This April marks my one year anniversary as a Massachusetts resident. Needless to say, last year's marathon weekend was quite a way to welcome me to Boston.
I actually missed the weekend as I had used the long weekend to fly back to Chicago to meet my wife and finish packing for the move
Being here this year is awesome! The town is buzzing with marathon electricity, moreso than ever due to last year's events (even a tad sensationalized in some aspects thanks to the media). Everywhere you look, the city is virtually painted blue and gold for the big event on Monday, and I'd argue the runners outnumber the non-runners. It's quite an amazing and uplifting experience.
While excited, I can't help feel a little morose, and yes, it's purely selfish. Marathon Monday will be here and instead of standing nervously in the chutes with my fellow running bretheren, I won't be running. I'm still quite a ways out from a qualifying time (3:10) and, well, I've never been good at asking for donations. Therefore, I'll be on the sidelines cheering my brains out for my friends and the other 36,000 runners on the course. My motivation is higher than ever and my legs will qualify me someday. You can count on it.
But, today I wanted to talk about a race that I did participate in over the weekend, the BAA 5k. While no where prestigious as the Boston Marathon, this race is still a pretty high profile event, with a lot of today's elite runners as participants. Given I didn't have the chance to run the marathon, my goal was to knock this race out of the park. Sadly, that didn't happen.
Early Saturday morning, we hopped the T (subway) to get to Boston Common. Due to last year's events, the Boston Athletic Association added a larger field to the race and had to move it to Boston Common to accommodate the larger field. We arrived early to meet some Team runDisney friends who came into Boston for the race and it was good to see them all. We always have a good time when we're all together. Most of the group was taking it easy, so they queued up in back. In fact, my wife told me as they were getting to start the race, the winners were arriving (it took most elites a little over 13:00 to finish).
Back to my race, I knew it was going to be a challenge when I noticed the race instructions stated that runners should seed themselves according to time. Unfortunately, this gives everyone a distorted view on their performance and everyone tends to line up at the front. Disney races are notorious for this problem. So much so, they finally got wise and added marshaled corrals to combat this.
Please, please, please be respectful of other runners and line up honestly to your pace. It is not only a major faux pas in the running world, but it's also incredibly unsafe. It affects the race experience of those around you, and really, it's just a shitty thing to do.
So, out of the chute we headed toward Commonwealth Avenue and, I swear, it was like herding cattle. Runners, were stacked six across the narrow Boston streets at paces well slower than where they corraled. It was utter mayhem. The race got so congested, I had to hop up on the grassy median and dodge trees, roots, and spectators. I got flustered and finally yelled, "Can you please (yes, I used please) stay the to right?" to the participants in front of me. Not surprisingly, I received a slew of stares back at me, however some other runners around me were thankful I voiced what they were thinking.
I was downtrodden. This was supposed to be my run, my chance to crank through the streets like a Ryan Hall or Moses Mosop, my run for Boston. I wanted to scream. My legs were aching to let loose and I was stuck behind the "good time, happy fun run brigade" with nowhere to go. Finally, at mile two, the area cleared enough for me to do my thing. But, unfortunately the damage was done.
I finished in 23:28, nearly 100 seconds past my goal time.
I know that the horiffic events of last year have motivated people to show their support and I applaud their dedication to the city and the sport. I, also understand this post may seem like a spoiled runner who couldn't get his way. However, in actuality it's more about etiquette and respecting the race. It only takes a second to work the Google on the internet machine and search for "race etiquette." You're bound to find a zillion pages dedicated to it. In fact, here's an old post I did on it
If you have friends who are new to running, make sure to take the time to educate them on runner's etiquette to make everyone's experience better.
After the race, we all headed to the Red Sox game, which was a great time (except for my wife who bought a Red Sox hat - Go Cubs).