Monthly Archives: August 2013

To BQ, or not to BQ, that was never the question

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.

2014 Boston Marathon

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.



do things that don’t scale

Sweat Tracker started offering training plans to our beta testers on 8/5. After several weeks, one of them casually mentioned how much they were enjoying the program, but noted that we couldn’t possibly provide this level of attention to the whole world.

First, let me say thank you for the compliment!

And second, let me point to this recent blog post by Paul Graham:

A key excerpt is:

You should take extraordinary measures not just to acquire users, but also to make them happy. […] Your first users should feel that signing up with you was one of the best choices they ever made. And you in turn should be racking your brains to think of new ways to delight them.

It seems that we are doing exactly what we should be doing 🙂

We love, love, love our beta testers! They are so dedicated and supportive and they are adding so much value to the final product.

The training plan offering is the most rewarding thing that I have done since starting this venture. I love getting special requests, tweaking training plans, and reading the details of everyone’s daily run! I feel very connected to this group and I want everyone to succeed at their goals.

As a company, we are learning how the plans work, how they should work, and how the people who use them work too. For such a small sample size, we are seeing a wide range of communication styles and we are fine tuning the product to accommodate the specific needs of our users.

Keep training!