Tag Archives: Boston Athletic Association

Boston Will Be

The 118th Boston Marathon is in 10 days. Everyone is waiting. We know nothing is going to happen. That is, collectively, the running community, the Boston community, and the country know that another bomb will not go off in Boston on Patriot’s Day. Any yet, there was just another shooting at Fort Hood. So let’s be honest. Anything could happen. That is why we run the marathon.

Left on Boylston

Left on Boylston

I don’t mean the Boston Marathon 2014 specifically. I mean, that is why we, repeat marathoners, run the marathon. Whether you have run the distance once or a hundred times, each and every time, anything can happen. You could run like you’ve taken flight and not feel any pain, or you can start falling apart only a quarter of the way in. Both scenarios can be equally unpredictable.

We were reminded at 2:49pm on April 15, 2013 that anything can happen, at any time, and in any context. I’ve had a few minor instances of panic since then while running, when in a crowded space, or when something, usually something arbitrary (read: unpredictable) reminds me of how vulnerable we are, how exposed. This has been my response, and I was not in the blast zone. In fact, I am quite certain I was in a bathroom at the Marriot Copley hotel being post-PR-marathon-effort sick when the first bomb went off. Yet it stays with me, that now prescient feeling, that someone can hurt you, or someone you love, at any time and in any place.

For those running, with 10 days to go, we wait with everyone else, we’re all waiting for the evidence that nothing will happen, it’s evidence that will only come with the absence of tragedy on April 21st. While we wait, we also obsess the way we do before any marathon. We check the weather forecast every few hours. We calculate different versions of our race, we go to great and socially ostracizing lengths to avoid getting sick. We wish we for a protective bubble of protection against clumsiness, like twisted ankles while taking the laundry downstairs. We fight the temptation to cram in last minute hard workouts, which will only wear the body down at this point. All of this is comforting because it’s what we do. It’s not special things that we do before the first anniversary event of a terrorist act, it’s just what we do.

What we do.

What we do.

I (and I believe the vast majority of those running in 10 days) didn’t train hard for Boston 2014 because we want to prove anything about terrorism. Yes, a great many runners are running for people injured from the blasts, and many of us have been compulsively donating to the various funds, and/or fundraising, but that’s not WHY we trained hard, it’s only a part of it, a recent addition.

I would train hard and run this race anyway. Even so, I’ve found myself incapable of visualizing my race. I always visualize my races, especially when I am hoping for a personal best. I heard someone on the radio recently describe something (I’ve forgotten what) as like trying to see a black hole. That when you look for a black hole you cannot see the thing itself, only the edges of it. That’s what the actual running of the Boston Marathon this year is to me: a black hole. The harder I try to visualize, to see, my race, the more blank my mind goes. I feel only grief in my chest, tears in my eyes, and I can see the edges. That is, I can visualize everything that happens before the race, and everything that happens after, but the race itself? Trying to see myself, and everyone else running the actual Boston Marathon is a complete void. I can remember every mile of last year, and most of the year before, but I can’t pretend to see this impending one. What no one will say, is that acts of terror are aptly labeled. They work. They change us, they change our behavior, and how we perceive things. They create terror.

I wish we could quietly continue with our training and racing, continue to revel in the allure of the Boston Marathon in its entirety, of all road races, and the pleasure of gathering in the streets with coolers full of snacks and drinks, without suspicion or anxiety. I want us all to be gracefully unaffected by what happened last year. However, I recognize it’s the American way to be over the top in our effort to show that “you can’t stop us” and “you can’t scare us”. We have to, rather than carry-on as we were before, persevere with extra celebration, and more gusto, more everything. We like to say that the best revenge is a life well lived. My problem is that I don’t want revenge. In fact, the feelings after last year’s events that I’ve had the most difficulty with, are feelings of empathy, not anger, not even fear or sadness, but empathy. Insufferable empathy for those killed, those hurt, and for those who did the killing and the hurting. I don’t think I have to spell out here how very complicated that is, and how very uncomfortable.

Our love for the Boston Marathon is not new, and we'll never take it for granted.

Our love for the Boston Marathon is not new, and we’ll never take it for granted.

I think the way to really show that an effort was futile is to actually behave in a way that is unaffected. Unchanged. I want the other Boston marathon back, the one I dreamed about for almost two decades, and then got to be a part of twice. Or more accurately, one and a half times (because, really, the post race celebrating is half the experience). The old Boston Marathon experience was an emotional, exhilarating, and life affirming one. I’m worried not that those elements will still be there, but that now those elements will be so exaggerated as to be intolerable.

I could go on, I could talk about how unsettling the constant talk of heightened security measures is, and about how much I wish people would stop calling it “the marathon bombing”, but really, the important thing is that in 10 days the Boston Marathon will be. No matter what happened, and no matter what happens. It will be, and I will be there with over 100,000 other runners and spectators, racers and partiers. With laughter and with tears: We will be.






10 days. Taper effects or attitude?

I have had a hard time getting out of bed every morning this week. I have had an even more difficult time getting excited about my training runs. I’m experiencing the typical near-pathological paranoia that comes with tapering before big event.

Things like “holy crap everything feels so tight” and “why does THAT hurt” and “shit shit shit, I am panting and this is 30 seconds slower than my goal marathon pace!”

But also, I am just so gosh-darned tired! Hopefully this is either part of the taperpsychosis, or evidence that I am truly due for a vacation.

I only need to run 3-5 miles today, but couldn’t get my heiney out the door before work, so I packed my running kit and will run from “the office” this afternoon. That should be interesting.

10 days to go. This is a time when I should be enjoying every second of my runs, as there are few left! So, in an effort to pull my head out of my ass, here are some of my usual inspirations to get my training mojo going.

Video’s of Desi training motivate me because she just exudes a non-nonsense, get it done, attitude. The other Hansons-Brooks folks are pretty impressive as well.

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 And of course Meb. Love.


I never tire of the Katherine Switzer story:

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11px; font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #808080; margin-top: 5px; background: transparent; text-align: center; width: 512px;”>Watch

http://video.pbs.org/video/2210799795” target=”_blank”>Kathrine Switzer on PBS. See more from 13px; color:#4eb2fe !important;” href=”http://www.pbs.org/” target=”_blank”>Makers: Women Who Make America.</a></p>

Finally, if you aren’t already familiar with Team Hoyt, visit their site here.

With that, I am feeling inspired and running morivated enough to stop obsessing over it, and get back to work!


Problem with impulse control…BAA 5k

Turns out my impulse control really suffers when my routine is interrupted. Things are sort of in a state of upheaval at my job right now. Our offices were broken into overnight on Sunday and many of us had our computers stolen, myself included. The building was also flooded. Insult to injury I guess.

A few co-workers and I are working out of a conference room at a different building that houses our larger day program for adults with disabilities. It’s a fun environment to be in, but working out of my briefcase is not fun.

Also, I am heading out to visit my family in California this Thursday afternoon for a long weekend (my nephew is turing 5!), then, next week I am going to a training for work for 3 days…so this week was meant to be exhausting anyway, without the thieving jackasses.

Anyway, at one point today I locked myself out of the “office” whilst everyone else was at a meeting in another part of town. First, I killed time visiting some clients, then answering emails and reading blogs on my phone…then, I saw that this blogger just registered for the BAA 5k, which is held the morning before the Boston Marathon, and immediately precedes the invitational mile race.

So I, admittedly without thinking for even a minute, registered as well.

I want to say: whoops?

But actually I am pleased I did it. I don’t know if I will run Boston again, but even if I run it 10 more times after this April, I want to soak up each and every possible part of the experience that I can.

I plan to run is slowly, just as a shake-out, I’d likely have run 3 – 5 miles that morning anyway, right?

I guess I should probably think about booking a flight and hotel room now.

Other signs of poor impulse control today, I stayed at work late obsessing over some verbiage in a document I am presenting to staff tomorrow. I skipped my workout(s). And I bought 3 (!!!) boxes of cereal, already ate a bowl (I am not allowed to buy it, because I always binge eat it). Also, I bought an Amy’s frozen pizza for dinner (Jorgie already ate, a healthy dinner of course), and I will probably eat all of it.


I can’t wait to go on a California run with my little soon-to-be-5-years-old-coach.


The Boston Marathon gets new qualifying times, registration process. Elites announced. It’s gonna be a barnburner!!!

59 days until the Boston Marathon.

I am so uncoordinated using crutches that I have wacked my foot about 10 times already today. Tomorrow, I think I will just use one…as a cane. That should be enough. When I realized the countdown today my thoughts very quickly went down the my-foot-hurts-I am-going-to-be-out-of-shape-no-way -I-can-recover-oh-crap path really fast. In an effort to to stay focused I thought I would share some BAA news with you all.

First, as it pertains to us mere-mortals, new qualifying times, and registration procedures for the Boston Marathon were posted yesterday. A huge number of runners will be upset over this news. I will present the facts and then my thoughts.

Next year registration will be run on a “rolling” schedule for two weeks. That means that the fastest runners (those exceeding their age-group qualifying time by 20 minutes or more) will register on the first day (9/12/2011). On day 3 those ahead of the time standard by 10 minutes register, then on day 5 those at the 5 minute mark. At the start of week two registration opens for anyone who met the qualifying time for their age-group, however runners will be accepted fastest to slowest until capacity is reached. The field size for the race will not be increased.

Beginning with the 2013 Boston Marathon the qualifying times will be as follows (plus an increase in field size-I think):

2013 Qualifying Times (effective September 24, 2011)

18-34 3hrs 05min 00sec 3hrs 35min 00sec
35-39 3hrs 10min 00sec 3hrs 40min 00sec
40-44 3hrs 15min 00sec 3hrs 45min 00sec
45-49 3hrs 25min 00sec 3hrs 55min 00sec
50-54 3hrs 30min 00sec 4hrs 00min 00sec
55-59 3hrs 40min 00sec 4hrs 10min 00sec
60-64 3hrs 55min 00sec 4hrs 25min 00sec
65-69 4hrs 10min 00sec 4hrs 40min 00sec
70-74 4hrs 25min 00sec 4hrs 55min 00sec
75-79 4hrs 40min 00sec 5hrs 10min 00sec
80 and over 4hrs 55min 00sec 5hrs 25min 00sec
*Unlike previous years, an additional 59 seconds will NOT be accepted for each age group time standard.

This represents the first time since 1980 that BQ times have been made tougher. Registration with the new standards will be conducted using the same rolling admission schedule I outlined above.

My thoughts:

I think this is great!

I recognize that it means I (and many, many others) may never have another opportunity to run Boston (as I BARELY made the cut this time), which is disappointing because my training has been severely disrupted this time around, but it also increases my desire to want to run it again. I  feel extremely grateful that I made it in this year. My BQ  time was 3:37, so for 2013 I would have missed the cut. To assure entry into 2012 I figure I need to improve by 15 minutes. That’s huge! But my dream finishing time is 3:15 so that lights a fire in me, even though I have yet to even consider if I want to try to repeat Boston.

The reason I think this revision of BQ standards is great is because it sort of gives a new coat of polish to the prestige of running the Boston Marathon. As running becomes more and more popular (which is awesome!), completing a marathon is getting very close to simply a common milestone in an active lifestyle. I really believe that anyone can complete a marathon if they train long enough, and gradually enough. Not everyone, however, can run at a 7 to 10 minute per mile clip for 26.2 miles.  (that’s the range for ages 18-65)

I am very interested to see how registration goes the next two years, whether or not I plan to run. This is a great opportunity to see the effect the higher standards and more competitive application process have on the event and, really, on the sport itself. I do hope that the BAA pays close attention to the distribution of age, sex, and ability of acccepted entrants in these next two years.

Additionally I would like to point out that marathon running, as a sport, is very slow to make changes when compared to other popular sports. Heck, the rules of football, hockey, and even cycling seem to change with each season! Even the weekend warrior athlete is getting stronger and faster with all the technology we have access to, it’s time for the playing field to catch up.

Moving on

Also, last week, the elite field was officially announced. If you are a spectator this year, it looks like it’s going to be an exciting race! Check it out:

Men’s Open Field Country Personal Best
Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot Kenya 2:05:52 (Boston, 2010) CR
Geoffrey Mutai Kenya 2:04:55 (Rotterdam, 2010)
Ryan Hall USA 2:06:17 (London, 2008)
Gilbert Yegon Kenya 2:06:18 (Amsterdam, 2009)
Evans Cheruiyot Kenya 2:06:25 (Chicago, 2008)
Tadese Tola Ethiopia 2:06:31 (Frankfurt, 2010)
Sylvester Teimet Kenya 2:06:49 (Seoul, 2010) CR
Bekana Daba Ethiopia 2:07:04 (Houston, 2011) CR
Philip Kimutai Sanga Kenya 2:07:11 (Frankfurt, 2010)
Shadrack Kiplagat Kenya 2:07:53 (Amsterdam, 2007)
Tekeste Kebede Ethiopia 2:07:23 (Boston, 2010)
Feleke Abreham Cherkos Ethiopia 2:07:29 (Amsterdam, 2010)
Deressa Chimsa Edae Ethiopia 2:07:54 (Dubai, 2009)
Stephen Kibiwot Kenya 2:07:54 (Praha, 2009)
Robert Kipchumba Kenya 2:08:07 (Xiamen, 2011) CR
Gebregziabher Gebremariam Ethiopia 2:08:14 (New York City 2010)
Moses Kigen Kipkosgei Kenya 2:10:12 (Nairobi, 2009) CR
Antonio Vega USA 2:13:47 (Boston, 2010)
Peter Kamais Kenya 2:14:58 (New York City, 2010)
Alistair Cragg Ireland Debut
Moses Mosop Kenya Debut
Women’s Open Field Country Personal Best
Teyba Erkesso Ethiopia 2:23:53 (Houston, 2010) CR
Galina Bogomolova Russia 2:20:47 (Chicago, 2006)
Sharon Cherop Kenya 2:22:43 (Toronto, 2010) CR
Tirfi Tsegaye Beyene Ethiopia 2:22:44 (Toronto, 2010)
Merima Mohammed Ethiopia 2:23:06 (Toronto, 2010)
Salina Kosgei Kenya 2:23:22 (Berlin, 2006)
Caroline Kilel Kenya 2:23:25 (Frankfurt, 2010)
Dire Tune Ethiopia 2:23:44 (Frankfurt, 2010)
Alice Timbilili Kenya 2:25:03 (Amsterdam, 2010)
Kim Smith New Zealand 2:25:21 (London, 2010)
Kara Goucher USA 2:25:52 (New York, 2008)
Tatyana Pushkareva Russia 2:26:14 (Boston, 2010)
Desiree Davila USA 2:26:20 (Chicago, 2010)
Teyba Naser Ethiopia 2:26:20 (Los Angeles, 2010)
Silvia Skvortsova Russia 2:26:24 (Berlin, 2009)
Werknesh Kidane Ethiopia 2:27:15 (Dubai, 2011)
Hellen Mugo Kenya 2:27:16 (Carpi, 2010)
Yuliya Ruban Ukraine 2:27:44 (Frankfurt, 2010)
Woynishet Girma Ethiopia 2:27:51 (Amsterdam, 2010)
Blake Russell USA 2:29:10 (Chicago, 2005)
Florence Kiplagat Kenya Debut
Aim high!

“If you are having trouble in the foothills, you will die on Heartbreak…If you are not having trouble on the foothills, you will die on Heartbreak”

First; here is the route for my run today.  24 degrees and gray outside, a little windy. I was comfortable in a base layer and some fleece pants, hat, gloves, light jacket and wool socks over my dry fits. I am always nervous about running in cold or rainy weather, but it usually is just fine.

Second; posting title: I am not sure who sounded that warning first, but I have heard it many times since I was a kid. I have fond memories of watching dozens of bundled up people run by my house in New Hampshire whether in rain, snow, or deceitful frozen sunshine, on a 20 mile organized  training run, every March, year after year.  I would aspire to join them. At the time I had no concept of what series of hills could do to a person AFTER running over 15 miles already. With another 5+ miles to go after the last hill!

I was back in New England a few weeks ago and was shocked to see the hills. Everywhere hills! Driving along the streets where I grew up I was in disbelief that I used to run all over those hills. Those hills! I never realized I was running on all those hills! I just went from point A to point B, or in loop, or out and back, and tried not to trip on the edge of the pavement or twist my ankle on a pine cone.

4 years in Chicago has made me a complete and utter, injury ridden wimp! What am I going to do! — Such were the thoughts running through my mind on a sleepless night recently.

In trying to find some reliable information on the inclines of each hill on the Boston Marathon course last night, I stumbled upon this article by Marc Chalufour. And now it’s the DECLINES not the inclines that are making my shudder. I already began jotting down some exercises to add to my training to try to get my joints extra stable before the marathon.

Here are the inclines I have found so far, I pulled this text directly from a forum

“It’s rolling before this but starting at mile 16 for .6 mile set at 2.4% incline,

then mile 17.6 for .3m 4.7% incline,

mile 19.2 for .4m 3% incline,

mile 20.3 for .4m 4.6% incline”

I have done two hills workouts on the treadmill so far. I am keeping track of how many “hills” I do per workout and the inclines, as well as total feet climbed so I can chart it to be sure I stay on track.

My long run is scheduled for tomorrow, but I am going to push it back to Saturday. Just about every injury I have ever had seems to be hurting today. I have one shin wrapped, a foot braced, a heating pad waiting on my pillow, and a night splint ready to go. I am going to try to go swim tomorrow after work, and spend some time quality time with my foam roller

Good grief, is week 2 over yet?!


All wrapped up and resting with Penelope post run.

All wrapped up and resting with Penelope post run.