The Long Run

Boston Marathon

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Member Since:

Mar 20, 2007

Gender:

Male

Goal Type:

Boston Qualifier

Running Accomplishments:

PR's:

  • 1 mile : 5:43 (3/2017)
  • 5K : 18:34 (12/2011)
  • 5 mile : 32:03 (5/2010)
  • 10K : 39:29 (11/2013)
  • 11K: 46:47 (July 2008)
  • Half Marathon : 1:26:47 (11/2012)
  • Marathon : 3:06:34 (02/2010)
  • 50K Trail: 4:34 (01/2012)
  • 50 Mile: 8:34:48 (4/2012)
  • 100K: 11:06 (2/2012)
  • 100 Mile: 29:03:39 (6/2013)

Marathons:

  • Marine Corps Marathon - 3:28:12, Oct 2015
  • Pocatello Marathon (ID) - 3:32:25, Sept 2015
  • Chasing The Unicorn (PA) - 3:31:20, Aug 2015
  • Run for The Red (Poconos) - 3:30:40, May 2015
  • Boston - 3:24:42, Apr 2015
  • Clearwater - 3:27:04, Jan 2015
  • Clearwater - 3:16:17, Jan 2014
  • Boston  - 3:27:00, Apr 2011
  • DesNews - 3:10:57, Jul 2010
  • Gasparilla  - 3:06:34, Feb 2010
  • Space Coast - 3:11:29, Nov 2009
  • Estes Park  (7500' and up) - 3:52:19, Jun 2009
  • Boston - 3:17:22, Apr 2009
  • Niagara Falls - 3:19:21, Oct 2008
  • San Diego RnR  - 3:24:18, Jun 2008
  • Jacksonville Marathon -3:21:24, Dec 2007
  • Chicago Marathon - 3:35:08, Oct 2007
  • Disney Marathon - 3:52:34, Jan 2007

 

 

 

 

Short-Term Running Goals:

 

  • Sub 40:00 10K
  • 2:59 Marathon
  • 1:25 Half Marathon
  • 18:30 5K

 

Long-Term Running Goals:

Maintain my health and continuously seek to improve my fitness. Maybe someday get under 3:00 for marathon. More importantly, I'd like to figure out what my maximum ability is and reach that.

I'd also like to find the right balance in life and use running to enhance and improve myself.

 

Personal:

Dad of  two awesome kids.

Also, have one wonderful brown dog named Sammy and just added a grey tiger cat whose life started out rough but now has a better home.

I've recently started another blog so I can easily add lots of pictures and so other non-FRB users can leave comments:

Forward Progress!

 Also, for 2012 I started a blog to write down each day one thing that I am grateful for

Grateful Blog

 

Love living in Florida but love to travel and see the country and rest of the world.

 

Favorite Blogs:

Miles:This week: 17.10 Month: 83.17 Year: 1516.94
Brooks T7 Lifetime Miles: 175.96
Brooks ST5 Lifetime Miles: 403.91
GoRun4 Lifetime Miles: 614.87
GoMeb Speed3 Lifetime Miles: 331.01
Brooks Pure Flow Lifetime Miles: 82.05
Race: Boston Marathon (26.2 Miles) 03:17:22, Place overall: 4087, Place in age division: 703
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTrainer 1 MilesTrainer 2 MilesRacer MilesTotal Distance
0.0026.200.000.000.000.000.0026.20

Short version (see longer version after splits):
 
Best marathon of my life - "So far..."
 
Before the race, worried about the wind and cold, worried about my left knee, worried about the rolling hills followed by heart break hill.  Worried that I lost all my speed during a week of taper.
 
Stopped worrying once the race started and felt great.   Wind wasn't so bad, knee was fine.  Heartbreak hill wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  I took a few pieces of advice that really helped.  I was almost caught off guard by the cramps which got moderately bad and threatened to get really bad at times.
 
Half Splits:
========
First Half - 1:37:15
Second Half - 1:40:07
 
5K Splits:
=======
5k   - 23:46      23:46
10k - 22:52      46:38
15k - 22:54    1:09:32
20k - 22:48    1:32:20
25k - 22:58    1:55:18
30k - 23:44    2:19:02
35k - 24:14    2:43:16
40k - 23:48    3:07:04
 
Overall 4087
Gender 3724
Division 703
 
I worked hard to get here, I had a lot of help to get here.  I have lots of people to thank and lots of things to be thankful for.

 

Mile Splits:

Mile
Garmin Time
Extra to marker

 1 8:20  Pit stop
 2 7:25  
 3 7:20  
 4 7:16  
 5 7:25  
 6 7:20  
 7 7:17  
 8 7:21  
 9 7:30  
 10 7:24  
 11 7:23  
 12 7:11  
 13 7:11 :08 Wellesley
 14 7:22  
 15 7:28  Cramps start
 16 7:23  
 17 7:36  
 18 7:32  
 19 7:34 :20 
 20 7:35 :11 
 21 7:56 :08 Heartbreak Hill
 22 7:26 :10 
 23 7:37  
 24 7:39 :07 
 25 7:38  
26
7:34


26.2
0.25@6:45



Longer version:
 
I don't usually do this, but here goes a longer than usual report.
 
 
Shortly before the Disney Marathon in January 2007, I was reading over the race information and it mentioned that the chip times could be used for Boston Qualification times.  I thought to myself then if maybe someday I could qualify?? Hmmmm.   A couple of months after the Disney Marathon I was searching the web one day on a quest for information.  I wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  How could I go from a 3:52 to a 3:20?  After some searching I came across the Fast Running blog and Sasha's advice on how to qualify.  Step 1 was to start a blog - easy enough!
 
So, I called my blog Boston Quest (even though it sounds a little corny - I had to pick something).
 
I started training for the Chicago Marathon.  I trained hard, blogged, improved.  Ran with friends - faster friends and slower friends.  I read and listened.  I ran with my wife some times, sometimes I ran with my kids.  Lots of times  I ran alone.  I made more friends and met more people.  Running was very very good to me.
 
I ran Chicago with the idea that maybe I had a chance to qualify there, at least an outside chance.  It was hot that year, and after hitting 1:40 at the half with much effort I slowed down and finished with a respectable 3:35 for my second marathon.
 
To see how much was the heat and how much was my fitness, I ran the Jacksonville marathon just a couple months later.  This time with a couple of other guys trying to BQ. The run felt miserable from the start until about 13 miles, got better for a while until the late 20's when it got hard again.   I missed that one by a 24 seconds!  I was happy with coming so close in under a year.   Jenny told me that coming close and missing would make it that much more special when I finally did qualify.
 
After a few months more of training I was feeling faster.  Getting ready for the San Diego marathon, I got careless and ignored a small ache which turned into something more serious - but fortunately not too serious.  One month of missed running, but still a decent run at San Diego of 3:24.   More importantly, it felt a lot easier than it had ever felt.  Due to my injury, I had started getting massages, and it made a big difference to my running.
 
So, then I became more careful.  More warm up, more stretching after the run, more cross training.  I did more miles, got a little bit faster and BQ'd in Niagara Falls finally this past October.  I had done it.  I thought about changing my blog name but decided against it.  I had to actually go there and finish it.  Cross the finish line and complete the quest.
 
One of my good friends who I met from running is Joe.  Joe is a great guy and a very solid runner, sometimes making it look too easy.  He offered to let me stay with him at his brother's house in Wellesly.   This was above and beyond for both Joe and his brother Tony and his family.  Tony picked us up from the airport, took us to the expo to get our stuff, then, after lunch, drove us through the Newton hills so we could see what they looked like.  It was great to see the sights along the way, to see what we would be seeing as we ran through the streets on race day.
 
On Sunday afternoon, I spent some time with my brother Jim who drove out from Rochester, NY to come and cheer me on with his family.  As an added bonus, my cousin Rob and his family drove over from where they live a couple hours away to visit for the day.  We all hit the expo again and especially loved watching the 30 minute video tour of the course.  The things that stuck in my mind were: 1) don't go too fast the first mile, 2) don't get carried away with the screaming Wellesly coeds, 3) and don't get over confident after cresting heartbreak hill.
 
Gave Jeff (jtshad) a call to wish him luck on his super fast race and was given some nice encouragement back from him.  I need to do a better job of trying to meet up with more FRBers at these big races as it is always great to put the people together with their blogs.   Sunday night, had a fairly early dinner back at Tony's house - pasta with just a little bit of sauce, grilled chicken, a little salad and strawberries for dessert.  Talked to Jenny on the phone for a while who gave me lots of encouragement as she always does.  I am extremely fortunate in many ways especially how supportive she is of me.  She is a runner, too, so knows what I was going through.  Got to sleep fairly early and slept not too badly for the night before a marathon.
 
Monday morning, Tony drove us to Hopkinton State Park (I can't keep going on about Tony without mentioning his wife Carrie who also drove us to the train station and worked very hard hosting us!!!)  to catch the bus to the Athlete's Village.  Got there at 20 minutes to 8:00.
 
It was cold.  It didn't feel bad at first, but once I realized I'd be outside for the next two hours before the race would start I became a little bit worried.  I had on shorts, a long sleeve shirt and a hat as well as an oversized shirt that Tony gave me for a "throw-away" item.  Still cold.  Fortunately, I had a pair of jeans and a sweatjacket in my bag for after the race.   As unathletic as they might have looked I put on those extra clothing and kept from freezing.  Had a little bit of coffee just to keep warm.  I was entertained by the announcer and the music.  Maybe some people were annoyed by him, but it kept my mind off of worrying.  I laughed when he said (after making many such similar announcements about so-and-so looking for so-and-so and to meet them at the big Poland Springs water bottle) - "Stewie Griffin, Peter is looking for you".  And also, "...there will be an F-15 flyover at the start of the race, so if you see figher jets ..... don't panic!"
 
Joe and I ran into one of our friends Bob.  We were also looking for David but could not find him.  Had some pictures taken by the "It All Starts Here" sign.  With what seemed like a long time to go I got into the porta potty line.  It was a long line.  The time soon was dwindling, but made it in time, dropped off my bag on the bus and headed toward the starting line.
 
Ok, now it was getting late.  Walked faster, jogged a little.  Here was my warm up.  Dropped off my "throw-away" in a bin for Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization.  Finished up my Gatorade and washed down a salt packet and made it into the corral with only minutes to spare.  Chatted with a couple of guys, one of whom had BQ'd at SGM.
 
So, finally the race starts.  We "accordion" our way to the starting line, spread out, bunch up, spread out bunch up..  Finally, we cross the starting line.  Here it is, I am finally doing it.  I want to enjoy this race, savor it.  I decide I will start by taking one piece of advice, slow first mile.  In fact, it turned out to be an 8:20 (including a very quick pit stop).  I thought this way I could pick which mile would be the slowest mile.
 
The next two miles were faster, 7:25 and 7:20.  It didn't take long to get a feel for the course.  Up, down, up , down, more down than up for most of it.  At this point I was feeling really good.  I have had races where I feel terrible for the first few miles until I loosen up, but not today.  A lot of this was thanks to the massage that I had on Friday afternoon, they really can do wonders, and I have been fortunate to find the best massage therapist in the world.  Actually, the next 14 miles or so were for the most part almost effortless (at least that is how I remember it now).
 
I made a few small mistakes at the beginning such as weaving over to the right to get water when I could have stayed on the left since there were pretty much water/gatorade stops on both sides.
 
Before coming to Boston, part of me thought that the race itself would be a let down, that it was a lot of hype and was just being "exclusive".  This turned out to be completely false, it IS a great race, a great course, awesome crowds with a lot of electricity in the air.
 

Along the lines of "is it hype or reality?" was about mile 12.  I could start to hear a noise, it was screaming, it got louder.  It was the wall of Wellesly college girls.  It was not hype.  I was wondering what the decibel level was and if I could have sustained permanent hearing loss.  I did a few high fives but mostly tried to keep running down the middle.  I saw that my pace was picking up too much at one point and decided to back it down.  Garmin pace came in at 7:11 but it was off from the mile marker so it was really a 7:19 pace.  I had set a wide range for a goal 3:12 - 3:20.   I did this so I would have a pace to not go faster than during the first 20 miles.  So, 3:12 would be a 7:19 so I tried not to go faster than that  (although I did end up with 3 miles slightly faster than that).

So, I did my best to not get too swept up in the Wellesley fun, because there were still a lot of miles to cover.

Crossing past the halfway point was great, getting to mile 14 was even better.

Then, sometime after mile 16 my pace slowed a little bit, I had to work harder just to keep a slightly slower pace.  Determined to not slow down out of the 7:30's.  I also knew that the hills were starting.  I was going to allow myself to go a little bit slower so I would have something left after cresting heartbreak hill.

I kept telling myself at this point, just get myself to mile 20 and then see what happens.

I had one cramp which covered the entire backside of my left leg, from the glute to hamstrings to calf.  Smaller ones were hitting my right calf.  None in my right arm like I often get.  But these would pass.  I would say out loud "work it out", and somehow my body listened and I kept on going.

Finally I was on heartbreak hill, but I didn't really know it.  I was on a hill, and I was approaching mile 21 marker.  I kept on thinking something else worse was coming.  But, once I was over the top and going down the other side, I knew I was done.  It felt like a breath of fresh air.  8:04 for miles 21 (thought I was on pace for 7:56 according to the garmin, but was 8 more seconds to get to the mile marker).

So, last piece of advice that I followed, don't over do it after going over heartbreak hill.  I did pick it up but did not go all out.

The nice thing about heartbreak hill was that once I was over it, there was just a little over 5 miles to go and a lot of it was downhill.

The remaining miles were tough but exciting.  I did have one side stitch about mile 22 or 23, I seem to often get one here at about this point but I was able to work through this one.   I held on and finally rounded the corner onto Boylston Street where I could see the finish line.  I gave it all I had left and before I knew it, the race was finished.

The volunteer that removed my chip gave me a hug and congratulated me, then I moved on down the assembly line until I was onto the family reunion area.

The weather that was so perfect for running was now very cold.  I put on my jacket and made my way to the "G" area and waited for Joe.  Joe showed up in a little bit and had a smile on his face, he had also PR'd by one minute with a 3:28.  We moved onto the "P" area and found my brother.  I was calling my wife on Joe's phone (since mine was not getting through) and my arm was shaking from the cold.  Jim gave me his coat, then we headed to his hotel room where he had some cold beers waiting for us as well as a place for a shower since Joe and I both stunk pretty bad.

Later, on our way back to the train to go back to Joe's brother's house, we finally ran into David and his wife.  Spent about 10 minutes rehashing over the race and had a chance to take some pictures before finally heading back.


Glycerin 6 (new) Miles: 26.20
Comments
From cindy on Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 08:32:36 from 205.188.116.20

Great race report. You did an awesome job! We Texans are proud of you. See you in Colorado.

From jorge on Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 08:49:04 from 208.87.12.184

Mark Congrats, great report! Thanks for sharing,, you see, now you and Joe became an inspiration, to some of us!!

It does nothing less than hyper motivate me to get there one day!!

Hope I can join you at this elite runners club!!

Great job, hope to see your Boston jackets next Saturday!!

From Michelle N. on Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 10:28:12 from 75.162.252.159

Great job. That was the most amazing experience!

From jtshad on Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 11:35:56 from 204.134.132.225

Great race report! Great time, hope you had fun in Boston.

Thanks for the call Sunday night! Sorry we did not connect in person!

From Carolyn in Colorado on Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 13:01:04 from 198.241.156.7

Great job! And I really enjoyed your race report. Thanks for sharing. And you BQ'ed at Boston. That is great. I've heard that a lot of runners don't do that.

I'm curious about Cindy's "See you in Colorado" comment. Are you coming to Colorado?

From Julie on Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 17:40:24 from 71.35.243.118

I loved reading your report. Great job!! I agree with you. Boston is the best marathon of my life "so far" too.

From mikemac on Fri, Apr 24, 2009 at 11:51:56 from 75.120.44.202

Solid race Mark! I knew the way your training had been going that you were in for a great race.You should be very proud of yourself. Its always nice to see your hard work pay off.

From JeffC on Fri, Apr 24, 2009 at 16:02:14 from 167.207.128.101

WOW! Great report Mark. Really enjoyed reading about your Boston Quest and what it took to get there. It has me all pumped up to get busy and make a strong run this year at St. George and get qualified. Congratulations on a well run race and following all the advice you were given. That is awesome that you qualified for Boston again at Boston. Congratulations!!

From Mark on Sat, Apr 25, 2009 at 09:30:34 from 97.97.155.33

Thanks everyone!

Carolyn - my most favorite mother-in-law Cindy has invited my family and I to stay in their timeshare in Colorado in June for a week. I'm also going to run the Estes Park Marathon while I'm there.

Jorge - sorry I couldn't make it out to Starkey this Saturday but I'll see you next week. Glad to see you started a blog here, now I can keep better tabs on you :)

Jeffc - I know you are going to get there. That will be awesome WHEN (soon) you do it.

From Bec on Sat, Apr 25, 2009 at 23:22:59 from 67.177.35.60

I didn't read the long version. But Mark, I am sure that we had similar experiences at this race. This marathon really changed the way I think about running. Accomplishing goals that we thought we would never be capable of attaining is what racing is all about for me.

From JimF on Sun, Apr 26, 2009 at 08:12:25 from 98.214.104.168

Sounds like a great experience and you had an excellent race. A 2 min PR at Boston into the wind is awesome. I enjoyed reading about your quest which shows perservence and determination. Great job!

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