NPR

8 runners take on the 2014 Boston Marathon

eric ashe

Post-Race Thoughts

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After coming through on pace the first half in 1:08:36, a stomach cramp and heavy legs caused me to fatigue sooner than expected and I faded to a 2:21:41 finish … 3 minutes and 41 seconds off of my goal for the race.

I balled my eyes out when I crossed the finish line, overwhelmed with too many different emotions at once!

Disappointment of not achieving my goal.

Happiness for all the support I’ve had leading up to the race — and during it — from friends, family and the million spectators.

Inspiration from all the people that overcame adversity to participate in the race.

At first, I was really upset about not hitting my sub-2:18 goal. I’ve never put as much emotional and physical effort toward one goal as this one. It also felt like I let down friends and family who were following my race. But, after a day to reflect … there is really no reason to be upset; 2:21 is a solid time.

There will be more chances (and on easier courses). And the race confirmed my belief that I am capable of a faster time in the near future. I’m already itching to map out a plan for a fall marathon!

You can check out my daily running log and more details about the race at LogARun. Thank you for reading!

— Eric Ashe

Pre-Race Thoughts And Emotions

With 36 hours until the start of the race, I’m certainly anxious. I’m so excited to represent my team and city! Racing next to the million fans along the course, including friends and family, is going to be surreal.

However, I’m also feeling nervous, because I’m scared that the race might not go as planned … oh and that it will hurt a lot! But I’m also feeling confident.

My training has gone as well as I could have expected. I’ve completed all my workouts without fail and I honestly believe I prepared as well as I could have. Now, we race to find out what we’re physically and mentally capable of!

Good luck to everyone running!

— Eric Ashe

Why I’m Running Boston

A year ago today, I watched friends and competitors from my apartment at the 23-mile mark on the course, competing to their fullest potential in one of the most prestigious races in the world.

A  year ago today, I saw individuals and a city hurt and in shock and my friends and competitors performances go unappreciated after a horrific act of terror.

A year ago today, I decided to join those friends and competitors in training relentlessly for this year’s race, representing my team and city, going unafraid.

— Eric Ashe

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Running Is My Identity

Distance running hasn’t always been a focal point in my life. Up until 11th grade, most of my focus in athletics was on football. I dreamed of earning a scholarship to play on a college team and then play in the NFL. I trained hard to try to achieve that goal, countless pushups, sit-ups and laps around the block. It took far too long to realize that I wasn’t big, strong or fast enough to make the cut in the NFL, nevermind on a college team. I should have realized after winning the Hanson Middle School Turkey Trot in 8th grade that I was destine to be a runner! 

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After freshman football, and ski team in the winter, I showed up to the first day of spring track and told the coach I wanted to do the 800m. He sent me off to run an “easy” 4 miles with the distance team around Castle Island in South Boston. It was probably the hardest thing I had ever attempted in my life. I wasn’t able to finish without stopping. I felt embarrassed because I considered myself a good runner, even though my focus was still football. After that run, I quit on the 800.

I showed up to the second day of practice and asked to do the hurdles. I picked up hurdles quickly and improved a lot over the next two years. I was one of the best at the freshman-sophomore invitational. I knew I wasn’t going to play much on the varsity football team as a junior, so I decided to do cross-country to get in better shape for track. After the first couple days of practice, and with the guidance of the coach, I decided that if I was going to do cross-country, I might as well give it a full go. I worked my butt off and, luckily, didn’t get injured. By the end of the season I was the second-best runner on a very strong team.

I really fell in love with running fast! 

Fast forward 9 years and my life revolves around running. I’m training for the marathon, coaching college track athletes and working at a running store. Almost all my friends are runners! Whether it’s becoming a professional athlete, a head coach or working for a running company, I want to make a career out of it. Running is now my identity!

— Eric Ashe

Project Overdress

How to prepare for a potential hot day for the Boston Marathon:

With the marathon two weeks away, tapering has begun and it finally looks like the brutal winter is behind us! Fifty degrees and sunny feels so warm; I just want to run in shorts and a t-shirt. However, there is still the potential that the marathon could be abnormally warm, like it was in 2012. So, until it’s known what the temperature will be for race day, I’ll be wearing an extra clothing layer to build up my body’s tolerance to warmer temperatures. If it’s warm on race day, I’ll be better prepared!

— Eric Ashe

Time To Taper!

This morning, I put in my last hard session before the race. It called for 15 miles at marathon pace. With teammate Brian Harvey, we set out on the Charles River path for some flat and fairly windy miles. We completed the run in 79 minutes, a 5:16 per mile average. I finished the run feeling like I could have kept going at the same pace for a few miles if it were a race.

This is a huge confidence boost going into the race! This run was done on tired legs, after averaging roughly 95 miles per week for the last 8 weeks. The next two weeks the volume and intensity will drop significantly. Hopefully the two-week taper will leave the legs rested, fresh and ready to run 26.2 miles under 2 hours and 18 minutes!

— Eric Ashe

Salute To A Friend

I recently got a message from my friend, Matt Paulson that I wanted to share:

"Platoon patrol week this week. Supposedly one of the worst weeks of IBOLC and Ranger School. Good to have something to remind yourself why you’re doing this when you’re hungry and haven’t slept for two days."

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Matt was with with me hanging out at my apartment last year on Marathon Monday. When the news was heard about the bombs at the finish line, his reaction was to head there to try to help. He graduated from Boston University last spring. Since this past summer, he has been training to become an infantry officer in the Army. Proud of you buddy!

— Eric Ashe

Spring Forward

With damp air and flowers beginning to bloom around me, I brought in the spring equinox with hill repeats at The Arnold Arboretum! It is imperative to practice running on hills before the race. The beginning downhill miles of the Boston course place lots of stress on the quadriceps muscles. If the muscles become overly fatigued early in the race, the Newton hills will feel even harder in the later miles. So, with teammate Brian Harvey, We ran up and down the 1 kilometer Bussey Hill multiple times.

Workout details: 3-mile warmup that finished at the top of the hill. Then we ran the hill down fast, up fast and down fast, with an easy run up the hill for recovery. We repeated that series two more times. Basically, 3 sets of 3k at a strong effort, followed by 1k at an easy effort. (But uphill!) We ran the 3k at about 5:15 per mile pace and the 1k easy at 7:00 per mile, which totaled 7.7 miles in 44 minutes — about 5:45 per mile average. Then a 3-mile cooldown for around 14 miles total. Luckily, this didn’t leave me overly tired, as I have a hard long run planned for Sunday! Maybe the weather will start feeling more like spring by then … 

— Eric Ashe

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