As of this writing I am approximately two weeks away from making a run at a Boston Marathon qualifying time. I have to finish the marathon in 3:10 just to have a chance to register, which means that I really need to run a 3:07-3:08 to be able to get in.
For the past few weeks I have changed my training to start in the evening since that is when the marathon will be taking place. It hasn’t been easy and after every run I seem to have a rationale for why it didn’t go as planned. With that as background I took to my run Monday morning, which was to be an aerobic 5 miles, and wrote an open letter to myself during those 5 miles. I finished the run beaming and had the following splits: 8:46, 8:10, 8:06, 7:28, 7:18 and my heart rate never climbed above 158 bpm.
What did that letter say? Here it is:
Dear Jason -
I am going to start off by saying it plainly to you: stop making excuses. Enough of them. Yes it’s hard to run 7:15s. Yes it’s hard to do it for 1 mile let alone 26.2 and I get that but you know what……you’re tougher than 7:15. You are stronger than 7:15. You can run 7:15 but you have to believe you can.
Stop making excuses. I know you just raced 70.3 Austin and then went out and ran 18 miles at a 7:51/mi pace and then a half-marathon that was just two minutes off a PR after running 5 miles before the race. That pace of 7:31/mi was just the beginning of what was going to be an awesome end to training in time to race Vegas.
I get it that the 20 miler at 3:45pm was tough b/c you didn’t know what to expect but guess what: that is an excuse. You’ve run 20 miles before and so why you felt it would be difficult before you even took your first step is beyond me. I understand that a mid-week 12 miler is hard, but guess what anything worth going for in life is going to be hard work.
Oh, that 22 miler you had on Saturday evening. Yeah it was tough and it kicked the living snot out of you and I understand that but stop making excuses. 80* temperatures with 80% humidity…..so what? You didn’t hit your splits but you still ran 22 miles and never gave up. You never stopped to walk and throw away the whole workout. Your legs were cramping and you almost threw up when you were done…..congrats as you are tougher today because of it.
When your calf is acting up…..tell it to shut up. When your quads are screaming at you as you pound down a hill, talk to your hamstrings and laugh at your quads as they are being weak. When those same hamstrings are crying as you ascend that same hill just think to yourself that you are pushing the weakness out of your body.
You want a Boston marathon qualifying time do you? Then work for it. Don’t stand on the sideline hoping that the time will just happen because it won’t. You will not just show up and hear the gun go off and finish in under 3:10. You are going to have to push and pull. You are going to have to threaten your own body. You are going to send up prayers and wishes. You may even cry from the pain, or throw up at the finish line but if you want that goal then you are going to have to push yourself to get there.
Do you think that the guy that gets the slot is not working hard right now? Do you think that you will just get to register? Stop thinking that and stop making excuses because there are others out there working harder than you. They are pushing themselves because they can taste that 3:10……can you? Do you have what it takes to push yourself as hard as you can for 3 hours? It’s 3 hours and then you have the rest of your life to talk about how you pushed and qualified for Boston. Or you can take those 3 hours and not qualify and think to yourself if you had just done this little extra you would have gotten there……BS that is an excuse being setup.
Stop making excuses. Start running faster. Start pushing harder. Start testing the limits of your ability and then once you get there GO PAST THEM!
That a-boy…..look at 7:18 split…..Congratulations……now rest for tomorrow we will do it again!
The No Excuses Team