Your Occasional Stoic — Contemplate The Fierce Jaws Of Beasts With No Less Delight Than The Works Of Sculptors Or Painters

Observe what grace and charm appear even in the accidents that accompany Nature’s work. Some parts of a loaf crack and burst in the baking; and this cracking, though in a manner contrary to the design of the baker, looks well and invites the appetite.

Figs, too, gape when at their ripest, and in ripe olives the approach to rotting adds a special beauty to the fruit. The droop of ears of corn, the bent brows of the lion, the foam at a boar’s mouth, and many other things, are far from attractive in themselves, yet, since they accompany the works of Nature, they make part of her adornment, and rejoice the beholder.

Thus, if a man be sensitive to such things, and have a more than common penetration into the constitution of the whole, almost nothing connected with Nature will fail to give him pleasure, as he comes to understand it. Such a man will contemplate in the real world the fierce jaws of wild beasts with no less delight than the works of sculptors or painters. With like pleasure will his chaste eyes behold the maturity and grace of old age in man or woman, and the inviting charms of youth. Many such things will strike him, things not credible to the many, but which come to him alone who is truly familiar with the works of Nature and near to her own heart.

Meditations 3:2

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Marcus is hailing the beauty of nature, even when it is not, what we would think of as traditionally beautiful, in part through what we know this less beautiful state represents. A olive close to rotting looks good not because its inherently aesthetically pleasing, but because we know such an olive will be delicious. If we’re in tune with our environment, we can see beauty everywhere, not just in the refined works of the painter or sculptor. It important here that one needs to “know nature”. What does that mean, exactly? Marcus doesn’t say. But surely it means in part living and tasting the olive.

The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Robert

Name: Robert

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):  50

Height (at the time of first BQ):  5′ 11″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 150

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Marine Corps

Tell us a little about the race. Reasonably good conditions. Mid-40’s to mid-50’s, sunny, single digit wind.

This was also my first marathon, so plenty of rookie mistakes. Went out too fast and did not hydrate enough. OK race through about 16 miles, then the wheels started coming off. Hit the wall at 21 and had to run/walk the final five miles. Very painful. I didn’t even know the BQ standard for M50-54 at the time (3:30). I read some article about the race and qualifying for Boston and decided to check the standards. My time was about six or seven minutes under so I decided to grab the opportunity presented.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Overall 34 years, with a 22-year break in the middle.

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? less than 10,000 miles

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1715

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 7

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, Generally five running workouts a week. One long run on the weekend in the 14-18 range with two 20+ runs in the six weeks before the marathon. Used a number of 5K’s for speed work along with some tempo work. Based on the layout of the Marine Corps marathon route I worked on long hills about once a week.

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach? No

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Some strength training with light weights. Should have done more.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes. As noted above, the 5K races helped. I also used those to plug into a couple of the race predictor calculators to establish a rough goal pace. Used a few tempo runs to test that out.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Don’t repeat most of what I did! There are good training programs out there. Use them as a foundation. You can adapt them to fit you and your schedule, but they ground you in good, professional advice. Listen to your body. Better to take a day off than risk injury. Strength training/cross training is a key for most runners, if only to help avoid injury. Very likely they make you faster as well. Speed work is essential and needs to be offset by slower long runs. Join a running group or team, even if it’s just for the weekly or occasional long run.

If you are on the borderline for qualifying consider two things. A flat qualifying course and Nike Vaporflys. I think they are a big reason why Boston altered the standards last year. Finally, enjoy the journey and if you get the BQ, take it. The Boston experience is unique. It can be intimidating. Everyone is fast, the course is challenging and the conditions can be harsh but it will still rank high, if not at the top, of your marathon experiences.

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The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Riley VanPelt

Name: Riley VanPelt

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 22

Height (at the time of first BQ):  5 ft 11 inches

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 140

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Detroit Marathon 2019

Tell us a little about the race. This was one of the wildest races of my life. Training had gone fairly well, but I didn’t know what to expect with my 2nd marathon. I went out around 6 min pace with my buddy and stayed around there together at mile 13. Unfortunately at mile 13, I had to stop at a portapotty for about a minute. I initially thought my race was over after that, but my buddy told me catch him. So I got back on the grind and slowly worked back up to him with 5:50s-5:35 miles until Mile 21. I ran with him until mile 21 and surged ahead….. and 30 seconds later I started vomiting Gatorade. He passed me again but I didn’t ever stop and still maintained pace. I kept a steady distance behind and tried to come back again. In the last mile, I had to really push to not let my legs die out on me. I vomited again in the last mile but ended up surviving to the finish. 2:36:08 for 8th place overall, a 30 min PR, and a 1:19:53-1:16:08 negative split.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? I have been running since the age of 11, but I’ve been running consistently year-round since I was 17.

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? Yikes, maybe 12,000-13,000 but a guess. I was logging until age 19.

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

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 1 other marathon that I didn’t train for in 3:10

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 plan for me. His philosophy revolves around a long run every week reaching 20, threshold workouts, easy runs, marathon paced workouts, and some VO2 max. I started at 50 miles a week and worked up to doing 70 for 6 weeks in a row. Roughly 21-22 week training block.

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

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Nope, I only run lol. If I tried to swim, I would drown after 2 minutes lol. I’d like to get into biking/aqua jogging though.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes, during the cycle I did VO2 Max 1000m or 1200m repeats every 2 weeks.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? The keys to hitting a BQ was consistency, using easy runs to allow for recovery, and increasing mileage safely. Best of luck!

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The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Jason

Name: Jason

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 46

Height (at the time of first BQ):  6’3″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 185

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Bayshore

Tell us a little about the race. It was my first marathon and wasn’t aiming for a BQ.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 3 years.

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 5000 miles.

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1500

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 2 races.

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, Speedwork Tues, Tempo or hills Thurs, Long Run Sun, swim and weights Mon, Wed, Fri.

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach? No

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes. Swim and weights Mon, Wed, Fri.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes, hills and intervals.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Looking back, I don’t know how I qualified on such low mileage. Today at 54 years of age, I run 70-90 miles a week and am much faster. Run a lot of miles, most easy, 15%-20% hard, and a BQ should be attainable for anyone. Again, run a lot of miles easy, all year….

 

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The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Eric Cogdill

Name: Eric Cogdill

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 30

Height (at the time of first BQ): 6′ 2″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 152

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Run for the Ranch – Springfield, MO

Tell us a little about the race. It was my first marathon. The longest training run I had done leading up to it was 18 miles which was the week before the race and it went well enough that I entered on a whim, driving 400 miles down to the race the day before. I had been running about 40 miles per week as an assistant high school XC coach. I set a goal to run 3 hours and started out conservatively (about 7:00 pace). After a few miles, I started to accelerate and I ran several middle miles around 6-flat. Also, somewhere in the middle, I caught up to a runner and thinking I had been in 4th place I said to him that we should work together to go get 2nd. He informed me that he was second and pointed out the guy in first. I went on to win the race and run 2:45.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? I ran in ’98, ’99, ’01, and then consistently from 2007 and on. So, 3 years of about 40 miles per week.

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 8000 miles

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1750

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 10

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, No program

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 in your training? If so, how? Probably, but literally ran no program and decided to enter the race less than two weeks before it occurred

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Use your strengths to your advantage.

 

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The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Trevar H

Name: Trevar H.

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 30

Height (at the time of first BQ): 5′ 10″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 140 (I think)

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? CIM

Tell us a little about the race. Pretty ideal conditions. It was a bit humid and CIM was a bit hillier then expected, but the impact was minimal and I was able to run a 2:45:52. This time put me smack dab in the middle of the Women’s OTQ pack which was massive at CIM. I fed off the energy of this group.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 2 years nearly to the day

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 4300

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 2700

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 10

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, Quality consistent long runs, speed work faster then MP, hills, and high mileage.

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

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

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes, the speed made MP feel easier and enabled the legs to turnover.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Consistency is key, listen to your body, and don’t neglect the little things like sleep, nutrition, strength training, etc.Boston Qualifier Questionnaire Art

Your Occasional Stoic — Have a Sense of Urgency … Because Understanding and Intelligence Often Leave Us Before We Die

Man must consider, not only that each day part of his life is spent, and that less and less remains to him, but also that, even if he were to live longer, it is very uncertain whether his intelligence will suffice as it has for the understanding his affairs, and for grasping that knowledge which aims at comprehending things human and divine. When dotage begins, breath, nourishment, fancy, impulse, and so forth will not fail him. But self-command, accurate appreciation of duty, power to scrutinize what strikes his senses, or even to decide whether he should take his departure, all powers, indeed, which demand a well-trained understanding, must be extinguished in him. So we much have a sense or urgency, not only because death comes nearer every day, but because understanding and intelligence often leave us before we die.

Meditations 3:1

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One of the things we’re lost is contemplation of death. Look at the stoic, and much of Buddhist philosophy, death is always present. Memento Mori, remember that you must die. Its considered impolite to discuss death these days, and that’s a loss, for what gives life meaning except for death?

So move with urgency and deliberation, your days here are fleeting and short.