JFK 50 Miler

March 27th, 2010 - Training - Hopkinton to Heartbreak Hill - 21

Day 86 - Well, the day finally came. With 23 days to go until The Marathon, I went out for a lonesome long run...with over a thousand other runners, including 18 or so GLRR members.

According to most training regiments, today was the ideal last day to put in your last long run. I don't believe in training for races (See New Bedford Half 2001 results), but I guess they're right.

Glenn & Co. didn't have enough on their plate this weekend, so they decided to spend nearly half the day enthusiastically herding and supporting us runners from Hopkinton to the top of Heartbreak Hill.

Infinity + 1 thanks to all of the volunteers from GLRR who helped out:

Paul H.
Paul K.

Not only did they herd us, they also drove us from Chelmsford to the Hopkinton start, and from Heartbreak finish back to Chelmsford. All us runners had to do was stink up their cars and complain the whole day!

Not to take the spotlight away from the volunteers, but my long run was great....until I hit the wall at 18! I definitely didn't prepare myself well enough to simulate race conditions. Major walnut rot from not lubricating properly, and wearing a pair of racers that were nowhere near being broken in. Two nasty blisters are proof of that.

I guess that's why we do these long runs. To catch these mistakes ahead of time, before it really counts.

It was about the upper 20's for temps when we got out of the warm and cozy cars for our run from Hopkinton to BC. I decided to just wear shorts down below, and a couple layers, along with my singlet, and compression sleeves/gloves/wool hat up above. The only thing that I discarded before the run was over were my ear warmers.

I started out running stride for stride with Nate for about the first 18 miles, going at a nice clip (7's with a lot of sub 7's in between). I figured that he completed last year's Boston in 2:54, so he knew what pace would be good for us. The only thing that I didn't factor in was that he was probably going to shoot for sub 2:50 this year! We did mention a couple of times that we were going too fast, but we never did manage to slow down.

As an aside, an amazing thing that I learned during our run is that Nate's sister-in-law was my high school cross country coach at Lowell Catholic! This world just got a little bit smaller!

I also ran into and with Frank G. a couple of times on the course, with the last time being right before the firehouse. Frank and Nate dropped me at the bottom of Commonwealth Ave, and I continued on alone for first time today. I didn't have much left in the tank at this point.

I started to think about food. A very bad sign for me.

My pace began to creep up second by second as I basically shuffled stepped my way up the first hill at about a 9 minute pace. Other runners began passing me.

One major factor that I think dragged me down the most (besides going out way too fast for a training run - VDOT!) was that I kept on thinking about the Newton hills after I struggled a bit going over the 128 overpass. Worrying about a set of hills that I've completed twice before drained me of vital energy. I completely bonked by the time I turned onto Commonwealth.

The weather also changed dramatically on Commonwealth. The sun was shining at full-peak and the headwinds of earlier were completely nonexistent. It was perfect for a run, but I felt like crap and couldn't take advantage of the conditions.

I eventually grabbed some GU from the GU people and that helped a lot over the final 2 miles. I met Linda at mile 18.8 and was very tempted to just call it a day and have my feet looked at. I felt better after stopping and getting some gatorade, so I slowly and cautiously tackled the next hill.

I managed to get over that hill with a little more gusto, increasing my stride close to normal.

The GU finally kicked in at the bottom of Heartbreak, and seeing Jessica's van at the top gave me a tremendous boost. I knew the struggle was almost over.

Doing this long run after New Bedford last weekend also factored into the fatigue, but I also committed a lot of rookie mistakes today. I need to focus and get my act together if I plan on finishing anywhere close to or below 3 hrs in 23 days.

My pace over the 21 miles ended up being 7:11.

Besides my pace dropping throughout the day, my confidence also dropped. My remedy for that is to get more rest, and coming up with a smarter attack plan for April 19th, like taking the subway to the finish.

Looking forward to NOT racing and volunteering at the Irish Feet Are Runnin' race tomorrow in Lowell.


  1. HopkiNTon, HopkiNTon, HopkiNTon. NO G! You are going to have a great run from HopkiNTon to Bostogn, rest up and you'll kick ass.

  2. Wow! You are one tough mother-editor! Corrected. Thanks!