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?I 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.
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!
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.