Boston 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011


March 20th, 2011 - The road to Boston took a slight detour south to the sleepy sea-side city of New Bedford for the aptly named New Bedford Half Marathon.

Let me get one thing out of the way before I continue.


If it wasn't for the fact that there's not much here in the way of work other than being the local whaling museum curator and fish sandwich manufacturer, I'd move here in a heartbeat! OK, maybe two.

I love it here so much that I came down one day early just to soak up the cool 30 mph gusts off of the freezing Atlantic. Ah, refreshing!

I actually came down early because I had just completed timing a fun little St. Patty's 5K race in Providence on Saturday, so instead of driving two hours home, only to make the trek back less than 12 hours later, I decided to tag along with Yankee timers, Richie and Bill, and hid inside their luggage for a free night stay in the biggest fishing port in the continental US! Wow!

Discovered an awesome brick oven pizza joint, around the corner from the start/finish on Union St, for dinner on Saturday. I highly recommend you check it out the next time you're this far south looking for humpbacks.

I managed to get to bed relatively early for the 11AM race, so waking up anytime after 5AM on Sunday would be bonus.

I ended up waking up on Sunday at 7AM to give myself enough time to hop into the hotel's whirlpool to help loosen up the beaten up legs. Even though I had purposely only racked up 30 miles on the week up through Saturday, my legs were still feeling dead from the prior two weeks of Boston training totalling 150+ miles.

It was actually nice to finally get a down week from Boston mileage, and just focus on recovering and preparing for New Bedford.

This half marathon was actually put on for the first time 34 years ago for this very reason, it was used as a final tune-up for Boston. There are a ton of other races in the area that claim to be the "Boston Prep", but in my book, New Bedford is the best RACE to race before Boston. The timing is perfect and the course is very forgiving if you do decide to race it. And many do.

15 minutes in the hot tub was all that I needed to feel like a young sprite again before heading off to downtown NB to help Richie and Bill set up the race.

I managed to get four wonderful NBHM volunteers to help me enter in over 300+ race day apps.

Interesting fact: once the race sold out at around 10AM, people were still paying and registering knowing that they weren't going to get timed - that's how awesome this race is!

It was 10:30AM when I was finally got done with timing work. Now it was time to put on the slimelet and have some fun.

I've run this race two previous times and the weather was decent both times (2001 & 2010), but today ranked up there as absolutely f'n perfect! The temps were in the low 30's at the start, but the sun was out in full force so it felt closer to the upper 30's.

The biggest worry with this race is the wind since you're exposed to the sea-side for 2-3 miles of the run.

Tuck and hide is usually my motto for those stretches, but the gusts were blowing around at 5-10 MPH today, which is considered a cool breeze for these parts. It was also a good sign, when I drove the course on Saturday, and saw that the flags were blowing out towards the ocean, meaning a possible tailwind for miles 10-12!

(nature always wins. always.)

With these optimal conditions I opted for just the calf warmers, since I'm not a full-fledged triathlete yet. Mittens, cap, a thin Under Armor layer up top and down below beneath the GLRR gear, and the Kinvaras rounded out the rest of my attire for this dress rehearsal.

This would be my first race in the Kinvaras, and this would be its only opportunity to audition for Boston. The Newtons were waiting with baited breath in the wings. No pressure.

I got out to the start hoping to find some of the some other Green Chickens to warm up with, but the area around the start was buzzing with pre-race activity and finding a green chicken in a sea of runners was like tryng to find a green chicken in a sea of runners.

I was now looking for City Hall since this was where I found the shortest bathroom line last year. I ran into Liane and she pointed me in the right direction with about 15 minutes to go before the gun went off.

The line inside City Hall was definitely much shorter than the cluster F by the port-a-johns outside.

No disrespect to this great country of ours, but I was busy on the shitter when I heard the beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. OH SHIT!

This pre-race dump ranked up there as one of my best, but it would cost me dearly. I hurriedly got outside (don't worry, I washed my hands) and tried to make it to the front of the corral. I had less than one minute to get myself into pole position before the gun went off, so I jumped through the barricades anywhere I could. I knew I was in trouble when all of the runners around me were Ipod zombies!!

(I, Hate, Running.)

I managed to only move up about 10 feet within the corral, hoping to find some racing singlets, but I was still in no runners' land.

I was still about 25 yards from the starting line, so I just resigned myself to my fate. I actually thought that a sub 1:20 was in serious jeopardy even at this point. The last thing that I wanted to do was weave in and out of the pack this early on. I've made that mistake too many times in the past and its never worked out well.

The gun went off right at 11AM, and everybody around me were still making sure their Ipods were working.

10 full seconds passed before my section started inching forward towards the start. Thank goodness for net time!

It was another 30 seconds before I officially started the race with 40 seconds in the hole. DAMN! Rueben Sanca was probably at mile 1 already.

(and he's off)

My worse fears came to light shortly after the starting line. I was weaving in and out, ducking and dodging my way to the front. I got a couple of WTF's from the zombies as I blew past them. I swore back, but they couldn't hear me.

I finally caught sight of a couple slimelets and other familiar running strides in the dense pack. I got a nice ribbing (deservedly so) from Fil, EJ, James, and Jeff once I passed them (I think they were all holding hands).

The Water Buffalo even tried a little persistence hunting on me, but quickly gave in for easier prey.

I also passed the Bournes, Cullen, Matt, Andy, Frank, and Glenn as I got closer to where I should have been at the start. I was one mile into the race and my breathing was already out of control and my legs felt heavy. I could literally feel the lactic acids building in my legs.

My originally planned opening salvo was to start out with 6:10's through the first 5K, and bring it down from there. As EJ likes to say, mortals plan, etc, etc, etc...

Mile 1 passed in 5:24 for me! It was now a matter of not if, but when I was going to pay back the piper for the fast start.

On the bright side, my fast first mile made up for my extra time in the penalty corral.

I knew I was exactly where I should be once I started seeing red at Mile 2.

I first made out (not with) Jennifer Lee (female winner of this year's Andover XC race) of the GBTC, and then I saw my prey: MICHAEL SHANAHAN, former Greater Lowell Road Runner, and the current Benedict Arnold for the GBTC.

(Arnold also ran a 1:25:36 half in his prime. I'm just saying.)

I performed my own persistence hunt on Mike for about a quarter mile before my drooling gave away my position. We exchanged quick "pleasantries", and then the duel was on.

Checking my watch, I knew that Mike was currently on pace to break 1:20, as he had hoped for, but my goal was to break Mike Shanahan.

Now was a good time as any as we approached the first of many steady hills on the course.

I kicked it into another gear and shot up the hill and out of sight of Mike. 

And then the duel was off.

(Next time, bring a knife)

I now had bigger things to conquer up ahead, like getting to the finish line in one piece.

Miles 2 & 3 were more on target pace-wise with a 5:59 and 6:10, respectively.

I crossed the 5K mark in a little under 18. The amazing part is that this was the first time I had broken 18 over 5K, under race conditions, this year! Only 10 more grueling miles to go! 

There's a nice dip followed by the steepest climb to the highest point on the course after the 5K mark. This section is actually a 'harder" climb then the hill at the end of the course, but like Boston, it just all depends on when you face these things.

I always get sick of this climb because it runs on for a little under a mile. It's also the best place to leave others in your wake. I love taking advantage of other runners struggling on this hill at Mile 4. Today was no different.

I pushed the pace and pulled out a speed burst that Frank would have been proud of. I got through the hilly Mile 4 in 6:05.

The course drops back down to sea level through miles 5, 6 and 7. This is where you can really get your pace down if you're willing to take the risk of doing prolonged damage to your quads. I rolled the dice and slammed on the gas.

Mile 5: 5:52
Mile 6: 5:50 (I also managed a 10K PR - 36:15!)
Mile 7: 5:56

Any advantage you gain there is usually given back over the next three miles as you run along the sea wall of wind. Like I said earlier, the winds were a bit tamer this afternoon, but it still made its presence known.

Unlike prior years where I found myself in no man's land, and all alone, I was fortunate enough this year to find a Cody Freihofer lookalike, less the fighting, and hid behind him for about half-a-mile.

The problem with drafting is that your pace will be whatever the person your drafting behind is running. I glanced at my Garmin and saw my overall pace drift up a little to match my current pace of 6:20's.

I knew I didn't have much extra time in the bank, so I made the decision to go it alone for the next two miles at my own pace, wind be damned!

I love miles 8 & 9 on this course, they're right along the beautiful waterfront and there's a deceptive climb that's once again great for taking out tiring runners.

I made a quick note of a flag to check on the wind conditions, and it was blowing across our path and out to sea. This meant that the tail wind that I experienced yesterday was still there for miles 10, 11 and 12!

Mile 8: 6:04

I sprinted to the top of mile 9, anxiously looking forward to a very fast, wind-powered 5K to close out the race!

Mile 9: 6:09

My suspicions were confirmed when things got eerily quiet, I couldn't feel ANY wind, and started to sweat like a pig in heat. These are the classic signs of the wind to your back.


I crossed the Mile 10 marker right when the official race clock hit 1:01:00. This now gave me less than 19 minutes to get in a 5K in order to meet my A goal for the day.

I felt like crap at this point last year and I remember struggling over the final 5K to only miss my 2010 A goal of sub 1:23 by a mere 7 seconds.

My legs were still feeling strong and oddly I only had two thoughts literally running through my mind at this point, track workouts and Frank Georges.

Track workouts for how I currently felt and what I had left in the tank. My legs were reaching their breaking point, but like at Thursday night track I knew I had something left for the end. Up to this point, this whole race actually just felt like a really tough track workout. 

The piper was going to get a rain check today. Sorry.

The reason I was thinking of Frank was due to the dreaded 6:01 overall pace that he experienced here a few years ago, and the regret that he's lived with since (not really, but I'm sure it eats at him every night when he goes to bed - again, not really). Frank missed the "only cool to runners" milestone of sub-6 for the half by about 10-15 seconds the year he ran NB in 1:18:46.

I didn't want that on my tombstone, even if it killed me.

(this is what I want)

One other thing that drove me over the final 5K was the fact that my gun time and net time were going to have a relatively large discrepancy due to my pre-race Mile 14 ritual. I definitely didn't want my gun time to say something like 1:20:10 and my net time to say 1:19:45. I wanted everything to say sub 1:20.

With all of that on my mind, I decided to go for broke.

Mile 10: 6:03
Mile 11: 5:50
Mile 12: 5:50

It was around this point that my ears perked up when I heard "Go Greater Lowell!", and it wasn't for me! Who else is out here at this time of the race?!

I squinted and looked ahead about 50 yards and saw Andrew Biancheri of GLRR! He was having a heck of a race and still looked comfortable. He was running with some CSU and Whirlaway folks.

I gave it my all and finally caught up to Andy before we started the "monster" final climb. He warned me about the hill as I sped off like a spoiled brat just told not to do something stupid.

The final climb was over in a blink mainly because I closed my eyes and just prayed for the end. That wasn't so bad...

When I re-opened my eyes, I saw that the Whirlaway runner in front of me was Ephraim. We had done a Boston training run together a few months ago, and I knew he was VERY strong.

I was about 20 yards behind him coming down the final hill and turn for the straight-away finish.

There's absolutely nothing better than a straight-away finish down the center of a downtown street with people screaming at the top of their lungs i.e. Boston.

NB is no different and something inside my head just turned off the pain in my legs and I sprinted the final quarter mile managing to pass two other runners and almost catching Ephraim at the line (I did however catch him in the final results. Thanks to net time, again).

(just like during our training run)

The final 400 meters at NB would later indicate a pace of 4:55 on my Garmin, which works out to roughly a run time of 1 min and 18 seconds, which is something that I try to consistently hit during my 400's at track.

Of course, it's also by no coincidence that I ended up running a 1:18 half marathon. I think Bart might be onto something...

Oh yeah, I also crossed the line in 1:18:35. Rounded to 6 min/mile on the official results, but it works out to something like 5:59.999999999999. Eh, close enough. Mission(s) Accomplished.


I think I'll just keep running and take the scenic route all the way to Boston 2:45?

Congrats to all of the runners at this year's NBHM!

Reno pointed out the fact that there were 371 runners under 1:30 at this race! That's just unbelievable, but yet, not surprising given the caliber of dedicated club runners in this area.

A BIG Thank You to all of the fine folks and volunteers that makes this incredible race possible!

Now where's my fish sandwich?

El Pollo Loco Results:

1.    Ally Maslowski - 1:48:02 (PR)
2.    Andre Chandonnet - 1:26:41
3.    Andrew Biancheri - 1:19:38 (PR)
4.    Ben Bourne - 1:38:44 (PR)
5.    Cullen Madden - 1:34:50 (PR)
6.    Dave Oliver - 1:19:52
7.    Douglas Sylvester - 2:43:48 (PR)
8.    EJ Hrynowski - 1:21:14 (PR)
9.    Fil Faria - 1:27:51 (PR)
10.  Frank Georges - 1:27:42
11.  Glenn Stewart - 1:30:36
12.  James Sullivan - 1:30:52 (PR)
13.  Jason Bui - 1:18:35 (PR)
14.  Jeff Thomas - 1:27:11 (PR)
15.  Jim Scotti - 1:54:50
16.  Joseph Ferris - 1:55:30
17.  Liane Pancoast - 1:44:12 (1st Place Female GLRR)
18.  Linda McCarthy - 1:58:08 (PR)
19.  Mark Corbett - 1:55:41
20.  Mark Reeder - 1:14:01 (1st Place Male GLRR)
21.  Matt Story - 1:32:31 (PR)
22.  Meb Keflezighi - DNF
23.  Michael Brodeur - 1:39:58 (PR)
24.  Nancy Dorn - 1:53:19
25.  Nancy Flaherty - 1:40:33
26.  Nicholas Kanaracus - 1:39:32
27.  Patty Foltz - 1:49:30
28.  Steve Kanaracus - 1:45:29
29.  Tom Amiro - 1:38:15
30.  Tom Foltz - 1:47:58
31.  Tom Peters - 1:36:10
32.  Trish Bourne - 1:38:46

(All Aboard!)

Overall NBHM run:


First 6 Miles: 35:15 (5:53)
Last 6 Miles: 35:51 (5:59)

Great pictures courtesy of Melissa Sylvester:


BadDawg said...

I guess in New Bedford it's appropriate that your Newtons had baited breath, elsewhere it's bated.

That's a great run J, the Kenyans running Boston are now sweating like pigs would sweat if pigs could sweat, which we now know they can't.

Jason Bui said...

As in masterbated?

Well, I'm glad somebody is catching all of my unintended puns! Actually, I'm just glad somebody is even still reading this blog!

SisuJohn said...

That was a great run, wow. I have been gunning for you since Fudge #1, have been making great progress, and you are still light years ahead! And then EJ, when I was at mile 5, you zipped right by in the festive attire casually saying hello to every spectator on the course! What kind of water (yeah right) are the GLRR's drinking?

Frank Georges said...

When I looked back at my 2005 log today, I saw that I ran the first mile of New Bedford in 5:35. Yours was eleven seconds faster, which was also the difference between my overall time and yours. I wonder if going out kind of hard at NB is the right idea. It actually seemed to work out ok for both of us.

Actually, the big difference is the whirlpool. I had no whirlpool available in 2005. 15 minutes in the whirlpool apparently equals about 15 seconds faster. On the morning of Boston this year, I now will try to spend 600 minutes (or 10 hours) in a whirlpool so I can get 10 minutes faster.

Jason Bui said...

Whatever it is, Matt Germaine is drinking about 10x the amount! You're not doing too shabby yourself. I really can't wait to see everyone perform on the main stage on April 18th! Stay healthy and keep it going. We're almost to the finish line!

Jason Bui said...

I can only LOL at your comment, Frank. LOLOLOLOL!

I was ready to pass out after 15...damn those things are hot!

Jason Bui said...

Also, my breathing felt really out of control throughout the run, mainly because of the fast start, but every time I tried to slow it down a bit there was something else to challenge me, be it Mike, an up hill, or a down hill, there was always something at this race to keep pushing me. That's what I love about this course.

Scotty "PHAT" Graham said...

Jason, you're right on track to go sub 2:50 in Boston. When I set my PR in Boston I did a half just before it in 1:18:06, then I did Boston in 2:46:13. but that was 21 years ago. You will break 2:50 and possible go sub 2:45. Let it rip!!! Are you doing the GLRR training run this Saturday?

Jason Bui said...

Looks like I am now...Reno and the Whirlaway gang will be out there in Hopkinton tooaround the same time on Saturday, so we can join up with them if we want.

I plan on running high 6's/low 7's for the run to Heartbreak.

Jim Stronach and Gary Allen were telling me the same thing when they broke 2:50, they ran halves that year around the 1:18, so things are pointing in the right direction.

Thanks for the input, and I'll most likely see you Saturday morning.

Scotty "PHAT" Graham said...

Are you going to meet at DD with the GLRR group or are you doing your own logistics?

Jason Bui said...

My plan is to finish my swim lesson by 8:30AM, and then drive down to Hopkinton on my own and start my run by 9:30AM. I'm sure I'll run into most of the GLRR's/Whirlaway folks on the course at some point.

I could use the company if you want in.

Scotty "PHAT" Graham said...

Peter Floss and I, maybe Jill Trotter too will be starting at 9 with the GLRR crew. I'm sure you'll catch us at some point. We ran 7:20's last week.

Alberto said...

"Ipod zombies" haha that's a nice one Jason. Congrats on your race .


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