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Cheering Section for Brian - Heading to Boston

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Re: Cheering Section for Brian - Heading to Boston

Post by echoguy on Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:56 am

russwyd wrote:Well done Brian, sounds like a great run. Maybe I could take a look at Boston next year... hmm... must get over the pond sometime soon to run with you guys.

Have you run Boston Russ? I would love to be your guide if you decide to come. Please let me know if you are serious about next year and I will make hotel reservations for us and get my scheduled time off so that I can be here. All you would need to do is get yourself across the pond I will take if from here. ...

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Re: Cheering Section for Brian - Heading to Boston

Post by kodi30 on Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:17 am

Congrats on the fine finish Brian. Great job.

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Re: Cheering Section for Brian - Heading to Boston

Post by twal on Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:41 am

Excellent. Congratulations.

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Re: Cheering Section for Brian - Heading to Boston

Post by kyoung on Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:25 pm

Congrats Brian!!!

Boston is special and I hope to return.

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Re: Cheering Section for Brian - Heading to Boston

Post by Rachel August on Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:41 am

CONGRATS Brian!!!! I was streaming the race that day and watched your progress throughout....I'm just so proud of you and your accomplishments - you've been quite an inspiration to me!!!!!

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Re: Cheering Section for Brian - Heading to Boston

Post by echoguy on Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:59 am

Here's the full report!

Boston 2014

It was during mile two of the 118th Boston Marathon that I realized that the heat of the bright sunshine made it feel much warmer than the 45 degrees I was prepared for as I left the hotel in three layers of clothing a few hours earlier.  One of the after effects of my heart valve surgery seems to be a fairly narrow range of heat tolerance and I found myself sweating fairly profusely very early in the race. This had all the makings of a potential personal disaster. But one of advantages of running lots of marathons is that I have been in the same situation before and I knew that it was already time to shift into disaster prevention mode.  Gone was any thought of a personal course record for me that I set here 13 years ago. Gone was any thought of a post op record from Grandma’s Marathon last summer that qualified me to run this race. But maybe 3:30 would still be possible if I was able to hit it just right on my fluid intake along the way.

This was a very special year for the Boston Marathon.  The city was ready to show the world it was “Boston Strong” and able to recover, and even become stronger, in response to the terrible disaster at the finish line last year. The field size was expanded by 1/3rd and security tightened significantly which made logistics more of a chore both for the organizers and the participants. But everyone understood the need to err on the side of caution and appreciate how special this race would be.

Char and I left the hotel at 7:10 for the few block walk to the bus loading area in Boston Common.  We met a college buddy of mine along the way, Jim, who was running his first Boston.  The division of the race into four waves with different bus loading times made the wait for the bus much better than I had remembered from my last Boston seven years ago.  Jim and I were in wave two, Char in wave three. It was great getting to catch up with Jim on the bus during the long ride out to Hopkinton.  We arrived at the athlete’s village just as they were calling the first wave to the starting line. We relaxed for about half an hour while we waited for our wave to be called.

When they announced that there would be no porta potties down near the corrals, Jim and I decided we better visit one last time before we headed down. Unfortunately, the lines were very long as the third wave folks had arrived and we came out about ten minutes before our gun would be going off. I figured that would be plenty of time because we would not be dropping off gear in the busses this year, but I was wrong. The road to the start was completely gated off and it was a very tight walk for most of the way.  With about 2 minutes before the start, we realized that we were not going to make it and started jogging through the crowd, the first time I have done a warm up jog for a marathon.  I made it into the corral a few minutes after the gun had gone off and as my corral was leaving the area. Just in time…with a little extra adrenaline.

My race plan was to run a slightly positive split marathon with individual 5k splits in the 24:30 to 24:50 range, a little under 8 minutes per mile. I expected to be a little slower on the splits between 25k and 35k due to the Newton hills.  With a projected tail wind, fairly mild temperatures and no rain, this was a day to run hard in Boston.

Start to 5K – 24:31- Hopkinton to Ashland – ave HR 135 – mostly downhill.

Early on I realized my frigid, snowy winter training in Cincinnati had not prepared me very well for the even modest temperatures of the day and I would need to back off any idea of a record time.  My strategy for hydration was to take at least a few gulps of Gatorade at each aid station and pour a cup of water down the back of my head and neck.  I tried to run relaxed on the down hills without breaking too much in an effort to protect my quads.  I noticed in the more remote part of these miles that local and state law enforcement officers were standing at the side of the road looking intently away from the runners and into the woods. Their presence confirmed in my mind that every effort would be made to make this a safe day and I never felt a twinge of anxiety about it the rest of the day.  
Somewhere in the early miles I heard a female voice yell “Go BC”. There are only two women in the world who call me BC, my mother and my wife.  For a moment I wondered if one of them had made it all the way to Hopkinton to cheer me on. As we made our way through the rest of the run, I realized that someone around me must have a Boston College shirt on as I heard “Go BC” pretty much all of the way to the finish line. When things got tough toward the finish line I just pretended all of those cheers were directed at me.
I had never noticed the biker bar cheering section in any of my previous times down this road. This year it could not be missed with AC/DC blasting and patrons lining the side of the street yelling encouragement to the runners just starting on their journey. I again missed the Stylianos  Kyriakides statue so will need to go back and look for it next time I run the race.

5k to 10k – 24:32 – Ashland to Framingham – ave HR 139

Bam… hit the spilt right on the lower end of what I had planned.  Felt good, but I was very aware that  my engine was running hot for this early in the race.
I also realized that I had not said a word to a fellow runner yet. I am not the most outgoing person, but most times I find myself chatting with someone along the way, particularly in the early miles.  But, sometimes when I get myself involved in a conversation, I get distracted from the race and can miss one of my scheduled gel breaks or signs of dehydration.  I could not afford that mistake today, so I pretty much ran the entire race paying close attention to how I was handing the stresses of the day.

10k to 15k – 24:40 – Framingham to Lake Cochituate – ave HR 139

I had driven the course with Justin Mead and his dad Jim the day before the race to show him the route and remind myself of the landmarks. After our drive, for some reason I had a bad feeling about a short, but fairly steep hill coming out of Framingham.  It seemed like it would be a good spot for a walk break, so I decided to go with that feeling. Looks like it cost me about 10 seconds on the 5k split, but maybe saved a bit of climbing muscle for later in the race.
By the time we hit the lake I was soaking wet with the water I had been pouring on myself and for the first time all race I felt a little cool from the gentle breeze that was coming off the lake.  I also remembered that the lake was one of the spots that they set up cameras over the road to take photos. I started looking around for fast looking runners to be in my photo and realized my group was made up almost entirely of women. I then remembered that my qualifying time was very near the open qualifying time for women.  Ahhh……at least they were fast women.

15k to 20k – 24:47 – Lake Cochituate to Wellesley – ave HR 138

All still going according to plan and I noticed that I did not seem to be getting any warmer as we approached midday. I was encouraged that I might actually make it without a major meltdown.  This section includes the famous Wellesley scream tunnel that can be heard from a mile away. I decided that this was not the year to stop and kiss the girls, but to leave that to the younger guys as I made my way to the other side of the road. It was a big lift of energy as we went by, but this year it did not seem quite as dramatic of a contrast to the encouragement in other places along the course. I don’t think that was because the scream tunnel was any less enthusiastic, it was just that in several other places along the route the decibel level of the encouragement had gone up considerably.

20k to 25k -25:00 – Wellesley to Lower Newton Falls – ave HR 139

The half marathon split was in this section and I crossed at very close to 1:44. I was sure that the second half of the race would take at least two minutes more than the first, so any idea of a 3:30 marathon was now out. That came as a relief and I decided that when I hit the hills that I would stop looking at my pace and just go by feel. I planned to run with a bit more effort on the hills, but not get myself into anaerobic range with several  miles left to go.
My heart rate was holding steady at 139, which is about 15 beats per minute slower than I could maintain for a marathon prior to my surgery. I am not sure why that is the case because the effort seems about the same.

25k to 30k – 25:58 – The early Newton Hills – ave HR 142

I was very happy to see that I had only lost a little over a minute to pace on this section. I had picked up my effort a little, but was still breathing easy and showing no signs of breakdown. The first two hills seemed a bit steeper than I had remembered from years ago, even though I had driven them again the day before.  I realized that the elite race was over and I shouted to the spectators asking who won. It was a lift to my spirit when I learned that Meb had won and I looked forward to watching it at home on my DVR.

30k to 35k – 25:58 – The later Newton Hills including Heartbreak Hill – ave HR 145

I thought of Jim during this part of the course.  He had started three corrals behind me and I was now pretty sure that he would not be closing the gap between us.  As I was on Heartbreak, he would be entering the third hill. I cheered for him out loud to the point I am sure the runners around me thought that my name was Jim and I was talking to myself.  “C’mon Jim, you can do it” “Keep your head up and when you see the cathedral, you are at the top”
When I hit the split I confirmed my earlier feeling that 3:30 was out. Now with no major climbs left, I would work to try to keep my finish time under 3:35 to stay more than 5 minutes under a BQ time for next year.

35k to 40k – 26:40 – Boston College to Brookline – ave HR 146

I was now again monitoring my pace and it felt sub 8, but in reality was close to 8:30. I was clearly moving faster than the majority of runners around me, except for the guy with the Boston College shirt as we were both being lifted with cheers of “Go BC”. I tried to put the hammer down a little more, but I could not find a good reason to make it hurt particularly more to shave a minute or two off my finish time. The crowds at this point were very deep along both sides of the street and it would certainly be impossible to hear any individual voices.

40k to 42k – 11:55 – Brookline to Boston – ave HR 148

Prior to the race, I had wondered how I would feel as I passed the bomb sites from last year.  I’ve gotten to be a rather weepy middle aged man and I thought I might end up in tears.  As I approached the finish area on Boylston Street I felt a sense of respect and gravity, but no fear or anxiety.  The atmosphere around the finish was electric and clearly Boston had come out to show the world their support for the race.

I finished in 3:34:01, good enough for 976th in my age group. I doubt that the awards go quite that deep. Sad 

The walk to pick up metals, heat blankets, water and food was very efficient and I felt pretty much back to my normal self by the time that I was ready to leave the runners only fenced off area.  As I walked past a policeman through the gate, he represented to me all of the effort that Boston had put into the marathon this year and all of those who “ran toward the fire” last year.  When I told him thank you for being here for us…..I did have a tear in my eye.

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Re: Cheering Section for Brian - Heading to Boston

Post by DonSoule on Thu Apr 24, 2014 12:01 pm

Great Report Brian!!!  Very Happy   

Way to go BC !!!

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Re: Cheering Section for Brian - Heading to Boston

Post by Guest on Fri Apr 25, 2014 10:48 am

I loved every bit of this report.  You know we are looking for pictures now too...   Wink
These HEART people, so demanding....  That's cause we love you all so.  Smile

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Re: Cheering Section for Brian - Heading to Boston

Post by Rachel August on Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:39 am

Great race for you Brian and loved reading about it!!!!

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Re: Cheering Section for Brian - Heading to Boston

Post by Dave Tuttle on Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:31 pm

I really enjoyed your report on Boston Brian... It was like running it with you but without the pain  cheers 

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Re: Cheering Section for Brian - Heading to Boston

Post by kyoung on Sat Apr 26, 2014 7:46 am

Great report Brian! Thanks for sharing! Congrats!

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Re: Cheering Section for Brian - Heading to Boston

Post by Gary E on Sat Apr 26, 2014 11:48 am

Fabulous report, and congratulations on finishing so well. All of my friends there voiced similar feelings (and most were well behind their projected times). I chuckled at your "fast women" line, but perhaps my interpretation was a bit different.  I'm really envious of you being able to be there and can't wait to talk to you in person about everything. Congratulations again!!!
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Re: Cheering Section for Brian - Heading to Boston

Post by echoguy on Sun Apr 27, 2014 8:27 am

Here are a few of the photos that we shot during the trip.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/13545606@N03/sets/72157644260903323/

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Re: Cheering Section for Brian - Heading to Boston

Post by trishb on Sun Apr 27, 2014 3:11 pm

Congratulations, Brian!  cheers 
Great pics!

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