Before I stood on the sidelines of the Boston Marathon, I didn't get it. I'd run marathons. I already had goals that felt impossible. But becoming someone who could qualify for Boston Marathon wasn't one of them. Boston was impossible. Crazy. And the road to Boston sounded way too painful.
Then I went for it. Not once, but twice.
I'm not going to say I understand what you're feeling because I'm not there yet. But I want to talk to all of you who made the cut and are now looking at your screens, kicking yourself because you weren't 1-200 seconds faster.
1. You get to be hurt, angry, frustrated, and disappointed.
You gave it your all and now you think you best wasn't good enough. That's not true. Your best is your best and hitting that qualifying standard is an accomplishment in and of itself.
(I'll pause while you justly roll your eyes or scream "Go f*ck yourself Kelly" at your computer. Seriously, roll your eyes. I'll roll them with you.)
It sucks. But it's true. You did it. You did the thing that was asked of you. Celebrate the hell out of that because it's a big deal. And yes, it really f*cking sucks that despite doing what they asked you to do, you don't get to cross the starting line in Hopkinton on Marathon Monday. So give yourself permission to lean into your hurt, anger, frustration, sadness, rage, and disappointment. You're not being dramatic, you deserve to feel what you're feeling.
2. You need to remember what you put out there.
Did you do everything you could on the day of the race? Do you remember the joy and sense of accomplishment you felt when you found out you broke that Boston Marathon qualifying standard? Hold onto that memory. Celebrate what you did because, despite the fact that you didn't make the cut, it doesn't diminish your accomplishment.
You are good enough. Strong enough. Motivated enough. And driven enough.
Now, it's a matter of are you persistent enough.
3. You have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself.
If you toe the line of your next race intending to prove that you can do it, then f*ck yeah. YOU GO GIRL. But that can't be THE GOAL. You need to toe the line ready to show yourself what all the work you've put in has accumulated to. You need to set out to give your personal best effort. Revenge is best served with a smile.
No regrets no excuses isn't about being good enough, it's about doing what you can so that when painful boulders get thrown in your path, you can take a detour and not live in the land of "what if that boulder didn't throw me off course". Expect the boulders. Show up and do your best. That's all you can do.
Let go of the alternate ending and regret you're replaying in your mind. The people who know how strong you are don't need to see you BQ to respect you. They respect, love, and look up to you because of the work you put in every single day. They look up to you because you're there for your people and because your attitude along the way is infectious.
It isn't fair. That's true.
But don't let a, "We're sorry..." email diminish your accomplishment.
Whether you go for it again or not, you did the thing you set out to do.
No regrets, no excuses.
Run with gratitude. Run with heart. Run with joy.
Kick ass. Take names.
Or go buy a unicorn shaped pinata and smack the shit out of it. I did that at least 3 times after my second BQ attempt in London. It helps.
**To my good friend, for whom this was originally written:
I hope you know how proud I am of you. Not because you beat a 3:35 qualifying time with time to spare, but because you embody everything I love about the running community. You're supportive, fun, driven, persistent, and inspiring. You have nothing to prove because to me, you've already won. You know that. And so do I. You can and you will. You already have.**