3:06:06, I have mixed emotions from this one. I “technically” qualified for the 2012 Boston Marathon, it just happens to already be sold out which I knew ahead of time. So that means I would have to meet the new 2013 qualifying times which for me meant 3:05:00 which as you can see I just missed.
This is an hour faster than the last Marathon I did in 2008 but I had some bigger goals and thought Boston Qualifying was going to be a no brainer. In the training leading up to the race we had targeted at 2:57:30 or 6:46 pace and all my workouts had been built around that.
The build up for the race was a quick month and half crash course after the Poconos 70.3 in October and the inability to fit in the ideal number long runs was the one of the things that contributed to my demise the last seven miles.
But I think the first thing was my inability to trust the plan and that I wasn’t going to blow up. The idea was to run my 6:46 pace and let the HR build as the race went on but not to exceed 181. I went through the first two miles and was bumping up against my HR limiter so I backed off the pace and my HR settled down, but from looking at the graph I was probably too conservative in what I did and my HR went way down, I probably could have been 5-6 seconds per mile faster and been fine. I made it through the first half in exactly 1:30:00 so I was only 1:15 behind “A” goal even with backing off the pace a bit and was feeling fine.
The next 9 miles are when I think I let things get in the way and doubted my ability to hold up the pace. My HR went way down, 6-7 bpm compared to earlier in the race and my pace slowed which means I was easing off the effort. Usually if the pace was going down and my HR was going up or staying constant (which happened later) that is a sign of getting tired, or if the HR is going down and you feel low on energy it means you need more calories but I was on top of my plan so I don’t think that was issue.
The last five miles were very frustrating as the wheels seemed to fall off and paces dropped to 7:18, 7:30, 7:38, 7:45, and 7:26. A slowdown is almost certainly going to happen at the end of a Marathon it was just extremely frustrating to see the pace drop off 30 seconds per mile and doing the math in my head to see the Boston Qualifying slip away and not be able to run any harder.
I thought the race was very well run. I was able to stay downtown and walk to the start line which I found to be very organized and I had plenty of space to warm-up. There was tons of crowd support out on the course and all the aid stations had plenty of supplies. For a race that has the half and full shares the course up to mile 13 the second half of the run can get lonely sometimes but I didn’t find that to be the case here. There were still plenty of crowds and the out and back of for the second half helped some too.
One thing that I always find interesting is to look at my GPS data and see how far I actually ran during the race. A marathon is 26.2 miles but you almost never run that exact distance do to crowds, moving over to get water at aid station, etc…there is an interesting right up of it here: http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2009/03/racing-line-understanding-how-courses.html
So I was very happy to see that I ran 26.33 miles which for a race this long is about as good as it gets.