This is a bit scatterbrained, but I'm a bit scatterbrained, so I think it is appropriate. Bear with me :)
I'm pretty sure the cat is out of the bag. All this focus the past two years has been in an attempt to see if I am capable of making it to the women's marathon Olympic Trials in 2012. The B standard is 2:46:00. And while 4 minutes is still a lot of time in a marathon, having run the sub 2:50 definitely makes my crazy goal seem within the realm of achievable.
I'm not sure at exactly what point I decided I was going to try to do this. But a combination of Salty egging me on, watching the 2008 trials at Boston, and seeing a high school friend of mine go 2:28 in his first marathon made me wonder if I could go that route too. At one point in high school I had promise as a decent runner and it just didn't pan out. I got distracted by boys, partying, school, etc. and probably missed out on some faster running in my youth.
But I have to say running PRs in every distance this year at age 28 and 29 is pretty cool, and I definitely appreciate getting faster now more than I ever could have when younger. And I am not the only one. I am sure this is happening all over the country, but it has been really cool to be a part of this competitive surge in Ohio right now. If you haven't noticed, there are a lot of fast women runners in Ohio right now! I can remember a few years back thinking a sub 20 5k was the epitome of fitness, and it would have placed top 3 in a lot of local races. Now that pace won't even win a local marathon half the time. I think it is a bit of a domino effect. Someone does something impressive and it motivates the next person to do the same or better. I'm excited to see what this does for women's running in the US!
But at the same time I am not sure what my personal marathon limitations are and while 2:46 seems doable, 2:39 (The current A standard) still seems like a pipe dream. And the fact is there is still another year or so to qualify and there are already 104 women qualified. For the trials at Boston they threatened to cut the field if it got too large and I am sure that is possible with the upcoming trials too. The likelihood of the standards staying where they are for 2016 aren't likely with all these ladies getting faster, so I need to step it up, and I need to step it up now!
Getting sub 2:50 at Columbus really leaves me no other choice than to go for 2:46 now. Of course I will be elated to get any faster than 2:49:53, but running a 2:47 or 2:48 isn't the goal now, the goal is to get to the trials, or blow up trying :) While I obviously will always want to better myself and be as fast as I can, I can honestly say if it never gets better than this, it has been an awesome run and I am so glad I focused and worked hard for this now while I can. I don't want to look back and wonder "what if?" So really I have nothing to lose at this point!
From where I sit I have 2, possibly 3 chances left to line up my ducks to make it to the start line at Houston in 2012. First attempt will be at Boston which if you followed me this year you know wasn't an ideal course or race for me. I can't lie I want to do the 2:46 at Boston for sure. That way the pressure is off for my next fall marathon. Was it the wisest decision to pick this course for my attempt, probably not. But as we've seen, I'm not always the brightest. And I can't deny the appeal of going back and dominating that course after this years disappointment.
So now I have to figure out what to change in training so that my body can handle the pace and the course in April. I need to get stronger and obviously a bit faster still. All of this while trying to keep from mentally and physically burning out in the process. What I think this will translate into for winter training is more indoor track racing and workouts, focus on core and upper body strength, and more long runs on rolling courses.
Thanks to everyone that has made this possible so far. And thanks for the continued support! I have the best friends and family a girl could ask for!