I hope you’ll excuse me, but I have become a little obsessed with unicorns. Not only that, I am looking for one. I am trying to figure out what, if anything, it will mean when I find it. Make no mistake though, I will find it.
You might be thinking, perhaps not for the first time, he has finally lost it. Everyone knows there is no such thing as unicorns. Long ago people gave up the search for this mythical creature whose horn was said to cure poison. Well, perhaps I have lost it, but it has nothing to do with this search.
This Monday, Patriot’s Day, over 20,000 runners will be taking part in the Boston Marathon. The vast majority of them will have earned their spots by running a certain qualifying time based on their age and gender. It is one of the few marathons, and by far the most famous one, for which you must qualify. Sure you can get in by raising money for charity, but this is race you want to run after qualifying. The race is put on by the Boston Athletic Association, an organization whose symbol is a unicorn.
Two years when I started running, I kept wondering when I would be a real runner. Two years later and 100 pounds less, I think it is safe to say I am a runner. Still, until I make it to Boston, I feel like my journey will not be complete, or at least the beginning of my journey.
In a way, it is appropriate for the race to be associated with a unicorn. Sometimes I feel like I am chasing something imaginary. Other times, it seems like the chase is as least as important as the finding will be. I find myself wondering what it will be like to qualify, to run the race, to wear the jacket with the unicorn. Will anything really change when I join the club? Will I stop training so hard, giving up on a bit of my obsession, or will I simply find a new goal to motivate me?
One more thing, no matter what, I will have to wait two years to find out. Next year’s race falls out a few hours before Pesach (Passover). Even if I qualify, I will have to wait another year to run. Mark your calendar for April 16th, 2012 so you can cheer me on.