Kopacs at NY Marathon finish line
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Lynne in NYC

Kopac's Corner

A 2005 Boston Marathon MHRRC Conversation

by Bob Kopac

After completing the 2005 Boston Marathon, one by one Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club members met at the "L" family reunion area to compare notes. I went there from the Photo Bridge above the finish line and first met Tony Ferreri.

Question: How was it?

Tony Ferreri: Maybe I went out a little too fast. At Mile 20 I really started to feel it. So I was on a 7-minute pace until mile 20, and then when I hit Heartbreak Hill it really hit me, and I walked up the hill a little bit. I got some cramps. I started running again and then walked a little bit again on the next hill. But then I was able to keep an 8-minute pace. So I came in at 3:21, still happy with it-a sunny day. [Note: Tony's net time of 3:21:06 means he missed qualifying for next year's Boston Marathon by 7 seconds.]

Tony: You never know. So I have new respect for Heartbreak Hill this year. I don't know why, I didn't run that hard last year early, so it wasn't as bad. This year I ran harder, and when I got to Heartbreak Hill I was, well...

Q: It was hotter last year [87 degrees] than this year [70 degrees].

Tony: Yeah, so it surprised me a little bit that I felt it so much more, but I was running definitely a faster pace today.

Q: Did you see anyone you knew, or were you basically running by yourself?

Tony: No, I didn't see anyone during the race. I saw Ed Fitzmaurice at the starting line because he was one gate ahead of me. I thought maybe I'd see him eventually, but I never saw him.

Q: I only saw Duncan Larkin from my position on the Photo Bridge because he finished so early [2:44:24 official time, 2:44:19 net time], and there are fewer runners there. Last year I saw a woman who wore pink angel wings, and I saw her again this year. I told our running club members to wear angel wings so I could see them, but they didn't listen.

Tony: I did see a woman who wore angel wings. [Note to MHRRC members: See, angel wings are noticeable.]

[Tony's family was with him in the reunion area.]

Q: Your son looks ready to run.

Tony: He's 8 months old.

Tony's daughter: He's 7 months old!

Q: Too busy training, right, to remember the age?

Tony: Well, after that run, I'm not thinking straight. [Laughs]

[Tony leaves with his family. Later, Nick Lamando joins Lynne and me.]

Lynne: I missed you. [Lynne had been sitting in the press bleachers near the finish line.] I didn't have your number, but I had a piece of paper that said you would be wearing red shorts with a black singlet.

Nick: I might have changed. [Nick was wearing black shorts with a red singlet, without angel wings.] I screwed up.

Q: You either have to run faster, or else wear angel wings. How did you do out there?

Nick: I just went a steady pace right from the get-go. I just kept running just under 8 [minute miles]. I was consistent the whole time. It took 5 minutes just to get to the start, so I had to compensate for that. I was like 3:34 on the real clock [3:28:38 net time]. But they'll still go on the chip time. [Nick's time qualified him for next year's Boston Marathon.] You mean I have to come back? [Laughs]

Q: You have any problems out there?

Nick: I felt good, for the training I did.

Q: What was your training?

Nick: I did 2 long runs, is all I did. And I ran 25 miles a week is all I could do. Because I've been busy. However, I ran Disney [marathon] 3 months ago, and I had a base; I was ready for that.

Q: What did you do at Disney?

Nick: I ran 3:20. I wasn't that far off today, for the work I did.

Q: How was the heat today versus Disney?

Nick: It was hotter here, because at Disney you start at 6 in the morning. By the time it got light, I was half way through, so only the last hour was hot. Here it was hot really from the 5-mile mark out. It cooled, I think, as we were coming here [to the finish].

Nick: I had found out from Tony Ferreri, I started using salt tablets. It's been a big thing, boy. It makes a big difference how your legs feel. Usually I'm locking up, and I'm not. It works well.

Q: How much salt did you take?

Nick: I just took 4 tablets. They're little capsules. I took one when we left, and 2 during the race [and 1 afterwards].

Q: Does this salt depletion happen to you a lot?

Nick: All the time, but not today, though!

[Ed Fitzmaurice joins us.]

Nick: Hey, buddy, how are you? How did it go?

Ed: Not too bad. The calf hurt going up the hills. I did about what I was expecting. It was a little bit slower than last year, but I have a calf injury. I was fine, I was like 1:30 [at the half-marathon point], I was looking to do 3:00 because I haven't been able to do hills because of the calf injury. I got through the half in 1:30. I was like, okay, let's see how the hills feel. The hills felt bad! So, it slowed me down, but I wound up chip time 3:05 and change [3:05:16]. I'm pretty happy.

Q: How long did it take you to get to the start?

Ed: A minute and a half. They have half the road sectioned off now. I don't know if you know that. On the race start, they used to have the full road all the way around, but they have it sectioned off in half to try to make the flow better once you get to the starting line. And it does, but it takes you longer than it usually does to get to the starting line. That didn't hurt me. I wanted to go slow at the beginning. But it felt good. I ended up not wearing a shirt because it was too hot for me. At the end while I was waiting for the massage, I thought I was going to be sick. But, after the massage I felt fine.

Nick: You said to me in the car the other day, it was going to be hot.

Ed: I think I past Tony Ferreri at mile 18, I think he was walking at a water stop. I was thinking, I could never, ever [walk]. Well, if he was in front of me, he was probably going a little too fast.

Nick: He always does that.

Ed: I tried talking to him on a long run, I said, "Go out easy." However, I went out too fast today; I'm a hypocrite. Tony trains very hard, and I believe he leaves a lot on the ground. But that's the thing, this place teaches you that, that you can't do that.

Nick: I expected Tony [Pignataro] and John [Affronti] to be a little farther up. They had a hard time.

Ed: I clicked off 7's [minutes per mile] through 16 [miles]. And I was sub-7:00 at 16, but then with this calf, I was almost gimping up the hills. 7:20, 7:30, just get up them. I felt all right finishing. It's just too hard. We're too old!

[Ed had already changed out of his running clothes.]

Ed: I've already showered--I took 2 glasses of water on my head at every water stop.

[Duncan Larkin joins us.]

Q: I have photographs of you. You ran fast enough that I was able to spot you with few runners around. Did you run what you expected?

Duncan: No, I wanted to do better, but that's all right. I did 2:44 [2:44:24 official, 2:44:19 net]. I ran a 2:37 last month, so I was expecting to do better here. The heat was a big factor. The heat and the hills, the hills were tougher than I thought they would be. The downhills were fine; I'll always take the downs. Around 17, 18 miles, those hills were harder than Heartbreak. I started to cramp up at the end.

Ed: I took salt when running during high school for 2-mile races, and I don't do that here. I probably should. Okay, next year, we'll bring the salt. I'll bring a big block.

Q: I'll bring a deer lick for you guys.

Ed: Keep it out at every 10K, as we go by we'll take a lick.

Q: Someone told me last night it had to be head high, because if a runner bends down, he or she won't be able to get back up.

Ed: I can barely tie my shoes now!

Q: It doesn't get easier?

Ed: No, it doesn't. I was hoping it would, but does not get easier at all. Next year it will, though. [Laughs]

[Tony Pignataro joins us.]

Q: How did you do?

Tony: 3:44 net [3:44:46], 3:50 official [3:50:35]. I started seeing dots and things. It was hazy, you know?

Nick: I kept looking back for you. The last mile I kept hearing someone say "Tony", so I looked back and thought, "Oh, no, here he comes!"

Tony: At around 18 I started feeling a little loopy. I was drinking the whole way, but... I felt delirious. Not delirious like I didn't know what was going on, but I definitely saw like, I can't describe it, like little lights in my eyes. I felt it mostly when I stopped to get water. I just plain ran out of energy, that was the main problem. It was tough.

It indeed was a tough day. John Affronti had qualified for Boston with a 3:30 marathon. After finishing Boston with a 4:19:44 net time, he went to the medical tent for an IV. He was one of hundreds of runners treated on this hot day. Yet, at the end of the day, all club members finished, so it indeed was a good day for running. Hopefully next year it will be cooler!