It has been close to a year and a half since I have actually raced a 5K and set a PR. Since I couldn't do THE Boston Marathon there was no way I was missing out on the chance to do the BAA 5K race the morning before. I tried to create a colonial-ish outfit inspired by the city's history. I really needed my hat and musket to complete the look but struck out on finding the perfect hat until two days after the race. Oh well. I was still red, white and blue and one of the very few skirts on the course!
After no sleep I was up way too early to catch the shuttle to the transit station and ride the subway into the heart of Boston. Upon arrival I could feel the excitement in the air. I did mild stretching of my calves, hit the potty, tried to find Desiree Davila and found a spot in the starting corral. Sure, I was going to run between 6 & 7 minute mile pace, right? Ha! It didn't appear people really followed the signs, so I just squeezed in where I could. Our national anthem was sung and we were off for a very fast 3.1 miles around Boston Common, Beacon Hill and Back Bay. I couldn't believe I was racing with legit elites and an Olympian for this year's marathon! I think that knowledge helped me go -- I even went without my iPod!
The pack of runners (nearly 6000) never thinned out. Instead of weaving, I just kept steady by pacing off of people that looked faster than I am. Then, to keep it interesting, I'd pass 'em! One by one I was picking people off, getting me steps closer to the finish line. The course was Great! I mean what a place to run! The downside was that the streets of Boston don't seem to be smooth at all. As much as I wanted to look at the sights I still had to watch my step and be alert to the densely packed crowd of runners.
Going into the race I had one plan ... enjoy running in Boston. I'd been walking around the city so much and didn't want to set myself up for disappointment so I had no time goals. Finish and have fun! I maintained a speedy pace never once walking. And the "hill" I heard about? Piece of cake! Coming down Beacon Hill I let loose and let 'er go! I was even low 8's for a while. The first 2 miles flew by and the momentum of those carried me through mile 3. I was VERY hot but told myself only 10 more minutes and I could relax and dry off all of the sweat.
I rounded the last corner onto Boylston and saw the Boston Marathon finish line. OMG! I couldn't slow down. That excited feeling came over me and it almost happened ... my upchuck reflexes almost kicked in. I forced myself to get above 9 minute mile pace and slow my breathing. As I got closer I found my clear path and went with my finishing kick. It was awesome!! -- THEN I was dry heaving and grabbing onto the wall. Old habits die hard! I saw some elites being interviewed on my way to the medal/refreshment tent. They are so tiny! I felt enormous.
I got my medal and food bag, a photo and went outside to bask in my post-race glory outside of Trinity Church and the Boston Public Library. How did I do? That night I checked the official results ...
Not only did I get a new PR, I finally got my sub-30.... by ONE second!