Tuesday, June 28, 2011

BAA 10K Recap

This past Sunday, I ran in the inaugural B.A.A 10K, a 6.2 mile out and back race around the Boston Commons and BU area.  This race was really well run for it's first running, but I suppose the B.A.A. should have race-day logistics down to a tee, regardless of the distance...they are the driving the force behind the famous Boston Marathon after all!

Running the race was a last minute decision for me, as I signed up last Thursday, so I had to wait to pick up my bib number until race day (everyone else received theirs in the mail, and some even had their names printed on them!). This extra piece of the pie meant I also wanted to get there (and get up) an extra 20 minutes early, just in case there was a stampede for the registration booth.  So the alarm was set for 6 AM, but with my race-day jitters, I was up bright and early at 5:30! Good thing I had laid out my race outfit the night before just in case I was late waking up!
Still trying to dry out the running shoes!
With the extra time, I had time to actually sit down and enjoy my pre-race breakfast, instead of my norm of shoving it down my face before getting to the start area...I enjoyed two pieces of whole wheat bread, toasted with crunchy all natural pb, a touch of honey and cinnamon sprinkle on top, a glass of iced coffee with a little skim milk and a big ole glass of water!
I usually end up tasting the pb halfway through the race (TMI, I know) but I think it gives me some good energy and staves off hunger for most of the race...so I ate it....and enjoyed it....and I didn't taste a bit on the run - score :)

I put on my outfit (except I changed out the top for a black compression run top, and opted for the hat over the sunglasses and active band - it wasn't sunny, at all) and decided to jog to the T as a quickie warm up and way to avoid stress of trying to find parking downtown....as soon as I left the house, I realized how warm and humid it was for the weather.com prediction of 65 degrees...thank god my long-sleeve was a throwaway!

I got to the Commons about an hour before the start, followed the signs to the reg table and picked up my bib and race shirt...which meant I would also have to pit stop at the bag check (which was not in the plan, but the shirt was too nice to chuck) On the way to bag check, I jogged passed Mutai and Kilel, no biggie.  Bag check was pretty painless and then it was off to find the innocent running companions I begged asked nicely to run with me.  I met up with Kristina (who was pacing a 7:15! read her race recap here - really...she writes like 10 times better then this thing) and Liz, who runs with the LUNA run every Wednesday (who I got separated from before the race started :( ).

With the start still 30 minutes out, Kristina and I decided to do some more warm up around the park and then get to our corral (I was going to be trying for 7:25s, so we were in the same corral) before we were stuck in the back of the pack, we passed Bill Rodgers, no biggie.  In fashion of the day, we were early to the corral and got right in the first row of the 8 minute section....until we quickly realized front row of second wave means stampede of runners knocking us down from behind and a quicker starting pace than planned for to avoid that fate, so we jumped the rope and stood at the back of the 7 minute corral, first wave, behind the likes of the winners of the Boston Marathon (Mutai and Kilel), Bill Rodgers, Joan Benoit Samuelson and Kim Smith to name a few, no biggie...ok maybe slight biggie at this point :)
That is the corral we jumped into post pic
Although we were trying to avoid going out too quick, adrenaline and open space in front of us led to a pretty quick first mile or 2 (7:04 and 7:02) - I responded with a cool "shit" as this was not on my race plan, but that pace felt really good, like natural and comfortable good...and then at mile 3, that sped up to sub-7 pace,  but the humidity was getting to me and I was starting to hurt energy wise.  Just before the 5k mark, you could see the leaders doubling back, which is a pretty cool experience - Kristina turned to me about this time and said "doesn't that just give you chills watching them?", to which I promptly responded, "it's either watching them or the overheating my body just went into" at this point, I slowed down and lost Kristina.

There was a water station at every mile, which I took full advantage each time I saw one, but I still hit a wall at full force by mile 4, I walked through the water station at mile 4! Mile 4 people!! I run more than 3 or 4 miles on a typical day, how could I not run them on race day?!  I had to turn on the mental game at this point, still stopping for water and slowing the pace even more to about a 7:30 and telling myself it is only 2.2 miles, this is something you know, this is something you can do, this is something you will do...

Mile 5 I peed myself a little, not going to lie...mile 6 I thought I had only 3 blocks left and then realized I still had to go part way around Boston Commons to finish, which also meant I sped up to a quicker pace, woops....mile 6.1 I pushed harder than I thought I had left in me but the cheers and finish line were daunting me, and mile 6.2 I officially PR'd! Yes, you read correct, despite my overheating and difficult last 2 miles, I finished with an almost 2-minute improved PR! Final chip time read in at 44:49, a 7:13 average split and 15th in my division (out of 204!)....I am still stunned two days later!  Kristina is amazing and slightly super-human and she finished with a 43:44 and a 7:03 average split, 9th in her division (we won't talk about the 27:19 minute finish of Mutai, because that is just a fairy tale and not real life).

Yay I made it!!! I was so exhausted, hot and had a disgusting amount of salt and sunscreen stuck to my face, but I still managed a thumbs up and smile...Kristina was gone by this point and I did offer a limb ask a nice gentleman to take my picture 5 a couple times in front of the banner with my medal and all (it even says inaugural race, which makes it pretty cool in my eyes).  There was also a decent band playing some good music (Brothers McCann) and lots of post-race snacks (fruit leather, score!) and Gatorade, which, despite my vow to never drink again for 10 years, I chugged like it was a beer drinking contest).

Post race, I rushed off to meet roomie Jenna for Jennifer Phelan's Pilates on the greenway in the North End, to further stress my body out in the heat...I am smart like that.  I then treated myself to some fro-yo, a delicious allagash beer, and this awesome outfit I got 15% at Lululemon (and tried out in the heat yesterday - excuse the sweaty, shiny face/hair).
i remembered to take the picture right before i stripped down for a shower...excuse the toilet in the background
Verdict on the inaugural B.A.A. 10K experience...I really liked it, I would do it again and I am really proud/happy I did it (plus it was a bit surreal to see all of those superstar runners)....yes I felt awful at some points during the race, but I also proved that I CAN push myself through the suffering that might pop up and finish STRONG and feel AMAZING after crossing the finish line...I almost forgot! They even called my name over the loudspeaker when I crossed the finish!! Woo-hoo, that makes me famous right?

I also had an extra cool ending to a great day of PRing, time with Jenna, sun and new clothes....Tripp was finally home from racing Nacra Worlds and the Dutch Open out in the Netherlands doing this craziness (he had some good races too!! 8th in Nacra Worlds and 7th in the Dutch Open - out of 88 boats!):

Yes that is my man...he rocks, I know :)

How do you deal with hotter than expected race conditions?

All I knew to do was take as much water as I could get down at every chance they had water...still felt overheated and drained though...

What is your strategy for water stations?

I usually fold the cup at top and try to dump as much as I can in my mouth and then dump the rest over my head...I don't know if I feel bad ass when I do that, or truly believe it cools me down...

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