22 pace used to be my 5K pace!). When you set big goals, you might not reach them, but you will likely reach higher than you would have otherwise. If you reach every goal, and if you reach every goal on the first try, you're not setting them high enough or truly challenging yourself.
I believe that God gives us talents for a reason, and although I'm certainly not the most talented runner out there, I am above average. I think the passion I have for the sport is also a gift I've been given. I hope I'm using my gifts for good along the way. If one person comes in contact with me at some point and subsequently starts a personal relationship with God, then it was all worth it for that alone. I try not to be preachy, but God really does weave the details in our lives in certain ways for a reason.
I am going to keep chasing this Big Dream. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again, right?
|Yes, yes I would|