Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Crushed in Boston

     I will start by admitting that right through the start line I was sticking to my goal of racing the Boston marathon. My primary goal was to go sub three hours but at least wanted to PR the course. The heat warnings from the BAA and concern of many friends I knew I would have to run a smart race. I executed a race plan that rewarded me with my slowest marathon ever but a very memorable experience.
      My trip to Boston actually started on Wednesday morning at 5 AM as we loaded into my brother's car. We drove straight through to his home in Westbrook Maine that alone is a marathon experience sixteen hours travelling with my three and four year old nephews in the back seat. The time spent was actually very enjoyable but also made me appreciate my children being teenagers. I have learned to cherish every moment that you can spend with loved ones. While in Maine spent time with my brother's family and his mother in law who was our tour guide for Portland, the ocean front and light houses. I flew a kite with my nephew and walked the beaches with my wife. Saturday morning I boarded an Amtrak train to Boston to go to the marathon expo and do some sight seeing. The expo was packed with vendors and athletes did a little shopping after picking up my bib and goody bag. The night ended with the Daily Mile meet up hosted by Brian Adkins where I met runners from across the country. Many who I follow and get encouragement from online, a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet them in person. Sunday was a day of rest started the day with breakfast at the hotel then church and lunch a short run. We headed back to Boston for dinner at an Italian restaurant on the Charles river my nephew Edmund Walsh joined us. A very enjoyable evening but headed back to the hotel early to be well rested for the big day.
      I was really very relaxed going into this marathon knowing I was as fit and fast as I have ever been and had pushed twenty weeks of my most intense training. The warnings about the heat and the concerns of my family and friends I knew this race was going to be a test of perseverance. My brother drove me to the State Park to get on the shuttle bus into Hopkinton there I met my running partner Melodie. We headed into athletes village and met up with other runners we knew, we all managed to keep each other calm. I headed to the starting corrals with Eric from Cincinnati still confident but planning to start slow because it was already 80 degrees Fahrenheit. I took off at an easy pace of 7:23 for the first mile which included a quick stop of in the trees (all that pre-race hydration). The next three down hill miles were 7:00 still feeling very comfortable and easy the pace went back to 7:25 out through the 10k mark still on pace for three hours.The heat and rolling hills started to take toll and by mile eleven I was slowed to 8:00 pace. This is the point I changed the focus to finishing the race with no worry about time. I walked through the water stop and decided I was going to make the most of it I kissed half a dozen cute girls at Wellsley and passed my family cheering me on. I got a tap on the shoulder it was fellow daily miler Maddy we hung together through the turn at the fire station in Newton Falls. I slowed on the hill and knew I was going to have to take a strategy of walking the hills. I stayed to hydration and fuel plan and supplemented it with icy pops and orange slices along the way. The spectator support was phenomenal and had a lot to do with getting me this far between the water. ice and spraying water hoses to keep runners cool, ten miles to go! Pace was in the 10:00 range until heart break hill there I decided to walk so it went to 12:00 pace jogged through twenty four walked quite a bit there then saw 40k sign I knew I had the finish. 2000 meters to go I CAN DO THIS saw John Pullen on the side. I crossed the finish line with a sense of relief and pride knowing it was no small feat that I had accomplished. I picked up my medal, clothes bag and a great volunteer who walked with me to the family meeting area. The post race nausea wasn't passing so she got me to a wheel chair and I was off to medical tent B I called my wife and she met me there. Temperature was high but all my other vitals were good so after I vomited a liter of fluid they released me. We found a Starbucks had some iced drinks and then headed to Melodies hotel.
      This race may not be in my record books but it will always be one I remember and judge hot weather races by, who would of thought April in Boston. I am starting to understand some of the mystique of this race. I thought this was going to be my last Boston unless I came back to coach or pace but I may return to race.


  1. Peter, I admire your guts in both making an early go at it and then, in the face of adversity, just being able to finish it off while enjoying the experience as much as possible. This Boston will go down in history as one of the "toughest ever", and you'll always be able to say you were a part of it.

  2. Congratulations, Peter! I've been out of town for the past week (on the East Coast, actually) and couldn't wait to get home to read your recap. I admire your perseverance. My whole family in MA was talking about the crazy heat last week. Very impressive, well done.