Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thanks a lot, BAA!

This morning I hear one sound in my mind.  It is the voice of the GPS lady who speaks when you go off the planned route.  You inevitably hear  "RE-CALCU-LATING..."

The BAA (Boston Athletic Association) has, as expected, shaken things up a bit.  They have decided to not only change the registration process beginning in 2012, but have also decided to lower the qualifying times by 5 minutes for both men and women in each age group category.  Ok, that is not so bad, nor is it unexpected.  The implementation of the 5 minute rule will not go into effect until 2012 and will not affect the 2012 qualifying times.  But the registration process has really changed and is likely to determine if I will ever run Boston.

Beginning with registration for the 2012 Boston Marathon (which will take place this September), a rolling registration process will begin.  The first day of registration will go to those men and women finishing under 20 minutes of their needed qualifying time.  So for me to register in September, on the opening registration day, I will need to run a qualifying marathon in under 3 hours and 25 minutes.  Day two opens for those who have qualified in under 10 minutes of their time needed.  Day three I believe is open registration.  Ok, so now I know so many people will fall into the day three category and it will simply be a race to the computer on that day.  BUT, since my next planned marathon was not until Chicago on October 9th this year, I will be out for 2012, as Boston will surely close if not on day three, before.

So now I have two options... Run a summer marathon (OH HELL... I HATE HEAT), which means training begins for a full sooner than expected.  Run that marathon in my current qualifying time or less and then hope for the best when registration opens.  OR... raise my expectations for a marathon finishing time next year... faster marathon.  THEN, hope I can get in.  If this is all sounding pretty confusing, it is.  I am crazy confused.

When I started this, my goal was to run a marathon in 3:45 or less then register for and run the Boston Marathon.  During this 2 1/2 year time period, I've attempted 3 times.  So I've had my chance and fallen short.  Through it all, I have to admit, it has become more of a steel grit quest to "prove" something rather than achieve the dream of running Boston.  It has become more of a "YOU WILL NOT KEEP ME OUT, YOU SON OF A BITCH.  I AM BETTER THAN YOUR STUPID STANDARDS."  Well apparently the president of the BAA has been reading my blog and picked up on that because he just threw a big fat "OH YEAH?  WATCH ME!"

So what do I do now?  If this is some sort of message, what may that be?  Is it "Let's see what you are made of.. keep going, press on, train harder and conquer this.  If you leave this, you are nothing but a quitter and 2 1/2 years has been wasted."  Or is it "It is time to change course and that's ok.  You love running distance and clearly so much of the joy has been clouded with getting to Boston.  Free yourself.  Move on to ultras like you want.  This Boston change is what you needed in order to allow yourself to do it."

I have no freaking idea.

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