What Kinsley's IEP Taught Me About Qualifying For The Boston Marathon

If you've been following my running journey for any period of time, you'll know that like most runners, I have a dream of running the Boston Marathon. It's hard to watch that race from start to finish on a Monday morning like I did this past week, and not feel inspired by the athletes who toe the line and leave nothing behind. I watch it, and dream of nothing more than to be able to toe that line with a qualifying bib one day. 

However, in a recent instagram post, I shared how I've come to the realization that my self-worth isn't dependent on whether or not I ever qualify for Boston, and how qualifying isn't something that I'm actively working on right now. I think for a lot of runners, we get caught up in this idea of all or nothing. I either spent 20 years of my life running, and eventually qualify, or I never do, and then I'm mad at myself for dedicating my entire life to something that never happened. Like everything else in life, we can't have an all or nothing approach. 

I signed up to run a marathon this summer and just realized that my heart isn't in it to run 26 miles at this point in my life. Im busy, I'm finishing school, I'm working on finding full time employment after graduation, and to be honest, I find more joy in 3-6 mile jaunts around my neighborhood than I do at the idea of an 18 mile long run. 

There was also this moment with Kinsley that I thought was really reflective to my life in running. She had a PT at school for the last year who had a goal on Kinsley's IEP that she would, "Walk 200 feet with a one hand hold."... Meaning she would walk 200 feet just casually walking holding someones hand like any other kid on the planet. The goal was so far fetched, and so unrealistic. I asked many times for the goal to be replaced with something else on her IEP, only to be told no each time. 

Then the school dropped this PT (can't imagine why), and the new PT came in and wanted to revise her goals. She explained that while we would love to see Kinsley walk 200 feet with a one hand hold, there are many other things that she needs to be working on before we can discuss that goal. She needs to be able to pull to stand, she needs to be able to cruise along furniture, and a bunch of other things. So as of last week her goals on her IEP were replaced with things that would build her strength to eventually being able to do the one hand hold walk later in the future. It's not giving up on the goal, but recognizing that more foundational work needs to be done in order to get there. 

Likewise, there is a lot of foundational work that needs to be done if I'm ever going to qualify for Boston. I need to be able to run a 5k at Boston Marathon pace before I can ever dream of running the full 26.2 miles at a BQ pace. Once I hit the 5k, then I can work on that pace goal for a 10k, and then a half marathon, and then the full marathon. But it makes no sense to keep throwing myself into marathon after marathon with the dream and expectation of getting a Boston Qualifying time, if I can't even currently do that at a 5k distance. 

So Kinsley and I are both taking our time right now. She's chasing down pulling to stand and cruising along furniture, while I'm working on getting that speed that I need in a 5k/10k setting. Neither one of us are giving up on our goals, we're just taking the time to build the foundation that we need to get there first. 

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