I Got the BQ! Now What?

On Saturday November 6, 2021, I got my first BQ (Boston Qualified Time) in my 3rd marathon.

It all started in 2018 when I told my husband I wanted to ‘run one marathon before I turned 40’. Little did I know I would love the high mileage training so much that I’d attempt to register for my 2nd marathon before even racing my first one! Unfortunately I didn’t get into the 2020 Chicago marathon through the lottery. Not to be deterred, I registered for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon instead, as I knew some runners who loved the course.

After racing my first marathon and successfully finishing in under 4 hours I was even more excited to race in Indy! Then Covid-19 hit, and a 2020 November marathon wasn’t happening.

So I raced a PR half marathon in Lincoln, Nebraska instead. After a 1:39 half marathon time I was even more determined to shave off some time in my next marathon, but I knew it would be awhile until I would race in Indianapolis. Lincoln, Nebraska opened up the annual Lincoln half and marathon race as an in-person event for May of 2021, and since I participated in the virtual half in 2020, I was offered the same price to run the full as I would pay for the half.

So I registered for a ‘practice full’ in May. 🤪

For this one I continued doing a somewhat independent training plan, with assistance from the awesome mentors at Fleet Feet in my city. Then I got to race day, and it was a humid day with temperatures getting into the 70s. I made sure I stayed on top of my hydration, especially ensuring the sports drinks were flowing because I knew replacing my sodium levels would be important.

After some great support and cheering from friends, and even a popsicle, I finished that race in 3:42, after casually blowing my husband a kiss while turning towards the straightaway to finish (he got this on video)! 😅

So perhaps I could have ran that a bit faster. I was two MINUTES short of that BQ! Once the realization that I could actually get a Boston Qualified time sunk in, my goal changed, from a PR to a BQ, which would obviously also be a PR.

It was time to get a coach.

Getting a coach proved to be the best thing I could’ve done. My weekly mileage got significantly higher, I had two speed workouts a week once I got really into training, and I was prescribed specific pacing strategies throughout training. By the time I got to the start line for marathon number 3, my legs had been through a lot more than any training cycle, but at the same time, they were healthy and ready to go. Definitely a perk of having a running coach who is also a Physical Therapist meant I was able to have her assess any issues I was having as they may be related to my training. I also got prescribed super helpful exercises to keep strong and gain strength where I may have been slacking (hello weak hip flexors)!

Once I got to race day, I was ready, and I finished at 3:34:04, which was two minutes faster than I was shooting for with my coach…and a time I believe I can beat now. You see, I was pacing a sub 3:30 marathon until I hit mile 22. Truthfully I could’ve better managed my fueling throughout the race, so that by mile 22 I wouldn’t have slowed so much, or felt so ready to be done. Still, I must say…not too shabby for my third marathon!

Aside from the PR, I have recovered better from this marathon than I have from the other two. I believe it’s the way I have been coached this time around combined with my own acknowledgment that I need to allow enough recovery and care for my legs after my speed work sessions and long runs. The massage I had three days before the marathon probably helped, too! 😉

Overall, I feel pretty great about where marathon running has taken me. I look forward to the opportunity to register for Boston…in 2022 for the 2023 race. As it turns out I’m racing in the 2022 Chicago Marathon as I got in based off of my Lincoln Marathon time when I opted to register in late October! With three children that are in activities and the fact that surprisingly I do have other things in my life going on besides running, I decided to only run one marathon in 2022. I’m not quite sure what other races I’ll be doing in 2022, but whatever I do, I’m going to have fun, and maybe try to hit some non-marathon PRs along the way!

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