Boston Marathon Recap

As part two of the recap of one of the best weekends of my life, I figure I should start with some of the high points for the; “too long, didn’t read” crowd:

1. Overwhelming joy. I spoke of it in post number one, the wave of optimism and joy just washed over Boston.
2014 Boston Marathon Weekend

2. Big personal record! Very happy with a 9 minute and 18 second PR and finally breaking the 2:40:00 barrier!

3. Media attention for running at an all time high! (at least in my lifetime)
Coincidentally, my own face on some news stories!
NBC News special on my favorite running store.
Interviewed on a local weather segment!
Sports Illustrated web coverage of the marathon!


On to the race recap…

Sat. 19th Up early and ran 2m Easy/2@MP/1m Easy. Met my parents and two of my sisters for brunch. Brought my parents and sister back around my place afterwards to show them the area. Went to an Easter service in the evening. Came home and had a large dinner of mostly carbs, then got to bed earlyish.

Sun. 20th Up early to watch Liverpool match, picked up parents and went to church, hung out with a bunch of family and ate lunch then ran 4 @ easy effort (6:33) Small dinner of pancakes and banana and coconut water, in bed at 9:30 PM.

Mon. 21st MARATHON MONDAY! Up at 4:30 AM Last minute gear check, load up and drive to T stop to ride into the Boston Common and take shuttle to Hopkinton. Met up with my good buddy and usual race pal, Austin at the T stop and rode in together. Our bus left the common at approximately 6:45 AM and we arrived at the athletes village by 8 AM. I grabbed a cup of coffee and ate half a bagel while sitting around in nervous excitement. Met a couple guys who met and raced against THE Ian Sharman in an ultra. Felt good vibes floating around for an hour and observed a fantastic moment of silence for the victims of last year’s bombing. At 9:05 AM we were let go to make our way to the start line a half mile down the hill. After loosening up and shaking out the legs I cheered for the elite women as they made their way from the church to the start and yelled for the American’s as the gun went off at 9:35 AM. A short while after that at 9:50 AM an intense flyover from some National Guard helicopters took place, immediately preceding the elite men taking the start line. Ryan hall gave us all high fives as they went past and the general excitement was at a fever pitch, though all around me remained reserved, if a bit antsy. Before I knew it the gun went off and we were bumping and shuffling our way across the start line.

The Race: 10:01 AM I cross the start line of the Boston Marathon for the first time and hit start on my Garmin. The first mile is a bit crowded and I have to spend a little energy not running into anyone. The crowds of screaming fans are a bit distracting, but totally appreciated! The first mile clicks off on my watch at 6:13, okay considering that I couldn’t start running until a few tenths in. By now the crowds have thinned a little and I can hit my goal pace, mile 2 is completed in 5:59. For the sake of not being super repetitive, I’ll just say that all the way up to the Newton Hills I was simply focused on the crowds and enjoying every minute of the run. It felt like a fast effort but easy enough that with every watch check I found myself reigning in my pace a bit. I’ve developed a habit in marathons, of looking at my watch about 3/10’s into every mile to see what my pace looks like, just a quick glance to see if an adjustment is needed. I also take a peek if I feel like I’m really struggling sometimes, but other than that, it’s just there to record some data for post race synopsis. The splits for miles 3 through 16 were: 5:57- 5:50- 6:02- 5:48(Wait, what… in a marathon? What was I thinking?) 5:53- 6:06- 6:00- 6:00- 6:03- 5:52- 5:49- 5:53- 5:45(Big downhill in Wellesley to Newton line) Those miles just listed were by far the most fun miles I’ve ever run in any race and had I been falling apart, they still would have been fun. I’m serious, the crowd was so loud and so fun that I just floated through. I also saw A TON of friends along that stretch, all of whom inspire me daily in my running and in general! From 16 at the Newton town line you hit the first of the big uphills, it’s not steep, but it’s nearly half a mile of up, followed by a decent downhill though. I started out of breath after screaming at the Newton town line for more noise and spotting some great friends at the base of the hill, but I stayed controlled and told myself to slow up a bit on the hill intentionally, mile clicked off in 6:09. Mile 18 has some long slightly down hill bits before punishing you with the first of the hills on Commonwealth as you make the turn to the city, completed it in 6:08. Mile 19 is fairly easy, with a gradual down hill before the long climb up Heartbreak Hill, I sped up a bit and hit 6:03. Unfortunately the heat was really starting to get to me and I could feel my energy being sapped. After pounding up and over the last of Newton’s hills, I was unable to ratchet my pace back down again and 6:03 was my last truly fast mile split (for me) Mile 20 sees the bump prior to Heartbreak and I hit my slowest split yet in 6:12, felt okay though, considering the terrain. Heartbreak was indeed difficult at that point in the race and pushing that hard, I was nowhere near the 6:00/mile I cruised up it in a training run, but I stayed sub 6:30, with a 6:24. After Heartbreak I tried to speed back up and did hit 6:13, 6:09 and 6:13 again in the next three, but I knew by then that it was time to just hold on and run with the heart and the mind, because the body was done. 25 and 26 were 6:18 and 6:16, and the final .3, according to my watch, were at a 6:00 pace. Total average pace on my watch reads 6:03, which means I nearly ran the tangents perfectly, only a tenth over with 26.32 recorded. My official time is 2:39:08 for the 26.2 which gives me a 6:04 average pace, certainly close enough to my 6:00 goal to be happy with, given the difficulty of the Boston course and the 70+ degree temps by the end. My dream goal of a sub 6:00/mile average marathon now feels like it’s really within reach and had it not been for the heat, I might already be there. My first 20 miles were at a 5:59 average and considering my previous PR was at 6:25/mile average only 11 months ago, it looks like the training has started to pay off! It was a race I will never forget, a weekend I will never forget, a Meb I will never forget and a total honor and pride to be a part of any of it. I can’t wait to return to Boston next year.

By The Numbers: 2:39:08 Net time, 6:04 average pace, 78:25 first half and 80:43 second half. 305th out of 32,000 in my first Boston Marathon!

What’s next? I feel that the pressure I’d put on myself to get a sub 2:40 has been totally lifted. I do still have a strong hunger to get much faster, but I feel like the rest of this year will just be relaxed and fun. I’ve now checked off my long distance goals in the half and the full for 2014 and can focus on trying to PR in every distance from 10k down to 800 meters now! I’ve never had a lot of leg speed or tremendous strength so I think a summer of speed work and shorter races with lots of core and hip strengthening should set me up nicely for a potential half PR again this fall. Just maybe I will manage to snag another full PR, if everything works out. Immediate future is a 14 mile trail race this Sunday (yikes, don’t follow my example post marathon) Then after another easy week I will start to work the mileage back up in the first full week in May, next race in the USATF NE Gran Prix series is a 5 miler in June where I will look to set a big 5 mile PR. My current best came last year on a humid 85 degree evening in July, so I’m really hoping to improve on that number.

Finally, a huge thanks to all who have supported me so far this year, or read the blog, or trained with me! It means so incredibly much to know that I have inspired someone in some way to get out there and run/race/exercise or cheer for others. I get so much joy and satisfaction out of this fantastic sport that my top goal has to be drawing others in! Also, even bigger thanks to those who donated to my charity efforts for World Vision while training, with your awesome work we were able to raise over $550 to help bring clean drinking water and medical supplies and education to war torn and devastated areas of Africa.


Boston Marathon Training Update

New shoes, awesome races, and nice weather. Ah, what a past week it has been. Spring is sort of here in Massachusetts, northern New England is still getting snow, but we saw 50 degrees today! I think this was the warmest day yet in 2014, though it was quite windy, I was thankful not to be attempting a quick pace on my run. My legs have taken most of the week to bounce back from last Sunday’s half marathon, last night was my first speedwork since and it took some effort. I ran 1k repeats at close to the same pace as the mile repeats last week and it felt like the same effort level. Nothing feels too tight though, so I’m feeling happy and confident going into my last two big weeks before taper. It seems unreal that I only have a few more high mileage weeks left before the marathon. Only three sets of long repeats left, and the rest of my hard workouts are tempo runs or fartleks, no more intervals! Without further ado, in the typical manner of my training updates I will just list the runs and workouts from where I left off up to now.

Wed. 12th- Easy pace 11 @ 6:59/avg.

Thu. 13th- Easy to moderate pace 11 @ 6:44/avg.

Fri. 14th- Easy pace 14 @ 6:52/avg.

Sat. 15th- Easy pace 9 @ 6:45/avg.

Sun. 16th- AM .5 warmup + half (1:15:30) PR! + .5 cooldown – PM 2 @ easy 7:00/mi avg. (16 miles total)

Mon. 17th- Easy pace + 10x10sec. hill sprints (7.6 miles total)

Tue. 18th- Easy pace 4+4 progression 4 @ 6:55/avg. 4 @ 6:31-6:19-6:09-5:55 (8.1 miles total)

Wed. 19th- Easy pace 12.1 @ 6:45/avg.

Thu. 20th- Easy pace 8.6 @ 6:42/avg.

Fri. 21st- Specific Endurance Intervals 3m easy + 10x1k @ Half/10k pace w/1 min jogs + 3m easy. I started out with some indigestion and it was extra hard to get a deep breath for the first few, here are the splits: 3:31-3:22-3:23-3:26-3:21-3:24-3:20-3:19-3:16-3:14 (13.8 miles total)

Sat. 22nd- Easy pace 6 @ 6:39/avg.

My total miles over the last two weeks were 89 in the week leading up to the half and 72 over the recovery week ending today. I’m so happy that I’ve been able to keep this kind of mileage so far and looking forward to hitting some 100 mile weeks in my next block of training now! That’s it for now, I’m going to go prepare second dinner and fill up for my last 20+ run tomorrow, 24 miles @ easy pace.

The marathon is getting very close and I am behind on my fundraising for World Vision. Please, please consider donating to a worthy cause! I’ll do all of the running and sweating and freezing, but I really need your help with the fundraising! I’m not very good at pleading for donations or raising money, but this cause truly speaks for itself and I appreciate every dollar given, the work being done in Africa is so badly needed!

Link provided below to read more and donate:

New Bedford Half Marathon 2013 Recap

Part of the GLRR team, post race.

Part of the GLRR team, post race.

My race prep starts on the night prior to a race, with a “good” dinner and selection of my race clothing and post race apparel. The night before NB I ate a pile of Trader Joe’s wheat/gluten free pancakes slathered in peanut butter and pure maple syrup. This has quickly become my race day eve tradition, it fills me up, without making me uncomfortable. For pre-race fueling I ate a bagel and two fried eggs 2.5 hrs prior to race start and 20 min. before, one packet of Watermelon Sport Beans, chased down with coconut water. For the race outfit I chose to wear both a long sleeve shirt and my singlet, due to the predicted felt temperature of 20 degrees with winds off the ocean at times, I also wore North Face thermal tights under my splits. I could have probably gone without tights or donned some sleeves instead of the long sleeve tech shirt, but I wasn’t too hot for most of the race and as a bonus, didn’t have to sprint to the parking garage for warmer clothing immediately post race. I wore some light gloves for the entire race, but ditched my EMS winter hat at mile 5; wish I had left it in the car rather than ditching it, but at least winter is nearly over.

It took some jostling in between God Bless America and The Star Spangled Banner to make my way far enough up in the corral to not be hampered by slower paced runners, but with 30 seconds to go, I found myself in the top 80 or so and ready to run. This was a unique feeling that hopefully gives me some appreciation for how Boston will feel, with so many faster runners. New Bedford is recognized nationwide as having one of the fastest and deepest fields of competitive runners. When the air horn was sounded I took off at a which felt relaxed, but per usual, was too fast. After clocking in a 5:30 for the first mile I slowly worked myself towards my goal pace and hit mile two right on the dot of 5:49. Mile three was the first and for me, the worst, of the hills in the race. I managed a 5:56, but felt like I was already beginning to work a bit too hard for it and some doubts crept in. Mile four was much better, I focused on running relaxed and after some early hills I was back under goal pace by the end, mile split was still a bit slow from the hills at 5:53, but I felt good. I had dropped my pace down to the 5:40 range mid way to the 5 mile mark and along a sunny straight away, my friend and teammate, Bash drew alongside me. Once he was there and our pace was in sync we began working together. Despite exchanging some conversation and catching up for the next few miles, we still worked to put down our fastest splits of the race. Miles 5, 6 and 7 all were hit on the 5:40 mark, mile 8 had some downhill and we clocked off a 5:33 before moving back to a 5:41 for mile 9. The next few miles had some serious headwind, right along the ocean and we worked together, taking turns breaking the wind every so often, along with another guy we had caught up to. The splits for 10, 11 and 12 were; 5:50, 5:54 and 5:53. The final mile of the race has one very long uphill section, starting just before the 12 mile sign and going until 12.5 or so, there is no immediate downhill, either. You proceed along a slightly uphill portion until 12.7-ish, when you turn sharply right and start to let out everything you have on the final downhill. Bash and I had worked together really well, even catching another Greater Lowell Road Runner teammate at the beginning of the final hill, but by the top of the hill he had dropped me by fifteen meters or so. I used the advantage of longer legs and started to bridge the gap on the short downhill, but still had a bit to go when I turned for the final flat tenth to the finish. Somehow in the process of slowly grinding up the long hill I had saved a final gear and went into a full sprint down the straight, churning past Bash with the finish line close in sight. I knew there was no way I would have finished an entire minute below my goal time had it not been for working together most of the race, so I felt a bit bad passing Bash at the end. But we concluded that teammates work together until the finish is in sight, and then it just becomes a race against the clock and everyone else. My final mile split was 5:54 and the final tenth was at 4:00 pace, giving me a 5:45’54 avg. over the 1:15:30 net time, gun time was 1:15:34. The club had some seriously fast guys in front with a 1:10 and a 1:13 finisher, but the other three of us rounded out the top 5 with 1:15’s, all finishing within 10 seconds of each other. The entire race was fantastic, the town of New Bedford really embraces the event and comes out to cheer in force, even in the sub freezing temps! I could probably go on enumerating the experience for a while longer, but I think that fairly well recaps the actual race. It felt like a certain validation of the hard work I’ve been putting in since the beginning of last December and it gives me tons of confidence for the marathon. It was exactly what I wanted out of a training race and a great way to experience my first USATF New England Gran Prix Series race running for Greater Lowell. We unofficially finished in 7th place in the team category, with some very fast runners ahead of us. I was pleased that Western Mass Distance Project repeated for the team title though, as I love seeing the BAA get beat.

The marathon is getting very close and I am behind on my fundraising for World Vision. Please, please consider donating to a worthy cause! I’ll do all of the running and sweating and freezing, but I really need your help with the fundraising! I’m not very good at pleading for donations or raising money, but this cause truly speaks for itself and I appreciate every dollar given, the work being done in Africa is so badly needed!

Link provided below to read more and donate:

Training Log Update –Mar. 3rd-Mar. 11th–

The daylight saving time change is killing me, but evening runs have the sun back! The spring forward usually messes with my sleep cycle less than the fall back, apart from rendering me unable to go in to work until 8AM, but it does mess with me. I think by tomorrow I’ll have adjusted with the internal clock though. The last few days have brought spring like weather and combined with the later sun they have made the outdoors feel amazing. Of course par for New England weather, we are looking at a day of pouring rain in the high 30’s tomorrow followed by a day in the low 20’s and snowing. I did my speedwork tonight in view of the forecast, but hopefully the next two days will be the last real winter weather running of the season. That being said, here’s what the last nine days looked like in my training log:

Mar. 3rd- Easy run- 6.5 miles (6:53/mile) + 10x10sec. hill sprints (7 total miles)

Mar. 4th- Specific Endurance Intervals- 3 miles easy + 5x1k @5k pace w/2 min. active recovery + 3 miles easy (11 total)

Mar. 5th- Progression from easy to moderate- 7:10/mile to 6:07/mile, faster than moderate by the end but it felt good (10.5 total)

Mar. 6th- Easy run- 6:39/mile avg. pace felt comfortable. (8 total)

Mar. 7th- Threshold Workout- 2.6 miles easy + 5 miles accelerating from half to 10k pace + 2 miles easy. I started out a little quick but mile two felt good and then I had a hard fall on some black ice at the 2.5 turn around, finished hard in a 5:32 though. Avg. was 5:42, not the 5:39 avg. I had in mind, but I’ll chalk that up to a fall, where I struggled to a 5:48 mile. (9.6 total)

Mar. 8th- Rest day! One of three this year, so far. It was much needed!

Mar. 9th- Progression long run- easy pace for the first 11 and moderate for the last 11. Felt great, overall avg. was 6:24 (22 total)

Mar. 10th- Easy run- 7.5 miles (6:47/mile) + 10x10sec. hill sprints (8 total miles)

Mar. 11th- Specific Endurance Intervals- 3 miles easy + 6xMile @10k -5sec./mile w/3 min. active recovery + 3 miles easy. The scheduled workout had me running @10k +5sec./mile but I felt good and had moved this run up a day, which gives me another day to recover before the half marathon on Sunday. Avg. 5:24/mile for the 6 repeats with the last two @ 5:22. (14 total)

That brings us up through tonight. Last week was a cut down week before I hit peak training in the next three weeks, I ran 68 last week, this week will be around 80.

Thanks for reading, please read the message below!

The marathon is getting very close and I am behind on my fundraising for World Vision. Please, please consider donating to a worthy cause! I’ll do all of the running and sweating and freezing, but I really need your help with the fundraising! I’m not very good at pleading for donations or raising money, but this cause truly speaks for itself and I appreciate every dollar given, the work being done in Africa is so badly needed!

Link below to donate to read more and donate:

Training Log Update

I find myself back in the autopilot of training once again. I don’t say that like it’s a bad thing though, training has been progressing nicely, it just means that my blog has been one of the casualties due to lack of time and motivation. I don’t remember the last time I posted a training log snapshot though. With it being 50 days out from the marathon I suppose a recap of the last couple weeks is in order.

Mon 17th- 8 miles easy + 10x10sec. all out hill sprints (9 miles total)

Tue 18th- Scheduled threshold pace workout scratched due to snowstorm (6.3 awful slippery miles)

Wed 19th- Easy pace medium run (13.3 miles)

Thu 20th- Specific Endurance Intervals: 2 mile warm-up 2 sets of 10×400 meter @ 10k-5k pace w. 1 min recovery laps. Ran first set at 1:20 avg. second set from 1:20 to 1:10 avg. Quicker than current 5k pace for the whole workout, but having skipper Tue. speed work I was feeling rested, finished with 2 mile cool-down. Fun running on Harvard indoor track. Thu PM ran easy 4 miles (16 miles total)

Fri 21st- Easy pace 9.3 (6:58) Working the junk out of my legs.

Sat 22nd- Easy pace 6.3

Sun 23rd- Long run at easy pace 22 miles. I felt great after 15 miles and let myself speed up for the final 4; 6:24-6:17-6:12-5:32. My overall avg. was 6:34, I believe.

Ended the week with just over 82 miles.

Mon 24th- 6 easy pace (6:55) + 10x10sec. all out hill sprints (7 miles total)

Tue 25th- Specific Endurance Intervals 3 mile warmup + 6×800 meter @ 5k w/2 min. recovery + 3 mile cooldown. Ran the 800’s a little too fast, around 2:35-2:40 (10 miles total)

Wed 26th- Easy pace 12.2 miles (6:44 avg.)

Thu 27th- Easy pace 7.1 (6:55 avg.)

Fri 28th- Threshold workout 3 miles easy (6:40) + 3×10 min. @ half to 10k pace w/4 min. recovery. Went from 5:46 pace to 5:37 by the end of the 3rd repeat. Felt like a lot more work than it has to run that pace, probably due to the frigid and dry conditions that night. Finished with another 3 miles easy (6:48) (12.5 miles total)

Sat 1st- Easy pace 6 miles (6:47)

Sun 2nd- Specific Endurance workout skipped to get some race prep in on a local 30k race. Short half mile warmup and some strides and than a conservative 6:20 effort for the first three miles followed by a what felt like an effort level just a bit easier than half marathon pace. My overall avg. ended up being right at 6:00/mile, certainly my fastest over 18.6 miles. I also nabbed a new half marathon P.R. of 1:17:21 in the middle of the race. This was a very challenging and hilly course, so I’m hoping that it was a good indicator that my fitness for Boston is on track. Next fitness test is New Bedford Half Marathon in two weeks, where I will be shooting for a 1:16:30. I should also mention that I finished 3rd overall today and 1st and 2nd place were 2:35 and 2:26 marathoners, respectively, talk about some healthy competition! (19.2 total miles)
Ended the week with just over 73 miles.

This past week and the next will be lighter on miles and overall intensity, with a focus on some specific endurance pace work. After the half marathon time trial on the 16th the mileage will go back up from high 70’s to low 90’s before dropping back down to 70ish and then 40 something the week before Boston. Assuming all goes as planned this will be the most solid training I’ve ever done. Scratch that, if something happens right now, this is already the best training I’ve ever put in. 900 miles in the last three months! I can scarcely believe it.

The marathon is getting very close and I am way behind on my fundraising for World Vision. Please, please consider donating to a worthy cause! I’ll do all the running and sweating and freezing, but I really need your help with the fundraising! I’m not very good at pleading for donations or raising money, but this cause truly speaks for itself and I appreciate every dollar given as the work being done in Africa is so badly needed!

Training Update and 2014 Goal Times!

Well, another week has passed, only 13 to go! Less than two weeks from February already, this is going by insanely quick. First a quick training update and then some running goals for 2014! My last posted ended with my prep for an 18 mile fartlek, so that’s where I shall begin.

1/12 – Long Fartlek 18 miles with 13 x 30 sec. @10k-3k (Total run avg. 6:24/mile) Felt great!

1/13 – Easy Pace 9 miles + 10×10 hill sprints. Ran at a comfortable 7:20/mile pace and felt decent

1/14 – Specific Endurance Intervals 2m easy + 4x6min. @10k w/3min. active recoveries + 2m easy the 10k portions were around 5:45/mile avg. Not quite down to the 10k 2014 goal pace of sub 5:29/mile, but these Tues. workouts have all been sub par so far and it was 100% humidity. I’m thinking it might just be due to my training cycle, with Sunday workouts leaving me a little weaker.

1/15 – Easy 15.4 miles Broke it up between two runs. 5.4 at lunch and another 10 at run group. (avg. somewhere around 7:00/mile)

1/16 – Easy 8.6 miles (6:50/mile avg.) Watched Galen Rupp set a new American Indoors 5k Record of 13:01… insane. Also saw Sam Chalenga set a new PR of 13:04 and Cam Levins brought the Canadian indoor record down to 13:19, too.

1/17 – Took a day off! First zero day in three weeks! I did do some dynamic stretching and a lot of foam rolling etc.

1/18 – Easy 8 miles on some very snowy roads. (7:10/mile avg.)

1/19 – Time Trial 10k 3 miles easy + 10k (5:49/mile avg.) + 3 miles easy Found a nice mostly flat 10k out and back course and ran quite hard, but left a little in the tank. Was about 36:14 total time, and I was pushing sub 5:30 pace at the end. I know I could be under 36 in an actual race. But it’s a new PR none the less, always feels good to PR in a training time trial! Speaking of times I would like to achieve, here is my list of 2014 goals:






1/2 Marathon






















This past week started with some high mileage and fatigue build up, but the rest day and shorter weekend mileage seems to have been the perfect medicine and I’m confident going into the rest of this week that I will be ready to dominate my biggest mileage week yet. A mere 77 is nothing compared to what is still to come though. I filled out my training plan and added up the weekly mileage… looks like I’m supposed to peak at 90+ that’s a big jump from my previous peak being just under 70. The best part with a plan though, it is just that. It’s not set in stone, I can change it as I go. The key is to keep getting faster and staying injury free! 

In other news, I saw more than half my family last night for a get-together with my parents before they move down to Kansas for awhile. Certainly bittersweet, as I have always been in close proximity and relationship with them, but a joyous time with some of my siblings, too. We have a crazy family and I’m crazy blessed to be part of it and to have been raised by the parents I was. Not afraid to share their faults, and always ready to help me overcome my own. That’s it for now.

As I will with most posts in my Boston training, I’m going to finish with a plea for donations to my charity efforts with World Vision. Please take a look on this link and consider donating to a worthy cause. I’ll do all the running and sweating, but I need your help with the fundraising!