Monday, April 16, 2012

Marathon Monday - So I Rode My Bicycle

Yup, today is that day.  Marathon Monday.  Patriots Day (in Massachusetts and Maine anyway).  The 116th running of the Boston Marathon.  Ah fond memories of my first and only road marathon.  Standing around in corrals with 20,000+ other people, taking 10 minutes to cross the start line after the race officially started (thank goodness for chip timing), running over a sticky road at the PowerGel feed station, getting sunburn on the back of my calfs and triceps and of course wall to wall humanity both on the course and watching the race.

I feel a bit guilty about my Boston Marathon journey for a couple reasons.  1) I ran under my friends name.  2) I was there to pace a different friend to his goal time of 3:45 and 3) I only really "raced" the last 10k.

There are many was to get into the Boston Marathon but mine was.....well....unique.  My good friend DoubleD was checking email that winter when a message came in from one of his sponsors - PowerBar.  "Who won the 1923 Boston Marathon".  Be the first person to answer correctly and get a free entry to Boston.  Dave reached over to the bookshelf, grabbed Hal Higdon's "Boston: A Century of Running", opened it to page 228 and within 30 seconds emailed back "Clarence H. DeMar".  Boom, done, we have a winner.

Unfortunately Dave was injured and knew he wouldn't be able to race Boston in a couple months.  Lucky for me Dave says, "Hey Rich; wanna run Boston"?  What?  I've never run a marathon and I'm not even training for a marathon.  "So what", he replies, "It's a great race and you'll have fun".  Cool.  I'm in.

A luck would have it, my friend John and his sister were registered to run the same year and we're looking for someone to pace them to a 3:45.  Right on - I can do that.  All the gory details of my Boston Marathon in 2003 can be left for another post but the net of the net was that John dropped in Wellesley with a injury and his sister stopped at 20 for a while to meet friends and drink some champagne.  Having already been out for over 3 hours I didn't want to wait around so I tried to race the last 10k which in hindsight was just silly.

If you have run Boston and didn't finish in the top or bottom 10% you know that the race is nearly shoulder to shoulder mass runner-ness for 26 miles.  Trying to run sub-6 pace through a crowd of people moving at 10 minute pace is like tree skiing in a dense forest.  I'm also quite sure the runners around me were thinking "who's this jerk", but my companions were out and I just wanted to end my longest training run ever and get home!!

So yeah, that's it.  Look up "Dave Dunham" in the 2003 results and you'll see he ran a 3:45.  Dave's slowest marathon ever!  Sorry Dave.  But don't feel too bad for him - Dave's PR is 2:19.  Oh and if the BAA ever finds out I ran as Dave, we both might be banned from the race for life.  Hopefully they'll be in a forgiving mood....or more likely they'll be busy with more important counting all the money they made today.

Today - 9 years later I commemorate my (Dave's) Boston Marathon run with a 55 mile road bike ride.  I was supposed to meet my teammates in Mill Valley for a ride but my train was held in Redwood City because an earlier train hit "a trespasser" further up the line.  Since I wasn't going to make it to Marin in time I bailed from the train and rode a loop back to Mountain View via Skyline Drive.

Oh what a great day for a ride.  Sunny, 60+ degrees, not windy.  I headed out of Redwood City to Woodside via Canada College.

Up Kings Mountain Road to Skyline Drive and turned South past 84 to Windy Hill (pictured above - looking West towards the Pacific Ocean).

Kings Mountain is always a bear but i forget how much climbing there is between 84 and Page Mill Rd - it's a 500' height difference.  Above is the view point on Skyline Drive just North of Page Mill Road - looking Northeast towards Palo Alto.

After Page Mill there is again more rolling climbing up to Route 9 - another 500' of gain.  The photo above was taken at about 2900' looking West into the San Lorenzo River watershed.

The high point - and turnaround point - of the ride was at 3150' above sea level at the highest point on Skyline Drive and only a few hundred yards from the Santa Clara County highpoint.  McPherson Mount is 3200 and change feet above sea level and is the county highpoint I "climbed" with Dave Dunham last November.  Thanks Dave for the highpoint and for getting me into the Boston Marathon 9 years ago.