Three full days have passed since I qualified for Boston. And finally, I have a chance to relax and think about it.
This week has been completely hectic for me, so hectic that I find myself forgetting about the race for a while, then remembering it all the sudden and replaying in my mind those last few miles and the moments immediately after I did it.
But there’s one thing marring the excitement I’m feeling. It’s something that I realized a few weeks ago but would not allow myself to think about. It simply had no place in my head while I was so focused on this goal. Let me put it in simple terms:
Boston Marathon date: April 19, 2010.
Expected arrival date of Baby Frazier: April 19, 2010.
There you have it.
You can see why I’ve refused to focus on this until now. A few of you hinted at it in the comments, and I’m sure others have thought about it. Now that I’ve qualified, I’m prepared to deal with it.
It’s not nearly as bad as it sounds. Boston 2010 will be tough to do, especially if my goal is to remain married through 2011. But thankfully, I can defer entry to Boston for one year, so we’ll be able to celebrate our baby’s first birthday in style.
The real reason it doesn’t bother me, though, is this. This was never about running Boston. Ok, maybe when I first conceived of this goal it was. But in the years since then, the actual Boston Marathon has been an afterthought. It was the challenge of qualifying, the goal of doing something that in many ways I perceived to be impossible for someone like myself, that I became close to obsessed with making it happen.
Don’t get me wrong — the Boston Marathon will be incredible. But for me, it has always seemed like the reward, not the goal. The goal was qualifying. The privilege of running the greatest marathon in the world is just the payoff.
Still, it has affected me a little more than I thought it would. Now that I’ve done it, I want that reward. Somehow, I can imagine what it would be like to run it so much more vividly now. It’s not some far-off dream anymore. I’ve earned it and I want it, more than I anticipated.
But there’s no chance I’d risk missing the birth of my first child. (The second, now that might be a different story…) And even if the due date were to get moved to, say, a week before the marathon and I had time to train and make plans, I’m still not sure I’d want to leave Erin and the new baby at home while I went and ran. I just don’t think my heart would be in it; that’s not the reward I’ve envisioned.
I’m still so completely excited that I qualified. I believe that accomplishing something so great after being so sure during miles 18-22 that I couldn’t do it has changed me in a profound way. That feeling, I’ve discovered, is like a drug — I need to find a way to get it again.
And thinking about how to do that is what I’m doing tonight. Thinking about what challenge to take on next. Something that, if I didn’t know better, would seem impossible.
Only now, I do know better.