This month so far I’ve run two 5k’s which were as different as night and day…and not just literally. Lol
April 7th was the Newport Night Run, held at sunset on a gorgeous (from what I could see) ocean loop in Newport, RI.
April 14th was the B.A.A. 5k, held in the morning at Boston Common, on a great loop that goes right on, left on, and across the famed marathon finish line.
Both were different field sizes (900 versus 9,000), and totally different experiences, both both equally amazing. 🙂
For Newport, I had my favorite training partner by my side. We were decked out in full neon, reflective strips and a headlamp, as suggested by the race director.
And just before dark, we joined the glow at the start line and headed off. There was a great starting downhill, which unfortunately my wonky leg didn’t love. But I hung in there and tried not to think about it. We went through a lovely narrow section lit by luminaries where we noticed a HUGE osprey nest high atop a pole. We wove around, up and over hills, past some enormous houses and cool stone walls. The mile marker signs were crazy lights you could see from a ways back, and checking out the cool reflective patterns on some people’s backs when my headlamp hit them was fun.
The race was crowded. There were definitely spots it was hard to run your pace, and it was WAY hillier than I expected, but we had so much fun chatting and pointing out cool stuff to each other. And when we finally crested the last hill and saw the downhill to the finish, we ran it out strong. It was a little slower than i’d hoped – but considering how much my leg hated the downhill sections, how crowded it was, and how it was hard to see where you were stepping sometimes, i’ll take it. 🙂 A 31:07 finish.
But while I said i was fine with it, I sorta feel like I let the hubs down. He’s fast for a beginner and I know we ran slower than capable off. I had wanted him to get a sub-30 finish for his second 5k of the year (Disney was the first and we purposely ran that sucker slow), but I know he’ll nail that at his third in Providence next month.
So with the BAA 5k looming, I really wanted to nail that one. I spent the week between resting more, stretching more and trying to stay zen. I had a great freak out, and then, just let go, knowing it would be what it was.
Reasons I knew this would go better? It was morning (my fave run time), a little warmer (high 40’s) and flatter. Plus this time I taped my leg. 🙂
And as we headed up into Boston to meet my friend, and the sun rose above the horizon I broke out into the Circle of Life (LOL!) because it just seemed the thing to do when your friends are also Disney runners (Hakuna Matata Cara).
The hubs didn’t run this one, but was serving as team coach & equipment manager, saving me from having to deal with what was apparently a zoo at bag check. We met up with the princess posse and hung out, snagging some prerace photos and getting ready.
And a little before 8, headed to the corral, which was SO far back from the start it felt extremely Disney. In fact, by the time we approached the start, we were just in time to watch the elite men finish. COOL! Then…it was our turn.
I went out solid with the crowd, dodging and weaving to get room to run. I surged up Comm Ave feeling pretty good and when the mile marker hit, I chose to not look at my watch. I was just gonna run my best and not worry about my time. I had told my friend Cara that anywhere between 28 & 32 would make me happy, and I meant it.
When we hit the turnaround at Charlesgate I smiled, knowing I was now on the marathon course. After running it three years in a row, I knew it well.
When we hit the underpass at Mass Ave, I had a brief moment where I remembered 2013, and how that was where my race ended at mile 25.67. So close, and so far. But I got past myself, I high-fived a guy on the corner of Hereford as I made that infamous right, and scurried up the hill thinking “this is way easier when I haven’t already run 26 miles”.
I turned that left onto Boylston and shouted “Best Left Turn in Town” and raced towards the finish line to fly across and keep going as there was still 3/4 of a mile left. I started watching the crowds, in case there were any familiar faces. And cracked up at the blue t-rex alongside the public garden.
Then there was the left turn onto Charles towards the finish line, which seemed SO far away. I didn’t want to kick until I knew I could sustain it, but when the young girl started to pull alongside I thought “oh honey no” and kicked. Flew across the finish and to a dead stop (oh no, folks, I gotta keep going, or this won’t be pretty……this is not the place for selfies!).
Checked my watch, got my medal, hugged a friend I randomly bumped into (we’ve managed to run into each other at three or four different races now) and went to find the hubs. Because I was ready to celebrate…. I pulled a 29:30. YAY
Now granted, I am so far from my PR paces it sucks, but to at least be back under 30 makes me happy. And the leg continues to get better every week.
What was also cause for celebration? My friend Cara got a PR!!!!!!! So exciting. I just love seeing my friends achieve greatness. 😁
So yeah, these two races were completely different experiences for me, but I loved both and would run both again. We run different races for different reasons. Newport was a birthday celebration for me, and quality time with the hubs. Boston was because its the 5th anniversary of my only race DNF and a chance to earn another unicorn medal. I had something to prove out there…and I did.
Another thing both races had in common? Cheers!