Yes, you all knew I was going there. That imma be blogging about this week’s hot topic.
Unless you have been living in isolation with no access to Facebook, Twitter, internet forums…hell, the Internet in general, then you know that registration for the 2011 Boston Marathon closed almost as fast as it opened. 8 hours and 3 minutes to be exact-unbelievable. And honestly, I predicted it would fill fast. I had a feeling that those running NYC and even MCM would get shut out for 2011. My guess was that it would close in a week. But a day? Whoa. Yep, I know there were medical deferrals from last year, spots reserved for Europeans who couldn’t make it to Boston due to the volcano, then everyone who qualified in Philly (or other late fall marathons) and even those who qualified in NYC and didn’t register in time were not gonna make that same mistake twice.
I know what you’re all thinking-I have my BQ time for 2012, I don’t need to fret-right? Wrong.
Who knows what is going to go down for the 2012 race. Tightened qualifying standards? Adjustment of the qualifying period? A lottery? All of the above?
Tightened qualifying standards…I may not like them right now, but I completely accept that it may have to done to control the field size. That said, if it does happen, I believe 2012 (if I get in) may be my one and only chance. This is working on the assumption that any time modifications are made in 2013 and not 2012. But who knows?
The one that really gets to me is the adjustment of the qualifying period for the 2012 race. Originally, the FAQs said that September 25 was the beginning of the 2012 qualifying period, now it says the period is “under review.”
I do feel for others who may be screwed, but I’ll get to that shortly. I’m gonna be selfish and focus on ME for a minute. I can tell you right now, if one or the other happened for 2012-I will be very unhappy-because it’s like my fate wasn’t in my own hands. I have full reason to believe on October 10, 2010-at the time of the race I ran a legitimate BQ time for 2012-as I did meet the following criteria:
Qualifiers must meet the designated time standard that corresponds with their age group. The qualifying times are based upon each athlete’s age on the date of the Boston Marathon in which they are participating.
Check-as I will be 35 on April 16, 2012, my BQ time is 3:45:59 or better. I actually finished almost 3 minutes under that particular standard. (and for those who don’t think it’s fair that I ran my qualifying time when I was still 34-please tell me when the hell I’m allowed to run my qualifying marathon for the next age group. Or maybe I should yell at my dad for not getting my mom knocked up sooner in order to give me a birthday earlier in the year than September. )
Before the FAQ page was updated on Tuesday, the rules on October 10, 2010 (and even a few days after!) stated this: “The qualification window for the 2012 Boston Marathon opened on September 25, 2010. Any marathon run on a certified course after that date is eligible for application into the 2012 Boston Marathon.”
Check-ummm last time I checked a calendar, October 10, 2010 was after September 25, 2010.
So on the day of the Chicago Marathon, I had every reason to believe that I had qualified for the 2012 Boston Marathon. I qualified fair and square, no ifs, ands or buts. You all know me, and know I did my homework to confirm that would be the case 🙂 But now there is a possibility of that privilege being taken away from me-and that I didn’t know soon enough to adjust. If I knew then that a 3:45 would have been no good, and that Chicago wasn’t gonna be my day for 3:40 (or faster if need be), I at least would have had the option of dropping at the half and trying again the following weekend. Or if October 10 was going to be before the qualifying window for 2012, picking a different, later race with enough notice to train appropriately or even to sign up before it gets closed out!
This quote was from someone on the Boston Marathon’s Facebook page:
“But there is nothing like the thrill of finishing a marathon KNOWING that you have BQ’d.
So this time around, if all goes well and I finish on schedule then the full exhilaration will be watered down as I will not know if I did or did not qualify for the holy grail.”
I feel it relates to me in a way. As happy as I was on race day, now I’m honestly feeling down about this. Like I put in all this work and it very well may have been for nothing if the rule changes eliminate me from contention for 2012. I feel like it’s a lose-lose situation for me. If the standards don’t let me in for 2012, I lose because I miss out. If I do make it in for 2012, I get to feel guilty for being there for being “too slow” (even though again, as of October 10, 2010-I did have a legitimate qualifying time.) Tell ya’all what, I’ll asterisk my Boston time if it’ll make you feel better…mmmmkay?
And I’m sure the first thing everyone will say is to “just sign up for another marathon and BQ there.” If you may remember, I would really like to take 2011 off from marathoning to give my body a break and to avoid burnout-to be honest I was feeling a little burned out just prior to the taper this time. Maybe I look too long term/big picture, but that’s how I roll. Secondly-I do not want to put down the money for another marathon now and have to eat the cost if indeed my Chicago time is good and running another marathon is not necessary. That goes for others who are in my situation-running another marathon may not be an option…you can’t just assume that someone has the time and money to run another one-not to mention the body holding up. Not all runners are made to run multiple marathons in a short period of time. I am looking ahead to and do want to plan a race/training strategy for 2011-but everything is so up in the air now…
Plus-and as of now, this is the case for those running marathons this weekend, and MCM the next, NYCM the week after, etc…we still don’t know what the 2012 standards will be. (Or as I saw elsewhere…analogy is like trying to hit a moving target.) Or if the race we run is going to be on a day that will be good for qualifying for 2012. Or those who got closed out of the 2011 race and don’t know if their times will be good for 2012-which for some would definitely be a double whammy. It just seems like everything is in a holding pattern right now, which is not cool.
Finally-I do have to say I’m saddened at some of the things I’ve seen said or written this week. I remember being told years ago (even before I really got into running!) that “runners are the nicest people ever”…hasn’t seemed to have been the case lately. I’ve seen more personal attacks on people than I want to see…between this person not deserving to run Boston, that person is too slow to run Boston, this person is an elitist, my friend didn’t make it in because of so-and-so who has no right to register and took his/her spot, its so easy to BQ so if you didn’t/can’t get it you’re not working hard enough. You know-after Club Champs 4 years ago, I was interviewed by NYRR after the race, and I remember really feeling a great sense of community. Like even though we run for different teams, in a way we’re all in this together. I can’t say I’ve felt that’s been the case in the last few days.
All in all-I’m happy for those who did get in, and sorry for those who for whatever reason, couldn’t. And thanks for letting me vent. I’m sure this is gonna be a lively discussion…