Stoked is an understatement for how I was feeling about the BAA Half Marathon on Sunday! I was ready to run for fun... This was the third and final race in the BAA's inaugural Distance Medley, which consisted of a 5k in April, a 10k in June and the Half in October.
I was heading into Sunday after having a wonderful relaxing rest day with the wife and carboloaded that night with friend Sarah, her husband and their daughter, Joanna. We had some delicious food and played a lil Scrabble ... yes folks that is one awesome runner's Saturday night! :)
I've never run the BAA Half before so I wasn't totally sure what to expect. Many of my friends had run before and warned me that the beginning was pretty much downhill, while the end was pretty much uphill. So I was immediately wishing that would magically reverse, but it didn't. :P
I woke up at 6am on Sunday and was out the door by 7 since we really had no idea what to expect traffic-wise or how the drop off situation would work.
Since the race kicked off at 8:30am, I was hoping to get there at least an hour beforehand so I could meet up with the handful of people I knew were running.
Thankfully there were a ton of shuttle busses running back-and-forth from the additional parking lot to the race so we just followed them to get as close to the drop-off point as the cops would allow.
I, as always, owe the wife a big thanks for dropping me off so I could avoid the at least three times as long train ride to the race.
We found a place to pull over and started what turned out to be a lengthy trek to the Start area.
I finally made it and quickly met up with my "Team Big Man" friends - the group I have run the whole Distance Medley with as well as the Harpoon 5-Miler.
It was great to stretch and catch up before we headed to the normal pre-race routine of standing in the port-o-potties line.
I had been in constant contact with Sarah, who I had planned to run the entire thing with, but with so many runners we never connected before the race started. :/
Besides being bummed that I couldn't run with my BFF, I also realized I would be running sans music/headphones. Since I assumed we would run together and chat, I left the headphones at home. Ugh! Idiot!
I was standing in the coral area hoping I still ran into Sarah so I waited a few minutes before I gave up and started the run. I did get to run into iRunNewEngland, who I met at a previous race.
Thankfully I could still hear my Runkeeper's 5 minute updates so I was still able to keep some sort of eye on my pace.
I didn't have any expectations for this race since I didn't know the course, but hoped to do well since the weather conditions were perfect.
I ended up running the first 5k of the race faster than I expected since I spent the whole time trying to find Sarah to see if we could connect and run the rest of the way together.
Well, by Mile Four I gave up the hope and tried to get into a good groove.
My Runkeeper kept telling me my pace was about 8:05-8:09 min/mile, which I couldn't believe. I know that my GPS was slightly off the course markers, but I still kept hope that it was accurate enough to warrant me a new shiny PR. :)
So despite not having music, I distracted myself by trying to do pace calculations in my head ... hello math nerd!
What I REALLY enjoyed about the run was all the turnarounds. Normally they can get rather annoying, but at this run you were able to see some of the most elite runners in the world running on the same pavement you were -- wwaaayyy ahead and wwayyy faster, but our feet still hit the same ground. ;)
Scanning the crowds looking for my friends running either in front or behind me was a HUGE way to pass the time. :) I was able to spot 2 out of the 6 people prior to the halfway mark. Woo! Everyone was dominating.
The weather was perfect and the course was decently flat ... until Mile 9. Hello hill that lasted from about Mile 9-11/12. It was a deceptively gradual incline, but you could feel the hill by the time you hit Mile 12.
During Mile 12, I FINALLY spotted Sarah!! I guess I bobbed and weaved enough to catch up to her. She was kicking serious booty for her first post-baby race.I really wish she had made the sign she wanted to about having a baby about 3 months ago. :)
Just after passing Sarah, we entered the zoo. I will love any race that runs - at least partly - through a zoo. I didn't see any animals, but I could sure hear them.
When we left the zoo, it was time to buckle down as I had just about 1/2 a mile to go.
As I rounded the corner to enter the Finishing Stadium and Mile 13, I spotted Team Racemenu and they snapped this great photo of me!
Can you tell I was having fun?
I entered the stadium and felt like it was the final lap of the Olympics (which I understand is what they were going for). There was a big group of spectators and the Finish Line was about halfway around the track.
I buckled down and tried to pull myself into the next gear as I could see that I was closing in on a PR.
The cheers from the crowd were motivating and the perfect soundtrack to crossing the Finish Line.
And then I saw it...
z PR time of 1:48:16 (8:16 min/mile pace)!!! :) :) :)
I took 3:27 off my former PR from July 2012 and 32:02 since my first-ever half marathon in 2006.
I was PUMPED!
Nothin' was taking the smile off my face.
I got my medal and headed over to the post-race picture area.
As I was standing there thankfully Sarah found me. Her goal was to finish in 1:50 and you know what? She beat it ... her official time was 1:49:59! :)
I was wicked proud of both of us ... I just wish we could've run together!
Since it was the final run of the Distance Medley, I also got to pick up my medal for completing that.
Hello Bling Heaven! :)
I'm thankful that all - okay most - spectators at a race are able to take a photo when needed.
Don't we look rockin'!! I'm so proud of us...
We were abe to enjoy a post-race chocolate chip bagel - YUM - before Sarah had to jet home to the baby.
After she left, I connected with the rest of Team Big Man - we missed you Vickie - and was happy to check in with everyone.
I love having friends that love being active ... then celebrate by drinking beer! :O)
As always BAA ran a well-organized race that I will recommend to anyone and will take part in again next year! Are we shocked?
5k in April ... 10 in June ... Half in October
Now with my phone dying so much easier since the iPhone upgrade the pick-up wasn't as clear as the drop-off, but thankfully my wife and I connected and were able to hit up Dunkins - a post-race tradition. Oh heck a daily tradition for me. ;)
I was (and still am) flying on Cloud Nine with my PR. Little 'ol me ran a sub 1:50 half marathon.
My half marathon times to date:
February 26, 2006 - 2:20:18 (10:43 min/mile pace) August 14, 2011 - 2:12:15 (10:06 min/mile pace) January 28, 2012 - 2:05:40 (9:36 min/mile pace) July 22, 2012 - 1:51:43 (8:32 min/mile pace) August 19, 2012 - 1:52:58 (8:37 min/mile pace) October 7, 2012 - 1:48:16 (8:16 min/mile pace)
Hard work and determination pays off my friends!!
Remember: ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!