Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Summarizing my journey to Boston

i was recently asked about my journey to Boston, so i put together this report: a 33 yr old male in 2007, i went from 240 pound couch potato on January 1, 2007 to 200 pound 4.19.48 Mississauga Marathon finisher on May 13/07. i ran every day and slowly increased my distance to the point where i was ready to run 42k. the month leading up to mississauga, i ran a 42k LSD every week, gradually improving on my finishing times.. i never engaged the services of a running coach, and i generally broke many rules with regards to marathon training best-practices.

over the next 4 months, i focused on improving my endurance, added in speed drills, and lost more weight, in hopes that i could have a shot at a BQ in the fall However, increasing my distance too drastically proved to be problematic as i ran into ITB syndrone and found myself struggling with long runs in the fall.

over the winter, i focused on resting the legs and took up swimming as a way to continue with health, fitness, endurance, and weight loss.

come spring, my legs had recovered and i resumed a full slate of training, featuring endurance runs, hills, speed drills, and a much more healthy diet. i averaged 320k of running per month during march, april, may and june.

i showed up at the 2008 Mississauga Marathon in great shape, weighing about 170 pounds, and anticipating a 3.15.00 BQ time. things were going well but i cramped up at the 39k mark, slowing me down and costing me a BQ. i still crossed the finish line at 3.19.06; hence, shaving off more than 1 full hour from last year's time.

with estrogen Hormone Replacement Therapy scheduled to start in August (i am a transsexual currently in the process of changing from male to female), i knew the clock was ticking on my chances to score a BQ, so i signed up for 2 more marathons in June, both which proved to be challenging courses. i did not BQ on either.

desperate for one more chance, despite rather sore knees from a very busy spring, i signed up for the Massey Marathon on July 20/08 in northern ontario. this course proved to be fairly flat and the weather that day was perfect. i scored a 3.16.59, technically 60 seconds shy of the official BQ website times, but good enough for the BAA to grant me entry into the Boston Marathon as per an unwritten policy regarding 'close calls'.

so, in just 19 months, i literally went from obese couch potato to BQ. at 166 pounds, i was still on the heavy end of the acceptable weight range given my height. at no time did i ever consider myself to have an athletic body. bottom line, if i can do this, than anyone can.. although be prepared to put in an extreme amount of work to get there...

fast forward to today, i have now endured the many negative side affects of transitioning from male to female: loss of testosterone, loss of muscle mass, 25 pound weight gain, lower energy levels, slower metabolism.. this despite running 370k per month in 2009. i anticipate marathon times in the 4:00 - 4:20 range this spring.. but i will be working extra hard over the next year to adapt to my new reality, and hope to regain suitable fitness so that i may post a 3:45 at some point this fall and requalify for the 2010 Boston Marathon as a female..


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