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Boston Extreme, Part 2… Race Day

Race day began with the weather that had been forecast… but Hyland’s had a couple of very nice perks set up to make the day nicer…. To start, we had a Charter bus…. rather than riding the school bus with the thousands of runners, we had a nice warm comfortable charter bus… better yet… the bus stayed! Rather than being dropped off to hang out at the athlete village… in the cold, the wind, and the rain, we were allowed to hang in the bus until it was time to start heading to the start line. …. VERY NICE!

At both of my previous Boston Marathons I had headed to the corrals earlier than I was supposed to, but it was so cold I was content to wait as long as I could. It turned out that waiting so long barely got me there on time. We had to walk through the village and there just a solid mass of WAVE 3 runners trying to get going…. I made it into my corral about 2 minutes before the start of the wave… I wore a rain coat layer over a shirt, a long sleeve shirt and a throw away windbreaker. In the corral I got rid of the rain coat layer. I figured once I got underway the wind breaker could go.


As we started running the rain intensified. The wind was noted, but with the crowds, it seemed that most of the time you could draft someone. So, with downhill and crowds and drafting I was able to maintain an 8 min/mile -3:30 marathon pace through the first half. The 5k splits are shown below.

0:24:48 0:08:00 5k
0:48:57 0:07:47 10K
1:13:56 0:08:04 15k
1:39:37 0:08:17 20K
2:05:05 0:08:13 25k
2:31:28 0:08:31 30K
2:59:13 0:08:57 35k
3:27:27 0:09:06 40K
1:45:09 0:08:02 HALF
3:39:31 0:08:23 FULL

Somewhere around mile 4 or 5… maybe 6, my friend Steve Brumwell went by. It was amazing that I spotted him. I had just grabbed a drink at a water station and I looked at the runner ahead of me…. He was tall and his form looked like Steve… I called out Bremwell and he turned and looked. We said hi, and he went on his way…

I continued, drafting runners and trying to relax, through the scream tunnel, the girls of Wellesley… Not too much further, as we got into the second half.. I spotted Steve again. I gained on him and tried to quietly pass by. He spotted me and picked up a bit and we talked a while together. In a water station, he got a little ahead again. I looked ahead as climbed over a high spot and started a downhill that curved a bit to the right. I try to run tangents so I angle to the right and sped up on the downhill. Steve stayed to the left as I inched by.

The next section of the race was the Newton hills. I kept imagining Steve was right behind a little bit. It helped me keep up a solid effort on the hills… all the way to the top of heartbreak hill…. I noticed, meanwhile that I was falling farther and farther behind my 8 min/mile pace. I hoped that when I got to the downhill after heartbreak I would be able to speed up and make up some time. This had worked for me in 2010….

Cresting heartbreak, trying to accelerate…. there was a problem… The further I had gone into the race, the more space there was between runners. The harder it was to find someone to try to draft…. and the wind was definitely getting stronger. It was frustrating. It was just too hard to fight the wind and even come close to the goal pace. Still, the thought of Steve catching me kept me from easing off. No stops, no walk breaks, just focus…. When I got to the last mile I had already passed 3 hours and 30 minutes…. I realized that a strong last mile could still get me a Boston Qualifier. … past the Sitgo sign.. 1 mile to go… under the underpass… right on Hereford…. left on Boyleston… 600 meters, 4 stop lights, less than 4 minutes till 3:40… I really bore down and past quite a few other runners. The final partial mile split was 7:20…. final time 3:39:31,,,,


So, my first goal was 3:27…. an Age Graded PR… my second goal 3:30… or even 3:35…. to get me into Boston next year…. I don’t think these were in the cards given the weather… So, I am thrilled just to be able to say that I re Qualified for Boston at Boston…. Of course if I really want to get in, I will have to go qualify elsewhere under better conditions. If I can be a Hyland’s Legacy runner again…. I think I will give it a go!

After finishing the race Hyland’s really came through for us runners. I walked through the finish area got my medal, got my wrap…. much more than just a mylar blanket from the BAA this time… nice… and the moment I left the finish area, there was Margo. She gave me big yell, and a big hug… and started walking me toward the post race party… Just another block away was a really nice gym and club… They played a celebration song as I went in. Everyone stood and gave me high fives… they took some photos… and then took my bag, and escorted me to the showers…. a nice hot shower was perfect to get some body heat going…. back downstairs there was a nice buffet… drinks… and most importantly lots of time to just sit and share the story of the day with the rest of the team…

For a few hours anyway…. then I flew home… same day…. really….got to bed at 2:20 pacific…. It was a long day… and a very short night…. Made it to work the next day…. because…

First I run, and then I teach the kids!


5 replies »

  1. Congrats.. Just amazing how runners can find motivation to run in such dreaded conditions and be happy about it. I remember running the LA Marathon with Fran in the worst LA downpour in history but it was fun and the memories will stay with you forever.

    • Congratulations! I felt a little guilty sitting in my nice warm office tracking your progress throughout the morning. I concur with Clay. Some of my best marathon memories are from races run in the most adventurous conditions.

      I was not surprised by your outstanding race day performance. I have always admired your mental toughness. Way to go Dale!

  2. I enjoyed your great report on a really full weekend, thanks to the Hylands organization and the BAA. Even if you had done poorly in the terrible weather conditions, you have lots of good memories of the experience that made it all worthwhile. But even though you didn’t get the 3:27 PR you wanted, you did meet your secondary goal of re-qualifying for Boston next year — congratulations!!! You’re a tough teacher!!!! — Alan

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April 2018


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