How Michael Pearlman Qualified for the Boston Marathon

Name: Michael Pearlman

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 45

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

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 137

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Colfax Marathon (Denver)

Tell us a little about the race. This was my second time running this marathon. The previous year I had been running fairly strong until Mile 21, when I hit the wall and blew up in the final 5 miles to finish in 3:33. Weather was cooler the second year, with almost no wind. This time I was familiar with the course and had focused on finishing my long runs strong, running faster for the final few miles. This seemed to work as I didn’t fall apart in the final 10k this time, plus I was motivated by the realization at mile 21 that I had a chance to BQ.

Interestingly, I had a calf issue flare up about two weeks before the race, so I was super cautious during my taper and even skipped my final long run. To my amazement, I managed a 13-minute PR and a BQ.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ?  11 years

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 5,000

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 900

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 4

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, Masters Marathon program from Brad Hudson’s “Run Faster from the 5K to the Marathon”

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

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Not really. I swam the day after my long runs to aid in recovery but did not actively attempt any significant cross training.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes. Hudson’s Master’s program included some speed work and intervals, most of which I did on a treadmill.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? This was only my 3rd road marathon and I really didn’t expect to BQ, but I think a combination of factors worked in my favor. I was familiar with the course, the race conditions were favorable and I worked at improving my speed. The important thing to realize is that everyone is different. In my case, I never ran more than 40 miles a week during training and I ran 4 days a week at most. This allowed my body time to both adapt and recover and I was injury free during my training. If you are focused on quality runs I believe that can benefit you more than just quantity and junk miles. Learn about your body, and what works for you particularly if you are over 40 because you don’t recover as quickly.

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John C’s Story of Qualifying for the Boston Marathon

Name: John C

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 47

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

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 154

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Jacksonville Marathon

Tell us a little about the race. Perfect weather day in 2017—prior year 2016 was super hot/humid and disaster for me. Course is flat out and back and relatively small race. Met folks on the course from various parts of US who came to the race for BQ or NYCQ attempts.

Had trained for 3:20 goal, 3:15 stretch goal, and weather/luck/fitness helped me run 3:13:xx

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 3.5 years

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 4000

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 2059–1455 of that in the final 6 months

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 4; 1 slow marathon, 1 half, 15k and 5 mile

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

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

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Lots of extra Pre-hab type exercise work and PT during last 3 months to support training volume and recovery.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Coach is a Daniels program coach, so very typical of Daniels programs in last 3-4 months (2 workouts per week + long weekend run) but lots of creativity to keep it interesting and work around my work travel and family stuff.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Like others in this age bracket, I had experience as an athlete in HS/college but a big gap when I started work/family. College rowing was my first/only exposure to endurance work. So I was a very low odometer runner when I started in mid-40s. Most of process for me has been about volume or base building (and getting leaner). Trying to add volume safely and avoid injury, learning my recovery rhythms, how to eat better and getting enough good sleep to support training and recovery at higher workloads. Learning that monthly and yearly work is more important than weekly mileage for my goals was important too. Also, while obvious to most, I took a long time to learn how to take my easy days easy enough, so I could properly stress myself in workouts and recover/adapt.

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Kevin Cave’s Story of Qualifying of Boston

Name: Kevin Cave

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 27

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

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 192

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Austin

Tell us a little about the race. I ran 30 miles a week to train. I read Runner’s World. I ran even. It was a great day. I wish I could do it again with present fitness.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 9 months

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 1,100

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? About 800 in 9 months

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 12

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

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

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? I was four sport athlete and still played hoops, soccer, and cycled.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? No.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Run more. It makes you faster.

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The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Vanessa Jimenez

Name: Vanessa Jimenez

Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 25

Height (at the time of first BQ):  5’6

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 125

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Napa Valley Marathon  

Tell us a little about the race. It was amazing weather for the race: low to mid 30’s at the start and low wind. I started out slower than I wanted for the 1st mile because of the crowd of people, but hit my stride by mile 2. From there on I just zoned in on what I had been doing in training. I took gels at miles 6,13, and 19 and rotated between Gatorade and water at aid stations. I averaged around 7:50 pace up until mile 22 when an excruciating side cramp killed some of the fun. From then until the finish it was all I could do to just keep moving along. I’m not proud to say that I did walk about 100 feet somewhere around mile 24 but I picked it back up and continued on, hitting my goal of a first marathon BQ at 3:30:40!

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Off and on since middle school- 13 years-ish

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? No idea

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? Not sure- about 500 miles total since I began training for the race

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? Just the marathon and a 5k about 8 months prior

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 Hal Higdons novice 2

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

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? I teach and take many Pure Barre classes which is a fantastic low impact cross training for running

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? No, the only speedwork I did was some tempo runs

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Set a realistic goal, but let yourself dream a little. Do the training and trust what you’ve already discovered your body can do. Growing up as a dancer, I view a race as a performance. Follow everything you did in rehearsal, just throw in that extra level of sparkle and passion, and if you screw a few things up, there can always be another performance.Boston Qualifier Questionnaire Art

Stefanie B’s story of qualifying for Boston Marathon in her first marathon

Name: Stefanie B

Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 23

Height (at the time of first BQ):  5’2″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 103

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? NYC Marathon 2013

Tell us a little about the race. I qualified in my first marathon, and had no expectations. My main goal was to finish, but to run sub 3 hours was icing on the cake. I was coming off of competitive college training, and was still being coached by my previous college coach. I knew I was capable of a good time, but still did not have a goal in mind since it was my first marathon. Marathon morning was freezing (in the 30s’) and extremely windy so conditions were not the best. My most memorable memory will always be how my shoelace came untied within the first mile of the race – I will never forget that! (and yes, I had to stop and tie it…was only the first mile of 26!).

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 10 years (since I was 13)

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? I have no idea, haha. Basically ran 30-40 mile weeks during High School. When I went to college, I was consistency running 70-80 mile weeks.

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? Again no idea, but I was still doing at least 60-70 mile weeks since I was still being coached my my college coach.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? Maybe somewhere between 8-10. I did several local 5ks races, and a half-marathon leading up to my 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? No, Basically followed my college coaches plan and philosophy which was based on Jack Daniels. He believed in running minutes (not miles), and of course incorporated tempos and interval training.

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

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? I did not cross train much during marathon training since I was running high mileage weeks.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes – at the time I still wanted to keep my times fast for 5ks, so my coach would give me speed work at the track as well (i.e. 400s, 800s, etc.).

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? It is a very great accomplishment, and you should celebrate when you qualify. Unfortunately for me, I have yet to run a Boston Marathon since I injured myself after my first marathon, and almost injured myself prior to Boston 2015. I had to cancel Boston 2015, and so now I am looking at Boston 2018. My advice to you is to train smart, eat right and listen to your body.

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Dan Clemo’s Story of Qualifying for Boston

Name: Dan Clemo

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 35

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? Edmonton Marathon

Tell us a little about the race. Tagged as the friendly marathon, Edmonton lives up to its hype (or lack there of). While it is a summer marathon in August, the early start and flat course makes for an ideal race. The spectators are a little thin, but they are more prevalent on the back end of the race were you need them. The expo and post race events have significantly improved over the years making it a great overall time.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 4

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 7500km

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 3000km

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? Just the two A-Goal races. A half in february and the full in Aug. There were also a few B-Races throughout the year to keep things fun.

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, Focused on quality sessions while making my easy runs actually easy.

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

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes, I found my greatest gains were built with a simple weight training program that was focused exclusively on running related movements. I not only felt stronger overall, but I was able to stay relatively injury free. As a bigger runner and a previous football & basketball player, i have had bad knees for the better part of my life. The right weight training pretty much eliminated those pains allowing me to be more consistent and to push harder.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes, I spent far more time doing longer intervals at higher speeds which made my race pace feel more relaxed. It also gave me the opportunity to develop getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? I am not a natural runner. Unlike the comments of those that simply picked up a pair of shoes and qualified in their first year, I had to work my but off. My marathon times year after year actually got worse. I was getting a bit frustrated but I took a step back and started to enjoy the process. I looked forward to the hard days as it was something new and challenging, and loved using the easy days to explore my city to enjoy the sights. Ultimately, I was able to shave off 35 minutes from my previous marathon giving me almost a 10 minute cushion for Boston. I cant wait for April!!!

How Steve Harrelson Qualified for the Boston Marathon on his 11th try

Name: Steve Harrelson

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 43

Height (at the time of first BQ):  5’11”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 175

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Berlin

Tell us a little about the race. Berlin is a flat, fast course, and the weather was perfect. It remained about 55 degrees throughout the race. It is well organized, and there are plenty of water stops throughout the course. It’s a great place to qualify for Boston.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 19 years

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 12,000 miles

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 900 miles

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 4

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, Hal Higdon’s Advanced 2 Marathon 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? I did lift some weights 2-3 times per week…mainly dumbbells and push-ups for 30 minutes.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? My plan called for Yasso 800’s once every three weeks. Toward the end of my training program, I was running 8×800 under 3:10 each relatively comfortably.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? I did not qualify for Boston until my 11th marathon. Don’t ever give up!