This past weekend I went to Boston to visit my sisters and run the B.A.A 5K, the first event of the B.A.A Distance Medley. It was an amazing experience to participate in an event preceding the Boston Marathon – there was an incredible amount of spirit in the city.
Image: Boston Athletic Association
“Run as One” was one of the themes that emerged from this weekend – and it was quite fitting to see a diverse group of people come together with Boston on their minds. I typically write one post for weekend trips/races, but there is so much to share that I will be writing two posts (5K recap today and around town on Wednesday – including snippets of the Boston Marathon expo).
Race Packet Delivery
Notice a header difference? No packet pickup! Registrants from the United States and Canada received his/her race packets in the mail (free of charge). How awesome is that?!? International runners picked up their bibs race morning. The technical shirts were distributed race morning.
Race Goals (“A” least probable and “C” most probable)
One of my 2014 goals is to break 30:00 minutes in a 5K. I’ve been able to accomplish that on a treadmill, but not outside (granted I’ve only run 1 x 5K race this year). A majority of my training has been focused on longer distances, and I’ve not done a good job with speedwork (2015 goal perhaps). I’ve maintained 11:00-11:30 minute miles in my past few races, so I knew a PR would be possible…and maybe, just maybe a sub 30:00.
- A – Break 30:00 (9:39 min/mile)
- B – Break 32:11 (my old old old PR)
- C – Break 35:04 (PRR New Year’s Day 5K time)
Pre-Race and Getting to the Start
Because of changes to my project schedule I had to wait until the last minute to book my flight to Boston. Unfortunately, prices were so high out of DCA I had to fly out of BWI on Thursday night (I worked remotely on Friday). When I arrived at Logan there were signs all over the aiport welcoming the Boston Marathon runners!
I stayed with my youngest sister Beverley and her roommate Christina – the B.A.A 5K would be their first 5K! Check out Christina’s training checklist – how cute!
My sister Beverley studiously reading the race guide!
On Saturday morning we woke up at 5:30AM, got dressed, ate some bananas and headed to the T (Boston’s subway/metro system). There were #loveboston signs posted throughout the stations.
Fun Fact – New Balance is HQ in Massachusetts.
My first trip on the T! A little bit of a throwback feel right? Of course, an obligatory picture of the siblings (the plan was to meet my other sister at the start/finish area).
We arrived at the Park Street stop (green and red lines) around 7AM. That stop fed right into Boston Commons (close to the start/finish area). It was a bit chilly, so we stopped by Dunkin’ Donuts for some coffee (right across the street). I helped the girls pin their bibs and we headed towards gear check around 7:15AM (with ~10,000 runners, I thought it may get crowded so getting there earlier made me feel better).
Fun Fact-did you know Dunkin’ Donuts was founded in Massachusetts? Boston literally Runs on Dunkin’ 🙂
It took about 5 minutes to walk from the DD to the start. B.A.A provided signage throughout the park.
We picked up our race shirts – how cool are they?!? In all the race shirts I’ve gotten this was probably the most comfortable one I’ve received. They are unisex so they run a little larger. Runners could pick the shirts up before or after the race. We got ours before and my sister Donna picked up hers after the 5K (and got her size small without issue).
Area by the gear check. Volunteers handed out clear plastic bags, you affixed a label that was on your bib, and dropped off the bags into bins with your corresponding bib number. It was pretty easy.
Around 7:30AM we headed towards the starting area. We followed the crowd and used the most congested entrance to get to the corrals. If we had walked a little bit further, there were a few more entrances that would feed runners into the 8:00-8:59, 9:00-9:59 corrals and so forth. The corrals were also self seeding – I said goodbye to Beverley and Christina and found myself in the 9:00-9:59 corral (unfortunately Christina sprained her ankle the day before so they decided to power walk the 5K).
The out and back course started at Boston Common, around Public Garden (beautiful by the way!) onto Commonwealth Avenue, then to Boylston Street, and back to Boston Common for the finish.
After a few speeches we were off! It was a bit crowded and I knew that would be the case throughout the 3.1 miles….you mean no time to spread out 😉 ?
Approaching the first mile on Commonwealth. The streets of Boston were beautiful!
Going through the tunnel and turn around before mile two. My shoelace untied – ugh! I ran up a small hill so I could tie it and not block the course.
Up a baby hill towards Boylston Street. There were so many thoughts that ran through my mind as we entered this stretch. How chilling it was to run the same street in which there so much sadness and chaos a year before; juxtaposed by the smiles of this year’s runners and spectators. You could feel the positive energy and determination in the air and it gave me the extra push towards the finish (my little long distance legs were confused at this point).
Running across the Boston Marathon finish line.
From that point we had about 1/2 mile to go. Here were my splits:
- Mile 1 – 9:48 hmmm can I maintain this? No sub-30 for me.
- Mile 2 – 10:20 body wants to go LD mode…ugh darn shoelaces
- Mile 3 – 10:16 yayyyy negative split!
My final time was 31:28, or 10:09 min/mile! Although I did not break 30:00, I was very happy with the results. In 3 months I dropped almost 4 minutes, and a 43 second PR (all the way from 2007). Once we finished we collected our medals (a bit of a bottleneck) and ushered towards the food tents (lines were much quicker here).
I loved that they pre-packed the food for the runners (soo efficient). The best part? The King’s Hawaiian rolls.
My sister Beverley and her roommate Christina.
Another sister pic – Donna finished at a speedy 28 and change.
The unicorn is the B.A.A symbol.
- This race is the perfect opportunity for those who want to participate in an B.A.A organized event preceding Marathon Monday who may not be running the 26.2 miles.
- There were Marathoners who used this race as a shake out run – how neat is that?! Some were able to share this experience with their friends and family members who accompanied them (there were several kids running this race).
- The course is flat and scenic – with so many spectators and volunteers throughout the race. There were two water stops.
- My favorite part was running on Boylston.
- The 5K is also walker friendly, closing at 75 minutes (and by closing moving from road to the sidewalks).
- Start was a bit congested, I was surprised there was self-seeding considering the size of the event.
- I may have finished during the “peak period” as I waited about 10-15 minutes to get my medal (which was nice as well).
- The food lines were really organized (love love) with everything already bagged for the runners.
- I liked the location of the start/finish – apparently they moved the start from Copley Square to Boston Common this year. You can see the gorgeous Boston skyline. It is also a 1/2 – 1 mile walk to all things downtown (ex. Newbury Street).
- Easy access to public transportation.
- Everything well marked – it helps yellow is one of their colors!
- It was a beautiful, crisp spring day! I forgot how to dress for warmer weather and probably did not have to wear that vest.
- Running-wise I probably did not have the best race strategy, I would like to work on that.
I would definitely run this 5K again, I thought the race was well organized and managed. I am excited for the B.A.A 10K and half marathon as part of the distance medley. After the race we walked towards Boylston to check out the Boston Marathon Expo at the Hynes Convention Center. Afterwards we met my sister and I had a delicious California Benedict for brunch.
Part 2 – Around Town coming tomorrow!
Did you Run for Boston this past weekend/Monday?
Are any of the B.A.A events on your running bucket list?