Running Free... Boston's Run To Remember Half 2015 Recap

You ever have that dream before the night before a race or the week of where you leave a vital piece of race equipment at home? 

Like your sneakers... your sports bra... or maybe even your Garmin!

Oh yeah yeah me neither. <<insert awkward face>>

Well to be honest I don't have the dream about leaving my Garmin at home as much as doing it in real life.

Yeah it happened again. Womp womp!

 Boston Marathon post-it notes FTW! :)

Boston Marathon post-it notes FTW! :)

I woke up just before my alarm went off at 5am on race morning. I had plenty of time to get ready and make sure I had everything I needed before Page picked me up at 6am. I checked multiple times - sneakers - check, Sparkle Athletic skirt - check, Sparkly Soul headband - check - and I was set.

Page and her husband rolled up just after 6am and we were off. My main concern was to make sure that I had Page's bib and t-shirt... done and done! 

We successfully made it to the Seaport where the race would start. We weaved our way through security and were able to avoid parking thanks to the ride from Page's husband (thanks again Jeff!!). 

As we made our way inside so that we could have space to put our bibs on, we bumped into our friend Heather, who had a birthday that day! YAY! After securing our bibs, we took a walk around the Expo (since it was still set up from the previous day) and made sure to say hi to Dari, the creator of Sparkly Soul! I love catching up with her.

With bathroom lines neverending all over the convention hall, we headed out to the back of the corrals where there were tons of port-o-potties... and more lines. Oy! We just kept walking further and further away from the corrals to find the shortest port-o-potty lines. Success! We were in the very last line when I heard someone's GPS buzz off. I thought "Hmmm I should start mine."

I look down and...

NADA!!

That's right folks. 5 minutes to go before the race starts and I am Garmin-less.

New plan? Fun run it is. Now the run was going to be fun no matter what, but now there was no potential time pressure as we would have no idea how we were doing. I don't use phone running apps during my run since my phone batter drains after like 5 min.

We were ready to go now that the potty trip was out of the way. But there was one problem. A sea of runners in front of us. We tried to push our way back to the 8:30 min/mile pace, but we made it to the 11:30 min/mile pace and called it a day.

It was wall to wall people and I wasn't about to waste energy to push my way up for a better start. This is the only part of the Run To Remember race experience I dislike. It happens every year and every year I block it out until I get to the race and it comes flooding back. :P

The Seaport area where the Start is is wicked narrow and with about 12,000 runners between the 5-miler and half - plus spectators - it is a cluster. I reminded the girls around us that their chip doesn't start until they cross the line so they didn't have to worry about pushing their way through.

Page and I were ready to roll, but it was pulse starts this year so 3 waves were there and separated by 3 min intervals. It took awhile to realize we were in Wave 3. No worries. We kind of guessed we wouldn't be winning the whole thing anyway. ;)

It was finally our time to Start and we saved our energy by walking until we actually came up to the Start mat. Then it was there - let's do it!!

Again I didn't want to waste a ton of energy bobbing and weaving through the crowd, but we did a little to find a clear space to try and get into a rhythm. As we came out of the Seaport I spotted Heather.

Clearly we needed a mid-run bday selfie with her so we sped up to catch her!

Success!!

We bid Heather and her friend Mary a good race and continued on. I was ready to see which friends we would run into next. I knew at least a dozen folks running the 5-miler or Half Marathon so I kept my eyes peeled. 

As we headed towards the Government Center area, we passed the Collier Strong group - a group of MBTA officers who knew the late Sean Collier, who was killed in the events following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

After passing MGH (Mass General Hospital) and spotting my friend Derly rocking the 5-miler, we took a left and headed towards Boston Common and Beacon Street. A right on to Beacon Street put us at decision time...

Yeah no question here - we were in it for the long haul. :) 

Just after officially running to the right ;) we spotted Melinda, our Tedy's Team teammate! Just ahead of her were three more teammates so we all ran together for a little while. I failed for not getting a mid-run selfie with the crew. GAH! My bad.

While the girls went to grab water, Page and I bid them adieu and continued on. Just past our mid-run meet-up, we took a right on to the Mass Ave bridge. Gosh I love these views.

I love love love this course. Can you tell? Thumbs up to that Dirty Water! :)

Once of Mass Ave, it was time to spend some time on Memorial Drive. We would be running off the bridge to the right then turning around and heading on Mem Drive towards Harvard Square area. 

We spotted fellow Slumbrew Happy Sole Kelly rocking her Cambridge 5k Craicfest t-shirt! You looked great girl! :)

It was just after the first u-turn on Mem Drive, where I asked Page how far she thought we had run. We had gone over one timing mat and I had no concept of how long we were out there. Page thought maybe the 5k mark. Oh that was a little disheartening as I thought we had been out there for longer than that.

Then as if the race heard us... there was the Mile 5 marker!  Hollah! 

It was just before this marker that I almost took my first mid-run fall as I tripped on a big hunk of asphalt. Luckily I got hit with a moment of balance and caught myself before I hit the ground. Phew!

During this mile, the race goes by MIT's campus and the street is lined with police cruisers and police from all over the State. The officers high-five participants and there is a whole thought of "Thank Yous" being yelled to the officers!

I wanted to get video, but couldn't get my phone on video fast enough. #Fail

As I mentioned the stretch on Mem Drive is an out-and-back so you can see the elites coming towards you AND you are distracted by all of the other people around you. It's a fun game of trying to spot your friends in the crowds. :P

We took a quick snack break - Gu for Page and KIND bar for me - when we caught our Tedy's Team teammate Rich flying! He was smoking the course and looking strong. So glad we caught him for a quick wave. 

Once we were hydrated and fueled, we were back to running. As we approached the bridge on Mem Drive, I spotted Big Bird!

Yes that is Big Bird using a cell phone to take his friend's picture.Creepin' all around.

We were about half way through the course and feeling awesome! I had stuff left in the tank and was having a fantastic time with Page. It was sort of exhilarating having no concept of time or pace and focusing on the experience.

We spotted a marker for Mile 7 and could tell the u-turn was fast approaching as familiar faces came our way.

There was a timing mat just after the u-turn. It was there I heard a spectator yell "you are halfway there!" No lady no! I wanted to yell NO we are past halfway. I didn't want the newbies to get all confused. :P

 Awesome high-fives for all!!

Awesome high-fives for all!!

We were back in the home stretch now. Okay well not really. Can we use the cliche it's all downhill from here? Nope nope. We had a little incline left on the bridge and to the Finish. I'm out of cliches here. So let's just selfie...

We were in a good place of water/gatorade every other water stop. The temps were rising as the time clicked by and as the shade faded.

We headed back over the Mem Drive bridge and I had to snap a picture of the bridge's ground.

The footing is a grate with cement in between to try and make it smoother (I'm guessing). It's an awkward thing to run on in my opinion. Not the end of the world just a little awkward. 

We soaked up the downhill as we came running towards the skyline. Mile 9 marker came on and gone. I turned to Page and said "All we have is a little 4-mile cool down." For some reason, once I said that we sped up. Haha. Subliminal? Who knows. 

I loved all of the Cops and all law enforcement from around the country in town to take part in this race.

Right after I snapped this photo, I turned around and noticed a race photog. Oh that one is surely going to be a winner. :P I spotted additional race photogs just before the Mass Ave bridge and quickly threw in a leap for good measure. I mean I have to do it once a race now, right?

We took the right back on to the Mass Ave bridge and were hit with one of the most inspiration sights in the running world... Team Hoyt! As many know the father (Rick) retired, but another team member stepped in to push the son (Dick). Every time I see the Hoyts, I well up with tears and am filled to the brim with motivation.

Yes I know I am total creeper mode here, but I had to soak up the awesomeness that radiates from the Hoyts.

Right after we saw the Hoyts, I spotted my friend and fellow Weight Watchers leader Susan! Ahhh this is the first time in all of my Run To Remembers where I actually spotted her and her family! YAY!! She was kicking booty and gunning towards a PR.

But first we needed a selfie... duh!

As we approached the Mile 10 water stop, we saw the volunteers scrambling to get water and gatorade poured. I am not above pitching in. So I grabbed one of the jugs and started pouring gatorade into cups for me and other runners. I saw Page doing the same with water for her and the folks around her. I was shocked that a race run so well would be running out of water/gatorade at this point.

Then we ran a little further down the block and BAM there were 5 tables FULL of water and Gatorade. Since we were back on Beacon Street, I think one of the earlier water stops used for the early miles pulled themselves across the road to help out with extra hydration. Oops! My bad. Thankfully they were well-stocked and armed for all the participants!

After Mile 10, we heard a woman say to her friend: "Just over 2 miles left, right?" Oof she is going to have a rude awakening when she figured out it was a little more than that. :)

Just after turning left on to Boylston, we spotted a runner down on the ground surrounded by 4 EMTs. She was in a neck brace and had a breathing treatment on her face. I made sure to say a quick prayer for her safety.

We made our way past Boston Common and on to Chinatown before being stopped to allow an ambulance to go through the course. I'm not sure why folks were having such a problem stopping for the ambulance. The cops did a great job stopping runners to allow the ambulance to get through. Your time isn't more important than the ambulance folks. Just FYI.

The ambulance went through and we took a left in to Chinatown and headed towards Downtown Crossing.

We had less than two miles to go and were soaking up the shady portion of the course. The crowds were thinner than in years past, but they were vocal!! The sign game was on point too. Bravo friends Bravo!

As we weaved our way through Post Office Square back towards the Seaport, I noticed a couple of other runners being helped out by EMTs on the side of the road. It was scary to see. 

With less than a mile to go, I went down. A man in front of me tripped on something (I think a pothole) and I was too close to him to stop and BAM next thing I knew I was on top of him on the ground. I apologized quickly and immediately tried to help him up as soon as I could get up. We got him up and reluctantly (JK) gave him back his Yankees visor. My right knee was sore and I was tingly in my right arm. But once we knew he was okay, we kept running. I didn't want to stop. I figured the faster we got to the Finish the better. 

My breathing started getting a little out of whack and I think that was the shock from what happened. I tried to get the breathing under control while we ran. 

I could see we were one turn away from the final push - the little incline up to the Seaport and the stretch to the Finish. It really feels like you are running on a treadmill as there isn't a Finish arch so you can't really see the Finish getting closer. Does that make sense? Anyone else ever feel that way?

The Finish stretch was filled with spectators and Finishers of the 5-mile and Half. It was awesome to see my friend Katie and her family (for a second time), my friend Brenda who I hugged during Mile 25 of Boston this year and blog reader Tina (thanks for the yells)!

With the Finish Line finally in sight, Page and I grabbed hands, hit the Finish Line and hugged. I needed a hug as I was still trying to settle the body. 

I cannot tell you how odd it is to finish the race and have absolutely no idea what your time was. Not even an inclination!

We grabbed water and Gatorade before being shuttled inside to get our post-race snacks and medals. Oh and of course low-fat chocolate milk. Thanks Nesquik!

I was hoping we had finished in sub-2, but again was clueless.

We made our way through the snack line before heading to the Sparkly Soul booth for one final visit. :) I then dragged Page to visit Molly, the brain behind The Mobile Locker Co. Always a joy to catch up with Molly. Plus her company is booming now. If you haven't checked them out, go do so now - okay not right now - after you finish this post. 

With my water and chocolate milk consumed, it was time for a celebratory post-race beer. But first one more friend to see - JENN! Yay she was the final Tedy's Team friend we were on the lookout for and we finally found her.

Jenn crushed a new PR by 4 minutes (1:48) and was full of smiles. Always good to see her. We then heard about computers in the convention center where you could check your time. We headed over there only to find out we still weren't in the system. I guess we just ran too fast for the computer. :P

We gave Jenn big hugs and headed to find beer. But first we needed a good post-race photo.

Still no idea of our Finish time, but we know we PRed in fun... and falls! :P

If you are wondering, there are like ZERO places open right around the Seaport (that we could get to) with beer. We wandered around until I finally suggested popping into South Station. I knew they put a bar in there and thought Hmmm maybe they open earlier. And guess what

SUCCESS!! :) 

While celebrating our awesome race, the text alerts from the race came pouring in. Who knew I signed up for that. :P But now we knew.

FINISH TIME: 1:52:05
FINISH: 1596/6631
DIVISION: 178/1230

Hot damn! Nice work for two ladies out there having fun and living in the moment. It was an amazing day, awesome race and outstanding atmosphere.

I want to thank Page for being an out-of-this world person and a joy to run with! :)

Overall, I felt great. I had stuff left in the tank, which made me happy knowing that getting back to a 1:4x half marathon is in my sights. Never thought that would be a possibility when I ran my first half in 2:20 in 2006. But I set my current PR (1:44) in 2013 and I'm ready to see that again.

Will I be back again next year? You bet!