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My journey to the Boston Marathon

I looked out this morning and the sun was gone Turned on some music to start my day

I’ve heard the opening lines to Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” more times than I can remember. But the most meaningful time occurred Sept. 17 when I cranked up the song moments after receiving the email confirmation that my qualifying time was enough to get me into the 2019 Boston Marathon.

The initial lyrics likely resonate with other long-distance runners who often greet the morning before sunrise then turn on the music (or podcasts) as they begin their day with a run. It’s that dedication that propels these athletes to achieve their goals like qualifying for the Boston Marathon.

For me, this was my second consecutive year qualifying but the first time my time guaranteed me entry into the historic race. On Nov. 4, I ran a 3:24:16, beating my age 50 qualifying time by well over five minutes.

‘You can and you will.’ And I did.

I feel fortunate and grateful that my training, dedication and health allowed me to post a time that got me into the race. My hope is that the other 5,200 runners who missed out on getting into this year’s race are experiencing similar joy right now.

A year ago when I missed getting into Boston by 109 seconds, I wrote a blog post focusing on 19 thoughts on missing out.

I reviewed those this week after getting into the 2019 race and was struck by a couple of the entries.

The first of those, No. 3, recapped my initial reaction on Twitter last year: "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"

That positive approach was evident elsewhere in that blog post.

For example, No. 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."

And, it’s true, both Stephanie (the author of that tweet) and I will be running Boston in 2019.

A supportive running community

Those who have followed my running journey know that 2018 has been a challenging one.

In January, I suffered a plantar fasciitis injury that limited my running in the first three months of the year. I had to withdraw from a February marathon but worked through the injury to train for and complete a 50-miler in April on the way to my planned first 100K in early May.

Then emergency abdominal surgery — four days before the UROC 100K — derailed my big goal race for the year. Fortunately, I recovered as quickly as realistically possible. And I am back on my feet and have already finished a half marathon and a 20-mile race in my training for the Chicago Marathon. I’ll finish out the year with a 50K and a 50-miler.

But the lessons from being sidelined for much of the first six months of the year provided me the context of what I wrote in the 14th post of the blog last year: "I know I am fortunate to be able to run. Every opportunity to run makes it a good run."

I thought about that sentiment as I was sidelined earlier this year. I thought about it as a I did stretching exercises to alleviate my PF. I thought about it as I did lap after lap around the fifth floor of the hospital, IV cart in tow, as I pushed myself toward healing in the days after surgery.

As my plans take shape for 2019, I have lots of people to thank. Family members, friends and the running community have all been incredibly supportive. And that was on full display as I announced my success about getting into Boston. Roughly 300 people liked and/or commented on my Facebook page announcing the news, and I received dozens of other texts, emails and similar support on social media.

And, a sign of support greeted me as I arrived to my office the following day. Thanks, Julie!

The future

Perhaps there was no better way to conclude the post from last year than what I wrote. It also reminded me why I settled on the unusual number of 19 thoughts.

The final one from last year: 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.

In April, I will accomplish one of my first running goals: to finish the Boston Marathon. While that goal will be checked off my bucket list, I will be adding to my list of must-do races. When I started with my goal of running the Boston Marathon, it was one that scared me. So, of course, I need a new goal that scares me. With that in mind, I have set my next big goal:

Finish the Leadville 100-miler.

And I begin dreaming (more than a feeling)

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