Harvard Pilgrim 10K Race Report – Another PR! 
Sunday, July 4, 2010, 03:59 PM
Posted by Administrator
What better way to celebrate Independence Day in Boston than to run with Bill Rodgers at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots? Maybe “run with” isn’t the proper phrase as there about 3,000 other people there too. And he was never actually in my sight during the race. But I did see him twice while warming up.

As part of Project Whip the Family into Shape (which is bound to make some relatives wish we’d move back to Arizona), my brother-in-law, Jon, joined us for this inaugural event. We met up briefly before the race and then I wished luck to him and Paul before squeezing into the starting corral at the 9:00/mile sign.

Since changing my running gait to a forefoot landing a few months ago, I have been injury-free, feeling great and running well, as evidenced by a 5K PR in my last race. I went into today’s race thinking it would be nice to set another PR…but I haven’t done any speed work and I don’t like a lot of pressure…so I’ll just see how it goes.

The course was crowded and never really thinned out as much as I had expected, but this density kept me from going out too hard. My first few miles were just over a 9-minute pace and then I slowed a bit in the second half as the heat and some mild hills wore on me.

It started getting hard around mile 4 and this was right around the time the battery in my Garmin died. Luckily, it gave a warning beep and I was able to start my stopwatch to keep track of my time, but now I was not entirely sure of where I was in terms of distance. However, when I saw my time at mile marker 5, I knew a PR was in the bag – it was just a matter of by how much.

As I tired, I found that my stride kept reverting to a heavy, heel-strike landing and so my mantra became “quick, light and easy.” (If you’ve read Born to Run, then you know I Have Caballo Blanco to thank for this.) I repeated it over and over as I switched back to short, quick steps with a forefoot landing.

The highlight of this race is undoubtedly the finish. I definitely felt the excitement as I ran into the stadium, through the giant inflatable football helmet and onto the field. I threw my arms up, let out a “woo hoo” and gazed up at the crowds in the stands. (In all the hoopla, I somehow missed the gigantic jumbotron screen with a live feed of the stadium entrance, but I’m sure it was very cool for those who did see it.) Then, I realized that I had slowed to a jog, yet still had 50 yards before the finish line! I kicked it into the highest gear I had left and sprinted across the line with a time of 58:04, a 2-minute PR.

The Pros
* One-of-a-kind finish line.
* Plenty of aid stations.
* Impressive post-race food spread.
* Boston Billy!

The Cons
* While there was a 10K walker’s division, a more beginner-friendly 5K option would have helped with Project Whip the Family into Shape.
* The aid stations could have been better staffed. Those poor volunteers were hustling!
* As advertised, parking was easy. However, getting into the parking lot was not. It took us 15 minutes to drive the final ¼-mile to the stadium.
* Finishers were funneled from the playing field into the food area and then out of the stadium. This made it difficult to meet up post-race with friends who were also racing and this is why there are no finishing photos of me and Jon. They relaxed the barriers later on and we were able to get back on the field for some photos while the walkers were finishing.

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