Note: I was given a complimentary entry for the race, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. Ain't nobody got time for lyin'!
How can you pass up participating in a race that is literally across the street from your neighborhood? I mean the commute alone is a huge PRO! ;)
2015 marked the third year of the Race To The Row 5k at Assembly Row in Somerville and the third different course. Haha. There has been a lot of change to the area (improvements) so the course had to adjust as well.
Now this 5k isn't the most scenic 5k as you are really just doing a couple of laps around an outlet shopping center BUT the crowd, the cause (improving the neighborhood of East Somerville) and the post-race party!
I had gotten home early from my day trip on Saturday so I took the quick walk across the street to pick up my bib.
The volunteer saw my number and said "low number. You must really like this race!" Me: "Yes Yes I do!"
Since the Start area was a mere 7 minutes from my house, I knew I didn't have to rush in the morning. Now I was planning on getting there early since I needed to meet up with my awesome Slumbrew Happy Soles teammates. There was a rumor we had the largest team in the race, but would get official word post-race. I was really hoping we would because there was a $200 gift card to Flatbread on the line. ;)
It was a hot and humid morning so I went into the race with zero time expectations! I wanted to have a fun run with Page, who decided to run the day before. Yay!
The fast mile took place at 9am. The kids race kicked off at 9:15am. The big show (5k run or walk) was set for 9:30am.
I think watching kids races are one of my favorite activities. You can't watch without breaking out into a huge smile. Well maybe if you don't have a soul. ;) I keeeed. I keeed.
The Start area, where folks were grabbing bibs, bag check as well as some local brands had tents, would double as the post-race party area. It was great seeing Somerville's own Runfellow with a booth. I even caught Page adding an "I Like Your Pace" tank to her collection.
Once we stashed my bag, it was time to hit the port-o-potty one more time before heading to the Start. Well we know I sometimes have a problem getting places on time so we actually cut it close to the Start. Oops! Yes the potty stop was worth that. I mean in case you are wondering - I wasn't going to win the race. Shocking I know, but just putting that out there. :)
We sashayed our way into the front-ish part of the pack with a little time to stretch.
Juuusssttt as my watch found satellite, the start horn went off. Phew! Page and I were off. From the moment I hit the Start line I knew it would be a long 3-miles. I just wasn't feeling on my A game, but it helped having Page with me. We hadn't run together in ages so we hopped right into a catch-up convo so I really wasn't thinking about the miles ahead.
The thing I looovveee about this race is having not one but two portions that you turnaround twice (in the same spot on Assembly Square Drive) and are able to see your friends running away from you or towards you and you can cheer your head off for them! :) Extra special for a race like this where I knew at least 50 people participating!
I was shocked when my watch buzzed at Mile 1 and we saw a 7:06. I felt like we were working it, but not at that clip.
Mile 1: 7:06
As we made our way around the block of Assembly Row outlets to start our second loop, we felt the headwind. Oohhh now tailwind could explain that sweet Mile 1 pace. ;)
Mile 2 proved tougher. I just tried to distract myself by talking to Page and cheering on my fellow Happy Soles. There was also a team from the Back On My Feet organization.
Back on My Feet is a national for-purpose 501(c)3 organization that uses running to help those experiencing homelessness change the way they see themselves so they can make real change in their lives that results in employment and independent living.
I've had the pleasure of meeting some of the folks behind Back On My Feet so I made sure to cheer extra loud for those folks while on the course. It was awesome to see their smiles!! :)
Mile 2: 7:22
Now the final mile got interesting. As we were heading back around the outlet shops, we took a slight right to add some extra mileage to the course. We would be doing a little lollipop action in a parking lot (you can see it on the map above). While Page and I were heading to make that turnaround, a girl I had seen from other local races decided to cut right in front of us. Now I know folks like to make a tight turn to help with time, but she cut it wicked close to where I was. I didn't want to trip on her so I motioned for Page to make a break on her right side. I did it first and Page would follow. Well I guess the girl shot me a dirty look (which I didn't notice) when I passed her and then stepped in front of Page when she tried to do the same. Really? Is that necessary? Page managed to get around the girl and come back to my right side. I don't like unfriendly racers, especially ones that I have had similar experiences to before (like I did with this girl). After Page told me what she did, my sole goal was to finish ahead of her. So Page and I dug deep and finished strong.
Mile 3: 7:30
I was so thrown off that I didn't realize until after we finished that we never did a mid-run selfie. How did I even finish the race without taking one? ;) I was so peeved by the girl's dirty play in the race. I mean I'm not sure if she was confused, but she wasn't going to win the race. A winner had already finished about 5 minutes before we did.
I tried to shake it off as I turned around to cheer on the other participants.
Official Time: 22:50 (Good for 83rd overall out of 527 and 5th in my division out of 128)
Slumbrew Happy Soles finished 3rd out of 11 in the team category!
Page and I headed back to the party area to grab a beer and a slice of pizza. Yes you heard that. The race had free Harpoon Beer, Ernesto's Pizza and ice cream from J.P. Lick's. Oh my! :)
It was great catching up with all of the Happy Soles post-race. I headed back to get a second beer and they were out. Wwhhaaa??? I spoke with the race director the day before and he said they had plenty of beer. They made an announcement they were working on fixing the beer situation. There was a local brewery that had a tent at the post-race party, but they had forgotten a CO2 tanks so they couldn't pour anything yet. Luckily a participant was a home brewer and had an extra tank in his car.
So in the meantime, we headed over to American Fresh, which was right next to the post-race party, to have a celebratory Slumbrew.
While at American Fresh, we snapped our team pic.
Since the crew was enjoying a brew, I headed back for the awards ceremony to see if we were in fact the largest team.
And we were!!! :) :)
What an incredible honor! Now I can't wait to plan the party! :)
By the time I went back to claim our award, the local brewery had gotten the tank and were pouring beer. I think they ended up going to a local restaurant to borrow one.
Overall the race was a success. I love that the entire family can participate in the morning in whichever level of race they feel comfortable with. The post-race party offers a great amount of food and a bouncy house!! ;) It was a shame they ran out of beer, but the race director did do a good job at quickly rectifying the situation. That hadn't happened at either of the previous two 5ks. Here's hoping it won't next year. ;)
As I stated earlier, the course isn't the prettiest, but the volunteers and spectators offer a great energy that the scenery kind of becomes secondary.
Now I've already heard there will be more construction before next year so I am sensing there will be a fourth course change. But I'm ready for it... as long as there is enough beer. ;)
Have you been at a race before where they ran out of beer or food during the post-race celebration?