3 Days Until Boston: Run Like There’s No Tomorrow

Posted on Apr 16, 2016 | 0 comments

Landed in Beantown today and immediately headed to Cheers to for a Sam Adams, a “mug” of baked beans, and a Cheers cheeseburger. Everyone in the bar seemed to be staring at Paula Harkin. Like back home, she must just look sort of famous.

As it turns out, we were sitting smack dab in front of the Norm placard. Everyone just wanted us to move so they could take a selfie in front of the barstool of the legend Norm. It was awesome.

The concentration of wiry, lithe, game-faced warriors on the streets of Boston is stunning. Everyone looks like they could run 2:30. I heard one guy (Jeff the bartender) when he was asked what he wanted to run Boston in on Monday casually reply, “I really haven’t thought about it…”

Well, I have. I thought about the opening miles. I have imagined the smells and sounds of Hopkinton. Body Glide. Glukos. Hat or no hat? Arm warmers? I’ve thought about Heartbreak Hill and pace and about all the possible outcomes.

And I am at peace. For the first time in a long time, I know what I can do. I don’t even need everything to be perfect, just reasonable, and I am sure that I will reach my goals.

I usually write down my pace predictions in a journal or on a scrap of paper on my desk at home, for personal use only, but this year I am writing them…out loud. Here goes:

  • First 10K: 36:30 (5:52/mile)
  • Next 10K: 36:54 (5:53/mile)
  • HALF: 1:17:24 (5:54)
  • 30K: 1:50:30 (5:55)40K: 2:27:10
  • Finish: 2:35:33

That’s my guess. I don’t really care how I go about it, but I am sure there will be phases. I remember an early quote from Day 97 or so: “Don’t mistake ‘feeling good’ with a good feeling. Specifically, the marathon does not feel good but can produce great feelings.”

I am pretty sure that the early downhill will yield a fast first 7–8 miles (FLOAT). Then there will be 6–7 miles of PUSH. Then I will have to GRIND 6–7 miles. I will FIGHT for a couple of miles, and eventually I will get to the SURVIVE phase.

The trick is to get as far into the race as I can before the phases blur and there will be only thing that I will be able to focus on—just keep running.

We love this city. Boston loves us too, but it expects us to participate. We can’t sit around and wait for Monday. And so, we will enjoy the city, the people, the awesome food, and the atmosphere.

So, Cheers tonight. A run along the Charles River tomorrow. Expo. Dinner with friends at Abe and Louie’s.

It’s going to be great. It’s Boston. We are lucky to be here. It’s basically our Olympics, and though winning Boston really isn’t the point, winning the race day is.

Mantra of the day: Run like there’s no tomorrow.

3 Days. 3 Ways.



Dave Harkin and his wife, Paula, own Portland Running Company. He lives in West Linn.

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