I slept pretty well on Sunday night once I got to sleep, but it was probably about 12:00 before I was actually sleeping. Up at 5.15. I ate bagels, bannanas, and drank some gatorade. Quick shower to wake up and coffee from the lobby to get the systems going. I headed to the lobby to meet folks at five after six and walk to the busses. Even when we got to the busses by 6.20, there was a huge line. We wandered around, got in one bus line that was getting tons of of cutters, and eventually got in a good line and headed on and out to Hopkinton. Some energy was wasted here. The bus lines and the bus ride stresses me out. I should just get in line at 5.45 and get to the village so I can relax. I should have learned that after 2 prior times doing this. Finally we hit the village around 8am.
So we met up with the bigger crew at the meeting spot, but there were so many people there, I just hung out and talked to Kircher mostly. I got to meet Lap'd, but I probably came off as a bit rude as I couldn't really make conversation as I was started to get race focused. We headed to the bag bus around 9 and I wanted to see if I could see Danielle start at 9.32. We could not get very close to the start and she couldn't hear me yell her name, but I saw her up there. Oh well. Ryan and I took Rafa's advice of using the johns in the town park, tiny lines there. Then good lucks and we were off into our separate corrals.
I found Jay (DawgDoc) in the corral quickly. We were planning to start together, but with no obligations. He was shooting more towards 2:55 and I was planning for a 2:57 pace. I couldn't locate any of the rest of our crew, nor did I try very hard. The gatorade bottles were used with about 5 minutes to go and we slowly started fumbling forward....finally started running...then we were over the starting line.
Given that we had both qualified with 3.06 somethings, the first mile pace was a little slower than I think either of us would have liked. Just too many people. We bobbed and weaved a bit and managed to get through that first mile in 6:59. A bit behind schedule as proscribed by my 2:57 pace band, but acceptable to me at least. I did not stress about this for one second. I did try to consciously focus on running as light as possible down the first steep hills: quick turnover, light feet, save the quads was what I was thinking.
The next few miles we were both taking it nice and easy, but they were still clicking fast. We were passing lots of folks, but I think we did a good job of minimizing the weaving, even as I started to really try to work from one side of the road to the other to hit the tangents. Mile 2 was 6:35, Mile 3 was 6:35 and Mile 4 was 6:27. Jay and I both commented to each other a few times that we were going a bit fast, but both agreed that this felt right, that it felt easy. So we kept on. I checked the pace band a couple times, but really, I shouldn't wear one of these any more. I just don't use it after the first couple miles, and I could easily memorize where I want the first couple miles to be, and even then, I've learned to just run them by feel.
At one point in here in the first 8 miles or so, I recall checking heart rate for the only time, and it said 156, which confirmed that I was running easy. I probably would not have even been concerned with mid 160s. I think we passed L'ard at around mile 4 or 5, he was slowing down already but seemed to be in control and happy.
Mile 5 was 6:45 and I missed the mile 6 split, so 6 & 7 averaged a combined 6:36. Everything was feeling good. Left achilles was noticeable, but not painful. Gel'ed at mile 6 or 7, and soon the stomach started to give me the first signs of not being perfect.
So onward to Wellesley, and the miles are all clicking in the low 6:40s, high 6:30s. Nothing much memorable but for a kid saying "C'MON JAY!" and I chuckled to Jay that the kid really thought Jay was slacking. First signs of the legs feeling it a bit just before Wellesley, but everything felt pretty good, though stomach was not great. Wellesly was fun, but I didn't stop....just soaked it in and tried not to let it make me run too fast. Through the half at 1:27:28 I didn't think much about that split other than ok, half way there, now let's get ready to work in a couple of miles.
We hit the big downhill into the first big hill around 16. Legs feeling a bit battered, but not too bad. The first big hill came and went right after the highway overpass in mile 16 without trouble, but my stomach was getting sketchier and more uncomfortable. Jay had slowly drifted probably 20 yards ahead of me at this point and I felt like I was slowing. This is when I saw someone pop out of a porta potty about 20 yards in front of me, I just decided on the spur of the moment to stop in. In and out in maybe 40-50 seconds and then back into the race. I might have been able to gut it out for another 10 miles, but I knew I was ahead of pace and I just decided to suck it up and do it as quick as possible. The fact that I was having the first signs of slowing probably made me think I needed to do something as well. That mile split at 7:49. And I did come out feeling better and more relaxed.
Onward through the hills. I felt very strong in the hills this year. I thought about those 4 and 5 mile treadmill hill climbs at 4-6% I had done while I was going up them (Kari later told me she thought the exact same thing). I thought about the hill repeats. I passed lots of people going up them. My pace certainly slowed, but not as much as others were slowing. I missed 3 mile markers in a row in here, so I have a four mile split and an average pace of 6:48 for miles 20-23, so that includes heartbreak in mile 20 and then a good bit of downhill after that.
At some point in here, and I can't remember where exactly, I flipped the hat to backwards. I do this sometimes for intervals and tempos, maybe its stupid, but its kind of self signal that its time to work, time to run hard. And of course it makes me look totally badass.
BC was great. I may have wasted some energy showing the kids my shirt and trying to get them fired up, but I kept it more low key than last year. Just a few high fives, some poppin' the collar, but no yelling.
The cemetery is kind of deflating after the chaos of BC, but I just kept it smooth and thought about the upcoming downhill into Cleveland Circle and the crowds that would pack the course from Cleveland Cirlce to the end. Coming down into and out of Cleveland Circle I felt really good. Watch those train tracks. I felt smooth. I remember thinking at one point that I felt I was getting into my stride and arm swing that I'll get during a good tempo run. My quads were incredibly sore (I first noticed this on the BC downhill), but they never felt like they were going to cramp. They just felt beaten, but they still had juice. And the calves never gave me a hint of trouble.
Looking back at the data, it appears Cleveland Circle is just after mile 22. Looks like I was running about 6.30 pace down Beacon around that point.
Somewhere in mile 22 or 23, I could see the twin bright yellow shirts of Cam and Jay together up ahead. I later learned that Cam was hurting a bit, he was cramping, but he had put in a surge to stick with Jay and pump him up a bit. But Jay had forged ahead before I caught up to them. Cam encouraged me to go get after it. I then caught up to Jay. He said he was fading and I told him I felt good and was going to push it, so I did. Mile 24 split was 6.31, but after that I was hurting a bit, and 25 was 6.49. I did not feel redlined and I did not feel a wall coming, just the slightest fade. The hill on the overpass into Kenmore felt huge and slowed me, but I kept at it. I was amused by some of the "BC sucks" heckles that I got in the BU area.
Down into and turning right through Kenmore, I focused on getting to Sully and the cannolis he was going to be handing out just before the underpass past Kenmore. I was pretty certain I had the sub 3 nailed at this point, so I definitely wanted to grab a cannoli. Alas, the cops had made him move and I didn't get one, but I pointed at him at his new location. Up the otherside of the underpass hurt, but the turn right onto Hereford was there much quicker than I remember, maybe only a block or 2? The "hill" on Hereford felt huge, and that is the only time all day I really felt wind in my face.
Left on Boylston and the finish line again looked FAR away. I saw the 26 mile mark painted on the road as I came down Boylston and clicked the split. 6:42. It was at this the point where I knew I was going well under 3, and I got the biggest stupidest grin on my face for the next hundred yards before I refocused and ran home as hard as I could. Don't waste any seconds, I thought you don't want a time with 01 or 02 for the seconds.
2:56:51 is the official time. After crossing the line, I lingered--despite volunteers asking me to keep walking--looking back for Jay and for Cam. I found them both shortly, and Jay had gotten in under 2:59. He was hurting, but he'd done it as well. Cam was just over 3, but having gotten his sub-3 in Chicago, he was seemed completely content.
Here is the data: