- ACHIEVING ONE'S QUALIFYING STANDARD DOES NOT GUARANTEE ENTRY, BUT SIMPLY THE OPPORTUNITY TO SUBMIT FOR REGISTRATION.
for those not familiar with the process --- Boston sets qualification standards for age groups (for example, women 35-39 [me] need a 3:40; men 35-39 need a 3:10). if you run a time under that standard, you have the opportunity to submit for registration. registration opened on september 11, and those met the time by more than 20 minutes, followed by those with a 10+ cushion, then a 5+ cushion... and then, the squeakers -- 0 - 5 group (AKA ME). I was sitting fairly comfortably with a minus 4:04 but it was still sooooooooo nerve racking.
after everyone with a BQ registers, the BAA ranks the "cushions" and cuts it off at whatever number they want because they are the BAA. since the race has instituted the the cut off system, the cut off time has been between a minute to two and a half minutes. there are blogs and forums dedicated to predicting the cut off with formulas developed by smarty runners. and I know about these because I frequent them. often. people were predicting high 1s to low 2s as the cut off this year.
so I, armed with my information and credit card (and Kim's information and credit card, because she was in trial, and "Your Honor, I need to register for Boston" isn't a great reason to be late to court) registered at 10:00 am. did I need to register at 10:00 am? no. did I need to register on Monday? no, registration was open for us squeakers until wednesday. but come on. of course I'm registering as soon as I refreshed the page and the link appeared for the 0-5 BQers.
and then I had to hurry up and wait. and waiting SUCKS. and waiting really sucks when you can't do anything but wait. making it worse was the BAA's announcement that, unfortunately, they could not accept all runners and they would announce the cut off "in the next few days." in the past few years, the BAA has made the announcement on the following Wednesday (OH MY GOD THAT'S TEN DAYS).
so I made it to Wednesday because I didn't have a choice. and I wore this - blue and yellow are the BAA colors - because I am lame and have no chill
and I ran and then I went to work and my poor poor coworkers had to watch me freak out (shout out to the boys on the row!). the (now defunct) Runner's World Boston 2018 Cut Off Prediction thread was going nuts. I was stalking that, the BAA's Facebook page, the BAA's Instagram account, and my own gmail account. and then it was noon and WHERE THE FUCK IS MY EMAIL. I went to the lunch room and was still frantically checking my email when IT CAME: (and I could see the word "Congratulations!" before I opened the email so that was a huge relief!)
I screamed. LOUDLY. and then I cried. and then I declared that a salad was a lame way to celebrate and who wanted champange? and then I remembered that it was wednesday at noon. my BRF colleen suggested ice cream as an alternative and several of my awesome coworkers went out to celebrate. I really do work with an amazing group of people. the cut off this year was 3:23, which shocked the running community. while I was nervous, I was confident that my minus 4:04 was plenty of a cushion. turns out I made it into the race by a mere 41 seconds (!!!!!!!)
my mother in law gave me these beautiful flowers:
and now I am still on cloud nine. on thursday morning, when I was running in the dark, I actually said to myself, "I'm fucking running the Boston Marathon. I did it." I've wanted this for so long and I've worked my ass off.
I started training for marathons during my second semester of my first year of law school -- as a way to relieve stress and focus on something other than grades. I couldn't imagine how much joy and how much heartbreak it would bring me.
I still cannot believe that I'm a 3:35 marathoner and that I AM GOING TO BOSTON. I am going to run the most prestigious and oldest marathon in the world!
And now, I'd like the thank:
the Academy, of course
my awesome coach, James McKirdy, for the tough workouts of course, but more for believing in me and telling me that I was strong and ready (and for convincing me to go out slowly and ease down into race pace). I crushed workouts that I didn't think I could handle (40 minutes at tempo ARE YOU KIDDING ME) and it made me stronger but - again more importantly - it gave me SO MUCH self confidence!
my family and friends and coworkers, for putting up with all the running talk
my BRF (best running friend) Colleen, for the runs through the years and for indulging the play by play of my workouts (looking forward to running Richmond with you!)
my kids, because they're cute, and because they say things like "you smell, no kisses until you shower"
and, of course, James, for getting up early with the kids so I could do my long runs, for supporting me --- from my first I'm-just-going-to-run-one-marathon in Baltimore in 2005 (the year I finished my 1L year and the year we got married) to the highs (PRs) and lows (DNFs and tears) to the never ending love and encouragement. cannot wait to celebrate with you in Boston !