“Maybe I can qualify for Boston.”

These six words ran though my head for the first time (okay, the first time I actually believed them) three miles into the Lake Sammamish Half Marathon last March. Guys, I ran FAST. Those first three miles were at 8:15 pace and I didn’t let up much. To qualify for Boston I’d have to run a marathon at 8:12 pace.

After the finish, I took the bus from Issaquah back to Redmond where the race had started. It was naturally filled with people who’d finished around the time I had, and I couldn’t help but notice these people were mostly men. Fast looking ones. My seat-mate amiably asked me if I had any races coming up. He was clearly hoping I’d ask the same question in return because when I did he tried to tuck away a proud smile as he mentioned that he was heading to Boston in April.

Maybe some April I’d be heading to Boston too.

Because here’s the thing: I hadn’t really been training for a fast race. I’d signed up for the half a few months before as a way to force my post-partum self into shape before my beach wedding. I’d vaguely hoped for a sub-two hour half. My training times were a bit on the slow side (which in retrospect were due to the 20-40 pounds of babies that I was schlepping in front of me), so I was mentally unprepared for how physically prepared I was for the race. I ran the first few miles figuring my GPS was off. The next few miles I connected the dots and started thinking about Boston, and the last few miles I just tried to hang on.

So clearly I need to qualify for Boston NOW, while my kiddos are still young enough to cram into a jogging stroller.

Babies in the stroller

Luckily, Runner’s World magazine read my mind. Their July 2015 issue featured a training plan that Alicia Shay (a Run SMART coach) concocted for Meghan G. Loftus’s (the author) Boston qualifier. As with all training plans, I can’t quite keep up. I’m on week three and have missed a workout every week. And I’m headed out of town with my family and without my jogging stroller tomorrow, so things probably won’t improve on the whole schedule-following-front.

Marathon schedule

But maybe I’ll still qualify for Boston. Or maybe not.

I need to stack up my excuses now so that in September when I run a non-qualifying 3:40 I can look back and point to the reasons why, because maybe I won’t qualify this September. Babies and family and school and writing might throw too many workouts off track, and that’s just fine because I love all those things even more than running. But some day, I’ll qualify for Boston.