Let’s back up to Saturday night to start this story. The weather was gorgeous on Saturday afternoon so Michael and I decided to head into the Back Bay and walk around Newbury Street. We had plans to meet his coworkers at 7 for karaoke so we walked around and grabbed an early dinner. I went with mac and cheese with chicken and a salad. We had calamari to start. A really healthy pre-race dinner hahaha. I tried to stay off my feet while at the bar and we managed to get home and to bed pretty early. Since I was being all chill about this race and running for fun I didn’t feel like we needed to miss out on plans, it’s not like I stayed in every night before my long training runs anyway.
Sunday morning the alarm went off and I promptly hit the snooze not once but twice. It was cold and our bed was so warm and cozy. I got up, washed up, pulled my hair back, ate my oatmeal, taped my knee and got dressed. You know, the usual race day routine. We got to the race, found an awesome parking spot (yes, good parking spots make me really happy) and headed to the start to meet my friend Lauren. We chatted while I got ready but we didn’t really get there early enough for me to tackle the massively long bathroom lines. I figured I could quickly go on my way to the start. Wrong. So I made my way to the start and hoped my bathroom urge would disappear.
The start was quick and painless but I could tell as soon as I started running that I was going to have to make a pit stop. Luckily around .5 I found a porta pottie off to the side and within 30 seconds I did my business and was on my way. I finished the first mile in an 8:13. I’ll take it. As the miles kept ticking by my pace was low. I was holding a sub-8 pace and was surprised at how easy it felt. When I ran this race 2 years ago I was able to PR and yesterday felt so similar to that day. I kept pushing the pace, ticking the miles off. Around mile 6 we hit an uphill and I could feel my legs getting tired. I was afraid I’d pushed too hard too early and I was going to pay for it later. I decided in that moment to just go for it, if the final miles were hard I’d survive and it was too early to give up on a good time.
Here’s the thing about races…they go by so quickly for me! All the sudden we were at mile 8 and I was wondering how that happened. It felt like we just started! I knew I’d see Michael and Lo around mile 9 so I kept pushing it until I saw them. Mile 9 was uphill, the entire mile. I kept telling myself that mile 10 was downhill and I’m strongest on the up’s so I needed to keep pushing. Mile 10 came and the downhills didn’t feel as effortless as I’d hoped. My legs were getting tired. I rounded the corner at mile 11 and knew that there was a good uphill. At this point I knew I was a couple of minutes off my PR so I shifted it into a lower gear and just tried to tackle the hill. Michael and Lo were about mid-way up the hill cheering me on and I was pretty happy to see some familiar faces.
Once I hit the top of the hill I could feel how tight my butt and hamstrings were. Yep, I was going to pay for my quick pace the last mile. I kept pushing but my legs were tired and heavy. I wanted to stop. I kept thinking about how good walking would feel but I kept telling myself it was a mile left. Lie. There was way more than a mile left. People were passing me with a good kick and I was getting frustrated and more tired. I kept pushing and thinking about the finish.
And then I had this nice little chat with myself…If you had done some tempo runs this training cycle you’d have some kick right now. This is why you do tempo runs so in the last few miles when you are tired and your legs are toasted you can still hold the pace. How many times do we have to learn this lesson again and again? Tempo runs are good for you. You aren’t so awesome where you don’t need them. You need them. Note to self…do tempo runs, they make the final miles of a race so much easier!
Thankfully my self talk was interrupted with sights of the finish. I was almost done. I pushed it as hard as I could (which felt pretty damn slow) to the finish. 1:45.23 at an 8 min/mile pace. I’ll take it because let’s be honest I did not expect that at all!
Post race I met up with Michael and Lo. They had great food for the finishers…including a WHOLE bag of Bear Naked Fruit and Nut Granola (can we say score?!) and JUICE Boxes, which is just brilliant if you ask me. Seriously, who wants more Gatorade when you’ve just had Gatorade and GU and all that? Not me! Juice boxes on the other hand…awesome. I made friends with a yellow lab who was pretty thrilled that I decided to plant myself on the ground right near her. She came over and laid down next to me, snuggled with me and let me pet her for a good 5 minutes. I love some pet therapy post race. Thanks to the stranger for letting me get some doggie love!
We didn’t stick around for long and headed to a new to us brunch spot. DELICIOUS. I had strata with kale, chourico sausage, broccoli tomatoes, cheese and a side of home fries and fruit. Let’s not forget the coffee. It was so fun to chat with Lo and Michael! The perfect way to end a fantastic morning!
I’m off to cheer on and support our Team in Training participants at the Tufts 10K for Women in Boston! I love my new job!
Congrats to everyone who raced this weekend with a special shout out to all the Chicago Marathon Finishers!!!