Sunday, October 19, 2008

2008 Baystate Marathon

Sunday marked the end of the USATF-NE Grand Prix and thank god for that. The last race in the series was the Baystate Marathon (results). in Lowell, MA, and to finish this meant a nice IronRunner jacket for me to wear home. Mission accomplished. My goal this year was to go out and run all the grand prix events and get IronRunner status and the coveted jacket. I met that specific goal, but my other goal of breaking 2:40 for my first marathon was not to be. Not really even close. But I did qualify for Boston which was a goal I was fairly certain I could meet. I'll have to have a complete 180 turnaround as far as my attitude towards marathons now, for me to even consider registering for Boston in April. As I type this I am in excruciating pain from head to toe. Unlike (obviously) any other time since beginning my 2nd running career 2 years back. I guess the thing I am most pleased with now, is that it is over. (For a race-writeup from an 'elite' point of view, read Ryan Carrara's blog entry. Ryan was 2nd overall today, and his wife Christy Mae was 1st overall woman. Very impressive day for these two for sure).

As a pre-race goal was set (perhaps a bit aggressively) at 6:00 pace, I went out and ran the first 12 miles exactly to plan. I was very pleased with almost the entire first half of the race. I ran very comfortable and easy, in a nice rhythm, with a fairly large pack that included Brad Klinedinst (MVS), Mark Larosa (BAA), Mark Hudson (WHRL), Eric Beauchesne (R.UN), a few others and a whole slew of Whirlaway dudes. We clipped away the first 12 miles in sub 6:00. Then the next 2 (miles 13 and 14) were 6:07s up some of the few slow rolls... At that point Brad faded back a bit and eventually called it a day (as did a few other runners who were in top contention for age group and overall awards as well as jackets, including Dan Verrington (pictured left) and Titus Mutinda). Kent Lemme (GSH) motored by me like I was standing still at around mile 16. Very impressive middle of the race for Kent who ran strong all year long and also earned his jacket. I continued on but gradually got slower over the course of the next 10 miles. I got passed by about 1 person every other mile over the course of the last 10 miles. All the while I just wanted it to be over and couldn't do anything but labor along with everything starting to go wrong. I topped out with three consecutive 7+ minute miles. Over that stretch, my back started to spasm pretty bad and my calves started to cramp and sting with really sharp pains...I also became very aware of my hips and hamstrings being completely locked in place...I had all I could do to gut through 7+ minute miles. I went by Dave Dunham and Kristin at Mile 22 and mentioned that I was hitting 7s, at which time Dave just told me to keep moving forward no matter what. Good advice. That did keep my head in it for the last few miles...too bad my legs weren't coming along for the ride anymore. At about mile 24, fellow MVS strider Todd Lagimonier (pictured left) sped on by me at a very strong pace (and offered me a ride on the train). I just couldn't go any faster at that point and was just trying to get to the finish line. He grinded out the last 2 miles and really put some distance on me to finish in 20th place overall in 2:42:55 (6:13 pace). I was able to dip back down under 7 for my last mile as I was running down Patrick McCaffery whom I ran with for the first 8 or so miles and then behind for the rest of the race (at one point I couldn't even see him anymore). I was able to pass him right before the entrance to the ball park and put some distance on him for one last morale booster before I saw the clock and got really depressed :). In the end I finished with a 2:45:01 and in 24th overall place (in-line with my previous 6 USATF-NE championship finishes this year).

One major reason I think I didn't run my goal time was because I simply didn't train for this marathon. Plain and simple. My mileage actually went DOWN in the few months leading up to this thing. I am not sure why, but I just didn't run a lot of miles, did practically no workouts other than short races, and didn't do many (only 3) long runs, and zero marathon paced tempo runs. Now I know those are crucial. I think I knew this before (by just using common sense) but now I have first hand knowledge of what it feels like and what the results are when you don't do those things. This is precisely why I don't want to 'be a marathoner'. I can't bring myself to alter my constant racing schedule (which is keeping me going and motivated at the moment). I think if I do decide to do another marathon (either Boston or another GP next year) I will definitely try to train correctly for it but will have to somehow fit it into my goal racing schedule for 2009.

On the way back to the car, the combination of stopping after running for 2:45 and the chilly air, led to my uncontrollable back spasms again. My mom helped me on the LONG walk back to the car and then I had to have her work on my lower back for about 20 minutes before I was able to sit down. I then sat in my car for close to an hour to warm up but was nauseous the entire time. It had to be due to the gels that I was taking (for the first time ever). I had one right before the start, then one halfway through (about 13 miles), and then DD gave me one at mile 22 (chocolate...yuck!). I 'think' they helped, but it led to me feeling quite ill afterwards until I was able to woof down (Tim VanOrden, if you are reading this, look away now!) a Mill City Burger, fries, and half of a Corona at the Brewery Exchange. This morning I had only half of a bagel and some water. In addition to the gels, I also actually drank water and Gatorade during the race. I've never actually 'drank' water in a race (other than Mt. Savoy where I almost died). I usually just splash water in my face and dump it over my head. I have always been afraid of cramps but managed to avoid cramps during today's festivities. I guess when you are running as slow as I did, you don't get cramps.

Now purely for comic relief, here are my splits (caution, the hilariousness ensues below):

- Marathon - 2:45:01 - 6:18 pace / 24th of 1192.


Mile 1) 5:51
Mile 2) 5:52 (11:43)
Mile 3) 5:55 (17:38)
Mile 4) 5:55 (23:34)
Mile 5) 5:57 (29:32)
Mile 6) 5:53 (35:25)
Mile 7) 5:58 (41:24)
Mile 8) 5:55 (47:19)
Mile 9) 5:50 (53:09)
Mile 10) 5:56 (59:06)
Mile 11) 5:59 (1:05:06)
Mile 12) 5:55 (1:11:01)
Mile 13) 6:07 (1:17:09)
Mile 14) 6:07 (1:23:16)
Mile 15) 6:13 (1:29:30)

Mile 16) 6:13 (1:35:44)
Mile 17) 6:14 (1:41:58)
Mile 18) 6:18 (1:48:17)
Mile 19) 6:20 (1:54:38)
Mile 20) 6:37 (2:01:16)
Mile 21) 6:41 (2:07:57)
Mile 22) 6:52 (2:14:49)
Mile 23) 7:15 (2:22:04)
Mile 24) 7:23 (2:29:28)
Mile 25) 7:13 (2:36:41)
Mile 26) 6:57 (2:43:39)
Last .2) 1:22 (2:45:01)

Special thanks to:

- Dave Dunham and the smokin'-hot Kristin for their support all over the course (multiple points they biked to).
- My parents and my sister and her family for showing up and cheering me on.
- Dave Quintal and his family for buying us post-race dinner :) and hanging with us.
- Scott Mason for the support all over the course and for taking his awesome photos as usual.
- All the Merrimack Valley Striders and their families and friends who cheered us on throughout the race.

And now for the Iron Runner jacket :

Front: 2008 USATF-NE IronRunner logo.

Back (with logos of all 7 GP races for 2008).

How the USATF-NE GP played out for me this year:

03-16 - 57th of 1664 - New Bedford Half Marathon (13.1M) - New Bedford, MA - [1:13:50 / 5:38 pace]
05-11 - 17th of 615 -
Medical Center 6k (6k) - Nashua, NH - [19:06 / 5:08 pace]
06-01 - 24th of 427 -
Rhody 5k (5k) - [15:44 / 5:04 pace]
07-29 - 31st of 1464 -
Yankee Homecoming 10 Miler (10M) - Newburyport, MA - [55:36 / 5:34 pace]
08-09 - 23rd of 735 -
Bridge of Flowers (10k) - Shelburne Falls, MA - [34:08 / 5:31 pace]
09-06 - 30th of 1049 -
Ollie Road Race (5M) - Boston, MA - [26:50 / 5:22 pace]
10-19 - 24th of 1192 - Baystate Marathon (26.2M) - Lowell, MA - [2:45:01 / 6:18 pace]

As usual, Kristin braved the elements to bring us some nice shots (442 total!) that are now up on SmugMug.

Scott Mason also took great photos that can be viewed here.

DD was taking some video but due to some accidental camera settings, when he thought he wasn't filming, he actually was, and when he thought he was filming, he actually wasn't. So I don't really have much video. There are maybe two clips I can post up later on. For now, Episode 4 in my viral video series will have to wait until maybe the next race. Much thanks though to Dave (who is STILL the course record holder by 5 seconds!) for being out on the course, giving support, handing out some fluids and gels, and for hosting a CMS pasta dinner last night at the palatial DRC (Dunham Running Club) headquarters in Bradford (not Haverhill) MA. Contrary to what most people say, he really is a nice guy. I heard he was pretty nervous as I was only a mere 24 minutes off of his course record....

Side note... The 2009 USATF-NE Grand Prix selections meeting takes place November 10th (Monday night).

Now onto next weekend's Great Bay 5k, which is the last Seacoast Series race. I already have this series wrapped up so I may or may not race it. If I can walk without a limp by Wednesday, I may give it a go. I think the day after (Sunday) I may go to either Mayors Cup or the White Mountain Milers Half Marathon to grab some video and photos. There is no way I'll be able to race Mayors unfortunately. Not after this weekend.

That's all for now...


  1. Welcome to marathon. The first one is always a bear. What seems easy on paper is not always the case. Nice job sticking it out through the final 10k. When it all goes bad the last 10k it is easy to just push it out and step off the course. Sometimes they just go like that and the only thing to do is try again. A little event focused training (PMP, long repeats, Squire runs) would probably help a lot with the last 3/4 of the race. It doesn't have to be too drastic though. A little less intensity and a little longer may be the key.

    Put your legs up and fill those ice bags!

  2. Thanks for the tips man! I appreciate it. Kristin got a bunch of photos of you...

    Multiple shots over multiple parts of the course. Very nice job yesterday...caps off a very good GP season for you!!!

  3. JJ,

    What Ryan said. Nice race yesterday and sweet jacket. I was the nut screaming out my car window as I drove by you guys throughout the morning.

    Happy recovery!


  4. Hey Jim Nice race! The first one is always an adventure. Congrats on great year of running. Try to get in some recovery...I learned the hard way after Boston.

    Chris M

  5. Hey Jim,

    CONGRATS on your first marathon! I loved your writeup about it. You really did a phenomenal job- especially for your first one! That is an amazing accomplishment- and now it's something that no one can take away from you. Have you seen Spirit of the Marathon? I imagine it captures the drama and emotion of running the marathon.

    If you'd ever like to see how you can race multiple times a week (with essentially no speedwork except for the races) and still prepare for a marathon I can show you my grandfather's running logs...they're old school, but very cool :-)