Sunday, April 24, 2011

Boston Marathon 2011 Race Report

" Run the Mountens fast
Go Uncle Ryin!!!!
Go Go Go Go !!
Go Fast!
Finish Fast!!
Go for the Prises!!
Win the race!"

That was the poem written by my 6 year old niece on a sign to cheer me on during the race last weekend. I have taken the liberty to write a rendition that is more fitting:

"Run the streets like an Idiot
Suffer Uncle Ryan!!!!
Cramp, Cramp, Cramp, Cramp!!
Start fast!
Finish slow!!
Learn your lesson!!
Barely finish the race!"

The Boston Marathon this year was more about a vacation than a race. I didn't have any concrete goals or expectations. I was more looking to get away for a while an see some family and friends. In that regard the trip was a huge success.

I took the Red-eye out of Denver on Friday night and met up with my father at Logan Airport at the early (late?) hour of 5am. We then proceeded to drive north to New Hampshire to visit my step sister Molly and her wonderful family (husband Adam, and daughter Hope) . I've never been to NH before, and was quite suprised by it's beauty, and ruggedness. There are trees everywhere. I've venture to say there's nearly a tree every couple feet. It would be some rough trekking through those forrests, I'd imagine. Perhaps I'll go back and find out for myself one of these days.

Trees and trees. NH.

Upon arrival, breakfast was eaten and then I put on my running shoes for my last shakedown run before the marathon. Adam showed me around the neighborhood as we meandered through muddy trails for maybe 6 miles. We drove up to Hanover for lunch, followed by napping, an intense Lego house building session and some dinner. My sweet niece was kind enough to give up her bed for the night, so I got a great night of sleep as a hula princess.

Hope, Molly & I in Hanover

Building a Lego Mansion

The next morning my dad and I drove back to Boston, did the whole packet pick-up thing, and then race over to Fenway Park to watch the Sox beat the blue Jays on a perfect afternoon. Guessing by the size of the seats in that park, Americans used to be much smaller 100 years ago. After the game we had just enough time to check in to the hotel, and head off to dinner with a group of runners from Denver (and Portland I think). The size of the doorman at the Restaurant should have warned us, but the portion size of our dinners was ridiculous. Nobody even came close to eating half of their plate. We stopped of at Mikes for some Canoli's and then headed home to watch playoff basketball and get some sleep before the big day. It was nice watching Melo shove a guy late in the 4th quarter to cost the Knicks the game, and not have to get angry for once. I played it smart and turn off the Nuggs after the first quarter and went to bed, think a win was in the bag. Stupid.

The Finish Line on Sunday.

Hey, it was Fenway Park. I wasn't going there without getting a beer...and a hotdog.

My Dad snores. Alot. Very loudly.

Luckily I had earplugs. It didn't mater much 'cause I didn't sleep well anyway. There was a groggy wake up, meet up, walk to Boston Commons and a bus ride. After a short stay at athlete's village, Phil, Rafa (friends from CO) and I made our way to the starting line. We tried to catch the start of the women's elite race, but the combination of tiny women and crowds made that difficult. As we were waiting for the start the Elite Men made their way to the front of the wave, and it was cool to be sharing the same general space as some of those guys for a little while. The Kenyan's all looked tiny and overwhelmed by the crowd. Ryan Hall's pre-race resembled Ray Lewis' Pre-game. Yelling, fist pumps, chest bumps. Dude was stoked. Obviously, he was ready to race, as he set a new American record.

My friend Rafa is the "sage" of Boston. I think he's ran 10 times now, and at an age of 45, he's still running fast. I think all of his runs have been faster than I've ever ran a marathon. He was hoping to run below 2:50, which was my goal as well. I thought it would be a good idea to go out with him and see how things progressed. At the gun, we took it out right on pace, logging a 6:32 mile. The 2nd mile came in a bit faster, 6:10. We told ourselves we should ease up a bit, as 6:10 miles now would make for a long day. We didn't slow up. At about mile 4, in all of my wisdom, I decided it would be a good idea to drop Rafa and run my own race. I was admittedly feeling great, but what a stupid idea...

I started rattling off 6:0x miles for quite a while. I was feeling great. I stopped briefly at Wellesley for a kiss on the cheek. Not wanting to repeat the indecision and miss out like last year, I settled on a relatively cute girl with a sign which read "KISS ME I"M A TRAILGURL". There were probably cuter girls with better appreciation for the English language, but I think I made a decent decision.

I crossed the 1/2 way point in 1:21, a PR for a 1/2 marathon by several seconds. I don't want to tell anybody their business, and I'm not an expert at running strategy, but UNLESS YOU ARE INTERESTED IN EXTREME SUFFERING AND PAIN, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO SET A 1/2 MARATHON PR WHILE RUNNING A FULL MARATHON. At this point I was still running in 'superman' bliss and did not realize the hole I was digging for myself. I kept on racking up 6:0x miles all the way through mile 18 or 19.

I knew I was in trouble around mile 17 or 18, but somehow kept the pace going until about mile 20. And then I was a hot mess. My legs were a mess. My feet were a mess. I was miserable. I had set out to really push things in this race, so I was actually quite content with my situation. I had brought this on myself, and was now facing 6 miles of running with nothing left in the legs. I considered it an exercise in understanding and trying to embrace suffering. A skill which I feel is important in my longterm running outlook. Learn to enjoy suffering. That's easier said than done.

While I was busy trashing my legs, my Niece was busy conjuring up a motivational sign.

I had difficulty logging anything faster than 7 minute miles the rest of the way into Boston. My legs were hurting and cramping & I was pretty sure there were a variety of blisters on my feet. Being an ultrarunner, I decided that Endurolytes would fix everything. I popped about 3 or 4 of them at once. Nothing, shucks. Rafa came flying by at mile 24.5. He's a great guy and offered words of encouragement, but as I watched him run out of sight I was cursing my stupidity. One of these days maybe I'll learn my lesson.

At mile 25 I got a nice rise in enthusiasm as I spotted my Dad, Molly, Adam and Hope. They cheered loudly. I waved. Mustered up a smile.
Passing the Family at Mile 25. My legs cramp just looking at this photo.

The high lasted only a couple of minutes. Soon I was getting passed by a female runner who had, well, who had shat herself. That was a blow to the ego. At least she wasn't wearing Vibrams.

As I turned on to Boyston St., I looked at the running watch as it clicked past my goal time of 2:50. 45 seconds later I was done.

Cramping and limping, I found Rafa and we exchanged war stories. I stumbled down some stairs and got a quick massage, and headed to the Back Bay Hotel to meet up with my friends and see how everybody else made out. I was stoked to find out that my friend Phil had ran a 2:56ish time, well below the 3 hour mark that had eluded him. I knew he was in great shape, and am happy he didn't settle for a 2:59 and went for it. I grabbed a quick recovery beer and sauntered back my hotel to meet family, shower, and head out for lunch.

Phil & I enjoying a quick Recovery Beer after the race.

Post race noodles.

Hope and me after the race with my 'nonstoppable' sign. If only it were true.

The afternoon was spend suffering with aches and stomach problems. I managed to leave my pit party and walk down to an actual party later in the evening to grab several more beers and celebrate with some friends. I stumbled back home around midnight, put in the earplugs and attempted to sleep.

The "Denver" guys. We definitely won the drinking portion of the Boston Marathon.

Tuesday was spent sleeping in, accessing the damage to my feet (extensive-I'll save you all the pictures), and stopping by "Cheers" for a burger and beer before heading off to the airport and flying back home. The plane was at least1/2 full or runners. Crazy.

"Cheers". Smiles were at a premium on Tuesday.

Overall, this was a great trip. My 'newer' step family is awesome. I will have to work on getting them to move to CO. It was nice spending time with my Father, despite his snoring.

I didn't meet my 'goal' time of 2:50, but to be honest, I don't really care. It's somehow still a new PR, so I'm not allowed to complain.

I am a bit annoyed at myself for the damage I did to my legs and feet. I've only logged about 10 miles since, and have likely put my feet in a condition that will require coddling and attention the rest of the summer. This was supposed to be just a 'blip' in the training schedule, but may require more extensive recovery.

Next up... Scandinavian running adventure next Monday, followed closely by pacing at the Kalamazoo Marathon 6 days later.


  1. Hey, you don't often run road marathons, do you? I think you had a great race! Congratulations, and Speedy Recovery!

  2. The most important thing is the fine choice of the SJS50 t-shirt. Good to remind the Bostonians what Colorado running is all about. Well done!

  3. Thanks Katie-I don't run too many of these, and for good reason!

    Jim-I don't actually own a singlet. I do have a shirt I cut the sleeves off & a few wife breaters, but this was Boston, I decided to class it up a bit.

  4. Well done. The power of the shirt is evident, particularly when compared to the singlet and lime green shorts wearing guy you're blowing past in the picture. (Lime green?) Going to be in Lake City in June this year?

  5. Jim,

    I couldn't fit it into the schedule this year. I may go down for some cheering and training. It's probably my favorite race I've participated in.

    -and I wasn't 'blowing' by anybody at that point in the race.

  6. "At least she wasn't wearing Vibrams." hahaha.