BAA 10K 2016 Recap
Un-fit at any speed!
This is a race that I have run since the BAA started having this race. This was the 6th Annual BAA 10K.
Last year it rained buckets, cats and dogs even. I think we were surprised that a flood warning wasn’t issued that day. The rain kept coming down harder and harder until just before the race started.
We were all totally drenched by then and the streets were full of puddles. Once the rain stopped we went right to 100% humidity. All we could do was laugh!
This year the weather was beautiful. A bit hot for some runners, but just the way I like it.
I’ve been dealing with a bad knee recently, which seems to be a tendon issue. Neither my PT or physician told me not to run, so I had to do it. I bought a compression sleeve for my knee at Marathon Sports in Melrose and it seemed to help.
I DNS’d a half-marathon a few weeks ago, but felt good enough to tackle the 10K. A 10K is much easier to run than a half, and I couldn’t miss the only race where I’ve run every year. I set my goals low and went out with no expectations.
The Rush is on
The race starts at 8AM and for some reason I set my alarm for 6:30. The race is only 5 miles from my house and I have parking, so that wasn’t an issue. I quickly got dressed and grabbed my go-bag which I packed the night before.
The light at the end of my street was out, but the lite Sunday traffic moved along. The next two lights were green and I made it to Dunkin’ Donuts for a large coffee and two plain, un-toasted bagels.
As I made my way into Cambridge I munched on a bagel and slurped my coffee. I parked in front of my building and started my trek across the Longfellow Bridge around 7AM. I had plenty of time and tried not to walk too quickly.
When I got to the Boston Common I milled around a bit and then got my race shirt. On the way back to bag drop I picked up some Whole Foods blueberries and some CLIF bars. I also sat down and put on my compression sleeve for my knee.
There wasn’t a line at the porta-potties and I quickly moved through bag drop.
I saw lots of people stretching and chuckled to my self. There would be none of that for me today. I hobbled down to the corner of Charles and Beacon Streets to make my way to my wave.
Normally I would line up with the 8-9 minute group, but not today. I went up the hill to where I thought the 10 minute plus group was. I finished my coffee and second bagel and went to stand in the shade. Bilal Ozaslan came by and said hello. He was heading to his car to drop off some items. Soon I saw Mary O’Connell and Thuy Dang. I opened the barricade for them and they joined me.
Thuy’s knee has been bothering her, so we decided to run together. Mary was is good shape and was going to run ahead. We were in the 4th corral. As the rope for the 3rd corral moved up the guy asked us if we wanted to move up and stay with the 9-10 minute group. We all smiled and said, that’s okay!
Running the BAA 10K
Soon our corral was moving towards the start line. It seemed like a long walk but before long we crossed the starting mats and were running down Charles Street to Boylston Street.
I had no idea what to expect with my knee. This was my first race since my injury and I had no idea if the compression sleeve would help or if my knee would force me to walk or quit.
As we started to run my knee felt uncomfortable, but no stabbing pain. Thuy said her knee would feel better after she warmed up and I knew the same would be true for me.
As we took a right onto Arlington and then a left onto Commonwealth we began to hit our stride. The pace was around 11 minutes but we seemed to be able to handle that pace. In the cool shade of Commonwealth Ave, we seemed to be holding our own.
Some people passed us but we were also passing people. So it probably evened out.
At the first water stop I did a marathon type stop; I grabbed a cup, pinched it and got most of it down without breaking my stride. I looked around for Thuy but couldn’t find her. She walked while drinking but quickly caught up.
We had a fun chat as we ran down Bay State Road and then back out to Comm Ave, this time in the full sun. We hit the water stops on Baystate and Comm Ave. The water was cold and the cups were full!
All along Comm Ave we could see the leaders heading back. First the wheel chair athletes and then the runners. They were floating along at around 5 minute miles! As we headed out to BU the crowd heading back grew large. I looked for people I knew but found none.
Before the turn our friend Bilal Ozaslan found us. He hung with us for a while and then took off to look for someone. After the turn we ran with Bill to the finish.
It was so nice to be half-way and not feel broken. I knew the down hill would beat on my knee and we had no problem holding our pace. We could see ambulance and police lights headed our way. They were following the last guy in the race as he walked up Comm Ave to the turn around. He received a good round of encouragement from the runners.
Soon we hit the mile 4 water stop with Gatorade for us. Not us much as I wanted, but a few gulps.
We were now back in the shade and doing okay. Thuy’s knee had loosened up and my knee hadn’t exploded yet. At mile 5 we were feeling pretty good. I felt like I could kick it in a bit, but wisely, Thuy said we should hold our pace.
The three of us had fun running together and having a good chat. As we made the last turn onto Charles Street I could tell the gang was being held back by those in front of us. No one was going to sprint to the finish, but we did weave through the crowd a bit and we all finished together. I hope they got a good photo!
As we walked from the finish line an EMT asked me how I was. I was limping a bit but didn’t think I looked that bad. He made eye contact and asked me twice how I was doing. We were late finishers and I was limping, so he was just watching out for me.
We got our medals and headed for the food tent. There was still plenty left even though we were near the end. Last year a company was serving burgers, but they started cooking them before the race started. No cold burgers today!
We said our goodbyes and headed our separate ways. I headed for the awards stage and saw Emily McDivitt. She was hoping to get a top 3 age group finish, but had to settle for a PR.
We saw Shalane Flanagan receive her first place award and recognition for setting a new American 10K record! It was an honor to be there when she made such an awesome achievement. She is our local hero and everyone loves her.
I also got to see Bobbi Gibb, the women’s 1966 Champion. Wow! She returned the trophy that 2016 Boston Marathon Champion Atsede Baysa gave to her at the finish line in April. We also got to see Baysa sing in her native Ethiopian. Baysa has a great voice wore a beautiful blue dress. I enjoyed her singing and seeing her as something beyond being a world class champion runner.
While I ran the slowest 10K of my life, I ran a 10K. I had many doubts going into the race but Thuy helped me maintain a sensible pace and we did well, all things considered.
It was a great day to be with friends and in the presence of such greatness.
Run well my friends!