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.
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
First Half -
Second Half -
25k - 22:58
30k - 23:44
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||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|| || |
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
So, I called my blog
Boston Quest (even though it sounds a little corny - I had to pick
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.