I spent the past five days in Boston with my wife. For both of us, the visit to Beantown was our first.
The marathon does not know vacation from any other day, so I brought my running shoes and entirely too many running clothes. With most of the hard training behind me, I still had a couple runs to get in during a taper week.
On the second morning of our visit, I went for a five mile run. I started from our hotel, ran up to Boston Common and made a loop before heading back. On my way, I ran past the Boston Marathon finish line on Boylston Street. Most cities take their finish lines down when the race is over — but not Boston. They leave it up all year, like a shrine of sorts.
It just so happened that the week we were in town the BAA announced their cutoff time for the 2016 Boston Marathon. Athletes who beat the qualifying standard by 2 minutes 28 seconds — nearly 1 minute 30 seconds faster than the cutoff for the 2015 race — would earn a bib.
Running in Boston was very special, especially given the fact that within a week I would be running a marathon of my own with my goal solely to qualify to run the prestigious Boston Marathon.
I ran a 10 miler Sunday morning. I (accidentally) went down by Jamaica Pond and Emerald Necklace before crossing into Cambridge and taking the Harvard Bridge back to Boston. There were a ton of people out running and I could just feel the electricity generated by the diehard Boston running community. The whole time I was thinking about my upcoming marathon and visualizing myself having a strong race.
Running a time of 3:05 or faster at the Chicago Marathon would mean everything to me. Even if I were to end up not getting a bib, being able to say I ran a BQ time would be an incredible achievement.