April 19, 2005
I'm not much for writing race reports. I enjoy reading other peoples' reports, but I can't understand how anyone can remember the blow-by-blow for each mile. I tend to lose my mind in races. Anyway, here are some things I can remember:
I started in the 11th corral, though I was hoping for a much faster time than that indicated (ah, hubris). It took over 9 minutes to cross the start line. We walked pretty much the whole way but once we crossed I found myself running shoulder to shoulder with people who were running, as someone else very nicely put it, "at a pace a good bit slower than their qualifying pace." The first couple of miles were slower than I'd have liked but still acceptable, but the 3rd mile was something like 8 minutes and I lost a whole lotta love for humankind and all their inventions, particularly the Boston marathon. I began to feel like a circus animal trotting along for the entertainment of the people lining the road.
Things gradually began to thin out and I was able to pick up the pace, and I turned my attention to the problem of how to take in enough water. It wasn't that hot but it was very sunny and very dry (to this Floridian), and I knew I wouldn't be able to handle any calories if I didn't have enough water. In my only other marathon I didn't eat anything, and the wheels came off at 21, so this time I'd tried to train my stomach to accept something along the way. To make a long story short, the whole thing backfired. I ate a gel at 8 miles, stopped in a john to lose it at 17 miles, also lost 3 minutes in that mile.
After that I never really gained back full momentum, either physically or mentally. I was nauseated by the food smells from the roadside partiers. I started walking through water stops (and continued this even as late as mile 24 or 25). I needed the water, but at the same time it made me feel sick. As I was walking through one stop a girl downed her water, patted me on the back and said "c'mon, let's go." I never saw her again (actually ended up passing her), but she had "Mexico" on her shirt and she has my undying gratitude. With a mile to go I decided I wasn't going to walk any more, and I finished with a chip time of 3:32:42, which was a tiny 3-minute PR but nowhere near what I'd hoped for. I ran a 12-minute positive split, and even with the time lost in the john and the gallowalking, that's still a lot of time.
After taking off my chip I lay down on the street, tried to puke or pass out, decided it wasn't necessary, stayed down for a while until I was sure I could get up.
Amazingly, after a bath and a little bit of horizontal I felt pretty ok, and we went out with a few running club people for dinner, drinks, and a little crazy dancing, doing the hotdog to a horrible cover band playing horrible 80s top-40 tripe. The hotdog, for those of you too young to remember the Patty Duke show, "makes you lose control." I suppose that if I could do the hotdog hours after a marathon I didn't run hard enough.
Some stuff I learned today:
Uphills don't really bother me. Downhills are harder. I missed Heartbreak Hill, didn't realize where it was until I'd passed it.
I can run a marathon in flats after all (though my finishing time suggests that maybe I shouldn't).
Sunday's sore leg didn't hurt at all during the race, was just the tiniest bit sore last night, might be gone altogether. In fact I feel much better than after my other marathon. I'm looking forward to a little 2-mile trot tomorrow.
This may be heresy, but I really didn't enjoy all those things that make Boston Boston. This seemed less a race to me than a spectacle. The race, and especially the start, is too crowded for me (granted I am a misanthrope). You run next to Tess for a few miles and all you hear is "go Tess go Tess go Tess you can do it Tess" until you switch to the other side of the road to hear "go 3462 go 3462 go 3462 you can do it" for another few miles. I ran past Bridget sometime in the last few miles, and seeing someone I knew lifted my spirits some, but for the most part I just felt like I was running down a road where for some reason a lot of people were screaming, and I wanted to tune it all out so I could concentrate on the race. Alas.
Posted by joe positive at April 19, 2005 9:22 AM
Congratulations on setting a PR!! Even if it wasn't what you wanted, PRs were rare yesterday. I thought it was crowded where I was at the start, so I can't even imagine how it was where you were. (And the water stops were downright scary!) I am completely with you on the downhill thing, but I didn't know that until yesterday. I was happy every time we got to go up.
It sounds like even though things weren't ideal, you ran a smart race. I think it would have been hard to guess how much of an effect the conditions were going to have and go out accordingly...
I am impressed that you toughed it out and you will be able to run a _much_ faster time on a different course in different conditions. Happy recovery! (And I'm so glad your leg is feeling better now!) It was great meeting you this weekend...
Posted by: Alison at April 19, 2005 12:21 PM
I second Alison's thoughts - to PR at Boston is a huge accomplishment! On a faster course and with about 19,000 less people racing, I'm sure you would have gotten the time you had hoped for. Great race - and happy recovery!
Posted by: Beth at April 19, 2005 7:37 PM
Congratulations!! A PR is a PR, and a PR in Boston that included a 3 minute pit stop, some "gallowalking" and an unhappy stomach tells me that you have a 3:14 or *faster* hanging right around the corner! I saw you around mile 20.8 and I said to B, "wow - she is making it look a lot easier and smoother than the other 19,999 runners in the race." You looked awesome :)
Posted by: bridget at April 19, 2005 9:00 PM
Congratulations on your PR! Despite the tough conditions and stomach issues, you perservered. I agree with you on Heartbreak Hill.
Enjoy your recovery!
Posted by: Leilani at April 20, 2005 12:45 PM