After the usual warm-up, bathroom stop, changing tango I headed over to the line for some striders. It's so strange being in a 5k with five thousand people. The experience of the front runner is so detached and impersonal. As I stood there planning a strategy I was only thinking of two or three people to beat rather than the other four thousand nine hundred and ninety eight. Only a couple of minutes before the start Josh Cox came strolling over to the line. Having recently viewed one of his workouts online I knew that he was fit. I figured there would be a few tactics over the first thousand meters that would lead to a slow start. Following what seemed like an endless barrage of opening ceremonies we were off to the sound of a rather out of place air horn.
Apparently you don't fly three thousand miles cross-country to a race without prize money to sit on a couple of club runners. Cox took it out like a champ. I figured that I would be able to hang so I tucked in tight on his left shoulder. As we passed 800 in around 2:14 alarms were sounding in the control room. Red warning lights were flashing all over the place and I knew that I needed to chill or face some serious lactate. I settled in through the mile (4:46) and had my rhythm re-established by the time I passed the place where everyone knows your name. Unfortunately, Brian Harvey had also gaped me and showed no signs of slowing down. I passed two mile in 9:40 and knew that I needed to stay strong so I did my best to surge. As I turned onto Boylston Street I could sense the chase pack in my presence. As I looked down Boylston I thought of all of my Boston Marathon memories from my lifetime. I always feel so bad for the athletes that get run down on the long lonely corridor of concrete and glass that is Boylston Street. I was able to find a gear that has eluded me through my marathon training thus far. As I passed three miles in 14:30 I was disappointed and driven at the same time. Cox was already finished but I knew that if I could man-up for a little longer that I could at least crack fifteen minutes. Luckily I managed a twenty-eight second final 200 and finished in 14:58. Not exactly what I was looking for but I'll take it. Despite the effort I felt strong over the last 2k and felt as if I had another two miles in the tank at that pace.
The awards were best described as fun. I am assuming that this is the only way that I will ever be standing on the podium on Boylston getting presented with a crystal of some sort by a city offical. Overall the morning was a great experience. The energy in the air was electric, almost on a seemingly cosmic level. Perhaps I will be finishing a longer race on Boylston next April.