The Lyin' and the Unicorn

Well hello!  Yes, it's me.  It's been months.  Seasons. Ages.  Forevers.  I am sorry.  Kind of.  It's just that I've been busy and loving and living life.  I have so many posts that are in varying degrees of completion and many posts in my head.  I've resolved to give myself a break and post when the inspiration strikes.  

And ... ba boom.  Inspiration didn't just strike, but it hit me like a lightning bolt.  Or a wrecking ball.  Or an arsenal of unicorns with super strong horns.  What happened?

I missed the cut-off for racing the Boston Marathon by 16 seconds.  


Seriously.

Sixteen.

Seconds. 

Six-teen sec-onds.  Less than a second per mile.  I've done the math (and you know I hate math).  But ultimately, have consoled myself with the fact that missing by 16 seconds is worlds better than by 6 seconds. Or 2 seconds.  Or 1 second.  Or one-one hundredth of a second like at Philly in 2012.  

You are probably wondering how this happened when I qualified for Boston at the Steamtown Marathon last October -- in fact just one year ago this weekend.  I did.  I absolutely did.  The "BQ" time for my age group is 3:45.  BQ means Boston Qualifying.  And I ran Steamtown in 3:42:48 -- a full 2 minutes and 12 seconds faster than the BQ time!  But, sadly, that is not enough.  Running a BQ means only that you are eligible to apply to register for the Boston Marathon.  This is no surprise. All runners know this (even though we complain that a BQ should mean you can actually run Boston). It's the great lie about nabbing a BQ - yay you are fast enough to maybe run the Boston Marathon but maybe not!  There are so many amazing runners out there that if everyone who got a BQ were able to run the Boston Marathon, the race would have way too many people.  So the race lets in the fastest people first and gradually rolls down until they are sold out.  So, usually, if you run a bit faster than your "BQ" time, you are able to race.  Everyone also knows to check out the historical data on BQ and how much faster than BQ has been required in years past.  The most time ever was about 90 seconds faster than BQ.  So, with my 132 seconds in the bank, I thought even though there was no sure thing, I was preeeettttty sure that I could get in.  

Ahhhh ... not so fast.  Literally.  Not so fast.  The cut off was 2:28 under BQ this year.  Thousands of runners like me were in the sad position of nabbing a BQ but being denied the opportunity to run Boston.  It's certainly not the end of the world.  And it takes nothing away from my accomplishment of running the race, and marathon, of my life at Steamtown.  There is absolutely no way I could have made up that 16 seconds that day.  Each mile felt perfect, and I won't look back on that race and kick myself for not running faster.  It simply wasn't possible that day.  And Boston 2016 is just not in the cards.  Like the incomparable Kenny Rogers once sang, "you gotta know when to hold em and know when to fold em."  

Kenny also said "you gotta know when to walk away and know when to run."  I am both walking away and running.  Rather than focus on the lemons, and admittedly, these are some epic lemons, I am focusing on the lemonade.  For the first time in three years, I don't have to train for an Ironman or a marathon in the Winter.  Yippie!  I am excited to focus on the half marathon distance for the time being and get back into sprint triathlons.  I have missed tri training, and I am excited to hit the pool once or twice a week again.  I have not missed my bike trainer, but I'll hit that too.  

I'm signed up for the Philly Half Marathon in November.  I'm so excited to run it.  It's my first race since the epic disaster for me that was the NJ State Marathon, and it took me this long to get the itch to race again.  After that, I'll do the Love Run in the Spring (another half marathon) and then I am doing the Escape the Cape Triathlon in June.  Once June comes and goes, I'll decide whether I want to push again and try for a BQ.  Right now, I am taking the pressure off entirely and just running (and swimming and biking) for the ever loving joy out of it.   Taking the Summer off from "training" has been a delightful reminder that I actually love running and swimming and biking and that doing them for the sake of nothing more than the pure pleasure of doing them is enough to make me happy.

In closing, the title of this post probably didn't make sense to many of you.  I have to give a little shout out to my middle school music teacher, Mr. Futer, for the title of this post.  We used to sing the song, "The Lion and the Unicorn" in his class.  Since the Boston Athletic Association (and the Boston Marathon) use a unicorn as its logo, I think about this song every time I think of the race.  

The song goes like this:

The lion and the unicorn were fighting for the crown;
The lion and the unicorn were all around the town.
Some give them white bread and some give them brown;
Some will give them plum cake ... and drum them out of town.  

I have no clue what this means.  But when (not if) I run the Boston Marathon, I beg of someone to show up with some plum cake.  That sounds amazing.  I also think it's destined to happen given my love of unicorns.  

Anyway ... more to come!  I have so much to share.  And I still need to finish out my June style challenge.  In October.

Have a great weekend! 
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