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Race review: Back in the Day 10K and a new PR

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This past Sunday I ran the Back in the Day 10k in Somerville, Massachusetts. It was an 80s-themed race filled to the brim with neon and leotards, jean skirts, and boom boxes. Pretty much the most amazing display of 80s love I’ve seen since in a long time.

I signed up for this race on a whim a few weeks ago after a friend posted it on her Facebook page. After months of only thinking about 5Ks and my elusive goal. I couldn’t resist changing up the focus, enjoying a throwback to the 80s and the hope of beat my 10k PR of 51:18 from last November. All I can say is the stars aligned to make it one of the best races I’ve ever run!

The race was Sunday and going into last week my muscles felt rather fatigued, making me seriously question how this race was going to go. After Thursday’s run, I decided to do something I don’t think I’ve ever done prior to a race: I took two days off — and I mean off! I not only laid off running but also yoga and biking.

When I showed up Sunday morning I felt energized and refreshed. It helped the starting line was filled with Holiday and Eye of the Tiger and Come on Eileen. At 10 a.m. we were off. I again started too far back, but there were no corrals so it was hard to know where to stand. I spent the first half mile bobbing and weaving my way through the crowd until I found a comfortable spot and pace.

I’d read a little about the course description prior but I was not prepared for what followed in miles 2 through 5, hills, and lots of them. Mile 2 met us with a long, gradual ascent that I thought would never end, then a joyous downhill, followed by a steep incline. This went on and on.

Trying not to get deterred I focused on a runner with an easy uphill gait. I did my best to stay with him throughout the hills in hopes he’d propel me on, the strategy worked. I felt strong and at ease as we neared the halfway mark. When I looked down at the watch I couldn’t believe the time, 23:58! I had achieved my 5K goal … in a 10k! Then the doubt set in. Had I gone out to fast, was I going to burn out? I tried to quiet the thoughts in my head as I focused on my breathing instead.

Mile 4 brought even more hills as the course weaved through neighborhoods filled with families cheering us on. I kept a comfortable but challenging pace focusing on my inhales and exhales. My slowest and hardest mile was definitely mile 5, it felt like the minutes were ticking by but the distance wasn’t. I dug deep knowing I had more than enough reserve to get me through another mile.

As I inched toward the end of mile 5 the course leveled out to a long straightaway. I could see a left turn up ahead but didn’t know how much of the course remained so I kept up a consistent pace. Looking back I wished I’d started my final push earlier, I had it in me. As I made the turn I began to hear the crowd and the music. I made one final push and sprinted for the finish line crossing with an official time of 49:50, crushing my old PR by a minute and a half, finishing in 105th place overall and 9th in my age group.

I’m not sure if it was the rest days, the help of the guy with the good uphill push, the breath awareness or the 80s music but I felt amazing. The hills weren’t as bad as they could have been and overall my body felt great. I still need to run another 5K to see if I can officially PR but my mind has shifted to 10Ks. The distance seems to suit my running style and I have a new sub 49 goal that needs attending to!lisa-horvath-10K-80s-race
Photos and article by Lisa Horvath.

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