Thursday, November 17, 2011

Boston Marathon

This week kicks off training for another attempt at a Boston Qualifier. Third try is the charm?

I have spectated at the Boston Marathon twice, oh, about 10 years ago. My undergrad degree is from Boston College, which is on the marathon route at the top of Heartbreak Hill at mile 21.

I missed the marathon twice because I wasn't in Boston. The marathon is held on Patriots Day, the third Monday of April. Marathon Monday tends to coincide with Easter. Those two years, I was on my way back to Boston as thousands of runners were trekking 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston. I made the mistake one year of getting off a train at Back Back thinking I could walk a couple blocks to the Copley T stop. Haha, no. I conveniently forgot that the marathon finish line is at Copley and the Copley T station was closed all day. Oops.

I don't think I fully appreciated the Boston Marathon while I was a student. I wasn't running when I was an undergrad. I didn't realize that Boston is the holy grail of marathons for many marathoners and marathoner-hopefuls. I seriously did not know that Heartbreak Hill was Heartbreak Hill until I was a sophomore or junior. In itself, Heartbreak is not that bad of a hill (and yes, I have ran up Heartbreak Hill, including at the end of a 20-mile long run). It's just in a psychologically bad place on the marathon route after several other hills.

One of my running buddies ran Boston this year. We did some long runs on the Newton hills. BC is a pretty good spot to use as a base for a long run. As a former BC student, I knew you can park for free at BC on the weekends (except during home football games in the fall ... then do not try to get anywhere near BC). I know where all the bathrooms are. It's easy to do a run of any distance. Say, 20 miles. Run 5 miles into Boston, run back to BC, run 5 miles on the Commonwealth Ave carriage road or along the marathon route, and run back to BC again. You will see tons of other people out training for Boston. You will see people with charity shirts or marathon shirts or hydration belts. It is one giant running club.

I don't know how long it will take me to qualify for Boston. But I do know one thing. I WILL qualify.

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