I remember back in 2006, two days before my first Chicago Marathon, I was talking to my coworker (cannot remember about what) but I do remember telling her that I wanted to BQ before I turned 40. Umm, clearly I had NO idea what I was talking about at that time. I was a newbie runner. I had began running the year before and there was still a lot for me to learn about running and races. My goal was simply to finish and on October 22nd I ran my first marathon in 5:53:33. Not horrible but maybe I could have done better.
In the next few years I ran a couple more marathons:
- Chicago Marathon, October 12, 2008, Finish time: 5:59:47 <–Worse than in 2006.
- Chicago Marathon, October 10, 2010, Finish time: 5:40:49 <– A PR!
- ING Hartford Marathon, October 15, 2011; Finish time: 5:25:22 <– Another PR!
- Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon, March 4, 2012; Finish time: 5:16:53 <– A PR!
- Walt Disney World Marathon, January 12, 2014; Finish time: 5:30:37 <– Did this as part of Goofy Challenge.
- Chicago Marathon, October 11, 2015; Finish time: 5:21:17
- Chicago Marathon, October 9, 2016; Finish time: 5:12:59
I think I used Hal Higdon’s training plans for most of them except the last two marathons. My goal was simply to finish. While I did PR on most of my marathons, I never really seriously trained because my goal was simply to finish each race. I could have done better if I had trained better. << Maybe. You never know how it will go on marathon day.
I worked with a coach in 2014 to train for the Chicago Marathon. I liked my coach. She gave me fun and challenging workouts. I ended up not running it because I got to a point that I did not want to run anymore. I was burned out. I did have a GREAT time spectating the marathon.
I decided to try again for the 2015 marathon. I hired another coach. My previous one couldn’t coach me. She also gave me fun and challenging workouts too. I finished in 5:21:17. I was disappointed. I was devastated. I had trained hard that summer and I was hoping for a finish time under 5 hours.
Last year I trained using the Hansons Marathon Method. It was tough. I was running 6 days a week and I was ALWAYS tired. I felt strong and had some great runs. I remember one Sunday morning I ran 6 miles @ a 9 minute pace and I was very happy to have done so. My marathon finish time was 5:12:59. Yes, I did get a PR but I was again aiming for a finish time under 5 hours. I did so well during the first 9 miles and then I had some hip pain and then struggled the rest of the race. I remember wanting to quit about 3 times but by the last time I was at mile 22 and I kept reminding myself that I had 4 miles to go. Why quit now?
I decided not to run the Chicago Marathon this year. I needed a break. I did not want to run anymore marathons. Instead, I wanted to focus on my half marathons and my quest to run one in each state. Well, I was bitten by the BQ bug and decided “Why not? I can get a BQ.” Will it be easy? No. Will it be this year or next year? Probably not. It will take me a few years but I am determined to get there. Reading and writing about Elizabeth Clor’s book Boston Bound about her struggles and determination to BQ also motivated me to work towards a BQ.
I need a 3:55 for a BQ. My marathon PR is 5:12:59 (let’s just go with 5:13:00). That means I need to cut 1 hour and 18 minutes off my marathon time. << But even that will not guarantee me a spot at the marathon. So, I will need an extra 5 minutes (1 hour and 23 minutes). Once I hit the next age group, I will need a 4:00 finish time. You bet I want to do it while I’m in this current age group.
For now I am running again using the Beginner’s Plan of the Hansons Marathon Method. The plan ends in July and I am scheduled to run a marathon on July 30th. I will be on my way back from a cruise in Alaska. I haven’t decided if I want to run a marathon or run an unofficial one on my own (if so I will probably add 1 or 2 weeks of training depending on how much running I do in Alaska). The Chicago Lakefront is 18 miles from beginning to end. With the right preparation and planning I can run my own marathon at the beginning of August. No pressure. It will be good to see where I am training wise/marathon time.
Another marathon I am thinking about is the Miami Marathon on January 28th, 2018. But the thought of training during the winter makes me NOT want to sign up. We’ll see. <<Edit: I am not attempting the Miami Marathon as a BQ. Since I am not running the Chicago Marathon I would like to see where I am fitness wise with my training.
I know I still have to make more decisions (hire a coach, use Hansons Method or Run Less, Run Faster Method, sign up for a marathon, etc) but what I do know is that I want to get a BQ.
I hope you follow along in my journey as I attempt to get a BQ. The goal is to run The Boston Marathon before I am in the next age group which will be in 2022.
Have you run The Boston Marathon? Am I crazy for thinking I can qualify when I have to cut more than 1 hour from my marathon PR? Any advice you have for me?
Hoping everyone had a good week!