Boston Marathon Report - A bandit's take

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Post Race Wrap-up

A little over 24 hours after the race. Physically am doing pretty well. No blisters or lost toenails, which is an improvement from previous runs. Pretty stiff and I think I have "runner's knee" but that should clear up in about a week or so. I actually feel a little better than I did when I had trained, but I'm sure that is a fluke.

Really, I think most people could complete a marathon. It's just a matter of how fast. I respect people that put in the dedicated training and qualify, but there are a lot of people out there who don't have the time. I wouldn't recommend doing one cold, but the level of training necessary isn't too arduous. If you think about it, the average fitness walking pace is about 15 minutes per mile. Translated that comes out to about 6.5 hours. Combining running and walking, I think most people would be able to cover 26.2 miles if they wanted to. Don't let the hype get to you.

As far as running as a bandit, I highly recommend it. Here's why:

There are a few threads out there about how bandits shouldn't run because they sully the qualified running field. I think those threads are way off base. None of the bandits I saw pretended to be qualified. They start at the end of the group, so don't get in the way and don't consume race services at the expense of qualified runners. We all know we haven't trained enough to be in the qualified field and frankly are ok with that.

Monday, April 17, 2006



Done. 5 hours 13 minutes. Coming off heart break hill I thought I might be in position to break five hours. But, considering I my longest run in the last five months was five miles, I'm happy to have finished at that time.

final stretch onto bolyston is the longest in history. When u turn onto the street, you can see the finish line, but the sign is so big, its further than it appears.

Fans throughout are great. You get the feeling they are really pulling for you. And the red sox won as well.

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Top of heartbreak hill - mile 21ish

I remember my favorite poster in high school, while maybe second favorite, was a picture of this dude running up this ridicusly long hill with the caption “there is no finish line”. Nice sentiment, but I'm looking forward to the finish line today.

As a good gauge of running this with training and without, I think I was finishinh at just about this time five years ago.

My pace through the hills was pretty slow, but I decided to trade that off with being able to finish. I did take a dixie cup full of beer before I ran up heartbreak hill. Seemed like the thing to do.

Should be coming in around five hours.
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Mile 15

Starting to feel a little bit of pain now ... Primarily stiff knees and a sore hip, but nothing unexpected. My pace has been a little uneven the last five miles. Anywhere between 9 and 12 minutes. Based on what I'm feeling I'd like to zone in around 11 minutes.

The field, as always, is pretty diverse. Have seen a few blind runners with guides. Some people pushing someone in a wheel chair, some people who must be pushing 80.

The next stretch is pretty brutal. Downhill until somewhere around mile 16 and then shortly thereafter a series of four hills in newton. Boston isn't too tough of a course with the exception of those hills.
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Mile ten

Mile ten is where the boston marathon runners start to lose some of their cheer. Up to this point, most people are in their comfort zone. I'm feeling pretty good considering this is the furthest I've gone in run in the last year or so.

Atmosphere should start to pick up again around mile 13 wheb we enter the “scream tunnel” at wellsely.

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Mile five - boston marathon

Just entered framingham. About a 9 minute pace ... A little fast as I need to keep this at about ten minute.

First five miles are great. Everyone along thid part of the course actually takes ownership of the run. About three different houses blasting out rocky theme. A band playing. The national guard did block in the biker bar which was a difference from a few years back. Harder for them to pass out beers than in the past.

Best qoute from a guy next to me when we passed the first mile, “shit, only one mile - this is going to be a long race.”
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Wave two off

I'm hanging out with the bandits. We are probably about 200 yards from the starting line and haven't moved. They stream in the runners from the side streets ... Kind of like a railroad shippinh yard.

Its always an interesting mix with the bandits. School cross country and crew teams, people with babies, people in costume, bunch of people running with their dogs. . There is a guy wearing a full wedding dress. Would be a challenge to run in that. I'm not wearing a costume and I wasn't allowed to run with the baby, although we just picked up a sweet running stroller called “the bob”. More shocks than an suv.
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Walking to the start

The logistics here have always been difficult as they cram 20k runners into the small town. One of the benefits of being one of the last runners to the line is that I don't have to wait for a restroom. Apparently the police are cracking down this year. Hopkinton likes supporting the race, but doesn't quite care for its entire town being treated as a toilet.

Weather isn't as good as I had hoped. 50 degrees which is good, but about to rain a little. Also wind has shifted to the northeast which will give a bit of a head wind.
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Enroute to the start

the marathon starts in two waves this year. 1200 and 1230. The unqualified runners, usually numbering about 2000 plus, start at the end of the second wave. Given the total number of runners, probably won't cross the start line until about 1245.

No traffic is allowed into hopkington, the town where the race starts. If you are an unofficial runner, you have to find someone to drop you off on the side of the expressway and its about a mile hike in to the center of town. My wife is driving me in right now ... Not sure she is happy about it.
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Reports From The Course - Boston Marathon

Today, I will run some of the Boston Marathon course as a bandit - a bandit is a nonqualified runner. I plan to use a blackberry to update this blog about every 5 miles. The posts will start about 12:30 EST and continue until I finish, maybe only a half marathon. I can't promise you how many updates there will be as I haven't trained for this marathon. Why do this? Two reasons:

1) I'm curious about how much blog traffic I can get through what I'm calling a "flash blog" - a blog of set duration intended to only cover one event. In most of the blogosphere, authority through number of posts and reputation drives posts. I'm curious how that might be different for an event. I will post stats by wednesday for those interested.

2) I'm running because I feel like I haven't had a good physical challenge in awhile. Although I didn't train properly, I have a fairly good running base and know my limitations.


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