2011 Boston Marathon Results

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Well, I’m back home again, letting the dust settle a bit. It was quite a whirlwind week, last week. We had a great crew of Chi Runners helping out at the ChiRunning booth on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. (Thank you all soooooo much. You all did a great job and we couldn’t do this type of event without you. It was a true blessing to have you out there “working the crowds.”)

And there were definitely crowds. The Health and Fitness Expo was a sea of runners, families and industry people sharing in the build-up to the race. I was the first speaker in their speaker series on Thursday afternoon and we had a sizable crowd despite the fact that it was the first day of the expo and I was scheduled to start speaking only 15 min. after the doors opened. Many thanks to all the wonderful ChiRunning fans who came by our booth to give us their testimonials, which we hope to post on the website soon. If it’s the pain-free ChiRunning technique that keeps them going, it’s their success stories that keep us going.

Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee stopped by to say hi. They’re the folks who wrote the book Barefoot Running.

I also gave a ChiRunning talk and demonstration to the AMAA (American Medical Athletic Assoc.) Symposium that was happening across the street from the convention center. It’s an annual meeting of doctors who gather to share their knowledge of the latest in the care of running related injuries. The “act” that I followed was a discussion on barefoot running given by Dr. Dan Lieberman, Dr. Ilene Davis, and Dr. Mark Cucuzzella.  It was perfect timing for me to directly follow them because the attendees had been sitting and listening to speakers for hours. So, as usual, once the ChiRunning talk started they were up on their feet. I am VERY interested in more doctors hearing about the positive benefits of the pain-free ChiRunning technique and we’re winning more over every year. The talk was well received and many of the docs came by the booth afterwards to get a copy of the ChiRunning book.


The weather on race day couldn’t have been more ideal… as you can see by the finishing times of the leaders. (The winner deserves to hold the world record even if the course is a net downhill. Running Heartbreak Hill, preceded by the Newton Hills, at the speed those guys are running is amazing.) The temperature at the start was about 45º and it was a cloudless day. The constant tail wind varied between 5-15 mph and was a wonderful boost up the hills. The peak temperature never felt hot (≍55º).

The start is a nice downhill and I was just running by feel for most of the first half. I felt very comfortable holding a 7:45 mpm pace for the entire first half. It was incredibly crowded, as you can imagine, so I spend a lot of time running in the dirt off to the side of the course, which felt like I was trail-running my way through the Boston Marathon. Lots of weaving up front. I must give the organizers a lot of credit. The start was one of the most organized and easy starts of any race this size I’ve ever seen. 27,000 people took off without a hitch. Having the chip stuck on the back of my race bib was also a nice feature.

Most of my up-front running focuses were: a. keeping my hips and legs as totally relaxed as possible, b. pelvic rotation on the downhills, c. lengthening my spine and keeping my shoulders low, d. leaning into the downhill sections to make up for any lost time on the uphills.

I started drinking water at every aid station after the 6-mile mark. My countdown timer was set to beep every 10 minutes, so I grabbed a small 6oz. water bottle from someone along the route and carried that. All I really needed was to drink every 10 minutes, not at every aid station. It worked just fine. The other thing I did was to take chocolate PowerGel about every 45 min. I’d do them in thirds and with each glob I would chase it with a mouthful of water and not swallow it until the gel was completely dissolved in the water.

I also took one Succeed! capsule every hour throughout the race. I tape them on my race bib with masking tape and peel them off as needed. I call them my “bullet pack.”

After the halfway mark the Newton Hills start showing up at mile 16. That’s when my legs started feeling the effects of standing on a concrete Expo floor for the three prior days. I did my best to switch to lots of upper body usage and driving with the obliques and it worked well on the uphill sections. My pace through the Newton Hills slowed to anywhere from 8:15’s to 9:45’s.  After I crested the top of Heartbreak Hill (late in mile 20) I was able to re-cohere my energy and focus all the way to the finish.

The throngs of encouraging spectators lining the course was a total inspiration. The Wellsley Girls were there as usual and gave everyone a good boost before heading into the hills. I’d have to say the best-crowd-of-the-day award goes to the folks on both sides of Heartbreak Hill… the “uphill” crowd lifted everyone’s spirits the “downhill” crowd was over the top 😉

I ran a couple of easy miles with Ryan Miller who graciously met me at mile 8 (where he grew up). Go to his FB page for a “running interview.” No matter how much I weaved through the crowd, every time I looked around he was right there beside me like a shadow.

Many, Many heartfelt thanks to all the aid station workers and organizers who helped to make this year’s Boston a fabulous experience for all the runners. There is NO WAY we could do it without your support.

I have only a very slight soreness in my quads today from the downhills. I went for a bike ride this morning to circulate the blood through my legs and they’re feeling great right now. Thanks also to all of you who have cheered commented on my Boston training on FB. It’s sooooo inspiring!

First place in my AG finished 1 hour ahead of me!


Posted in Technique, Inside Chi

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