Tuesday, April 19

Boston Race Report

The Start – wave 2, corral 4; setup in the front third.  My first Boston but marathon #16 in past 7 years.

My plan was to PR, aiming at 3:28 cutting a 2 minute margin from my BQ – PR last spring.  The goal pace was 7:56 but since GPS consistently under report paces by 4 to 6 seconds I would use 7:50.  The Data Tool lists my MP @ 7:48 based on a half marathon PR 2 weeks ago so I figured if I was having a good day I’d be reasonably safe.

Pacing strategy:  EN style

Miles 1 – 5 @ 7:55                (+ :05)
Miles 6 – 16 @ 7:40              (- :10)
Miles 17 – 21 @ 8:00 or slower based on max HR below 172 (+:10 or more)
Miles 22 on @ 7:50              (at pace or best effort)

Holding back from the start is always tough but being imbedded in a river of moving bodies makes it harder still.  Even so I managed to let the rabbits go mostly.  I even paused to pee in mile 1 resulting in an 8:18 mile.  The next 4 averaged 7:52 (a little too fast) but the 5 mile average was 7:57 – right on target.

The middle 11 miles were to be at 7:40 and 8 were within +/- 2 seconds – how is that for ninja execution?.  Overall average for this section was 7:41 – again perfect pacing.  I did begin to feel the downhill starting around mile 12 into Wellesley.  At first it was the lower quad just above my knees.  I knew it was going to hurt bad later on.

Heading into Newton I decided to be more conservative and held my HR down below 170 instead of 172.  My thinking was that the quad fatigue already spreading up my thighs and anything I can do to minimize the deterioration would be good.  I was hurting and it was going to get worse…. Despite that, I did manage to hold it together thru the hills, mostly.   Pace for the hills was 8:34, slightly slower than desired but managing HR and not burning all the matches was critical. 

As I started the decent from Heartbreak, the quads really started to light up.  By now the burning in my thighs  went from knee to hip flexor on every stride.  I longed for a flat road because the steeper the grade, the slower I ran – it just hurt too much.  Mile 22 @ 8:06 degraded to 8:29 by 23.  Now cramps were getting unmanageable and I was forced to stretch and walk in mile 24.  Pace had degraded to 9:53 and the wheels were off the bus.  Mile 25 was even worse with more cramps, stopping to stretch and walk it out – pace at 10:02.  I resorted to counting paces to keep things moving.  Count to 12 and start again.  Stay in the box…. 1, 2, 3,…, 11, 12…1, 2…  The final mile was at 9:09, pretty respectable after the previous 2 miles….

The bright spot in the darkness of the last miles was finding Carole in the crowd as I emerged from under  Mass Ave.  That made me smile and gave me what I needed to finish.

Final time 3:37:02 @ 8:17 (my Garmin had my pace at 8:10 reinforcing the 5 to 6 second under reporting)

Overall 9692 / 23879
Gender: 7395 / 13806
Division: 831 / 1924

Final thoughts
It was great to have the privilege to run Boston.  Not my best finish or a PR but it was my third best finish of 16 races.  I executed my plan perfectly for as long as I could.  In hindsight it may have been too optimistic but everything leading up to the race supported my plan.  Unfortunately my durability on the downhills did not.  On paper it looked like a fast course, I was wrong.

I liked the course, it was interesting to run in a crowd the entire way.  I had never run in a race that big before.  Fans were really something, especially the Girls of Wellesley.  Organization, logistics and support were amazing.   On the down side, I found the noise painfully loud at times and had me wishing for ear plugs.  It made it very hard to stay inside my box when the pain got bad.  

Bottom line – Mount Desert Island Marathon still rates better in my book for overall experience and scenery.

1 comment:

Caratunk Girl said...

Great RR Steve!! You did great. I still think I read 3:27 :)

MDI still your favorite? Good. I think the noise would get to me too!