Boston Marathon - RunMarathon

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Boston, Massachusetts
United States
Boston Athletic Association
50F / 10C
Total Time = 3h 08m 46s
Overall Rank = 2731/24338
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 437/4186
Pre-race routine:

Flew into Hartford on Friday. Stayed with family before heading to the hotel in Milford on Saturday. Drove over to Hopkinton to check out the host house on Ash and had some pizza at Bill's. Loaded up on Clif Bars, bananas and Powerade Zero at Target and got to bed early. Drove into the city on Sunday, driving the course both ways. Stopped in Newton on the way back for an easy run (3+ miles) on the course and checked out the Johnny Kelley statue. Ordered pizza & pasta in the room and tossed and turned until finally getting to sleep around midnight.
Event warmup:

Took the 8:15 hotel shuttle to the High School and immediately checked my gear. Jogged down Hayden Rowe to Fenton to Ash and into the host house. First time I've stayed in a hosted home before the race. We just stretched and talked in front of the fireplace for an hour or so. Made several trips to use the facilities. At about 9:45, I jogged out to the corrals. They were just starting the National Anthem. About 10 minutes later, we were off and running.
  • 3h 08m 46s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 07m 12s  min/mile

Run went better than I expected - probably thanks to near perfect conditions. I was saying heading into the race that I would take a 3:10 and run. I hadn't run more than 15 miles since Carlsbad, but that's not to say I hadn't been training and racing. I had done some tough runs (hilly 15-mile trail run with jodavis21, 13 off the bike at Oceanside, 10k Oly run at SuperSeal), but not much in the way of distance or scheduled track / tempo runs as I have done for past Bostons. I felt fit and rested and knew the course well, but I was really concerned about the lack of long runs and how I would feel around miles 18-20.

I wanted the 3:10 to better my qualifying time for next year and move up to the 2nd group of applicants (BQ-10) on day 3 of registration, but was relieved when I read the Higdon article in the race program stating that the RD does not expect race registration for 2012 to close in week 1. It made me feel a little freer to go for it on race day and not hold back too much.

Then, when it looked like we would have perfect conditions, I thought I would go out between 6:45-7 minute pace and see what the day would bring. My first 2 Bostons were 3:03 and 3:04 and I still haven't broken 3 hours, so I kind of had delusions of a sub-3. I just didn't think it was that realistic and had no idea how the pace would feel. If it felt too hard I would back off.

From the start, I focused on keeping an even, easy effort through the first 15 miles, trying to concentrate on turnover. I would slow down a bit on the hills and pick it back up on the downhills and flats. My mantra was "you bank energy, not time".

The course was very crowded through Ashland and it started to loosen up in Framingham. I didn't run with a bottle for this race and decided to go back to carrying Shot Bloks and SaltStick tabs and taking water from the course. I had two plastic baggies, each containing 8-10 Bloks and 4-5 salt tabs. I carried one bag in my hand and put the other in the key pocket of my shorts. The plan was to take in 100 kcal at 45 min and then 100 every 30 min after that, taking 1 or 2 salt tabs each time.

I was looking forward to running through Wellesley. My first year through, the screams were deafening and I could hear the "scream tunnel" from a quarter mile away. It was one of the most memorable experiences I've ever had in a race. Last year, they were more subdued - and this year was pretty calm, too. I think it ebbs and flows through the race and it just depends on when you happen to get there. I heard others that said it was extremely loud for them this year.

By the time I reached the drop into Newton Lower Falls, I didn't feel all that fresh. In the past two years, that fast downhill section has been a point in the race where I've made the decision to stop holding back and "let it fly," but this year there was no flying. I was not looking forward to the first hill up over the 128. It felt hard. I recovered a bit on the flat section and was really looking forward to the lift from the crowd at the turn onto Commonwealth at the fire station.

I was staying on top of my nutrition and emptied my first nutrition baggie. I was feeling good on the 3rd sister and still felt like I was holding back. I remember telling myself, "there's one left. Not yet." Heartbreak was hard, but not terrible, but it took a while to recover at the top. The downhill through Boston College and Chestnut Hill hurt and by the time we made the turn onto Beacon Street, I was struggling to maintain pace. It's an odd place, that straightaway into the city. There are people completely falling apart, stopping to work out cramps and walking - and then there are those who are feeling great and blow by you like you're not moving at all. Of course, this wasn't the first time I had been suffering in a race and I just tried to dig deep, breathe deep, and keep moving forward. I knew I was on pace to break 3:10, so long as I could keep running 7:30s, and it would all be over in less than a half an hour.

The 1 Mile to Go sign in Kenmore Square is a welcomed sight! Just a few more blocks on Commonwealth before heading down under Mass Ave, up the last "hill" and the right turn on Hereford. Garmin time was just over 3 hours, so I had somewhere around 9 minutes to break 3:10. I had been maintaining 7:30s for the last 4 miles or so and I was feeling pretty good. I knew the last half mile down Boylston would be fast and I just tried to take it all in. Jackie and Russ had shown me where they would be, about halfway down Boylston on the right, and I had seen the "Go Mike!" sign Jackie had made. After the left turn onto Boylston, I made my way over to the right side of the street and scanned the crowd for faces. I saw the sign, then Jackie, and waved to them as I passed by. Checked the watch - still more than a minute to spare. Cruised down the homestretch, taking in the cheers and enjoying the last bit of the race. It felt very good to be done!
What would you do differently?:

If I was to really try to go low at Boston, I think would have to skip Oceanside and SuperSeal (or at least one of them) so that I can follow the training plan. I'm sure there are some good things that came out of the cross training for those races, but I definitely didn't have the run-specific focus that I had heading into my first Boston in 2009. I kind of winged it for this one, skipping track and tempo sessions and just hoped to survive the day. Fortunately, we had absolutely perfect conditions or my time could have been a lot slower.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked through the finishing chute, picking up the post-race goodies, space blanket and medal. My calves were aching as usual and I tried to hurry to my gear bag. I figured I'd be coming in at a pretty typical time for my gear bag bus and, as expected, the line was long. fortunately, I ran into someone I knew, the President of the Santa Cruz Track Club (his bib number was just one number lower than mine). Chatting with him helped pass the time and by the time we got to the window and got our bags, I felt normal again. The weather was mild and I didn't need to get anything out of my bag immediately like I have in past years when it's been freezing cold at the finish. I just went over to the family meetup area and saw the Go Mike! sign that Jackie had made. I met up with them and we headed towards their Hotel, stopping along the way to take some pictures. We got int he car and took off towards Milford. A good dinner (and a couple of Sam Adams) and they dropped me off at my hotel.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not following the training plan. I had a FIRST plan filled out for the race targeting a 2:57 finishing time (based on an average pace of 6:45). We definitely had the conditions to run a fast time, but I didn't put in the work. I skipped a lot of workouts, tapering for and recovering from other events. I feel lucky to have been able to hang on for a sub-3:10 and get into the BQ-10 registration group. Hopefully, that will be enough to secure a spot in 2012!

Event comments:

Absolutely the best. I still haven't stayed in the city, opting to stay near the start, in Milford. I probably miss out on a bit of the fanfare and vibe surrounding the event, but I just figure I want to save my energy for the run. I take an 8:15 shuttle to Hopkinton and it only takes about 10-15 minutes to get to the high school. For the first time, I was able to wait out the race start in a hosted house about a block away from the start. I still haven't had to spend much, if any, time in the Athlete's Village.

Last updated: 2010-10-18 12:00 AM
03:08:46 | 26.2 miles | 07m 12s  min/mile
Age Group: 437/4186
Overall: 2731/24338
Performance: Average
1. 6:55, 2. 6:50, 3. 6:56, 4. 6:48, 5. 7:02, 6. 6:56, 7. 6:56, 8. 7:06, 9. 7:06, 10. 7:12, 11. 7:10, 12. 6:59, 13. 6:59, 14. 6:55, 15. 6:58, 16. 6:53 (Newton Lower Falls), 17. 7:29, 18. 7:34, 19. 7:14, 20. 7:23, 21. 7:36 (Heartbreak), 22. 7:18, 23. 7:29, 24. 7:26, 25. 7:29, 26. 7:25, 27(.36 mi). 6:58.
Course: Rolling, mostly downhill and flat through the first 16 miles before the course climbs back up through Newton to the top of Heartbreak Hill at mile 21. From there, it's downhill and mostly flat, with some rollers along Beacon Street and Commonwealth Avenue into Boston. Right on Hereford, left on Boylston to an amazing (and long!) finishing chute. Lots of crowd support at the start, in the early towns and then pretty much from the halfway point in Wellesley to the finish.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
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