Racecancer’s Boston 5k Summer Series: Race #5

You know that Fall is approaching when the Racecancer Boston 5k Summer Series in winding down. I started this race series in May and can't believe that Race #5 has come and gone. May: Race #1 – 23:29 (7:34 min/mile pace) June: Race #2 - Did Not Start (Hamstring Injury) July: Race #3 - 24:19 (7:50 min/mile pace) August: Race #4 - 24:57 (8:03 min/mile pace) September (1): Race #5 - 22:39 (7:18 min/mile pace) September (2): Race #6 - September 18

My times are not what I have wanted, but I have given my all at those times, which is all I can ask of myself.

I had been disappointed in myself until Race #5, which took place on September 4. My original plan was to take the race super easy as I had my big big race just three days later.

But when the stars align on race day you need to take advantage.

The women's only 5k was set to start at 6pm. With the early race start many of the female racers were not in attendance - meaning a smaller field ... and many of the super speedy ladies wouldn't be racing.

Hmmm... my goal was to take advantage of that. ;)

So I lined up sort of near the front, but reminded myself to run my race.

The horn went off, I clicked on my Garmin and the game was on.

It was crazy being in the top 5 at the beginning of the race. As we took our first loop, I was in a small pack of runners (after 1 girl took off ahead of everyone) and I turned to the woman next to me and said "Wow! This is what the elite women at the Boston Marathon must experience!" Umm yeah not really a response or laugh. Ha. Oops. I guess not everyone likes to chat during a race. :)

It was exciting experience trying to keep up with the two girls just ahead of me.

When I saw the first water stop (thank you race for having 2 on the 5k course), I spotted the Mile 1 marker.

Mile 1: 6:55.

Ummm friends let's take a moment to reflect. The first mile buzzed with a pace with a 6 in the front. Holy crap! I almost teared up when I saw it. Yes I am that dorky. But how could I not? I remember when I started running in 2005 and could barely bust out a 14 min/mile pace. To see that kind of change over the years gives me chills.

Now I was feeling good, but I could tell my body was slowing down a little. Not sure if it was the heat or just tired legs. But I knew the last two miles wouldn't be as fast... and I was okay with that.

I just tried to keep the 2 girls within eye distance. I knew they were gaining ground, but I liked seeing them.

The second mile is pretty boring scenery wise - you have the Charles River on one side (yay) and a boulevard on the other (boring).

Mile 2 marker was met with another water stop ... and a girl flying by me! :P I was holding down 5th place until she came out of nowhere. But she was cooking it so I didn't get too huffy. ;)

Mile 2: 7:25

Off quite a drop. I tried to keep the big picture at the forefront.

The good thing about running the same course over and over again is familiarity. You know the ebbs and flows of the pavement and when you need to give the final kick!

It was kind of an odd experience basically running alone for the final mile. The few girls ahead of me were about a minute in front of me so I didn't see them through the twists and turns of the final mile. I also couldn't hear/see the girl behind me.

Just had to remind myself: One More Mile. You can do it.

So I tried my best to finish strong.

Mile 3: 7:31

When I passed the Mile 3 marker, I could see the Finish and hear folks cheering for someone else. I assumed she was right on my tail so I kicked in everything I had. I wasn't about to get passed in the final stretch of the race!

Final: 22:39 (7:18 min/mile)

I was ecstatic! It was 40 seconds slower than matching my 5k PR (21:59), but I felt proud of my overall performance. I thought I ran the best I could and had a great time being part of a small intimate race.

And holy crap! I finished 6th overall and 2nd in my division. Little 'ol me. I wanted to savor the experience since it will probably never happen again.

Now you may be wondering about the lack of mid-run selfie. Well I was wearing my glasses and I despise running/pics in glasses so there were no pics taken. Until...

I was given the great responsibility of sending off the co-ed 5k race with the bullhorn.

Hey-o! I am hitting the big times. ;)

I meant to head out to get home for dinner, but I ran into a friend Nacole. Nacole attends the Nike Run And Walk Club in Somerville on Wednesday nights. I took the time to catch up with her while she waited for her friends doing the co-ed 5k. She had already rocked the women's only 5k.

It was great to get to know her better and her friends.

While they all headed off to the post-race party, I ventured home for food. I promised that I would attend the post-race party for the final race on September 18.

If you haven't made it to a Racecancer Boston 5k Summer Series, you have one final chance - September 18 (women's only at 6pm and co-ed at 6:15). Feel free to register here.


Have you ever shocked yourself mid-race with an amazing split?

Racecancer’s Boston 5k Summer Series: Race #4

Boston Summer Nights are made for 5ks along the Charles River. Thankfully Racecancer is giving me six chances to take in the glorious views of the water during the Boston 5k Summer Series. August 14th marked the fourth installment of the race and the weather was perfect - 6:30pm start for Women's Only 5k and a 7pm start for the Co-Ed 5k.

I got there a tad early to walk around and take in the sponsor tents. Since I have the season pass for the race series, I use the same bib for all 6 races so I didn't need to pick anything up.

The week prior to the race I experienced a quad injury, which left me with 5 forced rest days. For those that read this blog, you know that is unheard of in my world recently. ;) So it was tough.

The 5k would mark my first run since the injury so my goal was to take it easy.

But I am a horrible pacer when trying to take it easy during a race - I get swept up in the adrenaline of a race. I turned my Garmin over so I wouldn't be tempted to quicken up my pace if I felt I was running "too slow."

I was excited to be testing out my New Balance gear for the first time in a race - I had previously worn it for cross training and practice runs. Aren't those Foam Fresh 980s sweet?

Just before 6:30 I moved myself over to the Start Area for the Women's Only 5k.

My goal? Make it through pain free.

Race Director, Alain, spoke to the crowd briefly and shared a moment of silence for a member of the community's family member who had passed away from cancer. After the moment and race instructions, we were off.

The good thing about a race series means you become very familiar with the course. Knowing the course means less focus on going the right way and more about taking in the views.

Mile 1: 8:09

Even when the Garmin buzzed at Mile One, I went against my instincts and didn't sneak a peek. I was feeling good and wanted to focus on that.

Thankfully there wasn't any quad pain during the race. Now the pesky left hamstring pain took the forefront. I guess it was masked the week before by the quad pain.

It is a lingering pain from May and I know with more rest it will heal ... which I can do once the Half Ironman is over.

I want to commend the 5k for having two water stops on the course (Mile 1 and Mile 2). It is greatly appreciated by the runners.

Now I am doing this race alone and without music so it is all me and my thoughts during the run. ;) Which is a tough thing sometimes. The self-doubt and negative talk can come out in full effect. Trying to banish it is what I am working on.

Mile 2: 8:06

I passed on the water at the second water stop, but the volunteers were cheering everyone on loudly. Something I truly appreciated since this stretch of the race is a little light on the views/fan fare.

As I took the left onto the Arsenal St bridge, I smacked right into two guys standing with their bikes in the middle of the path. The race takes place on an open bike path, but I don't think these guys were ready to share the road. I let them know that there were a bunch of runners behind me and to make sure they stay on one side of the road.

It is all about sharing the road path folks!!

Once over the Arsenal St bridge, you take a left and head straight back to the Start on the path. This is a shady area along the water, which is great for a selfie break.

Now this is why I tell people to take multiple shots. Not every one will be a winner. ;)

(Read more at Mid-Run Selfie)

Mile 3: 8:04

I made sure just before Mile 3 to readjust the outfit before crossing the Finish Line. Gotta look good for those Finish Line photos. ;)

Final: 24:57

Very good for having come off rest and keeping it conservative.

After grabbing some water and stretching, I was debating taking part in the Co-Ed 5k as well (women's entry gets them into both races), but decided to keep it smart. I had the Falmouth Road Race (7 miles) on the Sunday and didn't want to risk any further injury.

But I did make sure to cheer them off.

It was a great turnout and I know folks had a great after party at Miller's Boston Ale House with Clown Shoes on tap.

I celebrated my 5k with my Chocolate Milk at home. At some point I will make it to an after party ... well I have 2 chances left. :P

Speaking of the next Boston 5k Summer Race is September 4 and you can register here (6pm for Women's Only and 6:30 for Co-Ed).


Will I see you there?

Racecancer’s Boston 5k Summer Series: Race #3

I love a race series especially one that takes place along the gorgeous and historic Charles River in Boston.

How did I get so lucky to call this my running path?

Thursday July 17th marked the third installment of Racecancer's Boston Summer 5k Series.

I competed in Race 1 on May 29, but missed Race 2 on June 12 due to injury.

When I woke up on July 17, I wasn't feeling it. I was just having one of those days when I wasn't in the mood to race. I think it happens to all of us at one time or another.

But, I knew I would feel better if I went, saw friends and just hit the pavement.

I arrived early for the race since I misread my calendar as to what time it started. Oops! I took the extra time to get some pre-run walking and stretching in.

I was deciding whether I would run both 5ks offered - the women's only 5k was kicking off at 7 and the co-ed 5k would follow at 7:30. I was going to wait and decide after race #1.

The women lined up just before 7 for pre-race announcements.

Not sure why I look so tall compared to everyone else. Hmm... For the record I am 5-8.

Also for the record, I was NOT posing in this photo. It just looks that way. ;)

Do you guys like my Race Ragz blog shirt? It was only the second time I wore it in a race.

As the pre-race jitters sunk in (like they do for every single race I participate in), I tried to block them out and turn it into fuel.

I had no expectations for the race time-wise and was just going to get out there and enjoy the atmosphere.

The course is basically the same for every race so I wouldn't have any surprises during the 3.1 miles.

After a 10 second countdown, we were OFF!

Ladies zoomed past me and I was okay with that. I wasn't going to PR and I needed to stay in my own game.

We crossed over the Eliot St bridge just before Mile 1 and I had to snap a pic.

How beautiful is that?

Mile 1: 7:48

It was hot and humid. I don't normally run in sleeves so I had to keep tucking my sleeves back under the strap of my sports bra. Having wardrobe malfunctions or annoyances while running is never fun.

And of course a halfway point selfie for everyone's enjoyment. ;) This was actually the second attempt at the selfie as the first was horrendous. Yes my mid-run selfies are not always perfect on the first try. :P

I want to thank the race for having two water stops during the 5k loop. They were both needed and appreciated.

Mile 2: 7:59

Since I was once again running without music, I needed something to occupy my mind for the final mile so I took in the people around me. I was trying to remember if any were around me during the first race in the series. I also had a blast watching this young girl - maybe around 10 or so - running with her mom. She kept looking over her shoulder to see if any of us were about to pass her.

I loved her fire and tenacity. Part of me wanted to step it up a notch to see what she would do, but I really wanted her to have that moment with her mom. So I hung back.

I also want to thank the race for providing free race photos to participants. It is such a rare thing these days. This photo was about 1/2 a mile from the Finish.

I gave it all I could for the final 1/2 mile, but between heat and my overall tiredness it felt like I was moving in place or I was on a treadmill. Has anyone else felt that during a run? I looked down just to confirm I was in fact moving forward.

As I neared the Finish Line, I looked to my right and saw a couple having a picnic - on the ground - among the geese. Ummm not my idea of a romantic date - umm hi goose poop - but they looked like they were having a phenomenal time.

Mile 3: 7:56

I crossed the Finish Line and went directly to the water jugs.

Let me tell you how much I did NOT feel like I was running sub 8's. Prior to my watch buzzing at Mile 1, I really expected to see a 9:30-ish pace. I just felt heavy and hot the entire race.

So while I am excited to see the final time, I really felt off the entire run. I don't think I could've done anything different. I was properly hydrated. I had plenty of fuel prior to the race. I was stretched. I think the heat/humidity was just there. Hi Summer! ;)

Once the first race was over, I was chatting with my friend George and seriously considering running the second 5k slowly. A cool down if you will. But as the time passed prior to the second race, the achiness in my left hammy was increasing. So I listened to my body and headed home.

Start to Coed 5k

With my weekly weigh-in the next morning I opted out of the post-race party at Miller's Boston Ale House sponsored by Long Trail Brewing. But man I could've used a beer after that race.

That night I looked at the race results for the women's only race and I was nowhere to be found. Hmm... I know from my mid-run selfie that I was in fact in there. After a quick tweet to the race organizers, I was told some people were missing from the electronic results, but were still on the manual list. It didn't take them long to fix the mistake. Thanks!

My 24:19 (7:50 min/mile pace) placed me 33rd overall out of 108 and 11th out of 35 in my division.

I am looking forward to hopefully being a little healthier for Race #4 of the series on Thursday, August 14 sponsored by Clown Shoes. Want to join me? You can still register here.


Have you ever participated in a women's only 5k?

EVERY runner should...

If there was ONE piece of advice I could give to fellow runners, it would simply be: volunteer at a road race! It gives a runner a new perspective on what goes in to putting a race on and may change some people's unappreciative attitudes.


It was finally my time to officially volunteer at yesterday's Super Sunday 5 race put on by RACE - Run Against Cancer Events.

Last Sunday (January 27), I met up with the Racemenu and RACE crews to help stuff bibs ... which I had never done before.

I liked getting into the rhythm of putting the chip, safety pins and twists ties (for the chips) in the envelopes. Plus, they supplied free pizza ... and I can never say no to free pizza. :)

The bibs were being personalized with each runner's name so we didn't actually have to stuff the bibs themselves that day.

The experience was great and it was cool to get to know the people running the race better.

On Saturday (February 2), I had free time after my 16-mile training run with Tedy's Team for The Boston Marathon so I signed up to help with bib pick-up from 12-4 at the New Balance Store on Boylston St.

new balance

It was cool to be the one handing out the bibs, chips and t-shirts to the runners and wishing them a good race. Plus, everyone loves finding out that with their bib they would get 15% off at the New Balance store all weekend long. :)

Keeping a smile on my face was easy during the 4-hour shift as I LOVE seeing other runners excited to race. Some were nervous about the impending snow and cold weather, but most were ready to get after it. Plus, there was free beer at the Finish ... how could that not get you pumped for a 5k or 5-mile run to kick off Superbowl Sunday??

I missed setting up the station, but made sure to stick around and help break down the bib pick-up location. The four of us worked quickly to make sure we got out of the store on time.

Plus, I ended up using my own bib to get 15% off the one New Balance shirt I had my eye on since seeing them at The Falmouth Road Race in August.

2013-02-02 14.10.12

Isn't it great?

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Then yesterday was Race Day (February 3)! I signed up to both volunteer and run the race ... why not, right? :)

I was told to be at the race by 8am to get my location. I met Kim at 8 and was assigned to set up baggage claim.

I was intrigued by this spot since I rarely use bag check myself and wanted to make sure I set it up the best way I could since there were over 1,500 runners signed up.

Thankfully we had a large space so we were able to set up 8 different rows designated by an orange cone where each row could hold 200 #s/bags if needed (1-200, 201-400, etc). Within each row, there was a second cone denoting the second 100 #s (100, 300, etc) to make the area as organized as possible.

Yes my math mind loved this activity.

By about 9:30, Kim said she needed more help at Registration as those volunteers needed to head to the course itself. So I happily headed to registration to help hand out bibs and t-shirts. It was sprinting back and forth between bib table and t-shirt table so it was a perfect warm-up for the race itself. Plus, I was able to see a couple people I knew pre-race. :)

Finally at about 10:15am, I headed to do my personal prep for the race itself (which started at 10:30am). The port-o-potty lines moved quickly, but thankfully the race director had to tow some cars on the course so the Start was slightly delayed giving me plenty of time to get in position. :)

I had NO idea what to expect from the run since I had done 16.2 the day before, but as soon as the gun went off I booked it ... and felt great.

I somehow had a sub 8 minute/mile pace the entire run, which I didn't expect, but happily accepted.

It was snowing while we ran through Cambridge, which set a lovely scene. ;)

I caught up with my friend George just before Mile Four and helped push him along the final hump/hill.

I just reminded him that "we had 1.08 miles til beer" and that "we eat 1 mile runs for breakfast." :)

Hey! Those things keep me moving too.

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I ended up clocking in at 38:34, which was a 7:43 min/mile pace ... WOW!! I really don't know how I did that.

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As soon as I finished the run, I headed to the beer tent to grab a celebratory drink (of course!) then headed to find Kim to see where I could help.

I ended up going back to bag check to help with the masses, who just wanted to get home and out of the cold. I tried to move as quickly as my tired legs would take me because I knew how cold the runners were. We ended up having about 6 of us on hand to knock out the long line of people waiting.

Once the bag check was under control, I actually was able to meet up with Tyler from Popchips, who has helped me with some giveaways here on the blog and at my 30th Birthday Charity 5k. It was great to finally put a face with the name. :)

After catching up with Tyler, I realized it was already Noon and time for me to hit the beer tent and pour beers. I have NEVER helped at post-race beer distribution before, but I wanted to make sure to be on my A-game since I DO know how important beer is to runners. ;)

Samuel Adams, Long Trail Brewing, Mayflower Brewing Company and Shipyard Brewing Company  donated bottles of beer, while Bantam Cider provided kegs. I was put on bottles so thankfully a co-volunteer let me borrow his iPhone that had a bottle opener attached to it - yes I need one of those too!

My hands were frozen, but it was necessary to be on the other side of the beer. Many runners can get testy when waiting for free beer - seeing/experiencing what the volunteers go through (frozen hands, delays in beer delivery, running out of cups, etc) makes you appreciate and understand the wait a little more. I am not a person that ever got "bitchy" at a post-race party, but I definitely wouldn't in the future after trying to open beer bottles with frozen hands. :P

Once we ran out of bottles of beer, I headed back to the post-race party tent to find Kim. They needed help breaking down the Finish Line so I headed that way. I wasn't very strong, but helped out however I could.

I did learn how to properly fold the American flag in the triangle pattern.

Following Finish Line breakdown, I headed back to the post-race party tent to help clean up the tables and empty cups that were strewn around as people danced to Bearfight.

As the party started to wind down, I headed out around 1:30 as the wife arrived to give me a lift home. :)


Overall it was one AMAZING experience.

I don't think many runners are aware of what truly goes in to putting a road race on.

To get a truly well-rounded understanding, I recommend that EVERY runner volunteers at a local road race at least once in their life.

And please remember to always thank every volunteer and police officer along the course ... they give a lot to be help secure your safety and that you have a kick ass race/party!