Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Head Away From Nature West Near Ballpark Boston

With Boston less than 2 weeks away I have download past episodes of the podcast Phedippidations by Steve Runner.  Each year Steve does a State of the Course podcast about the Boston Marathon.  With 9 Boston's under his belt, he is a wealth of information. The information in this post comes from his 2009 State of the Course podcast. Hopefully he'll post his 2011 episode soon.

Steve uses a mnemonic to help remember the cities the marathon runs through.  It is 
Head Away From Nature West Near Ballpark Boston


Naturally when I was trying to remember this mnemonic, I couldn't.   If you see me walking around muttering to myself it's because I'm practicing remembering it.

I found a site where it shows the course marathon per BAA and shows his Garmin elevation.  The BAA course elevation profile is smooth as a baby behind when you can see in real life the course is a monster with jagged little teeth.

Steve Runner also had some interesting stats on the course and the hills.
61% of the course has a slope less than 1%
22% descends at a rate greater than 1%
17% climbs greater than 1%
That means that 83% of the course is downhill.  Downhill!  Sweet.  The problem are the three major hills starting at mile 16.
  • Hill #1 starts in Newton,climbs from 89 ft above sea level to 157ft, has an average grade of 4.7%, is .28 miles long
  • Hill #2, goes from 98 ft to 157 ft for .38 of a mile with an average grade of 2.9%.
  • Hill #3 climbs from 148 ft to 236 ft with an average grade of 4.5% for .37 miles.
Steve calls the third hill, AKA as Heartbreak Hill, as a goofy little speed bump.  The elevation chart doesn't it make it look like a speed bump or goofy AT ALL.

A Runners World post by Hal Higdon breaks up the race this way.
Hopkinton to Natick (0-10 miles) - Profile: Elevation drops from 462 to 177 feet.
Natick to Wellesley Square (10-13.5 miles) - Profile: Elevation drops from 177 to 137 feet.
Wellesley Square to Lower Newton Falls (13.5-16 miles) - Profile: Elevation drops from 137 to 49 feet.
Lower Newton Falls to Cleveland Circle (16-22 miles) - Profile: Elevation rises from 49 to 236 feet, then drops to 147 feet.
Cleveland Circle to Kenmore Square (22-25 miles) - Profile: Elevation drops from 147 to 20 feet.
Kenmore Square to Finish (25-26.2 miles) -Profile: Flat with a slight incline on Hereford Street
I recommend reading the post because he also gives tips for running each section.

At track tonight someone asked me if I was "cool" about the race or "obsessed".  I'm obsessed. Definitely obsessed - thinking about it continually (and worrying too).  To keep my mind off the worry I'm weighing the option of wearing my name on my shirt and hearing it called or being anonymous.  Part of me thinks hearing my name called out may keep me motivated, especially the last miles. The other part of me thinks after hearing my name for 4 hours called out, I may never want to hear my name again.   What are your thoughts?  Name on shirt or nameless?

Happy Running!


TiredMamaRunning said...

Haha....I saw this is my reader, and remembered it instantly from Phedippidations. Going to save up my Fdip podcasts, will hopefully be cleared to run Boston(injury, waiting on an MRI result) and then will listen to all of them on the plane ride from Colorado to Massachusetts.

Giorgio said...

In my opinin, wearing your name on your shirt makes you motivated.
I Look forward to reading about your decision!

Jason said...

Name on shirt a must! Heartbreak Hill, nothing to it, it's the first one that you have to watch out for! High-Five as many kids as you can! Have fun!

Adam said...

Don't let it psyc you out. You'll do great! I vote speed bump too. Those hills look smaller than lost dutchman!

Black Knight said...

Name on the shirt is great...
Name on the shirt and on the bib is wonderful!