Report from the 2010 Boston Marathon
by Steve MacLellan

Steve approaching the Finish Line in Copley Square

Well folks, another marathon has come and gone. This year's Boston Marathon was much tougher than I expected. Thought I jot down a few notes to share with everyone.

To start with, I really had no intention of running the 2010 Boston Marathon at all, but started to think about it while we were travelling in Turkey in mid-March. The training program was only a bit more than three weeks --- crazy by any measure. The typical training regime lasts about 18 weeks and should have started in December of 2009.

My training for Boston officially started on March 28th --- the day I figured my left IT band was good enough for a long run. So I started with a 15 miler from my house in Lincoln, Mass. to Harvard Square in Cambridge. The run wasn't exactly pleasant, but I didn't collapse at the end either. I logged a total of 115 miles in those three weeks, including a very painful 20 mile hilly run from Harvard to Lincoln.

For background, last fall I got hurt running the Nahant 30K (40F, heavy rain, very windy) and then repeatedly re-injured my ITB training for and then running the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC in late October. The night before the MCM, I couldn't even run two blocks around the hotel due to unbearably stiff legs. Ibuprofen was invaluable the next day, but probably running that day wasn't the smartest thing to do.

I typically follow Hal Higdon's "Marathon - The Ultimate Training Guide". This is a great narrative and instructional guide for anyone wanting to complete a marathon. I've built spreadsheets from his day-by-day guides and track my runs religiously. See:

With my ITB injury, I spent the winter in physical therapy. I kept up my general shape by doing cardio work religiously as part of Tuft University's "Trek to Talloires", logging over 210 hours of mixed exercise from January through April 12th. Many thanks to Anthony Sista at Wellesley Theuraputics for his very able physical therapy.

The morning of the race, I got up a little past five AM and had my favorite breakfast of blueberry pancakes, coffee, and juice. Made up a P&B sandwich for the ride out to Hopkinton and then hit the road to park downtown in Boston.

The trip to Hopkinton involves waiting in huge lines on Boston Common with thousands and thousands of your fellow runners. You get herded onto bright yellow school busses and then get a police escort out of town onto the Mass Pike. If you're an elite runner, they load you carefully onto a luxury bus and a police motorcycle escorts clears sleepy drivers out of your path. And there are bathrooms on board.

The trip is longish --- about an hour and a half. This year's trip featured several over hydrated first time runners, pouring gallons of sport drinks and water down their throats. Not the best idea for such a long trip. We had one thirty year old guy who couldn't hold it any longer and filled up an entire Gatorade bottle. (Originally, he asked for my water bottle, claiming he'd clean it out in Hopkinton, but I didn't fall for that one.) The women sitting around him were not impressed.

The run was great, couldn't have asked for better weather! Once again, I started at the way back in Hopkinton, with out a few bandits behind me.

About two miles after the start, I caught up with Rudy Pauls, a winner from the Biggest Loser TV show. IHe was working hard, focusing on his pace and breathing. I was more impressed with seeing him run than anyone else in the marathon.

Rudy Pauls running down Boylston Street

Running started to get hard past Wellesley and even harder by the time I hit Newton Lower Falls. Pauline helped a lot by giving me bananas and support in Wellesley Center. Later Pauline, Stephen, Heather met up with me at the fire station at the base of Heartbreak Hill before the right turn onto Comm Ave.

BC was fantastic this year --- helped by the screaming students (and BC logo ironed on my running top). The level of noise and encouragement way exceeded even Wellesley College and its famous "Tunnel of Screams". Maria met me at 1970 Commonwealth Ave, where we grew up as kids. After a few pictures and hugs, it was on to Boston. Much larger crowds this year from BC onward --- helped by the great weather.

Ian and Brittany greeted me at Kenmore Square with much needed encouragement for the final push to Copley Square and the finish line. Did the final mile in 9:15 despite stops for fans and a short walk to work through cramps.

I am very fortunate to have very supportive family, friends, and colleagues that both contributed to Good Sports and helped cheer me on. Together we raised $2,776.20. Thank you!!!

The misery of running the marathon ends as soon as you cross the blue finish line and the very helpful volunteers wrap your freezing body in space blankets.

Already thinking about the next one…

April 24, 2010

Steve crossing the Fnish Line in Copley Square