Post Race Ponderings and Shout Outs!

April 21, 2010

What is the best strategy for finishing a race that you aren’t really prepared for? Start slow, then ease off (motto for the Greater New Orleans Runners Association circa 1984).

2010 Marathon Start

It was a perfect day for running and my experience with the Boston Marathon significantly lowered the pre-race anxiety levels. The day started a little before 5:00am in order to make it to MGH and the bus to Hopkinton by 6:05 and the starting gun at 10:30. Amy Flynn and company at MGH really go to a lot of trouble to make the pre-race ordeal less Spartan than the independent race experience. We had a nice bus, a warm tent, plenty to eat and drink and some entertainment to round out the hours. The Boston Athletic Association deserves a shout out as well, in my experience, everyone and everything BAA is well planned, cheerful and helpful.

Crowd getting ready in Hopkinton

If you have read prior installments of this blog, you probably know that knee problems essentially benched me for most of the winter and I wasn’t really prepared this time around, at least not as prepared as I like to be. This may actually be the first time I started a race wondering if I was up to finishing it. It wasn’t easy but I crossed the finish line after 4h53m32s. That’s not as fast as I fantasized about but about where I expected to finish this year. I am satisfied; besides, it will make achieving my sub 4 hour marathon goal seem more dramatic. I also want to express my gratitude to the experts that helped eliminate my left knee from the list of barriers to success; Dr. Bradley at High Performance Sports Medicine and Jill and Sara at Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation.


It was great to see the Wicked Running Club at mile 17. Apparently, the Wicked Gel Stop has become a motivational milestone for me. From the start, I kept thinking “if I can just make it to the Wicked Stop”. Once I passed the halfway mark and started ticking off the back side miles, my confidence grew as did my longing for some Wicked Gel. I spotted Colin and Rachel first, then the long Wicked line including Beth O’Grady, Doug Bollen, I think I saw Shari Hewson and Adam Fitch; you know I was moving so fast, it was just all a blur 😉 . The Wicked Stop definitely helped catapult me up that series of hills on Comm. Ave. that in years prior did not seem to me to be that big of a deal; I suspect the gel was helpful too. Thanks for saving me some chocolate.

Halfway Mark of the Boston Marathon


Kristin, Atticus and Alexander were great and this was the first year I actually spotted them near the finish line. I lack the skill to capture in words just how powerful that moment felt; it was better than the finish line just a few hundred feet away. Thank you Allison Brooks, Paul Durand and Sarah Nelson (listed alphabetically—I lack the courage to try and rank their contributions). Needless to say, without your support, tolerance, nagging, etc. our outreach would not be so effective or so darn interesting ;-).

Meche Family Post Race at MGH with Support Poster!

After a quick shower at Fitcorp we went to MGH to get my car and took a brief detour into the lobby to see the poster that MGH put up. Next was the post race dinner; we seem to have developed a tradition as this is the third year in a row at Finz in Salem. I want to give them a particular shout out for the extra hospitality (thanks Joe, Jen, Kate and of course Geo).


I get more credit than I deserve for the running part of this enterprise; the truth is I find running to be a selfish and enjoyable act (usually). The people who are making the most difference are those of you supporting this Cancer Care for Children program by writing a check or pressing that button. Thank you for all you do and give. I promise to keep running if you keep giving.


3 Weeks to Go!

March 29, 2010

Sunday, March 29th

For those of you not familiar with Marathon training, most programs call for regularly increasing weekly mileage peaking about 3 weeks before the race and then what is known as race tapering. One variation of conventional wisdom suggests the peak training run of 20 miles.  We are now about  3-weeks before race day and today was the traditional MGH marathon team’s 20-miler. We were all invited to Howard’s (Dr. Weinstein) house which is about a block off of Commonwealth Ave in Newton near to mile 20. We all hop on a bus and motor out to Hopkinton and then run back to Howard’s house, right at the foot of Heartbreak Hump, how convenient! This is also when we pick up our t-shirts and racing singlet.

Speaking of racing singlet, here is my collection. Guess what they have in common? Guess correctly and I will send you a MMT wristband.  If you guess wrong, I will still send you a MMT wristband.

Back to the training run. I had an awful time with it and ended up walking a fair bit of the last four or five miles, everything hurt. Two years ago, I had actually trained out to a 30 mile run on this day; last year I did about 24 miles. One additional complication is that my stride sensor needs recalibration because I think it is not reporting distance very accurately. That 14 mile run the other day was probably just a 13 miler.  With just 3 weeks left I really don’t have much chance to train for additional endurance; I will try to put in a 10-miler tomorrow or Tuesday before fully recovering from today but after that, it is time to start consolidation and rest.

I need a strategy (that does not involve the Green Line) to ensure I can cross the finish line before the BAA closes down the course. At this point, I am not at all optimistic about time or pace. I plan to run a very conservative race, probably keeping my pace well into the 10 minute per mile zone for the first half, maybe even through heartbreak hill. Before my knee problems, I hoped to be breaking into the threes this time, as in 3:59:50, which calls for a 9:20ish pace. One common mistakes for Boston runners is an over fast start, the first 5 miles is a comfortable downhill that leads runner to assume that they are faster than they thought. Many coaches suggest running a reverse split where the last half of the race is faster than the first. I tend to run a flat race staying fairly consistent throughout the course. I am reminded of the Greater New Orleans Runners Association. Back about 1984, while still living in the Crescent City, I was attracted to join this running club by their motto “Start slow then ease off”. I wonder what happened to that racing singlet.


No Pain, No Gain

March 8, 2010

So you think running a marathon is painful; the truth is it’s only painful running those last 20 or so miles. Physical therapy – now that really hurts. My new bi-weekly appointments are underway and they have this particularly resourceful form of torture where I balance my body weight on a piece of foam. The single point of contact is my IT band and then I have to
roll up and down. Kristin says it sounds like it would “hurt so good”. I say bring on Heartbreak Hill any day. However, I think it has helped, but then it may just be the meds.

They won’t let me run yet and now that the sun is shining, I am getting quite antsy. Doc Bradley will make the call on the 18th.  I am getting worried about not putting up miles. I suppose the trick will be to restart the running and get the mileage up fast without re-injuring my knee or any other essential body part. I did order some fancy new headphones in anticipation.

On the news front; we have a new URL – and we have some snappy new wristbands coming.


Just when I thought it was safe…

February 24, 2010

I was walking around the other day and for the first time in a long time, did not notice that my knee was hurting. I had given the 52 year old joint some time off but figured it was time to get back on the road, the race is getting frighteningly close.  The knee felt good for about 10, maybe 20 steps. One block later I turned around returned home. I did manage and 1 ½ hours on the elliptical with no pain but running is not yet working. I go to the orthopedic surgeon soon.

As I told my neighbor Mark Steadman while limping home, “if I can just get the knee to cooperate, I am sure I can cross the finish line. It won’t be pretty but then it never has been”.