In 2013, I will run the Boston Marathon.*
For those of you that are reading this that are runners, you already know all the elements that must align for this to happen. But, if not – or you are just curious to hear my description of the process and my subsequent explanation of how I will achieve this goal, please read on 🙂
First of all, the Boston Marathon is kind of a big deal. Not only is it the world’s oldest annual marathon, it is pretty much mere mortals closest brush with an elite running event, since most all entrants need to qualify to run the race. (The exceptions are limited to charity entries and elite runners)
As a female in the 18:34 age range, that means I have to run a 3:35:00 or better marathon.
Better, of course, is preferable, as registration is conducted in phases, from 20 minutes, 10 minutes and 5 minutes faster than Boston Qualifying (BQ) time before finally “opening up” to those who BQ’d right on the nose (no seconds allowance – as in, it you ran 3:35:59 you’re out – this change came for 2012 qualifications).
Currently, I have one marathon under my belt – Richmond – which I ran in 3:59:13 – this means, I need to shave off at least 24 minutes to hit the BQ. It is ambitious, I will admit, but not impossible. Since a marathon is 26 miles, I see that as slicing a minute off each mile (of course, not literally, since it’s pretty difficult to be THAT exact) but it certain helps aid my training goals.
Analyzing my splits from Richmond, I did go out faster than I had hoped (which I think was a result of being in a lower corral than I should’ve been in, which meant a lot of weaving for the first 1-3 miles) and although I never ‘hit the wall,’ I did get pretty fatigued around Mile 21. This I believe is on account of hitting 21 as my maximum distance in a long run, which was accomplished at the Stonewall Jackson 20-miler.
My current training cycle for the Shamrock Marathon includes a 20 and a 21 mile long run. Based on how I am feeling (this will be in February) I may try to tack on a few miles to one of these runs to test the theory. Another aspect to consider was that my first marathon training plan had just three runs a week, whereas this current one has four. I think more miles logged will be a major benefit.
After Shamrock, I will reassess the next step of my plan: choosing an A and B race; I am thinking first try should be a late spring entry and if that one doesn’t cut it, second attempt will be a late summer race.
I did some research on the marathons with highest BQ percentages that take place between March and September (since 2013 registration begins mid-Sept). I made a list of a few races that could possibly fit the bill:
4/22/12: Glass City Marathon – Toledo, OH
5/5/12: Mississauga Marathon – Mississauga, ON, Canada
5/20/12: Cleveland Marathon – Cleveland, OH
5/20/12: Pocono Mountains Run for the Red Marathon– Stroudsburg, PA
5/26/12: Ottawa Marathon – Ottawa, ON, Canada
5/27/12: Vermont City Marathon – Burlington,VT
6/2/12: Newport Marathon – Newport, OR
6/3/12: Ojai to Ocean Marathon – Ojai, CA
6/16/12: Grandma’s Marathon – Duluth, MN
(know of any good ones?)
08/12/12: Quebec City Marathon – Quebec City, QC, Canada
08/26/12: Santa Rosa Marathon – Santa Rosa, CA
09/1/12: Pocatello Marathon – Pocatello, ID
Of course, this list is not all-inclusive of any races that I might consider running, it’s just a start. I am open to looking for more races that might be ones that are overlooked in general, or perhaps a smaller race that is still USATF certified as a Boston Qualifier. I am kind of excited at the fact that there are so many in the above list that are close-ish (barring the West Coast ones of course) and therefore wouldn’t cause massive schedule disruption to ‘regular life.’
I’ve been thinking about this seriously for a few months now, but it was only this week, as I read over so many blogs and tweets about resolutions and goal-making that I realized I really am ready to step up. After all, this time last year, my longest race was a 10K! With these new plans, I have also decided to transfer my Blue Ridge Marathon entry to a half to avoid additional recovery time for a May marathon.
I know it will not be easy, but I think 2012 sounds like a great year to make a big goal, don’t you?