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Boston Marathon

17 April 2017

Event Report: 17 April 2017

How could I decline the opportunity to run the marathoners’ marathon?

Way back in October 2016, I entered the lottery to join John Hancock team of 150. At number 74 on the wait list, I did not have any hope. It meant that 50% of those already on the team will have to drop for me to get the next spot.

With less than three months until Patriots’ Day, on Friday 20 January 2017, I received a notice: “Congratulations! You have cleared the waitlist to receive a guaranteed invitational entry for the 2017 Boston Marathon!

Never mind the very short notice to allow for proper training. I jumped right in. And so the difficult & painful training schedule started.

Training did pay off in the end, finishing the race within my target time in 3:59:07.

Adventure Cycling

I chose to raise funds for Adventure Cycling Association—not that I needed any excuse. There are always many ways to do that anytime. Please support their mission:

Dubai Marathon

It has been more than five years since my last marathon in Dubai on 21 January 2011:

My goal was to finish in 4:00:00 hours. I finished in 3:58:24.

We were traveling around the world for most of that year. The marathon was an opportunity to stay active on the road.

Midnight Bicycle Ride

While training for the flèche bicycle ride in 24 hours of all 6 New England states, I joined a midnight bicycle ride of the marathon course on the morning of 18 April 2016.

This has been an annual event, unofficial, while the course is still open for traffic.

Training Plan

I followed the training plan from Runner’s World magazine July 2010 almost to the letter with pace, distance, & terrain.

There were only a handful of exceptions when on one early run I was injured so I walked most of the allocated distance, one full weekend when I was away on a ski trip, & a few days when I was ill in bed.

Day Activities Log
Sunday 22 January 2017 16:36: easy I had just cleared the waitlist two days ago on Friday. It took me most of Saturday to digest the news, plan training, & get my gear in order.

This long run will turn out to be a very fast start, causing me much pain for several weeks. After much stretching & training, I recovered though.
  • Map: view GPS recording & download GPX data
  • Distance: 15.66km
  • Pace: 6:14/km
  • Duration: 1h:37m:35s
  • Ascent: 111m
  • Temperature: 3.1ºC
  • Tuesday 20:39: easy I normally run on trails with Salomon shoes. I started with this pair until I decided on a Salomon road running shoe.

    Garmin Tempe sensor attached on shoe to record temperature during run.

  • Map
  • 6.43km
  • 6:11/km
  • 39:47
  • 13m
  • 0.9ºC
  • Wednesday 20:04: hills Neighborhood hill on a short loop that allowed me to repeat it several times, accumulating elevation throughout the run.

    Later, this hill became part of every single run during training. Initially it was on hill training days only. But given how difficult the Boston marathon course is, I decided to include it regularly.

  • Map
  • 11.36km
  • 6:15/km
  • 1:10:55
  • 249m
  • 0.7ºC
  • Friday 20:28: marathon pace
  • Map
  • 6.48km
  • 5:40/km
  • 36:46
  • 45m
  • 2.2ºC
  • Saturday 20:36: easy
  • Map
  • 6.49km
  • 6:14/km
  • 40:31
  • 0m
  • -0.1ºC
  • Sunday 29 January 2017 8:26: long
  • Map
  • 21.15km
  • 6:11/km
  • 2:10:53
  • 118m
  • 4.8ºC
  • Wednesday 10:19: hills
  • Map
  • 9.7km
  • 6:12/km
  • 1:00:03
  • 201m
  • 1.6ºC
  • Thursday 15:52: easy Trail run in Missoula, MT, just head of my first meeting there as a board member for Adventure Cycling Association.
  • Map
  • 6.84km
  • 5:40/km
  • 38:44
  • 13m
  • -3.3ºC
  • Saturday 11:46: easy There were plenty of reasons to talk me into running on a treadmill, inside a gym warm room, instead of outside on snow in sub-freezing temperature. None of them was enough.
  • Map
  • 9.82km
  • 6:12/km
  • 1:00:50
  • 33m
  • 0.5ºC
  • Sunday 5 February 2017 12:04: long Pain. Not sure how, but I got injured badly on this run. True that I had been in pain since I started training. Today was different. Well into my run, at about 14km, I fell in pain. Not able to continue running. I walked the remaining 10km.

    It was time to get serious about stretching & treatment.

  • Map
  • 23.72km
  • 6:52/km
  • 2:42:51
  • 188m
  • 6.5ºC
  • Tuesday 20:38: easy Garmin fēnix 5 was recently announced, but not available yet in market. Until then, the fēnix 3 had the most important job of keeping my pace.
  • Map
  • 9.41km
  • 6:12/km
  • 58:15
  • 67m
  • 0.1ºC
  • Wednesday 19:51: hills Getting recommendations for cinnamon, turmeric, Aleve, & others to help with knee pain.
  • Map
  • 10.90km
  • 6:15/km
  • 1:08:08
  • 234m
  • 2.7ºC
  • Friday 16:49: marathon pace 1.5km warm up at 6:15/km, 5.0km at 5:41/km, 1.5km cool down at 6:15/km Foam roller was definitely helping, not without screams.
  • Map
  • 8.09km
  • 5:46/km
  • 46:44
  • 32m
  • -5.7ºC
  • Sunday 12 February 2017 11:39: long Big storm, snow accumulating fast. I put traction on my running shoes. Completed hilly loop multiple times. This loop, with minor variations to it, was becoming my favorite on every run to combine hills, & allow flexibility to make minor adjustments to distance.
  • Map
  • 25.75km
  • 6:12/km
  • 2:39:28
  • 287m
  • -1.2ºC
  • Tuesday 7:53: easy In Toronto for training all week, just ahead of big ski trip. Very hard to find hills around town.
  • Map
  • 9.03km
  • 5:29/km
  • 49:33
  • 37m
  • 3.8ºC
  • Wednesday 22:00: hills After much map studies & people recommendations, this was the most hilly route I can find nearby.
  • Map
  • 11.32km
  • 6:11/km
  • 1:09:56
  • 141m
  • -2.6ºC
  • Wednesday 22 February 2017 19:55: tempo 2.5km warm up at 6:12/km, 8.00km at 5:17/km, 2.5km cool down at 6:12/km This came after a long break from running while I was away on a cross-country ski trip in Maine. I put plenty of distance there, but did not count it toward training.

    For these regular night runs, or during the low visibility snow days, this reflective vest was essential.

  • Map
  • 13.06km
  • 5:38/km
  • 1:13:34
  • 135m
  • 3.2ºC
  • Friday 12:25: marathon pace 1.5km warm up at 6:12/km, 11.00km at 5:41/km, 1.5km cool down at 6:12/km
  • Map
  • 14.54km
  • 5:47/km
  • 1:24:08
  • 147m
  • 24.3ºC
  • Saturday 16:56: easy Middlesex Fells Reservation on my way to the airport.
  • Map
  • 6.67km
  • 6:11/km
  • 41:17
  • 114m
  • 16.6ºC
  • Sunday 26 February 14:24: long Fund raising for Adventure Cycling Association:
  • Map
  • 29.23km
  • 6:08/km
  • 2:59:06
  • 285m
  • 6.2ºC
  • Tuesday 20:56: easy Most unexpected gift from dear friends in Switzerland. Ovomaltine is chocolate fortified with vitamins & minerals, designed for endurance sports. This was exactly what I needed for the long marathon runs.
  • Map
  • 6.71km
  • 6:08/km
  • 41:07
  • 81m
  • 9.1ºC
  • Wednesday 20:15: Yasso 6✖️800 Daily stretching routine using this convenient strap:
  • Map
  • 12.76km
  • 5:37/km
  • 1:11:43
  • 48m
  • 15.1ºC
  • Friday 17:15: marathon pace warm up, 14km at 5:41/km, cool down Hammer Nutrition Tissue Rejuvenator for joint pain, Race Caps Supreme for electrolytes.
  • Map
  • 16.14km
  • 5:46/km
  • 1:33:01
  • 175m
  • 0.0ºC
  • Saturday 16:17: easy
  • Map
  • 6.46km
  • 6:08/km
  • 39:35
  • 67m
  • -6.5ºC
  • Sunday 5 March 2017 13:31: long Feeling comfortable with the food arrangement during run: small bottle with liquid chocolate & honey mix with supplement of energy bars or sweets.
  • Map
  • 32.08km
  • 6:06/km
  • 3:15:52
  • 366m
  • 2.1ºC
  • Tuesday 18:39: easy Thinking about summer: purchased swim tag for Reservoir & town pools.
  • Map
  • 6.96km
  • 6:07/km
  • 42:36
  • 84m
  • 6.8ºC
  • Wednesday 20:44: easy Toes bruised & blue, even though wearing toe socks. Switched to toe gel caps for rest of training:
  • Map
  • 11.30km
  • 6:07/km
  • 1:09:13
  • 128m
  • 7.5ºC
  • Friday 16:23: marathon pace warm up, 13km at 5:41/km, cool down Heartbreak Hill training, part of marathon course, the last of four consecutive hills.

    After work, I took train to Wellesley, started running the course back toward Boston.

  • Map
  • 16.32km
  • 5:46/km
  • 1:34:04
  • 142m
  • 0.7ºC
  • Saturday 17:02: easy Incendo Hoody is very light wind breaker, with some water resistance, frequently used external layer.
  • Map
  • 6.53km
  • 6:07/km
  • 39:59
  • 68m
  • -6.7ºC
  • Sunday 12 March 2017 13:05: long Half way through training plan.
  • Map
  • 32.35km
  • 6:07/km
  • 3:17:57
  • 343m
  • 0.4ºC
  • Tuesday 12:19: easy High wind, wet, cold. Running on thick snow like running in loose sand. Ran in track, steps marked trail on first loop, kept head down to avoid ice pellets in my eyes, followed steps loop after another.
  • Map
  • 11.30km
  • 1:09:10
  • 131m
  • 0.1ºC
  • Wednesday 14:25: tempo, 3km warm up, 8km at 5:17min/km, 3km cool down Snow from storm yesterday will remain for a while. Sidewalks & trails covered with ice & crusty snow. Meandered through small streets.
  • Map
  • 14.85km
  • 1:26:22
  • 111m
  • -0.1ºC
  • Thursday 19:29: easy Evening run, trying to avoid black ice on sidewalks & streets. Greek yogurt & chocolate Vermont Peanut Butter fuel.
  • Map
  • 9.47km
  • 57:58
  • 109m
  • 0.2ºC
  • Saturday 15:27: easy
  • Map
  • 13.33km
  • 1:21:33
  • 192m
  • 5.9ºC
  • Sunday 19 March 2017 12:47: long Slightly shorter from last Sunday in preparation for the longest run next Sunday.
  • Map
  • 24.62km
  • 2:30:52
  • 269m
  • 4.2ºC
  • Tuesday 19:04: easy
  • Map
  • 13.33km
  • 1:21:33
  • 192m
  • 5.9ºC
  • Wednesday 22:08: Yasso 8✖️800 Started run very late at night after long busy day. Track still covered in snow & ice. Instead, ran intervals on Minute Man path.
  • Map
  • 14.53km
  • 1:23:33
  • 48m
  • -6.7ºC
  • Friday 15:56: easy REI dividend received, just when the Garmin fēnix 5 was available for pre-order.
  • Map
  • 9.68km
  • 58:38
  • 120m
  • 3.1ºC
  • Saturday 14:30: easy Nervously preparing for longest run tomorrow, planning for food to carry.
  • Map
  • 9.73km
  • 58:57
  • 117m
  • 2.8ºC
  • Sunday 26 March 2017 12:51: longest run of training plan Kept steady pace, felt good, nutrition was sufficient: Ovomaltine chocolate spread mixed with Honey Stinger gel packets.
    Wednesday 20:07: easy Skipped training on Tuesday, shifting training plan by one day, so that long run will be on Monday to match marathon day.

    Upgraded my old Black Diamond Icon headlight to the latest model with 500 lumens to help on night runs.

  • Map
  • 13.03km
  • 6:04/km
  • 1:18:58
  • 119m
  • 4.0ºC
  • Thursday 14:05: tempo 3.25km warm up at 6:04/km, 6.50km fast at 5:11/km, 3.25km cool down at 6:04/km Spring is here: sunny warm weather:
  • Map
  • 13.01km
  • 5:37/km
  • 1:13:09
  • 126m
  • 14.1ºC
  • Saturday 13:22: easy Not funny April Fools’ day joke for weather to turn into heavy wet snow all day:
  • Map
  • 11.16km
  • 6:04/km
  • 1:07:37
  • 83m
  • 0.2ºC
  • Sunday 15:49: easy Weather cleared again, trails still mostly wet in slush. Feet & shoes were soaked, although water proof socks helped:
  • Map
  • 11.26km
  • 6:04/km
  • 1:08:16
  • 101m
  • 14.3ºC
  • Monday 3 April 2017 16:59: long Fell sick. After an already tough week in changing weather, rain & caught up with me in Toronto. Arrived from run shivering cold. Stayed sick, rested without any training runs until end of week.
  • Map
  • 24.70km
  • 6:03/km
  • 2:29:38
  • 259m
  • 10.1ºC
  • Saturday 17:15: easy Slowly recovering. Luckily, I was tapering, so runs are getting easier.
  • Map
  • 8.39km
  • 6:03/km
  • 50:47
  • 76m
  • 9.6ºC
  • Sunday 13:53: easy Nice & warm.
  • Map
  • 8.40km
  • 6:03/km
  • 50:52
  • 78m
  • 22.6ºC
  • Monday 10 April 2017 20:19: long Feeling very close to weekend celebrations & marathon. Received ticket for Red Sox reception & game.
  • Map
  • 19.17km
  • 6:03/km
  • 1:56:05
  • 175m
  • 15.7ºC
  • Wednesday 22:24: tempo 2.50km warm up at 6:04/km, 3.00km fast at 5:17/km, 2.50km cool down at 6:04/km
  • Map
  • 8.13km
  • 5:46/km
  • 46:53
  • 103m
  • 10.5ºC
  • Friday 20:55: easy Picked up bib number & race packet, including a large poster of race runners.
  • Map
  • 8.14km
  • 6:15/km
  • 50:51
  • 103m
  • 7.7ºC
  • Sunday 12:40: easy Resting all weekend, preparing for race day with target time of 4:00:00.
  • Map
  • 5.05km
  • 6:15/km
  • 31:32
  • 57m
  • 33.5ºC
  • Monday 17 April 2017 11:21: race against target time Official finish time 3:59:07
  • Map
  • 43.00km
  • 5:34/km
  • 3:59:12
  • 257m
  • 24.8ºC
  • Gear

    Here are my most frequently used gear during training. They vary greatly based on weather.

    Treatment

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