Good News and Bad News


One day, I'll be crossing this line.


I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news.  Which would you like to hear first?

Okay, I’ll start with the bad news.  As I’m sure even the most casual follower of this blog knows by now, I failed to qualify for the 2011 Boston Marathon in my last attempt. I came up a minute and fourteen seconds short.  Wait, there’s more.

After failing to break 3:21 at Towpath, I was faced with a dilemma.  If I was to take another shot at qualifying, I’d have to do it soon.  Registration for the Boston Marathon opened on October 18.  Last year, it filled in about 3 weeks and this year it was expected to fill even faster.  So to qualify in time to make the 2011 race, I’d have to find and run another marathon and I’d have to do it quickly.

This is not a wise course of action.  Running a marathon takes a toll on the body and you need a significant amount of time to adequately recover.  One school of thought is that the body takes about 1 day for every mile of racing to properly recover.  Do the math – we’re talking nearly a month to recover from a marathon.  If I waited a month, it would be too late – Boston would be full by then.

I have a lot of friends who are running the Ridge to Bridge marathon on October 30.  It’s supposed to be fast, with the first 10 miles or so heading downhill.  I’ve been told that over 20% of last year’s participants qualified for Boston.  Ridge to Bridge starts close to home (in Jonas Ridge, NC, less than 100 miles away) so there’d be few travel woes, i.e. cost – no airfare, no hotel.  And quite a few friends in my same wheelhouse – Théoden, Joel Thomas, Todd Hartung, Chad Randolph, etc. – were running here so there’d be no shortage of people to run with.

As I started discussing the R2B (the affectionate acronym for Ridge to Bridge) possibility with others, it became abundantly clear that my friends were divided into 2 camps – those who thought, “F**k it.  Throw caution to the wind.  Go for it.  You can do this.” and those who thought, “What, are you crazy?  You can’t run another marathon in 2 weeks, you’ll kill yourself!  Don’t be stupid.  Live to run another day.”

I know people who have run additional marathons on short notice – Théoden PR’d at Thunder Road only a few weeks after running New York.  Hell, Bobby Aswell and Todd Hartung do it all the time.

I was torn.

After all that rambling, I finally get to the second part of the bad news.  Registration for Boston filled in record time.  Instead of the 3 weeks it took to fill last year, it only took about 8 hours to fill this year.  There will be no Boston Marathon for me in 2011.  No point running Ridge to Bridge now.

Now for the good news which, coincidentally, also has 2 parts .  Part I – The decision has been made for me.  All pressure is now gone.  I have a year of running ‘just for fun’.  No big pressure.  No deadlines.  I’m returning to my roots.  Oh I have friendly rivalries and other goals that I’ll pursue – I won’t be lallygagging – but I don’t feel the need to break a certain time by a certain deadline.

Which brings us to Part II of the good news.  I’m sure some of you, upon reading that last paragraph, thought, “What do you mean you don’t feel the need to break a certain time by a certain deadline?!  Don’t you still have to qualify for Boston by next year’s deadline?”  It turns out I don’t.

This is why.  If you read the rules for qualifying, you’ll see that you have about 18 months to qualify.  Excerpts from this year’s rules, “Qualifying times must be run on or after September 20, 2009. The qualifying times are based upon each athlete’s age on the date of the Boston Marathon in which they are participating.”

Allow me to explain further.  For next year, qualifying times must be run on or after September 20, 2010.  The qualifying times are based upon each athlete’s age on the date of the Boston Marathon in which they are participating.  For next year’s Boston marathon, I will be 45 years old.  Which means qualifying time for me, for next year’s race, will be 3:30.

I ran 3:22 at Towpath on October 10, 2010.  Are you with me yet?  I am a Boston Marathon qualifier.

I will be running the 116th Boston Marathon on April 18, 2012.  See you there!


6 Responses to “Good News and Bad News”

  1. JSK Says:

    Congrats Allen!

  2. Wayne Lee Says:

    Excellent news…congratulations Allen! I hope the blogs continue as you prepare for Boston.

  3. Stack Says:

    awesome news… book your hotel now!


  4. Paul Says:

    great news!!

  5. Stephen Spada Says:

    Great news for you! Keep us posted on your progress…

  6. Ken Simpson Says:

    Great news Allen! Now relax, get some 5K’s and 10K’s to gradually recover and then hit it.

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