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A Tale (Gale?) of Two Cities: Hopkington to Boston

Special "Boston Edition" Marathon Dynamics E-Newsletter - In this Issue:

A heartfelt and wobbly-legged CONGRATULATIONS to all those who came, who saw (and despite what they saw, still decided to run!) and conquered the 11th running of the Boston Marathon.  Whoo-hoo!  We did it!   I laughed (or was that just a grimace!), I cried (or was that just rain coursing down my cheeks!), at times I ran like hell (up to Heartbreak), and at times I felt like hell (Heartbreak to Boylston), but in the end, I got to the end--and feel triumphant, vindicated, and ebullient for having made the effort.  What about you?   
Though we were spared the "Storm of the Century" conditions the doomsday weather-mongers were warning us of right up until (and including) the morning of the race, it sure was far from ideal conditions in which to do battle on the notoriously tough and challenging Boston course, wasn't it?  What an experience!  Boston would have been an momentous enough occasion on its own, but accompanied as it was by the tail-end of a rip-snortin' "Nor-Easter" (heavy rains, chilly temps, and an at times wicked 15-30mph headwind straight at us)...well, that only made it all the more memorable.
As I suppose any self-respecting running coach is wont to do, since getting back earlier this week, I've been trying to objectively determine just how much of an effect, on average, the nasty conditions had on us, to help us all put our efforts into proper perspective.  Since by now you've all probably heard/read how this was the slowest Boston (by winner's finishing time) in 30 years, how more than 3000 registrants turned into "no shows" by starting time, and all the "overblown" (how appropriate) rhetoric being bandied about re: "worst weather" in the races history, etc, etc.  Let's be clear--it wasn't THAT fact, there have been a number of other Bostons, some recent ('04 of course springs to mind) that were much worse.
Having said that, after reviewing/comparing/calculating the average of the top 10 mens and womens finishing times, this year vs. last year, it turns out that up at the front at least, this year was about 4% harder/slower than last year--and that's if we hold ourselves accountable to the same level of motivation that the top marathoners in the world, who are racing for hundreds of thousands of dollars--certainly a rigorous, if not unfairly high, standard against which to measure ourselves, yes?  Nevertheless, if we do, that means that in order to gauge what your actual finishing time was "worth" once adjusted to more ideal conditions, you can apply the following "sliding scale" to your final time on Monday:

3hrs: deduct 7min =3D 2:53:00
3:15: deduct 7:30 =3D  3:07:30
3:30: deduct 8min =3D 3:22:00
3:45: deduct 8:30 =3D 3:36:30
4hrs: deduct 9min =3D 3:51:00
4:30: deduct 10+min =3D 4:20 or less
There now...feel better?  (come least a little, right?!).  Seriously though, until you've adjusted your time by AT LEAST this amount, you can't begin to get a handle on how well you did, or didn't, do!

Our Top 26 Performers!
Now we'd like to take a moment to recognize the accomplishments of the 26 Marathon Dynamics runners who ran the best Boston marathon they possibly could have.  This will henceforth be an annual tradition, so if you didn't make it onto the list this time, hey, that's just fuel on the fire for next year, right?  Please keep in mind that even after a few unexpected late in the game "pull outs" (due primarily to injury and personal circumstance), we still had almost 60 Marathon Dynamics runners in this year's Boston (which would make us the 8th largest foreign country, after Canada, out of almost 90 nations represented this year!), so competition was very fierce.  Furthermore, we want to remind everyone that we are NOT recognizing (purely) finishing time/speed here (believe me, there are a number of MDI runners who ran low 3hr times who aren't on this list!), but attempting to recognize those who performed best, and ran as smartly and strongly as possible, given their potential going into race day.  In no particular order (save alphabetical), they are:
  1. Nathalie Auger - 3:36 (all time PB!)
  2. Joe Barth - 3:44
  3. Frank Bevilacqua - 3:39
  4. Leslie Black - 3:06 (holy smokes!)
  5. Michael Brennan - 3:11 (13th time at Boston)
  6. Laurel Brooks - 3:51
  7. Doyle Brown - 3:01 (stud!)
  8. Andy Cormack - 2:53 (fastest MDI-er...schooled coach Kev by over 1 1/2 minutes!)
  9. Sherab Melvin - 3:48
  10. Marc Duench - 3:07
  11. Jennifer Eberman - 3:10 (and a true negative split to boot!)
  12. Kenzie Greenhalgh - 3:45
  13. Jodi Hezky - 3:42
  14. Paul Huyer - 3:09
  15. Anne Macrae - 3:41
  16. Susan McCallum - 3:54 (all time PB!)
  17. Chuck McCoy - 5:15 (only able to run 1-2 times per week for whole season...and over 60 yrs old!)
  18. Margaret Menzel - 3:44
  19. Charley Moses - 3:17
  20. Andrew Ponsen - 3:28
  21. Melissa Seguin - 3:28
  22. Steve Sevsek - 3:13
  23. Peter Stephenson - 3:25
  24. Gail Vella - 3:47
  25. Rob Welsh - 3:29
  26. Bridget Wiley - 3:51
Well done to you all...on this list or not!

Boston Stories & Boston Pics!
I've only been back 3 days here, and already I've heard so many great stories and seen so many great pictures (thanks to the digital age) that our MDI runners have shared with me, so please, take some time to write out your Bawston thoughts/tales while they're still fresh in your mind and if you're OK to pass 'em on, please do, we'd love to hear 'em/see 'em!  We're hard at work redeveloping our website currently (already have the "Discussion Groups" set up...just need to get techno-dunderhead Coach Kev up to speed on how to use/administer them!), so you never know where your stories/pics may end up!
To get the ball's an excerpt of one of mine:
...yes, the conditions were less than ideal, and yes they seem to have hit everyone pretty hard (some more than others).  I myself had a rough time with the last 6+ miles (sound familiar?).  Even at the top of heartbreak hill w/just 6 miles to go, was still on pace for a 2:45 final time.  However, I'd just started my first of at least 10-12 walk breaks to try and deal with severe quad cramping/strains--a condition I'd like to be the first to officially coin "Quad-atropy-knee-ahhh!" (great Who album, think I'll Ipod it next time!)--which turned my previous 6:15/6:16 miles into 7's, then into 8's, and eventually by mile 24, into 9+'s...ugh!  At times, I really wanted to pull out due to the excruciating pain and seriously considered doing so, but decided that I had to forget about the time, turn it into a survival challenge, and "find a way to win" valiantly take up the struggle and see this thing through.  I owed it to myself, the reputation and history of the event, my family (parents and brother stationed halfway up heartbreak..thank you!) and friends, my fellow running brethren and clients, and indeed to the spectators along the Boston course--I just couldn't have finished without them--terrific supporters!  Upon reflection (and after many beers and much time soaking in the hot tub back at my hotel!), I was (and still am) very happy to have given it my best, and satisfied with the results for my first crack at Boston.  I've learned a lot (technically) about the Boston course (man, is it ever the toughest course to do well on), and will be back, with a vengeance, sometime soon to settle up my account (and perhaps my hotel bill too...just kidding!)
For your I was coming to the finish--just as I was about to pass under the famous big blue and gold scaffold/banner, my left hamstring grabbed into a ball and left me convulsively lurching to the line, face contorted into a scowl Ed Grimley would be proud of.  Here's a small thumbnail print of how my anti-climactic finish line photo will look (see below)...can't wait to see that blown up!  Even better? The "My DVD" footage of that same episode---oh boy, ought to be a high traffic You Tube item, eh? 
Finishing Time - 2:55 (white/purple singlet, wearing cap backwards because wind blew it right around)...
3D""...a closer look?  Sure, but it doesn't get any prettier...  3D""

Final Racepace Run of the Season - Staffing S.O.S!
Due to some unexpected staffing issues, we are in dire need of some help with our final racepace run at High Park this Sunday, April 22nd.  We're two people short (hopefully with car?) to staff the 7 mile and 9 mile water stations for this last long Racepace Run of the season, for all the rest of our crew still toiling away toward their various half and full marathons.
Given that, at least for the time being, I'm assuming you guys aren't running up a storm any time soon, if you could help me and the rest of your MDI running pals out by pitching in with us for maybe 3 hrs on Sunday morning, we would all be eternally grateful.  Aside from my undying gratitude and some admiring glances from other hoping-to-get-to-Boston MDI runners, we'll also throw in a $50 credit on your next season with MDI, so it's a win/win/win for everyone.
What do you say...can you "pay it forward" this weekend? First two respondents get the gig!  Let me know...looking for you to be there at the Grenadier Restaurant, High Park, by 8:15am...depending on the runner flow and your spot on the course, we could have you headed home by around 11am!

Hope you're able to walk better than I am today...good luck with the recovery, congrats on your 2007 Boston race experience, and hope to see you/speak with you/email with you all again soon!
Kevin Smith
Marathon Dynamics Inc.
(905) 891-3197      fx: (905) 271-7311
"The Mind Leads The Body"