Entering my fourth Boston and fifth marathon overall, all I am hoping for is a normal Boston marathon. My previous 3 haven’t been “normal” by any stretch.
Here’s how the other ones shaped up:
2012 was a blistering 89 degrees and actually provided me a little comfort as I threw my time right out the window and was able to run it just to finish. 20% of the field either didn’t start taking Menino’s advice or didn’t finish because of the heat. I will say I did feel like a little kid running through all the sprinklers that the bystanders had set up and loved the car wash style running bays streaming water from the fire houses. Three weeks before the marathon I said it would be only one…..and after the heat and posting up a 4:15, I knew I needed redemption.
Everyone who ran 2013 has a story. After losing BK only 3 months after my first Boston, I took my training much more seriously and was ready for a better showing. I was determined to break 4 hours and really wanted to give a go at breaking an 8 minute pace. I ran my best marathon to date and in doing so, kept myself safe. I had crossed the finish line about a half hour before the bombs went off on Boylston, despite being a block away over in Copley square.
Then there was Marine Corps in October 2013, my third marathon, where I exhibited that I knew very little about how to run a race. Coaches preach and remind us again and again of the importance of a negative split (running the 2nd half faster then the first) and my race exhibited why that is important. I had learned to pick up my pace but didn’t have the miles under my belt that I needed training through a busy work season. My first half came in right around 1:41 (which was a PR at the time) which I then followed with a 2:05, perhaps the most miserable miles I will ever run. Those highway overpasses in DC and Crystal City still given me nightmares.
My 2014 training was injury plagued. I thought I had my IT band issues in check and I was sorely mistaken. I was doing 2 or 3 days a week at Physical Therapy over the last month just to make it to the starting line. 4:02 could have been a disappointment in many ways but the day was unforgettable and it wasn’t about individual times but of what we experienced in Boston on that day.
My 2015 training took me across 11 different states and was my first year without any international miles in my prep. Logged runs in ME, MA, NH, VT, CT, NY, NJ, CO, UT, CA, FL and one could argue Nevada but it wouldn’t be that strong of an argument. Going into this year, I put injury prevention as a top priority. Regular appts with a sports therapist, taking up a little yoga and being smart has help me manage the regular ITB and piriformis issues that I tend to feel with nearly every run. I will also say that bribing a PT on the side with a bottle of wine or dinner for some impromptu grafton or deep tissue treatment has helped as well.
It has come at a cost though as I will be headed to the starting line with only 241 miles under my belt (324 miles in 2013). The weather was a big factor for sure. Driving 4850 miles in March didn’t help me out either. There were a few weeks where I logged a mid-week treadmill run of 5 miles or so then my long weekend run…not exactly what Jack or any other coach would recommend.
Despite these things, I think it’s safe to say that I’m headed to Hopkinton this year more ready then ever. On Monday, 3:32:59 is the time to beat. If I were to say I thought I’d be running a negative split, I would be lying….I’m still not that smart yet. 1:42 / 1:46 is what I should be shooting for but there’s a big part of me that expects to do something dumb like a 1:36 / 2:00+. It will likely be the miles between the firehouse and slapping hands with the former versions of myself at BC (a college kid cracking his first beer at 8 am who couldn’t run 3 miles with his life on the line) that will likely determine whether I get the PR or not. After that, it will be the laces around my neck, the names on my back, and thinking of seeing my crew/my buddy Colin in Kenmore that can hopefully keep me on track for the final 5 to finish off what I hope to be a PR.
(I wrote all of this when there was a small chance of rain…now it’s a sure thing and it’s coming with a bunch of wind…..let’s see how that plays into my plan…) I