When I was looking for a race to choose for Massachusetts, I knew I wanted it to be in Boston. I stumbled across the B.A.A. Half Marathon in 2015 but had missed registration for it. As I read about the race, I learned that it’s part of a distance challenge and the best way to guarantee entry is to sign up for the medley of a 5k, 10k and half spread across the year. In 2016 I paid special attention to registration deadlines, set an alarm on my phone and registered for the medley right on time. I never had any intention of doing the first two races, just wanted a guaranteed entry to the half.
When I learned the 5k race shared weekends with THE Boston Marathon, I decided to run that as well. Chap and I used my companion pass to both get out there, and made a weekend of the 5k race, my first trip to Boston and spectating the marathon. (Side note: Before we left for this trip, I had just signed up for the Jack and Jill Marathon with Michelle. This is the trip that inspired me to train to qualify. ) This post isn’t about that weekend so I’m not going to write much about it here, but enjoy the pictures!
State 22: Massachusetts
I loved Boston so much in April and was thrilled to revisit it this fall. I was looking forward to colored leaves and crisp temperatures. Unfortunately we didn’t get either of those. Chap has been a reliable and wonderful travel and race companion but he didn’t get invited on this trip. I wanted to share my companion pass with a long time soul sister and so invited one of my very oldest and best friends Katie (also the one who got me to Tulsa!) to come run with me.
We had a mediocre training cycle. Honestly the summer and early fall just kind of disappeared in front of our eyes. We’re both small business owners, Katie has a two year old and while we managed to stay very committed to working out, we just didn’t get the weekend long runs in. We made it up to 8 miles in training and I knew that would be enough to get us across the line so we called it good.
It also helped us to enjoy our trip – alleviating the pressure of going for a particular time on an unfamiliar course. I try to plan two or three runs a year where I’ll really go for it and the others are just meant to be enjoyable. Because of this we were able to eat and drink and walk all over Boston without worrying about it affecting our performance on Sunday.
You can read a play by play of our tour of Boston on the Studio blog here.
I want to recap three pros and three cons of the race on this blog today, more of a review of the event than the trip.
- Boston. Boston is a historic city on its own. But there is so much running history too. One morning Katie and I went to the river to do a few shakeout miles and on our way back to the train stop, I saw a group of girls running through Boston Common who I recognized but couldn’t quite pinpoint. I later recognized them as the women behind my favorite planner – Believe Training Journal.
- Race organization. Our bibs were mailed to us. We picked up our shirts at the finish line. There was no waiting around or messing with an expo and it was awesome.
- Race course. The course was scenic and beautiful. We ran through the Emerald Necklace park system. It was pretty full of rolling hills which I wasn’t really prepared for but we handled them (thanks, Tulsa).
- The Weather. This was out of anyone’s control of course but our plans to just run and then dry shampoo our hair when we got back to the Air BnB (when we thought it would be in the 50s) went out the window in the first mile. No one’s fault but still.
- Race organization. There were over 6,000 runners and a single start! On narrow park trails. That is crazy to me. Maybe because they’re Boston and they can get away with it.
- Race course. Though scenic, it was crowded because of the single start. Parts of it had us running against later miles of the course and it was especially tight then. And smelly. Lots of humid, sweaty runners.
This was definitely just a checkmark state and more of an excuse to go back to Boston with a best girlfriend. It’s always better with some company, and not always about setting PRs, breaking 2 hours or running the whole way.
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