Monday, April 21, 2008

Boston 2008 Race Report

As Paul Talewsky told me once, be happy with a PR because you'll never know when it'll be your last. Today was a PR, officially by 2:30. I say officially though I did take a 50 second deduction for a pee break around mile 1. However, that was due to my values and concern for my fellow runners. Sure I could have dropped my pants in the starting corral and let fly, like so many people did, but no I figured it was worth waiting rather than pissing on my fellow man. Tell you what though, there were rivers galore on the road at the start. If I lived in Hopkinton I'd be praying for rain soon! Minus that deduction I would have run 2:54:51 (my time was 2:55:41).
Anyway, the race went much like my last quality workout: I spent a lot of time hunting for a pace. The course doesn't help here. The downhill is really a bunch of sharp downs with short ups, not flats. And immediately following the military fly over at the start, it was full sun all day. I anticipated this so had my sunglasses and sunscreen on. It never got too hot, or it could have become a death march quite quickly. Anyway I was running faster today than I ever have at this distance and it had one unfortunate side effect: my quads were destroyed by 14 miles. While I had more training mileage than previous years, I had fewer long runs on pavement. The leg pain led to some conservative running in the Newton hills because I was worried about tying up during the last 5 miles. After an initial surge during the 22nd mile, I pretty much settled into a tempo pace and took it in. I knew I had a PR wrapped up, and rather than risk blowing up I stayed somewhat conservative, unlike 2006 when I was attempting to crack 3 hrs for the first time.
The story of the day is obviously the encounter with Mr Livestrong himself: Lance Armstrong. Around mile 10 I started hearing a lot more cheering than normal and signs of "Go Lance, Go" and "Lance, I Luv U" started appearing. I looked around and saw this short guy (okay shorter than me!) in yellow shoes, black socks, baggy black shorts, yellow tank top and about 1/2 dozen Livestrong armbands (think 80s Madonna look). Yes it was Lance. And then I widened my focus and noticed a small entourage around him. I didn't break pace and eased past him. While I knew he was not far behind, I didn't see him again until we hit Wellesley College (lots of screaming girls). Suddenly the guy in black and yellow appears on my right shoulder. The louder the girls yell, the faster he goes. Well hell, while I knew the proper tactical approach was to let him go, I figured how often are you shoulder for shoulder with an icon with soooo many cameras around! So I matched his pace. I checked my heart monitor to see just how far above pace I was. My HR was 160 on a downhill. That's a little high, especially before the 1/2. When one of his assistants (he had people pacing him and bringing him fluids) shouldered in between us (hey he came up to me douche bag), I dropped back into my pace.
The race plan had a 15 sec quick walk break every other aid station. I can't tell if it helped or not from a muscle standpoint (the quads really hurt), but it did enable me to get full drinks without gagging, and given the sunshine this was important. It's always a help seeing people you know, and having Tim standing on the 128 overpass with a nice cool bottle of Gatorade was also welcome. I had a little fluid deficit going at that point so I chugged about 1/3 of the bottle and was back on track the rest of the way.
Of course I'm always critical of my races, however, I know I worked about as hard as I could today. I don't believe I left more than a minute out on the course today. Sure it would be great to be faster, but I've never been this fast so I can't really complain.

Oh yeah. I called home and talked to Alexandra after the race. She said, "Good job daddy. Did you get a gold medal?" "Yes I did dear, just for you (my finishers medal)." "Wow. Daddy I got Tinkerbell undies! They're so beautiful!" Okay moment's passed. Back to being Daddy.