Any runner who had a Boston Marathon bib could participate in the Virtual Boston Marathon 2020.
The Melrose Running Club had six runners with a bib who decided to run the Virtual Boston Marathon 2020.
They started training in January like any other year and then hoped the race would not be cancelled.
Then the race was postponed and turned into a virtual race for the first time in Boston Marathon history.
While the club suspended Sunday Long Runs, they continued to organize Sunday Long Runs and other training runs to prepare for their race.
I didn’t have a bib for the 2020 Marathon, so I ran as a bandit for the first time! I also did not train to run a marathon.
It Takes a Village
Starting at Mile 2, The Boston Marathon has water stops at every mile. This year the crew had to arrange their own water stops and bathroom stops.
Maria Cavero was the team captain and master mind behind putting together the course.
Yvonne Liu-Constant put together the first draft of the course and then Maria found ways to avoid as many hills as possible!
Several miles had virtually no elevation gain and most had only 20-30 feet of elevation gain.
Together, Yvonne and Maria found people’s homes, parks and other spots where we could stop and re-charge.
Volunteers and Guardian Angels
The crew reached out for volunteers for the water stops and to provide on-course support.
They put together seven water stops and a crew of about twenty volunteers. On paper it was about twelve volunteers but many more turned out to help and provide support.
I think the volunteers were as excited to be there as the runners were!
Unlike Boston, we stopped at each water stop. There was no big clock on Boylston Street waiting for us. This year, everyone was just looking to run 26 miles and 385 yards.
It was very chill and less of a “dammed the torpedoes” vibe.
For most of the run there were three guys on bikes riding with us. They were in helmets, sun glasses and masks so I’m not sure who they were!
These guardian angels rode with the last person on the team, took photos and stopped traffic for us!
These guys stood in the middle of Alewife Brook Parkway, aka Rt. 16, into Cambridge and stopped traffic!
With authority they turned their bikes sideways on the median strip, held up their hands and shook cow bells! Drivers actually stopped for them.
They did this countless times so that we could cross busy roads with minimal hindrance.
This bandit would like to thank everyone who took time out of their Saturday to come out and run a water stop or stand in the middle of a road for us.
Running the Virtual Boston Marathon 2020
I was going to go to the start of this run but upon reviewing the map, I realized they were passing within a half mile of my house. So why drive to Melrose?
Over the past few months my weekly miles have rarely hit twenty miles. I’m not qualified to run a 5K. Running more than a four mile training run takes an act of will power.
I didn’t plan on running 26 miles, 385 yards so I told them I would meet them on the corner down from my house.
I figured they were running 10 minute miles. I left my house at 7:20 and thought I’d meet some of them on the corner.
When I got to the corner of Spring and Central Streets I didn’t see anyone. I decided to run down to the first water stop.
No one was there, so I decided to run around the neighborhood to make up some miles and warm up a bit.
I run in this area at least once a week, so I knew exactly where I was.
I ran from the water stop to The Fellsway, all the way back and up to Main Street. At Haynes Square I hit 2 miles.
I ran down Central Street to the water stop and in a few minutes Kristi and Bobby Taylor showed up. In no time they had everything set up and some of the cyclist began to show up.
It was great to catch up with Bobby and Kristi who have both started new jobs recently and have a new dog.
Soon we saw runners in the distance heading down Central Street towards us. This commonplace street corner began to feel exciting.
Some people came out of their houses to see what all the commotion was and everyone seemed happy to see us.
As everyone showed up we began to take over the intersection. Drivers were really good about waiting for people to step out of the way. And we tried to be good in keeping people out of traffic.
The runners had black and white bibs which did not stand out. The drivers had no idea that they were witnessing part of the 20020 Boston Marathon. These folks were decent to us just because that’s what people do.
After everyone was ready to go we headed down Park Street to Riverside and ran through Medford Square.
Medford Square is always busy and has six roads entering or exiting the square. A classic New England intersection.
I was running with Haecha Donnelly and one of our guardian angels helped us get through the square.
We ran up High Street and crossed The Mystic river on a little foot bridge that I’ve never been over.
Then we crossed Mystic Valley Parkway, another hairy crossing and headed towards Whole Foods to cross this road again into Arlington.
I started running with Jackie Ecker along The Parkway. As we crossed one of the streets a young women was clapping and cheering for us and Jackie took a spill!
She fell to the sidewalk in an a “Superman pose” with her hands up and to the sides. In that moment before she moved, I was worried.
I helped her up and she seemed fine. She had a cut on her knee, elbow and small cuts on her hands. She got up and kept on running. No big deal.
Everyone except her was worried.
We ran on a boardwalk next to the Alewife Brook. This was really cool and a place I’d never been to before. The brook was clear of brush and trash and the area looked to be set up as a flood plain.
Our next turn was a right onto Broadway in Arlington and to our second water stop.
Since I was a guest I only took water.
We headed back down Broadway and turned onto River Street towards Medford.
Another area had never run in. People were doing yoga in the park and enjoying the river.
Then we got to one of my favorite places to run in Medford.
Magical Mystic Valley Parkway
We crossed High Street and ran through the rotary onto Mystic Valley Parkway. Our guardian angel was able to stop the few cars in the rotary and we crossed safely.
As we ran down the Parkway we passed two groups of people who were waiting for their Boston Marathon runners to arrive!
It was like being in Framingham or Newton except we were in Medford. They all waved and cheered us on and it was fantastic.
The Parkway is shaded and cool as the sun began to beat down on us.
I hit mile 9 just before we turned off of The Parkway. While the pace was modest compared to how I would normally run a marathon, my total lack of training was beginning catch up to be.
When I’m training for a marathon The Parkway in one of my long run routes.
The 2019 Boston Marathon was another adventure run. We had rain, we had heat, a little bit of wind and a whole lot of fun.
I awoke to the sound of thunder around 5:30 on Marathon Monday.
All week they forecasted rain and possibly thunder and lightening during the race.
I didn’t pay much attention until Wednesday.
On Wednesday, April 10th, the BAA sent the following email update:
Marathon Monday is a fun day for all, but amateurs to elites should all remember to take the weather seriously. The current weather predictions are predicted to be similar to 2018’s race, so please keep an eye on the extended forecast and dress accordingly for the weather conditions. Packing extra layers, gloves, hats, and waterproof gear is encouraged.
By Friday meteorologists said the rain should end before the race and most likely before noon. Over the weekend the forecast improved to rain ending before 9:00 with race temps in the 50’s and some wind.
On Friday the BAA announced that Wave 4 would start immediately after Wave 3. Normally there is a 25 minute gap between waves. In 2018 when we had close to a Nor’easter they also had Wave 4 start right after Wave 3.
Even with the improving forecast, everyone knew that anything could happen.
As I had my coffee and toast I hoped that they were right. While getting dressed I noticed that the thunder had stopped and the rain seemed to be getting lighter.
I checked my go bag and running belt for the 10th time and headed out. As I drove down my street NPR said it was 7:01 on Marathon Monday, Patriots Day.
Getting to the 2019 Boston Marathon
I parked in my garage around 7:30 and walked to the Kendall/MIT Red Line T station. The rain was now light, it was reasonably warm and there wasn’t much of a breeze.
I had considered walking, but the Red Line stop at Arlington was right around the corner from the bag drop area. Last year I walked over in the rain and got soaked. The walk also added over a mile of walking which I wanted to avoid.
The train ride was uneventful and the cars were not crowded. I even made a good transition at Park Street from the Red Line to the Green Line.
In no time I was walking down Boylston Street towards the 2019 Boston Marathon finish line and looking for my bag drop. The buses where they collected our gear were not lined up in bib order so I had to look around a bit.
There were plenty of eager volunteers ready to take my bag and I was on my way to the buses in no time.
I slipped on the KT Tape poncho from The Expo and made my way down Boylston Street. As I crossed Arlington Street I heard my friend Bill Ozaslan call my name! He was directing runners towards the buses. We said hello and chatted briefly in passing.
It was great to see a friend and get some encouragement before the race.
The Walk though the Public Garden was easier than last year. The puddles were smaller and the crowd seemed lighter.
I was seeded in Wave 4 and my assigned bus loading time was 8:55 to 9:30. It was around 8:00 AM when I got in line for the buses. Wave 3 loaded from 8:00 to 8:45 AM, but no one was turned away. Their goal was to fill every seat in every bus and roll em out.
As we stood in line I chatted with several people. One young lady had come to Boston from Paris! That was pretty cool. We made idle chit-chat while waiting our turn to board.
Later in the day when I heard about the massive fire at Notre Dame I felt bad for her. She probably heard about the disaster in her home town soon after finishing the race. To feel such sorrow and anguish after achieving such a triumph.
When I ran for MGH in 2018 they had a heated tent for the team. Since the 2019 forecast was similar to 2018, I hoped they would have the tent again.
All training season, I hadn’t received a single email from MGH about the race. I had no idea if they would have a tent, but I was hopeful.
While working the Bib Pickup station at the Boston Marathon Expo Sunday night, me and my friend Marty Hergert started looking for an MGH Twitter account to reach out to. Turns out that MGH has many twitter handles, none of which seemed like the obvious choice to contact.
I sent a Tweet to an MGH account but didn’t get a reply until 10:24 Monday night.
They had a post race get together that I didn’t know about that until after the race also. I was too busy before the race to even think about these things.
As I walked into Athletes Village I asked a volunteer about MGH. They didn’t know but pointed to someone holding an MGH sign. The person holding the sign told me the tent was in the same parking lot as last year.
Because the first wave had been called and I had a fourth wave bib, she had to walk me through security, which was no problem. I was so grateful for her assistance.
I managed to find my way to the MGH tent in a few minutes. I had my MGH singlet on and they let me in with a smile.
The tent wasn’t heated but they had food, drink and just about anything else a marathon runner would need. They even had a DJ and an MGH photo background.
I settled in and started chatting with people like we were old friends. I recognized one older guy from last year, but that was it. I was in a room full of strangers and fellow travelers.
They had a line of porta-potties in the parking lot and I only had to wait a minute or two. When I went back inside the tent I surveyed the food and beverages, got a cup of coffee and some sort of breakfast bar. I wasn’t really hungry but I knew I would be in a few hours.
Each time I went back to the seat I claimed, there seemed to be new people around. Each time people struck up conversations like we were my old friends. It was pretty cool.
A lady next to me was putting her name on her bib with a sharpie. I asked if she would write “Andy” on both arms. No problem!
I finally got some ink!
Running 2019 Boston Marathon
Sometime after 10:00 they told us to make our final race preparations and to then head outside for some photos. I was pretty much ready to go so I headed out to the porta-potty line one last time. It’s the most important pre-race check box to tick!
People were still coming out of the tent when I exited The Loo. I tried not to be in front but the way the crowd moved into place I was pretty much in the middle. They took a bunch of photos and had a high tech camera that I think was going to make a 3-D image, or something.
With that most of us headed for the start. A few people were still getting ready.
As I walked down the street I could feel the excitement build. Even for my 9th Boston Marathon it was still a thrill to walk with the crowd towards the start.
As we approached Grove Street, the road that goes from the High School to the start area, we went through a check point. They were using wand metal detectors! I was shocked they didn’t go off since all of us had a phone, keys or something metallic on us.
The walk down Grove Street was joyous and long, as usual. Unlike 2018, people were out on their lawns wishing us well. Some folks offered supplies and I think one little girl had a free lemonade stand.
You gotta love the people of of Hopkinton. 35,000 runners massively inconvenience them and they offer the sweetest kindnesses to strangers in return. That is class.
I saw the tent for Race Cancer Foundation and my friend Jessie Lizette was there! Another friendly face to share the day with. We had a quick hug and I was on my way.
As we turned right onto Main Street and started to walk up the hill my excitement clicked up to 11. The crowds were growing and it was beginning to feel frickin real!
Like 2018, we just kept walking towards the start line. No stopping and engagement with the announcer. No camera on a huge boom swinging over the crowd. I was totally prepared this time.
As I crossed the first timing mat I started my watch. It was freakin real now!
And They’re off to Boston
In 2018 only steel barricades lined the road out of Hopkinton. This year the cheering crowd was back!
The road out of Hopkinton is down hill for the first 0.7 miles. This makes it easy to let the adrenaline and crowds carry you along like a leaf in the breeze. Everyone feels awesome at this point in the race.
I did my best to stay in the middle of the road and chill out. My left knee conveniently started acting up about two weeks before the marathon. So I was paying attention to how both knees felt as I ran that first mile.
At 0.7 miles we hit our first hill. In the first mile we lost 130 feet of elevation and that first hill gave us back 34 feet. I was so pumped up in 2003 that I didn’t even notice this hill. In subsequent years I’ve noticed it.
Over the years, I’ve become a student of the course.
I ran the hill intentionally knowing there were many more hills to come and paid attention to how everything felt.
Mile One came in at 9:31. Right on my goal pace of 9:30.
Mile two was gently rolling hills. At 2.1 miles we hit our next hill of about 29 feet.
Mile two was 9:21 and mile three was 9:12. My goal was to run even splits around 9:30, so these miles were a little fast.
I skipped the first water stop at mile two and drank from a 500ml bottle to which I had added an electrolyte mix. At 5K I took my first gel and washed it down with some water.
Somehow my bib didn’t register at the 5K mark. I believe my watch had me around 28 minutes at the 5K mark. Way off my 5K pace but close to my marathon pace.
Things were going well.
Around this time I began to think about a porta-potty stop. I really didn’t want to but sweat was dripping down my left arm. In order to keep drinking the way I knew I needed to, I would need to make a stop.
The BAA had water stations and porta-potties starting at mile two and I began to look for on open porta-potty.
The mile three porta-potties looked occupied so I kept on going. At mile four they had ten in a parking lot and at least one had a green handle.
As I ran into the parking lot someone else ran in front of me and I was afraid I’d have to wait. But as the other runner went in, a runner came out of another door.
I still had two water bottles with me and managed to balance them on the “shelf” in the corner of the porta-potty.
I timed my self and got in and out in 30 seconds. I joked that I had done a “Flannagan” like Shalane did in 2018.
Mile four came in at 9:36 with my pit stop, but mile five came in at 8:56. I was definitely feeling better.
At 4.2 miles we hit the first hill that I remember from 2003. It’s 52 feet over a half mile as we entered Framingham.
This time I greeted it like an old friend. I took the hill.
Settling into The Run
Now that I had resolved my hydration issue I could focus on running. My knee was only a 2 on a scale of 10 and didn’t seem to be getting any worse. I worried about pounding it on the down hills in Newton, but that was many miles away.
I had plenty of gels, two bottles on my belt and most of two bottles in my hands. I was warmed up and was settled into the race.
Mile six and seven were 8:55 and 8:49. At 10K I took my next gel, finished the plain water bottle and tossed it.
The BAA clocked me at 57:51 at the 10K mark. I estimated that my second 5K had a pace around 29 minutes. The fact that the 2nd 5K included a pit stop, my 5K splits were basically even.
My overall pace at 10K was 9:18!
Mile eight chimed about half a mile into Natick. My pace was 9:12.
The crowds were pretty deep and consistent through Natick. I finished and tossed my second bottle, so now I could slap some hands along the way!
At Mile nine I ate one of the four Snickers bars I brought with me. Even in what seemed like heat, it was firm. I washed it down with some electrolyte drink from one of my belt bottles and satisfied some of my hunger.
There was very little cloud cover at this point in the race. Remembering 2014, I tried to run on the shaded side of the road but it didn’t work very well.
Just after mile nine I crossed the 15K timing mat at 1:26:23. It took me about 28:32 to run the 5K between the 10K and 15K mark.
I was running remarkably consistent splits of 9:16 still.
On one hand I figured I was one-third of the way through the race, on the other hand I knew that the halfway mark was really at mile twenty!
Mile nine through 13.1 miles went smoothly. I took a gel around mile twelve and started taking water at stops. The crowd at the stops was thinner now and I was getting tired of gels and sport drink.
At 20K the BAA clocked me at 1:55:10 or 28:43 for that 5K. Still at a 9:16 overall pace.
I crossed the Half Marathon mat at 2:01:31, still a 9:16 pace.
Running to Boston!
After mile thirteen we were headed for The Wellesley College Scream Tunnel. In 2018 there were a few hearty souls still hanging on the barricades for us. I was so miserable by then that I could barely muster a smile for them.
This year there was a huge crowd of college girls screaming at us. Many held signs, some with provocative or funny things on them. Oh to be 20-something again!
I smiled and waved but didn’t stop for a kiss.
There are just rolling hills between 20K and 25K, nothing challenging at all. Just the miles.
25K is at the top of the hill that drops down to the ramp to the Rt. 128 bridge. I heard Shalane Flanagan call this bridge the toughest hill on the course and I am inclined to agree.
At 25K my time was 2:24:42, just under a 9:19 pace. Mile 15 had rung in at 9:43 and I’m not sure why.
I managed to run down the hill to the Rt. 128 bridge and mile 16 came in at 9:10.
While training for this marathon I had practiced running down hill. It takes more than just throwing your foot out there. You have to condition your muscles for the impact, practice maintaining good form and trust that you can control your body and not fall on your face.
After the trough at mile sixteen we began the climb up the ramp to the bridge.
In 2018 there had been a raging brook running down the right side of the road! About half-way up the ramp there was water gushing two feet out of a drain and creating the torrent. It was a sight to see.
This year I just focused on getting up that damned hill.
Some people were walking and most everyone slowed down. Running the seventeenth mile, a 76 foot hill kicked everyone’s ass. I managed to keep running and felt okay for where I was.
Mile seventeen chimed in at 10:10. My first mile over 10 minutes. It was beginning to feel like a run.
Dem Damned Hills!
At about 17.25 mile we took that famous turn in front of the Newton Fire Station.
The road is so wide here and the crowd is large and loud.
I knew that the Melrose Running Club and my daughter were less than four miles away, atop Heartbreak Hill. I wished they had been at mile 16 or 18. Mile twenty-one, for god’s sake!
The Rt. 128 bridge may be in Wellesley, but it’s the first of the “Newton Hills.” At 17.5 miles we made the steep ascent of hill #2. 50 feet over a third of a mile on tired legs and a swimming mind.
I could have been pulled over for an OUI at this point, I was so altered. Count back from 100? I can’t even count up to 10!
Mile 18 came in at 10:08 even with the hill.
After summiting hill #2 we had a dip and another rise. Then mostly down hill until 19.25 or so.
My quads were shredded by this point, so I couldn’t really run down the hills. I did okay and mile nineteen came in at 9:45.
30K was just before mile 19. The BAA clocked me at 2:56:12 and my overall pace had dropped to 9:27.
Still under my goal of 9:30 but the hills were taking their toll on me.
At 19.25 we hit hill #3 and ascended another 50 feet over about a third of a mile. Mile twenty came in at 10:11. I was doing better than a lot of people but I was running out of gas.
At mile twenty I took some Gatorade and another gel. The big one was coming.
The crowd was huge and loud. Somewhere along here I realized that my ears were ringing! It was that loud. Or was I that altered?
I took a salt pill and two Hyland Arnica pills after the big turn at the fire station. So I should have been in relatively good shape. I knew what I was doing.
At 20.3 miles that big damned hill began! It’s 85 feet over about a quarter of a mile!
I knew that my stop was coming up, but I still chugged up the hill like the express train. It gives me such a feeling of accomplishment to run Heartbreak Hill. I have walked it before, but not in recent years.
As I ran the hill I moved to the left side of the road and kept looking ahead. The Melrose Running Club color is purple and I was looking for our pop up tent.
Finally it came into view and looked so far away!
I never stop for long at the tent. It is a race after all!
In 2018 they had plastic barricade fencing along the road. This year they just had a rope, so I could get off of the course.
I saw my daughter Angela standing there and gave her a big hug. I’m sure she was thrilled. My buddy Matt Sazama was a few feet away with his camera.
I had to motion to him to take our picture. That’s all I really wanted from this stop. Later he said he wasn’t sure who the girl was so he didn’t want to just take a picture of me with some random girl!
I don’t recall what we said but I’m sure she asked how I was and I probably said okay. Next I moved to the pit crew. My throat was so dry I could barely speak. My friend AJ Drummond kept asking if I wanted a pretzel for salt.
I kept try to say I had taken a salt tablet a few miles back but the words just wouldn’t come out. Finally Jose Viveiros understood that I wanted water.
He came over with a bottle and I took the top off of one of the bottles in my belt. The electrolyte mix was too strong so I wanted to top off my bottles and make them drinkable again.
I quickly got the top on the first bottle and then filled the second bottle. I tried to look into the crowd to see who else was there, but my eyes didn’t seem to be working!
I waved goodbye to everyone and I was off. With just a bit of uphill left, the long descent into Boston began.
Mile twenty-one came in at 12:36. The pit stop was well worth the loss of a few minutes.
To Cleveland Circle and Beyond!
Mile twenty-two was mostly down hill. The crowds were still as big and as loud as they were all through Newton.
Nothing hurt, I was simply exhausted. My muscles were shredded. But nothing hurt, so I kept running.
At 35K the BAA clocked me in at 3:30:09 and my overall pace was just under 9:40. My goal pace was 9:30. It didn’t look like I was going to hit that mark, but the wheels were still on the bus.
Just after 35K I hit the twenty-two mile mark at 9:34. With only 4.2 miles to go it would be hard to bend the time much closer to 9:30.
As we cruised past the Chestnut Hill Reservoir and headed into Cleveland Circle I felt a second wind. Mile twenty-two has 79 feet of decline and I kicked it in.
I moved to the left side of the road and ran between the tracks. I had the road to my self here and moved freely.
Heading out of Cleveland Circle toward mile twenty-three we lost an additional 54 feet. It was just what I needed. Mile twenty-three came in at 9:33!
After mile twenty-three, my two miles of exuberant running began to take their toll. Mile twenty-four is mostly downhill and the crowd support is phenomenal.
I could feel every rise in the road in my thighs. Even with pretty good fueling and hydration I was running on fumes.
Mile twenty-four had 21 feet of incline and 54 feet of decline. Nothing really. But mile twenty-four dropped to 10:09. With only 2.2 miles to go I decided to go all in.
2019 Boston Marathon Finish
Somewhere around mile twenty-four we entered Boston. The home stretch!
No one in the fourth wave had qualified for Boston. We paid our fees, did our fundraising and ran as much as we could. At this late stage in the race many runners were beyond any distance they had ever run before. It was all guts and will power fueling these brave folks.
The crowds were deep and loud even this late in the day. Usually I look into the crowd and exchange a few whoops with someone who has had a few more beers than I. It’s a lot of fun and helps distract me from the pain.
For 2019 I kept my head down for the most part and focused on keeping my feet moving.
I knew I could keep moving and not walk. It just took every fiber of my being to keep the party rolling towards Boylston Street.
Part of the reason a marathon is so mentally taxing is the reduced level of glucose going to your brain. The other reason is the level of focus required to keep running when your body and good judgement say, “hell no!”
At 40K the BAA clocked me at 4:01:20 for an overall pace of just under 9:43. Mile twenty-five came in at 9:57! Under ten minutes! 40K and 25 miles are just about the same distance.
I was running about 0.3 miles long, so Garmin shows mile 25 before the Turnpike Bridge. The BAA map has mile twenty-five just past the bridge.
The bridge is one of the last challenges for runners. In a car you’d barely notice it. On marathon Monday it’s just one more hill between you and the finish.
Somewhere after the bridge there is the “One Mile to go” sign.
Then we entered Kenmore Square. The crowd was huge and loud! I looked to see if any of my colleagues had managed to make it to the race. A few hinted that they might, but I didn’t see anyone.
As we left Kenmore Square we came to the last water stop near the Charles Gate overpass. Some people grabbed a cup but I kept in the middle of the road.
Commonwealth Ave was packed with people. I was highly focused on finishing the race and didn’t engage with the crowd or pay them much attention.
Soon the Mass Ave underpass came into view. Most runners hate this dip in the road. Our legs can handle neither the decline or rise out of the tunnel. I don’t think anyone let out a whoop in the tunnel.
I was surprised how easily I made the ascent out of the tunnel. As soon as I got back on Comm Ave I made my way to the right side of the road.
I could hardly believe that I was seeing the Hereford Street sign come into view! I’ve run this corner many times between the marathon and BAA 5K.
During a marathon, seeing that sign is like seeing the shoots open before splashdown for an Apollo mission. Almost home, but it’s not over yet!
Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston
In 2018 Hereford was a slick hill littered with piles of ponchos, jackets and other trash. What a freakin mess was all I could think.
This year the road layed invitingly before me. There were more runners than last year but it still felt like the road was mine to run. I took the hill and approached the corner.
As I got to the top of the hill I moved left and got ready to execute the turn onto Boylston Street. It went perfectly.
All of a sudden, there were runners around me. The road is so wide but there were people near me!
Way the hell down the road I could see the finish line. This year it was a big screen TV or something. I didn’t recall all of the lights from before.
We ran and ran and ran! Then all of a sudden the finish line was there! I moved to the right side for Wave Four finishers and threw peace signs into the air as I approached the sacred line!
Finishing my ninth Boston Marathon was just as exciting as any other, except for maybe the first one!
As I left the finish area one of the BAA executives was standing there clapping for everyone. I stuck my hand out and he shook it and said “Congratulations.”
As I caught my breath I kept walking towards Mylar blankets and my medal!
My friend Meg Micheals volunteers to give out medals every year. I always look for her and found her this year. It was great.
I had to keep moving and got my bag of food and headed to the bag pickup area. The volunteers saw me coming and had already called into the bus with my bag number. Very efficient.
I didn’t have anything to hang around for, so I headed for the exit. At the corner I took a left and the Arlington T stop was right there!
After the 2019 Boston Marathon
I was surprised how easy it was to get down the stairs to the platform. Someone was playing music and the air was warm. Unlike previous years, no one said a word to me.
At Park Street I made an efficient transfer to the Red Line and headed for Kendall Square. Walking up the stairs out of the Kendall/MIT stop was a bit more challenging.
Walking down the street to my office was cold and seemed to take too long! Fortunately the garage door was open and I didn’t have to go around to the front of the building.
I tossed my stuff in the back seat and tossed my self into the front seat.
The drive home was okay. It was a holiday so traffic was light.
Getting out of the car was a bit of a challenge and so was getting up the stairs! My muscles were tightening up.
I took a nice shower and sat down to watch my DVR recording of the 2019 Boston Marathon. What an exciting finish!
March is over with Sunday Long Run 13 in the books!
Last weekend I ran the On The Run Half in Old Orchard Beach, Maine on Saturday. Then the next day I ran 16 miles in from Hopkinton. I would have run further but my left knee started bothering me and I had more than enough miles for the weekend, thank you very much!
Tapering with Sunday Long Run 13
The peak has been reached and taper time is on. Last weekend I ran 29.34 miles over two days which is an all-time high mileage weekend for me.
I felt it through the middle of the week. I ran 4.34 Tuesday night with the club, but not another step until the Sunday Long Run. I’ve never felt that wiped from a weekend of running. Even a marathon. I don’t think it was so much the distance but that I had no recovery time between events.
I’m not sure that running three or four halfs a month is a good idea anymore. The run in Old Orchard Beach was basically flat, but I had a slower time than Malden. Malden had more “hills” and a large crowd of 5K runners to deal with on the last lap.
So now it is taper time, but not vacation time.
Taper time has to be managed just like training and a race plan. It’s only two weeks, but they are important weeks.
I’m as fit as I’m going to get for Boston. Now it’s about maintenance, recovery and injury avoidance.
My overall pace for the week thirteen run was 9:14 for 15 miles. If I was really paying attention and dialing things in this would have been closer to 9:30.
We ran plenty of hills and I felt good. I even practiced running down hill. This is something new for me but something that I think is important. You can’t use a down hill to your advantage if your legs aren’t prepared to run it.
Running down hill is about conditioning and control. If you’re not conditioned you will blow out your quads. If you loose control you could get hurt.
Taper Time in Boston
With the marathon now two weeks from Monday, it is time to be careful. Shoes or slippers in the house. All the time. I will also run in the street and not dark sidewalks at night. I’d rather take my chance with a car than heaved pavement.
It is time to recover. All of us have picked up an ache or pain somewhere over the past three months. I usually have something wrong that busts my confidence.
This year I don’t have any major issues. My cardio isn’t great, but I can manage that.
My knees are as good as they’ve been in five years, maybe ten. No muscle strains or cramps either.
Everything is just coming together.
I even hit my goal weight of 180 lbs on Sunday! Totally unexpected. I just haven’t been able to get rid of the last few pounds gathered over the holidays.
Besides my last Sunday Long Run, I plan to run three times a week but less than six miles each time. Maybe 10K just so I can feel like I hit the mark.
For March I ran 130.93 miles. So close to 131. But that would have been so close to 135 and on and on. You gotta call it good sometimes.
March 2019 was my second highest monthly mileage month. In September 2014 I ran 141.2 miles. So pretty close.
I’ll take 130.93 and no injuries any day!
April will be a lower mileage month. I’m tapering for the first two weeks and after Boston I’ll take most of a week off. So, maybe 50 miles including the Marathon.
Boston Marathon training continues through the coldest days of the year with Sunday Long Run Seven. As I run towards my April goal, my 2019 goal remains in focus.
Boston Marathon 2019 training continues with Sunday Long Run Seven.
This week we ran 14.3 miles and had 546 feet of elevation gain. Somehow this seemed harder than last week’s 16.2 mile run with 616 feet of elevation. And my pace was slower this week by 13 seconds per mile.
It was a little colder than last week, but it was still below freezing last week.
In any event, I got in my miles and ran some good hills. All of this will serve me well on April 15th when I make my 9th official run to Boston.
The Sunday Long Run
I got up in plenty of time and had my coffee and toast. So I was properly fueled and hydrated. I managed to dilly dally enough to get to Melrose only 15 minutes before the run. I’m usually one of the first to arrive.
Maybe I’m still recovering from a four day conference? I thought standing was better for you than sitting? I stood for almost three days.
My watch took a bit to lock onto the satellites, so I was the last person to take off for the run. Before we hit one mile I caught up to a bunch of people and began to look for people running the full distance.
There were probably 20 people going full, but I could only keep up with some of them!
I knew I had to keep the person in front of me in view so I wouldn’t miss a turn. That meant I had to keep my water stops brief so I wouldn’t loose any one.
Last week I ran with someone most of the run. This week I spent most of my time alone. I think that made a big difference in my run. When I run with someone I tend to talk a lot and that makes the miles just melt away.
When I run by my self, I don’t have anyone to push me or distract me from my watch!
This week’s run was similar to last week’s run and I pretty much knew where I was going. But not all the time!
Since I didn’t have a plane to catch, I hung around at Bruegger’s for a while and enjoyed the company of my fellow runners.
My go to drink is iced coffee with milk or cream. After my DEXA scan, I’m paying more attention to my calcium intake.
The little bit of fat and protein in the milk doesn’t hurt the post run recovery either.
We take over about half of the restaurant after our run. A nice cup of coffee, a bagel or sandwich really hit’s the spot after a long run.
We don’t just talk about running, but it’s a very popular topic!
The Year So Far
I know that a lot of people have a running streak goal, Even if they only run a mile in a day, the streak continues. For me, running every day is way too ambitious.
For 2019 I set a more attainable though still challenging goal of averaging 3 miles per day. That will get me beyond my year goal of running 1,000 miles.
I often run around 800 miles per year, sometimes close to 900. But I’ve never run 1,000 miles in a year.
In 2018 I ran just over 802 miles for an average of 2.2 miles per day.
So far this year I’ve run 134 miles over 48 days for an average of 2.79 miles per day. In January my average was 2.58 miles and for February, so far, my average is 3.19 miles per day.
Averaging 2.79 miles will get me to 1,018 miles and reaching 3 miles per day will get me to 1,095 miles.
Next week’s long run is 18.1 and I have two more Tuesday night runs that will be over 6 miles each. If I manage to get in another 4 or 5 miles on the treadmill at work I’ll hit my goal for February.
The March is on!
For March I have 3 half marathons, a 5K, four Tuesday Night Club Runs and at least one Sunday Long Run of 14.8 miles.
With a few additional runs I should be able to hit my goal of 3 miles per day. Since March is the last full month before the Boston Marathon I’d like to kick my mileage to over 100 miles, possibly to 120 miles.
It is well within reach.
You may have noticed I haven’t mentioned much about marathon training. While I’m doing the long runs, keeping my mileage up and watching my diet, I’m not following any particular plan. I’m certainly not running 100 mile weeks. I rarely do.
How is your marathon training going? Do you follow a plan or do you just increase your miles and spend more time thinking about running than usual?