Note: I was given complimentary entry to the race, but all opinions are my own. Ain't nobody got time for lyin'...
Did I catch your attention with that blog post title? Ehhh??? Anyone?
Well now that you're on the edge of your seat I'll tell ya all the details. Stop twisting my arm! ;)
On Columbus Day (Monday, October 12), I had the pleasure or running one of my favorite 10ks in the country and one of the most historic races - the Tufts Health Plan 10k for Women!
The race kicks off at Noon, which is nice for a few reasons: you get to sleep in, you can do race day bib pick-up and you can spend the morning in Boston Common. A win-win-win.
Since the wife had to work, I headed downtown solo early since I was granted access to the Tufts employee tent pre and post race to enjoy some snacks! :) I do love me some snacks!
When I arrived at Boston Common, the scene was pretty scarce. Probably because I was there about three hours before the race was set to start. Hey! I had to celebrate being early for a race for once. :P
The expo was outside in the Commons as well with a special appearance by the lovely ladies of Sparkly Soul! :) I made sure to pick up the special Tufts Women's 10k band.
After collecting my bib, my t-shirt and my Sparkly Soul headband, it was time to hit the Tufts tent for water. It was uncharacteristically warm out. It was in the 80s and the real feel was climbing into the 90s. The race emcee was encouraging everyone to keep hydrated and up their water game! I made sure to listen. I think I had about 80 ounces before we even hit the Start Area.
While waiting for the other Boston bloggers, I was ushered over to take a photo with THE Joan Benoit Samuelson. Ahhh I totally geeked out, froze, took the pic and couldn't blurt anything out before she walked away. D'oh! I totally missed my opportunity because I fangirled. I didn't even get a copy of the picture, but am still on the lookout for it.
As it got closer to Noon, I headed over to the port-o-potties. Darn water. It was there that I ran into my friend Susan. We walked over to the self-seeding Start area together. It was an awesome sight seeing so many amazing women out supporting one another. There were also quite a few familiar friends. :)
Prior to the race, I had zero expectations in regards to time. I knew I had PRed on that course two years ago, but it was under different circumstances. I knew this heat would be something to combat.
As we lined up I would let my body guide me. Now with all the water pre-race, I knew I had to hit up the bathroom. I was hoping it would go away once the race started, but my bladder had another idea. They announced there would be a port-o-potty on the course and I would be hitting it up. I was really hoping it would be within the first mile so I could move on.
Since this was a self-seeding race I knew there would be some bobbing and weaving within the first mile. I also remembered how little shade there is on Memorial Drive for this race so I took that into account when thinking about the run. Let me be honest: I had no game plan for the race. I rarely run a race with one. I would go out there and enjoy the heck out of my city!
I absolutely love the out and back portions of this race. Perfect opportunity for me to cheer one the other participants - those I know and those that I don't. :)
The horn sounded and we were off. I started running with Susan and the next thing I knew I felt like I was flying. I took advantage of the shady street on Beacon and soaked in the "cooler temps." Just before hitting Mass Ave, we hit the Mile 1 marker and I was in freakin' shocked at my pace.
Mile 1: 7:10
We turned on to Mass Ave just as the first wheelchair participant was heading past us towards the Finish. It is always an incredible sight to see folks in their zone.
Also this view never gets old! :)
But first let me selfie.
Now that the selfie was out of the way, I was ready to get down to business of finding a port-o-potty. I really think that was the driving force behind the speedy first mile. :P
Mile 2: 7:18
After completing the first turnaround, I was gunning for a bathroom. I didn't see a race one until after Mile 4 so I opted to use the construction one in the middle of Memorial Drive around Mile 2.75. Oh boy that was worth it. I felt like a new person. ;)
I jumped back into the race and said no matter what my Finish time the stop was necessary.
Mile 3: 8:19
As we neared the second turnaround, I spotted Maddie, a 6-year-old wheelchair participant, who was taking on her first race. She pushed herself up the incline with a smile you could see a mile away. She lit up the hearts of everyone around me. We all cheered, hollered and clapped her on.
While on Cloud 9, I took the opportunity to cheer for every lady I saw as I headed back towards the Finish. Do you like how I tried to trick myself into thinking it was a shorter race and not that I was halfway through. :0)
With the temperature climbing, I did say out loud how happy I was that it was a 10k and not a half! A few ladies around me agreed.
Mile 4: 7:28
It was around Mile 4 where I started doing the math in my head to see if a PR was possible. It would be close, but there was still a chance. Once I knew there was a possibility, I tried to dig down. There wasn't much left in the tank, but I gave it everything I had.
Until I saw the guys in tuxedos and suits. I couldn't pass up the chance to selfie with these guys. Every year the Mile 5 water stop is manned by these dressed up gentlemen.
After snapping the pic, I heard one guy say: "Wow, that was our first selfie of the day!" You're welcome guys! ;) That selfie had the potential of ruining the PR, but it was a-okay.
Mile 5: 7:42
Okay it was time for some self-talk and pump-up! I was throwing out every sort of motivational saying I could think of. I also started some serious runner math. Okay just run 0.1 a few more times, it's like 2 0.25 mile bursts til the Finish. But that final lap around the Commons felt like I was running on the treadmill and the Finish Line was actually getting farther away.
Mile 6: 7:10
Then like a beacon I saw Joan Benoit Samuelson at the Finish Line and I just focused on high-fiving her. That's right she high-fives every Finisher.
I not only got my Finish Line leap and my JBS high-five, but I also nabbed a selfie!
FINAL TIME: 47:10
AND A 21 SECOND PR!!!!! HOLLAAHHH!!!
What a freakin' afternoon.
Now I immediately started wondering what the time would've been minus the selfies and port-o-potty stop. But I decided to save that for next time and soak up the moment!
I just wish there was some bling! That would've capped off the celebration!! :)
Once I collected my water, I headed over to the Tufts tent to get a quick snack before meeting up with Susan for a post-race beer!
Overall, it was an amazing well-executed race. I love that they offer stickers for everyone to show how many Tufts 10ks you've run (there was a woman there with a 39!), the pre-race stretching is a treat and the atmosphere is electric with support and enthusiasm. It is really a magical day. The course is along the gorgeous Charles River with a spectacular out and back! Additionally, there is a great presence from the inspiring Team With A Vision! I hope to run with them one day.
Now I am ready to be a part of the 40th anniversary run next year! Will you?