June is here, which means the official beginning of the training season for the 2019 Chicago Marathon - only 130 days away. As I look ahead to what life is like now and will be by the time October comes around, I feel that this is my last, best hope (for a while, at least) to run a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon. Once this season is over, I will be undergoing back surgery, which the doctor estimates will take a year before I can be back to endurance running. This means I will be missing out on the 2020 season and potentially not getting back into BQ shape until the 2021 season - which puts me over 40 for the next time I can run Chicago.
Previous years, I have kept it quiet about my goal of running a Boston-qualifying time. Fellow runners would occasionally ask, and my first year thinking about it (2016) I kept coy with plenty of "we'll see what happens". I ran a 03:21:43 - only sixteen minutes away from going to Boston. During the 2017 training season, I was a little more open - "it would be nice, but there's a lot that would need to go right". 03:21:56 - I was no closer to my goal, and only getting older. Last year, I was very open - "I'm going for it this year - BQ or Bust!" I improved to 03:17:15, which is still over seven minutes short of qualifying and was almost 13 minutes short of getting to actually run.
To makes matters even worse, the organizing committee for the Boston Marathon has decide to lower the qualifying times. I now need to run faster than a 03:05:00 marathon just to qualify. Realistically, I am aiming for an even three-hours, as that will give me plenty of clearance to make the "cut-off" time. It is a lot to ask for, especially with a two-year-old and a newborn at home, a bad back in need of surgery, and an extra fifteen pounds of bodyweight that needs to be shed.
In an attempt to keep myself more accountable, I'm being very public about my goals this year. I am going to set milestones that I need to hit throughout the training season, rewards for when I get them, and documenting my journey. I'll be writing about my photo project, N1400; I will be tracking my workouts under my new motto of "No Easy Runs"; and I will be open and honest about how to manage relationships with friends, family, and coworkers throughout the season.
The next one hundred and thirty days are dedicated to my own #ProjectBQ.