i had a great time in boston this year. it was an especially sweet moment running down beacon street during the last mile as i realizing that i was just about to finish - when only two weekends ago it seemed as if i'd have to sit this one out. i had no illusions about running the course hard, but i surprised myself by with a 1:40 half marathon split. that was a direct result of running the first half with my good friend, fellow deadhead, and all around great runner (especially on trails), todd.
for the next two miles i seriously considered pushing the second half to shoot for a 3:20 - 3:30 finish (which had been my original goal). but the rational part of my brain took over and won the debate. it was a tough call because i felt absolutely no pain in that leg. the only discomfort was the typical wear, tear and fatigue one feels 25k into a marathon. but it was the right call. my pace dropped over a minute per mile and i walked the uphills in newton for a second half split of two hours.
the 3:41 finish mirrored my 2007 finish!
here are the official splits:
saturday and sunday
this is much more fun to write because i can add a few tangents. we (pat, katie and i) drove up saturday afternoon and arrived in waltham around 6 - an easy 3 hour drive. this would be our third stay at this hotel for the marathon. the first two year we stayed in boston. while it's more convenient to stay in the city - and it avoids a 20+ minute ride on the green line - it's certainly more costly. one benefit to this hotel is it's location directly across from the hobbs brook basin - a great place to run.
i wanted to go to the boston beerworks at fenway park that night. but a lack of parking because of the game and a 1+ hour wait for a table (no reservations taken), made the decision to skip beerworks easy. pat and katie ate at bertucci's instead, while i had a burger king whopper and ipswich ale for my dinner.
sunday morning pat drove me to the riverside station for the ride into boston. i had a busy day planned: watch the women's trials, pick up my stuff at the expo, walk over to fenway park and visit beerworks, and then head back to waltham and get in my 4 mile run. while i was in boston, pat and katie would be in neighboring weston, visiting one of pat's college roommate.
in front of the hynes convention center as i was on the phone with my friend and fellow marathon maniac, gene, i was surprised by my friends, bekkie and joe, also marathon maniacs. since gene planned to watch the trial from the north end, i would try to meet up with later. instead, bekkie, joe and i walked down to the start and watched the women warming up for the 8:00 start. that's when we ran into ryan hall - or, more accurately, bekkie spotted him standing right next to us! after saying hello, he was gracious enough to pose for a picture!
we also met up with jim gerwick, an editor at large for running times. for me it was deja vu all over again because last year, right after i finished the freedom run, jim spotted me walking down boyleston street toward the convention center. last year, he was the only friend i ran into the entire weekend in boston! after saying hello to jim, and watching the start go off, we walked down to boyleston street and massachussetts avenue to view the race. i stayed to watch the women come thru the first loop.
then, since it was almost 9 o'clock, i walked over to the expo. after i picked up my stuff i called john king, a fellow runners world forumite. he had just purchased "the stick" and walked over to meet me at the entrance. we checked out the expo, where i headed over to the vintage gear table and picked up a 2007 cap. then we found a couple of his friends at the addidas booth trying on running shoes. they planned to take in the red sox game at fenway that afternoon.
my trip to fenway would precede the actual game. but before the game i headed back over to where bekkie and joe were and watched the last lap of the race. i was awesome to see deena come thru the 800 meters to go mark in the lead and on her way to victory with a sub 2:30 finish! i stayed there to watch joan samuelson pass - on her way to a sub 2:50 finish! then i took off for the walk to fenway.
when i arrived there were already fans lined up at the race day window and even more milling around the stadium. there was already a line to get into beerworks! since i only wanted a beer, just walked up to the bar and ordered a victory red (only 86 years in gestation). for the second red sox victory, they brewed victory white. as a yankee fan, deep in the heart of red sox country, drinking their victory beer at the bar was quite the heady experience! i was taken enough to buy a victory red tee shirt to wear to my next yankee game - haha.
to veere off on a tangent: during my first boston marathon in 2004, while i ran the race, pat and katie were at fenway park watching the game! at the finish, when i found them at the family reunion area, they each wore a red boston cap! at first i thought that was the joke - when i found out they actually went to the game i was speechless! the red sox played the yankees that day, and won, on their way to breaking the curse of the bambino and winning their first world series in 86 years! we still have those caps, but they haven't been wore since!
after the pre-lunch pint of beer i decided to have some lunch. so before i got back on the t for the ride back to waltham, i ducked into a mcdonald's for a quarter pounder. that was to even out the junk food karma. saturday night was a whopper and ipswich ale then, on sunday, a quarter pounder and pint victory red ale! not the healthy pre-race meal plan one should follow - but enjoyable!
when i got back to the hotel, i changed into running clothes and went out for a 4 mile run (2 out and 2 back) along the basin. last year i did the freedom run instead of my typical pre-race run. this year i put off the run until the afternoon because of the trials. except for windy conditions off the water, it was a beautiful day to be outside. then, back at my room, i decided it wasn't worth the hassle of going back into boston for the pasta supper. so after some chinese food i did a little reading and went to bed early.
pat once again woke up early so she could to drive me to the riverside station. there were a half dozen runners already there waiting when she dropped me off at 5:40. when i exited the station and began walking toward the buses, i had my phone in hand and was about to call gene. then i spotted the bright yellow marathon maniac jacket in front of the statue and realized he and his club members were right in front of me! after a quick group photo we all boarded a bus for the ride to hopkinton.
gene was intent on going sub-3 and enjoyed listening to all the younger kids (20 and 30 year olds) giving him grief about his age and how he wouldn't keep up with them. since gene and i are the same age (in fact he's a year older), us 40 somethings needed to stick together. but, with my 3:45 target, i wasn't in a position to help him - haha. at the village we all sat together to the left of the stage - behind the welcome to hopkinton sign.
i gave john a call on his cell and introduced him to gene, since they had similar time goals. afterwards, john introduced me to fellow runners world forumite, kurt ("fishmagic"). i said hello to shane (who i had met at the expo) again. he and john had gone to the red sox game - but left early and didn't see the come from behind victory! i commisserated with them before heading back. at 9 we walked over to the baggage buses to drop off our stuff, then headed to the corrals. i said good-bye to gene as he made his way to the second corral and headed to the tenth.
that's where first noticed the tie-dyed bandana on someone's head. after a closer look i realized it was my friend todd! that was an incredible surprise. he was there with two of his running buddies. after some quick introductions, the race started. they ran together, while todd and i paced each other for the first half of the race.
another tangent. this was the reverse of last year, where i couldn't find any friends. despite cell phones, todd and i didn't find each other. more amazingly, emmy overslept and almost missed the last bus! even with the two of us seeded in the same corral, we didn't find each other that morning! even finishing with similar times, we didn't catch sight of each other the entire day. and todd, who started out behind us, caught up and passed me without either of us catching sight of the other one!
so this year started off with a great deal of socializing. we ran together until a bit past the half-way mark. after the wall of sound and cheering section at wellesely, we were on a decent 3:20 pace. todd went on to finish up in 3:22, i dropped my pace significantly and walked the uphills in newton to finish in 3:41. the second half of this marathon was more of a training run for me. i said hello to bekkie and joe as they cheered on the runners just before mile 18. just before the 30k point i caught up to my friend michael, a/k/a torpedo and said hello - before he took off to tackle the hills. the remaining 10k was uneventful until the finish - which never loses its lustre!
here are my splits
11:08 3:41:45 (1.2 miles)
next up: sybil ludington 50k in carmel, ny.