Eugene Marathon route changes for 2011

March 29, 2011

I’m not running Eugene this year, but I was interested to note a few route changes from 2010. I love the way Eugene keeps working to improve their course! Here is a PDF of their 2011 route. The changes are:

  • The north-west-south jog just after mile one turns west on 21st instead of 18th. This means the course doesn’t cross itself, like it did last year. I doubt there were any problems last year with the crossing (the slowest walkers should have cleared it before the lead runners came through again), but it sure looked odd on the map.
  • Heading back north through miles 6.5-7.5, the course no longer takes narrow bike paths through Amazon Park, instead running alongside the park on a road (Amazon Parkway). This is a huge improvement — hitting those narrow paths so soon into the race was a serious crowding problem. It also eliminates an annoying  unexpected turn up onto a curb. Just last year, I said “I’m a little surprised they haven’t rerouted onto Amazon Parkway instead of using the bike paths.”
  • Last year, due to construction issues I believe, the marathon route didn’t cross over the Willamette at the Knickerbocker footbridge but continued out toward Springfield on Franklin. This year things are back to normal: the marathoners and half-marathoners both cross the footbridge, then split off, the half runners heading West through Alton Baker and the full runners heading east on bike trails toward Springfield. Taking Franklin may have been a little faster (fewer turns) but it was terribly lonely and dreary.
  • Not a change,  but worth noting: they’ve kept 2010’s retooled return route from Springfield, which basically stays on Centennial until Autzen Stadium. (The 2009 route turned south on Rainbow to get back to the river.) This way is less scenic, and involves an overpass over I5, but it does serve to keep the marathon route fully separated from the half-marathon route after they split.

Kudos for the improvements.



March 27, 2011

I probably should have picked a route with more hills for Saturday’s 22-miler, my longest run during my Boston training cycle, but, well, I didn’t feel like it. Instead I did a clockwise Sellwood-to-Steel-Bridge loop, then an out-and-back along the Springwater trail out to I5. I started off feeling stiff and running slowly, but every mile got a little better, and by the last few I was hitting 7:45s or better fairly easily. It is a nice feeling when you get stronger and faster as a run goes by.

Boston Obsession: The Weather

March 23, 2011

What’s the weather like in Boston on marathon day, April 18th? WeatherSpark says (for Logan Airport):

The temperature typically varies from 44°F to 54°F and is rarely below 37°F or above 67°F. The coolest hours of the day are from 2am to 8am with the coldest at 6am, at which time the temperature is below 47°F three days out of four. The warmest hours of the day are from 11am to 6pm with the hottest at 3pm, at which time the temperature is above 47°F three days out of four.


There is a 50% chance that precipitation will be observed at some point during the day. The average liquid-equivalent quantity of precipitation is 0.12 inches. Among only those days for which there is at least some precipitation, the average is 0.29 inches and the total rarely exceeds 0.73 inches. When precipitation does occur it is most often in the form of moderate rain (37% of days with precipitation have at worst moderate rain), slight rain (36% of days with precipitation have at worst slight rain), slight snow (9% of days with precipitation have at worst slight snow), and heavy rain (6% of days with precipitation have at worst heavy rain).

It’s still too far out to give any kind of real forecast for this year, of course.

So how’s that training going anyway?

March 21, 2011

Yes, in addition to obsessing about every inch of the marathon route (and making dinner reservations for every night we’re spending in Boston) I’ve been continuing to actually, you know, train. This Saturday was a step-down long run for me,  just 15 miles. I didn’t run them fast but it was still a tiring effort. I have been feeling drained from all the running more often than not in the last few weeks. This is probably an appropriate way to feel at this stage of the training cycle, but it still makes me worry a little about being out of shape or having some medical condition. (I don’t think I am out of shape and nor do I think I have a medical condition — I just like to worry.)


My last six months of weekly running mileage


On the plus side, all my nagging injuries seem to have packed up their bags and left town. Feet, ankles, knees — all feel good. I haven’t felt so solidly well since summer 2010… and writing that, I realize what a very long time that has been. No matter what my time is in Boston, I’ll consider it a win as long as I finish and remain uninjured.


Boston Obsession: The Route

March 18, 2011

The official Boston Marathon course map page is lacking a little, offering a slightly-too-small bitmap of the finish area, a text description of the route, and a link to a full course map in PDF form. Right now, the PDF isn’t downloading for me at all, but as I recall, it’s one of those slightly vague, detail-free maps that most marathons publish. The text description, at least, is accurate, and useful:

The historic course starts on Main Street in the rural New England town of Hopkinton and follows Route 135 through Ashland, Framingham, Natick, and Wellesley to where Route 16 joins Route 135. It continues on Route 16 through Newton Lower Falls to Commonwealth Avenue, turning right at the fire station onto Commonwealth which is Route 30. It continues on Commonwealth through the Newton Hills, bearing right at the reservoir onto Chestnut Hill Avenue to Cleveland Circle. The route then turns left onto Beacon Street continuing to Kenmore Square, and then follows Commonwealth Avenue inbound. The course turns right onto Hereford Street (NOTE: against normal traffic flow) then left onto Boylston Street, finishing near the John Hancock Tower in Copley Square.

Want more detail? Here are a couple of Google Maps of the Boston Marathon course:

  1. Using “walking directions”. I have tried to “pin” this route to be stable, but it’s always possible some future tweak in Google’s routing algorithm will cause it to change.
  2. Using “my maps”. This stable map is the one shown at the top of his post.
Here are Google’s walking directions:
I’m not 100% positive about exactly where on Hopkinton’s Main Street the marathon starts. The start point I’m using is from this map someone else made on; the RunningAHEAD site also features the elevation profile.

Boston Obsession: My Bib Number

March 16, 2011

Boston has assigned the bib numbers and officially grouped us runners into one of three starting waves. I am number 7604, which means I am have 7504th fastest qualification time in the field, I think, excluding elites. (The numbers begin at 101.) That is still fast enough to put me in the first wave, which includes numbers up to 8999. I imagine I will be way way back toward the end of that first wave.

The search engine for Boston entrants is fun to play around with for a few seconds. There is one other runner sharing my last name, Larry Glazer, a fast 49-year-old from New York City. (Hello, Larry, if you are Googling yourself!) I am one of eight runners from Tigard, Oregon — and I don’t know any of the others. There are five runners named Billy and one named Willy.


Boston Obsession: The Newton Hills (including Heartbreak Hill) vs. Portland’s Terwilliger Hill

March 15, 2011

There’s a good chance that every post for the next month will be about the Boston Marathon. I can feel a full-on obsession coming on.

Stretching from miles 15.8 to 20.6 are the Boston Marathon’s Newton Hills, a series of four climbs over five miles, the last one (but not the worst one) being the famous “Heartbreak Hill”.

People who run in Portland, Oregon are usually familiar with the climb up Terwilliger Road; I’ve written about it many times before.  The climb up Terwilliger is only two or three miles, but if you add a climb through downtown on Broadway at the start (just like last week’s Shamrock Run 15K route) it stretches to five.  I was curious how those five miles compare to the Newton Hills. (Coincidentally, both start at almost exactly the same elevation.)

As you can see, Terwilliger dwarfs the Newton hills. I wasn’t surprised by this — nobody claims there are giant mountains in Massachusetts. That doesn’t mean they won’t be agony:

  1. Did I mention they come between miles 15.8 and 20.6 of a marathon? At that point, sometimes just climbing up a curb feels like too much work.
  2. Forget about the uphills. Nobody minds the uphills. It’s the downhills that turn everybody’s legs into mincemeat. The first four miles of the marathon are downhill. The Newton Hills themselves are immediately preceded by six-tenths of a mile of steep downhill. There are significant downhills between hills one and two, and two and three. Then, after Heartbreak, three more miles of  big downhills. I’ve heard it over and over: if you’re going to run Boston, train for the downhill pounding.