• Carmen Scuito

My Boston Qualifying Marathon Attempt: Postponed (again)

But this time, it's on me.

Last year I was 7 weeks into my training plan, arguably in the best shape of my life, and my marathon was canceled due to covid. I was disappointed, devastated, and heartbroken. This year, I was 9 weeks into my training plan, but this time, I'm the one who decided to pull the plug.

The stars are never going to align. There's never a perfect time to block out 3-4 months to train for a marathon. There's always going to be excuses, and that's fine. It's not fine when training to race a marathon is not a priority. 26.2 miles is 26.2 miles, and no matter what kind of shape you think you are in, it will humble you.

I really have a lot going on right now - and that's not a bad thing. In fact, it's actually a great thing. I'm in a great place, I'm on the right track, and some things have just taken a spot over training for a marathon. Running has been a part of my life almost as long as I can remember. It has occasionally taken a backseat to other things going on in my life, like when I was playing 4 years of college lacrosse. That's actually when I first learned about the unforgiving nature of the marathon. I was a high-level college athlete, and I thought that I could easily run a fast marathon on little to no real training. Crossing the finish line at the 2018 Chicago Marathon in over 5 hours was the humbling experience I got with that mindset.

Nowadays, there is no doubt I can run a marathon in under 5 hours, but that's not the goal anymore. A 5 hour marathon takes more than being a collegiate lacrosse player, and a 4 hour marathon takes more than being a recreational runner. I don't doubt that I can do that right now either. For me, a 3 hour marathon requires a lifestyle, and it isn't a lifestyle that I can partake in right now.

Again, the stars will never align, and I understand that. There are a lot of things that led me to postpone my BQ attempt - some can be interpreted as excuses, and some can be taken as legitimate reasons, but here is what's been on my mind.

My school has done me no favors. I'm having a great time on my clinical rotation I was placed in, but from a marathon-training perspective, I'm in the middle of Illinois in the dead of winter. First of all, my marathon is on a mountain, and Illinois is as flat as can be. Secondly, I moved to Las Vegas for plenty of reasons, and to not be in Illinois during these exact times was one of them. When my choices are to run in the dark in below-freezing weather or train for a marathon on a treadmill, it's not hard to lose motivation.

I am nearing the end of PT school. With that comes having to take my licensure exam, the NPTE, which happens to land just 3 weeks after my originally scheduled marathon date. This is a test that requires months of vigorous studying. It's like the grand finale of exams for my entire academic career. I knew this before I started my rotation, and I thought I could handle it. It's not that I can't, but I have yet to begin studying, and I feel like I am already scrambling for time working long hours in the clinic and spending even more hours in my running shoes every day.

Anthony Barrios. I know you're reading this. We have a Yu-Gi-Oh "Master vs Creator" style relationship when it comes to running. If it wasn't for me, he wouldn't even be running. Now, I can train for months, and he can probably beat me in any distance running backwards. Anyways, Anthony Barrios, my training partner and my pacer, had his own reasons to drop out of training - frankly because he never began it, but that's beside the point. When I zoomed out and looked at my situation, I realized that's probably best for me to do too. 26.2 miles in 3 hours is hard enough with someone on your side and in your corner. Having to tackle the journey all by myself would be a lot to take on, and it's not impossible, but with everything else going on, it's just not something I wanted to do.

I really wanted to add Boston-Qualifier to my resumé before I graduated. I want to pass my NPTE more than I want to BQ right now. I want to continue learning as a student to become the best physical therapist I can be when I graduate right now. I want to work on my healthcare career more than I want to work on my running gains right now, and that's where I'm at.

So, what's the plan?

Well, after some self-reflecting thought and discussion with my pacer, I have decided to postpone my BQ attempt. I am registered to race the Revel Big Bear Marathon on November 12, 2022. I'll be a licensed physical therapist, and for the first time in my life, I won't have homework to do or an exam to study for. I'll also be living and training in Las Vegas, and just the thought of that gets me excited. I miss warm weather.

This was not an easy decision, but it wasn't an impulsive one, and it definitely doesn't come with regret. In fact, I actually believe it's strategic. I have plenty of time to continue strength training and building a base before jumping into any sort of training plan. While I am much more familiar with Mt Charleston than I am with Big Bear, Big Bear is ultimately where I set a half marathon PR just a few months ago. This was a race in which I even fell apart the last few miles on an issue that I can absolutely fix - my leg strength endurance. My pacing was great, my heart rate was normal, but my quads were absolutely on fire. I'm going to make sure I fix that in round 2, and I'm going to do it in twice the distance.

11/12/2022 | 26.2 | 2:59:59

Book it.

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