The Quest for Boston

By Skip

Boston Bound

Qualifying for the Boston Marathon…. I can honestly say this goal was not on my radar a year ago. Heck, I did not give it consideration up until January 12th. What happened on that day to change my focus, you ask?

This year started off quite aggressively with a schedule that I had planned almost a year in advance.  I had been running with a bunch of friends during the January 2012 Miami / Key West Ragnar race when we realized that in 2013, the Ragnar and Disney Marathon were not on the same weekend.  That meant that for the first time, we could do both of them which also meant a heck of a lot of running on back to back weekends.

I had spent a large portion at the end of 2012 getting ready for these two weekends of epic racing which included the 200 mile Ragnar Relay from Miami to Key West and then heading up to Orlando to take on the “Goofy” weekend.  This Disney weekend consisted of a 5K on Friday, half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday.  Oh, by the way, my first marathon.  Anybody who knows me also knows that I am a short distance runner because I am fast and very competitive in my age group.  Long distance running was never really in my game plan but in 2013 I wanted a different type of challenge.

Ragnar was a great time and I won’t go into too much detail about that as you can read up on the experience from the previous year.  I had some different team members to run with (which I have to say that I had an AWESOME team this year) but the experience in general was very similar.

Several of my Ragnar teammates were also signed up for the Disney weekend so we met up in Orlando on Thursday night…. only 5 days after finishing our last adventure.  Friday morning started off bright and early as we headed to the start of the Disney Family 5K.  This was not a timed event but you can be sure that I was running for time!  I ended up running that race in 18:41.  Not my best time but certainly not my worst.  After all I had been training all season for distance, not speed, right?  That’s my story and I am sticking to it!

The following morning was the Donald Duck 1/2 Marathon.  This ended up being an absolutely fantastic experience of running through the Disney parks for 13.1 miles of pure fun!  I stopped about 20 times along the way to have pictures taken with characters and still ended up with a PR or 1:32:02.  Had I not stopped I would have been easily under the 1:30 mark as I felt great when I crossed the finish line.

Sunday morning was the true challenge for me having never run a marathon before.  I had no idea of what to expect or how my body would react to the distance.  I am usually very methodical in my training and knowing, within a few seconds, of what my finishing time would be.  In this case, however, it was pure speculation.  All the numbers I was able to compute at this point in time had me finishing at around the 3:11 mark.  After further research I realized that to qualify for the Boston Marathon, I would need to run a 3 hour and 15 minute race.  How cool would it be to qualify for Boston on my very first marathon!

We headed to Disney VERY early that Sunday morning and lined up at the start line.  I quickly identified an “official” pace runner that was running for a 3:15 finish time… almost all of them in that group were in the same situation as me, looking for a BQ.   When the race started, my legs were feeling like lead after the first 3 miles.  I knew this was not a good feeling to have so early on in the day.

I was able to keep up with the pace group until we hit mile 20.  It was starting to get hot out and I was getting tired, dehydrated and my body felt very weak.  I later realized that I had hardly took any nutrition as I mixed my Perpetuem too thick and as a result, only consumed about 100 calories.  This was a typical rookie mistake along with not hydrating properly along the route.  By the time I had finished, I barely crossed the finish line but was still able to pull off a 3:30:41.  Not good enough for Boston but certainly something to spark my long distance interest!

I was happy about finishing my first marathon but I knew I had more in me and needed to know what I could do if I had fresh legs and had proper nutrition during the race.  Therefore, fast forward to February 17th, only about a month after Disney.  This was the day of the A1A Marathon right in my backyard of Ft. Lauderdale.  How could I not make another attempt at it?  Certainly, it is not in my nature to give up and not push myself as far as I can to achieve a goal I have set for myself.  I am not a quitter…. never have been, never will be.

It was nice and cold that morning (cold for Florida is in the 40’s) and I knew if I was going to beat the 3:15 mark, today was the day.  The race started off strong and I continued to run strong for the first 10 miles.  After that, the course got a little “thin” as many of the people doing the 1/2 marathon turned around at that point and started running back toward the finish line.  The rest of us headed north on A1A for quite a ways more before we were able to make the turn back home.  There was a very strong headwind going north as well and even though it was tough to run into the wind, it was nice to know that I would have a tail wind on my way back.

The entire time I was running  at a 7:15 pace which would put me across the finish line at 3 hours and 10 minutes.  I figured that would give me 5 minutes of “spare” time to play with in case I needed it in the end.  At mile 15 a guy pulled up next to me that was also in my age group and also going for a Boston Qualifier (BQ).  Since we had a common goal in mind we stuck with each other all the way to mile 25 to make sure we made it in good time.  At mile 25 I knew that I had to turn on the “jets” a little bit…. I had been thinking “what if this guy and I are competing for 3rd place?”  That meant that one of us would end up winning an award and one would not.  Sure enough, we were fighting for that 3rd place position in our age group and we didn’t even know it.   Luckily I had enough juice still running through my legs and was able to pull it off.

My final finish time was 3 hours, 10 minutes and 11 seconds which meant I was only 11 seconds off on the time I had set out to run.  The funny part is that I was upset that I went over my scheduled time 🙂  I quickly got over that when I realized that Boston was in my future!   Heck, even if I never run Boston, I will always be able to say I was a Boston Qualifier!

Filed in: 5K, Full Marathon, Half Marathon, Race, Running • Thursday, March 7th, 2013

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My Race Calendar

2013 Upcoming Races
Labor Day Duathlon
9/1/13, Coconut Creek, FL
Short Course Duathlon Nationals
10/26/13, Tuscon / Oro Valley, Arizona
Turkey Duathlon
11/28/13, Coconut Creek, FL
Space Coast Half-Marthon
12/1/13, Cocoa, Florida
Last Chance Duathlon
12/14/13, Naples, FL
Jingle Bell Jog 5K
12/21/13, Sunrise, FL
2013 Completed Races
Ragnar Relay, Florida Keys (Ultra)
January 4-5, 2013, Miami to Key West, FL
Results: 32:59:17
Disney Family 5k
Orlando, FL, 1/11/13
Results: 18:41
Disney 1/2 Marathon
(Goofy Challenge)
Orlando, FL, 1/12/13
Results: 01:32.02
Disney 20th Anniversary Marathon
(Goofy Challenge)
Orlando, FL, 1/13/13
Results: 03:30:41
A1A Marathon
2/17/13, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Results: 3:10:11   --   BOSTON QUALIFIED!
2014 Scheduled Races
A1A Marathon
2/16/14, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Boston Marathon, Boston, MA
4/21/14, Boston, MA
Cellcom Green Bay Marathon
5/18/14, Green Bay, WI
Standard Distance Duathlon
World Championships
TBA, Pontevedra, Spain
Ironman Wisconsin, Madison, WI
September, 2014
Click Here For Archived Race Results

Recent Runs

  • 06/05/2016 - 8.68/MI - 1:14:22 - 08:34/MI
  • 05/27/2016 - 5.23/MI - 40:59 - 07:50/MI
  • 05/25/2016 - 4.07/MI - 33:23 - 08:12/MI

Personal Running Records

  • 05:39 Fastest 1mi
  • 18:11 Fastest 5k
  • 38:52 Fastest 10k
  • 1:21:49 Fastest Half Marathon
  • 3:02:29 Fastest Marathon
  • 27.31/MI Farthest Distance
  • 3:54:50 Longest Run


So if you have read any of the blog thus far you know a little bit about me… I can not be told what to do and I push myself about as far as I can be pushed!

But how did I get here and why? Well, that is what this page is about.

I was never really the athletic type. Sure, I played tennis in high school (and quite well, mind you) but running CERTAINLY was never my thing!

The start of 2009 was big for me as I came to the realization that I had put on too much weight over the past 10 years (read more...)