It was a cool fall morning on the other side of the country in 2011 when I decided I was going to attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I was in California with Team GSF, an amazing group of athletes who race for the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation, to run the Santa Barbara marathon, just six days after running New York City. The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation ( www.thegsf.org) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing global awareness of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (the #1 genetic killer of young children), accelerating research focused on ending this cruel disease, and supporting families impacted by SMA. As we gathered at the start, another GSF runner asked "So, you going for the BQ today?" I laughed and looked at him like he was crazy.
However, Nashville unfortunately had other plans for me, plans involving hills, heat and humidity. At Mile 24, my Garmin flashed 3:35 and I said "forget it, I will never qualify." In my mind I was done with this goal chasing. I had just proved I wasn't good enough.
In the meantime, I was still registered for Ojai 2 Ocean Marathon. Billy had registered for that race because it was listed as a top “Boston Qualifier,” and he was using it as a backup to LA, so I had registered as well. I wasn't going to run it, but I realized I could visit Gwendolyn while out there; and I decided I would just run it. Billy told me the day before the race he was still running it and then to my surprise, while meeting up at the start he said he would be running with me, pacing me to ensure I get that BQ. 26.2 miles and 3:24:24 hours later I finished among the top 20 women as a BOSTON QUALIFIER!!!
|With Billy Crader and Gwendolyn Strong after Ojai to Ocean|
|Boston 2013 - Steve, Lundy (me), Bill, & Billy|
This was my Olympics. I wanted to love every mile.
I covered my Garmin with my Never Give Up bracelet, tied my kicks, said my goodbyes to my friends, shuffled my "Olympics" playlist and ran the Boston Marathon....in 3:17:09!!
A new PR by seven minutes, and a BQ for 2014 at my OLYMPICS!!! The race I NEVER dared to dream of running. The race I told myself I was a fool for trying and wasn't good enough to qualify!
Nanuet, New York
For more personal accounts of the 2013 Boston marathon, click here.
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