In October 2012, I completed the Baystate Marathon in 3:49:45, just about 15 minutes shy of a BQ. For those of you that aren’t aware, unless you run on a corporate sponsored team or raise money for charity, you cannot run the Boston Marathon without qualifying. For women between the ages of 18 and 35, you need to run a certified Boston Qualified (BQ) course in 3:35:59 or faster. However, given the popularity of the Boston Marathon, you need to make sure you finish faster than the maximum limit, thanks in part due to the rolling registration policy. In the last several years, if you weren’t approximately 2 minutes faster than the qualifying time, there was no chance you were getting a spot in the race. Ugh.
Anyway, I had no intention of BQ’ing that last marathon training cycle…I didn’t have it in my head that I would be able to run as fast as I did, given that my previous marathon was completed in 4 hours and 24 minutes. It was abysmal and not the race I thought I would run. Yet, with time, more training, a renewed will, and better weather conditions, I was able to shave off about 35 minutes off of my original marathon time to go sub 4 and then some. Now that was a race I knew I could run. I was proud of myself.
(Top picture from Rock n’ Roll San Diego Marathon in 2011 and the bottom picture from the Baystate Marathon in 2012.)
It took some time for me to get back in training following the Baystate Marathon, as I suffered an IT band injury immediately following the race. Even with rest, I couldn’t run more than two miles without excruciating pain in my right knee. I went to physical therapy and rested until the cows came home. Unfortunately, it knocked the running mojo out of me for about 6 months. Even now, if I run too much and don’t incorporate enough foam rolling and strength training, my right leg will ache.
When I did finally get back into the game last spring, I made sure to do it very very slowly but surely. I signed up for the BAA 10k as my first race, and boy, was it a wake up call. I didn’t race again until a half marathon this last December, in order to prevent injury from the racing schedule. Even with the Half Merrython in December, I didn’t put my heart into training, but still completed it in 1 hour and 50 minutes. Wow, still a 1:50 without stellar training. Fast forward to the last several months and I can’t help but notice some significant improvements in running time. I know I’m only getting started.
After watching the Boston Marathon this past Monday, I felt fired up and ready to go. It was an amazing experience for Bostonians and running fans alike. The city came together to put on a great event. I was moved by the strongest and weakest of runners, and spent hours upon hours clapping and cheering for all those that ran. Watching from the sidelines, I knew that I needed to run this event the next chance I could get.
I’ve been racing the fastest in my life. I have to wonder, is it time to start training for another marathon?
The Pro’s: Satisfaction, Healthy Living, Purpose, Goals, More material for blogging (<—this one’s not for real).
The Con’s: Time commitment 4-5 months of training, 5 days of running a week. 1 long run every weekend. Cuts into my social life- every friday night laying relatively low, in order to get up early enough to run anywhere from 10-20 miles for 18 weeks?
Am I even fast enough to BQ, by shaving off another 15-20 minutes from my marathon time? My half marathon race pace PR of 8:05 would need to be sustained for another 13.1 miles. Do it I have it in me? The Baystate Marathon boasts one of the largest number of BQ’ing fields out of all the marathons in the world, with 25% of its registrants earning a spot in the Boston Marathon. Am I ready to run it again?
What would you do? Is it time? Has anyone struggled with this question before?