In April of this year, I decided that I would try and qualify for the Boston Marathon. I don’t believe that I was born a talented athlete; in fact, far from it. However, I figured out in my early thirties that I was actually pretty decent at endurance sports. I might not be super fast, but I had the determination, desire, and the build to run for long distances.

After you run a couple of marathons, and an assortment of 10k races and the like, where do you go from there? I love triathlons as well. I have done a half Ironman, along with several sprint and Olympic distance races. The next logical step might be a full Ironman. This scares me a little bit though. The volume of training required for a full Ironman is tremendous. Sure, you could do less if you just want to finish, but I’d like to do more than just finish. I’d like to finish strong.

Maybe for the next year or year and a half, I should focus on my running, and see if I can do something that most would consider impossible: qualify for the Boston Marathon. When I made the decision, I was about to turn 37. In my age group, men ages 35-39, I would have to run a qualifying race in 3:10:00 or better. That’s a 7:15 pace per mile. That seems pretty daunting, especially when you consider that beating 3:10 doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a spot in the race; it depends on how many other people in my age group qualify that year, as spots are limited and awarded based on your qualifying time.

My fitness at the time was not terrible. The last 10k race I had done was on 12/05/2015, and I completed this in 47:31. According to my GPS, it was a distance of 6.26 miles, with an average pace of 7:36 a mile. Then, I checked the race time predictors that are available online. In order to run a 3:10 marathon, I should probably be able to run a 10k in 41:17, at a pace of 6:39 per mile. That’s an improvement of nearly a minute per mile. I think, when I was 12 or 13, I ran a mile in 6:36. The last time I attempted to run a mile where I actually kept records was on 05/15/2011. That day, I ran the mile in 6:44. So how in the hell do I get from a 47:31 10k to a 41:17 10k?

I guess it was time to get serious. I reached out to my friend Taryn and asked her if she would consider coaching me. She agreed, and has been invaluable in helping me along the way. I figure that anyone who has ran 35 marathons (now, probably 40) could offer some pretty relevant advice on how to run just one.

As I write this, I am just shy of six months into the training. The first four months were dedicated to¬†building a good, solid base. Right now, I am focused on training for the California International Marathon, on December 4th. This is going to be my first prep race, just to see how I do. I am going to attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon by running the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon on May 28th, 2017. Yesterday, I ran a half marathon in 1:38:59, which is a dramatic improvement from where I was. Maybe next May I’ll make it!!!

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