Thursday, April 24, 2008

gene's boston marathon rr: guest post

i'm very happy to post my good friend gene's boston race report! we've been to a few races together since we met last year at the lake placid marathon, including a warm day in chicago last october for that marathon. i spent race morning in boston with gene and the members his running club, the peterborough roadrunners, from ontario. they were so gracious and welcoming that i felt like an honorary canadian for the day!

fyi, gene is president of the club. here is some local coverage of their club's boston experience from the petersborough examiner.

gene had an awesome day, finishing in 2:56:17!

here is his race report:

gene (in blue), and his friend steve, after 26.2 miles

Awesome Boston

It’s been two days since I ran my 5th consecutive Boston Marathon and I’m still glowing from high of running it in 2:56:17. Not only a PR for me in Boston, but also a new PR overall. And this was also my 40th marathon, another milestone.

After last year’s nearly canceled event due to a Nor’easter, the weather this year was near perfect. The morning was crisp, cool and overcast – but no rain. Our Peterborough, Ontario run group congregated at the Boston Massacre statue in the Commons right at Tremont. Deb came out to wish us well, and we also had Frank join us. Frank’s a fellow Maniac and all around good guy.

Our group of about 12 runners congregated under two large speakers near the infield fence of Hopkinton High. There was lots of nervous laughter and excitement. We all took turns speculating on what the race would bring. Then it was time to head to the corral. The weather was about 45 degrees, perfect for shorts and a singlet.

I was in Corral 2, which was the closest I’d been to the front. I consecutively lowered my corrals over the past 5 years from #9 to 7 to 4 to 3 to 2. Guess where I’ll be next year!

As soon as the gun went off at 10 a.m., we were on our way. My biggest challenge in any race is to try to hold back at the start. But it’s Boston and that means a 4 mile downhill. I settled for a comfortable 6:29 mile pace, a bit faster than my 6:35 that I wanted to hold. Oh well…
I felt great for the first half – ran it in 1:25:08. Hmm, could I put in a 2:50? I also had some fun running with Lance Armstrong who I chased down around mile 11. I passed him and made my way through the scream tunnel of Wellesley. This was my day.

The challenge with Boston of course is the relentless downhills and the pounding on the quads. At around mile 14 my quads started to burn, so I took some salt pills and downed another gel. My pace slowed a little, but not below 7 minute miles so that was a good sign.
Lance and a small posse caught up to me about mile 16 just before the real hills and passed me after about a ½ mile. Hey, he’s won the Tour 7 times, he can beat me.

I hit the first hill and found that to be harder than I recalled. Oh oh, this could go either way. The irony of any marathon is how you can feel so great one minute, then fall apart completely a minute later. Don’t think about that – I told myself.

I got through the next 2 hills and then muscled through heartbreak. At the apex of heartbreak, I knew I was going under 3 hours. I had about 5 miles to go, with the first one a speedy downhill through the Boston College crowds. I was locked and loaded.

At about mile 22 Nate sided up to me. He told me he felt great – he was having the best run of his life. I did not share the same sentiments. I expected him to leave me in the dust, but he ran with me for about a mile, then he paced out in front of me.

Nate is a good friend and a fierce competitor. But he made two small mistakes. The first was to pat my ass when he caught up to me, the second telling me how good he felt. He got into my head and I knew I was going to make him pay for that. Hahaha

At about this time, our friend Brian, was watching from the sidelines cheering us both on. I knew we had a race and I was unsure whether I could take Nate down, but knew I had to give it all I had. Considering Nate started one corral behind me, I assumed he’d beat me on official time, but I was going to out kick him to the finish.

The kick lasted the last 2 miles. I finally caught up to Nate around mile 24 and silently slid past. I knew he’d see me, but I didn’t want to rile him too much so I said nothing.

We both pushed through the last mile onto Boyleston. I knew he was behind me by the roar of the crowds. Nate has a reputation of riling the crowds on the finish chute and the roar was deafening. But I kept kicking. I finished about 30 seconds ahead of Nate and felt that at least I had him at the line. It wasn’t until later in the afternoon that we found out that I beat him overall by 2 seconds. That was a great way for us both to finish.

So now I am recovering from my best race to date and am ready to prepare for the Flying Pig Marathon on May 4th. Could that be my 2:50 race? I’ll certainly put my best foot forward.



TeeJay said...

Another marathon in two weeks? YOu truly are a maniac, Gene. I'm waiting 5 weeks before my next one (Vermont City on May 25th). LOL!

Great job on a great day in Boston. Congrats on your PR!

Steve B said...

Hey Gino!!! Have you come down from "cloud 9" yet? Congrats again on a great race. Having been to several races now with you and seeing how much you enjoy the whole race experience, I am so proud of you and your new Boston! I enjoyed reading your race report as you provided a wonderful account of your journey from Hopkinton to Beantown. Keep up the good work Gino! Yours in running, Steve B.

steve beasley said...

Congrats Gino!! Great run you had in Beantown. As I said to you at the meet and greet area "I am very proud of you!" Enjoy a little R and R and then off to Cincy with Deb....good luck to you both. Take care, Steve B.

longrunner said...

Thanks guys. I still feel great. Went for a 3 mile run tonight. Can't wait to do it agian in Cinci.