The BQ(Q) – Ted B

So I posted on the runner’s world forum asking people if they wanted to take part in the BQ(Q). I got in trouble. Apparently Rodale doesn’t approve of such things. Oh well, at least it got us this great BQ(Q) from Ted who qualified at age 53. 

Thanks for taking the time, Ted! I know your story will be an inspiration to other master’s runners.

Name: ROBERT “TED” B

Sex: M

Age (at the time of first BQ): 53

Height: 5’7”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 167

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN on October 3, 2010. (My most recent BQ was in the Boston Marathon last month).

What was your finishing time?

3:33:59

Tell us a little about the race:

It was my 6th marathon and my 3rd attempt to BQ. My first marathon was in the Fall of 2008. I ran another in the Spring of 2009. I first tried to BQ at the NYC Marathon in October 2009 and just missed by 31 seconds. I was disappointed but knew I’d given it everything I had that day. Just didn’t quite have the endurance to hold on at the end. I tried a second time in Virginia Beach in the Spring of 2010 and missed by 24 minutes – OUCH! Talk about disappointment. It was just a hot and humid day and one of those unexpected terrible race outcomes. So I trained hard for Twin Cities and went into it with confidence. They dub it the Most Beautiful Urban Marathon in America and it was pretty awesome. It helped that almost everything went right that day. The starting temps were in the upper 30s and it was sunny (ideal running weather for me). Fans and volunteers were terrific. I was in good shape and had a plan for even splits of 8:08 for the first 20 miles, then some slowdown for a hilly portion from mile 20-23, then to bring it home. I ran one mile split under 8:00 minute pace (@ 7:55), the 2 slowest miles @ 8:16 and 8:17, and all the rest between 8:00 and 8:05.   When I got to the 25 mile marker and looked at my Garmin, I was completely psyched because I knew I was going to make it with time to spare – and it felt glorious when I crossed that finish line. Mission accomplished! I ran my first marathon at age 51. I’m now 57 and have run 27 marathons, including 4 Bostons.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ?

2 years

Did you run in college or high school?

I ran track my freshman year of high school, but concentrated on baseball, football and basketball after that. I played a lot of sports (for fun & fitness only) in college and throughout adulthood but never ran races.

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

Just guessing it was about 2,000 miles

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

1,000 miles a year for 2 consecutive years.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

8

Did you follow a canned program?

I used a friend’s program that was similar to Higdons for a cycle and then trained with the Pfitzinger 18/55.

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

I ran with several friends who were long time marathoners who showed me the ropes and helped me build mileage and eventually with an informal but fairly large local running group (who I still run with today).

Did cross training play a role in your training?

Not really then. But I do more now and find it very helpful.

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

Yes, I incorporated fartleks, intervals and tempo runs into my routine along with slower long runs and recovery runs.

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

It took a lot of work for me to get my first BQ. I dealt with some heel problems for a while that hampered my training, and which I attribute to putting too much strain on my feet before they had adapted to the pounding. But now I don’t have any issues and have run 12 BQs out of my 21 marathons. I PR’d (3:27) at the marathon distance in 2012, and have PR’d at the 5k, 10k and HM distance this past year. If you are a decent runner, and are willing to work at it, and that includes training smart, you can get your BQ, even if you started running in your 50s like me.

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About seanv2

Scholar, gentleman, jock. I run the website Milo and the Calf. There you will find the Boston Qualifier Questionnaire where runners share their stories of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. You'll also find my thoughts on endurance sports, ancient history, Judaism, and hundreds of book reviews.
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