Tag Archives: qualifying for boston

Final Thoughts on Boston

Since it was an eventful weekend I thought I would do an additional post to share some thoughts on my weekend in Boston. If you are currently contemplating whether you can qualify for Boston or whether you are working on getting your qualifying time hopefully this will help motivate you to get there.

I can’t recall when I decided that qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon was a realistic goal but it took me several tries to finally get my qualifying time. This included some frustratingly close calls – 3:12 twice, 3:14 and 3:15 when I was trying to come in under 3:10.

Now that I have run the Boston Marathon I can say that without a doubt the hours of training, often early in the morning or late at night in my case, were worth it. The experience lives up to the hype and then some.

In particular, experiencing the run past Wellesley College and the final turn from Hereford St. onto Boylston St. make the road to Boston worth it.

The first thing you notice when you arrive in Boston for marathon weekend is the excitement in the air. The people of Boston are proud of the event and it is hard not to get caught up in the excitement. Our hotel was close to the Science Museum. Even T-Rex was ready for the marathon…

Since we arrived in Boston around noon on the Saturday I ended up heading to the expo that afternoon to pick up my race kit. It was as busy as I expected it to be based on what others had told me. There was even a lineup outside the convention centre just to get in due to security checks.

That said, based on my experience I would say that the process is efficient and well organized. It did not take long for us to get inside to pick up my bib and race kit.

As you can imagine you can find just about anything at the expo if you are looking to spend money. Most of the shoe brands seemed to have Boston themed shirts available. I ended up picking up an Adidas celebration jacket, which in my opinion is an improvement compared to some of the recent ones, and stuffed unicorn mascots for my 2 oldest daughters.

My family and I spent much of the day Sunday at Fenway Park Watching the Red Sox  – Tampa Bay Rays game. Even if you are not a diehard baseball fan I would recommend taking in a game if you are in Boston for the marathon. I say this despite the fact that my 7 year old traded in her Montreal Expos hat for a Red Sox one once we got to Fenway Park. You can’t beat a stadium hot dog for some extra carbs the day before a marathon 🙂

My final comment about marathon weekend here will be about the people of Boston. Unless my experience was an exception, and I doubt that is the case, you will really gain an appreciation for the people of Boston on marathon Monday.

I quickly lost track of the number of locals (race volunteers, police officers, random people) who wished me good luck as I made my way to catch a bus to the athletes village in Hopkinson and as I made my way down Grove St. to my starting corral. Similarly, after the race, I had a number of people stop to congratulate me as I made my way through the finish area toward a T station so I could take the subway back to my hotel.

If there is anything you can take from my experience last week I hope it is that qualifying for and running Boston is a realistic goal if you want it bad enough. If you stick with it I guarantee you that your journey to get there will feel like it was worth it once you experience marathon weekend in Boston.

Still Running

I have not been posting on here much lately. It has not been because I did not want to or because I was not running much. In fact I have been fortunate to be able to pick up my mileage and get back into a good routine. I’ve just been finding it harder to find time to post here. My goal now is to get back to regular posts on here.

In terms of running, as mentioned, I have settled back into a regular routine of running home from work 4-5 times per week. On the weekends I have returned to doing a longer run on Sundays, some with my 3 year old in the stroller. Over the last month or so I have been averaging 50-70 km per week. 

The best part to my current running routine is that I am back to running a couple of higher intensity workouts per week. I have done this with tempo runs and speed work on the way home from work and hill repeats during my lunch break at work. 

In terms of what comes next my next goal race is the Army Run in September. Once again this year I will be serving as a pace bunny for this race.  Like last year I will be a 1:35 pace bunny in the half-marathon. Getting ready for this race has been an incentive for me to ramp up my training again. 

That is it for my plans for the rest of the year for now. However, this year I do get an added bonus. The day after Army Run I get to submit my registration for the 2017 Boston Marathon. By no means is my acceptance guaranteed since my time in Philadelphia in November was only 2:31 under my qualifying time but it is exciting for me nonetheless since this is the first time I am able to apply for entry.

Race Report: Ottawa Marathon 2014


Yesterday was marathon number 10 for me and my sixth consecutive Ottawa Marathon. Going in the plan was to beat my time from last year, 3:12:25 and aim for my elusive qualifying time for the Boston Marathon. With the preparation I had I certainly felt ready to do that.

Race weekend has become one of my favourite weekends of the year here in Ottawa. The organizers have done a great job building a popular series of races over two days. In terms of the marathon alone we have one of the biggest and best in Canada and the crowds have come out in bigger numbers in recent years to support the runners.

I’ve enjoyed running marathons in other locations but there is something different about being able to run a marathon with family and friends there to cheer you on. Yesterday I had a couple of personal photographers, friends in a few different locations and family waiting for me just before the finish line.

In terms of my preparation, I would say without a doubt this time was the best I have been prepared in terms of nutrition and a plan for race day. The week leading up to race day was the most disciplined one I have had in terms of ensuring I was taking in the right amount of carbs to fuel my run.

As per usual, I was up early for breakfast yesterday, at 3:15 since the race started at 7:00. I had my usual breakfast consisting of a bowl of oatmeal, bagel with peanut butter, a banana and a sports drink. I had breakfast as quickly as I could then laid down again for a couple more hours although I don’t think I managed to get back to sleep.

The weather was ideal at the start with overcast skies, a cool breeze and foggy patches. As planned I lined up with the 3:10 pace bunny. My plan was to stick with him for about 30 km before I would take off ahead and try and get the buffer needed to register for Boston.

I felt great right from the start although the pace bunny was running faster than his goal pace after the first km. Not wanting to take any chances I dropped back on my own to a 4:30/km pace at the 6 km mark. I crossed the 10, 15, and 21.1 mats on pace to beat my goal.

In addition to having gels and Honey Stinger chews which I was alternating every 40 minutes, I had four zone caps with me to replace lost electrolytes. I ended up taking the first two around 18 km. About 7-8 km later I took the remaining two because my right calf was starting to feel tight.

The first sign of trouble for me came at 27 km on the Alexandra Bridge, headed back across the Ottawa River for those who have done the Ottawa Marathon before. It was here that I had to deal with the first in a series of painful calf cramps. I stopped to stretch my calves quickly hoping that would do the trick.

I took off again and felt fine, having no trouble maintaining a steady pace. Unfortunately I had to stop and stretch again around the 30 km mat. From this point on I was able to run for about 2 km before my calf started throbbing again. After stretching around the 38 km mark I was able to carry on to the finish line without stopping but the damage was already done.

I passed my family just before the finish line and crossed in 3:15:16. Knowing where they were going to be gave me incentive to keep pushing over the last km.

Unfortunately my BQ will have to wait for another day. On a positive note I am more convinced than ever that I am on the verge of attaining. I was still on pace for it at 30 km yesterday. I feel like I am knocking at the door and once I figure out the solution to the calf cramps that have plagued me the last two times out I will be in.

As for what comes next, I’ll take a shot at it again in the fall. I am registered to run the Rock n Roll Marathon in Montreal in September but since it can still be hot and humid in Montreal at that time of year and I have not heard the best reviews about the organization of that race I am not sure yet that I want to make that my goal race for the fall. I am going to take some time to figure out the best plan.