Stupid Fast: In my race story last week I talked about how stupid fast I went out. How stupid fast was it? Well, it was so stupid fast that I actually hit 30K faster – by 21 seconds – than I ran the whole 30K race at Stu’s back in March. After that race I mentioned that I’d run the pace I wanted for a marathon, but knew there was seven and a half more miles to go. Guess what? I ran that pace, and had seven and a half miles to go. And they weren’t pretty. I hit the half in a smokin’ 1:26:06, only to follow that up with nearly an hour thirty three. Yep, no negative splits on this one, instead just an ugly pace chart, showing either a struggle to get my pace under control or a twenty-five mile fade – you be the judge. Not exactly a smart race strategy, but in the end, whatever.
Everybody’s Passing Me! The first corral is a scary place to start at Boston. My number just barely got me into that club, and I knew they’d go out fast, so I put myself in the back quarter of the corral. Nevertheless – and despite my stupid fast early miles – I couldn’t escape the feeling that I was being walloped by everyone around me. Not until late in the race did I feel like I was holding my ground. And pictures show all those two- and three-thousand numbered folks all around me. Yet, if you figure that there are a hundred or two up front in EliteLand, my number 1948 hinted at a seed of 1100-1200 or so, and my final place, 1170, fell right into line. Moral of the story? Don’t believe it when you think everyone is passing you.
Old Friends, New Friends: Boston has become an annual gathering of my ever-expanding clan of running friends. It’s like a class reunion, and the class keeps getting bigger. Shout-outs go to…
- Co-worker Kerry on completing her first; I can’t take much credit but I’ll beg for a little in nudging her toward this life achievement,
- Dave and his fellow traveler Mike, the Ottawa crew; I’ve been trying to meet Dave for a few years and finally did before they did two marathons in one day: Boston, and the drive back to Ottawa that night,
- Mike from Carolina who ran a much smarter race than I and almost nailed sub-three, Vince from Florida, and the others from afar with whom I’ve been in touch and hoped to meet this time but still haven’t; we’ll do it again next year I hope,
- My fellow club-mates from the Highland City Striders; for a club of a mere 50 people we fielded seven Boston runners, all finishers, way to go Rocket John, Krazy “Marathon a Month” Kevin, “Bet on it” Dan, Lovely Liz, Chris “The Gurn is Coming!”, and Paul, so sorry I cannot come up with a snappy nickname,
- The Squannacook crew, Chris, recovered from a tough half marathon a week earlier to turn in a fine Boston, and Mark who PR’d with a 2:54 and change – outstanding!, and to the rest of their welcoming gang,
- Mrs. Foot Doctor, to whom I owe the fact that Dr. Foot Doctor understood me when I first went to see him nearly two years ago and didn’t tell me to stop running,
- To new friend Steve from Maryland, who lamented missing re-qualifying by a mere thirteen seconds; I hope that paper application idea works out and we cross paths again.
- And to the rest, too numerous to mention…
Barefoot beach walking is perfect therapy for marathon-battered feet, like a miles-long foot massage. And the flatness of the Cape Cod Rail Trail was perfect for those rehabilitation runs. No hills this week, thank you. Perfect time to jog a few with my beloved, who yes, on her own accord has taken up the cause and is putting in a few miles.
By week’s end the quads were back in business enough to somewhat foolishly pop in a ten-miler. A ten-miler four days later? Well, you know how it goes… Out onto the rail trail behind the hotel, I wanted to run into the next town to check it off my list like any nerdy engineer type would. Then, once there, it was only another mile and a half to the end of the trail, so, might as well… Suddenly, I’m five miles out and only one way to get back, so what’s a runner to do? Some speed, of course, culminated by chasing down a local runner who we’ll call Amy (since that was her name), and her version of the Wonder Dog (border collie), Echo.
A little banter made the trip back more interesting, as did Echo’s joyful sauntering. Echo seemed a fine companion until he (she? It?) decided to flush a squirrel out of a tree, which promptly flew a foot in front of Amy’s face, giving her quite the start, and landed on the trail immediately in front of me, not at all right-side up and therefore doing one of those hysterical righting dances that only squirrels can do, while trying to run away, of course in the same direction I was moving, well, just try to envision it. Four days post Boston, muscles still a little tender, and it was either dance or kill the little bugger. Yeah, you had to be there, but trust me, it was a real hoot.
Parting Shot: My wife captured a classic shot as I came through Newton Lower Falls at mile sixteen. Really I was telling my ladies that I wanted one bottle of Rocket Fuel, yes one, see that finger, one! Clearly it looks like something else entirely. I’m not showing off. Just trust me on this one.