To sum it up: A Stunning Success.
On Sunday, eight of us headed into downtown Boston to compete in the fourth annual B.A.A. 5k race, which had us wind our way around Boston Commons and into the Back Bay neighborhood before doubling back to finish strong at the Boston Marathon finish line. Though it wasn’t the marathon, it felt nothing less than epic to sprint to the finish line with a grand stand full of people cheering.
For me, the weekend started with an almost eight-hour trip east, broken up by a nice visit with my parents and some old family friends. It was a low-key way to start building up for the action-packed weekend that was about to unfold. Saturday morning we drove into Boston, met up with the rest of the family, and eventually found our way down to the race registration and convention. I was simply blown away by the number of people and the number of vendors selling everything from sparkling, no-slip headbands to gel energy snacks. It made me realize that this wasn’t just a 5k fun run at a small local college in Buffalo. This was for real.
Sunday morning we had to get up pretty early and had to be out the door before 7:00 a.m. to get down to the start line on time. We met up with Mike, Mark, Emily, and Adrienne with hardly any time to spare, and we ended up being hustled across to the start line just in the nick of time. We lined up at the 4- to 5-min pace time slot . . . which was pretty amusing considering none of us could run at that pace, but hey, none of the people around us looked like they could either! After an interesting rendition of the National Anthem, we were off. I think we were all a little surprised at how quickly we crossed the start line, and off we went. Dave went off with Mark for the first bit, and Mike, myself, and Susan ran together, pushing are way through.
It was an interesting first mile. Coming from Buffalo with almost zero hills, I was honestly not prepared for the mile-long uphill battle we were to begin right off the bat. Susan kept a very steady nine-minute-mile pace, and I had all I could do to keep up with her. It was extremely helpful to have someone running at a steady pace to keep up with. The second mile was completely downhill, which was also not my favorite, but we made it through. At this point I was really, really hot and luckily my parents were standing nearby so I sprinted ahead and tossed them the hat I was wearing. Thus, my dad got a nice picture of my back . . . !
Dave, Adrienne, Emily, and Brooks were all trucking along, too, having great races as well!
Once I tossed my hat to my parents, I separated from Mike and Susan. We were at the two-mile mark, and I knew I didn’t want to leave anything in my tank or I would have felt like I could have done better. I set off at the fastest pace I could go, and I quickly began passing other runners. Making that last turn into the final stretch, seeing the grand stand and the marathon finish line, I poured everything I had left, sprinting as fast as I could. My last mile was fast. I ended up with a 26:40 time, with 8:35 average pace. Quite a bit faster than my 5k in December.
Everyone was pretty pumped up at the finish line, and many pictures were taken; thus, a photo break:
Overall, it was a fantastic experience and everyone had a great time. I am looking forward to writing posts on a couple more things from the weekend and about watching the marathon. I am also looking forward to a couple of posts by Dave and Adrienne talking about their experiences. Awesome job, everyone!
As the run draws near and I prepare for my seven-hour trek across New York and Massachusetts for the B.A.A 5k, I thought I would just share my thoughts and quickly touch on a couple of often-repeated suggestions for the newbie race runner.
I am looking forward to this race quite a bit, not so much for the normal reasons of improving my time or showing off my fresh, new kicks, but because of who is going to be there. Running has taken on a lot more meaning for me since starting this blog. Seeing people get more and more excited about getting in shape is pretty awesome. So many people talk to me now about how their training is going, how they are feeling better, getting faster, and running longer. It is a really rewarding experience to be a part of it. I am super excited that so many of my friends and family will be there for this race, all of us sharing the experience together. It is kind of cool that the main event, the single and only reason we are gathering, isn’t centered around eating or some kind of celebration that involves big dinners. Instead, it is about fitness and exercise.
Now, for some Quick Tips that have often been repeated:
- Don’t eat food that you wouldn’t typically eat before going for a normal workout. The first 5K in which I took part back in December 2011 offered
the runners a ready-made chai latte “power drink” before the race, which I heard from numerous people afterward that they really shouldn’t have drank it before they ran. Keep to your normal habits and/or actually be a little bit more strict.
- Take a couple rest days before the race—you’ll feel a lot better.
- Do the race for yourself. Don’t get caught up in how fast or slow other people are going. Don’t fall into the trap of worrying about pacing yourself early. Just run like you usually run and focus on yourself.
- Have fun with it! After all, what is the point in doing it if you aren’t having fun?
- Leave plenty of time to get to the race, you don’t want to miss it because of a lack of parking or some other random thing!
- If you don’t run your best race to date, it is no big deal! Just like professional athletes, some days just aren’t your day.