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Race Result

Racer: Aaron Schwartzbard
Race: Boston Marathon
Date: Monday, April 15, 2002
Location: Boston, MA
Race Type: Run - Marathon
Age Group: Male 20 - 24
Time: 3:14:39
Overall Place: 2767 / 14573
Comment: Double Beantown Marathon Shuffle With A Reverse Backflip

Race Report:

The birds are a-singing, the flowers are a-blooming, and spring is in the air. That must mean that another season of epic adventures is upon us.

In the three weeks between the DC Marathon and the Boston Marathon, I logged about 18,000 yards of swimming, 300 miles of biking, and 60 miles of running. Recovery? Bah. Taper? Double bah! The plan was just to train through this one, spend a long weekend in Boston with some friends, and have a nice training day.

It turned out that a few of my friends who were running were expecting similarly mediocre performances. Then there was one friend who was still bummed out about DNFing at mile 35 of a 50 miler two weeks ago. So a little mutual peer pressure was all it took to come to the decision that it would be a heck of a lot more satisfying to run a great ultra rather than a mediocre marathon. Thus was born the Double Beantown Marathon Shuffle With A Reverse Backflip.

The Boston Marathon is a point-to-point race. The Boston Athletic Association busses the athletes out to the start line in Hopkinton, MA, the morning of the race, then we all run back to the finish line in the middle of the city. The race starts at noon. Bob, Terry, Eileen, and I met at the finish line at 6:30 am, and with a spring in our steps, we lit out for Hopkinton.

The plan was to take it at a conservative pace. We walked hills, we christened port-o-johns, we laughed, we sang, we enjoyed the fact that we didn't have to sit in a muddy field for four hours like the 16,000 other folks who were going to be running the official marathon. After 10 mile, Bob and I, concerned about making it to Hopkinton in time for the start, left Eileen and Terry behind. Over the entire trip, we were subjected to cries of, "You're going the wrong way!" Usually, that got an equally witty response of, "We missed the bus," or, "SHOOT! We've been tricked!" A couple times, we actually had to explain our plan to folks in order to get our water bottles refilled. The conversation usually went something like this...

Us: "Excuse me, would you mind if we refilled our water bottles here?"
People with water: "Not at all. You getting ready for the marathon?"
Us: "Actually, we're running to Hopkinton and back."
People with water: (laughing) "Oh, okay."
Us: (with serious looks on our faces) "No, really. We started at 6:30 at the finish line."
People with water: (realizing that we're not joking, and backing away slowly and deliberately) "Oh. Uhhh... Oh."

Eventually, we made it to the starting line (half-way point). The lesson I learned was that it doesn't matter how slowly you go, after 26 miles, your legs are going to hurt. Including all breaks and walking, 4 hours and 36 minutes had passed since we started. We had just enough time to hustle the extra three quarters of a mile to the athletes' village to meet some friends, and drop off our water-bottle packs, then hustle back to the official starting line. Once I was in my corral, I had about five minutes to stretch and recover from the first marathon. Then it was time to go again.

On the way back, I ran my own race. The first couple miles, it was the crowds that held me back more than anything else. Once the pack thinned out a little, I started to realize that my miles splits were way too fast. Up through mile ten, every mile, I could see that I was going to blow up if I didn't slow down. Since I didn't seem able to adjust my pace, I took a pee break at mile 10, regrouped, and started again at a slower pace. That worked well. I slowed down before I HAD to slow down. By the time I hit the half way point, I decided that no matter what, I wasn't going to do any walking during this race. I'd keep running until I crossed the finish line.

Once I made the decision to keep running, the rest of the race took care of itself. I counted off the four big hills in Newton, and after the top of heartbreak hill, the Citgo sign seemed like it was just around the next corner. Then the turn onto Boylston Street seemed to come just a moment later. In no time, I was crossing the finish line.

At dinner, a friend who ran the official marathon, but not the double, said that it seemed surreal to see me in Hopkinton, realizing that I had just run a marathon, and I was about to run another. To me, it seemed totally natural. After all, I did this on a whim... To save myself from wasting the day doing something mediocre. At this point, the only thing that seems surreal is looking at my stopwatch, stopped after I crossed the finish line, and thinking to myself, "That's a long time to be running."

First Marathon: 4:36
Second Marathon: 3:15