To Boston or not to Boston. That is the question.
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageously priced airline tickets, or to take arms against a sea of regrets about not registering…
As I bumble my way into the impending month of October, it’s time to start thinking about whether I should bother with Boston registration, which begins on Monday, October 18th at 9:00 AM EST. (That’s 5:00 AM AKST!)
I qualified for Boston in my first and only marathon back in March of this year.
I am itching not only to run Boston, but to run another marathon.
But let’s consider a few circumstances that might make the Boston Marathon a stupid idea.
1. Expenses. Let’s get real. I live on a volunteer stipend. My Boston Marathon experience will be in excess of $1000 spent on travel alone. Throw in the registration fee, food costs, and possible lodging expenses if I can’t coax friends into boarding me, and we’re looking at a big chunk of change just to run 26.2 miles.
2. My “work” (volunteer) commitment. April is reportedly one of the nicest months of the year here in Juneau. Nice weather equates with a very busy work schedule for me, particularly since my field happens to be environmental education. So the option of taking a leisurely week off in April in order to sha-zaam over to New England is… well, not actually an option. I’d have to limit this to a 3-4 day weekend trip, tops.
3. Conditions. Running in Alaska right now is all rainbows and swans and trumpeting angels, but in the meatiest months of Boston training mileage, I will be running in the dark, in the snow, on the ice. It might not be the most safe or enjoyable training situation. I’m not sure what I will make of that. Another consideration will be the time zone difference: I’m running four hours behind Boston, and a weekend trip to run the marathon might make for an anguish-filled race characterized by crushing jet lag. I know, I know, I’m such a princess.
4. Alaska Factor. I’m worried that if I set my sights on having a great Boston experience, I’ll miss out on stuff here. Maybe I don’t want to become the fun sponge worrying about Boston — which I would be, because there is no point in dropping all these dolla billz just to go “have fun and run the Boston marathon” — if I’m spending all that money and energy to race at Boston, I want to do well there and not just BS my way through the race because I qualified. I know myself: if I’m looking ahead training for Boston, that will become my focus, and I might choose to skip out on some of the awesome events and opportunities Alaska offers.
Maybe instead of being a marathon maniac, I should live it up in Alaska and put my energy into being here.
In fact, I’ve found a race here that I desperately want to do: The Klondike Run. This is a relay from Skagway, Alaska to Whitehorse in Canada. Every runner I meet here emphasizes that this is THE running experience in Alaska (and I’m tickled to be in demand as a potential relay teammate). It’s not until next September. I have no idea where in the country or world I will be next September, but perhaps if I’m going to drop a thousand dollars on traveling to a race, this would be the more judicious one to invest in. I have hometown ties to New England, so Boston will always be within striking distance if I qualify again. Alaska, on the other hand, may not be.
So yeah. Boston’s looking like a sorta dumb idea from where I’m standing in that first photo.
On the other hand. I really want to run it. Oooh, I get these jealous, preemptively regretful shivers whenever I think about not registering.
Any thoughts on this situation? What would you do?
What kinds of sacrifices have you made in order to run specific races? How did you decide it was worth it?