Monday, April 25, 2016

Boston Bound! T Minus ONE YEAR!

(Same post as Monday Memo's "dear boston marathon")
Somebody pinch me please!  Running Boston just got real as I watched this year's Boston marathon live!  It is so hard for me to actually process in my brain that next year "I", yes lil 'ole me, will be running it!  How did that happen?  ME?!!!  Really?  DREAMS DO COME TRUE!  
One year from now I will be running the streets of Boston pounding my feet on the same pavement that some of the world's greatest runners in the history of running have pounded their own feet and some just that very day!  I'll literally be running in their footsteps! I wonder if any of us "normal" runners will get to meet them?  They are probably long gone (showered, fed, caught a Red Sox game, had a nap or two), by the time we cross the finish line.  

In only one year I will be running in the world's oldest marathon (it's history is amazing!) with 30,000 other runners who also had a dream of someday qualifying for the privilege of running one of the world's most prestigious marathons and didn't give up on their dream or let those dreams scare them, but instead worked hard to make them happen. Each person's story of their own road to Boston must be so amazing

Twelve months from now, partly thanks to my dear friend Shauna that lives in Maine, who said to me a few years ago, "Why don't you come and run Boston and I will cheer you on at the finish line?" , I will be running the only marathon that can't be run by just signing up, but by qualifying with stringent times We had quite the laugh about that because she thought anyone could run Boston just by registering.  If that were true, Boston wouldn't be Boston.  I pretty much blew her off knowing if I ever did qualify, I'd most likely be 90 years old. I told her, "I will come and visit you and we can go to the finish line and cheer the runners on together!" But just the thought of running it and having her cheer me on, wouldn't leave my head.  In fact, I told her that I would do my best to make it there and that is what really spurred me on to push myself harder than I ever have because I had that vision in my head and I really wanted it to become a reality.

The truth is, I am still in shock that I qualified to be there.  It is still a dream to me.  A dream that I didn't think was even a remote possibility until I had that motivation to give it my best effort and try my hardest to get there.  Deep down I never thought it would happen.  It was hard.  Really hard.  I got really discouraged.  I watched a good friend run 18 marathons before she qualified! 18!!!  A few of them she was only seconds from her qualifying time. Just the thought of running that many with an all out effort overwhelmed me.  I wanted it, but I wasn't sure I would ever be fast enough or be able to push myself hard enough.  Even one marathon takes so much out of you, but 18?! 

I tried to qualify at Ogden in a downpour...twice!  I tried to qualify at Big Cottonwood in the scorching heat.  I really wanted to qualify at Ogden so I could have been running Boston this year, but I was 3 minutes off.  So, I really up-ed my training, incorporated a lot of tough speed work (which I loathe) and worked harder than ever before.  It was not fun.  I tried again to qualify last October at the St. George Marathon and... I DID IT!  It was such a huge weight off my shoulders when I saw my time! I qualified for two age divisions - my age now and my age when I will be running it next year which gives me an extra 10 minutes.  But registration had closed for this year.  I ran a sub four marathon (a miracle in itself at my age! haha) which gave me a 12 minute window!  This year you needed a 2 min 28 sec window to get in That means even if you qualify you don't get in unless you are faster than your qualifying time by 2:28.  They turned away over 4,600 runners that qualified this year.  Now only the fastest of the fast actually get to run it.  Qualify or not.  Qualifying is no longer a guaranteed bib number.  So for me, even if registration hadn't closed, I would have needed to be around 1 minute and 13 seconds faster to actually get accepted with my time of 3:58:45 for my age as of this year.  Oh, that would've hurt!  For 2016 my BQ time was 4:00.  For 2017 it is 4:10.  But the window for 2017 will be even harder.  It gets harder every year.  I feel pretty safe with the 12 minute window though. Still going to knock on wood anyway!

Is that all clear as mud?  Oh well, hopefully at least I will understand when I go back and read it all when I'm 90!
Here ↓ is a photo of the Utah runners that are running it this year.  Next year I will be in that photo! Oh my gosh, did I just say that?  I'm still having a hard time believing it's true.  I'm going to need somebody to pinch me again!  Is this real and I'm no longer dreaming?  April 17, 2017!
I watched the live stream of the finish line of the regular runners.  The elites finished when I was on my run.  I loved watching and I couldn't stop long enough to even go shower!  Now, I get how guys can watch football games all day.  I really wanted to just watch it all day. 

There were some very touching moments.  I was not expecting to see so many runners either collapse as soon as they crossed the finish line or see so many start to go down just as a volunteer caught them.  I must have seen at least 30 being taken off in a wheelchair. But when you have 30,000 runners, I guess you will see a lot of that.  I also think it might be partly due to the fact that this IS Boston!  Even if you are sick, injured or feeling like crap, odds are you are STILL going to run it because you may never get another chance.  It's not like you can just sign up for it next year. You would have to re-qualify.  Running Boston is like the Super Bowl for runners.  Once you make it there, it would take something big to not run it. As I said before, this is the only marathon that in order to get in, you have to meet a strict time standard and it's not easy.  Just ask me! :)  About 10.4% of marathoners qualify for Boston.  And so I imagine there are a lot of runners that are not feeling 100% when they start and even if they are, feeling great at the finish is pretty rare on a good day.

There were some runners dressed in crazy get ups and I saw a few do a cartwheel as they crossed the finish line.  I saw several kiss the finish line and I even saw one guy do push-ups.  It was so entertaining, but mostly inspiring.

  I am so excited I will be there next year!!!

I wanted to just jump up and down with joy!  I do wish I had been able to BQ at the Ogden Marathon so I would have been there this year, but it is what it is. As long as I get to run it, I don't care if I do have to wait a full year!  Now to stay trained and injury free for 12 more months!
It was all worth it and this next year will be worth all the hard training as well!    

I am proof!

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