Nifty Fifty (Miles)
I know what I want to do next. Run 50 miles.Perhaps the most exciting thing about qualifying for Boston is — well, that I don’t have to do it anymore. I don’t mean I’m happy that I can sit on the couch and eat potato chips now, though I have done quite a bit of that this week as a little break and reward. (Replace “potato chips” with “coffee, wine, and pizza” to get a more accurate picture.)
No, fun as that may be for a week or so, what I mean is that now I am free to choose something new to go after. Not because I love running so much, but because I’m discovering what I kind of already knew — I need to have the next big, scary thing on the horizon. For seven years, the goal of qualifying for Boston was the guiding light in my fitness life, and now that’s gone.
A lot of people have suggested taking a break, slowing down to enjoy the anticipation of our first child. The problem is that “maintenance” doesn’t work for me. Sure, I could get on with my life without setting some crazy fitness goal. But without one, I wouldn’t be me.
I know because I’ve tried it before. If I’m not training for something, here’s what happens: I don’t run. I don’t eat well. And I most certainly do not inspire.
A three-hour marathon (a time with a “2” in front!) is something that I’d love to do. And since my 3:10 marathon last weekend was over ten minutes faster than my previous best, I think I could do it. But taking more time off my best doesn’t excite me right now; I need something completely different.
A triathlon is also on my list; I’m especially intrigued by the Ironman distance. (I always pick the easy stuff, huh?) But that’s too far off right now. I can barely swim and I don’t own a roadbike. I’d have to work my way up through the shorter distances, and right now the idea just doesn’t inspire me like it would need to for me to work that hard.
But 50 miles, now that sounds like fun. When I started running marathons, I didn’t even realize that people ran that distance. When I first read about it, I thought it was a typo intended to say “50K.” Not to mention 100+ milers, but let’s not go there (yet).
50 miles lights my fire. And for precisely the above reason: there was a time when it was inconceivable. For me, that’s what it’s about.
I’ve felt the strange urge to contribute something recently. I say “strange” because I’ve never been a giver, first and foremost. Don’t get me wrong, I think I’m a pretty nice guy and I try to help people whenever I can. But I’ve just never been the guy who donates to charity much or raises money for a cause.
Anyway, I really want to be a pacer for a marathon, one of the people who holds the sign that tells people to follow them to a four-hour marathon, three-thirty marathon, or whatever it is. It just seems like it would be so fulfilling to help a bunch of people achieve such a big goal (maybe because I now know how good it feels to achieve a goal like that). And it’s funny, because I used to think about the pacers and wonder what would possibly motivate them to run a race a half hour slower than they are capable of doing. But now I think I know.
Along the same lines, I’m thinking about trying to raise money for a cause as part of my training for the 50-miler. I really don’t know what yet, but something to make it an even more powerful experience.
And finally, this is a great chance to mention something else I just signed up for: Project Feed Me, an idea that Natalie came up for health bloggers and readers to help feed hungry people in the United States this fall and winter. All you have to do is donate the two recommended food items each week for nine weeks, and commit to getting three other people to do the same. I just signed up, and I need to get three of YOU to do it too! So please check out Natalie’s post and consider helping out.
Ok, that’s all for now, sorry for such a long post. Lots going on, all for the best!