Guess what today is!? It’s the official first day of marathon training! If you want to learn more about the personal reasons why I’m running the Marine Corps Marathon, check out Friday’s post. On the schedule for today? Rest day! Talk about an eventful day 1 of training. Bernie was not impressed with my hardcore marathon training plan that starts on day 1 with rest.
But I need some rest today because yesterday I ran the B.A.A. 10k in Boston. This was the B.A.A.’s 3rd annual race and part 2 of their 3-race distance medley. I did the medley last year and it includes running their 5k the day before the marathon, the 10k, and a half in October. I always love participating in B.A.A. events because they run like clockwork. Every race starts on time, is fantastically organized, and is super fun. Last year I ran the race with Stephanie, but this year I ran solo.
This race was the first Boston Athletic Association event to be held in the city since the Boston Marathon on April 15th. Normally, this race doesn’t sell out. But with the unwavering support of runners all over the city and the world, the race sold out in record time with about 6,500 entrants. The organizers encouraged everyone to support the city by wearing blue and gold, the colors of the B.A.A. and this year’s Boston Marathon colors (every year they choose different colors for the race). You didn’t have to tell me twice!
The race starts in Boston Common, runs up Comm. Ave to almost the end of Boston University and then turns around at the 5k mark to head back to the Commons. I love this race for many reasons, but the main ones are #1 – it’s a short 20 min. T ride away. #2 – it runs along the same routes I run everyday. While everyone else is dying in the sun and the gradual mile long up-hill on Comm. Ave, I’m cool as a cucumber. This year was also especially meaningful because of everything that happened on April 15th. This city is still recovering. We are all still recovering. But it’s moments like race where the human spirit is clearly stronger.
I got to the start a little later than I wanted. I had JUST enough time to pick up my t-shirt, check my bag (that’s why there aren’t many photos – I checked my cell phone with my bag), head to the rest room one last time, and then meet up with Dave, my editor at We Love Beantown. He’s a big time runner too and was running solo so we decided to meet up and run it together. My goal for the race, beat last year’s time of 54:30. Since it was insanely hot and humid, I knew that was going to be a challenge. But I’ve been feeling strong, really strong with my running lately so I thought “why not push it?”. Before I knew it we were off!
Miles 1 and 2 are in the shade, which was much welcomed. By the time we got to mile 2, we hit the unshaded stretch on Comm. Ave. At that point I’m going to guess it was at least 80 degrees with really high humidity. Dave and I were keeping a solid 8:30 pace the whole time and I was feeling good. I really got into a groove in mile 2. At the turn-around point I saw a familiar face – Bernie! After a quick high five, it was back down Comm. Ave. Around the halfway mark was when Dave dropped off to walk for a second. The heat was REALLY getting bad at this point. I saw a lot of runners off to the side needing medical help. Pretty crazy for a 10k, you normally see a lot of that at marathons. At mile 4 was the Gatorade table and I learned from the year before (where the weather was pretty much exactly the same) to take a cup. My pace was good, but I started to notice my feet were slipping a bit in my shoes. With the humidity and the heat, I knew a blister was eminent. So I stopped to tighten my shoes. Maybe 20 seconds? Oh well. Then I was off again.
Finally, we hit the shade at mile 5. That last mile was tough. Really tough. It’s a long flat run into the finish, and while the shade helped, the heat was getting to me. What pushed me to the end was someone screaming behind me at mile 5 “Finish strong for the marathon!” Done.
Before I knew it, I turned on Charles Street into the finish. I could see the finish line. At that moment, I could only think of two things. #1 – how good it felt to see the finish. #2 – I need to finish this for those who saw their own finish line on April 15th, but never made it. With a huge American flag hanging from a fire truck above me, the people on the side screaming my name (our names were on our bibs), and a “Boston Strong” song playing over the loud speaker, any Bostonian can’t help but remember that moment. It was pretty powerful stuff.
Finally I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face and I looked down at my Garmin. I did it! PR baby!
Garmin time: 52:25
Official chip time: 52:44
2 minutes off last year’s time! Yes!
After sitting down in the park to stretch, recover, and cool off, I headed home. I wanted to stay, but it was hot and I wanted to get home. There was a ceremony at the race where Boston Marathon men’s winner Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia returned his marathon medal to the city of Boston to honor those injured and killed in the bombings. It was such a selfless act, to return his medal that he worked for and earned in order to give back, it’s really incredible. I then ran into Becki from Fighting for Wellness who had a great race too! On my way to the T, I walked past the Old South Church and saw that there were prayer ribbons tied to the fence filled with prayers for the city and those affected by the bombings. Small reminders of that day are all over the city. They make you stop and remember. It was a really simple yet beautiful tribute.
Keep calm and marathon.
Readers: How was your weekend?
Anyone run a race? How did it go?
What’s your favorite race distance?