September 2010


I started writing this post last week and with this week’s craziness at work, never got it completed, so here goes nothing:

So many titles I could go with for this race:

  • I Chicked a Guy!
  • I Chicked Many Guys!
  • Playing with the Boys! (reminds me of the song by Kenny Loggins, and the movie Top Gun)
  • First Top Ten Overall Woman’s Placement Ever!!!

Except for the weird age group divisions, 1-39, and 40-69, I have nothing but good things to say about this race.  Super organized. Lots of food if you wanted it beforehand (see what I mean – what races feed you BEFORE the race?)  Tons of Dunkin Donuts coffee, munchkins and donuts. (Ok, come to think of it, that may have been more for volunteers.) It didn’t hit my friend Meg and I until afterward how it fit the stereotype of cops to have so many coffee and donuts all around. 🙂  (Don’t you all love Meg’s “elite” number of 6 below? She, of course, looks good. I, on the other hand, do not take good pics. This blog is ample evidence of that…)

Me and Meg before the race. We found the one person possible who'd never taken a picture from a phone before. This took about 5-10 minutes to get. Honestly.

Before Meg and I visited the porta-potties before the race, we overheard two guys talking and one said “it’s a really hilly course.” Meg looked at me and said that they were probably talking about another race.  A few minutes later, I interrupted the poor two guys to ask if they’d been talking about this race. One guy basically said the entire course was one constant hill after another, noting that we started on an uphill. He also said that when we ran DOWN the huge hill during mile 1, to remember that we would have to run up it later on. He was SO RIGHT.

That course was HARD. The only time it was somewhat flat was when we ran through the Arnold Arboretum. Luckily there were lots of trees (as its name implies), and I say this because it was HOT out, too! Otherwise it was a constant up and down, up and down.  Oh, and by the way, for those of you not familiar with Boston, you should know that the Arboretum is not known for being flat, not by a long shot. It just seemed flat in comparison to the rest of the course.

Around mile 2ish, someone was kind enought to set up a hose to the back of an SUV so that it sprayed runners like a shower as they ran under it. Whoever that person was, thank you!

I pretty much started out thinking it was not going to be a PR course with all of those hills. The last two 5Ks I’ve run have been very flat courses. So, honestly I’m very happy with my time of 25:14 (garmin time), 25:16 (official clock time), and 25:20 (official results time.) Yep, that’s right, no timing chips but that’s ok.  I’m calling it my “hilly course PR.”

There were lots of water stops along the way. Another reason for the thumbs up, as my last two races had NONE. (Of course, both days were much cooler and you didn’t need anything.) I don’t think all of them were official, but that’s cool.

As the name of the race implies, there were lots of cops running this race.  Many had shirts that said the name of their police department. It was a nice ego boost to have a tough/cop guy look over and try to cover up the look of shock when they saw little ‘ol me running next to them. I even passed a few of them too, LOL. I’ve got to admit, ever since I have run with my friend Dan, it’s helped with my confidence, running-wise. I feel like I can keep up with the guys after all. (I remember looking down at my watch as it beeped 7:58 for the first mile and thinking, “yeah I can try to keep up something like that!”)

Meg and I in the SWAT vehicle (everyone else inside of it was under the age of 10)

At the end of the race, there was plenty of food, and some free beer in addition to a few booths that were giving out health-related samples. They also had a SWAT vehicle pull up after the race and they let kids climb inside (even the big ones, like me and Meg, as you can tell from the picture, LOL.)  One cop stood at the front of the SWAT vehicle/truck and let kids try on his bulletproof vest (I restrained myself), and pick up his large riot-gear shield. (All I can say is, it was kinda heavy and I certainly wouldn’t have to try to run and carry it at the same time.)

Oh, and they also had an ice cream truck pull up, which gave out free ice cream to whoever wanted it. It was the first ice cream truck I’ve ever seen that didn’t make the word “pedophile” immediately come to mind. Honestly! Perhaps it was the phrase “Boston Police Department” written in large letters on the side! (Who knew they had their own ice cream truck??)  All in all, it seemed a very well-organized race and one I will DEFINITELY run again. Even with the weird age groups.  

Anyway, in case you are wondering, my results are below.  I’ve got a few more races coming up, only they are the 10K distance.

Results:

  • Garmin splits: Mile 1=7:57; Mile 2: 8:03; Mile 3=8:17 (HUGE hill on this one)
  • OVERALL PLACE BY SEX: 8th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • OVERALL PLACE: 60/404 or 60/358 (404 entrants were shown at the race venue, cool running.com only had 358 listed.)  Anyone got ideas for such a discrepancy in #s?
  • DIVISION PLACE: 8/117

Sunset over skyline of Boston, view from Castle Island in "Southie" (or South Boston, from those not from around here)

Yep, been a busy week of racing for me. After not having raced since the Weston Marathon Sports 5 Miler back in July, I decided to do 3 races within 2 weeks of each other.  So far, two down, one to go!

On Labor Day, my friend Meg and I ran the Second Annual Bad Habit 5K.  It’s a flat and fast 5K, the only “incline” is the Eliot Bridge, and even that really isn’t much. So, it’s a really good opportunity to set a PR. And PR I did!

Until last week, my fastest time at the 5K distance was 25:33, set at the BAA 5K that was held the day before the Boston Marathon. As of last week, my PR became 24:58 (per my Garmin, anyway, the official results said 25:03, even though when I crossed in front of the clock, it said 25 flat.) 

 I realized after I finished that I made the mistake of pacing off of the wrong person, a guy running in front of me for most of the middle of the race.  I didn’t feel like constantly staring at my watch, and wanted to go with the flow. I passed him on the incline to the Eliot Bridge, and then he passed me as we got closer to the finish line, prompting me to say to myself, “oh no, you don’t,” and I sprinted toward  the last .15 mile or so, and BEAT HIM BY ABOUT A FOOT. (I later looked him up and realized he was 31, so woohoo to me!) I “chicked” a guy!   🙂

Stats from the Bad Habit 5K: 

  • Division: 3/25!!! (too bad they only gave prizes to 1st 2 in each division)
  • Overall placement: 46/132
  • Garmin time: 24:58, time clock: 25:00, official results time: 25:03

 

NEWS FLASH: As of this week, my new PR is now 24:45!!!

View of the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, Boston College is at the far end in the distance

This past week, I ran the Massport/Zumix Run to the Beat 5K.  It’s an inaugural race, so the turnout of 226 runners was pretty impressive. It was also pretty well organized, with a good police presence at the beginning to make sure the road was clear for runners. 

There was a choir standing underneath a bridge about a half mile from the start/finish line, and because it was a loopish course, they were there to serenade you, both going and returning.  There was also a band comprised of mainly kids, who played for us along the route.  Every volunteer holding a directional sign was a kid/teenager, and they actually looked interested in the outcome of the race – one even held out his hand for people to high five him as they ran past.  And, while spectators were few, the ones we did have were quite spirited, which, as we all know, really helps!

Another view of the skyline, taken at sunset, from Castle Island

This race was exciting to me for a whole bunch of reasons, but for one main one.  It was my friend  Dan’s first race EVER.  He’s been running for a year or so, but just never raced. And now,  I think he’s hooked!  (Better late than never, he placed in the top 15% overall, and top 1/3 for his division. Not bad for his first race ever – he beat me by two solid minutes!)  We will definitely do that race again next year.

We thought we’d run together, so neither of us wore headphones. But, he is younger than me, and well, he’s a guy, so he runs a whole lot faster than me.  When we first lined up, there was a lady standing in front of us who turned around, saw us, and said “you guys go in front of me, you look fast.”  (NEVER had anyone say that to me before!)  I said “yeah, i don’t think I am going to keep up with all of those guys in front of me” to which she responded that she definitely wasn’t! 🙂  Gotta say, it felt weird to line up closer to the front than I normally would, but with Dan’s speed, I didn’t want him to have to zig-zag a lot at the beginning.

My sweet girl, Ruthie, just hanging out, in the backyard

Our first mile was 7:40, and suprisingly, I only slowed to 8:04 and 8:09 for my next two miles. He ended up leaving me after about 1.25/1.50 – I had told him prior to the race that he shouldn’t slow down on my account. But I’m very proud of myself for sticking with him as I did. After that, I just tried to concentrate on getting a song running through my head (Britney Spears’ “3” did the trick, in case you are wondering.) I was pleasantly surprised to pass the 2 mile mark before my Garmin showed 16 minutes!! 🙂

Luckily, only a few ladies passed me over the course of the second half of the race, and I admit, I looked at them to try to determine if they were in my age group or not, LOL.  Turns out the girl who just beat me at the finish line by 5 seconds was in my age group.  But the next one wasn’t anywhere close – I beat 8th place by almost 2 WHOLE MINUTES!!

Stats from the Massport/Zumix Run to the Beat 5K:

  • Overall placement: 64/226
  • Division placement (F30-39): 7/47!!!!
  • Gender placement: 17/117!!!!
  • Garmin time: 24:45, official result time: 24:50

Anyway,  we are hoping to run together again soon – I am hoping we can make it a regular occurrence.  As we all  know, you’re much less likely to skip out on a run when someone is waiting for you. Plus,  I am always afraid of doing tempo runs on my own, and running with him could definitely substitute for one of those. (It’ll have to be an easy run day for him.)

Boats at Castle Island beach (I loved how blue the water was.)

I spent the rest of Saturday with my friend, Meg, at Castle Island. For those of you not familiar with Boston, it’s in South Boston. Neither of us felt like expending too much energy, so hanging out on the beach was just the ticket. There’s a beach shack type of eatery called Sullivan’s, and dinner for two of us cost an entire 11.30. Awesome!

All in all, the weekend was a really good one and was just what I needed after feeling kinda down toward the end of last week.  I ran a race and I hung out with two really good friends. It’s funny –  a few months ago, both of them were just coworkers of mine.  (Actually, Dan and I had never really spoken because we’re in 2 different departments.) Now I count them both as very good friends, people who I can talk to about so much, and who I can’t imagine not having around.   I feel very blessed to have them both in my life.

P.S. Monday morning, I ran 7.5 miles in 67 minutes – average pace was under 9. Having run with Dan a few days prior gave me confidence to not freak out when I saw some of my paces were comfortably in the 8s. Running partners and friends can help so much!