Monday, May 13, 2013

Boston Marathon 2014 or Bust

After the Boston bombings, I decided that I would run the Boston Marathon in 2014 in memory of those who lost their lives as well as all the people who will never be the same because of it. In addition to the three lives lost, ~260 people who were injured, probably thousands more were affected. From the spectators who saw the carnage, the EMTs, doctors, nurses and good Samaritans heroically doing what they could to save lives, to all the runners who couldn't complete the race they trained months for as well as those who now will not run it again out of fear and all of the families and friends of the victims, they will never be the same again.

There is already hope that this can turn into a positive however. It seems that people have come together like no other to support the city of Boston and all of the victims. As long as the energy can remain focused on doing good and helping others and not being vengeful and vindictive, some good can come from this.Maybe it's not enough to make things right for all of those people affected, but enough to show that there is far more good in this world than evil.

I think part of the problem is that we all feel so helpless to help others in situations like this so we often try to direct our emotions to things we can affect and unfortunately sometimes this is driven by anger and hatred. Rather than focus on the anger, I would much rather doing something to help celebrate and commemorate those people involved. 
  What I'm doing is neither good nor evil but rather just dumb. After vowing to myself and anyone listening that I was going to do Boston next year, I realized that I had to qualify. In the past, this would not have been too challenging, as I have qualified for Boston over ten times. Unfortunately all of those marathons are out of the date range which means that I need to do it all again... between now and September when registration opens. Which means I need to go from my weekly 10 miles of running to something slightly more respectable. Especially since I will have to run a marathon in the summer to qualify. I am estimating that next year's race will be bigger than ever since so many people will show up as a sign of solidarity and support, that the race will likely fill up before the last qualifying times(QT) get a chance to sign up. If you remember, registering for Boston requires that you run a certain marathon time(for me: 3:05) but opens up early for people who beat their QTs by 20, 10 and 5 minutes. I suspect that I will need to run at least a 2:59 if not a 2:55 if I want a chance to run Boston next year.

I've run faster than 2:55 only five times and the last one was in 2011. Heat, lack of base and only a few months to train will make this very challenging for me.

Danny's plan? Avoid the heat. I can't do anything about the lack of base that I have afforded myself by avoiding running for the last six months, but I can try to avoid the heat by picking a marathon that has the best chances of being cool. Downside? It's in three weeks in Minneapolis, MN.

I came up with this scheme last week and on Friday I decided to see if I could find a shorter race to test my fitness. I checked coolrunning and sure enough, the very next day the Big Lake Half Marathon was taking place. I told myself that I would need to do at least a 1:25 or better if I realistically would have a chance to run a 2:55 in June. I steeled myself for a potentially painful day and headed out the next morning to register and race Big Lake. I would definitely recommend this race as a fun and beautiful late spring half.

I arrived early to ensure that I'd be able to register and used the extra time to doing a little reconnoitering. I ran into acidotic RACING's Scott Graham who gave me some det's on the course. Expect a long climb from miles 3-6 and then rolling hills until 11 and a nice downhill to the finish. Well, Scott. I disagree. I'd say that miles 1-7 are flat to false-flat while 7-10 are short steep kickers that beat the heck out of your legs. I do agree that the last few miles are perfect for a fast finish. If you've got anything left. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Scotty Graham running acidotic up Mt. Washington

In addition to Scott, I ran into my friends Josh and KJ. Josh was pacing KJ for her first half marathon. She certainly did not pick a flat half but since it was her first, I guess it was a PR course for her nonetheless. We chatted for a while before I headed to the start line.
Josh and KJ
Not many of the usual suspects were there but I did see Ryan Aschbrenner who had beaten me at Merrimack River at my last race this year. I knew better than try to keep pace with him. aR's Dave Hamilton also made a last minute decision to run the race as was John Finn who I've never seen at a road race before but he seems to magically appear at every triathlon that I mistakenly sign up for. Since our last names and ages are close we always seem to rack our bikes beside each other. Since he typically finishes just ahead of me in tri's, I figured he'd be a good person to run with during the half.
John Finn-beating me at IM Mont Tremblant
The gun went off almost unexpectedly and I settled in a pack of 4-5 guys. Ryan and two other guys were off the front and I knew I wouldn't be seeing him again. He ended up winning in 1:15. After about 2 miles, the pack had thinned out and I found myself running with Brady Hoover, who was a recent convert to running after being a collegiate soccer player.

He had run Philly last November and was planning on running Boston this coming year as well. We ran together for another couple miles picking up another runner, Matt Galluzo, along the way. At an aide station, Brady dropped back a bit and Matt and I ran side by side from ~ miles 4-10.

At mile 10 we saw the second place guy about a half mile ahead of us and I encouraged Matt to benefit from me pulling for a while as we tried to catch him.


Despite my prompting and probably due to the timing of our kick, Matt fell off and I went after the second place guy on my own.

My fitness level was definitely evident as I just didn't have that extra gear to close in fast enough despite the great slightly down finish. I ended up finishing 8 seconds behind him in a time of 1:22:09 for a third place finish.

Not one of my better races at this distance but somewhat encouraging that I'll be able to qualify for Boston. It also was nice because it pushed my mileage for the week above 20 for the first time in quite some time.

So. I think I will now have to look into flights to Minnesota now:)

Congrats to all the finishers and especially to KJ who had a great race and also congrats to my cousin Ryan for running his first ever road race down in Mass that same day!
Spent the next day with my brother Matt, soon-to be brother in-law Matt Menning, parents and Uncle Billy to celebrate Mother's Day.
Danny and Matt

Up Next:
Rock N Race this Thursday!
June 2-Minneapolis Marathon(potentially Danny)
June 9- Eagleman 70.3(Amber)

1 comment: