It's been a long, difficult, challenging and stressful week and I appreciate all of you that have taken the time to ask privately. I also appreciate those that I have confided in for advice. Many will be quick to call this an easy decision, but I feel to do so would be selfish, reckless and irresponsible.
Here's the scoop...
As I was finalizing my goals and plans for my 2015 race schedule, the unthinkable happened...
I've been blessed with opportunity to run the Boston Marathon. The story of how we got to this point is indeed a good one, but one that I will save for another blog post if and when we get there.
John Hancock is the title sponsor for the Boston Marathon, and through my connections with their company, I have been granted access to the race...with VIP access!
Unlike my other sponsors, there is no financial support for this race...only an invitation to register. Because Boston is a race that you can only get in to by qualifying on time, I will likely never qualify for Boston. That's what potentially makes this a once in a lifetime opportunity. Or is it?...If I got in on the 2015 race, is it unreasonable to think that I could get in to the 2016 race? Is that a chance I'm willing to take?
I am responsible for every penny of expense, which normally wouldn't be an issue, but at this point is a real financial burden. Two weeks before Christmas, and after I just scheduled our Spring Break vacation (which is 4 weeks before the race). On the flip side, we're just seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of our medical expenses from the past two years, the kids orthodontics are about to come to an end and I write the last check for my student loan payments next month. Yet, it still feels like bad timing (Is there every a good time?). Hotels in Boston are not cheap to begin with for race weekend (downtown starts at $450/night), but worse yet, my last minute offer has me late to the search; so much so that the best option I have is a hotel that is still being built! Not scheduled for completion until Feb 2015. (What happens if they don't get it done in time?) Saving grace on expense may be that I have enough airmiles to pay for my flight, and with Molly's miles her flight will be less than $200.
Additionally, and as I've said before, my pursuit of these endurance events continue to be somewhat selfish. It's not just the money either. If I'm going to continue to uncover these opportunities, I also have to train for them. That takes time. Time away from my family. They've been very patient with me and I would never do any of this without their blessing and support. I'm very thankful to have Molly's blessing and support on this one!
Finally, I question my own abilities. My knees won't hold up forever. I've lost significant speed in the last two years. Just look at my PR list to the right...no records in 2014! I kind of thought I had run my last marathon this past fall. Having Boston potentially be my last full would be a great way to "go out", but if I don't do it now is it realistic to think I would be able to (or have the drive to) get back into marathon shape for 2016? Besides, it's Boston, if I'm going to run it, I want to RUN it! I know I would put a lot of pressure on myself to go under 5 hours and PR, and that of course adds more stress.
So at this point I continue to weigh my options, but it seems more likely today thanks to some good news I just received. I was supposed to register by this coming Friday, but my invitation deadline has been extended through next month which will give me the necessary time to confirm I have my priorities straight and make the RIGHT choice. For now I'm feeling optimistic that everything will work out, so...I begin training TOMORROW for marathon #6. I hope it's in Boston, but if not, and I can stay healthy, maybe I'll give Carmel another try! And now you know...