1/9- 5 x mile (5:30 avg.) on bark loop w./ 2:00 jogging rests- 5:35, 5:31, 5:31, 5:27, 5:26, then 400-300-2x200 on bark loop w./ 200m jogs in 75, 56, 35, 34
1/31- roads- 2 miles 11:28 (5:50, 5:38)- 4x800m- 2:42, 2:43, 2:42, 2:37 (2:41 avg.)- 2 miles 11:21 (5:46, 5:35)-2x400m 72, 71
2/3- track- 3 x 1600m w./ 400m jog in 5:17, 5:15, 5:14, 600m in 1:52, 400m in 72.0, 300m in 50.1, 2x200m in 33.2, 30.9
2/13- bark loop- 2 miles 11:07 (5:34, 5:33), 4x4 (78), 1 mile 5:21-flat, 4x4 (75- last two were 74s), 3x2 (35)
2/16- track- 3200m 10:51 (5:25, 5:26), 500m+ jog, 8 x 300m w./ SLOW 100m shuffle 56 >>> 52, slow 400 jog, 2:31 800m
Based on these workouts, I felt confident to try to run 5:25-5:30 pace on the track. Even if I fell off, I know that I would run around 34:30, if not better. On 2/24, the week before the 10k, I planned to do an 8 mile tempo at marathon pace to balance out the shorter workouts and make sure that I could transition after the 10k. I surprised myself in rainy/windy conditions with 8 miles @ 5:51 pace with the last 2 miles in 5:42 & 5:44. It felt easy. I felt ready to go in the 10k and then was excited to start to build the tempos to 10, 12, 14 miles, to get ready for Boston. The next day, however, I got the flu. It knocked me out for five days. My body and legs felt like garbage. I was finally able to run the day before the 10k and I felt awful running just a few miles. I scrapped the 10k and it took me a couple of weeks to feel normal again. My training hit such a high point at the end of February but I had nothing to show for it and then it took me until mid-March to feel like I could actually put together a good marathon at Boston. I kept with training, got through some rough patches, and hit some workouts that told me I might be in decent shape. Here's what the marathon workouts looked like (selected few):
|(lowest bib I've had at Boston)|
3/23- 20 total: 4.35 up, 13.1 in 1:19:20 (6:03/mile), 2.55 c/d
3/27- 14 total w./ 4 x 2 miles (8.6 miles 52:50- 6:08/mile on bark w./ .2 mile jogs): 11:50 (5:55, 5:55) (1:45 jog), 11:45 (5:54, 5:51) (1:57 jog), 11:43 (5:52, 5:51) (1:59 jog), 11:43 (5:57, 5:46)
3/30- 8 x (300m uphill @ half marathon effort, :30 jog, 300m downhill @ marathon effort, 1:00 jog)
3/31- 22.3 miles 2:40:15- easy pace until the last 2 miles- 6:00, 5:59
4/6- 12+ total miles with a 6 mile tempo in 35:08 (5:51 pace): 1st 3 17:48 (5:51, 5:57, 6:00), 2nd 3 17:17 (5:51, 5:52, 5:34)
Because of the time off, I was never really able to get my mileage up to where it had been for NYC last fall. Before NYC, I hit a stretch where I averaged 100+ miles/week for 6 weeks. In this build-up, I averaged 70 miles/week for 15 weeks which is consistent and 8 of those weeks at 80+. I peaked at 92 but I had some really low mileage weeks when I got sick. I feel like I left a lot on the table by blowing up at New York and then racing another marathon just a few weeks later. I ran 2:44:01 at CIM but I definitely thought there was more to gain. Before NYC, I hit a 13.1 mile tempo in 1:19:12. I knew that I was in similar shape after hitting a similar tempo before Boston. The fitness came around late in the build-up. I was ready to take a crack at sub-2:40 until I saw the forecast...
40 degrees. 25 real feel. 25+ mpw headwind. downpour.
Original Goal: 2:38-2:39, go out through halfway in 1:20:00.
Forecast Adjusted Goal: 2:50, run for place- try to be in the top-500.
I tried to be very reasonable before the race. I read from some running experts that times in the elite field might be 7-8 minutes slower than usual. I'm fast, but not as fast as the elite runners so I figured the wind might affect me just a little more. I thought running 2:50 would be a huge success and, honestly, I just wanted to be able to get across the finish line in one piece.
I am very fortunate to have family on the east coast and my dad dropped me right off in Hopkinton at 8am on Marathon Monday. It was already downpouring and the wind was howling. I did not want to be outside more than I had to before the race started. I had to take a bus from the drop-off point to the athlete village. I got to the athlete village and had to wait for 45 minutes until they let runners in wave 1 head towards the start corrals. I was in wave 1, corral 1, and could not get near the corral until 9:15. The 45 minute wait was the worst part of my day. It was cold, wet, and the fields where runners were to wait were muddy. At 9:15 I started the 3/4 of a mile walk to the start line. I figured I would be able to warmup on Ash Street like I had 5 years back. There was another stop point on the walk and at 9:30 we were finally released. I got to Ash Street and a cop was there and said if I left then I would not be allowed to reenter and get to my corral. I needed a restroom and to warmup. I saw other runners leaving the area. That didn't sound right to me so I followed suit. At 9:45 I did a quick 5:00 jog with some strides and then thankfully was able to reenter the corral. I was in the first corral but towards the back of it since I entered so close to the start. I knew this would be fine because the start is so narrow in Hopkinton I would not be able to run a fast first mile if I had wanted to. Before I knew it, the gun went off and the 122nd Boston Marathon began.
I tried to run super easy in the first, downhill, mile. I wanted to run 6:30. Mile 1 was 6:18. Okay, this weather is awful, you need to back off. Mile 2: 6:12. Mile 3: 6:10. Mile 4: 6:05. 6:05?!?! That's 2:39 marathon pace. The first four miles of Boston are very downhill. I was running by effort and those miles did not feel hard. As the course flattened out, I started to click off 6:15s. I had told family and friends my goal was to run 6:30. What was I doing? The wind came at me harder and by mile 8 the rain was coming down harder than it had all morning. I was soaked and still had 18 miles left. I began to doubt but just kept plugging away. By 10, my hamstrings started to feel tight. That can't be a good sign. This race is going to be a very long one if I'm cramping before halfway. I just tried to zone out. Just get to Wellesley and that scream tunnel. The scream tunnel was amazing. It carried me through halfway, which I hit in 1:21:46. I was on pace for a PR in the worst running conditions I had ever faced. The only problem was that my hamstrings were feeling more and more tight. I tried to change my stride. I kept hydrating and forcing down gels. I ran mile 16 in 6:17. The only problem with that is that mile 16 loses more than 100 feet. 6:15 effort should get you a sub-6:00 mile there. I had essentially dropped a mile in the 6:30s with the hills approaching. I climbed the 128 overpass which is the first of the four Newton Hills. You are totally exposed to the elements there and I was certainly feeling the wind and rain more than I had up to this point. Right before mile 17, I came up on my dad, aunt, and uncle cheering for me. Pre-race I had asked my dad to hold a bottle of Hot Shot and a gel for me to grab. I went to grab those items but he tossed them to me at the last second. Hot route. I thankfully made the catch in stride and kept going. Hot shot is an anti-cramp drink. I took one before the start and then downed that one before 17. Whether it actually worked or if it was just a placebo effect, I could care less. I told myself your hamstring is now fine. Let's attack the hills. And I did just that. Miles 16-21 make up the Newton Hills. It's a series of four climbs. Alone, they're not so bad. Together, from mile 16-21 in a marathon, they're your worst nightmare. In my case, they were a blast. For whatever reason, I started to feel good again. I've been told you should be 20-30 seconds/mile slow those five miles. I ran them at 6:25 pace and knew the effort was right for 6:10-6:15 pace. I know the course really well. I knew that mile 18-19 is actually downhill and I split a 6:10 there. Heartbreak Hill comes in mile 21. I split 6:29 there which is solid and then 22 is called the Graveyard Mile. You have a similar net loss that mile to what you gained going up Heartbreak. While I wasn't able to take advantage at mile 16, I was a new runner at 22. I split 6:00-flat. At mile 22 of a marathon. The race was on.
|"I finished Boston."|
I had lost some time in the hills but ran the right effort. I had energy left and was running 6:05-6:15 through the next 3 miles. I was having a ton of fun. I saw more people I know on the course. The crowds were getting bigger. And I was catching people. It was almost like people were standing still. I've been there before. I don't mean that as an insult. At NYC, I cramped in Central Park and stopped 3 times. I was out halfway in 1:20 and came back in 1:27. But during the Boston Marathon, the wall never came. From mile 25.2 to the finish, I ran 5:43 pace!!! My half marathon best is 5:50 pace for 13.1. I was hammering the last mile and was in sprint mode down Boylston. It was incredible. I was caught up in the moment. I pumped up the crowd on that last stretch. I kept passing people, and let out some sort of yell at the finish line when I crossed it. Right on Hereford. Left on Boylston. It was something out of a dream.
I finished in 2:44:51 and 291st overall of 30k. Top-300 at Boston and just 50 seconds off of my personal best in the worst conditions the day had to offer. I'm pumped and still on cloud 9 as I type this. A whole lot of people are talking about what their times convert to. I'm hearing anywhere from a couple minutes to people claiming up to 10. The men's winner was eight minutes off his best, while the woman's winner was seventeen. All I know is that I'm in better shape than 2:44:51 and than my 2:44:01 PR. I'm going to take some time to seriously recover. I'm beat up after leaving everything out there in Boston. It's now 6 months until the 2018 Chicago Marathon. My goal is simple: run as far under 2:40 as you can. I want to be a 2:30s marathoner. I think this race showed I was capable of 2:38-2:39. With 6 more months of training, I want to see that on a finish line clock, or something even lower...
|(I do it for the bling)|
Final thing: Thank you to everyone. The volunteers. The spectators. My family. My friends. Everyone helped me be the strongest version of myself on Marathon Monday. This is the best race on the planet. It's a challenging course with a ton of history on it. Crowds line the whole thing. There's nothing like it. And I was able to put together a race I'll remember forever. This is the race I'm most proud of out of everything that I've run. I'm looking forward to what comes next. This race is definitely going to help launch me to bigger and better results.