Thursday, April 22, 2010

PR with a Poop - Part I

Written by Aaron Linz
No chance that I can write better than Jay Holder as he edits for a living. However, I hope I can provide you all with some entertaining stories and a little inspiration about the 2010 Boston marathon. This is the first of a 3 part series about my Boston Marathon experience. Boston is EVERYTHING you hear and then some. It is the super bowl of marathon running. It exceeded my expectations in so many ways.

Boston training started for me in December. I had officially planned to start in January but ended up getting almost 300 miles under my belt in December. Over the course of January – February, I put in my first 80+ weeks ever and my first 300+ months. This is pretty cool considering I ran track at UNC Chapel Hill and never came close to these numbers. I was fortunate to have no major injuries during my training cycle.

Most of all, I was consistent. I can’t point to any one workout or even a series of them. Just week after week knocking out the miles and having fun doing it (Never forget to have fun…if you are enjoying it, other than keeping your ass from getting big, why do it?). I remember a 5:30am run in about a 40 degree blowing cold rain with Thomas. I remember a run through snow in McAlpine with Jay and we were the only folks in the park. I remember emails and calls to my best buddy up in DC, Billy Pemberton who I dragged into MCM so he could qualify for Boston. We would share training and help motivate each other. If you want to improve you running, the biggest advice I can give you is to be consistent. No one workout will take you to the next level but week after week, month after month will build your body.

So, by the time I hit the Charlotte airport, I was pretty darn excited and felt really well prepared. The yard work I did on Saturday was not wise. I knew I did too much lifting mulch and dirt bags to create a new vegetable garden but hopefully the hamstring pain would go away by race day on Monday.

Most folks flew up Saturday. I honestly wanted to save a few bucks and I wanted to stay with my family and sleep in my own bed. Jay had sent me a few text messages Saturday about the expo and being up in Boston so I was anxious to get up there myself. I remember all your faces and enjoy chatting with new folks but I must admit I am terrible with names. I sat with a fella who lives up in the University area. He has 2 young children that he left with the grandparents so he and his wife could head up for the marathon weekend. I chatted to him about Charlotte Running club and hope he joins soon (he may have as Caitlin does a great job of welcoming new members and I am a bit behind reviewed the new folks).

I landed in Boston, met my best buddy Billy Pemberton who flew in from DC. We headed to the expo. WOW!!! HUGE expo! Adidas stuff was everywhere (primary sponsor) and folks were SO friendly at all the booths. It was a runner geekfest! I could not resist making some purchases including buying the new Garmin 110 GPS watch…Yes, swore I would never do this but finally the thing is smaller than a basketball. I have some specific needs for it so figured the time had come.

Headed back to the hotel, went for a short 2 mile easy run with Billy and then a quick rest in the hotel hot tub. We stayed over near the airport in the Embassy Suites. Billy and I wanted to stay near the hotel so we asked downstairs for a nearby Italian restaurant. Again, I am bad with names but the place was cool. Little local joint. Nice folks, great food. Miller Lite, Spagetti, salad, bread all for 11 bucks. Only issue was I had two huge meatballs and ice cream on the way home. More on that later 

Billy and I went to bed around 9pm. I had got lots of sleep all week so even if I did not sleep a wink, I knew I was rested. Tossed and turned a bunch and by our 5:15 wake-up, I was more than read to go.

So here is where you start to really learn about the actual Boston marathon. I hear the New York logistics are similar. 5:15am wake-up. We hit breakfast downstairs which was full of runners. Out of the hotel at 5:45am to walk over to the subway. Subway was loaded with runners. We headed over to Boston Common to load onto school buses. 40 min ride on a school bus. It is pretty wild to be in a convoy on 50 buses heading somewhere all in line. I will bring this up several times but in Massachusetts, Patriots day is a holiday and all schools and most businesses have it off. This helps a ton to provide logistics and support for the race as folks have time to do it.

The bus dropped us of at 7am….race does not start until 10am so we headed into a huge field full of tents, sponsors, porta potties and other runners. We had packed a lot of stuff as being our first time when did not know what to bring. Billy brought a tarp that we placed on the field and laid down for a bit. For those going in the future, there is plenty of water, Gatorade and bagels in the start areas.

There was the most interesting porta potties that had a crank to flush and let’s just say, it did not dispose of stuff very well. I tend to have a fair amount of business before a race so I stay near porta johns.

We stripped of our warm gear, checked it into the buses that go back to the start line and started the walk to the start line. It is about a mile walk to the actual start from the school. Billy and I chatted with a Canadian fella who had run 5 Boston marathons before and helped calm us down a bit. My hamstrings were still a bit tight but race day so I was ready to go. Temp was about 50 degrees, windy but sunny.

Billy and I wished each other good luck and he entered his corral. I got to head up to corral one and say Jay immediately outside it. Corral I is a cool honor and I am very thankful I got that experience. The reason is the elite athletes pass right by you to head to the front. Here I am with a bunch of sub 2.45 marathoners…some as fast as 2.20 and under and yet, we were like school kids when the elites went by. Jay was right up against the fence and got a high five from both Ryan Hall and Meb. Credit to those guys..they were pumped and got me excited. They high fived and hollered at the crowd.

Being a guy affords certain advantages. Let’s just say if you are in a crowded start area and need to do things, a Gatorade bottle is very handy. Go goes off and the race begins!!!

Next up….THE RACE
• Too fast
• Crowds
• Poop
• Hills
• Survive
• Uno Mas
• Finish

Followed by…POST RACE• Medical tent
• Pizza
• Beer
• Touring the town
• Texts and FB

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