Over 7,000 runners showed up June 23rd to run the 2019 BAA 10K.
It was a great day for running with temperatures in the 70s and moderate humidity. A light breeze for most of the race was an added bonus.
This was the ninth running of the BAA 10K and I haven’t missed one yet.
Just like last year I drove in with my buddy Diarmuid Cahill, parked at my garage and walked over to The Boston Common.
When we arrived on The Common the crowds were still light. We picked up our shirts and headed for the Distance Medley VIP tent. Last year the BAA started offering some perks for Medley runners.
Medley runners pay full price to run the BAA 5K, 10K and Half Marathon. The benefit of paying upfront is you register for all three races at once and get an extra medal. Most of us have buckets of medals already.
When we got to the VIP tent we found out that they didn’t have a bag drop or porta-potties for us. They had porta-potties at the BAA Half last October and were hoping for the same at the 10K. That’s a feature worth paying for!
After I grabbed a cup of coffee I made my way back across The Common to the bag drop. Things went smoothly and in just a few minutes I was back in the tent.
Running the 2019 BAA 10K
Around 7:30 we decided to head for the corrals and one last pit stop. The Common was now packed with runners.
We never did find the end of a port-potty line and so pushed through the forest of runners and headed for the corrals on Beacon Street.
Durm headed up the hill and I tucked into the 9:00-ish corral. I didn’t see anyone I knew.
At 8:04 someone sang The National Anthem and I found many flags to admire. In the middle of the song, American Airlines did a fly-over. It seemed appropriate!
Around 8:10 we started moving down the hill. As we approached the timing mats we broke into a light run and I started my watch crossing the first timing mat.
The road was packed! I made some headway and got into position for our first turn onto Boylston Street.
While looking out for runners I realized I needed to keep an eye out for pot holes. They were the foot sized ones that are often hard to see until you are on top of them.
In no time we were turning right onto Arlington Street. By this time I had passed a few people who were already walking! And not on the side of the road.
I was pissed and tried to keep quiet. I realize these races attract first timers, some of whom are doing fundraising for causes dear to their hearts. I get that. I just wish someone would explain the rules of the road to them before the race. Instead, I have to hold back on reading them the riot act while on the run.
Really Running a 10K
From Arlington we quickly turned left onto Comm Ave. The road is shaded but narrow.
More walkers and joggers. Even better – two or three across at times. Me and a whole bunch of other people wound our way through this obstacle course with great effort.
The fact that no one face planted is amazing. Those people have no idea how lucky they were not to get pushed or tripped. None of us were happy about this situation. But being runners we adhered to the code of conduct and remained civil.
I’d get behind someone and we’d move up. Then I’d find a hole and people would fall in behind me. Sometimes the crowd would open up and I’d surge ahead.
The non-verbal communication among us runners was amazing. We were like a flock of birds or a school of fish. Anticipating and following each other’s moves.
At each water stop I got as far right as I could. At one stop people got water and then moved to the right side of the road in front of me to walk and drink! If looks could kill, I’d be in custody.
Kenmore Square opens up nicely and we were able to move along. But Comm Ave narrows again coming out of the square due to street parking.
I managed to find holes and pushed forward.
The heat began to increase as the sun beat down on a street devoid of any shade. I had a bottle of water with me which was now half gone. I decided to leave some for after the turn around as I knew I would need it.
I could feel the hill in my thighs as we made our way out to Agannis Arena. I knew this hill. It had had it’s way with me before, but not today.
My pace seemed to pick up. Or maybe everyone else slowed down.
It’s only about 29 feet elevation over a half mile or so, but it can really kick your ass in the heat.
I made my way through the crowd and looked for the top of the hill and the turn around. As I watched the returning runners there seemed to be thousands of them. Turns out, there were about 2,000 people in front of me.
I was focused and made use of each opportunity to move through the crowd. There were plenty of runners right in there with me.
As we approached the turn I was stuck in a group of runners with little room to make an efficient turn. I really thought, “WTF” my race is a mess with this crowd so, WTF. Go with it.
As we made the turn I swung to the far right and possibly got too close to a few people. Not sure.
Where I could I cruised down the hill. The inside of my left knee hurt, but not that much. I could have made some awesome time flying down that hill.
To The Finish!
For the most part the run down Comm Ave was enjoyable. The crowd had held me back from 100% exertion so I had some mojo. Inbound to Kenmore Square we had more room and the crowd was thinning out as we approached mile four.
Mile 4! I felt pretty damned good. Usually at this point in a 10K I’m making bargains with my self. This time I had everything dialed in pretty tightly and was ready to push it for the next 2.2 miles.
At Mile Five we were on the home stretch and the road was wide. I took the road I needed and hammered my way home.
I wasn’t running an Olympic Qualifier pace or anything, but I felt fully capable of running at 100% for the rest of the race. I even had enough breath to say thank you to a spectator.
As I ran down Comm Ave I thought about how I felt the last time I was on this piece of road. It was the Boston Marathon in April. If I felt this strong at this point in the marathon, I would have been disappointed.
At mile 25 of a marathon you should be running on fumes and will power. If you run a 10K well, you should have some power for a strong finish. For these races it just happens that mile five and 25 are basically at the same place on the course.
I was passing all kinds of people on this last mile. Getting onto Arlington Street felt great. I made clean turns and moved across the road to get ready for the final turn onto Charles Street.
Charles Street had a lot of runners, but plenty of room to make my move. I cut left and passed some runners. Someone else was running right in front of me so I moved over a bit just in case I had a surge or they faded near the end.
I stopped my watch at 53 minutes and change, collected my ribbon and headed for the water and snacks.
I was pretty happy with my finish. I’m still shooting for 50 minutes, but I’m not quire there yet.
All Business After the Race
Durm and I planned to meet in the beer tent after the race. I picked up my bag and headed over to the VIP tent. As I approached the beer tent they were carding folks and I didn’t have my ID.
One of the unfortunate benefits of being middle-aged is that you often don’t need an ID. It’s pretty obvious you turned 21 when Ronald Reagan was president.
There was already a line for the Marathon Brewing 26.2 mile beer. I met a lady from Burlington and we had a good chat in line and while enjoying our ice cold beers.
Marathon Brewing is putting a fortune in to promoting this beer, but I don’t think it is going anywhere. It is slightly more flavorful that your average lager, but nothing exciting.
The appeal is too narrow and it probably sells at a premium price. There are too many really good craft beers that taste great to choose from. I see it as a novelty. But what do I know?
Durm showed up but wasn’t interested in a beer. They didn’t even give him any tickets on his way in. The lines had also quadrupled since I got my beer. And it definitively was not worth that kind of wait.
On the way out I gave away my last beer ticket and even found another in the grass to give someone else. It’s nice to play beer god once in a while.
We had a nice walk through the Charles Street neighborhood of Beacon Hill on our way back to Cambridge.
It really was a day that makes life worth living. Spending time with a good friend, running a great race and enjoying the beautiful Boston summer weather. Hard to top that.
The BAA Half Marathon 2018 is the final race in the three race Distance Medley and is more of an entry into fall running than the end of a season.
There are many things that I love about this race. One of them is how easy it is to get to. I get on the Orange Line at Wellington Station in Medford and ride to the end of the line at Forrest Hills. I park my car and let someone else do the driving. No worries!
This year, due to construction, we had to get off at Copley Square and take a bus. When I saw the notice I thought it meant we took a T bus to Forrest Hills and then a BAA bus to Franklin Park Zoo.
With typical BAA efficiency, the BAA had their buses at Copley! It took about 10 minutes to leave the train and find a seat on a bus. The ride was about 15 minutes.
BAA Half Marathon Transport
My fellow Melrose Running Club runner Durm Cahill met me at my house around 6AM. It’s easier for him to park at my house for Boston area races. Usually we park at my office but this time we headed for Wellington Station and the Orange line.
I had two “Charlie” cards but did not know if either was valid. The MBTA expires Charlie cards after some period of time. My girls used to take The T into Boston for school, so some of my cards are more than five years old. But they do not date the cards, so you never know.
They have several machines at Wellington to re-load cards. The first card I checked was expired. The second one was good but had a $0.00 balance. I was thrilled to use my credit card to load it up.
Last year all of my cards were expired and I had to buy a paper Charlie ticket. That ticket got us onto the train, but it rained last year. The soggy ticket jammed in the turn style reader on the way home, and a T employee had to let us through. I still think he thought we were pulling a fast one!
This year we got through the turn style at Wellington and onto the platform in no time. After about six minutes the in-bound train arrived.
For a 6:15 train it seemed crowded to us. Wellington is the second stop for this train and the cars were already about half full. As we looked around we spotted a few other runners.
The transition at Copley was flawless and we arrived at Franklin Park around 7:20.
Since both of us were Distance Medley runners, we had access to a tent reserved for Distance Medley runners.
BAA Half Marathon 2018 Prep
Durm wanted to go to the bag drop, but I wanted to check out the tent first hoping they had a bag drop there for us.
They didn’t, but they had reserved porta-potties and lots of food. In addition to bagels and Builder Bars they had coffee and cider donuts! Oh heaven!
I grabbed two donuts and we headed for the bag drop. As I waited in line to get a zip tie for my bag tag I lathered up with sun screen. It was overcast in October but I’m all Western European. I can get a sun burn in a dark room!
The grass was wet and rutted for some reason. It looked like someone drove a truck through the muddy field the night before. So we had to be careful not to get our feet wet or step into a rut.
I’m pretty good at walking full steam ahead through a crowd, even with obstacles to watch out for. In no time we were back to the Distance Medley tent and checking out the food selection.
Bagels with cream cheese or peanut butter. Hot coffee and tea, Builder Bars, Gatorade and those cider donuts!
I got two more donuts and we headed for the porta-potty line. As we stood there we could see the line everyone else was in. It was a marathon length line and not moving.
In just about five minutes we were through the line and headed back for the food.
I got a cup of coffee and more donuts! The runner’s rule is to not eat anything new before a race. Now I’ve eaten cider donuts by the half dozen before, just never before a 13.1 mile run.
I’ve never had an issue eating these donuts. But all good donuts have more grease in them than most runners need on race day. I still had about six of those sweet tasty little delights! And most of my coffee, of course!
About quarter of eight we headed for the start line. About half way across the field we could hear the National Anthem. I took off my hat but we kept walking. I’m not sure what the rule or custom is on this one. I know I need to take off my hat, but do I need to stand still?
Running the BAA Half Marathon 2018
As we approached the start area we could see that the corral was full. All kinds of people were milling about outside of the corral or trying to get in.
As we looked for our pace area we saw Allison Cunningham. She was looking for a way into the corral also. We saw two openings with people crowded around. The three of us decided to get with the group trying to get into the 8:00 to 8:59 pace group.
Allison tried to upload a photo but her phone dropped to one bar. She figured everyone else was trying to upload photos at that moment also.
In a few minutes they started the race. We didn’t move much initially but eventually began walking and then jogging.
It took about 90 seconds for us to cross the start line. By then we were doing a light jog.
By the time we made our first turn we were running and had some down hill. Allison said good bye as we moved ahead.
My goal for this race was to run two hours or better. I ran The Smuttynose Rockfest Half at just over two hours. The BAA Half is a more challenging course with a lot more hill to run, but I had a lot left in the tank at the end of The Smuttynose Half.
At Smuttynose my goal pace was 9:30 and I ran 9:11. I was pretty sure I could run a 9:15 pace on this more challenging course, so that was my plan.
Durm wasn’t feeling great so he let me set the pace. The first two miles were under 9:00 and I was worried we were going out too fast. It was a lot of down hill but it’s still running.
Mile three came in at 9:03 so I felt I was getting things under control.
I had a great race at The Smuttynose Rockfest Half because I had a plan and I ran the plan. It turned out to be a bit conservative but I met my goal. It was probably the best half I’ve ever run.
I’ve run faster Halfs but successful running is about being in control. You can’t get swept up in the excitement or someone else’s goal. It’s great to be a man and run your ass off to chase someone else, but it’s not so manly to flame out miles before the finish line.
I’m perfectly happy to set my goal and run my plan to achieve that goal. It doesn’t always work out, but when it does it’s a beautiful feeling. Hampton was an almost perfect execution.
Based on that race I knew I could set my sights on a 9:15 pace and see what happens.
Running the plan
It’s tough to keep things under control when you feel good and people are passing you. It’s even harder when your running buddy wants to push harder.
Durm was cool with me reeling him in now and then. I just knew that bad things would happen on the hills on the way back if we blew it out early in the race.
As we ran along I tried to enjoy the parks and awesome houses we were running by. It’s not often that you get to run down the middle of The Jamaicaway and Riverway past Olmsted Park and through part of Boston’s Emerald Necklace of parks and waterways.
We ran past Angell Animal Medical Center and I recalled going there once in the middle of the night on a Labor Day weekend with a sick cat.
A little further down the road we passed The Jamaica Plain VA Medical Center. I had spent the previous week at a conference with a lot of VA folks so seeing the local hospital reminded me of the important work that they do there.
We hit mile four at 8:54. A little faster than the plan, but nothing too crazy. Durm seemed to be quieter than usual. I asked how he was doing and he said okay, but his breathing indicated otherwise.
We had rolling hills on the way to the turn around and I knew it was down hill approaching the turn. That’s all good, but we had to turn around and run back up that hill!
Even with the downhill we had slowed a bit. As we approached the 5 mile marker and the timing mats, Durm said he was going to walk some after the clock.
I was worried and he said something was wrong when I asked him if he was okay. He said his leg was bothering him and that he might get a ride back to the finish!
There was a group of volunteers at the mile 5 clock and lots of people around so I knew he would be okay. I was still worried, but what could I do? Any EMT could do more for him than I could.
We each said “see you at the tent” and we parted ways.
On My Own
I run a lot of races by myself. Often no one I know is running or they are too fast for me. So running the next 8.1 miles by myself was not so strange. Plus I had thousands of other runners with me.
Running on my own allowed me to focus on my plan. I had spent more time looking at my watch than the scenery, but now I was even more focused on even splits and running smart.
The hills from mile 5 to mile 6 were minimal and I ran an 8:35 split. Then at mile 6.25 we hit a long slow hill and gained 63 feet.
I changed my gait and turn over to adjust for the hill. I love to run hills and the new pace felt comfortable.
I stayed away from all of the water stops and drank my electrolyte mix in the two bottles I brought with me. I figure this saves me 15 to 30 seconds for each stop I skip.
Going up the hill I took my second gel. I took half and swirled it around my mouth to help jump start the digestion process. About a minute later I took the second half and did the same.
Mile seven ended just before the hill crested and came in at 9:10. Not too bad. I was still ahead of my goal pace and I must have passed fifty runners going up that hill.
I actually had to zig and zag around walkers and near-walkers going up the hill.
Did I mention that it was hot? Not July hot, but in the 70s and with high humidity. I started the race with a 500ml Poland Springs and finished that before 5K.
I was now being careful with my belt bottles. I didn’t want to run out or finish the race with much left. All part of managing the race.
In the first few miles Durm and I could feel waves of heat. I’m not sure if it was rising from the pavement or if it was the wind. But we definitely felt heat.
Durm had 2 liters in his Camelbak and it was empty when he finished the race.
As we pushed through mile eight I could feel sweat dripping off the back of my shorts. Early in the race sweat was running down my arms and with each arm swing water would whip from my hands!
Now my shorts were drenched like I had just stepped out of a pool. I couldn’t believe that it was October!
Mile eight came in at 9:00 and my overall pace was 8:58. I felt good and I was way ahead of my goal.
Mile eight to nine ran along The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. Lots of rock, ledge and woods. Very unusual for Boston.
We hit mile nine just after we re-entered The Franklin Park Zoo. My mile pace and over all pace were both 8:50. I knew there were hills ahead, but I was killing it!
At the intersection as you enter the zoo we took a right onto Circuit Drive. I recall this road from last year. It starts out paved but turned into a country gravel road where you had to watch your step. This slowed the pace and made it difficult to maneuver around runners.
Scattered all the way up the road in the zoo there were runners in various levels of distress. A few people looked to be in serious distress, others had cramps or had hit the wall.
I couldn’t believe I felt so good. My upper calf behind the right knee had a few twinges, but that was it. My hips felt fine and my knees were being very cooperative.
With the mild incline I just tucked into my pace and kept moving past people.
Where the road had been a mess before, it was now a freshly paved road! I missed the country road feel that we had before, but it was nice to just focus on running!
I knew this was a long out and back with rolling hills, but I was all systems go all the way.
At mile ten my pace was 9:05 and my overall pace was 9:02. With 5K to go I was way ahead of my goal.
We hit mile 11 in front of the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital. I had run the out and back at a 9:06 pace. Not bad.
With two miles to go I began to think about breaking two hours.
My watch battery was low on power. Unfortunately the “Low Power” message over-layed my overall time. I could see the 1-hour but I could not see how many minutes!
I figured as long as I saw the 1, the dream was alive!
Finishing the BAA Half Marathon 2018
With two miles to go I was feeling the fatigue. I had managed my supplies and pace very successfully. But I had run 11 miles and had 2.1 to go, or more. My watch had been hitting the miles about 0.1 mile early.
I told myself 2.5 more miles to go. Just hold on and don’t kick too soon.
Mile twelve had a 64 foot climb and a lot of loop-ti-loo in the zoo. We also had to watch out for curbing and stone barriers put up to keep autos off of the newly paved Circuit road. Mile twelve came in at 9:23.
I told myself, 1.5 miles to go. I had done everything right so far. It was now time to lay it down and kick.
Mile 13 had some hill and loop-ti-loo. We also had some narrow areas to run through. I tried to see these spots as an opportunity to back off a bit and re-group.
For about half of mile 13 we looped around Playstead Field and entered White Stadium to finish on the track.
I hit mile thirteen about a quarter mile before the stadium with a time of 8:49! Wow! I didn’t think I had it in me.
As we entered the stadium and got onto the track I took the second lane and owned it. I ran the last quarter mile at an 8:09 pace!
I knew we were about two minutes behind the official clock and the official clock said two hours and change as I crossed. I knew all of this but still felt some disappointment.
My watch said 1:58:54 and 13.25 miles. My official BAA time was 1:58:51 and I finished in the top third of my age group.
Apre BAA Half Marathon 2018
As I walked along the track someone handed me a bottle of water and then someone gave me my medal. The BAA gives out some nice medals!
I wandered along the track looking for the exit and the path to food. It wasn’t far and soon I was in the food tent. They had full-sized wrap sandwiches and huge bags of TERRA chips. 10oz bags! They also had cider donuts and Builder Bars!
I was thrilled. At the 10K there wasn’t much food and no going back for seconds. I I don’t think they had much more at the 5K. With a large sandwich and family sized bag of chips, you didn’t need to go back.
I had my hands full with all of the food. Imagine that! I decided to make my way to the bag drop. I was worried about cooling off and needed a bag for all of my stuff.
There was only one way into the bag area which added a bit to my walk. My legs were getting a little tight, so the extra walk was good.
The bag area was empty so I got through it quickly and headed over to get my race shirt. I saw people wearing them during the race and it looked nice. Navy blue with gold stripes on the shoulders and a well done BAA graphic.
With my race shirt stuffed in my drop bag I hobbled over to the Distance Medley VIP tent.
It was way cool. As I approached I saw people with white bibs talking to security. I waltzed in with my yellow bib a nod and a smile.
I don’t know if this is the first year they’ve done this, but everyone in the tent was ready to sign up for the 2019 Distance Medley.
Our own porta-potties, food and Sam Adams beer? That makes it worth paying a bit extra to sign up and pay for all three races. Now if they could have more food at the 10K and 5K I’d be a true convert.
I made my way down the food tables and got the last of the coffee. I got more of those awesome donuts, several more Builder Bars and headed for the beer tent.
They were carding everyone. I saw people with gray hair and wrinkles being turned away. You don’t see that often.
I got ID’d, got a bracelet, two beer tickets and they marked my bib. I think it is easier to get into the Pentagon!
Sam Adams was providing “Sam 76” in cold cans and coozies! I’ve got a draw full of coozies, but I still like to get them.
They had standing tables and I found one near the front that had room for me. I instantly started a conversation with a couple and another guy who was there.
Everyone was having a good time and seemed to have a good race.
I texted and DM’d Durm with no response. I know he would be okay because the BAA always provides top notch medical support and he was at mile five when I last saw him.
When he finally showed up he didn’t look too bad. When I asked him about my messages, he said he had his phone turned off. I did the same during the race, but you get worried when someone drops out and then you can’t reach them.
Durm ended up finishing the race at 2:18. Not bad for a guy who thought he needed a ride to the finish line.
We hung out for about an hour for beers and conversation and decided to head for the buses.
As we walked up to the bus there was Alain Ferry of RaceMenu. He was telling everyone about the Howling Wolf Half. We did a high five and I said “Here’s my favorite race director,” to which he laughed.
When we got to the Copley T Station the gates were open and they didn’t charge us. When we got back to Wellington there wasn’t anyone at the gate to charge us for parking either.
My wife tells me they have cameras and will mail me a bill based on my license plate. I guess I also get to pay a penalty. At 6:00 in the morning, I didn’t see any signs. As an infrequent user of T services I had no idea they changed the way they did things. But I’ll get to pay for it.
Over all it was a great day. I was able to manage my race and achieve my goal for the second time in two weeks. I really feel great about that and I’m looking forward to The Howling Wolf Half!
This was the 8th time I’ve run the BAA 10K road race. I ran the inaugural race in 2011 and haven’t missed one since!
I’ve run with an injury and twice I’ve run the 10K and hustled off to run a 5K. One time I drove all the way to New Hampshire for my 2nd race of the day. Never again!
It’s a better experience to enjoy a race and hang out with friends afterwards.
Just like last year I ran with my buddy Derm Cahill and parked at my office in Cambridge.
Running the BAA 10K 2018 Road Race
We walked across the newly renovated Longfellow Bridge and over to the Boston Common where the race starts. We picked up our race shirts and headed for the Infiniti VIP tent.
Since Derm and I are running the BAA Distance Medley this year we had access to the Infiniti VIP tent. It wasn’t anything lavish but there was shelter from the elements and they had bagels, water and Gatorade. As a bonus they were giving out portable phone chargers. You can never have too many of those!
They let us check out the 2019 QX50 and let us sit in it. Derm had some good questions and the lady helping us out had an answer for each one. I was very impressed.
We put all of our stuff into one drop bag and I took it to the bag drop area. It was well organized and they let us walk in with our bags and leave them. In the past we had to give them to a volunteer and this caused congestion. We hit the porta-potties one last time and headed to the corral.
On the way over we met one of Derm’s colleagues, Jesse Lizette. She walked with us to the corral where we headed for the 8:00 to 8:59 section.
A few minutes before 8AM they had us move down from the sidewalk and onto Charles Street. Just before 8AM they had an A Capella group sing The National Anthem. It was great not having a recording but I couldn’t find a flag anywhere.
At 8AM they sounded the horn and we were off! We mostly jogged and walked to the start.
As we ran down Charles Street the road was not very crowded. They said there were 10,000 runners but it sure seemed like a smaller crowd.
We took a quick right onto Boylston Street and then a quick right onto Arlington before we took a left onto Commonwealth Ave for the long run out to BU.
Derm has been racing a lot and I haven’t run in more than two weeks, so we agreed to take it easy and that I would set the pace. While my legs were rested they were also not in great shape and my cardio was not up to par either.
As we ran down Comm Ave we made some pretty aggressive moves to get through the crowd. No pushing but we looked for every opportunity to move ahead. Before we even hit mile one, we had to contend with walkers!
We skipped the first water stop as there were too many runners and didn’t really need it.
About a third of a mile before the Mass Ave underpass we hit Mile One at 8:46. Pretty much where we wanted to be. Going under Mass Ave was crowded but things started to spread out as we headed down Charles Gate to Baystate Road.
Just like last year, BU was doing construction on Baystate so it was little congested. Just before Silber Way we hit Mile Two at 8:19. I was a little surprised at our surge and told Derm that our average pace was now way below our goal of 9 minutes.
We took a left onto Granby Street and I grabbed a cup of water this time. I pinched it, took a gulp and never brook my pace.
We had been taking our turns wide so as not to get caught in the curb-side crowd. It had been working well and we took a right back out onto Comm Ave.
At this point I was feeling pretty comfortable. My feet were landing nicely and I was running at about 90% of capability. We weren’t out for any PR’s so it was nice to run the race comfortably.
The Turn Pike over pass wasn’t too bad. It’s been under construction for a while and we had to run on steel panels. Thankfully they were nice and dry. Shortly after the bridge we began the climb up to the turn in front of The Agganis Arena at BU.
The lead runners were now running past us. At one point I looked over and saw Meb Keflezighi run by. He was back from the lead and seemed to be running with a group and not running for the win. He’s retired now don’t ya know.
About a quarter mile before the turn we hit Mile Three at 8:22. Not to bad for running up a hill. We moved to the right so we wouldn’t get stuck in the crowd making the turn.
Finishing the BAA 10K 2018 Road Race
We executed the turn flawlessly and were headed back to the finish. We had passed the 5K mark and the 3 Mile Mark, so the work was just beginning.
After the turn we had some downhill, which was nice. I moved to the left and opened it up a bit. I didn’t spend too much time looking across the fence to see who was running up the hill. Then I heard a voice call out “Hey you guys!” As I looked over my shoulder through my bouncing glasses I barely made out Regina Curran. If I hadn’t recognized her voice, I may not have recognized her face. We missed her before.
Coming back over the Turn Pike bridge wasn’t too bad either. I grabbed another cup at the next water stop and before we knew it we hit Mile Four at 8:15. Not too bad considering that part of that mile was uphill and a hair-pin turn.
Both of us were feeling pretty good and kept pushing it. I tried to hold things back but it’s difficult to do during a race. When you take it easy early in a race you often have an extra reserve of energy for the last part of the race.
I could feel my piriformus acting up and worried a bit about residual pain. I just drove for three days from Florida so my little ass muscles were not used to working.
We ran through Kenmore Square and took a left onto Beacon Street. More people were walking and we kept passing runners. From Beacon Street we took a right onto Charles Gate West back out to Comm Ave.
I was surprised to see some people still walking out-bound on the course. I felt pretty good for this stage in the race and knew that we were on the home stretch.
Just after the Mass Ave bridge we hit Mile Five at 8:05! Our average pace was now 8:20! Where was this coming from? I skipped the last water stop on Comm Ave, less than a mile to the finish.
Derm was chomping at the bit and as we approached the turn onto Beacon Street I told him to take off. I didn’t really have a kick and just wanted to maintain my pace.
I hit Mile Six on the corner of Arlington and Beacon Streets at 7:57! Again, I was surprised. My watch was hitting the mile markers before I got to them. The last 0.2 miles turned out to be 0.32 miles and I ran at a pace of 7:31.
I finished just behind Derm with a time of 52:23. The BAA had a time of 52:18 for me. I had manged to run a negative split for this race!
Apre BAA 10K 2018
These races are notorious for being skimpy on the swag and food. You get one pass at the food tent and there is never much to choose from. But keeping people from filling up leaves plenty of food for the last runners who need it the most.
I got my medal on Charles Street, caught of to Derm and Jesse and we headed for the water and food tent. It was a quick trip through the tent. We headed to the bag drop, which was not busy yet and then to the Infiniti VIP tent.
They had fruit cups, bagels and Gatorade for us. Nothing too exciting but it was a nice touch. They also had two timing boards to take your picture with. To move things along they had someone to punch in your bib number, so you would have the correct name on the board for your photo!
We took a few pics with Regina Curran and Julie Smith Galvin and headed back to Cambridge.
Derm crossed the line 21 seconds ahead of me. My 2018 time was seven seconds better than my 2017 time, so I’m happy with that. Not my fastest finish but much better than my slowest few finishes.
Instead of hanging out to see the awards ceremony, we headed back to Cambridge. I’ve been out of town for the past two weeks and had a lot of stuff to catch up on and I had to write this blog post!
2012 was a challenging and rewarding year for my running. A brief recap of my running adventures through October, 2012.
My 2012 Running Year in Review
This has been a busy month and a busy year for me. I’ve run sixteen races this year and four races within the past 30 days.
The biggest challenge of the year was running the BAA Half Marathon and the ING Hartford Marathon within six days of each other. When I registered for the two races months ago I thought this would be a fun and interesting challenge. I’ve run several marathons before but having a half-marathon within six days of the marathon would add a new twist.
I thought the closeness of the races would be my biggest challenge and then I got hurt. For six weeks I had to cut way back on my training and did mostly stretching and strength training as prescribed by my physical therapist.
The last race I ran before my injury was The Twin Lights Half Marathon on May 12th. I surprised myself and set a new PR. When I did that I really felt like I was on the right track with my training and I would be able to PR in Hartford and maybe qualify for Boston. Then due to work and sickness I basically stopped training for three weeks and then came back to fast, and got hurt.
I started going to physical therapy about once a week and did all of my exercises as prescribed. I kept running shorter distances, usually no more than 3 miles at a time. My PT was okay with this level of running.
Earlier in the year I had signed up for the BAA Distance Medley. The day before the Boston Marathon I ran their 5K and then on June 24th I ran the BAA 10K. My leg never really hurt while I was running the 10K. There aren’t any hills on this course and I took it very easy just to be safe
In July I ran the VERT Sasquatch 2.4 mile trail race just to try out trail running and for the great party afterwards. I took it very slow again. On August 5th I did the Maine Lobster Fest 10Kin Rockland Maine. There were hills and it was hot for this race. I took it easy and survived that one.
On September 8th, I ran a leg of the Lake Winni Relay, 10.8 miles, at an 8:44 pace. This was the fastest and farthest I had run since May. My legs felt strong during the race and I did not have any unusual pain afterwards. This race really helped build my confidence back and told me that I was back on track.
On September 16th I ran The Lone Gull 10K and set a PR. On September 29th I ran the Granara-Skerry 5K and set another PR. I felt confident again and ran these races as hard as I could. After Lake Winnie I wanted to see what I was capable of and how far my rehab had progressed. These races confirmed my progress and further boosted my confidence. I felt like I was ready for my challenge.
At the BAA Half Marathon on October 7th I did not set a PR, but I think I could have. I lined up late and got stuck in a huge crowd where I could not move. When there was room to run I threw everything I had into the race. At the end of the race I felt good about the race and I was pretty sure I had not aggravated my injury. That was key. If I had pulled the piriformis again I would not have had time to recover before my marathon.
The days between the BAA Half and ING Marathon I ran 4 miles Tuesday night and 5K on Thursday. I went to the gym and stretched three days and that was about it. My taper week was also a recovery week. Like most runners would, I spent that time pretty much obsessed with my upcoming marathon.
I tried to manage all of the details for race day, but as anyone who read my race re-cap, several items got out my control. If you would like to read about my stressful marathon check out this link.
I made some mistakes and learned some lessons. That’s all part of the journey. All of the details are available on my re-cap as referenced above. I’m no racing or organization expert but I’m always working on my process. I feel that the three keys to successful racing are
Getting the miles in
Physical conditioning/cross training/strength training
Developing and fine tuning your race routine
I’ll go into my thinking on this on another post. A lot of other runners have written some great articles on this topic.
At this point in time I have pretty much run my schedule for the year It just feels so odd not having anything to train for. I’m going to have to work on my motivation to keep up with my training, to stay motivated. That is the current challenge that I face.
How do you stay motivated when you do not have a race on your schedule?
Monday I wrote about my disaster in the locker room where a bottle of spray-on sun screen discharged completely into my gym bag and ruined my brand new, never worn tie. I’m still determined to salvage the tie and I’m having some luck.
I ran 10K Monday morning before work and thought I was doing great. I’ve never run before work and I was able to knock a good piece of my weekly mileage off. Over the course of the day my right hamstring got tight and started to hurt. Every time I got up from my desk my leg was killing me. On the drive home my leg hurt so bad that my foot was getting numb! It was unbelievable. So while I thought it was a great thing getting in a Monday morning run I had actually just caused myself problems.
After supper Monday night I ran over to Marathon Sports and bought a Thera-Roll. People have been raving about these rollers and what they can do for sore muscles. After my killer ride home from work I was desperate and willing to pay “whatever the cost may be” to get some relief.
As I mentioned Tuesday, the guy at Marathon Sports answered all of my questions and let me try out all of the rollers until I found the one that was just right.
I’ve used the roller every night this week and it seems to be working. But I can’t tell if the improvement is from not running or from rolling. Probably a little of both. I’m going to keep using the roller and see what happens. People have an almost religious zeal for these things. I’m also making an appointment with a physical therapist.
If you want to see what the roller is all about click on the photo.
I had my summer race season planned out in the spring. Part of it was running the BAA Distance Medley. This was the 5K the day before the Boston Marathon and now a 10K this weekend. So now I’m trying to figure out if my hamstring will allow me to run this race and if running this race is going to take me out of action for the rest of the summer. I know I can’t go for a PR and that just finishing is going to be an accomplishment. I’m taking it day by day right now.
Oh, and the third race in the BAA Distance Medley is the BAA Half Marathon the Sunday before the ING Hartford Marathon which is on a Saturday. So my hamstring is a mess, I have a 10K before I have enough time to recover and then I have a half marathon with barely enough time for a healthy runner to recover before a full marathon!
I know that injuries are just part of being a runner. Earlier this year I hurt my foot because I bought the wrong shoes. This time I was just being dumb, over ambitious and thought I was invincible. And at my age I’m supposed to know better! Ha!
Here is my pontification
I’m always hearing people talk about the glass being half-full or half empty. In my mind this congers up an image of people sitting around contemplating the “glass of life” and merely ruminating or stewing on it. Well isn’t that special.
I say pick the freaking thing up and drink down the glass of life! Half-full or half-empty, chug that bad boy down until it is dripping down your chin and you are gasping for air. I assure you, that you will find it quite refreshing!