Thursday, April 23, 2009

Boston Marathon Race Report

Wow, what a great event! It truly was a memorable experience to participate in the Boston Marathon. Just being there with all the history that surrounds Boston is fun, and then you add in all the excitement around the marathon; it makes for a tremendous atmosphere.

The race doesn't start until 10 am, but the day starts much earlier than that. I was up by 5 to get ready and eat some breakfast, and then myself and some other runners staying at the same B&B headed out at about 5:45 to catch the subway (the "T") and head to the bus area. Since the start of the race is 26 miles away in Hopkinton, most of the athletes are bused to the start from downtown Boston. We got on the bus with no problem, although I did make the mistake of not using the port-a-potties that were available before getting on. Let's just say it made for a very loooonnngggg ride :)

Once in Hopkinton, they have an "athlete's village" set up in a local schoolyard. Basically a big tent in the middle surrounded by port-a-potties. There is some light food and drink, and people mainly hang out waiting to for the race to start. After a couple hours, it was time to start walking down to the starting corral. Didn't have long to wait once I got there for the race to start, although it did take about 8 minutes to make it to the actual start line. Crossed the start line and the race was on!

I had read about course and determined that I would take the advice of the experienced Boston Marathoners and start off nice and easy. For the first 5 miles (which are mostly downhill), I stayed with the crowd and didn't push the pace. I was immediately impressed with the crowds that come out and line the race course, and that continued the entire way through the marathon! That first 5 miles I averaged around 8 minutes/mile, which is right about where I wanted to be, and I knew I had to keep some reserve for the hills that were coming.

After mile 5, things level out somewhat; and it was time to just keep up a good, steady race pace. I was running a little under 8 minute miles at that point, and feeling pretty good. At each town along the way, it seemed like half the town would be out there cheering us on, giving us high fives, etc.; and that would always make me smile and give me a boost of energy. Just after mile 12, I started hearing the "Wellesley scream tunnel"; where the girls from Wellesley college line the street and cheer so loudly that you can literally hear them from about a mile away. Running through it was a little deafening, but it's also a nice boost to get you through the halfway point.

At the 13.1 mile midpoint, I was at 1:45, which meant I had a good shot at breaking 3 1/2 hours; which was my goal for the race. The Newton hills would be coming up just before mile 16, but I felt strong so I picked up the pace just slightly as I got closer. There is a big downhill after mile 15, and then you start into the Newton hills section, ending with the infamous Heartbreak Hill that crests around mile 21. Going up the first of the hills, my legs felt strong and I started passing by quite a few people, and I knew right away that following the conservative strategy was going to pay off. I kept running through the rest of that section, and actually got through it at just under an 8 minute mile pace; felt great to not have to give up any ground :)

After that, the race became more downhill again, and I was excited to get back into Boston and see that finish line. I kept running faster as I got closer, since I felt great and didn't want to leave anything on the course. The last couple of miles, with all the excitement and the crowds, I got under 7:30 min/mile, and ended up crossing the finish line in 3:28:00; which was a new personal best for me :) I beat my time at the 2008 Austin Marathon (which was my Boston qualifier) by 45 seconds, and was pretty happy about doing that in Boston!

So, I never thought I'd be thrilled with coming in 6634th place in a marathon, but then again I never thought I'd get to Boston either. Quite the experience, and I am really glad that I was able to participate.

Now the question is do I consider going back next year? My time was good enough to re-qualify, and my wife and I had a great time while we were there, so we'll see if it fits into our plans for next year. For now, I'm just going to enjoy the memory and a little bit of rest and recovery...

Please see this website to read more about the HFK program and to make donations:
RMI Hope For Kidz Website Link

Race Schedule:

January 11: RunTex 20 Miler (20 mile run) -> COMPLETED

January 25: Frost Yer Fanny Duathlon (27.2 miles run/bike/run) -> COMPLETED

February 15: Austin Marathon (26.2 mile run)-> COMPLETED

April 5: Lonestar 1/2 Ironman Triathlon (70.3 miles swim/bike/run) -> COMPLETED

April 20: Boston Marathon (26.2 mile run) -> COMPLETED

September 19: Redman ironman distanceTriathlon (140.6 miles swim/bike/run)

October 25: Longhorn 1/2 Ironman Triathlon (70.3 miles swim/bike/run)

November 29: Ironman Cozumel Triathlon (140.6 miles swim/bike/run)


  1. Congrats, I am impressed with your schedule.

  2. Thanks. Very glad to have a break for a bit before any big races.