13.2 miles today. The big half marathon is finally here. All those weeks of training, sore legs, tiredness, 292 miles of training, all for this.
First, it was so nice to have the race be in East Boston/Revere. With my new job change happening so close to the race, I’ve been working insane hours and so I was a bit tired. Not having to drive far made a huge difference. I got home from work around 10 pm, drank a few glasses of water, and went straight to bed. I was pretty dang tired, and actually got a good amount of sleep considering I was pretty amped for the race. I woke up around 6 am, got some coffee into me to kickstart the system, did my requisite two visits to the bathroom, and we hit the road.
Getting to Suffolk Downs was fairly easy, with a little bit of traffic around the entrance. It’s such a huge, weird property, but there was plenty of parking and picking up my bib and shirt was painless (the shirt is great). I warmed up a bit, got my ankles ready to go, and Melissa and I took a picture in front of the horse starting gates which were set up near the race start (a nice touch).
The race started at 8:15, so we began to lineup at 7:50 or so. Lots of nervous energy. The race people did their usual thanking of the sponsors and volunteers, someone sang the national anthem (beautifully), and the mayor of Revere said some quick words. Then we were off.
In hindsight, I went out perhaps a bit too fast, but that’s to be expected for the beginning of a race. I did commit myself to steady 9 minute miles, and for the most part I succeeded. The race started out primarily in East Boston, and we ran through Orient Heights to the loop that I always do around Belle Isle Marsh and headed out to Revere Beach. This was by far the easiest part of the run course-wise, but also the most monotonous – a lot of looping around Revere Beach before we headed back to Suffolk Downs. The race did an amazing job with aid stations and the making of the course. Everything made sense, aid stations were everywhere with both Gatorade and water, and all the volunteers were great. There were also random local bands all over the course, with some great State Police bagpipers at Belle Isle and two fantastically cheesy bands at Revere Beach and the finish line. Weather was also perfect, sunny and a little breezy with temps around 65ºF.
I was very consistent until mile 11.5, where I started to falter a bit. At that point it was the farthest I had ever run, and while I tried mentally to not let that get to me, I think it did affect things a bit. My legs also started to get tired and tight, and I had to stop and give them a stretch twice from this point on.
The most amazing part was around Beachmont, when I was feeling pretty low, Melissa magically appeared and began to pace me until the finish line. This was such a help, and it made me fall in love with her all over again. We went steady until cheesy band #2, and from there I booked it to the finish line. Final time: 2:02, for an average of 9:15 per mile. Right where I wanted and expected to be.
This was by far the most challenging run I’ve ever done, and the most satisfying. It’s amazing to think where I was just 4.5 months ago. It’s also the best I’ve felt in a long time – I was euphoric, and if I didn’t know any better I would have guessed I was tipsy.