The Half of Quincy was originally slated for March 10 - a perfect training run to prep for The Boston Marathon.
Then the snow hit and it was postponed.
The announced make-up date was May 5. About three weeks after the Marathon.
I could've deferred to next year ... but why bother!
I thought it would be a great way to test my legs after the Marathon.
So I decided to run it on May 5 as planned.
My wife and dad were going to come along once again to spectate. It would be the first race both would spectate since being a mere 20 feet from the explosion on Marathon Monday.
This race would be a big race for all of us!
The alarm went off at 6am on Sunday (Happy Cinco De Mayo!) and we went through the normal pre-race motions.
We were out the door by 6:45 - after I had to search around the house to locate my Team REFUEL singlet.
That is what I get for not prepping all race materials the night before!
As always I made us leave the house with plenty of time to spare since we had to find parking and pick up my bib before the 8am start.
After finding street parking, we headed into Quincy High gym to pick up my bib.
The woman handing out the bibs actually reads my blog!! (YAY)
(Note: I wish I had gotten her name so I could say thank you properly!)
It was also nice running into some Racemenu teammates as well as some Twitter friends/bloggers that I was finally able to meet in real life.
I stopped by the ENERGYBits table to say hi and pilfer some water so I could actually take my ENERGYBits before the run. Thanks again guys for coming through in a pinch. :)
Now that I was #PoweredByBits it was time to head to the Start Line.
I went into this race with ZERO expectations. Okay not zero - the only one was to finish in under 2 hours. I had no idea what the body was going to be capable of and I didn't know the course whatsoever. So we set the expectations low. :)
It was amazing to be surrounded by so much blue/yellow from The Boston Marathon. You could see how many people also had originally slated this as a training run for the Big Day.
Before I knew it it was time to start. I actually found another Racemenu team member, Nancy, just after we crossed the Start Line. It was nice to see her since I knew she ran the Marathon as well.
It's funny that now the first question you ask a person that said they ran Boston this year is: "Did you get to Finish?" or "Where did you get stopped?" Thankfully Nancy was able to Finish before the explosions as well!
Neither of us knew the course, but a guy running by us let us know there would be some hills on the course. This was a different course than in previous years, but there would still be hills involved.
Just like during the 26.2 Challenge, I started out fast. I was going sub 8-minute miles for the first 5 miles or so. I tried to reel my body back in. I had to remind myself that this was a 13.1 mile race not 5 or 6 miles. Sometimes I think my body forgets.
We actually looped back near the Start/Finish and at the Mile Four marker were my dad and wife. It was nice to see there smiling faces. It gave me the little push I needed.
But as I hit the halfway mark of the Half, I realized I was well ahead of pace for a PR.
All race long I knew I had to be sub 8:15 min/mile pace for a new shiny PR.
And I was well ahead of that.
I even felt like a real runner during the race. I was buckling down, pushing myself up the hills and only went about 10-15 seconds slower when going up the hill. And made the time up on the flat.
This is something many of my fast friends do so I really felt like maybe I am becoming a better and stronger runner. Instead of always feeling like a poser. :P
By the time we hit Mile 10, the heel pain that magically showed up in the Marathon around Mile 15 flared up again. But I knew this time I only had to push through a few more miles.
But, did I mention they were the hilliest few miles of the course? Yeah, exactly.
I want to give a quick shout out to the great spectators along the course - especially the little kids giving away twizzlers near Mile 10. It's like they knew how much we all needed that little sugar rush. :)
Once I hit Mile 11.1, I texted my wife to let her know where I was so that they would be in place at the Finish. Then I yelled out of profanities at the Hills and the foot pain. Oops! Thankfully no little kids were around.
The pain was there, but not unbearable. So I dug deep and ran all out to the Finish once I hit Mile 12.
The last 1/4 of a mile was actually around the Quincy High track, which was sort of frustrating because you could see the Finish, but it felt like it was miles away. At least for me.
I was trying to distract myself by doing math in my head to see if I could break the elusive 1:45 half time I had dreamed out.
My previous PR was 1:48:09 set at Disney in January.
I saw my wife & dad cheering just before I crossed the line, hit stop on my Garmin, grabbed my medal and chugged water as quickly as possible.
The Garmin read: 1:44:27.
Was that real? Maybe I missed some time or it had a glitch.
I officially finished the race in 1:44:30 - a 7:59 min/mile pace.
I had to triple check the results to make sure 1) they were legit and 2) they were actually MINE.
But, they were!
I finished 193rd out of 672 overall and 18th out of 127 in my division (F 30-39). CRAY CRAY!
I give big props to the Half of Quincy organizers who basically had to set up 2 races due to the postponement. The course was full of police and volunteers stopping traffic and giving encouragement along the way. It was one of the best organized races on the course itself that I've participated in. I didn't have any "nearly getting hit by a car" instances.
I didn't get to try any of the post-race fare because I had to jet home, but everyone was raving about the spread. No beer though - so a negative in my book. ;)
I ran into Liana from Run To Munch at the results board and was able to offer her a ride home and get to chat with her a little about her running career.
Once we got home I was finally able to enjoy #myafter of a big glass of chocolate milk.
But, you also know I needed a celebratory beer so I took care of it myself by enjoying a Slumbrew Naked Hopularity!
Also please excuse the really unflattering photo of me
Overall, this was one amazing race day. I still can't believe what my body is now capable and I can't wait to see what the future has in store for me.
Next up ... M.O.M.'s Run 5k on Mother's Day (May 12)!