First, let me start by qualifying the title. I don't consider the race a failure. I'm not that guy who runs well but is always blathering about how he's slow. I have no illusions about being a 'fast guy' but recognize this run as a decent job and a major accomplishment. Certainly my best and fastest by 5 minutes. I just thought the contrast in the title was catchy, so if it's not totally accurate, whatevs. Poetic license.
Anyways, in so much as I did not meet the time goal I had set, the race did not go as planned. However, from the get go, the goal was a stretch and I knew it. The success came in that I laid it out going after it and I learned a lot in the process.
Also, let me say this: For those of you who haven't been out to Boston and have that as a goal, I encourage you to stay with the training, book the ticket, do what ever it is that you haven't done to help you get there. I'm not saying that every runner need aspire to Boston, but if you are considering it and there is something in the way, move it and get there. A very special place for a runner on Patriots Day.
Rode the bus 45 min out to the athlete's village staging area in Hopkinton with a guy who was staying at the same B&B as I was. Dude named Neil O'Brien(O'brian?), a great guy from Milwaukee who ended up running a 2:48. I'd link his blog but don't know if he has one. I could link you to his TripAdvisor review of the B&B? Great to have company on the ride. It's a long trip even with the seamless logistical execution of transporting 27K runners 26+ miles across the state. Even with someone to talk with the time spent on the highway driving from the finish line to the start can't help get in your head a little. Just a little. Here's Garmin's map of the run from the start on the left side to the finish in DT Boston. It's a ways.
Anyways, sit in the staging area for 2 hours then head to the runners corrals. Runners are segmented off 1000 in each corral, separated into two waves of 15,000 starting 30 minutes apart.
It's Patriots Day in Massachusetts so the race starts predictably with the national anthem. I had my hand over my heart in the port-o-potty line up simultaneously wondering why I felt patriotic hearing another nations anthem and whether I would make it through the line and to my corral by the time I was set to start. There were people peeing outside the johns but the race rule book said that doing so put you at risk of losing your start bib. I wasn't going to chance it.
Less predictable was the 'fly by' of two F-14 (F-16?) fighter jets immediately following the anthem. The coolest part was realizing that a plane can't hover and in a matter of seconds they went from unseen and unheard to screaming overhead, to out of sight again. Crazy fast. Cheriyot fast. Forgive me for not knowing the type of jet. In Canada, the military 'jets' we have are still biplanes.
My corral was 7000-8000. It was on a pretty serious uphill. That didn't jive with what I had heard about this being a downhill race. You couldn't see the start line from the corral but the PA was loud and clear and so was the crowd, also unseen as yet. What you could see was about 10-12,000 runners trailing off down the hill behind us and more streaming into the corrals behind them.
The gun goes off, and it's five minutes of shuffling before we actually cross the start line. I should say the timing pad, because there's also a start line painted on the road that says 'it all starts here'. I'm reminded that this race is legit by the huge ass boom camera that swoops down from 40 feet high to just barely above our heads as we cross the line, capturing the nervous excitement on the faces of the crowd of athletes. And then, you see the crowd, all the people of Hopkinton gathered on the steps of the Town Hall, or the Courthouse, or whatever it was. I can't actually remember whether the building was either of those things but it had the essence of them. It was grand, and old, and like only buildings like that can, it had gathered its people to its steps and its lawn and the people, the people they were psyched!
And it's only then that you see why everyone is always going off about the downhill nature of the course. The first hill is immediate and is so steep that the wheelchair start is half way down to prevent the chairs from flying out of control into the New England countryside, which is pretty much what I ended up doing To be continued...
3:10:40. Very happy with the day's effort. The legit BQ time that eluded me in Vegas. Had a goal to try and go under 3. The goal was beyond me but I had my mind set on taking a shot at it. Was tracking pretty well at half (setting a 2 min PR in the process) but by the hills in Newton it became obvious that I had gone out too hard. Quads/calves were cooked and cramping from the downhill running. By the top of Heartbreak 3 hours was gone as a goal and legs were smashed. Decided to bring it in easy and enjoy the last stretch of the race. Likely could have put up a faster time with a more conservative start but I have no regrets about the decision to get after it. Posting from a PC at the B&B where we are staying thats about 10 years old. More detailed report to come. Spilts:
No HR charts for Friday. Freaky wind storm made the scheduled workout impossible. One minute the wind would pick me up and blow me laterally off the sidewalk, trail, etc. and the next minute it would stop me dead mid stride. Similar workout scheduled tomorrow. Will try and get the data then.
Week 22, two and a half weeks to go until we leave. I guess two weeks tomorrow until the plane leaves. Things are coming together and I'm feeling pretty good. Chart above is from long-ish run from Monday. It's no Lucho-esque effort, but I was pretty happy with it and the PE for this was pretty easy until the last push. Still trying to settle on a race pace. Gunner has been pushing me to take a shot a 3 hours and Jamie is on board with that plan as well. I'd need to run 6:50's to get there. Because of family and work commitments over the next little while this may be the last shot I have at a marathon for a while. I'm in better shape than in Vegas and there wont be as many pre race distractions. And I have had a sub 3 as a goal. But, there is a voice in the back of my head that keeps after me about the level of my fitness and whether I'm fit enough to run sub 3. And if I can't shut that voice up in the next two weeks I'm not going to pull it off.
Anyways, now it's time to see what I'm made of. I really don't have anything to lose by throwing it into the fire and seeing what happens. Worst case scenario, I set a new PR in the half, blow up all over the place, have a nice walk through Boston and enjoy my week's vacation. Actually, that wouldn't be so bad. At least that would mean that I went after it. Worst case scenario is putting in all the training, getting to Boston, being close and not taking a shot or letting off the gas before blowing up because I'm worried about hurting too much later.
Anyways, I'm running a 4x10 minute threshold session and I'll be wearing the HR monitor. I'll put the charts up tomorrow. If there are any amateur internet physiologists out there that can see something in there, have a go.