On April 13, 2014, I wrote “My 45 year old age adjusted KC marathon time (based on 3:14:21 at 42 years old) is 3:19:07. Suddenly, Boston is not looking like a lock in 3 years. I am going to have to buckle down!”
Now, I need to revise that, because Boston got a lot closer over the course of the past three weeks.
Since you qualify for the age group that you will be in when you run Boston, instead of the age group you were in when you qualified, I will be eligible to qualify in the 45-49 year old age group for Boston 2016 instead of 2017 – a whole year! I’ll actually be 43-turning-44 when I run to qualify as a (Boston 2016) 45 year old. It feels a bit like being the oldest kindergartner… only I’ll be one of the youngest 45-50 year olds. It’s maybe not fair, but I don’t write the rules… I just play by them.
Then, when I was watching Boston this year, I saw the qualifying times for 45-49 was 3:25:00 instead of 3:20:00 – a whole five minutes! That’s about 12 seconds a mile! That’s a 7:45 pace for a 3:23:00 instead of 7:33 for a 3:18:00! A gift! It’s like getting 6 inches more room for the limbo bar! Of course, one nagging thought is that they can move the bar. They’ve done it before.
Then, it was pointed out to me, that the first qualifying races for Boston 2016 are in the Fall of 2014. That is this year! The 2014 Kansas City marathon is a Boston 2016 qualifier!
Then, my sister-in-law, who lives in LA, was visiting for Easter, and she was inviting us out for a visit. One of the enticements for me was the LA Marathon. And despite my initial, vocal reservations about not wanting to run for a time on the road (I hate traveling), I was won over by her proximity to the start line and the course profile of the race. It’s a point to point from Dodger Stadium toward the ocean with a net drop of about 400′. According to Noakes, that’s an 88 second gift right there, figuring 11 seconds per 50′ of drop. The next LA Marathon is March 15, 2015; and because I know that, you know that I’m thinking about it.
Then Meb Keflezighi won Boston 2014 at age 38. The first American male to win Boston since 1983. The oldest Boston winner in 85 years. How do you PR a marathon at 38 after being so good for so long? I don’t know. But it’s an inspiration.
Meb is one of my heroes, and his Boston win and PR, in large part inspired by his desire to heal Boston and America from the 2013 bombings, makes me want to do something just as audacious myself. And for me, that is running Boston. A long time ago, I wanted to qualify for Boston. And it took me three years. I definitely did not want to go. Then, the idea took root and grew. Now, I can’t get the idea of running Boston out of my head.
There is something magical and graceful about all this. All I can say is… I hope Meb doesn’t start running Ultras. I really hope he doesn’t do a trans-con or I might have to join him… for at least some of it.
I have run the Kansas City marathon twice: 2011 was 3:30:18 and 2013 was 3:14:21. Those 16 minutes sometimes look like a knife’s edge (no difference), and sometimes they look like two sides of a coin (a random event), and sometimes they look like night and day. In any case, 16 minutes is the difference between BQing and not. It’s weather. It’s sickness or health. It’s a pothole. It’s anything that can help or hinder. Sixteen minutes is me two years apart. And Boston 2016 is two years away. It is by no means a lock, but the odds have turned in my favor. It makes me wonder, “How will I change over the course of two years? What will I reclaim? What will I revise? What will I learn?”
Now, my running life looks like this for the next couple of years: Corporate Challenge Half (May 2014), Kansas City Half (Oct 2014), LA Marathon (March 2015), Oz Marathon – back-up plan! (April 2015), then (knock on wood) Boston 2016. It’s like a dream. It’s like banking on Christmas two years down the road.