The B.A.A. 10 K will always have a special place in my heart. I first ran it in 2014 and it was my second ever road race (my first being the Cambridge Classic 5K). It was also the first race where world elite athletes would be on the same course as me. I remember walking with my friend Nicole (pictured above & who I run almost all my races with) through Boston Commons and seeing the Kenyans doing a warm up run. They were so graceful and I remember being in utter awe. The race is an out and back race so if you run fast enough, when you hit mile 2.5 the elites are running in the opposite direction at mile 5. I got chills seeing the elites do their thing and it still amazes me.
I’ve had all types of weather for this race. In 2015 (pictured above), we had torrential rain. Usually it’s hot, and the stretch on Commonwealth Ave. after Kenmore Square has almost no shade so you’re exposed to the sun almost the entire time. This year it was about 72 when we started so I knew it was going to feel hot. I hadn’t trained super hard for the race so as I corralled up I made a mental note to have fun and not worry about getting a new PR. This is a mental shift I think is necessary as you approach running in your 40’s. It’s definitely possible to get faster as you age, but I have a feeling that some of my times I ran at age 39 might just be my best. I had run a 44:27 at the Newton 10K that year and I’m not sure how I ever pulled that off.
At B.A.A. races, my one major complaint is that pre-race they don’t stress to people how important it is to corral properly. If I don’t place myself a full minute above the pace I’m running, I end up getting frustrated by slow race traffic ahead of me. Well, this year I corralled in the 7-7:59 pace group and it was an error. When the race started, I thought we were still waiting for another pulse because I literally WALKED over the start line. I tried not to panic and weave in and out and just wait for straight shots to cut through slower runners. I couldn’t even drop down to a 7:30 pace until the 1.25 mile point as we raced down the Commonwealth Avenue mall.
Throughout the next two miles I was able to hold a pretty consistent 7:24 pace and was feeling good. I took water as twice on the way out as I could feel I was going to be REALLY HOT by the end of the race. I also had taken a Salt Stick preventively before the race. The only time I slowed was when we climbed the hill as we approached the turn around right after the 3 mile marker.
I used the downhill after the turn around to really drop the hammer and was able to crank out a 7:10 pace through much of the next mile and a half. At around the 5 mile marker, I could tell I was starting to get gassed. I was feeling fatigued but knew I was so close to the finish that I really needed to dig deep. Running the Boston Marathon changes you forever. I drew on that experience knowing that this was a fraction of that effort and tricked my brain into a strong finish. It also didn’t hurt that I poured water over my head at the last water station. Side note: first time I’ve done that in a race & I have to say it is incredible how good it feels.
As I came down the last part on Boylston street before hitting the chute Cut To The Feeling by Carly Rae Jepsen came on my run mix and I got a big boost for the last .5 mile. I ended up finishing in 46:30. That put me in the top 9% overall, top 17% of men & top 17% in my age division. I’ll take it in a race when you’re racing with some of the fastest in the world. Even more importantly, I had a lot of fun. I got to run with one of my best friends in matching Tracksmith and Brooks gear. What more could you ask for?