Race Report 2019

I gave it all.
No regret, no excuses, no surrender.
I was so close to my A goal that I was disappointed at the end but I got over that soon.
I made a perfect execution and that’s so important for the future; yesterday a PR was not in me, as simple as it is.
Let’s start from the beginning…
I slept well, even if a little short (jet lag not recovered, for sure).
Weather forecasts stated that the marathon should be dry but I would got rain loading the bus.
Well, exiting the hotel the rain started but it was not heavy.
After the ride on the Blue Line and then the Green Line, it looked like no one wanted to get out of the Arlington station.
The rain had become heavier and heavier.
I waited a little, chatting on the stairs with other italians and then I decided to go out to check the bag and load on bus.
Wet, wet, wet…
Warmer than last year but annoying to say the least!
Loading the bus, the driver looked at me and she said that she remembered me from last year!
Honestly, it’s hard to believe but I took it as a good start of the day.
What a long ride…
Eventually I got to the Athlete Village and I was able to meet some friends at the red dot.
It’s so nice to feel like we perfectly know each other even if we meet no more than once per year.
Sadly, my language barrier got worse and worse in a crowded place like a tent @AT so I couldn’t interact as I would but it has been a great pleasure to be there, nevertheless.
Wave 1 had already left when I arrived so I missed the Mikes.
We left soon after and then the slow walking to the corrals.
The start decibels were low (or I was very distracted) and the walk approaching the start line became the usual crowded and frenzy run.
The target on my watch was set to my PR (3:10:35) but I know that I should be slower than the intended pace in the first miles (thanks Greg Maclin).
I had logged only one hilly run in my training cycle for this marathon and I must run in good form the downhills.
My legs had no springs…
I was slow as wanted.
I tried to relax arms and shoulders.
I was easy but I didn’t feel that I could go easily faster as it happened previously in training.
May be I was just a little nervous…
My right calf was not behaving.
It happened also in training and some minor changes in my running form had helped; let’s try it now…
I’m running a conservative pace while going downhill.
At mile 6 I did a perfect drop in the basket of the cup from which I drinked the Gatorade.
I fired guns in the air like a cowboy and I heard a voice from behind: “Congrats. You’ve 20 more of that to do”.
Uh oh…
In the flattest part of the course I got a little faster because I thought it was the section most similar to my training runs and I wanted to benefit from it.
I felt ok but not in one of my best days and my right calf was not putting me into trouble but it was on the edge.
There was some more space between runners and it was easier to identify who is pacing regularly.
As usual, girls are at the top!
Men look like sprinting and slowing, aggressive and unconsistent all the time.
I noticed a girl who was pacing close to me since some miles and I asked her what was her goal.
She took away the earbuds and told me between 3:05 – 3:10.
Not far from mine and she offered to pace together for a while.
While we were chatting in front of Wellesley College, an older woman told us that it looked like we were aiming to similar target.
In fact she was running a little faster and we let her go.
Only many hours later I recognized her: Joan Benoit Samuelson who was going to finish in 3:04, 40 years after her win in 1979 (her bib number today)!
Even if I was trying to be regular and conservative, running down to Newton Lower Falls and then up the bridge on motorway I left behind the good pacing girl.
Newton Fire Station and the hills.
I felt ok but not great.
I was regular and controlled.
Never overstriding downhills.
I was doing my best and the watch predicted a finish time 1 minute faster than my PR.
I was regularly drinking my liquid gels in which I trust.
May be this was one of my biggest error…
I was easily on top of the Heartbreak Hill.
I remember not to push too early running down to Boston for not burning the quads.
Muscles were suffering and I felt without energy.
If I have had in me a great sprint to the finish line as in 2017 I could achieve a major improvement in PR.
I didn’t need it.
It was not one of my best days so I just had to keep the pace.
It was no more easy.
It was getting harder and harder.
I was in trouble.
Do you know what?
I was also feeling thirsty.
A lot.
I sweated a lot, from the start, and I drank my liquid gels and only 2 or 3 Gatorade.
Not enough and now I was desperately seeking more hydration.
I trusted my liquid gels for energy and I might be right (not sure of it, anyway) but they didn’t provide me the liquids I needed.
Miles were no more passing by.
Keeping pace was getting almost impossible; muscles are in pain and my body has no energy.
My heart rate increased constantly while my pace slowed down.
The background of my watch changed color; the predicted finish time had got over my PR.
Less than 2 miles to go and I decided to walk on the bridge over the motorway.
In fact, my legs were better there than during the downhills but I had no more fuel and I felt my head light.
I started running again and I found my way to the finish line.
The timing mat just before the finish line let the speaker call my name and it was so rewarding!
Just after the finish line I got the congrats from Tom Grilk (CEO of the Boston Athletic Association), while we made eye contact!!!
WOW!
A great way to finish!
But I want more…
So I walked back and I told him that, even if sweated, I wanted to shake his hand.
Surprise and then a smile were on his face and I greeted with a pat on his shoulder!
Ok, 3:11:24 means I missed the PR by 49 seconds but it’s a strong BQ so I will be back speedier, tougher and smarter next year to get it.

Boston 2019: pre-race

I’m flying to the 223rd Boston Marathon.
My 5th one in a row.
As always, I don’t know what to expect.
First of all, I’m not injured.
Ticked as a good news…
I started my training cycle on New Year’s Eve and I was in top shape.
Never started a training cycle before feeling that good.
My Personal Record was in sight, as I promised to myself after finishing the weather affected 2018 Boston Marathon.
That mood lasts until the 9th of January when I fell badly on icy roads while I was running early in the morning.
3 cracked/broken ribs as a result…
I tried an early comeback; even if it was good to check my motivation and that I was able to run through pain, I clearly feel that any attempt like that would have delayed the full recover.
At the end it was a 3 weeks and a half break in the training cycle.
As a matter of fact, after some days when even breathing was so painful, sleeping has been really difficult and that made also my herniated discs to misbehave.
During the first decade of February I resumed running and the big question was: “How should I ramp it up? Should I do it softly loosing more time/workouts or just jump into the training plan risking injuries?”.
I decided to focus on key workouts, doing just short General Aerobic runs any other day.
At the end, I logged an hard workout per week (Long Run at an easy pace or a Medium Long Run at faster pace) and they came all out very satisfying.
I’ve always been happy about my pace at shorter distances (until Half Marathon) but I’ve never been confident about endurance.
I’d better not talk about not having logged hilly runs, so important for the Boston Marathon course.
Should I comment about the weather?
I already mentioned that the 2018 Boston Marathon was weather affected. to say the least.
Well (or not so well…), a few days ago the Boston Athletic Association sent to every participants a weather alert because the forecasts are very similar to previous year.
Please, not…
That email didn’t surprise anyone because every Boston Marathon runner is continuosly checking many weather websites since more than a week ago but it hurted, anyway!
So, it’s taper madness time and you don’t want more trouble to think about, right?
While dealing with questions about pace strategy, why not add the “how to dress problem” that fast translate to “what should I put in my small cabine baggage”?
I found myself not only checking the weather forecasts for the marathon (and I’m not talking only about Boston but Hopkinton, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, Brookline and so on, following the course and the hour of the day when I expect to be there…) but also similar forecasts at home to test how to dress!
Obviously, weather forecasts for New England are fast changing and this makes things worse.
Meanwhile, I set my Garmin to match my current PR.
I still don’t know if it will reveal itself as a smart move or not but that’s my benchmark and I take it!
Many external factors may go wrong.
What about the flight?
I’m used to suffer it.
I tried to make it a good one buying an active noise cancellation headphones.
Hope it helps…
Another disturbing factor on flight is the smell, in particular when the crew prepare the meal distribution.
I’m experimenting a solution also for that and I had to use it very early during the trip, when hostess started giving to passengers a snack with garlic!
OMG, really?
I took out of my baggage a small box with a few Viks Vaporub, similar to the Tiger Balm, and I place it under my nose.
Does it work?
No answer yet, still flying…

Ok, I’m finishing this piece of text the day after.
The day after the travel and the day before the 123rd Boston Marathon.
What happened since I left?
Well (or not so well), my stomach got upset landing to Newark NJ!
I had a 3:50 layover but I hardly feel to be able to get on the plane for the short flight to Boston.
Unable to eat as I needed, anyway.
I survived the flight to Boston and I even eat a pizza.
Then to bed, even if sleeping was not so good.
Today I picked-up my bib number and carbo loaded.
Ready?
Uhm…
We will see tomorrow!

Getting into 2019 Boston Marathon

I told myself that I would have PRed in 2019 Boston Marathon just after the “weather affected” 2018 Boston Marathon.
I wrote it to not forget but I can’t forget it.
I worried about not being committed enough to do everything is needed to achieve that goal.
Or, better, to create the conditions to make it possible, even if you could never take it for granted; because in marathoning we can control only some factors but not all of them.
Entering my training cycle I’m in better shape compared to 2018 but not better than 2017.
I know that now it’s up to me:

  • staying healthy
  • avoiding injuries
  • being stick to the training plan
  • not overdoing
  • believing it possible
  • being consistent
  • focusing on what I can control
  • finding a way to limit the negative effects of what I can’t control

I want that PR.
I promised it and I take a promise for serious!

Race Report 2018

16th of April 2018

The 122nd Boston Marathon is over.

The days before the Marathon Mondays has been tapping time; not tapering madness but tapping on mobile phone as many times as possible to check AccuWeather and WeatherUnderground for Hopkinton, Wellesley, Newton and Boston.

We all know that a good weather forecast gets worse the closer the event is.

Is it the opposite a valid rule?

Does a bad weather forecast become better?

The answer is a resounding NO!

The rain will be heavier.

The wind will be stronger (headwind, obviously…).

The temps will be colder.

I can stand the rain.

I can stand the wind.

I can stand the cold.

But…

Please…

Not all together!

I carried a lot of clothes from Italy and I decided for the most waterproof mix.

Almost…

I had also a proper rain jacket but I’ve never liked my arms movement in it.

So, the winner is: two layers of Gore Windstopper and my singlet as the outer layer.

While in my hotel room I studied everything known about Gore-Tex and Windstopper: two layer should be ok.

The singlet would acts as a bib carrier; you’re not supposed to make holes with safety pins in waterproof layers, aren’t you?

Legs and feet follow the “less is better” approach; less fabric means less sponge effect.

No-show socks and split shorts are enough (I supposed…).

Old clothes to keep me warm at AV and trash bags (small for feet and big for body) completed the equipment.

Exiting the hotel I was able to keep positioned the fleece blanket (thanks British Airways…) but I have had no chance with the space sheet from 2017 Boston Marathon: the wind made it to fly away and I lost its use in seconds.

I took one of the big trash bags I had, I made two holes for arms and one for the head and I put it on.

I suppose the move was too aggressive because the holes became bigger and bigger; it has not last long…

Boarding on the school bus I was already wet and cold but I was still hoping that the one hour trip to Hopkinton would have helped me.

As expected, the AV was muddy (super muddy!) and the space under the tents hypercrowded.

And here come the heroes!

I easily found the red dot and my friends made room for me.

In crowded and noisy place I find it hard to understand a chat if in italian; in english I was out of the game most of the time (sorry friends, a problem of mine, not yours) but I spent some valuable time (thank you all!).

In a short while it was time to go.

I had not decided yet which corral to enter; me and the weather are not in Wave 2 / Corral 1 condition.

Nevertheless, better to have many people running faster than me compared to worrying about contacts with runners slowing down or changing direction.

So I enter my corral five minutes before the gun, after having visited a porta-potty at the store parking lot.

I took off the fleece blanket, the trousers and I put on two big trash bags.

Ok, I was not supposed to race in them (the singlet would have been my outer layer) but I didn’t feel right to dress as planned (I will take them away after 1 or 2 miles).

Ready to go…

Deep breathing, the gun, deep breathing and a slow start.

Not only me; I felt like many others took a start slower than expected in W2C1.

“Check the HR.

Chech the pace.

Be conservative.

You’re not in top shape, Alberto, and the weather conditions are opposite to your preferred one.

A safe BQ is the target.

A little faster would be a bonus but you don’t have to take risks, ok?

Hitting the wall, crash and burn… not today!”

I disabled autolap on my Garmin because I was using an app that calculates the real pace and predicts the final result based on manual lapping at the distance marks.

Pace and HR were ok in the first kms but after two miles my arms were soaked (out of the big trash bag but two layers of Gore Windstopper were already penetrated) and my body was wet (sweating or water entering from the holes I made for arms and head?); I didn’t want to think about it but I know I had a severe weakness in those conditions…

I was wearing the bib number as an additional layer to protect my belly.

The water not entering my clothes was collected by the trash bag and carried on my legs.

They’re getting a lot more raindrops than supposed; not a problem, at the moment…

Splits were regular; a little faster but I was feeling it as ok.

I’m not a supporter of time banking but I was trusting my feelings.

I didn’t feel cold but wind was an issue sometimes.

Many times I entered in standing water and I became immediately full wet; I still remember running 1500m steeplechase (I was junior so the distance was reduced compared to the official 3000m) when a competitor entered in contact with me and I got into the water…

Luckily enough it seems that socks and shoes were able to dry a little (from soaked to wet).

What happened to km mark?

I lost the 6km sign (I was looking elsewhere, I supposed) so I paid double attention to the 7km mark; no one…

From the 5km mark on, I was able to see the km mark only at timing mat, every 5 kms.

That translated to: “Even more, trust your feelings”.

Pace was ok.

HR was… OMG, higher than desired, for sure, but does it matter?

Yes, as a matter of fact, but I was pretending to run by feel, wasn’t I?

I was taking a few sips of Gatorade at water stations and one of my six gels every 5km, starting at the 10 km mark.

Still running wearing two trash bags…

I was supposed to tear them off after 2 miles or so but I worried about getting cold and worsening my body conditions.

Around 10 miles I felt… no, please not, not today!

“Movements” in my belly.

“Sometimes in training I had to stop due to GI issues but today is not one of those trainings; I’m running (pretending to race) the 122nd Boston Marathon!”

I learned later that Shalane Flanagan did a 13 seconds stop at a porta-potty; mine shouldn’t be a 13 secs affair…

Other options?

I could keep on running but I would have also kept my fingers crossed!

In our group we already know what might happen and it was not one of my preferred ending…

Hey, wait!

There was more and potentially worse…

If I still wanted a chance to finish that race, it meant no water, no Gatorade and no gel!

Mentally it got harder.

Bad thoughts in my mind.

Meanwhile, miles passed by.

Regularly.

No need to push (pace easily ok), no tired legs (yet?).

Legs…

“Have I wrong memories?

I remember me pulling off my trousers at corral and starting the race in split shorts, no-show socks and shoes.

Yes, I’m pretty sure of that but at the moment my legs are “dressed”.

I can touch them and it’s not my skin I’m touching.

At least, my fingers are returning the sense of touching something made of plastic, not my legs…”

That was the way I discovered that they were getting too cold.

Inside, the muscles were engaged and they felt in working condition but, outside, the skin was receiving the water directly from the rain but also what the trash bags collect from my torso and slides to my quads.

Something more to worry about…

Do you know what?

All those thoughts made miles fly away without “done/to do” stress.

In fact, I was still running a “comfortable” pace.

Down to the Newton Lower Falls (remember to be careful during that steep downhill).

Up on the highway (first real uphill, don’t overdo).

The Firehouse.

The Newton Hills.

I was worried to suffer from the lack of energy; no Gatorade and no gels since lot of miles.

I took one more gel.

I was balancing worrying about glycogen depletion and GI issues; not what I hoped to be focused on at this point of the race!

At the bottom of Heartbreak Hill I took away the trash bags; I supposed I can stand 10k dressed as I planned to be since the start.

My legs were still working pretty well.

I didn’t “race” the uphill but my pace was really good.

After the Boston College I reminded myself not to push the first mile downhill; too risky for my quads.

I decided to progress from there but…

As I tried a slight pace increase, the fuel gauge started blinking.

I hit RESERVE!

The app on my Garmin showed an estimated finish time around 3:17.

My target was 3:20; I would have been ok but not totally satisfied until 3:25 (reasonably ok for receiving the Confirmation of Acceptance for Boston 2019) and super happy moving down towards 3:15 so I was running close to my best scenario (set before the worsening of the weather) but I didn’t want to waste all in the last miles.

I was on the limit.

I had only one way to keep it going; no change at all on what I was doing!

Maintain the same effort; I could not fasten my pace but I didn’t have to slow it down.

And I kept it going…

Miles were not flying away as before; my eyes looked compulsively for miles marks, Garmin, miles mark again and so on.

I was close to miles #24 when, suddenly, I had to bend my body as Rocky Balboa hit my belly as hard as he could.

But it was not Rocky Balboa.

OMG!!!

No…

2 miles…

“Are you jocking?

This can’t happen to me NOW!”

I ran for a while with my left hand on my bib number and engaging my abs  to warm up my belly; yes, I was still running and I didn’t want to stop but I was in risky business, more than before.

Ctigo sign, under Massachusetts Ave, right in Hereford St and left in Boylston St.

The Finish Line; I saw it and I was running to it.

The first smile on my face since the start.

DONE!

3:16:44

BQ-13:16

I’m in for Boston 2019 and I’m targeting a PR.

No less than that.

I sent you an alert, Boston Marathon…

“If you want to stop my streak (one race per year – only the Boston Marathon – needing to BQ each year for the next one), this is your best opportunity because I hate running in bad weather.

In 2019 I will be unbeatable!”

You missed it and in 2019 you will know my racing character!!!

Getting into Boston 2018

13th of April 2018

I’m in London, boarded on the plane that will carry me to my 4th Boston Marathon.

Weather forecasts are sending alerts about cold, rain and headwind on Marathon Monday…

This is not good but it gets really bad if the Boston Marathon is my only race planned in the year and I want to qualify again to next year.

So, despite the elements, I’m putting pressure on me!

How much will the weather impact on my performance?

Marathoners prefer cooler temps vs warmer ones.

Not me, anyway!

My mood is definitely better if I’m running in the sun, when temps let me enjoy the split shorts and singlet light combination.

I can stand cold; it may force me to change my preferred “dress code” but I can overcome it.

Cold paired with rain and headwind?

Please not!

A nightmare…

So what?

5 minutes.

No particular calculation based on big data research; just a rough estimate of the worsening of my final result due to climate challenges.

That’s all?

Oh no!

Every marathoner knows pretty well his own body and is able to evaluate correctly how his training cycle has gone.

Me too and I perfectly know that I’m far from the stellar shape of one year ago.

Low weekly mileage, feeling tired all the time and no spring in the legs.

I’ve had some good key workouts but they look like coming from nowhere; no consistency no confidence…

5 more minutes.

That sums up to 10 minutes more than last year, that was (and is) my PR.

It also leaves me with a 5 minutes cushion to hope for BQing (based on recent stats).

Only 5 minutes…

No room to hit the wall, crash and burn, GI issues or pacing mistakes

That would end my routine: run the Boston Marathon and qualify for the next year’s one.

Until I fail to qualify and I don’t want it to be this year.

One race per year and it’s Boston.

Or, as “someone” wrote some time ago, I don’t run marathons often but when I do, it’s Boston!

Meanwhile, the flight is going well.

I’ve had troubles in the past; my stomach went downunder and I was not able to eat properly the day after that means on Sunday, the day before the Marathon Monday.

This year I made a mistake while booking the flight and I’m travelling on Friday; ok, it’s an intercontinental flight on Friday the 13th (!) but that leaves me one more day to recover from the trip.

Tomorrow I will try to log a short shakeout hoping for good sensations, even if I have to squeeze in the checkout from the room I booked for the unexpected night coming from the mistake in booking the flight, the visit to the expo getting the bib number not having received my runner’s passport (thanks italian postal service) and the checkin in my definitive room.

Will Boston do the magic again?

Will I be able to overcome my expectations?

I really hope so.

If it will, I strongly want 2019 to become a new PR.

Hey Boston, if you want to beat me, do it this year because in 2019 there will be no match!

Race Report 2017

17th of April 2017

My Boston training cycle would have started at the beginning of January but I got a bad flu that turned into bronchitis forcing me to got antibiotics.
Later I discovered that my doc gave me the med reported by the FDA for causing severe problems to tendons.
Should I say that I suffer some pain in my left AT since then?
So my training cycle went… very well!
I started 3 weeks later, reducing from 15 to 12 weeks, and I’ve always been worried about my AT but it never gets worse, letting me increase by 20% the week mileage compared to previous training cycles.

Did this make me confident about my result on Marathon Monday?
Absolutely not, because I was not able to train for uphill/downhill and that was a major limiting factor in my 2016 Boston Marathon.
About 4 weeks ago I ran my last LR (22 miles) on a hilly course but it was too hilly and I struggle a lot, lowering my self confidence.
Anyway, I set these goals:
– BQ for 2018 Boston Marathon (this year I turn 50yo so I get a 5 minutes bonus, making this goal easier)
– finish strong, likely doing negative splits (except Boston, my other marathons has always had negative splits)
– course PR
– PR

My flight went as usual; not so good…
No fear but my stomach can’t stand the change in pressure and the smell of the food served on plane.
In 2015 I was not able to eat properly until Monday evening.
This year my stomach was upset but I managed to get pasta in a late dinner on Saturday evening; on Sunday I was ok.

No line at bib pick-up.
Fast getting and paying the jacket.
Touched the Garmin 735 and 935, future substitute of my 410; the 935 is almost flat on the wrist despite HR sensor and this factor may make me choose that way when the price will drop in 2018.
Crazy long line to pasta party so that sums up to 3 restaurants in 24 hours!

Everything was ready for the big day: running dress, clothes for AV and gear bag to check.
I spent about half an hour to configure a gel belt for carrying 6 Enervitene cheer pack, liquid as water and so easier to get than gel but heavier and bigger.

2 alarms set; smartphone and radio, one at 6.00am and the second at 5.40am.
Why the difference?
I still don’t know!
Anyway, it went well: I woke up by myself, obviously, and I set alarms off.

Fast and easy checking the bag and getting into the bus.
I was side by side with a marathoner coming from Texas and I started worrying more and more…
As a matter of fact, it happens to me to have a conversation in english once per year and this makes it so difficult.
I was looking forward to meet other forumites but I didn’t want to find me unable to communicate properly.
I easily found the “red dot” and there I was, not getting every single words but understanding the meaning and possibly causing the same to my listeners when I took the word.
Anyway, we communicate, somehow, and I was happy to match stories, faces and voices!
Obviously, I never saw the elite woman of the Boston Marathon dailies.
The faster forumites (wearing the red bib number) left the AV after a short while; warriors ready to fight competitors and opposing factors, as hot weather…
People wearing the white bib number have not to wait long for leaving the AV.
The feelings were relaxed, after all, with at least one man who looks like he was there only because he followed the wrong line; no techies, no worries, no excuses, no words about training, shoes, gels or races.
Ok, he couldn’t be a runner but he wore a white bib number; how does he get it?
(BTW, he did great!)
Anyway, time to go!

Usual slow walking to the start zone.
A very fast (thanks God) line to the latest portapotty before the corrals and the surprise to find a small amount of snow in the parking lot; Sunday was so hot that I thought that even the tarmac would have faded away…
At the moment it was not hot as the day before but warmer than ideal, for sure!
Meanwhile, I got into my corral (2/2).
It didn’t happened in 2016 since it was so congested that I couldn’t enter and I had to wait the start standing outside, looking for a hole in the stream to get in.
Much more relaxing this year!

Start!
I set the virtual pacer to my PR; I wanted to get to the half about 1 minute later and keep that pace until Heartbreak Hill.
While walking to the corral I noticed that my heels were a little too loose.
That would have caused chafing or blisters so I tighten a bit the laces just before the start.
During first mile I felt that laces were too tight!
Should I stop (wasting 1 minute for a silly last minute move) or should I go (taking risks about the health of my feet)?
Was it still taper madness or a signal I couldn’t ignore?
Ignore was my answer!
And it was the right one, even if I was worried about that at the moment.
What else?
Oh, yes, I started running!

Relaxed, slow and steady.
Everything under control.
Don’t get nervous due to the crowded miles; you’re not banking time now.
You’re doing a 20 miles warmup to a 10k race.
(repeat)

As usual, I find women and even young girls are really masters in pacing.
Men are most inclined to be aggressive, competitive, challenging with others.
Women are on a mission by herself.
I ran most of my miles until Wellesley close to an old (ops, sorry, experienced…) female runner; very consistent, we were always in sight each other.
Once she took a bottle of water from the public; she used it to freshen her head, sip a little then gave it to me.
That move made me feel like “part of it”!
I did the same, giving the bottle to a younger girl.
And again, if someone met difficulties in a water station, we tried to grab a cup for her/him.
The heart got bigger.
And the HR stayed low.
Oh yes, I was still running, stick to the plan.
I was on pace, regularly, and I felt easier than during my easy training run.
Ok, go on like this.
Don’t think about the miles going.

Relaxed, slow and steady.
Everything under control.
You’re doing a 20 miles warmup to a 10k race.
(repeat)

“Toenails are overrated”: I like that sign!
I took my “gels”, as planned, and Gatorade, almost every water station.
And keep on going.

About one mile after the half mark I lost contact with the experienced woman.
I did my pace, slightly faster but well under control.

Turning right into Commonwealth Avenue at the Fire Station.
I saw the uphill; looked tough but I felt easy.
Ignore, don’t change the plan…
Miles appeared and disappeared on my Garmin.
I met some people I know and we talked a little.

Heartbreak Hill…
Last year I ran uphill in style but I burned running down to Boston.
Don’t overdo.
Keep under control.
I’m not loosing pace despite the hill.
I’m even gaining seconds.
Don’t overdo.
HH is flat today.

“Top of the Heartbreak hill”: no, HH is longer and tougher.
I asked: “Really?”
The sign holder moved the head to say yes.
I’m laughing!
I saw the Boston College.
It was true!
I thought about my son.
About my girlfriend.
Teardrops…
I’m happy!
Remember: DON’T PUSH just after the Boston College, wait a little more…

The decline was becoming flatter.
Let the legs roll a little more.
All systems were ok.
Some more speed.
Ok.
By feeling.
I looked at the pace on the watch…
Oh my God!
Ok, it’s the Garmin not stable on instant pace.
I looked at it again…
Oh men!
NOW THAT’S RUNNING!

My son, my girlfriend, my parents, my brother were all in my mind.
And the legs kept rolling…
I was the man on the move.
Other runners looked like standing in a line waiting for something.
I had a personal section of the road where I can run.
And I kept on running…
No, no more; I’m flying!
Literally, I was on a high.
Some runners tried to match my pace but they endured yards, not miles.
I was a shark smelling the blood.
You could see my fin breaking the water and you could not escape the fate; I’m faster, I’m strong, I’m beating you.

Citgo, tunnel, right on Hereford, left on Boylston.
Still full of energy!
Teardrops, smile…
I’m unstoppable!

Yes, it was hotter than ideal.
Yes, the elevation profile is demanding.
But…
I was able to get all my goals.
Never felt tired.
Never thought “no more”.
Simply, my best marathon; ever!

It was worth 2 hours of line the day after to have my new PR embroidered on my celebration (yes!) jacket.
And walking side by side with Tom Grilk to get to Adidas Runbase after he told me: “Follow me”?
Unbelievable!
My friends, these few days are set in my mind forever!!!

I decided to gift me buying the Garmin 935.
Looked for it in every sport shop in Boston…
No one.
The few sold at the expo were the only ones available.
It doesn’t matter; I don’t need it to be happy!

Walking around Boston on Tuesday I wondered why the temps couldn’t have been swapped Tuesday to Monday.
It doesn’t matter; I’m happy with my run!

Planning Boston 2018…