2010 Boston Marathon Report

on Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 8:45 PM

How do I start?  It seems I have so much to say regarding the two marathons.  Boston marathon finish time was a 3:57:58.

Arrived on Saturday. If I had to do this again, I would have arrived earlier in the day. By the time, I had checked into the hotel, the expo was close to closing for the day. Though I probably would have been able to pick up my bib, I would have ended up going back on Sunday anyways to check out the expo which is fairly large. Saturday night, had dinner with Lee and Yumke and their significant others.

Come Sunday morning, the BAA 5k is run which I went out to watch last year, but decided not to this year. I had a number of things to do starting Sunday which included picking up my bib, checking out the expo, going to the RedSox game, eating the pasta dinner and attending a church service.

Last year, on my way to the Hynes convention centre through the Prudential Center which is an indoor shopping mall, I stumbled across a little catholic chapel that's located right in the Prudential Center. It’s literally right beside where you enter the Hynes centre to pick up your bib. It looks out of place. Guess what the name of it was?

St. Francis Chapel

Last year, I took this as a sign from above that I should probably attend a service at my namesake chapel prior to my first Boston marathon where I would attempt to run a negative split personal worse time.
Considering that it seemed to work last year and that my training this year hadn’t gone as well as I would have liked, I thought I would head back for some heavenly intervention.

During the service, I noticed a woman across the aisle wearing a Boston 2 Big Sur(B2B) T-shirt. The Big Sur people had bribed the B2B participants by promising us a free Runner’s World book if we wore our training shirt to the expo. I'm all for free stuff so I wore it. Talking to the race director at the Big Sur booth, he said he was tired of hearing people at the Boston expo say they couldn’t do Big Sur because it interfered with Boston. It was his intent to try and get a bunch of people walking around the expo with B2B shirts so that he could point us out whenever someone complained. Seems like a good marketing strategy. I ended up chatting with my fellow B2Ber after the service as we made our way to pick up our bibs.  As it turns out, she was not only running Boston and Big Sur, but she's doing a third marathon the week after Big Sur as part of a marathon maniac meet-up.  That's hard core!

So picked up my race packet and checked out the expo. I ended up buying a race jacket. Though the one from last year will always be special since it’s my first, I really don’t like the colour and don’t like wearing it in public unless it’s at a race. My plan was originally to not buy a jacket in Boston since Big Sur is giving us a special jacket for doing the two races so I thought that could be my official 2010 race jacket. However, the Big Sur race director was telling us that the jacket was navy blue fleece. I wanted something a little more water proof so I ended up buying a black one that can convert to a vest. I think it’ll get much more use.
Went to the official pasta dinner on Sunday night. Sat with some nurses from California all doing their first Boston. Though I’m no Boston veteran by any stretch of the imagination, I did my best to explain the Boston experience to them. Headed back to the hotel and went to sleep at around 11pm.

Sunday morning, met up with Lee, Yumke and Soran and headed down to the buses.

Waiting for the buses

Though we had qualified with much faster times, Kenny and I were trying for a 3:40. I had thought this would be a relatively easy pace. We had decided to start at the back of the first wave which seemed like the best option since everyone in the first wave would have qualified with a 3:35 or better.

Back of the first wave

So the jets flyover and the race starts.  Before we actually cross the start line, there's a lot of walking.  It takes us about 10 minutes to cross the start line and then we are off.

Looking behind at race start

Yumke, my running compatriot

So we were motoring right along at the start and clicking off the miles, feeling generally good.  Though we had both decided to bring our cameras along, Kenny had gone the extra step and was actually tweeting during the race, including a pic of me downing a beer.  I had grabbed it with the hopes of sipping on it for a while, but all I could hear were the college kids yelling "Chug, Chug, Chug" and so I obliged.  Some other sights from early in the race.

Bandit in a suit
Taking a quick break

There must be an interesting story behind this sign
Chicken on a bike

Santa and a slightly overgrown elf
Steve (far right, almost out of pic) and Mike who pulls an oxygen cart behind him

Wonder where it leads?

So right before the half is Wellesley College which as you may or may not know is famous for its female spectators offering kisses to all-comers.  I commented last year of making the mistake of tearing through this without stopping.  This year I stopped and managed to get a video of the experience, so here you go.  Be warned though, you may get some motion sickness with all the bobbing. 

Youtube Link

Even with the two stops, I still sped through and got through the whole thing in about 2 minutes.  Ended up having to wait for Kenny at the end.  Oh well, I'll get it right eventually. 

We end up hitting the half at 1:48:55 which is about a minute faster than we were expecting.  We continue clicking along for a while.  More pictures.

Entering Newton (and the hills)

By the time we started into the Newton hills, my quads were starting to tighten up.  They were starting to get achy. Usually, I don't feel this way until after mile 20 and then it's usually after I've been doing full on marathon pace.  Considering I was running slower and was starting to ache at mile 17 or so, I was starting to get concerned.  I knew at this point, I was going to have to back off a little bit and so the pace slowed down.  My goal at this point was to get through heartbreak without having to stop and then figure out what to do from there.

More Canadians!
More bands!

So we made it up the Newton hills and up heart break and at around the 22 mile point, we took a walk break. I had thought I could do a 10/1 run/walk thing and tried to start up again soon thereafter, but my quads were close to cramping at this point and with all the downhill running ahead of me, I thought it would be a bad idea, so i started walking again.  I told Kenny he could go on ahead and so we said our goodbyes and he took off.  I ended up walking most of the last 4 miles with the occasionally slow jog just to keep the muscles moving.  During one of my attempts at jogging, my quads seized up and I had to grab the spectator barrier to stretch it out. I continued to walk. At this point, I was eating anything that was given to me: Orange slices, little candies and a Recess Peanut Butter cup. I remember thinking that was the best piece of chocolate I had ever eaten. I had hoped to run the last mile in, but I continued to walk.  I did mange to run the last half mile including the turns from Commonwealth onto Boylston, including the last little bit at a quicker pace.  So happy with that.


Here are some other pictures from Boston.

Picasa Link

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I had a miserable last few miles, because I didn't. I had a grand old time. If I didn't have to do another marathon in 6 days, I probably would have been able to just run through any difficulties, but with another hilly marathon looming, I thought it best to err on the side of caution. I did cross the finish line with my arms raised and a slight victory smile.

So looking back now, I realize that I had done a lot of things differently this time around.  My training wasn't close to where it should have been.  I did a 12 week plan with a maximum of 55 miles, but a lot of the weeks were in the mileage of low 40's.  I also didn't take any salt pills.  I had learned this lesson the hard way back in 2007 and for every marathon since that day, I have consumed salt pills in the days leading up to my marathon.  I didn't do that this time around and I'm fairly certain that is what led to the quads cramping. Also, I've also not been sticking or foam rolling my legs as much lately. I tried to foam roll my legs in the days leading up to the race and it hurt like hell. Gotta work on that.  

One thing I learned is that I think I ended up staying at the hotel (the Back Bay Hotel) with the perfect location for wave 1'ers. I was pleasantly surprised after picking up my gear and hoping to find an alley where I could change when i found myself standing outside my hotel.  Even though the hotel is quite a ways from the finish line, since they force you to walk down the street to get your medal, food and gear, the actual exit of the finish line staging area for the wave 1'ers just happened to be right where my hotel was. It also has the benefit of being across the street from the massages.  I skipped the massages and rather headed back to the hotel for an ice bath.  On to recovery. 

Next stop, Las Vegas.


Quinto Sol said...

nice RR Fran... too bad about the cramps...