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Post  JohnP on Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:30 am

Well, I am feeling good now that the second person was caught Friday night so I should write my race/run report.

Pre-race

Unfortunately, I injured my knee last October/November and wound up taking over two months off with just a five mile run a week. Though I went to a doctor and physical therapist, I did not get a good feeling that they knew exactly what was wrong, and I did not want some knee surgery without being confident of that. Once the knee swelling went mostly down, I had 9-10 weeks to train. I don’t run marathons just for fun, but since this was Boston, and I had qualified (no small feat for me), and my daughter lives there, I decided to start training and see how it went. It went well enough to decide to make the trip and run the race.

Saturday

We flew into Boston in the morning and my daughter picked us up. We went to the North end and after driving around a while, found some parking and got lunch. Then I went to the expo which I thought was a little confusing. I really liked the location of it but it was split into several areas with no obvious signs showing where the other side was. Anyway, the important thing is I got a jacket, a shirt and was able to watch the video they show, which I like to watch in Chicago as well. After checking into the hotel (thanks to Michele we got the room which was very close to the start), we met the others for dinner.

Sunday

I ran 2.5 miles in the morning as usual before a race. In the afternoon, we went to the Red Sox game which was really good and the people around us were pretty funny. I probably would have left a bit earlier as it was cold and windy but the guy had a no-hitter into the eight inning so we stayed. Sunday night was relaxing and getting ready. I was pretty nervous but not worried. I knew I couldn’t run a BQ time so my main goal was under 4 hours. Though training went well, I didn’t think my endurance was there with just doing half a training cycle. The other big problem I knew I’d face was the hills. Normally when I run a hilly marathon, I go out to Barrington and run those hills once or twice a week. I did zero of those runs this time, due to the less training, concern that would hurt my knee, and the bad weather we had this year.

Monday

We met Michele near her hotel and walked to the bus line where we met several more of her friends. We all took the bus together and then sat together in Athlete’s Village. Sitting next to me on the bus was a person doing his first (it is my second) and he was pretty excited to do it. In the tent, we relaxed for a while then hit the porta-potties twice which took way too long. Seth and I decided to run together for a while. I figured he would be faster than me but due to his leg/knee issue, he wanted to go slower than normal for him. I had already decided to run about an 8:45 pace which he was happy with.

1 – 8:54
2 – 8:47
3 – 8:47
4 – 8:46
5 – 8:46
6 – 8:46
7 – 8:43
8 – 8:47
9 – 8:47
10 – 8:46
11 – 8:43
12 – 8:54


Here I should mention what a rush it is to get high fives from several hundred screaming co-eds at Wellesley. I really like the signs they have and the two I remembered were, “Kiss her, she’s easy” and “Kiss me, girls only”


13 – 8:52
14 – 8:52


Though the previous miles had downhills and rolling hills, I knew the hills were going to start and it would get slower


15 – 9:05
16 – 9:15
17 – 9:58
18 – 9:58
19 – 10:16
20 – 11:21
21 – 12:39
22 – 10:39
23 – 10:54
24 – 10:14
25 – 10:24
26 – 10:15
.2 – 2:10


So the finish time was 4:10:39 which was no surprise to me. I was just thankful I could keep moving and jogging along, I really only walked up a few hills, and a few times took longer walks during the water stops.

So as I ended, I started walking through the corral very slowly as my legs really hurt. I got the water, Gatorade, a heat sheet, the medal and the bag of food. This put me about two blocks away from the finish line. It was then that I heard a big blast. Everyone of us turned around to see it and saw the big cloud of smoke. I stood looking at it wondering what it was. It did not at all cross my mind it was a bomb. Then we heard the second blast but saw no smoke as it was further away. Still not knowing what was wrong, I went to the gear check buses to get my stuff and my cell phone. I was looking around for updates but no one really seemed to know what was going on. I tried to listen to race officials talking but most also did not know. Within a few minutes though, a number of ambulances and police cars started driving through the corral and people were clearing out. A whole group of runners came running by and I tried to ask what happened but no one was stopping. Looking back, I should have followed them as there could have been more of these bombs. But I tried to make my way back to the finish line to see what was going on. But by then, the police were starting to tell people to leave and close off streets.

So I started walking to my hotel. I was getting a lot of texts from people asking if I was OK. The cell phone was not working though for calls. The police closed the street I was going to go down so I had to go out a block which worked out very well. As I was walking by Five Napkin Burgers, there was this loud banging on the window. Martin and Lisa were there and came out and gave big bear hugs I went in there and almost immediately, an announcement said that police are telling people to stay in the restaurant. We stayed there a while till we were told we could go to the hotel. CNN was on and providing a lot of information. My wife had to leave Monday night so she was taking the subway to the airport and they stopped it and evacuated it, that was how she found out.

At the hotel, we met up with Vivian and rehashed everything. Once the front desk said it was OK to leave a few hours later, they all left. I just sat and watched CNN in disbelief the whole evening.

Tuesday

After waking up, the first thing I noticed was about a dozen officers on the street of my hotel spread all over. The events really started sinking in with that, and the local papers showing stories about the injured people. I went over to the Prudential center to see what it was like there though most stores were not open yet. They had a restaurant called Legal Seafood . I looked in the windows and all the tables had dirty dishes, cell phones, credit cards, and other items on them. I was confused why this happened. Then a person came by so I asked him. He said he had been there, that they saw many runners come racing through it in terror and they assumed there was a gunman on the loose. So everyone there just left without getting any of their personal items.

So that’s the trip. I am really worried this could be my last Boston as my marathon times in the past year have taken a beating. I’m really frustrated and after some rest to recover from this one, will need to figure out what I need to do to get back to where I was running in 2011, my last good running year.
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Post  Ken Cushing on Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:59 am

Thanks for the report. Glad you are Ok. I can understand why you haven't posted the report till now. Is it weird that I haven't run since it happened after running three 50 mile weeks in a row? Time to get back to it I guess.
As far as your times going down. Over the last 30 years of running marathons, my times have gone up and down in cycles. Don't worry, you will get another BQ, even if it takes another year or two to get things sorted out.
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Post  dot520 on Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:38 am

Thanks so much for the report, John, and congratulations on the race. As much as writing this report adds some closure for you, it also helps those of us still struggling here at home to put it all together who weren't in Boston. I really enjoyed the photo album that you added to your FB page along with the narratives there. Fear not, you will find your sweet spot in running as you have natural talent that you have shown time and again. As Ken mentioned, it's a matter of cycles, and you'll find your upswing again.
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Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:19 am

It was wonderful to see you and Carol again and spend time with you. Don't think it is you last as you never know. One thing that you might want to do is hire a coach - someone who can put things in perspective and that you can bounce ideas off. I'm sure there are several in the Chicago area as well as programs like McMillan which I have used very succcessfully in the past (here in Ohio especially where our coaching resources are limited). That was certainly an experience that we will all never forger. I was sorry (Tuesday) that I never got over there on Monday night, but I was really thinking of family and my daughter once I knew everyone was ok. Rest up, recover, and keep running, my friend!
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Post  jon c on Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:19 am

Thanks for the report, John. It was nice meeting you and your family at the food court Saturday. I will probably throw a race report together this weekend. It seems to me that so much of this pales when one considers the big picture of the events of this past week.
Congrats on your race. It is an accomplishment to perservere even when you have been injured and have not put in the training you wanted to. Don't consider this to necessarily be your last Boston. Give yourself the time you need to heal up and come back even stronger. The body will adapt to its' environment. And as we get older, we don't have to have such fast times.
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Post  fostever on Sat Apr 20, 2013 11:58 am

Glad to hear you finished despite all your ups and downs this year, congrats. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the timeline. You were safely past the finish when the 1st blast went off, the official clock said 4:09:44 at the time of the blast, and your finish time was 4:10. Do you have a time capsule you are not sharing with us? lol
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Post  Matt W on Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:30 pm



Hi John,

I'm glad you are okay and weren't any closer to the explosions. I know it wasn't the race you wanted, but it looked good for the training you were able to do. Hopefully, you have a long stretch of injury free running that helps you get back to a level of fitness that is pleasing to you. Good luck as you recover and plan out your future running.
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Post  nkrichards on Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:42 pm

Thanks for the report. It takes a lot of guts to start a marathon knowing you aren't fully trained and even more guts to finish it! You held up well considering the hills and the headwind. More importantly you are safe to run again.
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Post  Dave P on Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:30 pm

Hey John, really glad to find out you made it through the race just in time. I'm praying for you. Get your mojo back & join me in Boston in 2014 (if I too can get my mojo back.)
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Post  Mark B on Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:46 pm

Thanks for the report, John. I can't begin to imagine how surreal those days became for you and everyone else there. I'm glad you came through it all safely.

Don't write off a return to Boston. Take time to heal and recover fully before you start to rebuild. You might just surprise yourself.
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Post  mountandog on Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:27 pm

Thanks for the report John. Wish I hadn't arrived so late to the gathering Sat, we never really had a chance to chat. Hang in there. Recover well. Physically and mentally.
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Post  Chris M on Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:40 pm

@fostever wrote:Glad to hear you finished despite all your ups and downs this year, congrats. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the timeline. You were safely past the finish when the 1st blast went off, the official clock said 4:09:44 at the time of the blast, and your finish time was 4:10. Do you have a time capsule you are not sharing with us? lol
Remember that the finish line clock keeps getting changed to reflect the Wave 1, Wave 2 and Wave 3 starting times. The race clock was at 4:09-something when the attacks took place but that was 4:49 after the race (wave 1) started.
John, you did a fine job on very limited training. And I don't know why your conclusion would be declining times off of that. If you are healthy and want to train hard, a BQ is I think a pretty easy layup for you. But you HAVE to be healthy and able to do your normal training. So get that knee FULLY healthy before going back after it.
Amazing that you ran into the Schueys in the chaos and confusion afterwards. So glad for all of you that you were able to meet up and ultimately confirm that everyone was OK. Just a stunning event to have been so close to. Very scary.
Rest and recover both physically and mentally and know that you can ATTACK a BQ (with me in Erie, PA in September?) once your knee allows for your regular training.
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Post  Ben Z on Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:47 pm

Hi John -

Glad you are OK and were able to finish. I hope you get to relax now for awhile. You certainly deserve it. I think a nice 2-4 week break will instill even more passion for running for you.
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Post  JohnP on Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:20 pm

@fostever wrote:Glad to hear you finished despite all your ups and downs this year, congrats. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the timeline. You were safely past the finish when the 1st blast went off, the official clock said 4:09:44 at the time of the blast, and your finish time was 4:10. Do you have a time capsule you are not sharing with us? lol

Hey Steven, Chris explained it well. There was a long article in the local paper here about a woman who finished one second after the blast. The reporter didn't realize that unless this runner started exactly when the person whose time was being displayed, then it's unlikely she was really there when it happened. Since I started in wave 2, I completed the race before the people who time was displayed when it went off (most likely wave 3), though my time was worse.

Back on Tuesday, I was getting asked a lot how close I was and I didn't want to exaggerate so I computed this rough timeline based on when the first blast occurred and my first text on the phone.

1:50 PM - this is when the first blast occurred per several news articles

2:02 PM - this is when I sent my first text to my wife that a bomb went off at the finish line.

Since I didn't have the phone when it went off, that's why I figured I finished anywhere from 5-9 minutes after the blast, and then it took several minutes to get to gear check, get my bag, and get the phone out.
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Post  JohnP on Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:33 pm

@Ken Cushing wrote:Thanks for the report. Glad you are Ok. I can understand why you haven't posted the report till now. Is it weird that I haven't run since it happened after running three 50 mile weeks in a row? Time to get back to it I guess.
As far as your times going down. Over the last 30 years of running marathons, my times have gone up and down in cycles. Don't worry, you will get another BQ, even if it takes another year or two to get things sorted out.

Thanks Ken, hopefully this bad cycle is at an end and I'll be on the upturn now!

@dot520 wrote:Thanks so much for the report, John, and congratulations on the race. As much as writing this report adds some closure for you, it also helps those of us still struggling here at home to put it all together who weren't in Boston. I really enjoyed the photo album that you added to your FB page along with the narratives there. Fear not, you will find your sweet spot in running as you have natural talent that you have shown time and again. As Ken mentioned, it's a matter of cycles, and you'll find your upswing again.

Thanks Dot, I'll look for that upswing now!

@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:It was wonderful to see you and Carol again and spend time with you. Don't think it is you last as you never know. One thing that you might want to do is hire a coach - someone who can put things in perspective and that you can bounce ideas off. I'm sure there are several in the Chicago area as well as programs like McMillan which I have used very succcessfully in the past (here in Ohio especially where our coaching resources are limited). That was certainly an experience that we will all never forger. I was sorry (Tuesday) that I never got over there on Monday night, but I was really thinking of family and my daughter once I knew everyone was ok. Rest up, recover, and keep running, my friend!

Thanks Michele, it was really good to see you there and meet up before the race. I do need to think about the coach. I paid McMillan for a custom program a few years ago and did well with it. Maybe it's time to revisit him.

@jon c wrote:Thanks for the report, John. It was nice meeting you and your family at the food court Saturday. I will probably throw a race report together this weekend. It seems to me that so much of this pales when one considers the big picture of the events of this past week.
Congrats on your race. It is an accomplishment to perservere even when you have been injured and have not put in the training you wanted to. Don't consider this to necessarily be your last Boston. Give yourself the time you need to heal up and come back even stronger. The body will adapt to its' environment. And as we get older, we don't have to have such fast times.

Thanks Jon, it was good to meet you, hopefully we'll cross paths again. I don't want to rely on getting older though to qualify! I have to admit, I really admired that 78-year old runner who fell down at the line from the blast. In an interview with CNN afterwards, he said he was pretty happy with his time. I want to be able to do that same time at that age.

@fostever wrote:Glad to hear you finished despite all your ups and downs this year, congrats. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the timeline. You were safely past the finish when the 1st blast went off, the official clock said 4:09:44 at the time of the blast, and your finish time was 4:10. Do you have a time capsule you are not sharing with us? lol

Thanks - see separate reply, a number of people didn't understand how that works. I assume the clock facing the runners had actual elapsed time and the one in the news articles was on the back side.

@Matt W wrote:

Hi John,

I'm glad you are okay and weren't any closer to the explosions. I know it wasn't the race you wanted, but it looked good for the training you were able to do. Hopefully, you have a long stretch of injury free running that helps you get back to a level of fitness that is pleasing to you. Good luck as you recover and plan out your future running.

Thanks Matt, I do need that injury free running stretch to start now!

@nkrichards wrote:Thanks for the report. It takes a lot of guts to start a marathon knowing you aren't fully trained and even more guts to finish it! You held up well considering the hills and the headwind. More importantly you are safe to run again.

Thank you.

@Dave P wrote:Hey John, really glad to find out you made it through the race just in time. I'm praying for you. Get your mojo back & join me in Boston in 2014 (if I too can get my mojo back.)
Dave Poppel

Thanks Dave, I hope I am able to.


@Mark B wrote:Thanks for the report, John. I can't begin to imagine how surreal those days became for you and everyone else there. I'm glad you came through it all safely.

Don't write off a return to Boston. Take time to heal and recover fully before you start to rebuild. You might just surprise yourself.

Thanks Mark, also thanks for the advice earlier this year as I was figuring things out with the heart rate.

@mountandog wrote:Thanks for the report John. Wish I hadn't arrived so late to the gathering Sat, we never really had a chance to chat. Hang in there. Recover well. Physically and mentally.

Thanks, yes, I completely missed seeing you there although I think I saw your sister (?). I remember she was at the bar we went to last year on Sunday.

@Chris M wrote:
@fostever wrote:Glad to hear you finished despite all your ups and downs this year, congrats. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the timeline. You were safely past the finish when the 1st blast went off, the official clock said 4:09:44 at the time of the blast, and your finish time was 4:10. Do you have a time capsule you are not sharing with us? lol
Remember that the finish line clock keeps getting changed to reflect the Wave 1, Wave 2 and Wave 3 starting times. The race clock was at 4:09-something when the attacks took place but that was 4:49 after the race (wave 1) started.
John, you did a fine job on very limited training. And I don't know why your conclusion would be declining times off of that. If you are healthy and want to train hard, a BQ is I think a pretty easy layup for you. But you HAVE to be healthy and able to do your normal training. So get that knee FULLY healthy before going back after it.
Amazing that you ran into the Schueys in the chaos and confusion afterwards. So glad for all of you that you were able to meet up and ultimately confirm that everyone was OK. Just a stunning event to have been so close to. Very scary.
Rest and recover both physically and mentally and know that you can ATTACK a BQ (with me in Erie, PA in September?) once your knee allows for your regular training.

Thanks Chris, I have to figure this out. I'll look up Erie though it means I'd need to start training right away...But I did look at it and it's flatter than Chicago! Good luck and hopefully your knee has no ill effects from the surgery.

@Ben Z wrote:Hi John -

Glad you are OK and were able to finish. I hope you get to relax now for awhile. You certainly deserve it. I think a nice 2-4 week break will instill even more passion for running for you.

Thanks Ben, I need to relax now. I do have the passion, just not the strong knee right now, hopefully that will return now.
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Post  Paula Sue on Sat Apr 20, 2013 11:18 pm

You've gotten a lot of great replies with a lot of information. Best of all, you came out of it unscathed physically. You and everyone else involved in Boston this year have a lot of emotional healing ahead. And, of course, that's compounded by the normal down that occurs after a marathon. Just know you have a big group out here praying for you (and everyone else) as you recover from this tragedy.
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Post  Seth Harrison on Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:47 am

John, making the decision to stick with you for the marathon was the
best decision I made all weekend. I had a great time running with you
over much of the first half of the course. I was glad to see you for a
second after the explosions before we got separated, and of course I was
so happy to finally know that all of us were safe.
It looks like you had a tough winter of training. I hope this doesn't turn out to be your last Boston. Good luck recovering and I hope you can get back to where you were in 2011.
Spending time with you and all of our friends was the silver lining in what became a terribly sad time.
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Post  ounce on Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:03 pm

Well done, John. I imagine you still have some smoldering embers in your gut.
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Post  JohnP on Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:27 pm

@Paula Sue wrote:You've gotten a lot of great replies with a lot of information. Best of all, you came out of it unscathed physically. You and everyone else involved in Boston this year have a lot of emotional healing ahead. And, of course, that's compounded by the normal down that occurs after a marathon. Just know you have a big group out here praying for you (and everyone else) as you recover from this tragedy.

Thanks Paula Sue, I appreciate the thought.

@Seth Harrison wrote:John, making the decision to stick with you for the marathon was the
best decision I made all weekend. I had a great time running with you
over much of the first half of the course. I was glad to see you for a
second after the explosions before we got separated, and of course I was
so happy to finally know that all of us were safe.
It looks like you had a tough winter of training. I hope this doesn't turn out to be your last Boston. Good luck recovering and I hope you can get back to where you were in 2011.
Spending time with you and all of our friends was the silver lining in what became a terribly sad time.

Seth, I definitely agree. I forgot to mention it above but we started the race together and ran most of the first half together side by side. It was great doing that. I know we separated then and I went ahead for a while. I think at mile 20 or so (when I had a larger slowdown) I saw you go by me but I didn't yell because I knew I couldn't pick up speed then. Looks like you finished shortly before I did then. I did a race like that with Vivian some years ago and really enjoyed that too.

@ounce wrote:Well done, John. I imagine you still have some smoldering embers in your gut.

Thanks, I certainly hope so!
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Post  Alex Kubacki on Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:40 am

Great job John. You went in having missed all that time with the injury. Just getting it done is an accomplishment. Congrats and glad you made it through safe.
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Post  T Miller on Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:50 am

Thanks for the report John and I'm glad you're safe. I think the injuries have caused your setback and that you're marathon times will continue to improve.
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Post  KBFitz on Sun May 19, 2013 10:53 am

Your last Boston John? Not! You're a hardened veteran at this. You've seen good cycles. And some not so good. This too will pass. The ups and downs are as natural as biology. Mind the knee. I'll see you & Carol at a future Boston. Cheers!
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