My goals for... the lifetime.
The other day I was thinking about my running goals for the next year (completing a milestone event such as the Lakeland 50 often does that to me ;) and then I though that it would actually be nice to put it in the perspective and first come up with goals for the lifetime. Things I would like to achieve sport-wise before my expiration date. Quite a biggie. So without further ado, let me outline them and then I'll talk a bit more about each one of them.
- Qualify for and run in the Boston marathon.
- Complete in a good time a demanding trail ultramarathon.
- Complete an Ironman Triathlon (for those in the dark: 3.86km swim + 180km bike ride + 42.2km run)
I have no illusion, those are all grand goals and each one of them would require total dedication and a lot of training (possibly over some years) to complete; and even then there is no guarantee of success. But, hey, as they say: Better shoot for the sky.... Anyway. Let me elaborate on those goals.
Qualify for and run in the Boston marathon.
Given that I am running marathons for almost 10 years and that it was pretty much with them that my running journey has begun, this seems like a very natural goal. Boston is the world oldest and possibly most prestigious marathon.
As Wikipedia states: For many marathoners to qualify for Boston (to "BQ") is a goal and achievement in itself. Indeed, with the qualifying times tightened in 2012, one now needs to run below 3:05:00 to secure a place (or rather I should say: to have a chance for a place) in the Boston marathon. Not an easy feat.
Actually, I'd love to tighten this goal and to change it to another milestone: running sub-3h marathon. But given that my PB now stands at 3:15:17, plus the fact that I was not able to improve it since 2005, means that qualifying for Boston will probably be hard enough of a goal.
Complete in a good time a demanding trail ultramarathon
This goal is a bit vague, which is in part due to the fact that I'm still new to the ultramarathoning business and in part because I don't care to make it more concrete yet. What do I mean by a demanding ultra? Well, first of all it needs to be at least 100 miles long. That's a must. Secondly, it should be known to be tough. How tough?
For instance as tough as the Badwater Ultramarathon. Wikipedia has this to say about this race: [...] the weather conditions are most extreme and temperatures over 120 °F (49 °C), even in the shade, are not uncommon. Consequently, very few people—even among ultramarathoners—are capable of finishing this grueling race.
Or as Marathon des Sables, the famous stage run of a total of 251km over the Sahara desert. Again, after Wikipedia: It is considered the toughest foot race on Earth. Sounds tough enough to me.
Another contestant would be the Spartathlon, which in principle should not qualify being a road and not a trail ultra, but with its 246km in the hilly terrain, tough cut off time of 36 hours and demanding qualifying conditions, I think it'll pass.
Another great option would be the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning, a collection of four prestigious 100 mile ultras in one year. But I expect this one may be difficult not only because of the challenge itself but also for logistical reasons (unless I end up living in the US at some point in my life).
What about the finishing time? This is clearly something that I'll need to decide on a per-race basis. For most of the aforementioned race, just completing them in the official time limit, would be challenging enough. But, for instance, if one day I decide that Lakeland 100 is a race that would qualify for this goal, then I'd certainly want to impose a time limit. For Lakeland 100, I think I'd like it to be below 24 hours; a feat that only 6 out of 263 runners accomplished this year.
Complete an Ironman Triathlon
This may be the most surprising entry, given the running-only nature of this blog but indeed I'd like to diversify my sporting activities a bit. And what better way of doing that than starting to train for triathlons? And if doing triathlons, what better goal than to complete an Ironman Triathlon? (well, perhaps there are some, such as a Double Ironman ;).
As of today I also consider this the most challenging goal of the three. 3:05 in a marathon is difficult, but I already did 3:15, so it's not something unimaginable. Same with the ultra; sure, 100+ miles in super difficult race is not going to be easy but I already did 50 miles in a race that many consider very challenging as well. However, as for triathlons, I never did one in my life. More than that: I essentially cannot swim. So completing this goal would require quite some willpower and dedication (as well as overcoming some fears). As they say: No pain, no gain and the greater the challenge the greater the feeling of achievement once completed, so I do hope I will be brave enough one day to face this challenge.
Did I miss something? Do you know of some feats worthy of adding to the list? Do you think I can complete any of those goals? Let me know :).