Boston’s Run To Remember 2012

On the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, Rebecca and I ran Boston’s Run To Remember Half Marathon, a race honoring fallen law enforcement officers.  I set this race as a goal race to see where my fitness was heading into training for the Hartford Marathon and came away happy with the results.  To skip to the punch line, I ran a 1:50:33.  Put against my 1:56:50 at the Providence Rock N Roll Half Marathon and 2:02:45 at the BAA Half Marathon in August and October 2011 respectively, I am really pleased with the performance.  My run pales to Rebecca’s though as she took an amazing 24 minutes off of her Providence time!  As important as the time though were the racing techniques I was able to work on during the run, as detailed below

1.  Don’t let a crowded start ruing your race.

A last minute run to the restroom made it impossible to try and position myself in the proper pace corral for the race and I ended up around the 10:00 group, about 1.5 minutes slower than I ran for the day.  Often, when I find myself in that situation, I get caught up in trying to escape the crowds and waste a lot of energy weaving in and out of people.  I also end up running faster than I want to.  This time, knowing there was plenty of ground to cover, I decided to settle in at the pace of others around me and move up where I saw clear opportunities without expending energy dodging people.  I knew that I could make up a slow start over the course of the race and resolved not to blow everything by starting too fast, which would invariably catch up with me in the later miles.

2.  Focus on the present

In a race of any distance, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking about how many miles you have left to run.  This problem is obviously magnified the more miles there are to go in a race.  Hoping to avoid this, I focused on a new mantra: “Just run Mile ___” or “You can only run mile ___.”  I concentrated on the fact that I could only run the mile I was running at the time and could not worry about what the next mile would be.  This approach really helped me not get discouraged if I was feeling tired or worried about my ability to maintain my pace.  I also made a conscientious effort to not start thinking about how much distance remained in the current mile by not checking my watch to see where I was in each split (i.e. if I was 4 minutes into the mile I would know I was roughly halfway done).  I actually managed to avoid doing this up until mile 12 when I was really starting to feel it.

3.  Avoid losing too much time on water stops

By comparing my splits on miles without water stops to those with them, I was able to get a sense of how much time I was losing by taking water, roughly 30-40 seconds by walking through them.  For races over 10K, I usually walk through the stop to try to get more hydration rather than trying to dump water in my mouth at pace.  Later in the race I moved to a jog and only took water every other stop.  I tried to be aware of how I was feeling and not take water just to take it.

Of course, there are plenty of things I still need to work on when racing.  In particular, I need to be able to maintain focus and drive when presented with a seemingly never-ending home stretch.  This is something I’ve known since high school XC races but have never mastered.  I tend to get discouraged when I know the finish line should be coming up, but isn’t in sight and I need to just keep pressing on.  That actually segways nicely into my only gripe about the race (other than the fact that it was a pricey race and the t-shirt was just a unisex cotton one).  The starting line was not marked in any way and there were multiple timing strips, making it impossible to know when you had actually crossed the start line to begin your watch.  Not a big deal, but easy to fix.

All in all, I really liked this race and would definitely do it again!


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4 Responses to “Boston’s Run To Remember 2012”

  1. Dan Says:

    Nice time improvement! I ran this race two years ago and loved it. The course was beautiful, varied and delightfully flat. Plus, the weather was gorgeous, so I couldn’t complain. I remember being a bit worried at the small number of aid stations, but it ended up being okay. I really like the badge-like medal too 🙂

  2. Says:

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