I suppose a lot of runners think about Boston, but most of them are much faster than I am. I’ve thought about it too, but in an abstract kind of way. It’s like thinking about being the President or launching a wildly successful startup. Cool if it happens, but don’t hold your breath.
Things changed for me shortly after the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon. My goal for that race was to break 3:30. That seemed like a stretch goal, but one that was achievable: the perfect kind of goal. I did far better than I expected, coming in 2.5 minutes ahead of target. I was tired, but thrilled with my time.
That’s when the problems began. You see, as I get older, those Boston guys expect less and less from me. I checked out the official rules, and sure enough, your qualifying time is based on your age on Boston Marathon day, not your age when you run the qualifying race. Hmmm, perhaps this year was my opportunity to “sneak” into Boston… All I need to do was shave another 2.5 minutes off that PR.
Which brings us to the Santa Rosa Marathon. That’s right, last weekend I qualified for Boston! Or didn’t…
Boston does a rolling admission process, so I actually wanted to run a 3:20, not a 3:25. Given the interest in Boston for next year, that seemed like the best way to guarantee a spot.
Without further ado, here are the gory details from last weekend:
I started out with the 3:15 pace group. That lasted for 8 miles. By mile 10 I was one minute behind and had given up all hope [of catching them]. Halfway mark was 1:40:35. Maybe I could pick it up a bit at the end? Around mile 15, the 3:25 pace group caught up to me. It should be easy enough to just stick with them, right? Not a chance…
Guess what? Qualifying for Boston is hard at ANY age. I was pretty disappointed last Sunday, but in a way I’m glad I didn’t make it. I mean, if I had actually qualified the first time I really tried what life lessons would I learn?
Having said that, I’m far happier with my 3:38:03 than I would have been with 3:25:03. That would have been a HUGE life lesson.