The Buildup – Easily the flimsiest training cycle I’ve had in quite some time. Looking back on things, there were 3 marathon-pace workouts and 2 long runs (18.5 and 19) over 14 miles. Since the start of the year, I cracked 50 miles/week 5 times (8 last year) and 60 miles/week exactly once (7 last year). I tried telling myself that the last time I had a cycle I was as iffy about was Portland 2013 where I ran my current PR. Nonetheless, it was hard to know what to expect (i.e. not freak the hell out about where my level of fitness was or wasn’t)
Taper – Figured with the lower mileage throughout the rest of the cycle that doing a bit more than I typically would for a taper wouldn’t hurt and I think it paid off. Went 58-47-25 the 3 weeks before the race and really focused race week on more intensity/less miles. Shout out to Mauricette for that one. Also really focused (finally) on the diet this time around and really managed to completely cut out sugar and told myself to just eat real food. The result was racing at the lightest weight I’ve ever been at – 171 – for a marathon.
Race Weekend – Keeping in line with the theme of trying new things this time around, I brought Jasmine with me to Boston. Heck of a way to introduce her to my parents but it was a fun weekend. Wasn’t quite sure how having a girlfriend with me would pan out but I have zero complaints about how things turned out. We really kept it low key all weekend which was great.
Raceday – Early ass morning started at 4:45. Ate a bagel on my way out the door with a little bit of Gatorade. Left the hotel at 5:30 and was on the Common by 6:20 (albeit after an encounter with the biggest dick of a T attendant I’ve ever met). Snuck through after a nurse at the T and set the buzzer off so this guy (instead of giving the runner his free ride) turns to the lady and says “This world’s full of fucking losers isn’t it?”…excuse me, WHAT?! Go back to your T booth Quasimodo. At least the nurse was nice, haha. Ate another bagel on the T. Met up with Tunney and he checked a bag then the two of us and our sweet fanny packs boarded the bus (much easier this year with the new wave-regulated boarding) to Hopkinton. Wound up sleeping most of the way out there and found out the girl behind us couldn’t hold it any longer and took a leak right there on the bus. Poor girl…Ate a Larabar (coconut cream pie) as we pulled into Hopkinton. Athlete’s Village was completely reconfigured this year and while Tunney felt like the guinea pig in the world’s worst social experiment, I laid down and relaxed for an hour or so. We met a very nice woman from southern Maine (Christine Irish) as we walked down to the corrals. Loved the new corral loading procedures and it was nice to meet another Mainer. Visited the porta-potties down by the start one last time, sucked, down a GU, looked around for other Mainers (saw a few, but no Beardsley), then got to our corral.
The Race – Tunney and I had talked about going out harder than last year’s pedestrian 6:45 first mile and just letting things roll for the first 10k or so. Well, that’s exactly what I did (6:26/6:22/6:16/6:16/6:23/6:13) though he had some choice words for me after mile 3. “Just let it roll” was my response. Could still hear him at about mile 5 but that ended up being the last I heard from Tunney. Looked over just before mile 6 and saw Gary Allen so I ran over to say hi…”What’s up motherfucker?!” in vintage Gary form was his greeting. He told me to run tangents (actually something I managed to do better this year) and that was that. After a couple more miles (6:16/6:18) I decided at mile 8 to make a conscious decision to slow down a touch not knowing what kind of shape I was in. Really focused on keeping my effort the same without worrying too much about the pace. The result: 6:16/6:24/6:20/6:21. Yeah, didn’t slow down at all, haha. Thoroughly enjoyed the Wellesley mile (though not as much as the guy next to me!), hit the half in 1:23:09, and told myself to keep the effort even until the hills. One of the highlights of my race happened just after mile 15 when I looked over and saw her again: Joanie. She was running solo and crowds were just going BERSERK for this woman…something truly special to see. I ran over, shook her hand, and told her what an absolute honor it was to be running next to her, especially as a Mainer at Boston. Hoping she didn’t think I was crazy but who knows. Ran with Joanie for about half a mile hoping she’d help slow me down a little bit but that never really happened. 6:19/6:24/6:23/6:15. Hit the first of the Newton Hills going over the highway and the only thing I could think of was Rudolph saying to me “Keep the effort even. Just keep it even” so that’s exactly what I tried to do. Fist pumped after seeing my first hill split was 6:28. I remembered running that section a year ago feeling like I was absolutely flying (in reality I was only 5 seconds faster). Spent the rest of the hills (6:30/6:27/6:27/6:36) feeding off the crowd and the feeling of passing people while at the same time just keeping my effort even. Went through the noise tunnel (and I mean NOISE tunnel) on Heartbreak fist pumping and giving love to all the supporters of the “E”. Was so proud of myself for running the hills as smart and evenly as I did that I went down the backside of Heartbreak high-fiving BC kids with both hands at roughly 5:20 pace. In a marathon. With 5 miles left. Idiot. Got to the bottom and immediately swore at myself knowing I had just fried my quads. 6:18, but run like a moron. Unreal amount of fun, though! Got through the Graveyard Mile (appropriately named by Tunney) amongst some serious carnage. People were dropping like flies. Hit Cleveland Circle with 4 miles to go and told myself to just keep moving. Didn’t really have any other options at that point. Began to take Gatorade at every stop (from mile 21 on I think) and even dumped water on myself once or twice which I typically hate doing. Tried to pick it up a couple of times but that just wasn’t happening so I decided to distract myself by looking for Charlie (never saw him) for a couple miles. At mile 24, I figured out could run a couple 6-flats and flirt with a PR but that wasn’t an option. One, maybe, two, no way. Decided to just keep moving…6:32/6:34/6:31/6:31. The Citgo sign was a most welcome sight and the crowds in Kenmore Square were out of this world. The last two miles or so were such a blur with all the noise but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Turned onto Boylston and immediately went to the right side knowing that’s where my family would be. Just took everything in knowing that there will never be another race like Boston 2014. Amazing. Saw Jasmine halfway out into the street being held by an old lady so she wouldn’t fall over followed by the rest of the gang. Managed to pose long enough for what is easily the best race photo I’ve ever been in (amazingly snapped by Mom!) before booking it to the finish. 2:48:01. BOOM.