Boston Marathon - RunMarathon

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Boston, Massachusetts
United States
Boston Athletic Association
58F / 14C
Total Time = 2h 58m 44s
Overall Rank = 1052/22375
Age Group = Mens Open 18-39
Age Group Rank = 744/9592
Pre-race routine:

Mom and I woke up at 5:00am to have some coffee in our room and get ready. We both had a Cliff Bar and then headed downstairs to the hotel lobby. They had a shuttle bus running to the bus drop off, but the line was already long. We stepped out of line to grab a cab and were joined by two other people to share the ride, the lady was actually from Phoenix! We rode the bus out to the athlete village in Hopkinton and made a small camp of garbage bags on the gound under the tents...and waited. My start was at 10:00am and Mon was at 10:30. It was cold and overcast and the nearly three hours of waiting chilled me. I headed down to the start corral around 9:00am just to get moving and warm up.
Event warmup:

My warm up consisited of walking to the start and sitting on the ground at the front of my corral chatting with folks.
  • 2h 58m 44s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 06m 49s  min/mile

As I stood in the corral wiating for the start, the sun began to emerge from behind the low cloud cover. About 2 min. before the start, it really started to shine and warmed up immediately. The gun went off and I was across the start line in about 5 seconds. The first 10K is downhill. I knew this, I was prepared for this, I knew I needed to hold back, and I didn't. You almost couldn't or you risked being trampled! People were flying down the hills, the pace was silly fast the first 2-3K's but I was able to reign it in by 5K and averaged a 6:30 pace. I was feeling...ok. Not great, a little sluggish and heavy. I think the 10am start and sitting around sapped some of my energy and I was a bit flat.

Between 5-10K, I had my first "issue", I was getting VERY hot. I was wearing a long sleeve shirt under my Zoot running shirt and I was sweating and my heart rate was elevated. I looked up in the sky towards the east and could see it was clearing out and the winds were not too bad, so the shirt had to go. I didn't want to stop to take it off during this fast section of the course, so I managed to take the long sleeve off while running and left it along the side of the road. I really liked it that shirt, too.

I immediately felt better and was able to bring my HR down into the high 150's. My target rate was 157-160 for the first half and then 160+ towards the back end. I figured I could average 160-161 for the race. The 10K point came in 40:40 for a 6:32. My HR kept hitting 160 and I would reign it back in. I knew I was taking a huge risk by trying to bank pace early in this race and that 6:30's wasn't something I could hold for the duration, but I decided to continue on and let myself settle down during the flatter middle section of the run.

I think it was somehwere around mile 8 that I came upon the Lance Armstrong peleton! I looked up and he was about 10 feet in front of me, surrounded by his pacers and possee and about 30 other runners who wanted to run along with him. There was a HUGE gap up to the next group of runners up ahead as everyone who caught up to Lance slowed down. It was very funny, excpet for the fact that as I ran behind him for a few miles, I kept thinking either I have no business being this far up in the pack or he is going slower than the 2:40 pace he was anticipating. It turns out both were true. At one point his gtoup was broken up at an aid stationa and he pulled over to the side and turned to wait for them while running backwards. I passed by about two feet to his left and wished him well. He didn't acknowledge me, but it ws cool to have a chance to say something to him. His group passed me agin a mile or so later and I lost touch.

Fortunatley, one of the higlights of the Boston Marathon was less than a mile ahead....The Wellsley College Girls! I could hear them screaming from a quarter mile away and I high fived the entire line of them along the course as they blew kisses and told us they loved us! :)

It was decision time. I passed through the Half in 1:27:15, a 6:40 average pace. 6:40's were my goal pace for this race. I was hydrating well and having gels every :45 min and began to reasses my goals. My legs had begun to feel the effective of the downhill running, I was stiff in my upper quads. I didn't let it bother me, but I knew that this race was going to be about holding on. There would be no negative split and the final 10K was going to be abject misery...and I was only at the halfway point!

I had entertained best case finishing times around 2:50-2:55. That wasn't going to happen. Not because I was not well prepared, I was, I'm just not a great open marathon runner. I am a top AG'er in tiathlon, I can run a very solid IM marathon, but compared to real marathon runners, I leave a lot to be desired. I don't pace well, I just run and try and hold on. That works only in so much that one of my endurence sport strengths is the ability to push through extreme physical discomfort. I have a stong mental game in that respect that can make up for other shortcomings.

So here I was around mile 14 with the hills of Newton coming and I needed to decide what I wanted out of this race. I had run a 2:59:33 at the 2007 Phoenix RnR Marathon to qualify for Boston. At first I was really excited to have gone sub 3 in only my second marathon, but as time went by, I realized that a sub 3 at Phoenix wasn't really all that great as the course is so flat. I had felt the same way following my 9:43 at IMAZ. I was thrilled to have gone sub 10 and Kona qualified at my first IM, but again it was a fast course and I really felt the need for myself to validate that sub 10 at Kona. Bettering my time by 3 min at Kona was a huge improvement in my mind and I felt that I had really punched my IM card. That's now what I wanted here, a real sub 3 on a challenging course at the biggest event in the Marathon world....and it was going to be close.

The Hills of Netwon. It starts around mile 17.5, the first of a series of hills culminating in Heartbreak Hill. When I hit the first one, it was a revelation! I felt great! The hills gave me a chance to alter my form and I scooted up feeling great. The downhills were killing me, I was struggling through the flats, but I could still climb! I crested Heartbreak and began the decent on Commonwealth Ave. past Boston College, 5.2 miles to go.

I had long since abandoned monitoring my HR and I just tried to descend Comm. Ave as fast as I could to try and save time. I made it to the long stretch of Beacon St and mile 23 and was really starting to pass people now. People were blowing up all over the place, pulling over the side knotted in pain as they cramped up, a lot were walking, it was carnage of people whose sub 3 dreams were ending here. I was in that haze where evrything was sort of abstract and removed, all there was was the pain in my body and the desire to keep going at war within me.

I did have a moment where I allowed myself to enjoy the moment. As I crossed the bridge over the Mass Pike, the crowd on either side was 5 deep. I was in a gap, alone in the middle of the road. I waved to the crowd and they went ABSOLUTELY NUTS all for me! It was incredible! It made me feel like I was running on air...for a few moments anyway, I was now 1.2 miles from the finsish. I looked at the time and knew I had it and yet still didn't feel comfortable enought to back of. If anything, my sense of urgency increased as the few final turns kept me from seeing Boylston St. and making me feel like it was never going to end. I was within a mile and I was still racing.

When I finally made the left on Boylston I could see the line about 1/4 mile ahead and I took off like a scalded cat! I ran absolutely as hard as I could until I was within 20 feet of the Finish where I finally allowed myself to pull up and cross with my hands held high. I had made it in 2:58:44, I hadn't blown up, I didn't give up, I pushed through a level of pain comporable if not more acute than Ironman, and I was so very happy that, if I choose to, I would never have to do this race again!

  • ..Well, we'll see... ;)

  • Post race
    Warm down:

    After I crossed I began the long walk down Boylston, receiving food and water, my finishing metal, my mylar blanket. I kept goign all the way to Boston Commom where I caught a cab back to the hotel. I was the first geust they had back from the race at the Westin Waterfront. I showered, had a beer, checked out and hung out in the lounge in the lobby waiting for my Mom to call that she was finished. She had called to say she was at B.C. and was doing well and at 65 years old, she finished her 4th Boston marathon in 4:50....she remains the ultimate rock star in my book.

    Event comments:

    I can't say for me, personally, that this race carried the same sense of awe as Kona did. It is the largest sporting event I have ever done and will likely ever do. It does have an incredible amount of excitement surrounding and has, by far, the most amazing spectator support. Every inch of that 26.2 mile course was lined by enthusiastic spectators that made it so very special.

    Last updated: 2008-03-24 12:00 AM
    02:58:44 | 26.2 miles | 06m 49s  min/mile
    Age Group: 0/9592
    Overall: 0/22375
    Performance: Good
    Splits: 5K- 20:10 10K- 40:40 15K- 1:01:33 20K- 1:22:43 Half- 1:27:15 25K- 1:43:55 30K- 2:06:49 35K- 2:28:05 40K- 2:49:32 Average HR- 160bpm
    Course: 10K downhill, a relatively flat middle section, rolling hills starting at mile 17-22, flatr till the end. It's Boston!
    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: Good
    Race evaluation [1-5] 5