As runners, we have goals and then we have dreams. Our goals are usually very realistic and are short term. Our dreams, however, can be lofty and borderline insane. I think its important for runners to have goals and to have dreams. Short term goals help us focus on the present, and dreams help inspire us to believe in ourselves.
My dream race is the Western States Endurance Run. I qualified for it in my first 50-mile race this year, by running a 50-miler in under 11 hours (10:21). The race is held in June, 2011, and the only way I can get in is through a lottery. With 3 days left in the application period, there are 1490 applicants. About 300 applicants will be drawn in the lottery. If picked, the applicant's credit card will be charged $370, which is no small sum of money!
Sounds like a no-brainer for me, right? Wrong. My 10:21 qualifying time is "soft", since it was run on a relatively flat course, in perfect overcast conditions. The Western States race has over 18000 feet of elevation gain and is held in the summer, where temperatures can easier soar over 100 degrees. So if I were to be lucky enough to be picked, I would have to train like a madman to feel worthy of toeing the starting line of one of the most prestigious ultra races in the world. And to further complicate matters, my wife is due to give birth to my second daughter at the end of March!
I still have 3 days to decide, and to convince my wife that I shouldn't give up on my dreams, no matter how difficult or challenging. Without her approval and support, I don't think it would be wise to pursue the dream this year. There will be other years, hopefully, even though it will only get more difficult in the future. The clock is ticking. What would you do?