One of these days I’m going to convince SHE to run a half marathon with me regardless of the pain it might cause. I have offfered to carry her! So as I stated in a previous post, my original half marathon schedule all changed the day after the Boston bombing. I decided not to run The Historic Half Marine Run in VA and instead not only run the Brooklyn Half but one week later run the “Run to Remember” Half Marathon in Boston. The race, Sunday April 19, in its 9th year, honors Massachusetts Law Enforcement Officers killed in the line of duty by celebrating their lives. This year specifically, the race was particularly sad with the recent death of MIT police officer Sean Collier, who was killed by the Tsarnaev brothers as they tried to flee the city after the Boston Marathon bombings. Collier’s badge number 179 was displayed proudly on each runner’s back in the race.
Now to say I was a bit nervous running this race would be quite the understatement. I have really only scratched the surface with my running escapades and I had already run the Brooklyn Half one week earlier. The week leading up to the race I would keep it quite simple and not push the body too much. I worked out at SoulCycle Monday and Tuesday with Madison Lari and Sydney Miller, SLT on Thursday with my yoda Jamie Lugo and wrapped up the week with SoulCycle on Friday with Ben Turshen. The basic idea was to keep the legs loose and fresh all week while adding the usual Soul mantra into the mix to clear the head. My last couple races I had done Pilates two days prior to but this time chose three days since Jamie is not exactly the easiest class in the world.
I was quite excited for this race from a PR stance. I have gone from 2.00 to 1:54 to 1:53 over my past three races with a goal of 1:52 for this race. That was until I checked the weather forecast and saw 40 something and rain. I had never run in the rain before. I had no clue what to wear. Were my sneakers going to be rain durable. Was my iPhone going to get soaked. Do I layer up? I think I read hundreds of blogs that week to carefully prepare for this race. Thank you running blog world!
The clouds and rain added to a very solemn beginning of the race. There was just something sad in the air that did not give me any other choice but to have a moment of reflection during the pre-race speeches. There were police officers from all over the country running in this race. Two in particular were charged with carrying the American flag throughout the entire race. I mean what an honor that must have been! BTW, yes, my time would probably improve if I stop taking pictures during the race
I worked my way up to the front corral as there was no real order to where one should start other than pace time flags. Here is where it gets fun. I decided to use my Nike running app for this race. The gun goes off and after Mile one, the app does its “you have run one mile at a pace of”. And what do you know. I ran my first mile at a 7:30something pace! My second mile? Still sub 8! Maybe it was the rain. Maybe it was the 10 hours of sleep the night prior to. Either way my energy level was at an all-time high. The next couple miles crept into the 8 something range but it was already in my head that I should easily beat the 8:40/pace and accomplish some sort of PR. That was until the rain started to come down a bit heavier and the wind along the water picked up. And to make things worse. At about mile 5 the calves in both my legs started to tighten up. And this was with wearing compression socks. The positive energy was starting to suck its way out of my head as I started wondering to myself if I was even going to finish the race let alone top 1:53.
But then came my favorite part of the race. Instead of fans sprawled out on either side of the road to cheer us on, we came to a portion where the street was lined with Boston police officers and Massachusetts State police. They were lining up to cheer us on, to thank us, the runner. Giving us high 5′s as we ran past each and every officer. WTF! They are the ones who put their lives on the line every day and they were taking time out to push us, to cheer us, to thank us? If this didn’t motivate the runners to power through for the back half of the race, I don’t know what would because it certainly lifted my spirits! Pain be gone, nothing was going to stop me now!
The Nike App mile after mile kept alerting me to my time and I was still well under the 8:40 goal pace I had set prior to. The last couple miles were by far my hardest as I think my body just was in 9th inning mode and wanted it all to be over with. I was right around the 8:24 pace so with any luck I would stay the course and end up with a PR. Little did I know I would end the race running 1:50:10! I was happy and mad at the same time. 1:50 at an 8:24 pace was 3 minutes faster than just a week earlier. But if only I just pushed myself I would have safely cleared 1:50. Oh well, next time.
All in all, this was a fantastic race that reminded me of so many things. What is important in life. What isn’t. And better yet, that I truly can now consistently run half marathons. I am in the process of sitting down with one of my favorite running and nutritional personalities in all the universe that is going to allow me to train properly, eat properly and get me to a level I have only ever dreamed about. I have a goal of 1:39 at some point over the next year. The plan is if I can get to 1:39, I will register for a marathon. Paris anyone?!