BQ math is hard

Last night, in the middle of my run, I started to think about the work I have out in front of me to achieve the goal I have for this year: to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  I started doing threshold runs last night; these have me running intervals (starting at 1 mile intervals then building) of my current threshold pace: 7:50 min/mile.  As I was running along during a threshold interval, I started to get down on myself as I thought, to qualify for Boston, I’m going to need to be able to run much faster, a 7:26 average pace, for a full 26.2 miles to get to the 3:15:00 I need.

As I was thinking through all of this (and cursing the 20 MPH wind), I thought about a conversation I had last week with a good friend of mine.  She had worked hard to BQ, made it, and got to run the 2011 Boston Marathon and just absolutely loved it.  The entire experience.  Recalling that conversation helped me refocus my own thoughts from, “How on earth will I get there?” to how I’ll feel when I am there.  A far more positive picture can do wonders.  And then I started to think about when I’ll be there.  Since I’m running my (hopefully) qualifying race in December of 2012, if all goes well, I’ll get to run the 2014 Boston Marathon.  Here’s the rest of the conversation in my head:

“2104.  Wow.  I am getting old, yessir, I’m damn near a geezer.  Well, at least my mind in still sharp. Hey look a squirrel!  Geez, I’ll be 45 years old by the time I actually toe the line in Boston.  How can I already be 45 … WAIT A MINUTE.  I’ll be 45 damn years old?!  45?!  That will put me in a different age division!  A new age division, a new age division!”

Yep, it hit me in mid-run last night.  When I got home, I immediately looked up the qualifying standards again, then just stood there with a smile on my face.  I still doubted it a bit, so I asked my Twitter friends to confirm and sure enough, it’s true.  All along, I’ve been thinking I needed to run a 3:15:00 to make it to Boston, but really, I need a 3:25:00.  That’s ten more minutes for crying out loud.

Now this doesn’t mean I plan to slack my way through my training by any stretch, but that subtle shift in my head from thinking I need to run 7:26s to needing to run 7:49s for a whole marathon is a big deal.  Now, as I do those threshold runs, it will feel more like practice.  I’ll really get to know the feel of that particular pace, and that will be a huge help.  It really is the little things.

I’m so happy to be bad at math.  And for getting old.  And for squirrels.

5 thoughts on “BQ math is hard

  1. What a great blog! Best to you on Boston Marathon qualifying. Fantastic.

    Today’s post resonated because I, too, am turning 45. And while I’m not new to running (I started at age 19), I am a marathon newbie, having just run my first, in humid Miami, replete with water stops, in late January. 4:00:08. Of course, my goal was to break 4:00. Sooo … Off to less-humid Green Bay, WI I go, on May 20. And then my hometown Twin Cities Marathon in early October. It’s No. 9 on the list of BQ, so we’ll see how it goes.

    I’d love to qualify for Boston too, so I’ll be watching your blog with interest. What a great challenge. I’ve upped my pace since Miami, and I ran 10 miles today in 1:13:00, dodging various patches of Minnesota snow and ice, so I know I have it in me. You’ll be among my inspirations. 🙂

    Peace and safety on the road …


    1. Steve,
      I’m happy you stopped by and even happier you left your thoughts here. I guess time marches by for all of us, doesn’t it? Good luck in Green Bay this spring. Three marathons in one year is a lot, so take care of your health too. I hope you reach all of your goals.

  2. Hey Sean. Great perspective… You always had that ability to look at things from all angles and experience it all. Keep me updated… By the way, unless the Boston Marathon comes out on the Wii, I will have to live it through you… I still could be the third string lineman for the Tigers….

    1. Thanks for the kind note, Ralph. Believe me when I tell you that when I started running, the Boston Marathon looked about as possible as a trip to Neptune. Read one of my first couple of days running. “And there I was wheezing my way around, wondering how 60 seconds could feel so damn long.” It’s not an exaggeration to say I really didn’t think I’d ever make to a 5K let alone a marathon. That first step out the door is the hardest!

  3. Hi Sean! Very excited to see how far you’ve come in two years! Hope you get to Boston soon!! I agree with your comment that the hardest step is the first one out the door. Both hubby and I love sports, but running has never been our first choice, even though somehow running up and down a basketball court has always been inviting! Anyway, this March, I’ll be doing my 3rd 5K and hubby is doing is first 1/2 marathon! Just wanted to share “why we run!” Enjoy at your leisure and keep on trotting, one foot after the other!!

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