Friday, July 4, 2014

B.A.A. 10K Race Recap

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I traveled up north to run in the Boston Athletic Association's 10k this past weekend and now I can finally say that I've had a "runcation!"  The race was pretty reasonably priced considering it is put on by the same people who put on the Boston Marathon-only $60.  It was a bit of a spontaneous decision for me to run in this race, but I'm glad I made the decision when I did because just a few hours later the race reached its field size of 8,000 and closed.  Luckily for me, one of my good friends lives in Boston and let me sleep on her couch for the weekend since she was doing the race as well.

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Only time I'll be "elite!"

We went to the Boston Common the day before the race and we saw how they already were setting up the stages, tents and signs for the race. We saw that the elite tents were up, so of course I had to snag a picture!

We took the T to the start line on race day and seeing the train full of runners sporting their yellow and blue B.A.A. bibs was quite a sight!  It felt as though we were picking up all our runner friends on the way to the race!  The short walk from the T to the Commons had us passing by the mile 6 marker, so of course pictures had to happen.

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It was great already having our bibs so we didn't have to worry about anything once we arrived.  They seemed to have plenty of port-o-pottys lined up around the park and the lines were moving quickly-always a plus!

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I heard the announcer say it was going to be hot during the race as temperatures were going to be around 62 degrees at 9am and advised everyone to drink lots of fluids to prepare for the heat.  As a native Floridian who has been running in 80-90 degree heat for the last month, I couldn't help but laugh at this.  To top it all off, there was NO humidity in the air which was glorious, not to mention that the weather even seemed a bit nippy to me.  I never would have thought they would be making announcements that it would be hot out!

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Glad I took some pictures the day before

Before I knew it, the elites were off and running and then we were next!  The race began with a bit of a sharp turn as it passed by the bar that inspired the show Cheers.  The course was beautiful passing by all the different houses and soon enough the course was going through Boston University-where my grandma went to school!  For some reason, these first two miles seemed extremely hard.  There was only a bit of an incline, yet I could feel myself slowing down and getting passed.  Luckily the scenery and Ke$ha blaring in my ears kept me going.

Course Map from the B.A.A. Website

At the second water stop I got nervous I was going to get scooped because I could see the volunteers tearing down the water stands and I thought they had given up on us in the back of the pack.  Luckily, I was completely wrong as they were only downsizing, not packing up.  Plus, there was still plenty of runners behind me, so I knew I was keeping up with the course.

It wasn't until the 5k turnaround where I really started to feel strong and enjoy the race.  The sun had come out so I was glad I had my visor, but it wasn't hot (at least not for this Florida girl).  Around this turnaround I was able to wave at Megan, a friendly face that reminded me to keep on running.  Spectators were sparse along this point in the course, but the volunteers that were out were very lively and supportive!

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 Seeing the road lined with runners

I had hoped for a little bit of a PR but those first few miles had me believing I wasn't going to get even close to my 10k average.  Around mile 4.5 I looked down at my app and realized by some Boston miracle, I was keeping up with the norm and I still had a chance.  This section was lined with trees and when I realized I was running along the route we traveled in on the T that morning, it felt like smooth sailing.  I knew the finish line was obtainable.  A PR was still out of sight, but a strong finish was still in my grasp.

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Running towards the Boston skyline

I entered the finishers chute, lined with the BAA logo and I could feel a chill.  To think I was running the same route after those elite runners was amazing.  With the finish line within my reach and Kes$ha and Pibull's Timber in my ear, I bolted my way to the finish line faster that I have ever gone before.  I took one ear bud out so I could fully partake in the experience and hearing the cheers of those who lined the path definitely helped me push me past my limits.  To all those who cheer on random runners, thank you!  Those people may never know it, but hearing "Finish strong!" and "keep going!" was just what I needed.  I crossed the finish line with a big smile on my face and I never felt prouder of myself.

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The beautiful double sided unicorn medal!

I was SO delighted that I wasn't bombarded with my medal and water right as I finished!  It was all nicely spread out, including photographers who were lined up in the finisher's area.  No one even bothered me while I waited for my friend.  We picked up our shirts, took a few quick pictures and we were well on our way to grab a delicious early lunch at Lir for their loaded waffle fries!

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+Water at every mile with Gatorade being at mile 4
+Kept the course open the entire time they said they would
+Good amount of volunteers lined the course
+Course times were announced shortly after
+Bib mailed ahead of race day
+Pick up shirt at the end of race
+Great crowd support at finish line
+Wasn't crowded once I crossed the finish line (water/medal/photos)

+No clear B.A.A. backdrop to take pictures (saw a nice step and repeat, but it was for elites only)
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Overall, one of my top 3 favorite races!  Everything ran smoothly, great course, wonderful medal and shirt, beautiful weather and a scenic run!  So glad I was able to check off a Boston Athletic Association Race off my race wishlist!