rabbitPRO Caitlin Chrisman reflects on the Boston Marathon and the sacrifices that it requires from runners of all abilities.
Marathon Monday. The day that almost 30,000 people have been eying...for either years or months. It takes a solid qualifying time in order to enter the Boston Marathon, and, for some, it takes more than one attempt to finally hit the time. It's a grueling endeavor to achieve a Boston Qualifier—more commonly known as a BQ in the running community—yet one that many make with pride. Take this year’s race stats to get an idea:
27,221 started, including ~40 elites
53 wheelchair and 28 hand cycle finishers
The finisher's medals and satisfied smiles that some work years to get.
Among those numbers, a handful of elites toed the line. Elite runners - those who live and breathe running, whose entire profession depends on high placement or fast times at world and national events. Professional runners dedicate every waking minute to fine tuning their training to achieve the fastest times possible. They not only run miles at paces basically unimaginable to even the aspiring sub-elites such as myself, but also place a high focus on all the ancillary exercises and routines with the hopeful optimism that injuries will be kept at bay. Weight lifting, stretching, doing drills - these activities take almost as much time as the run itself.
It comes without surprise then that every decision is based around the given training regime at the time. What should I eat? Should I run again later today? Did I run hard enough today? Is it a good idea to go to the bar tonight with my friends?….I have a long run tomorrow… The minutiae of their day to day activity revolves around their training schedule; after all their paycheck is dependent on performance, just like any other job. Ultimately, though, the thought process outlined here for an elite isn't that much different than any one of those 27,221 runners who toed the line at the Boston Marathon just a couple weeks ago.
You may not believe me. I don’t look like them, you might say. Or, I don’t run nearly as fast as them.
Those two statements might indeed be facts. But, think about the time that you put in every day to run, while balancing a full-time job and maybe even a partner, or a family. Think about the sacrifices you’ve made, like leaving a dinner party early to guarantee that you make the early workout well-rested. Or think about those vacations that you decided not to go on because they were in the middle of a marathon training cycle.
The point is that it doesn’t matter if you’re an elite. The accomplishment is in qualifying for and competing at the Boston Marathon, not in the time. It’s in the sacrifices you make to get there. It’s the process that warrants respect and pride.
Just as the professional runners at Boston put in hard work every day, I always remind myself that there are millions of other runners doing exactly the same thing - putting in work to achieve their goals one mile at a time.