Thursday, April 23, 2009

2009 Boston Marathon

OK, now that I've had a few days to clear my head and think things over, this post will be far different than what it would have been, had I posted on Monday night.

What happened on Monday was actually a blessing in disguise I think.  Although it was disguised as Satan flogging an effigy of a guy in a CMS uniform, it was still a blessing.  Aside from all the bad things that happened during the race (i.e. running 8 minute miles and having women, guys with jackets tied around their waists and iPods in their ears, and weekend warriors with beer bellies all blowing past me over the last 10-12 miles) coupled with my medical issues after the race, out of all this comes the realization that I gotta change stuff up.  I won't dwell or even try to discuss what I know needs to be done...instead I am just going to do it and get it done.  Results will show in due time, I hope.  For now, as I think it's necessary, I'll give a quick recap of the race, but won't bother with all the negativity, excuses, and hindsight that would have gone up on this blog on Monday night or even yesterday... With today (being my birthday) comes the realization that if I continue to look back on Monday's disaster for one more day, that's one more day further away I am from being where I want to I move on.   

I won't bother with complete splits or even in-depth race depictions, as letting people know I was running 7:30-8 minute miles near the end says enough...Some people ran PRs. Some people had a harder day than I did.  Some people didn't finish at all.  All I can say is that I went out to fast for the first 10k, my body shutdown due to a couple of factors (stage 2 hypothermia, dehydration, and being plain and simple unprepared). The photo is from Scott Mason who got me running by around the 5 and 1/2 mile mark.  I was still running well there but knew slightly there after, that my day was done.

5:37, 5:44, 5:45, 5:42, 5:56, 5:43, 5:54, 6:00, 5:55, 6:05, 6:10, 6:08, 6:18 - (1:17:47 through the half marathon).  Then you can imagine (and see from the last 4 miles of the first half) what happened over the 2nd half.  I ran 1:36:18 for my 2nd half.  That is 7:20 pace.  Enough said.

I looked for places to drop out, on and off, from miles 13-21.  Eric Beauchesne went by me at around 17 and told me to hang in there, so I did...but it wasn't pretty.  A couple times on heartbreak I just stopped.  I couldn't continue.  Body was shutdown and I knew I had problems physically but weren't sure what they were.  When I hit 21, I figured to just grind it out and jog in as best I could because my family was waiting for me in Boston.

When I finished, I was out of it physically and mentally.  When I got into the medical tent, my temperature was 91.8.  Stage 2 hypothermia and I was severely dehydrated.  They gave me an IV and worked on getting my body temp back up.  It took a long time to just get me past 92 and by about an hour I was back up to 96.4 before they discharged me.  According to the staff, I was the 2nd lowest of the day (so far to that point).  Dire Tune had been 91.6 when she was brought into the tent.  They told me I was .8 or so away from going to the hospital and they almost sent me anyways when I took a long time to get up to 93 & change.  They hooked me up to a machine that blew heat into inflated bubbles that I was wrapped in underneath blankets to get my body temp back up.  When I left, I was broken and defeated...but now, dawns a new day.  Monday wasn't my day and maybe it will take a while to get back to where I want to be....but if I don't start to look ahead and stop looking back, I won't get there any time soon.

Thanks for all the kind words, encouragement, and concern that everyone has shown me.  It means a lot to have so many out there that care.  I've been overwhelmed with many different emotions over the past couple days...and am honestly a little apprehensive about my running in the near future, but optimistic at the same time, and thankful that I have the support of my family and friends.

Photo to the left is of me in N. Andover w/ my mom & dad after the race.  Kristin took a bunch of finish line photos (from a couple rows back).  I have uploaded them but have to weed through to get rid of some that are obstructed from people in front of her... I'll post a link when they are done.


  1. Jim,

    I'm gald you doing OK. I was really getting worried when a couple of days had passed and you hadn't posted to your blog. We've all been where you went on Monday, at least most of us old guys. I'm sure you'll figure it out and go sub 2:40 soon.

  2. maybe it will take a while to get back to where I want to be....but if I don't start to look ahead and stop looking back, I won't get there any time soon.

    Words to live by brother ... on many fronts other than running. I love these words. Awesome attitude. It is not about what we do when things go well. It is what we do about things when they are not going well.

    Live it and love it.

  3. Jim
    I "participated" (I've never felt right saying ran)in the 2004 BM. The year it was 86 deg when the gun went off. Hope the med tent people were as good as they were then. Amazing what an IV and some O2 does for your recovery.
    Seems like the marathon has become the standard that defines peoples running. Maybe you'll go under 2:40; maybe you'll decide your not a 'thoner (certainly no shame in that). I remember an interview I read a few years back where Paul Low was asked what his favorite race was and his response was "anything under 2 hrs."
    Rest up and hope to see you on the Mt. Circuit.


  4. Damn, and I was hoping for all the negativity, excuses and hindsight :-)
    Now THAT would have been entertaining!
    Seriously, It's good to hear you're ok (now).

  5. A week ago I was chatting with Greg Meyer, and he said that a bad day can happen at any time when you run a lot of marathons. He's had days where he almost randomly jumped into a race and did well and days where he was as prepared as he could be and wanted to drop out (one time he was actually running Boston and the crowd wouldn't let him quit because he was still in the money.)

    Take it as a good learning experience, and remember that during your next race, no matter how you feel, it probably won't be as bad as it was.

    Of course, hopefully you won't be going through stage 2 hypothermia again...if you are, then I'd recommend just quitting. They'll make another marathon and it isn't worth (possibly) killing yourself.

  6. Kind of ironic that the guy who won a million snowshoe races this winter was taken out by hypothermia! Rest up. There will be plenty of races and plenty of running ahead. It may not have been the result you were looking for, but you learned something about yourself in the process.

  7. We'll be out running and racing soon enough and this will fade into the past. If you don't put it out there why go out at all? It takes guts to finish it up when it isn't your day.

    Take your time getting back and don't beat yourself up (let us do that) :-)

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  9. I wasn't going to share this, but under the circumstances, I will. I cried like a baby when I ran 2:57 in the '07 BM. Thankfully time heals all wounds! See you at the 12K man!

  10. having women, guys with jackets tied around their waists and iPods in their ears, and weekend warriors with beer bellies all blowing past me over the last 10-13

    and whats wrong with that ??

  11. Did the hypothermia occur because you slowed down (for various reasons), or did it contribute to the slow down?

    Glad you are OK otherwise.

  12. Jim,
    Sorry to hear about your troubles in the marathon. I worked in the medical tent and was glad (at the time) that I hadn't seen any fellow CMSers as patients. Glad to hear you were able to walk out and are doing well. Good luck in the rest of your season.