Sunday, June 22, 2014


This morning I ran my first BAA race, the 10K. It was an absolutely beautiful sunny summer morning in Boston. I went to the race and ran it alone. I signed up a couple months ago because I wanted to do another 10K and running in Boston is something I love very much. It was a race a really wanted to do, even if it meant going solo.

BAA had mailed out bibs, and even though I informed them of my recent address change, I didn't receive mine before the race. So I left my house an hour an a half before the start so I could hopefully find a place to park and pick up a new bib. I was kind of bummed I didn't get to have my name on my bib, but I guess there could've been a lot worse things to happen. It took less than 20 minutes to get to the city (have I mentioned how much I love living here?!). I was planning to pay and park in a parking garage, but instead I scored a free spot on the street. I walked over to the common to get my bib and scope out the scene. There weren't many people there yet, so I took advantage, grabbed my tshirt and used the porta potty while there was no line. I still had about an hour to kill, so I figured I would walk back to my car and drop off most of my stuff. I wanted to keep moving my legs so they didn't get stiff.

Feeling like a tourist taking all the pictures. I just love Boston. 

walking down Commonwealth Ave,
my favorite street, and part of the course 

After dropping most of my stuff off, I went back to the common to check the rest of my gear, use the porta potty again, and get ready to line up at the start. Side note: finally a race with enough porta potties for the amount of people! 8,000 runners and I don't think I waited in line more than a minute. Well done, BAA. Shortly after I returned, there was an announcement that we should start lining up in the corral based on our projected paces. They had a pulsed start, where each different pace group started a couple of minutes apart. The 8:00 and under started at 8:03, and then the 8-9 min group at 8:07, and so on. There were actually people with ropes separating the different paces. I thought this was great, although of course not everyone complied. I had to dodge a few walkers within the first mile. 

my nameless bib

another view down Comm Ave
the course went down one side and back on the other

Leading up to this race I was pretty anxious for a couple of reasons. I didn't have the best of weeks last week. I was sick last weekend, missed a long run, and felt off while running for the first half of the week. Because of that I had no idea what to expect from this race, but I knew I would give it my all regardless. The second reason was that my favorite west coaster convinced me to run the race without my watch. While I enjoy some long runs without my garmin, I haven't raced without one in years. It scared the hell out of me. But I made a promise, and we agreed that this was the time to do it since I really didn't know what state my body would be in. I knew there would be clocks at every mile, but I didn't know at what time I crossed the starting line. I ran based on how my body felt, not constrained by the numbers on my watch. It was scary, but an eye opening experience.

We started on Charles St in between the common and the public garden, headed down Commonwealth Ave, passed Boston University, then up a couple (bigger than I was expecting) hills, did a U turn, and ran back on the other side of the road, finishing where we started. I loved it. I'm pretty sure this is the first race I have ran with elite runners leading the field. Stephen Sambu (27:25...holy crap!) of Kenya and Mamitu Daska (31:04...holy crap!) of Ethiopia both won for the second year in a row and ran the fastest times in the world this year. It was so fun seeing them on the other side of the road flying by me. Seeing their pain faces and realizing everyone hurts while running a race gave me the strength to keep pushing forward. 

The last mile was definitely a struggle. It was hot. I walked through a couple water stops to drink some water and dump some on my head. I reminded myself not to fight the pain but to embrace it. The last mile felt like forever. I kept pushing with everything I had at that point. When I crossed the finish line I saw 50:49 on the clock. I knew that wasn't my official time, but I had no idea how much under that I would be. I went in to this race originally hoping to finish under 49 minutes, but with the events of the week prior, I would have been happy with anything close to my PR at the time. I thought it would be close, but really I had no idea.

not the elusive unicorn medal,
but my first unicorn medal nonetheless 

After the race I wandered around for a bit looking for the results. I was told they would be posted online. I decided to go back to my car and attempt to change my clothes. Thanks to Ragnar Cape Cod, I am now a pro at stealthily changing in the car. I managed to do just that in the middle of Boston (sorry mom). I walked back to the common, watched the awards, and then wandered around the city for a while. I should mention I was also obsessively checking my phone to see if the results had been posted. They hadn't. 

this just never gets old (for me at least)

I finally made my way back home, and over 3 hrs after I finished running, the results were finally posted. Official result: 49:08 and a new PR! Naturally, my first instinct was to be annoyed I was so close to breaking 49 minutes and didn't. The walks through the water stops popped in to my head. If only I hadn't done this or that, or maybe I could have pushed a little more... But I had to stop myself. In all honestly, I wasn't expecting to PR today with the way I was feeling last weekend and throughout most of the week. I went out there and I ran as hard as I could, without a watch, and put my heart in to it. There were many places where I started to doubt myself and I felt like I wanted to walk or slow down more, and I didn't. I pushed myself. I honestly feel like I gave it all I had in that race... So really, what more could I have asked of myself today? I'd say the BAA 10K was a success and I'm proud of the way that I ran. 


  1. Wahoo! Go Jess!

  2. I'm so proud of you for going with out the watch!!! Yes I'm late on commenting, buuuuuut I've been preoccupied(/a bad friend). You're so awesome and I love reading your posts!