Monday, January 25, 2010

Elevation Profile: Boston marthon

It's that time of year again, when people start obsessing about their big upcoming winter/spring races.
I know this from looking at the visitor logs, and seeing that 95% of people visiting this blog are sitting in their cubicle, biting their nails nervously while googling "marthon elevation profile".
Well, at least that's what I have been doing.

In the next 12 weeks Shannon and I have four big races, 2 marathons and 2 ultra marathons, and we have been doing a lot of nail biting. So this is the first of a four part series of elevation profiles. First up: Boston.

I am doing this one first because it is the most well known and I have heard so much about it, though this will be our first time running it.

OH MY GOD! Look at those hills! The colors indicate the gradients, some of which approach 4%! Wow.
As I have heard, the first 16 miles is a huge "Quad crushing", rolling downhill. Followed by the first three of the Newton hills which will beat you down in rapid succession. Finally, you "hit the wall" and collapse at mile 21 while attempting to scale Mount "Heartbreak Hill".

Terrifying! Let's compare the beast of Boston to a more pedestrian marathon, like the "City of Oaks" which is run here in Raleigh:

Hmmmm. That makes Boston look pretty damn easy.

This is good, because last year I vowed to run a PR in Boston after commenter said I was foolish.

So my race plan will be contrary to all Boston Marathon conventional wisdom: Go out fast the first 16 miles, taking the downhills as fast as I can. Relax and take it easy up the 4 tiny hills and then sprint in the last 5 miles for a PR. (Yes, I am trying to sound like a cocky jerk to goad people into making comments. )

Geek Note
These profiles were made using the GPS Visualizer profile tool. (The GPS Visualizer website has a bunch of high quality, FREE tools). When using the profile tool with a Forerunner track, it is important to set "Add DEM elevation data" to "best available". This is because the Forerunner elevation data is always ridiculously wrong.

Next up... Uwharrie Mountain Run