Pumped from my fabulous break through race at Columbus back in October I signed up for Boston the next morning and was one of the lucky 20,000+ that got in before things shut down 8 hours later. I wasn't sure what that would mean for the race, but after some friendly prodding from friends it convinced me to send a note to the BAA asking about their Elite Women's Start (EWS) process. I received a form letter back stating that entrants with qualifying times under 2:49:00 would have the opportunity to start at 9:32 AM with the elite women. Uggh 53 seconds too many! My hopes were still up as there was a contingency that if your qualifier projected you to be top 30 you would also get the opportunity to join the EWS. On February 10th John Hancock announced their elite field for Boston which included 21 females with PRs under 2:30. I thought to myself (and a few friends), what are the odds that only 8 other women had signed up with times faster than mine. Knowing at least two of them personally from Ohio, I thought: not likely.
I knew they were supposed to contact women accepted into the EWS on March 1st. I emailed my friend who was automatically in with her 2:44 win at Wineglass and told her to let me know when she heard something so I could stop wondering if I might have gotten in. I had resolved that I would be starting in coral one with the mass start, but since I have two friends in the EWS I was still holding out a tiny bit of hope that I might join them.
I was actually so busy at work yesterday I had completely forgotten about my note to her and it being March 1st. At 2:00 pm I received an email titled "2011 Boston Marathon - EWS" and wondered what on earth is that? I opened it up and read the first few lines before it "clicked" and I realized I will be lining up at Boston with their elite field along with around 54 other top open and masters women (There will be approximately 40 open women and 15 masters women competing in the EWS). Holy smokes! Excited would be an understatement.
Initially I thought if I got the start I might have to weigh the pros and cons before deciding. But as soon as I comprehended what that email meant I knew I would take the opportunity. Even if it means I am running alone from the gun until the lead men catch me around mile 20. While my goal is obviously to try and get the "B" standard for the Olympic Trials, this in itself will be an amazing experience regardless of my race outcome. I'm looking forward to the "perks" of the elite start, and I'm hoping I will have some good company in my friends from Ohio who are also in this start with me along the way, and maybe I will get lucky and a pack of masters women will be going for the "B" standard too. I had planned on this being my last Boston for awhile, so it will definitely be a nice way to close out my Boston experience with a new challenge.
Funny how one (albeit lengthy) email can completely rock your world. I was practically bouncing around the office after reading it. Just an amazing feeling that I couldn't wait to share with all my loved ones. Coming from barely being in the first wave my second Boston to getting this opportunity is just surreal. I plan to make the most of it and just soak it all up. I may never get an opportunity like this again and I am just so grateful that all the hard work and support has paid off and it is giving me the opportunity to do something I would never have even dreamt about just a few years ago.