Graham Will Be Back

by EJN Comments (1) Articles, Racing

Here’s a race recap from one of our Level Legion: Boston Marathon Edition members. It’s been a long journey, and we’re finally wrapping up with closing thoughts from the team.

Scott Graham

The anticipation was incredible.  Even more so then the 100th running in 1996.  In 1996 The Boston Marathon was the place to be as a runner.  But in 2014 it was the place to be for runners and spectators alike.

The three day run up to the race went by in a flash but I think it’s important to document each part.

Friday, April 18th

5:45 AM Got my last run in with Peter Floss. We did an easy 5.5 miles. Pete and I have been training together for 7 or 8 years now.  He’s is going to really run well at Boston. My guess was a 3:10 or better.

11:00 AM I headed out of my office 3 blocks from the finish line to the Hynes convention center. It was a beautiful day with clear skies and temps in the low 50’s. Only if this was race day I thought to myself as I walked down Boylston st. Then as I do every year I start thinking that I wish it was 20 degrees and snowing on race day. That way us New Englander’s can show the rest of the world how tough we really are. Or just how stupid we can be training in that kind of weather.

Anyway I walked past the Old South Church by the finish line. I had seen a story on the news that they were giving out scarfs to runners that they knitted. The story goes that they wanted to give runners something to inspire them to run with love and peace in their hearts. So they decided to start knitting. Soon they realized that they weren’t going to be able to knit more than a couple hundred scarfs. So they put the word out to other churches and it spread like wild fire and soon thousands of scarfs were coming in from all over the world. So I walked up to a lady who had a half dozen of these blue and yellow scarfs draped over her arms. She told me that these scarfs were made with love as she draped it over my shoulders. She reminded me so much of my Meme with how sincere she was. I started to well up. Each scarf was a different style and had a note on it as to were it was knit. How’s that for something special for this race?

Next stop the Hynes. I arrived at 11:20 and got in line. There were only about 20 people there at this point but I knew it was going to fill up quick. Disney would have been proud of how they hid the corral system so you really had no idea how long of a wait you had. Right at noon they opened up the event. I was able to secure my number and shirt quickly and went down to the expo. Once in the expo I went over to the Saucony booth. I purchased a new set of trainers and I was off to find the crew at Level Renner. [Editor’s note: awesome] I found them in quick order and spent some time talking to EJN. I spent about an hour in the expo, then headed back to work.

Saturday April 19th

I spent a couple hours in the morning catching my daughters softball game for Westford Academy. Then back to the Expo I went. I had to attend a meeting of the Quarter Century Club (QCC). This is a group of 52 active members who have done 25 or more consecutive Boston Marathons. This is a tough group to get into and an even tougher group to stay in. The thing you have to realize that when all of these people started their streaks the qualifying time for Boston wasn’t 3:05 or 3:10, it was 2:50. So every year they have a meeting of this group to take a photo, welcome new members and go over a few items. Then they have a dinner in the North End and even have their own bus to the starting line. For out-of-towner’s this is great. For us locals we just get our picture taken and get on our way. I did manage to stop in the expo and purchase one of those bright orange jackets for my wife. Heck she goes through as much as me for this race so she deserves a gift. Also I stopped and saw Kevin from Level Renner who presented me with a very nice Level Renner singlet. [Editor’s note: again, awesome]

Sunday April 20th

7:00 AM Back to the expo. Good thing I have a parking pass for work or this weekend would have cost me a fortune in parking alone. This time I was working in shirt distribution. I sort of have another streak going. This was my 21st year working for the BAA on race weekend. It’s almost getting as tough to volunteer for the race as it is to qualify for it. I’ve got friends who have been applying for years and have never gotten the golden ticket. I worked from 9 to 1:30 and best of all I didn’t spend a dime in the expo. Once out of the expo I had to high-tail it down Boyston St to catch my ride home. I left my car in the garage so after the race on Monday I’d have a quick exit out of Boston.

Sunday night I just relaxed and got everything ready for Monday morning.

Monday April 21

3:30 AM WTF!!! Sure I get up early to run most days but this is nuts!! Am I doing an Ironman? No it’s just the way things work out so I can catch the GLRR bus in Lowell at 6 AM to get us into Hopkinton by 7:15 when they shut down the roads. I had everything laid out and things went like clock work. I shot down the street and picked up three newspapers for the ride and was back home in plenty of time to be picked up by Jill Trotter at 5:40 AM. Jill was right on time and we were at the bus pickup spot with more than 5 minutes to spare. But where was the bus? Word got to us that the bus driver had over slept and was running late. People were starting to worry. I for some reason, just sat back and relaxed. Soon we were on the bus and left Lowell at 6:30. Traffic was light and we pulled into the Hopkinton school complex right at7:15. All is good!!

There were very short lines at the port-a-jons, amazing!!! I managed to find a open piece of ground and just laid down and relaxed. Only one thing was bothering me. The weather!! I was comfortable, this was NOT a good sign. I’m not good in the heat and the prior week I was training in 20 degree weather. So anything over 50 I would consider hot at this point. I needed to re-adjust my plan. Then I decided I’d just play it by ear and see how the day rolls out.

Now I was in Wave 2, Corral 1 so I was standing at the ready. When they called us to the corrals I flew to the front so I was right in the front row on the starting line. SWEET!!! Now I needed a whole lot of self control. I was NOT going to go out fast. NO FLIPPING WAY!!! Soon everyone was counting down 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, BANG!! We were off. People were passing me all over the place. I looked up and the guy in the lead had a 100 yard lead in the first 100 yards. Reminded me of how Jim Johnson goes out in snow shoe races. INSANE!! Not me. I just eased into a pace I thought I could hold. The one thing that I really thought was funny was that I was able to cut the tangents. I’ve never been able to do that before. Here’s how it played out:

Courtesy of Gianina Lindsey

1 - 06:33.9 A little to fast, slow it down
2 - 06:45.4 OK that’s not to bad
3 - 06:52.1 What the heck, it’s getting hot already
4 - 06:55.0 Holding on
5 - 08:06.0 Had to stop for a bio break. I hate doing this but what can I do
6 - 07:18.2 A little tough getting started again
7 - 07:18.1 Peter Floss’s wife hands me a drink
8 - 07:18.1 Peter Floss passes me…NOOO!!
9 - 07:24.8 I’m starting to melt. It’s way to early
10 - 07:36.4 OK it’s time to go into self preservation mode
11 - 07:58.0 I’m not feeling it today
12 - 07:33.3 This little down section I always get moving
13 - 07:41.1 The scream tunnel always helps me.
13.1 - 1:36:12 I’m OK with this. I wanted 1:35 and run even.
14 - 07:49.8 I’m now officially struggling
15 - 08:09.5 I always have a slower mile here
16 - 07:46.2 Down the hill into Newton lower falls
17 - 08:17.1 UP over rt 128
18 - 09:21.3 Start of the hills on Comm Ave
19 - 08:30.5 Road Flattens
20 - 09:10.5 See my wife and daughter by the Johnny Kelley statue “Young and Old”
21 - 09:01.3 I ran pretty well up Heart break hill
22 - 08:34.7 Down past BC
23 - 09:14.5 Now I’m in total survival mode.
24 - 09:19.8 Nothing is helping. The crowds are huge
25 - 09:09.8 Climbing over the mass pike hurt like H3LL
26 - 09:31.0 I’ve got nothing left. I saw my son on Hereford.
26.2 - 01:57.2 Crossed the finish line and just kept on running to the Park Plaza Hotel
3:31:12 - I’ll take it.

Not my fastest by 45 minutes and not my slowest by 50 minutes. Good enough. After getting back to the room Peter Floss and Jill Trotter were happy to say the 5 words that I hate hearing the most “What took you so LONG”? LOL. All in good fun. All three of us quickly cleaned up and we were soon on our way back to Westford. Jill ran an incredible 3:10 and Pete pulled out a 3:17. I was very happy for both of them.

When I got home my family greeted me with congratulations and then my wife and I went out and bought a car. How many Boston finishers can say they did that that after the race?

My last action for the day was to sign up for the Baystate Marathon. I’m not the brightest person in the world. Watch out Boston, I’LL BE BACK!!!

Scott and Meb may have been the only people buying new cars right after Boston. Congrats to both of them! We’re very happy to have been a part of Scott’s Boston Marathon experience and to have been able to share his story with all of you along the way. Great job to Scott in updating us, and also in keeping that streak in tact!

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One Response to Graham Will Be Back

  1. Aileen says:

    Hi Scott! I just stumbled across your blog via a Google Blog Search. I was a Marathon Scarf Project scarfmaker and volunteer. I believe the original plan was just to collect enough scarves for their annual Blessing of the Athletes service but the project went viral and they ended up with nearly 7,400 scarves. I’ve been blogging about the project and wrote an open letter to runners so they could learn more about the project.

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