Friday, January 13, 2012

Four more years

Four years ago, I watched the 2008 women’s Olympic Trials marathon in Boston. My sister and I tried sprinting a few hundred yards to see if we could keep up with the amazing women competing; they left us in their dust.

At the time, I was planning my own (less momentous) return to the marathon. I had planned (in college, three years prior) to run only one marathon, check it off the old bucket list and be done with it. I succeeded, in a respectable 4:07. For a few years, that was enough. But then I got a typical 9-5 job, and a boyfriend who lived 600 miles away, and I needed something else to do with myself.  The next obvious goal was running another marathon and trying to qualify for Boston. I thought it was nuts, and would take multiple tries, but the confidence and lessons learned from my first gave me a huge PR in my second marathon, and I qualified. So then, obviously, I had to run Boston, now that I was among the privileged few whose blood, sweat, and tears earned them a spot there. I remained under the illusion I would quit marathoning after that. But somewhere in the dark, cold mornings training, or more likely on the hallowed path of the Boston Marathon, I realized I was in this for good. Afterwards, needing a new goal, I decided I'd run the other American Marathon Majors: NYC and Chicago. While training for those races, I started dreaming of new, completely unrealistic goals. I wanted to break 3:00. I wanted to win a race (and I didn’t care how small or unpopular it was). I wanted to qualify for the Olympic trials, the same race I watched in awe only a few years ago. Most of the time, these dreams seem ridiculous and overly optimistic—akin to singing tone-deaf into your hairbrush and thinking you could win a Grammy. But I’ve now completed 8 marathons (2 Bostons, 2 Chicagos, 1 NYC), and broken the once impossible goal of 3:00 twice. 

Now the 2012 marathon trials are upon us and I'm beyond jealous I'm not lining up there. Compared to where I was four years ago to where I am now, I'm confident that, given four more years, I can make it to the 2016 trials (Does that sound too much like an election promise?? Just give me four more years!!) Of course, each additional minute will be exponentially harder to take off, I won't even know the qualifying standards for at least another year (the women’s dropped from a 2:48 to a 2:46 between 2008 and 2012, but the men got rid of the B standard completely in that time), and the qualifying window won't open until 2014. But I aim to continue dropping my PR and working at this until I reach whatever standard they set. I hope you'll enjoy following along with my progress, whether you're a first time marathoner needing fueling or training advice, or a seasoned veteran wanting to read about someone else who manages a full-time job, a serious running obsession, and an attempt at a "life" beyond the two. If it motivates you to get out and run a marathon, try to nail a time goal, or just go out for a run, I'll be happy!

Dream big, 


  1. Fun to read!

    I only knew parts of this story, until now.

    Thanks for posting it.

    Nacote Jack

  2. This is great! Go, Teal, GO! We're rooting for you, big time.