BostonStrongRibbonTwo weeks from today, thousands of runners from around the country and world will run the 118th Boston Marathon. Having traveled with my family to run this historic race in 2012 (and hopefully I’ll return someday), it holds a special place in my heart. It wasn’t my best race by any stretch—it was, in fact, my slowest 26.2, due to blazing hot temperatures that year—but it’s definitely a highlight of my life as a runner and was a memorable adventure for my family.

While qualifying for the Boston Marathon isn’t something all runners strive for, plenty of us do—including these three Michigan runners who have been training for the past several months, during Polar Vortex Part I and II nonetheless, after qualifying for this year’s event. Two of these athletes are running Boston for the first time, while one is returning after running it in 2013. Here’s what they had to say about qualifying (one runner spent many years chasing this dream), their training plans, and what it means to have the opportunity to run this marathon:

Runner: Marc Schollett
Hometown: Traverse City, Mich.
Occupation: Television news anchor for 7&4 News
Years he’s tried to BQ (Boston Qualify): 18

Northern Michigan runner Marc Schollett has waited nearly two decades to run the Boston Marathon. / photo courtesy John L. Russell.
Northern Michigan runner Marc Schollett has waited nearly two decades to run the Boston Marathon. / photo courtesy John L. Russell.

What training plan have you been following, and how has it been going? Has the weather made things tougher – or have you embraced it?

I am following a training plan from my coach, Lisa Taylor. She set out a 16-week plan that is unlike anything I have done before. It’s a unique plan in that it’s very heavy with 13- to 17-mile long runs. My longest run is 20 miles, I do three of those. But I have a lot of back-to-back runs to get me used to running on tired legs. Since I am not worried about how fast I run Boston, there isn’t much speed work. The goal at the start of the training plan was to get me to the finish line at Boston with a smile of my face, to enjoy the race and be strong enough to do that. This winter training has been the hardest I have ever endured. Having run the Bayshore year after year, I am used to winter training for a spring marathon, but this year has been exceptionally cold and snowy. I have never had to bundle up and actually worry about exposed skin and frostbite in the past. This year I have! Coach Lisa is constantly having to calm my nerves about my pacing. I have felt slow and as if I was working really hard to run at a slower pace. She keeps reminding me the slick and snowy roads take a toll, and so does the extremely cold air temperature. I keep telling myself that somehow running in the wicked cold we have had is making me stronger. I am not sure that is entirely true, but I know it’s made me mentally tougher.

Marc with Coach Lisa at the 2013 Bayshore Marathon, where he qualified for Boston.
Marc with Coach Lisa at the 2013 Bayshore Marathon, where he qualified for Boston.

What kind of race experience are you hoping to have in Boston – do you have a certain time goal, or are you just trying to soak up the scene? Or maybe a combination of both?

Boston has been a goal I have been chasing for 18 years. It’s taken that long for me to get fast enough to run a qualifying time. Over the years I dropped 90 pounds to get to a point where I could finally break that BQ requirement. So running Boston for me is a victory lap, and I am going to treat it as such. I want to soak it all up, I want to take mental pictures of everything, record the sights and sounds of it all without being worried about time. I want to run strong and feel great for the entire run with a huge smile on my face. I may not even wear my GPS or a watch on race day.
Marc, running in Glen Haven, Mich. (during warmer times!)
Marc, running in Glen Haven, Mich. (during warmer times!)

How do you feel about running this race after the tragedy that occurred there last year?

Boston has always had this incredible place in my running goals. Getting to Boston for me was always a dream, then it became a goal. Toeing the start line in Hopkinton will have incredible personal meaning to me. But this year, it means so much more. I am honored and thrilled to get to be part of the running community that shows what it means to be Boston Strong.
With race day fast approaching, how are you feeling? 
As race day draws near, it still doesn’t seem real. Oh the training seems very real, but I have been “training for Boston” for 18 years…I don’t know when it will hit me that I actually get to do it. It still feels like I am training for the Bayshore! But about once a week I get an email from the BAA and that kind of reminds me that it’s real. I have been pinching my pennies, saving up for all the Boston marathon logo wear I can get once I finish!
RunnerMaggie Rettelle
Hometown: Midland, Mich.
Occupation: Registered dietician
She mixed triathlon training with Boston training.
Maggie ran strong in Michigan races throughout the winter months.
Maggie ran strong in Michigan races throughout the winter months.

Please tell us about your training – how has it been going for you?

As I set out to train for Boston, I looked back at my training plan that led me to a personal record at Chicago last year (3:17:08). I had researched many training plans since I began running just over two years ago. Hal Higdon was the basis I used, and as I trained with the club and some of the “marathon greats” in the Mid-Michigan area, I would pick their brains on the best way to train. The tempo day, the speed work day, the recovery days and the infamous long run! But as I have incorporated triathlon training into my Boston training, it becomes rather tricky. The amount of time spent doing each discipline, the energy that you must have and most importantly, the TIME that it takes! So, I have a basic plan for running, biking and swimming each week. I joke with my boyfriend Chris and call it “Magoo’s plan” (my nickname).

I run 5-6 days per week. I have averaged 46.35 miles per week over the past 12 weeks of training. I have slowly built up the miles in a 5% increase approximately each week, with the goal of 60-65 miles in the next 2 weeks before the final taper. I have a rather routine weekly pattern that seems to fit with my work and kids’ schedule each week.

Mondays includes a 5-8 mile run at a pace that I just “let flow” depending how I feel. This often comes off a long run, a combination day or a busy weekend. So I just let it happen how it seems fit. I will end the night later with a ride on the trainer with Chris as we wind down from the day.

Tuesdays are the “beat down” day. I run with a small group of runners (all men and then me) that are either training for Boston or Bayshore. The beat down is led by Dan Kugler who brings his knowledge from training with the Hansen group downstate before he relocated to the Midland area.  We do a 10-12 mile speed work session. This has greatly improved my speed and endurance over the past two months. The weather has impacted this training on some nights due to the snow and ice that will cover the trail, so I have opted to indoor track time here and there, but 90% of my runs have been outdoors throughout the winter.  I have only run on a tread mill five times the entire winter!

Wednesdays are a tricky day, as balancing the kid’s activities this day usually dictates whether this is a 4-6 mile run day or a rest day (oh, how I despise the “rest” day!).

Thursdays is a 10-mile easy pace run day and I usually run early morning before the day’s events get started. The weeks prior to the marathon, I try to add a few mile in the evening also. This is a trick I learned from a local great, Jason LaFave, a fellow Hammer sponsored runner in Midland. It really works!

Friday is usually a running rest day, but I will bike and/or swim for some sort of activity.

Then comes the weekend! A long run, ramping from 12-23 miles over the course of the training period–Oh, how I love the long run! This is the true test of endurance, the preparation, the nutrition and hydration plan! I  ran 21 miles [on a recent] Sunday on the “Loomis Hills” near Beaverton, MI, to simulate the ups and downs of the Boston route. And I plan to run this multiple times more over the next few weeks leading to Boston. To not only train my calves, shins and quads for the hills (especially the down hills), but to train the brain! Hills can be mentally defeating.  I always joke with Chris about how hills make me get out my “Grrr.” I am looking forward to the hills! 

Winter running (and racing) was great prep for Boston.
Winter running (and racing) was great prep for Boston.

What kind of race experience are you hoping to have in Boston – do you have a certain time goal, or are you just trying to soak up the scene? Or maybe a combination of both?

My hope for Boston is to take in the prestige of the event. To enjoy the travel with Chris and our other friends that are plentiful coming from the Mid-Michigan area. Being new to the event, I just want to take it all in and let the experience be what it ends up being. I will race like I always do; smart and with my best effort.

Maggie and boyfriend Chris (who along with her three kids make up her greatest support).
Maggie and boyfriend Chris (who along with her three kids make up her greatest support).

What does it mean for you to have qualified for Boston? How do you feel about running this race after the tragedy that occurred there last year?

I am honored to be running this year. Not only because my first marathon qualified me for Boston, but because after last year and the impact that it had on the families and the other runners that were there from my area, I want to be there to pay respect to the marathon with the most prestige in America. It is the right thing to do. And just as we as runners banned together to raise money for the victims last year, we ban together to run Boston Strong this year. I can’t wait!!

With race day fast approaching, how are you feeling?

So as I continue to prepare these last few weeks, I will keep going hard, keep my body healthy, and keep focusing.  I never in my wildest dreams ever thought I would be going to Boston. But I am. And I want my kids and my family to be proud!

RunnerKrista Scott
Hometown: Lake Ann, Mich.
Occupation: Physical therapist
This will be her second time running Boston. She ran last year, finishing about a half hour before the bombings occurred.

Krista and her daughter at last year's Boston Marathon Expo.
Krista and her daughter at last year’s Boston Marathon Expo.

First, what training plan have you been following, and how has it been going? Has the weather made things tougher – or have you embraced it?

I have been using the Hanson Brothers advanced plan for training. This is the third time I have used their program, although this is the first time I have stuck completely to the advanced program. What I really like about their program is there are speed/tempo/pace workouts mixed in without the pressure that everything rides completely on the weekend long run. Training this winter has been tough, no if ands or buts about it. I have ended up using my treadmill much more this time around for my speed and tempo runs since the roads have been so icy–otherwise I layer up and head outside. It goes without saying that living in Northern Michigan  you will have to run in winter weather, but the cold this year has just been brutal. Training here makes you tough as nails and when you need to dig deep to find another gear during a race, you can draw on all of those sub zero windchill miles to power you through.

Post-training run "ice bath," Michigan-style.
Post-training run “ice bath,” Michigan-style.

What kind of race experience are you hoping to have in Boston – do you have a certain time goal, or are you just trying to soak up the scene? Or maybe a combination of both?

Boston is going to be the “who’s who” of the running community. I know this year I really want to soak up the atmosphere of the race and breathe in every moment. To top it off, I have the amazing opportunity to run with a dear friend who has been virtually training alongside me with the same plan. Our plan is to cross the finish line strong together. Of course I want to try and PR, which would break 3:30, but the top secret goal that few have known to this point is to run 3:20 – that still sounds scary to put out there, but I will own it!

What does it mean for you to have re-qualified for Boston? How do you feel about running this race after the tragedy that occurred there last year, especially since you were there last year, too?

I was on an emotional roller-coaster after Boston last year. I ran what I thought was the perfect race and PR’ed, the weather was beautiful, the trip with my family had been amazing, the spectators were like nothing I had ever experienced. Even though I re-qualified, my immediate thought after finishing was the desire to bottle all of those moments up to be forever remembered as my only Boston Marathon. Once the bombings occurred, it was as if this grey cloud would forever loom over that now perfect memory I had created. There was never a doubt in my mind at that point that I needed to return to Boston this year, not only to create a new memory for myself, but to stand together as a part of a running community that exemplifies that love will always conquer hate.

Krista's daughter Amelia will again cheer on her mom at the Boston Marathon. (This is a pic of them at last year's Cherry Festival races, held in July).
Krista’s daughter Amelia will again cheer on her mom at the Boston Marathon. (This is a pic of them at last year’s Cherry Festival races, held in July).

With race day fast approaching, how are you feeling?

I am feeling good and ready to go all in to race – I can’t wait! It is hard to believe that we are already here! This winter of training feels like it has gone by much faster than previous years. Maybe it is the fact that it is still clearly winter outside my door that makes it harder to believe that race day is approaching so fast. I guess if there is still snow in Boston, us Michiganders have an advantage. :)

Thank you, Marc, Maggie and Krista for sharing your Boston stories. Wishing you a memorable and wonderful race two weeks from today – we’ll be cheering for you!

Who else reading is heading to Boston later this month?

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