RACE RECAP: 2nd Annual Race To The Row 5k

How many races do you participate in that take place across the street from your house? Oh is that next to none?

Yeah I feel you on that...

... except when the Race To The Row 5k comes around!

That's right. It takes the wife about 5 minutes (more if there is a stop at Dunkin' Donuts for her) to get to the Start Area of the Race To The Row 5k, which is at the new Assembly Row area in Somerville, MA.

When the inaugural race took part last year, the Assembly Row area was still under construction so the race course lacked a lot of visual beauty. But with Assembly Row in full effect this year, I was ready to enjoy the beautiful new buildings and shots of the Mystic River.

Since the race didn't start until 9:30, I was 1) able to sleep in and 2) could do bib check day of. Woo!

We decided to leave the house just after 8:30 to stop at Dunkins and give us enough time to chat with friends before the Kids Race would start at 9:15.

There were a lot of great local businesses set up near bib pick-up and day of registration.

Somerville's own Runfellow gear

Runfellow also hosts a Tuesday night run club, which changes venues each week, but always takes place in the Somerville-Cambridge area.

b Positive Project out of South Boston

After browsing the booths, we made sure to get a good spot for the Kids Race. It was just about a 1/4 mile and each participant received an adorable Finisher's Medal. (Side Note: I really wish I had entered ;P)

My favorite was this tiny tiny boy with a big Superman cape on. I really wanted to borrow it from him, but he seemed attached to it.

Once the kids and their parents cleared the Start Area, it was time to line up.

I had no idea what kind of time to expect. My body was tired from the workouts the day prior - 1.5 mile swim, 30 mile bike and 5k run - so I didn't expect a PR.

I actually PRed at this race the previous year pulling a 21:59.2... yeah that wouldn't happen again. But I was ready to give it all I had.

The Sun was out and ready to shine out on the pretty shadeless course.

Now the Somerville Road Runners, the group organizing the race, had changed the course from the year prior. We would now be doing 2 loops, which was intriguing.

As we lined up, I distracted myself by chatting with a fellow Nike Run & Walk Club and Somerville resident, Ben. He was coming off an injury so also unsure what sort of race he would have.

The goal as always was to enjoy the run ... and hurry to the beer! ;)

The horn went off and it was a blaze of color in front of me. I tried to keep myself in my own groove and not worry about the folks around me. Which is always easier said than done at the beginning of a race for me.

Since I am working on racing without music in prep for the Half Ironman, I spent most of the race listening to my own breathing and the breathing of the folks around me. Ouch! Not the best soundtrack for a run.

BUT there was a slight out and back portion of the race so I could cheer for my friends after rounding the first turn. YES! I love being able to do that. Plus, I could marvel at the lead pack. Man those guys were flying!!

Mile 1: 7:29

I may or may not have picked a couple near me after that first mile and set a goal to get ahead of them at some point in the next mile. Sometimes it is a fun game to play and a way to push yourself in a race.

As we hit the end of the first loop, I waved to the wife, gave Jillian (creator of Runfellow) a high-five (pictured above) and checked in with the body. I was hot and I could tell the legs were slowing down.

I picked myself up by posting my halfway mark selfie to the interwebs before bearing down and finishing off the race.

Not one of my finest mid-run selfies

At least with the double loop you know when the Finish is coming.

Mile 2: 7:38

Now I never actually saw the Mile 2 marker, but when my Garmin buzzed I tried to dig deep and give it everything I could for the final mile.

I was back-and-forth with a couple of girls during Mile 2 so I kept them in my sights during the final mile.

I can't tell you how many times I repeated to myself Beer Beer Beer during that last stretch.

The volunteers did a great job directing and cheering on the runners.

I definitely won over the water stop with my Sparkle Skirt! ;)

Oddly enough not so many comments on the BEER socks, which surprised me.

Oh and yes these were thoughts during the final 1/2 mile of the run.

Mile 3: 7:40

Just get me to the BEER!

Final Finish: 23:46

Sweet. I was definitely happy with that. The quads felt good and the left hamstring was a bearable dull pain. ;) Baby steps.

According to the results I finished 79th overall and 10th in my division. Yeah! I never end up in Top 10 of my division.

After crossing the Finish Line, I headed right into the post-race party for some food and beer.

I can't pass on mint chocolate chip ice cream at 10am.

Oh and Ernesto's pizza - great crust!

The post-race party was treated to the musical stylings of the IT Band.

It was a great vibe and always fun hanging out with my fellow Slumbrew Happy Soles.

The Race To The Row 5k is such a great local race and I cannot wait to see the race flourish over the years.

I will see you at the 3rd Annual race in 2015.

***

Did you Race To The Row? What was your favorite part?

First Annual Race To The Row 5k

Sometimes a race is more than a race. Was that deep?

No?

Okay. I'll skip the poetic opener and get to the good stuff. ;)

I love being a part of inaugural races AND uber local races.

The Race To The Row 5k, which took place on August 18, fit both those categories.

How local?

Well it was directly across the street from my neighborhood.

Short commute for the win! :)

I actually had the honor of giving away a free entry to the race thanks to the organizers - Somerville Road Runners - and was excited to meet the winner, Shimmy, on race day (it was her first 5k race).

On Saturday, August 17, we headed over to Assembly Row to pick up my bib/t-shirt at Sports Authority, peek around Assembled (weekly artist market) and have the wife get some grub from the food trucks!

Saturday night I took my first stab at applying the KT Tape myself. I had used it on my last two marathons and loved it, but always had a professional administer it at the race expo.

Thankfully the videos on KTTape.com were very helpful and easy to follow.

I thought it looked pretty darn good. I even gave it a try on my ailing wrist.

The other half said I looked like a Power Ranger. Agree? :P

The race started at 9:30am on Sunday which meant we got to sleep in ... as best as possible with the 2 pups. ;)

As always I had laid out my outfit the night before so I didn't have to think at all that morning while getting ready.

We set to leave the house by 8:45am so we could hit Dunkin' Donuts before the race.

I actually had the coffee before my run for one of the first times ever. It was risky to change my pre-race routine, but I was okay with it - I set low expectations for the outcome of the race (which I'll touch on later).

We arrived at the starting area just before 9, which was perfect since the little kid Fun Run was happening at 9.

I was happy to see some familiar faces at the race including my friend and fellow Weight Watchers Leader Heather and my Tedy's Team running mate Meg and her husband Josh.

Heather and I pre-race

We all chatted until we heard the warning call to line up. I quickly hit up the table to get my "hell yes I am 21 and will be having a beer post-race" wristband. ;) Priorities!!

I kept glancing around the crowd to see how many folks were participating in the run-walk and it looked to be about 200. Great turnout for a first-time local run.

The race director gave a countdown through his makeshift megaphone and we were off.

It was a looping pattern so we would run part of the course twice, which was fine by me.

I didn't put any pressure on myself for this race. Since I have been focusing more on my long distance running/Dopey Challenge training I haven't been doing so much speed work. This would be the first time I would be testing the legs in a 5k race since May.

As we headed out on the course, I caught a glimpse of my average pace time about 1/2 a mile in and there was a 6:45 starting back at me.

Excuse me!

Did I read that right?

I was in shock! But tried not to get too excited. There were 2.6 more miles to go. :P

The organizers did a great job keeping the run within the Assembly Row Marketplace and the surrounding streets. We didn't have to cross any huge intersections, there were plenty of volunteers and not multiple water stops. Bravo folks! Bravo!

My Garmin buzzed off for Mile 1 and flashing back at me was indeed a sub-7 pace.

I shook my head and kept going.

It couldn't be.

I had to keep my focus so I picked one person in front of me and made a pact with myself that I HAD to pass her by the end of the race ... and then stay in front of her.

As I passed her heading to the Mile 2 marker, 2 other women passed me. Agghh! I kept those two women as close to me as I could, but they were darn speedy!

We hit Mile 2 and according to my Garmin I was still sub-7 pace. Holy heck.

I decided that no matter what I would give it all I had for the last mile. Since it was kind of a loopy-out and back situation going on, I was able to cheer for friends as I raced to the Finish.

I looked down and we were at 2.6 miles. Okay legs give it all you have ... and that is exactly what I did.

Can you tell by the pic? This is me coming into the Finish Line thanks to the wife.

I clicked the Garmin as I crossed the Finish. There it was 6:56 average pace.

HOT DAMN!

Now, in retrospect, I should've known it wouldn't be sub 7 since my watch had us at 3.16 miles instead of the 3.1 for a 5k. Logic should've set it, but I was too darn happy ... and too ready for beer. :)

Either way I had PRed (previous PR 22:20) and THAT was one pleasant surprise. I was more excited talking to my friends who had done amazing things during the run

Meg & I post-race in the beer garden

AND meeting up with Shimmy, the giveaway winner.

She had set out 2 goals: 1) finish in under 33 minutes and 2) give it all she had. And you know what? She did both. Way to rock it Shimmy!! :) :)

Big thanks to Burger Dive for providing great post-race BBQ and for Harpoon Brewery for donating the delicious post-race brews.

Overall, it was one amazing morning. I can't wait to participate next year too!

Oh and those final results were:

I finished in a PR of 21:59.2 (7:05 min/mile). I was 38 out of 208 overall, 9 out of 115 females and 4 out of 55 in my division.

How could I not be proud with those sorts of numbers?

Little 'ol me posted those. I have certainly come a long way since my first 5k in Somerville in March 2005 when I posted a time of 38:21.

And either way: I got to cross the Finish Line of yet another race. The best moment of it all.

Win A Chance To Race To The Row With Me!

Annddddd the winner IS:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CONGRATS!!!! Thank you to everyone that participated and big thanks to our Sponsor!!!

***

I love to run.

I love to support my local community.

I love when a road race does both! :)

Last week I stumbled upon a new local road race that will be happening in Somerville, MA on Sunday August 18th at 9:30am. Of course my interest was piqued. I always get so angry when I miss races in my hometown. Anyone else? :P

The Race To The Row 5k is happening - literally - right across the street from my house.

Oh hell yeah! No way I can miss this one.

This is the first year of the 5k run OR walk and is being put on by the Somerville Road Runners, a great running club that loves to give back to the community.

SRR (as they are commonly known as) is hosting the inaugural race to benefit the East Somerville Main Streets (ESMS) program.

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.

The race is 100% family friendly and will even feature a Kid's Fun Run (9 and under), where each child gets a Finisher's medal!! (no pre-registration necessary for the Kid's run)

Again, I can't stress enough how this event is for all ages, athletic abilities, etc. You can participate in the 5k as a run or a walk - your choice!!

All participants will be welcome to the post-race party, which includes a free BBQ from Burger Dive, live music and FREE Harpoon Beer. Do I need to repeat that last part again - FREE BEER thanks to Harpoon Brewery!! :) :)

Assembly Row, where the race is held, is easily accessible by the T (Sullivan or Wellington stops on the orange line) or car.

I cannot wait to hit this race up PLUS I love being a part of inaugural races ... especially ones that benefit my neighborhood!!!

Want to check out the course before registering? Here is some info:

The course is a measured 5K that winds through and around Assembly Square in Somerville. You will start in the the tree-lined Grand Boulevard, catching a preview of the new downtown area going up. Almost the full route is on roads, with the final stretch coming down the paved path through the waterfront park. You can view the 5K course here. The exact starting and finishing lines may still be adjusted.

BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!!

How would you like to win a FREE entry into the 1st Annual Race To The Row 5k?

I know everyone reading said: "YES!!! ME ME ME ME!"

So here's how to enter:

 

The giveaway will run from Wednesday August 7 (9am ET) through Wednesday August 14 (9am ET)!

The winner will be selected and announced on Wednesday!