Intro by Scott Bessette
Last May, Scott Mindel found his way to New London, CT to build nuclear submarines (yeah a Masters in aerospace engineering). The 25 year-old’s name may be less familiar to the elite of New England, but no one will forget his performance at the 2012 Boston Marathon. Mindel finished 19th overall in a time of 2:27:15 at this prestigious event.
The former Shenendehowa High School (NY) and The University of Cincinnati harrier had modest PR’s in high school of 1:59 (800), 4:21 (1600) and 15:31 (5k) and limited improvements over his college track career. To go along with a steady growth in mileage, there was a focus on listening to his body and marathon specific workouts. It all paid off, as Mindel debuted at the Shamrock Marathon in March 2011 in 2:24:47.
Scott was kind enough to share with us his experience in Boston, and we at Level Renner look forward to hearing from developing elites like Mindel.
Being my first Boston, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. My club team (Willow Street Athletic Club) stayed in Natick, around the 8 mile mark, and my dad drove us close to the starting line. However, not really being sure where to go or what to do, we walked all the way to the Athletes Village before realizing we had been right near the start when we got dropped off. I didn’t really mind because I got to see my teammates more and it was kind of like a warm up. Once I was in the elite tent, I got some food, relaxed, and then sat down and had a good conversation with fellow elite and former Section 2 (NY) competitor Jake Krong. (Note: Jake ended up running a 2:30:21, good for 23rd overall). We discussed race strategy and the experience of Boston. For final preparations, I jogged a few minutes, did a few strides, dumped water on my head, and headed out to the start.
The one thing that had been in my mind this whole weekend was to start off conservatively. I knew with the heat and my previous problem with it (in 2001 had heat stroke during a 10k in July), that controlling my emotions at the beginning would be key. Easier said than done when you are lined up next to Geoffrey Mutai! The first mile (5:31) was a little fast, but I ended up getting settled in for the next several miles so it was okay. I slowly moved up after the first couple miles, with solid, controlled running (no crazy moves).
Got through the first 10k with my first two 5k splits being nearly identical (17:17, 17:18) so I knew I had a well-paced race. People were starting to come back to me so I was feeling good about that too. Hydrating was another key for me and I was taking at minimum water and Gatorade at each water stop, along with dumping as many cups of water on myself as I could. Spectators had colder water than the water stations, so I took water from them a lot plus some orange slices.
Only part of the race where I was a little out of control was running past the screaming wall of girls at Wellesley College. I was high-fiving girls the entire time and blowing kisses to the ladies. I remember thinking that I was going too fast and I hoped that it was ending soon. Checked my watch when I got done with that section and saw I was running sub 5 pace so I settled back into pace and kept picking runners off. Passed the halfway point in 72:49 and apparently still wasn’t top 30.
Even though I never felt amazing, I wasn’t feeling completely awful as I started hitting the hills right around mile 16. The fact that I was still moving up was really keeping me going. Survived the first couple hills and got another big confidence boost when I saw Mutai on the side of the road at 18. Until that point I figured I was doing better than my seed (38) but knowing that he dropped out meant that many others must have been to. That confidence and the adrenaline from the crowd got me up heartbreak (a 5:47 mile) and I felt amazing and ready to fly the rest of the race, unfortunately that would not be the case.
Several things happened after I conquered the hill; I started getting hamstring cramps that would be with me the rest of the race, a blister I acquired during the race popped, and the toll of the race started taking its effect on my legs. Instead of trying to close hard I was just trying to maintain and survive. I kept the pace constant and was still passing people (although at this point it was mostly girls coming back to me from the elite race). Passed my friend Jake Krong around mile 22 or 23 and just kept moving. That last 2k was awful, I was so dead and had nothing left in my legs. A Japanese runner passed me in the last couple tenths but there was nothing I could do; I just wanted to finish. What a great feeling to be done with it! I didn’t find out my place for close to an hour after the race because I had to go to the medical tent after a massage to take care of the blister, which caused my right shoe to be soaked in my own blood. When I found out my place I was in shock and started shaking; it was a good feeling to know that all my hard work had paid off!
Splits: 531 539 533 526 542 530 534 541 531 533 531 524 524 528 534 518 537 546 537 540 547 530 542 542 546 559 154 for the last ‘.34′ so each mile was prob a second or so slower.