To start, so as not to leave anyone in suspense: I ran 44:20, a MASSIVE PR over my previous best 46:30. As I mentioned in another post, none of my previous 10Ks have been under what I'd like to call "ideal" racing conditions, but I really didn't expect to crush my PR by this much. I was 22nd/230 in the 19-29 AG [did I mention I really miss 5 year age groups? Had my age group been 20-24, I would have placed 5th. Looking at the results 25-26 seems to be a great age to run a really fast 10K, so I guess I have something to look forward to :)], 26th/473 women, and 125th/791 OA. I'm SUPER happy with my stats/placements, since the runners in Boston are quite a bit faster on average than the runners that show up to races in Wisco - whether it's just sheer numbers or just living in a city that really supports running, I don't know - and so I was pretty pleased with almost cracking the top 25 women. I knew I didn't have a prayer of any AG awards [see: I hate 10 year age groups haha] but I honestly came closer than I would have thought, so that was a nice confidence boost.
Anyway - on to the race report! The night before the race I had to work from 5-10 pm which pretty much sucked in terms of pre-race prep/fueling, but I tried to keep hydrated and I wore my recovery socks to work which was a pretty amazing idea. When I finally got home [only after being serenaded by an acapella group from BC on the train - the green line section of my commute home at 10:30 PM on weekends is usually like my own personal circle of hell what with the drunk people, girls wearing utterly hideous fashion choices, and once almost sitting in puke, but this was actually moderately amusing and did make me smile] the BF had made me dinner...a corned beef sandwich that was utterly delicious, but something told me not the most excellent pre-race meal...haha.
So I slept like utter CRAP the night before the race. Maybe because it's been a long time since I've experienced pre-race nerves, I don't know. Either way, I was waking up like, every couple of hours with my mind totally racing - awful. The only upside was that I ended up waking up like 5 minutes before my alarm went off, so that was good. I got all of my crap together and headed out to the train station - HOLY MOTHER OF GOD was it cold. I am from Wisconsin - I really don't bitch and moan about cold but the wind was just cutting like a knife. It was one of those winter days that's utterly gorgeous and sunny but then you step outside and just want to punch Mother Nature in the face. There were a few other people on the train who were decked out in spandex and clearly headed to the race so that was kind of fun...that effect was multiplied when I got off at Park and switched to the red line where it seemed like EVERYONE was headed to the race. I was planning on just starting my warmup to the start area, since I already had my bib and everything, but then there was a PARTY BUS shuttling runners from South Station to the start and I just couldn't resist. It was pretty hilarious to see this bus with flashing lights and a dance floor and "You Give Love A Bad Name" blasting over the speakers filled up with runners who were all gearing up for a race. So yeah, you know it's going to be a good race when you take a party bus to the start.
I warmed up, it was cold, and I was reluctant to take my warmup jacket off. But finally it was like 5 minutes to the start and there was a long line for bag check...so I bit the bullet and handed over my outer layer. I was rocking the layered look for my race outfit - heavy underarmor turtleneck, lightweight spandex top, armwarmers, and my new FAVORITE bright orange short sleeved spandex top on top, heavy underarmor tights, smartwool socks, running hat, and the ugliest running gloves of all time. I was super sleek from head to toe...until you got to my gloves, which are these white, oversized monstrosities lol. But it was all good, that way I didn't feel bad about snotting into them during the race...:)
I wasn't really sure where to hang out at the start since the 5K and 10K people were all running together and I didn't want to get squashed by a bunch of people blazing out 5 minute miles in the 5K...so I situated myself a bit further back than I normally would. We stood around for awhile and then...bam! Shuffle shuffle shuffle...then finally we hit the line and it was go time!
I spent most of the first mile bobbing and weaving all over the place, getting stuck behind slow people who seemed to want to form a blockade across the road, and just generally wanting to get out into a place where I could just run my own race. I felt really relaxed and not like I was running that fast at all...soooo I was pretty surprised when I came through the 1 mile and saw 7:10 on my watch! I can tell you the exact thought that went through my mind: "That was the easiest 7:10 mile I've ever run!" I passed a bunch of people in the next couple miles - splits were 7:11 and 7:05. I just couldn't believe that I was maintaining this face and was pretty much shocked that it really didn't feel that bad! I was expecting that if I was going to hit my A goal of 44:30 that I was pretty much going to have to kill myself to do it...but this was turning out to be much more fun than I had expected!
My 5K split was 22:15 [less than 30 seconds off the fastest 5K I've run in a road race...hmmm...I'm thinking that PR needs to be taken down sometime in the future?] and I turned back out for the second loop of the course. Normally I'm not a huge fan of double loop courses, but for some reason in this case it soothed me - like, I knew I had just run the same distance, and it hadn't felt too bad, so why not just do it again? Starting at about mile 3, I had been playing a leapfrog game with this girl in a yellow jersey [Somerville Road Runners I think?] and throughout the 4th mile we went back and forth twice. My 4th mile was actually my fastest, 7:03, but I was definitely starting to feel the fatigue. We went down into a turnaround, and yellow girl passed me. We came back up from the turnaround, and I passed her back. Then we turned back towards the 5 mile marker and got hit with an absolutely ridiculous blast of wind. What the eff? That wasn't here the first time around? I may or may not have spewed a few expletives out into the wind, not that any of them could be heard by anyone nearby over the roar. It was almost like everyone came to a standstill - you could physically see the slowdown in all of the runners. Yellow girl dropped back a bit as I continued to push on, but I paid for the exertion afterward because once the wind tunnel died down a little bit, she passed me again and started to gain some ground. Mile 5 was 7:16...thanks a bunch, wind tunnel of death.
Well now we were down to the last mile, girl in yellow was pulling away, my legs were starting to scream out for mercy, but I knew I had a big PR in the bag if I could just hang the eff on to this pace for one more mile. So hang on I did. Gone were the feelings of control and relaxation that had made the first 4 miles of the race so great - now it was just run til your legs explode or you puke up your Gu and then you'll be done. UGH, I wanted to catch the stupid yellow girl so badly. That was like my entire thought process the last mile: pass the tall guy in the blue shirt, and then you can go get yellow girl. Well, I didn't quite make it to yellow girl, but I did pick off tall blue shirt man right before the 6 mile mark [7:08 split, for those who care]. The last .2 was a circle of cones in the giant parking lot where the finish line was - finish like this are MEAN and make me want to cry! Where you are forced to essentially run past the finish line and then run around in a big circle to get back to it? So not cool. So I'd like to think I summoned a decent finishing kick. My last .2 miles was 1:24 which is exactly 7 minute pace. So uh...not really a very good kick after all haha. Well I tried hard, that's all that matters right? I crossed the finish line just short of vomming everywhere [see, I DID try hard!] and was SUPER thrilled to see 44:20 on my watch! Woot woot mega-PR!!
After the race I had one goal and one goal only in mind: BEER + CLAM CHOWDER! The post-race tent was INSANE but I eventually made it out alive with a Harpoon IPA and clam chowder...yumm. I was still pretty warm from the race and thirsty so the beer was just like the nectar of the gods. I wandered around a bit, then decided to try to brave the tent again for my second beer - by now pretty much everyone from the 10K was finished, and the line was INTENSE. I eventually obtained my UFO Hefeweizen and it was good, but I ended up drinking it pretty fast because I was getting cold, and it was REALLY cold, which was just making me more cold. Once I started shivering I figured it was time to leave...so I hopped back on the party bus. I started chatting with a guy who had also run a PR for the 10K...all of a sudden I heard a familiar opening come over the speaker system. Wait...is that...
"Yeah! Yeah! Turn it up!"
Everyone on the bus got really excited, and soon the driver had absolutely cranked "Don't Stop Believin'"
Really, does it get any better than that? Singing along to your favorite song with a bus full of like-minded people, after having run a fantastic PR? I felt ready to burst with happiness.
So yeah, it was a good day. Also, if I'm actually listening to McMillan...I'm apparently supposed to be shooting for a 3:28 marathon. Hmm...time to get crackin' :)