I need to fess up to something. And I’m going to employ a not-so-subtle analogue.
Do you remember when you were a freshman in high school and no one asked you to the Homecoming Dance? And even though you thought the dance was pretty stupid, you were still a little hurt? So then you pretended to totally not care because this dance was soooooo not a big deal and there would be billions of other dances to go to so what’s so special about this one, anyway?
And then all of your friends were buying dresses for the dance? And you were all like: HA! At least I don’t have to buy a stupid dress! Or sway awkwardly to Boyz II Men songs! I’ll be chillin’ on my couch in my oversize Mossimo shirt and Converse One-Stars, eating Pop-Tarts and watching Daria reruns! Suckas!
But really, deep down, you wish you were going to the dance too?
Monday is the big dance, and I definitely was not invited.
But this time, I don’t have the injustice of adolescence to blame. It’s my own damn fault. I’m just too damn slow.
Unlike your asshole ninth-grade classmates, the Boston Athletic Association doesn’t care which cafeteria table you sit at. You hit a certain time, and you’re invited. (Well…I guess that’s changed a little now, but it’s still mostly true, just with faster times.) You could be the kid in the corner with smelly socks, fussing with his Magic: The Gathering cards over a pile of soggy tater tots. You’d still be invited to the dance if you ran fast enough.
The Boston Marathon Club is one that recognizes not who you are, but how good you are. And, in most peoples’ cases, how hard you’ve worked to get there.
I think that’s why I’m feeling a little sting of envy right now. Because I am good. And I did work hard. I just…couldn’t quite get there.
Some people spend years chasing the Boston mark, making it the focal point of their training. I’ve never really done that. To be completely honest, I always just sort of assumed I’d fall in to a qualifying time at some point, and that would be that. I’d been close, and my race times in other distances always predicted that I should be able to easily hit 3:40.
A couple of years ago, after a decade of running marathons and missing the (old) mark, several times, by less than ten minutes, I started to get a little frustrated.
So last spring, right after I signed up for the Chicago marathon the following October, I started actually training. I joined a good running club full of fast people. I re-introduced myself to the concept of speedwork. I cleaned up my diet (a little) and increased my mileage and dropped 10 pounds of superfluous weight.
I got faster. Not as fast as I was when I was younger, but more than fast enough to run an 8:20-pace marathon, by any objective standard.
At some point, I apparently got pretty cocky. As the summer days grew longer, I subconsciously revised my internal goal for Chicago. “Eff 3:40,” I thought to myself. “I can do 3:30. 3:25, maybe. Boston 2011? Like, duh. No big deal.”
Suddenly Boston wasn’t even on my radar anymore. I had bigger ambitions. And like the dorky kid who rapidly ascends the popularity ladder, I quickly adopted an attitude of indifference about the goals I’d previously lauded.
“Yeah, I suppose I’ll run Boston next year,” I would say. As if Boston would be lucky to have me grace its registration coffers with my credit card number.
I’m pretty sure I don’t need to tell you how this ends. I sorta bombed Chicago. My summer of intensified training got me…exactly the same time I’d run in so many marathons past. And I missed Boston by less than ten minutes. Again.
In truth, though, missing Boston didn’t really bother me at the time. I was too busy having a mini-crisis of personal identity with respect to my running, and concluding (probably correctly) that I just wasn’t very good at racing marathons, and should perhaps focus on shorter distances.
When the 2011 race filled up in record time – and subsequently, rumors of tightening qualification standards circulates – I felt oddly….indifferent. It was kind of like: Wow, now everyone is making an even bigger deal out of this damn marathon in Boston. I officially don’t care. I have other fish to fry.
Which I do. And I’m frying them. And it’s going pretty well.
But…as April 18 has approached, I must admit I’ve started feeling a little envious. Because I could be and should be joining in the excitement right now. A cocktail of jealousy and regret and self-loathing, shaken over ice.
Yeah. Pretty much like freshman year of high school, all over again.
Except…unlike high school, there is absolutely nothing arbitrary or unfair about the situation. I could have been there if I had just run a little faster. Completely my own fault. Ugh.
This isn’t to say I’m not insanely excited for my friends who are racing Boston. As much as I try to pretend that it’s not a big deal – well, it is kind of a big deal. I am so proud and thrilled for each and every one of my friends and teammates and blogpeople and twitterbots who are running.
But if I sound a little sad and jealous while stalking bib numbers on Monday? Well…at least I can say I’ve owned it.
It’s not easy being green.
Today’s EAT: A pint of beer, a bowl of gooey macaroni and cheese, and a patio table with co-workers beckoned tonight. Healthy homemade dinner plans = out the window.
However, I’ve been doing some light reading this week.
Really? This seems too good to be true. Apparently I need to invest in a pizza stone and a “non-airtight dough bucket.”
Stay tuned for further adventures (?) in bread-making.
Today’s DRINK: I tasted this Boulder Brewing Company Mojo IPA for the first time last night.
Last night’s impression: “This is like drinking a banana laffy taffy.” It was so oddly sweet and….well, banana flavored.
Tonight’s impression: “This…just tastes like a so-so IPA.” I don’t know where the banana went, but I’m not tasting it now. So weird.
Overall, not a bad little bottle of beer. Random banana flavor and all. And the bottle is super fun. (Purchased at Whole Foods, $9.99/six. 7.2% ABV.)
Today’s RUN: A really mediocre 4 miles, eked out this morning with the expectation of a second evening run. Enter: beer and mac and cheese. Sigh.
Today’s QUESTION: Are you running Boston this year? Let me know, so I can stalk you! Hey, now that I’m probably never going to run the damn thing, I have to live vicariously thorough someone!