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One year ago yesterday I ran the Manchester City Marathon – my first. I was convinced that I was going to qualify for Boston in that race. Looking back, I realize that I really had no idea what I truly was getting into. My strategy was rudimentary at best. It didn’t really matter. I abandoned it within the first few miles. I flew through the first half in just over 1:35. I pumped my fist at my family as I flew by them. There are no pictures of that moment because I was 5 – 10 minutes ahead of schedule. I was flying.
Then I had to run the second half. The second half took me just over 2:20, including 20 minutes to get from mile 20 to mile 21.
I came nowhere near qualifying for Boston. As proud as I was for finishing my first marathon, I was devastated.
It was on that day that I finally realized that running a marathon, forget qualifying for Boston, was hard.
In 6 days I will be running the ING New York City Marathon. It will be my 5th marathon in 53 weeks. To say that my experience in New York will be different from that in Manchester is a bit of an understatement. Yes, the cities and crowds are different, but I am speaking more directly to the experience of running the 26.2 miles themselves.
In 53 short weeks I have made a tremendous amount of progress. I have gone from a 3:54 marathon where my quads froze up, to a Boston Qualifying time of 3:19, to possibly gunning for a 3:15 this coming Sunday.
A 35 minute improvement.
The best part is that I know that my running is a work in progress. There is still much to be done, many miles to be run, a number of milestones to be reached.
But I don’t say all of this to toot my own horn. No. I say this to tell you that anybody, ANYBODY, can get there. If you train hard, eat right and run smart, progress is inevitable. The speed and measure of progress is different for each individual.
If you have a running goal, any goal for that matter…believe! Believe!!!