I have dreamed of a Boston Qualify since my first Marathon. Not sure why it became so important me, after all, three years ago if you were to ask me what a BQ was, I’d tell you a soft serve ice cream place. Is it the mystique? The badge of honor? Achieving entrance into the holy grail of races? I don’t know.
My second attempt was a huge fail. So much so that I really put the idea of qualifying somewhere deep in the back of mind. Failing that big made me question my myself but, not so much that I would not sign up again. In fact, I almost immediately I signed up for my third, 2012 Yuengling Shamrock Marathon VA. Beach.
This time I was committed to training properly and doing everything I could to be at my best on race day. I achieved that, I worked harder than I ever have to be as prepared as possible at this time in my life. So, going into this race I was confident that I would run my best. To make matters perfect, I had my good friend Alison so generously offer to pace me the last 13 miles. I felt really good that this might be the day that magic would happen.
Suprisingly, going into this race I did not have Boston all over my mind, but rather to run a specific time. One that I was confident could be achieved. Not to say I wasn’t thinking about a BQ at all, in fact, as my husband and I drove down to Va. Beach, I asked him to look up what time I needed to qualify, I was sure that it was a 3:50 but wanted to double check. Rob’s response was simple and so spot on: “NO, why look? It doesn’t matter, just give it everything you have, Lisa.” Yes, of course, exactly what I would do, give every ounce of my effort.
Alison had also said to me, “Have three times in your mind, one that would be like winning the lottery, one you would be really happy with, and one that you would be satisfied with.” Such great advice and very comforting, as it would enable me to be happy with many different outcomes.
I woke up on race morning early with a migraine. I was annoyed, but have run many times in training with a migraine, so although not ideal, I would manage. I went to Alison’s hotel room before the race and as I sat and looked out her window at the start line (yes, this is an actual picture of me looking out her window).
She asked “How do you feel?”
I responded, “I have a migraine.”
Alison: “Are you going to be OK?”
Me: “Yep, I’m just thinking I will get tired much sooner”
So did I tire out much sooner? Yes, yes I did. I was tired at mile one but managed to hold my pace for 18 miles. I slowed a bit from 19-21 and completely lost it at 22. I thought I was going to give up a few times and, had I not had Alison there with me coaching me through every painful step, I might have done just that.
She had jumped in at 13 and asked how I felt…I was tired. She would later say that worried her. In the matter of a few excruciating miles, all three of the times I had set for myself vanished from my reach. As I approached the finish line I could see that I was coming in just three minutes shy of the 3:50 I thought I needed for Boston.
I had two things that made it OK and that was a four minute PR and knowing that I had given every ounce of my energy into that run — it couldn’t have been any different on that day. After I grabbed a photo and my swag, I was ready to go home. I was OK, a little disappointed, but knew that I would get over it.
As we drove home I was frustrated with that damn marathon again. It will make you question everything about yourself. it is a puzzle I have yet to master. I would be OK. No Boston but a PR. I was good.
Then I got a phone call from my friend Heather, who has run Boston several times and paced me on my first marathon..
It went something like this…
Heather : “Lisa? What the hell is wrong with you?”
me: ” Well, I missed my BQ again”
Heather: ” Lisa, go to the Boston website right now… you made it you dork!”
me: “WHAT! ARE YOU SURE? *%&*(* What the? OMG I DID!!! I MADE IT!”
I needed a 3:55, they use your time for the age you will be on the day of Boston, not the day you qualify. I was so excited and felt like a complete idiot for thinking I missed. Actually, things like this are very typical of me and in hindsight, think it’s pretty funny.
This whole process has been blurry, I am still trying to piece together everything that went on this week, but I know one thing for sure: that finding out I qualified for Boston is up there as one of the greatest moments of my life. I am so blessed. None of it would be possible if not for the support of my friends and family, who mean more to me than any race ever could. I have the “Boston Marathon” of friends and family, what more could I ever ask for?
“No matter how slow or fast you are.. your life will never be the same when you cross the finish line of a marathon”
-The Spirit of The Marathon