Sunday, October 17, 2010

Baystate Marathon

Road marathons suck. I always thought they did anyway, that's why I waited 33 years to try one. It was never the distance that I was afraid of. It was the distance on roads pounding the crap out of my skeleton. I love running on trails. I don't even mind running far on trails, though I'm definitely better at the short stuff. I like the softness and scenery of the trails. I like that at a trail race, I don't need to wait in a long line to poop in a nasty port-o-potty, I can squat behind a tree and dig a hole. I like the ease of parking, and that trail races are never held in crowded cities. I also kind of liked telling nonrunners that I've never run a road marathon, they usually get silent and you can see their brains thinking, "Oh, he's not a real runner." That always gave me a silent self chuckle. I also like that at trail races, there is no fanfare. No screaming cheering crowds, just trees and wildlife. I really was convinced that road marathons sucked and I never wanted to do one.

Well, I did one. I ran Baystate today. I drove with Jen, George, and Justin down to Lowell, Mass. We got stuck in traffic on the way to the city. Road marathons suck. We had a hard time finding a place to park. Road marathons suck. We didn't know if we could come back to our car, before the race to change clothes. Road marathons suck. We had to wait in long lines to take our prerace dumps. Road marathons suck. When I got to the extremely crowded starting line, I suddenly had to pee really bad. Not a problem at a trail race, find a tall tree. Not here, in the city. I held it for 26.2miles. Road marathons suck.

Then things started to change. Things stopped sucking. We were asked to remove our hats, for the playing of the national anthem. They had technical difficulties. No anthem. Road marathons suck. Until, all 4,000 runners belted out the Star Spangled Banner loud and proud. That was cool. That didn't suck.

The race itself was awesome. I ran with Fyffe for a couple miles. He pulled away after 3 miles. I didn't go, because I knew it was too fast for me. I ran with 2 BAA guys for 13 miles. I was feeling great. I hit the half marathon at 1:16:22. I was ready to do another one. I pulled away from the guys I was running with and the road ahead was pretty desolate looking. No marathoners in sight. Jason Porter caught me around 15.5 miles and we ran together for a while. I felt great and was rolling. I was surprised to see my miles were still under 6 minutes. 22 miles into the race. Jason started to pull away from to chase down Titus Mutinda. A big blister popped on my toe at around 23 miles. I was getting tired but I didn't slow down too much. Mile 26 was tough. It felt great coming into the stadium and seeing Jen cheering like mad. I crossed the line in 2:34:32. I was pumped! I felt good. I had a ton of fun. I enjoyed the experience. I liked the measured miles and the water stations. I smiled at the screaming crowds and gave some thumbs up late in the race. It was really fun. I signed up saying it would be my first and last road marathon. I told people it was gonna suck. I had visions of my legs exploding from the pavement pounding at 20 miles. I was convinced I would drag my body the last 6 miles, limping home in 8 minute miles. It didn't happen. It was great. I can't wait to do another one. Here are my splits:

5:41, 5:46, 5:50, 5:46, 5:46, 5:48, 5:54, 5:44, 5:49, 5:50 - 58:01 10 mile split
5:53, 5:56, 5:54, 5:55, 5:56, 6:01, 5:54, 5:49, 5:54, 5:59 - 1:57:18 20 mile split
5:54, 5:52, 5:51, 5:58, 6:01, 6:20, 1:17 - 2:34:32 17th (5:54 pace)

On the way out of the stadium, we had trouble finding our car and the traffic was bad. I guess they still kind of suck...


  1. Congrats on the race man. And yes I am just getting out of work at this point. Would have much rather run the marathon with you guys

  2. dude, those splits are pretty damn good...nice and even. Your last 2 miles are exactly right...very typical... From 17 on, my miles just got slower and slower....I was pumped to see you come striding in the stadium and rock that time... that's a huge debut! Registering for Boston today? If you really want an experience, I'd recommend it!

  3. Great race Greg. I almost stopped reading after the 2nd paragraph, but I'm glad I didn't. You really did a great job, and for your first, it's pretty incredible. I may be a middle of the packer, but I agree about Boston. Mile 26 is tough in any race, but at Boston you feel like you are winning the Olympics. Congratulations.

  4. Great friggin race dude!! Congrats!!

  5. Thanks everyone. Jim, you ran an amazing race and I enjoyed reading your report. You've had a great late summer/early fall.
    I decided a day late, that maybe I did want to run Boston. It's closed, maybe next year.

  6. 2:34--awesome. Despite most aspects of the road marathon "sucking" you did a fine job. Like DoubleJ said, those splits are so even. Impressive. Interacting w/ the crowd, esp when you're hurting is always a good move. It makes everyone happy and effaces some of the pain.