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Boston meltdown report

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KathyK
Vivian
Lauren
Jim Lentz
wrichman
mountandog
jon c
Julie
carleenp
Dave Wolfe
fostever
Randy E
Jeff F
ounce
Jack_Scaff
Dave-O
Seth Harrison
Mark B
healdgator
Joel H
Alex Kubacki
amyjoann
Michele "1L" Keane
Jerry
Kenny B.
JohnP
30 posters

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Boston meltdown report Empty Boston meltdown report

Post  JohnP Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:57 pm

Well, since you all spent the time tracking us, I feel I owe a Boston report. It can’t be called a race report but at least a report. This was my 21st marathon and 30% of them have been in very warm conditions (80+ degrees). Not coincidentally, those are roughly my worst times, cold weather is my friend. Even though I knew it was going to be hot, there was no thought of not running. It was my first Boston, I was here, and I already have a BQ-5 for next year. But I was not prepared for the total meltdown that ensued on my part.

The original time goal was anywhere from 3:30-3:35. After hearing the forecasts, it seemed appropriate to change that to a 4:00 goal though there was no real basis for that. Looking back, in similar conditions in Chicago and Atlanta, I ran about 4:25 in those, so a 4:00 goal was too aggressive especially considering a 10:30 AM start time and my inability to handle heat. I remembered everyone’s advice about not going out fast so the first six miles, which I knew to be net decline, were fairly controlled:

1 – 8:50
2- 8:51
3 – 8:52
4 – 8:52
5 – 9:01
6 – 9:11

Believe it or not (and I was struggling to believe it), I was starting to hurt after 6 miles. Looking at my HR data now (I don’t display HR during the run on my watch), my HR was at 87-90% starting at mile 4. That is simply unsustainable so I tried to back off the pace some more but knew this would be a long day.

7 - 9:21
8 – 9:34
9 - 9:34

I was struggling even more so slowed a bit, my mind quickly agreed to this.

10 – 9:59
11 – 9:59

At this point, though I didn’t realize it, I had just run 7 miles at a tempo pace HR of roughly 89%. It was around here where it started to fall apart. And the heat of the day was really upon us too. I don’t know exact temps, it seems like it was 85-88 degrees through most of the race. I knew it was going to be a long day. I slowed some more to go into survival mode but this is awfully early in a marathon to go in survival mode.

12 – 10:19

Not certain where the Wellesley College cheerers were but that was definitely the highlight of the day. I did high-fives with everyone possible there, their enthusiasm was sky high. It's everything I heard it would be. It was funny because there were 9-10 cheerers and then a break and I thought, "Is that it?" But then the main area started, seemed like hundreds of them for a long time. Awesome. That probably kept me going an additional mile or two.

13 – 10:16
14 – 10:45
15 – 12:02 (I think a long water stop)
16 – 10:45

Though these paces are slow, I wasn’t walking at all except through water stops. But starting at the hills, I just had to walk. Every time I stopped for water, it seems like a rush of blood would go to my head and I felt dizzy. By mile 16, it was forcing me to walk 2-3 extra minutes each mile.

17 – 12:56
18 – 12:56
19 – 12:50

Starting at mile 20, I had to walk completely, I totally felt like I was going to faint and I definitely did not want to do that. It was either drop out or walk. Dropping out was pretty much out of the picture so I just put one foot in front of the other and walked. I tried twice to run and had the same feeling come over me. Since there are a lot of crowds in this section, it was tough to take and rather embarassing.

20 – 16:22
21 – 15:28
22 – 15:09
23 – 14:31
24 – 14:20

As my walking time increased a bit, it seemed OK to start jogging again. So at least for the last two miles, I was able to do a slow trot in.

25 – 12:34
26 – 12:41
Total – 5:00:08

Anyway, my worst marathon by about 33 minutes. My quads and legs don’t care how slow I went, they are really hurting today, a lot. Even if the weather was good, these hills would have eaten me up. I did quite a few long runs and runs out in Barrington Hills to train for this but that definitely did not prepare me enough. If I come back, I will be better prepared for them.The spectator support was unbelievable. People kept saying, “Thanks for running.” There was lots of encouragement, “You can do it.” One time three guys were really yelling loudly to encourage someone who was walking (in a very good way) and the guy said, “Come on out and run with me.” So one of the three did for a little while, I think it made that guy’s day, he was really smiling. It was tough walking through the cheering sections but I figured it was better to walk than faint in front of them.

Other first timer observations - the bus ride out was pretty good except for an accident that added 15 minutes time. The wait in Athlete’s village was really cool, it felt good to be a part of everyone running, this "club.". The line to get to the race start really took a while. But everything about the Boston marathon is top notch, it’s truly a level above any marathon I’ve done in terms of organization. I think the only bad thing was a marshal in the finisher’s chute giving me bad directions to the reunite area so I got caught up in blocked off streets and wound up limping back to my room alone.

The gear check is fantastic and this is the first time I brought a cell phone to the waiting area and had one afterwards. Thanks all for tracking and reading. It was not the marathon experience I wanted but I have accepted all that happened. Thanks also for all the posts people put out there in the past month, they really helped me to prepare. And as usual, it was great to meet old friends and some new ones there from the boards.
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Post  Kenny B. Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:03 pm

This was brutal to read but to be you out there oh my you got some mean courage! I think running based on HR during these conditions is the most prudent choice. As you stated you can't sustain a pace for 26.2 miles when you are in LT HR zone land from early on.

Tremendous job getting to the finish line and making it happen. Amazing!
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Post  Jerry Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:11 pm

The only thing that matters is next time when Jerry brags about he has run Boston, John can say: me2.

lol!
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Post  Michele "1L" Keane Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:15 pm

Jerry wrote:The only thing that matters is next time when Jerry brags about he has run Boston, John can say: me2.

lol!

Ah, but Jerry can't say that he ran the hot one with John and Michele. Nice going, John. Tried to catch up with you in AV, but was having trouble with my phone. Ran into Scott Ca by chance and he was trying to find you as well. Nice job on a very hot day!
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Post  amyjoann Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:41 pm

Wow John that is pure courage I know how you feel I can't tolerate heat either and you had huge hills too boot. finishing was great I'm sorry your weather was so bad ,hopefully next time you will be rewarded with decent weather. As far as I'm concerned anything above 60 is not running weather.
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Post  Alex Kubacki Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:43 pm

John, toeing the line on a day like that knowing what's in store is a victory in itself. Congrats on surviving a day like that. Rest up and recover well.
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Post  Joel H Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:09 pm

Great job in just finishing a race like that, that is impressive! Rest up and hopefully next year it will be perfect conditions in Boston. Congrats on being a Boston finisher.
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Post  healdgator Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:17 pm

I'm impressed by the way you gutted out a brutal day. I know that 5 hours had to feel like 20. Congrats on finishing your 21st marathon!
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Post  Mark B Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:32 pm

Conditions like that are kryptonite for runners, John. Three cheers for making it through the day without doing damage to yourself. There will be other chances, and hopefully, they will have more humane conditions.


Last edited by Mark B on Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  Seth Harrison Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:51 pm

What an unbelievable effort on your part John. Your first Boston experience looked a lot like mine, except that I was running in temps that were about 30 degrees colder. I don't know how you did it! I can't wait to see you go out and beat the course next year.
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Post  Dave-O Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:06 pm

No one's finishing time in this race is an indictment of his or her training. Those were simply brutal conditions, where any finish deserves a round of applause.

Congrats on finishing Boston, John, and here's to cooler marathons in your future! Shots
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Post  Jack_Scaff Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:17 pm

Wow, tough report to read. But you already have a BQ for next year, and it sounds like a great experience ignoring the actual race! Recover well.
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Post  ounce Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:11 pm

Indeed, a truly courageous effort. Enjoy the accolades and rewards.
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Post  Jeff F Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:48 pm

John, you are a real trooper, congratulations on finishing Boston. Given your past experience with hot marathons, your odds should be getting better for one with perfect conditions.
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Post  Randy E Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:43 pm

John, way to gut this out. Even though it was brutal, it is and always will be one, "hell" (no pun intended), of a memory. This will make every future marathon seem easy. Im so happy you experienced Boston and can't wait for you to have your revenge. Congrats.
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Post  fostever Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:51 pm

Yeah buddy, know just how ya felt. It was great meeting up with you and your better half at brunch. Recover well and congrats on sticking it out to the end. I did a ton of walking between cramping and melting. See you next year since you're still qualified and didn't have to defer!
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Post  Dave Wolfe Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:06 pm

Way to tough it out. Reading these reports makes me want to run another. Tough, guts, stubborn courage. Well done.
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Post  carleenp Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:17 pm

Excellent effort. That you stuck it out in that insane weather should impress anyone. I remember bonking early and walking in on a warm spring 25k once, and I thought I was dying with it at only 78 degrees at the end and with some shade. I couldn't imagine a marathon in the conditions that you had at Boston. I don't think I would have made it.
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Post  Julie Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:18 pm

Good job! You're a tough runner for sticking it out after mile 20. I'm sure many others would have quit at that point. Take your time recovering. Finish time isn't everything and I'm sure given a nice cool day you'll have a good fall marathon.
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Post  jon c Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:04 pm

Congratulations John on finishing despite the conditions and the adversity you faced. Weather is something totally out of our control. Just getting the courage to keep moving and then slightly recovering enough to at least finish with some running was a sign you listened well to your body. Hope that you have another opportunity to compete here again in different circumstances. No doubt this one will be one to remember.
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Post  mountandog Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:04 pm

John - Meltdown is an appropriate title for the day - NOT your performance. Kudos to you and your guts. It was a pleasure to meet you at brunch on Sunday - and I could tell you had the right mindset that morning.
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Post  wrichman Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:28 am

Yes, meltdown is a good word to describe the day in general. Congrats on toughing it out and finishing your 21st! I'd like to think that these kinds of races make us more thankful for the good weather ones - and also teach us that we are capable of accomplishing more than we think.
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Post  Jim Lentz Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:55 am

Nice job bringing it in, John!
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Post  Lauren Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:33 pm

Courage, heart, and dedication. Incredible job. Congratulations!
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Post  Vivian Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:26 pm

What a tough runner you are to slog on for such an eternity and not give up. Congratulations on finishing your first Boston marathon. I know how much it means to you. Hopefully I'll see you at another Boston soon.
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