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?
I’m linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap and Courtney for her Training Recap Link Up!
Hoping everyone had a good week!