The Newton 10k was my first race, with the exception of some 5k fun runs I did as a little kid. It took place on June 2,2013 and at that time, I had been running for a little under two months. Mid-May I got strep throat so I stopped running and had only about a week back on the pavement before the race.
I was wildly excited for this race, partly because of my extreme competitive spirit, partly because I got into running because I missed the electric and fun experience of track meets, but mostly because I got to run it with my dad.
Ever since I can remember my dad has been a runner. I actually plan on writing an entire blog post on the whole daddy-daughter running thing, but this will suffice for now. When I got into track but not distance running, I was really worried that I was disappointing my dad. I imagined that he had always wanted a kid he could run with and train with, and that was something I wanted as well, minus the act of actually running. Much to my dad’s credit, he was never once disappointed in my choice to not run distance, but when I got into this year, I think he was pretty pumped.
While I was still away at school he called me and asked me if I wanted to run this race with him. I said absolutely and now here we were on race day. The forecast for the day was something like a high of 88 degrees, which for an Oregonian such as myself is quite daunting. I have a 10 degree range of temperate from 65 to 75 in which I’m comfortable, and other than that I’m too hot or cold. The race started at 8am though, so it wasn’t too hot until near the end of the race.
We arrived at 7am to beat the non-existent crowds, explore, and hit the port-a-potties. It was a really manageable sized group, around 650, and after running other races, I have come to realize that this was an exceptionally well-organized race, so shout out to Fattman Productions for that. There were no time corrals, people just gathered down the street from the starting line. People didn’t push and it was very relaxed.
When I first started running in April I was running 10 – 10:30 minute miles. I’ve now gotten myself down to 9 minute miles, and that is my goal for half marathon. My dad, who runs much faster than me, dutifully ran the first mile with me, which we did in 8:40, and then I freed him to go tear it up. Despite the heat, the race was so fun. The sky was stunningly blue and it was awesome to see bobbing neon bodies snaking up ahead. Oddly enough, I ran nearly the entire race with about a 5-10 foot radius of no people around me. The course ran through beautiful residential Newton, and some of the residents came out to cheer us on which was really nice, and gave a very helpful boost. The course also utilized some of the Boston Marathon route and at the bottom of one of the hills, someone dressed in a gorilla suit with a heartbreak hill t-shirt was high fiving the runners, which was hilarious.
I skipped the first water station because I have a little bit of a complex about showing off and being strong which is super stupid, so I need to just get over it and stop when I need to. There were three water stations placed around mile 2, mile 4, and mile 5.5. I suffer from abdominal cramps when I run and I had a pretty gnarly one from around mile 3 to 5 so at the second water stop I decided to take a rest. Once I’d drank half my water, because it was hot and I thought it looked hardcore, I decided to dump the rest of my water on my head. Queen of the idiots over here dumped it right into her ear and short-circuited her headphones. By the third water station I was feeling good so I decided to get water but, against my father’s advice, drink it while I ran. As my father had warned would happen, I choked on it.
Once my cramps dissipate, I typically get a second wind for my last mile. By the end of this race, I was unbelievably hot, but wanted to finish strong and kicked it into high gear. As I came down the final stretch I saw my dad standing right next to the finish line cheering and it gave me the extra boost I needed to finish strong. When I crossed the line, my dad gave me a huge hug and despite feeling like I was going to throw up, I was filled with some serious elation and endorphins.
I really liked the post race offerings. I discovered Hint Water there, which is really mildly flavored water and is so refreshing after running. They also had free samples of Unreal Candy, which I’m obsessed with. I’d discovered the “unjunked” candy a few weeks earlier and my favorite is their version of a Snickers bar. Right before we were about to leave, we checked the results and it turned out I’d gotten third in my age group (I mean there were only eight girls in the 16-19 age group, but hey!) which meant I got a prize in the form of a New Balance water belt! I ran a 55:32.5, 8:57/mile pace, and got 319 out of 647. My dad, beast that he is, ran a 48:45 7:51/mile pace, and got 15th in the 50-59 age group, which is incredible considering the Newton 10k was a Massachusetts Senior Olympics event, meaning that my dad was running against the states’ top senior runners. Overall he got 132 out of 647.
After the race, my dad and I went to a hip Lebanese café nearby (my dad specializes in the discovery of hip cafes) for a celebratory drink and pastry, proudly sporting our finishers t-shirts, which were really nice, fitted dry-fit type material. I’m hoping to make a tradition of running this race with my dad; it was a great size, well run, and a beautiful route. Besides the joy of getting to run with my dad, this was my first exposure to the elite 20-30 year old runners, which has given me something to aspire to.