2008 Boston Marathon Race Report-Part 1

(I'll have to do this in pieces as I won't have time to sit down and get this all out anytime soon.)

10 weeks of focused training and finally I was crossing the starting line. Me and 14,000 of my new friends. It was apparent quickly that a direct route through the Boston course was not going to happen. There were just so many people. It seemed like whenever you had a clear path someone would weave in front of you or flail there elbow out at your face. I didn’t want to waste energy weaving but it really was unavoidable most of the day. I started towards the back of the 11th corral and throughout the day I just kept passing more and more people from the corrals in front of me. My secret goal was to run 7:30 pace. I didn't look to see what that pace equated to until the day before at which time I realized 7:30 would give me a 3:16:30, hmm that sounded pretty quick and would have been over a 10 minute PR. But I stuck to my guns and went out with the intention of going for it if I felt good. I left the pace band at home. The Nike pace band was adjusted for elevation and so resulted in the opposite tactic of what I wanted to take. That pace band took you out fast on the downhills and slowed you up on the Newton Hills. I wanted to go out at pace or a bit slower, take it easy on the hills, and hammer the last 5 miles. Since I have paced two marathons now, one of which was hilly I decided to just trust in my pace instincts, my legs, and my training.

I also knew that I wasn't going to force anything this time. No pushing the pace if it just wasn't there on the day. I wanted to run a strong race and a smart race. I've been to Boston twice and I have run strong but not smart there. This time around I wanted to try and run Boston the way it should be run. With respect for those downhills! I did quite a few of my medium long runs on courses where I pounded the downhills early in the run but apparently I needed a few of those closer to the race to truly get my quads ready, but I didn't know what would come at the start so I was off and had the best of hopes for a stellar day.

The crowds as always are ridiculous. As you crest the start you can see the sea of endless runners wall to wall weaving downhill in front of you. I was so far back that I couldn't even see the front so to me it looked like the road full of runners never ended. How on earth was I going to pass all these people? I tried to just ease into the race and take opportunities to pass when they came. I did a good job of this the first three miles and the crowds helped me to keep the pace easy. I wanted to warm up a bit before I settled in. I took in all the surroundings, slapping fives with little kids, and laughing at the cheers for those around me. Perusing the crowd to check out all of the amazing runners I was surrounded by. One in particular kept me entertained for the first 5-7 miles. Her name was Brie and she went to Duke. Every time someone would cheer for her or Duke she would let out this insane high pitched holler. My throat cringed every time. Needless to say her outbursts died down before we hit Wellesley.

Also noted a girl with a shirt that said WAMP on the back whose bib was 13,000 something. I don't really race anyone at Boston but I vowed I would beat her and was impressed how long she stayed in front of me, she must have done a lot of weaving to get that far up in the pack.

My nutrition plan for the day was to start taking gels at mile 7 and take one every 5 miles. I took water at every water stop. Thankfully the water stops are on the left and right every mile (except for one mile towards the end where I got burned last time I was in Boston and Daisy got burned this year) I usually run on the left for some reason so I stuck towards the middle left at the beginning grabbing a cup of water every stop. No walking this year so I would just slow to grab the water and hurry forward. Since the sun was out and it was already warm I wanted to be sure to stay hydrated. Last time I ran Boston I am pretty sure I was getting really dehydrated by the end and I didn't want a repeat of that claustrophobic feeling at the finish line.

I vowed that after Pig I would not be so focused as to not enjoy myself this time around. 26.2 miles of not taking in anything is just insane. So I just fell into my pace after the first 3 miles and occasionally would slap fives with spectators and just used their energy to cruise through each mile. My breathing felt good and other than a short stitch scare early on (that went away quickly with some focused breathing) I felt rather good. I would look at my watch every mile but wasn't really worried about it. I wasn't going to change my effort significantly if the pace was off, if it wasn't my day it wasn't my day was kind of my thinking, I'd pay more for pushing than just running the way my training set me up for. So I was just grateful that the pace was just about where I wanted it.


Lana said...

Great report - you did so awesome!! I totally believe that it takes more out of you to try and push to hit a certain pace than just to run hard and enjoy it. Great pics too - you guys had too much fun!!!

Anonymous said...

so you're saying you don't squeal when you run?

man, you are a magnet for the weird ones. next time find someone who runs with kittens.

iliketoast said...

Sounds perfect, you could have burnt alot of energy by this stage.