The Boston Run To Remember race is a staple in my Memorial Day weekend since moving back to Boston in 2012.
The first year back in town I ran the 5-miler, but realized it wasn't enough of my city to see... so since then I've done the Half Marathon to really soak in the awesomeness of my home! ;)
This totally means that we can never go out of town over Memorial Day weekend, but who really like traveling on a holiday weekend anyway. :P
The original plan for today's half was to try and attempt a 1:4X to use for future Run Disney Proof of Time. :) My friend and Tedy's Team teammate Jenn was shooting for a PR of 1:45 so we thought we would run together... and drag Page along for the ride (without knowing the plan). :P
Unfortunately that didn't end up happening. :/
On Friday, I had a massage appointment and we spent the entire time working on my IT bands and legs. As a result I was feeling really beat up this weekend. I was walking like I had run a marathon on Friday, which was not the case at all.
As a result, I did a total overhaul on today's plan. The new plan: enjoy the crap out of the city I love with my BRF Page. Page went to a wedding the night before and was working on minimal sleep so I think both of us were okay with taking the pace back and enjoying the catch-up time. :)
Luckily our friend Colleen was driving in so she picked both Page and I up after picking up both of our bibs on Friday. Aka we are spoiled by Colleen. :)
The downside of a 7am run is the 5:30am pick-up time. With added security since 2013, it is always good to get to this race early just in case. Plus I had to see the ladies of Sparkly Soul.
I love doing local races for many reasons, but seeing so many folks I know and love is one of the best! I knew at least a dozen or so people running and couldn't wait to hug, high-five and selfie with as many as possible.
The amazing Dari (owner of Sparkly Soul) let us stash our bags in their booth so we could avoid bag check lines. Page and I opted to head out to the port-o-potties over waiting in the lengthy bathroom lines inside.
Best. Decision. Of. The. Day!
There were so many port-o-potties outside we walked right up to open ones. Not sure why people were forming lines near the first set of port-o-potties. We kept walking a few feet farther down and found a ton of open ones. Oh silly folks. :P
We saw Tina and April in line right around the 13 min/mile pace sign and opted to hang out and start the race with them. It was awesome to chat with April as she was preparing for her first half marathon!!!
I had zero desire to push through the crowds to get a little farther up. That is the one downside of this race. People have no ability to self-seed at this race for some reason.
One thing I am not able to do is be inconspicuous of race day. :P Do you guys think this outfit blended into the rest of the crowd?
Yeah answer was a big no. But I LOVED it.
I learned after the race when I looked at my results email that it took us about 13 minutes to get from our spot in the corral to the Start Line.
Page and I did a little bobbing and weaving to get into a good open space to get in a good groove. Our game plan wasn't to do too much of that and waste energy from the get go. We weren't going to PR so no reason to push it. Also I knew my quads would need to some time to warm up... okay I was praying they would warm up and I wouldn't be in constant pain the entire race.
As soon as we left the Seaport and made our way toward Faneuil Hall, I stopped thinking about my legs and started focusing on the amazing scenery around me. Oh and the cute tops and capris people were wearing around us. :P
This was the third-consecutive year Page and I would be running this race together. We always bump into people we know while we are running this race and today wouldn't be any different.
We saw fellow Tedy's Team teammate and friend Brielle during Mile 2.
Just after saying goodbye to Brielle, it was time to make that tough decision: 5-miler or Half. Who am I kidding there was no choice there! I needed more time with Page and had more of this lovely city to see. :)
While running down Boylston, we spotted a woman who was shaking the hand of every cop she saw on the course and carrying these flags. She was an inspiration who we would end up seeing a few times on the course.
Also her pants were FIERCE!! I need to up my outfit game next year for sure.
As we approached the Mile 3 marker, we spotted a familiar face... it was KATIE!!! So creeper mode set in as Page and I saddled up next to her to check-in, chat and quickly selfie.
Mile 1: 10:39
Mile 2: 10:03
Mile 3: 9:31
Man those first few miles passed quickly. Now it was just time for a little 10-mile cool-down run. :0) Right?
We opted to stop and grab water at the next water stop and were totally surprised when we saw our friend Becca working the stop!! :) Yay surprise friend spotting.
She just got a new job so it was extra special to give her a big hug and catch up quickly. We bid Becca adieu and continued down Boylston towards Mass Ave.
I love hitting the corner of Boylston and Mass Ave because we take a right and head over the Mass Ave bridge. This means we are heading from Boston to Cambridge and run down Memorial Drive.
When you hit Mass Ave bridge, you actually get to see the potential winners coming towards you. This guy was CRUISING and had a healthy lead over the second runner. Plus he smiled at me when I was taking his pic so extra points sir.
Now after we saw the lead runner, we spotted this cute kid running in front of us. It wasn't until we saw him again later in the race that I realized he was running the half. Yes it took me awhile. I just thought he was running the 5-miler even though they turned off to their course ages ago.
Rock on kid! Rock on!
The views in this race are hard to beat. I think we can tell I was aiming my camera into the sun in the first picture compared to the second.
As we ended our time on the Mass Ave bridge and approached our right turn on to Memorial Drive, we spotted a new addition to the course: this large American flag.
We took the right on to Memorial Drive (also known as Mem Drive) and saw runners coming towards us. I love having the out and back on Mem Drive. I always see people I know and people I can cheer on and high-five!
And of course inspiring runners left and right. There are so many police, fire and first responder groups that come out to run this race.
Oh and we can't forget the spectators! Their sign game was on point today!
We made our way down Mem Drive and it was now our turn to make the U-turn and head in the other direction!
Once we made it to the other side of Mem Drive, we prepared ourselves for our most favorite part of the race: the stretch of police from all over the state. Brings tears to my eyes every year.
But first we waved to MIT and headed underneath Mass Ave. For some reason I was the only person hooting and WOOing through the tunnel. :) Now it was time for the cheers and thanks!
Amazing right? I remember being so moved by this during the 2013 race since it was about a month removed from the Boston Marathon bombings. Every year I cry during this part and am so appreciative to experience it.
After we gathered our emotions, we realized that Mile 5 did not have a water stop and once again we would be missing our Mile 5 Gu plan. We did the same freakin' thing during the 2016 race. How did we not learn??? Haha.
We did finally spot Jenn coming towards us kicking booty! I wish I had grabbed a pic, but I was just so darn excited to see her.
Mile 4: 10:28
Mile 5: 8:58
Mile 6: 9:03
Oh hello little bridge! Page and I looked at each other and powered up this bad boy, pretending we forgot that we would have to do the same thing on the way back. :P
After getting over the bridge and enjoying the downhill, we were rewarded with seeing Superman!
Who likes my stealthiness on that second shot? ;) I'm sure he had NO idea what I was doing. Haha. #NotSlick
I also really appreciated the guy with the gong. You could tell as folks approached saying: "Does anyone else hear a gong?" :P
It was not time to make our final u-turn and make our way back towards the Seaport. Even though we were about 7.6 miles through the race, it isn't until we hit this point that I feel like we are on the back half of the course.
After enjoying a water stop manned by local law enforcement cadets and making sure to thank each of them (as we did with every cop/EMS on the course), we braved the bridge one last time and once again enjoyed the downhill.
The MBTA transit running club was a pleasure to run near. They wee full of energy, laughing with each other and clearly having a good time... it was contagious.
I had a tad twinge of knee pain, but thankfully it passed rather quickly. I could still feel my quad soreness through the entire run, but as long as I kept moving I was okay. I knew that once I stopped I'd be done for.
I love running with Page especially when we are on the same page like with a port-o-potty stop. Since there were port-o-potties on both sides of the street at a water stop, we just cut across the street to avoid the line on our side of the road.
Ahhh now it was time to enjoy the final 4 miles of the run.
Mile 7: 10:37
Mile 8: 9:53
Mile 9: 9:57
We had been debating how long the Mass Ave bridge was during the run and it was our last chance to figure this out. Thanks to my Garmin we were able to figure out it is about 0.4 miles.
I promised Page I would write that down before we end up having the same exact debate next year!
Yay for having a fun run!!!
We took the left turn off Mass Ave and back on to Boylston. I loved this girl's sign and asked her to smile while I took her pic. She said: "No you can't stop." Ummm don't worry kind stranger the winner was done and probably home by now!
We happened upon the same water stop that Becca was manning earlier so it was nice to see her smiling face a second time. :)
Then we finally hit the Mile 10 sign.
While coming over the bridge, we commented on liking this man's Night Shift brewery shirt. Well just before the Mile 10 marker, he ran past us and said: "I follow you on Instagram!" Ahhh I geek out anytime someone says that to me. I yelled back: "We like Night Shift!" ;) #Dork
Mile 10: 10:08
Alright alright alright just a 5k cool-down jog to go. The final 3.1 miles are through downtown Boston and totally distract you from any sort of aches and pains you are feeling at this point in the run.
You pass Boston Common and the Public Garden before heading into Downtown Crossing.
Running through Downtown Crossing had a good number of tourists out that happened to stop and cheer the runners. I think mainly out of confusion, but I still appreciated their efforts.
Mile 11: 9:49
Mile 12: 8:57
Jus after hitting Mile 12, it was time to kick it into gear for the final mile or so. Now this course is known to be long (it was 13.5 miles according to my Garmin in 2016) so I wasn't holding out hope that we only had a mile to go.
Page was doing a great job pushing the pace and we reminisced how I almost fell two years ago when a man fell in front of me and almost took a few of us down with him. Thankfully he was okay. Right after that someone tried to trip me as they cut in front of me. Good times.
We luckily made it out of that stretch without any issues this year.
We took the right towards the Seaport and made our way up Mount Seaport. It is a tiny incline, but where it is in the race makes it feel like a mountain. Like Mile 25 of the Boston Marathon!
We could see the finish in our sights. But I just didn't want to go anymore. My quad were sore. It was wicked sunny and getting warmer. I was basically done. Page took over as motivator and was a champ!
Mile 13: 7:34
We pushed through the final stretch and just before we hit the Finish Line a man almost took me out as he cut in front of me out of nowhere. I have zero desire to see my fFinish Line photo as I was definitely shooting Page a "what was that?" look.
Most importantly we finished! Garmin showed another long course - not as bad as last year, but pretty darn close.
FINAL TIME: 2:08:14 (9:47 min/mile pace)
I can't thank Page enough for a fun run! We both kept our concerns in check and walked when we needed to and pushed each other through when we knew it was okay.
I loved that the race had Race Guards out on the course: folks running the course that were EMTs complete with emergency kits. We saw a lot of people getting help on the sie of the road (more than usual) so it was perfect having those folks out there.
We made our way back into Expo area to collect our medal and meet up with our friends.
While Jenn didn't PR, she still kicked ass. So proud of her.
After catching up with ladies of Sparkly Soul, it was time to find beer.
But first Page and I had to take our yearly post-race photo...
... and let the rest of the crew in! :)
For the third year in a row, Page and I headed to Tavern In The Square in South Station (since they opened at 10am) and everyone was game to join us.
Wicked thankful to have such amazing people in my life - this was another reminder of that. Extra special congrats to Amy, who ran her first 5-miler, and Aril for becoming a half marathoner!!
My quads reminded me ho angry they were at me while sitting at the table so I knew I needed an ice bath when I got home.
Thanks to the wife for having ice and an ice coffee for me when I got home.
Overall, I had an amazing time as always and I will definitely be back next year. I signed up the day it went on sale last year and it was only $45! So keep that in mind if you want to join me next year!
Do you have a must-do Memorial Day race?