For the past several years, the Philadelphia 76ers' motto has been "Trust The Process." The team hasn't been very successful over the course of the past few seasons, but they have been working to build a team that, this year, is starting to display what their motto suggests. Success doesn't happen overnight. There is a lot of hard work and sweat equity expended behind every move towards improvement. Most importantly, there needs to be a belief that the effort will eventually lead to achievement of the ultimate goal. Being married to a diehard Sixers fan, I should have made the connection between the motto of a pro basketball team and my journey to a BQ.
When I first began running a little over 3 years ago, if you asked me if I would be a marathoner, I would have laughed. The very idea of running 26.2 miles seemed absolutely absurd and impossible. 3 years later and I just finished my 3rd marathon with a new PR. It hasn't been easy. The process has been long, exhausting, frustrating, and yet incredibly rewarding at the same time.
Marathon 1 - Marine Corps - Goal: Finish! Check
Marathon 2 - Chicago - Goal: PR! Check
Marathon 3 - Shamrock - Goal: PR/BQ Half check
I'm a goal setter. After running my first marathon, I quickly set a goal that I needed to beat my first marathon time. I entered the lottery for Chicago and was selected. I started training with a running coach and finished Chicago with a 25 minute PR, breaking 4 hours. At that point, I realized that while having a PR goal is motivating, I needed something more. Chicago is 1 of 6 World Marathon Majors. I did some research to learn more about what World Marathon Majors is all about and decided that running in all 6 Majors is a goal that I would like to work to achieve. This goal, however, is a bit more involved than running a PR.
Entry to run the World Marathon Majors is hard. They are the most sought after race entries in the world. Lottery picks are slim at best. (I entered the lotteries for London, Berlin, and New York <twice> and didn't get selected for any of them.) Fundraising amounts are astronomical for this school teacher. And then there is Boston. Qualifying times for Boston are tough. As they should be. Go back to my Marine Corps time of 4:24 and the current BQ time for my age, 3:45 (and let's face it, more like 3:35-40) wasn't something I believed I could do. But dropping those 25 minutes in Chicago, I started to believe that maybe I could run a BQ. After Shamrock and dropping almost 5 more minutes despite a rough last 10 miles, my belief has grown just a bit more.
I have to trust the process. If it was an easy one, everyone would do it. Sitting here, a few days after my 3rd marathon, I realize the process for running a BQ or even running 1 more World Marathon Major might take years of hard work. But thinking about the reward makes all that time and effort more than worth it.