Bring on the 2014 Distance Medley!
I love The Boston Athletic Association and all races associated with them. For the most part, they are the most well-organized races I participate in.
For those that don't know, the Distance Medley includes the BAA 5k in April (recap), the 10k in June and the Half Marathon in October. If you complete all three races, you get an extra special medal. Pictured to above on the right. Due to conflicts, I couldn't participate in 2013, but did for the inaugural Distance Medley in 2013. With nothing in my way this year, I signed up immediately in January.
June 22nd brought race #2 of the Medley: the BAA 10k.
The race began at 8am in Boston Common so we left the house just after 7. The wife was kind enough to drop me off so I could eat my wheat toast with peanut butter on the way there.
I was hoping to make it to the race by 7:15 to make the Team Run Disney photo and chat with friends before the race.
Always fun to stand around and chat with these folks! While hanging out, I even bumped into Slumbrew teammate Amy.
Time once again slipped away from me and 10 minutes before the race starts, I realized I hadn't used the port-o-potties. Ahhh! I went to get in line and they were just all too long to wait in. I took a gamble to hold it.
I jogged my way over to the Start corrals. Let me just say WAAYYY less crowded than on the day of the 5k. Thank you for limiting the entrants for the 10k - allowed for more control.
I decided to line up around the 8 min/mile pace, but couldn't find a sign for that. There was an opening around the 7 min/mile pace so I hovered around there so I could jump in when I found a gap.
I happened to come up next to Kate - another Slumbrew teammate. I wish I had taken a photo, but we were too busy talking.
Before I knew it the National Anthem was over and we were shuffling up to the Start Line. I wished Kate good luck and we split ways.
With the sore hamstring and the Rock And Run obstacle run the day before, I wanted to run smart and enjoy myself.
The temperature was reported as 62 degrees, but on the streets it felt warmer for sure. Thankfully we had some shade while running through the streets of Boston towards Boston University at the beginning of the race.
Mile 1: 8:09
As we ran past the start of the Boston University campus - it spans two miles of Commonwealth Avenue - the course started to come back to me. Again I ran it in 2012 so maybe I had blocked out what was coming up for us.
Mile 2: 7:57
This second mile might have been faster than the first as I was trying to escape a woman who had a very odd breathing pattern going on, while talking to herself. I wasn't sure if she was really okay or not. Someone else asked her and she snapped at him. Glad I didn't decide to ask her. But the breathing and talking was getting into my head. I was once again running without headphones for practice. Here was a test. What do you do when the breathing and annoyances around you start playing with your game plan?
On that day - I ran away from them. I sped up to lose her in the crowd.
After making our way around the backside of the first BU dorm, we took the right onto Comm Ave in all its sunny glory. That is right. That part of the course I blocked out? Oh that would be the miles on Comm Ave, where you have zero shade and a whole helluva lot of sun.
Plus a little incline. But there is a great way here to distract yourself. This is where the down and out starts so you have the pleasure of watching the wheelchair and elite athletes come blazing past!
I love this. It is so motivating and inspiring. I will never be as fast as these people, but they make me want to push myself to the best that I can be.
Not a bad photo while I was on the move in the opposite direction.
I was yelling and clapping for them.
I played the game smart and made sure to stop and walk through every water stop.
Mile 3: 8:21
The incline isn't horrible heading up Comm Ave, but it seems to go on forever. But as you push up you see the folks on the left coming towards you so you KNOW there is a downhill coming your way. :)
5k Mark: 26:08 (8:25 min/mile)
After my mid-run selfie, I took the pleasure in scanning the crowd of runners coming towards me for familiar faces. And I saw a ton!! Not sure if runners thought I was just shouting out random names or what, but most of the people I cheered for were too in the zone to wave back. I probably looked like a nutcase. ;)
It is always amazing to see so many friends out dominating the streets of Boston so early on a Sunday morning.
But with the turnaround came a downhill. YAY! Celebrate the downhill. Embrace the downhill.
Mile 4: 8:27
More importantly celebrate the shade, which we finally got once we made it through Kenmore Square heading back to the Commons.
Just before we reached the shade a spectator yelled to me: "Number One costume award today goes to you!" Awww yeah! Sparkle Athletic skirt for the win! ;)
Mile 5: 8:06 8k Mark: 41:38 (8:19 min/mile)
As we pushed towards the Finish, I kept repeating "less than 1 mile over and over." While also forcing myself to relive the Boston Marathon and how I felt on that day when running or rather run/walking down this same stretch. It helped put a little extra pep in my step.
We took a right onto Arlington Street to start our two left turns into the Finish shoot. Just after I took the right, I saw a mom and her son. I heard the mom say: "Look she's a super hero." O.M.G. That lady made my day. WIN for the Wonder Woman socks!!
That totally made me dig deep and pull whatever out I had left.
Mile 6: 8:01
Just after passing the Mile 6 marker, I heard my friend Haley yell for me! Ahh I love extra and unexpected cheers. As we were coming down the shoot, the volunteers were directing us all to the right lane. I couldn't tell why. Then just before the Finish Line I saw the medics working on a man. I tried to send out as many good vibes as I could his way.
Arms up! Finish line crossed! Water me!
But first - medal me.
I was so happy to pick a volunteer that was excited to put the medal around my neck. Her smile was infectious. :)
After grabbing my water, I headed to the Marathon Sports tent so I could get my free BAA 10k bumper sticker. Yeah I am a sucker for those things even if I don't actually stick them anywhere.
I took a few minutes to stretch and compare race stories with some friends before heading to get my Dunkin Donuts fix.
Be Good was actually giving out a free burger to each participant, but I don't eat hamburgers so I passed on the offer. If only the wife was there, she would've gladly eaten it for me. ;) But instead she was on her way to pick me up. I'm spoiled I know.
Overall, the race was well-organized, the water stops seemed plenty stocked with water and the post-race meeting space was spacious. Unfortunately BAA cannot control the weather or the lack of shade on Comm Ave so that is something out of their control and something participants just have to remember when devising their race strategies.
Personally, I was not the biggest fan of my results. I was two minutes slower than when I did the BAA 10k in 2012 and 4 minutes slower than my 10k PR. Grrr... I wanted more. I did have to put it in perspective - I have a sore hammy and I did an obstacle race the day before. But, I also have gotten away from focusing on speed and time recently so maybe I need to. It is a decision I have been going back and forth about - what am I trying to get out of my races? Speed? Fun? Time? Consistency? It's an ongoing discussion in my head in case you are wondering. ;)
But I would recommend the BAA races to everyone. Maybe you will want to join me in October for the BAA Half? Be ready! These races sell out quickly.
Now, the BAA races do not offer post-race beer so I had to go out and find my own. I chose the Pretty Things Meadowlark IPA at Mystic Station. See Pretty Things loves me too??
Did you participate in the BAA 10k?