Boston 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Hills Are Alive

The tweak in my hamstring at the half-way mark turned out to be a false alarm. I was just passing gas and something slid down my legs. No worries.

(Oh, crap!)

I was now alone and running my own race. I got through the 25K in 1:39:48. Another 20 minute 5K in the books, but the worse was yet to come as I entered Newton.

My legs were feeling a little heavy, but nothing that a little GU couldn't fix. From under my cap I took out my first packet of GU and slowly ingested it before going down the steep Lower Newton Falls, and tackling the first hill of Newton on the other side of mile 16.

This is my second least favorite hill on the course. After running pretty much downhill for 16 miles you come up on the 128 overpass and have to change gears. This is the first true test of your marathon training. You'll definitely feel it here if you haven't sufficiently prepared for hills in your training.

All of those repeats on Catamount Rd paid off as I kept up the same effort going over 128. 1 down, 3 to go.

Managed to catch my breath on the fast downside heading towards the Newton fire station and the (in)famous right hand turn.

I always let out a sigh of displeasure once I see that first hill after the turn. No matter how many times I run this course, I always forget how much it sucks.

I also continued to drench myself with water at every aid station in order to remain cool even though my GLRR singlet now resembled a sweater vest on steroids.

The tailwind today was heaven sent, but it made for a very, very warm day. In between water stops I was now forced to take water from little boys and girls who were kind enough to offer up their cold drinks to me. Well, I hope they were anyways....

After grabbing some water from a spectator at Mile 18, I heard someone yell at me for illegally taking water from the crowd. It was fellow GLRR'er Jim Garcia and his eerie pre-race prediction ("See you at 18").

I got a good laugh from that one and it also gave me a huge boost of energy to know that I just passed a GLRR runner who was going to go onto his 5th straight decade of sub-3 marathons (all at Boston no less)!! Congrats Jim!

The 30K mark came and went in a little over 2 hours. I now had less than 50 minutes to get through the next 7+ miles. I just needed to keep up my current pace and manage sub 7's the rest of the way, but of course, the rest of the way included two more Newton Hills, including Heartbreak.

I also made sure not to miss Jim Rhoades this time around, and managed to pretend that I was still having fun.

I put my nose and eyes to the ground and went into survival mode over the next two miles to get over hill #3. I leaned heavily into the hill and did a steady cadence count as I put one foot in front of the other. Water and sweat was pouring down my visor.

Then it was over.

I felt a little delirious and actually mistakenly thought that I had just crested Heartbreak! My first clue that I was an idiot was that there was no BC or Cleveland Circle. DOH!

It's a actually a relatively long stretch between the 3rd hill and the top of Heartbreak, and it always feels a lot longer at this point in the race. This did however give me some time to recoup and take another GU before the final assault.

Once again, nose and eyes to the ground, arms pumping, high knee lifts, cadence count, same effort. Just as I had practiced and been instructed by Coach Chewy Stirrat.


Then it was over!

It took nearly everything I had to keep my pace from creeping up into the danger zone, but I was finally over the last hurdle on my way to sub 2:50, and now the fun was about to begin.


But wait, I'm all the way back here. Who the heck from GLRR are they cheering for up ahead?!

(???? ??????)


BadDawg said...

You haven't crested Heartbreak until you get to the TNM Realty sign. It's the world's BEST realty sign. :)

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