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Race Result

Racer: Bob Bartolo
Race: Boston Marathon
Date: Monday, April 18, 2011
Location: Boston, MA
Race Type: Run - Marathon
Age Group: Male 70 - 74
Time: 4:39:24
Overall Place: 21360 / 23879
Age Group Place: 54 / 97
Comment: One Down, Two to Go!

Race Report:

Mark Yost is correct, Boston can really seduce. This was my second Boston, and although my pattern of training and running was very similar to Mark's, of course the results were quite dissimilar!

I missed 6 weeks of training due to our Jan-Feb trip to Australia and New Zealand where, instead of putting in about 200 training miles, I accomplished about 25. But anticipating the trip, I pushed up my training schedule, working in one 17 and two 18 milers in January before we left. On our return, I did 15-, 17- and 20-milers before my two (instead of the usual three) week taper.

The week before the race, I did 8 miles on Sunday, 5 on Tuesday, and 3 on Thursday, before we left for Boston. We arrived in Boston on Thursday afternoon, and really settled in. After three days of lots of protein, on Thursday I switched to lots of carbs. A little 2-miler on Saturday was my only vertical pre-race effort. I was going for 8-9 hours of sleep each night, and a lot of lazing around during the day. The expo was huge and well done, as usual, and we picked up a LOT of good and free swag. But we stayed a very minimal time. Sunday night dinner: Soup and salad. Really.

Race Day:
I didn't sleep very well, but I was up at 5:30 for my big carb breakfast: OJ, bran cereal, raisins, banana, bagel and PB, and my secret weapon , one Vioxx tablet (left over from when they were legal!) The weather was to be cool, overcast and breezy, but for the nearly one mile walk to the Boston Commons bus pick-up, it was cold, cloudy and windy, so I dressed in many layers. I was in line for the bus for almost an hour, a good time to meet and talk to other nervous people and swap stories, mostly about how under prepared we all felt. After the 45-minute bus ride to Athletes Village, I had planned to meet up with Mark, Wade and Deb Saltz, but like most well planned meetings,the chaos and confusion of about 30,000 people milling about prevailed. But just as the third-wave start was announced, I did find Deb, and we made the 0.7 mile trek to our starting corral together.
I stripped down to shorts, LS tech shirt, compression socks,and a windbreaker vest. Our race strategy was to run together, since we both had a 4:45 goal. I had brought two wrist bands which showed an "even-effort" pace schedule specifically designed for Boston's topography, with splits ranging from 10:28 to 11:37. My overall strategy was to walk 45 secs at each mile mark, have a GU at 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, and 24 miles, and sip water and Gatorade continously from the bottle I carried.When the gun went off, we walked a bit but were actually running when we hit the start mat. We took it real easy on the very enticing downhills, chatting and commenting on the funny costumes and cute butts around us. Even so, we were putting 10-15 secs in the bank each mile. The first 9-10 miles are net downhill, and we took turns reeling each other in, to save our quads for later.
But around mile 10 or so, Deb was looking a little ragged, and complained of a stomach problem. We jogged and chatted a little, but she said she had to walk. I couldn't dissuade her, and since we had about 3 mins in the bank, I was going to walk with her, but she insisted I go alone. I didn't want to, but I did. I really felt terrible about it as I ran along by myself, (we all know Marines don't leave their wounded!), and I almost turned back to walk with her. But I pressed on.
I followed my plan exactly, and surprisingly I was still feeling relatively fresh when I hit the Newton Hills, between miles 17 and 21. In fact, I was still "beating" my pace chart through the hills, and hit mile 21 about 7 mins ahead of my predicted time, thanks to my weekly running of the Columbia Tri course and hill repeats on GatorAde Hill. But about then, my hip flexors started aching, my stride shortened, and I started losing time. Even though the last 5 miles are net down hill, it took considerable effort to keep up the pace. Sheer determination, and taking energy from the cheering crowds are absolutely necessary to survive this "death march". By the time I got to the finish line, I was only 6 mins ahead of my plan, (4:39) but absolutely did not want to go any farther. After winding my way through the finisher's mob, getting food, water, my medal (yay!), bag, etc., I met up with Sadj and Matt Mace, and we waited for Deb. She wasn't far behind and, despite her stomach probs, only lost 10 mins off her target time.
My 5k Splits: 32:04; 31:29; 32:51; 33:17; 31:55; 33:22; 34:48; 34:04.
After a little lie down and shower, we went out to meet my former coach and had a very high protein meal with much beer.
Although I am very satisfied with the result of this race, I'm stuck wrestling with the age-old question: "I wonder how it would have been if I trained better." And being from Brooklyn, I can relate to the old Dodger's refrain: "Just wait til next year!"

The Boston Marathon is the first leg of my 2011 Trifecta, to celebrate my 70th birthday. As you probably know, I have the Duthe2 Duathlon and the Celebration Sprint Triathlon still ahead. If you haven't done so already, and wish to contribute to a great cause, Global Partners for Development, just check out If you pay with a credit card or Paypal, Mary Ann at GPFD will email you back. Just return her email, and tell her it's for "Bob's Trifecta".