Last fall I ran a 3:13:55 at the 2012 KC Marathon. I was elated – finally a BQ after 2 unsuccessful attempts! However, soon after posting that time, I ran across a blog that informed me, much to my horror, that a BQ didn’t necessarily mean you’d be running the race. Boston has a double-secret (ok, it’s not actually secret) cutoff time that is only established after all registrants submit their names. I don’t recall what the cutoff was for which prior year, but I do know that one of them was in the BQ-1:30 range, i.e., if you didn’t beat the BQ time for your age by 1 minute, 30 seconds, you weren’t running.
Since I had a BQ-1:05, I knew that I once again had a time that probably wasn’t going to get me to Boston. (In my marathon “debut” I put up a time that would have got me in under the old 3:20 standard but I ran it about a month too late to register for 2012 . Since registration was closed, it wasn’t good enough for 2013).
With that in mind, I attempted my first spring marathon, the Garmin Olathe Marathon in April 2013. It can be very hard to train for a spring marathon during a Midwest winter. I put in the work, and my reward was the 3:11:03 I needed to beat the BQ-1:38 cutoff for 2014. That race came just one week after the senseless bombings at Boston 2013. I never doubted that there would be a Boston 2014, but it was to some degree an open question in the aftermath. I was unashamedly emotional at the finish line of Garmin.
In hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t let off the gas after KC 2012. You never know when you might need a few more seconds.