The BQ(Q) – Doug S

Here’s an inspiring story of Doug S using marathon training as part of his recovery from alcoholism. Nice work Doug, both on getting sober and getting fast!

 Name: Doug S

Sex: Male

Age (at time of first BQ): 26

Height: 5’5″

Weight (at time of first BQ): 150

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time?Tell us a little about the race.

I qualified for Boston at the 2012 Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis/St. Paul with a 2:57:05.  This was my second marathon and I PR’d by 12:52.  It was a cool day and I ran very well- my second half was only a minute slower than my first half which is very good considering the second half is very hilly.  I was able to get into the 2013 Boston Marathon because it was the first year of the new standards and all the spots weren’t filled yet.  I registered the next day.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?
I know I am the exception to the rule but I had only been running for 8 months when I qualified.  I was a young alcoholic and I finally sobered up in January.  In a meeting in February, I met a group of runners and joined them.  I was looking for something to help me fill my time and I found it.  I ran my first half marathon 6 weeks later in 1:35:18 and I was hooked.  I signed up for Grandma’s marathon shortly after.  I ran it on four months of training and finished in 3:09:57. I would have qualified for Boston right away but it was the first year of the new standards so I missed out.  I knew I could get it that fall and I did.  I was hooked on running after that. I ran track my freshman year of high school but nothing after that.  I was a soccer player who traveled a lot.  I also played two years of soccer in college (D3).

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?

By the time I ran my first BQ, I maybe had 1000-1500 miles in the 8 months prior.

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?

Same as above- about 1000-1500 miles.  I’m not really sure.  I didn’t keep track right away.
Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

I ran 4 races that year prior to my BQ- 2 halves, 1 full and 1 8K. I don’t really like short races so I stayed away from them.

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was?

I didn’t have a program.  I just went out and ran.  I didn’t do speed work or anything differently.  I just said I’m going to run more miles this week than I did last week.  If I ran 52 miles last week, I was going to run 53 this week.  I ended up getting up to 70 miles a week about four weeks before.  I noticed that runs of the same distance were getting faster but I never really took easy days or hard days- they were all just running days.  I think I was able to BQ because I have a very competitive nature and I finally found something I could be really good at.  It also took the place of drinking which had previously taken over my life.  I replaced a negative thing with a positive thing and I wanted to see what I could do.

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?

I only ran with some friends who helped me get sober.  I later joined a club and got a coach to see how fast I could get.

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?

I biked occasionally but I wanted to run each day.  I rarely took a day off of running.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how?

I did not do any speed work at the time.  I have since started doing speed work and it has made me even faster.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?

Hard work will pay off.  I know that there are more people who have tried for years than people like me.  Don’t let my story discourage you if you haven’t got there.  It was very hard for me to get sober and to even put myself in a position to run marathons.  If you believe in yourself, you can succeed.  See you at the finish line!

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Friday Inspiration – Shalane Flanagan and the Berlin Marathon

This weekend is the Berlin Marathon where Shalene Flanagan is going to attempt to beat the America record. If she does it, she’ll be only the second American woman, after Deena Kastor, to break 2:20.

This is the second time in a year Flanagan has laid it all out there with an epic goal. In the spring, she hoped to win Boston, something most fans of the sport knew was a long shot. Still, she gave everything she had. She didn’t win, but she did set a new American women’s record on the course. Here’s an emotional interview with her after Boston:

The American record is also going to be tough.

As Flanagan said in this Runner’s World piece,  “I may epically fail, but at least I’ll find out whether I have what it takes. It’s a daunting task.”

I really hope she gets it.

There’s about 10,000 videos online of Flanagan. She’s charming, funny, and beautiful and many of the videos focus on her personality. Fewer of them focus on her running. Here’s one of the better one’s I found that shows her actually running:

 

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The BQ(Q) – Mark D (Mark to Boston)

Thanks, Mark, for filling this out, and good luck with Boston this year!

Name: Mark D Mark to Boston
Sex: Male
Age (at the time of first BQ): 32
Height: 5’8
Weight (at time of first BQ): 160
At Which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time? Tell us a little about the race:

Carmel Marathon in Carmel, Indiana. I ran it in 3:03:26. This was my 9th marathon, 3rd real attempt at a BQ. Started off smart and calm.  Felt the best at the end of the race than I have ever felt before at that time. I crossed the finish line with a huge fist pump as I knew I accomplished my goal of a BQ.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?

I started running when I was about 10 years old.  Ran in middle school, high school, and college on the NAIA level
What is your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your BQ?
I really don’t have any idea.
How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?
Around 2100 miles
Approximately how many races did you run in that race?
A lot: 20+
Did you follow a canned program? If so which one?
Garmin intermediate program.
Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?
No, all runs were solo.
Did cross training play a role in your training?
Slightly.  Did some weights 3 times a week
Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in training?
My plan consists of 2-3 speed workouts a week.  I follow the plan closely. Speed workouts were based on time intervals, anywhere between 3-10 minute intervals with 1-2 slow pace in between.
Any other thoughts you would like to share with those who are working towards a BQ?It takes time and dedication, as well as an understanding family.  My wife has been a huge support and without her support, I would not have made it and it would not have been worth it.

Mark getting it done!

Mark getting it done!

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The BQ(Q) – Jim H

Thanks to Jim for taking the time to fill this out!

Name: Jim H

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 43

Height: 5′ 10″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 150lb

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time?

Tell us a little about the race. Chicago 2013, 3:11:59. Perfect weather. Started from Corral B. Even pace. Slight negative split.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?

Since December 2011, no previous experience in running or any other organized sport

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?

3000 miles

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?

1800

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

3

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was?

From the book, Hansons Marathon Method (Advanced)

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?

No

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?

No

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?

Yes: part of the training plan was doing intervals at 5K pace

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?

You CAN do it!

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The BQ(Q) – Peter M

Another BQ(Q) from another RAer. Running Ahead is heavily over represented here. More sage advice — get old.

Name: Peter M (Toronto on RunningAhead.com)

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 41

Height: 5’11”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 165 lb

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time? Tell us a little about the race.

2009 Mississauga Marathon, 3:18:21. The course is a point-to-point net downhill with 250 ft drop from start to finish and a few minor rolling hills in the second half, a bit like Boston but smaller. Weather was cool and cloudy, with gusty tailwind / occasional crosswind most of the way.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?

Been running since early 2006. Have never run prior to that.

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?

About 2,500 miles give or take a few dozen. That was my second marathon; I had also run 5 half-marathons and a number of 5K and 10K races.

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?

1,241 miles to be exact.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

Three other races: a 5K in the summer, my first marathon in the Fall of 2008, and a tune-up half a month before Mississauga.

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was?

Yes – Furman Institute of Running (FIRST®) “Run Less, Run Faster” three days a week training plan. Generally eschews easy runs in favor of three hard workouts a week: intervals, tempo or steady-state, and long.

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?

Ran on my own with invaluable help from Runners’ World forum contributors.

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?

Do not recall doing a lot of cross-training, maybe a few planks here and there.

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?

Yes, absolutely. Track intervals from 400 m to 1 mile, tempo 6 to 8 miles, and medium-long (10 to 15 miles) at marathon pace are a must.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?

It helps if you are naturally of a light build, and it helps a lot if you are over 40 ;) Persistence and discipline play a large part too.

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The BQ(Q) – Barbara

Name Barbara

Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 54

Height:  5 foot 4 inches tall

Weight (at the time of first BQ):  125

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time? Tell us a little about the race.

Myrtle Beach in February, I was trying to run 4:05, which was my qualifying time.  My actual time was 4:07:20   I thought I had not qualified until a friend I was running with a couple of weeks later told me that I had qualified because my qualifying time would be different when I actually ran Boston.  When I would run Boston I would be 55 and in a different qualifying time.  What a surprise for me!  This is the best marathon I have ran to this date.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?

I have been running for years, since about 30 years of age.

This was my 2nd marathon ever ,my first marathon was 10 to 11 years prior to this one.

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?

Really don’t know.

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?

Not sure but I only ran 3 days a week    One  track work, one tempo run and One long run a week.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

Two races     a half marathon, and the Marathon

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was?

I followed the First ProgramRun less Run Faster

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?

No

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?

No I did not cross train although the program calls for you to cross train I could never seem to get to it.

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?

Yes every week     I did a track work and a tempo run

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?

This was the most fun and best run I have ever accomplished I have tried to get a 4 hour marathon twice since this marathon, and have not been able to do it.  I am still working on it, and if I was to accomplish this goal at this point….  I would be 25 minutes faster than my qualifying time.

Barbara qualifying for Boston

Barbara qualifying for Boston

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The BQ(Q) – James N

Wise words from James, “being consistent in training is the most important thing. Get the miles and the speed will develop over time.”. Thanks James!

Name: James N (@jamescnorris)

Sex: Male

Age at first BQ: 25

Height: 5’7″

Weight: ~130 lbs

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time? Tell us a little about the race.

2014 Carmel Marathon (Indiana). 3:00:22. Carmel was my second marathon ever, I had run the Twin Cities in Minneapolis the previous fall. I got to the start line a minute late due to long bathroom lines, and ended up going out faster than I wanted in my first five miles. I finally settled into a good pace but was nervous most of the way that not being at the start line would hurt me later. I held a 6:45/pace until about 3 miles left then the last few miles were a little slower. It had heated up by the last 3 miles of the race so I just focused on running and making it to the finish line. If I had kept a closer eye on my watch maybe I would have broken 3 hours!

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?

I ran in middle school and high school (only track in h.s., I played soccer during Xc season). I ran the 800 and the mile. I ran recreationally in college but not competitively.

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?

No idea on approximate mileage in my life, but I would estimate somewhere close to 8,000-10,000 miles.

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?

~2,000

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

I will end up running 6-7 races this year. 3 halfs, 2 fulls, a 6 miler, and a 10k.

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was?

I used a lot of Greg McMillan or Steve Magness training philosophy for my running. Long runs on weekend, easy days most of the week, tempo/VO2 max runs, some hill/speed work. Averaged around 45 – 55miles/week.

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?

No running club or coach. I volunteer with Back on my Feet, a not for profit that partners with homeless shelters and starts running programs to teach the residents commitment and discipline and eventually can provide them access to grants or other aid to lead them to become self sufficient. I would do some of my easy runs with this group.

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?

I did some core training, but not consistently. I played soccer for fun on the weekends which would help with lateral quickness and using muscles not normally used in running.

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?

I used speed work, typically tempo runs or some track workouts like mile repeats. I would do a workout like this at least once a week most weeks

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?

Being consistent in training is the most important thing. Get the miles and the speed will develop over time. Your body needs to be prepared to run for ~3 hours.

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