What a day for a race!
Temperatures were in the mid 50’s once the sun came up. Being right on the water front, we had the occasional breeze off of Boston Harbor.
The humidity was also in the 50’s and the sky was clear. Knowing that the sky would be clear I applied sun block before leaving the house at 5:12 am.
Off to the races
I used the alarm on my phone and it went off promptly at 5 am. I’ve used it many times but for some reason I had a hard time shutting it off, and was afraid I’d wake my wife. After hitting the little red X and flicking my finger across the screen several times, it stopped making noise.
I hustled down stairs and looked for my gear. I forgot where I put it. I knew I had everything in the big bag they gave me at the Expo on Saturday but I wasn’t sure where I put it.
After I found it I quickly changed into my gear, grabbed my quart of iced coffee in the fridge and headed for the door. I knew my brain was moving slowly, so I took another chug of coffee before starting the car.
The ride into Boston was easy and people were driving very fast. I felt comfortable doing 70. I knew exactly where I was going and where to hunt for parking. By 5:30 I was heading to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, HQ for the race.
I grabbed another coffee at Dunkin Donuts and headed into the hall. I was early and had very little to do. I checked my gear, stuffed my phone and a GU into my running belt and got on the floor for some stretching. I kept looking for familiar faces and saw none.
Around 6 am I headed outside and across the street to one of the hotels. I managed to get into their entry way and hang out for 15 minutes before the police told us to leave. We all headed into the lobby of the hotel and a few of us tried to get into our corral.
That’s when the fun began. We couldn’t just walk out of the hotel and go to our corral. We had to go through another building and enter the corrals about another block down the street. I was dropping F-bombs like a B-52. Another guy was pretty pissed also.
I understand security, but to make us walk so far out of the way seems ridiculous. I tried to to swear at anyone in particular, but I was really pissed off. This was just stupid.
At the Start
I lined up with the 8 minute pace folks. I took a few photos, did some more stretching and of course started talking.By this time they were making announcements. We took off our hats. someone sang the National Anthem and a State Police helicopter did a fly-by.
Before they started the race they had us move up. I was on the fast side of the road where the paces started at 6 minutes. By the time we bunched up at the start, we were in front of 90% of the folks on the other side of the street, and a surprisingly large group on our own side of the street. I was definitely lined up with the fast and/or delusional people.
They used an air horn for the start. With all of those police, I was hoping for a real starter’s gun at least. A nice .45 cal round would have been cool. Bay of Fundy uses a real cannon. Talk about loud!
Getting across the starting mats did not take long and I started my watch as I crossed the first one.
On the Run
Heading down Seaport Ave and over the bridge was a little slow. As we made our first right onto Atlantic Ave things thinned a little bit.
It was cool running past the Old State House and Faneuil Hall. I had to keep my eyes open for pot holes and I wondered why the race couldn’t give the city a few grand to patch some of these before the race. One bad step and you’re out.
I pretty much knew where I was the whole time we wound through Boston.We went down Cambridge Street to Charles Street and took a right onto Beacon Street for the long run out to the Mass Ave Bridge. We got onto the bridge at about 3.25 miles.
I was feeling pretty good and the bridge is in mint condition and great for running. My first mile had been 9:45 and I was worried. It felt faster and I wasn’t sure if my watch was messed up or if I was messed up.
Mile two and three came in under 8 minutes so I felt better and hoped had made up for the slow start. Mile four was east bound on Memorial Drive at 7:49. I knew we had a lot of race to run, but my knee and ankle had stopped bothering me. I felt confident that I could give Memorial Drive the run it deserved.
I finished my bottle of Hammer HEAD and almost got it into a trash barrel. I had avoided the first four or five water stops and hoped that had saved me some time.
Heading west on Memorial Drive we went under Mass Ave and I used the decline to pass a few people. I then hoped I could hold on to my gains. Mile five clicked just before Ames Street and I could feel the sun beating down on me.
Mile 5 was also 7:49 and I felt like I was hitting my groove. Just keep this going I told my self. I was looking for a finish between 1:40 and 1:50. If I could average 8 minute miles I would come in around 1:45. Not bad for only training for 5K and 10K races.
Around this distance I found fellow MRC runner, Ginny Rowe, one of our former presidents. We chatted and ran together a bit. As we went under the Mass Ave overpass we split up.
Mile 7 chimed between River Street and Western Ave. Somewhere along there we went over that nasty steal and concrete bridge. Mile six was 7:57 and mile seven was 8:02. I was slowing down and only half-way into the race.
We made out U-turn about a half mile West of Western Ave. I could not believe how many people were behind us. When I saw the runners coming back down Memorial Drive I thought half the race was in front of us. The crowd of runners was unbelievable.
After the turn I saw Rowena, another MRC runner. We managed a finger slap as we passed.
We hit mile nine near one of the boat houses on The Charles.While in Cambridge I took my GU and grabbed another Salted Watermelon GU. It was horrible, but it was what I needed. I also started getting water. I grabbed another horrible melon GU before turning onto the Mass Ave. bridge.
I decided not to open it on the bridge. I didn’t want the little tear off to blow into the river or my left over packet to blow in either. As we ran across the bridge there were people still heading out. Some were walkers some were having a hard time.
As we descended the bridge I passed a few folks and negotiated the left onto Beacon successfully. Beacon was another flat slog. It must be a mile from the bridge down to Arlington Street. It was mostly shaded and I tried to kick it in after I took my last GU.
Even on these flat roads mile ten and eleven came in at 8:07 and 8:06 respectively. Mile twelve has lots of turns through downtown Boston and I was getting tired. I tried to maintain good form and push for every step. Mile 12 chimed at 8:24.
Between miles nine and twelve I passed a few people. There were people walking and others who were really slowing down. I knew my training was not sufficient for a PR, but I also knew how to push beyond what I knew I was capable of.
By the time we got to the bridge over the channel to South Boston I began passing more people. The bridge hit some people hard and I knew it would hit plenty of people behind me hard also.
I dug deep and kept my cadence up. Getting to the crest of the bridge was a relief. I was tossing it all on now. The crowd was building and I could hear the announcer. Mile 13 came in at 8:03. My push had worked.
When we got closer to the finish I tossed the last bit of energy onto the fire. I could feel my lungs gasping for air and knew I could not keep this going for long. They didn’t have any signs for the finish, so I wasn’t sure how long I needed to keep this going.
The last 0.10 miles of the race I ran at a 6:45 pace. That is pretty much my mile pace and not one I can sustain for long, especially at the end of a half-marathon.
The start timing mat was still down, but I could see the timing clock was further down the road. I kept on going until I got to the clock and the double finish mats.
I didn’t have one of those moments where both I and the clock seem to slow down. I just ran my ass off and think the clock said 1:47 as I crossed. When I stopped my watch it showed the distance at exactly 13.1 miles. How often does that happen?
After I chugged a 500ml of water I looked at my watch again and it looked like a 1:47 finish. Not a PR but better than my Great Bay finish of 1:50.
I went right into the Convention Center, got my medal and food. There was all kinds of food. I grabbed a few things and headed to the bag drop. Hardly anyone else was there, so I got my bag quickly and headed for the tables.
I wanted to get my feet above my body for at least 5 minutes. This is supposed to help with healing but I probably did not do it long enough. But I did lay on the floor with my feet on a chair for 5+ minutes. I kept waiting for someone to kick me in the head.
I finally got up and sat at the table. I saw boxes on all of the tables. There were two brands of chips and they were free for the taking. I had my drop bag so I loaded up.
I had a nice talk with a running couple at my table and had them take my photo since I can’t take a selfie to save my life. I still looked pretty horrible.
I decided to walk around and see if I could find anyone I knew. I didn’t find anyone, but the vendors were encouraging us to load up. They had tons of stuff and didn’t want to take it back with them. So I helped them out.
Fortunately it was easy to cross the street this year, and I didn’t have to walk to Rhode Island to do it. I wandered towards the finish line to cheer folks on. I stopped at one spot and did some stretching and cheering.
Then I moved down the road in front of the finish. After a few minutes I realized the MC was in front of me. It was his 11th year doing the race and he was really good calling out people’s names and encouraging them to finish strong.
I spoke with a Japanese guy who said this was his first Half. A saw a few others cross their first Half finish lone also.
By the time I left the Convention Center, my drop bag was full of groceries. When I made my two stops along the fence to cheer people on, I felt weird putting the bag down. No one said anything, there were cops everywhere and I definitely looked like a runner.
Still, the idea of setting a bag on the ground near the fence and taking my hands off of it made me feel suspicious. We’ve all seen this story before. I’m a threat to no one and no one would mistake me for a non-runner. I wore the gear and the stink.
At my last stop at the finish line I could see a cop out of the corner of my eye. I kept my bag right in front of me and it became obvious he had no concerns about me. Lots of other people had the same clear bag full of groceries. I was just another non-threat to anyone.
I managed to get onto 93 North with ease and was home in no time. While this race is expensive, it is also convenient and they feed us well.
Bostons Run to Remember
If you are looking to frame your Run to Remember medal please email me. My system is giving me issues adding the display frame to my site and I’m too tired to put up a fight right now.
If you are local I can drop it off or have you pick it up, so no shipping charge.
I hope everyone is enjoying their Veteran’s Day weekend.
While we had snow in Northern Maine yesterday, it is warm and sunny in the GBA.
It’s time for an IPA!
Run well my friends,