|Rank||1,208 of 22,540|
|GPS Analysis||Garmin Connect|
Went to bed early and woke up on my own around 4 AM. Stayed in bed and played out the day over and over in my mind. My alarm was set to go off at 5:30 but I turned it off at 5:29 and rolled out of bed. Had everything laid out so I just slid into the clothes and grabbed my bag. My Dad was waiting outside. We hopped in the car and drove to Boston Common where I would board the bus. We got there early so I ran into the Four Seasons and met Glenn Hahn (co-worker, friend, and marathon mentor!) and his buddy Kenny. Kenny is and old pro with 20+ Bostons under his belt. Glenn was running #9. I was in good hands. Got on the buses and drove to Hopkinton.
Had a police escort most of the way. Its the only way to travel. Chatted a bit but spent my time getting my Cheerios, Gatorade, and S-Caps down. I was fueled. We got to the Athlete’s Village, which is the middle school there. They put up huge tents and there are people laying everywhere. Looked like a swim meet. We skipped most of it and walked litterally 1 house down Grove Street (towards the race start) to Kenny’s friends house. Edna’s Runners they call them. Edna passed a few years ago but her family carries on the tradition of welcoming a family of runners into their home for a warm place to suit up and poop. Who invites strangers into their house to take a crap? Nice people, that’s who. I dropped my gear and went for a 2 mile jog down to the start line and back. I hadn’t pooped yet and that was slightly annoying. I knew this would work it out. Was hoping to spot Brownie and invite him into Edna’s but never saw him. Got back and it was go time — bathroom! Done.
Glenn and I walked to the start together and he gave me his words of wisdom. Do not go out too fast and regret this. Then told me to hurdle the wounded and trample the dead. Got it. 2 F-16s(?) flew over and sometime minutes later a gun went off up ahead. You can’t see the start since its up and over a hill. Its not that interesting either. A nicely painted line on the road. Took us 5 minutes and a few seconds to get to it. Pounded my Red Bull Shot…yes! And we were off!
It was downhill right off the bat. People were jostling and moving. I held it steady around 7 and only did a few moves to get away from some feet and elbows. We were settling in. I had my “virtual partner’ on the Garmin dialed in at 6:50 pace. I knew 6:51 and some random fraction was 3 flat. So this seemed like it would give me about 40-60 seconds of breathing room in case we got piled up at the finish and to compensate for not following the course perfectly. I did my best to run the tangents. There are not a lot of turns but it randomly sways a little left and a little right from time to time. I cut some of them hard and stayed in line. My Garmin would usually beep the mile split a bit before the sign. Felt like I was doing a decent job given the traffic.
Miles 0 – 5 were pretty uneventful. I focused on the crowds and the run and didn’t let anything distract me. I had to remove my arm sleeves — bad call — didn’t need them. But at the start it seemed like the right answer. Oh well. I dialed them down and used them as sweatbands the rest of the day given I went hatless. First time for that. I was steadily moving up on the pack the whole time. Passing, passing, passing. Wasn’t working hard for it. Just flowing through. It was really hard to tell who was around you corral-wise but I had moved up nicely.
As various hills came into play, I would work the uphill. I went into a different stance and charged those things. It was like being in the passing lane. I just went for it. I did not want to lose time on hills. I was able to get myself breathing deep by the top of most and then coasted the downhill — fast. Often going way under pace. I was tracking my differential from the virtual partner. I was behind by seconds until mile 9 when we finally broke even.
I talked myself into backing off a touch at that point. I didn’t need to run harder than this. If I held, I made the goal. I saw a lot of 6:4X on my watch. When you are trying to run 6:50 flat this is a good thing to see. I chopped a few seconds off but then gained a few back. Got to the 1/2 marathon marker and saw my split at 1:29:52. That’s a PR! I was stoked. I knew I had to hit that but I was excited to see it. I had goals of breaking that PR at another race later in the year. Fuck that goal now.
We got into Wellesley and the ladies were screaming. It was deafening on one side but not as frightening as I thought. I passed on it all. I was on a mission. Made my way to 15 or so and I finally started feeling a bit of fatigue and thinking about how much longer I had to go. Hit my other Red Bull Shot at this point for some juice and started the march up the series of hills that culminates in Heartbreak Hill. I ran up the hill hard and didn’t lose much ground. My family might be in this area so I had an eye peeled but not too well. I wasn’t really able to focus on more than the uphill. We crested the hill and I was glad but it wasn’t terrible. I was ready for downhill! And there might be girls up ahead waiting on me.
Ouch! What is that? Belly breathing cramp right in the gut. My pace dropped quick. I saw the race flash before my eyes. That’s it? Not today! Pushed on it every few seconds and stiffened myself up. Closed my mouth and nose breathed. It settled and I was relieved. Also nervous it would return. Somewhere after this I am running along and I see my Dad kind of hanging out of the crowd! HERBIE!, I yelled. The whole family was right there. It was kind of a surprise but it gave me a little spark.
Back to business! I charged those final miles and tried to not look at my watch. When I did, I saw 6:30s and that excited me and scared me. This pace should seal the deal but will I overdue it with only a few hundred yards left? I tried to focus on the crowds, my form, etc. Just hold it together. I randomly heard a “Go Brandon” right in my ear and I turned and saw my former intern Albert standing there. I haven’t seen him in the flesh in probably 10 years. He is at MIT and must have had the drop on my run. No time to talk though — I have a race to finish.
We zig zagged a bit and popped out onto Boylston and I saw the finish. It was slightly further down there than I would have liked. Had a few people blow by me but I was running hard and fast and still sub 6:30. It was in the bag. No tears, no real joy or emotion. I was a god damn robot — executing the program. Emotion can come later. Crossed the finish with my Garmin confirming the sub-3 and also my math on the start clock minus my corral delay. Its done. No question. I broke 3 hours. “Grade A” goal achieved. That wasn’t supposed to be possible. Believe it.
I walked through the finisher’s area and got a water, Gatorade, heat shield, and lunch bag. Picked up my drop bag rather quickly and started walking to Boston Common for my ride. This might have been a mile walk but I sort of needed it. Quads were slightly locked but the worst pain was from my arches of all things. They felt like somebody beat on them with a hammer. Ouch! Didn’t see that one coming. Got plenty of friendly comments from a variety of locals and other racer families as I made the walk. The funniest came from one random hot dog vendor who was totally freaked out that you have to pay to race that thing. He figured it was free. No dice, buddy. He was in disbelief when I shared the news. I chilled on a street corner and maybe 20 minutes later our blue minivan pulled up and I threw myself in like I had just robbed a bank. Drive! Get me out of here. Mission accomplished!
Kim shared my splits with me in the car and reported on my final time. I was totally surprised and was not totally surprised that AT&T failed on the text message updates. (Later this was declared a BAA error.) She ended up monitoring through the web site with a tip from Natalee. Kim shared Brownie’s splits with me and I was upset for him. He didn’t have a good day and it hurt me to see that. Seriously. We don’t work this hard to not have a great day at the big dance. I will see how he analyzes that one. But, a win is a win. Sorry, Brownie. I took this one.
I am showered, cleaned, and icing my feet before going to eat shortly with the family. Hoping to walk some more tomorrow and see a little more Boston before we head home.
Official BAA splits:
5k – 0:21:35
10k – 0:42:54
15k – 1:03:57
20k – 1:25:19
Half – 1:29:52
25k – 1:46:17
30k – 2:07:36
35k – 2:28:50
40k – 2:49:53
I didn’t do the math but my 2nd half split beat my first half so that was another PR there too. A few more photos — from the front!
Meb – NYC Winner 2009
Hall – Get a haircut, dude. You would have shaved off some time!
That’s all I have for now. Surely, some more analysis, stories and details later but I wanted to get this done so I could relax.
Thanks for all the encouragement and lack thereof. I had a bunch of people predicting that I would finish with 3 hours and change. That seriously lit a fire under my ass. So it helped in a weird way.
I need to do math to figure out the results of the poll. I will get it down soon and share. Stay tuned!
Boston, thanks for a great run! I now can retire from road marathons. I have nothing left I want to achieve. The trails have become my home but I will treasure the experience. There won’t be another exactly like it.
I went 26.31 miles with an elevation gain of 513 feet in 02:59:05, which is an average pace of 06:48. View my GPS data on Garmin Connect.