The BQ(Q) — Erin

Name: Erin

Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 19

Height (at the time of first BQ): 5’4″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 104

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

Tell us a little about the race. My time was 3:34:38. The weather was perfect – average temp of 57 degrees throughout the race. The course was relatively flat with a total elevation gain of 557 ft (by my GPS).

The first mile was extremely hectic because I ended up at the back of the corral and had to pass a lot of people. The first ~7 miles overall were very congested, but the crowd support was also terrific. The first 13.1 miles overall felt like they went by quickly, and miles 14-17 were uneventful as well.

Around mile 18 was when I started feeling not great. By mile 20, I was nauseated, and my legs were really hurting. I was worried that I would give up and start walking, but I started talking out loud to myself, saying things like, “I am going to qualify for Boston today.” This definitely made me sound crazy, but I think it helped.

I was excited to get to mile 24 where a few of my friends would be cheering for me. Two friends jumped in there and paced me from miles 24-26. I was in so much pain that I closed my eyes a few times. When I crossed the finish line and saw 3:34:38 on my watch, I felt euphoric. I gave that race everything I had, and I did it. I even got 2nd place in my age group.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? About 4 years on and off. I was not a naturally fast kid, but I had always wanted to be one of those people who could run for miles without getting tired. I joined high school track because it kept me accountable in reaching this goal (I was by far the slowest person on the walk-on team). I started running consistently about 2.5 years before my BQ.

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 3706

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1436

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 13

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 was running with a (social, not competitive) running club at the time, and I mostly just tried to run as much as possible. On average, I ran 5-6 miles 5-6 days per week, and this sometimes include two runs in one day (I felt like the feeling of running on tired legs really helped me mentally on race day). I did two 20 mile long runs but otherwise did not follow a consistent long run schedule. I also raced a half marathon, four 6ks, and a 10k (in that order) in the 3 months leading up to the marathon.

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 was part of a CrossFit gym during that time but only went maybe 5 times in the 3 months leading up to the race. Cross training was not a priority.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Absolutely. I don’t think there’s any way I could have BQed without speed work as I am naturally not a very fast person. I did 5 track workouts and 6 races in the 2 months leading up to the marathon. (I definitely wasn’t full-out “racing” all 6 of those races – some were more like tempo runs.)

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? The mental part is no joke. Just as much as you prepare for the physical challenge of the race, prepare yourself for the mental aspect.

Try meditation – learning to quiet your mind and control your thoughts will help when you feel like walking during miles 20-26. I also recommend getting used to running on tired legs, like doing a workout after an easy run earlier in the day.

Also, practice telling yourself the story of how you will qualify. When I felt like dying during the later miles, I kept thinking to myself, “After this is over, I don’t want to be telling my friends how I was on track to qualify until mile 20 and then couldn’t quite do it. I want to tell them the story of how everything started hurting at mile 20, but I was able to go on, even despite that, and qualify.”

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The BQ(Q) – Megan Capitano

Name: Megan Capitano

Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 32

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

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 120

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Mountains 2 Beach

Tell us a little about the race. May of 2018, mostly flat course though the advertise it’s all downhill(not true)

Ventura, Ca so mild climate

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 1-2 years

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? Approximately 1000 miles/yr

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1000 miles

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 1 full marathon to qualify, 3 half marathons

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? Yes, Cycling, basketball, gym- always tried to incorporate some kind of alternative activity than just running 5-6 days/week

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Not really, basketball helped a little bit

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Relax about it, meet other runners and have the confidence that you believe you can do it, and have fun! It’s the journey, not the destination!

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The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Derick

Name: Derick

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 29

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

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 153

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Kiawah Island

Tell us a little about the race. Pancake flat course with half marathoners splitting off at mile 9. 50° and 100% humidity at the start approaching 60° by the finish. Just one other guy with me after the split. Ran together until he started slowing at the half. Seemed like everyone was falling apart on the 2nd half as I was passing everyone I saw. Struggled hard with quad pain last 7 miles, but managed to maintain pace for the most part.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 15 years, on and off, 5 continuous

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 13000

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1870

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 19

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? Yes. My quads were what always failed on my late in the marathon. After a couple of PRs that spring I had a foot injury. After a few weeks off, I only ran about 25miles/week that summer and biked heavily. Didn’t start increasing mileage until September after nearly breaking the half PR I set before the injury.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yeah, that was one of my only runs during the summer.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? I had planned on running a marathon the previous December, but bailed late. Started hitting 60 mile weeks and ran 3 20 milers. Had some huge PRs in 8-15K races along the way.

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How Nicolas Shaw Qualified for Boston Marathon

Name: Nicholas Shaw

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 22

Height (at the time of first BQ): 5’8

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 135

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Baltimore

Tell us a little about the race. I had no idea I was going to do the race until the day before I was offered a free entry through the company I worked for. I was doing about 40-60 miles a week of essentially only base mileage. Since I knew it was a hard course and I had never run more than 16 miles at once I was expecting around a 3:15. I ended up going 2:54 while getting progressively faster throughout the race, needless to say I was pretty shocked.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 10 years

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 15,000

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

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? Probably 15 most in the begining of the year (10K or shorter though)

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, Base mileage and lots of fruits and veggies

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

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Did some general strength and lifting

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Was only a collegiate track team at the beginning of the year, but once I graduated all I did was base except for the occasional set of hill sprints.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Don’t use generic training plans. Do your own research and figure out how your body works. There is too much genetic variance among individuals to follow cookie cutter training plans. If you can figure out the way your body adapts to certain stimuli you can optimize training.

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The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Nathan

Name: Nathan

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 28

Height (at the time of first BQ):  5ft9

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 138 pounds

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? 138 pounds

Tell us a little about the race. The race had perfect weather for running, 50 degrees and overcast. When I was in the start corral I didn’t have so much of a nervous feeling but a more confident feeling of knowing my goal and how I was going to run the race. I knew that the last 10km of the race had the most hills so my goal was to run even splits throughout and not attempt a negative split, went through half way in 1:27 and just concentrated on hitting the splits, miles 21-24 was almost a gradual incline and was the slowest 5k of the race for me and I then had to stop for 3 minutes as I had cramp, I began to panick as each step caused me to cramp up but I managed to get to the 26 mile marker knowing that I was still on for sub-3 hours and almost had a sprint finish to ensure I did get under 3. I crossed the line in 2:59:30. For the next 3 months I had to wait for the registration for Boston to open and hope that more than a 5 minute cushion was sufficient and just a couple days after registering I got confirmation that I was Boston bound.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 2 years

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 2000

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

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 My training was not structured, I just ran for at least one hour per day, 6 days per week. Mostly easy runs but would do a long run every weekend of 16-20 miles always with some MP miles either in the middle of second half of the run.

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? I didn’t do much speed work per se but I would frequent a local Parkrun which was a nice change to just run fast over a relatively short distance, made MP much more manageable.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Be consistent with running during your training, don’t obsess over the stats, just run most days and do that for at least a few months. Run by feel and some days that will feel easier than others, run a variety of paces during your training. When you turn up for your BQ attempt be confident and focus on how good you will feel when you achieve your goal.

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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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