This was Boston number 7 and my 6th in a row. Working my way up slowly to 10 consecutive. Much of my 2015 pre-race report is similar to 2014, since I again made the trip with Alan and Nestor.
So let's cut to the chase.
3 and half months of hard winter training (most of it with Alan).
1200 km logged in for Jan, Feb and March.
No injuries (except for a nagging on and off pain in my left achilles).
A good variety of runs, including a few sessions at track, saturday long runs, interval hill training on Killah Hillah, long hill training runs on Camilien Houde AND Coach Bill's Wednesday night fast tempo runs.
Several 100+ weeks. A three week progressive taper with less volume and some speed.
I felt rested going to Boston. My last run was a 7km 5:10 pace run on thursday. I did not run at all until the marathon on monday. 3 days OFF.
The monday morning ritual went without a hitch, after a quick breakfast we rode from our hotel in Waltham to Boston Commons, we left our gear bags at the assigned tents and borded the bus at 7. We arrived at Athletes Village at 8.
Nestor and Alan darted for the bathroom to the left, I turned right to get a mylar blanket. We never saw each other again until after the marathon.
I met with a few Facebook friends under the jumbotron. It was raining lightly on and off. At 9h30 I started making my way to the corrals. For the first time in 7 years I was starting in the second wave which meant that by 10 am Nestor would be starting his marathon, and Alan and I would be on our way at 10:25.
Once I got into my corral the rain had let up. I felt good and ready to run, my legs had a 3 day rest and my achilles was not hurting. 10:25 and were off. The rain started up again at 11 and we would run most of the marathon in the pouring rain with heavy headwinds.
The "How to run Boston" video was fresh in my mind as soon as I got going.
To run a successful Boston, the coach on the video explained it like this:
1. Know your target marathon pace. I had settled for a 3:10 marathon and a 4:30 pace. 3:10 would be awesome, 3:15 would be great and 4 minutes better than last years' Boston PB of 3:19.
2. Stay with the target pace all the way through the first 20 km or so which go mostly downhill. The pace might seem SLOW at times, and that is the way you want it. (Believe me, it's easy to go faster down the hills, but I have payed for it dearly later).
3. Let the hill give you the rhythm, don't push to go faster. (I really had to hold myself from going faster)
4. From the half way point to 28km, just keep the pace (here I would take advantage of the downhills a bit more)
5. If all goes well and you have the legs (and you should if you kept the pace), just make your way up the Newton hills from 28k to 34k. Steady pace, if you've done your hill training and didn't burn your legs on the downhill, it's a piece of cake. If you've pushed too much at the start, you might be in for a long haul.
6. As you crest Heartbreak Hill at 33-34k, and if you have conserved your energy through the first half of the course, you are ready to race! (And I felt great)
7. The last 8k are fairly flat, if you have the legs it's a great run into Boston.
8. This is when you shine, this is when you pour it on. BUT If you have nothing left, it's the longest 8k ever. I had legs left and I ran a 4:25 pace passing other runners and brought it home with a 4:05 sprint finish on the last 400m.
That is how I ran my 7th Boston marathon to a 3:13:41 finish and a new Boston PB. 1:35 and 1:38 splits, not far from my 3h10 target and decent splits for Boston which has a harder second half.
Thanks to my 5 Boston Buddies for their support during the long winter months, and a special thanks to Alan for your companionship 5 days a week January through March!
And of course thanks to Coach Bill for his training advice.
As a side note, I think I ran a much smarter marathon than previous years. I felt great after the run and my recovery during the course of the week was faster. I will keep this in mind for next year. :-)
Login for a few photos...