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2013 Boston Marathon
 
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Previous Race Next Race - Pensacola 2013

Before I go on...

Gratefulness to Volunteers, Officials and Spectators

We runners SO APPRECIATE the volunteers, officials and race spectators. Your help year after year is nothing short of amazing. There is no race anywhere like this one, and YOU make the Boston Marathon what it is! Thank you so much!

I was grateful in 2012 when the spectators and people of Boston helped us runners through the heat. Little did I know that it was in 2013 that your full character and support would shine. Many of you gave food, shelter, warmth, and understanding. Thank you so much for taking care of the fellow runners who so needed your help! I'm truly moved.

To those directly affected in this tragedy

I borrow the words of the BAA: At this time, we remember Martin Richard, 8; Krystle Campbell, 29; Lingzi Lu, 23; and Officer Sean Collier, 26. We also remember all of those injured on Monday, and their families. BostonStrong. BostonProud.

We runners would rally around you if we could. We care deeply. We stand as one. The Boston One Fund - Contribute to directly help victims

Context

PRE-RACE THOUGHTS (written months before): Since I'm already qualified for Boston 2014, I will run this race more aggressively than usual.

THE DAY OF THE RACE: Well, here it is... I'm about to run the Boston Marathon. I'm a bit pensive and also really look forward to it. I'm already qualified for 2014 so this is only for a personal record (from the current 3:15:38). OR if I [bonk], just to have fun. Nothing to lose... a PR to gain. Either way, IT'S ON!!
TRAINING: In general, the training was reasonably strong.
MORE DETAIL: I started the Pfitzinger 18 week / 85 mile plan. On January 1, I became sick with bronchitis, and was out for about 10 days. So, I switched to the 12 week / 85 mile plan and had the inevitable changes for work and home life. But followed most of it. I also train and race with HR.
This is my 5th consecutive Boston. I, like so many marathoners, am resolved to return next year.

Race Report

My best friend Mike, drove me to the start. The time at Athlete's Village was mostly taken up in the port-a-potty lines. They should make a large open trough behind the prototypes for the guys... this would cut down the lines tremendously. The usual pre-Boston Marathon excitement was very strong and talking with other runners during the bus ride to Athlete's Village was again fun. I finally jogged to the start line (about a mile) and arrived minutes before the start. Mike took pictures (THANKS MAN!). The excitement was palpable, as it is every year. We were ready to participate!

Talking before race
Talking in Corral
The awesome shirt that Trisha and her daughter designed for us on RWOL. THANKS!
back of shirt
Ready to RUN!
Ready to RUN

THE PLAN

I planned to target about 164 or 165 BPM (Beats Per Minute) which is about 78% HRR for me. In my last race (a PR) I averaged 164, so starting at 164 (with a plan to creep up from there) was aggressive. I wanted this effort to be on the edge and purposefully risk lightly hitting the wall. Whatever the HR hands me at the finish line is what I'd take.

The Start - Mile 4

This was my first start in wave 1. I was in Corral 9 (the back) and the crowd was much thicker than I expected. Regardless, the race was on! Normal race jitters were still in me, but I was settling in by the end of this steepest stretch. It was a reasonably fast pace, but more conservative than my conditioning would allow for downhill (which I had practiced a lot). The crowd thickness necessitated times of light braking for runners with sudden changes and runners side-by-side that were not going their qualifying pace. I avoided most weaving and resolved to just conserve energy as best I could.

For Those Interested in Heart Rate Running

Over the next few miles, I kept tabs on my HR and the feel to sanity check the plan of 78% HRR (164-165 for me). The 78% HRR was locked in by the end of this stretch because it felt right and matched what I've done in training.

Mile 5 - 14

I was feeling strong and the miles clipped by more quickly than they often do in a race. The crowd was amazing. Every year I'm just so impressed and motivated by these people. They know running. They understand us. They are generous. It is just unbelievable. Around this time, my right leg had some pain... patella tendon. It never went above a 4 out of 10 though, and after about 5 miles, it went away. So it never affected me (I did not slow down). Nice to see Santa again at mile 8, then around mile 9 I saw all the water which I enjoy every year. I also enjoy the scream tunnel around mile 12. This section is often so inspiring. The pace that my HR yielded was aggressive through this section; I stuck with it. (For optimum performance, this could likely have been slightly slower, but I was purposefully aggressive.)

Mile 15 - 16

I was looking for the steep drop, and there it was, along with the significant climb that follows it. I maintained my HR governed pace, going faster down the hill and slower up the hill. I've learned to trust this tactic even more since I've been using HR, starting in late 2011 (just over a year).

Mile 17 - 22

The Newton Fire station! ..A milestone in the race. Turn right. I was looking forward to the hills (knowing I was not going to blast over them, wasting energy like I did in 2009-2011). I also knew that faster paces lay just beyond the hills, and I looked forward to that. These went by uneventfully and were powered by the spectators. Heartbreak hill was longer than I remembered it. :-) But I was OK. No walking this year.

For Those Interested in Heart Rate Running

I was allowing my HR to creep up to 79% HRR (166 for me) and sometimes up to 80%. After a few miles of this, I had to back down to 78% again because it just felt like I may not be able to maintain. I accepted that and began to recover. I had one mile (22) of a 76% while I recovered a little, but then stepped up to about 78% again for the remainder of the race.

Around mile 22, I felt a "soft bonk" coming on... the aggressive HR I picked was just a touch too much. I detected it early enough to recover and then maintain. So I recovered a little during mile 22 and then maintained a good effort for the remainder of the race. I was not leaving any effort out on the course though.. I pushed hard the entire way. That felt rewarding.

Mile 23 - Finish

For Those Interested in Heart Rate Running

At mile 23 I began to increase effort. Mile 23 was at 77% (1% lower HR than the plan), the subsequent segments were strong progressive increases, hitting 78%, 79%, 81% and the final section at 84%. I could not have gone too much further at this effort so I believe the race was managed quite well, all things considered.

Watching for the Citgo sign. Spotted it around 23.5. I realize that Hereford (at turn close to the finish) is a long way off, but was still glad to see the sign. I felt tired, but better than I have in the past. As in each year, the fans pushed me along with their incredible support. I was noticing the wind more than before. I'm not sure if it's because I was more tired or that it was really worse. I'm not used to a head-wind in Boston, yet we just have to deal with the "cards in the deck." It sure was better than 2012 for a faster time. Other than the wind, the weather was perfect for me. I slowly increased effort from mile 23 to the finish. It felt good to have a kick left at the end, but I'm sure I could not have maintained that for very long.

I had the privilege that all Boston Marathon runners deserved...

Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston.
Give it your all and run across the famed finish line.
Celebrate, feel elated, walk in the silver blanket crowd, wearing a well-earned medal.
...knowing your family and friends are safe and are proud of you.

Many did not have that privilege. All of you deserved that privilege.
Why were many hurt and I wasn't? I don't know.
Our beloved spectators were hurt! Why? I don't know.
(5/17) Thanks SO MUCH to the BAA for inviting all those who could not finish to Boston 2014. What a Class act the BAA has been... time and time again.
They really understand runners.

In memory of: Martin Richard, 8; Krystle Campbell, 29; Lingzi Lu, 23; and Officer Sean Collier, 26. In honor of all who were injured on Monday, and their families.

I stopped my watch and saw the PR time. What a feeling! ... and at Boston in my 9th marathon!

So it went as planned in a sense. I pushed to the edge and almost over the edge. But, using heart rate monitoring, I was able to catch it in time, recover a little and then maintain. I believe in HR more than ever.

 
END of Race Report - Additional Details Follow
 

Results (You can skip these boring numbers)

  • Time: 3:12:24 (a 3 minute PR)
  • 211 in age group (best ever)
  • 4204 overall place (certainly top 20% or better.. not bad among this speedy Boston crowd)
  • Average Pace: 7:21 (matching the best hilly MP training in which HR yielded a 7:22 pace)
  • Boston Qualified by 17:36 (BQ-17)
  • HRR average 78% (164 BPM for me)

I strongly recommend heart rate training and racing.

Heart Rate Graph

This my HRR % for this race. Other than a slight dip around mile 22, it was a strongly consistent graph, so I'm very happy with it.

Heart Rate Graph
HR Graph

VERY INTERESTING: my Pensacola race was flatter and matched my best pre-race flat runs. I wanted to see what training runs best predicted the hilly Boston race. This Boston race more closely matched my best MP training runs for similar hilly conditions (whereas the best flat runs were 5-10 seconds/mile faster and thus did not predict performance in this hilly race). This is what I should expect... I had an HR governed hilly training run that yielded a 7:22 pace. Boston, being hilly, yielded a similar 7:21 pace.

Mile Splits

For the most part, I'm very pleased with these splits. Again, I planned to push to the ragged edge, and I sure did. While the results might have been faster with slightly reduced efforts at the start, this was a planned gamble and it still yielded a PR. With a little more training, I will be able to leverage this same level more effectively.

Time

Distance

Split pace

Elev. chg.

Avg. HR

Max. HR

0:07:09

1.00

7:10

-103

153 (71%)

166 (79%)

0:14:12

2.00

7:03

-50

160 (75%)

165 (79%)

0:21:10

3.00

6:59

-70

164 (78%)

170 (82%)

0:28:07

4.00

6:56

-55

163 (77%)

168 (81%)

0:35:15

5.00

7:09

+12

166 (79%)

171 (83%)

0:42:13

6.00

6:57

-24

165 (79%)

170 (82%)

0:49:11

7.00

6:58

-13

165 (78%)

168 (81%)

0:56:24

8.00

7:12

-6

163 (77%)

167 (80%)

1:03:28

9.00

7:05

-12

163 (77%)

168 (81%)

1:10:32

10.00

7:04

+27

164 (78%)

170 (82%)

1:17:49

11.00

7:17

+21

164 (78%)

169 (81%)

1:24:40

12.00

6:52

-48

165 (79%)

169 (81%)

1:31:51

13.00

7:11

+4

165 (78%)

168 (81%)

1:38:51

14.00

7:00

-2

167 (80%)

171 (82%)

1:46:02

15.00

7:11

+22

167 (80%)

170 (82%)

1:52:52

16.00

6:50

-115

165 (79%)

169 (81%)

2:00:26

17.00

7:34

+54

167 (80%)

171 (83%)

2:08:16

18.00

7:50

+45

165 (79%)

170 (82%)

2:15:37

19.00

7:22

-17

165 (78%)

168 (81%)

2:23:27

20.00

7:50

+21

164 (78%)

169 (81%)

2:31:52

21.00

8:25

+75

164 (78%)

168 (81%)

2:39:23

22.00

7:31

-64

161 (76%)

167 (80%)

2:46:56

23.00

7:34

-57

163 (77%)

166 (79%)

2:54:35

24.00

7:39

-45

164 (78%)

167 (80%)

3:01:59

25.00

7:25

-41

166 (79%)

170 (81%)

3:09:29

26.00

7:30

+7

169 (81%)

173 (84%)

3:12:24

26.42

6:55

+5

173 (84%)

177 (86%)

Half Splits

These half splits show that the effort was close to even with an expected upward drift in HR. One might conjecture that the second half did not drift up enough and maybe a slower first half would have paid off in the second half. The pace certainly was slower, by 26 seconds. This was a positive 5:48 split. I would have been happier with a 2 minute positive. But given how aggressive my plan was, I'm happy with this. (The top 10 elite men each had a positive split... averaging +1:58.)

Time

Distance

Split pace

Elev. chg.

Avg. HR

Max. HR

1:33:18

13.21

7:04

-321

163 (77%)

171 (83%)

3:12:24

26.42

7:30

-105

165 (79%)

177 (86%)

Differences
+0:5:48   +26 sec/mi   2 BPM (2%)  

Race Results as published by the BAA (www.baa.org):

BIB NAME AGE M/F CITY ST CTRY CTZ  
8224 Rice, Mark W. 52 M Atmore AL USA    
5k 10k 15k 20k Half 25k 30k 35k 40k
0:22:01 0:44:03 1:06:10 1:28:29 1:33:13 1:50:33 2:14:02 2:38:45 3:02:21
Finish: Pace Proj. Time Offl. Time Overall Gender Division
0:07:21 3:12:24 3:12:24 4204 3794 211

Medal

The new medal is larger than the older ones and uses a simpler unicorn design. I'm so thankful to the BAA for assuring that those who could not finish received their medals anyway. Time after time, the BAA has shown themselves to be a class act all the way.

2013 Boston Marathon Medal
2013 Boston Marathon Medal

 

I will always remember those who died. I will always think of those who were injured. While I may never have the honor of meeting them, my heart goes out to all families involved. On patriots day in 2014, I will be in Boston, running this great race, and will be thinking of all of you.

 

Contact Info© copyright - Mark W. Rice