Boston Marathon - RunMarathon

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Boston, Massachusetts
United States
Boston Athletic Association
50F / 10C
Total Time = 10h 00m
Overall Rank = 1928/23500
Age Group = 18-35
Age Group Rank = 0/
Event warmup:

Laura and I arrived at noon, and headed for my host's digs in Charlestown near the Navy Yard right away. After spending the afternoon exploring the expo, we headed back to base camp so I could get in a 40min run. It did not go very well. Drills felt labored, and my pickups had no "ups." But being the seasoned marathon veteran (I've run two now), I realized that the lousy run was standard a couple days out. Nothing to worry about!
I did way too much walking around. Period. But Boston was awesome. The energy, the people, the sights… all top notch. I got hit hard with a head cold, though. Sore throat came on quick, and was followed by stuffed sinuses.
We went to mass at Our Lady of Victories. I bumped into Sister Madonna Buder there! We also did another quick tour of the Expo, and sat in on a discussion with the legendary Bart Yasso. Things were looking up. After catching a 3-D show at the IMAX, we headed back to Charlestown.
I slept alright that night, as I did the night before, so I knew I was well-rested and that was one less thing to worry about.

  • 3h 04m 28s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 07m 02s  min/mile

Race Day
The cold symptoms hung on, but I loaded up on Sudafed and sinus spray. Sickness be damned, I had a good feeling about breaking my 3:07:40 PR if I could execute a smart race. As an aside: I created, but didn’t print out or wear, a pace band for a 3:05:35 that I thought I could achieve if I had my very best day.
Then, completely by accident, I ran into a high school classmate waiting in line for the busses on Tremont St. as I was walking towards another friend down the street. Rob and I chatted and caught up the whole way out to Hopkinton. That kept my nerves in check. I was as cool as the other side of the pillow.
I was supposed to meet my buddy, Brad, in Athlete’s Village, but text messages weren’t getting through, and he didn’t get there as early as we did. With all the RWOL people gunning for sub-3, I was left to run “solo,” when I was really hoping to at least have Brad by my side for a mile or two. After all, we first talked about Boston as “someday maybe we’ll both qualify” scenario. Neither us even had kids then!
About 10 minutes before the race started, I was standing on the steps of a church outside of Corral 3 when I glanced over my shoulder and saw Brad jogging down the side street. What are the odds!? Luckily, we were able to hop into the crowd with just 2 minutes to spare. That made me pretty happy, even though his plan was to go out faster. A familiar face goes a long way toward making me comfortable.
1. 7:14
2. 7:08
3. 7:08
4. 7:05
5. 7:08

He only ran with me for a couple minutes, but that was okay, I had already settled in to my target race pace for the initial miles. My final words to Brad, over the din of crowd, “Don’t let me catch you, buddy!” Next thing I know, though, I’ve got a new racing partner. His name was Scott Smith. He was hoping to run a 3:10ish, and this was his 6th Boston. We told stories and laughed as we trotted through town after town. The miles melted away. When I would press the pace a bit, he would pull me in a bit, reminding me that there was plenty of time to hammer it later. I complied. It was good for me. We kept working our way through aid stations, gliding effortlessly down the hills, cruising the inclines like they were nothing. Right on.
6. 6:52
7. 7:05
8. 7:06
9. 6:57
10. 7:08
11. 7:04
12. 6:58
Wellesly was amazing. ‘Nuff said. My favorite sign just said, “Let’s do this.” I had been chomping at the bit to get to the heart and soul of this race, and it was finally GO TIME. I went through the half-marathon point in 1:33:30. If I was going to do what it said on the back of my singlet, Negative Split, I would have to run a very strong back half with no mishaps. (On the off chance that a Boston virgin reads this, I’m climbing up on my soapbox: The thing about this race strategy is not only is it smart, it is fun. The whole “go out faster than my training suggests I should, and hope to hang on for dear life” is a disaster. I’ve been there. Don’t do it. Don’t let people goad you into it, either.)
I was anxious for the hills. It was a chance to use some muscle power that had been in reserve for the better part of 90 minutes. I let the race unfold for me in the first half, and now I was about to aggressively tear this race course apart. Right on schedule, I maintained pace through the hills.
13. 7:05
14. 7:04
15. 7:08
16. 6:47
17. 7:10
18. 7:14
I left my buddy Scott, thankful that he guided me safely through the first 13 miles. Just like in training, I leaned into the hills and made quick work of them, passing people steadily the whole. Sure, I was working hard as planned, but I was in control. This race was mine for the taking at this point. In forefront of my mind, though, I was well aware that the last 10k of a marathon can be brutal if not approached correctly. I was excited for this 10k, though.
God those hills were fun! I saw my wife at mile 17 just when I needed it. All smiles. The energy from the crowds almost made me numb to the running. I was floating up the hills. I imagined that I was connected to a spring attached to the top of each hill. I didn’t have to push up them, I was being pulled. And then I started really absorbing energy from the people that I passed. I was feeding off of moving through the crowd. And I was hunting Brad.
19. 7:02
20. 7:04
21. 7:10
A few miles ticked by until I hollered, “I told you not to let me catch you.” Brad heard me, and just motioned with his arm to get on up next to him. A wry smile crept across his face, as if he knew I would catch him. He had been battling a crampy calf that was an old training injury trying to rear its ugly head. I told him that it wasn’t going to bother him any more and we were going to finish strong. I could feel his spirit lift immediately. We were both revived.
You can see from the splits that we started to unleash speed on the course. I struggle to put into words how incredible those last 5 miles were. Like a constant surge of adrenaline. A runner’s high … on steroids. I had boundless energy and was swelling with pride at the prospect of finishing this marathon with conviction. Brad and I laid it all out through the final 10k, running like our lives depended on it. He would surge. I would follow. I would dart into clear space, and he would pull up right on my shoulder. We were two forces working together for a common goal. And they say the marathon is an individual accomplishment. In my mind, and perhaps in reality, we were passing people like they were standing still. It seemed like the crowed was keyed up just for us. And I egged them on again and again.
22. 6:37
23. 6:45
24. 6:34
My favorite moments of the race occurred in the final couple miles. An official race motorcycle pulled up next to us. The camera man was filming on the back. The great big gaudy lens was an arm’s length away. The camera man raised his left arm and point to us. Yes, those hell-bent-for-leather competitors running two-abreast, overtaking and burying every runner in their path, were us. Assuming we might be on TV, we both got a little taller, and our strides got a little longer. Flying down the street with just two famous turns looming, I felt like a rock star even more. The motorcycle lingered there with us for an exhilarating minute or two before pulling ahead.
“Can we go sub 3:05?” Brad asked, between labored breaths. I just extended my fist for a “bump.” No words needed.
The rest of the way, we ran full tilt. The crowd noise was only dulled slightly by the fact that I could practically feel my heart pounding at 180bpm in my ears. It was equal parts loud, fast, and raw. The only thing slowing us down was the battered group of zombies that had gone out too hard too early. I would call it a rush, but that would be to sell it far too short. The final miles amounted to a 35 minute thrill-a-second supercharged joyride down the homestretch of the most storied marathon around. It was pure Boston.
25. 6:44
26. 6:24
Last 0.20 1:14

Generally, I have a pretty good habit of finishing races well, but I have never capped off such an event with so much power and ownership over it. 3:04:28. This was one for the record books. Y’know, until next time we lace ‘em up.
What would you do differently?:

Eat more lobster rolls and cannolis in Boston.
Post race
Warm down:

Drink beer and share stories with friends.

What limited your ability to perform faster:


Event comments:

Fantastic event, start to finish. First class, like an Ironman. It's an experience I rank very highly among my favorites.

Last updated: 2011-05-02 12:00 AM
03:04:28 | 26.2 miles | 07m 02s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 1928/23500
Performance: Good
1. 7:14 2. 7:08 3. 7:08 4. 7:05 5. 7:08 6. 6:52 7. 7:05 8. 7:06 9. 6:57 10. 7:08 11. 7:04 12. 6:58 13. 7:05 14. 7:04 15. 7:08 16. 6:47 17. 7:10 18. 7:14 19. 7:02 20. 7:04 21. 7:10 22. 6:37 23. 6:45 24. 6:34 25. 6:44 26. 6:24 Last 0.20 1:14
Course: Hopkinton, MA to Boston, MA.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
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