That’s how close I came to getting into the Boston Marathon in 2018. My PR in the 2017 Indianapolis Monumental — 3:23:26 — was enough to best my qualifying time of 3:25 for my age group. However, it was not fast enough for me to get into the race, which was limited to those who beat their qualifying time by 3 minutes, 23 seconds.
But I was far from alone. I was among 5,026 runners who qualified and applied for the 2018 race but missed the cut.
19 thoughts on those 109 seconds:
1. When I PR’d and BQ’d, I honestly didn’t think it was enough based on the previous two qualifying years, which limited the fields to those who beat their qualifying times by 2:09 (for the 2017 race) and 2:28 (for the 2016 race).
2. My goal had been to qualify for Boston and let the chips fall where they may. Nothing — not even being sentenced to the sidelines this year — can take that away.
3. I still embrace and believe my first reaction on Twitter, moments after receiving the email from the Boston Marathon group. The tweet read:
No #bostonmarathon2018 for me. Qualifying window 3:23 and better, about 2 minutes faster than I BQ'd. Boston, I will see you in '19. #BQchat
4. In June 2017, before my BQ, I visited Boston on a business trip. One night I walked to the famous blue and yellow line across Boylston Street. But I didn’t touch it or pass it. That day will come.
5. The timing of the Boston cutoff news has re-energized me as I prepare for another BQ at the Monumental, roughly six weeks from when I received the email. I had just come off a less-than-ideal series of Yasso 800s. The news has refocused me to hit everything on my training plan, follow my nutrition plan and do all the little things that will add up to a big accomplishment.
6. I think about those other 5,000-plus runners who missed the cut, some of who I know on social media. I wish each of them the best when it comes to their health, their training and their next BQ attempts.
7. Being shut out of Boston doesn’t negate any of my other accomplishments since I BQ’d. Those include finishing my first 50-miler.
8. I wonder whether Boston will change its qualifying standards, given that only 82.1 percent of those who qualified and applied (23,198 out of 28,260) made it in. The last time Boston changed its qualifying standards was 2012. The standards for 2019 are unchanged.
9. I am curious to know how many of those who made it in may have done so by skirting the rules. The Marathon Investigations website has tracked down some runners who apparently cut the course at the Honolulu Marathon but apparently will run Boston, based on those “qualifying times.” He also found some serious issues with the Mexico City Marathon.
10. The same week when I learned of my rejection, my son achieved his goal time for cross-country — a 33-second PR. While he deserves all the credit for his accomplishment, I do think I know where he gets his dedication and determination from.
11. Almost comically, my left shoe became untied just before mile 3 during last year’s Monumental. I figure my wardrobe malfunction cost me about 20-30 seconds. I was so relieved that I didn’t miss the cut by that amount.
12. I think back to the advice of my coach, Angie Spencer of Marathon Training Academy. Before the 2016 Monumental, she told me to do whatever I had to do to keep the 3:25 pace group behind me. It worked (except for the brief time I was retying my shoe). Going into the 2017 race, I will apply the same mindset — except this time, I am going to keep the 3:20 group behind me.
13. My 2017 BQ was on a nearly perfect running day — no precipitation, little wind and low 40s at the race start. In Indianapolis, the first Saturday of November — when the Monumental is held — the weather could be anything from freezing rain to highs in the 70s.
14. I know I am fortunate to be able to run. Every opportunity to run makes it a good run.
15. The red and black Saucony Kinvaras I wore for the BQ race are a sentimental favorite. While I had envisioned wearing them again for this year’s race, they are not going to make the cut since they have piled on the miles since and I am going to need a fresher pair.
16. Enter this new pair of Kinvaras. I am ready to rock them in Indy.
17. After seeing my post about missing Boston, a runner friend reminded me of how I inspired her to her first Boston: "I will def see you in 2019! You CAN & you WILL! (Your words to me b4 my first BQ 2014)." Thanks, @IRun4MyCrazy, you better believe it.
18. The confirmation of the Boston rejection did allow me to put together my racing calendar for 2018. While the Monumental was really the only marathon I did to qualify for the 2018 Boston race, I am looking at additional marathons to earn my qualifying status or improve my time — and odds of getting in.
19. Why 19 thoughts, instead of the rounded number of 20, or perhaps more appropriately 26? Because in 2019, I will be running the Boston Marathon after I re-qualify — with a cutoff-resistant time.