2021 Race Recap #8: New England Green River Marathon

May be an image of 6 people, including Iain Ridgway, people standing and outdoors
To the far left, waring bib #467 is my club mate, Iain Ridgeway, starting the race. He finished 7th,with a course record for the age group of 2:46:49.1. To put just how fast a marathon that is, I finished almost exactly an hour later, didn’t finish last AND set a personal best. The guy in the middle wearing #504? He won at 2:30:42.3. That’s a 5:45 minutes per mile pace. I raced a 6:11 mile once in a 5k and it almost killed me.

Back in 2019 or so, when I was fresh off my Baystate Marathon personal best, my friend Eric suggested that I should run this marathon. Mostly downhill, beautiful scenery, relatively inexpensive and small. There was a lot to like about this. “Sure. Why not?” and so I pried open my wallet and registered.

The plan was simple. I was going to train for the 2020 Providence Marathon for a 8:10 minute/mile pace and then I was going to run this to see if I could actually qualify to run the Boston Marathon. My best running friend was on board, and together we were going to crush this training cycle. We had our training plan mapped out, and as of March, I was crushing it.

As you may have heard, so much life got in the way. Obviously COVID, but <<Waves hand ambiguously in the air>> Life. So after March’s long race, the training plan – already in jeopardy – got tossed. Running didn’t stop – I eventually logged 2655 miles in 2020 (a little more than 7-miles daily), but the training plan just didn’t happen.

Thankfully, life started to return to some sense of normalcy in 2021 – probably closer to something like a “new normal,” but road races were a part of that new normal. As much as I liked the New England Half Marathon – it was what was needed at the time with all the appropriate protocols – it still felt weird and alien. As you can see from the starting line photo, we weren’t doing time trial starts, we didn’t do waved starts, we just raced.

Since March of 2020, I haven’t touched a training plan. I’ve just run. As much or as little as I wanted. At this point, I’m basically feral. This race was supposed to be my shot at qualifying for Boston 2021. Instead it was deferred. It could have been my shot at qualifying for Boston 2022. Instead, when I got the bib in the mail I realized that I was utterly unprepared for this race. So I took exactly no steps to get ready. I remained feral.

The day was beautiful. Truly, unexpectedly, absolutely perfect. The course is almost impossibly downhill. Like, I don’t know how this passes USATF muster for qualification as a certified course, but here we are. I decided that given the running I had been doing over a long period of time, that I could jog the course if not race it, so that’s basically what I did; I took what the course gave me, I trotted along at what felt like a casually easy pace – I don’t think my heart rate got much higher than 150 – and I rolled with it. It started getting a little difficult for me around mile 21, and then again at mile 23 through the end. I was completely over confident about the conditioning of my quads to handle the downhill pounding, my right quad in particular.

The course itself was nothing shy of New England beautiful. Unpaved roads, alongside the gurgling river. A rural experience at its best. The course support was top notch – the volunteers friendly and enthusiastic, and someone named “Sue (Dave’s Sister)” had some great support along the way in the form of chalk written notes. It made me smile to see them because they always seemed to go out of their way to cheer on Dave’s sister “and the other runners.”

It turns out that a mile is longer in Massachusetts than it is in Vermont – my watch was clicking off miles well past the course mile marker while in Vermont, but eventually they started running about 0.1 mile after my watches mile count. USATF certified courses always run a little longer to be sure they are the official distance, so I knew the course would be about 26.3 miles given the spacing of the signs. It was pretty much that in the end. So, boffo for the course markings too!

Untitled photo
I think this was mile 9 or so. According to Garmin, my estimated fluid loss for the race was roughly a half gallon. Judging from this picture, I’d say that was accurate. That said, the pho and banh mi I had the night before seemed to be the perfect carbo-load. 10/10 would recommend.

As I noted earlier, the last few miles were a real struggle bus ride, but in the end (and I can’t believe I have enough of a sample size now to be able to say this) I was able to pull off a personal best by about 18-seconds here. My 4th marathon, the one I DID NOT TRAIN FOR, is the race I’ve run the fastest. The biggest, the one run on the world stage? Completely spit the bit. Life is a funny, funny thing, man.

Results

PLACEGUN ELAPSEDCHIP ELAPSEDPACEGENDERAGE GRP PLAGE GRP
983:46:52.53:46:49.00:08:39M8M50 – 59

Marathon History

2021 New England Green River Marathon 3:46:52.5
2019 Baystate Marathon 3:47:10
2018 Marine Corps Marathon 4:03:17
2019 Boston Marathon 4:05:47

Author: Mo

I consider myself a bit of a loner. I tend to think of myself as a one-man wolf pack. I like old school sneakers, baggy jeans, and oversized sweatshirts. I believe there is no such thing as a short sleeve dress shirt. I like neckties. I do not understand camping, car racing, or algebra – but I can camp and have been known to go a little faster than the speed limit. I have NEVER been known to do a quadratic equation.

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