I want to document my ‘journey’ to Boston this Spring and today is a big day, Registration Day! At 7 am, I entered my information in hopes to have run fast enough to get in for next year’s race.
I’ve been running longer distances since 2008 and that’s when I first heard about the Boston Marathon. I remember the first time I looked up what my qualifying time and thinking how impossible it seemed, knowing how hard I would have to work to get there and how it seemed unimaginable to run that fast for that long. I was also dealing with stomach issues while training and was in the thick of trying to figure that whole situation out and didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel with that whole problem.
Toward the end of 2009, I had an incredible ‘breakthrough race‘ and broke four hours in the marathon and was so happy. I still think about that day and it brings a huge smile to my face. It was my “Boston Moment” at the time. Since then, I never had the desire to qualify, which I believe that you have to truly want it to train hard to qualify. I broke four hours, but was a far 20 minutes away from my then qualifying time of 3:40 and I really ran as hard as I could that race. I never imagined I would be able to run harder.
Then, qualifying times went up because the race was becoming more popular and I remember seeing mine going to 3:35 and thinking it was never going to happen. I told myself, when I’m older, after kids, later in life. I joked often maybe I’d go when I was 90 so I could have a slower qualifying time.
I remember last year seeing the Boston Jacket at a track meet and thinking I want to to do it. I want to train hard and I want to qualify. I told the kids I coached to push themselves and go for their big goals, but I wasn’t doing it myself. I had the loose plan to try to qualify at Long Beach this October because I knew the race, I train well in the Summer, and that was my ‘magic’ race before. When I was having a great day at Mountains 2 Beach back in May, I realized I needed to go for it then and push myself as hard as I could. I really left it all out there that day and I’m so incredibly excited to register for Boston today. I can’t believe that I did it and now I hopefully get to train to run Boston in the Spring.
I also remember this time every year, when all the Boston Qualifiers would be so excited about registering, training, heading to the race. There was always a small pang of jealousy I felt when I read their stories and saw their photos at the finish line and throughout the city, because I felt like I really didn’t know if I could ever make it there. It’s tough to be on that side where it’s something you want but you don’t know how to get there yet, or if you can really do it. Keep with it! You can get there. It takes hard work and it’s not easy, but the moment of crossing the finish line and knowing you qualified is such an amazing feeling, I still remember the tears blurring my view of the finish line as I ran toward it.
My qualifying finish time is 3:32:57 – so I’m 2 minutes ahead of my age division qualifying time of 3:35:00. I wish I could have run faster at Mountains to Beach at the end, but I just had nothing left in the tank. I’m hopeful I will get in and will be at the start line on April 20 next year!