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.