A race right across the street from my house?
A race that is well organized and helps out a local neighborhood?
A race that offers pizza and beer afterwards?
SIGN ME UP!
The Race To The Row 5k at Assembly Row has been providing me just that for the last three years.
Now each year has featured a different course because increased construction and improvement to the area. When we first ran in 2013, the entire place was under construction, but now it is a thriving outlet shopping complex... and under construction again! ;)
Now for 2016, I would once again be back! Despite the race being the day after completing my first Ragnar Trail Relay. WOAH BOY!
I knew my body would be sore for the race and I didn't expect much from my beat-up legs, but I wanted to be there to enjoy another amazing race with my Slumbrew Happy Soles. :) We were once again gunning for biggest team (which we won in 2015).
Since the race started at 9:30am on August 28 and we live across the street, I didn't have to leave my house until about 8:45am (I wanted to watch the kids race beforehand). The bib pick-up was a breeze and I was able to stash my stuff in a friend's car.
I could feel my heavy legs and was thankful that my BRF Page would be with me each step of the way.
The Soles got together to cheer on our friends running the 1-mile and to AWWWW over the kids race because c'mon kids running are adorable. Right?
It was definitely a warm morning so we needed to take that into account as well.
The course as you can see is a loop. There is a smaller loop followed by a larger loop to complete the 3.1 mile course. You all know by now how much I love out and backs and loops because it gives me more chances to cheer on my friends while they are racing and kicking ass. Since we had well over 40 people on our team I needed all the loops I could to hit every single person. :)
We toed the line with the rest of the Slumbrew crew. We played it conservatively and headed closer to the middle of the pack. We all knew I wasn't feeling speedy that day.
The gun went off and oooohhhh boy the legs didn't want to follow. Haha. Thank goodness Page was right next to me because I needed the motivation.
I tried to max the tiredness with rainbows and sparkles! ;) Everyone around me looking happy and excited. I look tired. Let me tell you there isn't too much sleep happening during a Ragnar (even though on the trail one we had a nice tent to sleep in).
We made our way up Grand Union Boulevard to a turnaround spot. Here is my time to shine! I was yelling for my Happy Soles left and right. Now many run with music so they either couldn't hear me or were so embarrassed by me they pretended they didn't hear me. :P
Thankfully this course is basically flat so it was the best 5k I could have after a trail race.
We hit mile 1. Wow okay! That was a better time than I expected.
Mile 1: 8:07
Page knows the way to my heart when struggling - distraction. So we spent Mile 2 discussing the trail race and catching up on what was going on in each other's lives. Phew! Between that, volunteers and screaming at Happy Soles - the mile flew by.
And shockingly - we took 5 seconds off from mile 1. Can we maybe get some negative splits in this place?
Mile 2: 8:02
Well by this time I was ready to be done. Haha. I told Page she could go on without me if she wanted, but she told me I was stuck with her. Thank goodness. All I wanted to do was stop and sit down.
Additionally I was so focused on not stopping that I took exactly 0 mid-race photos. Which is completely not like me. And makes for a more boring recap than I usually put out. So I apologize for that. I do want to thank the race for having free in-race photos. :)
Oh dear lord. I saw the Mile 3 marker and wanted to cry. I rarely want a race to end, but for this one... I was ready for beer!
Hot damn! Sub 8 for the final mile. Can you tell I was ready to be done?
Mile 3: 7:48
We made our final left turn around the rotary and headed straight into the Finish. I tried to pick up the pace as much as I could, but it was tough.
How rare to get such a round finish time?
FINISH TIME: 25:00 (8:04 min/mile pace)
We high-fived, grabbed a water and headed right back to the final 0.1 to cheer in the rest of the Happy Soles. Man I love cheering and encouraging people. And seeing folks dig deep to get across a Finish Line. Talk about inspiration.
Once all of the Happy Soles successfully finished, we headed over to the post-race party. It was time for pizza and beer. Thank goodness they had Harpoon. I love a race with good beer.
Is it tough to spot me in this post-race pic? ;)
We hung around for the awards as there was a pretty good chance we would be picking up largest team.
And guess what???? WE DID!!!
We also got a second award for second-fastest team. We were racking up the gift cards to a local bowling alley. Between the ones from 2015 and 2016, we had $500 to spend on an amazing team event. :)
BOY I LOVE THESE PEOPLE!!!
After everyone enjoyed a couple of Harpoons, we headed across the street to have a special Happy Soles celebration at the Slumbrew Beer Garden. :) Gotta take advantage, right?
Well I am happy to announce I will be back once again in 2017! Gotta make it 5-for-5 for this race. Here's hoping I can claim a better Finish time.
While registration hasn't opened yet, I wanted to let people know it will be on August 20 and the Slumbrew Happy Soles will be back to defend our biggest team title for a third year!
See you all then!