No, not the mysterious number that appears on bottles of Rolling Rock beer; I’m talking seconds.
Yes, 33 seconds. Yesterday I was informed by the BAA that my BQ time of 3:19:19 was 33 seconds short (long?) of what became the actual Boston Marathon cut off. Maybe they should have changed 3:20:59 from BQ to BAQ (Boston Application Qualifier). It turned out that based on the body of runners who applied to get in, the cut off time for my age group was 3:18:46.
33 seconds. 1.26 seconds per mile. Three extra step per mile.
That’s life though, right? Sometimes you’re in, and sometimes you’re out. I am out…this time.
I could be bitter.
I could be upset.
And if I am going to be absolutely honest with myself, maybe I am a little bit of both – but just a little.
The truth is, after last year’s registration debacle, the BAA had to do something. I feel like the new system may be brutal, but it is probably the fairest way of doing things. It gives those who are most deserving a spot at the big dance. Those of us left off the roster are left to wonder: what could I have done? From now on, being a bubble qualifier will most likely not be good enough. One is going to have to train not to barely qualify, but rather to qualify “with authority”.
Sadly it gets more brutal next year when BQ times drop 5:59 across the board. No longer will people be granted the 59 second grace period. I will have to run a 3:15:00 marathon or better if I hope to qualify (BAQ?) for 2013.
So yeah, I’m a little bitter about it. But I am also choosing to see this as an opportunity. Not running Boston this Spring opens up the calendar to some new opportunities. There are two marathons in particular that I have had my eye on for the last couple of years, but have not been options, in part because I was training for or toward Boston.
I would love to run Hyannis in February. It was the race that got this whole running thing started for me. Unfortunately, I never did end up running it. It’s a long story…
The other, more intriguing race for me is the Sugarloaf Marathon in Maine. It is considered one of the fastest marathons in the country with the last 16 miles supposedly downhill. Now the thought of doing anything downhill makes my legs hurt right now (I promise I’m trying to put together my Vermont 50 recap), but taking a step back from this weekend, I have to say it is really appealing. In addition, I lived in the Sugarloaf area for a few years back in the mid-90′s – it would be fun to go back and see how and if things have changed. PLUS, maybe I could get my buddy Brendan (aka – @mainerunnah – my Smuttynose running partner) to come run it with me. I’m betting that together we could both hit 3:13 or better.
Thoughts…just thoughts as I react to getting shutout of Boston.
Strangely enough though, I feel unexpectedly free…
…and freedom, I think, is a good thing.