Tuesday, April 22, 2008

112th Boston Marathon - 2008

Lots of good Pre-Race Stuff to report including great visits with the relatives:

The expo was great - I traded my Medium for a Large Jacket - much better fit, got a hat and coffee mug. Tried to pick up a wistle at the RT booth but there wasn't any there.

The Woman’s Olympic Trials race on Sunday was fun to watch but I couldn't find anyone from the RT Forum - I kept looking for people with wistles - but found no one. Happenned to have irunforbeer's (John) cell number so I gave him a call and visited with him a bit. This is the first marathon I've ever been to as a spectator - it was fun to watch especially at the T where you saw the runners coming and going 3 times each loop.

Race Morning - as I head to the Bus I pass the finishline and find this guy (sorry for picture quality) getting ready to RUN to the Start and then back with the race.

A brief pre-race visit with the Gang from Running Times - wish I had more time but I was running off to the start line right after the picture.

Minimal touring around Boston - wish there was more time to do that but it just wasn't a priority, weekend running around Wellesley’s college campus - much bigger than it appears from the road - I stayed with my cousin at Wellesley for Friday/Saturday nights - great time visiting.

PreRace I had a couple injury concerns - my knee started hurting out of the blue on a run on Saturday and I was a little worried about that with the hills - also in walking around Sat/Sunday I had some pain in my plantar fascittis - but once the gun went off - neither one of these sparked up even a little - typical taper phantom injuries.


Lined up in Corral 1 near the front watching the elites roam around. I find Lance – bright yellow shirt and keep an eye on him roaming around just behind the elites ahead of Corral 1. The gun goes off with Lance tucked just behind the elites with a camera man capturing him take his first steps. That camera man had apparently not been to the start of a marathon before as he stands there in the way with 14,000 people rushing at him after the elites and Lance take-off. I can still feel the pain on my left eyebrow as his camera strikes me while I’m trying to get around him. Next day it left a pretty good black eye - 1/2 inch different that camera would have hit my eyeball - that would been quite a way to finish Boston - to get a DNS just 5 feet from the startline - but it didn't happen. I imagine that camera man was probably trampled behind me. My interpretation of the event is Lance was worried about me and had the camera man take me out pre-race :o).

On the first downhill I roll past Lance and I never see him again although it seemed the whole race he was RIGHT behind me as I heard many many spectators yell out “Lance” so I figured he was within sight (or maybe I was just hearing things) – I started to wonder a little if he snuck by me as there were a couple bright yellow shirts off in the distance.

Race conditions overall were pretty good – a little on the warm side and a pretty constant headwind which probably cost a little time but overall probably 1-2 minutes lost from totally ideal conditions I would guess which is pretty close to ideal.

k; Split per BAA; Pace since Prior Split;Comment

5 0:17:47 5:43 A mostly downhill first 5k and ended about where I wanted to be. I ran down the first hill steep 5% grade hill ~5:20 pace which felt pretty comfortable, and rolled thru the hills after that maintaining my HR target ~163-164 which felt like a comfortable pace.

10 0:36:39 6:04 Crowds along the little towns from Hopkinton inbound are lined with screaming/encouraging people – MUCH more so than last year – the decent weather really brought them out today. Pace is still right about where I was expecting – running comfortable still maintaining my HR target.

15 0:55:34 6:05 More of the same – still feeling pretty relaxed.

20 1:14:22 6:03 Approaching Wellesley – screams are even louder this year and I could not resist all the hands sticking out for high fives…..I hit about every hand out there for a good several hundred yards – must have been a couple hundred high fives delivered….Wow can they scream.

21.1 1:18:20 5:49 Midway point – things still seem ok – I notice I am 9 seconds off my ½ marathon PR here – but there was significant elevation loss to this point from the beginning. Just after the half – my cousin Doug (lives 2 blocks off the marathon route in Wellesley) jumped in the race to run with me a while – last year he made it ~1/4 mile or so before jumping out – this year he got about ½ that as I’ve gotten a little faster. Appreciated the company and the poweraid we had pre-arranged for him to give me.

25 1:33:05 6:05 Still feeling OK although something seemed a little off – I seemed to be feeling a bit weaker than I would have expected at this point in the race – legs feel fine but towards the end of this 5k I’m just starting to feel low energy and find it a bit of a push to maintain my HR target.

30 1:53:08 6:27 This split has the first 2 of the 4 Newton Hills – it starts out with a big downhill which I cannot run down fast enough to maintain my Heartrate – so it ended up being a bit of a cardiovascular rest even though the body was flying down the hill. Before rising up the first hill I started taking down my 3rd Gel and I found my mouth so dry I couldn’t generate the saliva to get it out of my mouth – fortunately there was a water station pretty close but on a relatively cool race I don’t think I should have been dehydrated – something seemed off – I couldn’t maintain HR. I slowed the uphills and pushed the downhills as I’d been doing on all the rolling hills up to now – but up or down or flat – I couldn’t get the HR above 160.

35 2:13:55 6:41 This split has the final 2 of the 4 Newton Hills including Heartbreak Hill as well as the pass by Boston College and a bit of downhill at the end. I started looking at the mile splits and calculating what was needed to make 2:40….with each mile the pace needed to the end kept getting faster and faster to the point it was abundantly clear it was just not going to happen. I kept my focus one mile at a time and gave what I could muster to the next milemarker but I was feeling very weak and was struggling even to just maintain low 150 heartrate. Coming past Boston college I had a side stitch that stuck with me for a couple miles - I hardly ever get those - a sign to me of poor fueling/hydration.

40 2:34:09 6:31 At this point my mental words were a continual – come on – get to mile 22, come on – get to 23, etc… Pushing but without gas in the tank to get speed – but still pushing…..crowds were very loud – kinda annoying actually in my state of suffering – not really. Like last year I seemed to enjoy a little shut-eye as I ran some of these miles – the eyes just felt good closed.

42.2 2:42:27 6:05 (Finish) I get a boost from a couple cheering squads – my sister by the Citgo Sign around 1 mile to go and my wife and niece found a prime time spot about 50 yards from the finishline. They jumped and waved and made quite the excited commotion as only my wife can :-). I kept hearing the name Lance from the sideline and there was this Yellow Shirt just a few ahead of me so I thought maybe somehow he snuck by me – or he was right behind me ready to barrel past me – so I pushed this last mile trying to hold him off – and tried to chase down the Yellow Shirt – didn’t quite get him but if it was him I think I may have just beat him chip time as he started first ---- but it wasn’t him --- and I looked around to see if he was coming right behind me ---- no Lance……I think I beat him!!

Last Mile Cheering Squad:

Finishing photo with my wife:

Tons of great racing out there today….. A local lady in my running club got 2nd fastest Houstonian and 6th fastest Texan (way to go Shannon!!). I ran into irunforbeer after getting my bag and he had a GREAT race smashing his PR from 25+ years ago almost got the beer mug prize as he calls it (actually a Crystal Bowl awarded to the top 5 50-59 year olds) – turns out he got 6th in his age group missing it by 8 seconds :-(. Corina had a GREAT race scoring 4th place Masters for a cool $1500 – WOW!! Many got Sub-Lance as he surprisingly slowed a few minutes from his New York performance and turned in a respectable 2:50:xx (respectible now that I hear he ran only ONE long run in prep for this race).


Time: 2:42:27 (6:12 pace)
Course Record for me by 18 ½ minutes over last years Boston Race.
Overall 210 out of 21963 finishers
Gender 201 out of 13028 (Seeded ~250th so improved ~50)
Division (M 40-49) 33 out of 4644 (Seeded 45th so improved 12 places)
Texas – 1st place Master (>40 yrs old) and 2nd Overall of 766.
Texas Historical - Fastest Master time back as far as data is online (2001)
Houston Area – 1st Overall
vs Lance 1 win, 1 loss (he beat me by a mile in New York - I beat him by a mile in Boston)

Post Race Analysis - Opportunities for Improvement: Rewriten - 4/28 after a little more time to reflect.

Boston was a great race and this is not to deminish that - just things to improve on next time - not trying to berate my performance with these or flog myself or anything. I've got very positive feelings about the race as a whole and I don't believe in beating myself up over things after a race - in any 2-3 hour race there are always things that could have gone better - good to learn from - but they certainly don't make the race.

- Comparing Houston to Boston - I ran the first 16 miles harder at Boston - about 1-1.5 minutes I estimated off heartrate data - I think this cost me in the last 10 at Boston where I think I lost 2 minutes. Overall with better pacing I think I could have knocked 1-2 minutes faster - Sub2:40 was likely not available to me for the course conditions - cooler and no headwind maybe.
- Race strategy was flawed - for both Houston and Boston but at Boston I was a bit more stubborn sticking to it. Although I was trying for constant heartrate at both races (that was the flaw) - at Houston I seemed to gradually drop off that target from beginning to end (the correct strategy for me I now realize) - at Boston I was a bit more horseheaded in sticking to it - thus the 1 minute ahead of my Houston effort at mile 16.
- Fueling and Hydration probably was a factor too - I did feel pretty drained last 10 miles and side stitches and dry mouth make me think a little dehydrated from that life sucking orb the whole race. Might increase the pre-race fueling a bit more next time and focus on more hydrating during the race.
- PreRace Running in Sweats - heat treating got me I think about 1/2 the benefits I was looking for - I think it gave me about a 10 sec/mile boost which I think I had a 20 sec/mile boost at Seabrook and Houston - somewhat outside my control as I was limitted by Houston Weather and also Boston was not as cool as it could have been. Need more experimenting to really maximize this benefit and may consider getting a treadmill again to enable more controlled running temperatures during the taper (and the heat is back in Houston so might be useful for this too).
- Deplete/load - not sure I'll do this again - Still do the Load of course - but not sure I really believe much benefits from the deplete - don't plan it for my next race.

Path Forward: No forward plans at this point – I plan to do Anchorage Marathon in June as a “fun run” – not planning to really race at this point – and of course Houston ’09. But I’m not real fired up about training hard through the heat of Houston Summer so unless some must do challenge gets my radar locked to brave the summer heat I’ll probably cool it for a while and base build and maybe run a few local shorter races. I do not want to train like last summer with half the runs on the treadmill. Some relatives are trying to get me to sign up for Marine Corp but right now it just doesn’t seem to give me a thrill feeling .. but I’ll look up the entry info on it just in case – as I recall the window of opportunity to get into that race opens and closes real quick and may even already be past.

Thanks for Reading.

Race Photos


Neeraj Rohilla said...

Hey Man,
Great run. Actually, I checked out your time yesterday on Boston marathon website and was thinking about your feelings because I knew your target was 2:40.

Anyways, a great report and enjoy your moment.


Old Man and mid pack runner said...

great report! marathons are a beast, each one has some many different levels.

kayry said...

Thanks Neeraj - I'm a little disappointed but overall I'm feeling good - 2nd Texan ain't all that bad :o). I think I've got that sub2:40 in me but it wasn't in me yesterday. But I learned the importance of paying attention to the basics - hydration/fueling - gotta have it to make it to the finish strong.

kayry said...

Thanks old man - they sure are a beast - so many stars have to align perfect to have it all on race day.

squirrel1.1 said...

you're an absolute stud. I've followed your progress for a while now and it never ceases to amaze me.

Congrats on a fantastic race.

Oh, I bought a jug of Ultra Fuel today. Gonna try it for the Flying Pig.

rundangerously said...

kayry, great race, great report and photos!

what sort of engineering are you into (aside from engineering great race finishes)?

my brother-in-law is an engineer for pratt & whitney in hartford, ct.

Day Dreamer said...

Great job on the run. Way to hang close to pace when the fuel began to run low. Sounds like you got the most out of your Boston Marathon. God-willing, I'll be travelling that same road 12-months from now.

Awesome time.

kayry said...

Hey squirrel1.1 - Thanks! As I recall you've been knocking down some PRs of your own - keep it going.

Good luck in the Flying Pig!

kayry said...

Hey rundagerously - I haven't made it thru your long version yet :-).

What kind of engineer - of course I'm a running engineer......

I work for Shell Oil as a Project Engineer on major project in US Refining - kinda a jack of all trades type positions.

kayry said...

Hey day dreamer (Sam),

Surprised you haven't been - obviously you've got your BQ already with your 3:02 Houston. I definately recommend the race - best marathon in the world from my view - despite only a sample size of 5 for me right now - I just can not imagine another could be better. The city just comes alive and embraces the marathoners - an unforgetable experience.

WalkSports.com said...

Your 8:18 in the last 1.4 miles was the fastest of any Texan in the field.

Only five runners covered it in less than 9 minutes, including Keller's Craig Ottman and Armstrong.

While Ottman didn't negative split the race, his last four complete 5Ks were the fastest of any Texan.

kayry said...

Hey Jon - I did push it in at the end - from Citgo sign at 1 mile to go to the end the crowd energy was infectious. I think with a good race I might have beat Craig - just maybe. Next time :).

John Fenton said...

Belated congrats, kayry. I'm still in awe of your improvement. I'm sure you'll find something to inspire you through the hot Texas summer.

sasa said...