Friday, September 16, 2011
My road to Boston 2012 begins....or does it?
Today was the day I have been waiting for since April 18, 2011.
On April 18, 2011, I ran the Boston Marathon for the first time, and it changed my life. Never before had I anticipated so much from an event (except for maybe my wedding day), nor had I ever demanded so much of myself at any other time in my life. For four months, I dedicated my heart, soul and body to making the most of my (possibly one and only) opportunity to run in the shadow of nearly every great runner in the modern world - to run the Boston Marathon. Not only did I demand a lot from myself, but I delivered on my promises and dedication to myself by running my way to another Boston qualifying time of 3:38:49.
Two for two. Two marathons run....two Boston qualifying times. Any runner would be satisfied, but satisfaction can culminate in disappointment come registration day. Simply running a Boston qualifier (aka: "BQ") doesn't mean you'll cross the hallowed roads from Hopkinton to Boylston Street on Patriot's Day. No, it doesn't. The marathon has been called "every man's Everest", and let me tell you: people want to climb! Boston is now as difficult to get in to as it is to qualify for.
On October 18, 2010, the Boston Marathon sold out in less than eight hours. Runners who were unable to register in spite of their superior qualifying times were up in arms - forcing the Boston Athletic Association to change the registration process to a more "performance based" tiered system. The system is simple: faster runners get the first crack at registration, leaving "barely there" hopefuls to hope there would be spaces left after the fleet feet had their opportunity to claim their place. Luckily, I ran my BQ in a time fast enough to allow me an opportunity to "pre-register" - but not until two other groups of faster runners had their first crack at the registration process. My time makes me "the slowest of the fastest", but today it might just have been enough to get in. My registration form was submitted and a confirmation number was assigned: 2011829. It has a nice ring to it doesn't it?
Ah - not so fast. We're not at a happy ending yet. If only this confirmation number meant I was registered. As much as it is a great start and an excellent indication that my application will be accepted, the BAA has the final word. Each application is reviewed manually - qualifying times are confirmed and details are vetted for accuracy. Only when that magical e-mail arrives in your inbox indicating that your application has been confirmed can you breathe a sigh of relief knowing you are "in".
So, my road to the 2012 Boston Marathon may have begun today, or it may not. As soon as the stress to get registration submitted ends, the stress of waiting for the confirmation begins. I'm not sure how easy it will be to perform daily routine tasks with fingers and toes crossed, but I'm sure I'll make it work for the next few weeks....while I wait for that magical e-mail...while I wait for history to repeat in the most appealing way...while I wait to be "in".