11 days from 40.

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It’s been almost 4 years since my last post on here. It looks like I have a draft from 2 1/2 years ago as well, but I have absolutely no idea what I was going to say on a topic that seems a world away at this point… It’s at least 600 miles away at this point, since moving from the suburbs of Louisville, Kentucky to the suburbs of Pensacola, Florida.

I’m not sure if it’s my packrat nature or some form of self-torture that made me renew a site for the 3rd time since I stopped obsessing about running enough to write about it. Well… it’s been longer than that, with the exception of the car crash that made me pause (mentally and physically).

BQ? No… Baby.

My original “goal” as stated for the purposes of this blog was a “BQ by 40”, but I gave myself until I turned 41, just to soften the target a bit. At the time, that meant a time no slower than 3:20:59 at 40, 3:15:59 from 35-39, or 3:10:59 at the age that I was when I made the goal. In the meantime, the goalposts moved (back?) 5:59 per age group, so that, even at 40, my goal time was 3:15.

I was 3 months from 32 in May of 2008 when I decided “BQ by 40” was a solid goal to shoot for. I had just run my second marathon and improved from ~4:30 to ~3:39 on a diverted somewhat hilly course that ran 1/4 mile long. About six weeks after that, I blew up on the much hillier Hatfield-McCoy Marathon course and ran a 4:42, with my pregnant wife wondering if I had fallen off one of the mountain roads for the final 40 minutes or so.

6 weeks later, we had our second child, and within a few days, I had my first prolonged injury due to running. Some combination of being pressed for time and not getting enough sleep prevented me from staying healthy running. Oh, and maybe the 50+ miles per week. Or 60. I’m trying not to reference the times on the running log for everything here.

Having [mostly, temporarily] learned my lesson from the injury, I managed to gradually improve and built up to 80+ miles per week running in training for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon the following fall. It was as close as I got to the BQ goal, turning in a 3:32:xx at the age of 33 in 2009. I could have probably paced it better and got in the 3:25 to 3:30 range, but I started out on pace for a 3:15, and completely neglected how much trouble was indicated by running a PR in the half-marathon distance as the front half of your marathon.

And BBQ. And Beer.

Running started out as a natural progression from walking long distances while pushing my daughter in a stroller. At some point, I couldn’t spend more time walking, so I started running to cover the same distance. I got healthier, and dropped from a peak of 230 pounds before the walking started to a bottom of about 158.

While my job wasn’t always great at the time, the work gym and neighborhood near the office were pretty good for running. As layoffs mounted and work became more and more like busywork, running with audiobooks was a good outlet for the stress of idleness. I’d occasionally run 9 miles during “lunch”.

Then I switched jobs, and while the neighborhood was still decent for running, I no longer had many coworkers that ran. The lack of a shower at work didn’t help either, despite having an office behind a door for the first time in… ever.

Meanwhile, eating habits changed… I started drinking higher calorie beers, which seem to have a direct correlation with weight gain currently. I can drop 10 pounds at my current activity level if I. Just. Don’t. Have. A. Beer. (for a week or two)

And Moving.

Since setting the BQ by 40 goal in 2008, we’ve had 4 different houses we’ve been responsible for, 6 different mailing addresses, lived more than a week in 7 different places, and moved from Kentucky to Florida. Moving alone knocks out a solid week of training if you don’t want your spouse to strangle you in your sleep.

In the midst of one of those moves, I was trying to drive into town via the backgrounds on a rainy morning and slammed into a tree, which has also put a damper on my resolve to “get the training in no matter what the cost.” Sometimes, the cost is really damn high.

BQ by 50?

Is it possible for me to pull off a 3:25 or 3:30? Maybe. Life situations change, and I might be in a position where running is a bigger or more consistent part of my life at some point in the future. I also ponder stopping, changing sports, using the time for other activities… I don’t know that Boston had an allure for me so much as just having a slightly crazy goal itself, anyway.

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