Boston Marathon - RunMarathon

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Boston, Massachusetts
United States
Boston Athletic Association
38F / 3C
Total Time = 3h 15m 9s
Overall Rank = 3586/23126
Age Group = 18-39
Age Group Rank = 2070/9849
Pre-race routine:

Up around 4. Finished prep of my gear, made a cup of coffee, checked email at the business center, then started getting dressed. Out the door at 5:20, met Joanne that we met on the train at WTC T stop. We were at Park station by 5:40, I was on a bus at 5:50, and we were rolling out at 6:05am. Police escort out of town, and we were about the 10th bus in line, so we got to Athlete's Village pretty early, not very busy at all when we arrived. I just took it all in.

For the race, I wore blue C9 shorts, the RaceMenu singlet, GU visor, Tifosi glasses, arm warmers, throwaway black gloves (that I never threw away), antishear socks, Wave Inspire 5s.
Event warmup:

A little stretching under the big tent, and a little jog down to the corrals, but that's about it. I used the first 3 miles or so to warm up.
  • 3h 15m 9s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 07m 27s  min/mile

My watch was set for 4:45am, but I was wide awake at 4. The plan was to eat something around 5 (something light), then have "breakfast" at 7 when I got to Hopkinton. I pretty much did that; had a Planters NUTrition bar (that I got at the expo) at 5ish after getting all my gear ready and on.

Prerace prep was bodyglide, put on the shorts, singlet, bodyglide the feet, put on the socks, Mizuno Wave Inspires, then tights, RaceMenu t-shirt, fleece jacket, and Mizuno Breath cap. North Face gloves over glove liners too (it was 38F outside!). I was set and out the door at 5:20, to meet Joanne from Calgary at the T just across the street.

We met up, and took the T to the Park stop, hopped off, and boom-there we were at Boston Common, right where we were to catch the buses. We took photos (me of her and Daren, her of me on the Common), then headed out. I made a portajohn stop in the park, and then hopped on a bus. We were rolling to Hopkinton at 6:06am. Along the way I was drinking my GU Brew (blueberry pomegranate-extra sodium!), and finished it by the time we got to Hopkinton.

By 7am, I was off the bus, and into Athlete's Village. Wow, what an amazing feeling, to be standing there, just 0.7 mile from the start of the FREAKING BOSTON MARATHON!! That is where it really sunk in-I was there, with no real way back home except to run 26.2 miles back to Boston. Unlike every other race I've done that's been a loop back to the start, here I was stranded. It was a very surreal feeling. There were hardbodies everywhere. I can see how this is regarded as the Olympics for Mortals! I felt "important" at this venue. Lainey had commented during packet pickup that she really didn't see that many folks that looked like they didn't run much; everyone brought their A-game. However, I felt completely at ease in this setting. I've done this before, a marathon is just a long run with a 10k on the end, and I was very prepared. I was a bit unsure how my knee was going to like running, but I could not let that get in my head. My body was ready to run.

At the Village, I picked up a banana and a bagel. I ate the banana; I stashed the bagel for later. I drank a cup of Gatorade, and sipped on a bottle of water. I had eaten one mini-bagel with peanut butter upon arrival at the Village; I had the 2nd one a little later, about 8am. I continued to either mill around the Village, or just relax and try to stay warm under one of the big tents. I met 2 guys from Johnston County who had qualified at 2009 City of Oaks! Wow! Then I began to focus on finding my happy place for the morning.

Around 8:50 I found a good portajohn line, and by 9:10 I was done and heading for the baggage buses. Stripped out of my warm clothes and passed the bag into the bus for my bib number. I started heading down towards the start at around 9:25, made another portajohn pit stop on the way, then stopped by one of the locals' houses to borrow a sharpie and write my name on my bib. Kept on walking down the hill, and heard a rumble approaching: FLYBY!! I then started a light jog down to the corral area. I had wrapped myself up in a space blanket, as I was wearing shorts and a singlet with arm warmers, and was a little chilly. I found a convenient trash can to ditch the blanket with about 10 minutes to go before race time, then found my corral and nudged up beside it. Couldn't get "in", so stood alongside, where the volunteers were feeding us in as the crowd moved forward. That turned out to be a great plan; no claustrophobia.

I don't think I've mentioned yet that I planned to run with a camera. I had practiced it during the 5k on Sunday, and it proved to be unobtrusive and fairly easy to manage, so it was a go for Monday. So, as it neared 10am, the mood picked up, everyone was extremely excited (not too serious like those corrals up a little further), and when the gun fired, we were off! for about 10 feet. Then we stopped again. About 30 seconds later it seemed we were moving slowly, and about 2:45 after the gun, I was across the line.

I started out on the right side of the course, and must've high-fived 150 people in the first ΒΌ mile. I quickly decided that I might not want to do that too much, or I'd dislocate my shoulder! But man was it a rush. Those were FANS! The pack I was with looked like it might settle down pretty quick, but there were still those zigging and zagging across the course. I was determined not to do that, so I spent the first 2-3 miles figuring out where on the road crown my legs liked to be the most. It didn't seem to matter, so I pretty much alternated miles on either side of the crown. I just ran smooth. I was not breathing hard, I was not sweating, nothing hurt, no side stitches, no issues. Just smooth. First 5k in 22:18.

About mile 4, this dude cut across in front of me, and I had to put on the brakes slightly. That made my right knee twinge a bit. It felt about the same way until mile 8, then it was not a problem. The first few miles were just feeling out the course. Some long downhills, with some shorter ascents mixed in to keep the legs alive, but very nice running. Reminded me of running down Olive Chapel Road here in Apex.

All the while, I was happily snapping away photos. Ashland came and went. Framingham, across Lake Cochituate, into Natick, then suddenly we're into Wellesley. I took a GU at mile 6. 10k in 44:51. 15k in 1:07:57.

My plan was to hit a GU at mile 10. But prior to that, I had taken an orange wedge from a little girl who lit up when I took it from her, then I took a red licorice stick from another little girl (same reaction), so my stomach wasn't ready for GU. I held off until mile 12, just before the Scream Tunnel. I was really working nicely during this stage. 20k in 1:30:45.

Came to Wellesley, and told myself I'd stay center or left, and just smile and wave. But the further down we ran, the louder they screamed for us to come over for a kiss. So I just had to oblige this one co-ed who yelled out my bib and pointed. Maybe 5 seconds lost there, but it was all part of the experience. There's a little hill just past Wellesley, and that's when I began to feel that I would have a good day climbing. Through the halfway point in 1:35:43.

There's a nice long downhill at about the 25k mark, just before you cross I-95. I wasn't really flying on the downhills, but when we started back up, I began to see that I was reeling folks in on the climbs. And it felt so good. I just kept the pace steady as I could, and clicked them off. Love to say "on your left" when climbing on a run :). Through 25k in 1:53:32.

Suddenly, we're at mile 17, turning right at the Newton Fire Station. The crowds began to get deeper, and closer, and louder. They began to be my friends, my training partners, my kids, wife, parents, all urging me to hang in there. And I was feeling great.

I kept looking at my watch at the mile splits, and seeing that I was having a great race if I could hang on to it. I had these phantom twinges in my left hamstring that would come and go, but caused me no issues. But I was climbing like a banshee. My lack of homework on the course showed, as I could not remember how many and where the hills were. In my mind, I remembered the number 4, across 4 miles, culminating with Heartbreak at 21. Through 30k in 2:16:37.

Don't get me wrong, the hills were NOT easy. But I was prepared for them with my work in Umstead this season. I was zipping past folks on these hills. On Heartbreak, I was repeating "Cemetery, cemetery, cemetery" all the way up, looking 10 yards ahead and no further (the same thing I do on Cemetery). It was my slowest mile, but also my most fulfilling. Through 35k in 2:40:02.

Here's where it gets downright tough. Lainey and I had agreed that if she wanted to come out on-course to see me, that mile 22 would be the best spot. It'd be a convenient T-stop, and I'd be in a good place after Heartbreak where I could focus on her and not the hill. Also, I had stripped off my arm warmers back about mile 8, and had been carrying them in my right hand since then. I was tired of holding them, and was really looking forward to seeing her, giving her a kiss, and telling her I'd see her at the finish. But, I did not see her. Somehow, a train came past her location right as I passed. I didn't see her, and she didn't see me.
So, I sucked it up, and kept on plugging.

Along about this time is where the carnage was starting to stack up. And it's where my calves were tightening up. I began to take in a little more Gatorade than water. I eased off the pace a tad, but through 25 miles, I had no mile slower than 7:54. Mile 21 was a 7:54, mile 22 a 7:29, 23 a 7:40, 24 a 7:52, 25 a 7:46, and the last 1.2 covered in 9:47. 40k in 3:04:16.

The last few miles in this race were a bit of a blur. The crowds were wild, but the scene on the street was crazier. Bandits were everywhere at this point, and there were folks in bad shape all around me. Guys were stopping to walk all along the way. I'd run by them, touch them on the arm, and say "let's go brother!" I had a couple pick it up, but most just looked at me dumbfounded.

I had tons of motivational energy at this point, as I was still feeling good (albeit cramping), moving forward, and I had a BQ in my hands. If I could just hold on to it, it would be icing on the cake of a perfect race. I was sub 3:30. I was sub 3:20. And I was about to be BQ'd at Boston. How cool would that be?

And then we passed the Citgo sign. I felt good about passing the Citgo sign. And then there was the "1 mile to go" sign. And there was a dude down in the street, in pain, cramped up, with police and EMS around him. And suddenly, we were turning right up Hereford Street, and then left onto Boylston, and there, way down there, was the finish. I could see it. I could feel it. And I could HEAR IT! A glance at the watch sealed the deal. I could almost walk it in from here. But I didn't. I ran it. I ran it strong (not as hard as I could, but strong enough). I separated out a little from the pack, moved to the right, and made sure I finished not like a sardine, but where I wanted to be.

And then I was across the line. I kind of felt like Forrest Gump when he's playing for 'Bama, when the crowd has to yell for him to stop. I don't like stopping at the end of a race: I just wanted to keep running. I crossed the line, and said "Now That's a hard day at the office" and my fellow finishers got a chuckle out of that. Fought the urge to stop the watch upon crossing the line. Waited a few seconds, then looked down, and saw 3:15:11. BQ! Actual chip time was 3:15:09. Gun time was a little more, as I was about 3 minutes off the line at the start.

Mile splits:
Mile 1: 7:12 Mile 2: 7:04 Mile 3: 7:19 Mile 4: 7:09 Mile 5: 7:14 Mile 6: 7:14 Mile 7: 7:17 Mile 8: 7:18 Mile 9: 7:46 (potty stop) Mile 10: 7:40 (missed the split) Mile 11: 6:59 short split Mile 12: 7:16 Mile 13: 7:18 Mile 14: 7:19 Mile 15: 7:24 Mile 16: 7:19 Mile 17: 7:22 Mile 18: 7:24 Mile 19: 7:28 Mile 20: 7:29 Mile 21: 7:54 Mile 22: 7:29 Mile 23: 7:40 Mile 24: 7:52 Mile 25: 7:46 Mile 26.2 9:47

We moseyed on down the finish chute to get water, Gatorade, a banana, a space blanket, my medal (!), a goodie bag, then on to pick up my clothes bag. I contemplated changing, but I wasn't ready to do that yet. So, I just made my way on over to the Family Meeting Area, under the "B" sign.
And waited. And waited. And waited some more. Lainey was not there. Turns out she was trying her heart out to get there on the T, but the trains were slammed and it took her a long time to get back to Arlington Station. That's where I knew she'd be coming from, so I started walking back toward that station in the most direct line I could muster. Here I am, having just finished running 26.2, and I'm wandering the streets with no cell phone, no money, only a Charlie Ticket and a PowerBar...

And then there she was. Crying and laughing at the same time, overjoyed to see me. We've had our share of "almost missed connections" in the past, and I'm sure she was afraid this would be one of them. She was so sorry for having missed me. I was so sorry for having missed her. But I was so glad to see her, right then, right there. We celebrated briefly, and then hopped on the T to get back to the hotel. I desperately wanted a hot shower and clean clothes, and to get on our way back home.

Quick shower at the hotel, then of course on goes my race shirt and medal, which I happily wore all the way home. My stomach was feeling a little sour on the way to the airport, and worsened while there, but once I got a Coke in me on the plane, I was much better.

Our return flight was through LaGuardia, and we had the privilege of flying over NYC in the afternoon. I took tons of photos from the window of the plane, it was very neat. We found a nice restaurant where I ordered a tall Blue Moon and a delicious burger with fries. Then it was on to our 2nd leg home. I was very happy with the results of the entire weekend, and still am as I type this 5 days later. What a wonderful experience.

What would you do differently?:

Not have tendonitis, but aside from that, I played the race out smartly. I pushed when I needed to, but for the most part was very relaxed. I was fighting calf cramps, and was afraid to push it any harder, especially with a tight time window that was still present. I don't really think I went out "too" hard, but I wonder if my back half could've been any quicker if the front was slower.
Post race
Warm down:

Walk the chute for water, gatorade, banana, blanket, medal, goodie bag, then go find my clothes (which I did not change into at all). Then it was wait, wait, wait for Lainey, who was held up on the T. As time was getting tight for us to be able to make our flights, I started walking towards the station she'd be coming from. Luckily, I ran right into her about 20 steps from the station. She broke down in my arms, and was so sad that she had missed me on-course. I was sad I couldn't see her too, but I told her it made me run harder to make the finish strong for her.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

No long runs over 20. I seem to suffer about mile 22 from calf cramps. There's something missing in my nutrition plan I believe. Possibly more calf-strengthening exercises would be of benefit as well. My quads didn't take too much of a pounding on the front half, so I was still able to handle climbing pretty well on the back half, but my calves were the issue.

Event comments:

It's Boston! What more can be said??? Got a BQ out of it, wasn't looking for it going in, but I had a good first half, running pretty easy, and just felt like I could hang on. I knew I was slowing down after Newton, but I felt good enough (despite calf cramps) to hold on for the finish. Was really just looking for something near a 3:20, heck a sub-3:30 would've been nice, but thrilled with the performance 4/19.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2009-12-09 12:00 AM
03:15:09 | 26.2 miles | 07m 27s  min/mile
Age Group: 2070/9849
Overall: 3586/23126
Performance: Good
Mile 1: 7:12 Mile 2: 7:04 Mile 3: 7:19 Mile 4: 7:09 Mile 5: 7:14 Mile 6: 7:14 Mile 7: 7:17 Mile 8: 7:18 Mile 9: 7:46 (potty stop) Mile 10: 7:40 (missed the split) Mile 11: 6:59 short split Mile 12: 7:16 Mile 13: 7:18 Mile 14: 7:19 Mile 15: 7:24 Mile 16: 7:19 Mile 17: 7:22 Mile 18: 7:24 Mile 19: 7:28 Mile 20: 7:29 Mile 21: 7:54 Mile 22: 7:29 Mile 23: 7:40 Mile 24: 7:52 Mile 25: 7:46 Mile 26.2 9:47
Course: It's Boston. It's a lot of downhill in the first half, and 4 miles of hills starting about mile 16. Heartbreak Hill is found here...
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %3+
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
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: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5