April 22, 2006

The Boston Rundown

One non-blogger who ran the Boston marathon is my upstairs neighbor, Mark Bernal. The first time we met, I was stretching before a run. The second time, I was stretching after a run. Then I found out he actually works for NYRR Foundation for Kids. And sometime after that, he let slip that he was getting ready to run Boston. So it was really exciting to talk to Mark when he got back from Boston Tuesday; after all, why idolize the elites when you can idolize someone who actually qualifies for and runs Boston and who lives in your house?

Turns out, Mark ran the race in 3:09:05, shaving three seconds off his PR from his first, most recent, and until-now-only marathon, the Shamrock. I know Mark had suffered from plantar fasciitis for some time, so I was glad he was able to conquer a tough course. The weather, he notes, was perfect and every blog I've read agrees with that assessment. Mark reports that the two-wave start was a good idea and that about half the runners were women, in stark contrast to the days when NO women ran Boston. Mark commented on the nature of the course, how the run from outside into Boston is a nice course, going through little towns along the way; he was especially impressed with the notorious Boston cheering crowds. After such a good run (though he'd hoped for better), Mark is contemplating the much smaller Rochester marathon next.

Mark's is one of over 22,500 stories about running this year's Boston Marathon. Some of them ended up on the weblogs. I have tried to boil them down here to the best of the best as well as give due time to entries that describe the run-up to or the aftermath of the Main Event. Phone interviews are nice, but bloggers are often more detail-oriented. So without further pre-amble: the race reports!

From the male contingent, Scott Dunlap makes good use of his camera and posts an excellent race report. Vince Hemington feels he got "slapped around but good."
And Turner Wright turned in a solid performance and an equally solid write-up.

With a story similar to that of hundreds of runners, Kim discovers that using Boston as a first marathon (TNT runner) can turn things into the best of times and the worst of times.

Brad Feld also ran for charity (the Michael Lisnow Respite Center) and shares his thoughts about running a 5:07. He also has a link to Coverville, a music podcast that should make for some great running music.

Some stories were quite amazing. Vindy.com posts an article about a double by-pass patient who ran Boston in 4 hours; beating her husband by 29 minutes here. And "Legwork" writes briefly about his 34-Bostons streak. Runguru posts a fascinating time-line style write-up of the race by an elite, who was also one of the top 10 finishers.

A diversion: Joshua "Flash" Gordon brings up a touchy subject and disposes of it with tact and finality. You may have to turn off your sound and get your vision checked when you're done, but the page is worth a read guys.

Elizabeth Hansen, another TNT-er, ran a great race, but still feels it was "strong, but not smart", as she dispensed with her negative-splits plan and just ran all out to see what her limits were - and found them. Her all-about-me post sums her up nicely and indicates she's in training for some Ultras and a half-Ironman. Boston is just a single cobblestone on a greater path.

By contrast, Grace, had a great race , as did Jonelle who gives it to us town by town.

While not quite a blog, Steve Runner, voted #1 sports podcast at Podcast Alley, posts a fascinating, funny, en-"gross"-ing podcast about his rough experience in Boston. This audio blog includes a rousing reading of Phidipedes' famous run, escorts the listener through athlete's village, then gives a mile-by-mile audio commentary recording during the race. During some of it, Steve even has a conversation with his later recorded commentator self. His dry wit makes for a good listen and I recommend downloading it for your next long run.

Interesting bit about the Tour of Marathon Majors here.

Boston attracts the fastest runners, of course, so I love how Andrew characterizes a 6:58 mile as "painfully slow". And Mike from San Diego comments:
Unlike most marathons, Boston is not about first timers or "just" finishing or even (for better or worse) raising money for charity. Boston is elitist in the sense that it is exclusionary and competitive. Virtually everyone at Boston is a "serious" marathoner, and it doesn't matter to any of the participants whether anyone else cares because for those 3+ hours it's only the rest of the field that counts.

On a personal note, I am disturbed by the number of Technorati hits on MySpace blogs that a "boston marathon" search brings up. With a few exceptions, the qualitative difference between MySpace bloggers and Blogger or LiveJournal or independently-hosted bloggers is substantial. If blogging were a disease, the CDC would be trying to stamp out MySpace.

For instance, Jared runs the race in 2:32, comes in 67th, and makes a less than 200-word post about it. He is not alone in his brevity among MySpace Boston marathoners, many of whom must have great stories, but just won't elaborate on them.

A notable exception is Dove, who wrote a solid write-up of her experience. What makes it all the more amazing is that aftering suffering family tragedy in October, she could do this at all. I had some days where running was my therapy, but there were far more that were just plain difficult because all I wanted to do was lay in bed and sleep...running was at the bottom of my list of things I wanted to do.

A very notable blog entry came in several days after the marathon. It is posted by ruNNergirL, who absolutely, hands-down wins the HOLY-SHIT-Award for her tale of the bummer of all races.

And lastly:

Future Boston Marathoner? Like a hundred others, Michelle, a single mom of 3 teenage boys, has vowed to get her life on track and is in training for her first marathon, with an eventual goal of running Boston. Unlike the other 99, she'll do it, I believe. Come on, everybody, show her the love and support the blogging community can give.


Michelle said...

Thanks for your comments. Love your blog. Love your bloggerhead title -- very cool! I can't wait to be where you are. 10 miles today and never loved pain so much. Good luck.

Anne said...

Great rundown. I loved the personal commentary as much as the great blogs you highlighted.

Turner said...

Hey, thanks for your approval of my Boston story; I just googled other stories today and didn't know I was linked from anywhere. Will have to check those out. Next month I'm flying out to Japan and will try to run the Osaka Marathon in '07.