Monday, June 3, 2013

To BQ or Not to BQ

A popular destination
Since the horrific attacks at this years Boston Marathon, I, like most of our running community, have been dealing with a range of emotions and thoughts. Wanting to do something, to stand up against the assault on what we hold in high esteem, freedom and personal achievement, I have a strong desire to run Boston next year. I want to qualify and run again this revered course.

After running the 2011 race, which qualified me to run in 2012, I made the smart decision not to push hard at last years race, due to the brutal heat. I was OK with the almost hour slower time, thinking I would run another qualifying marathon during the year. Instead, my fancies were directed towards several trail races and a BQ for 2013 never materialized. Now, two years down the road from my last competitive marathon, I find my self wishing again to run long and fast, to grab the brass ring, so I can line up with the best next April.

Due to a combination of personal and family issues, I had to forego any attempts at a BQ these last two months. Now I must look into the stern face of summer and plan my efforts to run a 3:30 qualifying time by September. Am I fooling myself, diluted by the memory of 2011, when weather was perfect, training was solid and I raced well?

Mike Metlitz and I enjoying Boston 2011 (photo provided by  M. Metlitz)
When the fastest marathon time ever was recorded by Geoffrey Mutai (2:03:02).

Mutai blazing a record setting pace (photo provided by  M. Metlitz)
So forward I must move, again focusing on long, speed and tempo runs. Ramping up the miles, pushing back the ebb of age, to once again perform as my memories so fondly depict. Can I ignore the voice of doubt, who whispers my best races are behind me? Most importantly, can I maintain the motivation to put in the required efforts to tune my body to cover 26+ miles at a desired pace? Then redo it all again to be ready for the starting line in April? I think I can, though with less certainty than before.

As I have thought about this, I took the liberty of rephrasing some famous words to better express what is at stake. My apologies in advance to Mr. Shakespeare.

To BQ or not to BQ, that is the question.
Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The strains and aches of outrageous training,
Or acquiesce to these difficult efforts,
And by denying, end them? To quit, to ease,
To train no more, and by ease we end
The muscle aches and thousand run miles
The body is subject to, tis a choice
Longingly to be taken. To push not,
To meander and only dream success. There is the rub,
For in the ease of quit, what regrets may come,
When we have hidden the athlete’s form,
Must give us doubt, where’s the respect
That victims of attach who’s lives deserve?
For those who bore the impact and scorch of blasts,
The fanatics’ wrongs, their unrighteous cause,
Their attach on freedom, on achievement,
The hurt of lives disrupted, goals thwarted,
The pain and anger, unwanted, remains!
When we ourselves desire, not in vain,
To stand together, through efforts bear,
To grunt and sweat under a runners life.
And the dread of guilt if we to quit,
The undesired place of whose burden
No runner enjoys, pushes the will
And makes us want to bear those steps we have,
Than to face the results of slackened drive.
Thus conscience does make champs of us all.
And thus the native push of resolution
Is engaged over the pale cast of laze,
And enterprises of great breath and movement,
With this regard, our weakness turned away
And loosen their grip of doubt. – Strong you now!
Oh epic Marathon, Boston, in thy judgment
Be all my runs remembered.

Once again? For Boston Strong.

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