Boston Marathon - RunMarathon

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Boston, Massachusetts
United States
Boston Athletic Association
50F / 10C
Total Time = 3h 13m 17s
Overall Rank = 3206/
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 515/
Pre-race routine:

Gotta' love 10am starts! Woke up around 6:30 and left my family sleeping in the room to go down to the hotel lobby and have my breakfast (Ensure, Clif bar & some coffee). Watched some TV and checked the weather there before heading back up ~7:30 to help pack up the room for check-out.

We left a little after 8am to drive the 10min to Hopkinton State Park for the shuttle buses into town. My family had decided to drive out to Natick (~10mi mark) and hang out there, so they just dropped me off and after the "good luck"s, I hopped on a bus and was downtown in another 5min.

It's about 3/4mi walk from where we were dropped to the "athlete village" at the HS. Like at an IM, you can already feel the race day "vibe" just walking around. I probably arrived at the HS ~8:30 and strolled around the whole area--partly taking it in, partly looking to see if I could figure out where Max and some other BTers were trying to meet (never did figure that out unfortunately). Eventually, I settled in one spot to wait for my sister & her boyfriend (they had stayed in Boston and sat on their bus for about 1/2 hour before it would let them get out). They told me what to expect at the start & finish (having both run Boston before) and we discussed clothing options--it was sunny, but pretty chilly with a breeze at the time. I elected to go with a very lightweight long sleeve atop a short sleeve.

They were both running in Wave 2, so at about 9:30 I headed over to drop my bag at the bus with my sister and then we wished each other luck while I headed down for my start. Made a stop at the porta-pots near the start and then made my way into my corral--about 10min before the start and just before a pair of F15s did a flyover.
Event warmup:

The walking was my warm-up. Did some very light stretching to stay loose in the corral.
  • 3h 13m 17s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 07m 23s  min/mile

The run started propmtly at 10am and we were...standing there. :-)

We began walking and approached the official start about 4-5min after the leaders headed out. Despite the massive crowd, I had no trouble running right from the start and simply settled into the pace that was dictated by the crowd. The first mile was probably a touch slow, but not a problem (and possibly a good thing).

For pretty much the next 10 miles, I just ran. I did check my watch/pace every now & then, but mostly I just asked myself "Does this feel comfortable?" Usually, it did and I just kept going. Once or twice (when running though an area with a particularly 'boisterous' crowd) I did have to force myself to slow down a touch, but it was pretty easy to stay steady as most around me were running the same pace. It was also really easy to not even think about running. I spent most of the day on the left side of the road and when I was right against the side, I would slap high fives to any little kid with their hand out--at the end of the race, my left shoulder was more sore than my legs and it may have been partially from this. :-)

I would take something to drink at most of the water/Gatorade stops (did skip a few), just drinking more or less and water or gatorade, depending how I felt. IIRC, I took a gel at ~mile 7, 14 & 20 (carried two CarbBoom in my back pocket and picked up a PowerGel at the mile 17 aid station).

At about mile 8 or so, I decided the long sleeve was little too much with the sun helping the gradually warming temps. So, while still running, I managed to unpin my number from it and re-pin it to my shirt underneath. Hey, no blood! :-) Then I took off the long sleeve and tied it around my waist. When I saw my family in Natick (Kath, kids, Mom & Dad, Liz, Pete & Bethe & my little nephew Owen), gave high fives and waves, handed off the shirt, and kept moving.

When we reached Wellsley, the crowd's volume went up another couple notches. I was on the wrong side of the road for kisses, but the energy was still a nice benefit. At the half-way mark, I glanced at my watch and saw it was 1:37. My hope was that if I felt good, I would be able to run a slight positive split (allowing for the hills on the back half) and get a 3:20 to earn another BQ. I felt good and decided my chances were decent, but I still didn't change how I was running and went with the "if it feels comfortable, just keep it up" motto for the day.

Through the first 16mi, the course is largely flat-to-downhill, with just a few moderate inclines helping to maintain some level of variablity to the terrain (I think a course like that is better for me than something 'dead flat' given that I am used to running on very 'up and down' terrain). At about that point, the first of a small series of hills begins--ending, of course, in the 21st mile with Heartbreak Hill. It was at the first of these that I really began to realize how well my run was going. I started passing a significant number of people around me for the first time all day. When I would hit the top of a hill, I would accelerate and pass even more people. Now, I began trying to balance letting it out and holding something back until I was through all the hills. The crowds made it very difficult to hold back. :-)

At Heartbreak, I was sure I was going to have a good day and the only question was how good. Unlike at the start, now I was actually forced to do some weaving to get past other runners who were slowing down or struggling. I ended up moving towards the right side of the road at some point and tried to hug the side in order to avoid slower runners and walkers. Still gave out some high fives, but fewer now as the real 'work' began and my focus narrowed some.

We hit Brookline with about 4 miles to go and I started recognizing places from when Kath lived there while we were dating (15+ years ago). Finally, I caved into thoughts about how much further to go. And not surprisingly, time seemed to slow. :-) My pace was not much different, but now I was getting anxious to reach the finish. The crowds, though, were consistently boisterous from here on in and really helped to keep me moving.

Much of the final miles are a blur to me. Or, more accurately, it all seems the same in my mind--crowds cheering and shouting encouragement and, inside, feeling the sense of excitement that I was going to post a PR and feel great doing it. At last, I was upon the Citgo sign and just over a mile from the finish line. The crowds soon grew even larger and the noise was almost deafening. I briefly thought about pushing the pace even harder to the finish, but quickly decided this was the moment to savor. I found myself running (more in the middle of the street now), smiling, lifting my arms and looking all around--alomst an out of body experience (I know, sounds strange and corny, but I don't know how else to describe it)--all the way through the finish.
What would you do differently?:

Different? :-)
Post race
Warm down:

Walk through the long finish area. The most challenging aspect here was trying not to stop as some people slowed down a lot. I was afraid when I did I wouldn't be able to move again. :-)

Grabbed the post-race goodies/awards from the plethora of volunteers who couldn't congratulate you enough (and I certainly couldn't thank enough), found my bus with my bag and then shortly found Kath & the kids waiting for me at the big 'K'. They weren't able to get anywehre near the street at the finish, but had found a view of the Jumbotron and saw me cross the line on there so knew I was done.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

In hindsight, my goal was a bit modest, especially given the conditions we were blessed with. I ran the 2nd half 2min faster than the first. Perhaps I get closer to 3:10 with some more focus in the first half. But, as noted above, I wouldn't have done anything different for this race.

More time running is the biggest thing limiting me from going faster still. I see no reason why I couldn't be challenging the 3:00 barrier in time, if I decide to do the necessary work.

Event comments:

My opinion may be colored by the good weather and/or the good result I achieved, but this was one of the best races I have ever done. Just a complete blast from start to finish. Well-organized, especially considering the number of runners. It is worth doing at least once if you have the opportunity.

Last updated: 2009-09-09 12:00 AM
03:13:17 | 26.2 miles | 07m 23s  min/mile
Age Group: 515/
Overall: 3206/
Performance: Good
5k 0:23:06 10k 0:46:33 15k 1:09:41 20k 1:32:42 Half 1:37:38 25k 1:55:34 30k 2:18:31 35k 2:41:07 40k 3:03:33
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5