Running the 2023 BAA 10K was a run of redemption and gratitude. In 2022 I was in the middle of a long-running physical therapy treatment. At the time I was making progress but could only run a few minutes at a time, and certainly could not run a 10K.
Since I didn’t want to risk un-doing months of work and I didn’t want to miss the race, I decided to walk the entire race! I can’t believe that I didn’t write a post about it since it was such a unique experience. My notes say that I “ran” the last 100 yards, but nothing about how I started.
When you walk a race, you get to see all of the other people who are walking and the people who flame-out at some point. And you get to see everyone on their return run.
Running the 2023 BAA 10K
Getting to the race was pretty easy. I drove to work, parked in the garage and jogged over. It’s nice knowing you will have a parking spot and you wont have to worry about getting a ticket.
The jog over was a fairly hot 3/4 of a mile. There weren’t a lot of people out walking and traffic was light at 7:15AM. Charles street was a little congested but the traffic was light enough that I could run in the street.
As soon as I got to The Boston Common I started looking for water and checking out the set up. Poland Spring was there with two multi-tap water dispensers and paper cups. Psych! I refilled my water bottle which still had a fair amount of ice in it.
Soon I ran into Ed Miller, Carl Houde and Yvonne Liu-Constant. I was looking around for purple shirts, and I found them. They were ready to go but I needed to go to bag drop, so we all wandered over. I was in and out in minutes.
We managed to get this group photo and then made our way to the corral on Beacon Street.
And while we hung out waiting for the start I managed a group selfie. It’s never easy getting everyone into the shot, no matter how long your arms are!
They had someone sing the National Anthem, but we could barely hear her. Shortly thereafter they had us move down Beacon Street towards Charles Street. We were in Wave 1 which was for people running around a 10 minute pace. That seemed pretty generous to all of us. But the people who were going to win started before us as did the hand-cycle athletes.
We walked and then started jogging towards the start line. It was hot already and we had barely begun to run. Eddie and I were running together and before we knew it were running under a 9:15 pace.
I knew that was too fast for me and in this heat it made it way too fast for me. We spent the next few miles trying to maintain a 9:30 to 10 minute pace and find any shade that we could find. Which wasn’t much!
On Comm Ave the runners began to sort out, but it was still pretty crowded. Ed said he was getting water at the first water stop. I moved to the middle of the road and slowed down. Soon we were taking a right into Charles Gate East and then onto Baystate Road.
I thought that Baystate Road offered some shade, but there was none to be found this year!
We chatted a bit as we ran, but the heat was beginning to make every breath very important. By this point I was slinging sweat off of my hands with each arm swing. Sweating is a good thing in this type of heat.
As we headed back out to Comm Ave, we passed the new BU Computing and Data Sciences building. I watched this building go up and last year it was still a construction site. Now, it’s a building that looks like a stack of books your professor stacked carelessly on the floor.
Back on Comm Ave it was all sun and very little shade. Ed and I began to loose contact around the Mass Turn Pike bridge. I kept expecting him to catch up to me but I didn’t see him again until the turn around.
Running in the 2023 BAA 10K
The hill over the highway was the first one, then there was a second one that I thought was the last one. As such I pushed a bit up this hill thinking the turn around was about a 1/4 mile away. It wasn’t!
As I ran down that second hill, I could see that the people in front of me were at a higher elevation. There was another hill that we had to climb to get to the turn around.
Probably on the second hill the road got narrower and as we approached the turn it seemed to get narrower still.
I knew it was a hair-pin turn and that there were a hundred other runners who would be taking that turn the same time that I was. Unfortunately, I was a little late in trying to adjust and got caught up in the turning hoard. We were not like a flock of starlings!
As I came around the turn I drifted to the right to get some space. I had used quite a bit of energy getting up those hills to the turn and was now feeling it.
My legs were a little weak but I felt like sweat was pouring out of me. Sweating is good but it seemed like my body was in over drive.
The thought that came to mind was that I was going to melt! How can you sweat that much and not just dissolve?
The hills going back all seemed to be down-hill. How is that possible I thought? But I went with it, delusion or not.
Except for the first water stop, I hit them all. And at mile four they had Gatorade. I grabbed a cup of that and a cup of water at the mile four stop. I knew I needed them.
We were now down to 2.2 miles but I was exhausted. A few times my running form got out of alignment and I had to pull it back together. It’s way too easy to get hurt when you don’t maintain control over your form.
It was so freaking hot that I actually considered walking. I walked the entire race last year, so if I walked the last two miles I’d still kill last year’s time.
I thought about what would happen if I passed out or had a heart attack? Both were very realistic possibilities.
But after five minutes of doubt and self-pity, I took stock of my self. Nothing hurt and my left knee felt better than it has in a very long time.
Was I trying to prove anything or trying to beat a time? Not really. I was already doing better than 2022. But I’m a runner, so I’ve got to run a 10K.
Run towards the Finish
As we hit Comm Ave, we hit mile five. Lots of people looked like I felt. We were all over heated and pretty much spent. Once in a while a few young guys would blow through the crowd, but I wondered if they even ran the race. Where did they come from this late in the race?
As we turned right onto Arlington Street, I knew the end was near. The tar is wavy here so I had to pay attention to where I stepped and negotiate threw all the other runners.
Some people were kicking. I thought maybe I could kick on Charles Street, but I wasn’t sure.
As we turned onto Charles Street I focused on the finish line banner. On Boylston Street at the end of the Boston Marathon, it always seems like the finish line keeps moving farther away as you run to it.
But this time the banner did actually appear to get closer in the most infinitesimal increments. But it did get closer!
They had a timing mat about 100 yards before the finish line so the announcer could call out names. And she did a pretty good job with Nagelin. It meant nothing to anyone but me.
After I crossed the finish line I stopped my watch and headed towards the folks handing out the medals. At that moment I understood that this medal, any medal, is only important for a brief period of time.
With that in mind, I received my medal, looked at and appreciated it, and wrapped the ribbon around my hand so I could feel it. As I entered the Boston Common I put it around my neck.
They had two misters set up and I made a brief stop at each one. Then headed for the water, Gatorade and snack tent. They handed us yet another plastic bag and I got some snacks.
As I headed towards the exit I ate the banana and then opened the Gatorade. Soon I found Ed and we headed towards a shady spot to sit for a few minutes.
Ed seemed to be happy with his finish time, especially considering the heat!
After a about 5 minutes of relaxing we headed towards Charles Street and went our separate ways.
Results have not been posted as of Sunday night, but here is a link to the BAA’s write up on the race.
Run well my Friends!