Sunday, April 03, 2011

Boston Recon: Part Deux

Really great run on the last 16 miles of the Boston Marathon course today, mainly because of the stellar company and all the fun we had. Runs like this are always an adventure, which for me is what makes our sport really enjoyable. Throw in fun folks to share it with and you have a recipe for an epic time.

My buddy Jeff agreed to join me for the trek and I managed to coerce some friends from DailyMile to come along as well. Brendan, from Brunswick, rode down with us and we met up with Maddy, who lives in the Boston area. Perfect crew for a day like today. Would have been nice to have Kate join us as originally planned, but she's been sick and did the right thing by staying home and resting. Thankfully, she's feeling much better.

Jeff, Brendan and I parked the car at the garage under Boston Commons. The plan was that Maddy would pick us up and we'd drive to Natick and run back to my car and I'd then drive her back to hers. However, the minutes were ticking by and no sign of Maddy. Turns out it was a miscommunication of where to meet, and dressed in nothing but running shorts and short sleeved shirts, we thankfully jumped out of the chilly morning air and into the warmth of her car and drove to Natick once she arrived.

We reached Natick, but before we got started, Jeff had to use the bathroom. The best option appeared to be a church. He ducked in there for several minutes (giving new meaning to the phrase "holy sh--") while we waited out in the chilly wind. Jeff emerged and we were off.

Pace throughout the run was moderate and we had a complete blast. By far one of the funnest training runs I've had in quite some time! It soon warmed up a bit and the weather was perfect. The wind was at our backs the whole way. From what I've read, tailwinds are very typical for the course (which runs west to east), which is nice.

We chatted and goofed off throughout much of the run, but Jeff and I in particular did have multiple, more serious conversations about the course, particularly the hills and how to race them. I had been reading a lot recently about the uphill before you turn right on Commonwealth, when most consider the Newton Hills to really begin. Many say it sneaks up on you and gets overlooked, so I wanted to be mindful of it.

That uphill wasn't so bad. I had run it before last month but didn't remember it much. The other Newton Hills are much more challenging, so I can see how that first one before the turn gets overlooked. I paid particular attention to how long each of the three hills on Commonwealth Avenue were, and the distance between each climb. I noted in particular the seemingly long flat stretch between the second hill and Heartbreak Hill.

It was good to see again the mostly downhill stretch after Heartbreak Hill. Really important to have some gas in the tank and have strong quads to really finish strong for that stretch.

Worth noting that several aid stations were set up along the course for folks running the course. I had a handheld water bottle and didn't need any fuel, so didn't opt to use them, but really cool they were there. I had expected to see more people out on the course, but there were still a lot of people out there doing just what we were doing. A porta-pottie was even set up on the Newton Hills, sponsored by Saucony and adorned with signs that read "We Know Because We Run". Thought that was pretty clever. As any runner knows, porta potties are always a welcome convenience when you chance across them during a workout.

So, we finished and then headed to Hennessey's Irish Pub for some grub and drinks before heading home. Fine way to cap off the day! Thanks again guys for the great company and fun day.

Really glad I did this run. Maddy is also running Boston, and Brendan's training has been going nothing short of phenomenal and I don't have a doubt in my mind he'll be in it for next year. As for Jeff, even though he's registered, he had been saying he wasn't going to run Boston but... well, let's just say some wheels were turning in his head during the drive home. I'll leave it at that.

Ran 16.3 miles @ 7:46/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 40s to mid 50s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, short sleeved shirt, handheld water bottle.


middle.professor said...

You betcha! That was a great road trip and fun to see the course. Good call on Hennesey's. Not sure how Brendan and Maddy cooled down with only a salad. Although I could really get down to awesome racing weight on that diet!

Sparkplug said...

Nice job, Jamie! can't wait to see how the marathon goes for you after all your awesome training!