The Timing of Fall Qualifying Races & the Boston Marathon

20140613-114541-42341908.jpgI surely have a screw loose in my head because I am considering running the Boston Marathon with a charity in 2015.

While I fully plan to make my second BQ attempt at the Baystate Marathon in October, there is a pretty good chance that the 2015 Boston Marathon will already be full before I even run my race. Which would mean putting off my entry until 2016.

Now that I’ve got two marathons under my belt and have run up Heartbreak Hill twice, I have to admit I’m feeling kind of old for this shit. I love training and actually enjoyed my high mileage weeks, but I don’t honestly know how kind it would be to put myself through multitudes of marathons as I approach the second half of my 40s.

Surprisingly, I’ve felt harder hit by the effects of three races in a weekend than I did by either marathon, although I won’t discount cumulative fatigue. Since March 2, I’ve run two marathons, two half marathons, two 10ks and two 5ks. I PR’d in 5 of those, even if they were rather ugly PRs.

20140613-120227-43347441.jpgOn my schedule, I have two half marathons and one 4-miler coming up between June 23 & July 13. I think I’m going to hold off on more races until my marathon after that. I want to give myself the best shot at running a 3:55 or better marathon in October.

My personal trainer Mike has plans to get me stronger and faster than ever, and I think it’ll be easier to get effective crosstraining if I’m not constantly racing and having to revise workouts to accommodate that. For instance, this week instead of doing agility training, we did dynamic stretching because my hip is kind of wrecked from the elevation changes in the Newton hills. My chiropractor said I jammed my thigh bone up into my hip in the descents. Not cool. I’m guessing weaker glutes are to blame, and to work on those optimally, I need to not be banging them up more as I strengthen them.

Back to the title of this post: once upon a time, the Baystate Marathon was at a prime time to qualify for the following spring Boston Marathon. But then the BAA moved the registration window to September.

I found this on the front page of the Baystate Marathon’s website:

Can I run the 2015 Boston Marathon if I qualify at the 2014 Baystate?

There is no easy answer to that question. Before 2010 the answer was always yes. In 2010 you may recall the BAA had serious problems with their registration system. In reaction (in our opinion over-reaction) they shifted the opening of registration to September. So now it depends on how quickly they sell out. This past year was well over subscribed and sold out before Baystate. In 2012 it closed two days before Baystate.

We have lobbied (and so have many inside the BAA) for registration to be pushed back until after the fall marathons. So far we have not been successful. But we continue to hope the BAA will make the adjustment, not just for Baystate, but for Philly, Chicago, Marine Corp, New York and all the other great fall marathons. You can help to [sic] asking the BAA to move the opening of registration until after Thanksgiving.

Now, wouldn’t it be nice for all of us running Philly, Chicago, New York and MCM if this timeframe could be changed?

I plan to look into who to contact at BAA to put in my two cents.

Meanwhile, I’ve started looking into charities to run for. I think the easiest option for me would be to run for MS because both my father-in-law and sister-in-law had/have the disease and our family already donates to the cause, so why not donate it through me raising awareness. The other possible charity is the New England Aquarium, which is near and dear to my childlike heart. Once upon a time, I wanted to be a marine biologist until I realized I didn’t really like biology class. But I still love sea creatures, especially turtles, sharks and seals. Hmm, maybe that’s why I put up with my swimming husband smelling like whatever he just swam in. Which is not always a good thing (Lee River in Cork, Ireland, I am talking to you. Ew.).

A part of me feels a little like I am giving up on an actual qualifying time, which given how my training went, should not be an issue if I can manage to not have GI problems. However, as anyone who’s run a distance race knows, it is a big IF as things happen and races don’t usually go perfectly despite a zillion contingency plans. This post is just what’s going through my head right now as I nurse my hip back to health and I try to not use running as a torture device on my body and mind.

Therefore, someone please remind me that I am trying to be sane about my racing because I keep eyeing a 10k for tomorrow morning in my usual running route. Bad idea. Even as I write this post, I am sitting on a heating pad and trying to buck myself up for a 60 minute run knowing that my last three runs have been uncomfortable and slow. But, sure, a race in the morning sounds like a swell idea.

5 thoughts on “The Timing of Fall Qualifying Races & the Boston Marathon

  1. WOW! I know you’ve run a lot of races, but seeing it all written down in one place makes it really amazing!!! That said, take it from me… don’t overdue the hip issues. I know the temptation, but it honestly isn’t worth it. I know you will BQ one day, probably soon. Keep up the great work (just not tomorrow. :) ).

    • I was shocked when I listed it out too. No wonder my body is fried!

      I am definitely going to listen to you about the hip advice. No racing for me tomorrow. I’m sleeping in :)

  2. I agree – seeing the tally (and PRs) gives amazing perspective. I also think it is kind of crappy that the BAA shifted the sign-ups in a way that messes with fall marathons. I remember that running Wineglass last year thinking that even if I DID BQ (which wasn’t even a goal) I wouldn’t make the race.

    And seriously – if you body is saying ease up, ease up … I know I am feeling it, sitting here on Father’s day with all permission to run whatever I want, I will probably do the shortest I’ve done in a few weeks to get more ‘active rest’ (it is 65 and gorgeous … I can’t NOT run!)

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