Where’s Sarah?! Should I have worn a stripey outfit instead?
This was my third year running the Boston Firefighters Memorial 10k – it was my first ever race at the 10k distance two years ago, and both last year and this year I
conned convinced a bunch of my running peeps to do it with me. It’s a fun race with a great band playing after, and the weather tends to be perfect for hanging out post-race in a parking lot with good people. Plus, one of our running peeps happens to be a firefighter at the BFD, and we love to support him and his colleagues.
(I apologize in advance if you’re not a runner, this is kind of long but hopefully not super boring?)
I was determined to set a new personal record (PR) at this race this year. The course in past years was flat and fast, and thanks to consistent bootcamping I’ve been running faster in the last six months than I have since I started running again post-college. The course was changed not long before the race, so I didn’t know what to expect until the morning of the race…which made me a little nervous, but it worked out great – the new course avoided the big hill near the start/finish that I had been worrying about. Plus, now the final mile (1.1 miles if you want to get technical) loops through the park that was a part of our regular stomping grounds when we lived in Lower Mills – lots of good memories to get me through the last bit of the race!
I lined up at the start with a number of ladies from the running club, but knew that some of them are too fast for me to even dream about keeping up with, and some of them were taking it easy as they had run the BAA Half Marathon the week before. I jokingly commented to one of them, Angi, that if I pace with her I’d nail my PR – knowing that I run with her during our regular runs when I’m trying to get some speed in (and occassionally when she humors me and slows down to something closer to my usual pace) – but I also told her that I knew she was only seven days out from a half, so I was expecting her to run her own race and ditch me at some point to slow down and take it easy.
But here’s the thing about running buddies…they love to crush their own goals, but they also love to watch and help you crush yours. It was honestly unintentional, but once I had planted the seed of “if we run 9:20 miles, I’ll PR this race” into Angi’s head, that seed started to grow. Our first mile was pretty comfy pace-wise and a little crowded, so we were just racing along each of us listening to our own music and thoughts. Right around the mile 1 marker there was a pothole that caught Angi and she fell. (I should note here that at least three other runners stopped to help her up if needed and make sure she was okay. Runners really are the best!) We walked for a minute and she tried to tell me to go on without her – it was my race…but I don’t leave my people behind, especially if they may be hurt. She was feeling okay and ready to run again pretty quickly, and I’m not sure if that was exactly when she decided I was going to PR or what, but as soon as we had our mile 2 splits (me on my watch, her through her phone), she told me she was pacing me to my PR and that was that.
A portion of the course is an out-and back on Morrissey Boulevard (love seeing the BFD fire boat in the harbor!) so Angi and I had a great time seeking out and cheering for all of the Running Dawgs as everyone turned around. Around mile 5.5, we passed another one of them – Pete2 (we have three Petes, so we numbered them. Pete1 is my Pete, Pete2 is the big brother of the group, and Pete3 we like to call the Mayor of Quincy because whenever we are out socially he runs into multiple people he knows…I digress). At this point Angi was trying to
kill inspire me…she was keeping about 5-10 steps ahead of me and forcing me to chase her. I said hey to Pete2 as I passed him, and just kept chasing Angi. Then I started hearing someone chasing me, and realized pretty quickly it was Pete2. The three of us ran through the last bit of the park that way: me chasing Angi, Pete2 chasing me. As we turned the corner onto the street with the finish line right in front of us, we were side by side. And so this happened:
A finish that was 1 minute and 15 seconds faster than my previous 10k PR, complete with an awesome finish line photo of the three of us finishing side by side.
New 10k PR? NAILED IT.