- People who want to qualify and will put in hours and hours of work to get there, trying and failing as many times as it takes (20% of people?)
- Haterz who have zero desire to ever run Boston, don’t see what the big deal is, and probably won’t even read this post (5% of people?)
- Runners who realize how hard it is to run that fast, respect those who do, but either aren’t able to run that fast or don’t want to put in the work to get that fast (75% of people)
Either unfortunately or fortunately, I’m in the first class. I.want.to.run. I’ve taken 55 minutes off of my marathon time. I took 30 or so minutes of that (3:35 --> 3:04) after having run 10 marathons. So, it wasn’t just beginner’s time slipping off. It was a LOT of work. Why is a harder question I suppose. Maybe to see how far I can push my body? I run until my vision goes blurry and my hands tingle, I run until my lungs burn and I can taste blood. Hell – I run to the point of breaking my own legs (oops). It is totally cliché, but I don’t run to live longer, I run to live.
The Boston marathon is often called the people’s marathon. I can only hope that is because of the massive amount of condoms and EPO used! Being the longest running marathon in the United States, it has set itself as the golden standard for elite marathon races. There are harder races to get in to (NYC marathon has harder “guaranteed” standards) but either through longevity, marketing (second only to the super bowl for media coverage), or it’s massive size (33,000 marathon runners) Boston has set itself apart.
I’ve found that Boston is the marathon standard for non-runners as well. While I’m never the douche that says “Oh hi, I’m Adam, I run marathons”, when people do find out they often ask if I have ran Boston.
I’m sure a lot of the Boston mystique has to do with the qualifying standard. Quite simply, not everyone gets to run. I feel like there is a bit of a fraternity, both good and bad, of people who have qualified. I’m bringing my ass-whooping paddle to the expo to swear in the new pledges.
So, here is the thing. I qualified for the Boston marathon by running a 3:04:00 marathon. That is running 105 second (1:45) 400m laps around the track the whole way. I’ve since ran a 3:07:29. But, I’m also 4 weeks off of a two month stress fracture recovery. I quite honestly can’t run a sub 3:10 marathon right now. That.is.humbling. I would imagine it is a lot like a Rottweiler dog who has to wear one of those head-cone things. The dog KNOWS that he can bite things, but the stupid cone only lets him get his head into his food bowl and MAYBE lick his private parts if he tries really really hard. I KNOW that I can run fast, but my legs just aren’t strong enough to do it.
I’ve battled extreme muscle fatigue and now pretty bad shin splints as part of my ramp up for the race. I’ll admit it – it hasn’t been fun. At all. BUT..... I will also admit that the Boston marathon is important enough for me that I would walk the thing if I had to. So, in true A (unicorn pissing rainbows), B (normal average day), and C (finish at all costs) goal setting fashion, here is where I want to end up:
A Goal: Sub 3:20
B Goal: Sub 3:30
C Goal: Sub 3:40
The truth is that I would really like to run a sub 3:30. That would put me about a minute slower per mile than my qualifying time of 3:04 which I think that I would be okay with. (Truth: I’d be less frustrated with.)
My strategy is to start out at my previous long run pace of 7:30. Essentially hold that as long as I can. If I hold that for the entire race – awesome. If I can’t, which is likely :(, I’ll start to walk the aid stations which should hopefully still get me through to a sub 3:30. The downhills the first 5 miles will really test my patience with the slower pace – and I’ll admit I’ll probably go out too fast. But, hopefully I can hold back and float all the way in to Boston.
So, that is where I hope to end up! I’m bib number 4596 so you can track me online if you want – I am not sure when I’ll get a chance to post the results. For that matter, the BAA (Boston Athletic Assoc) has a mobile app where you can track real time. Since I’m going to be taking it easy, I’m running with my phone and plan to take more than a few pictures along the course. Yes, I’m going to be THAT guy. Should be a blast!