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Even for a local, qualifying for Boston is special

Posted by Matt Pepin, BostonGlobe.com Staff  March 8, 2013 07:00 AM

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100scroth.jpg Katie Schroth is one of six Boston Marathon entrants testing Polar personal training gear and blogging about it for Boston.com
I started running competitively when I was 13 years old. I hadnít yet dreamed of anything as crazy as a marathon; instead it all started with 1 mile races.

As a freshman in high school, I joined the cross country team and track team. Initially I hated running (sort of). I went from running low weekly mileage to 35-40 miles a week, and as you can imagine that can be a shock to the system. To me, running more than three miles at a time was just silly. I also had a really intense coach. He was amazing, but also overwhelmingly excited about all things running. By my second year, I was completely and utterly hooked.

I've never been particularly talented in the running department. I ran varsity in high school and college, so I was a "good" runner on my team, but when I went to the New England cross country meet in college I generally finished somewhere in the middle. So really, I'm nothing special.

After college I gave up serious racing for a bit. I continued running, but I needed a break from the stress of running hard all the time. Then I got pregnant. Having a baby is awesome, but it also made me feel old and a little decrepit. I suddenly had this desire to start racing again and find a new running challenge.

That challenge has become the marathon. I ran my first marathon 14 months after my daughter was born. I did OK. I finished with a smile, which was cool, but I hadn't properly trained. I had secretly (and unrealistically) hoped that I would somehow qualify for Boston. As soon as I finished, I was planning my next. Qualifying for Boston had suddenly become my big running goal.

Now I'm not one to run several marathons a year. They take a lot out of me both physically and mentally. My second marathon was a full year after my first, and it wound up being a complete disaster. It was just a bad day. Most of us have them. I was slightly sick and injured. Oh yes, and there was a Nor'easter during my race. I wound up running 25 minutes slower than the year before.

And then I got pregnant again. I ran through my pregnancy, but I didn't race. Eight months after the birth of my second daughter, I made my third attempt to run a Boston qualifier. I wound up running 3:40:54. Talk about cutting it close! That was the first year of the Boston rolling registration, though, and my time didn't make the cut.

I made another attempt six months later and ran 3:26, but that marathon was in October and the registration deadline was in September. I've since run two more marathons patiently waiting for the 2013 Boston Marathon. My last attempt was 3:11:54. That was a good day.

Boston is alluring to most runners for a variety of reasons. However, besides being a runner, I also happen to live in the Boston area. I've lived 30-45 minutes from Boston my whole life. My parents were both born and raised in Boston. My grandfather was a Boston police officer. We often take the kids to Boston on weekends.

Being able to take part in 2013 Boston Marathon is more special than I can put into words. And Iím honored to share my journey.

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Look for updates, news, analysis and commentary from the following.
  • Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
  • Ty Velde is a 16-time Boston qualifier who's completed 12 consecutive Boston Marathons and 25 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 13th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
  • Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes

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