This past Saturday was the Boston Athletic Association's (BAA) 5k race that kicks off marathon weekend, and marked the second time Nicole and I ran it together.
It wasn't the best day for a race, though. When we got to the Boston Common, it was only 40 degrees, and windy. I guess we were lucky it wasn't also raining, but it took the entire first mile for me to get feeling back in my hands and feet, which had both gone numb.
In general, the course is pretty awesome. It's flat and fast, there are a lot of spectators cheering you on, and the scenery can't be beat. Besides getting a nice tour through the city, you pick up the end of the marathon route and pass over the marathon finish line. On a normal day, there's not much that is more motivating than that. The wind and cold really took a toll on me though. The last mile was particularly rough, and I was so ready to be done. I was grateful for Tom and Stephen, who were stationed on Boylston street near Old South Church, cheering us on.
I mentioned this race has a lot of spectators on the sidelines, and it's pretty amazing. Every time I was having a rough time, I'd hear someone shout out "You can do it Caitlin! Caitlin! KEEP RUNNING!" It's not easy to walk when there's so many people encouraging you. "Go get 'em Caitlin!" "Don't give up Caitlin - Just move your arms, your feet will follow!" I'm sure I wouldn't have gotten the time I did without them cheering me on.
Speaking of time, the people who run this race, are FAST. You get a lot of people who either have run the marathon, or who are running it on Monday, as well as Olympic athletes and world known runners. This race was only ~30 seconds slower than my personal best, and I finished at the end of the pack. I think a lot of the other races I've run have had a much more balanced group of runners. It does encourage you to run a bit faster, though, when you're surrounded by so many fast people!
Overall it was a fun day to get out, enjoy the city, and experience some of the marathon excitement. It likely won't be my last time running this race.