I think that the longer the race, the greater the unknown. You wrote something that got me thinking - something to the effect that some runners have the ability to disect a race. What you wrote made me think of how I break down races, and workouts, for that matter. My best races are on courses that I'm familiar with or on out and back courses - why? - less unknown. In my best workouts, on my favorite run routes, and in my best races, the effort is always broken into segments. Get done with segment one - OK, that's out of the way - now on to segment two with a new focus. Each smaller segment presents less of an unknown, and a greater capacity for focus. Your favorite long run route no doubt falls into this same model - you have it mentally broken down into segments, each that you run individually, summing up to a whole, rather than the entire route as one giant segment.
Boston lends itself well to this concept of segmenting. Try it (I'm sure you already do this), and focus only on the first segment at the start. When that is done, move on to the next and focus only on that one. And so on - your training and will power will to get to the end, but your focus is what will get you from one segment to the next and diminish the unknown.
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