Disclaimer: I didn't proofread this post very well so please excuse any typos. I'll get around to it after I foam roll some more...
I think the thing I was most excited about for the B.A.A. Half Marathon was that it started and ended in Franklin Park. Not only would we be running along a very familiar route, but the start line is only a short walk out our back door (I guess front door is more appropriate in this case). After our usual peanut butter bagels and coffee, we headed up the hill to the start!
Although the starting area was quite crowded, we were able to pick up our T-shirts with no major problems. Our group got a little separated during this process and all lined up in different areas of the starting corrals. After a couple of minutes the gun went off and we were off (although it took me over 5 minutes to cross the start). Having run in these parts quite a bit I knew that the first half was mostly going to be downhill while the second (and last 4 miles) were going to be pretty much uphill the whole way (which made me vair, vair nervy)!!
The first mile took us out of Franklin Park towards the Casey Overpass. With 5,421 runners (per the finishers email I got this afternoon) there was quite a bit of elbow bumping (I even saw one guy take a huge digger after running backwards looking for someone, ouch!), and not much choice but to run the speed everyone else was running. I passed the mile 1 marker at 9:34 feeling pretty good.
Mile 2 was much slower as the lanes narrowed and we headed over Casey Overpass. People seemed to be getting pretty cranky about not being able to run faster but when there's so little room you really have to just go with the flow, in my opinion.
After the overpass we passed the Arnold Arboretum and continued on the Jamaicaway past Jamaica Pond. I caught up with Kurstin and Lynn who I found out had started a bit in front of me. They were kind enough to let me know that Drew was up ahead of me which was very helpful to hear! After the Pond, we headed down the J-Way towards the Longwood Medical Area. The long downhills at this point were pretty uncomfortable but I tried to keep my form steady and take quicker little steps to minimize impact. I passed the 3 mile marker at 28:34, feeling pretty good (the roads were wider here so I had more space to run my own pace rather than what everyone else around me was running).
After more downhill, I saw Drew up ahead and picked up the pace to catch up with her. I also passed the mile 4 marker (no idea the time on this on, possibly 37 something) at this point. Drew and I chatted a bit as we made our way off the J-Way and onto Riverway. We waved to both our offices (and tried to see if we could spot Drew's office plants in her window) as we headed down to the turn-around at Wheelock College.
After the turn-around we hit a slight incline and passed the mile 5 marker at 47:06. the route continued back to the J-way where we went up and over the overpass a second time, and then turned right onto Pond Ave past Olmstead Park. At this point my legs were starting to feel more springy and I let Drew know I was going to try and push the pace a little and see what would happen. We passed through mile 6 at 55 minutes, and headed up towards the Pond for a second time!
At this point I was feeling really good and had to keep reminding myself that I still had over half the race left and needed to make sure my legs had enough left in them to make it up the hills in Franklin Park in the last few miles. I passed mile 7 at 1:03, and mile 8 at 1:11 (at this point I actually counted from 3 to 11 on my fingers to figure out if I was running 8:something or 9:something miles - turns our simple math is really hard when you're running)!
At this point the course headed back up and over Casey Overpass (much less crowded this time around, but still very busy), and into Franklin Park for some loop-da-loops. After grabbing some Gatorade at the next aid station I passed mile 9 and tried to pick up the pace a little knowing what hills I had between me and the turn-around at mile 10. At this point the road was split in two, with returning runners coming towards us on the left (I began to get a little frustrated at this point since I was going a bit faster than most people around me and it seemed like everyone was swaying left to right and I couldn't find easy ways to get around them). I came through mile 10 at 1:31:16, now knowing that I could PR if I kept up my current pace until the end (there was also a sweet photo area set up just after mile 10 complete with a photographer on a ladder and the B.A.A logo painted on the road! We'll see how that photo comes out, ha. ha). I saw Drew after the turn-around following mile 10 and gave her a shout!
I came back to mile 11 at 1:40 and reminding myself that I only had 2 miles left headed up the final hill of the race! My legs were feeling quite tired at this point but I just kept thinking that soon it would be over. I like to call this phase the black-out phase (where it hurts a lot but I know after the race I won't remember that portion of the race, or how much it hurt). Also on the hill was a wheelchair racer, who was getting lots of support not only from the fans, but from all the runners as well. At the top of the hill we headed back towards the starting area, where others were heading towards us (and the finish in White Stadium)! At this point we turned right and got to run by some of the animal cages in the Franklin Park Zoo! I heard rumor after the race that there was even a peacock on the trail!
I passed mile 12 in the zoo at 1:48 and knowing that I only had 1.1 miles to go tried to pick it up a little more (which proved difficult as we were on a very narrow path and passing people was almost impossible). My legs felt similar to when I do YASSO 800's on the track so I just kept thinking to myself "this is like running a 1200 after you've already run two 800's, you can DO IT!" I passed through the starting area one last time and headed towards White Stadium and the finish line!
The mile 13 sign was posted just outside White Stadium which I passed at 1:56:00. After entering the track and knowing I only had .1 to go (and actually finally see the finish line), I sprinted all the way to the finish line! And I was done. PHEW.
After meeting up with everyone after the race we took some post-race photos and walked back down the hill to a hot shower and pumpkin muffins (followed by celebratory brunch and bloody mary's at Canary Sq)!
|In Gender||876/2979 (Female)|
|In Division||171/508 (F20-24)|
|Split Time at 5 Miles||47:06:00|
|Split Time at 10 Miles||1:31:16|
Oy, that was long. Thanks for reading and happy Columbus day to anyone who is celebrating the long weekend!
And... a great day for the GMEN as well!