A great Sunday. That’s just what it was.
Let me start with talking about the race. This was the third Super Sunday I’ve run since being in Boston. It was a January three years ago where I got the itch to run a 5k and stumbled on the race when it was still in Southie. At the time I thought it would be crazy to run a race on Super Bowl Sunday, freezing, in February. You know, a once in a lifetime, fun story to tell type of thing. Little did I know then that not only would I run many races in the freezing cold in the years to come but that I would also be affiliated with the company that put on that first Boston race I ran. But, let’s get back to this one. I picked Lara and Peter up around 9:30 and we headed over Cambridge. We arrived, oh, about 10 minutes later. With about 40 minutes to kill before going over to the starting line, we just hung around in the general safety and warmth of the car. There was a portajohn at the end of the parking lot that was meant for the construction going on in an adjacent building, but the lines were exponentially shorter than the official ones. Despite less than sanitary conditions, we hit that and then headed over to the start line. I met up with a few other RaceMenu folks before actually going to the line itself. After what seemed like an eternity waiting in the cold and snow, the announcements were made, the Star Spangled Banner sung and the gun fired.
Let me take you back quickly to a time when I was 13 years old. I had just gotten a Nintendo 64 for my birthday. I wasn’t (and still am not) a big video game player. However, when I play a game, I compulsively try and improve my skill. In MarioKart 64 you had the option to save your best performance on a course and then compete against your ‘ghost’ and try to better your time. I felt like I was racing my ghost at Super Sunday. Last year I took off very fast and faded throughout the race. My first three miles were at a good clip, but my finishing two miles were pedestrian. Knowing that I’ve only been back running consistently for about three weeks, I knew I had to have a different approach. I didn’t want to go out too fast and burn out early again. The first few steps on the snowy course were a little shaky. I hadn’t warmed up properly (or at all) and on my third step, my left ankle tightened a sent a shooting pain through my leg. Fortunately, this was to be the only time I felt any discomfort. While everyone else who was at the very front took off about 100 meters from the line, I continued at the pace I started with and clocked my first mile at 6:11. My second mile was virtually the same at 6:20, a slight hill hampering my time. I don’t know what my third mile time was, the clock was not working when I ran passed. I know last year I hit the 5k at 20:32 and I’m fairly certain I was around this mark. Now, last year I slowed down to essentially a jog. Idefinitely slowed between miles 3-4, but not that drastically. I picked up the pace for between mile 4 to the finish and even managed to take down a few people that had passed me in the closing few hundred meters. I crossed the line in 33:58, only 18 seconds off last year’s time. Not bad for only running for three weeks. So, had I been racing my ghost, 2012 Graham would have smoked 2013 off the line, but 2013 would have pulled close to him by mile 4 and kept him within eyeshot all the way to the finish. I think if I had known my splits at miles 3 and 4, knowing how close I was to my old time, I might have picked it up even more. After saying it a thousand times, it may finally be time to invest in a watch.
I powerwalked back to the car and grabbed our bags and then got back to the finish area – -I didn’t want to miss anyone finishing. Ally came next, and then some bearded lightning in the form of Peter a few minutes later. And then! And then Lara came in just a few minutes later, having shaved a solid 6 minutes off of her time from last year! Can I get a ‘Whoo Lara!”? We did get in line to go to the after-party, but the line was about as long as the race itself. We were all a little tired, definitely hungry, and very cold. So, we skipped the party, which from all accounts was epic. We made our way to Cambridge Brewing Company, which is where we went after last year’s race. Had a few beers, talked about our three different experiences on the course, and had some great sandwiches. I dropped Lara and Peter off and then headed home to shower and make some chili (recipe here) for little Super/Puppy Bowl gathering I had on Sunday night. While I made the chili and corn bread, Katie made some awesome buffalo chicken bites in tortilla scoops. Around 6:30 everyone showed up, chili, buffalo chicken bites, corn bread, biscuits, and cookies were enjoyed. Beers were drunk. Conversation was had. And we even watched some football, too.
I was exhausted on Monday, but that was a pretty great Sunday. It’s days like Sunday that make me really appreciate living in Boston, having my sister close by, and great friends that can come by at a moment’s notice for good food and fun.
Thanks to everyone at RaceMenu, all the sponsors, and volunteers for putting on a fantastic race!