Finding out that I was going to get to run the 2016 Boston Marathon has lit a spark in my running and my training. 2015 was a good year that included finishing my first 100 mile trail race, multiple other ultra-marathons and completing my 3rd, 4th and 5th road marathon. Taking 40 minutes off my first marathon, my 5th marathon became my Boston Qualifier. It was 15 months after running my first marathon and just over 2 years after I started running. I write about this to try and paint a picture. Lately I've been thinking about the word "talent" and how much growing up I heard about people who had "natural talent" or "enough talent" to make it at the next level. The more I contemplate this idea when I am out on country roads, burning through batteries in my headlamp, the more I think that it couldn't be further from reality.
Talent is defined by a "Natural aptitude or skill." I am not denying that there are many people who are born with more talent or general athleticism. What I am questioning though is how much "natural talent" plays a part in a sport like endurance running and if so where does the talent lie.
The days of racing up and down football fields or to first base had a younger me somewhere in the back of the pack; trying not be last. I wasn't a natural talent and my passion had always been for basketball. I played that sport the best I could and practiced as much as possible until some time around 15 or 16 realizing I was not "talented" enough to make it at the next level. I stopped working every single day on my game and it took a back seat to many other things. I still had a passion and love for the game but that imaginary ceiling effected how much effort I put in. I cant recall what made me come to the realization that I was a mediocre basketball player at a tiny school that wouldn't have any hopes at playing on a college team. Regardless of what it was it was more detrimental than I can begin to explain. Not because I was going to be a great basketball player with a bright future; but because I quit striving to be my best at something I had such a passion for, then my passion faded to match my level of effort and soon I wasn't playing at all.
So with endurance running there are many different ways that talent can apply. After wining my first 100K and setting the course record by over 30 minutes I wrote in my recap that maybe my talent is in my ability to suffer and not stop. Endurance running has shown me that talent can come in many different forms; and can be developed and improved upon. Also little of it has to do with how you are actually running at all. The talent to never-fade or the talent to pace yourself perfectly, to be patient, to be disciplined. All of these things are undetectable talents that can be improved and fined tuned with the more practice and training.
So with all these long winded words; what I am trying to describe is that I feel like with running I have not peaked. I feel like the sky is the limit and my goals for 2016, 2017 and beyond are going to be so big they are scary. I feel that nothing, even including an Olympic Qualifier Time Trials marathon is unrealistic. It may seem right now to be unrealistic but qualifying for Boston seemed the same way at one time. I feel that whatever my goals are they are always worthy of the time spent to crush them because of how much running improves my overall self. It keeps me moving forward in the right direction, whether on roads, trails or in life.
Since finding out that I will be running the 2016 marathon with the support of Clif Bar I have been trying to come up with a solid training plan. I haven't been on a formal marathon training plan since August when I ran the Nebraska State Fair marathon. I have a 50 mile ultra-marathon in Page, AZ on February 20th and I'll have 8 days before the race in the desert getting some good trail miles in. I am on a faster week with a few less mile this week; then I'll go back up to 75-80 miles next week before coming back down before the Antelope Canyon 50 miler.
I will keep you posted on what the formal plan is after Antelope and maybe a specific Boston goal; until then Happy Trails!