Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Rick's Boston Marathon review

Ten quick thoughts on a very memorable 2007 Boston marathon
By Rick Cleary

1.) Quick stats: My chip time was 4:13, a personal worst by seven minutes. I've decided my tag line for this one is, "The weather wasn't terrible, but I was."

2.) I guess I knew trouble was brewing at mile 10 when I heard somebody say, “Sixteen to go!” and I thought, “I haven’t run 16 since Boston last year and I’m already tired.”

3.) I really do, I hate to admit it, need to do some long runs. Fourteen years ago I remember getting to the starting line and thinking, "Hmmm, I haven't run longer than 14 since last August," but I still requalified easily. This year I had the same thought (but it was since last April, not just August) and I had no problem for the first half; running 8:00/mile almost exactly and hitting halfway in 1:37, right on target. But I was already very tired, and I slowed to 9:00 and had my first of several short walking segments at 18. A long day in from there.

4.) Despite the heavy legs I enjoyed it and I felt fine at the finish and I'm doing well recovering ... a little sore but no serious pains or blisters. I've already enjoyed a lot of time on the floor with Tommy and Eddie and managed to stand back up each time. In a year in which I've had little time to train, knowing that friends are keeping an eye out for me is very inspirational and really helped me to get to the finish. Highlight was the big family and friends group at Wellesley College, I have to learn to get running hard again after the adrenaline rush of passing everyone there.

5.) My friend Dave Carhart, a colleague at Bentley, lives just before the two mile mark. This was handy as I gave him my wind pants and Gortex jacket as I passed him. Dave also had his traditional "math sign" to encourage me. He knew that to requailify for next year I needed a 3:35, which is 215 minutes, and he had a sign that encouraged me to run 6 cubed plus e to the i*pi... 216 + (-1) = 215, clever!

6.) The weather wasn't bad for the race but had an impact on the weekend in other ways. My commuter train into town pre-race didn't show up due to debris on the tracks, for instance. Fortunately I had a good back up plan of riding to the start with friends from Wellesley.

7.) I loved starting in the back of the first wave, we had a ton of room to run and move immediately. However getting passed by zillions of second wavers in the last couple of miles was sort of a drag.

8.) Fast Eddie Sandifer and I had some excellent in race conversations and he pointed out that the two times I've dropped out of Boston came at the extremes of the life cycle; just after my Dad died in 1990 and just after Eddie was born in 2003. In fact, I have a long history of running poorly in my first Boston after the birth of a son; so even though Tommy is almost one I am adding that to my excuse list.

9.) At dinner Sunday night I didn't have a beer or any wine, following BAA medical advice about avoiding hypothermia and dehydration. My friends Kim Snedden and Bob Talda did have one or two and then crushed me like a bug. So much for that advice!

10.) The funniest part about seeing my entourage at Wellesley was that I always take my orange hat off and wave it so they'll see me as I approach. Usually it's a baseball hat, but this year it was my blaze orange knit winter hat which holds quite a bit of moisture and as I circled it overhead in the strong east breeze I realized that I was giving the unfortunate pack of runners right behind me a very unwanted shower. Fortunately runners are used to that.

OK, time to pick a fall marathon and try to re-qualify for next year. Thanks again for all the online support; it really helped me get around!


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