120th Boston Marathon - 4/18/16

After running 18 marathons and one 50 miler, you'd think I would have things like pacing and adjusting my pacing to suit weather conditions down pat. However, I had it in my head that I wanted to PR with a 2:57, and I went into race day and the first few miles of the race attempting to run that pace. What I didn't do was adjust - per my watch, it was 66 degrees F and sunny in Hopkinton for the start of the race, and the temps were above 70 throughout the early miles until after the Newton hills. The heat really sapped me from going out too fast at such temperatures, and even though I eased off my pace after mile 6 or so, I was basically toast by the time I got to the Newton Hills.

The forecast kept calling for temps from 57 to 62 on race Monday, but as I've already mentioned, it turned out warmer than that. Also, with Boston being a middle-of-the-day race, the sun beat down on me pretty badly. The only "bright side" would be that my stay in athlete's village was much more comfortable that the past two years - of course, my race wasn't. My donation clothes this year were an old pair of jeans and a pull over thermal top that I bought when I was a lot heavier and that I never wear.

I was excited to get started as usual, and my pace targets for the first 6 miles had me running one mile in the 6:30s and the rest in the 6:40s. Of course, I shouldn't have been trying to run that fast in the heat - but even had it been cold, I was going too fast, as the slowest of those first several miles was a 6:40. I caught up with Marc Gill (Maniac Pacer team guy from Little Rock) who was in the corral in front of me and at that point I made a conscious effort to slow down. I was already getting hot, and liberally pouring water all over me at aid stations. I slowed first into the 6:50s, then started running things by feel through Wellesley, dropping into the 7:00s. I was still hot and still fatigued going into the Newton Hills and I stopped looking at my watch and just started running one foot in front of the other. I don't think I ran anything faster than an 8:00 mile pace until I got to Boylston St. So I finished in a terribly slow 3:19:51 - my slowest marathon since 2013. I know that it was the weather - virtually everyone that I talked to ran a slower race than in previous years - so that was a bit of consolation. And I've already got a fast qualifier for next year, and a couple shots at redeeming my time as I focus on Chicago next fall.

Other than the race, it was another great Boston Marathon weekend. Marla and I hung out with several of the 261 ambassadors from Australia at the after party, Marla and some of the 261 ladies had a morning social run with Kathrine Switzer, then a breakfast meeting at a local coffee shop, we got photos with Desi Linden, Shalane Flanagan, Amy Cragg, and Ryan Hall, and we attended a seminar on "First Ladies of Running" that included quite a few of the ladies instrumental in getting women's distance running into the 20th century as chronicled in Amby Burfoot's new book.

Oh, and wouldn't you know - Tuesday after the race, temps were in the 40s and raining - perfect conditions for a FAST marathon!

Gear Check:

Shoes:  I ran in Merrell Bare Access 3s, size 10.5.  Although I like running in these, it seems like when I run a slogging marathon, that they hurt more than I'd like. When I run fast, they don't. So there must be some difference in the way that I land on my feet when I'm running well vs when I'm running tired.

Shorts:  I ran in my favorite 3" split shorts from Adidas. 

Shirt:  I wore a Brackett HS cross country singlet from Nike that I borrowed from Coach Brotherton. Marla and I thought it would be cool to represent Brackett HS and Brackettville at Boston this year. I need to tell coach that black isn't a good color for distance running.

Socks:  Injinji medium weight no-show toe socks – same socks I’ve been running in for several years.

Fuel:  I carried 3x Apple/Cinnamon Hammer Gels, one taken at mile 8, 15, and I didn't bother to take the 3rd one. I ate 1 or 2 Gummi Worms early, but quit after I switched from racing to finishing mode.  I took lots of water and Gatorade from alternating aid stations, and dumped a LOT of water on my head, shoulders, neck, back, and legs.

Hat:  Marathon Maniacs classic hat.  Very comfortable. 

Glasses:  my red iridium custom Flak Jackets from Oakley.

Watch: Garmin 610. Worked great, although recorded my distance as 26.48, a bit farther than last year.

Watch Data