When you find a race you love, you find a way to be there each and every year. I've run the Race To The Row 5k in Somerville since it's inception in 2012, which means... I am now 5-for-5 as of today!
What makes the Race To The Row so special?
- Well to start it takes place across the street from my house so you really can't beat that commute. Am I right?
- The race also features both a 1-mile option and a 5k option... or you could go all out and choose both! Plus a Kid's run that is one of the cutest things to watch.
- There is a charitable component where a portion of your entry benefits:
East Somerville Main Streets is a non-profit organization dedicated to rebuilding the East Broadway Business District as the heart of the East Somerville community and as a vibrant destination, and improving the quality of life of all those who live in or visit East Somerville. This is accomplished through volunteer-driven events and initiatives which play off of the unique characteristics of the neighborhood in order to further develop that character. We also donate funds to Somerville TrackPAC, which provides college scholarships for Somerville High School students.
- Post-race party featuring free Harpoon beer and cider, Ernesto's pizza and JP Lick's ice cream
- Free parking and T accessible
I'd say those are 5 pretty sweet reasons to do a run. Now I will be honest and the course isn't the most scenic. You are running around the outlet shopping/parking lots of Assembly Square, which can't compare to say a beach or mountain backdrop. But the course is mainly flat which is a treat for anyone looking to PR and the PROs outweigh the CONs hands down.... which is why I keep coming back year after year.
For a big change, the wife was also running the race this morning. This would be the first time she has participated in Race To The Row as she usually comes along to spectate.
Spoiler alert: SHE CRUSHED IT! :)
Oh and she did it rocking her PRO Compression socks too.
I got the gym right when it opened to knock out my 2200 meter (1.37 mile) swim. I wanted to make sure I got home in enough time to quickly eat some waffles, change and get the wife before we headed across the street to pick up our bibs. Page actually picked us up on her way to the race.
Unfortunately registration was down this year. I think with the competition of the historic Falmouth Road Race (Cape Cod) taking place on the same day had something to do with it. I was happy to see quite a few familiar faces pre-race.
Bib pick-up was a breeze since they were assigning bib numbers as you picked up your bib and t-shirt instead of sifting through a pile of bibs to find the right one. For those that registered day of, they got a koozie instead of a race shirt. I like that the race thought about everyone receiving something for registering. I do wish the race shirt was a tech shirt like in years past. But good summer color with the teal.
We skipped bag check since Page's car was in the lot next to bib pick-up and stashed our stuff there. We made it back in enough time to hit the port-o-potties before the kid's race. Oh those kids were freakin' adorable. Each participant got a medal and one little kid ran over to his family and said "I got first place!" The smile on his face was ear to ear. There were a few tears from participants, but for the most part all of the kids were psyched to get their own medal and water bottle.
With the kid's race and Fast Mile over, it was our turn to line up for the 5k.
The race director shared that we would hit the water stop 4 times during the race (since there was an out and back and a double loop) and to take advantage of it since it was warm out. Additionally he mentioned that the cops that were assigned to the race were not there so we all had to keep an eye out for any cars in the Assembly Row streets. We thought that was odd that the cops wouldn't show up if they were assigned, but wondered if it had something to do with yesterday's Free Speech rally. Either way we would make sure to keep our eyes and ears on the watch for cars.
This race is all about self-seeding and since Page and I were using this as a time to catch up, we moved ourself to the middle-ish area. I gave the wife a kiss as she headed closer to the back.
Before we knew it, the horn went off and the race began. It has been ages since Page and I ran together so we needed the time to catch up on life and we hit the ground running... in more ways than one! ;)
Since we've run this race and this course 3 times already, we didn't even have to focus on the "going the right way." Plus as I mentioned it is a two loop course - pretty tough to get lost. :P
You start out on mile 1 going up a gradual incline and turning around you celebrate the slight decline. But we didn't celebrate for long as we were hit with a sweet headwind. Since it was warm out, we appreciated the breeze... for a second. :)
I love out-and-backs because of the opportunity of seeing friends kicking some race butt and this race didn't disappoint. I yelled out to a few and waved like a crazy person, but they were too into their music to hear... or they didn't want to be associated with the crazy lady in sparkle yelling for them. I am guessing it was the former. Yeah the former for sure. Right?
I felt like we were running through quicksand, but when my Garmin dinged at Mile 1 I looked down and we were just under an 8 min/mile. Well that shocked both Page and I. Ha. It definitely didn't feel like we were running that pace.
Mile 1: 7:54
I realized as we made our final left turn to start our second loop that I was epically failing at taking mid-race photos. But I was having too much fun catching up with Page, cursing the headwind and yelling at - I mean cheering loudly - for my friends and wife!
The wife was cruising every time I saw her. This was her first race since Disney's Mickey's Holiday 5k in Disney World in November (40:20).
We did notice 1 cop during the first loop, but not as many as usual. The race did a great job of rounding up extra volunteers to stand at the intersections where cops normally was. So kudos Race Director Scott.
We once again made our way up the pesky little incline that we enjoyed the first time and you know what? As we let out a little sigh of relief for the decline and the headwind picked itself up. Isn't that nice of it? :)
Mile 2: 7:54
Well 2 miles down - 1 to go. And how about that for consistency? Let's see if we could do it again for the final mile.
Luckily on the second loop, we take a right under the T bridge and get a quick dose of shade. Ahhh rejoice. We definitely soaked it in no matter how brief it was.
As we made our way towards the Mile 3 marker, I realized we had yet to snap a mid-run selfie and had to remedy that immediately. As I've said before it isn't a race unless I get at least once (excluding triathlons since I can't run with my phone).
Mile 3: 7:48
How flawless does Page look while running a sub-8 min/mile? I on the other hand... not so much. :P But once again my freckle game is on point.
We had a straightaway to the Finish and made sure to rock a Finish Line leap for the camera. ;)
FINAL TIME: 24:40 (7:56 min/mile pace)
Not too shabby! It was our second-slowest Race To The Row 5k, but at least it was faster than last year. I also really can't complain when a good 5k time is sub 25-min compared to my first ever 5k of 38 minutes back in 2012. All about perspective, right?
We stayed around the Finish Line catching up with friends and cheering in the rest of our crew. The wife was looking STRONG as she kicked it into the Finish. She took almost 3 minutes off her 5k in November. Nice work babe!
She will certainly kick some butt at the Wine and Dine 10k this November. :)
Once all of our friends crossed the Finish Line, we made our way back to the bib pick-up area which doubled as the Start and Finish area. I might've headed straight to the beer tent (which they had 2 of) to grab a Harpoon IPA before grabbing a slice of Ernesto's pizza. Mmmmm both hit the spot. I opted for a second Harpoon rather than the JP Lick's and sort of wish I had gone for the ice cream as it looked delicious.
There were great vendors including the studios of #FITRow. Hi Title Boxing! :) Soon enough I will be checking out a Barre n9ne class (that will be stop 4 on my tour of #FitRow).
Before we headed out for lunch, we watched the check presentation. I loved seeing Federal Reality (who oversees the Assembly Row outlets, etc) donate $2,000 to be shared with East Somerville Main Street and Somerville TrackPAC. That puts their 5 year total over $11,000.
Overall it was a great morning with friends and as you guessed I will be back next year ready to post a faster time... pending weather! ;)
OH OH OH Also: I bought the Athleta Be Free Shorts I wore were AMAZING! They didn't slide at all and were the most comfortable shorts I've raced in in ages. Now I must buy a few more pairs.
Do you have a local race that you love?
Note: As a Represent Running Ambassador, I got a complimentary entry into the race, but my reviews are always honest. Ain't nobody got time for lyin'!