5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

Here’s a look at the last 48 hours or so as I’ve been bumbling to and around Boston!

1) Flew to NYC, drive to Connecticut, and then onto Boston

The theory was a rather relaxing day of a flight from Paris to Newark, and then the 90-100 minute drive up to visit my 97-year old grandfather in Connecticut for a short bit before continuing on the remaining 2hrs to Boston.

Except…that didn’t quite work out.  Our United flight was cancelled a short bit after we boarded, and so we played the frantic call to reservations game to end up on an Air France flight 4 hours later to JFK instead.  The view from the top of the tail:


Don’t worry, I wasn’t up there – rather, just the camera as part of the entertainment system.

From there we landed at JFK and spent more time getting to the gate than it took to fly to to NYC.  Unfortunately, due to the early evening arrival we skipped our previously planned lunch stop at Katz Deli and continued on north.

We stopped by Papa’s house for a short check-in before continuing on another 2 hours up to Boston, ultimately getting in around 10PM or so.  Finally…sleep!

2) Checked out the Boston Marathon Expo with The Girl

Obviously, the reason we were in Boston was for The Girl to run her first Boston Marathon.  And of course, a key part of that experience is the massive Boston Marathon Expo, where you pickup your packet and wander around and see the entire running industry in a single place.


All of the major sports tech companies were there – Garmin, Polar, TomTom, Magellan, Timex, though – I don’t believe I saw Suunto.  Plus lots of smaller but still popular ones like Mio and Withings.

Garmin was giving out FR620 Boston Marathon themed straps, so The Girl picked one up for her unit.  They should also work on the FR220 as well.


Personally, I thought the best giveaway was the Pork people.  They were handing out massive hunks of freshly cooked up pork.


They cleaned up on the beef folks across the aisle, who had…well…sketchy and greasy looking beef sticks.


When we saw the Celebrity Cruises booth, we had hoped that they too might have some sort of giveaway.  You know, like a free instant cruise to all who passed by.  Instead, they just had a giant beach chair.  Which, was surprisingly hard to get out of.


On the flip side, Macy’s did have a ‘wheel’, and The Girl managed to win a $10 gift certificate. Score!


Of course, there was lots of shopping involved too.  Both at the official Boston Marathon store, as well as plenty of other booths.  All much cheaper for runner stuff than in France.  With that, we headed on out.

3) Watched the B.A.A. Invitational Mile

By pure luck we stumbled out of the convention center and the short distance down the street towards the finish line where they were just announcing the athlete names for the BAA Mile, which is, as the name implies – a one-mile race.

The course is setup as a three-loop route around a single city block, roughly starting and ending at the Boston Marathon finish line.


With the giant screen they had setup, it was super-easy to watch the full race unfold…all four minutes of it.


For the first lap, things ‘seemed’ fairly slow (hint, it’s not), but once onto the second lap and into the final lap is when things really kick up.  You can see them heading down towards the finish line here on the final lap.


About 5-10 minute after the men went, it was time for the women:


Just like the men, things ‘felt’ slow for the first lap, but once kicked into high gear it’s astounding how fast they’re moving.


The men finished in 4:11, and the women in 4:44.  If you’re around in future years, definitely block a tiny bit of time in the day to see it – well worth it!

4) Went for a 23-mile long run

While The Girl was enjoying the day before the race in relaxing style, I meanwhile still had a long run.  My longest training run to date, pegged at 2hrs and 45mins.

I started off around 10AM from the Boston Commons, weaving my way through what seemed like an RV park’s worth of TV trucks in a staging area.  There were about double what you see here.  They just didn’t fit into my frame.


From there I looped down to the Science Museum along the Charles River.  The trail on both sides of the river would be my ‘home’ for the next little while.


While near the city, it was packed with marathon runners out doing various short (well, I’d hope they were short) runs.  It was fairly easy to pick them out from all the 2014 BAA gear they wore.

During my run, I only saw 2-3 other runners out clearly on a long run, with some sort of hydration on their body.  Those that did look up definitely shared a knowing glance of “Well, it’s gotta be someone’s long run today…”.

Eventually I took a detour up to a pond for a 2 mile loop around it.  While doing so they were having a bit of an Easter Egg hunt around the pond.  Every once in a while I’d see an egg on the fence, or up hanging in a tree.


Given how few kids there were, I have a feeling that some of those eggs might be there a while.  Still, neat.

Overall my run was incredibly consistent in both pace and HR.  Here, my heart rate:


It was set as a Z2 run, and I easily kept it in that for the entire run.  My pace fluctuated between 6:50 and 7:10/mile, with a few miles being slightly slower if I had to zig-zig burning time for an intersection or the like.  And here’s my total route:


All in, as seen below – 23.2 miles in 2:45.  Quite happy with that given the Z2 heart rate zone.  Plus, I was feeling quite strong.  Had someone told me to just finish running another three miles, I would have simply shrugged and knocked it out at the same pace.


5) Cycled a short bit after the run

Finally, after my run while walking back to the room I noticed the door for the fitness center, which happened to be on the same floor.

My legs were feeling a bit tired already, so I knew that if I didn’t do a short bit of spinning they’d hurt quite a bit more later on.  I’ve long since known that doing a short and easy 10-30 minute ride after a long run makes an incredible difference in recovery.  In the past I’d often just go out and pedal around on my mountain bike.

After poking into the fitness center I found it virtually empty and jumped on an exercise bike:


Now, don’t be confused.  This isn’t a workout.  You shouldn’t be breaking a sweat – if you are, you’re doing it wrong.

To prove that, notice the wattage below – 34w.  Yes, thirty-four watts.  Zero resistance, just easy spinning of the legs.


It makes a massive difference.  Even just the short bit I did on the exercise bike and things already felt better, and now sitting here some 8 hours later, and things feel fairly good.  Tomorrow, I’ll be suckering The Girl up onto the bike for a short 10-15 minute ride post-marathon.  It’ll make all the difference in the world come Tuesday morning.

With that, I’ve gotta prepare for my big day of course spectating tomorrow.  It’s gonna be epic!  For those that want to check out my previous Boston Marathon Race Report (when I ran it), check out this post! Massive numbers of photos.

Good luck to all running tomorrow!


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  1. Good luck to The Girl.

  2. James

    Hey Ray, Can you share what all your Heart Rate training zones are? Just interested in what your Z2 is compared to mine. I run very slow at Z2 considering it tops out at 149
    Thanks heaps!

    • Mine tops out at 161, and I think the bottom is 153 (I never train Z1, and thus, I don’t offhand remember my exact bottom). In general, my coach likes me in the 157-159ish range for Z2 runs (mid-zone).

    • Patrick

      I always enjoy the peaks into your training and James asked exactly what I was thinking. Maybe we’ll get to see more about your continuing athletic development in the future. Enjoy your time in Boston!

      and as always, thanks for the great reviews and info. Good luck to The Girl!

  3. Mark

    Good Luck, have a great race!

  4. Alfie

    Good luck to The Girl at Boston!

  5. Trey

    I see you are at the W. I stayed there last year. Great location for the race. I thought the staff did a great job. Up and ready for the runners in the morning and complimentary smoothies after the race. My favorite of the Marathon hotels.

    I regret not being able to run this year. Good luck to The Girl and have fun!

    • Indeed, I’m very impressed with how ‘marathon-friendly’ the staff are. From a little guide they gave out, to tons of sports drinks and water bottles around, to a shower system of sorts setup for this afternoon for folks who aren’t staying the night here tonight (us).

      And, as you noted, can’t be a better location from the standpoint of early morning logistics (we walked one block).

  6. John B

    Sorry to hear that you missed out on Katz’s. I hope the race goes well.

  7. MYA.

    Best of luck to you guys! 😀

  8. Mark

    Didn’t watch the 5K before the expo Saturday?
    Not many days you can watch:
    a) 8900 people run a single 5k race
    b) the 2012 5000m silver medalist win the second year in a row
    c) a photo finish at 13:26
    d) a race where 20:00 will get you beat by 400 people

    The Garmin people gave me the straps when I bought a 220, so they should fit!

  9. Thanks for the tip about taking a short ride after a long run! Plus, thanks for the helpful Garmin Forerunner reviews you’ve done! I’ve been reading up on those lately. Have fun in Boston!

  10. Turn The Damn Cranks

    Good luck to The Girl!

  11. Maxbre

    “In bocca al lupo” to The Girl!

  12. Jon Palmer

    Gotta love the runs along the Charles. Glad you found the Fresh Pond detour. Definitely a favorite spot though there are nicer ways to get there from the Charles if you know your way around.

  13. Can I ask what method you used to calculate your max HR and get your HR zones?

  14. Lew

    NIce pic of the 620 and V800. Is the contrast on the V800 screen really as wide as it looks? Impressive if so.

    Quick question: looks like the V800 band was pretty loose. Does it behave like the 610 did on smaller wrists, leaving fairly big gaps?

    Hope The Girl does well.

    • It’s definitely a sharper contrasting screen. But, it’s sorta like (to me) the iPad regular vs iPad Retina. Ultimately, for 95% of scenarios, it doesn’t really matter.

      In this case, I just laid the band on my arm for the photo (it was on my other arm during the run).

  15. Jani Ollikainen

    Oh, I see V800 in your hand! Looking forward for the review when Polar releases it! 🙂
    I’m thinking of changing the camp from Garmin to Polar, as Garmin didn’t upgrade 910XT with those 620 features.

  16. jujugo

    Good luck to the girl!

    Any goal in mind? Sub 3.30?

  17. Brian W

    I am honestly damned impressed by the 3:55 finish for the girl. I would struggle to get sub five on a dead flat course, with no wind and an air temp of 40. You can definitely see her heart in the splits as she finished strong.

  18. Bryan

    Regarding the Boston themed FR620 straps, were they free? I wonder if Garmin will sell them eventually?

  19. Christine

    Great post, Ray! Curious — what do you use to carry hydration for long runs? I don’t remember it being mentioned on your “Gear I Use” page. Does The Girl use the same one? I’m training for my first marathon now and have been running while holding a water bottle, but am running out of places to refill it … thanks!

  20. Sean Battis

    Hey Ray – were you by any chance in Wellesley today, around the 1/2 mark? Saw someone I thought looked very much like you across the street. Hope the race went great!

  21. tibo

    Technogym, powered by Netpulse 🙂

  22. Russ Shupe

    Wow! I really like the look of the Garmin wristband replacement The Girl snagged at the expo. It would be nice if Garmin would consider offering commemorative wristbands to the rest of the running public. I’d pay for one, especially if they offered to donate a portion of the proceeds to a charity in support of the survivors and first responders.

  23. Matt

    Beef and pork? That’s a lot of murdered animal flesh!

  24. I feel like such a jackass for just now getting to this post, but that should tell you where my head is at planning my wedding! The expo looked like a friggin blast! You think you could’ve snagged me one of those celebrity cruise chairs though? Help a sistah out!

  25. Santos

    DC, when will the Pioneer’s PM get out?

  26. Errol Viquez

    Hey Ray! You’re using both, the FR620 and the polar v800. In youre experience, wich is the best?
    Another question…:)
    Where did you get the v800?

  27. Paul

    Hi Ray,

    Looks like you had a blast spectating, well done to the girl as well.

    I’ve recently found your blog & spent the last couple of weeks catching up to now. I saw from when you started blogging that you had already run a marathon & 6 ish min/mile was typical pace. How long did it take you to get to that pace & how long were you running before you decided to add in the swimming & cycling?

    Keep up the good work.



  28. nick

    DC – you feel like selling your blue garmin 620 boston marathon edition watch strap ? – I’m willing to over pay SUBSTANTIALLY/ majorly / hugely – lol (assuming it is in nice / newish condition)

    • It’s really hers, not mine. So I think it’s something she wants to keep as a keepsake. Sorry!

    • nick

      no problem- totally understand !

    • nick

      if she ever upgrades to a newer (better) watch and no longer uses hers…feel free to change your (her mind) at that point and let me know

      – either way- keep up the great site/ blog !

    • nick

      If she ever decides to change her mind (starts wearing an updated/ better watch etc and is no longer using the blue boston marathon strap ) I would be willing to pay 100.00 for the strap. (assuming it’s still in great condition)
      I didn’t know they were giving them away at the marathon 🙁