Thursday, May 19, 2011

To BQ or not to BQ

That is the question. When I first ran a marathon, my goal was to finish. I had no real thoughts about time, which was good, because my last several miles were reduced to a shuffle, but bad because after my bio break at the halfway point, I picked up my pace to a way-too-fast speed to catch back up with my friends (and had I had a pace in mind, I would have stuck with the pace instead). I ran 4:26. When I ran my second marathon, I wanted to beat my time, and I ran 4:18 but suffered from dehydration.

Two years later, I was back in the saddle, having trained much harder and faster (and weighing 20# less), and I was very confident going in to the marathon. I set two goals: a stretch goal of 3:34 and a "reasonable" goal of 3:40. I had friends telling me that this could be the race I BQ'ed (BQ stands for "Boston Qualifier" and instead of saying "I qualified for the Boston Marathon," marathon runners will say "I BQ'ed.") - but my BQ time, as a 39 year old male, was 3:15. Way out of reach.

Turning 40 will give me a possible shot. 3:20 is much more manageable than 3:15. Except that the BAA is changing the standard, cutting five minutes off my qualifying time. Meaning that as I change age groups, I won't gain the additional time. That means if I can keep my current pace, I can BQ in 16 years. That is, if I can get in. Though the times are set, faster runners will get a head start on registering, and only if there are enough spaces can someone who just barely qualifies get in.

For 3:20, I would need to run a 7:38 pace, a pace which, a year ago, I would have said was impossible. The way I've been running lately, however, especially the Cap City half marathon, which I ran in 7:15 pace, that kind of pace could be doable. But I don't have much time to make that happen.

I don't think I'd probably actually go to Boston and run the marathon (though it would be quite the experience). But it would be cool to say I BQ'ed.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Almost like reading words I could've written here. ;-)
Just turned 40 and still hopeful for BQing. But it's definitely not going to happen this year...I'm in a training slump.
Good luck on your great running journey and congrats on that sweet pace for the Cap City half!