Boston Marathon - RunMarathon

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Boston, Massachusetts
United States
Boston Athletic Association
85F / 29C
Total Time = 3h 21m 50s
Overall Rank = 2020/22000
Age Group = 40-444
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Got to Boston on Saturday for the Monday race. This is my first time so I wanted to make sure to take extra time at the expo and walking down to the finish line, etc. My wife came along and we left our kids in Michigan so we enjoyed some time together and saw parts of Boston and shopped some as well. A couple nice meals and just some R and R.

Race morning. Holy cow, I have to catch the bus between 6 and 6:30 for a 10 am start? Oh well. I guess we are all in the same boat. My usual breakfast of oatmeal, coffee, banana. To the bus stop. Met some really nice people from Houston on the bus and hung out with them until it was time to walk over to the start line. Ate a cliff bar about 90 minutes before the start and a gel about 30 minutes. Drank lots of fluids and tried to stay cool on what was going to prove to be a very hot day.
Event warmup:

Walked from the high school to the start line. Socialized. Stretched a little bit. Drank more water.
  • 3h 21m 50s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 07m 42s  min/mile

OK. This was the hottest Boston Marathon in a long time. People, me included, were not prepared for the heat of race day. They offered deferrals to anyone who did not want to race in the heat. I must have gotten twelve emails from the BAA imploring me not to do the race.

I had trained for this all winter long with the goal being to break three hours in a marathon. I knew it was going to be a close thing and would really require ideal conditions to achieve my holy grail of marathon running. Needless to say, these were not ideal conditions. However, I am not that smart and I decided that this was my one chance this year (only one marathon on the schedule) and I was going to go out and try to break three, regardless of the unexpected heat wave. Did I mention that I am not that smart?

So, the gun went off and I stood there with everyone else in corral four and pretty much did not move at all. It took me just under two minutes to get across the start line but as soon as I did I was able to get up to speed and go with a crowd of very fast folks. My goal for the first 13.1 miles was to hold 6:50-7:00/mile through the half way point. Well, I can tell you that I was able go at this pace through the first eight miles or so but when I got there it was becoming abundantly clear to me that there was no way that I was going to run sub 7:00 miles for the whole race in this heat. I kept trying to hold back but on some of the downhills I was running pretty easy 6:30 pace, which, as anyone who has run Boston knows, is a mistake.

I went through the half way point in 1:33:xx but the wheels were already starting to come off. I was already hurting enough that the Wellesley girls were just a blur of noise as I ran by them.

The hill up over the highway at around mile 16 is murder. It goes on and on and on. Few people cheering for you. Not a puff of wind to cool you. Not a speck of shade. By the time I got to the top of this I was cooked. I walked for the first time around here, about 100 yards or so. My quads were already screaming from the downhill punishment they had absorbed.

From this point on, I would run about 3/4 to 1 mile and then walk 20-50 steps. Every time I stopped it got harder to get started again. I really do appreciate the crowds. They tried to encourage the runners and took it as a personal victory every time they would get someone to go from walking to running. And man were there a lot of people running. Really fit, tough, seasoned marathoners walking along in misery.

About mile 18 I started to feel a little wobbly so I walked through an aid station, grabbed two gatorades, two waters, and just composed myself a little. There was no question of stopping, but I was really suffering.

Heartbreak hill came and went without much fanfare. In fact, I wasn't sure if I had done it or not until I got to the top and somebody was holding a tiny sign that said, "you just ran up heartbreak hill." I knew that the rest of the race was essentially down hill and only about five miles so I just willed myself to keep running. I was getting slower and slower and my 3:00 goal was so far behind me that I stopped worrying about it. Now I realized that I was on the verge of not requalifying for Boston which I would never have thought possible.

I kept running with a few short walk breaks but I was not enjoying this.

At the Citgo sign I knew it was only about a mile left and I decided there was no way in hell I was going to walk again. Again, it was a battle to keep going but I needed to finish and get this race behind me. With about 3/4 mile left a guy in front of me went down on the side of the road but the paramedics were on him immediately and I was going to be no help to him so I just kept plodding along. I was actually able to accelerate and finish "strong."

I was really disappointed in this race. I missed my goal by a mile. I missed my worse case scenario goal of requalifying by 1 min 50 sec. I broke mentally. I suffered physically. I will come back to this race one day and I will "beat it." I refuse to let my life time memory of the Boston Marathon be this race.

With that being said, I think I survived one of the tougher Boston Marathons on record. My 22 minute failure is about what most people have been reporting, 20-30 minutes off of their goal times. There were a lot of really fast, experienced marathoners that were humbled on this day.
What would you do differently?:

Go out slower. Even 7:15s to 7:30s would have been much faster and probably less painful than my fist half at 7:00s and my second half at 8:20s.

More training on hills, down and up hill running.

More mileage in prep for the race.
Post race
Warm down:

Felt OK. Walked through. Got water. Got Gatorade. Got Powerbars. Got bananas. Got my medal. Walked back to the hotel.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Heat. Mental Toughness. Training on hills

Event comments:

Thanks to all of the volunteers and the crowds that turned out to cheer us on.

Last updated: 2012-04-20 12:00 AM
03:21:50 | 26.2 miles | 07m 42s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/22000
Performance: Below average
Course: Point to point, overall down hill course. You can read all about Boston and the course in multiple locations so I won't go into to much detail here. If you are really interested, the Runners World website has a mile by mile description of the Boston Marathon course (and a bunch of others as well) where you can get pointers on how to attack each segment of the race. I found it really useful to have read all about the course before I ever got there.
Keeping cool Bad Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 2
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:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5