Saturday, March 23, 2024

Boston Bound - Again!

I’m making my 4th trip to Boston for my 5th Boston Marathon in a few weeks. I know that sounds weird, but I ran the virtual in 2020 and I totally count it!

My first Boston Marathon was 2016. I ran it again in 2018, 2020, and 2022. I think every two years is a good way to run it regularly while still keeping it special. I’m considering of moving to every four years (the leap years) after this race. That is, of course, if I keep qualifying.

Training has looked different for me this cycle because the One City Half Marathon was my goal race. I tapered for it and recovered from it which meant to weeks of relatively low mileage (35 and 27). But considering I missed two weeks of training entirely before Richmond and still ran a strong race, I am not concerned at all.

The main point is that Boston has not been my focus and I don’t feel like I have invested that much training in it, relative to how much I typically train. But who knows, maybe less really is more. I have two 20-milers under my belt and one 16-miler. All other long runs have been under 16 miles. Yesterday I ran 20.12 miles at an average pace of 7:41 and I felt like I could have kept going. So I somehow am in the best shape of my life without having trained that hard.  I ran the 20 miles as 7 miles easy (8:23 average) 11 miles at marathon pace (7:11 average) and 2 easy (7:49 average). 

I do not have a time goal for Boston because the weather is so unpredictable. It’s a tough course and logistics are not ideal. That said, I think I could break 3:20 even in non-ideal circumstances. My half marathon predicts a time of 3:09-3:10 so I have some cushion! My fastest Boston was 3:26:54, and I am fairly certain I can beat that time if it stays below 65 degrees.

Bib numbers were assigned this week and I find it fascinating that the field gets faster and faster each year. Your bib number corresponds to you qualifying time: the lower the number, the faster your time was. Here is my history:

2018: Qualifying time of 3:21:54 and bib 12394
2022: Qualifying time of 3:18:57 and bib 12827
2024: Qualifying time of 3:16:04 and bib 12577

When I ran the race in 2016 my bib was 19448, but my qualifying time was significantly slower: 3:35.

My fastest qualifying time was 3:15:34 and I am fairly certain that I would have gotten a bib below 12,000 back in 2020 if the bib numbers had been typical. But with the virtual race things were different because not all entrants ran the virtual race and received a bib number. In any event, this will be my third consecutive Boston in the exact same starting corral. Now we just need to hope for cool weather because these bibs tend to be gigantic and best suited for crop tops or singlets – not sports bras!

I’m excited to return to Boston but not quite as excited as I was in previous years. This is probably natural because the more you do something, the less “special” it feels. As I mentioned earlier, I might reduce my Boston trips to every four years, provided I can still qualify. Greg and I have so many vacations on our bucket list, and we think the money would be better spent on extending our next African safari.

Who knows, I may just fall in love with the race all over again and insist on going back in 2026. Thankfully I have no nagging injuries like I did going into Richmond and I’m in an excellent spot mentally. My top priority is to have a fun Boston weekend with Greg and my friends, and my race performance will be what it will!


  1. I know that you worked so hard to get your first BQ and to go from that to having run the race so many times that it's getting "ordinary" - what a win! I like the plan to run every leap year, especially since it means more time and money to go on safaris and to see more zebras in the wild;-)

    1. Yes, zebra stripes take priority over adidas jacket stripes! And thank you for such a thoughtful comment. I know you have been following my journey for a long time. :-)