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.


Back on the Road!

March 22, 2010

Thursday 3/18/10

GAME ON! I wasn’t really sure what to expect returning to see Dr. Bradley after my 3 weeks of physical therapy. The therapy has been very educational, I have a much better understanding of what went wrong and how to avoid doing it again, but that marathon is getting awfully close and I have not been running. Dr. Bradley walks into the rooms having done the math saying 4 weeks and 3 days until the race. We chatted a bit before he gave me an enthusiastic “well, you can try”.  We talked about training plans, then I left without plans to return if something else went wrong.  My plan is to test the knee first thing in the morning.

Friday 3/19/10

With good weather I cautiously set out for my most basic and probably favorite run, to tag the lighthouse. It’s a brief and pleasant course from my house, down to the cove and along Fort Ave. and Derby Street to Derby wharf, take a left at the Customs House, out the wharf to the light and back. All in about 3-1/4 miles. It felt great. The only remaining questions are; how durable is my knee? And how much endurance remains in my base? This time last year, I was training beyond 20 miles on my long runs.

Saturday 3/20/10

The plan calls for lots of rest, no run today, just some stretching.

Sunday 3/21/10


With only about a month left, I am a bit worried about endurance. My conundrum is that I need to get my mileage up very quickly knowing that increasing one’s mileage too quickly dramatically increases one’s chances of injury, or in my case, re-injury. I think the only thing to do is walk out the door and run as far as I can, then turn around and run home. I need to find out is how much of my base remains and then plan accordingly. The sun is shining and it’s warm enough, let’s go!  Not yet, the battery is dead on my stride sensor (the stride sensor talks to my HRM and watch to tell me how far and fast I am running). After three stops, I found a replacement battery at Radio Shack. The guy behind the counter tried to upsell me on wireless services.  Finally, about noon, I’m off.

Post run

About 14.1 miles later. It was really nice out, but chilly along the route, so I turned away from the coastal route and headed inland for a less picturesque but warmer path. My legs felt pretty durable and reasonably pain-free from the outset.  I ran the first handful of miles at a comfortable 9:30 pace but eventually found myself at about 10:30. The route took me out to Swampscott with a foot falls into Lynn before getting back into Salem and the long home stretch along Highland Ave / Essex Street. I could feel the fuel supply running short at about the 10 mile mark and by the time I got close to home, I was definitely running low. On the cardio side of things, my heart rate was pretty high for what used to be a nearly effortless pace. Clearly both cardio fitness and endurance have both degraded, but now I have my answer, I can manage 15 miles and should have no trouble stretching that to 20 by race day. Only 6.2m or 10k gap to close.  I am a bit sore but nothing unmanageable. Next weekend is the traditional 3 weeks before the race 20 miler on the race course. Should I do this? Stay tuned.