With just three days to go I haven’t even begun to pack or assemble my gear. I know where all of my clothes are, my new running shoes have been broken in and my training is done.
I ran Tuesday during the day and felt horrible. I have been extending my day time run to 8 miles, but cut back to 6 miles on Tuesday. My legs felt tired, I feel tired and generally lack energy. I went to my club’s board meeting Tuesday night and felt horrible. So glad I didn’t run Tuesday night.
Today my quads feel sore and my left leg/knee is still bothering me. I probably will not run again until Sunday; I think my legs need the rest.
Saturday I’ll pop over to Marathon Sports, get a few gels and pack my bag. I don’t have any plans for Saturday so I can focus on last-minute race prep.
Marathon number 15
This will be my 15th marathon if memory serves me. Good question there! I’m not nervous. Oddly, I’m not even excited. The Marathon and I are old adversaries. I know what to expect and I know what I have done to prepare. There is no drama, no fear. I know what I need to do.
Marathon PRs and BQs
My marathon PR was achieved at Baystate in 2012. It is 3:47. My Boston Marathon qualifying time is now 3:30. Since 2012 I’ve maintained a higher level of fitness and at age 50 I’m probably in the best shape of my life. New stretching and strengthening exercises should help me get through the tough patches in the race.
Mentally I am tougher also. Running 5K races has taught me a lot. My 5K times have improved a lot over the past two years. Part of this improvement has come from managing the internal dialogue and gaining a better understanding of where the edge is.
The marathon is a completely different race, but these lessons will help.
I have been watching the weather forecast for the past two weeks. Sunday looks cool and clear. Highs in the 50s and no rain. Perfect running conditions.
If I can get a little sleep, hydrate properly and rest my legs I should be able to beat my 2012 PR. If my training and running smarts are better than 2012, I may be able to get a BQ. Maybe.
Just like in 2012, my buddy Mike Hartin will be volunteering at the finish line. I was so altered in 2012 that I thought Mike was waiting there just for me to finish. He’s that type of guy.
I was altered at the end of that race, but I can’t think of a marathon finish when I wasn’t a little fucked up. I’ve scared myself once or twice and the first aid folks have scared me twice also.
Do you have a marathon this weekend?
Any big goals?
Are you running Baystate?
If you will be in Lowell on Sunday I’d love to meet before or after the race. You can use this email to let me know: email@example.com.
May the wind be at your back and all your hills be downhill!
Out of 17 teams Melrose Running Club came in 7th. This is what I was hoping for: better than last year. We beat the next team by just 22 seconds. To everyone on Team MRC, thanks for pushing just a bit harder when you felt like giving up!
Out of 62 men in the 40-49 bracket, I came in 46th with a 6:36 pace. I beat last year’s run of 6:50 by 14 seconds and moved from the 88 percentile to the 74th percentile.
14 seconds isn’t a big improvement for most runners, but for a road runner like me, it’s pretty big. I only run the 1-mile distance at this relay and once at the Jennifer Tinney 4th of July race. 14 seconds off of a 5K is nice, but not a big deal.
I’m used to a 5K sprint, but a 1-mile sprint is much more intense. It’s all out, but just like a marathon you have to be in control. It’s important to maintain a consistent pace for four laps and conserve enough energy for a strong finish.
If I could shave 14 seconds off of every mile for a marathon I would cut my finish time by more than 6 minutes. That would be significant!
The Tuft’s track is a modern rubber track and the soft impact and springiness feels odd on my feet. I need to spend more time on a track and learn how to run this distance.
Thanks again to the Somerville Road Runnersfor organizing this event. It is fun to hang out with runners from other local clubs, and some not so local. Someone even came up to me and told me they read my blog every day! Maybe that’s how I ran so fast.
All of the photographers posted around 700 photos on FaceBook. I’m using some but I cannot possibly use even most of them. Deciding what to use for my post and what to leave behind is difficult. I know how hard this race was and everyone who ran it deserves credit.
The winners won on a challenging course. Everyone pushed through many tough miles and countless hills. There are lots of smiles in the hundreds of pictures I reviewed. The joy of running is evident.
Here is a link to the Bangor Daily New coverage of the race. Video and a professional journalist’s article. You’re going to love this. I should have my two part post ready by Monday. I only have three races and a party at my house this weekend, so no problem!
I’d like to thank the 54 people who took the time to complete the survey. I know you are always being asked to fill out surveys and join mailing lists. If you are like me, you have little spare time to sort through your in-box and answer surveys.
First, the demographics. I looked at Running USA’s 2013 Annual Marathon Report to get some numbers for comparison. I had to combine Running USA’s male & female percentages and run a complex algorithm in my head to come up with my combined percentage by age group. It’s complex stuff. Their sample size was much larger than mine. I have no doubt that there were people 24 or younger and 75 or older that ran Boston. They just didn’t make it into my small sample.
Running USA %
In my survey the 35-44 age group, at 44%, has a much higher participation rate than the national average of 31%. The 45-54 bracket is also higher than the national average (25% v 21%). If my survey is representative of the entire 2014 Boston Marathon field, it looks like the Boston Marathon is for middle-aged folks with the 35-54 brackets consisting of over 73% of the field.
This may indicate that the expense of registering for and traveling to Boston deters younger runners from participating. Or it could be a sampling error.
The Running USA survey shows that female participation peeks in the 25-34 age bracket (35%), where male participation peeks in the 35-44 bracket where both sexes have a 31% participation rate. Male participation continues to trail off but at a slower rate than female participation as they age.
My survey has a Male/Female split of 55/45% and Running USA has a 57/43% split for all marathon finishers in 2013. The numbers are essentially the same.
Now for the fun stuff – survey answers
Combining questions 1 & 2:
For 14 runners, 2014 was their first Boston Marathon, for 3 runners Boston was their first marathon ever. I combined the results into the table below.
# of Marathons
# of Boston
For a lot of people this was their first or second Boston Marathon (14 & 11 respectively). I didn’t align my questions exactly, but this is for fun, not for science. While the experience with Boston skews to first or second running, the group as a whole is well seasoned. Fourteen people have run more than five marathons and twelve have run ten. Four people more than 20, and 5 people more than 30 marathons. Almost 65% of respondents have run 5 or more marathons.
Question 3 was, “What was your favorite part of the Boston Marathon?”
While no one favorited the pasta dinner, 32 people gave a shout out to the crowd/spectator support, 23 people said the best part was finishing and 21 people said the Boston Marathon Experience and Running The Boston Marathon were their favorite parts of the event.
I’ve never been to the pasta dinner. I hear it’s crowded and the food isn’t great. The BAA also assigns specific seating times. If you are there with friends, you probably won’t be able to eat together. Runners are a friendly crowd, but if I went I’d like to go with my running buddies.
Question 4 was, “Feelings about Heartbreak Hill”.
22 people said the crowd support was awesome, which is a good thing because that’s what it takes sometimes to get up that hill. Three people even said it was their favorite part of the race! Wow. One person even answered – That’s not a hill! I always say that with a Crocodile Dundee accent.
It was evenly split with 14 people saying, “I hate that hill!” and “No big deal”. Only 3 people said this was their first Boston. Everyone else had run this hill on race day at least once. The hill can be a harsh surprise for newbie’s. It can also be cruel to experienced and knowledgeable runners also.
Question 5 was, “Would you run another marathon?”
Only 4 people said “No”. 48 people said yes (20), “I want to run Boston again” (15) and 13 said they had already signed up for their next marathon.
Question 6 was,“What do you wish someone had told you about the Boston Marathon?”
This question drew twelve comments.
3 – Train more on down hills
3 – Felt prepared knew what to expect
2 – Train more in hot weather
One person each said that, they wish they knew there were porta potties near the corrals, that it could be so hot, bring more food, and leave the fuel belt at home.
Question 7 was, “What would you do differently next time?”
No one said they would go to the pasta dinner! I’ve never been. Is it really that crowded or the food that bad? No one said they would go out faster, which is smart. 14 people said they would go out slower next time.
This question drew six comments:
“Not live in arctic weather patterns” – must be a New Englanda!
“Run Faster” – I think we’d all like to do that!
“Not run a 50 mile race two weeks before Boston” – agreed.
“I ran the exact race I planned to run the past two years” – very impressive.
“Not get injured the month before” – every runner’s nightmare. We all get a little crazy in the weeks leading up to the marathon. One night, as a car approached, I actually thought for a moment that it would be better to get hit by the approaching car than twist an ankle on the sidewalk. Ca-razy. I stopped running at night after that evening.
“Train in Florida” – sign me up. I ran in 2012 when it was 85°F. This year I think we hit 70°F. It was hot, but not in the biblical sense.
Questions 8, “Did you hit the Wall?”
24 – No – Smooth running the entire way
9 – Yes – at Mile 20
We received 19 responses on this one ranging from mile 6 to mile 24. 9 people hit the wall between miles 14 & 18, 6 people hit the wall between miles 21 & 24. The person who hit the wall at mile 6 had run Boston three times previously. I think the heat surprised a lot of us. We also had a cold and prolonged winter this year.
Questions 9 & 10 were the demographics we discussed in the first part of this article.
So there you have it. It’s been almost a month since the 2014 Boston Marathon. I hope everyone is recovered and looking forward to a long enjoyable summer of running.
3rd installment of my 50 state series on Marathon and Half Marathon races in The US.
Vermont is a small state with a population of just 626,741 as reported in the 2010 Census. Vermont has over 9,200 mostly beautiful square miles and offers many opportunities for hiking, cycling and running. The ample woods and streams provide many opportunities for hunting and fishing as well. The state web site lists a wide variety of outdoor recreation activities, but does not have any information on running activities.
I only found four marathons and twenty half-marathons, which is typical for a state of this size.
The big race in Vermont is the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon and Relay. This race takes place on Sunday May 25th and had over 2,600 participants in 2013. This race has a two-day EXPO where runners can pick up their bib and shop with over 70 local and national exhibitors. All Marathon and 2-person relay runners receive a medal.
Like Boston or Hartford, Burlington has a full Marathon Weekend including the 2 day EXPO, pasta dinner and post race festivities. On Saturday they have the Mini Marathon for kids with distances of 1/2 mile, 1 mile and 2 miles.
Here is my list of Vermont Marathons and Half-Marathons for 2014.