I’m back home in Caragh Lake, very tired after a night basically without sleep (a few minutes on the plane and the bus was all I managed). Tomorrow I have to be back at work (oh joy!) and life returns back to normal. Well, at least to what goes under normal in our manic six-people household.
It’s almost exactly 48 hours since I finished the race, and I’ve had plenty of time to think about it. Thanks for all those comments, I loved reading every single one of them. They gave me some additional pointers to chew.
Basically, I’m at peace with my performance. Now that I know the course and the fact that my quads were not ready to withstand the downhills I realise that sub-3 simply was not possible. I think I pretty much had the best race I was able to produce. Pulling the emergency breaks before the 15 mile mark (I thought it was a mile earlier, but I’m going by the Garmin’s chart now) was the right thing to do. As quite a few have pointed out, a 10 minute positive split was by no means a bad performance on Monday. I felt bad during the second half, in a lot of pain, and to run a 1:40 half marathon over the Newton hills on destroyed legs isn’t bad. Very few runners managed to run even splits; I can only congratulate them on a very good race, and they are very much the exception. The only one amongst runners I've met who DID have a good race was Mark - and he has permanent access to the course itself. Coincidence? I don't think so.
I forgot to mention the headwind in my report, mainly because it wasn’t responsible for my troubles. But there is no doubt that it was a factor. I hardly felt it during the first 10k but it became a lot worse afterwards. Apparently we had to deal with a constant breeze of 20 mph, not that I can verify that number. I also felt distinctly cold at times, and that takes a lot of cooling. There was no place to hide from it, all we could do was to suck it up and go on. It’s difficult to say how much time it cost me, but certainly not the 5 minutes I was off my PR.
My 5k splits during the first half were excellent, even if I say so myself. The figures are 21:15, 21:18, 21:23, 21:10, 21:54, 23:45, 25:19 (ouch) and 24:43. I had run well within myself during the first half, which is why I managed to keep the first 4 figures so close to each other. The slowest part of the course were the Newton Hills, of course. The listed 5k figures don’t include the last 2+k to the finish where I had managed to speed up again to 22:44 5k pace, not great, but a lot faster than the previous part. I take solace from these figures. They are not a disaster, and the way I was feeling at mile 16 I would have taken that gladly. I managed to salvage a half-decent performance from what could have been a complete wreck.
The post-marathon amnesia must have set in already. When Niamh said that next time she will come with me I didn’t even bat an eyelid. I don’t think it will be 2010, but I have that nagging feeling that Boston and me are not done with each other just yet.
So, what’s next? Well, for a start I won’t be running for a few days. We’ll be in Trabolgan next weekend which will more or less coincide with the twins’ eight birthday, and I won’t be bringing my running gear. After that I’ll see when I want to start running again, and that’s when I pick it up again.
Originally I thought I’d run Longford as my next marathon if I don’t break 3 hours in Boston. As far as I know it’s the only flat marathon in Ireland, and possibly my only hope of achieving that target. However, I’m presently leaning towards running Dingle early September, and I’m having dangerous thoughts of running Dublin as well, just 6 weeks and 2 days later. Hmm. As I’ve said, post-marathon amnesia must have set in already.
In conclusion I have to say that I had a fantastic weekend in Boston, and no regrets about anything. The hospitality that my hosts showed towards me was incredible; those people were great ambassadors for Americans, or at least Bostonians. Thank you so much. It was great to meet Mike, Michael, Hicham (very briefly), Mark and Jeanne. Thanks for everything. As that fellow countryman of mine used to say, I’ll be back.