BQ365: Week 1

by Brian Kim, MD |

BQ – two letters that have become the ultimate goal in racing; an obsession that weighs in the minds of countless runners, but is realized by few. For some, it’s a check box on a lifetime bucket list. For others, it’s a tangible benchmark between the anonymity of “marathon finisher” and the impossibility of Olympic gold. Whatever the motive, the Boston Qualifier (the time standard to qualify for the Boston Marathon) has become lore during the decades long boom that has democratized marathon running to welcome (whether you like it or not) finishers like Oprah (4:29:20), P. Diddy (4:14:54), Lance Armstrong (an EPO-boosted 2:59:36), Paul Ryan (also “two hour and fifty-something,” or actually, 4:01:25), and probably even your mom or weird uncle.

The blogosphere is replete with runners making their case for the pursuit of the BQ. Some find success, but this is clearly the exception. The web is littered with hundreds of carcassed blog-like remains of resolutions and good intentions, even one called “BQ or DIE” (I’ll let you speculate, but he didn’t BQ). Still, to a runner like myself, the allure of the BQ is irresistible, like a Sirens’ song of the 1/3 life crisis.

So, today we launch #BQ365 and, with it, my quest to qualify for the Boston Marathon by the age of 30 (leaving me with a little over a year to train). Ostensibly, this effort is going to require a fairly hefty dose of crazy pills, and here’s why. I have run one half-marathon in my life, in 1:36:30, or about 7:20/mile pace. The qualifying time (which will hence forth be known as the “BQ”) for my age & gender group (18-34 males), is 3:05:00, or about 7:03/mile pace. At the end of the day (or year) I’ll have to run twice as far as I’ve ever run, at a clip faster than my half-marathon pace. Performance enhancing drugs have never looked so good.

Now, I am prepared to hear my fair share of moans, groans, and psychic overtones from those who 1) don’t think it can be done, 2) are le tired of bloggers who think readers should care about the details of their caloric intakes, sweat patterns, and bowel movements, or 3) fear that this is actually an elaborate ruse by Dr Oz to sell you snake oil and pixie dust. These are all fair concerns, so a few ground rules:

What #BQ365 is not about:

My aim is to talk about health, not shove it down your throat. As a Family Medicine physician pursuing a career in Sports Medicine, it’s inevitable but it will be in the form of sparkling conversation, not a soapbox rant.  Though tempting, I’m also not here to sell you stuff.  I won’t ask you to support my efforts to raise money for kids with cancer, fresh water wells in Africa, mistreated animals, or orphans in Russia. I don’t discourage altruism, but there are plenty of other venues out there for that.

What #BQ365 is about:

Yes, this is, loosely, a personal accounting of my trek to train and qualify for the Boston Marathon. No misconceptions here, I’m in it to win it. We’ll talk running, stretching, strengthening, nutrition, rest (often forgotten), and whatever else pops up on this magical journey. Should you decide to strap on a pair of sneaks and join me in my quest, more power to you. And while BQing is a personal goal, the aim of this series goes beyond hitting the finish tape at 26.2. As the name implies #BQ365 reflects my desire to find a BQ moment in every day, and to inspire others to do the same. To find out what motivates you and embrace it; to find the obstacles in your life and toss them. “Make every day your masterpiece,” a wise Wizard once said.

Ready, set, go. One day at a time.

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02 2013

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