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Race Result

Racer: Jesse Leitner
Race: Boston Marathon
Date: Monday, April 16, 2007
Location: Boston, MA
Race Type: Run - Marathon
Age Group: Male 35 - 39
Time: 3:11:56
Overall Place: 2129
Age Group Place: 1384
Comment: PR on the mega-anti-taper!

Race Report:

With the HAT run 50k from 3 weeks ago, and the Umstead 100
2 weeks ago, I can officially call my approach to Boston this year
"the mega-anti-taper." Days before Umstead, I wasn't sure I'd even
be able to run Boston, much less run it well. But my recovery
from Umstead was better and quicker than expected, so I made plans
right away for a good race, hopefully best of a year, maybe even
a PR, and a glimmer of hope for sub-3:10. Weather reports leading
up were ominous, with heavy rain and continuous headwind projected,
which, the night before could be heard through the night. It was the
stuff that tears apart umbrellas in their tracks!

The day before, I started a run, just before the storm, from my hotel
in Cambridge, then joined in the Freedom run that starts from the
marathon finish (2.5 miles), then back over to the Charles River for
a few more miles, to make a nice, pleasant 8.5 mile run. It was a
low mileage week for me, with about 63 miles running. That's the
best taper you're gonna get out of me.

Race morning, I headed to the T-station at 5:40 am, on to the shuttle
pick-up in Boston common. Cold, windy, and rainy. The ride to the
start area was about 1 hour and 20 minutes. When we arrived, it was
still more than 2 hours before race time, so I had a bagel and a banana.
I met up with Craig, whom I planned to run the race with - he's much
faster than I but he didn't want to push to hard and he was happy to
start way back in my 5th corral instead of his 2nd corral. The race kicked
off at 10 with some light rain and very mild winds. Really, generally
comfortable. We at least got to the corrals early and started at the front
of the 5th corral, but even with that, I really wasn't able to keep the pace
that I wanted for the first 6 miles, especially the first 2. I started being
able to pick it up a bit in the 3rd mile, and by the 5th, it became clear
that Craig wasn't as interested in pushing a bit hard as I was, so he stayed
back on one of my surges to get around traffic. I think I was winding back
and forth wildly for the first 10 miles and I really never remember a time
when it wasn't at least a little bit crowded. Also, I made it a point to try
give the high 5 to most of the kids on both sides of the road, so I really
was zigzagging quite a bit. I felt great. I was amazed at the course support,
reminding me a lot of Grandma's marathon, except with a much bigger
running field. There were a few bouts of standing water and some wind
gusts, but all-in-all I didn't mind it and it was much better than expected.
The winners' times were around 7 minutes slower than usual, so clearly
the conditions were a factor. I was bouncing back forth between low 7s
pace, with a few high 6s sprinkled in. As always, I slowed tremendously
on the ups, sometimes to around an 8:30 pace, and sped up on the downs,
sometimes to about 5:15/mile. At around the halfway point, I heard a loud
roar approaching from quite a distance. As I came closer, I noticed it was
the famed Wellesley College cheering section, which was just incredible.
It gave me a boost for quite a while. I was actually very happy through the
race until heart break hill, where it started to become work. I didn't think
it was particularly steep, but it was long and chiseled at my fatigue. I
thought after that point it would be all downhill, but not quite. I was still
on pace for sub-3:10 for quite a while, but it became clear from my GPS
(which was getting great signal the whole race) that all of my zigzagging
was adding a good bit of distance. I ended up crossing the 26.2 mile
point on GPS at 3:09:30, but I hadn't even hit the 26 mile sign yet. Not
surprising. Nonetheless, I knew I had a PR in the bag if I were to just muster
up some semblance of effort here. I don't usually like running at this
level of pain, but something told me that today was going to be a PR and
I would snag that no matter what. Coming in at 3:11:56, I was happy with
only a tidbit of disappointment. Can't complain too much about a PR
though, especially in a race that's tough to PR in! This was definitely
a race worth doing!