Today registration for the Boston Marathon opens. Qualifying for Boston is an aspiration or goal for most long distance runners. While some debate if it’s ‘the best’, it is the most coveted and prestigious – and hardest to get into. But there are things more important to me than getting a BQ – I’ll list five.
Naturally there are many people – thousands every year, in fact – who are fast enough to qualify for Boston. But as I have engaged the running community it seems nearly every running blog involves someone who has Boston as an eventual goal. I never really thought about it – after all I didn’t run a 5k until last year, but after seeing improvements in my pace last year as I worked harder than ever on my running, I realized that I might be able to speed up enough to qualify.
With that said, here are some of the things more important to me than qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
- Be around for my family: I know this sounds dramatic, but given I have a brother who would be dead if he didn’t have his ‘widow-maker’ heart attack in spin class at the Princeton Wellness Center with a doctor and nurse in the room. I have a strong family history of heart attacks, and am in the midst of getting a full cardiac workup. I already know I have nothing serious, but am waiting for more detailed test results. Given the choice I will always choose my family … but I really hope I don’t need to make that choice.
- Still be able to run the Wineglass (or my local marathon) in 10 or 20 years: when I went out way too fast in my last marathon, I ended up quite sore and felt little twinges all over for a couple of days. Trying out the Merrell Vapor Gloves brought me some discomfort that scared me a bit. I have used running for health and weight for nearly 25 years, and no single race is worth jeopardizing that!
- Be able to run an ‘Ultra’: Also more important to me than making it to Boston is running an UltraMarathon. Those are 50k (~32 miles), 50 miles or up to 100 miles. As I finished my first marathon, I knew I could have easily run the 50k right then and there … and while I had to put that off in 2013 due to travel, it is on my 2014 list!
- Be there for family events: While traveling this year almost weekly I frequently did ‘doubles’ – run in the morning, then either run trails or near the hotel or hit the elliptical machine in the evening. And while I am working to keep my weekly mileage up as high by running more on weekends and in the mornings, it is a compromise – and one thing I will not do is run the amount of doubles I ran while traveling when I am at home.
- Enjoy running every morning as long as possible: I simply cannot describe how much I love to get up and run in the morning. When I take a day off, it is calculated and generally due to exhaustion – but I still don’t enjoy the feeling of not having run. If keeping my pace to the point where I never make it to Boston means a lifetime of running … I will take it!
What about you? Are you a runner looking to qualify? Or have you hit your time but never gotten in due to overwhelming demand? What about other sports or events – are there similar things? Let us know!