This was my 7th marathon in 8 years. My first marathon was the Zurich Marathon on April 1, 2007. I completed that race in the time of 4:45 at the age of 37. I never dreamed that I would be able to achieve a BQ time.
I continued to run, through raising children, military moves, injuries and all the challenges that those things bring. The crazy thing was, that it was getting easier. And I was getting FASTER. And, as luck would have it, I was getting OLDER.
Which, in the running world can be a detriment as well as an advantage. For those unfamiliar with Boston Marathon qualifying standards, as you age, you gain minutes on your qualifying time. For example, for a women who is age 35-39 the qualifying time last year was 3:40, age 40-44 it was 3:45, and for me last year age 45-49 the time was 3:55. A whole ten minute "cushion" to achieve in the older age group.
For the first time in this whole running journey I had been taking, I actually thought I could have a chance to achieve the previously unattainable goal of a Boston Qualifying time. I set my sights on achieving this crazy goal.
I trained harder than ever, first attempting the time at the Philadelphia Marathon in November of last year. The day didn't turn out as I expected, and I finished in a disappointing 4:06. I knew that if I was really serious about this BQ attempt, I would have to get serious. I decided to hire a coach, who not only helped me immensely in pushing to my physical limits, but also gave me such confidence that I actually believed that it was possible. With Brianna's help, I went to the starting line of the New Jersey Marathon fully ready to achieve my personal best.
I ran hard that day, and was able to complete the race in the time of 3:53:15. That is 1 minute and 45 seconds faster than the qualifying time. I was thrilled. It was an almost 13 minute improvement on my previous best marathon time. That is a huge PR (personal record)! I believed it would be enough to get me into the Boston Marathon in 2016.
But, alas, it was not.
Thank you for submitting your application for entry into the 2016 Boston Marathon. Regrettably, we are unable to accept your application due to field size limitations and the large number of applications we received from those runners who met the qualifying standards. The B.A.A. recognizes the achievement of everyone who has met the qualifying standards that we have established for the race. Those who meet -- and aspire to meet -- these standards have helped distinguish the Boston Marathon from any other marathon in the world, and we realize the effort, training and commitment involved with achieving the qualifying times for the various age groups in both genders.
Entries from applicants in your age group were accepted through and including the time 3:52:32.
So, not quite enough. Or is it? The more I think about it, I knew that I did the most I could for that day. The work I put in was not wasted. I qualified for Boston. No one can take that away from me. I could walk away knowing that the work was enough. I am enough.
But I do know that the journey isn't over for me. I will go back and do it again. Maybe just a few minutes faster.......
The journey continues.