Sunday, April 26, 2009

Boston Marathon recap - April 20th, 2009

Well, it's been 6 days the grand event and I am finally getting around to a recap of the Boston Marathon that I ran last Monday.


First half - 1:29:27
Second half - 1:32:52
sh time: 3:02:19
Click here to see my race mile splits

Going into the race, I felt like I had a chance at a 2:59, and that was the goal. However, in the back of my mind, I wasn't sure if I was in the shape as I was for Austin nine weeks earlier.

Getting into Hopkinton is stressful. Since we had a rental car, I decided to have my wife drive me to Hopkinton from our hotel on the edge of downtown. This allowed me about an extra 1.5 hours in the morning and made it easier to handle our daughter.

Jen dropped me at a school where race organizers had "runners only" buses carting people over to Athlete's Village. It took at least one hour to be able to get off the bus. We sat in the bus just outside the village for at least 1/2 hour due to sheer volume of buses.

Once in Athlete's Village, I was too late to have a prayer to use a port-o-john. The lines were extremely long and it was 55 minutes to race start.

I texted my friend, Aaron, to meet me at the start. I dumped my gear at the check. I'm not proud to admit that I found a secluded, yet illegal, open urinal along with several other runners. However, in fairness to me and hundreds upon hundreds of others, race organizers still do not have enough port-o-johns to handle the pre-race surge.

I was in the 4th corral based on my Twin Cities time of 3:06 last October. I probably could have gotten to corral 2 if I had sent in a new time from Austin. I didn't.

The weather was near perfect. I was very comfortable, although, I knew the winds would catch us later in the race.

The race kicked off and the cattle drive began. First several miles were very crowded. My first mile was a 7:15 and I had to work through much traffic for it.

In the first 8 miles or so, I will say that I did not have the "pop" that I felt I would need to run sub-3. I felt a little drained early on. The first energy gel really helped and I was on a true high as we approached Wellesley College.

My 1/2 marathon split was 1:29:27. This is right where I would want to be for the first half for most marathons on a sub-3 attempt, but I knew this was Boston, and the second half is often slower. Running a negative split in Boston means you are sandbagging heavily on the front end.

As I approached mile 17 and the Newton Hils, I was definitely daunted. However, I recovered after the first major climb. I told myself "you can do, this, Ryan".

Enter Heartbreak at mile 20, where I was barely holding on to pace for 2:59. The Newton Hills did their damage. Heartbreak got me and, afterward, I could not again pace back down to 6:50 even in the downhill terrain.

For the final 10k, I wanted to make sure I didn't blow achieving my second best marathon time (3:06 in Twin Cities). I was able to muster 7:10's-7:20's as I took in the final stretch with all of the fantastic crowds. When I made the turn toward Boylston, I was ready to celebrate. And you know I did.

Losing sub-3 was frustrating and humbling, but I am too way experienced at this point with the marathon to respect the distance. However, I will say that I am proud that I hung on for a 3:02. Around 21, I was in a place where I thought I was totally going to fall part. That's what is very special about Boston. The final stretch is such an adrenaline rush with the fan support.

I am pleased with my performance. Putting up a 3:02 at Boston only nine weeks after a 2:59 in Austin is a great accomplishment for me. These are my two best marathons out of 15 now total.

Once back home, I had to turn my efforts to the kick-off of our new running club here in Plainfield, IL. We had our first group run yesterday and the start-up of the club has been a success to this point.

Now, I need to devise a training strategy for San Francisco on July 26th. I have 12 weeks until the race.


Neeraj Rohilla said...

Congratulations on your awesome Boston race. I really liked your comment about respecting the distance, many people get carried away and don't enjoy their race even if it deviates even slightly from their game plan.

I am about to start my training for Houston 2010 marathon with aim to qualify for Boston (keeping fingers crossed). I am relatively new runner (running only for 2 years) and have done only one marathon so far. So, we will see. :-)

Andrew said...

Great job!

jen said...

Congratulations Ryan!! I tracked you online and was (and am) completely impressed by your amazing finish time at Boston! Holding such a strong pace on that course is incredible. Well done!! Those hills are so hard because of where they are in the race. You owned the course though. Congrats again!!

Running Jayhawk said...

Congratulations on a great race, Ryan! I love the photo with A afterwards, too!

monicac2 said...

Great, great job!

Arcane said...

Hey Ryan, sorry about the sub three, but you still ran a really strong race. Too bad, we couldn't meet up in Boston.

chicago r said...

Nice job. I ran a 1:24 at the Cary half and still only finished in 3:01, so don't feel bad, it is a tough course. Have you considered running your 26.2s further apart, like 6 months so you can build and maintain a better base? Trying to PR or run sub 3 with only 6 weeks to run at base mileage (3 to recover and 3 to taper) is pretty insane.