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?

Join Me Weekly At Nike Run AND Walk Club at Assembly Row

Are you in the Somerville area? Have you been looking to get extra accountability to get out and run or walk?

Then look no farther than the Nike Run AND Walk Club every Wednesday night at 6:30pm at Assembly Row.

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What a sweet looking crew right? :)

Each Wednesday the group tackles a 5k loop near the Assembly Row area in Somerville. The entire course is on a bike path so there are no street crossings. There is also a water fountain available twice on the first half of the course.

The group offers pacers for those running, run-walking or strictly walking.

ALL PACES ARE WELCOME!!

As I like to say no person is left behind.

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One week I had the pleasure of pacing the group and made sure each person had a great time complete with high fives along the way.

Following the 5k, which starts and ends at the Nike Factory Store, Nike offers water and granola bars to refuel.

Once Slumbrew's American Fresh opens up at Assembly Row, I know I will be heading over there for a beer or two. ;)

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My fellow Slumbrew Happy Soles and I! #SportTheFort

There is also free parking and at some point in the fall the orange line stop at Assembly Row should open, but Assembly Row is easily accessible via the orange line stops at Sullivan and Wellington.

So if you are a runner, run-walker or walker and want to meet some new workout buddies then join us each Wednesday at 6:30pm at Nike Factory Store at Assembly Row! :)

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***

Will I see you one Wednesday?

Will You #RaceToTheRow With Me? *Race Entry Giveaway*

AND THE WINNER IS.....

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to everyone that entered! If you didn't win, I still hope you will register for the race!! :)

***

Amazing Race is coming back to Somerville.

Wait wait! That sounds misleading.

THE Amazing Race the show is not coming back to Somerville, but AN Amazing Race is.

The Somerville Road Runners are putting on the 2nd Annual Race To The Row 5kon August 24th at 9:30am!

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YAY!! 

I had a BLAST at the inaugural race last year. If you didn't just click on "last year" and read the race recap, let me tell you it is the race where I set my current 5k PR of 21:59. Umm yeah so this race means A LOT to me. Plus it is less than a 5 minute walk from my house.

Since Assembly Row was under construction last year, I know the course will be even BETTER this year since Assembly Row is open and thriving. Here is a sneak peek at it.

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The race is a run or walk and is open to runners and families of all ages and abilities.

Additionally, there will be a Children's Fun Run (age 9 and under) before the race with all kids getting a medal! Can I pretend to be an 8-year old? ;) I love a medal.

I will say the Fun Run was adorable to watch pre-race last year.

But more about the 5k:

The Race to the Row will run through the Assembly Square District and along the Mystic River, ending with a fun-filled post-race party with food and drinks served from the newest local restaurants and live music supplied by the IT Band! All proceeds will benefit the East Somerville Main Streets program (funding East Somerville business visibility and bolstering the community at large) as well as Somerville TrackPAC (provides college scholarships for Somerville High School students).

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Following last year's race I enjoyed free Harpoon beer and food courtesy of Burger Dive. I know they will be offering free food and drink to participants again this year, but details have yet to be released.

The Assembly Row and race area are easily accessible via public transportation and offer ample parking options for those choosing to drive.

***

Now that I have you all drooling over the fun ... it is time for the best part:

I have a FREE race entry to give away!

Lucky me!!

So here’s how to enter:

The giveaway will run from Monday July 28 (10am ET) through Friday August 1 (10am ET)!

The winner will be selected and announced on Friday!

My Assembly Row Video

This summer I was asked by the lovely PR folks for Assembly Row in Somerville to take part in their campaign called "Faces of Assembly Row." Well the video finally hit the airwaves yesterday... check it out below: [embedplusvideo height="281" width="450" editlink="http://bit.ly/1e165E7" standard="http://www.youtube.com/v/gUSKzV7F-aI?fs=1" vars="ytid=gUSKzV7F-aI&width=450&height=281&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=" id="ep2750" /]

Gobble Gobble Gobble 4-Miler

The day before Thanksgiving when most people are cooking, shopping for appetizers for Thanksgiving or meeting up with friends at bars, I was freakin' out because I didn't have an outfit picked out for the following day's Gobble Gobble Gobble 4-Miler ($28) in Davis Square (Somerville, MA).

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I headed to Target, Kohl's, Party City and KMart with no luck at finding anything that could pass as a Thanksgiving-themed hat. I was feeling deflated. One of my favorite parts of races is finding an appropriate costume to rock! ;)

I had lost hope, but I wasn't ready to give up. After picking my wife up from the train station later that day, I gave it one last shot - Christmas Tree Shops. I mean that store usually has everything...

... and they came through in the clutch! :)

I found this beauty for $5!!!!

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Amazing, right? The store had three different options (yay!) and this seemed like the one that would actually stay on my head while running.

Once I had my headgear set, I could sleep soundly. It is the little things with me apparently.

Thankfully my friend/fellow Weight Watchers Leader Heather would be running the race as well so she offered to give me a lift. I had already made up my mind that I would run the race with her, but hadn't shared the news with her yet. I was going to surprise her when we got to the race. :)

Heather is new to running - she started in 2012 - so she likes to get to races with plenty of time to spare. A lady after my own heart.

Her husband dropped us off in Davis Square and we went in search of a warm place to hide out until it was time to line up for the race. We decided to step into a Starbucks. After about 5 minutes in the shop, I realized I was wearing a shirt that said "Friends Don't Let Friends Drink Starbucks."

Ummmm oops! :P

I can think on my feet so I used my awesome hat to cover my shirt. As we approached the 9:00am start, we ducked into the local Boston Sports Club so I could use my membership to use the nice bathroom instead of the port-o-potties. Score!

Just as we hit the Start Line my dad showed up! Yay! We had a fan at the Start AND someone to snap our pic.

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I told Heather that I would be running with her for the race and she was surprised and excited. Phew! She was pushing for a sub-40 4-mile race and I was going to make that happen! :)

When we checked out the weather report in the days leading up to the Thanksgiving Day race, there was nothing but COLD COLD COLD temperatures being reported. But thankfully New England being New England actually had better weather than predicted. I didn't need the scarf, but forgot to toss it to my dad before we started.

It was nice to get so many compliments about my Sparkle Athletic skirt. People wanted to know where they could one for themselves. I love sharing the sparkle.

The gun sounded and we were off.

Being from Somerville and doing countless races in the Davis Square area, I knew the lay of the lands without needing to look at a course map so I could prep Heather as we ran.

I had a great time chatting with Heather the whole race. She was OWNING it. We had a bit of a clog at the start of the race, but I love the 4-mile distance because it really spreads out the paces. I find some 5ks are congested the whole time since so many people have similar 5k paces. I don't know if it is fact or just in my head, but after we hit Mile 1 - we had plenty of space to get into a zone.

We were chatting about my upcoming Dopey Challenge and how Heather is currently training for her first half marathon (I'm wicked proud). She is going to take on her first Disney race in 2015 - Princess Half. As we were talking Dopey Challenge costumes, a girl next to us chimed in about her experience doing a Run Disney race.

I LOVE chatting with other runners during races. Not all of them like to talk back, but that's okay. I was glad this girl did. :)

As we hit Mile 2, I let Heather know that she was doing awesome and that we were rocking a 9:45 min/mile pace. She was rocking it.

I knew the second half of the race would be a tad hillier.

When running with others, I never know if they want encouragement throughout the race, if they want to know when hills are approaching, etc. So I made sure to keep checking in with Heather to make sure I wasn't taking her out of the zone. We were on the same page.

We headed up one of the bigger hills and reminded Heather that we could slow down whenever she needed it. Slow and steady up the hill and use the downhill to recover.

We took the final turn and almost immediately hit the Mile 3 marker. It was a straight shot to the Finish from there. We would head up one more small incline and then it was downhill all the way to the Finish line. I love that part of the course back into Davis Square.

I counted down the last 1/2 mile or so for Heather in case she wanted to give it a final push to the end.

AND SHE DID IT!

Heather's official time was 38:54 and mine was 38:55 - both good for a 9:44 min/mile pace.

Ah-may-zing! And my dad was right there at the Finish Line cheering for us both!!

I was so proud of her and happy we were able to enjoy the race together.

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And my outfit got some great shoutouts during the race! Yay!

Of course I had to celebrate another race completed with a Dunkin' Donuts Iced Coffee. The folks working at the Dunkins I went to appreciated the shirt. ;) If only it scored me a free coffee - maybe next time.

***

Did you participate in a Thanksgiving Day race? Rock a costume?

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Hey Boston, looking for a trainer? I have one for you!

I've always been terrified of the weight area/floor/domain at the gym. So terrified that I've avoided it at all cost. The judging eyes. The guys kissing muscles (yes I have HONESTLY seen that in real life).

Now in reality this is probably all in my head, but either way I haven't been able to really break it just yet.

As a result, I usually do workout DVDs in the safety of my own living room. Well, the only judging eyes there would be the dogs and well I can laugh that off since they judge me all the time. ;)

But, I have always wanted to try a personal training session. So many of my friends are personal trainers and well, they don't scare me or make me feel unworthy of strength training.

Enter Kristen from BeFitWithKristen.com!!

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Image from Be Fit With Kristen

Kristen is a fellow Fitfluential Ambassador and a member of the Slumbrew running team, which is how we met. She listened to my worries about the gym weight area and my desire to give a personal training session a try and offered to meet with me for a sample session.

Awesome! I couldn't pass up the opportunity.

Kristen works out of the Somerville and Chestnut Hill areas. With the Somerville location about a mile from my house, it was an easy choice. ;)

I arrived at Corpbasics (where she trains out of) in Union Square in Somerville with ENERGYbits in hand. I needed all the extra energy I could.

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I bound up the stairs in order to cover my nerves ;) and was immediately greeted with Kristen's warm and reassuring smile. Nerves slowly started to fade ... note: slowly! :P

Kristen and I headed into a side office so I could do some paperwork and she could learn a little bit more about my fitness and injury background.

After about 10-15 minutes, it was time to get started. Many of the exercises she had planned for the session where ones that allowed her to evaluate my strength, balance and fitness level. Oh but at the end she threw in some TRX floor exercises to push me out of my comfort zone. Wasn't that sweet of her. :)

We headed over to get this party started on the treadmill. Oh hello old friend. The goal was to run for 5 minutes as a warm up and a time for her to evaluate my running form.

Alright for starting off with a strength of mine. Sweet!

Of course that 5 minutes seemed to fly by as we were just chatting away. And then it was time to get it going.

Kristen set up the TRX, which is something I have always wanted to try, but never had access to. As Kristen set up the straps, I looked around the studio to realize we were the only people in the studio. Woo! Talk about privacy and putting me at ease.

We did 8 strength exercises (3 sets of each, 10-15 reps per set).

*Squats (with jump squats during the final set to add in some cardio)

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*Chest Press

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*Lunges

*Low Row

*Single Arm Power Pull

*Bicep Curls

*Tricep Press

And I was already feeling it after that ... and we were only 1/3 of the way through. But thankfully I had been able to complete all of the exercises with the TRX so I was happy. Also, Kristen did a great job gently correcting my form and encouraging me as we went along.

Next up was balance. Now since my back surgery in January 2011, my balance has never been 100%. It is something the doctors told me would happen with a herniated disc and how severe mine was. But, I still try to improve my balance as best I can.

She had me do a single leg dead lift with a sandbell grab. Translated to: you stand on one leg, you drop the 10 lb sandbell to the floor, you bend over still on that one leg, pick it up and stand back up.

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I didn't fall completely over - WIN! I had to reset my footing a couple times, but overall I was really happy with how well I did.

I was pretty proud of myself. 2/3 of the way through and I was able to complete all the tasks she had asked and didn't feel uncomfortable.

I was also very open about asking questions about form and how certain moves would affect my back. She was open to answering anything I threw at her, which was comforting.

And then she pulled out the big guns - the TRX floor exercises. Hello core work!! The TRX floor exercises work full body strength, core and cardio. You put your feet in the TRX straps and your body dangles. It seriously was an entire body workout in a short period of time.

We did 4 different exercises for 20 seconds at a time with a 10 second rest in between. We then repeated the circuit twice.

*Mountain Climbers

*Hip Abduction

*Pike

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*Pendulum Swing

This was a true test for me as it was out of my comfort zone. I gave it my 100% in all of the exercises and know that if I did it more regularly I would be more comfortable with the straps. I wish we had the pendulum swings on video as I definitely had myself cracking up over how I looked.

I untangled myself from the TRX straps, did a little cool down and it was time to wrap up the session.

Kristen went through her assessment afterwards and gave me some great feedback. Always a good feeling when someone tells you you aren't as weak as you think you are. :P

Sooo Somerville, Boston, Cambridge, Medford or any other area in Greater Boston, if you are looking to give a one-on-one personal training session a try or looking to try a small group training (4 participants) atmosphere, check my girl Kristen out. You can contact her through her website.

Oh and tell her I sent ya! ;)

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!

Have you checked out #Assembled in Somerville?

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Are you in or around the Somerville, MA area? If so, I highly recommend coming over our way and checking out the uber-local Assembled, the Handmade Arts Market at Assembly Row. It offers local artisans, music and some pretty darn delicious food trucks - if you ask me. ;)

Did I also mention free admission??

I have the pleasure of living right across the street from the Assembly Row area, which most people know as the area of Somerville that has the Christmas Tree Shops. :P Whatever landmark you need to use is fine, but I think that gives most people an idea of where in the city this is located.

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Assembly Row is nestled between the Sullivan Square and Wellington stops on the Orange Line, but does offer ample free parking if you are stopping by while out and about.

There is a booth (pictured above) where you can catch what Assembly Row should look like when it is completed next year with outlet shops, restaurants and a movie theater. They are even getting their very own orange line stop (Yes closer to my house!)

They actually shut down a portion of the through street to hold the event. The info booth sort of acts as the separator between the artist booths and the food trucks. It makes it flow nicely.

One one end of the street are all the amazing vendors - think Etsy type products! :)

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I am always impressed with such creative people so this area of the market always inspires me. There are folks out there selling art work, clothing, bird feeders, hand painted stemware, woodwork, home-made delicacies and so much more.

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I loved this wine rack, but unfortunately we do not have the decor to pull it off.

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Can you tell there was a theme to my shopping? ;)

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Books made in to pocketbooks! How creative. I wish I was cool enough to come up with things like that. I'm just glad there are people out there than can ... and do! :)

And then I caught the cutest dress in the corner of my eye and knew I had to grab it for my 'niece' Joanna.

The booth was adorably designed all around ... I mean hello great use of sidewalk chalk!

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 Sarah Joyce Designs and company easily won for cutest booth of the day! (She was sharing the booth with another designer)

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The Black and Red Lady Bug Pillow case Dress would be mine!!

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How freakin' adorable will Joanna look in this? I didn't care that it was a size too big. I had to buy it. :)

Then as we continued around the booths my other half spotted something she just had to have.

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There were a lot of cute things at this booth, but the thing she had to have was a piece of stemware.

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Yup,  a beer stein with a painted mustache on it ... and matching shot glass!

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The big decision then was ... which mustache to pick! The tough choices in life... :P

The booths were all amazing and I made sure to stop at each to really appreciate all the time and hard work that went into these pieces.

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After seeing such amazing artists and passing tent after tent of yummy fudges, popcorn and BBQ sauces,

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it was time to hit up the food side of the market!

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They had about half a dozen picnic table set up in the middle of the street with the 4 food trucks spread out on either side.

trucks

It was wicked hard to decide which truck to try, but we finally picked the Away Cafe!

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We decided on the Sausage Basil Onion (left) and the Smoked Pulled Pork (right).

food

Boy was the decision tough - drunken chicken sounds pretty fantastic - but these were DELICIOUS!!!

And we were lucky that on August 3rd the Dock Dogs were performing!

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The pups were adorable and some were making jumps for the first time. A little stage fright for a few, which made it even cuter when they finally did get in the water.

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Do you like the pup I had the honor of standing next to during the performance?

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Jealous of his hair, right?

***

So make sure if you find yourself in the Somerville area on a Saturday between 11-4 be sure to stop on by Assembled ... I promise it won't disappoint. Plus, it feels good to support, shop and eat local!!

2013-08-03 13.02.14

MOM's Run 5k - 5/12/13 - 23:31 (7:35 min/mile)

I love super local races ... especially ones for a good cause. The MOMS Run 5k in Somerville, MA fills both those criteria. :)

Three friends and I ran this race last year and had such a great time it was a no-brainer to sign up again for 2013.

The race really won be over last year with 1) great beer and 2) an AMAZING post-race spread of food.

Good food + good beer = good race. :P

This year, the wife and I were joined by my BFF Sarah, her husband Brandon and their daughter Joanna.

Can you tell how excited Brandon was to run his first 5k? :P

There was rain on the forecast for the day and it was spitting on and off while we mulled around pre-race. The race itself began at 10am, but we knew the rain was really supposed to end at 1pm - but were hoping it may end early just for us. ;)

Tori & Joanna

As we stood around chatting and stretching, a couple blog readers (Sally and Jenny) came over to say hi! YAY! I love meeting people that enjoy reading my blog ...

With about 15-20 minutes to go before we lined up for the race, it was time to take my ENERGYbits and get #PoweredByBits.

And as the walkers kicked off the first wave of the race, the rain began to fall harder. Oh YAY ... not!

I didn't mind the rain so much, but it was causing the temp to drop - which was frustrating.

Finally, the walkers had gone as well as the wheelchair so it was time for the runners to hit the pavement.

Sarah and I were aiming for low 7 min/mile pace, but even at the Start my legs were feeling as heavy as lead. I wasn't totally sure why - maybe leftover soreness from last week's half or the previous day's workout (Day 1 of Jillian Michaels' 30-day shred).

But, right off the bat I knew I wasn't going to reach my goal of a sub 23 min half.

I told Sarah to run off without me, but being the good friend that she is she stuck by me.

Plus, it was going to be on the last races we would run together as she is moving to Maine next month. Sad I know!

The race started on a gradual hill - AWESOME, my favorite - and thankfully did offer a downhill at some point. Since you know, what goes up - must come down ... at some point!

We hit Mile One in about a 7:38 pace (if memory serves me correctly).

I was upset. What was going on. I wanted to will my body to go faster, but it wouldn't.

But, I powered on.

And then came another hill. Really Somerville? This course was hillier than I remembered for sure.

I believe Mile Two (with hill) was about a 7:45-ish minute mile.

Okay, going in the wrong direction.

But once we hit Mile Two, there was a glorious glorious downhill.

It was time to make up some serious time and try to save the race.

AAannddd then about 1/2 a mile from the Finish came a pain in my left hamstring that I had never felt before. OOUUCCHH!!

But, I wasn't about to stop. For a second, I thought I wasn't going to finish - then I remembered I finish what I start.

So Sarah motivated me through the last 1/2 mile.

Thank goodness for Sarah's positivity at the end.

Plus, I saw my friend George ahead and I had to try and catch up to him and finish as close to him as possible. It's fun being competitive with friends - as long as it is friendly competition. Like George and I have. It is motivating to have a friend with a similar pace that runs as many races as I do. :)

We finished in 23:31 minutes ... a 7:35 min/mile pace.

No PR BUT a course PR as in 2012 I finished the race in 24:06.

SWEET.

So I was wicked mad when we finished then I remembered how I finished my first-ever 5k in March 2005 in 38:21. Yeah this race was about 15 minutes faster. I will TAKE THAT!

Sarah and I met up with George and grabbed a celebratory Harpoon!

Brandon (Sarah's husband) rocked his first 5k run and finished in 30:19 ... while pushing Joanna in the stroller up the hills. I was wicked impressed and proud!

As Sarah and Brandon got in line for food, I hung with a sleeping Joanna. AND got 2 extra free beers from a guy who had a gluten allergy and he said I deserved them on Mother's Day!

Well, no need to tell him I wasn't a mom so I gladly thanked him and took the beers. ;)

As the rain picked back up, we moved our group inside to eat some of the delicious food provided from local Davis Square establishments.

I even got to see a friend from college and fellow AOII sister, Nadia, who I hadn't seen in ages.

She has embarked on her own weight loss and fitness journey so it was great to connect.

I saw a handful of my Weight Watchers members walking and running in the race as well!

After Joanna made sure the Mile markers were safely returned to the Finish line...

... it was time to part ways and head to home.

But, first Joanna decided that my beer needed a side of Mother's Day flower (that the race handed to all Moms).

Even with the rain, it was a great morning. I was annoyed with my race results, but reminded myself that running is about the friends, family, experience and beer!

Thank you to all the race organizers (especially my friend Paul), volunteers and Somerville cops for all you did to make a great race experience for all...