The women 45-50 age group here at the BQ(Q) has been pretty sparse, really happy to add Stephanie’s story to the mix! Thanks for taking part, Stephanie!
Name: Stephanie W www.Joyinthefire.com, @IRun4MyCrazy.
Age (at time of first BQ): 50
At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time? Tell us a little about the race.
Marathon where I got my first BQ: “Leading Lady’s Marathon” Spearfish, S. Dakota, 8/17/14. My finishing time was 3:59:19. It took place downhill in the lovely Spearfish Canyon. As the name states, it is an all woman marathon. I was a little worried about the mountain air & not being used to it, but it wasn’t a problem at all. I finished 25 out of 126 finishers. The marathon was/is, the only distance offered. What was nice about this race is that I had actually paid to go the prior year but got injured, but the $ carried over to the following year. I may not have been as ready to have raced in 2013 anyway. I couldn’t have picked a better race to qualify.
How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?
I had been running for 7 years prior to my BQ. Most of those early years was just learning the basics and being more of a “recreational” runner. I got serious with my training after my first marathon in Kansas City in 2011. I realized that being a “recreational runner with no plan” was not going to get me the results I needed. I did not run in college or high school. Quite the contrary, I was clumsy & non-athletic!
What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?
Since I never really kept track of yearly mileage until a couple of years ago, I am not sure what my approximate lifetime mileage was leading up to BQ.
How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?
I can only say that that particular year(2014) I ended up with 1,288 miles for the year. It looks like I will exceed that by a little this year. I ran 2013 miles in 2013 (My goal).
Approximately how many races did you run in that year?
I ran one half marathon, and one other marathon (for training purposes) in 2014 leading up to August 2014. Lots of miles/distances covered on my own. August 2013 to August 2014, I had ran an additional marathon & a couple 5k/4 milers.
Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was?
I did not use a canned program but incorporated all of the “canned” programs I had used in years prior. My biggest influence came from Jeff Galloway and incorporating the run/walk method into my long runs. Psychologically it helped me to get through those runs. I also started listening to my body and rested when I felt I needed to and pushed harder when I felt like it regardless of what the “plan” was for any given day.
Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?
I did not start running with a club/group until this past spring (2015). I did however, use an online coach for the first quarter of the year 2014. His training outline kept me accountable & he utilized a lot of running by time instead of specific miles. I did a lot of treadmill running because it was in the winter, but I feel that having a professional coach helped enhance my training even if it was for a short time.
Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?
I didn’t do a lot of cross training except for bicycling & ab work. I feel that strengthening the core is very important for runners. I did abs every other day and biked 3 times a week.
Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?
I think speed work was instrumental in being able to finish strong. As much as I despise it, I was able to finish with a little kick in my step. I did “Yasso 800s” at least 2x weekly at the local track. Those with fartleks, tempo runs, etc. gave me the variation I needed. Also doing a couple long runs back to back on consecutive days every 2 weeks gave me the ability to keep going on tired legs.
Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?
Final thoughts: If a BQ is your goal, (and obviously it is the crowning achievement for most of us runners), never give up. Never tell yourself for one second that you “can’t.” I ran Boston 2015 and have qualified 2 more time since-August 29, 20l5 at Nebraska State Fair Marathon with a time of 3:20:00- (unfortunately not enough cushion to get in Boston 2016 with only 40 seconds). I then ran Twin Cities on 10/04/2015 and finished 3:55:20. Hoping with a 0:4:40 cushion I will have the privilege of running Boston again in 2017. Believe in yourself and keep on keepin’ on! Champions are made when you think you have nothing left in the tank!