As I head to the starting line today, I do so more prepared to run this race then I have ever been. While finishing 4 Bostons and 2 other marathons certainly have helped… it’s been a different focus, a lofty goal and the correct preparation that has gotten me to this stage.
As I stumbled through the finishing area after the 2013 Boston marathon, in a time of 3:32 (a 43 minute PR), I can remember thinking about how likely it would be to try and run a qualifying time. Less then a half hour later, the blasts on Boylston street quickly changed my state of mind. My own thoughts, along with everyone in the city, went to the victims of those bombings. In 2014, I fought off injuries while training for the marathon but each of us out there knew that the race wasn’t about our finishing time, it was about the City of Boston. 2015 brought me a new PR at 3:28 but the rain and headwind hampered all runners out there and made it a tough day for each person to run their best Boston.
The BAA qualifying time for Men ages 18-34 is a 3:05, (7:03 per mile). This is the time I have thought of each run this last year and the goal I have had set for many years now. It’s exciting to know that I am close but all my recent race results really show that while I am close, I’m still not quite there. There was a time a few months ago where I thought I was close but after endless pleading with my coach, who won the Boston Marathon 40 years ago, this is going to be a bit of a stretch for 2016.
In all honesty, my finishing time goal is unclear and will be a game time decision. Last month, I ran what I believe to be was my first “smart” race and I achieved a great PR of 1:30:37. It felt great to know that I had planned and executed a great race, like a “real runner”. When I finished the race, I didn’t have much left in the tank and there was a period of time where I put the 3:05 out of my head. Since then, I’ve rested and I’ve thought endlessly about race day. Weather forecasts started quite unfavorable one week out but the expected temperatures have continued to drop. If the headwind can cease for a few hours, this marathon could certainly be one of the more optimal ones in recent history.
With the weather in line, I keep letting my mind wander to going for it. Going out at 7 min pace would be risky and well, in many ways a little reckless. Boston is a unforgiving course that takes every opportunity to punish those who came out too fast, too hard and aren’t smart in the early stages.
That said, while I have drawn up many game plans and approaches to the run…. there is nothing I am set on. I’ll take a pulse on my body after 5 miles or maybe after 10 and take things one step at a time. Tomorrow should be a PR. I feel 3:20 is an easy mark for me to break and would be happy beating 3:15. The idea of being sub-3:10 is even more appetizing. Then there is that 3:05. The number and time that I’ve fixated on for years now. The BQ. I don’t think it’s happening this year but with six marathons under my belt, it just may be time to take a leap and throw caution to the wind.
Either way, I’ll be proudly wearing the DFMC singlet, honoring my parents and krooting for a cure.