Sunday, February 17, 2008

Last Chance for Boston Marathon Race Report

Photos courtesy of

Last Chance for Boston gets it's name because it is held on the last day you can qualify for Boston for the current year. I don't have a chance at qualifying just yet, so I just run it because I get to run around a paved loop 26.2 times. It's held in an office park, on a one mile loop in Dublin, Ohio. The elevation gain/loss is non existent (a few very slight inclines) but as Gabe pointed out an ultra runner can always find hills to walk.

As you could imagine it is usually very cold on race day, mid Ohio in the middle of February. Last year it was about 5 degrees, but this year it stayed around 40 degrees throughout the race. There was supposed to be a big rain storm, but it only rained a little for the first 40 minutes. The wind was a bit of an issue and got worse towards the end of the race, but it wasn't too bad.

I have been battling a few minor injuries recently and I haven't been able to get in the kind of training I would have like up to this point of the year, so I wasn't sure how this race was going to go. Following the advice of Tony, I decided to go for 3:30 (8:00 pace) which would be a new PR by 13 minutes. This is a great course for a PR, it's flat and you can keep track of your splits every .25 miles.

I ran into Brian, Don, Jenny, and Jon form the ECHO running club before the race and we chatted about the up coming racing season. Brian, Don and Jon are going to do the "Buckeye Slam" which is ALL 12 marathons in Ohio in 2008!! That's more road running than I can handle!

The race started a little after 8 O'clock with a light drizzle. The marathoners start 0.2 miles away from the finish line, so we ran the .2 miles first, then the 26. I made sure to hit the spilt button on my watch after the first .2 so I could tell what I ran the first full mile in. The clock they had at the start/finish line was pretty jacked up. When I came through after the first mile it already displayed 1 hour +. I didn't think I was running THAT slow. My first mile was 7:59:52, perfect!

The first couple miles were pretty tight. With 600+ runners on a one mile loop, it takes a little while for everyone the get spread out. They placed signs on the loop every 1/4 mile so you could calculate splits. That was really nice, the only problem was that the first 1/4 mile sign was short and the last 1/4 mile sign was long. That was pretty frustrating for the first 5 miles or so until I figured out why I was ahead of pace for each lap then lost 5 seconds on the last 1/4 mile. After I got all the pacing issues figured out and the crowd thinned I hit a nice grove around mile 8.

I was really concentrating on running even pace. I was wearing new shoes, Saucony Grid Sinisters, that only 3 miles on them so I was a little worried about blisters but they felt great the whole race. I was also very conscious of my fluid intake. That's what hurt me the most during my 15 mile run at 8:00 pace that I did last week. I made sure to get Gatorade after most every lap. I started getting hungry around mile 10, I thought they would have gels at the aid station (I seemed to have remembered that from last year.) but they didn't. I should have gotten some food out of my car and set it at the start/finish line before the race, but I didn't think about it. The Gatorade ended up being sufficient for keeping my appetite satisfied throughout the race.

At mile 14 my quads started to get heavy and my calves were a tired. I still felt good at mile 15 which was the longest I had ever run at that pace before. I was doing a good job at keeping even splits. I knew that if I wanted to finish in 3:30 I had to run even throughout. I didn't give myself any breathing room for slowing down at the end. I saw Liz (who got an awesome half marathon PR of 1:25:30! winning overall female, by 2+ minutes!) running her cool down laps after she finished her half (She's freaky fast) but I didn't get a chance to talk to her before or after the race :(

I was doing really well up until mile 18, then it started getting very difficult to stay on pace. The wind was really kicking up making the first 1/4 mile of each lap a real bear. at mile 23 I was really breathing hard and my legs were dead. The last 3 miles were by far the most difficult but I never faltered on my pacing and was able to finish in 3:29:18. Third in the male 20-29 age group out of 7. They gave me the second place plaque. I guess because the overall winner was in that age group (2:37!) so he didn't get an age group award. 35th place overall out of 146.

After the race I ate about 5 little debbie "Star Crunches" from my personal stash, then Gabe, Wendy, Regis and I went into the hotel and chowed down on the post race food. The pizza was delicious!

Mile 0.2: 1:54
Mile 1: 7:59
Mile 2: 7:57
Mile 3: 8:01
Mile 4: 8:04
Mile 5: 7:57
Mile 6: 8:01
Mile 7: 8:00
Mile 8: 8:05
Mile 9: 7:59
Mile 10: 8:01
Mile 11: 8:00
Mile 12: 7:51
Mile 13: 8:00
Mile 14: 7:56
Mile 15: 7:56
Mile 16: 7:56
Mile 17: 7:55
Mile 18: 7:55
Mile 19: 7:55
Mile 20: 7:57
Mile 21: 8:03
Mile 22: 8:00
Mile 23:7:56
Mile 24: 7:59
Mile 25: 7:57
Mile 26: 7:51

First half: 1:45 Second half: 1:44:19

Final time: 3:29:19 (7:59 pace)


Anonymous said...

to reiterate a point I had made in another comment somewhere...I hate you! Do you know how much harder I have to work now?

I ran a little tonight...will post it later.

Awesome job Josh! I am really in awe of you! Now take care of those shins so you can do McNaughton!!!

Kim said...

TO reiterate a point from some other comment somewhere..I love you!

Excellent splits. The weather this year was awesome compared to the weather from last year at LCFB.
Glad to hear you went and hung out with my local peeps too, I hope they had a good race!

Josh said...


lol, I have to keep you motivated, bro. Towards the end I was thinking "Mike's gonna hate this one." You'll be there pretty soon with all that running you've been doing at the pace, and with the coaching of Tony the master! He gives me one bit of advice and I run a 13 minute PR, what a coach!


Can you believe the way Mike speaks to me?! I love you, too! Wendy and Gabe made the Fresno Running club proud. Gabe blew up half way through but still managed to win "his" age group , you should ask him about that one, lol. Wendy ran a strong race, I followed her the first 10 miles or so. Regis stood around and laughed as we all ran in circles for 3.5+ hours.

tony said...

Josh, love you too! Congrats on a nice PR, all your hard work paying off, with even faster times to come, for sure! Please remember alternating hard day, easy day...and harder on hard days, easier on easy days. You tear down on hard day, and get stronger on easy days! But, you know that.
FYI... the Ethiopians & Kenyans run 9 minute pace on easy days, 4 minutes slower than race!
PS I wish I could get a job coaching... I love helping others with their running. Stay healthy, Josh!

Liz said...

hi! again, awesome job on the PR! i cannot believe how even you ran. your splits were like clockwork (no pun intended). and i saw you wore the sinsiters, how did you like them? i ran in those also, they are my personal favorite shoe. are you sore today? generally, i'm not (i'm about to go on a shake out run and find out) my elbows are. did i use them???
haha. but again, i only ran half the distance. you should put your feet up and bask in the glow today. and yes, i knew evan would win, but i thought it would be a toss-up for the women. titan is scary i decided. his leg is like the size of me :( yes, i'm on ... lets try out next season!

ps. is your next goal in the marathon to qualify for boston? you are getting very close!!! another day like you had yesterday and a faster course (read: less chaotic course) and the ticket is yours!

Josh said...


wow, 9 minute pace! I didn't realize that. If I had the cash, I'd pay you to come to Cincy and be my running coach ;)

Liz said...

its true!!!

one of the guys i work for (who also had a large input on my training) is a 2:14 marathoner and he takes his easy runs really seriously.

Rob "Buckeye" Powell said...

That was a great PR Josh! Nice job on that!

Josh said...

If I ran my slow days 4 minutes per mile slower than my hard days, I'd be walking, lol.


Thanks! Can't wait for LBL 50 in a few weeks!

Nick said...

Great job Josh. Great report.

Brian said...

Josh, congrats on the PR!