I honestly didn't even KNOW that Boston had a half marathon until a few days before registration opened for the 10th annual Boston half marathon... on 10-10-10. This was one of the last races we scheduled. Simply because we already had a pretty full schedule. The race sold out in just a few hours, and "luckily" L and I were in the select few that were going to be able to run (after scanning the results, I bet 90% of the runners were from Massachusetts).
Anyway, after having had a successful race in Hartford, we got back in the car to head back to Boston. We wanted to DO something to kill time, and wanting desperately to stay out of the city, I saw Salem on the map and thought there might be some "historical" stuff there to go look at. The drive there? Terrible. Sooo much traffic. Sooo many lights. It took close to 4 hours to get from Hartford to Salem. Not cool!! Only to get there and not find anywhere to park. I see signs for the Visitor Center, and then we are greeting with the HUGE parking garage... charging $20!!!!!!! But there was nowhere else to park and by now I had been driving for HOURS and really just needed to get out of the car. So we paid it (grrr) and headed out.
Salem, Massachusetts is most known for the witch trials of 1692. Without thinking, we had decided to visit in October... a SUPER CRAZY month to visit essentially the "capitol of Halloween." Oy. We opted to NOT wait in any of the long (and expensive) museum lines, but wandered up and down the streets taking pictures instead (yay, free!)
|John Ward house|
|Salem Witch Museum (under construction)|
|Gazebo on Salem Common|
|Statue of Roger Conant, founder of Salem|
|It was like a witch themed outdoor market. I admit, I did buy A a crochet pumpkin (only $2! That girl LOVES Halloween)|
|Outside the cemetery|
|Mac and Cheese bread bowl from Domino's. Yum.|
Sunday, October 10 (10-10-10)
Half Marathon state 12/50
Weather - chilly, highs in the low 60s, clear skies
The race was to take place in the "Emerald Necklace" (which means NOTHING unless you are actually looking at a map, then it makes sense). There was to be no parking at the race, and limited parking in the neighborhood. After having driven through the city, I had NO desire to try and find somewhere to park. I opted for parking at UMass Boston and taking the shuttle. It was free to park, and shuttles were ready to go. Worked great.
|Sunrise from the shuttle bus - near UMass Boston campus|
|At least everything was clearly marked|
|Me and L at the start|
I was NERVOUS. I was COLD. Luckily, not any time to dwell on that. Gun went off just a few minutes later. We were at the back of the pack. I wasn't too worried about that since the course had a very short time limit of 2:30:00. I had a similar attack plan to yesterday. Take it easy. As long as I kept running, I knew I'd be fine.
Immediately I thought "I'm screwed." Within the first few steps I could feel yesterday's race. I was cold, my muscles were tight and sore and I thought "I'm NEVER gonna make it." I forced myself to keep moving. The first mile of the race ALWAYS goes by the fastest for me. Concentrating on finding pace and good place to run usually takes at least that long. Within a few minutes, I saw someone's iPod fly right by me and hit the ground. Ouch. Glad that wasn't me. I had not had that much time to prepare for the course since I only saw the profile a few days in advance. For some reason, I thought most of the course was "fine" with only the last 2 miles being really tough. I was wrong.
There were digital clocks and mile markers at every mile. Which was nice. And I knew there was to be an aid station at roughly every even mile marker. Also nice. Unfortunately, the first two were only water. I'm not used to that! I really wanted gatorade! Somwhere around mile 3-4 was the first section of the first "out and back" - I couldn't believe how many people were already on their way back (not that I really knew how far away the turnaround was anyway). I saw L and realized she was probably only 5 minutes ahead of me. I was pretty psyched! The worst part about this course was that the out and backs were downhill on the way out, and of course uphill the way back.
I just concentrated on keeping moving. I really have to say that all the hill training I have put in has helped a ton. Sooo many people at my pace were barely moving or even walking up some of the hills. I actually was PASSING people. I took my 2nd GU around 6 miles, and around the corner the volunteers were handing out some Powerbar brand of gel. I grabbed one, thinking I'd take it around mile 10 to prepare for the monster hill at the end.
I gotta say I had a lot of negative thoughts during this race. I didn't feel like I was working that hard, but my legs disagreed. My lungs felt fine and my legs felt like tree trunks. But I forced myself to keep going. I did NOT want to walk. I wanted to at least get to "that point" where I could comfortably walk and still finish in the time allotted. But only if I absolutely had to. I never got to that point (hurrah!) and kept going. Saw L again during the second out and back and took the gel as planned around mile 10. I don't know if it helped or not, but I was one of the only people in my group that didn't walk up that killer hill in between mile 11 and 12.
FINALLY came around the corner and saw the final aid station at mile 12. Pretty annoyed that I could see the finish line off to my left, yet still had a little over a mile to go. The run through the Franklin Park Zoo was bizarre. We cut through this skinny path and I finally managed to pass a girl I'd been chasing since at least mile 5 (yes!!) and then finally saw the "800m to go" sign. It occupied my brain a few minutes to calculate how far that was (duh) and I realized the course was long (again). Passed mile 13 right before entering White Stadium where I sprinted down the track to the finish. Passed at least 3-4 people in the final stretch (wahahaha) and found L almost immediately. Never been so happy in my life to be done with a race. Ever. Well, except maybe Red Wing.
The medal? Pretty classy.
Quick explanation about the picture. Yes, we are wearing New Kids on the Block shirts. One of my guilty pleasures is I love their music. I loved them when I was in 7th grade, and I love them now (their 2008 album "The Block" is really good, I have at least a few of the songs on my race mix). We are wearing the shirts because NKOTB is from Boston.. so there you have it. And yes, we got LOTS of comments on our outfits. Not just the shirts, but skirts and socks. This skirt in particular seems to attract more attention than others.
Race #2 of the crazy weekend was a success:
|Can you "see" the Emerald necklace? And how cool that they sent this in an email to me!|
Distance: 13.26 miles
Average HR - 170 bpm (unheard of for me to be so low during a race!)
Paces per mile:
Mile 1 - 9:01
Mile 2 - 9:01
Mile 3 - 9:09
Mile 4 - 8:49
Mile 5 - 9:16
Mile 6 - 9:08
Mile 7 - 9:35
Mile 8 - 9:24
Mile 9 - 9:23
Mile 10 - 9:44
Mile 11 - 9:37 (this was a TOUGH mile, pleased!)
Mile 12 - 9:45
Mile 13 - 9:21
Mile 13.1 - 7:47
I was literally SHOCKED when I synced my Garmin and saw how little the elevation change really was. Less than 400 feet!! It certainly felt a lot harder than that. But the exciting news is that not only did I have NOTHING to worry about in terms of finishing, but on a double header race I actually had my second best time! I am absolutely THRILLED that in both races I didn't have a single mile where my pace was over 10 minutes. THAT ROCKS!!
Anyway, we found the shuttle busses immediately, and got dropped off only a few minutes after I had hoped we would be. Got back to the hotel at noon, super quick shower. Dropped off the rental car (after having to completely fill up, the gas light was actually on) and took the shuttle back to the airport. Super annoyed that there was NOT a Fuddrucker's in Terminal B (like there was in terminal A where we had been on arrival). Settled for a bacon cheeseburger at a sports bar:
|Man, I just LOVE post-race food|
|Yep, that's the capitol!|
|Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial|
Overall? Weekend of insane double-header was a success.