I’m so excited, I just don’t even know where to start!!  So, I’ll try with this:

I don’t know what was more inspiring today – seeing that a 10 year old could run this distance in something like 45 minutes, or that an 82 year old woman ran it in something like 1:25:00.  Either way, can you IMAGINE?!

This race technically does not include strollers as “official” but there was a woman running in front of me with a double stroller and she was not only NOT slowing us down, she was beating a lot of us! I’m only 5 foot 1 inch, and I think that I might have even towered over this woman.  I never saw what the kids looked like in the stroller from the front, but she had it all decorated beautifully.  Does all this give you any idea what kind of race this is?

The race starts out with the announcer yelling out the following: If you’re a mother, raise your hands! If you’re a daughter, raise your hands! If you’re a sister, raise your hands! Cheesey yes, but when you have about 5 to 6,000 women doing it as they run down Beacon Street, it’s pretty amazing to see – you can see it in the faces of the spectators as you run by them.

The race has you run down Memorial Drive and then back.  Between mile 1 and 2 is the best for people like me, because we can see the leaders coming back (at about mile 3.75 at this point) and we cheer for them! Plus anytime you go under an overpass, people scream like they’re on a roller coaster ride.  I was running along, and I was like, “Hey I think I just saw Elva Dryer!” (You’ve got to read this article about her! Now you can see why I root for her.) Then, a few seconds later, I was like “Hey, I just saw Joan Benoit Samuelson!” (If you don’t know who she is, read this!)  I mentioned that to a lady running next to me and she said that Joan stands at the finish line each year, cheering on people like us – the middle of the packers, and the back of the packers!  She said that last year, she gave Joan a hug and said “You are so amazing, and here you are, cheering for me?!”  (I so badly wanted to go up and ask for an autograph from Elva as she stood around and watched the awards being given out.  Next time I won’t be such a chicken…)

I remember thinking on Memorial  Drive to be careful to run the tangents, or try to as best as I could, when also feeling like I was going the Giant Slalom around people (that’s my brother Jamie’s term for running in a pack.) I remember seeing Magdalena Lewy-Boulet when she was leading through the Trials, (click this link to see my pics from that race) thinking wow she’s running sooo close to the curb and then hearing Jamie say “she’s actually running really smartly, not a footstep is wasted.”  I also remember seeing a very beautiful bird on the side of the road (why do I always notice the roadkill?!) but thinking that Kara might be proud of me, for being observant of little details while I run. (I also saw a gorgeous butterfly during the Maine Marathon and thought of you then too Kara!)

I feel very blessed to be able to run in a town that can pull in some major talent like they do, and be able to hold a national championship.  It would have been cool to see Deena Kastor or Katie McGregor run it again like last year, but that’s alright.  Whoever wins, gets a lot of respect in my book.

I now see what John, my fellow Maine Marathoner (and hopefully new long-term reader?!), means when he says he likes smaller races better sometimes (less hassle).  This race was twice as large, I think, as the Maine Marathon and covered a much shorter distance.  That means  you are running in a pack pretty much the entire way.  I lined up on the left hand side (it was all I could get to from the Boston Common, even though I usually like  lining up on the right side for some reason), in between the 9 and 10 minute milers.

I think I went out a bit fast but am not sure. My average pace ended up being 9:41 per minute, and that even included some walking (twice, my asthma was bothering me) between mile 3.12 and 3.5 (I happened to see my time at 3.1 and it was 29 minutes, so I got nervous thinking I could never keep that pace up the entire time) and I still ran this race at least 2 MINUTES faster than last year. Not bad considering everyone told me “don’t even think about being able to race it only a week after  the marathon” and having had that head cold last week (and still feeling it a bit last night.)  So,  A PR! (Even though I’ve only run this distance twice now!)

It’s funny but even though I walked for about a minute and a half combined in that third mile, when I hit mile 4 and ran over the Mass Ave bridge, I didn’t feel tired at all. And Mile 5 – was kind of like a rush actually. I said to myself at one point, “ok, just settle in and keep going at this nice even pace.” Then I looked at my Garmin and saw it said something like “9:30 min/hour” pace and thought “wow, this doesn’t even seem that fast!”

The only problem at the end was getting to the point where I could make a break and just sprint as I always try to do, to the finish.  I ended up hopping up onto the curb and around a lady to get ahead of her.  I then had to literally hop on my right foot at the end to make sure my “chip-wearing sneaker” actually touched the mat.  Normally the chute is much more narrow at the end, but the mat is itself wider, so you end up taking a few steps on it. The way these mats worked, it was conceivable that  you could literally run over both of them.

Two women said to me at different points, “I do this for me.”  One woman said “my 55th birthday is next week, this is my gift to me.”   It’s interesting – this race was  my original motivation for starting up running again this year, and at one point, I feared I would be motivated to keep it up.  This was THE race that I trained for last year, and couldn’t imagine running further.  What a difference a year makes.

I think, that like those two women, this race is “my gift to me” too.  Even though  Bill was not able to watch me run it this year (that’s why all the pics are from before and after the race only) this was a great day for me. No matter how stressed life may get me in the future, no one can take it away from me. 🙂  Next year, I just need to make sure that I can run at least one-tenth of a second faster, so I can break one hour!! LOL.

All in all, today was an awesome day.  I placed in the top half of my division (which includes the likes of Elva Dryer, above) and in the top half overall, maybe more like top 40-45%.  That makes me a CERTIFIED MIDDLE OF THE PACK GIRL – woohoo!!!

Hope you like the pictures below.  (Glad you liked the autumn colors pics too!)

Once again, my power song was Playing with the Boys, by Kenny Loggins, from Top Gun (I’m not embarrassed to admit it – hey, whatever gets you through it, I say!) I know I’ve included the video before, but it bears repeating!  It’s always helped me with track workouts. 🙂