Monday, October 19, 2015

Baystate Marathon

After the Ragnar Trail Relay at the end of June, I hit a low point in motivation...I was down and out, I had no desire to run and just wasn't into it.  I ran the Blessing of the Fleet at the end of July and "the not being into it" showed.  I totally gave up at 4 miles and just got though the race.  The week after that I ran the Run 4 Kerri 4 Miler and rebounded a bit from my piss poor Blessing and this got me a tad more motivated, so motivated that I said fuck it, I am going to sign up for Baystate, so that night I took the plunge and signed up.

The week after Run 4 Kerri, I jumped into the Bobby Doyle 5 Miler since it was a rare appearance of a USATF-NE Grand Prix Series in RI.  This race went way better than expected and from there on my training for Baystate was ON.

I ended up racing a few more times between Bobby Doyle and Baystate.  On August 22nd, I ran the Pour to the Shore "5k" Beach Race put on my Two Roads Brewing Company.  After that I put my focus on having good long runs and consistent training, nothing over the top, just solid paced long runs and decent mileage around 75 to 80 miles a week with a random 100 mile week that just happened thrown in there.  The confidence builder race came on September 19th at the Wicked 20 Miler in Salem, MA.  I was originally thinking of racing the 1/2 marathon there, but in the end I thought doing the 20 at goal marathon pace would be more beneficially and definitely a good indicator of exactly where I was with fitness...and hopefully a confidence booster.  All of that came true, which you can read about HERE.  After that I had a couple more solid long runs and two "supplementary races", the Fool's Mile and one week out, The Grog & Dog Jog.  Needless to say, I got a good mix of long runs, speed work and eating under my belt.

The Grog was one week out and other than a few PT trips to make me feel better about all of the lingering sorenesses I have been having and the random new ones that kept creeping up, I only had one more hurdle to overcome before race day....BEERVANA.  Beervana is my favorite beer fest and I have gone the last 5 or so years in a row...when signing up for Baystate, I didn't know Beervana was two days before!  Long story short, I went, behaved myself and drank pretty damn responsibly and got to bed at a normal hour and did not sabotage my race!

Me, Mark and Scott at Beervana

Race weekend.  Saturday was pretty uneventful, I got my bib #, hung out in the hotel room, ate, hung out, and went to bed.

Sunday was cold.  About 30 degrees when we headed over to the Tsongas Center.  Chilly for hanging out outside, but perfect for racing a marathon.  Everything went well pre race.  Pop-Tarts in the AM, parking, bathroom stuff...all good.  Even the off hamstring pains I was having on Friday and Saturday seemed to be all that was left was 26.2 miles.

I will keep the race stuff pretty short...

0 to 12 miles Dave and I pretty much ran together every step of the way, I stopped REALLY quick to take a leak at 6 or so miles.  I caught up pretty quick, without going too fast to do so, and Dave and I were catching a pack of three runners that went out with a larger pack early.  We caught and passed them right around 9 miles and then after the water stop near 12, before going over the Rourke Bridge, I got a small gap on Dave.  I got over the bridge and starting this 10 mile loop for the second time.

12 to 20 miles...after I realized that Dave was not going to come back up beside me, I knew I was on my own.  There was no one in sight in front of me and I had a lot of work to do.  I went through the 1/2 marathon in 1:18:57, pretty perfect for my goal of breaking 2:40, but with half of the race to go, I knew anything could happen and it usually does.  There was a slightly stronger headwind from 16 to 18 or so than on the first loop, I had been hitting pretty much right under 6 min miles and then had one that was a 6:04, which made me slightly nervous for a second, but I reminded myself there was some wind and it was still under the 6:06 pace I needed.  Before heading over the Tyngsboro Bridge for the second time, I could see an orange singlet and was happy that I was reeling a runner in.  I think I was in 7th at the time and went by this guy around 19.  I went through 20 miles in 1:59:19, give or take and had just run a 5:46 and 5:49 for mile 19 and 20 and was pretty excited that I felt pretty darn good.  I was getting into my stride and feeling strong.  I thought at this point that 2:40 would happen and that I just needed to hold it together.

Right after 22..
20 to 25 miles...after seeing the 20 mile split and feeling that I could reach my goal, I think I had some confidence that made the next few miles roll pretty well...I dropped mile splits of 5:45, 5:49, 5:46 for the next three, this included the point where I almost got run over by the Wicked Witch of the West!  After 23, I could see two runners in front of me and they were coming back fast, I passed both of them pretty quick and thought I was now in 4th place.  I headed around the corner and could see one more runner pretty far ahead, but I was still moving good.  Miles 24 and 25 were 5:54 and 5:55 and I found myself moving into 3rd place right at the 25 mile marker.

25 to the finish.  To my surprise, I was still running quickly, I was able to run the last down hill HARD and went through the 1 mile to go with confidence, I knew I would now not only break 2:40, but also break 6 minute pace!  My legs were pretty tired with a 1/2 mile to go, but I was cruising, I came around the final corner and sprinted all out to the finish, 57 seconds for the last 0.21875.  I had FINALLY broken 2:40 and not by a few seconds, but by 3 mins and 45 seconds!  2:36:15 net time and 3rd place overall.  My old PR (2:40:47) was from the National Marathon in Washington DC from 2009 and this was only my third marathon PR in the dozens that I have run.  Starting with marathon #1, here is my progression.

2003 - Hartford Marathon - 2:56:02
2005 - Hyannis Marathon - 2:46:45
2009 - National Marathon - 2:40:47
2015 - Baystate Marathon - 2:36:15

Dave finished in 6th place in 2:43:55, faster than Cox in the Spring, but a slight wrong turn cost him about a minute.

Full Baystate Results

After the race, we headed to the Lowell Beer Works which is right near the finish and had a few beers and some food to celebrate the hard work.

Check out some Level Renner Coverage of the race!


  1. Congrats on an awesome marathon. Your training had been stellar and you killed it on game day! Now you can take it easy for trail racing season :)

    1. Thanks Jonny...and I will be sure to take it easy ;)

  2. Very impressive! I can't even imagine running 26.2 at that pace. Well done.

  3. Impressive training regimen and even more impressive execution on race day. Great work Bob!