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!

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.

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.

“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.
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.
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!

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.
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”?
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…

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