Friday, May 9, 2014

Top New Englander Ruben Sanca on Boston 118
(From the May/June 2014 edition of New England Runner)

(photo by Kevin Morris)
Ruben Writes: Boston 118

Following knee surgery in May of 2013 it wasn't until Sunday, March 23rd, that my coach and I came to the agreement to run the 118th Boston Marathon with the goal of going for the US Olympic Trials standard of 2:18:00. This year's Boston was a special one for many of us. My high school coach once said, "Boston is the granddaddy of all marathons." To say that I was excited to be racing at a place I once called "home" was an understatement.

On Friday, April 18, I quickly picked up my number from the expo and headed to my parent's house in Dorchester, where I stayed until race day. At 5:30 am on Monday, I took a quick shower and had a typical runners breakfast before being dropped off by my father at the Fairmont Copley Plaza. The BAA Elite Athlete bus was on the Dartmouth St. side of the hotel, while the John Hancock Elite Athlete bus was near Trinity Place.

Both buses departed Copley at exactly 7:03 am on the I-90 west bound with motorcycle police as escorts. We arrived in Hopkinton around 7:40 am and were escorted by BAA officials to "the Church"—a Korean Presbyterian Church in Hopkinton used as the rest area for Elite Athletes. The church was heavily guarded by Military Police and U.S. Marshals.

At 9:25 am, I started my warm up. Following the national anthem at 9:51 am, we were escorted to the starting line where we were greeted by loud cheers. My race plan was simple: go out at an easy conversational pace from Mile 1-4, do a tempo type run while taking in lots of fluids from Mile 4-14, find a group of runners to run with from Mile 14-20, then grind out the last 6 miles with crowd support.
At 10:00am, the gun went off!

I tried to run as conservative as possible at the start. The first few downhill miles made 5:14s feel like 6:30s on a training run. By the half marathon mark, I was right on pace in 68:25 at around 29th place overall after having passed at least 30 "excited"runners. I remember going by 2:04 Ethiopian Gabregziabher Gebremariam at Mile 16, then going by last year's 4th place American, Jason Hartman, right before the Newton Hills at Mile 17.

I was passing runners left and right but had no group to run with. I soloed Heartbreak and was still on pace for a sub 2:18. As one of the first local guys going by the hills, my Whirlaway Racing Team singlet drew an unreal amount of support and excitement from spectators!

By 23 miles, my solo hard charging effort was starting to wear off. I was still passing runners but at a slower rate. I finished in 2:19:05 for 22nd overall and was escorted to the medical area in a wheel chair. Although I didn't hit my target of 2:18:00, I was very pleased with my performance. I followed and executed my race place but fell just short at the end. I learned several things from the race that will allow me to make some good adjustments in my next training cycle.

My overall conclusion of the race: Boston is a race everyone must do! I was very impressed by the organization by the B.A.A. The Boston Marathon is truly an event of "excellence" and for me it was a great honor to be a part of it.
Ruben Sanca