Boston Marathon: Tales from the Front Lines, Part II

Last week we showcased Austin-coached Brooke Hartley, a 28-year old law student who ran a fine 3:27:46 at the Boston. Under extremely challenging conditions. Now we’ll tell Jeff Glaser’s story. Glaser, 52, is coached by Ready to Run’s own Mac Allen of Teammac.  Glaser, a civil engineer for Cook-Joyce, Inc., is a two-time sub-three-hour marathoner, and this year’s Boston was his 20th marathon. He took on the gale force winds, driving rain, and freezing temperatures and ran a solid race.  Here’s his story.

RTW: How many other marathons have you run besides Boston 2018?

JG: Santa Rosa (CA) 2014, Queen City (Regina Canada) 2013, Boston 2003-2006 and 2014-2018, Twin Cities 2008, NYC 2007, Houston 2005, and Austin three times around 2001-2003.

RTW: You ran 3:15:44, right? What’s your marathon PR?

JG: Yes, I ran 3:15:44 in Boston this year.  My PR is Twin Cities 2008 in 2:58:32. I ran 2:59:35 in Boston in 2006.

Austin’s Jeff Glaser, Coached by Ready to Run’s Mac Allen crushed it at the Boston Marathon.

RTW: Describe the conditions that greeted you race morning:

JG: Cold, wind, rain.  The first thing I did when I got up around 5:00 a.m. was look out the hotel window.  I saw that it was raining just as they had been predicting.  My friend John LaClaire had introduced me in 2006 to the contact for buses that the Cambridge Sports Union charters to Hopkinton.  So fortunately, I was taking one of those and we were allowed to stay on the bus until walking to the start line.  However, this year there was a delay with all of the buses getting to Cambridge, so I had to wait in the rain for about 20 minutes before boarding.  I was layered up pretty good with some throw away clothes, so the cold didn’t bother me too much. I did get pretty wet though, waiting for the bus.

RTW: What were your thoughts when you realized the conditions were going to be 38 degrees and gale force winds?

JG: My main thought was that the worst parts would be being outside for 45 minutes or so during the walk to the start and standing in the starting corral and also when I was finished with the race and trying to get back to my hotel.  In the days leading up to the race I had been trying to decide what to wear during the race.  Usually, no matter how cold, I go with shorts, a singlet, gloves, and maybe a cap.  I remember talking to a woman in the elevator on Sunday who had run Boston six times and she was just as undecided as I was about what to wear.  The BAA had sent a couple of emails advising to wear a waterproof layer, so I ended up wearing a waterproof rain jacket that I bought off Amazon a few years ago.  It wasn’t a running jacket but was more suitable for hiking.  I had the rain jacket over a singlet, shorts, a pullover cap, and a running cap.  I thought I would ditch the rain coat during the race, but I never did.

RTW: How did you mentally handle the race given the challenging conditions?

JG: Other than getting the attire correct, I wasn’t worried too much about the race itself.  I PRd at Twin Cities in 2008 when it rained quite a bit.  Also, I had done a training run for Berlin last year on a Saturday morning when rain and wind from Hurricane Harvey was blowing in.  Our long run was officially cancelled but one of my friends, who was also running Berlin, and I ran 17 miles (only because we never saw lightning).  So, I felt ok facing wind and rain.

RTW: Describe the race once it was underway- halfway point, 20-mile mark, etc.

JG: Once we started, I noticed the runners were much more subdued than normal.  Usually there is a lot of chatting and interaction with other runners and with the crowds lining the course.  I think the runners were maybe a little more focused/worried than normal.  The crowds were understandably smaller than normal, but those who were spectating were very enthusiastic.

It rained the whole way. Sometimes it was a downpour.  I tried my best to dodge puddles, but it was raining so hard around Cleveland Circle (mile 22) that it just didn’t matter.  It was difficult to open my gel packets.  It was OK the first few times, but as my gloves got more soaked it was a challenge to open them.  The BAA said our race numbers were supposed to be on our outer layer.  Since I thought I would toss my rain jacket (but never did), I fumbled around every time I came up to a timing mat and unzipped my jacket because my number was on my singlet.  I was a little paranoid my time wouldn’t get recorded since the timing device is on the back of the number.

My goal was 3:10. So we trained at 4:30/km pace which is around 7:12/mile.  I was exactly 4:30 for the first kilometer even though it is a pretty big downhill. I was too fast through 5K (22:09 and should have been 22:30) and was still a bit fast through 20K.  At the half I was 1:34:43. I thought that was pretty good since I was trying for 3:10 and the Newton Hills were still to come.  Somewhere around mile 15 though, I noticed the wind was really strong.  The wind and the rain were finally starting to make it feel like it was a lot of work to maintain my pace.  I decided to ease up just a bit to make sure that I could still maintain a reasonable pace through the uphills from mile 16 to 20.5.  My thought was that I’d be ok losing a few minutes, but I didn’t want to blow up and lose lots of time.

I did run a 7:03 last mile after I tried to do math in my head at the one-mile-to-go mark and decided that I needed to run fast to get in under 3:16. So that last mile split made me wonder if I could maybe have run a minute or two faster for the race.

RTW: Did you ever contemplate dropping out?

JG: No, but I did have some passing thoughts in the days before the race that I could skip the race and take a DNS.

RTW: Once you finished, what were your overriding sentiments?

JG: I was really happy with my time given some pretty difficult conditions.  It is almost as satisfying as the times I broke three hours back when I was faster.

Upcoming Races: 5K Run for Recovery, Saturday, May 5, 8:00 a.m. at Manzano Mile (east of Marble Falls HS). Saturday, May 5, 8:00 a.m. Cinco De Mayo 5K/10K Run at 202 E Prairie Lea, Lockhart.

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