“NEVER SAY NEVER” – especially about the Boston Marathon

I recently posted something on facebook talking about how I would be returning to the Boston Marathon in April 2018. My words below were one of the comments I left when a friend congratulated me but said he’d never be fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I have a complicated relationship with the Boston Marathon but I’ve been very fortunate that qualifying hasn’t been the issue.


Never say never!  I wanted a sub 3 hour marathon for a long time and I got it in my 30th marathon. Just think if I had said I’ll never be fast enough to do it! I mean 29 times before I wasn’t. Talk about having to keep the faith. Sometimes you simply have to wait longer than others to get what you were always gonna get. So don’t ever say you won’t be fast enough. Instead say, I gotta keep running and stay healthy because eventually I will be at Boston. – Coach Stacy


My first Boston Marathon was in 1999 and I’ve done nine Boston Marathons.   I spent a long time trying to have my fastest marathon EVER at Boston.  That didn’t happen and I was so often frustrated and disappointed that a frequent mantra for me was: “I hate the Boston Marathon.


There is nothing easy about Boston. For some people the hardest thing is to get the BQ (Boston Qualifier).  For others it’s the winter training which requires long runs in horrible conditions to arrive in Boston for what often feels like a summer day. And for others the hardest thing is their running ego and the burning desire to have their fastest race at the hallowed Boston Marathon. That was my problem.


I’ve run Boston when it was almost cancelled due to a ‘nor’easter. I’ve run it when the temperatures were so high they let participants defer to the following year. I’ve run it when it’s been bombed.  I’ve run it when we all called ourselves BOSTON STRONG.  I’ve twice run Boston in the exact time that I would that year run the marathon portion of an Ironman. If I can’t make an argument for how hard Boston is let me remind you that in an Ironman you swim 3.8K and bike 180K BEFORE you run the marathon.


I never broken 3 hours at the Boston Marathon but I should have in 2011 and my training and racing indicated I would. But did I mention “I hate the Boston Marathon?” 😉


In 2013 I got as close as I ever would when I ran a 3:05. In 2018, I will be going back for the 122nd Boston Marathon. As a frequent tutu clad runHER I love the numerology of this race.  I won’t be going back to break 3 hours. I won’t even be going back to be fast.  But I will be going back. And I would love to qualify for Boston in Boston. That was something that I’ve done every other Boston but things are much different for me now.


I registered for the 2018 Boston Marathon this past fall. In fact my registration went in just before I was hospitalized and spent a week in the cardiac unit.  My health seems better but I feel like I am always fatigued. And for anyone that has ever done a marathon, that is usually how you feel with training. But I am starting training with that feeling. I don’t know how that will turn out.  So this marathon cycle will be hard. Just like Boston training always seems to be.  Darn it, the marathon gets me again. I am pretty sure there are going to be a lot of times that I return to my mantra of “I hate the Boston Marathon” but that’s not true. I love it. And I return even when I quit it and try to stay away. I always return. Its Boston, you can’t stay away long.


But sometimes it takes a while to get your qualifier something I wanted to stress to my friend that said  “I’ll never qualify for Boston, I am not fast enough.”  I had to jump right on that.  Never limit yourself.  Never decide you can’t do something ever.  Why? Because what you think is your reality. NEVER SAY NEVER.


Instead you can think something might be very hard. It might take a very long time but with preparation, dedication and perseverance it can happen.


For almost 10 years I had the goal of running a marathon under three hours.  And yes, I wanted to do it at the Boston Marathon but mostly I just wanted to do it. In 2012 I ran a 3:09 marathon which was a PB (personal best) of eighteen minutes. I had done the Prague Marathon in May in a time of 3:28 without proper training.  So I joined a running group, started to follow a training plan and five months later I went to the Chicago Marathon which is known as being a very fast marathon. And I improved by 18 minutes. I was 30 years old and figured, if I can improve by 18 minutes with only five months of training that I could go sub 3 hours within 3 years.


I gave myself 3 years for the goal. And you know what happened? I didn’t get my goal. I got injured. I got so injured I could only swim.  I kept running marathons because I love them but thoughts of being FAST were replaced. I became obsessed with the Ironman and all my goals were reflected there. After going to the Ironman World Championships in Kona I decided to refocus on my original goal of running a marathon under 3 hours.  And I did it. But it took me 10 years to get the goal and it was in my 30th marathon.  So that is a long version of the back story for the advice I gave my friend. It didn’t happen at Boston but it happened and I couldn’t be more proud.


Back to Boston I go.

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