And you’ve just got to deal with it. Like when the Boston Athletic Association (finally?) changes the marathon qualifying standards . . . just as we are starting our training program with the hope of qualifying to run the race in 2012. It’s not happening all at once, thankfully, but it is still kind of a big deal. This year the BAA is implementing a rolling registration process for the 2012 marathon. Faster runners get to go first. On day 1, people who ran 20 minutes faster than their qualifying time get to register. The next day, people who ran 10 minutes faster, then people who ran 5 minutes faster. On the fourth day, anyone who qualified can register — provided there are any spots left. (Last year, the race filled up in 8 hours.)
And for the 2013 marathon, in addition to the rolling registration, all qualifying times are cut by 5 minutes 59 seconds. Women of my age will have to run a 3:35:00 to get into the marathon. Men of Micah’s age will need a 3:05:00. (See here for all current and new qualifying times.)
The news caused a bit of a panic for us when we heard about it. We count ourselves lucky that the news broke the week before we started training, and not when we were halfway through, of course, but we also realized that if we wanted a good shot at even registering, we’d have to lower our goal time by 5 minutes. Maybe 10. And so we’ve had to adjust our mindsets and expectations a little bit. This has been hard on Micah, who has reveled in his role as my cheerleader/coach/hare and is not sure he’s ready to run for himself just yet — which is what he’d have to do to cut that much time off. I recognized the withdrawn silence that overtook him as we discussed how to prepare for the rolling registration. That feeling of being overwhelmed is something I’ve faced a couple of times — most recently when we were mulling over trying to run a sub-1:45 half-marathon last year.
But aside from taking down the mental blocks we had set up as ambitious goals a few months ago, there’s not much else to do but to keep running. Keep running faster. And realize that qualifying is the aim. If we can’t get past the registration process, we will still — we hope — have reached our goal.
(The picture is Micah and Manchild in front of the Boston Marathon finish line a couple of years ago, in case you couldn’t tell.)