Chasing the Unicorn

From April 15 through April 21, there will be a ton of emotions pouring. One year ago on April 15 a series of tragic events took place killing 3 and injuring hundreds. On April 21, 2014 we will celebrate Patriots Day as a country but runners know it more as the day of the Boston Marathon.

two of my friends in a recent News10 Boston Marathon piece.
For one day in every runners life we have a little bit of Boston in us. That day comes on a Monday in April. No matter your speed or where you are from, there is a little piece of you that thinks getting to run the Boston Marathon is pretty cool and special. 
Until the tragic events that occurred in Boston, at the 117th running of the Boston Marathon, in 2013, I had never owned any article of clothing or memorabilia that had the Boston Marathon logo on it. To me the unicorn that sits right in the middle of the logo is magical. In fact it is more than that, it is sacred. 
To this day the only article that I own that has the logo is the Adidas shirt that reads “Boston stands as one”. I won’t even borrow a jacket in the cold that bares the logo because it is that special to me… By the way that is a true story. It is so special that it is my goal to finish the Boston Marathon with a qualified time of my own. Now don’t get me wrong people who run the Boston Marathon under a charity bib is amazing work. In no way do I think people shouldn’t be able to do this because raising the money for charity might be tougher than most training plans. I am just speaking for myself when I say that I will only run Boston with my own qualifying time.

my only piece of Boston gear

After last year’s events in Boston, I felt sick to my stomach and gutted, but during this time I also felt more determined to get myself to Boston. After April 15, I started to look at races and thought of ways to qualify even working various situations in regards to races and training plans. 

A few weeks after Boston 2013 I ran the Big Sur International Marathon. This race was special to me in so many ways, the first was due to the fact that my son was celebrating his first birthday that Saturday and we opted to celebrate it at the marathon! I was registered and trained for Big Sur 2012, packed and ready to go then my wife went into labor and delivered our healthy baby boy 2 days before the marathon. The second reason this race was special was because I felt that I could immidatley do something to honor those in Boston by running with the 4:15 Pace Group (signifying the 4/15 date of the Boston Marathon) and holding a “Big Sur supports Boston” tribute sign.

During the Friday of the expo at Big Sur, I remember exchanging some text messages with my friend, Chris K., who informed me that he was going to pace the 3:05 group at the 2013 San Francisco Marathon. After a series of text messages, I remember the words, might as well roll the dice and see what happens. What could be the worst thing? During the race you end up having to pull back. 

At The San Francisco Marathon, I ended up running a 3:09:27, which became a PR for me at the time. I gave the BQ attempt another go in September on the last possible day to qualify before registration for 2014 opened up. I bonked in the Ventura Marathon running a 3:13:xx. 
Nonetheless, I didn’t quit on my goals with training. What this did though was allowed me to focus on 2015 where my age group qualifying time would be 3:10, since I will be 35 before the 2015 Boston Marathon. In December 2013, at the California International Marathon my first attempt at a BQ in my new age group, I successfully accomplished it. I not only ran a 3:09:25, but this would be my new personal best! 

a special shirt that I purchased at the finish line of CIM2013

With that being said, I know that I need to run a better BQ time to get myself into Boston 2015. All runners chasing that magical unicorn know that getting a BQ is one thing, it is a special moment and accomplishment in itself, but getting into Boston, running it and finishing it are all different steps. 

So my goal is to better my BQ time by at least 2 minutes, in 2014 to get in you had to run a BQ -1:28 or faster. Ideally I would like to get a BQ minus 5 or 10 to get in early on the registration process. I know putting the work and committing to running and training smart will make that wearing of the jacket that much more magical. Going from a marathoner to Boston Qualifier has happened now the next step is being Boston Marathon Finisher!

To me the unicorn is more than just the logo, it represents a lot of hard work, time dedicated to going after a goal, a lot of physical and emotional challenges, commitment to a sport and life choices, and most importantly support from loved ones who let me chase after a magical creature. 

Do you have goals or ambitions to run Boston with a qualifying time you earned or do you think a charity bib is more of your liking? 

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