Note: I was given complimentary entry to the Runner's World Half Festival as an Influencer, but all thoughts are my own. Ain't nobody got time for lyin'!
At this point in time we are 3.8+ miles of running in, 464792 selfies and countless laughs into the trip, but it was time for the big day: the Five & Dime.
What the heck is the Five & Dime you ask? Well it is when slightly sleep-deprived folks get up and run a 5k at 8am and a 10k at 9:30am.
Oddly enough this is becoming more normal than not in my world... and I wouldn't have it any other way.
My goal for the weekend was all the pics, all the fun and all the laughs - whoever wanted to join me for that had an open invitation!
The question was: would anyone actually take me up?
Well I figured I had No Meat Athlete (Matt) and Rock Creek Runner (Doug) on board as they joined me the previous year. But the others were maybes.
We took the 10-ish minute walk from the Comfort Suites to the Arts Quest (aka Start Line) and lined up right around the 10 min/mile pace sign.
I really cannot say enough amazing things about these people. They were my rocks all weekend. :)
As previously stated my objective was FUN!
We set out, hit start on the old Garmin and proceeded at an enjoyable pace. I immediately let people know that if they needed to run their own race they were more than welcome to do that. I wasn't about to take down anyone's race plan, but stick with me and there'd be lots of smiles.
While I hadn't looked at the course map, once we started it all came flooding back to me from last year. Oh yes there was that enjoyable hill during Mile 1... and another just beyond that. Thank you Pennsylvania! ;)
Mile 1: 9:54
Many folks are baffled by my love of taking pics with Mile markers, but it really helps with my recaps. I am able to remember what I took pictures of during that mile, where I was on the course and how I was feeling. I can look at a single race photo and be transported back into the time and place... even if I do the race recap months later!
The temps in Bethlehem, PA were chilly. I am not going to sugar coat that, but once we started moving I was regretting the jacket. I am a tried and true New Englander and I will wear a tank top through November my friends. I psyched myself out. At least I wore my Tedy's Team singlet underneath and not something long-sleeved.
Mile 2: 9:26
As I mentioned we had no intention of racing until we started spotting more and more #Sub30Club shirts. We had no idea what it was, but we wanted to be a part of it. We pieced together enough to know that it had something to do with finishing a 5k in under 30 minutes.
Well shoot we were approaching that. Dammit. We all looked at each other, grumbled something incoherent and starting upping the pace.
Ummm guys? You know I am going to make you stop for a selfie at the Mile 3 marker, right? Guys?
Phew! That almost ruined the entire race. :P
Mile 3: 9:04
Then we started booking it down the Finisher's chute! We got this. We can do it. We are freakin' close.
We all leaped across the finish line and it was over.
My Garmin clocked in at 30:01. SHOOT I missed it...
... or did I?
Official Finish Time: 29:56 (9:39 min/mile pace).
WE DID IT!!!
We quickly headed into the Arts Quest building to enjoy our water, bagel and Subway cookie in the warmth.
I also had the opportunity to see my blend Sparkly Runner (Sarah) who had driven down to say HI!!!
After a quick recharge of both my battery and my phone's, it was time to head back to the Starting Chute for Round 2: the 10k.
We once again hung out just before the 10 min/mile pace sign.
As you can see we acquired a new member to our crew: Altra Running co-founder Brian Beckstead! Brian was ready for a run with selfies, laughs and port-o-potty stops... a man after my own heart.
The beginning of the course is similar to that of the 5k so we sort of knew what to expect.
Mile 1: 9:59
It seems as if I was going for the #Bartie pics during the race, which means you get little of me and most of everyone else. :P Hey now, it is pretty darn difficult to get 7 people in one selfie plus a Mile Marker and the time clock.
Am I right?
During Mile 1, I literally ran up to Ashley! She has been a fun social media friend and someone I have wanted to meet in person for awhile. Nothing like doing that during a race. She was pretty pumped to be in a mid-run selfie with me and I was happy to oblige.
Totally a "I can't do much, but I can mid-run selfie" face right there. :P
Mile 2: 10:06
Have you ever tried to run with a group? It is somewhat nerve-wracking because you want to keep tabs on everyone, but it is also freakin' kismet when everyone clicks and you have magical moment after magical moment.
There was a lot of rehashing with Matt and Doug about last year's Five & Dime. We told the others how we had selfied and sung Happy Birthday to Runner's World Editor-in-Cheif David Willey right around Mile 4 of this race the previous year. Here was hoping we would see him again.
The streets weren't lined with spectators, but with the group I was with I didn't even notice. And really the ones that were out were loud and proud!
Plus when you have photo-ops, you have a happy camper!
We opted for a group port-o-potty stop during mile 3. The group that pees together (sort of) stays together - I always say. ;)
But look who did make it out to cheer: JESUS!!! Dude is my homeboy. You pass a local church and the congregation is out singing and throwing holy water.
Mile 3: 11:35
While the air was chilly, the foliage was in full Fall form and glorious to run through. The quaint Pennsylvania streets were refreshing and the neighborhoods delightful.
And the inclines - prevalent!
Mile 4: 9:31
As we made our way back towards the Arts Quest area, I was sad to see the adventure come to an end without a sight of Editor David Willey.
We took advantage of the rare downhill, crossed the bridge, and there he was with his brother.
We all cleared our throats and started: "Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Dear Daaaavvviiidddddd, Happy Birthday to you!"
He thanked us. I asked him to selfie with us at the next Mile Marker... and he did.
Mile 5: 8:47
Pinch me friends. How did I get to lead such an amazing life and journey. That moment was surreal. I'm sorry am I running through Bethlehem, PA with the Editor-in-Chief of Runner's World, co-founder of Altra Running, creator of #runchat, THE No Meat Athlete, my favorite trail runner and the best Cape Cod blogger out there? I think I was. I tried to pinch myself, but my fingers were icicles. :P How am I lucky enough to be included in this group? Oh right, I am their photographer! :P
I have this magical moment with these people and they turn and say: "Do we have to take a pic with the Mile 6 marker?" I respond nicely: "You don't have to, but you will regret it." :P
Thank you all for humoring me!
Mile 6: 8:50
Now we can finish strong and end with our group LEAP across the Finish Line. Now it was at this time that I made us sprint past the Team RWB crew flying multiple American flags because I wanted our pic to be of just us. Well photographer never caught it and then I felt bad. :P
I can confirm we flew and looked AMAZING doing it. Even if there is no photo to prove it.
Official Finish Time: 1:01:21 (9:54 min/mile pace)
We grabbed our water, banana, bagel and Subway cookie and headed back towards the Arts Quest to capture yet another fake Runner's World cover.
But first a couple pics and a celebratory beer. No free beer after 5k or 10k. Womp womp!
After looking over the 10k Finish and catching up a little more with Sarah, we headed inside.
I wanted to actually capture what my selfie captured.
But really? Shouldn't this cover become reality? I know I'd buy it!
After a little decompression session at the hotel and lunch, it was time to head back out to Arts Quest to take in Bart Yasso's session (sharing amazing stories about his life) and the pasta party featuring #Sub30Club founder!
The entire day was exhausting, exhilarating and empowering. I don't run two races in one day often, but with the right people it can feel like no time passed at all.
I headed back to the hotel fairly early to pack for the following day, lay out the clothes for the fourth and final race of the weekend and lay in bed smiling reliving all of the happy moments of the day...
... "just" a half marathon left and the magical weekend was over! :/