On Monday, registration opened (and closed) for the prestigious Boston Marathon. I know this because, thanks to having lots of runner-friends on Facebook and Twitter, my social media streams were filled with chatter about it all day, from the jubilant registration announcements to the wistful consolations of “maybe next year.”
The difference between the two posts: The all-important Boston qualifier, or BQ, or a marathon time that meets Boston’s tough time limits—3:40 for a woman my age. That’s 8:23-minute mile pace, or roughly what I do for a fast half-marathon. You may recall that last year, my Marine Corps Marathon goal (the one I had before all the wheels fell off) was a humble four hours, meaning a BQ just isn’t part of my daily vocabulary.
I am, however, gunning for a different kind of BQ—a Bay Qualifier, or a successful lottery bid for the 4.4-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge Swim. When I first registered a week ago, I was feeling pretty wishy-washy about the event, in part because of its $250 entry fee.
But watching the Boston chatter, I realized two things: not only am I no longer even personally curious about that kind of BQ, I’m also not tantalized by the idea of running any full marathon at this point. But I *am* officially excited about the prospect of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Swim, and will be forking over my $250 if I get the chance to.
The first round of swimmers find out their fate on Nov. 4, with more rounds of swimmers approved every 48 hours until the swim reaches its 700-swimmer limit. Cross your fingers for me!