I have created this page to document my first Boston Marathon experience. Though I have had a number of firsts when it comes to my running, it is safe to say there is nothing like running the world’s oldest and most prestigious race.
My wife Janette, came up to campus and decorated my room with Boston Marathon celebration stuff. She kept all of the materials in the classic blue and yellow Boston colors.
Today was a travel day for us; our flight was great (read: no turbulence). As we arrived in Boston, we quickly gathered our bags so that we could pickup our rental car; we elected to stay out of downtown Boston at the Westborough Marriott Hotel. As we gathered our belongings, we noticed that the airport was littered in marathon things, such as the 26.2 mile banner below.
I hear Boston has a baseball team. We had to take a trip to Fenway Park.
We took a tour of Boston today. Man, what a great city. I was most impressed with its blend of both modern and historical buildings. Getting around Boston is easier than I thought. Traffic, though a bit heavy at times, is easy to negotiate. We spent a bit of time visiting Harvard Square and Harvard University. The highlight of our tour was dinner at what many believe has the BEST pizza in Boston, Regina’s. I must say, as a pizza expert, I found it to be pretty darn good. Too bad I could not enjoy a glass of wine with it (too close to race time).
This was by far our busiest day thus far; we woke early to head to the marathon expo. On the way, we had breakfast at a cool place called Trident Cafe and Booksellers; it is a restaurant centered in the middle of a bookstore. We then headed a block to the expo, which was amazing. I have been to a number of these, and sure, after hitting one you have hit them all, but this was by far the largest most organized expo I have seen. It was crowded. But who cares, it is Boston. I wanted to save a bit of time and energy to visit Quincy Market, a shopping and dinning square in downtown Boston; I first visited here two years ago when my department traveled to Boston. I found Bill Rodger’s Running Center, as well as having dinner at the King Fish, an upscale though casual seafood restaurant.
Above: The Exposition is very impressive.
Above: 4 time Boston winner Bill Rodger and his running center. (Popular Place)
Here are a few cool pictures of the grand finish line and stadium seating below. A freshly painted finish line here.
It honestly took until today before I felt some sense of excitement and nerves; we slept in a bit, before heading to Hopkinton to visit the starting line of the race, as well as to plot out Monday’s travels. On race day, instead of me joining other runners in Boston to travel back South to the Athletes Village, I have elected to have Janette drop me off. Of course, to eliminate race day stress, I wanted us to drive through the day’s routine. We started by visiting the starting line in Hopkinton.
After Hopkinton, we took another trip around the town of Boston. Can you believe we had pizza again? By noon, we headed toward Wellesley College; it is the one school I sought to visit on my trip, outside of Phillips Exeter Academy. Our visit also gave me a chance to tour parts of the course.
With the race looming tomorrow, I took a bit of time to reflect on my training by reading over all of the miles I logged, and focusing on why this race would go well. I reminded myself that it is just one race, though the most prestigious race outside of the Olympics and the Olympic trials. Oh, by the way, it will be held in Houston come January 2012. I am pretty good about getting my running gear out and ready to go. As seen below, I set out my singlet, shorts, socks, GU, GPS watch, hat, gloves, shoes, and bib (new: BAA inserted the timing chip into the bib number). I am a creature of routine when it comes to a race.
The weather was great for racing; I will write a more detailed race report about my splits and other matters later. As I arrived at the athletes village in Hopkinton, I could feel the energy in place of a major marathon. I had just read that 44% of all runners in this race re-qualify. And, the average time for this event is an amazing 3 hours and 50 minutes. That is pretty good seeing that it is not an easy course. See the numbers below:
|…Fastest Median Times||2006||2007||2008||2009||2010|
Note, the above courses are pretty flat courses. After Janette dropped me off at the Athlete’s Village, I quickly sought a spot to relax and focus on my goals; it was not until the race started that I elected to run a conservative race (say more about this later). My friend and buddy from D.C., Jeff Le, joined me until it was time to head to the starting line. Jeff has been injured for the better part of a year. But, he made the trip to Boston regardless of his health. Jeff, who also has an endorsement deal from Brooks Running, has been working in Afghanistan for the past year as well. This mean that he had to do all of his training on a treadmill. Jeff is a great person; we are already plotting our next race together. I have yet to set my fall running schedule. You will also note pictures of the Athletes Village. Here, all runners organize according to their seeding and waves; I was in the first of three waves for this race. There was always music playing or someone speaking from a microphone. We were constantly being updated as to what was going on, and when we should start to check our gear in at the bag check.
As for the race itself, I am pleased with my results. However, I did elect to run a far more conservative race once I got started. The goal was to run a 7:03 per mile pace, but I ended up running 7:09 until mile 18, finishing roughly around 7:15. Two things that hurt me: 1)I feared the course. I was too afraid to start out too fast. During the race, I kept thinking to myself…OK Carson it is time to up the pace. The best news of course is how I felt once done. Wow!!! I am convinced that I can take another 20 minutes off my current time. I hope my next cycle of training can get me to that point. I felt way too strong in the end. Oh, I re-quliafide under the new standards for Boston. 2) I ran into a digestive matter at mile 15 (read: had to take care of #2). That stop cost me a good 2 – 3 minutes.
It felt great to be done, though.
I just crossed the finish line of the 115th Boston Marathon. And what can I say about the crowds. Folks were lined up from start to finish.
Above: Enjoying the joys of being in excellent shape, three years after a benign tumor was removed from my brain. I love my race medal. I forgot to take my earrings off before the race. No problem. I think they cost me a second (not really).