April 19, 2014
Time: 24:06 Pace: 7:46
Age Group: F30-34, 73/843
Back in February I signed up for the B.A.A. 5K during Boston Marathon Weekend. I didn’t know they hosted a 5K marathon weekend until Bryan suggested I participate. I was all for it since we would be in Boston anyways since Bryan was running the Boston Marathon.
I’ve only ran one 5K for time and that was in February for the Polar Bear Run Doubler. After the 5K, I ran a 5 mile race and then tacked on another 10 miles to total 18 miles for my training run. I did run that 5K quicker around an 8:43 pace which is faster than my normal pace, but I didn’t go all out since I had 15 more miles to go afterwards. So for this one I actually wanted to race. Bryan wanted me to go sub 24 minutes – meaning sub 8:00 min miles and then some. I’ve ran mile repeats that fast but never consecutive miles at that pace. (It’s weird to be thinking about minutes instead of hours just coming off of a marathon.) What did I have to lose? It was only three miles. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be fully recovered due to having just ran a marathon the week before, but again it’s such a short distance.
The week of the race, I didn’t run trying to let my legs recover, but I did do two monster swim sessions to get reacquainted with the water and felt fine. My bib was mailed to me a month before the race, so it was nice not having to go to an expo and deal with crowds. Bryan and I arrived in Boston the day before the race and spent the day walking around Harvard and MIT. That evening we went to the Red Sox game. It was so cold that we left during the middle of the game which was fine because I had to get up early the next day anyways for my race.
The morning of was very cold. I wore running tights and a long sleeve shirt to keep warm. I know, I know – dress as if it were warmer. But it was only 3 miles so I wanted to be warm. The start line was in Boston Common. Bryan and I walked from the hotel, my warm-up. Once at the start line there were swarms of people everywhere. This was the kick-off to Boston Marathon weekend so everyone wanted to show their support. The field size was even increased from years prior.
The start corrals were by pace. Bryan had me squeeze into the 7:00min/mile corral. I told him that was too fast and I should go back farther. One of my biggest pet peeves is people getting in faster corrals than they should and I end up dodging them the first few miles. I didn’t want to be one of those people, but Bryan insisted.
I wasn’t nervous at all, and I didn’t put a lot of pressure on myself. Sure I would go for sub 24:00 minutes, but if it didn’t happen, I wouldn’t beat myself up over it. After about ten minutes waiting in the corral, I was off! I just started running. Not looking at the pace on my watch. Just keeping up with the runners around me. It was definitely a cluster of people. There were a lot of walkers and joggers that were in the corrals ahead of me, so I was doing a lot of weaving. It was so compact in certain areas that I almost tripped passing people. My shoulders were getting bumped and I had to run faster just to get away from the congestion of people. I’ve experienced congestion during the mini marathon but people aren’t sprinting all full speed. For a 5K, runners are going all out because it’s such a short distance. So imagine almost 10,000 people crammed into a small area all running as fast as they can. It was a little chaotic. Running is a contact sport during a 5K.
As I looked at my watch, all I wanted to see was under 8:00 minute miles. I was on point, my first mile was 7:48. I continued with my pace up and down a couple small hills. I actually felt really good with the hills. I didn’t let them intimidate me at all. Mile 2 was around the Back Bay. The scenery of trees and old buildings was beautiful. Running in a new area definitely makes it more fun. Mile 2 was 7:36….even faster. Yes, I might actually run sub 24 minutes.
For the last mile, we looped around onto Boylston Street and ran under the marathon finish line which was a surreal experience and then finished back at Boston Common. The first two miles were surprisingly easy for me. But the last mile, I really had to concentrate and push myself. My mind was starting to tell me that I could slow down and that it wasn’t a big deal. But I really wanted to run all 3 miles sub 8 minutes so I kept pushing. I had to fight for every second. For the final stretch, I was pushing so hard that I couldn’t breathe. Is this what an asthmatic feels like I wondered. And as I crossed the finish line, I experienced something I’ve never felt before after a run. I started to dry heave. Another girl that finished next to me was doing the same thing. I ran so hard that I was at my threshold for the first time. My uncomfortable gasping for air feeling only lasted a few minutes but it made me realize that I should be pushing myself through speed work during training sessions like this. So this is what it really feels like to push myself so hard that I can’t breathe or feel like I can’t go another step. In a sick masochist way, it felt good to finally reach that threshold.
My third mile was 7:43 pace. And I crossed the finish line at 24:06. It wasn’t sub 24:00 minutes but it was a 7:46 average pace, which is the fastest I’ve ever ran 3.1 miles consecutively. And I enjoyed doing it. Definitely gave me some confidence back after my subpar performance during the Carmel Marathon. It also made me come to the realization of three things: I like to race, I like to run fast, and I want to run the Boston Marathon someday. But for now it was time to enjoy our mini vacay and gear up for Bryan running his first Boston Marathon!!!