For the second week in a row, I ran a specific race for the fourth time in four years. On Sunday I participated in Boston’s annual Run to Remember, a half marathon and 5 mile race that supports the families of fallen police officers.
I registered for the half marathon distance, figuring that I should be able to handle it after running Boston a month earlier. I had originally planned to squeeze in one or maybe two long runs (10-12 miles) in the weeks before the race, but then of course I got a fairly bad cold and ended up not doing it. As a result, the Run to Remember was by far my longest run since the marathon and I was nervous about not being well-prepared.
They always offer the option to switch into the shorter race, and every year I wistfully think about it and then decide to stick it out (and then briefly regret it again when the five milers get to divert off the longer course). This year, apparently a record number of people made the switch. I guess it was a tough winter for training. On this matter, I say cry me a river.
So I showed up to run feeling under-prepared and unsure of myself. I kept reminding myself that it was ok to just run the race to finish, and to think of it as preparation for another half marathon I have coming up in June.
Mentally this was a very tough race for me. Not only was I second-guessing my preparation, but I also still felt congested from my cold, and my muscles started protesting about mid-race (which makes sense, since my longest run recently was around 6.5 miles). I had to do a lot of self-talk and consciously slow myself down a little so I would feel more comfortable.
The race itself is one of my favorites. The course starts at the Seaport and goes through downtown Boston to cross the river and go down Memorial Drive in Cambridge. Around Harvard, the course makes a u-turn to go back across the river, through Back Bay and downtown, and end back at the Seaport. It’s a great tour on foot of the Boston area and very pretty. Except for a few small rises and dips, it’s also a flat course.
I also enjoy how police officers from surrounding areas come park their cruisers on the course near MIT to cheer the runners along. It’s a powerful reminder of where the proceeds from the race go.
Despite my psychological negativity and aching butt, I managed to finish the race in 1:58:11–my third best half-marathon time. I’d love to break my personal record this year but knew this was not likely to be the race where it happened; I take it as a really positive sign that I did as well as I did given the circumstances. Maybe the next half marathon will be the one!
Despite all the angst leading up to it, I’m glad I did the Run to Remember again.