Boston's Run To Remember - 5/26/13 - 1:53:00 (8:38 min/mile)

This was an emotion race. No if ands o buts about it. Last year I ran the Boston's Run To Remember 5-Miler.

The medal alone would've made me sign back up. BUT, it was the cause - money going to fallen police officers - and the overall awesomeoness of the race that had me signing back up.

But for 2013, I upped it from the 5-miler to the Half Marathon option.

I just wanted to see more of this amazing town. :)

So after signing up just when registration opened, I was set for my Memorial Day weekend race.

That is until Ed from Cambridge 5k contacted me letting me know he was starting a new Memorial Day 5k - Freedom Run - on May 26. Ahhh same day as the Run To Remember.

As Captain of Team Slumbrew, I would HAVE to be at the Freedom Run. I nervously asked Eddie what time his race would be at. He answered: 10am.

Okay okay. I could make that work. Run To Remember Half at 7am and Cambridge 5k Freedom Run at 10am.

I was just crazy enough to try and pull it off.

Thankfully my wife was on board to be the driver and my friend Kim was also signed up for the back-to-back races. Well, the support was there so I was in.

On Sunday (May 26), the alarm went off at 5:30 and it was high 30s/low 40s and drizzling. What AWESOME weather to go run 16.2 total miles in.

How amazing are the socks?

I am obsessed with those socks!! :)

We hit the road just after 6, hit some traffic coming off the exit for the race, but I was able to meet Kim at our designated meeting spot at 6:30 just as planned.

The Run To Remember had banned spectators and backpacks at the Finish Line after what happened at the marathon so we had to go through a security stop on our way to the Start Line. Thankfully I was bag free so I scooted through quickly.

Unfortunately, there were few port-a-potties so I had to hold it - a risk in itself. :P

But, I brought a disposable water bottle so I could at least take my ENERGYBits before we started. Phew!

At 7am, they started the pre-race ceremony for the victims of the Marathon bombing especially Officer Sean Collier, who the race was partially dedicated to.

With extra pre-race speakers, I was getting worried with timing to get from Race #1 to Race #2, but I tried to block that out byt really being in the moment.

Kim had been shooting for a 1:50-1:55 finish time and I was sticking with her this race so that was my plan to. :)

The bullhorn sounded and we were off.  We started from the Seaport and headed to the Financial District of Boston.

Running towards the Old State House

Once past the State House, we  made our way past Mass General Hospital and out to Memorial Drive (where a good portion of the race is in an out and back portion).

After running over the Longfellow Bridge, we hit Memorial Drive just as we hit Mile 3.

Then the scene appeared.

All along Memorial Drive and in front of MIT, there were police car after police car from all over Massachusetts. In front of the cars, stood police officers from all over the State. Cheering on the runners, probably dealing through their own emotions from Marathon Monday and many were crying.

As I saw a couple police officers wipe tears from their eyes, I started clapping and crying myself. I was immediately drawn back to that exact moment on Marathon Monday when everything changed.

At that moment in the race, I realized this race would be more than a race. This would be MY closure for what happened on Marathon Monday. This race would be more than miles or time.

We continued down Memorial Drive, running along the Charles River, past the gas station where Officer Sean Collier was killed on that fateful Thursday night in April and back towards the Longfellow Bridge.

I love the out and back in a race because I am inspired by the elite runners most likely lapping me in front of me and then once I make the turn, I love seeing all the smiling faces of the people behind me enjoying running as much as me.

I'm not the best in-race photog! :P

Plus, this time around, I actually knew a bunch of people running so it was great to spot a familiar face in the crowd.

As we passed Mile 8, I could see Kim's face change from a smile to one of pain. Damn hamstring.

Something was going on with her. She wanted to stop. She wanted me to keep going with her. But, I told her we started this thing together - we would be finishing it together no matter what.

So off we went, walking when she needed to, jogging slowly or running fast to just get it over.

While back on the Longfellow Bridge, Kim exclaimed how she couldn't believe we weren't even at Mile 10 yet. Hey, at that rate, we could've walked the rest of the way and still finished under 2 hours - like she had wanted. I also let her know we were at 9.88 miles so basically at 10. :0)

But, I told her no matter what we would get across that Finish Line.

And Kim did it. She gritted down and was a rock star! The tears were rolling down her face. She said she couldn't make it. She just wanted to sit on that bridge and stop.

But did she? NO!

She just kept moving one leg in front of the other.

There was no stopping her.

I offered as much encouragement as I could. I didn't know if it was helping or not, but I just tried to let her know I was there for her. I was even singing New Kids On The Block ... badly! The people around us DEFINITELY didn't appreciate it. :P

But, I didn't care. I was going to do anything I had to to get Kim across the Finish Line.

Then before I knew it, we were passed Mile 11. We were back on Arlington St. We were near Boylston Street (Finish Line of the Marathon). Boston Commons was on my left and before I knew it - there it was.

On my right, was the exact stoop I sat on with Robin, Steph and Eric as I waited to be reunited with my family on Marathon Monday. That stoop where I ate all the food Robin had with her and just sat there in shock in my space blanket.

I was transported back to that moment and I started crying. I was trying to release all the feelings that were still pent up inside me.

So we had Kim crying from her leg and me crying from the Marathon memories.

Again, I'm sure the crowd was like what is wrong with these girls. :P

We hit Mile 11.5 and I knew Kim would need provisions after we finished so I texted the wife to bring her an ice pack and some ibuprofen. Thank you technology!

We passed Mile 12 and were in the home stretch. Kim was bearing down and we were turning onto the final stretch of the race.

We had the Finish Line in our sights and Kim kept saying "I can't do it!" Oh hell no, I was in full cheerleader mode at this point. I was trying to get the crowd to clap. I was telling her she ate miles for breakfast (thanks Alan ;)) I was doing anything I could to just get her to cross the line - even if she had to crawl.

But she didn't, we ran over that Finish Line together hand in hand.

And the Run To Remember photogs caught on post Finish hug on camera ... and I am so glad they did!!

We finished in 1:53:00 (8:38 min/mile pace) and I couldn't be prouder.

But, since we didn't kick off right at 7 - we had to haul booty to get to the next race.

I texted the wife as soon as we had our awesome medals and Kim's bag in hand.

We made it to the car at 9:20am and headed towards the Freedom Run in Cambridge.

While swapping out bibs, I did take a moment to take a pic of my sweet medal.

Isn't it pretty?

I told Kim that next year we will run the Run To Remember Half again and it will be her redemption run!


Will you join Kim & I at the Boston's Run To Remember next year? Have you had a race that became about more than the race itself?