BAA 10K race recap
On Sunday I ran the 2nd Annual BAA 10K in Boston. It was another blazing hot day much like The Boston Marathon but with higher humidity.
The race started on Charles Street which is between the Boston Common and the Public Garden. It’s really a great location with plenty of room for runners to lounge and stretch and for the spread that the BAA puts out for us.
I drove into Cambridge with my friend Gail and we parked in my work garage; very convenient at the end of the Longfellow bridge. It was about a 10 minute walk across the bridge and down Charles Street to The Common. Charles Street is a beautiful classic Boston neighborhood and a thoroughly enjoyable walk. We got to The Common about an hour before the race and picked up our shirts and bag for our gear.
We hung out, used the facilities and met up with some friends from our running club. It must have been 80 degrees in the sun at this point.
We found a patch of shade next to a building with a narrow window ledge to sit on. We sat, ate some pre-race food and watched all of the beautiful people. Since my hamstring was all ready giving me problems I only did a few light stretches and watched everyone else do their routines.
Like many runners I’ve developed a pre-race routine that I like to go through and work on any tight muscles. You can get contorted into some odd positions and it probably looks like one-man Twister to some people.
Well, Sunday was my day to watch the contortionists. I saw this one guy holding onto a barricade doing these high leg swings with a lot of force and wide range of motion. It made my leg hurt just watching him. I did my best to ignore all of the really fit females in their tight little shorts doing their contortions. But, oh my god! Why didn’t I start running when I was 20 and single?
Around 7:45 we made one more port-potty stop and headed for the corrals. They were packed like a Chicago stock yard. Every 20 feet or so hung a sign for the pace you should be running if you wanted to be in that section. We kept walking.
Eventually we stopped at the opening for the 7:00 – 7:59 pace. Neither of us were going to run that pace. But just about everyone was going to start out running at a 10 minute pace for the first ½ mile and then as everyone spread out the pace would pick up.
At the start
At 8AM they started the wheel chair racers. They wisely used a verbal start and not a starting gun. If they had fired the gun I really think that most people would have started running and it would have been a disaster.
A few minutes later they let Wave 1 go and the corrals moved up to take their place. At 8:05 they started Wave 2, and we were off.
On the run
As we turned off of Charles and onto Beacon Street the mob was all ready beginning to spread out. I was paying very close attention to my right leg at this point. I had not run since I hurt myself the previous Monday and I was not sure how the leg would respond. I had the normal base-line pains, but I did not have any twinges that would indicate trouble. When I checked my watch our pace was all ready under our 10 minute mile target pace.
Beacon turned left onto Arlington Street and then we turned right onto Commonwealth Ave. I felt pretty good and was confident that I could finish this race. Gail and I kept to between an 8:30 to 9:30 pace which was faster than we planned but comfortable for both of us. At the 1K sign we were in our groove.
As we hit the 1 Mile mark I felt like the race was taking shape, people were settled into their pace and there was finally some room to run. As we approached the right turn onto Charlesgate East I made sure Gail was okay with the pace and she was.
We turned quickly onto Beacon Street for a short distance and then onto Bay State Road. Bay State goes though the Boston University campus and I think mostly surprised people greeted us as we passed by. Before we turned left onto Granby Street we hit the 2 mile mark and had managed a 9:06 mile.
Granby took us back out to Comm. Ave. The Boston University section of Comm. Ave is wider than the Back Bay section of Comm. Ave and there are no large trees over the street. We were in full sun now and I could feel the heat and humidity: I could feel the energy.
My shirt fit me very well and was now damp and clung to me like a second skin. I was pretty sure I would not have any chaffing problems today. The loose wet shirts are the ones that cause problems.
Heading out Comm. Ave, on our way to the turnaround in front of the Agganis Arena, we locked into a comfortable pace around 9:00. The three-quarters of mile before Agganis is a slight uphill, but nothing too serious.
Gail and I managed to keep our pace going and passed a few people. We stayed to the left side of the road to make a good and efficient turn. As I came out of the turn I headed to the right side of the road to get out of the crowd and looked for Gail.
It was easy to spot her blaze red running shoes in the gaggle of shoes kicking about. Her bright head band and top stood out like a blaze in a forest of runners. She was moving right along and looked like she still had plenty of energy to finish strong.
Now the road was down hill and we hit 7:54 for a short distance. Gail reminded me to take it easy and not to overdo it. So we backed off and ran mile four at 8:38.
As we ran down the hill and headed back towards Kenmore Square I was feeling great. I just had the base-line discomfort in my hamstring. It had not blown up like a tractor-trailer tire going down the highway. This far into the race I was confident that my leg would hold up for the second half of the race.
The sun was baking down on the pavement and the air was full of heat; a slight head-wind provided some relief. Everything was going great and I was thoroughly enjoying this race. If I had been by myself I would have kicked it in and tried for an 8:00 mile. Thankfully my running mate was there to reel me in, and we ran mile five at a 9:01 pace.
As we came around Arlington onto Boylston Street, Gail could tell that I was raring to go and wanted to kick it in. She had coached me this far without injury, and told me to go ahead if I wanted to.
We ran to the finish just as we had started out, together. We finished at 56:00 and collected our finisher’s medal.
As we walked through the shoot Gail said she needed to go to the Medical Tent. For a moment I was scared that something was wrong. I had checked with her often during the race to make sure that the pace was good and she always said it was.
I was afraid that she had just been going along with me and now she had an injury. Then she told me she needed ice for her plantar fasciitis and that she wasn’t going to die of heat stroke.
The Medic gave us bags of ice and told me a $1.20 for the lady and $3.00 for me! For a second I thought he was serious. She iced down her foot and I iced down my leg. It was a brilliant idea. I never would have asked for ice and it made a world of difference. After 10 minutes or so my leg felt as good as it had before the race and it never bothered me for the rest of the day.
We both had a great race and a great day. I had a great time in spite of my injury and Gail achieved a new 10K PR!