Erie Marathon – Boston Qualifier!!

The Erie Marathon at Presque Isle was my 21st marathon, and I’m happy to report that I finally qualified for the Boston Marathon!!! Due to the high demand for runners trying to get in to Boston the past few years, I knew that I would have to beat my qualifying time of 3:40:00 by at least a few minutes in order to have a strong chance of being accepted. In 2014 the cut-off was 1:02 under the qualifying time, and in 2013 it was 1:38 under the qualifying time.

My friend Hudson helped me with my training to get ready for Erie. We incorporated more tempo runs into the plan than the previous training cycles. (More on that in another post!) He also helped me plan my race day strategy so that we would be running negative splits to reach my goal time. He even designed & laminated a custom pace chart showing our mile splits, and overall time. The green side is my “A” goal of 3:35:00, and the red side is my “B” goal of 3:38:00.

The pace chart that my friend & I used to run negative splits at Erie Marathon at Presque Isle. The green side is my "A" goal, and the red side is my "B" goal for the race.

The pace chart that my friend & I used to run negative splits at Erie Marathon at Presque Isle. The green side is my “A” goal, and the red side is my “B” goal for the race.

The day of the race my friend Carol rode with Hudson & I to Presque Isle State Park. It was in the upper 40’s when we arrived. We had been advised that we needed to bring flashlights, because there are no street lights in the park. Fortunately, the race staff had the foresight to line the walkway with glow sticks, so we were able to find our way in the dark. 🙂 By the time the race started the temperatures had risen to the low 50’s. Unfortunately, not everyone followed the instruction to arrive at the park early since there was only 1 road that entered the park. The start was delayed by 15-20 minutes because people were still parking.

Hudson pacing me to a Boston Marathon qualifying time at Erie Marathon at Presque Isle.

Hudson pacing me to a Boston Marathon qualifying time at Erie Marathon at Presque Isle. This picture was taken around mile 18.

The race consisted of two 13.1 mile loops around the park. The course was mostly shaded & the trees blocked quite a bit of the wind coming off the lake. Hudson acted as my personal pacer & ran with me the whole 26.2 miles. We started off just a few seconds per mile ahead of the pace on the green side of the pace chart. We had decided that we were going to stay on the green side as long as we could & that we would only use the red side as a fall back plan if things got really rough. We were roughly 30 seconds ahead of our “A” goal pace when we reached the halfway point. Hudson asked if I wanted to go to the red side of the chart, or stay on green & I told him I wanted to stay on green. I really focused on maintaining proper form in the second half, and Hudson would remind me if I started to allow my form to falter. As we approached mile 18, Hudson reminded me to take in extra calories to help stave off “the wall.” I had been fueling the whole race, but I started taking my last Honey Stinger gel around this point. I felt strong & we continued to pick up the pace. I never did hit the wall. At mile 25 Hudson told me that I had a really good chance of running under 3:35. We picked up the pace by a few more seconds per mile. As we passed the 26 mile marker & rounded the corner I started to sprint towards the finish line. My official time was 3:34:44, which gave me over a 5 minute cushion under my qualifying time, and beat my previous PR of 3:50:44 by exactly 16 minutes. 🙂 By the time we finished, the temperatures had risen into the low 60’s, so the weather was perfect the entire race.

After the finish at Erie Marathon. I qualified for Boston by over 5 minutes!

After the finish at Erie Marathon. I qualified for Boston by over 5 minutes!

The Erie Marathon was an incredible experience! While it was mentally tough to maintain an 8:11 pace, I felt physically strong almost the entire race. I used the song “The Only Way I Know” by Jason Aldean to help get me through miles 11-26.

That’s the only way I know. Don’t stop ’til everything’s gone. Straight ahead, never turn around. Don’t back up. Don’t back down. Full throttle, wide open. You get tired & you don’t show it. Dig a little deeper ’til you think you can’t dig no more. That’s the only way I know.

I so appreciated all of Hudson’s help with my training & pacing me throughout the race! I couldn’t have done it without him. I also have to give major props to my hubby for taking care of the kids while I run, and my trainer John Foster for helping me with my cross training!

My next adventure after Erie Marathon was a trip to Boulder, Colorado to visit Newton Running, and conquer the Boulder Backroads marathon. I’ll share those adventures in the next post. Happy running!

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This post has been shared in the following linkups. Feel free to check them out for further fitspiration!

Tuesdays on the Run – Run the Great Wide Somewhere, MCM Mama Runs, My No Guilt Life

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Comments

  1. Congratulations on your BQ! That must be a great course to qualify on. My friend also qualified there this month. That is so exciting!

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