Jim at Boston: And now… the rest of the story

Last week, Jim Lamastra posted an innocuous race report about his race at the Boston Marathon. It read:

The day did not go as planned but as usual, this is about my favorite race on the calendar. Crowds are insane and the pre/post-race vibe is like nothing else I’ve been a part of. Cannot wait until next year.

Intriguing, right?

If you had tracked Jim on the official Boston site, you would have seen what his Garmin was telling him: a steady parade of splits all predicting a 2:40 finish time. All until the half-way point, that is, where “the day did not go as planned.” He has modestly refused to write this up, but it’s really just too good. Here is the rest of the story.

His race started well. Each mile split was a few seconds faster than the previous one. Jim has finished enough marathons to know that you can never count on anything until you’re done, but he was feeling good about the day. The knee pain that had been giving him trouble was gone, and he was on track for an incredible time. And then, at mile 14, an eager runner cut suddenly across the road for water, tangling feet and sending Jim down hard on his knee.

Quick aside: If you trip another guy in a race, stop and help him up. Seems the least you could do, really.

After the initial pain wore off, Jim found he could run pretty well. In fact, the Garmin said he had gotten back on pace by mile 15. There was a touch of soreness, but feeling disaster had been averted he started down the embankment leading in to the Newton Hills.

But now the pain came– for real. His knee was throbbing, forcing not just a walk, but a complete standstill. After thinking about the situation for a second, Jim started walking again– walking backwards.

This relieved the pain so completely that he thought, what the heck, and started jogging backwards. Still no pain. So he started pushing it a bit– running backwards down the hill in a pack of 2:40 marathoners. And still, no pain.

By the time he reached the bottom of the embankment at mile 17, he thought the pain might be gone, so he started up the first of the Newton Hills facing front. And all was well again. Garmin said so, and the knee confirmed it. But at the top, where the road headed back down– the pain returned.

So Jim turned around again, running a 7-minute pace backwards whenever the knee started hurting. And, as you can see, there’s a lot of downhill left in the race at this point.

Just stop and picture this for a second.

boston_small3

Boston Marathon Profile

Now, of course, Jim has never tried running a marathon backwards before, and neither have any of his muscles ever performed the tasks he was asking of them that day. I’m sure he discovered muscles in his legs that he had no idea even existed– and the man has a degree in anatomy. So they start cramping. All of them, it seems, are cramping in the last five miles.

He can fly up the hills, passing the people who just moments before were giving him odd looks as the passed him– face to face!– on the down. But the down is starting to be excruciating, and the last three miles is all downhill.

Inside the last mile, Jim is running backwards, running forwards, practically trying anything he can to get across the line, while enduring the well meaning “you can do it!” chants from the crowds– but he knows he’s going to finish facing forward, because he wants a good picture.

And he does, and it is. We knew that he finished in 3:00, but I bet you didn’t know that he ran half the race backwards.

And now you know… the rest of the story.

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4 Responses

  1. rofl! Most excellent. The highest of atta-boys have been earned.

    Nice Jim, nice. 😉

  2. This is a simple solution to a swimmer. When you can’t do freestyle, you flip over and do backstroke, right? Good job Jim! Do not even try to persuade me into thinking you did the last ten miles hypoxic. That would really be impressive.

  3. The Legend continues………nails my man, sick in the head you are…..

  4. And if that didn’t work he would walk on his hands the rest of the race! That’s heart man! Props Jim.

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