Boston 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

First 5K

The start was as fast and as crowded as I remembered from prior years.

The one thing that I knew that I'd regret about this run, if everything went according to plan, was that I'd pretty much miss everything that happened around me. I was already zoned out and so focused on my goal that I didn't even pay attention to the early crowds and the party atmosphere.

I don't even recall seeing/hearing the drunk bikers at the biker bar!

The weather was absolutely perfect for running and spectating, so right away I knew it was going to be an epic day in some form or fashion.

I had no trouble getting into 6:30 pace mode early on, but every now and then I'd run up against a 6:45 or 7 runner and would have to squirm my way through. I eventually just went off to the far right hand side and settled in.

I even missed Jim Rhoades (and he missed me) at mile 1 (6:34)!

The same thought kept on running through my mind: 20 minute 5K's. 20 minute 5K's. 20 minute 5K's.

I'd have to do 8 of them at that pace. Tough, but not impossible.

I didn't realize it at first when I looked at the pacing sheet, but that pace would leave me with very little room for error. I'd have to get myself to the half in 1:24:10, and then get through the second half in 1:25:39, giving me a positive split of ONLY 1:39 at the finish.

That folks would be a marathon PR split for me.

Let me just say that I suck at marathon splits. I have never had a negative split in any of the 8 marathons that I've officially completed. My best being 2:21 (Portland) and my worse being 22:54 (NYC).

The best half split that I've ever managed over the 26.2 distance was at my first BQ'er, and first official marathon, in Portland, ME back in 2009. I had a positive split of 2:21 on that rolling course, which is considered very runner friendly.

I had a positive split of 5:59 at last year's Boston, in what I thought was one of my better marathon runs, albeit a little too conservative through the first half.

I even started to doubt the fact that I could even pull this off today when I finally realized the split that I'd have to do.

Perhaps I should try to get through the half in 1:23 and give myself a little more breathing room at the end?

Then nature came calling. My bladder was already at full capacity again and I was only 2 miles into the run! There was no way I would be able to hold it in for the rest of the way, so I dove off to the side of the road and into the woods for a quick pee break.

This cost me about 30 seconds and brought my overall pace up to 6:45, but I quickly made that back up now that I wasn't thinking about an exploding bladder. Trust me, it's always better to just take the time to go during a marathon, even if it's Mile 14 and all you have are your gloves...

I was just about to pick up the pace even more when out of nowhere, and in the sea of runners, I managed to ID Brendan Kearney and his mustard stained Somerville singlet.

(running gods smiling down on us)

Have I ever spoken to Brendan in person? Nope. How about seeing him at other races? Nope. Not really. I just knew him from Facebook and remembered his last comments to me regarding my annoying Boston Marathon weather watch:

(See, I was right!)

But for whatever reason I really felt compelled to say hello to him in the middle of a sub-2:50 run and shake his hand.

We exchanged quick pleasantries and he asked me if I was still going to run 2:50. I told him I was going to run eight 20 minute 5K's. He just smiled and said let's do it!

Brendan basically saved my race from that point on.

First 5K: 20:12


SisuJohn said...

This part of the race was the only time I saw you. It reminded me of when you passed me early at New Bedford, only this time it wasn't because you were on the can during the anthem. I was 3 for 8 hitting my 20 minute 5Ks. That's a great batting average in baseball!

5 - 20:19 (well consider this hitting the split with the slow start)
10 - 19:47
15 - 19:55
20 - 21:13 (um, too early for that!)
25 - 22:26 (I'm gonna drop out)
30 - 24:41 (I'm not gonna drop out, but I'm not even at HH!)
35 - 25:23 (Mmmm, orange slices)
40 - 32:38 (I should have dropped out)
42.195 - 12:58 (...but I'm glad I didn't)

BadDawg said...

Saved by a Ville-ain? Next thing you'll be holding hands and singing Kumbaya while they kick our butts again at the relay marathon.

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