*RECAP* BAA 5k Full Of Laughs, Smiles And Friends

The BAA 5k is one of my favorite local races in Boston. Trying to register for the race mirrors the urgency of registering for a Run Disney race. The race sells out in minutes and you have to wait for a confirmation email before you can actually celebrate your acceptance! :P

2016 marked the first BAA 5k I missed since moving back to Boston in 2012 since I was in Disney running the inaugural Dark Side Challenge. I vowed if I was in town for 2017 I would be back... and well running Boston with Tedy's Team made that official. :) 

BAA 5k Course

BAA 5k Course

One of the great things about living in Somerville is if there is no traffic we can get from my house to the Public Garden/Boston Common in less than 15 minutes, which meant on the morning of the race I didn't have to head out at the crack of dawn. THIS was huge since our team bus would be leaving no later than 5:30am on Marathon Monday. So I needed all the sleep I could that weekend.

The wife dropped me off as close to Boston Common as she could since the exit for the Common was backed up. I just got out of the car and ran to the Commons since it was maybe 2 blocks away!

Score!

Since they mail your bibs ahead of time and you can pick your t-shirts up post-race, all I needed to do was bag check my stuff and head to the "Make Way For Ducklings" statues to meet the crew.

Big thanks to Adam Salsman (photog extraordinaire) for taking our sweet group pic. 

It is always a blast arriving at a race and seeing soooo many friends out for a lovely run through the city. :) I saw former WW members, fellow ZOOM members, and so many more. 

I had asked Katie and Tina if I could tag along on their run. I had never run with them before and really wanted to. But I wasn't sure if they would be in the mood for my normal running antics. I told them they could kick me to the curb if my pics got too annoying. ;) 

After we took our pics and wished each other well, we all headed over to the corrals. There are a TON of people that run the BAA 5k and corrals are not really policed. We tried to move as far back as possible.

There are so many folks in the race. We watched the winner cross the Finish Line before we even hit the Start Line. Haha. Well he also finished it in like 13 minutes. 

FINALLY ;) It was time to cross the Start Line. 

Let me tell you it was pretty darn sweet to have a perfect seat to watch the winner. And not only did he win, but he set a new 5k world record (13:20). It was the ONLY place to be at that moment. Haha.

After clapping and cheering on the amazing moment, it was time to focus on our own 3.1 mile tou through Boston.

The weather was perfect and Boston was in full bloom. Plus the city was alive with the buzz of Marathon Monday quickly approaching.

Now this day also had the events of 4-15-13 hanging over it. As someone that was at the Finish Line when that event occurred, everything we ran by reminded me of the feelings of that day. 

As we left the street between the Public Garden and Boston Common, we took a right on to Boylston followed by a right on to Arlington and on the left-hand side of the street there it was. It was the stoop that I sat on with friending while I waited to be reunited with my family after the bombings. I could feel the tears welling up and I told myself - feel everything you do today. Don't push it down. Celebrate the memories of those we lost and heal through the power of running and being surrounded by friends. 

Quickly we took a left on to Comm Ave and I was consumed by the runners around us. Amazing costumes. Friends laughing. Costumes. People cheering. 

As we headed down Comm Ave we one again saw the fantastic Kim and Gail (of the @RunAllTheRaces) fame. I had bumped into them in the Start Corral and was WICKED excited to see these amazingly talented ladies.

Gail even grabbed this awesome action shot of Katie, Tina and I.

Can you tell I was having a blast? :) 

Just after this a blog reader said HI! So sorry I can't remember your name. THIS is why I need to do recaps closer to when I actually ran the race. :P THANK YOU for saying HI!!! I LOVED it. 

As we approached the Mile 1 marker, I noticed my friend John, one of the most motivating people I have ever met. He pushes me on a daily basis to be the best version of me. Tina also knows him so we hopped in a selfie together.

Mile 1: 11:47

Oh man, already 1/3 of the way down with the fun. :( 

At one point on Comm Ave, you have to dip under Mass Ave (which runs parallel to Comm). This is also the dip you tackle during MIie 26 of the Boston Marathon. During the BAA 5k, you get it twice (since part of the course is out and back on the same street.

I love this short tunnel because all of the runners (on both sides) are cheering and WOOing and generally causing a ton of positive noise. 

Let's just say it is a tad quieter on the marathon since well this is during Mile 26. :P

We were making our way towards Kenmore Square and the infamous CITGO Sign. Now both Tina and I had run the Boston Marathon before, while Katie was tackling her first Boston AND her first marathon just two days later. We tried to share some stories with her about our past experiences and especially what it is like as you are running through Kenmore Square on race day.

We actually hit the turnaround just before Kenmore. 

Once you complete this turnaround, you are officially on the marathon course and you are IN Mile 26. The One Mile To Go marker is in Kenmore Square.

Now you might be wondering what those 3 blue lines are for.

Well, from a Boston.com article you have your explanation:

Commissioner Bill Evans helped paint the lines Sunday morning. Within the law enforcement community, thin blue lines are a symbol of of the role police officers play in a community by separating good from evil in society, according to the BPD.
Runners will have a blue-line guided path to the finish time as they make their final left turn at Hereford Street.

Pretty special right there. 

It was finally our turn to be the runners on the other side of the divide in the tunnel. I am WICKED happy I grabbed this action shot of Tina and Katie high-fiving folks mid-run.

I really can't thank the world for bringing these two amazingly awesomely inspiring ladies into my life. I know I say this a lot, but I am truly so lucky to be surrounded by people on similar journeys to be that get the struggles of weight loss and embarking on a fitness/running journey. It is so comforting to know I am truly not alone. These girls have my back no matter what. And I get to be a small part of their journeys as well.

As we emerged from the tunnel, I shared how my family is to the right of this spot when I run the marathon. After being in between both of the bombs in 2013, my family hasn't felt comfortable being on Boylston on Marathon Monday. Instead they opt to stand in this spot and it is everything I need. I always tell them they can stay home if makes them feel better, but they come out to support me from a place where they feel safe. 

It was finally time. Time for us to make the famous right on Hereford/left on Boylston. Oh but first we had to selfie on Hereford of course. 

Immensely proud of these ladies mid-run pic skills.

It was awesome to be there as Katie shared what she thought it might be like to do this on Marathon Monday. As I said, Tina and I had run Boston before so we knew what would be going through our minds and what went through our heads our first time. It was exhilarating to watch the same thing happening to Katie. I was sooo sooo proud of the work she has done over this training.

Mile 2: 11:44

And NOW we could make the famous left on to Boylston. 

Ohhh it was just as majestic as I remembered it to be. The last time I was on this street was the 2015 Boston Marathon. One of the most fun marathons I had ever run. Since I was already smiling, it just got even wider thinking about memories from 26.2 miles with my BRF Page in honor of our Stroke Heroes.

We headed down that famous Boylston Street towards the Finish Line. That's right. During the BAA 5k you cross the actual Boston Marathon Finish Line. Talk about an experience. 

As we approached the Finish Line, I spotted the Lenox which is where Tedy Bruschi is hanging out of to cheer us on on Marathon Monday.

OF COURSE I had to stop and have a photo shoot with the Finish Line. You don't really have this opportunity after the marathon as they funnel you down the Finisher's chute so I wanted to take advantage of our time now.

And thanks Katie and Tina for entertaining my ridiculousness. :)

As we made our way back towards the Boston Common/Public Garden, we spotted the Team With A Vision Unicorn and I spotted my friend Elizabeth. So of course we had to stop for a pic. I mean 1) a Unicorn, 2) a good cause and 3) they had a hashtag sign.

While Katie and I continued running, we lost Tina as she spotted blogger Run Selfie Repeat. Katie and I kept looking back so we stopped just before Mile 3 because we weren't about to Finish without Tina. :)

Mile 3: 12:26

 

I love that I got Kim (in HMF gear) right in front of me in this pic. :) Gail was coming up behind me as I snapped it.

FINAL TIME: 37:58 (12:15 min/mile pace)

That was hands down one of the most fun races I have run. Good company, laughs, smiles and story swapping.

There might of also been some tears at the Finish by all of us, but happy tears. We would all be tackling the Boston Marathon as charity runners (Tina - Liver Foundation, Katie - Title IX, Me - Tedy's Team). 

I really cannot wait until I can lace up and run another race with these ladies. As long as they will have me back!

I've always heard: surround yourself with amazing people. Well I have to pinch myself over the folks I have in my life including these inspirations (above and below).

Once we retrieved our bags from bag check, it was time to meet once again at the Make Way For Ducklings statues and head for a celebratory beer.

But first I realized I totally missed my corral in the morning. DUH!

As long as I am in town and quick enough on the registration button, I will be back in 2017. I can't stay away from that unicorn... and the company!

Seriously I felt like I saw someone I knew every step of the course. It was AWESOME!

Did you run the BAA 5k?