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Race Result

Racer: Scott Baldwin
Race: Boston Marathon
Date: Monday, April 18, 2005
Location: Boston, MA
Race Type: Run - Marathon
Age Group: Male 35 - 39
Time: 3:33:21
Overall Place: 4004 / 17585
Comment: My random thoughts from Boston 05



Race Report:



So there seems to be a trendÖ.the last three years I have trained fairly hard through the cold winter months to get ready for my first big race of the year. Things go ok. All of a sudden the weather gets really warm and on race day of my first race itís much warmer than normal and I have a terrible race. This has happened at Boston Marathon 2003, Wild Flower Long course triathlon in 2004 and again this year at the Boston Marathon. Before the race even begins, I am feeling tired and not up to racing that day even though Iíve done all my pre-race rituals like I have done for every other good race in the past. The first couple of miles take a lot of effort, even if I take it out slow and keep my heart rate under control. I feel very lethargic. I stay hydrated and I consume my energy gel on a regular basis just as I have done in training. About midway through the race I start getting a very upset stomach. Since this has happened to me on several occasions now I know whatís in store for me after the race is overÖ.uncontrollable puking. Once I get this feeling my head starts to take over and tells all kinds of bad things like; you donít need to finish this race, you can walk some more, you not very good at this, why do you do this sport anyway, etc. This year was no differentÖ.

I qualified for Boston this year with a reasonable time of 2:58 at Philly in November. If I had to look at the Philly race and the Boston race this year, I was two totally different people mentally. At Philly everything went great. Nice cool weather, 8 a.m. start time, near prefect hydration and calorie intake. When it hurt I went a bit faster. I think physically I was in a bit better shape for Philly but I figured I should be able to knock out around a 3:10 at Boston.

Boston is a great race because it is the grand-daddy of them all. This was the 109th running to the event so just being able to run it was an honor.

Pre-race:

My family and spent the weekend up in Massachusetts visiting family. Nothing really strenuous, stayed loose and hydrated. I drove most of the course on Sunday just to remind me of what I was in for.

On race morning I rolled out of bed when the sun came out. Since Boston is a noon time start (one strike against me), I had to sit around for 3 hours before even going to the race start in Hopkinton. I got dropped off at the start, met up with some friends and hung out for another 30 minutes before making my way to my starting corral. I was lucky enough to get a spot in corral 2 because of my Philly time. This was a plus since it would only take about 45 seconds to get to the starting line versus the 26 minutes it took me two years ago as a result of being in corral 18. As the start time got closer the temperature went higher. Surprisingly, the temperature supposedly was only 70F and humidity was very low, but it seemed much hotter to me. I had told several people that morning it would be a great day for the beach.

The Race:

The start of the race goes down a two lane road out of Hopkinton. The first 4 miles are nearly all down hill with a few short rises. The course ďflattensĒ out for the next 10 with a few ups and downs. From miles 17-21 itís mostly up with the Newton Hills which ends with Heartbreak hill. The final 10k of the course is nearly all down hill. That is my simple view of the course (Iím sure there are more realistic descriptions out there). http://www.bostonmarathon.org/BostonMarathon/CourseMaps.pdf

The first four miles go by ok at about 6:50 min/mile pace. But Iím feeling sluggish. My legs arenít responding the way I would like. Iím already thinking that this wonít be my day. My mouth is already dry. Iím looking for the next aid station as soon as I go by one. By mile eight Iím ready to call it a day and stop at one of the water stations so I can get down same extra water and Gatorade. I decide to pop some ibuprofen, endrolytes, and a few extra shots of energy gel just to see if I could get anything going before I really called it a day. The next seven miles I averaged a much slower 7:50 pace. I saw the family just past the half-way mark. I stop to take a quick breather, got a new gel flask from my wife. I was hoping to stop and chat for a while because my dad made it to the race and that was the only time I got to see him all weekend. Anyway, my wife was afraid I would stay too long, realize it was much better hanging on the sidelines then running and decide to drop out. She shoed me away as fast as she could and I didnít even get to say hi to anyone (Hi dad).

The rest of the race was uneventful. Slow miles, lots of people passing me, hot, bummed about all the training I had done and this was the best effort I could offer. I was not having any fun. The last 11 miles I averaged ~9 minutes/mile. I tried to enjoy the crowds as best as I could.

The Crowds:

What is amazing to me is the number of people lining both sides of the street. There must have been people 10 deep on both sides of the road for the first mile or so. What is incredible is there are people lining both sides of the street for almost the whole race. This is a plus and minus. The people on the sides of the road are cheering and yelling to keep the runners going. At the same time they were distracting because I wanted to look at everyone as I passed them. Focus is definitely a problem for me at Boston because of this. The crowds swelled as the course went through the town centers and major intersections along the course. The biggest and best crowds were at Wellesley College, going up the Newton Hill and past Boston College, and going past Boston University and Fenway Park. I think the Sox game had just gotten out around the time I came Kenmore Square because the sidewalks were packed.

Marathon, by the numbers:

9 miles: 1:04:37
13.1 miles: 1:36:33
18 miles: 2:19:11
26.2 miles: 3:33:21 (2:58:44 at Philly 04)

Other Stats
Minute/mile average: 8:11
Range in mile splits: 3:12 (41 seconds at Philly 04)
Average HR: 154 (160 at Philly)

Getting out of Town:

Once the race was over I wanted to get out of Boston as fast as I could. I needed to get cleaned up and in my car for the long drive back to Reston. My wife had to go to work on Tuesday morning so we needed to be home. I found the nearest T station (Bostonís subway system) and joined the thousands of others trying to get home from the marathon, work or the Sox game (by the wayÖthe Sox tromped the Toronto 12-7 on race day). I piled into a D train of the green line with way to many other people. I tried to stay near the door for fear that my stomach was still not completely settled. Unfortunately, a few too many people wanted to get on the train at the last minute. So I was standing, squished, and smelly with hundreds of my closest friend trying to get out of the city to meet up with my wife. About 5 minutes into the ride we are stuck between two stations in a tunnel and I start to get dizzy, my stomach starts to percolate, and I start sweating profusely. All signs that Iím getting ready to blowÖÖ This was not good. The train was stop with no station in slight. I was facing a man who was one step below me which meant I would lose it all over him no matter which way I aimed. Most likely on the top of his head. I tried not to think about it. I tried to breath steady. Nothing seemed to work. I decide the best thing to do was sit down on the floor of the train with my head between my knees. This seemed to help a bit but I did not see the end of the tunnel yet (punny ehÖ). The train did final start moving again and got to the next station. I had to push my way to the other side of the train (right exit and I had gotten on from the left) to get off. I ended up sitting on a bench in a nearly deserted train station for about 30 minutes before I felt comfortable moving again. Although I came very very close, I ended up not puking that day.

I was able to meet up with my wife and the first thing we talked about was the fact that Boston beat me again and that I probably wonít do it again for another 5-10 years. I then saw Aaronís race report from Boston which brought back all the good things about running at Boston (http://www.trirats.net/view_result.php?racerid=676). The tradition, the volunteers, the spectators, the famous course including Hopkinton, Wellesley College, Heartbreak Hill, and the run in on Commonwealth Ave and Beacon Street and finishing on Boylston Street. Once I saw all those great images I knew I had to try it again. I told my wife this and she just shook her head. The only thing I could tell her to help her relate to this was her pregnancies and labors. She was miserable towards the end of all three and went through a lot of pain during the labor. But within a few months she was ready and anxious to get pregnant again. Somehow the pain she experienced was erased from her brain and she only remembered the good things about her experiences. Now, running a marathon Iím sure is not as nearly as painful as labor but the idea is the same. I hurt during the experience and I promised myself not to do it again for a long time. But within a few days Iím ready to give it another go. Here I come Boston Marathon 2006.