Boston Marathon Recap

For those of you who know me, know Boston has been my goal for several years.  As such, I wanted to take a little time before writing this recap to let it all soak in (pun intended).  I have to say it has been strange to wake up every day since the Boston Marathon and not having a running goal in mind.  It’s been my singular goal for over 6 years.  And, as chronicled here between back injuries, expanding the family, etc. it took much longer than expected.

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Mile 1 – Before the wheels fell off. 🙂

Had I written this recap within 48 hours of the race I would’ve lamented how awful my performance was.  I would’ve told you I was embarrassed that I ran my slowest marathon ever IN Boston.  I would’ve told you that I had to push way too hard just to keep from going over the 4:00 mark for the first time ever.  I would’ve told you that I was reduced to walking up portions of the Newton hills and was mortified.  I would’ve told you that the weather was brutal.  I would’ve told you that after halfway I eyed every single medical tent and seriously contemplated dropping out just to get out of the weather.  Alas, all of those things are true but now let me tell you my takeaways from the race.

I knew at 10k it was going to be a VERY long day for me.  For reasons I’m still unclear on, my body was pushing back on me way too early in the race.  I always tell people if you’re feeling any fatigue at all prior to mile 20 you’re in serious trouble.  To know I was already getting there at 10k was mentally brutal.  However, I didn’t put years of training, obstacles and envisioning a million times turning from Hereford onto Boylston St. and hearing that crowd to get here an quit.  My body wanted to quit so bad, but my heart said no.

Why was that?  Well, you see this hasn’t been a journey that I’ve been on for so many years by myself.  I’ve had so much support along the way.

First off, my wife has allowed me to chase my dream for many years now.  She’s the one who has to hold the fort down when I’m out on long runs for hours at a time.  She’s the one who has been willing to adjust her schedule so many times to allow me to what I love.  She’s the one who has to “do it all” when I travel to races.  I’m forever grateful to Heather for being the rock of my support system!  Also, I have five boys (14, 13, 4, 3, 3).  The bigs have been along for the ride as well.  They were there when I first qualified for Boston in Charleston.  They were there for so many events along the way.  My oldest even went on some training runs with me along the way and accompanied me on my shakeout run the day before the race.

The little three have all asked so many times to run with me and I do with them after runs on some days.

It’s awesome to share that with them to say the least.  As my body started shutting down and I seriously began contemplating quitting, I thought of all of them.  I thought of the other people in my family who had travelled there to support me and decided quitting wasn’t an option.  I thought about the narrative from the boys perspective, “my dad qualified for Boston, then finally got to run it and he quit!”  No way in hell was I going to allow that to be the story.

I had determined that I would run, walk or crawl but I would be crossing the finish line.   It truly was a death march for far too many miles.  But, one foot in front of the other was the only thing I could offer.  I was shaking and frozen to the core.  It was absolutely brutal, but as I set my eyes on the Citgo sign, I knew it was almost over.  As I was coming up on the sign, I could start to hear the roar of the crowd at the finish.  I turned right on Hereford for the short uphill and left onto Boylston and I picked up the pace.

I knew I’d be so close to 4:00 hours, but I used the crowd to propel me with the remaining strength I had to the finish line.  As I looked up and saw the iconic finish line, I knew I was going to make it.  I knew I was going to achieve my singular goal of so many years as a runner.  I knew I was about to be a Boston Marathon finisher!

After the race as I laid in the medical tent, being treated for hypothermia I was overwhelmed by the day.  In between doctors checking on me, giving me warm gatorade and hot bouilloun I was thankful.  I knew this wouldn’t be my last race.  I knew I’d live to fight another day.  I was thankful that I still get to be a Nuun Ambassador and will have them by my side as I get into the HOT NC summer of training.  oPfwEvv2RmyWmf4sgQrZIgI am thankful for Zimmerman Family Wellness and Phoenix Physical Therapy for getting me to the start line healthy.  Also, I’ll be seeing ALL of you soon. 🙂

Even though the weather was awful, I didn’t come anywhere near where I wanted to for my time, I’m profoundly humbled to have trained for, qualified for and now finished the 122nd Boston Marathon!  It was an amazing experience, and now I have to find my next goal, my next thing to drive me to get out the door everyday to train, to sweat, to hurt, but at the end, to achieve!

Nuun Brand Ambassador 2018

I am very happy to let you guys know that I was selected to be a nuunbassador for 2018!  I am very excited to have been selected.  Their products are some of my favorite as a runner.  Hydration isn’t sexy, but it sure is important.  Not only during the obvious summer months here in NC, but also every other part of the year hydration is crucial.  I not only use the Performance tabs, but also the vitamins daily and electrolytes for replenishment.

If you haven’t ever tried Nuun before, I highly recommend doing so.  Whatever you do, it will make you better.

 

2017:W15 Recap

This was my first week of 5k training.  It is very different than marathon training to be sure.  Going to two workouts per week and a LR.  Hope my body adjusts to it ok.  Looking forward to the results.

Sun – Off

Mon – 3m E

Tue – 4.5 m Track Running with DART friends.  Didn’t love this idea. 🙂

Wed – 3m Tempo with Emily in Davidson

Thu – 6m E

Fri – 12x400m

Sat – 5m E

Total – 34.01m

This is What’s Next…

After ~6 years chasing my BQ and finally attaining that goal, what’s next?  I have long lamented my sloooow 5k PR.  So, I have decide to focus on that distance through the spring/summer.  My immediate goal is to get sub-19 and ultimately sub-18.  I have signed up for the McMillan Running 5k plan via Strava.  So far, so good.

What distance/order did you train for and was it successful?

A swing…and a bunt

Sorry fellow runners for the baseball title, but that’s how my race at the Shamrock Marathon yesterday went.  It was my first marathon without the pressure of having to qualify for Boston since I checked that mark in January, at Charleston.  That left me with BQ -250 which I wasn’t very comfortable with.  I wanted to improve on that time which is the reason I ran this race.  I swung for the fences, but ended up with a bunt.

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I was watching the weather from about 14 days out of the race.  That would be my main determining factor if it was worth going up or not.  The temps were looking warm at first but lowered as we got closer to the day.  The rain was supposed to be moving out around race time.  That wind though.  This was the biggest variable I needed to watch.  I pulled the trigger on signing up the Tuesday before the Sunday race.  As it got closer, the temps steadied around 40 for start time, rain was going to be there for the duration of the race and the winds increased to sustained 20mph NNW with gusts to 30+.  As I studied the way the course was laid out I realized it would help for more miles than it would hurt.  Miles 9-15 would be directly into the wind.  As I planned my strategy I had a few key decisions to make.  First, what time did I think I was capable of running?  Given the answer to the first question, I had to determine a pace group.  I felt like I was in 307/308 shape.  The two closest pace groups to that time were 305 and 315.  Do I go with the 3:05 group and risk running my legs out?  Go with the 315 group and negative splitting by quite a bit to try and make the time?  Given my “swing for the fences” mentality I decided to latch on to the 305 group.

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As I sat in the car at the race I was just watching the rain be blown all over the place by the wind.  I didn’t really even want to get out of the car, and I can’t lie I even thought about just canning it altogether.  It was 40 degrees, raining and with that kind of wind, it was going to be miserable.  I struggled mightily with another decision, what to wear.  My top was decided, I always wear compression socks for marathons, which left shorts or tights?  I have NEVER worn tights for a marathon.  I always thought it would be a recipe for disaster and I’d overheat regardless of the temps.  I had my shorts on sitting in the car but as I got out to walk to the race decided I was going to go with the tights.  Gadzooks!  I couldn’t believe I was going “there”.  I was just praying this wouldn’t come back to haunt me later in the race (spoiler alert: it didn’t).

I had gone out to buy a throw away poncho the night before, which I put on as I began my two block walk to the bag check and start line area.  I had executed my fueling plan except for my gel and banana 15 minutes prior to start.  I dropped off my bag and headed out for an easy mile warm up with several strides.  I met up with the 305 pacer and asked him the strategy given the weather.  He said he’s paced this race 4 times and we’d let the wind guide us.  In other words the first 6 would be a little quick with the wind on our back, knowing we’d give some time back heading right into the wind from 9-15.

The race starts and we get out clean and are on our way.  Immediately, I start thinking about whether or not I’m too hot.  Get out of your head moron, calm down.  I was fine, and settling in.  We start clicking off the miles and I knew I was walking (err, running) a fine line with these miles but also told myself they’re not causing as much debt due to wind at our backs.  656, 706, 656, 653, 658, 651, 655, 701 were the first eight splits.  It was also just after this that our pacer announced he had a cramp and dropped out of the race, WTF?!  He had informed us another pacer would pick us up at the halfway point, but geez that wasn’t a welcome sight.  I was feeling good at this point and knew we were just about to the toughest miles of the race.  I just knew I HAD to be in the pack, tucked in as much as possible to reduce the effects of the wind.  Here we go, 700, 703, 702, 710, 710, 714, 709.  On the boardwalk (miles 10-11.5-ish) I took my turn of blocking for others.  It was pretty brutal.  Probably the worst place to do it in all actuality, but I was still feeling good (for now).  Around mile 14, I realized the rain had turned to sleet.  That was quite a surprise.  We had made it through the hardest 10k-weather wise.  I took an inventory.  Had a few hotspots, left ankle, left elbow (that’s odd), right hip.  Nothing too bad, let’s roll.  As we made a left onto Shore Dr. it began about 5k of slight uphill and me and another pack of about 4 runners formed our own group off the back of the 305 pace group.  I knew at this point, by super stretch goal of 305 wasn’t happening.

Miles 16-19 (725, 711, 718, 716) were run mostly on the flat shoulder of the road which also provided a bit of cover by the trees.  The windy miles followed by the slight uphill for 3-4 miles were starting to wear on me.  I was keeping the pace “respectable” but it was getting harder.  Mile 20 (719) had a pretty strong crosswind as we made the turn to get ready to head South.  Mile 21 (720) and 22 (713) were a challenge, but I was managing.  I could feel my legs were starting to seize up a bit.  Cadence was consistent but muscles weren’t propelling me forward with each step as they once did.

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Me at the Cape Henry lighthouse, Miles 21-22. #allaboardthepaintrain

I really began hurting at some point on mile 23 (726), despite strong tailwinds.  So much so that I could literally feel my self being “pushed” forward.  I even thought it was like “the hand of God” pushing me.  Then mile 24 (749), happened. NO!!!  Mile 25 (816) was a freaking disaster and I could barely move.  Kept trying to do the math in my mind and realized about the only goal I could still attain was a PR.  I pushed with everything I had on mile 26 (800) and got the pace back down a little.  Then, with half a mile to go we get back on the boardwalk and it’s straight ahead and I can see the finish line.  I have to say that’s an awesome setup to have it visually to chase and watch the timing clock.  I had looked at my watch and said “I have suffered out here too much today NOT to get a PR.”  I summoned all I had left and ran 709 pace for the last 237 of the race as I watched the Finish line get closer.  I had done it, barely.  An 11 second marathon PR.  🙂  I guess any PR day is a good day, but I had more aggressive ambitions.  So, that’s my story of how I swung for the fences, but ended up with a bunt.

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I learned a lot in this race.  Wind is a real game changer.  Even though you may not feel the debt you accumulate during the windy miles you will later.  I knew 305 was a stretch, but I stand by being in 307/308 shape.  🙂  For now, that will have to be enough.  No more marathons for this boy until probably Boston 2018.  Which by the way, I did improve my BQ time from 250 to 416.  I’m very confident in that being enough.  My body is/was trashed after this race.  It took me probably 15 minutes just to change clothes afterwards between the inability to bend a limb and lack of dexterity in my frozen fingers.  It would’ve been an awesome video to be sure.  Also, I don’t regret my strategy.  Although it didn’t play out like I would’ve liked I think it made sense.  Also, the tights were the right call, because I know you were wondering. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017:W10 Recap

This was a good week of tapering.  I was very pleased with my workout and LR this week.  My body is definitely ready if I run the Shamrock Marathon next weekend to improve my BQ time.

Sun – Off

Mon – 4m Trails in Davidson

Tue – 2x3m intervals

Wed – 3m E

Thu – 6m E

Fri – 13m @748 pace

Sat – 6m E

Total – 40.35m

2017:W9 Weekly Recap

This was a good week of training although I am still undecided about running the Shamrock Marathon later this month to improve my BQ time.  I had a varied array of routes, surfaces and paces.

Sun – Off

Mon – 6m Trails

Tue – 6.6m on the LSCG Greenway

Wed – 13m w/11 steady state

Thu – 4m recovery on Davidson Greenway

Fri – 4.6m E

Sat – 16m w/last 2 @MP

Total – 50.23m