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13.1 Marathon Boston Race Report: Attempting to Focus on the Positives

Posted Jun 27 2010 6:14pm

View at sunrise of one of the Blue Hills

I usually try to keep a positive face on my races, so I’m gonna try and do my best about the race today. Temps were at about 72 to start, at 6:15 a.m. That didn’t bode well because I don’t deal well with the heat. But thankfully, it didn’t start later in the day. (By the way, I was up at 3 a.m. Bill had complained about how early we had to go to sleep, yet he was snoring after about oh, 5 minutes, making me want to shoot him.   I, on the other hand, was awake until at least 10, and then woke up at least 4 times. Sigh.)

It is an “official” PR for me at this distance, I guess.  (I say that because I’ve run too far in both half marathon races I’ve run this year, not great with the tangents.) Just wish it could have been a PR by more. 

Let me just throw out the stats:

  • Total finishers: 2674 (918 Male, 1774 Female)
  • Overall place 1368/2674 (yep, right in the middle as my blog name suggests)
  • Place among females: 760/1368 (top 43%)
  • Place among division of W 35-39: 88/212 (Top 41%)
  • Ave. time of my division: 2:25:06, so at least I was above the average for that.
  • Official time: 2:14:20, pace 10:16
 
 

Me, looking surprisingly normal in running gear (I love my new shades!)

Positive:

My first half split was 1 hour flat and felt really good.  I was clicking off miles where I wanted to, somewhere in the 9:12 and 9:16 range.  (Some followed my race tweets - those will always be slower because I have to start  up my phone, and then my Garmin when I hit the mat, because the Garmin is much more accurate.) This bodes well for me to do 5k and 10K races over the summer and especially in the fall when the temps get a lot cooler.  My first 5 miles were in the lower 47 minute range, or high 46s, with a few inclines already thrown in, and with me holding back on speed knowing I had a lot more miles to go. This basically teaches me that I’m a 5K and 10K runner. Unfortunately, as you can tell from my time, the second half was not so great.

Positive: 2 of 3 of the big hills didn’t give me problems. The third hill comes at about mile 10.25ish, and goes until, yep, about 11.6. The friggin thing never ends. I’ve run it before, the whole way, without stopping, but today realized that a girl walking next to me while I was running was keeping even pace. So, I decided to power walk when I did walk. 

Me and one of Bill's friends, "Rads" who finished in 2:17:06.

Positive:

Knowing my total running time would have been about 1.5 or 2 minutes faster if I hadn’t stopped to strip off my shirt (yep, ran “topless” for at least half the race, LOL), make a pit stop at a porta pottie or to fix the camelbak tube thingy so I could actually get something out of it after about mile 3.) Of course, the clock doesn’t stop just because I did.

Positive:

First and last miles were under 9 minutes (which means I still have closing speed of some sort, just how fast it is is relative to the distance.) Wish they all could have been that way!

Positive: No obvious fueling errors.  Gatorade Prime ROCKS! (First mile felt not so fast and it was 8:46).  Sports Beans, Endurolytes, and Gatorade seem to work well for me.

Positive:  It feels weird to say this, but after all these weeks of not eating Oreos, I think I’m possibly cured of my addiction. I looked all around the car for them this morning, thinking Bill had hidden them, but no dice. There were none waiting for me at the end of the race. He offered to buy me a small pack of them later today, and I was like “nah, I think I’m good.”

 

Unique cloud forming over Atlantic Ocean, in Hull, MA (we went there for lunch to take it easy.)

Positive:

The race is held in a very pretty area south of Boston, that I’ve really enjoyed running in the past few weekends, even if my runs didn’t always go that great.  (See the photo above if you don’t believe me that it’s beautiful.)  There’s a lot of shade cover, and the route is very pretty for the most part. (Unfortunately or fortunately, they closed the roads. That meant few or no spectators for most of the race. I run with headphones so unless I know the people cheering, it usually doesn’t make a huge difference to me unless I  happen to make eye contact with someone and then there’s a boost.)

Positive: I don’t have to eat Country  Pad Thai next week.  Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but I need a break after eating it for at least 7 of the last 8 weeks. :-)

Few Negatives about the Race Organization:

I am hoping these can be corrected next year – it was an inaugural race.

Storm cloud moving out over the ocean

A few things that frustrated me, and I think just about everyone else: water stops with NO CUPS. Yep, that’s right, they seemed to run out of cups by the 4-6 mile mark. They set up the water stops in the center of the road, since this course had a lot of “turn-arounds” so the water stops would get people running in both directions. If you were lucky enough to grab a cup the first time you saw the water stop, you had better hold onto it because odds were, there would be none waiting for you when you saw it again.

I’m sorry, if you’re going to hold a race in the summer, you can have an overflow of cups.  They can always be saved to be used the following year. The volunteers ended up holding out water gallon jugs. That’s right, jugs.  People were literally cupping their hands and having other runners pour water into their hands, or drinking straight from the bottle that god knows how many other people had drunk from before them. Talk about gross. I am SO GLAD I run with a camelbak for races of this distance – I never trust the courses to provide enough liquid. People who did were really hurting today. I had a girl ask me for a gel at about mile 11.5 or so – I didn’t carry gels (used sports beans and endurolytes religiously) but offered her some sports beans which she gladly took. Then she asked me if we were getting close to mile 12. I hated to tell her we were  only at 11.6 at that point and my Garmin was just about even with the race course at that point.

Bill insisted I include this "artistic" (LOL) photo of myself that he took with a new camera app.

Also, I believe the website said that they’d have sports drink and water at every station. Um.  Yeah. NEVER saw the gatorade or whatever it was, honestly.  Only water in the gallon jugs. They had GU at only one stop that I saw, and it was about the 5.5 mile point, at the top of the road to the summit, from where you can see the city of Boston at a distance (I did make sure to look today. You could see the skyline.)

And one last gripe – this was a major race for Team Challenge.  That’s fine, I ran as a charity runner a few years ago myself, so I think it’s great more and more charities are getting involved. But there was a large number of them who were clearly walkers, who lined up toward the front, and then walked at the start of the race. About 4 or more deep.  My husband said he could see all the pissed looks on runners’ faces, as many of us went up onto the sidewalk to get around them.  (Seeing as I fell last week, and I know how badly uneven that sidewalk is near the start of that race, I was scared to death of falling again.)  My guess is that those individuals were just clueless, as many of the others were running right along with me. I know Jill Will Run’s walkers won’t do something like that in Napa!!

But, to end this on a positive, at least I know now for sure what my strength is – shorter distance to middle distance.  There is a line in one of my all-time favorite movies that I’ve seen about 56 times, Top Gun (don’t judge), “I feel the need, the need, FOR SPEED!” And yeah, that’s kinda what I need right now. I’m going to start focusing on the speed workouts our coaches are doing for the middle distance runners, and find some good upcoming 5Ks, 5 mile and 10K races.  I feel like I really need to throw the hammer down on speed over the next few months.  The 7-minute-range miles need to become the norm in 5Ks, rather than a fluke or once-in-a-while thing.  (I do them at track practice regularly now when we do mile repeats and last week’s first mile at 7:43ish didn’t seem like it was that fast.)

Luckily for me, this is Greater Boston so there’s no shortage of races –I just found a 5 mile race for July 3rd that’s got me thinking, “maybe, just maybe.” :-)

(Hope you enjoy some of the pics of the ocean in a town called Hull, on a peninsula, just south of Boston.)


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