The Boston Marathon: No Thanks

Emily Abbate

Hartford Marathon runnersRegistration for the 2011 Boston Marathon opened this morning. And as opposed to most other marathons throughout the country, all runners must qualify to participate with a race from the 2009 or 2010 season. With women's qualifying time for my 20-something age group ranking in at an astounding 3:40, I say this: Good riddance.

I will never run the Boston Marathon, and I'm OK with that.

While some runners crave competition, I solely crave the finish.

The thought of running 26.2 miles brings me excitement and presents a challenge. After completing three half marathons -- it seems to be a realistic goal for 2011. But let's be serious, running all 26.2 miles in roughly 8:24 splits?

I digress.

Flashback to 2007.

I was roughly 55 pounds heavier and extremely inactive. Admittingly larger than my friends, I was happy living my busy lifestyle -- and I didn't see an immediate problem, that is, until I stepped on a scale.

When I did take the leap of faith, I saw 200-plus pounds of hatred, anger, and frustration on the small silver screen at my feet. And on that April night at 9:15 p.m. as the breeze rattled my windows, I laced up two-year-old red Nike sneakers, threw on a maroon hoodie, and took to the streets. Sprinting furiously over cracked pavement and grassy paths, the cold dew hit my ankles and I felt tears streaming down my face.

I knew that I couldn't live like that. It was then I knew that I had to make a change.

... and I did.

The important thing to know is that it didn't happen overnight. I remember my first half mile run. It was in the middle of the day about a month later, the temperatures were skyrocketing, and I needed to let out some aggression. Doing so through exercise was an unfamiliar method for me -- but nevertheless something triggered my adrenaline.

I ran fast ... and hard. I had no clue how far I had gone, but it felt good. And when I finally figured it out, I laughed at myself thinking that my half mile run took that much effort.

Soon my half mile became a full. And then my mile became three. And before I knew it, I was running six miles a day. If there was anything I learned, it was that small wins amount to a huge victory, and each step along the way is a success.

A little more than a year later, I ran my first half marathon in 2008. Then again in 2009.

Do I run fast? Ha, I don't think so and I don't intend to. I love every second of my 10-minute pace, so much that I kept it for roughly my entire third half marathon last weekend.

Do I wonder about qualifying for Boston? Of course not, but that's just me.

Let the competitive runners work on upping their splits. If that's your thing, then I commend you. Continue to push yourself and kudos for you and your strong will and determination to aim for such an astounding success.

I'll be running at my own pace, listening to my lime green iPod shuffle, and enjoying every step.

Are you competitive? What do you think about Boston's qualification times?

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