Saturday, April 2, 2011

Boston Tune Up 15K race report

In all my two years of running this race, it never fails to impress and delight me. Today it seemed the weather gods were cooperating and the conditions were perfect for running this race.  Temperature was low 40's, sun was shining, with just a mild breeze.  Compared to yesterday's little snow storm, this was just ideal.  I'm sure at this point you are waiting for the "but...", but, there's no but.  I've been pumped up looking forward to this race and it didn't disappoint.

Best Parts:
The People!  I ran into so many familiar faces and it was great to meet more members of the running club.  Kerri ran this race with me and I was happy to see a familiar face on the course as we constantly leap-frogged eachother.  My mom volunteered at the 7.5 mile water stop with Hiroshi and Anthony, so I was really looking forward to hitting that mark.

The photographer - the unsung hero!

The Course!  I love this course, even though it's a little painful.  Most of the course is either uphill or downhill and it requires some serious strategy if you want to finish strong.  I didn't actually have a serious strategy, and I'll be working on that for next year, but at least this year I knew exactly what I was up against.  Almost.  I think of this course as like giving birth.  In other words, when you give birth you immediately say "I am never doing that again!".  But, over time you tend to forget about the pain and only remember the good parts, and then you get suckered into giving birth again and say, "OMG now I remember, I said I'd never do this again!".  This course is kind of like that.  In fact, I remember running it for the first time with my friend Heather who had said ahead of time "There's a few rolling hills", and then a few miles in she said "I forgot about all these hills!!".  Unlike giving birth however, the scenery is fantastic with beautiful houses and farms, and most people can walk immediately following the event without requiring hospitalization.

PR!  Well, I feel a little guilty calling this a PR because it's not hard to PR on a 15k course since they aren't exactly popping up all over the place, but heck... I'm taking it.  Last year was my first year running races at all, and this was my longest race last year at this time.  My finishing time then was 1:27, with a 9:23 pace.  This year I killed that, finishing around 1:22 and an 8:49 pace according to my Garmin.  Major improvement, and I'm considering that a huge win.

The bib!  I know this seems trivial, but having a bib with your name on it is a huge deal.  Not only does it make you feel like an elite runner, but everyone cheering you on is calling your name.  And, you don't have to screw up someone's name if you aren't quite sure you remember them.  Although, I saw a guy named "Cupcake" so that might not be 100% true. 

The food!  The club really outdid themselves this year with a ridiculous amount of goodies after the race.  There were about 8 different types of soups and chili's in crock pots, and a huge variety of cookies, cakes, breads, and such.  I was very much looking forward to the soup, but apparently you need to run faster than an 8:49 pace to be eligible for soup because most of it was gone by the time I got in the food line.  I settled for a mini cinnamon roll and a biscotti.  Kerri and I went outside and ate in the sun since the crowds were pretty thick inside.  It was a nice way to unwind and see some runners crossing the finish line.

Kerri (oh wait, you knew that already because of her personalized bib!)
 As always, there are certainly some things I could have done better. 

Wardrobe: This was a really tough call, because it was pretty cool this morning, and I kept going back and forth with the clothes.  Ultimately I settled on a thin blue long sleeve tech, my singlet, and running tights.  Honestly I was pretty warm after a couple miles and easily could have run in capri's or maybe even short sleeves. 

Mile 1 adrenaline rush: Although I said I wouldn't do this and told everyone in sight not to do this, I started out too fast.  I was feeling great, the first portion of the course is flat to downhill, and I wanted to take advantage of the terrain.  When the marker at Mile 1 shouted 8:10, I knew I was going to regret that.  I scaled back slightly for mile 2, and then the hills around mile 3 and beyond took care of any further concerns I might have had of going too fast.

Me at 1.5, going way too fast and loving every second of it
 Also happy to report there were no stomach issues whatsoever at the race.  (This was the first thing Hiroshi asked).  Pre-race breakfast included a bagel thin and almond butter 3 hours before the race, and a bottle of water.  From every perspective, today was a success.  It's been a full year that I've been racing and I'm feeling better and stronger than ever.  I'm almost (almost) jealous of all the guys running Boston 16 days from now.  Hmmmm.

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