The Boston question


I was 39-years-old when I first qualified for Boston.  I am 41 now, and have yet to run it.

Last year I got the flu the day before the race.

This year MFP has lost his job and so I am not sure I will be able to afford the hotel and airfare.

I picked up Advanced Marathoning last night to have a look at training plans, as I am now 19 weeks or so away from race day.  Whether or not I go, I still plan to train for it and hope that the logistics work themselves out along the way.

However.  When I looked at the training plan, I immediately felt exhausted.  Not another marathon.  Not another four months of feeling tired and unorganized because I have left all of my energy out on the road.  I caaaan’t.

I know that I am a much different runner than the one who first qualified for this prestigious race.

That girl was running on a whim, never ran more than 50 or so miles a week, and took two days off for complete rest.  I wore heavy running shoes and did little to no speed work.

But that girl was determined.

She ran the last six miles of that marathon like her life depended on it.

Fast forward a few years and a few more marathons later, and I am eagerly searching for that determination again.

Long Beach took the wind out of my sails, there is no question about that.

I have tried speed work as a way to get my legs moving quicker, and so far it has worked for me.  I shaved more than a minute off of my 5K time.

I’m supposed to be ready for more mileage now.   Still  I am not.  Yet.

I need everything else in my life to feel settled so that Boston doesn’t seem like a selfish, childish pursuit.

One thing that struck me from being there last year was the money being thrown around.  Boston isn’t just an elite race in terms of marathon times, it is also an elite race in terms of class and finances.

Hotels cost $250 or more per night.  Flights are about $500.  Then there is food, beer, car rentals, expo purchases, etc.  It is not a race for the poor.  Quite the opposite, actually.

This is frustrating for me.  I want to be a part of this tradition, but I also wish it wasn’t so far out of reach for most qualifiers financially.

Still, I am hoping to be ready to face the mileage in full sometime around Christmas.  I need to put in at least 16 weeks to feel prepared, just in case.

In the meantime, I am crossing my fingers in hopes that somehow, more than two years after qualifying, I will be towing the line on April 15.


  1. Atha says

    I love how you put beer in the cost of things! It’s definitely in my destination race budget too! Seriously though, I can’t imagine the stress of having something like this hanging over you. I know it might feel like you’re being selfish but after working so hard and having it be YOUR only thing, I get it. As a mother we sacrifice so much for our families and every once in awhile it’s nice to have something just for us. I tried to explain it to my kids like this: “the night before a marathon for me is like Christmas Eve for you.” I think they got it. I believe that you will get to Boston one way or the other! I’m going to go buy some lottery tickets in your honor :)

    • Rebecca says

      Yes, beer is super important for recovery:) I will be okay if I cannot run Boston, though a bit disappointed. Maybe I will have to wait and run it when you are there…I love the way you explained a marathon to your kids. I will definitely use that one!

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