Failure Club – Boston Marathon Qualification.

OK guys…Here it is…

I am going all in.

Just this weekend I wrote a post about running a 1:40:00 Half Marathon this spring. I wrote a bit about going big, setting a huge goal and going after it. That in fact, is a 15 minute PR….

Then, my friend Oliver started to discuss this concept called a “Failure Club”.  This is something created by Morgan Spurlock. and Philip Kiracofe. The basic concept is that the best way to really accomplish something, is to set something that seems unattainable, something you will almost surely fail at, and then with the support of a group, and all your will power, go for it with everything you have got.


Thomas Watson of IBM was quoted as saying “Would you like me to give you a formula for… success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You’re thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all… you can be discouraged by failure / or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember that’s where you’ll find success. On the far side.

I began to think about the amazing performances in the marathon in the past 12 months. Guys not just going sub 2:10, but a huge number of guys going sub 2:05:00.

This has to be in direct relation to running fearless.

To not listening to people say you cannot run those times.

For so long it was talked about as if the world record in the marathon was out of reach for many of these current runners… Then they all started going after it.

They wanted a record, and they began to post some unbelievable race times. It began to happen.

They said “It is probably not possible, but I am going to run without fear of failing”.

At each race, the commentators would say “there is no way they can keep up this early brutal pace”.. eventually, they did, they kept it up, they started breaking records everywhere they went.

A breakthrough.

This weekend- before we talked about this “failure club” I committed to running a 1:40:00 half marathon. The race is April 29th. That goal seems to fit the failure club concept… So it is a start.

But…. it is not all THAT unattainable…. It is possible.

This is about going all in though. So a new time would be needed…

I have consistently told people I am not going to “race” another marathon until I am ready to qualify for Boston.

Last night, during #runchat on Twitter…. People WANTED to list Boston as a “Bucket List” Race, but they said things like;

“I will never make it”

“If only I was fast enough”

“Boston, but it is out of my league”

I started getting mad a bit… What do you mean you CAN’T make it… You WILL make it….  I began to encourage others, because the fact is… they CAN qualify if they want it bad enough.

Then this morning, I sat here, I read the statement for our facebook group that Oliver created about the Failure Club.. which would be right here in Rochester… and I got mad at myself.

I was making excuses!!!

By saying I would not race a marathon until I was ready to qualify for Boston, I was essentially saying…

“I am not going to race a marathon.”

I was basically limiting myself so much that I would never really qualify for Boston.

I would also never really try.

I would never “fail” By definition I already was failing.

I was (am) not even trying…..

On the heels of my 1:40:00 post…. Let me just go all in. My chips are in the middle and in a way, I am calling my own bluff. I am going to attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon at the Rochester Marathon…

THIS fall.

September 23rd 2012.

Exactly 8 months from today.

I have 8 months.

I have no excuses

What does this mean? Well, for starters, it means I have to run 3:05 flat to qualify.

7:04 per mile.

This is almost EXACTLY my 5k PR pace…  What is another 23.1 miles?

It also means going all out in intervals, tempo runs, and workouts. Core, strength, flexibility.

It means being doubled over on my knees, sucking wind at the end of another 400 meter repeat….

It means, really running.

I am done being satisfied with a “1 minute PR” in a half marathon, saying things like “hey, at least it is a PR… it is time for something bigger. “At least” should no longer be part of my vocabulary.

I often say to myself, “I wonder how great I could have been if I had committed to my running when I was in college”.

Well, screw that mentality.

It is now “I wonder how great I can be WHEN I commit to this plan”

I almost want you to doubt me.

The fact is, I sort of doubt myself. This won’t be easy.. Which is pretty much the point.

I am going to have solid days I am sure. I am going to have days where I want to stop on the side of the road and cry. What I will not have any longer are excuses. I will not have failure as an option. This is going to be about the process. You cannot fail at a process, you can only “fail” if you admit you are at the end.

I am ready to sink everything I have into this… I am ready to work my ass off and possibly not hit the times I am hoping to hit… I am ready to run hard.

I am in essence – ready to fail.

I feel like I have been building up to this for a year now, every now and then hitting a workout that shocked me… Now it is time to stop being shocked, time to start working towards failure :)

So.. .

Rochester Marathon Failure Club……

Im about to keep on keepin on while being all in?

And you????

20 Responses to “Failure Club – Boston Marathon Qualification.”

  1. Great post! I couldn’t agree more. It’s so easy to be scared of failure, but the only way to achieve something is to go for it. I’m with you this year: Going for my goal of 3:30 in Chicago. And what I’m most excited about is the journey and the work I’ll put in over the next several months.

    Your whole post goes along with my favorite saying: Be the hero of your own story.

  2. Great Post… and so motivating!!!

  3. Thanks Jess!!!

  4. I will be running a 50K this year!

  5. Dreams in your heart and steam in your fleet feet, buster! Good luck with the failure club! You will make it and I will read about it.

  6. Love your attitude! Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do something. If you want it enough you will get there.

  7. You could one up that reading and show up and run….. just sayin!!!!!1

  8. Good luck with your goals! I just signed up for the Flower City Half, and I always run the half in Rochester in the fall–love that race! Can’t wait to follow your journey on your road to Boston!

  9. Great post go big or go home. That is why I created my big goal this year of a sub 20:00 minute 5K, for someone who couldn’t run at all last May to going to sub 20:00 in a year or so at double-nickel, won’t be easy, but damnit I can and will do it. If I fail it won’t be for lack of doing – it will be because the body didn’t have it, but I know it does.

    I guess that is another part of it – as Master Yoda said there is no try, only do.


  10. YES!!!! I love this!!!! Three years ago Eric I was exactly where you are. There is no reason you can’t make it to Boston (and beyond if you want it). Keep us posted on your journey. There will be setbacks and obstacles as there always are when going after something big so be prepared but you can absolutely do this! Please feel free to email me if there is anything I can do to help you. I would love to hear about your training plans for the next 8 months.


  11. What an inspiring post!! Thank you, Eric!

  12. Great post man! I read Matt’s post as well based off yours. This reminds of something else you wrote about A, B, and C goals. I agree…go big or don’t show up at all. You WILL BQ, and you WILL fail along the way, and that’s ok. Go get it man!

  13. This is awesome! A year ago, I would have been one of those people who would have said Boston was a dream that would likely only become a reality as long as I didn’t get any slower as I aged (with the hope I could qualify in my 60s). But NOW I am so about to do it! I have run 8 marathons. My first was over 5 hours and my slowest was over 5:30. A year ago, I had a newborn baby (he turned 1 yesterday!) and my marathon PR was 4:35:09. This past October I ran a 3:41:56, a huge PR and less than 2 minutes from my BQ. I am training now for a sub-3:40 and I will keep fighting until I get it! I know it is possible for you to get your BQ!! Each time we miss it, we will learn something and get stronger, get more determined. I am so excited to follow along on your journey. You can do it!

  14. Hell Yes! It’s amazing what the body will do when you put your mind to it. many people have stated that running is mostly mental. I agree with this. You can’t be afraid to push yourself to the scary limits. yes, it will hurt, hurt bad, and you may even puke during those hard interval workouts. but you will feel amazing 30 minutes later when you killed that work out and your race times drop drop drop! because they will! We’re all rooting for you! you CAN do it! no doubt.

  15. Wow! Thanks for the inspiration mate. I’ve already committed to running my first marathon in August. I’ve never raced more than 1,500m or run more than 5km, but I’ve started on the path & not looking back. Going to bookmark this post & come back whenever it gets too tough. Cheers!

  16. “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!”
    ― Audrey Hepburn

  17. love it!! i have a feeling i’m going to be coming back to this a lot over the course of the next 4 months. i’ve committed to running my first 50 miler. as if that weren’t enough, it runs more a 100 miler (a lot of finish times in the ballpark of 24hrs) because of the technical terrain and elevation gain. i am not your typical ultrarunner- i’m a solidly built woman and speed is not in my vocabulary. i’m sure a lot of people in my life are doubting my ability to complete this race. heck, sometimes i doubt myself. when i’m out there training on the course every weekend, doing 6 hour runs and feeling like i’m going to keel over just trying to hike some of the climbs, i have serious moments of “wtf am i thinking? i’m NEVER going to be able to finish the entire 50 miles.” but you know what? i’ve never let the fear of failure stop me before, from when i signed up for my first 10k, to my first 50k, all the way through to my first ironman. i’m committing myself to working hard, hurting harder and putting everything i have into finishing that race in june . . . or die trying (i kid! sort of, ha). i’m embracing the possibility of failure, because along with that goes the resolve to try and the chance to succeed.

  18. You guys all have so much great energy! i am excited to share this journey with everyone!!!!!

  19. Awesome post! I was referred here by someone who must follow you because they saw my post today: Day 649: Stronger than my excuses (blog)

    I am already a fan, man!

  20. Fantastic!! Too often we think we can’t do something just because we don’t know how we’re going to do it all, but the truth is we don’t need to see the end, just the next step. Well done – with your attitude I’m sure you’ll qualify!

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