Boston Marathon

A Bittersweet Recap: Grand Plans and E-Death

Faithful readers, short weeks are always just a little odd. The mind struggles to focus, the body forgets what day it is, the soul wants that 3 day weekend back.

This was no exception. The swings of emotion were massive, my dear friends. MASSIVE.

The Ups:

The Downs:

The In-Betweens

Tweet of the Week:

  • @HeyRatty: The Leather District: “It’s Not What You Think” #BosHoodSlogans

Comment of the Week:

  • From Jenny: Oh I don’t know. The bit about @fakedevincole being admitted to Harvard when he was 8 made me laugh. Out loud, even.

SHE WAS RIGHT. It was funny. So much regret.

That is the week that was. See you next week!


When “Boston” Means Just One Thing

Last week, I mentioned how my life just got a little more difficult.  Five minutes, 59 seconds more difficult, to be exact.  Some folks on Twitter picked up on the post and we got a lot of feedback (thanks to Universal Hub for sharing it!).  There were a number of reactions to the new standards: some people wanted to open the race up to all interested runners, others wanted two races - one for the best and one for the rest, others thought a faster race was a better race, and still others just didn’t care.  Hey, I never claimed to be interesting.

Next weekend is the one-year anniversary of my first half-marathon.  Monday was the three-month anniversary of my first “real” marathon, in Philadelphia.  And Friday was the first time in 2011 that I’ve been able to run pain-free.  As you can imagine, my marathon training has been a little non-traditional.  While my charity team has been putting in a dozen miles on Saturday mornings, I’ve been moping around the house wishing I was out there freezing/running my butt off.

When I trained for the Philadelphia Marathon, I had one goal: to qualify for Boston.

Of course, I didn’t.  Even if I had, it would have been too late to register anyway.  So, I’m a charity case.  But at least I’m a charity case in the biggest sporting event in the city!

What’s funny about Boston is how huge it feels.  I know some people have said that it’s “still 26.2 miles, just like a host of other top marathons and some would consider more prestigious than Boston.”  Maybe it’s another case of Bostonians being provincial and pretentious, but when I hear Chicago, I think pizza.  Or the president.  When I hear London, I think Big Ben, Parliament.  When I hear New York, I think of Broadway and Wall Street.

But when I hear Boston… and just “Boston”… it means marathon.  It means 26.2 miles.  It means Hopkinton to Boylston.  It means the jackets that people wear proudly all year long, jackets I’ve coveted since childhood.  ”Boston” means months of workouts.  Heartbreaks and history.  Screaming fans.  It means running is a sport.  It’s when amateurs feel like pros.  Call it a 5 hour party, call it a moving freak show, call it whatever you want.  But call my name when I run by you in April.  Because qualifying be darned, I’m running Boston this year.  No matter how miserable the next 8 weeks of my life will be.  I may not run the fastest marathon, but I’m running a marathon.  I’m running Boston.

After all, we don’t know what the new standards will mean for runners, qualified or charity, in the years ahead — so this could be my only chance.  Better take full advantage now.


My Life is Now 5:59 More Difficult

Thanks to Sox-Yankees and Celts-Lakers, it’s not the BIGGEST ticket in town, but it’s not the easiest one to get either.  It takes months of hard work, meeting tough standards, and being ready to buy the minute registration opens up.  If you can’t do that, it comes down to raising thousands of dollars for charity.  Either way, that’s a lot of work.  No, they haven’t upped the prices on Revolution tickets.  It’s the Holy Grail of running… the Boston Marathon.

I (charitably) call myself a runner.  I’ve got one or two marathons under my belt.  April 18, 2020 is marathon #3.  Despite my best efforts, I’m a long way from qualifying for Boston.

Bad news bears — that long way just got a lot longer: Five minutes, 59 seconds longer.

Responding to problems with qualified runners being shut out for 2011 registration, the Boston Athletic Association had to make some changes.  Boston’s third-most popular ticket is now harder to get, with 5:59 faster qualifying times and registration that gives the fastest runners the first shot at signing up.

As a just-barely sub-4:00 marathoner, I’m going to be getting $3,250 for the American Liver Foundation in order to toe the line in Hopkinton.  With the new standards, I assume that if I run Boston again, I’ll be fundraising again.

What does my likely lifetime of fundraising for race bibs have to do with you?  Well, it’s Boston’s most-attended sporting event.  (There’s no stats on that, I’m just assuming that it must be.  What with the no-walls-or-tickets thing.)

Having spent most of 2011 on the injured list, I’m now in the not-so-enviable position of being unable to get out there on the roads for runs.  If you’ve ever been an injured runner, you notice every single healthy runner out there.  The ones you might not have paid attention to during your own morning miles suddenly look like elite athletes.  Meanwhile, you’re holding a cup of Starbucks and a cookie thinking, “Man, I am REALLY out of shape.”

My point is, I’ve noticed that there are tons of you out there running in 3 feet of snow.  This means either you’re a masochist or a marathoner.  We’re in Boston.  You’re in training.

Are you capable of running a 3:05 or a 3:35?  If you’re ONEin3, you’re in the fastest qualifying times, so that’s your new goal for 2013.  Understandable, as they had to respond to this year’s complaints.

But then I think of a podcast I listened to the other day — Dave McGillivray told a really touching story of a woman who was incapable of running 26.2 miles but wanted to run the Boston Marathon.  McGillivray arranged a 26.2 foot race for her to complete, and she finished her own Boston Marathon.  Isn’t there something amazing about being able to run our own Boston Marathon?  Whether it’s a physical disability or just a lack of endurance that holds us back from running a 3:05/3:35, don’t we all want to have our own Boston Marathon?  The new times may mean a faster field, but do they mean a better Boston Marathon?

Do you think the BAA solved the problem with the new, faster times?  How about the staggered start to registering?  It’s a world-class event… but does that mean potentially shutting out hometown harriers?  Share your thoughts below.