drun4fun

Ideas, photos, routes, and how I fare doing all sorts of workouts. Riding, swimming, biking, etc. Dave Masterson's workout blog.

Archive for the tag “Boston marathon”

Be Boston – Marathon 2017

Welcome Runners!

This was my first visit to the Boston Marathon as a spectator! I’ve been wanting to do this for several years. I know the weekend schedule, I know the town, and I know the course. I can put myself where I want to be, without any of the concerns that I’d have if I was racing. The advice is stamped into every runner’s head – “Don’t stay on your feet at the Expo too long, don’t eat experimental things, don’t have too many beers…” NONSENSE! I’m doing this one right.

I came on the same flight as Julie, together we have over 25 people we know running and that we will track on Monday. We landed at 9 am and were left on the runway for half an hour. I’ll go on record as saying this flight lands every day at the same time, it cannot be a surprise the ground crew – WHERE’S OUR GATE? More importantly, this chews into the time I’d rather be spending trying to get to the 5k to see the elites finish. Although we are close to Boston Commons, we are goofed up by the airline so we missed it. Molly Huddle misses her 4th consecutive win by only 2 seconds, and Ben True sets a new American outdoor 5k record with a 13:18. Wow!

First things first

We went to our AirBnB which is on Beacon Street in Brookline. Our host is Jennifer, a very nice girl. We are staying ON THE COURSE at mile 24.5 – This is exciting! We dropped our stuff off and walked to the Expo. Past Fenway Park, the Citgo sign, Kenmore Square, up Hereford Street to the convention center. It is crazy crowded with a HUGE line winding around the building. Confession: I walked around not really knowing where I was supposed to go and when I saw people heading inside I went right with them. We did a nominal security check and we were in! We went towards the Adidas section to see all of the official race merchandise. So many neat things to buy if you were doing this year’s event! We found the Samuel Adams sample booth – that was worth a few trips back on the line to get 26.2 Brew. There is plenty to see and play with and… we have all day to do so!

We find the lululemon “Sweatbox” at the other side of the show. We’ve seen this before and know it means try a garment on the treadmill and keep it! We each wait about 45 minutes and get to come out with something new. Most people hear about this and don’t want to wait. They have to get “done with the expo” and back to a hotel to relax. Understandable. While there, I catch up with Lilia and Chris – they are excited and enjoying the show also. We get texts from Sandra and Pete Holahan that they are going to the Runner’s World Speaker Series to hear Kathrine Switzer’s story. I know of her, I figure we can do that for an hour.

KV Switzer is Amazing

So glad I did that! She is so energetic and youthful. She ran up to the stage, told her story and really explained her efforts since the original 1967 Boston Marathon experience to get more women involved in running. I didn’t know the amazing level of her involvement in the first female Olympic marathon and her “261 Fearless” organization. I really enjoyed her talk. Julie had a lady translate for her so she caught the whole thing, too. Very impressive. I waited until she was done talking to speak with her. I told her they would have a statue of her somewhere on the Boston Marathon course. She chuckled and replied with, “I don’t know about that.” I am very glad I got to tell her that in person. It will happen! [Update: Her bib number 261 was forever retired for use in the Boston Marathon when she finished on Monday]

Once out of the meeting room, I am spotted and greeted by Cami and Jeff. We always, even in a crowd of thousands, find each other! They have to zip through the expo, but we agree to meet at Capital Grille for drinks and appetizers. How fun to catch up with them and get Cami’s take on the race and the local happenings.

After meeting with them, we walked to Boston Commons and found our dinner restaurant. We stopped and took some pictures at the finish line area, there’s always so much good energy and excitement there. The crew was clearing off the 5k and One Mile awards podium and getting things ready for Monday. Our restaurant, the Artisan, was in the Ritz Carlton. We met Steve and Mary Monks, Ricky and Nina Montez and Steve Chefan and his wife. We were all confused as this was not the restaurant or atmosphere Steve explained to us. It was a good meal and great laughs with a great group!  Steve later reported finding the original place he intended on us visiting a day afterward. He sneakily paid the check for dinner for all of us – a nice but way unnecessary gesture. We took the T train back after dinner. Tine to sift through our Expo goodies and get to sleep.

Running with elites

Sunday morning we went to the Runner’s World pop-up store to do a shakeout run with the staff and Molly Huddle. That was a good event starting at 8 am, the Hotshot girls was there, KT Tape was sampling their goods, and the store was crowded with runners one day before the race. Molly ran and chatted with plenty of us. Her next big event after yesterday’s 2nd place in the 5k will be the Prefontaine Classic in May. She is a personable elite runner that could be anyone’s friend. Our run went to the Charles River and around a familiar loop east to the bridge by Harvard and the band shell. Once we arrived at the store after the run, I won a drawing for a sample pack of KT Tape and a body “cool and heat” pad. It holds the heat pack or ice in place when applied to a part of your body. Glad I’m not injured, I really don’t know when I will use such a prize! Runner’s World also had an offer whereby if you prove you are a subscriber, they give you these neat Boston Marathon-themed gloves. Each finger has one of the towns the race passes through. I like them!

I did the same run again an hour later, this time with Sandra and the Oiselle girls that were in town for the race. We met at a nice coffee shop, the Thinking Cup, and ran on the Charles River trail again. Once we returned, Julie had found her way back to the coffee spot and we had drinks and light breakfast with Pete and Sandra and Steve and Maria. With all of the people we knew collectively, it would be difficult to plan to meet them all. It seemed to all work well with minimal planning that we saw most of our friends doing things like this.

After that, we walked back up Boylston Street to see the rest of the Expo, the Adidas Run Base store, the finish line area in the daytime. There are always people taking photos, Marathon Sports is full, and the street is blocked off with no cars. The large area after the finish line is busy, too, setting up for the next day. There weren’t many flowers at the sites of the two bombings, but today there are more. An area in front of Marathon Sports has been fenced off, that is collecting some flowers and a few pairs of running shoes. I didn’t feel like taking a photo of either site, it’s a choke-up in the throat reminder to me of what occurred and how fortunate I was not to be injured in 2013.

The Expo was easy to get into today, plenty of buzz happening. Most folks had already claimed their bib numbers, so I took Julie up the extra escalator to see how and where that is done. It was mostly empty by the time we got up there. The fast runners of tomorrow’s race have picked up their stuff already!

Athlete Dinner – The event so few attend (but should!)

We went back to the apartment and dropped our bags – it was time to change into warmer clothes for the night time. The temperature was 82 today so I wore shorts. Jeans and a long sleeve shirt were on tap for the night. We took the Green line train to Government Center, that’s right where the Athlete Dinner was. We had a wait of about 45 minutes, and the weather cooled significantly as we were in the line

The dinner was a great time, chicken meatballs, pasta, salad and as much beer as you’d like. We stayed at a table and enjoyed the videos playing, the mayor’s announcements and most of all, meeting other runners and their families. We had a group from London, from Texas, from Milan, Italy and another that I don’t remember from where. We laughed and enjoyed being with all these people who were so excited about the race. A few first timers asked about the hills and the expected warm weather. I was light in my mood to hopefully help them relax. We stayed until they closed the venue, then went back towards the Back Bay area.

 

We went to Pizzeria Uno on Boylston Street to watch the hockey game and have more beer. They served the 26.2 brew and in large glasses! It was good to stop walking, to talk and laugh. No other runners were in the bar. Race morning would come fast with an early rise for buses to the start.

We took the train home from the Copley Station. It’s not a far walk home but having been on foot all day and now being full of pasta and beer, yeah, we are on the train! We got home and went to the rooftop of our apartment. The wind was picking up from the east and that made it cold. Here’s a photo from that vantage point…

The winds would shift while we slept to come from the Northwest, a perfect tailwind for the runners.

Race Day!

Waking up Monday we had no rush – we went to Dunkin Donuts on Beacon Street. We saw the New Balance banners set up alongside the T stop and roadway. Barricades that weren’t there last night were all in place. The whole city comes together for this big show! We took the train from nearby Yawkey Station to Wellesley to position ourselves well to see the pros. We arrived too early for the train and had a 50-minute wait. Seems like even with the annual throng of people following the route and runners, the train schedule is light on the Patriot’s Day holiday. It was a short train ride and we met and spoke with nice people in town to cheer for family members. In Wellesley, we had plenty of room to pick a great spot on the road. We went to a bakery for a snack, and then put ourselves in a good position. Figuring it might be most crowded nearest the train station, we went east and found a great place to stand and wait. Right past the half way point we would watch for the wheelchair athletes, pro women, then the pro men. First, we saw a few of the military walking the course. Then two F-15 jets flew over, signaling the start of the race. It was about 35 minutes before the first wheelchair came down the hill – very fast and NOT Marcel Hug! He was second but already behind several minutes at the 13.1 mark. Next came the women elites. Jordan Hasay and Desi Linden right with the leaders. Julie took phone videos while I snapped iPhone 7 pictures. The next few elite women came through at less than 6 min pace, Liz Costello is shown here. They really look as if they are slower because their pace doesn’t cost them much energy. They are smooth and almost running step-for-step with each other. It’s very impressive to see up close!

The elite men came next – Galen Rupp in a white hat, white singlet and pale skin just nestled in with the Africans! The unheralded Maiya from the Army was up with him. Luke Puskedra and Jeff Ward followed, then Meb. They all looked great at the halfway point!

We boarded the very crowded train and after having delays to start and delays at almost all of the 7 stations back to Fenway/Yawkey, we made it onto the streets to get a good spot. The sun was warm and we didn’t have sunscreen – noticeable when I was in Wellesley. We went through Kenmore Square which was very crowded. The first wave of runners (red bibs) was coming through. We found a great spot on the shady side of the street. It was next to a mailbox and garbage can that was barricaded around. This meant that we had a very clear view up Commonwealth Avenue. We stayed here for over two hours, looking for our friends and trying to track them via the BAA app. The app wasn’t reliable, most of our runners seemed to “stop” at the 30k mark. We saw Julie and Spencer West, Lilia, Ricky and some more of Julie’s friends. We met Jeff here and waited for Cami, but by the Jeff moved to Hereford St and Boylston where she would usually expect to see him.

Trackhouse & Tracksmith  

Julie and I had invites to the new Trackhouse – Tracksmith’s new permanent store on Newbury Street. It’s a retail run store on the first level and a recreation of the “Eliot Lounge” runner’s hangout on the second floor. Free beer and fresh fruit and food. What an interesting concept. We stayed there and relaxed after many hours on our feet walking and standing. I met Eric Ashe, men’s finisher #25 with a time of 2:23. He was rolling out his legs on the couch as if he’d just run a 5k. We met Pete and Sandra here and she got a poster made with her number stamped on the bottom. A nice touch! I hope this company catches on. Their products are very nice with a “retro” runner look. I bought a pair of shorts and two singlet tops. No one has these back at home!

After that, we met Jeff and Cami at their usual post-race spot – Anchovies. A good dinner and recap of the day. Julie and I walked to Fenway Park for the Athlete Celebration, which was a chance to get out on the field and go behind the scenes at Fenway. Terrific cooperation between Fenway, the BAA, Samuel Adams, and Adidas. They really made it a special day for the runners and their families.

I know I’ll be back to run here again and to enjoy a weekend as a cheering spectator again. It is a very special event done so well!

Thank you, Boston!

-dm

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Eclipse

bloodmoon7.5mi. The idea of running the hills the week before the Boston Marathon is for some, too much. I do not overtrain, so my run this morning was at an easy pace, I was never out of breath. Joe Ponton came and surprised me on my warmup lap. I planned on spending the whole workout daydreaming and visualizing what I’d be doing next week in the race. Instead, Joe ran next to me and shared what he has been doing since winter, when I last ran with him.

During the warmup, he pointed out the eclipse that was in it’s final 40% of view. He woke up at 2am to get a good view of the whole thing. I saw a big, bright moon, no red colors, and the shadow of Earth on the moon. That was neat for me, when does that ever happen?

Paul, Lilia, Lanae, Rick, Adrienne, Randi, Kylan and Nicole also ran today. Matt Kakuk showed up later, as did a few solo girls. My shoes are what I’ll race in next week, the Skechers Ultra that I used in the A1A Marathon 7 weeks ago. All good equipment-wise, now to stay healthy until the start in Hopkinton.

The closer I get to Boston, the more I think about my experience from the race last year. Today is the one year anniversary of the bombings. I feel good about the trip ahead, but not the same as last year. There is a shadow cast over the enthusiasm that would normally fill the runners, families and spectators of the race.  Just like an eclipse, it’s a rare and special event for me.

– dm

Blown into the reality of it all.

8 mi. Boston is in two weeks. I have not trained with Erica hard on weekends nor have I pressed myself on my own runs. I will keep a healthy schedule between now and the marathon, in hopes good weather and nutrition plus a boost from the fans and all give me strength. Today I ran solo the whole way, seeing Lilia, Adrienne, Kylan, Steve, Gary, Randi and a few others on the bridge. It was very breezy both directions – but hot enough that sweat was dripping in my eyes on lap #1. I never went fast but felt it was a good full Tuesday workout, my first in a long time. I’ll be back again next week to mentally focus on Boston visualization and feel for the race.

Denver south and the hills!

20140327-101114.jpg4-5 miles – John and I landed at noon in Denver for a week in the mountains. He is finishing up his track season, with a few meets ahead that lead to local champoinships. I have the Boston Marathon in four weeks. We can’t blank-out for a whole week of running.

Mike, our host for the week is coaching a kids hockey team with his two sons as players. We are visiting the tournament they have qualified for in Denver. Winner of this next round will play in a championship game in the Pepsi Center tomorrow. We are 2+ hours early, I suggest we run to get that started and use up somne of the idle time.

It’s cool, in the 40s and a breeze from the north. We select clothes that should keep us good and warm in temps 15 degrees warmer. We see many roling hills in all directions, we choose to run south. The rink is on a hill, we should be able to run out and back and not get lost! Our first half mile is downhill, and I feel the breathing is different. There are not many cars around, we are sometimes in the street, other times on the white sidewalks. I have big ski gloves on (whimpy hands!) and John has lightweight lululemon finger gloves. Halfway, we switch because his hands are cold and surprisingly, mine are warm. I realize I forgot my lightweight goves at home. It’s a long stay in cold to have to rely on big ski mittens. That’s me.

John and I go at whatever pace is comfortable. I have a water bottle, but I gasp for air when we challenge the uphills at altitude. I like thinking that I’ll be getting a tad better at exercising in the next few days. I don’t know how long it really takes to adjust, but I can believe knowing how it is when I ski that it will be better for me in a few days. I realy like getting to talk to John about running, the vacation ahead, the hills and training. It’s not a far or long duration workout, but it’s worth is symbolic. We both like doing this and it will be fun to look back and say, “Rememebr when…”

Our final miles are spent on the curvy cart paths of a local golf course. Some time also was run on a road under construction. We didn’t bring extra shoes, so these runners cannot get all detroyed muddy! I feel nerves pinched in my left foot, out by the toes 3 & 4. Same thing I felt when I got these Nike Pegasus and I wore them at the Expo prior to Miami Marathon. We finish uphill, with a small cooldown walk, I have sweat under the clothes I’ve worn. The moment I stop running, the wind chills the sweat – eeek! It starts to snow and it’s hockey time in half an hour. We both go back in the car, make clothes changes, and head inside. Unlike the crab and shrimp Benedict breakfast I had, this is a healthy approach to starting a great week away!

Boston Marathon 2013 – The race to the finish line

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This year’s race looked to be perfect weather for anyone traveling up from Florida. Even before the 10 day forecast could reach April 15th, it was apparent that the temps would not be too warm or too cold. Only precipitation could mess up what looked to be a wonderful day to run. I flew Sunday on a 6:15am flight to Boston, landing at 9 am. For the first time in many flights, I had two extra seats next to me. I took a fleece jacket that I planned on leaving at the start for charity and made a ball of a pillow and I stretched out to cover all three seats on my row. I don’t know if I slept any, but it beat sitting up and watching TV. I do like JetBlue’s satellite radio feature however, I spent about 30 minutes listening to that.

Arriving at Logan airport was easy, I found licensed merchandise Boston Marathon jackets on sale at 20% off in a gift shop. I couldn’t figure out why, the Expo was open (and the next stop for me) and I know they were being sold for $100 there. I bought one and called my brother to see if he wanted me to buy one for him. He declined, wanting to wait ’til he could run it to get any BAA merchandise. I took a cab to Harvard Business School, a really nice campus setting on the river. Charlotte knew I was nearby and came out to meet me and guide me up to her cousin’s apartment. He was out of state at Coachella music fest in LA for the weekend. We had a 1BR apartment with a generous couch for the stay! We took a train into the city and went to the Hynes Center for packet pickup and to see the vendor show. The Boston Expo is very well done, each supplier brings their very best personnel and gear. Great samples, things to try, it’s a great show! Charlotte and I got the numbers and packets, then bought some BAA merchandise. We met Diane Walsh and her family, they were staying nearby and had already gone to the expo. Diane and her mom cmpleted the 5k earlier Sunday morning, it was her mother’s first race ever. They were lively, fun and I looked forward to seeing them again after the race or at the House of Blues athlete party. Charlotte and I ate and drank samples, took a picture with Meb

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Meb and the Skechers(who was surprised when I came with my Skecher shoe off to be in the picture) and had a good few hours staying on our feet the day before the race. Yes, the shoes I wore were new, too. And I had a teeny shot of Kahlua in a root beer sample. All the signs of a successful runner flowing out of me at once!(who was surprised when I came with my Skecher shoe off to be in the picture) and had a good few hours staying on our feet the day before the race. Yes, the shoes I wore were new, too. And I had a teeny shot of Kahlua in a root beer sample. All the signs of a successful runner flowing out of me at once!

(who was surprised when I came with my Skecher shoe off to be in the picture) and had a good few hours staying on our feet the day before the race. Yes, the shoes I wore were new, too. And I had a teeny shot of Kahlua in a root beer sample. All the signs of a successful runner flowing out of me at once!

We met Charlotte’s college roomate, Melanie, at Starbucks around the corner from the convention center. We spoke for awhile, they reconnected while I broke away and brought my phone to lululemon Newbury Street. The girls there were happy to charge it for me. I left my phone there for about an hour and went back to be with the girls again. The sky looked overcast but no rain was expected Sunday or race day. We went as a group to the lululemon store, then down by the finish line area where we took a few pictures and spoke about tomorrow’s race. I felt ready, I had no lingering problems with the right ankle that I twisted hopping over a fence in Utah. We continued down the street and found Melanie’s Liberty Mutual Building and acrross the street the John Hancock building I remembered had athlete massages and chicken soup after the race. Charlotte and I agreed to meet here after tomorrow’s run.

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Greg Meyer and Tom Grilk serve food to the athletes. Class all the way.

Next up we went by the athlete’s dinner, we had tickets for different times but it was on the way to the train we needed to take home so why not. We watched a presentation and speech by Tom Grilk (BAA President) welcoming athletes to the dinner. Then Greg Meyer, 1983 Male winner and Tom Grilk started the serving line of pasta and salad for the athletes. How very cool and impressive to be so well taken care of. The BAA does this race so well! Home on the train, gear prep, and to sleep for an early rise.

The morning was easy – we took a train right to Boston Commons, popped out of the ground and were positioned perfectly to get on a bus to Hopkinton. A mostly silent ride, Charlotte and I shared a seat on a school bus, with 65-70 others. It was cold in the bus, temps outside were in the low 40s. Arriving 50 minutes later was a surprise, 26 miles of road travel sure took longer than we thought. Much of our time in the racer prep area was spent in a porta potty line. After that, we found a Dave Masterson and Charlotte Mainespup tent setup at home plate on the middle school softball field, that made for a good photo. We began the 3/4 mi walk to the start line with thousands of other runners. Time went so quickly waiting in the athlete village. We didn’t get to the start corrals with any extra time, a quick picture of the two of us as taken by a volunteer and we split into the corrals we were assigned.

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Photo taken moments before the start. We shed our extra warm clothes and began the race a bit chilly.

I started the race with a thought from Perry, “Don’t out-pace your corral mates before the first half.” And it makes so much sense. The folks that share your corral are there because of their similar qualifying times. I wanted to stay in complete control in the first 7 miles. I saw my Garmin flutter inaccurate pace readings as the road leaves Hopkinton through a wooded area. Before Mile #1, my watch was chiming in that I had already run a mile. So every chirp of my watch for the rest of the race would also be flawed I determined. Good to know now I said to myself. I wanted to keep a pace that would get me to the halfway point in a good time, but not use too much energy to accomplish that. I ran fully attentive, not talking with others but no iPod or distractions. I was concentrating on “feeling” my pace. I wanted things to feel correct to my legs and lungs, using checks to the Garmin to keep me within an acceptable range of speed. I drank water only, using each stop to grab fluids late in the lineup of tables. With aid stations most every mile, it was many drink exercises with no stopping – everything was done as if I was racing for the money. Prior to starting, Jessica sent me a text to the effect of,” You are a pro athlete paid torun this race, achieve what you’ve trained for today.” This was a good reminder to stay focused, which I did very well. I only spoke a few times, once to a man in the later miles who asked how I was doing, and a few times to people organizing themselves to be in good position to drink from the aid stations. I heard plenty of music, saw so many children out on the course offering “high fives,” water, cut oranges and pineapples, etc. I knew from my Miami “experiment” that only my gels and salt pills were going in before the finish line. The fruit did something nasty to my stomach in Miami and I wash risking anything on poor or unfamiliar nutrition. It’s rare that I tell people what time I’m shooting for in a race. For Boston, plenty of people knew I was running to beat 3:18. The closest people to me know even more than the PR I value a negative split effort. Today I was concentrating on both. To control myself on the early hills that bring a false pace, and to press through whatever I needed to in order to run the back 13 faster than the first half. Including the hills!

Each mile proved my Garmin to be inaccurate by an increasingly larger margin. I knew the physical mile markers for the Boston Marathon had to be accurate. I stayed with running the tangents as much as possible. This is tough in the early miles because the roads are narrow. Once I reached the 9,10 and 11 mile markers, the roads opened wider and we also found ourselves exposed to the sun. I had a good visor and glasses on, so I wasn’t affected. No significant wind was present before the 30km mark. I made sure to be “in the clear” for the photo stations along the route. They always setup a blue logo stripe in the street and a cherry picker overhead with photographers. Let’s see how that turned out. At just past mile 11, the outer part of my legs felt strained, IT bands I guess. Never in any run or workout have I felt this before. I took an Alleve pill that I had in my pouch, figuring the stress of the early downhills had beaten up my upper legs. It may have helped, I felt the same nagging on my legs later on but ran through it. At Wellesley College, the girls were out in force, great weather and funny signs included! “Kiss me I’m single,” “Don’t run by, perfect is right here,” what fun to see them reel in guys for kisses, take pictures, high five and scream again. I knew Patty Loubris and her group was waiting for me at Mile #19, so I wanted to be as fresh as I could to charge up the hills. Here’s a girl that unprovoked, over a month ago, started sending me text messgaes reminding me how many days left ’til my PR. At first I didn’t know what she was referring to with my A1a Marathon and Riverbend 5k already past me, both as successful times. I had to beleive this was possible, even in Boston, if only because she did! So many runs in practice I wondered how I could get to the hills of Boston and press up them with authority. This was the day! When I saw the signs for Newton, I knew there were 4 noticeable hills ahead. Plenty of people congregated on the sidewalks and the cheering was really good here. I saw so many chalk drawings and messages for Shalane Flanigan and references to Marblehead, her hometown. Three leaved clovers, hearts, many good wishes for the local favorite – it was neat to see these messages. The Lululemon girls were in several spots along the course. I always saw them from far back with their signs. I made my way to their side of the road and highlighted my shirt and shorts to get some loud screams. It worked every time! Coming out of their area, I found myself at a below 7 min pace, so it got me going to hear them hoot and holler. I kept thinking to run at what felt good, my pace would be true at the end if I could stay consistent up, down and on the flat areas of the course. The hills were fun this year because my holding off in the early miles worked. I went up each hill keeping or increasing my pace each time. For Heartbeak, I had enough energy to go the whole way and keep below the 7:20 – 7:30 pace that seemed to be on the watch most times I looked down. At the top, Boston College. This was the most enthusiastic crowd of the day – loud and completely engaged with the crowd for at least the next 3/4 to a mile. I ran near the right barricades, chanting, “Go Eagles” every time I wanted to hear an eruption of screams. Guys and girls, plenty with red cups lined this section of the course and were such wonderful motivation for me. The course has a nice downward slope here, lead into the big church at the bottom. It was a big help to see and hear all of these fans as I worked to equalize my breathing from the hill climbs.

The final 5 miles were concentration and work. A headwind from the east was very noticeable now. I wanted to draft behind runners taller than I. At A1A marathon, this strategy failed because there weren’t any people near me on the windy portion of the course. Here in Newton, Brookline and Boston, there were many runners. But none doing the pace I wanted to keep. First I followed a tall guy, until my Garmin and legs told me too fast. He was at 6:45 pace. Shortly after this, I stayed with a tall girl, ponytail equipped for added distraction! No good either, she was running barely below 8 minute miles. I figured and remember thinking to myself – ” No shortcuts today, you have to earn all of this one.” I ran out by myself towards the left side of the street as I hoped the miles would tick off quicker at this stage of the race. I felt some puckering in my calves and my left quad was sore, the right side felt ok. I knew that even stopping to stretch out the legs could bring a domino effect of stopping to get liquid, stopping for something else, basically, I’d start making “deals” with myself – not happening. I had been true to the idea of running non stop all day. I had less than 40 minutes to go if I held pace. I decided to keep running and risk breaking rather than play safe and tend to what bothered me. Tough going in miles 23-25 because there are some rolling hills that asked for more concentration. Whoever said you’re downhill into the city after Heartbreak Hill wasn’t from flat Florida! Anything with more incline than a driveway in the last 4 miles is a hill. In Brookline I took more water, a gel and my last Succeed electrolyte pill. The gel could give me some boost, and the salt could hold off the cramping I figured. The Citgo sign, in view for the last 20 minutes, passed on my left. Fenway Park, with its fans overflowing on the street, passed on the right. I knew I was close now. A dip under Massachusetts Ave, then a small rise to meet the street grade again and it’s time for one of the most famous turns in marathoning. Lumped in with leaving the Queensboro bridge and turning onto 1st Avenue in NYC, the quick right on Hereford Street then a left onto Boylston Street, this 90 degree turn is running lore. Paul Reback asks us to envision this as we practice intervals at track. First on to Hereford Street, you see a slight rise in the road ahead, but what dominates the view is the Hynes Convention Center. I was just there yesterday, and when I was, hoped and thought about what my condition would be like in the run at this stage of the race. The cheering is incredible, but it’s going to get louder I remember thinking. True, true and true! The left turn onto Boylston Street reveals even more people crowded against barricades, cheering for the constant stream of runners passing by. I see some in the outer lanes struggling but looking forward, head up, ready to finish. People yell out, “Good job 10139” as I pass. Often called the “People’s Olympics” for the tough qualifying standards and immense crowd participation, running in Boston is amazing. I’m living all of that right here. I began picking up my pace in the 26th mile. A glance at the watch shows I have enough time to PR in less than 1/4 mile. What does it feel like knowing this while you’re doing it? It’s an amazing sensation!!! My legs are light, my stride quickens to what probably amounted to a sub 7 min/mile pace. It’s a straightaway, gradually fading downhill, and I’m roaring towards the finish line in Boston. It looks far away when I peek forward, but it’s not a worry. The spectators are reaching out to touch the runners, so I slap hands with a few, then work my way around slower runners to the middle of the street. It’s a perfect sunny day and I am lit up with excitement. This is better than just a negative split, I have hung on to PR for the day, I know it’s going to happen and I feel incredible. Closer to the finish, a volunteer points to the two sides of the finish line and the tunnel/scaffolding bridge. I choose the north side, all the while looking at the spectators with beer cups, the “26.2 Brew” plastic ones. I think about getting the real glass ones after I finish. More happiness! People wave flags and hold up signs for their family members and friends as I pass the last traffic light and come to the line. . Two timing mats surround the painted “Boston Marathon Finish” stripe in the street. I hear my name and “Palm Beach Gardens, Florida” over the loudspeaker as I step on the timing mat and stop my watch. It’s done, I’m smiling and I’m in an unbelieveable state of mind. I look for Ann Wessling or Stephanie, either should be here right at the finish I thought? Or maybe Ian Kulin and Gary Walk, they started in the corral ahead of me? Nope, no familiar faces yet. I move under the scaffolding bridge and soak it all in. Music is blasting, names are being called out, people are partying in the bleachers and along the road. Volunteers offer help but I was fine. I spend as much time as I can still under the bridge watching others finish. The BAA and AT&T athleet tracker worked very well, my friends reported that they could see my pace thru each 5k increment of the race, with a link to also include a watching little person jogging down the street on Google Maps if you wanted! My official time was 3:17:47. The Garmin had me at 26.52 miles, which explains why each mile marker came after the watch signaled I was at a mile mark. It was a curvy, hilly, sunny, successful and most memorable run to Boston!

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Boston Marathon, beyond the finish line

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Charlotte Maines and I in the finish line area, Sunday, April 14th, 2013.

My race ended in grand fashion. I experienced wonderful running weather, tremendous crowd support and a goal time achieved. I had several friends also participating in the race, each running their own version of the famed Boston Marathon. If you haven’t been to the race, I can offer an explanation of what many videos and photographs do not make clear. The finish line on Boylston Street is NOT the large blue scaffolding structure seen in the pictures. The finish line is a large painted stripe on the concrete, bordered by two timing chip mats. It is 40 feet in front of the blue tunnel. The blue scaffolding bridge is for photographers, media and race officials. It is mostly blue on the front side facing the finish line, decorated with Boston Marathon logos and sponsor banners. The back side is mostly white tarps and banners enclosing the structure from the elements should it rain or be exposed to wind. Once you complete your run, you walk under the structure and head east on Boylston Street to get water, the Mylar blankets and your finisher’s medal. That’s the plan, anyway. I passed under the structure and stopped for a minute to catch my breath and look back at the last straightaway. (see Figure label #1 below)  “I really did it,” rang in my head, I pulled together one of my best endurance sports performances just minutes ago. I was elated!  White and yellow coat volunteers and race officials asked me if I was ok, I reassured them I was fine, thanked them and just stayed in the shade of the tunnel. I watched and listened to the music, heard the announcer calling out names, and kept enjoying the non-stop noise from the crowd.  The cheering on Boylston Street is so memorable. I’d venture to guess that only by coincidence would there be anyone in the massive crowd that knows me. Yet thousands of people scream, cheer, ring cowbells and wave flags as you run by.

I wear a Nathan 10k waist belt pack when I do long runs. It stays tight to my body, doesn’t look like a big lump of equipment, and holds some things I like to have during and after the race. I can carry gels, salt pills and my phone with me. I had the phone and my ID and some cash in the pack when I finished the race. With my running completed, I was riding a high that had me using my limited cell phone battery power to relay quick text messages about my experience to friends . Between text messages and Facebook personal messages, my phone’s already low battery was in trouble. I had to minimize what I was doing with my iPhone. I needed some juice left to connect with Charlotte and hopefully get a few finisher pictures of ourselves, too. Volunteers encouraged me, politely, to continue moving to the water and runner recovery area just 150 ft ahead. This recovery zone for athletes began at Dartmouth Street and Copley Square. I didn’t want to get water and begin shuffling down the street yet, I had a few people running that I wanted to greet right as they finished. Lilia Drew, Diane Walsh, Charlotte of course, followed hopefully soon after by Michael Papa and Barry Green. I spoke with Stephanie Freeman just yesterday, she said she wasn’t going to be at Mile 19 as she thought, she was going to the finish line area instead. Ann Wessling is usually poking around here, too, with her Competitor Sports credentials, I expected to see her in the finish zone with a microphone. I was going to hang as close to the action and excitement as possible – for as long as possible. Anyone who knows me knows this. The finish line area is the pulse of any race. This was a great day!

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Click to enlarge – View of bomb #1 site and Fedex dropbox. This is where I first waited for friends to finish.  (Not my picture, for reference purposes.)

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Click to enlarge – This picture shows the proximity from Fedex drop box to explosion site #1

I moved under the tunnel and to the south side of the street. I leaned and stretched up against what I will refer to as a “Fedex” drop box. It was a metal mailbox-like permanent fixture servicing the businesses on Boylston Street. (see Figure label #2 below) I stretched my calves and shoulders, answering volunteers that asked me to keep moving with, “Sure, just stretching out and getting the rusty pieces back in shape.” Two white coat volunteers were standing next to it, so I started to chat with them. They asked about my race, where I was from, how I enjoyed Boston. One wore a Boston College hat, so I raved to him how Mile 21 at BC was a great segment of the course, the loudest and most enthusiastic fans greeted me there! While I spoke with these two volunteers, others with white and yellow jackets stayed away and focused on getting the stream of finishers to keep walking forward and vacate the finish area. I could stall here as long as I could stretch my legs and keep talking to these two guys, I thought.  As I spoke to them, I was also answering text messages from people who had contacted me while I was on the course. I didn’t claim the time on my Garmin to anyone, I wanted the official time from BAA to surface so I was sure it was authentic. I was back and forth texting with Austin and Anita Daniels, Suzanne and Sal Senzatimore, Jessica Crate, Adrienne Papa, Diane Walsh, Patty Loubris and Erica Lazarus. All of the texts from them happened before the first explosion. On Facebook, I also answered a few posts and congratulation messages from friends. The phone was low on battery, but this activity wasn’t eating up too much power. I would ask runners what their finishing time was as they passed me, giving me an idea as to when Charlotte and others would be coming through. I believe I missed Lilia Drew and Diane Walsh at their finish because I was talking to the two volunteers at the Fedex box. I learned from texts with Suzanne that Charlotte was not going to be finishing before 3 hours 53 minutes, still at that time 10 minutes away. I said goodbye to the two volunteers and moved from the Fedex mailbox to the lifeguard chair behind the finish line. The lifeguard chair was setup in the middle of Boylston Street.

I took a moment to answer questions from a guy with a tape recorder. He asked basic questions about my race day exeperience and  took my name in a notepad. I laetr learned he was from NPR Radio, here is that interview with myself and other finishers minutes before the 1st explosion.  NPR Radio Interview

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Click to enlarge – View from BEHIND the finish scaffolding. Lifeguard chair before explosions was located in the middle of Boylston Street. I did not take this photo

Sitting in the chair were two yellow jacket race officials, encouraging finishing runners to keep walking to the water tables past Dartmouth Street or if they needed medical help, to enter the large white tent at Copley Squre. I said, “Hi” to them, thanked them for being a part of the race, and stood behind their chair to wait for runners. (see Figure label #3 below) I continued to stretch, talk to other finishers,  and answer text messages while at the lifeguard chair. I was moved to see so many people crying as they walked to get water and their medal. They cried because they were happy with their results! I spoke to a few, they were so positively affected by the race and their finish. This made me feel really good, what a perfect day to run and spend it among friends. And soon my friends would start arriving. I looked forward to the runner after-party at House of Blues. I thought that when Charlotte came through the finish and we collected our things, we could visit the bars on the north side of the street in front of the finish line so I can get a Samuel Adams “26.2 Brew” glass. I saw them online, Sam Adams employees at the expo said I’d get one free if I went on a brewery tour, but I wasn’t going to be here on Tuesday. This would be my chance at scoring one! I didn’t know it then, but it would have also put me in the mix of where the explosions were to occur.

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Photo taken after the race by Boston Police Officer. This is approx 10 min before the first explosion.

I wanted a picture to send to Andre from Skechers to show him I wore the shoes and finished in a good time. Runners streamed by on both sides of me, so I walked to the North side of Boylston Street near the beginning of the Dartmouth Street intersection. I asked a Boston Police officer if he would take my picture. He did, I checked it to make sure it was in focus and thanked him. (see Figure label #4 below) I tried to attach that picture to a text message to Andre, but the photo never went through. It stalled trying to attach to the text, so I stopped it because I feared it was sapping my battery power. I moved back to the middle of the street next to the lifeguard chair and kept looking for Charlotte. I went back and forth via text with Adrienne Papa on where Michael was, she said he was scheduled to arrive in 4:01, he was looking to beat her previous Boston marathon time. She said he had reached the 30km mark on schedule, and that he was “on a mission.” I typed a message to her that did not send – it read…

“I guess. The hills don’t end at heartbreak. The little ones at 23-25 hurt, too.”

Charlotte sent me a text after that, saying she was heading towards the meeting spot we had arranged yesterday. This was a building three blocks away with a  lower level concourse that provided free massages and chicken soup for the runners after the race. I was very surprised that she too had completed her run and passed by without me seeing her. Granted there were many finishers, but I was right in the middle of the street  and I thought I’d easily recognize her. Maybe my incessant texting caused me to miss her? I said I’d be over to the meeting spot shortly, I’d have to begin walking east on Boylston, get water, my medal and my clothes from the bus. When I shut my phone off to save power and turned left, the first explosion hit. (see Figure label #5 below) My right ear whistled with a ringing sound as I watched a cloud of whitish-grey smoke rise from in front of the finish timing tent on the north side of the street. Everyone got very quiet, the smoke rose and started to dissipate when explosion #2 hit further down the street. I thought a generator, transformer or propane tank exploded. I watched police and volunteers hurry to the scene. The video that played over and over on TV showed low flames and minimal debris. I didn’t see flames, blood or anything that made it alarming besides the loud sound it made and the echo from the surrounding buildings. Count to ten – the second explosion wasn’t as loud, but made me think someone was going to be in big trouble for this mess and that people were probably injured nearby, knowing how big and tight the crowds were all along the non-bleacher side of the street. Within two minutes, the smoke from both explosions cleared. A breeze that acted as a runner’s headwind from the east blew the smoke away. So really, to me, things didn’t look too bad from behind the finish line structure. The volunteers and police now made sure everyone that wasn’t associated with the authorities or the race was walking away from the finish area. The medical tent in Copley square had a stream of people coming out heading towards the first explosion area. Volunteers stopped anyone from moving towards the finish area, but there wasn’t a whole lot of clamor among people looking to go towards the troubled area. The soldiers in uniform that finished hiking the course, they ran by me to get to the finish line and as the video showed, to the slat fence that separated the spectators from the finish line. I walked towards the water tables, took a bottle and spoke with several runners and people who asked what I had seen and what happened. (see Figure label #6 below) I answered with the same thing… I saw white/gray smoke from two explosions, and there were plenty of people there to help. I wasn’t worried or scared, I was calm and under the belief that things went very well with my run and whatever had just occurred was under control due to the large presence of law enforcement and medical personnel.  I kept reminding people that so many police and medical pros were there. Further down the road, I went to collect my medal and Power Bar samples and food goodie bag. I went to the bus that held my race bag, collected that and saw that many people were not worried about what they had seen. I heard a man say to a woman, “This isn’t Disney, they don’t fire off cannons at the Boston Marathon, that was a bomb.” I had an odd feeling that people very close to where I was were injured, the explosion was very loud and happened in a crowded place. I wasn’t naive to that. For 7-10 minutes, I did not see or hear any sirens at all, the sound of one helicopter was overhead, that’s all. I met Charlotte at the entrance to the building we were to meet at. Then we heard the first sirens. She had by that time been monitoring Twitter, where reports of casualties and people with missing limbs were being reported. Charlotte was at first reluctant to go into the building, she really wanted to leave immediately and understandably so. If this was an intentional act, there could be more explosions. My reasoning was that we should remain indoors, in this “secret” basement to relax and recoup our thoughts. Charlotte worked diligently to get word to her family and husband Stanton that we were ok. She was able to get a message to Stanton first then her Twitter account. This was important as media was now reporting that an attack had been perpetrated at the Boston Marathon. And the news was spreading fast!

We lined up to get the athlete’s massage. It didn’t take long for an official to tell us,”Folks, I’m sorry to report that for the first time in 28 years, we have to ask you to leave now, this building is being evacuated, again I am sorry, please take your things and proceed up the stairs.” We knew we had to head to the trains, we had to look for a way to get back to Harvard where we were staying. I don’t know Boston, I relied on Charlotte’s knowledge of the city. Good thing, she knows the T system well. We walked first back to the Boston Common area to try and get on the Green Line, the train we took in the morning to the bus lineup. Now we saw various emergency and military vehicles on the roads. The black SWAT juggernaut trucks and SUVs from federal environmental agencies were first. Then ambulances, many of them, made there way through newly cleared streets and confused runners. Once we walked a few blocks to the Commons area, we saw the entrance to the T station was locked, and a fully armed “stromtrooper” military member relayed the same message to all of us. The Green Line was closed, we could check other lines because they could still be operating. Charlotte quickly identified the Red Line as the best option for us to return to the apartment. We walked across the Commons, texting and talking away to concerned friends and relatives. We made the Red line station before any closure or interruption of service occured. We hurried through the ticket entrance and lined up on the platform for the train. I remember constant sirens while we waited on the elevated station platform, but most of these people weren’t chatting among themselves. One man talked to his two children, another lady complained about her phone service. We boarded the first train we saw pull into the station. It was crowded and surprisingly quiet on the ride. Most people tried to text others or catch the news on their smartphones. We had heard that cell service was purposely shut down by the authorities, and although it was difficult to get messages through and Internet connectivity was weak, this shutdown rumor we later learned wasn’t true. A few stops later we arrived in Harvard Square. It was bustling and vibrant – I didn’t see too many people with the runner gear bags or race bibs. We went to Subway and ate a hero, talking about what we had seen and constantly returning texts and emails to friends. We walked by the Charles River and returned to the apartment, with the sounds of sirens nearby in Cambridge and across the river in Back Bay Boston. We turned on the TV once home, showered, and watched the day’s events unfold. The video played over and over again, the injury count kept rising, but we were safe. A race that I’d looked forward to for months was done. The world event that we had been a part of was still in progress a short 2 miles away. We were very relieved  to be home in a quiet place.

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My Boston finish diagram, click to enlarge. Corresponds with notations and numbers in the above story.

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Click to enlarge.

Boston Marathon 2011

Dave Masterson Boston Marathon

A great trip alone.

26 ‘dot’ a few tenths of a mile. Easy flights into Boston on Saturday afternoon made the beginning of the trip fun. First class seats coupled with some eats and shopping in Baltimore airport got me to Logan in Boston, ready to subway and train my way to my friend Scott’s house in Franklin, Mass. That’s my stop and bed for the weekend.  Plenty of other runners were arriving at the same time in Boston, many in the BAA jackets from years past. Jeez, Logan airport’s interior hasn’t changed in the 10+ years since I’ve visited last. So tiny are the aisle ways and corridors, it is nothing like newer well appointed terminals in other cities. Getting a Silver Line bus was easy, that took me to South Station in the city center. I took the first of several hour-long train rides on the Mass. Commuter rail line. They have funny rules about getting on and off the train at only certain doors, but it turned into a regular stop-n-go ride once it left the station.

Scott’s house is in a great neighborhood, backing up to a state forest. His wife Patti met me at the station then she drove me the quick one mile to the home. I met their son Cooper, and spoke on the phone with Scott who was in Providence with his 15yr old daughter Madison and 5 friends celebrating her birthday. I had already eaten in Baltimore, so it was time to talk with Patti about the race, tomorrow’s plan for packet pickup and family happenings in the Young home.

Sunday I woke early for no reason, I kept stretching and drinking water to give my injured calf the best chance of performing well Monday in the race. Scott came home with the girls mid morning, it was good to see him and meet his daughter, too. Then I got back on the train heading to the city – expo time! I found the convention center after a short walk from the Back Bay station. Plenty of Red Sox fans were on the same train. I brought a camera, because for all the people I know that have done this race, I never see pictures! Maybe by the time people qualify for Boston, they are already over the “geekiness” of how special and fun going to an out of town race is. Not me! So I took pictures like it was my first marathon, not 20th. At the convention center, I got my number, shirt and race bag, simple. Then I went into the expo. The first booth that packet pickup dumped the athletes into was Addidas – with the official marathon gear. What a riot this was! The show was mid-sized but very crowded with runners and family members in town for the race. No more men’s BAA theme jackets in stock, but that was ok, I was hoping for an embroidered logo coat, the screen printed $114 ones didn’t look so great to me. I found a green running shell with zip off arms that looked neat. (Thinking I could use this to run or ride with) They were being pulled off the hangers as fast as stock people could get them out of boxes and back on display. I tried a size medium then a size small, finally relying on the expert eye of Jessica Crate and her mom Sharon to help me choose. What a neat girl she is, a very talented runner that should be modeling something for some lucky company with her pretty smile and shape. I spoke with her and her mom in the try-on area for a few minutes. We made tentative plans to meet at the post race party at House of Blues. Nice start to the expo for me, two Florida blondes happy to be in Boston just like I was. Over the next few hours, I shopped, took surveys, tried food and drinks, it was fun being alone and doing as I wanted on my schedule. I bought some souvenirs and kept light on my feet, sitting often to watch demonstrations or try things on. I went to a Lululemon yoga session after the show at 5pm, again hoping to keep my right leg as loose as possible. Taught by Angie Stewart from LA, it was worth my hour to relax and stretch everything in a quiet mood-music filled room. After that, I took another commuter rail ride back to the house. Now to rest and get everything ready for the morning.

Scott planned to drop me in Hopkinton before the roads closed at 7:30am. He has good local knowledge of the race, with runners in his family over the years and a brother in law that was the official starter of the race until recently. He took me right to the high school athlete village, which was a collection of yellow buses, tents, and porta-potties galore. It was in the low 40s and significantly windy from the west. A “good tailwind” I was told by the locals. I shivered deep to my core waiting then I saw people going into the school. I knew I’d make up some reason for me to be in there, so I went into the gym too. Inside, I found a line of 60 people waiting for free massages given by local staff and intern students! I gladly chatted with others, stayed warm, and got a great massage. This was the gym Paul Reback spoke of when describing Boston Marathon in the seventies with only a few hundred runners ran from Hopkinton back then! I figured it would be warmer once I came out of the school an hour later, but it wasn’t noticeably warmer except when standing in the sun. But to be in the sun, you had to be away from the building and exposed to the breeze. I went to a porta-pottie, and chilled my body all over again waiting in the line. I found a cardboard box to sit on top of in the moist grass and I grabbed a discarded silver space blanket from a previous Disney marathon to wrap around my lower self. I decided I’d be keeping my Lulu sweatshirt on to start the race; I’d tie it around my waist if I felt warmer once running. In another stroke of good fortune, a new white kitchen trash bag blew right to where I was sitting in the sun. I snatched that too and poked holes in it to wear as a windbreaker. So much for arriving prepared, karma and the natural laws of the open road kept me warm ‘til the race start.

The walk from the school to the corral was .7 miles. Easy to do, with good support from the neighbors and locals who gave runners coffee and snacks on the route. I found that few people were nervous or talking about the course or conditions, everyone was in a good mood, walking together and stretching. The corral system was very organized and not crowded at all; it was good to be in the first grouping of bib numbers. I saw helicopters overhead, news stations doing interviews, and plenty of fans near the tiny and subdued start line. Someone sang the national anthem along with other armed forces songs, and we began the run. The first dip leaving Hopkinton was nice on my legs because I stayed at what I thought was a conservative pace. The course continued going downward and leveling off, making for easy and relaxed pacing early on. My first mile in a very manageable grouping of similar runners was 7:40. I didn’t feel odd with that as a pace, the gravity was helping. At mile 2, I shed the sweatshirt pullover to the waist position. We went thru Ashland and other smaller communities. At exactly the 7km sign, I felt the sharper pain of my right calf emerge. Not a good feeling, I immediately ate an Advil thinking that with 22 miles to go, I didn’t need to have anything left in my fanny pouch at the end. It was tough running for the next 3 miles to just before 7. I was thinking I’d be able to press thru the pain and numb it out – just keep going. Maybe that plus the pain pill helped, I do recall thinking the approaching 7 mile sign was a 9 mile banner, that sucked once I realized the truth. I kept a good pace, trying to stay with familiar looking people from my corral. I ran next to plenty of people wearing their colors from other countries. A guy in a red first wave bib in a full gorilla suit was somewhere behind me, I kept hearing people yell to him and line themselves up to get photos with him on the course. At 10 miles with the same leg condition, I was now slowing to 7:45 pace thru to the halfway 13 mile mark. I looked for Scott and Patti in Wellesley after the great reception from the college girls. No luck finding them, maybe they saw me and I didn’t hear them? The fans at this race are so involved, even more than Chicago’s route. People are out in lawn chairs, handing water and snacks of all types to runners. Many children look to hand out pieces of fruit to passing runners, mostly they offer sliced oranges. Like feeding goldfish in a pond, they vie to see who will get their piece of nourishment into a runner’s hands. The kids without orange peels look for “high-fives,” the young girls hope to be kissed by a runner, it’s some show. The weather was now warmer and I was doing well drinking water and salt pills with gels every 5 miles. The roads get wider, the sun higher in the sky, I felt good that I could hold my leg running for this long without it getting worse. Another Advil and I was heading to the hills. 14, 15, and here’s one around 16 that slows the line of runners!

The Newton Hills I had heard plenty about – but I wasn’t sure how many there were. With my leg, I could run well going down, but any uphill was a real test for the calf muscle. The hills weren’t abrupt, just long and loping. I finally saw Patti and Scott, my two fans, before the final hill climb. That’s a great mental boost, seeing someone you know among all the other spectators. Scott had his cork hat on he brought from Portugal, who could miss that sight? For the runners, it’s slow going in this area. People struggled and walked starting around mile 18. I think there were four rises, ending at 20-21 with Heartbreak Hill. There were so many people chanting to runners to keep going, great signs at the roadside, chalk hearts drawn in the street, kids banging pots & pans, what a showing! I conservatively walked thru a water stop to drink up and ran the hills on the side of the road, passing a good number of walkers. My pace up was slow, but I kept the strain on the right calf in check. At the top of the last hill, I saw Boston College and big banners reading, “Heartbreak is Over!” Then a generous hill going down, which was refreshing. People seemed to respond well to the change from climbing and spirits were high as we passed more screaming college kids at BC. I saw one girl with a sign,”Smile if you don’t have underwear on.” I smiled and explained that there was no way these ballerina pants could support undies and not leave a line, she and her friends liked that! We ran through more communities then entered the city boundaries, how was I this close and it was still hard to see anything but the tallest two buildings? I felt very sore on the right side after the hills, my legs were doing some pre-cramp quivering at mile 22-23. I kept eating the gels and the salt pills. My pace was now stunted back above 8 min miles I think, I was definitely slowing. I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking how long it might take to walk in from 23 and 24 miles out, but it was a possibility looming. I stopped to stretch my legs several times in the last four miles, using trees, lampposts, fences, etc. I spoke with fans and people on the side of the road, many responded that they liked my LIVESTRONG visor. I saw a huge CITGO sign ahead, then Fenway Park on the right. I kept stopping and stretching because my leg cramps were coming more frequently. Once I ran in the middle of the road and a mini cramp almost had me fall over! From that point, I stayed over near the side of Beacon St near the rail line fence. Once in the city proper, I saw I had a few minutes left to finish under 3:30. This wasn’t going to happen, my legs would allow running now in only ¼ to ½ mile increments before needing a stretch. I turned right towards the convention center, then left onto Boylston Street. I could see the big blue finish line I’d taken pictures near yesterday. It was far enough away that I knew I couldn’t get there in time. I was now very slowly running near the 10-deep crowd on the left side of the road. One more stretch for the leg and to the finish line in 3:31 something. I was in good aerobic health but both legs felt really tight, the right one especially. I was handed water, a medal, my clothes and a space blanket. I was very satisfied to have gone so far on the leg I questioned only days before.

I found more massage, this time in the basement of the Hyde Building. Again the volunteers were fantastic… They served me chicken broth as I waited in line, and I was treated to what had to be an hour long massage by two interns. One lady concentrated on doing all the body’s big muscles, the other intern coming after 45 minutes to give a complete foot massage and then to lotion my feet and return them to the socks. No foot damage this time, the Thor-lo pad socks did well.

I walked around for about half an hour, tried to contact some of the Palm Beach locals with no luck and decided to head back to Scott’s house. I made a great choice; he had newly baked lasagna ready when I walked in the door. Later I heard from Jessica, who was going to House of Blues with her mom at 8:30pm. That may have been fun, but I wasn’t staying in the city – so I’d have had to wrestle late night train schedules and inconvenience my hosts to make that happen. I watched a hockey game with Patti and Scott, rested and stretched my legs, and went to bed at 10:30pm.

I do have to come back to Boston for several reasons. I should attempt a good time first of all with healthy runner’s legs. I know the course and what it brings, I usually like climbing hills, and I can see myself wisely saving energy in the early miles to be strong in the post-Newton hill miles. I had great running weather, so did the elites. A world record time of 2:03:02 was set but may not be honored due to wind conditions. Ryan Hall sets a new American record under 2:05 to get fourth place. American women get 2nd and 5th place, as Desiree Davila springs onto the USA female scene as better than Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanigan. I enjoyed my solo shot visit to this famous race. I have new ideas about training in earnest for the races I enter. I can grow from this. I’d recommend this race to everyone, as a spectator, a charity runner or qualified athlete. It was an awesome day to run my first Boston marathon.

CSI Riviera Beach

8mi. I arrived on time, my time that is, right before 5am. Only Jon was there running before I began, I saw him when I drove up the bridge. It was 56 degrees and a good sustained wind directly form the west. I wore a t-shirt and my finger gloves, my first lap over the bridge was a little cold, but I adjusted quickly. Scott Hicks joined me today for 5 1/2 laps, it sure beats running alone like usual. I felt good, I probably ran faster than I would have alone, Scott’s to blame for that.  Some of Dave Reback’s daughters were there, as were Gary, Atilla, , Marty, Teresa O. with her friend and Randi Garvey.  Jon asked me at the top of the bridge if I had seen the police this morning. I didn’t know what he was referring to, until he said earlier this morning he found a handgun in the street at the top of the bridge! Hey, 4 or 5 years into this Tuesday bridge running, I’ve seen plenty of flashing lights, police, border patrol, PBC Sheriffs cars, but weapons – this is a first. I guess it gives new meaning to the term “gun lap”.

Faster alone

8mi.  I can see how I’ll adjust to the inevitable warming that’s overdue for the morning workouts. It was 58 degrees, but windy from the west, so my first lap on the bridge was chilled. I had a tech t-shirt on, so it wasn’t that bad.  Jon was there, Adrienne and Angie, Randi Garvey, Gary, John Reback, Dave Reback, Paul Reback, Atilla and a few I don’t know.  Welcome back to Marty after a surgery. He hasn’t done hill workouts in awhile. It’s interesting to think that he has done so many Boston marathons on the same course I was training for, and at 45 I still haven’t done one!  The bridge was a good running workout today, I kept a good pace and finished the whole thing with cooldown earlier than usual.  I tried to concentrate on climbing well and not slowing my efforts on the downhill.  Good run, and I was ready for a Tuesday meeting and nice seminar and lunch after waking early and starting solo. I think this day I went faster alone.

Hills again

8mi. This morning was windy and 53 degrees, cooler than I wanted, but after the first lap on the bridge I shed my fleece jacket. Welcome back to the sidewalk, Shelby, it’s been awhile! Where was the birthday Char? Also out today were Paul & John Reback, Atilla, Gary, Teresa O. and a friend, Angie and Adrienne.  I went faster on my final three laps, I noticed some of the guys in the group were catching up to me. I did the warmup and cooldown, so I was happy to complete 8 mi. today.  Nothing else more eventful, sorry!

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