Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Boston Marathon 2006

The perfect race. I ran the perfect marathon.

The group rode up together to Hopkinton (including Helen and I on a "blue only" bus). The temperature in Hopkinton was probably in the mid-40s and I was a bit cold. I wore my rainsuit and a long-sleeved shirt over my running clothes and gloves. I ate a banana and most of a bagel and drank lots of Gatorade. The time passed quickly and before we knew it, it was 11:00 and our friends were leaving Helen and I for the first wave. Helen and I used the opportunity to use the bathrooms while the lines were short. Then it was 11:45 and time for us to drop off our bags on the buses and walk our way to the starting line. I walked into corral 13 and I was all alone.

As I stood waiting for the starting gun all I could think about was having to go to the bathroom and how badly I didn't want to run a marathon. With these thoughts, you would have bet I was going to have a rough day.

The gun sounded promptly at 12:30 and we were off. It took me less than 2 minutes to get to the start line, but even knowing I was 32 minutes behind the first wave, my math skills were still not sharp enough to figure out how I was doing compared to the race clock. And my watch was on split time which means I could only see the time from the previous mile, except right when I hit the split button.

The first 4 miles all I could think about was having to go to the bathroom. But there was always a line so I stopped thinking about it. I also forced myself to hold back on the downhills and go ahead and let people pass me. I was a smarter racer this year.

Before I knew it 10 miles had passed and soon it would be Wellsley. And it didn't disappoint. Screaming girls!!! It was deafening and inspiring. I really had to control my emotions. The came the 14 mile mark. I checked myself here. Last year at the 14 mile mark is when I started taking walking breaks. This year at 14, however, I felt good and said to myself that I only had 12 miles left which would be easy because that's what I run all the time.

As the miles and kilometers passed I was amazed at how good I felt. I reached the 25K point and started to climb the hills in Newton. Last year I walked the hills; this year I took it one step at a time and ran up them. I got to mile 16, then 17, and I was still running and feeling fine. I told myself I would run to 30K which is about 18.6 miles. I knew some friends at work would be tracking me and I didn't want to disappoint. At 30K I decided I would continue to run to the 20 mile mark and see how I felt. At 20 or 21 is Heartbreak Hill. It wasn't pretty but I ran up Heartbreak too. This was my slowest mile of the race. I crested Heartbreak and it was all downhill into Boston. I was going to be okay.

I reached 35K ~ 22 miles and I was still running. I had never run this far without stopping before. I was entering new territory and despite my right quad getting sore, I decided to take it mile by mile and keep running. Besides there were only 4 miles left.

I reached mile 23, still running, and thought to myself only two miles until I saw my family and make the last turn. I started to see the Citgo sign and used it to pull me into the city. Mile 24 and I can't believe I'm still running and still pacing well. Only 2 miles left and the Citgo sign is ahead. Mile 25 and I'm getting tired and my head's getting foggy. I click the split and see I'm at 3:30 exactly. I have 10 minutes and I know I'm going to qualify for Boston in Boston. A big accomplishment.

All of 25 I'm looking on either side of the street for Mom, Dad, and Dave. The route has changed here and I didn't know where they would be. It's just a sea of faces and I'm having trouble concentrating. We go under Massachusetts Avenue and as we're coming up I hear "MJ" and I see my dad on the right. I point to my watch and yell, "I'm going to qualify."

I turn right onto Hereford and power up the hill as best I can. I then turn left onto Boylston, look up, and see the finish line. I click my watch at mile 26 and I have got 3:38 and change. Better move Meredith!!! I finish with my watch at 3:40:36, but I believe my official time is 3:40:33 (that's what my in-laws tracked online).

I ran the whole thing. All 26 miles. I didn't walk through a water stop. Nothing. And I ran even splits from start to finish. I'm encouraged. I feel like the hard training I put in paid off. I'm pretty sore. Check that; VERY sore, but not as bad as last year. I don't know what the rest of the year's racing season looks like, but this week I have plans to rest. I've very happy with my race.

Mile 1: 8:54
Mile 2: 8:22
Mile 3: 8:26
Mile 4: 8:18
Mile 5: 8:22
Mile 6: 8:22
Mile 7: 8:12
Mile 8: 8:17
Mile 9: 8:18
Mile 10: 8:18
Mile 11: 8:23
Mile 12: 8:11
Mile 13: 8:12
Mile 14: 8:06
Mile 15: 8:14
Mile 16: 8:15
Mile 17: 8:22
Mile 18: 8:35
Mile 18: 8:22
Mile 19: 8:22
Mile 20: 8:43
Mile 21: 8:59
Mile 22: 8:25
Mile 23: 8:25
Mile 24: 8:20
Mile 25: 8:34
Mile 26: 8:39
Last 0.2: 1:49
Finish: 3:40:33


Flatman said...

WoW! That is the perfect race! Congratulations on keeping it steady and not walking AT ALL..


jessie_tri_mn said...

Congrats on a great race! Very impressive splits! Especially considering how "badly I didn't want to run a marathon" ;)

jeff said...

awesome race, m! it was super groovy to meet you guys on sat night and talk geek with dave. you've got a cool guy there, i say you keep him!

i'm really impressed with your performance, considering how poorly you felt you had trained. see...i told you that you'd be great on monday.

congratulations on a smart and fun race!

Andrea said...

>Before I knew it 10 minutes had passed and soon it would be Wellsley

wow, you WERE flyin'!!! ;)

I'm so glad you felt so great!!! you really did run a well-executed race, congrats!!! I really do think Pete Pfitzinger knows what he's doing when he sets out those plans!!

Congrats again and enjoy the spoils!!

Michelle said...

FANTASTIC! I'm so excited for you. Way to go!

Meredith said...

Andrea...miles not minutes! He he! Guess I'll change that.

Mark I. said...

woa. nicely done! and holy cow you look like my friends wife, Tanya. :)


Val said...

I am so excited for you! Way to go! You inspire me. Not to start marathon training, but to definitely get out more. Thanks, Meredith =) Love you!

E-Speed said...

Nice! you qualified for Boston at Boston. Not too shabby!

You didn't get a shirt in your size? (saw your comment onf Jeff's blog)

Boston is the only race I have ever actually gotten a small. Go figure.