The Virtual Boston Marathon

Posted on 9/18/2020

This past Sunday, I finally ran the Virtual Boston Marathon. It's not exactly the experience I had anticipated when I signed up last fall, but I'm glad I was able to participate in some manner even after the race was postponed and then cancelled.

I ended up running 2:33:22, an average of 5:51 per mile for 26.22 miles. Given the short training cycle, the lack of competition, and the altitude, I am incredibly pleased with this performance. I also know I didn't give near my full effort; I could pretty much walk normally the day after the race, whereas after previous marathon efforts it's taken four or five days before I could sit down without having to lower myself with my arms.

I started early at 5:30, about 45 minutes before the sun rose. The air was perfectly crisp; 53 degrees when I started and not much warmer just after 8:00 when I finished. I chose a route that I was very familiar with, but I ran it point-to-point to avoid any significant uphill, starting at 5,161 feet and ending up at 4,934. For comparison, Boston starts at 490 feet and ends at 10, so I had about half the elevation loss as the actual race, but I'm sure I had fewer inclines as well.

I started with hilly laps around a familiar park, then headed north for about six miles into an annoying headwind, then dropped down into the valley and headed straight south for 13 miles to finish it up. My goal was originally to run under 2:40, which is about 6:06 per mile, but as I found myself consistently hitting sub-6s pretty much from the beginning, I decided I might as well put my foot down on the accelerator a little bit and see what I could do. The result is my only negative-split marathon, running 78:15 for the first half and 75:07 for the second.

I also had a great crew for the race; my dad and my friend Alejandro biked the whole way with me and carried Gatorade and Gu. I am very grateful to have people who support me enough to wake up at 4:30 on a Sunday to watch me run for two and a half hours.

What's next for me?I'm taking two weeks off to bulk up for the winter and then I'll be hitting the roads again. Most races (and traveling prospects) are quite limited for the winter and the upcoming spring marathon season. I am hopeful that I'll be able to snag an entry for the Rotterdam marathon, and less optimistic that I'll be able to go even if I manage to do that, but regardless, I'm going to try to keep my mileage up in the 80-100 range for most of the winter.