2018 B.A.A 10K Race Report

Maybe 10Ks are not that terrible.

Yes, I wrote that. After swearing for years that a 10K is a miserable distance. It’s got all the painful parts of a 5K that just refuses to end. However, the B.A.A. 10K felt different this time. I don’t know, I guess lately I’ve been embracing each racing distance almost like a racing virgin. Guess a 3 years racing gap with a rejuvenated love for running again can make you love the things you used to hate.

After my fun run, but race in my mind, Donut 5K, I signed up last-minute for the BAA 10K cause all the cool kids (my friends) were doing it. I generally don’t do BAA races because well I am cheap ($10 per mile!!!!!!), they’re early, and crowded but I’ve been feeling like I needed something now that I haven’t ran a BQ in a few years. However with summer hitting up Boston (who else is dying after 6 straight days of 90 degree weather?), the racing options besides post work evening 5Ks have become slim and this race started at 8AM. Early, but doable with an easy access of starting in the Boston Commons.

I picked up my race bib and race shirt at Adidas’ B.A.A store, RunBase and won’t lie, I was pretty pissed off to learn the shirts were Unisex. Prime example of sexism in the running industry by race organizers and sponsors. First of all, no they’re not unisex, they’re men’s that you think I should settle for. Let’s have a race director use women shirts as unisex and see how the men react. The shirt is part of my race fee, I deserve to havee a damn shirt that fits just as much as any male does. Also, Adidas makes women shirts, this isn’t a local race director putting on their first race who doesn’t know how what a tech shirt is to begin with, this is a well-oiled B.A.A. machine that should know better. A store for runners (not just male runners) should respect and realize the value in giving shirts to women that are cut to fit them. Running in ill-fitting clothes is a great way to get hurt and hate running. RunBase & B.A.A, you should be ashamed of yourself. SHAME SHAME SHAME

shame

Plus the shirts had unicorns 😦

IMG_3185

 Anyway back to race night as I’ll rant about “unisex” shirts another day. Although I am up to 10 mile runs now, I still had the race night butterflies that seemed a little like joy and excitement crushed by extra flavorings of fear of oversleeping, or stomach problems  so after waking up like 10 times, I finally gave up at 6AM (hey, I usually wake up at 8am) and decided to eat and get dressed. It was also probably not a good time to realize on race morning that, that I probably should have done workout clothes laundry the night before because my options of running clothes were limited to blah, eh & meh. At least I found an old unused sports bra and blessed the workout gods that let me forget this one at the bottom of the drawer.

So walking out slightly like a toddler who dressed herself in the morning half blind in clothes that no longer fit quite right, I still had goals in mind. My public goal, 50 minutes (figured with a 23 min 5K, this seemed reasonable given double the distance and the confusing weather where I felt overdressed and underdressed all at the same time). My secret goal was 48 minutes wanting to stay slightly on pace with my 5K time.

IMG_3125

So walked over, tummy feeling relatively okay, pondering if I drank enough water (yea probably didn’t cause half a cup of tea doesn’t count as hydration); I started trying to figure out corrals. It was self-seeded (with 10,000 runners in a relatively narrow street, I was surprised they didn’t do required seeding. I saw a 5:59 pace sign (yea definitely not even in my prime), and then the signs just dropped off. I started walking back and forth trying to figure out where my paced peeps are all at and settled on basically finding other women who looked like me, short girls, slightly soft with muscular legs and decided, yea these are people who probably run like me.

  1.  IMG_3126

Despite the feel of confusion when I tried to seed myself, the race started really smoothly! I fangirled over the elites like Meb & Desi doing their strides or charge ups or whatever it is that real runners do before a race to warm up (isn’t that what the first mile is for?). And before I knew it, it was my turn to run around 8:05 or so.

I stopped running with a Garmin when I was constantly injured. Getting reminded of my pace on a regular basis would frustrate me because I kept wanting to run at my former speed and so I was still running device naked. I had runkeeper on in the background of my phone, but with no audio queues. Instead I just ran by feel of where I pushed myself just enough but not enough to heave on the side of the road (or worse). At the mile markers, I estimated I was running somewhere around 8 minute miles. Also surprisingly, my corral seeding strategy worked as the group I was running with was in pretty similar pace where I didn’t have to zigzag to pass people nor was anyone really zigzagging around me. baa10k_coursemap The course starts and ends at Boston Commons and is basically the JP Morgan corporate challenge course that doesn’t end because part two is the BU 5K.  It runs up Comm. Ave, a short bypass to Bay State road and back to Comm. Ave to continue past all the BU green line stops wrapping up into a turn around by West Campus just to see the other side of Comm. Ave as you make your return.

Overall, the course is “flat” with the exception of the rolling hills around the BU Bridge. I cursed and really wondered how 15 years from when I was a little BU Freshman, that this damn thing is still under construction. The cursing at the bridge distracted me for the next few miles (I hate that damn bridge) as I looped back into the 2nd half. Cursing at things is usually what leaves me face planting into concrete, but luckily I avoided that stage in this run as I realized I had less than 2 miles to go (33%!! Yea anyone else think of miles in race through percentages?). While I was happy that I was feeling pretty comfortable in my pace (look Ma, no walk breaks!), I was struggling trying to pick up the pace as glory of negative splits came to my brain know that going back should have a decline. I guess with no real speed work under my belt, it makes sense I had no surge abilities.

As I went past the 6 mile marker, I did try to kick a little (or kinda look like a duck trying to run out of water for bread crumbs) and damn is that .2 miles always taking forever. But just like that it was over and I was into the finishing area. Medal check! I was stuck in a daze between wanting to grab all the “free” food I can and the feeling of if I eating anything this moment, I may throw up. There were bagels, bars, chips, cranberry raisins, and probably more crap that can let you eat up to your heart’s desire. Being lazy, I settled for a few bags of chips and a bottle of water and went to find Tony who was waiting by the finish line (yet somehow missed my champion finish line crossing).

IMG_3139

My runkeeper app said I ran 6.33 miles but the satelite on my phone isn’t the most accurate so the pace may be a little offer, but overall I am pretty happy with the fairly steady pace versus my old style where I start fast, die mid way, and drag myself through the finish.

Official finish time was 46:37! Woohoo I hit my goal and it’s been a damn while since I hit goals (I estimated for the photo).

IMG_3136

 Another unicorn joins the collection

IMG_3141

2013 Tufts 10K Race Recap with Reebok

For the second year in a row I had the pleasure of running one of my favorite races with Team Reebok through my affiliation with Fitfluential. Similar to last year’s fashion, I had work on Monday (and Saturday and Sunday and everyday up until the 15th only worse this year than the past). I pulled a Clark Kent in the office bathroom and emerged!

I’m telling you elevator selfies are the new bathroom selfies!

And if you’re wondering, gee Liana what are those fabulous bright shoes you’re wearing? Well they’re the new Reebok One Cushion that have been getting me through my 6AM partial darkness 8 milers but more on those later! I don’t drink coffee before I run, so I need a little color to perk me up before I go go.

Anyways, I leave work and walk my way over to the commons to meet up in the Reebok tent. I already had my number since I grabbed it on Friday when I was at work. However, I would have forgotten it, had it not already been packed in my bag with my post race snacks.

Sadly, I missed the morning stretching & warm up (because while I can disappear for an hour, I probably shouldn’t for 3 hours from work.) In the tent I met up with Marc from Reebok who introduced me to Carrie Tollefson an Olympian who competed in the 2004 summer games. Yea contrary to popular believe, Olympians and speedy demons look just like you, me or your best friend! I asked her if she ever competed at the Tufts 10K and she told that she’s been here before a few times as part of the elite field. You know those girls who are warming up and already burning concrete before the race even started while you’re standing still and hoping to harness all your power within just for the race duration. That was probably how I pictured her a few years ago. Now she runs a distance running camp for teens  and a weekly webcast so check out her site for more info!

After my introduction to Carrie, I noticed Jen & Becki, my fellow Boston Bloggers. Of course, if you have at least one blogger, you know some serious photo action will take place!

Tufts 10K Running Man

Speaking of which, how cute are the Team Reebok shirts? There might have been a small strip show (I have no shame, my apologies) in the tent as I changed shirts. Sorry for the brightness and blindness my pale belly might have caused but I couldn’t wait to wear it! I’m going to have to replace my favorite shirt (purple from last year) with this gorgeous blue one that matches all my pink so well! I was also really happy to be racing in shorts for what could be my last chance of the year which winter looming!

At 15 minutes to noon, they start announcing the seedings. Seedings are kinda like corrals but you all start at the same time, but line up based on your expected time. I walk over with Carrie to the 7 minute pace. She tells me how she’s going to take it easy since she just ran a marathon this past weekend. Of course, I’m like perfect, I’ll just try to keep up with her! And of course at the start of the gun, she sets off at a 6 minute “recovery” pace that I try to keep up and give up within a minute.

I would love to have a mile split breakdown of my race but I learned something today while writing my recap! The reason my Garmin stopped beeping was because I turned off my laps so my whole race is showing up as one long lap in my Garmin training report. Oops! Instead you get my mile by mile emotional ride.

Mile 1: I’m always the happiest at my first mile. Fresh legs, fresh grub, fresh energy. This mile was also in the shade so everything stayed fresh. Every year, I try to keep up with Joan Benoit!

Tufts 10K with Joany

photo by Ted Tyler from Coolrunning 

Mile 2-3: As we moved onto to mile 2-3, we started running on Memorial drive which severely lacks some trees and I start to heat up. Suddenly, I’m regretting not chugging more Nuun at their sample table. It’s really hot, and I start to remember what running at noon time in 65 degree weather feels like. Highly unpleasant.

tufts 10K 2Photo by Ted Tyler from Coolrunning 

Mile 4-5: You know what I don’t like about 10Ks? They’re like a 5K that refuses to end. Seriously, you run your little heart out for 20:26 seconds to 3.1 miles and you’re like woohoo 5K PR and then you realize you’re only half way there. Mile 4 comes and you’re like shit, I’ve got 1/3rd of the race to go and this hurts. This really hurts. At mile 5 you start the compromises. I’m not really a 10K runner, it’s okay to slow down. I’ve been working all weekend, it’s okay to run a slow race. I’m not good enough why bother..

tufts 10K

At this point, I was so hot and so cranky that I might have cursed everyone that passed me & their demon spawn

I find 10Ks to be the most difficult distance I have ever run. It’s physiological warfare where you break down and put yourself back together at least 4 times all within a span of less than 45 minutes. 

Mile 6: We crossed the Mass ave bridge back into Boston, where generous, kind, beautiful trees protected me from the sun. Suddenly, the world doesn’t seem like such a bright but dark place. Suddenly, I think 10Ks are awesome, I’ve only got 1 mile left, that’s less than 10 minutes. Let’s do this! You also pass my favorite aid station ever. The water station with the handsome men in suits! If anyone has a photo please share. I was too full into beast mood to snap a shot as I had a death grip on my phone.

And per my request, my friend Michael who was volunteering sent me a photo! Why don’t more races offer men in tuxes for water stops?

Tufts 10K Tux Water Stop

And just like that it was over. I shake Joan’s hand as my breathing tries to catch up to the cool off that my legs are feeling. Joan meanwhile looks like she barely broke a sweat while I am drenched and am barely making coherent sentences.

Official Net Time – 42:28

Although I’m 34 seconds slower than last year, I came in once again at my honorable 112th spot out of 7,000 or so participators! I think for the most part I am in similar shape to last year only with a whole lot less sleep and a 50K that I ran only 6 days ago under my belt. The weather also played a big part in my performance. If it was up to me, I would do all my races in 48 degree weather!

Aside from maybe some more speed workouts, I think my training went well. Most of my training was focused during my 5-8 mile morning runs in my  Reebok One Cushion shoes. Check out my next post for a full review and a giveaway for a pair of your own!

Have you ever run an all women race? Did you like it?

I loved running with all women, it’s empowering and I feel very proud of my fellow ladies! Plus the ladies smell a lot better than the men when they run so my nose is happier!

Disclaimer:  Reebok sponsored my race entry and provided me with some awesome clothing and Reebok One shoes thanks to my FitFluential Ambassadorship.  All opinions as always for better or worse are my own!

TARC Spring Classic Review

I ran the TARC Spring Classic race on April 28th 2012.

The race had several options 10K, Half Marathon (which Tony did), Marathon & 50K. I got very ambitious and signed up for the 50K. Due to recent knee pain and being completely unprepared I DNFed the race. I’ll go more into the reason why later. However, this won’t stop me from reviewing and mentioning how awesome the race was!

The four races are hosted by a group called the Trail Animal Running Club. The races were very low-key with amazing volunteers. There was a total of 300-400 runners. Because there was no chip system in place the registration fee was only $20. No race expo, no selling you crap you don’t need but want, just pure simple running.

The 10K started at 8AM and the other races at 8:15. The race was held in Weston, MA. A place I haven’t visited before but was in awe how pretty all the houses are. Tony and I got there at 7:45AM to get our bib numbers. We then hid in the car trying to stay warm as it was about 45 degrees outside.

The Hobo hat came back from my closet for a visit. You may laugh but it’s so warm!

Neither of us have ever done a trail race before. We haven’t even taken a trail run; even though we’re two miles away from Middlesex Fells Reservation, before. Needless to say we were nervous and excited to start.

We originally planned on staying together. I was running with a gimp leg and figured running with Tony would be a smart pacing strategy vs. me trying to compete with everyone around me. However that did not work out.

The course was a 10K loop. You do 5 loops to complete a 50K. In order for the half marathoner and marathoners to get their exact distance they had a small little mini loop in the beginning of the trail. The full marathon people did this mini loop twice. So within 1 minute Tony and I said our goodbyes and went on our separate ways.

The course was a mix of fire roads (30%) and single track trails (70%).  What I thought was going to be an easy flat trail was anything but flat. While there were no switchbacks and miles upon miles of decent, the single tracks were a constant up and down experience. Lots of rocks, lots of twigs, and a few muddy creeks.

The first loop (10K) went by great! I felt strong, I felt awesome! I felt like a movie star running through the woods of a zombie scene.

All the photography was done by the creek or on the fire roads so needless to say I have real photos for the single track trail part.

I saw the clock said either 50-55 minutes when I finished the first loop. I grabbed two Gu chumps from the fuel table and ran on my way. More on how awesome the fuel/water station was later.

The second loop I think was my fastest. I knew what to expect, I knew where to go and I felt more confident about myself. Well almost. Me and the creeks… Well..

I was running in new shoes and really did not want to get them too muddy!

I hit my second loop/ 20K at about 1:50. I looked around for Tony but he was busy being a beast of his own so I grabbed two more Gu Chumps and made my way.

Somewhere in the middle of my third loop, my gimp leg/knee woke up and decided its time to stop running. I slowed my pace and did a half run half walk type of thing. I finished my 30K somewhere around 3:20 where I found Tony waiting for me.

This guy finished the half in 2:21!

Looking back, I probably should have signed up for just the half. I don’t think my body was ready for the complexity of trail running to that distance. I should not have run in Asics that are half a size too big on me. While it’s okay to wear shoes a little big for road running to prevent some toenail losses, such was not the case with trails. I have the blisters to prove it.

The course had a single aid/fuel station that you passed by each time you completed a loop. The volunteers were super cool and refilled all your water bottles for you and gave you anything you needed. Because it was a 10K trail with no water stops people were strongly encouraged to run with a water bottle. I ran the first loop without mine but grabbed it off the grass on the second loop. I’m used to running 15 miles without water so given the cold weather I wasn’t too concerned for just 6 miles. I mixed water with a nuun hydration tab and mostly relied on that for hydration.

In addition to water & Gu Brew the race provided, everyone was asked to bring one snack from one type as designated by the last letter of your last name. This created an almost trail running pot luck picnic! After I DNFed, I munched on delicious brownies, pretzels, sweet potato chips and s’mores. I wanted to make sure that for every calorie I burned, I took in 3x as much back into my body.

Could I have finished the race? Yes, I think I could have finished in between 5 to 6 hours. Although the pace would have been slow for me, it was a pace that more than half the people finished at. However, poor Tony forgot to bring his school books so I felt bad making him wait for me as I hiked/ran 20K more. I think judging by the blisters I got from my half-size too big shoes, it was a good idea to stop as well or at least to change my socks. As much as it hurt my pride, I walked away and went home. I did end up doing a small hike by my house with a friend so maybe I could mentally add that to my mileage towards the 50K.

Also how could I not forget, I got to meet two of my Daily Mile friends! I think this was one of my favorite parts of the race. Putting faces to people who support and motivate me on a daily basis. I think I seem a little dazed in my internal struggle to want to run, but I really did enjoy meeting people in real life and wish I had time to stick around more.

Aside from a bruised ego I walked away with a new love for trail running. I love the support and spirit of all the runners. Instead of a competition, I felt as I was part of a community. The cool part is that TARC often has small group runs in the Blue Hills (south of Boston) and the Fells (North of Boston by me) on weekends. I intend to try to make as many of those as possible. That way, by the time the Summer TARC classic 50K comes I’ll be ready!

Malden Rotary 10K Recap

On March 24th, before the horror of going through my first home inspection in the house buying process (which on a sidenote is really so not cheap!) I ran a 10K.

Malden Rotary 10K is an annual race that’s held every year in my humble city that’s within the Boston Metro Area right off the subway =)

There’s also a 5K which is a lot more popular and by popular I mean 187 runners vs. 117 runners.

I woke up at 8AM, annoyed that the race didn’t start until 11:40. I have a deep hatred for late start races that break up your day and give you fours hours to eat crap before your run. By the way, in case you didn’t know; giant apple turnovers are not ideal pre-race fuel. Even if they’re homemade and even if you’re only running 6 miles.

I thought about doing a long 20 mile run and ending with the 10K but I wanted to race my friends so I stayed home and grazed to harvest that energy in my legs (or so I used as my excuse).

I had this silly idea that it was warm and sunny outside. 12 hours ago I was walking around in flip-flops and a dress; how much different could weather be a night later. Also, P.S. although it may look that way, I promise I do not live in a ski lodge!

I was so excited for this race that I convinced 5 other runners and nonrunners to sign up; 4 of which ran! I have a deep appreciation of local events. Tony skipped out because he wanted to be on time to our house inspection. I decided if I run fast enough, I can do both =).

Chris & Steph ran their first 10K with me and I think I have some serious local competition!

My two other friends ran the 5K. Because the 5K started 20 minutes after the 10K I missed seeing them pre-race. However, I saw Ana at the 3 mile mark where the 5Kers met the 10Kers before I kept running.

Being a local race, the organization was the not the greatest. There were two different start times 11:30 and 11:40 listed. The actual race started at 11:35 so to be safe we shivered a bit at the starting line. I ended up running with the Puma long sleeve the whole time with no regrets!

This is the number one reason why I love local races, besides the lack of driving, I can feel special! Two minutes short of first place and I kept up with that crazy fast girl for the first 3 miles and then I got lazy. Can you hit a wall at mile 3 if its a 10K? Steph finished right behind me! Last year I ran the same race in 51:34 so I can’t be too upset with a 7:30 minute improvement on a 6 miler.

After the 10K, the draining inspection and a much-needed shower, my night only got better. Tony’s parents took us all out for a belated Christmas present at Alfresco in Davis Square, Somerville. I got the seafood linguine cooked to perfection. None of the weird fishy after taste, no closed shells, just pure delicious perfection!

Sadly, there was no leftovers, but I still had plenty of room for desert! Especially when its homemade baklava.

Recovery Week Count down

Summary of workouts during “recovery week” post the Marathon debut

  • Monday 10 Mile Easy Run 9 min pace outside
  • Tuesday 10 Miles on handless Elliptical & 10 Mile easy run outside 8:38 pace
  • Wednesday Super busy work day but IB sneakedB in a 6 Miles Incline 3 horrible sticky treadmill run during lunch. 9:04 pace lots of walk breaks. B Did I mention that I hate humid runs! B Summer will be rough!
  • Thursday NOTHING, unless typing away is a workout
  • Friday Another sneaked in 6 Mile Runs at 3 Incline, 8:39 pace. B Much better, a lot less humid. B Keeping my fingers crossed for a Bikram workout.
I have a local 10K at 11:40AM onB Saturday. B Last year I ran it in 51:30, so I’m curious what a few months of marathon training will do to my 10K speed. B It’ll be humid, but 6.2 miles takes a lot less time then 26.2 =)

It’s been gorgeous the past few days in Boston!

But sadly due to a certain time of year, I’ve been seeing very little of the outside world.

I don’t actually see client anymore, but I still have the same deadlines.

At least on late workdays I get to expense dinner from Red Lantern. B Duck Buns! B Soooo good!

The rest of my dinner that got consumed in 10 minutes. B Duck buns, Salmon roll, cucumber salmon roll. B I’m becoming a speed demon when it comes to eating! B All these tax forms make me hungry =)

Jack hopes everyone has a Happy Run week!

I love sweat, I love beets, I love the beet-red sweaty face I wear with pride

Today’s workout 6 miles – 2 incline – treadmill – 51 minutes – 7.1MPH

It’s always a bit awkward when I make my away back to the cube with a red face, a gymbag and hair slightly less styled then it was earlier that morning.B The downside of lunchtime work-out!B The best part though, I feel fully energized to plummet into the second half of my work for the day.B If only I was that productive with everything else in my life.

I gained a .1MPH speed.B Last week I was at 7.0.B Working towards an 8MPH!B Okay, I must confess, I’m also secretly training for a 10K.B I registered for a local one that’s the weekend after my DC Marathon.B I’ve only ran one 10K before and that was for the same race last year.B I finished in 51:34, 3rd in my age group. Okay to be fair, less than 118 people ran, but still I got my eyes on first place.B That involves cutting a minute of each mile.B So not likely, but I still want to improve my 10K PR.

Today is Friday.B Which is awesome in of itself.B Sadly the weather did not cooperate.B However, you know what else I love about Fridays is office free food.B Sometimes after Friday lunch meetings there’s free food and I rejoice.B This works out perfectly when I get back from my run and just want to eat at my desk so I can do work.B Greek Salad, rice pilaf, and gyro meat from Jaffa Cafe.B I could be a normal person and make a gyro sandwich with my pita, but there just isn’t pita to fit all the food I want in my belly.

Today is also the last Friday of the Monday.B That means Birthday Cake!B Happy birthday February people!B And yes, if you cover up your double chocolate cake with strawberries, it magically becomes healthy.B I don’t know why I had the yogurt there, I think I had some idea of using it for cream and then got lazy.

Any fun plans for this weekend?

Just another 20 miler!B Hopefully the weather will clear up.B I’m also trying to catch up on my March magazine issues pile that keeps growing on my desk.B B Maybe even finish Girl with Dragon Tattoo.B I know, I live a crazy life.