The company I work for, InterSystems, fielded a team of 14 runners. We were hoping to have a larger team this year, but the race sold out in less than 24 hours. Boston is very interested in running!
They seeded runners by bib color. I ran for someone who could not participate and did not do my own registration. I don’t know how the registration process went, but they must have asked for anticipated pace or your last 5K finish time. I had a red bib which meant I got to line up with the first group. Without being to pushy, I got to within about twelve people from the front of the pack. That means there were about 11,000 runners behind me!
They had to keep us off of Charles Street before they closed it to traffic. It could have been a bad scene with runners jostling with traffic to get into a good spot to start the race. runners can get very focused. We were packed like sardines. You couldn’t scratch your leg without scratching someone else’s.
They played the National Anthem, had some foolish warm up routine before the start and a few brief speeches. We didn’t need the warm up, we are runners and most of us all ready did that thank you. It was now time to conserve energy and get the game face on. I felt bad for the people speaking because all we runners could think about was, when the hell is the gun going off and how can I best negotiate the first turn.
They finally blasted the air horn and we were off, down Charles Street. I positioned my self in the middle lane on Charles Street so as to have some room to make the turn onto Beacon. I was with the fast kids and we were off like a rocket. Because we were in front it wasn’t as crowded as last year when I started in the back. We were turning off of Beacon onto Arlington in no time. Some of us ran on the side-walk to get out of the crowd for a bit.
As soon as I got onto Arlington I started crossing the street to get ready for the turn onto Comm. Ave. At this point all of my early energy was gone and I began to settle into my pace. My first mile came in at 6:25 which was faster than the mile I ran in the Somerville Marathon Relay last weekend. The road was crowded but there was room to move.
I managed to pass a few people but a lot of people passed me also. It was great to see the Mile 1 Marker and see my watch chime in at 6:25. I was shocked and amazed that these legs could go so fast after running three races this past weekend. I must be onto something here.
As we approached the turn at Kenmore Square a few people passed me on the left by running on the curb. It’s not even a side-walk. I thought that was a little risky. I positioned my self to have some room to cut close without the need to slow down to make the turn. I ended up making a hair-pin turn anyway. I did slow but the turn was about 180 degrees. I think time-wise I broke even.
My shirt was damp and my hair was dripping. The warm, heavy evening air were taking their toll on me. I started searching for the Mile 2 Marker. I thought about my breathing. I was in an all out sprint, this was not a marathon. I had to push hard the entire way. Around Mile two my watch chimed, 6:55. I was slowing down but still way ahead of what I thought I was going to do.
I had skipped all of the water stops to this point; it’s a 3.5 mile run. Before the race I hydrated and thought I could skip them all. My mouth was dry early in the race and my energy levels were dropping. I decided to grab a cup at the water stop after the Charles Gates and managed a few gulps that messed with my breathing.
I pushed as hard as I could. I knew I didn’t have any kick for a last-minute sprint to the finish. I just needed to hold on. I passed a few, a few passed me. Young and old. My watch chimed 3 miles with a lap pace of 7:11. Not bad, but where the hell was the Mile 3 banner?
We took a right onto Arlington Street and I moved across the road to get into position for the turn onto Boylston Street. As the corner approached, so did the Mile 3 banner. I hoped that my watch was not off by that much. There was no way there was another half mile from the corner to the finish waaaay down Charles Street.
I cut the corner close and watched the crowd to make sure some fool wasn’t about to try and cross the street. I saw several people do this during the race. Idiots. I’d take them down in a heart beat if they stepped in front of me.
As I turned onto Charles Street the crowd grew exponentially. I could hear the announcer. I searched the tank for some kick, I found some fumes and pushed as hard as I could. Within 50 feet of the finish some people seemed to let up, I tossed it all in and passed a handful of people.
As I crossed the finish the clock said 24:24. I knew I ran under 7 minute miles. I was shocked and happy with my run. After my running schedule for the past week, this time should have been beyond my legs. But I did it. I ran a 6:52 average pace according to my watch.
Post Race Festivities
Our team met up at our usual gathering spot, which will go un-named so as to go un-claimed by anyone else! Most people were happy with their run. Our Captain, Tim Catoggio, said his first mile was 4:50 but the runners were much faster this year. He was 4th last year. When I saw him on the way back on Comm Ave he was behind 10-15 other runners. It was a tough crowd.
We gathered the team and headed for “Rock Bottom” on Stuart Street where we had a mountain of food. InterSystems was very generous and paid for out post-race food. We probably ate better than any other team in the restaurant. Much thanks and appreciation to InterSystems.
I ordered a few pictures for the crew, but no one seemed that interested in drinking. Definitely an interesting group of runners! Our reservation was until 10PM but most of us left by 9:30 or so. We did have to get to work in the morning after all!
This is the second year that InterSystems has participated in the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge. Many employees enjoy running and competing and this event is a great way for many of us to do so as a group. It also fun to socialize at a race with colleagues and get to know people you don’t work with every day.
We are looking forward to next year.
Run well my friends!