Friday, April 27, 2012

Brenda's Week in Review: April 27, 2012

by Brenda Chroniak

The Week In Review is back, and there's a LOT to cover! Here's what's been happening since the last recap:

BTT sent March out like a lion. On the 24th, Tim Daley took fourth in his division and fifth overall in the Team Velox Rota ITT and Audrey Perlow won the Pi Miler (where she won pie - read her race report). The very next day we had BTT-ers racing in the An Ras Mor, the Zurich Marato de Barcelona (ole!), the Eastern States 20-miler, and the Run for the Border, with strong showings by all. Congrats to Paul Newman for winning his Age Group at the Ras! The following weekend, BTT represented at the Mutisport Expo, both with a booth presence, and with athletes competing in the swim, bike, and run competitions. Check out the standings for each event. Also that weekend, we had athletes at Shifter's 5K, Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K, and the Nautica South Beach Triathlon.

Which brings us to April (this WIR is a marathon, not a 5K).

The saying is that April showers bring May flowers, but April brought with it some toasty weather, instead. Boston Marathon Weekend was a steaaaamah, but our athletes were just as hot!  April 14 Regina O'Toole did the Merrimack River Trail Race and Meg MacSwan took tenth in her division at the iChase for the Cure 5K, then April 15 Trish Kelly ran the BAA 5K while Tony Felos and Kim Kaltreider took on the Wrentham Duathlon.

Marathon Monday was one of the hottest on record, but the BTT members who raced gutted it out, finished strong, and made us all proud. Congratulations Carolyn Soules, Elaine Metcalf, Paul Newman, Mary Lou Tierney, Maura Olcese, and Ed Galante! Read Carolyn's race report to hear how she fared that day.

This past weekend, Laurie Damianos, Trish Kelly, Mary Beth Begley, and Maggie O'Toole crossed the Mason-Dixon line to race 70.3 in New Orleans. Once they've recovered from their adventures, I hope to feature a race report next week. Also this weekend, Audrey raced (this seems to be a trend) the GW Parkway Classic with yet another strong finish.

This coming weekend Brett Johnston will be tackling a 50K trail race, and Matt Coarr, Bethany Edwards, and Laura Miyakawa will run the James Joyce Ramble.

Thanks for bearing with me! Please remember to post your goals, post your results, sign up for Training Weekend, and volunteer for the Harpoon 5M.

Race Report: Boston Marathon

by Carolyn Soules

My goal was to for this marathon was to finish.  As you may or may not know, the last year of Jason’s and my life has been full of transition. We moved to and from North Carolina and during that time we bought a new house in Cohasset. That said, I didn’t really do the traditional marathon training.  I kept in running shape by logging 30-35 miles a week. The longest run I did was a 12.2 mile run the week before the marathon in an effort to determine whether or not to run. That run felt great so I decided I wouldn’t waste my number and would give it a shot.

As the week before the marathon progressed, the temperature predictions were getting higher and higher.  I couldn’t believe it was happening again.  I ran the marathon in 2004 when the temp reached 86 degrees and it was not a fun run.  Because of the heat predicted for this year, the BAA did something unprecedented.  If you didn’t want to run you were allowed to defer your entry to the 2013 marathon.  After my 2004 experience, I seriously considered taking the deferral option. However, I had made my decision and once I make up my mind to do something, it’s hard for me to change it.  So for better or worse, I made my race day plan.

Race Day:
5:00 AM: I woke up in Cohasset had a cup of coffee and a hunk of banana bread to get my day going.  As luck would have it, Jason was heading to the airport for an 8:00 AM flight so I hitched a ride with him to the Boston Common where I took the bus to Hopkinton. I LOVE the bus ritual.  It’s amazing to see so many athletes converge on the Boston Common waiting nervously together.  Bus after bus, people everywhere, police escorts and all.... It’s pretty cool.  The one tip I’ve learned after doing this race 7 times is to be sure you don’t start really hydrating before the bus ride.  It usually takes about an hour to get to Hopkinton once you’re actually on the bus.  One year the traffic was SO bad on 495, the bus drivers let people out on the side of the highway to use the woods. There’s nothing quite like seeing a bunch of marathoners running for the woods along 495.

8:00 AM:  I arrived in Hopkinton with no bathroom issues… thankfully. I decided to find a spot under the tent to sit and wait. I wanted to stay out of the sun for as long as possible as it was already getting hot. I needed to really start fueling. I had already had two homemade waffles on the bus (really good!) then with 2 hours to go I had 3 scrambled egg whites with a big bulkie roll.  I also started to hydrate with my sports drink.  I was thrilled that I could eat and drink everything I brought.  I even managed to get 3 Power Bar gel bursts down right before I started to run. I’m usually so nervous I have a hard time getting anything down.  I guess going into a race having no expectations helps calm the nerves.

9:45 AM:  I headed for my corral.  I was in the 8th corral of the 2nd wave.  The BAA takes this corral thing very seriously.  Do not even think of messing with them.  Go when and where you are told!

10:25ish:  I was on my way to Boston and it was HOT!  As I crossed the start line I started thinking… I’m just nuts…. Completely crazy.  What was I thinking? But I also I kept saying to myself, one foot in front of the other.

From my experience with the Boston Marathon, I know the first half of the marathon is pretty easy and that’s where many go wrong, myself included. People tend to go out too fast.  I was determined not to do that this year and I was pretty successful.  I found a comfortable pace and stuck with it.

The temperature was definitely on my mind the whole run.  It didn’t help that they had at least 5 of those lighted road work/construction signs throughout the marathon route, blinking “HOT HOT HOT”  “SLOWYOUR PACE” “BE CAREFUL”.  My strategy to keep the heat in check was pretty simple, every aid station I took a cup of Gatorade and a cup of water.  I drank the Gatorade and dumped the water over my head or splashed it on my face.  There were also spectators with hoses gladly spraying us down.  There were even a few misting tents.  In Natick, a whole crowd of runners in front of me all started shifting to the left.  It was very weird to see. I had no idea what was going on.  I guess I was so in my own head I didn’t notice a huge misting tent to my left!  I skipped it. The fire departments along the route also got into it, opening hydrants to create very big spray.  I used these to a minimum as I hate when my feet get soaked.  One, your wet shoes become weights – as if you need that!  And two, wet socks on wet feet can cause serious blisters.  Don’t get me wrong, I did get misted/sprayed at times and it felt great!!  Really what worked the best for me, were mind games (trying to trick myself into thinking it’s a beautiful day for a run, etc) and to just focus on the marathon and keep my pace in check.

I made it through the halfway point and felt really good, but I still had a half to go and I knew it would be tough. The second half of the marathon is where you hit the famous hills! On what is considered the first of the three hills, I could see a woman to my right out of the corner of my eye. She was running strong up the hill.  Having her there really pushed me.  We continued through all the hills together onto Beacon St where we lost each other. But we were luckily able to catch up at the finish line and thanked each other for the motivation.  I LOVE the raw human interaction that happens when I race.

Going into the home stretch the heat and the no long run training, started getting to me.  It didn’t help that people had realized they weren’t going to qualify or PR so they started walking.   And because of the heat, many people who were dehydrated and needed to walk.  I almost ran over someone who was running in front of me and stopped out of nowhere.  It was a hard, hard stretch. I really had to weave my way down Beacon Street. I was hot and tired too… and I really wanted to stop but I knew Jason was anxiously awaiting my 40K split as that’s where things went awry last year, so I kept going – trying to stay on pace. I finally reached that 40K mark. It is right before you go over the Mass Pike down into Kenmore Square.  In a way, I felt like that was my finish.  Jason would know I made it.  In talking to Jason later, my 40K split never recorded! Ha!! To him I went off the grid in the same place as last year!  I saw my dad a short time later at the corner of Commonwealth and Hereford and he let Jason know I was heading in for the finish.

I finally made it to Boylston Street.  I knew I would do it and in pretty decent time considering the conditions, but I was all done.  I had given it my all. I finished in 3:39:07.  Qualified for next year with 52 seconds to spare!  A bit tight but I did it!  In retrospect, I could have used some more long run training, but I do think not getting all worked up about this marathon really, really helped.  I went out to have a good time and I did.  I didn’t put pressure on myself.  I also know this course extremely well and have 10+ years of marathon experience so that certainly helped.  All in all, I really think it was the best run of my life.  Not my fastest but it just felt SO good in SO many ways.

Race Report: Pi Miler

by Audrey Perlow

I spent all week telling my boyfriend Justin how I was going to go sub-20 at the 3.1415926 mile race as well as win the thing-so watch out world!!
The race was of pi miles distance and benefited the local magnet science high school.  Justin reminded me I should wear my Maxwell's equations shirt.  Yes, I have a t-shirt with the equations that dictate how light acts.  The shirt was a gift from a proud MIT alum.
At the start of the race I couldn't get quite on the starting line because the local HS cross-country team (girls and boys) was up there but Justin and I were pretty close to the front.  The race started, I took off around 6-6:10 min/mile pace, and I found myself in fourth (women's) place.  What what?  I guess different people showed up this year.  Surprise to me!  I stayed focused on myself and tried to keep my brisk pace as I didn't feel too badly.  The course was hilly but I felt like there was more downhill than uphill (on the loop course) which is an odd feeling I have pretty often when I race.
Around a 1/2 mile in I passed one girl.  Yay!  I started to gain on the 2nd place woman who was gaining on the 1st place girl.  I also started passing, and would continue to pass, boys who had gone out too fast.  At mile 1.5 there was a brief tie for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd as all of the leading women, myself included, ran together in a line.  I pulled ahead.
I caught up to Justin and I was super heavy breathing.  He talked to me but I could not talk back.  He and I ran next to each other with him trying not to let me ahead and me pushing the pace b/c I was worried about the women behind me.
At mile 2.5 I was dying and we turned a corner, giving me a chance to discreetly (kind of) look back.  I didn't see any women.  Thank god!  I did slow down during the last .6 as I was really hurting.  I looked back one more time when I hit the 3 mile mark and there was a girl coming up on me even though I hadn't seen her all race.  She had passed a lot of women in the last mile.  I hit the 5K mark and then the finish line at pi.  I was 1st overall, 12 seconds ahead of 2nd.
The third place woman asked if I attend school there-at the high school-and now I love her even though I know I do not look like a high schooler.  The 2nd place girl told me that she and her x-country teammates noticed my equations shirt at the start and they liked it!  I said something like, Me, English major, shirt is blue.  She explained to me that the shirt had to do with physics.
I won a pie, a gift certificate to the movies, a t-shirt, and a metal medal that the students made at school.  Justin and I agree it was a pretty cool race and we both liked it a lot. As for my time-20:54.  FAIL!!  Justin and I think the course was a touch long, but still, blech.  I have been stuck at 20+ min/miles for 5K (or today, for pi) for years.  It's frustrating.  Justin pointed out in my training I never ever run as fast as I race.  It's true.  I miss track workouts with my club every single week and the hotels I stay in for work don't have tracks nearby.  I need to do speed work on regular running trails b/c I want to go sub-20 and it is not happening no matter how many miles I seem to run! Aloha from DC to all of my BTT friends!  I miss you guys and ladies!!