I received an email last night from Dave Parcells that one of our teammates had qualified for Boston at the Prince Edward Island Marathon. Congratulations were due and it made me think about the idea of the goal of one race being to qualify for another.
This was always kind of an abstract idea for me with marathons. Running a qualifying time for Boston (which I ran once) has never been a consideration and if I were planning to run Boston, qualifying wouldn't be an issue. While I may swim like a drunken goat, I'm able to skate by on my running and put up a qualifying time on even my worst day. I have to be honest, it's not usually a consideration either. In 2007 I'll be doing Ironman Arizona, so I'll be half a country away from the BAA.
Of course, Ironman is the same way for most people. To get to Saturday's race you have to qualify at some other Ironman. I've only had the opportunity to do other Ironmans, and well, Saturday's, but that's not where I'll be. I had, in a way, the easiest task of it this year in that qualifying for Hawaii wasn't a goal. And the disadvantage of qualifying in that unlike Boston, you have to make a decision within a few hours, which I was not prepared for.
It does make we wonder if sometimes people lose the enjoyment of the race they are doing in striving to achieve the goal of qualifying for the race that is their real goal.
On the other hand, I remember a few years ago, someone close to me missing the Boston qualifying time by one minute and bursting into tears at the Hartford Marathon. I wrote a letter to BAA supporting that athlete- that's like whizzing into the ocean, or at least that's the impression I got. Qualifying for Boston is a big deal, isn't easy.
While setting a goal of running a Boston qualifying time isn't appropriate for me, it's a reminder that a marathon is always a big deal, and not just an extension of my Ironman training.
My goal should be big- for a big race, as far out there as I can put it.