So after a ton of knee pain at the F^3 Lake Half on January 28, I scaled my running back during the month of February. It was actually the first month I didn't run a road race since back surgery recovery (so May 2011). But, I had signed up for the Ras na hEireann as soon as we decided we were moving back to Boston officially. Why you might ask? Well, it was actually the first road race I ever did (March 2005) and I wanted to show myself how much I had improved in those seven years of losing weight/exercising/running. Also exciting about this race is it would mark the wife's first race in Boston and my cousin Jen's first road race ever. Yay! I love new runners!! :)
I honestly didn't know what to expect on race day since my knee was sore every time I attempted a run since the Half (twice), but I knew I would try my hardest to beat my first time in this race ... 38:21. Going in to the day my new PR was set on New Year's Day 2012 with 25:27.
I actually decided to dress up for this run...
I think it was only the second time I had run in shorts - I usually hate them - but I think this time was different since I had my running pants on underneath.
The race didn't start til 11am, which I am not a big fan of. Mainly because I never eat at the right times. I just can't get the timing down. I like the races where you just get up and run then I eat after. But, anyway, the weather was amazing - sunny and not really cloud in the sky. Pretty uncharacteristic for Boston in March.
As I mentioned before, I haven't run this race since March 2005, but the course was thankfully pretty similar so I had a gauge of how far I was at each turn. Also this race was in Somerville, MA (my hometown) so I was pretty familiar with where we were. ;)
I was surprised, and happy, to see pace marker corrals before the Start Line. Since I wasn't sure how I would be running, I parked myself in between the 8 and 9 minute mile. Since my cousin was hitting about 9 and a half minute miles, I had her start up with me. It is always easier to be passed than bob and weave to get ahead of the large crowd (there were over 4,000 participants).
Per usual, I couldn't hear a darn thing they were saying, but all of a sudden heard the gun. We were far enough back that we could do the little jog-walk-jog-walk dance we all do until we hit the actual Start Line. I had both of us start our Runkeeper/Nike as soon as we crossed the line ... and we were off. Yes, I left my cousin almost as soon as I crossed the Start Line. Hey! I saw an opening in the crowd so I had to take it.
It was so nice to be running through the old neighborhoods that I know so well, but have been away from for the past five years. There were bagpipers along the first street, which added some entertainment.
As I was nearing the first 5 minute marker on my Runkeeper, the little voice let me know I was at a 8:07 pace. Sweet, that would be a PR. Awesome! So I kept plugging along...
With each reminder and mile marker, I was realizing I wasn't feeling any knee pain. I kept expecting it to kick in. There was a little tenderness at the downhill parts, but I expected that.
As I hit Mile One, my Runkeeper told me I was at a 7:57 pace (or something like that). I think I yelled a nice four letter profanity in shock! I have NEVER run a sub 8 minute/mile. Then I started thinking my Runkeeper must've been thrown off by the houses or something. But the mileage was spot on. Usually if it gets wacky it is the mileage that is thrown off, which will throw off the pace. But nope, mileage was spot on.
So as I hit Mile Two, I realized I had zero knee pain, I was slightly thirsty since the sun was REALLY beating down on us, I was going to hit a PR AND I quite possibly was going to have a sub 8 minute/mile pace. OH I think that threw me into a new gear and I hauled booty during that final mile. I kept thinking about how cool it would be to cut 14 minutes off my first race time.
I took the final turn and could see the finish line just down the street. I hit the 3 mile mark and then I saw my dad and my cousin's boyfriend Nick ready to take pics. So I got myself to the correct side of the street and threw my hands up as I was running (yes, working it for the camera).
Crossing the Finish Line felt AMAZING. More amazing than many of my other races for sure. I was SOOOO proud of myself. Never ever in a million years did I think I would ever run that fast.
I ended up posting a PR of 24:33, which translated to 7:54 minute/mile pace. I might've JUST snuck under the 8 min/mile, but I will freakin' take it.
I was eighth out of 115 in my division and 751st overall out of 4,367...
It was like a dream!! I amazed myself with what I accomplished. I cut off almost 14 minutes from my first 5k time - at the same race - so surreal. I did cut off 54 seconds from my latest PR, which had been set on New Year's Day.
Jen did a freakin' awesome job in her first 5k, finishing in 29:07, and Tori rounded out the group with a time of 36:09.
You know four things I love: running, PRs, medals and beer! ;)
This was the best race I could've done as my first "welcome back to Boston" run! It is one I will for sure continue to run for years to come...