How I Got Over Missing the Cutoff for Boston
Editor’s Note: This post is written by guest contributor, Katie Morris, and has been edited for length and clarity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Minneapolis Running.
Last year I set a goal for myself to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I wanted to see if I was as good as I believed I was. I’m not new to running and have been in the sport since I was 14 years old, but I wasn’t setting goals for myself until a few years ago. Progressively getting better with each race, my mind was constantly itching for the next opportunity. It was an easy decision: A Boston Qualifying marathon.
I believe progress in running cannot be forced; it takes time, literally and figuratively, to develop and prepare. Patience is key. I wrote out a 20-week training plan in January 2016 to fulfill my goal of qualifying for Boston. It was all I could think about and I was determined to get there.
I work full-time and have a 6-year-old daughter, so I made the most of my training time, which was spent 5 days a week in the gym (on my lunch hour), completing my long runs every other weekend when I didn’t have my daughter, and cross-training by incorporating strength training (which I had never done before). I was running races every month leading up to the marathon to keep myself on track.
My B.Q. Attempt
On May 9, 2016 I ran the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon in California and ended up with a qualifying time of 3:38:16 (3:40 is qualifying for my 35-39 age group). It was satisfying to know that I accomplished my goal, but something felt off. I had doubts about getting into the race and if my time would be good enough to actually run in Boston. On September 28th, days after registering for the race, I received an email from the BAA stating they were unable to accept my application due to size limitations. Entries from applications in my age group were accepted until the time of 3:37:51. I had been 25 seconds off.
Related: On Squeaking into Boston
How I Got Over Missing Boston
Doubt crept in, wondering if I could do it all over again, the training, the time, the sacrifice, the determination, the discipline. To come so close to something that you feel so passionate about is heartbreaking. There were a lot of tears and I mentally beat myself up. After getting the news, I did what any runner would do; I went out for a run. Just me and the run on my favorite running route in downtown Minneapolis. During that run, I told myself that I was going to be ok; nothing was going to change the fact that I was a B.Q.’er.
Training smart, being patient, believing in myself and enjoying the highs and lows that running offers have gotten me through. Having a running buddy has certainly set me up for success too; I needed her more than she needed me. Surrounding myself with like-minded runners or people who have audacious goals, are motivation for me and I believe if you do that, you might just be surprised where you end up.
Coming Back for Boston
Now, I’m back on the Boston wagon and will be aiming for a time around 3:32 because I believe I’m good enough for that time. This year my plan consists of concentrating on the long run (getting comfortable with distance again), speed workouts, cross training once a week by doing tabata and yoga and keeping up with strength training. Also, knowing what my body can do now versus a month from now, being in-tune to my pace, what’s comfortable and not being afraid to push.
I may not have made it to Boston (yet), but I will always be a Boston Qualifier. And for that, I will forever be proud.