13.1 Qualifying Miles at The Staten Island Half Marathon

A couple of Sundays ago I surprised myself by achieving a goal that till then had seemed unattainable, in a race that made it seem unlikely to happen in this lifetime. While I’m a fan of the persistence school of thought, I was almost prepared to let it go in this instance as I was getting pretty convinced that qualifying for the New York City Marathon was something I could have done four or five years ago.

Persistence, they say, pays off. Well, I’m happy to say, I remain a fan and I qualified. Goal check anyone! If you’ve been following, then you know that was one of my goals in addition to a hundred others. For the past two years, I’ve been trying assiduously to increase my half marathon time. I ran many races using different strategies in an attempt to meet the qualifying time of one hour and thirty-seven minutes; up till now it seemed to get further and further out of reach each passing year. Turns out, it was when I wasn’t too preoccupied with achieving this goal that it happened. Not that I wasn’t wanting to run the time I needed, only that I’d run this race last year with high expectations and ended up with blah results. Therefore, I decided this time around to temper my enthusiasm and be a bit more practical, and so opted to focus on having an open strategy to compensate for a tougher course – a mountain of a hill – and uncertain weather conditions – surprisingly no rain.

To be fair, the Staten Island Half Marathon has been my favorite half marathon since running in New York, which is well reflected in my previous races there. In fact, my best half marathon time happened in Staten Island five years ago. It is precisely for this reason I was ecstatic with this year’s result as I was within twenty-eight seconds of my half marathon PR. Broken down, that means I’m currently running at a pace comparable to five years back. At my age that makes me feel pretty good. Makes me think there maybe something to that “your best years are ahead of you” at forty saying.

One may be tempted to ask, what’s my secret? And in actuality someone did. The thing is if there is a secret it escapes me. I’m really a believer in believing in yourself, putting in the work for what you want to achieve, and trusting the process to deliver. For sure the stars won’t always align and things won’t always go the way you hope or plan but if each time you give one hundred percent and remain prepared for the eventuality, then when it does come around, and it will, you’ll be ready. As for me, I’ll try to keep that in mind as I head into the final week of prepping for Marathon Sunday. ✌

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