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Clint Verran's race report
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Clint Verran's race report
Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 8:44 am
Check out this race report from Clint Verran, who finished 10th at Boston in 2:14:12 (originally posted at
It's fun to see that his race report isn't too much different than the ones us mere mortals write, except when he says stuff like "I knew if I wanted to squeak out a PR we had to be down under 5:00 [per mile]." Um, yeah.
MY 2006 BOSTON EXPERIENCE
BY CLINT VERRAN
I woke up five minutes before my alarm on Monday, April 17th, Patriot’s Day in Boston. I took a hot shower and started filling my 8 fluid bottles with Powerade Advance. Halfway through filling my bottles, Brian Sell knocks on my door…5 minutes early. He was ready to go. He helped me finish off filling my last couple of bottles, then we set off for the Copley Plaza Hotel, across the street.
At the Copley Plaza, we place our fluid bottles on tables marked for each 5K elite fluid station. Before we knew what hit us, our coach Kevin Hanson has a 6 page course map with the current temperature and wind conditions for each stage of the race. “He’s been up all night” I think to myself.
Brian and I head back to the John Hancock Convention Center for breakfast. I eat a medium sized plate of plain pasta (no sauce), a banana, a large banana-nut muffin, and 2 pieces of bacon. I wash it all down with some Gatorade Endurance and a cup of coffee. Time to head back up to my room.
In my room, I double check the bag I’m taking to the start. Singlet with bib numbers, check. Racing flats with chip, check. Fresh socks, Vaseline, hat, gloves, cell phone…check! I grab up everything I think I need and head down to the second floor, where John Hancock race officials are staging the elite runners. The officials actually check MY bag to make sure I’ve got my bib number and chip. While they check, they tell tales of professional runners arriving at the start in Hopkinton with 2 left shoes. What a surprise that would be!
Our Hancock escorts take us down through the Convention Center lobby through a tunnel of volunteers clapping and cheering. The buzz was definitely in the air. And the race start was still over 3 hours away. Brian and I piled into the 3rd of three coach-style buses with about two dozen other athletes, coaches, agents, and race-volunteers. At exactly 9AM our bus leaves for Hopkinton.
As with 2002, I was amazed at how long the trip to Hopkinton is. This is despite a police escort! Keith Hanson was on the bus with us and commented, “This is how the President travels.” I said, “Yeah, or a funeral procession!”
We arrive at the Korean Church in Hopkinton. This church would be our new home until the gun goes off. Inside the church, Brian and I meet up with our six Hanson-Brooks ODP teammates. We find a nice warm room on the second floor of the church to crash. Our good friend, Pete Gilmore, decides he wants to hang with us. Also, some Brooks corporate guys running the race join us in the little classroom.
I head out for my warm-up with Trent Briney. We jog 7:30/mile pace back and forth on a 200m long driveway behind he church. I get roughly a mile in and head back inside. Time to lace up the flats…double knots! More Gatorade. I eat a banana and take a couple bites of a plain bagel I had swiped from the breakfast table. Some light stretching, lots of Vaseline, and small-talk…then we get the call “Time to head to the start!”
Volunteers escort us through a graveyard beside the church which leads us to the starting line. It’s a very eerie walk through the graves; the calm before the storm. A fighter-jet fly-by and the National Anthem and we’re ready to rock. The 8 Hanson-Brooks guys stand shoulder to shoulder across the start line of Boston Marathon #110.
The gun goes off. The 1st half mile is the steepest downhill of the course. I gingerly make my way down the hill. The starting pack is huge, probably 100 runners. I make sure not to get tripped up. We hit mile one in 5:07. That’s 2:14 pace…my current PR.
By the end of mile 2, the leaders are already beginning to rev up the pace. I am content to hang at the back and hit the mile 2 split in 5:09. After 2 miles, it appears that at least three distinct packs have formed. The leaders continue to speed almost out of site. I watch as Brian decided to let them go and forms a group with Pete Gilmore and a Japanese runner. Luke Humphry, Chad Johnson, and I settle into a pack of about 6 runners. Others in our group included Casey Moulton and an unknown “big guy” whom miles later admitted he was in WAY over his head. Mile split 3 is 5:06. 15:57 at 5K.
My race plan was to run 5:05 pace in attempt to run 2:13:00, with a half-way split of 1:06:30. I knew I would have to run aggressively over the 2nd half to achieve this goal. Mile 4 and 5, both 5:09. A little slow. Chad Johnson is in charge of the pace at this point. The one thorn in our sides is a 10MPH head-wind. The wind had shifted over night from the North to the North-East. Unfortunately, this meant we were heading straight into it for entire race. Other than the head-wind, the weather was perfect: 50-55 degrees and overcast.
The head-wind kept our pace conservative. Mile 6 was 5:00, putting us in at 31:50 for 10k. Our last 5 had been 15:53. Chad was doing a good job of keeping us steady. I was sitting comfortably in this small pack of runners. With the head-wind, I lacked the confidence to charge ahead on my own to try to hit 5:00 miles. I was taking a conservative, wait-and-see approach given the wind.
10K-15K was 15:54. Nice and steady, just a hair slow of my goal. We were still running mostly 5:07’s. Right at my PR pace. 15K-20K was 15:56. Very consistent! This took us to the screaming young ladies at Wellesley College and the half-way point in 1:07:06. So, I’m thinking, I’m 36s slow of my goal, but on pace for a very subtle PR (PR 2:14:17 2002). I’m feeling pretty relaxed at half-way. I couldn’t help but think back to some past marathons where I was already struggling at this point. I resisted the urge to push, knowing that the real half-way point was in Newton at 18-20 miles.
20-25K: 15:53 At this point, Chad Johnson had relinquished the lead it was time for Luke and I to take over. As we had planned, Luke became the aggressor as we approached the 4 major uphills of the course. I almost welcomed the hills. We had been running mostly downhill for a long time. Now we could use our arms a little more. Casey Moulton was the lone hanger-on. He battled to stay with Luke and I through the 1st 2 hills. It wasn’t long before he fell off and it was just the two of us. I saw Kevin Hanson early in Newton. He yelled, “16th place is right in front of you.” I was glad to hear that because we were rolling and, from experience, I knew we would continue pass people all the way in. Our miles through the hills were 5:14, 5:17, 5:06, 5:14, and finally 5:24 from 20 to 21…the Heartbreak Hill mile.
I felt very strong through the hills, however, Luke seemed to be accelerating at the same time. I was taking a mental inventory of my body at this point, trying to assess my condition. My arms seemed on the verge of cramping. This is something I’ve dealt with before. I just straighten them out a bit. I also grabbed a cold bottle of water and dumped some on my bicep tendon area. This seemed to really help. After the hills I didn’t notice any cramping at all.
Now that Luke and I had passed 21, it was time to get moving. We had lost time on the uphills as we had expected. Now was time to get those seconds back. Mile 22 was 5:04. Luke remained in front, somewhat desperately holding on to his position. Mile 23 was hit in 5:07. Not what I wanted to hear. I knew if I wanted to squeak out a PR we had to be down under 5:00. I took the lead from Luke and started the drive toward Boylston Street. Luke was all-out now, trying to stay with the pace. He hung in for about half a mile longer. I was feeling pretty strong. I hit that 24th mile in 4:51. “That’s more like it I thought!” Now I’m looking at 2 miles to go. I need to keep cranking to guarantee a PR. I see Kevin again. He says “Your 11th!” This is music to my ears as I spot a Kenyan 100m ahead who is fading fast. When your closing on somebody at 4:51 pace late in a marathon, once you see them, they are yours.
Mile 25 is 4:55. I passed the Kenyan and was now in 10th. I couldn’t see anybody in front of me, yet I knew I needed to keep the pedal down to PR. Mile 26 had a new down-and-up “dip” section that didn’t slow me down much. I was surprised to see Hereford Street so abruptly after the “underpass” dip. I made the Right turn on Hereford, then the final Left onto Boylston. The crowd was unbelievable. I sprinted the last 600m to the line where the clock read 2:14:11. My official time was 2:14:12. 10th place, a 5 second PR.
I had achieved two of my goals.
Top 10 finish
PR. Not a bad day.
Here’s a summary of my 5k splits:
26.2 MILES 2:14:12 PR
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Joined: 28 Nov 2004
Re: Clint Verran's race report
Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 1:55 pm
That's pretty cool, thanks for posting it. I loved this: "When you're closing on somebody at 4:51 pace late in a marathon, once you see them, they are yours."
South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Re: Clint Verran's race report
Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 3:32 pm
Whoa! I think if I were ever closing in on someone at a 4:51 pace it would be as I was making for the side of the road to puke.
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