Boston Marathon - RunMarathon

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Boston, Massachusetts
United States
Boston Athletic Association
55F / 13C
Total Time = 3h 50m 41s
Overall Rank = 12173/
Age Group = M18 - 39
Age Group Rank = 3421/
Pre-race routine:

Got up at 5, took a shower, loaded my bags in the car (we were checking out that morning and I didn't want Mir to have to carry everything down), grabbed my race day stuff, kissed the wife, walked to the commons to catch the bus to Hopkinton. Ate two Clif Bars on the bus and washed them down with Gatorade since we still had almost 4 hours until the race start.
Event warmup:

Sat around the athlete's village, drank some water, coffee and Gatorade. At 9, found my boss on the way out and we walked together to the starting corrals. Stopped at a port a pot and took a nice long clear pee so I was hydrated well. Sat in my corral waiting for the start chit chatting about the injustices of Armstrong running with an elite number and not with the "rest of the masses" with his qualifying time.
  • 3h 50m 41s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 48s  min/mile

I'm really writing this at the request of friends and family more than anything, not because I want to ...... I owe it to them I guess.

I came to the race with no expectations or real wants other than running a smart race, enjoying the day and getting to spend a nice weekend alone with the wife - something we have not done without a kid since our oldest was born in '00. I trained my azz off for a March 2nd marathon where I wanted to go for a sub 3 hour attempt but got the flu and was laid up in bed during the week before the race. After losing over 8 pounds and not eating much at all I knew that there was no way I could race that day. I did try just to see, but dropped out after 5 miles because I could not hold my pace and it was not worth permanently injuring myself. Since then I was doing a 7 week "bridge" plan for training for Boston and had really upped my pace in training and felt pretty good. But I did not do a single run over 12 miles because of the continues bitter cold that I was sick of running in and life just taking over. I would pay for that towards the end of this race ......

I went out a little too hard last year with the downhills so this year the plan was to go easier and with the crowd. It took about 3 minutes for me to get accross the starting mat once they sent overyone off (I was in the 6th corral this year compared to the 5th last year) and I just tried to get into an easy groove and keep the effort very light and stay easy. My HRM was not working right and was pizzing me off, but I knew that my pace was not one to worry about the HR yet. First mile was in the 7:14 range, but was easy. Stayed in the same sort of focus for mile 2 but was much faster at around a 6:42 or so. Backed off a little more to be safe.

5k came at 21:50 and I was feeling good. The HRM was working now and I was right in the low 170's for my HR which is my marathon range (170 - 175-ish). Effort felt easy, I made sure to get some fluids in (on the run, which is different for me - there was no way to walk the waterstops and not get run over). Kept myself mentally in check and felt really good about the way things were going.

My pace stayed in the 7:1X range throughout the next 10k and I hit the 15k mark averaging 7:10 per mile overall. Much faster than I wanted to go, but still within myself and my HR and effort were right where they should be. Last year at the 15k mark I was alraeady getting cramps. This year I could feel the legs working, but not anywhere near the cramping point.

Coming into Wellsley (just after the 12 mile mark) I was starting to feel the effects of the continuous downhills we had to do through the start. I made a very strong point of backing it off and being smooth to keep the HR in check knowing that come mile 16 on I'd need any reserves I had to continue to run well. I went through the half point at 1:34:37 which is a great 1/2 split. Knowing that the 2nd half of the course is much harder I figured that running easy I'd be able to run a 1:45 back half (8 minute miles) and even be able to eek a BQ time out of the race! I knew I'd lose a little time on the hills because I had done ZERO real hill training (up or down mind you), but I still had some wiggle room.

As we entered Newton at mile 16 I was really tiring. I made it a point to keep the effort even and go at my own pace up the first hill - which is the longest but no the steepest - and not care about everyone around me. I got through it and kept the effort easy on the downhill after. My left quads and hamstrings were twinging a lot here. Downhills put a beating on your upper legs and I was feeling the effects of the early efforts. But I had still run mile 16 - 17 in just over 8:10-ish, so had done well. My HR had stayed over 180 on the hill, but that is normal (it was over 180 for the whole stretch from 16 - 20 at Baltimore last year which is all uphill as well).

The second hill is the steepest and comes after making a right turn. It hurt, but I backed off as necessary to keep running. Trudging along towards the next hill at 19 I was starting to really feel the legs and my right calf was acting up. I made it up the third hill and was struggling. The self-doubt was setting in because the legs were starting to rebel. I knew Heartbreak was coming soon and last year I made myself run up it, but as I crossed the 20 mile mark my head said "You are waling now and you will probably walk the hill as well."

Boom ... there it goes, race is over .......

My boss passed me as I walked up Heartbreak and I cheered him on, but he didn't hear me. I tried to run a little bit and things started to lock up so I said I'd walk the hill and then see how things go from the top back into Boston. But I was also getting really pizzed off and upset. I had been through this last year (from the top of Heartbreak) having my muscles lock up and rebel. And here we were again, different race, different approach, same result.

From then on it was a try to jog/lock up with cramps/stretch/walk until the end. This is the part of the course where the cheering is constant and uproarious (college kids) and I went to the other side of the road for one stretch to avoid the crowds. Twice in the finishing miles I stopped right next to medical tents and almost went in. I've NEVER done that before. But I knew that they would say, "Can you walk? Yeah? The finish is that way, we don't have any transport for the walking dead."

Slow forward to the last mile. When we turned to go up to Boylston I made myself run again and actually totally blocked out the pain and cramping and was running almost normal pace. However, at the top of the rise where you turn ono Boylston my legs won out and I had to really back it off. I did run all the way into the finish and crossed the mat that allows the announcer to call your name so I heard them say it as I was coming in.

At least I finished, but slower than last year, and not at all in a good mood. I'm frickin' done with this marathon crap ....... they are just unpleasant.
What would you do differently?:

Not slack off my training in the weeks before the race, back off the pace even more in the beginning than I did, drink more than I did even though I don't think dehydration was the overall issue.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked through the finishers cattle herd, got my mylar blanket, medal and food and went looking for Mir.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Training, cramps.

Event comments:

It's Boston. I've run two BQ'a and raced here twice. Both Bostons have been a disaster .... this course just has my number. At this point in my running career I just do not enjoy racing this distance. Seriously, when I run a good race and I ran a good time in the two qualifiers it just hurts. When it is a bad race it is completely frickin' miserable. Not a lot of positive aspects to me!

Last updated: 2008-01-23 12:00 AM
03:50:41 | 26.2 miles | 08m 48s  min/mile
Age Group: 3421/
Overall: 12173/
Performance: Bad
I don't have my HRM here, but through the point I was still running I was averaging in the mid to upper 170's, right where I should be.
Course: It's Boston, people have written books on the course ...... no need for me to explain it.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 2
Physical exertion [1-5] 1
Good race? No
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 3