The Tufts 10k is a staple race in Boston. Since 1977 the race, geared towards woman, has been held in Boston on Columbus Day Weekend. There are so many draws to the event. The shorter distance makes it accessible to walkers and runners who are just starting out and may want a bigger challenge than a 5k. The course is flat and fast and the mid-October date when running weather is at its best.
This is the first time I’ve run the popular course since it competes with some other races including the Chicago Marathon and the B.A.A. Half Marathon which is usually my Columbus Day Weekend race of choice. The 10k is held on Monday so I’ve often been tempted to run both the B.A.A. half and the 10k but never found the ambition.
This year was a little different. After running Smuttynose I knew I couldn’t fall into my post marathon run strike because NYC is just four weeks later. Signing up for the Tufts 10k would force me to put a 6.2 run on the calendar right away and give me a run I would look forward to with company and water support. Also, at just one week after marathon #1, it would keep me mentally in the game in between races.
I picked up my bib number at City Sports Saturday afternoon. They were offering 20% off your entire purchase for Tufts runners so I did a little shopping while I was there picking up some essentials like Gu and Body Glide…and this super cute Nike Pullover (obviously essential).
The race didn’t start until Noon on Monday so I had the morning to sleep in and relax before heading to Back Bay. Monday started off cool but as the sun came out it warmed up quickly. It was comfortable hanging out on the Common stretching and hydrating, I started to wonder if I should have chosen a tank top rather than short sleeves but I would have to work with what I had. They began calling the waves to line up a good 30 minutes before the race start and while there were estimated to be close to 7000 runners there, I was able to line up in my 8 – 9 minute mile corral without any problems.
I had pretty tame goals for this race. Since Smuttynose, I had only run once that week, a very slow four miler. My legs still felt very heavy and stiff but it felt good to be moving. The goal for the 10k would be to stay around a 9 minute mile if that felt alright and possibly kick up the pace toward the end if it was available. In the beginning I found it relatively easy to stay at the goal pace and I felt relaxed through the first couple of miles. I was averaging around 8:50 and happy with that. Around mile 3 there is a slight incline on Memorial Drive heading toward the BU Boathouse and my legs were starting to fatigue. I gave myself permission to back off a little if needed but wanted to keep working even if I was uncomfortable. Crossing back over the Mass Ave bridge I started to find a kick again and stayed strong through the last couple of miles. Running down Comm Ave reminded me of the last half mile of the Boston Marathon turning from Comm Ave to Hereford and I got excited that I’ll be racing that again in the spring. Before I knew it, I was in the last stretch and heading down Charles Street to the finish line. I raced the clock to finish in under 55 minutes and headed straight to grab a water and a banana…and then hit Starbucks. My official time was 54:37 – 8:48 pace.
I really enjoyed the energy of the race. With the field primarily made up of woman there were teams in matching race shirts running together and lots of support from everyone on the course. I saw tons of Dads along the course with their kids holding signs that said ‘Go Mommy!’ and ‘Mom, I’m Proud Of You’. These children are watching their mothers work hard toward a goal and then go for it and I’m sure it is leaving an impression on even the youngest of kids at the race. It was a terrific event to be a part of and I hope to run it again some year soon, ideally when my legs are fresh and I can take advantage of the speedy course.
There are just two more Saturday runs and then I’m off to the Big Apple to finally run the NYC Marathon. It’s going to be an incredible weekend and a very special race. The goal between now and then is to continue the recovery process and stay healthy to make sure I’m ready to give it my all when I finally make it to the start line on Staten Island. I know it will be worth the wait!