4000 Miles to Boston

Today I was accepted into the 2017 Boston Marathon. While I’ve known for a few months that I would likely get in, receiving the acceptance email has re-stoked my excitement and commitment. It has been a long road since I first dreamed of Boston — a 4000 mile road, as a matter of fact.

On October 5, 2013, I ran the St. George Marathon with my father-in-law, Jerry. This was my seventh marathon; however, I hadn’t run a marathon since the Hoover Dam Marathon in 2009, so I was unsure what I was capable of. The fast course and my preparation combined for a new marathon PR: 3:24:53. After the race, I realized that I could potentially get my time down enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon some day. For my age bracket I would need a 3:05:00 to qualify.

The following year I had mixed results. I had some knee pain in December 2013 which meant very few miles. I was still able to drop my PR to 3:21 at the nice Phoenix Marathon course the following March. I experimented at the Utah Valley Marathon in June by going out fast on the downhill, but it led to a huge bonk and a lot of pain.

Then in the summer of 2014 my exuberance led to a couple injuries. First I strained my calf. Then, after my calf recovered, I strained a tendon in my foot. I still managed to run the St. George Marathon again in 2014, but I had to take it easy due to my sore foot and I got 3:34:18. I took training fairly easy through December 2014.

2015 was a great year. I trained hard all spring without injury and I thought I was on track for a sub 3:05 for the Newport Marathon in May. However, I had some knee pain in the two weeks before the race and then I bonked again and only squeaked out a 3:13:48. Although it was a nice PR, it was a big disappointment as I was really hoping to qualify.

Nevertheless, I trained hard over the summer and was able to finally qualify for Boston at the Mt. Nebo Marathon on September 5 with a 3:04:18. I was ecstatic! However, my hopes were dashed when the Boston Athletic Association lowered the cut-off time from 3:05:00 to 3:02:32 and my registration was rejected. Despite the big disappointment, I still PR’d in every distance 10K or more in 2015, so it was definitely a banner year for my running. I also fit in the Foothills 50K Frenzy in October — my first time running more than a marathon.

After a light December 2015 to heal my calves and knees, I hit it hard again in January 2016. Again I had an excellent winter/spring training regimen, doing three quality runs per week and two or three cross training days. I waffled on which marathon to run, but ultimately selected the local Famous Potato Marathon, which has a pretty nice, slightly downhill course. My marathon went as well as it could have, and I achieved a new PR of 2:58:15, breaking the 3:00 barrier and securing a nice Boston qualification cushion. I ran the Morgan Valley Marathon in late July and nearly broke 3:00:00 again despite the more difficult course (high elevation) and a smaller taper.

Finally September rolled around and I was able to register for Boston on Friday, 9/16/16. I awaited confirmation anxiously all weekend and checked my email like a crazy person. This morning (Monday) the confirmation came through. I was elated and relieved.

I looked up how many miles I have run since the 2013 St. George Marathon: 4000 miles exactly! (OK, 4000.19 miles.) What a number! In addition to the 4000 miles, which took 493 hours 19 minutes, I’ve also done a few hundred hours of cross training.

The cumulative miles and marathons I've ran since setting my sights on Boston
The cumulative miles and marathons I’ve ran since setting my sights on Boston

I think back on all the early mornings, running in the dark, running in sub freezing weather, on icy roads, driving by myself at 4:45am so I can run on a hill, etc. I’m not sure why I do it. Something about the challenge and trying to get a little faster and a little better. Trying to achieve whatever goal is next. At one point I thought that once I made it to Boston I would relax and scale back my running. I doubt that now.

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