A little over eight years ago, I wrote a short blog post which somewhat dryly noted that I had completed the five marathons constituting the World Marathon Majors. I had completed Boston, Chicago and New York during 2007, adding London and then Berlin (with a personal best) in 2008. The World Marathon Majors existed then, but I was not aware of a website. The organisation was aiming to raise the profile of the professional and very high-end aspect of the sport. But marathoning is funny as they let somewhat regular folks like you and me into the same race. And I always wondered if someone kept track of regular folks completing the suite...
I have been running a little less the last few years, though I did get around to complete the Illinois Marathon earlier this year (only tweeted about it and still have not added anything to the running section of my blog). But two weeks ago, I was once again handing out water cups at the Chicago Marathon, sending along two tweets when the elite wheelchair and elite male runners flew by. To the first, the World Marathon Majors account replied, which lead me to their website. Which in turn lead me to the Five Star Finisher page, and the newer / larger Six Star Finisher page now that Tokyo has been added.
And in short, one can now request one's record to be added (if they check out). So I did. And now I am on the Five Star Finisher page!
I don't think I'll ever surpass that as a runner. The table header and my row look like this:
If only my fifth / sixth grade physical education teacher could see that---he was one of those early running nuts from the 1970s and made us run towards / around this (by now enlarged) pond and boy did I hate that :) Guess it did have some long lasting effects. And I casually circled the lake a few years ago, starting much further away from my parents place. Once you are in the groove for distance...
But leaving that aside, running has been fun and I with some luck I may have another one or two marathons or Ragnar Relays left. The only really bad part about this is that I may have to get myself to Tokyo after all (for something that is not an ISM workshop) ...
Having just blogged about today's 5k, I noticed that I did not blog at all about running in 2014. There wasn't much, but another Ragnar Relay in February, again as an Ultra team. I more-or-less live tweeted this though: Pre-race warning (and that was my route!), Team photo at start, Leg 1, Leg 2, Leg 3, Leg 4, Leg 5, Leg 6, and Chilling
I also ran the Philly Half-Marathon in November following up on the Penn R Workshop, and posted some tweets: Post race selfie, Strava result (thinking it was a 13.5 miler race--WTF), and Post-race chill.
Needless to say, I am a little slower now: A hand-stopped 23:13 for a 7:27 min/mile pace is fine by me given the weather, lack of speedwork in the last few months, and generally reduced running---but also almost a minute slower than the last time I ran this.
In case you're a fellow running geek and into this, Strava has my result nicely aggregated.
And so it continues: it is my home course, and the course I have run the most and know the best. Yet it is the one where I have the greatest difficulty coming in with a time that is good enough for Boston. I knew that today wasn't going to be that day, so I aimed lower to just run even splits (ie running about equal halfs). But even that failed: After 1:44 for the first half I lost a good ten minutes to finish at 3:40:42. Oh well. There is always next year...
But it was a simply sunningly fabulous day, and the race was once again very, very well put together. We were worried about extra security: not a real issue. The streets were lined with people and even Lisa and Julia managed to cheer me on at mile 13 (still smiles), mile 19 (grimacing, about to fall apart) and 25 (hanging in). And Anna was working the mile 18 water stop. The worst where miles 20 to 22 when I walked a fair bit. The race results have details; maybe I'll update the chart I made in prior years.
One minor FAIL was a wait at the end for gear check. That was pathetic. I guess the folks manning the stand didn't keep bags sorted well enough so lines were long, and slow. Oh well -- the rest was fine, and it remains one of the nicest marathon races.
Oh, and the other FAIL was that my Nexus 4 phone couldn't hold a charge til I was done. What's up with that? The running tracker traced me til around mile 20, and then the phone shut down for lack of juice. Disappointing too. But hey, it spares you, dear reader, the look of some bad post-race selfies...
We ran as a so-called ultra team of six runners, as opposed to a regular ream of twelve. The course is cut into 36 segments; on regular teams you get 3, we each had twice that. My first leg was a combined 17 miles in what turned out to be pretty blistering heat in mid-to-late afternoon. My fellow team members were awesome in getting me lots of water an ice, and I managed to hold onto a pace of just over 8 min/miles. One of the harder runs I've had. Next was a wonderful run pretty much exactly at midnight under starry skies---about seven or so miles followed by ten more miles the next morning.
We ended up coming third (yay!) beating the next time by about six or seven seconds (!!) over a total time of 25 or 26 hours.
It was hard. It was fun. It was exhilirating. It may also have broken me as I haven't really run much since. So good intentions for 2013: get back into the groove.
But heat makes for dreadful running conditions. I was pretty well trained, but I ended up running 3:43:55, or a tad slower than in Chicago 2007 (also record heat, with the race stopped around the four-hour mark) and Chicago 2009 (hot, though not that hot---but I was somewhat undertrained). Which makes this a personal worst. Oh well, stuff happens. And it was a pretty rough day---reports claimed that 2100 runners, or about 10%, were seeking some form of medical attention during or after the race which is a much higher proportion than under normal conditions.
The chart below is an updated version of a chart which had appeared on my running page before. I regrouped my prior Bostons (2007, 2009 and 2010) on the left, and the Chicago runs 2007 and 2009 on the right---and each with the current Boston marathon.
So compared to the prior Boston races, I did indeed relatively poorly. Starting slower, and slowing down even more leading to about 1:45 for the first half and 1:58 for the second. Compared to the two poor Chicago races (put of the six times I have ran that race), things are not quite as bad as at least I didn't peak at over 10 min/mile. Weather will always remain a challenge. The previous marathon (which was last fall's Fox Valley 2011) was unseasonally cold and wet---making for a time fast enough to get me back to Boston. I am registered again for this one, so we will see what September brings this year.
The race went well enough. I had been racing twice a year at this distance, but took a break after running with some minor injury and generally not too well (see e.g. my writeup from last year's Boston and Chicago marathons). So I wasn't even sure I'd run one this year at all, but the bug got me again when two friends signed up for this, and off we went to train over the summer. So with a few more miles from training, I was pretty antsy and went out too fast as usual, and paid with an as-usual slower half and few short walking breaks past mile 20. But I beat the hope-for target time of 3:25 quite handily with a 3:19:03 -- or a 7:36 min/mile pace. Which (as I noted in a quick post to Google+ started right after the race, and since edited/expanded -- prods to Google+) should hopefully get me back to Boston next spring.
The race went ok -- I didn't go out too fast, maintained pace and was able to accelerate towards the end. My hand-stopped time was 22:58; for the first time we actually had chip timing in this race and my official time appears to be 23:00. Which is still 50+ seconds faster than last year, and a pace of around 6:34 and compares well to the other eight previous times I've run this.
Given the lack of (more intense) training, I am also a lot slower: 21:50.7 was the chip time, or a 7:02 pace. We will see if I ever get faster again. On race day I am usually motivated; it remains to be seen if I get over to the track in the early morning to push myself through some speedwork.
Weather was pretty bad: A forecast of rain materialized with a shower at the start, another at about the halfway mark and a more solid downpour at the end, while temperature where in the lower 40s. And as I train less than I used to, I was also few just a few second slower than last year at 1:39:55 (hand-stopped) but managed to sneak in just under 100 minutes (and having taken six seconds to the starting lime, the official non-chip time has me just over that mark). All-in-all another nice half-marathon and I was appropriately sore yesterday.
This was the sixth time I ran this race (and my 14th marathon overall). And I still can't run this course all that well: never got a Boston qualification here. As I had mentioned when I blogged about my third Boston Marathon earlier in the year and the recent Chicago Half-Marathon, I have had some recurrent issue with a sore achilles which limited my running throughout the year. It had gotten better but a quick summary of the miles in my running log showed that I had been running only about 80% of the training miles I had in prior years. And not a single 20-miler. I knew I'd have to pay for that.
Plus, as so often, the weather. Not quite as hot as the record-heat of 2007. But close enough: high 60s at the start and high 70s or even low 80s towards the end. But I have to compliment to the race organisers. The race was very well organised (following the experience of 2007) with extra water stops, extra sponges handed out at several spots (!!) and very good communication when during the race the alert level was raised to yellow given the heat and humidity. The searchable results now show a fair number of non-finishers, but at least nobody seems to have died. But it looked ugly on the course. I think I ran by three or four sets of paramedics assisting runners who were 'down and out'..
So how did I do? Fair, I suppose -- I ran pretty well for sixteen miles, then needed a first short walking break and continued to run well towards and past the 18 mile waterstop where a bunch of friends and fellow Oak Park runners were helping. But not long after that, I crumbled and needed to alternate walking and running for most of the remainder. With that I came in at 3:41:41, or a 8:28 min/mile pace. And which is by two seconds slower than the previous 'worst' from 2007. But heck, at least it's still more than three minutes faster than Dubya in Houston in 1993 ... I also got beat by a few local running friends as well as by Chicago's own marathon juggler. So there. Maybe I'll train a bit more next time.
Race conditions were fantastic. We had a rainy and gray day yesterday but today is pure bliss. Temperatures around 60 degrees at the 7:00am start, no wind, sunshine and not a cloud in the sky.
The race itself went well. I had a pretty brutal running year suffering most of the time from some archilles tendon inflammation. It has gotten better in the last few weeks possibly thanks to some heel cups I now put in the shoes. But I had exactly one run longer than ten miles since the Boston Marathon. So I lost a lot of speed, as well as endurance and was a little nervous as to how I'd do. And considering all this, it went pretty well. I fininished in 1;41:50 or a 7:47 pace. While is easily the slowest half in a number of years, at least I got to run it evenly, pain free and with a negative split (== faster second half) and some gas left for a fast last half mile or so. So maybe I don't have to retire from running just yet. We'll see if I get some speed back in 2011.
This time we all got chip-timing via a small (rfid ?) strip tagged to back of the bib number. Which is handy as I managed to not stop my time by hand correctly. Given that I am still nursing a sore Achilles tendon and don't train well or much, the time of 23:51 (or 6:48 min/mile) was ok compared to the other seven previous times I have run this.
Which seems to have worked. My pace was more even, and I conserved some energy and made it past the last of the hills around mile 21 without walking a single step while staying a few second under a 8 min/mile average pace. But then around mile 23 and 24 I had two sharp short cramps which forced me to walk. Interestingly enough, Bob Richards writes about cramps as a main theme for many runners in this year's race. Maybe the wind and temperature combined with the hills to get us after all! Anyway, I ended up with 3:29:14 which, at a 7:59 pace, is right between the 2007 and 2009 results and quite decent given the circumstances.
And of course the weekend as whole was again a hoot even if I had only a short stay of around 30 hours in Boston given our R/Finance conference on Friday and Saturday. We'll see if I will manage to qualify once more for next year.
As for the race conditions, we had fantastic weather all week with temperatures up to the sixties and then all of a sudden a forecast of rain, snow and even sleet for the weekend. Luckily, and while yesterday was sucky, today was allright or better. A little chilly and damp, but neither rain nor snow --- or even wind. So the conditions were good, with the course challenging as usual.
The race itself went fine. I ran more or less steadily, never had to stop but was not particularly fast at 1:39:38 or a pace of 7:36.3. I had aimed for beating 1:40, had missed that target by miles 4 to 6 and was about 10 or 15 seconds behind but managed to get a negative split on the second half of the course to reach that goal. Which is nice, but the time is still the slowest I've ever run that race, and my slowest half-marathon since 2004.
Training had been sluggish all winter. Oddly enough, already in last year's post I stated pretty much the same and feared that Boston may become tough --- which it did. But this year may well be a lot worse as I had no spring in my step all winter long. No fire in the belly for training will make for a long race. We'll see how it goes. Four weeks to go.
First, of course, was the Chicago weather. After two successive marathon in excessive heat --- the 2007 race I completed, poorly, with its thousands of runners forced to abandon when the race was cancelled due to excessive heat, and the 2008 version which I skipped as I ran Berlin that year just weeks before Chicago, this year had forecasts of temperatures in the thirties and possibly snow the night before. Well, the weather cleared up -- but with those clear skies we still got a severe weather alert for the area due to frost! So at the (now earlier by 30 minutes) race start, it was very nippy and in the higher 30s, improving steadily under sunny skies. Overall, a little chilly and hence not exactly ideal, but not too bad in the grand scheme of things. A little windy coming up Michigan Avenue. But hey, Wanjiru still finished with a course record though still well off the world record. So maybe not a fail after all.
The second fail, though, was my GPS which I had just blogged about yesterday (albeit indirectly). I had had my issues with the previous (much simpler and older) Forerunner 205 which lost satellite tracking when running downtown amidst the skyscrapers. I had high hopes that this newer model would do better. But no, not only did it loose track within the first few miles, it even managed to outdo the older model by turning its GPS tracking off in the later stages. Now that's a fail!
The third and final fail, unfortunately, concerns my run. Training had gone well enough to let me hope for another decent race. However, a latent cold during the last two weeks had left me somewhat afraid I might not do well. Things felt better yesterday, and I ended up running a decent first eighteen miles to the waterstop the rest of my household was working. And thereafter: well let's just say that the wheels came off. I ended up with a 3:25:40 (or around 7:51 min/mile and 4:53 min/km) which is not terrible but also not one of my better races.
I updated the two race data geekery charts shown here before to illustrate the fail. As I am running out of shades of blue for Chicago, I show the 2009 race in purple. A decent, flat chat indicating a reasonably steady pace throughout most of the race ... followed by one of the very worst finished. And as discussed above, I cannot really blame the weather either.
I also updated my 'performance by race type through time' chart which suggests that I may be getting slower for marathons (if we allow for a non-linear effect). Eek.
As for the race itself, I didn't run it quite as evenly as I had hoped, faded a little around mile ten and eleven and came in at 1:34:54, or just under 7:15 min/mile. Not a bad time---I have done better (e.g. last year) but also worse. All in all still one my very favourite races, and this year with a once-again improved course that featured even more running along the lake. I will probably be back next year.
We fielded a small but spirited team of nine runners. I finished with a decent (hand-stopped) time of 22 minutes and 27.93 seconds for the 3.5 miles -- or a 6:25 min/mile pace. That is among the fasters times but not quite the fastest compared to the other six times I have run this.
Most importantly, everybody seems to have had a blast. And we did set a record for longer post-race party which sets a nice precedent for 2010.
And so it is with regrets that I have to decline Christian's invitation to run Cologne with him on October 4. Another time, hopefully.
The race itself was challenging. Having done it once before, and having come off a really decent last marathon, I may have underestimated the impact of the famous hills. This really is a wonderful but challenging course. Combined with the poor training conditions during this last Chicago winter which forced us indoors for quite a few long runs, as well as a somewhat upset stomach which forced a two-minute break, I came up short and posted an underwhelming second half. The head wind was also a factor that was mentioned in a few reports on the comparatively slow times of the elite runners. So when all was said and done, I ended up with a time of 3:30:13 and 8:01 min/miles which is a little slower than last time.
All in all a really great marathon weekend. As my time from Berlin qualifies me for Boston 2010, I may well be back next year.
So how did it go? Well, I had pretty low expectations. Training has been difficult with too much snow, rain and plain cold weather. So like most of my running friends, motivation ran pretty low of late. I was really only trying to set a modest pace, and to hope to hang on to it and run steadily. That worked: I didn't walk a single water stop, and while my legs were getting really tired and sore I carried through to the end. Final time was 1:36:08.57 per my stop watch. That's a tad faster than last year, a lot slower than 2007, just a tad slower than 2006, and quite a bit faster than 2005.
Next stop: my second Boston Marathon in five weeks and given the underwhelming training this winter, it will be a challenge.
This leads to a natural 'one-factor' model of pace as a function of race date grouped by race distance. And given how easy it is to do conditional plots in R, I quickly arrived at something that already resembled the following chart:
At first, some of the groups had too few data points to actually reliably construct regression lines, let alone non-parametric smoothers. But over time more and more data points were added as I kept running races. Including for example the somewhat disappointing result from last year's Chicago marathon in record heat that resulted in the outlier in the last panel. It actually made the smooth fit turn upwards! Luckily, the subsequent times in New York last fall, London in April, and of course in Berlin last month helped to dampen the effect of the one outlier, resulting in a more normal straight line for marathon performance that is comparable to the other four race lengths.
All in all I am now quite happy with the chart. The combination of the non-parametric loess smoother and the robust linear regression (using
from the MASS package
shows that most groups exhibit very little non-linearity as both regression curves are very close to each other.
The curvature in the '10m' group is probably mostly a small-sample effect. And I am obviously happy with the
fact that three of the five panels show their respective last race as a PR :)
It's been a great experience to run these famous courses in front of large crowds. Conditions ranged from cold, windy and rainy in Boston to way too hot in Chicago, had mixed conditions including a solid rain shower in London and were just perfect in both New York and Berlin. The crowds were awesome in all five places. All in all, these races were a blast -- if you're into long-distance running, give each or all of them a shot.
My race was pretty good too. I shaved over four and a half minutes off my own personal record (which was set in early 2006 at Sunburst) and finished in 3:13:09. That's a pace of 7:22 min/mile (or 4:35 min/km) which I am rather happy with. I held a fairly steady pace of under 7:30 almost all the way but but had to fight off the onset of cramps with some short walks about less than two miles to go.
Coming back in Berlin after all those years is always a charm. The city has obviously changed a lot in some very visible areas. Yet it still recalls the Berlin of those years. The course was really nice, covering numerous neighbourhoods and starting and ending in Tiergarten.
Lastly, it was also good to see old friends who have now been there since the mid- to late 1980s. And I managed to pack a quick visit to my parents in as they are just a good 80 minute ICE train ride away. All in all a very nice trip even though the travel from Chicago (without a direct flight!) is a bit of a hike.
While the weather story of the weekend is obviously the aftermath of hurricane Ike in Texas and neighbouring states were millions of people are still without power, we were also hit in a surprisingly hard way here in northwestern Illinois. According to the Tribune all of Chicago had a rain record day and the Chicago River crested causing evacuations. Not pretty.
The new race organisers (who had acquired the race since the 2007 event) were standing steadfast and guaranteeing the race 'come rain or shine'. Participation looked decent -- word was of a record turnout of sixteen thousand runners though I am sure some stayed home given yesterday's rain and the forecast for today. Given all that, it turned out to be not that bad. While we had steady rain the whole, it rarely rained that hard. Shoes and socks did get wet towards the end, but it was tolerable overall. I had been worried about the gross humidity we had yesterday --- but today was much better with temperatures in the sixties and little wind.
As for the race, I went out somewhat fast but managed to hang on. The Garmin had every mile split below 7:00 min/mile, and I came in at a new personal record of 1:30:51.52. My GPS, an old Garmin 201, also showed the course long at 13.4 miles; a few other runners I talked to had it as correct or long by a lesser amount. The leaves the pace at 6:56 min/mile (or, for Christian, at 4:19 min/km :-) if the half marathon course length was in fact correct, and at 6:47 min/mile (4:13 min/km) if my Garmin had it right.
And from now on it's all tapering for the the next big one in two weeks!
This time, two colleagues and I tried to make it close enough to the starting line to not waste too much time 'surfing' around slower runners who for whatever reason think they have to be up at the front. And that seems to have worked: despite a still crowded start, I ran even, steady and fast enough to beat the PR from 2005 by a decent margin with a (hand-stopped) time of 20 minutes and 46.65 seconds. That yields 5:5619 min/mile (or for Christian, 3:4132 min/km) which seems too fast given the splits I saw at miles two and three. Oh well -- same cours as as the other five times that I've run this, so I trust the course is USATF certified.
And as always, good to hang with folks from work for a cold one or two afterwards. Given the temperatures, I didn't last very long though.
Three of us ran the 10 mile race, which was nicely organised. But is it ever friggin' hilly there: the race course takes three turns from the lower levels near the canal up towards those hills. As the elevation chart (that I cut out of this pdf file with the course map) shows, it is not so much the total elevation but rather how steep the incline is.
That said, I did okay: even though the legs were really tired throughout from those inclines, I finished in 1:12:08 for a pace of 7:13. And given the reasonably small field, that yielded 34th place overall and third in my age group.
Pretty nice weather at the start and finish: sunny, not too hot, occassional clouds. But being London, we still managed to get drenched for about 30 minutes. Overall, the conditions were good -- or else Martin Lel would have had a hard time for a new course record.
The course is pretty nice, right from the start in Greenwhich all the way to the spectacular finish in Westminster. Crowd support was good too, if only a little uneven. But the second half of the race, and particularly the last miles in the back from Canary Whard through the City to Westminster past Parliament and Buckingham Palace were awesome. Lots of people, lots of noise.
Oh, and I even saw the leaders in a group of five, including Lel and Hall as the course had parallel 'out' and 'back' tracks around miles 13 for me and 22 for them.
I had planned to take it easy and not try to run too hard, and aimed for a time of around 3:25 and then finished at 3:24:41. A little less 'even' than I had hoped, but still a very satisfying result. And for once the legs aren't all that shot afterwards :)
And the whole weekend was nice as I got to stay with friends in the southwest of London. Staying up late on both ends of the trip suppressed the jet lag fairly well. At least that's what I keep telling myself.
As for the race, I wasn't running it all that well. My legs already felt heavy when I was doing a casual four-miler the day before with our local running group. Similarly, I didn't feel all that loose yesterday. By mile four or five I was getting into a decent rhythm, and I was then running fairly steady 7:15s until about mile 11 when I ran out of gas and had to slow down. Final time was 1:36:38.15 -- not only several minutes slower than last year's but also slower than two years ago.
Large crowds at most parts of the course, a decent number of bands, and a generally very excited atmosphere. And of course a nice course across the five buroughs finishing in Central Park.
For once, I managed to run the race steadily and yet fairly fast, ending up with a time of 3:18:47 (and thus a 7:35 pace). This is about a minute slower than my PR from Sunburst 2006, and just two seconds faster than my best Chicago Marathon result from 2006, yet much better than this year's times from Boston 2007 where it was too cold, and Chicago 2007 where it was way too hot. Given that the NY course is somewhat hillier, and that was definitely busier and more crowded than the other races, I'm quite happy with the time, and the way I ran, getting through without any walking breaks. Not quite negative splits at around 1:38 and 1:40 for the two halfes. With enough energy left at the end, I finished the remaining 2+ km after the 40 km with a sub-7:00 min/mile pace which felt great. And it is a nice feeling to have completed the Boston, Chicago and now New York marathons in the same year.
Last but not least, the weekend was a general blast as I was staying with a friend I hadn't seen in a decade which made for lots of stories, and even more beers...
Conditions today were almost ideal -- we're having unseasonally warm weather, and it was sunny and in the high 60s without any noticeable winds around the start time making it feel like a nice late summer morning, rather than the middle of fall. I wasn't aiming for something really fast as I am still in training for a longer race and had done some reasonably fast one-mile laps yesterday morning leaving me not exactly well rested. But for once, I actually managed to run a steady pace, and then ended up within seconds of last year's PR for the distance at 41:15 for a pace of around 6:39, so I'm quite pleased.
Bigger races like Chicago provide the so-called 'splits' for every five kilometer segment. Helpfully, they also keep these with the archived results which are all accessible via the web. So it was easy enough to collect a sequence of time such as '0:22:34', '0:45:30', ... and so on. And thanks to R, my data slicing and dicing and visualizing tool of choice, it was just a handful of lines to produce the chart below.
The chart covers my four Chicago marathons (2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007) as well as Boston (2007) --- the infamous '27.2 mile marathon' seems to have dropped off the net, and the smaller Sunburst does not have 5k split times.
While it was a tough race, I clearly ran a lot slower than previously, in particular between 25 km and 40 km. So there.
As it turns out, the weather did have its own surprises in store. Earlier in the preceding week, the forecast changed from overcast and rainy to sunny. And sunny it was. While we had a bit of cloud cover at the start at 8:00am, temperatures were already in the 70s and keep increasing. This year's marathon is now on the books as the hottest ever: the clouds dissipated and it was a scorcher.
Needless to say, it was a rather challenging race. I finished in 3:41:39, which is my slowest time by some margin for the by now seven marathons I've ran. It was not the day for running fast. Of course, I didn't quite grok that at the start and ran ten miles reasonably hard in a quick pace, but then paid for it, and then paid some more. That said, apparently around 10,000 registered entrants didn't even start, and another 10,000 did not make it to the finish. With the heat, several hundred were treated by the medical teams. Worse still, one 35-year old runner from Michigan died (though the autopsy claims he had a heart condition; other reports say that alone cannot have been lethal). The race itself was aborted, and those who had not reached the half-way point by 12:00am were diverted to the finish and urged to walk rather than run.
According to the (by now fairly extensive) news coverage, this whole experience left quite a few people mad and bewildered. As of today, a good 48 hours after the race, the City seems to be in some sort of crisis management mode to prevent damage for the oh-so-important bid for the 2016 Olympics.
There were actually six of us running from our little informal group in River Forest / Oak Park, and fellow rookie Russ and I decided to 'take it easy' and just 'go for a long run'. I ended up with a fairly even pace between 7:45 and 8:10, averaging 7:57 for a total of 3:28:24, or a few seconds faster than my very first marathon in Chicago. Which is quite pleasant, given the conditions, and the hillier course. The race went pretty well for all six us, which is nice too. Given how we trained together, it is neat how we all ended up within seven minutes of each other.
The race itself is quite stunning. With the required qualifying time comes a 'seeding' system for the start, so one tends to run most of the course with runners of fairly similar speed. That made for nice cameraderie on the course -- and for beautiful sights of nothing but runners rolling through the hills of Massachusetts. I think I'll be back next year.
As I somehow managed to leave my Garmin GPS at home, I had to run with little information about pacing and relative speed -- all I got were times announced at about two thirds of the mile markers. So I ended going out somewhat fast, and then working hard not to completely crumble. The end result was rather nice: 1:31:30.4 -- or a pace of 6:59.11 per mile -- and over a minute faster than my previous PR at this distance from last summer, and over four minutes faster than last year's March Madness. Needless to say, I am tired now :)
The race had decent conditions. Chicago is currently having unusually mild weather, which is an extra bonus. It was well over 50 degrees yesterday, but a little cooler around fourty this morning, and unfortunately overcast. And luckily fairly little wind as it can be unplesant at the lake. Following some mild training runs both Saturday and Sunday, I took it relatively easy and finished around 20:15 or 20:20 -- I forgot to stop the Garmin at the finish, and the official results are not yet published. Not a bad time given that I haven't really trained since the last marathon.
Dear Dirk Eddelbuettel,
This is to notify you that your entry into the 111th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 16, 2007 has been accepted, provided that the information you submitted is accurate.
Somehow it had gotten cold the last few days, and this morning at 8:00am it was only a few degrees above freezing--yet sunny and pleasant. Pretty decent conditions after all. I managed to run pretty fast for a new PR of around 19:2159 handstopped, or just under a 6:15 min/mile pace.
Once again gorgeous weather, sunny, no wind, low 50s at the start. The race itself went rather well. I wasn't sure how I had weathered a bout of the flu with some light fever last weekend, but resting most of this week seems to have helped as I was able to push my PR by about 1 min 45 secs to 92:33, or a 7:039 min/mile pace.
In its thirtiest edition, the race has moved under the umbrella of the LaSalle Bank organisation that also produces the Shamrock Shuffle and the Chicago Marathon. In fact, it is now part of a `challenge' series of three teams runs. Not sure yet how we did as a team.
I was running with a friend who needed to finish in 1:35 to get a competitive start for the Marathon. And we did it -- very steady 7:15 min/mile paces made for a pretty well run race. We ran together for 4 miles, then he pulled ahead. I caught him once more, only to loose him again, but overtook him around mile 12. My chip time was 94:18 for a 7:12 pace; he came in a few seconds later. I was quite pleased how steady I ran the race; I didn't even walk a single water stop. I just checked, and this is in fact a PR for the distance. Nice.
On the unpleasant side, I have the meanest blister I ever had. I had ordered new shoes from this place only to learn two weeks later that my order was lost but that I was free to issue a new order at their (higher-priced) mothership store Road Runner Sports (you know, the guys with the unstoppable supply of mail-order catalogues...). Thanks, but I didn't feel like falling for that. New order from Running Warehouse should arrive tomorrow. But I guess I need a few days to let the darn blister heal.
The race almost didn't start as a hazardous materials spill was announced
right at start time. Luckily, that got taken care of and we were off and
running at 6:15am. The first ten to twelve miles went pretty well and fast,
and I slowed down a little afterwards. I started to
So on to Boston for the one hundred eleventh Boston Marathon next April!
So while I didn't feel all that fresh, I also managed to run a pretty silly race of a way-too-fast first mile at 5:50 followed by 6:44 and 6:40 to average a pace of 6:19 minutes/mile with which I broke 20 minutes for the first time ever: 19:36. That's 50 seconds faster than last year, which was already a PR. Now I'm ready for a nap ;-)
Our little informal 'Owies' running group fielded a group of ten runners that were registered for the 'Chicago Challenge'. This a new competition where aggregated team results from today, the Distance Classic Half Marathon in August and the full Chicago Marathon in October count. Results are in (pdf), and we did well with a sixth place -- so let's see where can take it from here.
Notwithstanding my worries about the aforementioned injury, I ended up running well, finishing with a new PR of 1:34:47 which corresponds to a 7:15 min/mile pace, or an improvement of about 5 secs/miles. Now with some rest and tapering everything should fall into place for the big one in two weeks.
It was kinda neat to see an estimated 15,000 people on a warm summer night, and everybody is wearing canary yellow :) Also neat how the BSBC building has its facade lit up displaying the 'Run Loud' slogan of the race. Nice touch.
My run was sub-par. Being in training for the half and full marathons in one and three weeks, respectively, I somehow don't manage to let a slight muscle strain heal, and it really did get worse trying to run that 10k somewhat fast. Ended up with steadily increasing splits, and a total of 45:28.
Oh, and for the record, I really do feel old as I didn't really know any of the bands. Last year's race, which I missed, had Devo ...