A few weeks back, my wife and I participated in the Boston Athletic Association’s 10k race in Boston. This is the BAA’s third race of the season after the BAA 5k, which I ran and had a horrible time ( read my recaphere ), and the Boston Marathon, (which I will run someday). The race is held in the Back Bay community, starting at Boston Common and stretching out to Boston University in a relatively straight and for the most part, flat course. While I’m always excited to run a race, my real anticipation for this weekend was getting to hang out with some great friends who were also racing. For the most part, I set my expectations about performance low, given I didn’t really feel like racing.
Upon arriving to Boston Common on Sunday morning, the first thing I noticed was it was significantly less crowded than the BAA 5k. Since this race didn’t fall on a big weekend like the 5k (which is held on marathon weekend), it looked like most “fun runners” thankfully, stayed at home. My suspicions were confirmed by the overall finish times, as they were all significantly faster than the overall 5k ones.
We met up with the usual suspects, Adam, Kira, Liz, Dani, Kelsey, Marcia (who is now an honorary Bostonian, given she had been staying here for a month) and Katie, who made the trip up from Atlanta. This is such a fun group of people, with each person bringing a distinct personality to the team. We missed some friends who couldn’t make the trip, but we know they were there in spirit.
I worked my way up to the 8:00 mile corral (yes, it was a “seed yourself” race and yes, as usual there were people who clearly were not 8:00 milers there), and set off for an easy trot through the streets of Boston. Due to the smaller size of the race, there was ample room to get into a groove early, so I set my pace to about 7:45 p/mile and cruised the early miles. As I approached the three-mile marker, I caught a glimpse of the elite runners who had already made their turn on this out and back course, and those guys/gals were humming. I thought to myself what it would be like to be able to hold a pace like that and live among the speedy gods. Maybe someday, but probably not.
As I continued my leisurely jaunt throughout the city, I was feeling happy and relaxed. Then at mile five I caught a glimpse of my watch and my time wasn’t that terrible. In fact, I was on pace for a new 10k race record. Deciding to get a little more serious, I dug in for the final mile and 385 yards. I zipped past the finish line in 48:01, a generous 70 seconds under my current 10k PR time! Sure, it wasn’t my personal best of 46:11, but that was during a training run, so the BAA 10k was an official PR! After picking up my medal and goodies, I relaxed in the shade on the Boston Common lawn and relished in my personal accomplishment.
The rest of the gang trickled in, and it turns out, most of them had PR’d as well! This called for a celebration, so we all out our best tourist faces on and made our way to the Bull & Finch Pub, known to most people as Cheers. Enjoying a few pints, we caroused like the people you typically try not to sit next to in a bar. But, who cares, most patrons were tourists and we had very real reason to celebrate. I love those guys so much. After lunch, we went our separate ways, agreeing to meet up at the next big race.
As I mentioned at the top the post, the real reason for running this race was to see some great people and the run itself, was just a bi-product of wanting to see some friends. The PR, well that was just the topper on the icing of a very rich cake. I guess that goes to show, when your mood is right anything can happen.
Happy running! Run fast. Run smart.