Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Obviously, it was a busy weekend with lots going on. I figure I’ll focus on my race report today and then highlight some of the other events throughout the rest of the week.

Near ideal conditions for the race, so I can’t use that as an alibi. The temps were probably 50-60 degrees throughout the day. There was a slight headwind, but I only really sought shelter behind other runners about 3 times throughout the race. It was really cloudy right up until the start of the race and then the sun came out. It made things a little warm at times, but again, I can’t complain about the conditions – although the right side of my body is totally fried from the sun.

Last Thursday I wrote;

I figure I’m in good enough shape to at least give myself a chance to break 3 hours. For example, going out at 7:00 pace and coming through the half in 1:32 is probably not a good idea because I’m not sure I could run 1:28 over the second half of that course. I’m more likely to go out at 7:00 effort. Given the early down hills, that should get me through the half between 1:30-1:31. Once in the hills around mile 16, my plan is to pass as many people as possible.
I basically did the first part, passing through the half in 1:31:12 – including a 20-30 second pee break around mile 12. However, I failed to do the second part. Now that I look back, given my fitness level, those were probably conflicting goals. I could either put myself in a position to break 3 hours or pass as many people as possible after mile 16, but not both.

There are so many things I love about Boston and the marathon; the city is beautiful and I love the mystique and history surrounding the event, along with all the landmarks; clock tower, Wellesley and all the other universities, Newton Hills, including Heartbreak, Fenway Park, the Citgo sign, Bolyston Street, and the enormous crowds along the way . However, the course itself is not one of the things I love. Quite frankly, I have no idea how to run it. People say, “Hold back” on the early downhills, but honestly I ran my best Boston in my first attempt when I didn’t know any better.

I think what it really comes down to is what Barney Klecker told me;

My feeling is that you have to condition your body for the pounding of the road for 2+ hours. Yes, you have to run fast, but your body has to be able to take the pounding.
My venture into x-c skiing this winter was a great hiatus from running. Cardiovascular-wise, I think I was in shape for sub-3, however, my legs just weren’t ready for the pounding given that I cut back my mileage starting in January. My feet were starting to ache within the first 10 miles, then my hips and finally my quads.

I was basically on about 6:55 pace through mile 16 and then slowed to about 7:30 pace for the next 3 miles and then slowed again to 8:00 pace the rest of the way. I was actually a little surprised to be running 8s because it felt like I was run 10s. Here are my 5K splits;

22:09 (pee break)

Half splits were 1:31:12 and 1:40:57 for a final time of 3:12:09.

Maybe I could have pushed harder and held 7:30s the last 7 miles, but even then, that’d only put me around 3:08. I guess on the bright side I’m qualified for next year’s race.

In reality, I’m not as much disappointed in my race as I am disappointed in my training. At least I learned something along the way. I’ll never ski through the winter and then try to run a marathon before June.

Quote of the day;

“Maybe it’s time to admit that running 26.2 miles is as irrational and illogical as batting a fuzzy ball back and forth across a net, chasing a little white ball around the golf course, or committing assault and battery between two sets of goal posts. None of these games serves any great purpose, none has any great importance to the survival of mankind, but they all have great meaning to the people involved. That’s all we should ask of our play.” – Joe Henderson


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good race for early in the year. From what I have read before you are hoping the skiing break will lead to better times this fall. I think this is a good early effort and will lead to those great times in the fall. Nice race!

Christ said...

good comment on the skiing. this is why I can't seem to commit to an early Spring marathon (even Boston) based upon a winter of skiing - even great skiing - as I think it does not really prepare you for road racing. I've said before that I think a person can train for a good Birkie or a good Boston Marathon, but not both.

Anonymous said...

Did you see Woody?

Anonymous said...

Especially with those down hills, that first half must have been a shock to your ski conditioned legs. Funny to think that beating them up worse during training makes them better able to handle the abuse during a race.

Don said...

I think you did great, Chad. If I recall correctly, it's still April!

Love2Run said...

It really is a tough course to figure isn't it? Nice report.

Kurt said...

Yea I hear you about lot to love about that city and race. I think you did pretty darn good. My 1st Boston was also my best of the two I have run, but I do think I held back a bit more the first time I ran. I best part is we can keep going back over and over to try aging !!!

Chad said...

Jim, yeah if I have a great summer and PR at a fall marathon, Boston will just be a distant memory.

Christ, where were you when I needed that advice in January? :)

Anon, no I didn't see Woody, but I read his race report. IHe was about 10 seconds per mile faster than me, but overall the report was very similar to mine; slowed at mile 16 and again 3-4 miles later.

Thanks everyone.

Ryan said...

Chad, great race - even though the back half didn't pan out as you wanted it too. Congrats on chalking up another Boston.

"However, the course itself is not one of the things I love. Quite frankly, I have no idea how to run it. People say, “Hold back” on the early downhills, but honestly I ran my best Boston in my first attempt when I didn’t know any better."

Didn't you comment to me in the past that we shouldn't fear attempting a PR in Boston? Have you changed your tune slightly?

Rocco said...

Chad: I just wrote about this, but we runners (myself included) often focus on what we could have done better and not what we did well. Maybe your training didn't allow for a great Boston, but you are in sub 3:10 shape and your body is hopefully fresh (certainly much more fresh than if you ran more all winter).

The risk for injury and burn-out are reduced. Here's to a great summer and fall racing season.