Terzah has been a reader of the BQ(Q)s for some time and I am so happy she has finally gotten her BQ!
Here’s what she wrote to me yesterday:
Thanks again for maintaining the BQ Questionnaire. I referred to it often during my three-year quest to qualify for Boston, which I finally did at the Chicago Marathon the other week. Here are my answers to your questions.
Congratulations Terzah, and thanks for taking the time to share your story with us!
Age (at the time of first BQ): 40
Weight (at the time of first BQ): 127
At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time? Tell us a little about the race.
I ran my first BQ at the 2013 Chicago Marathon in 3:44:06. The weather was near perfect. My instructions were to stick with the 3:45 pace group, and that’s what I did. My legs were sore for the last four miles, but it was a good day. While I had some momentary doubts after a shoelace snafu, deep down I knew I could do it.
How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?
I did not run in high school or college, except the occasional and irregular jog to keep my weight down. I started really running in 1995, when I entered my first race, a 10K. It was fun, and I was hooked.
What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?
No idea…..I started those weight-maintenance jogs when I was 12, but they never exceeded two or three miles until I was in my twenties. And then I had a period in my late 20s where I didn’t run, before I started up again with zeal in my 30s.
How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?
I estimate around 1300 miles.
Approximately how many races did you run in that year?
Marathons–3 (the first two were huge disappointments; the third was my BQ, which was also a 9-minute PR)
Half-marathons–4 (again, three disappointments and one that was a 10-minute PR–the latter was a full year before my BQ; it was a hard year until that BQ)
Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was?
No–I hired a coach about a year and a half before my BQ.
Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?
Both! My coach is Darren De Reuck of Boulder Coaching (bouldercoaching.com). I also ran several speed workouts and long runs with the Boulder Striders, a local group coached by Olympian Colleen De Reuck (she and Darren are married). And on top of that there is a local meetup in my town that organizes lower-key runs–I ran several times with them as well.
Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?
I weight trained diligently every Thursday, did an occasional Pilates class on Tuesdays, core work at home (more erratically) and, when I felt like I might have an injury coming on or was recovering from a race, I did stationary bike workouts instead of running.
Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?
Yes! Each Tuesday I had heart-rate leveled speed workouts that got harder and longer as the marathon approached. My coach doesn’t believe in too much track work, so most of these were in the form of fartleks and “sustained” or tempo runs. It was really fun to watch my heart rates at various speeds decrease over the weeks leading up to the race. I knew my training was working.
Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?
It really helped me to eliminate most sugar from my diet and really concentrate on eating lots of vegetables during the training period (I did *not* diet). I believe this not only supplied me with the proper fuel but also kept me from getting the colds and other illnesses that stopped me in my tracks in the run-up to other marathons. Staying healthy is huge.