Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become.
Under hot and humid conditions, Rodney recently guided me for our first progressive tempo run to kick-off training for the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) National Marathon Championship, which will take place on December 8 at the California International Marathon in Sacramento.
Just last year he had guided me to a first place finish in the B1/T11 division. It was a grueling run, though better than some of my recent marathons. The training process had been far from seamless; conditions for the actual race last year were excellent, but training and running while totally blind invariably holds higher risk factors and it’s rare that everything can come together perfectly for a smooth experience. Last November, one slightly icy run followed by carrying many boxes of our newly released book led to my hip being balky to and through the marathon, despite some herculean efforts by a diverse training and medical team. But we fought through it on race day and earned the National Championship.
Now, we have an opportunity to try and become back-to-back champions, which is a worthy enough goal in and of itself, but the enticements have grown just a little larger.
Following that CIM National Marathon Championship, the 2020 Boston Marathon will not only be the signature year for our 2020 Vision Quest charity, but it will also be the first time the Boston Marathon has included a B1 division in their race. While they have had a Visually Impaired division, the talent there has been beyond my reasonable competitive ability. In the B1 field, there are likely to be some very skilled runners but with the right planning, preparation, execution and luck, I might well belong in their competitive company.
This means I have the opportunity to attempt earning back-to-back National Marathon Championships and to compete for a place on the podium at the first ever B1 division of the Boston Marathon. The training process will involve over 33 weeks of training and two difficult marathon exertions. It is a daunting commitment along with my regular life requirements and yet the remarkable possibilities excite me to go the extra distance.
The right plan is an essential step in the success of bringing a wish, dream, or goal to reality. With the benefit of my past running experience, vast amounts of internet information, and many experienced coaches and runners around me, I attempted to emphasize what has worked the most effectively for me in the past. With my first focus on California, I’ll re-evaluate along the way and considerably after that race is complete and the results might help guide me further.
For now, I will run five days per week with three of those being essential advancement workouts: hills/intervals, tempo, and the long run. Interspersed with these is a pacing run and a recovery run. Each weekday also includes a core abdominal workout as the stronger core advancement helped me the most in my best marathon and is the part I’ve been most challenged to sustain in past workouts.
The plan is underway and from August heat into December’s wintry winds I’ll be determinedly in pursuit of a pair of big goals–albeit one run at a time. I know any setback can put me out of contention at any point leading up to the event or even in the race. I know that each race is simply a battle to be at our best and reach our own peak potential, and there is the possibility any other runners could outperform us with their own quality work. Simply put, there are no guarantees for any of the work I’m committing to undertake other than those gained by setting lofty goals, building plans and working towards them.
In the journeys of such things, we build skills and reap rewards of experience that for me are almost always worthy.