RACE RECAP: 18th Annual Mystic River Herring Run and Paddle

Often I ponder: Why can't I just wake up, roll out of bed and BOOM be at the race?!?! Well, it looks like someone has answered my prayers. That's right. There is a race AT THE END OF MY STREET. I am less than 1/4 of a mile away. Thank YOU race gods! Thank YOU! The 18th Annual Mystic River Herring Run and Paddle took place on May 18.

The annual Herring Run and Paddle includes a 5K run/walk race, three paddling races (3, 9, and 12 miles), educational booths, children's activities, and more. All events are held at the DCR Blessing of the Bay Boathouse in Somerville. The 5K course continues along the Mystic River bike path and through DCR Torbert MacDonald Park. There are no street crossings on this flat course.

You read that right. In addition to the 5k run, there were 3 paddle races (kayak or canoe) a person can take part in. You can run the 5k on its own, do any of the 3 paddle races on their own OR do the 5k and one of the paddle races as a combo. If you don't have a canoe or kayak, you can rent on.

I chose to stay on land and enjoy the 5k!

The race took place at 9am so my cousin and I strolled out of my house at 8:40. Amazing.

Since my cousin Jen and I both grew up in the neighborhood it was great opportunity to give back to the community. Plus we both knew the running path well enough that the course was familiar. Heck I run the path around the Mystic River almost every day. But it was cool to have 601 other people there with us. Families out for a run, walk or jog together.

Beth, the race director, does a great job creating a family-friendly atmosphere.

Plus the donations she received for pre and post race snacks was sweet. Lots of choices.

We were so busy taking in the atmosphere and watching the kids play in the game area set up by the water that we didn't realize it was time to line up. Oops! The crowd was bigger than I expected, but the volunteers did the best they could to corral folks into appropriate pace groups. A tall task for anyone to do as most folks want to start near the front - even though it may not be the safest idea.

I had no goals for the 5k as I had done a long run the previous day so wasn't sure what my legs would have in them. I just wanted to run smart and enjoy the views.

The crowd was tight at the beginning as we squeezed onto the smaller width of the running path. I know that weaving is a waste of energy, but I had to do it or I would've stepped on someone. I also wanted to get to a clear space where I could get into my own groove - no matter what that pace would be.

Mile 1: 7:53

The weather was hotter than expected for a May morning so I made sure to take water at the water stop just after Mile 1 - something I don't normally do in a 5k race. See running smart.

As I took the bend to come down closer to the water, I wondered which paths they would have us take in order to hit the 5k distance. I hosted my birthday 5k along this path so I know there are plenty of options.

Isn't it beautiful. How could I not be enjoying the race with a view like that.

I once again was running without music so I heard a lot of breathing. It is something that I need to learn to zone out. It can throw my own rhythm off wanting to speed up to get out of earshot or slow down. Instead I starting singing to myself. Don't worry it was internally. I didn't want to hurt the people's ears around me. ;)

Mile 2: 7:57

As we emerged from the path right along the water, we met back up with the water stop. Score! Two water stops for the price of one. The water was refreshing as were the cheers. The race was small so the crowd was scarce. But most of the folks out there were cheering for friends and family. I saw a husband running alongside his wife briefly giving her inspirational words and taking video. It made my heart happy.

I let the wife stay home to play video games with my cousin's fiance. Aren't I sweet? I know. Wife of the Year award will be arriving shortly.

Mile 3: 7:40

I was ready to be done so I tried to kick it up a notch in the final mile. Plus it lacked the incline the second mile had. I picked a person in front of me and tried all I had to get in front of them.

Sometimes there is nothing sweeter than seeing a Finish Line.

My final time was 24:39 good for 58th out of 603 overall and 4th out of 66 in my division. Ahh wicked close to top 3, but not really since it was about 12 second difference. I can pretend. :P

I finished with enough time to turn around and get back out there to cheer for my cousin. It was her first 5k in quite a while, but she gave it 100% which is all you can ask of yourself.

Thanks Herring Run for the complimentary photos.

Overall, the race atmosphere and organization was top notch. The volunteers were motivating and had the water stop well stocked.

You can tell families created great memories that day, while being fit.

I needed my Dunkins fixed so I missed the paddle races, but from the pictures it looked like a huge success.

I will definitely be back in 2015!


Do you ever get to race less than a mile from your house?