Two races two states
On June 22nd, 2014 I ran a double header
The BAA 10K starts on Charles Street which separates the Boston Common and the Public Garden. This is a great place for a race as there are acres of space for runners to hang out, get ready for their race, and to recover afterwards.
I parked in Cambridge and walked across the Longfellow bridge. The bridge is undergoing a multi-year reconstruction, so I had to loop under the bridge and cross on the east side of the bridge. The west, or in-bound side, is all torn apart right now.
As I entered the tunnel under the bridge, I saw this little display:
I had never seen this urban art before, so I was a little surprised when I realized what I was looking at. It’s been a while since I have been out for a run that took me under the bridge and I have it on good authority that this display has been in place for a few months. Isn’t this really cool? All of these old trophies and knickknacks sitting in public for months and no one has disturbed them.
I had to leave quickly after the race so I did not bring a drop bag. I did bring a water bottle, and everything I needed was in my running belt. My bib had been mailed to me weeks ahead of time, so I had zero pre-race stress.
The corals were empty for quite a while and I had a low number. Bibs 101 to 900 could line up in the 8:00 pace area. The volunteers said I could move further up if I was going to run a faster pace, so I did! While waiting for the race to begin four of my Melrose Running Club friends showed up. I knew people from the club would be running since this is a popular local race, but I did not know who. It’s not unusual to go to a large race like this and find out later many friends were there also.
My friend Michele moved back to a slower coral and my friend Paul and I moved up as far as we could. We were not in front but we were in a good position. His sons were a little behind us in the crowd. They played the National Anthem and sounded the start.
It was a quick start and we were turning onto Beacon Street in no time. Being in front meant there was more room to move, but the turn onto Beacon slowed us down a lot. I moved away from the curb on Beacon and looked for space between runners that I could use to negotiate the turn onto Arlington Street. That turn went a little better. As I got onto Arlington Street, I immediately started to get into position to make the turn onto Commonwealth Avenue.
I was pretty much in the middle of Arlington Street when the corner for Comm Ave came into view. I found space in the crowd and was able to maintain my speed. I was able to keep up with Paul and we traded spots a few times running down Comm Ave. After the 2K sign Paul started to pull away and I knew better than to try and run his race. Up until about the 5K sign I still had him in view.
The shade of Comm Ave and Baystate Road was nice. I appreciated it even more when we came back out onto Comm Ave into the full sun. As we left Kenmore Square and headed for The Agannis Arena the road began to rise. It’s not steep but it goes on for about a mile all the way out to the turn near The Arena.
Hills work for me and I settled into my pace. It was roasting hot and I began to pass a few people, not a lot. I had started the race in the front and that is where the strong runners start. None of these people were going to fade away. I still had water in my bottle and took a few swigs. When we came to a water stop I would move to the center of the road to avoid the congestion.
The turn around at BU was a little tight, but not too bad. On the way out we saw the top runners on their way back in. They were sweating but their form was so smooth and they were going so fast. It’s always great to see these elite runners.
As we approached the turn the crowd on the other side heading back grew. After we made our turn we could see the masses behind us still working their way out to the turn around.
Except for the bridge over the Mass Pike, it was all down hill to Kenmore Square. After the bridge, I finished my water and dropped the bottle near the next distance marker. I was tired and it was hot, but I was on the back side of a 10K. It was time to dig deep and hold on to the position I had achieved.
As was entered the shade of Comm Ave after the Charles Gate East and West intersection I felt a little better. I grabbed a water at the next water stop and had a gulp or two. I managed to keep my pace and started looking for the right hand turn onto Arlington Street. I still had some legs but I knew I had to save something for my next race.
I managed to keep my pace steady, made a good turn onto Charles Street and headed for the finish line. I picked it up a bit to get across the line with the best time possible. I passed a few people and then crossed the timing mats. They had lots of volunteers and I received my finisher’s medal.
As I made my way through the finishers shoot I saw my friend Mike Quigley. He gave me a big friendly smile and a high-five hand shake. I would have hung around but it was the shoot, there were lots of people behind me and I needed to get to New Hampshire.
As I took a right-hand turn onto the Common a volunteer handed a water bottle to me. I headed to the shirt tent to get my race shirt and then headed to the B.Good tent to grab a hamburger. Their burgers are “sliders” which means they are not large. At 9AM, or so, a burger wasn’t top of my menu, but they were there and I needed something fast so I could get on my way to New Hampshire.
I didn’t put anything on the burger because I didn’t want to spill stuff all over my clothes as I drove. As I walked back across the Common I ate the burger and watched people coming in from the race. Before I exited the Common the burger was gone.
I jogged down Charles Street with my medal bouncing around my neck and my race bib still pinned to my shirt. I got a few smiles and some people in their cars waved to me with a smile. I must have looked odd running down the street with a medal bouncing all over the place. I had places to go, I had to jog.
When I got to the intersection at the end of the Longfellow bridge near MGH the State Trooper on detail asked me how I did. She was all smiles and joking with me. I told her I had to drive to New Hampshire and hoped I wouldn’t meet any of her colleges along the way. She laughed and waved as I moved along.
Off to New Hampshire
When I got to my car I put two freezer packs inside of a towel and placed them on my seat. I knew the ice would help my muscles while I drove to New Hampshire. I took the bridge by the Museum of Science to get to the ramp to Rt. 93 North. It was fun driving the ramps without any other traffic.
After I got on 93 North I drank more of my Hammer Heed beverage and Tumeric Elixir beverage. I needed to re-fuel and manage inflammation from my 47 minute 10K. I made pretty good time and got to Hampton around 9:45.
As I was exiting 95, I could see runners on the bridge over the highway. I quickly found a parking spot and jogged to the race area. It took me about 10 minutes to find the person to ask for my bib. Everyone else was picking up their race shirt or “Will run for beer” series jackets. I was the only idiot looking for a bib.
They didn’t have pins in the little box with the few remaining bibs. I didn’t have time to look. As I headed towards the starting line I grabbed a bottle of water and wrapped my bib around it for easy handling. I was jogging against traffic but the crowd was fairly light by now. I ran down the driveway and took a right.
The road unknown
I asked several volunteers where the turn was but it was clear none of them knew. Finally at Batchelder Road someone directed me and there were some traffic cones. As I headed down Batchelder road a few people were running back. I asked a few people where the turn around was. The best answer I got was, “down there”.
I ended up taking a left into a small development and realized it was a dead-end road. I went back out to Batchelder and saw a single sign informing drivers of a large road race. As I proceeded down the road I saw a truck with a guy sitting in a trailer behind it. He was picking up the cones for the race! The freakin bread crumbs were disappearing right before my eyes!
As the truck passed I asked the guy where the turn around was. He was so startled that he didn’t really give me an answer. When I got down to Timber Swamp Road, I decided I better turn around here or I may get lost. I didn’t have the legs to run a half marathon to find my way back.
On the way back up the road I passed two ladies walking who said they were the last ones in the race. They were a little chagrined that the race was being picked up right in front of them. But they seemed happy. I passed a few more people and made the left hand turn back onto Towle Farm Road. My watch beeped two miles and I knew I would not hit three miles before the end of the race.
As I ran up the driveway many people were all ready on their way home. As I approached the finish line it was apparent that the announcer was no longer looking for finishers. I was pretty much the only person headed towards the finish line. I held up my bib with both hands, hoping someone would see it, but most people looked at me like I was kinda nuts. Was I re-running the finish to show off?
No applause,”Good run” or Nice job” etc. I was obviously one of the last runners and no one gave an ounce of support. I didn’t really need it, but there were a few people still out on the course who really would have appreciated some support and recognition of their efforts.There wasn’t a finisher’s medal for them either.
I grabbed a water and headed for the t-shirt tent, then the jacket tent. The crowds at these tents had melted away by now. Everyone was in line for food and beer. I decided to stand in the beer line. It took about half-an-hour to get to the entrance to the beer garden. I recognized the lady checking ID’s. I didn’t have my license with me, but at my age you carry your drinking ID on your face. She smiled and said “You’re all set”. I joked about having my ID on my face!
I grabbed two beers and walked around looking for a familiar face. Seeing none, I headed for the shade of the tent and sat on the grass. The IPAs were cold and delicious. I sent a few tweets, drank my beers and got two more. By now the line was gone but the tap crew was still working like it was a busy Saturday night. The tables were now loaded with cups of beer. What a quandary: all this beer and I had to drive home. I finished my last two beers and headed for the food line.
The line was much smaller now and there were tons of cheese burgers on the table. They were good and I could have gone back for seconds, but I knew it was time to move along. I headed for my car and had an easy ride home.
What a day. My BAA 10K time was 47:04, which was just 32 seconds off of my 10K PR. My Smuttynose 5K time was 45:02. I don’t know how they came up with this time, but it doesn’t matter. I didn’t run the entire official course, but when you throw in the run from my car to the start it is probably more than 5K. The plan was to run both races, and that is what I did. It wasn’t pretty and I’m not sure I’d try it again, but it was a fun adventure!
Here is “A Long Way to Boston” BAA 10K post.
Have you ever run two races in one day? How far did you have to travel?
Run well my friends!