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Deciding to try to Qualify for Boston

I’ve always said and thought that you really have to ‘want’ to try to qualify for Boston. You have to really want to train for it and put in the time to get there. When I ran my first marathon, the qualifying time for my age was 3:45, which was a solid 10 minutes off of my PR and I never had the desire to try to qualify. When they bumped the times up and my new qualifying time was 3:35, I accepted the fact that I would probably never qualify and I was okay with that, I didn’t have the desire to run Boston, I didn’t want to qualify. I was happy with my 3:55 and breaking four hours because that’s what I really wanted.

Something happened at a track meet back in February of this year. I was running around on the infield with some of my athletes and I saw one of the coaches from another school wearing a Boston Jacket and I had this really weird feeling of wanting to qualify so bad, which I never had before. It was like one of those movie montages where life flashes before the characters eyes but for me, it was all the training I was doing with the team, My Santa Clarita Race, where I raced the second half of the race and ran faster than I thought I could, the time 3:35, and the jacket. As I’ve said many times recently, I was not practicing what I was preaching to my kids daily at practice. I wasn’t actually pushing myself in my own running as I tell them to do daily. I realized at that moment I WANTED to qualify for Boston and it seemed crazy that now I wanted it, but how do I make it happen?Deciding to qualify for the Boston MarathonI had a solid base of half marathon training mileage and I was looking forward to Mountains to Beach because it gave me the perfect amount of time to test out doing ‘shorter’ long runs (No 20 miler! Yay!) and more quality runs during training. I wanted see how this Marathon went especially with my bathroom issues and to help come up with a plan to train in the Summer for a Fall Marathon. Training for a Fall Marathon would give me 2 months to train instead of one like how I had for M2B. I also truly believed I needed to be running 7:15-7:30 pace comfortably to make sure I could run that hard for the entire race. I was running around 8:30 comfortably and 7:45 pace on my hard runs and that was pushing myself and with stop light breaks, bathroom breaks, stretching breaks. I put together a training plan for M2B and training went decent with one rough week. I really envisioned myself finishing in 3:45, which would be super exciting, because it’s a 10 minute PR and under 4 hours again!

I fully had the intention to try to qualify at Long Beach in the Fall. I was just starting to tell a few family members and the kids I coach. I knew the course, it has a special place in my heart and I ran my fastest time there. It’s in the fall, by my birthday and I figured it would also give me the right amount of time to train to get down to running a little bit faster more comfortably. I was excited about Long Beach! I knew I would be able to do it there.

Deciding to qualify for the Boston Marathon

I also knew if I had a great day at M2B it could possibly happen, but I definitely wasn’t planning on it, that’s why when I kept passing all the different pace groups I was surprised. This photo was from the race where I was right in front of the 3:30 pace group. Though it’s not of my face, my little random peace sign makes me laugh so hard. In my pre-race goals, I thought about posting that I wanted to use LB as my BQ race, but I just didn’t want to jinx anything. I was looking forward to qualifying at Long Beach because then I could have some of my friends there and B would be able to be there. I have had too many bathroom issues/stops in the past and I just didn’t know what kind of day I would have at M2B. I did want to race the entire race and push myself, so that’s just what I did. I had the 3:30 paces on my hand for mile 13 and 20 so I knew if I was ahead of those times, I would be good but I imagined myself to be about 4 minutes off those paces. I am competitive but I don’t think I’ve run with a competitive mindset before in a marathon, because I didn’t think I could run that hard for that long. When I hit the half marathon mark 4 minutes ahead of the 3:30 schedule I was excited, but I was also cautious. I remember hitting mile 23 and realizing I could do it, if I just kept on pace and I started choking up a lot. I didn’t think this would happen! This picture about sums up the finish line. I was so happy, surprised and excited! I was going to Boston!

Deciding to qualify for the Boston Marathon

I’ve only ever had one other ‘great’ marathon, usually getting sick, feeling gross and spending a large amount of time in the portapotties. This race definitely gave me the same butterflies and excitement and when I cross the finish line I felt so excited and just couldn’t believe it, I really did it. I do plan on running Long Beach again this year, but we’ll see what I end up doing to run it. A new PR? Pacing a friend? Who knows, but I’m just so glad that everything worked out and Mountains to Beach was such a great race that got me back into the mindset of racing and blessed me with an incredible experience.


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  • Reply Amanda @runtothefinish

    YEs I totally agree you have to really want it…I think that’s why I haven’t pushed myself yet. The itch is there now and I hopefully I can scratch it soon.

    that picture really is epic!!

    June 9, 2014 at 10:03 am
  • Reply Jaime

    I’m so excited for you!! I hope you’ll do a post in the next few months about the process for actually registering for Boston. (What are the logistics? And are you guaranteed to get in – do they cap the number of runners?) I’ve been running for so long, but have never even considered the technical side of it!

    June 9, 2014 at 10:11 am
  • Reply Marilyn

    First of all – CONGRATULATIONS! You are inspiring me to train and race outside of my comfort zone!

    I would love to hear more about your “shorter” long runs during this training cycle. Was it because you only had 1 month to train?

    June 9, 2014 at 11:15 am
  • Reply Krystin

    This is so awesome! You are inspiration, I too will qualify one day! I need to always remember I CAN and push myself. Great great job! Glad the tummy cooperated!

    June 9, 2014 at 11:33 am
  • Reply The Silent Assassin

    Ok, I love you’re style D. I so look forward to reading your blog. AND if I ever do qualify for Boston, I’m saying right here, TODAY while reading your blog, THIS POST IS THE REASON WHY! I follow certain bloggers for a reason. You, D, fill that inspirational need I have. My first (and only marathon so far), I crashed and burned and turned in a 5:05. I am a 1:50 half mary runner and I keep using the excuse that I’m only a sprinter (which is what I ran in high school and college). But you’ve shown me there’s hope. There’s always hope. First a sub 4…then a BQ. That’s my new goal! Starting in September, I have 4 back to back to back to back Fulls… It’s pretty ambitious, but for each training run, and for each race, I’m going to “Run with a Purpose”!

    June 9, 2014 at 12:27 pm
  • Reply Christine

    LOVE the race pics, you are a rock star!! I also have stomach issues and I never know what happens on race day. If I have a good day, it’s usually a really good one and I run super fast. What do you think was the secret of not having any stomach issues in this race?

    June 9, 2014 at 5:06 pm
  • Reply Katera

    Congrats! This is awesome and definitely makes me more motivated to qualify for Boston. I’ve always said I wanted my first marathon to be a BQ, so I’m working super hard to get my speed up. Any tips would be great :)

    June 9, 2014 at 8:24 pm
  • Reply Caitlin Lanseer

    You, my dear, just pushed my motivational level to an all time extreme! Yesterday officially kicked off my Chicago Marathon training and I couldn’t be more excited to start my journey. This post was the extra boost I needed to know I CAN DO ANYTHING- A BQ at my first marathon and I will literally be KISSING that finish line:) Thank you, thank you!!

    June 10, 2014 at 5:21 am
  • Reply karleen

    yay!! Good for you Danica! This pic is awesome is so you! :)

    June 10, 2014 at 8:16 am
  • Reply Crystal

    I teared up reading this post! What an awesome race, congratulations!

    June 10, 2014 at 9:30 am
  • Reply Lady ID

    Oh wow. that is amazing!!! Congratulations!

    June 10, 2014 at 5:16 pm
  • Reply Bre & Ree

    Congratulations! You’ve done so well and I love the pictures! Can’t wait to hear all about Boston, but in the mean time good luck with your training. How cool!

    June 12, 2014 at 12:23 pm
  • Reply gracekelle at leangirlsclub

    I’m with you. I would love to run Boston, but it would mean shaving an hour off my time. I’m not sure how to do that. I spent the majority of my life overweight, and being able to run period is an accomplishment for me. And now that i’m running, i have the itch to be an elite…I just don’t know if it’s possible.

    But one thing I’ve learned time and time again is that if you really want it, you’ll figure a way to do it. So it makes me wonder…do I really want it?

    June 13, 2014 at 8:53 pm
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