Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Boston Marathon Comments After Watching the Race

I noticed that on today's "Runners World Daily" there is a post about qualifying times at Boston. They refer to post I wrote last week called "Back When You Really Had to Qualify for Boston". There are a lot of interesting comments so far on the Runners World blog concerning whether the qualifying standards for Boston are too easy or too difficult. It is fun to be considered part of the conversation. I think the standards are just right. You have to be a competitive, committed, and serious runner to get the standard. I think the 2:50 standard that they had for a while in the later 70's and 80's was a bit too severe. It is not qualifying for Boston that keeps me out of Boston. It is more about being healthy and injury-free.

Here is an interesting article called, "The painful truth about trainers: Are running shoes a waste of money?" by Christopher McDougal, author of the soon to be released book "Born to Run". I agree as all the doodads put on modern day running shoes wreak havoc with body and stride. I like running in the most minimalistic racing shoes and I am not a POSE or Chi Runner. I have always felt better running in my racing shoes and I have put a lot of miles on my body. Here is another shorter article from the Boston Globe. I also have no intention to be a barefoot runner, but I enjoy and benefit from doing barefoot strides at the track.

At the Boston Marathon expo this year I tried on the Ecco Biome shoe. I didn't run in it and the uppers were very comfortable, yet I think there is too much technology mumbo jumbo in this shoe trying to get your foot to move "naturally". They are very expensive too! I also tried on the Vibram Five-Fingers shoe. They look so "stupid" and "silly", but I liked the feel of the bottoms. Again, I didn't run in them, but I felt like I was barefoot and wanted to get right up on my toes and move. Maybe someday I will get a pair to do strides with when I am not near some clean grass. Was that the worst Marathon Expo ever? or did I go at the wrong time? I didn't find anything that interested me and there were very few handouts. I like to pick up posters, trinkets, autographs, ect. to hand out to my students as "prizes" on Marathon day. I got absolutely nothing! I guess the companies are cutting back due to the economy. It was good that I spent no money however!

I was thrilled watching the Boston Marathon with my fourth grade class on television and doing marathon running activities throughout the day. Last week we watched the Disney movie on Haile Gebresalasie called "Endurance" and my class was very enthusisatic about the race. Some of them had even read the local paper in ithe morning and came to school telling me about Henri Renuad, the Nashua mill worker, who won the 1909 edition of the race in 97 degree heat.

I was also checking the progress of many friends along the race course as they ran Boston. It looked like most everyone took it out conservatively, picked up the pace throughout the race, but then lost time in the final miles due to the headwind. I was happy to see such great results from so many teammates and friends.

I enjoyed watching the mens's race and Ryan Hall's brave pacing from the start. I am glad he made it up to third pace. I had picked Merga to win the race and he did. The women's race was baffling. The pace was so sedentary for too long. The finish was fantastic though. It was too bad that Kara Goucher didn't have the kick after pushing the pace for so long in the last few miles.


Scott Mason said...

Coming from someone who started racing in 1979, i thought the 2:50 time to get into Boston was great. The runners that i know from back then would put out so much effort to get the"time" that they would sacrifice everything else to hit it. I think the race is too easy to get into now and really needs to tighten up. Money plays too much of a place in the race now, more bodies, more dollars. Too bad that is the way it is. I guess that i am only an old stubborn racer at heart!

Jim Hansen said...

How is the training going? Aren't you doing Mount Washington? You're sounding like a true old time runner here. What time do you think a 50+ year old runner should have to hit to run Boston that would be equal to a 2:50 effort?

Scotty "PHAT" Graham said...

I'll take a crack at this question Jim. A 2:50 is about 6:30's per mile. I'd give a 50 year old 1 minute per mile extra so that would equate to 3:16:30. However that would mean only 34 of the 50+ runners who ran boston would have re-qualified. Maybe that's to fast.

Jim Hansen said...

Hey Scott,
That would be a fair and doable qualification time for Boston. At least it seems easy enough now at 50. Don't know how it would be in 5 years! It certainly would be easier for me to do that time now, then it was back when it was 2:50 and I was younger.