Thursday, April 21, 2011

Boston Marathon 2011

This whole marathon was a last minute thing and I only got a bib in the last week. There was no real taper as I ran 81 miles the previous week. I hadn’t done any speed since Houston due to a small injury 4 weeks ago. I was going to have to run this whole thing on aerobic fitness/endurance. I flew down Saturday morning and went to the Expo. Sunday morning I did my Aussie carb load run and felt great. 800 was at 5:40 pace. Had the usual struggles of getting into a breakfast place fast enough and we saw the 5K first. We had some bagels in hand so we were able to get something in us. The rest of the day we walked too much but had a great meal and got to bed on time. I have been eating a lot less meat the last 10 days and I wasn’t sure what that would mean for me on race day. I was able to hold my weight down for the first time ever in the taper. We took a charter bus so we didn’t have to be on it till 7:30 gave us time to wake up later and have a good breakfast. The charter was much larger than the school bus from the year before. This is how the Damn King rolls. On the bus I listened to music to set my mood and wrote some splits on my arm because I forgot my pace band. I realized 3 miles into the race that I wrote them all as faster than MP so I made an error and so I had no idea which ones were correct. I had studied this course so much that I knew what I needed to do. Planned MP was 6:47. I was fine with a 5 sec swing either way. I took my first GU 10 min before the start.
Mile 1 - 6:50 (Hopkinton) Controlled first mile as I ran with the crowd. I started in corral 2.
Mile 2 - 6:28 easy downhill mile and I felt great but I was 10+ seconds fast here
Mile 3 - 6:35 (Ashland) This mile is a fast so I was right on pace. Honestly I am not use to the idea that a 6:35 is a good pace for a marathon. It sounds a lot faster than it feels.
Mile 4 - 6:25 This mile was also 10 seconds fast. I have never had such fresh legs for a marathon.
Mile 5 - 6:41 First mile with net uphill but just barely. I was still a little fast but not too bad. This is where my mind started to think of 2:56. Too early to lay down the hammer and I probably need to get back on pace before I blow my race. I am usually much better about sticking to my plan.
Mile 6 - 6:47 more rolling hills but this was a net down. I was back on pace although this should have been a faster mile. I knew 6 was a fast mile but I was just running real easy and going off feel. Took my second GU. I was also mixing Gatorade between GUs. I was trying to hydrate early so I would have a full tank thru the hills and after them.
Mile 7 - 6:46 Ran this mile on pace.
Mile 8 - 6:51 This mile was a little slow but still in my 5 second window.
Mile 9 - 6:52 I was 13 seconds slow on this one and I was starting to wonder if I was starting to feel the lack of a taper. In the back of my mind I knew many people doubted me for not tapering for 2-3 weeks. It put a chip on my shoulder and that is how I like it.
Mile 10 - 6:54 This is supposed to be a slow mile but I still didn’t like seeing a plus 3 hour pace.
Mile 11 - 6:52 This mile was right on pace but I had seen too many of these in a row. I was wondering if I would be holding on for a sub 3 or even dropping back and picking up a friend.
Mile 12 - 6:31 I hit Wellesley here. I moved over to the left to avoid the girls but this year instead of looking down like a shy boy I looked over to see the girls and all the signs. I saw guys stopping for hugs and kisses. I instantly thought of my wife and all the sacrifices she makes for me to run all these miles and races. I decided I was going to give everything I had for the next 1:30+ and see what happened.
Mile 13 - 6:36 I hit the halfway point at 1:28:19. About 15 seconds behind my original plan. I felt very strong at this point. I took my third GU.
Mile 14 - 6:43 I knew I needed to conserve energy the next 3 miles before the hills.
Mile 15 - 6:50 Another mile right on pace.
Mile 16 - 6:34 This mile was supposed to be even a little faster but I wasn’t going to press as the hills were up next.
Mile 17 - 7:00 First Newton hill which was very long. I thought about pressing just a little thru the hill so I wouldn’t have a single mile in the 7s. I decided to let my ego suffer and try to run a smart race.
Mile 18 - 7:02 Second Newton at fire station. I was having trouble finding which was the second hill.
Mile 19 - 6:56 This mile was a little downhill and should have been a lot faster. I was just thinking survive the hills. By the 30K mark I felt good but I was already just over marathon pace and I was going to have to get past 2 more hills and really pick up the pace. I felt 2:58 was slipping. Took my 4th GU and thought would it be enough.
Mile 20 - 6:58 john Kelly Statue, hill #3. Good pace on this mile and I felt ready to finish off the hills. This year I didn’t seem to pass as many people on the hills as last year.
Mile 21 - 7:09 Heartbreak hill. I felt strong going up and I didn’t think I would need to recover long. Told a guy going up that we were done with the hills and ready to race. I was about to leave so many people I had run around for the whole race. This was the only mile all day that I could hear my breathing.
Mile 22 - 6:29 My plan was to recover for ¼ mile and then hit the gas. I didn’t need to recover as after a ¼ mile my pace was 6:10 and I was hitting the breaks. In hindsight I should have just laid the hammer all the way down. I was afraid at low 6 pace I would flame out by the end. This mile tells the story in this race. If you have legs and can hit pace then you are good. If not then just hope you can run fast enough that the BC students don’t yell at you.
Mile 23 - 6:49 I really thought I ran this mile much faster. Now that I look at splits it is just kind of average. I know I had planned for a fade the last 3 miles so I didn’t need too much but I needed to make up some ground.
Mile 24 - 6:51 Another mile that I thought I ran faster. Starting to pass tons of runners and now I was seeing all new people from the rest of the race.
Mile 25 - 6:45 Still feeling strong and I probably need to go now.
Mile 26 - 6:31 I am not sure if I am going to run a 2:57 or :58. Math doesn’t work this late in the race. I am feeling real strong here and storming by everyone. I was wishing I knew were my group was cheering out. I wanted to go by them, flex my muscles and yell “You thought I would fade”.
Mile 26.2 - 5:44 I felt so strong down the stretch. I was passing tons of runners, pumping my fist and even point up to God. I was so thankful he gave me the strength to be there and run a good race.
Total - 2:58:00 PR (9 marathon PRs in a row)
5k-20:40 / 10K-41:30 / 15k-1:02:48 / 20K-1:23:56 / Half-1:28:19 / 25K-1:44:51 / 30K-2:06:30 /
35K-2:27:59 / 40K-2:49:16
Finished 1228 up 800 spots from last year.

So this was not really a text book preparation for a race. I think with another week of taper and some sharpening I could have shaved another 1-2 min off. I don’t think the hard 20 mile run the week before was a typical run 8 days out. On the other hand I took a week off 4 weeks ago so I had a chance to freshen up and I had strong legs and confidence coming in to the race. I did a lot more core work and added yoga once a week the last two months and I think that helped me get a lot stronger in my mid-section. Trail running has also made me stronger. I like to think I am a smart runner and mentally strong. I want to thank all of Dallas Running Project for making me stronger. I really am on the lower half of this group in speed and I am motivated by so many of these runners to get faster. A special thanks go out to Joe, Michael, Jen, Jayna and Shaheen for running with me and encouraging me to run Boston when I was not sure I could swing it. You all support me emotionally, physically and financially. As always a big thanks to my wife Sunny and my boys. You support and inspire me daily to train and reach for new levels.


  1. Great race and great race report, Nick. You are a fantastic runner. I'm looking forward to training with you this year.

  2. Another awesome blog "Stalion!" You shoulda done this, you coulda done ran a helluva race! There are NO rules! Just run buddy!

  3. I think it is amazing that you reached the 2s. The thing I am more in awe of is how you did it without taper and running me so hard just one week earlier. So cool brotha!

  4. What a race! Can't help but be permanently impressed with these PRs you keep pumping out. Here's to many more, Nick!

  5. LOVE this report! I especially love the mile you ran by the Wellesley girls and thought of your wife. That was super sweet. I also love the end where you were praising God--that's so beautiful. :)

    I'm so glad that you got to run this. No one deserved it more. You're my hero, Gaston!

  6. Great race, solid pacing, terrific attitude. I am so happy to see all of your hardwork paying off. Congrats, Nick! You make me want to be a better runner.

  7. Absolutely impressive, Nick!! It shows what tons of miles and a positive attitude will do for you.


  8. are the model of consistency. Absolutely amazing, but honestly I can't say I'm surprised... you never miss a beat. Congrats again, and I hope this is just the start of many sub 3 marathons for you.

    Greg, AKA GAT