Sunday, April 16, 2006

Scheming and dreaming

"Did you win?"

Those were the words from the 6 year old grandson of the folks I stay with back in 2000. "No but I finished" was the happy reply. The average runner obviously can never hope to win a race of this magnitude but we can still have goals and dreams in competition with ourselves most of all.

The trip down on Sat was good with 4 New Brunswicker's for company, all doing Boston and all in our late 40's to early 50's. I think we had a total of at least 20 Bostons for the group. The plan was to drive the course from Hopkinton to their hotel on the 24 mile mark. The starting line area was very quiet with only a few runners milling around getting pictures taken by the sign '26.2 miles to Boston'. They do a special design on the line each year, last year there was an image of 'old' Johnny Kelley who died in the fall of 2004 but this year the design is one with waves for the new 2 wave start. Runners are seeded by bib number and qualifying times with the 1st wave of 10,000 runners at 12 noon, the traditional start time; and the 2nd wave of 10,000+ runners at 1230. They are doing this mostly for crowd control and there is some grumbling in the 2nd wave I'm sure. My number of 7770 puts me near the back of the 1st wave but I feel that just gives me more people that I can pass ;-)

Anyway we took a few pictures and then cruised along the course with my brand spanking new Garmin 301 keeping track of distance, elevation, car speed and resting HR. It was fun to hear the different comments on what each of us remembered or didn't want to think about again. The undulations of this course, even driving it are quite remarkable and the hill after hill from mile 16-21 is quite sobering too. There are parts of the course that we remember but would mostly like to forget, especially the quad pounding last 5 miles.

By the time we got to their hotel on Brookline it was starting to get dark so I took the subway and bus to my home-away-from-home out in the suburbs. The people I stay with, G&A, are friends through a very good friend in St Andrews and I've know them for many years and now stay with them every year I do Boston, in fact I think they'd be insulted if I stayed at a hotel (but maybe only if I didn't at least visit). They are like angels from marathon heaven that treat me like a king every time I come. They know my routine, pre-race food needs, rest and quiet time needs and most especially the post race feeding frenzy. After catching up on news and a late night snack it was off to bed for another good sleep.

Today, all that was on my plate was to make my way to the expo and return with a minimum of effort. Left homebase around 830am and was back by 12 noon (now < 24 hrs!!). The expo is huge and on any other day I would spend several hours there but today it was just pick up my number, get some t-shirts, poster with all runners names and a few gifts. I also dropped by the My-Marathon DVD booth to put a personalized welcome on the video of the race that you can order. It's neat with clips of you at the start, 10k, 15k, 30k and finish as well as the elite races and is worth the money. But then straight back to the ranch and now spending the afternoon quietly reading, scheming and a bit of blogging too!

The scheming part: reading though my previous Boston diaries looking for hints and common threads I started a little checklist for the morning and the race:
  • pre race powerbar, gatorade (no banana or fruit)
  • remember to pin 2 gels to shorts, bandaids on
  • going to use the new watch (mainly for HR and record of run) but will NOT be distracted by it
  • watch the start, don't get sucked out too fast (ie <7min>
  • think easy & controlled, running on eggshells for 1st 16 miles to the Newton hills
  • don't overdrink! A common thread is an upset stomach from too much water and gatorade so this is important to remember.
  • go strong on the hills but not crazy or anaerobic; watch HR here
  • after crest of Heartbreak the race is on! The goal is now not to get passed and treat it like a race, picking off runners by following faster paced runners until they die off, and I know they will!!
  • when the going gets tough I'll only count runners I pass and if it gets really tough then it's down to counting steps and exhales
  • have fun, smile at the video cameras at 10k, 15k, 30k and of course the finish

Time for another snack and more scheming. I'll check in again after the race but it usually takes a few days for the event to really sink in so it may take a couple of posts to get the full story.


Downhillnut said...

Excellent tips for any race - I'll keep them in mind.

I remember some kids I know asking me that question after my first 10k race almost 6 years ago. I had come in 1001th that day!

There are few things more motivating in the home stretch than trying to catch/avoid being caught by another racer. Have a great race!

Andrew said...

Knock 'em out Mike!

Dawn - Pink Chick Tris said...

Yeah for the Garmin. Let me know if you need some tips on I'll be thinking about you tomorrow.


Legs and Wings said...

Just about start time and thought I'd pass along one more good wish. Go Mike!

Olga said...

We are all here. at the computers, looking out for you picking runners off! Because this is what's happening out there:)

Anonymous said...