The BQ(Q) Ken B

Here’s a great response from a 50 year old runner with 10,000 miles in his legs. Congratulations, Ken! Thanks for sharing your story!

Name

Ken B

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

50

Height:

6’1″

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

178

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Cleveland Towpath

What was your finishing time? Tell us a little about the race.

3:34:10 as I recall. Ran a +1 sec split. Perfect day weather wise following a perfect summer of training with a friend 16 years younger than me.

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

7 years

Did you run in college or high school?

No.

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

10,000

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?

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?

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?

No

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

Ran with a friend 2 to 3 times/week who is 16 years younger and faster. Everytime I ran with him was speedwork. So YES.

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

Extra mileage, speedwork, plenty of rest, good diet, staying healthy, etc., all contribute.

The BQ(Q): Michael F

This BQ(Q) is a nice treat as Michael shares with us the story of his first first BQ almost thirty years ago and his recent training for another BQ as a fifty year old.

Thanks for taking part Michael!

Name: Michael F. www.chickeeandmike.com

Sex: M

Age (at the time of first BQ): 21

Height: 5’11”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 155

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

My 9th marathon – 1985 Los Alamitos Marathon

What was your finishing time?

2:49:31

Tell us a little about the race.

Back in ’85, the qualifying time for Open Men was 2:50:00. I’d never broken 3 hours. Los Alamitos is pancake flat and the race was small but well organized. I set a half-marathon PR when I reached the midpoint in 1:20:52. I felt good until around 19 miles, and by 22 I knew that I was in trouble. So I stopped, stretched and drank some Gatorade. I needed to salvage a sub-3 and erase the dreaded 3:01:21 from my list of PRs. I stopped nearly 2 full minutes, and when I got going again I calculated I needed to run roughly 7-minute pace to crack 2:50, but didn’t figure it could happen as my pace had slipped slower than 7:00 since Mile 20. So I figured 2:52-2:54. I did find my rhythm again, however, and by 25 I calculated that I needed to run a 6:30last mile to BQ. Lamenting that I’d be so close, but still miss, I pushed on. It wasn’t until making the final turn and hitting 26 in 2:48:30 that I realized I’d just run a 5:58 final mile and I was headed to Boston! I was overcome with excitement & emotion. I’ve run Boston now 3 times, (1985, 1996, 2006) and am qualified for 2015, but I’ll never forget that day. It’s still my PR!

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

6 years.

Did you run in college or high school?

Only one year of CC in high school and one year of track as a walk on in college. Otherwise, I ran on my own and went to races with my dad.

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

5,963

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

1,129

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

33

Did you follow a canned program?

Nope.

If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was?

I believe in quality over quantity. I was averaging 38 miles per week and my long run was 16 – but I was FAST. I set PRs in the Mile, 5k, 10k and half in the weeks leading up to my BQ.

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

Nope. [My running club nowadays, however, is a huge part of my life]

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

Nope. Cross training is something I’m still not very good at.

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

Yes. In order to BQ, I needed to average 6:29 per mile for 26.2 miles. In order to do that, I needed to be comfortable at that pace. Comfort at that pace means my top speed had to be much faster. For example, if I couldn’t break 40 for 10K (6:26 pace) then I had no business thinking I could BQ. However, I ran a PR 10k in 34:54 (5:37 pace) two weeks before – so 6:29 was no problem. The only question was whether I could hang for the distance.

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

My training plan from 1985 might seem like something that would work only for a 21-year old, but a carbon copy worked for me last fall as I ran a textbook 3:15:19 at the Akron Marathon four weeks after my 50th birthday – for my first BQ in nearly 10 years! I was fast (for me) and pulled off the perfect race – with a long run of only 12 miles! I’m not saying to skip the long runs, but I didn’t have time to increase my mileage and speed at the same time so I prioritized speed over distance – and it worked.

 

 

The BQ(Q) – George

Name: George (MarathonGeorge)

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 54

Height: 5”10”

Weight (at the time of first BQ):150

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Chicago 2009

Tell us a little about the race.

I was lucky, perfect weather conditions, cold at the start and I was freezing as soon as I stopped running. I ran almost perfectly even splits for the whole race, never wavering by more than a few seconds from my goal pace.  I did follow, sort of, a pace group but it was more like a group of runners who I was near most of the race.  There would be times, like water stops, where I would be ahead or behind the group but we always seemed to sort of end up around each other. I debated pace a lot before the race and needed a 3:45 to qualify. All of my training had been done with a 3:30 goal in mind. I just knew I had a 3:30 in me. However in the weeks leading up to the race I went back and forth, go safe and conservative and run to the 3:45 or do what you think you are ready for and risk blowing up. I went for the 3:30.

Read the whole story here: http://wp.me/pIhgU-1

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

10 years

Did you run in college or high school?

Nope, I was a swimmer – although we did a tiny bit of running during preseason.

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

13,500

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

1,567 so far that year and I went on to run a total of 1,730 that year. Ran 1,600 in 2008

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

10

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

After 4 attempts using mainly Hal Higdon’s programs I finally got a local coach, Fernando Braz. He had me on a marathon program from January 1 to the October race. Most Tuesday nights I ran at the track with the group of runners he was training. His program was more demanding physically, although not a lot, and also focused on mental preparation. Overall philosophy would be a mix of long runs, endurance runs, speed work and solid base building. We also did more running at Marathon Goal Pace than I had in the past particularly at the end of long runs. For example, do 15 miles easy and then run 5 at MGP to finish a 20 mile long run. I firmly believe that Fernando made it possible for me to BQ and without him, I might not have reached the goal.

Here is a quote from my log:

My confidence grew with each week.  The plan was hard but I was doing well, feeling strong, feeling fit and injury free.  But even so, doubt always has a way of creeping into your mind.  Then there was a test that changed my mind. With 6 weeks to go, one of those hard Saturday long runs, this one 23 miles with the last 5 at marathon pace.  I ran a route that had me at the PA track after 16 miles.  I wanted to know just what my pace was over that final 5.  After one mile I thought, “Can I do this?” My second was sub 8 minute, as was the third, with the final two at 8. The last 5 miles of a really tough run in fewer than 40 minutes?  Wow, my confidence was sky-high, with 6 weeks to go.

 

That is what Fernando did for me – physical and mental preparation.

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

As well as using Fernando I belong to the Merrimack Valley Striders which was a way to connect for local races.

Did cross training play a role in your training?

I don’t stretch, cross train, do ice baths, use a form roller – I run – just run and I run for fun.

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

Really, if I can do it anyone can. I am not a super athlete, was no high school star, and did very little in college. I went through most of my adult life hardly doing anything athletic. But then at 45 or so took up running just because I was a little big and wanted to be healthier. I suppose in some ways age makes it possible. I am sure even when I was young I could have never managed a 3:10 but a 3:30 to 3:45 seems doable.

Goals work – set a goal – have a plan – work hard at it. I started 2009 with the goal to BQ and I focused all of my efforts to that goal. I made every training session and every race help me move towards that goal and I tried to keep that same focus in food, sleep, and mental preparation. Boy, achieving that goal was super fun. One of the greatest accomplishments of my life. Since I BQ’d I think of myself differently, I really am a marathoner, I qualified for and ran in the greatest marathon.

The road to the Super Bowl of running was not easy.  Luck played a huge part, no injuries, no colds. Training was absolutely key, without Fernando it would not have happened. But then on race day it was about executing the plan.  I am too old to make any mistakes; the margin for error is very small.  But it worked.  The race was just like a long training run.  I have done it before, only this time I had 45,000 companions.

The BQ(Q) – Keith A

Thanks for taking the time to fill this out, Keith!

Name: Keith A Keith’s Running Life

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 53

Height: 6’ 0

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 163

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

Hartford Marathon. It is mostly flat and straight. It poured most of the race which helped me to focus. Warm 56-58 most of the race.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school? 35 years.

I played soccer in HS and intramural soccer at UConn. I have swam and biked a lot over the years but not in the past 8 years.

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

30,000

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

1600

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

6

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 but I did use Jeff Galloway’s method for my first marathon. I then tried to walk only where drinks were served. I try not to drink at every possible stop.

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

No, most of my running is alone with a GPS for measuring pace.

Did cross training 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?

Running on softer surfaces would help to run more miles. I found that 40-50 miles per week is an ideal amount for me to run my best marathon time and not wear myself out.

The BQ(Q) – Paul F

Paul F has a story similar to mine including a long road to a BQ. Paul was kind enough to include a race report of his BQ race in his response. Thanks for taking part, Paul!

Name: Paul F

Sex: Male
Age (at the time of first BQ): 54
Height:  6′

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 158

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Tell us a little about the race:

Baystate 2010, see last question for race report

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

6 years, no prior running, no sports in school, no athletic ability. Briefly, I started running to lose weight (nearing 200 pounds). That morphed into running marathons.

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

9,500

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

2000

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

20

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

Loosely followed Pfitzinger 18/55. Mainly just followed miles prescribed running mostly easy with very little speedwork or tempo work, mainly used racing for speed work. I follow Jeff’s training mantra of “run lots, mostly easy, some hard”

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

Some long runs with local running club, no coaching.

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

No. No cross-training at all for Baystate. This was not by design, just could not squeeze in crosstraining with running & life. In previous marathons, I did some crosstraining on bicycle and swimming.

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

Here’s my race report from Baystate marathon, along with my complete marathon race history.

Baystate Marathon official result:
Place: 544; Div/Tot: 51/153
Name: Paul F; No.:994; Age: 54M
City, St: Mustang, OK
Time: 3:35:49; Net Time: 3:34:55.6
Pace: 8:13
Boston Qualifier: Yes; Half-split according to Garmin: 1:47:31/1:47:25

15 minute PR!!!

Background: After last Octobers Marine Corps Marathon where I set a PR of 3:50, I decided that a BQ for 2012 was in reach. An AG change in the summer of 2011 would put 3:45 as my qualifying time for 2012. I started building up my miles after the holidays, racing 5K’s and 10K’s for practice setting new PR’s on a regular basis. One of my referral threads was the one by Jim24315 on KR (http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/thread/17424/boston-qualifying-are-you-on-the-edge ). After running the A2A half-marathon in March with a PR  I set about to make a plan for the fall, using information from KR and RA (Masters groups and 2000/yr group) along with Jim24315′s thread, and Pfitzingers & Daniels books.  Now it was time to find a fall marathon (that would BQ me for 2012) for my first BQ attempt. I had the choices narrowed down to Royal Victoria, Niagara Falls,TCM, or Baystate. Fall in New England sounded great to the wife, so I signed up for Baystate in Lowell, MA. Then came time to implement the training, along with a very hot & humid summer in Oklahoma.
Prelude: Three weeks before the race, DW and I had a trip to Paris (I ran a 16K race there too, of course). Three days after getting back, I got a horrible cold causing me to really back off on my running. Even the week before the race, I was still suffering from some upper respiratory problems from it that would not get better. I thought I was doomed, but once you’re signed up, you have to follow through. Other than the issues with the cold though, taper madness was at the minimum.
Race weekend: DW was attending a conference in Boston on Saturday and Sunday. We arrived in Boston on Friday morning and drove up to Lowell for early packet pickup. Then we drove over to the coast and ate at a nice restaurant referred by some friends, seafood pasta for me and lobster for DW. Saturday while DW was in conference, I decided against an easy run and instead went for a walk along the Charles. A nor’easter had come through on Friday and it was still very windy, wet, and chilly. In the afternoon, I relaxed, stayed off my feet, and watched college football. In the evening,we walked to Legal Seafood. DW had the baked cod and I had lobster mac&cheese (very good). Walked back to the hotel, got everything set up for the morning and went to bed early.
Race morning: Woke up at 3:30 and could not go back to sleep. I went ahead and got up at 4:00 and got dressed. I ate my pre-race Sweet&Salty bar and drove on up to Lowell getting there about 2 hours before the start. The Tsongas Arena was open for runners and there were already quite a few runners there. I found a nice spot to stretch out, think about the race, and wait. At 7:30 the call came to make our way to the start. Weather was IRC, sunny, 40 degrees, with a very light breeze. The start area was quite crowded but once the pace group leaders arrived, things started to space out a bit. I lined up near the 3:40 pace group and planned to stay with them if I felt OK. Start time approaching, 7:55, time for the Star Spangled Banner, uh oh, technical difficulties with the sound system. I don’t know how it started, but the elite racers at the front started singing the anthem and everyone joined in, it was actually quite moving. That delayed the start just a bit, but we were off at 8:05.
The Race: It took about a minute for me to cross the start line. The first mile was very crowded, but I just took it easy and tried to keep the pace group in site. By mile 2-3 they were pulling away from me, I felt good, but my Garmin said I was running about an 8:00/mile pace. I decided to let the pace group go (never saw them again!) and just run on my own. I tried to ease up a little, but seemed stuck around an 8:10-8:15/mile pace, might as well go with that pace for awhile and see how it goes. Around the 5 mile mark, a young lady comes up and says how much she likes the flying monkey logo on the back of my shirt (tech shirt from the Flying Monkey Marathon last year) and asks me about it. She had never heard of the Flying Monkey Marathon, so I told her about it. She asked me what my goal was and I told her that 3:45 was my goal, but that I thought I could do a 3:35. She said that we were on about a 3:33 pace and I agreed. I asked her goal and she had none. Her plan had been to pace a friend to a 3:50, but her friend had cancelled at the last minute and she was not going to waste her entry. She asked if she could run with me since she liked company while she ran. We picked up a few more runners at the 3:35 pace and formed our own little pace group. At mile 7 was the GU station, as most of you know GI issues have been a problem in many of my marathons (and LRs). I’ve been practicing though and knew that this was coming up. I grabbed a GU and just before the 9 mile water station, took it along with a good quantity of water.  Thankfully, no problems occurred. The course is roughly a two loop course along both sides of a river, not flat, but not hilly either, nothing but easy rollers with flat sections and a few bridge crossings. So, we passed the same GU station this time at mile 17 and I took another GU with no problems. Anyways, back to our 3:35 pace leader, she was a natural at being a pacer, keeping a steady chat/encouragement most of the time and also backing off at just the right times and letting us focus. We saw her husband a couple of times on the course cheering us on ( a masters of divinity student at Boston University). By mile 19, I was the only one left in the group though. One had gone ahead at mile 18 and two had said that they needed to slow down. Around here I saw Nader (from RA 2000/yr group) about 200-300 meters ahead, I knew he was planning for a 3:30, did not know if he was in trouble, on pace, or what. Around mile 21, my pace leader told me her PR was 3:31. I told her I was doing great, knew I had 3:45 for sure and that she should try for a new PR. She was reluctant, but eventually she took off. My goal was to maintain pace and see how much ground I could make up on Nader. After mile 23 or 24 things are a bit fuzzy for me. I was gaining on Nader, but was really feeling the empty fuel tank and jelly legs. I just tried to keep from slowing down. Around mile 25, I passed Nader. Sorry I didn’t say anything, but I was in that dark place and was just focusing on running. DBTFU. Then I passed a 2000/yr GRN sniglet. I have no idea who it was. I passed the sign that said ONE MORE MILE, looked at my watch for the first time since mile 21 and realized that a 2011 BQ was possible. I tried to pick up the pace. Crossed the final bridge and there was the ballpark where we finish. How far to the entry, I didn’t know minor league baseball parks were so BIG, Why were they making us run all the way around it? Finally, the entrance to the ballpark. $#%^&*, we have to run all the way around the outfield warning track!!!! AHHH, I can see the FINISH line….Now the CLOCK……3:35:29……Go GO GOOO.. Timing Mat and 3:35:49……….

Post-race: Got water, mylar blanket, and medal. Then saw my pacer waiting to congratulate me. I thanked her profusely, but never got her name. Then I made my way to the outfield and laid down on the cool grass and texted DW and my local running friends that I had BQed for 2011. I laid there and recovered for a bit then stood to see Nader nearby, made my way over and introduced myself and congratulated him and visited for a bit. We were both zoned out from the race still. I had to get back to Boston and was unable to attend the RA 2000 group FE, very sorry I missed that.
Reflections: Everything went right for me on this marathon. Weather, finding a pacer, fueling, etc. I finally RAN a marathon, with no stops, no walk breaks, no port-a-let stops, just running the whole way. I’m ecstatic. It was well worth the miserable hot,humid summer training.

Marathon history:

4/24/2005 OKC Memorial Marathon 4:58:01; first marathon (goal <5 hours), swore it would be my last.

4/30/2006 OKC Memorial Marathon 5:17:41; paced friend to his first marathon.
10/29/2006 Marine Corp Marathon 4:18:44; goal avg 10 minutes/mile.
12/10/2006 Dallas White Rock Marathon 4:21:32; goal avg 10 minutes/mile.

4/29/2007 OKC Memorial Marathon; 4:19:08; goal avg 10 minutes/mile.
10/7/2007 Chicago Marathon 5:15:24, goal 4h10m; 90 degree temps by end of race.
11/18/2007 Route 66 Marathon – Tulsa 4:49:38; paced friend for his first marathon.
12/9/2007 Whiterock Marathon 4:27:04; joined Marathon Maniacs with this race.

1/13/2008 WDW Race 4:51:13; part of a Goofy weekend (ran the Disney half marathon the day before).
4/27/2008 OKC Memorial Marathon 4:03:51; goal <4 hours, just missed, faded at end with stomach issues.
5/24/2008 Andy Payne Marathon 4:23:04; retry at sub 4, hot day.
11/23/2008 Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon 4:37:43; hilly, fun marathon.

2/1/2009 Mardi Gras Marathon – New Orleans 3:58:52; goal sub 4, success.
10/25/2009 Marine Corps Marathon 3:50:03; goal 3:55, stomach issues at mile 23, some walking.
11/22/2009 Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon 4:20:13; so much fun ran again this year.
12/13/2009 Run White Rock Marathon 4:04:19; just ran it for Marathon Maniac cred.

4/25/2010 Run OKC Memorial Marathon 26.2 mi 4:04:38; training had not gone well, just ran it  as best I could.
10/17/2010 Run Baystate Marathon 3:34:56; goal of 3:45, perfect day and beat goal by 10 minutes.
11/21/2010 Run Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon 4:34:19; once again, just for fun.