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Race Result

Racer: Aaron Schwartzbard
Race: Boston Marathon
Date: Monday, April 20, 2009
Location: Boston, MA
Race Type: Run - Marathon
Age Group: Male 30 - 34
Time: 2:38:23
Overall Place: 151 / 23162
Comment: Boston #9

Race Report:

In preparation for Boston, I went skiing for a week in early April. Then, on Saturday—two days before the race—I got up at 4:00am to spent about 12 hours on my feet, sweating through a hot, sunny day to do the race photography for Bull Run 50 miler. Sunday, I got less than adequate sleep once again in order to catch a flight to Boston, make my way across town, swim through the ocean of people at the expo, make my biennial running shoe purchase, then meet up with some friends to go to a winery to take a tour and do some wine tasting. Monday, once again, I was up far earlier than I would have preferred to get in to town, then to catch a bus out to Hopkinton. A friend of a friend lives in Hopkinton, and in the past, I've been able to hang out at his place before the race, but when I went by in the morning, it looked like he might still be asleep, and I hadn't officially heard that his house was open for business. So I spent an hour in "The Athletes' Village" (the Hopkinton High School athletic fields) sitting on the ground, shivering.

Around the time I lined up in my corral, the sun came out, and the day warmed up a little. The elites came out, and did their little joggy thing in front of us… A few words from Uta Pippig at the grandstand… National Anthem… Flyover by a couple F-15 at about 1,200 feet (they do that every year and it’s REALLY cool)… And we’re off!

Once the race started, all was good. I had been feeling a little bit off through the morning, but while running, things seemed to come right for me. The weather was great for running, but there was a headwind. (It's a point-to-point race that runs generally east-north-east, and the wind was coming directly from the east.) Over the first couple miles, while watching the elites run off, over the horizon, the folks around me were feeling each other out, trying to establish packs. With the wind, this wasn't a day to be running alone. I've done many miles on the Boston course, fighting a headwind with no one around me to help, and it’s no fun. After things shook out for a few miles, I was in a pack of about six or seven guys. With a few slight changes we stuck together through the half. It was a little bit faster than I wanted to run, but I could either spend too much energy running too fast, or I could spend too much energy fighting the wind on my own—there wasn’t a good pack behind us that I could drop to.

Based on our pace, I knew that most of the guys in the pack had the same goal. But I also knew that our pace was right on the cusp of that goal. At the half, we were a few seconds off (in total) of goal time, so folks picked it up… Like, a lot. I said no way and dropped back to no-man's land. (I went through the half three minutes faster than I did at National Marathon last month). So the second half. I was pretty much alone. I passed some folks, and some folks passed me, but no one was moving at the right pace for working together. Starting at mile 16, we get five miles of notable climbing. I didn't want to blow myself out for the final five, so I ran conservatively. By the time I crested Heartbreak Hill, it was clear that unless I cracked a femur, I was going to be right in my normal seven minute marathon finishing time window—the same window where almost all of my marathon times have been since '05.

It was a great day, and the crowds were as big as I have seen them in nine Bostons. So I just enjoyed the last mile, waving my arms to elicit cheers while running the final quarter mile down Boyleston Street. Turns out that after all of that, I finished exactly nine seconds slower than I did at National last month.


1 - 5:39
2 - 5:41
3 - 5:38
4 - 5:31
5 - 5:46
6 - 5:38
7 - 5:41
8&9 - 11:32
10 - 5:49
11 - 5:51
12 - 5:42
13 - 5:50
14 - 5:47
15 - 6:00
16 - 5:48
17 - 6:19
18 - 6:21
19 - 6:16
20 - 6:34
21 - 6:55
22 - 6:20
23 - 6:29
24 - 6:28
25 - 6:35
26.2 - 8:00