My Quest to Qualify For The Boston Marathon
It was an amazing spectacle for my young 10 year old eyes to witness, back in 1983, as I watched a mass of humanity converge on Boston to cheer on family and friends. Thousands of runners competed in the Boston Marathon on that warm spring morning after spending thousands of hours and miles to prepare for that moment.
For my dad, it was a race that he always wanted to run. In order to make it there, he had to run under 3:10, the qualifying time for his age group. I watched him prepare for months up to his qualifying race in Louisville, KY. He was determined to make it to Boston and worked hard to run a 3:06 in Louisville, earning him the right to toe the starting line in Boston for its famous and historical marathon event.
My dad spoke of Boston like it was the best race in the world and so I became a fan as well. I was proud of him and was thrilled when he took me out of school so I could travel with him and get the chance to be a part of something special. Watching my dad prepare, qualify, and ultimately compete in the Boston Marathon taught me so much about setting a goal and then backing it up with discipline and preparation.
Thirty years later, I have the chance to carry on the legacy and qualify and compete in the Boston Marathon myself. My dad still talks about his experiences leading up to Boston and often asks me if I ever expect to run in the “grand daddy” of marathons. I would always shake my head and tell him “someday”. Well, that “someday” has come!
I only wrote down six goals for 2013 and the third goal on my list states very simply, “Qualify for the Boston Marathon.” Every day as I work in my home office, that goal stands out in front of me and dares me to chase it. So I began to increase my weekly training miles and test my legs. They responded and I felt good, maybe I should chase the Boston Marathon, just like my old man did thirty years ago? I began to assess my training regime and what it would take to prepare my body and mind for such an event. I ran in the Indy Mini, earlier this year, without much training and easily ran a 1:33; yes I think I can do it!
I researched the qualifying time I would need for my age group, 3:15. I have an extra five minutes for my qualifying time, that Dad did not have, but I would need to stay under 3:10 or my dad might give me a hard time! I started to implement a training plan and began to look for a qualifying race, and I found it. A few weeks ago, I officially registered for the Last Chance for Bean Town Boston Marathon qualifying race in Wilmington, NC on Saturday night, August 24th. Its official, I’m going for it!
I spoke to my wife, Alia, before I signed up and told her what it would take for me to prepare. I would have to run a lot of miles that will take extra time away from her and the kids. I will have to change my diet, and use some of our family budget to purchase training resources and travel. Finally, it would mean that I would be going to bed a lot earlier every night and cutting into our nights together. She graciously agreed to support me!
So I have two goals I as prepare to run my first marathon and get my qualifying time for Boston:
- Qualify for Boston, which means I need to finish my marathon at least under 3:15;
- Break 3:00 for a marathon.
I’m not sure if I will go under 3:00 in North Carolina in August, but I gave myself another shot by registering for the Indy Marathon on October 19th.
I started my running career 33 years ago. I have competed in almost every official race distance from the 100 meters up to an 18 mile race, but I have never competed in a Marathon. The mindset and training preparation is new to me and is forcing me out of my comfort zone. My primary obstacle is staying injury free, but I am determined to meet my goal! I will keep you posted on my progress and what I learn along the way! Thanks for your support!