Relentless Forward Motion Part 1 (The Stars Were Aligned)

I've been putting-off writing my 2011 Boston Marathon  Race Report, partly because I already wrote it, partly because I didn't live up to what I'd written, but mostly because I've been trying to get my mind around it to figure-out how I feel and what I want to write about.

Should I write about the exhilaration I felt having run a sub-4 hour marathon, or the disappointment of not having reached my goal of running a 3:20 BQ.

Should I write about how awesome it felt to be running with ease and strength and grace for the first 13.1 miles and how I was surprising myself as every mile ticked-off and I was on-target with my pace and ready to close the second half with negative splits just like I planned? Or should I write about the wheels coming off mentally when I saw my family at mile 14 and and the downward spiral to the crash right after I saw my coach around mile 17.5 just past the firehouse in Newton?

Should I write about the sheer pain and torture of the last 9 miles of this death march as the gremlins once again attacked my quads and even had a good time with my hamstrings this year? Or should I write about how I pushed myself through and past the worst pain and suffering I've ever felt to finish the race on my feet and running even though every cell in my body was screaming for me to quit?

Should I write about the emotional euphoria of running down Boylston St. and crossing the Finish Line, or the demons I had to overcome on the way through Brookline?

Without further ado...

I should probably start with my final 20-miler, the Eastern States 20. Everything went swimmingly. I had a GREAT run! I was instructed to treat it like a training run and under no circumstances was I to race it, no matter what. I went out and kept the pace around 9 min/mi (only slightly faster than E Pace) for the first 10 miles. It was cold. Much colder than I thought it would be. Right after the start when the wind hit me, I started to think that just maybe the short sleeves and shorts were a bad idea. Later as the sweat would freeze on the inside of my arms causing intense, stabbing, needle-like pain on the insides of my arms and thighs, that thought would be confirmed.

Anyway, I held onto the 9:00 pace through the first 10 miles, then I started stepping it up and negative split each subsequent mile, passing other runners by the drove and running my last mile at an even 8:00. I pushed it, I got what I wanted out of it, but I didn't go crazy. I felt really good about my performance. I entered my taper with a great deal of confidence, having run 20 miles or more on 2 separate occasions and seemingly overcome the impediment of a tumultuous February that left me with only 76 miles on the road. I finished with my longest training month ever in March and over 800 miles total for the training cycle.

Taper was just awesome. I started with a little bit of taper madness where the doubt started to creep in, but all-in-all I was actually pleasant and upbeat for most of the three week taper. I didn't beat myself up and I even had a great 10k 8 days out from the marathon which was a HUGE confidence-booster. I hit everything right on the mark with my nutrition during taper, I even got to bed before 10 pm on most nights, didn't drink any alcohol and lost almost 5 pounds, weighing-in at 192 pounds on race day, leaner than I've been since my collegiate wrestling days in the early 90's.

Running Royalty at the DM Meetup

Marathon weekend, I went into town on Saturday and walked around the Expo for only a couple of hours before heading-over to the dailymile meetup. I had a great time and I didn't gorge myself on the awesome food. However, I did have 2 Guinness after not having a drop of alcohol during taper. We tried to go back to the Expo afterward but it was crazy-hectic and Adam, Luau and I headed-out quickly. But not before we ran into @SpeedySasquatch, @NYCe, and @nycbklyngrl and snapped a quick pic. They are just as awesome in person as they are on twitter!
Eissa, Josh and Us (Elyssa took the pic)

I headed home from the Expo and stayed there. On the couch. Really! All day Sunday I was on the couch with my legs elevated watching Netflix Streaming (Saint Ralph, Run Fatboy Run, Without Limits and Spirit of the Marathon). I tried to get to bed early. I went to bed at 9, but got up 3 or 4 times to add something to my pile of stuff I had laid-out. Then I laid there inexplicably awake for the rest of the night. I tossed and turned but tried to relax. I got up when Lex came to bed around 11:30 only to realize I hadn't turned-on the alarm that I had set for 4 am, phew! This year, instead of having Lex drop me off in Hopkinton, I decided on driving in and taking the busses with the Children's Team out. This would help me avoid the Green Line ride from hell afterward. Totally worth it.

I got out of bed, ate my banana, took a hot shower, got dressed, packed my bag, ate my first Honey Stinger waffle, finished my 20 oz bottle of Nuun and headed-out the door. I arrived at the Westin and valeted the car with plenty of time to spare. I ate my second waffle while waiting for the bus. Arrived at the Masonic Lodge, ate my third waffle and started sipping on my Gatorade while I set myself up in the same corner I secured last year. I went downstairs and grabbed another banana and asked where the coffee was. They didn't have any. I swear they offered it last year. I mean they put together this HUGE spread with everything any marathoner might need pre-race including food, drinks, vaseline, body glide, tylenol, you name it it was there, but no goddam coffee? So, I saw several people walking around with coffee and asked where they got it. Apparently there was a small coffee shop/stand about 1/4 mile down the road. 

I got my coffee and decided I'd head up the road a piece to Athlete's Village and see if I could find Luau and the rest of the dailymile crew. They say it's only 0.7 miles from the finish and I didn't make it over there to check it out last year, so...

Holy crap! It was just a mass of humanity. I've rarely seen such a spectacle. Through the miracle of twitter, I was able to pinpoint their location and head directly to them. We talked, exchanged well-wishes, hugs and other niceties. As they started to announce times for the different waves to start heading to the corrals, I figured it was time for me to head-out and get back to the relative comfort of my cozy-hole with private bathrooms and no-line porta-potties at the Masonic Lodge. I was feeling GREAT after seeing everyone and I was pumped-up and ready to run my BQ. It felt like it was definitely going to be my day! Nothing could stop me now...
Aww... The Porta-Pottie hug!


  1. I felt the same way Doug - nothing could stop us...

  2. Doug, what a great write up. I am so impressed with how far you have come and how hard you have pushed. Go back and look at those before pictures and remind yourself that it is that guy that ran Boston. That guy who didn't think he could run at all much less a marathon, much less Boston. And pat that guy on the back. You are amazing and have touched so many people in our community with your journey to be the Boston Marathon runner that you are.