Friday, April 21, 2017

2017 Boston Marathon, Monday April 17

My goal for this race was to average 8:35 per mile for a 3:45 finish time, but the weather was warmer than I could overcome.  I finished the marathon in 4:22:09.

The forecast was for mid 60’s and sunny at the start, climbing to low 70’s, then becoming overcast for my last hour or so and cooling into the 60’s again.  From reports that I have seen, temperatures were a little higher than forecast.  There was a brisk wind, mostly as a tailwind. 

Before the race I hung out in the Athlete's Village with friends Jill and Laurie.  As much as possible I stayed in the shade and let the breeze cool me, even to the point of mild shivering.  I didn't want to feel warm before even getting to the start line.  Just before getting to the start area, I made one more porta potty stop.  While waiting in line I could hear the announcements counting down to start time and the wave actually started before I got to my assigned corral 5.  I was able to walk along the outside of the later corrals a little quicker than the crowd inside and caught up to the back of my corral just as they were breaking into a jog.

Poster I found on my hotel door, made by Karlyn (Jill's daughter)

I was in the 3rd wave which had a 10:50 am start time; I crossed the start line just before 10:55.  Due to the warm temps I decided to adjust my goal pace slower to 8:40-8:45 per mile for the first part of the course, hoping I might tolerate the conditions and be able to speed up some in the later miles.  I ran at the left side of the road so that I would get a little more of the breeze coming from the back left.  And I carried a high evaporation cooling cloth to wipe my face and neck.  Along with drinking water and gatorade, I dumped water over my head and torso for cooling effect.

After about 10 miles my average pace was about right for that plan but I was feeling the effects of both the temperature and the early steep descents that cause quad soreness.  And the fluids I was drinking were sloshing a bit in my stomach.  So I adjusted the effort and pace hoping I could hold a 9 minute pace. That would also prove to be unsustainable.


A little past mid way I stopped off to the side to rub my thigh muscles to relieve some soreness.  Almost right away a race volunteer came to check if I was okay or needed help.  I later read that nearly 10 percent of runners had received medical assistance either on the course or at the finish area.

My secondary goal had been to requalify for Boston with a 3:55 or just under 9’s.  My pace continued to slow as I was trying keep the discomfort manageable.  But I felt hotter and my muscle soreness increased.  I walked more at the water tables that were at every mile, and when the hills started around mile 16/17 I was walking about half of the uphills. 

The crowd was amazing, cheering with great enthusiasm.  I don’t think there was any part of the course where no spectators were visible at least at some distance.   Some places they were 3 or 4 deep.  Families were out along the road handing out water, ice, orange slices, gummy candy, ice pops and more.  I probably got/received a few hundred high fives, mostly from little kids.  There was music at several places.  One of those places also had children bouncing on mini trampolines.

Keep going Stonie!

I wore my name on the front of my shirt and must have heard "Stonie" a thousand times.   My Dad was called Stonie by his friends and my brother Jim goes by this too, so I was feeling the family connection and being reminded of both of them throughout the race.   Several times apparent college age guys would repeat the name chanting "Stonie! Stonie! Stonie!".  Most of the time I was able to smile at anyone calling my name.
My wife Rose and son Keith were along the course at the 22.4 mile point, shortly after the last of the hills.  I stopped to visit for a minute or two before finishing the day’s work.  
Stopping for a family visit

From this point the course was almost completely downhill and I walked only a little more.  I was able to pick up the pace over the last half mile to about my original goal pace.  Making the final turn was an amazing thing with the crowd cheering wildly.  It’s a few blocks to the finish line and because of the cheering it feels like racing for an Olympic win.

About 1 more mile
Final push

The whole experience was great and I am happy to have had the opportunity to be there.  The physical part got to be pretty unpleasant and I’m disappointed to miss my goal time.  I had been training for this race since Christmas.  

It was nice sharing the experience again with friends.  Our families were at the same hotel, so we did dinner and breakfast together.  Plus, Rose and I got to spend a couple days with Keith.

I'm not sure whether there are more marathons or Bostons in my dreams, but I have some cherished memories.

Recovered & ready to walk to the train station
BAA data: 5k 0:26:55; 10k 0:54:15; 15k 1:21:42; 20k 1:50:21;Half 1:56:38; 25k 2:20:4;
30k 2:54:3; 35k 3:33:2; 40k 4:08:37;Final 4:22:09 10:00 pace
Overall 19873 of 26,000+, Male 60-64 661st of 1000+

Garmin mile splits (watch measured 26.47 miles):
8:52, 8:38, 8:22, 8:31, 8:42, 8:51, 8:36, 8:54, 8:39, 8:56, 9:10, 9:06, 9:27, 9:28, 9:40, 10:07, 10:58, 11:14, 10:41, 11:48, 13:17, 12:03, 12:25, 10:57, 10:07, 10:28, 4:01(0.47)