Five College Realtors 10 Miler Race Recap

The Five College Realtors 10 Miler Race took place in Amherst, MA on February 22nd, at Noon. The cost was $45 and while the price of being able to finally run outside was priceless.

This wasn’t on the race schedule and this wasn’t planned, so how did I end up running a 10 miler on Sunday February 22nd in Amherst… a good 2 hour drive away?

Well… a friend mentioned that she’s running this race earlier through her running club and I looked at it, noticed it was too hours away and decided I was saving a bit up for a few other destination races, so I passed.  Then weeks (although it feels like months) of snow and ice and the terrible winter of 2015 that is happening in Boston occurred…. and after realizing that I literally haven’t stepped outside in over a month besides a half block walk to the gym from my office and two block walk from the car garage to the office, that I should try to get outside no matter the cost. Boston and Malden sidewalks are pretty much icey death traps unless you’re in a shopping area.

I just wanted to run outside and not worry about falling on the ice that has replaced all the sidewalks in my hood. Rumor had it that Amherst got inches compared to our feet of snow and the photos I looked were runnable.

So there,  I found myself texting Sonia on Saturday night wondering if she has extra room in her car the night before a race. She was driving up with a few running clubmates and they had just enough room for little ole me!

The Five College Realtors 10 Miler Race was race # 1 in the USATF New England Grand Prix race championship. What exactly does it mean? That I am surrounded by some of the beset and fastest runners in New England. And yes there was nothing more humbling than seeing my results post race. But back to the story from the start.

The night before it snowed as it seems to be everyday lately, but luckily the drive up was easy.  We stopped at one point at Dunkin and I picked up coffee and an egg white flat bread with cream cheese.  Note ideal pre-race meal, but I had more than four hours before guntime and I really didn’t want to feel hungry mid-race. We got there at about 10AM, giving us enough time to mingle, me to sign up for the race, and all the bathroom breaks I needed. The race start was next to a school and we got to hang out in a warm cafeteria with plenty of bathrooms for all the anxious runners.

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If funny… when you get to a race two hours early, it always seems like you got forever to go before gun-time, and yet it still sneaks up to you.  I edged myself in a comfortable 10 lines to the front. I knew I wasn’t in any shape or even league as a lot of the runners to weasel my way to the front like I normally do.

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The first 2.5 miles or so are pretty much a down-hill ride. I was trying to keep it easy, but saw myself slipping in and out of 6:30 on the downgrade. The race had mile markers so it was nice to see my pace as I didn’t have complete faith in my Garmin after not using it for over a month.

It was nice to start off fast, but I reminded myself I’m going to really regret this downhill part when I have to climb this back up to the finish. The race is what they call a lollipop loop so what goes down, will be coming back up to smack my heart right out of my chest.

Mile 2.5-7.5 – They say this course is hilly and that’s not a lie

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It was up and down for a bit and somewhere in the middle around mile 4-5 we hit the dirt path.

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I was a bit worried that it would be muddy or slippery because of the snow, but for the most part it was perfect.  Only a few parts that were more snowy than others and felt like running on a sandy trail.

After the nice break, it was back to rolling hills for a bit. I started getting into a groove and enjoying them a bit. My pace even started to drop around 7:20s.

And then the last 2.5 miles came… It felt terribly hard… I forgot just how hard running a real hill is. Nothing to make you feel even more out of shape than hill. It felt like my heart was going to explode straight out of the chest as my brain went into an aneurysm. I spent a great dealing of walking in parts of it as I watch my pace tumble into slower times. And the whammy of it all as it took its toll was a stomach cramp .4 miles from the finish line! I tried to kick, but instead slowed to a jog/walk as I tried to make it to the finish line in one piece.  I saw the clock say 1:16 and I fought my way through to not break another minute! Success.

There are no medals in this race similar to a lot of local races, but you do get a fairly nice, but not gender specific long sleeve shirt to add to the collection.

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Additionally, the race advertises showers, but by showers they mean two small dark stalls in a high school locker room that forever reminded you why high school kids are smelly… yea, needless to say I skipped the shower and just changed out of sweat clothes. They did have some refueling with bananas, bread, soup, cookies and candies.  Calories.. calories… calories. Maybe beer sponsor next year?

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My ending results:

Time:  1:16:44

Pace: 7:40

Overall Place: 288/565

Gender Place: 76/221

Division Place (0-39): 58/106

I felt like I did a pretty good job despite it being far from my half marathon PR.  But with fighting injuries this year and all the snow, you take what you can get and enjoy it the most. I think I could have put a harder effort in it. Since I’ve been mostly running marathons or 5Ks, I haven’t figured out a great way to pace myself on these middle distances.

If I lived closer to the area, I would definitely do this race again! I wouldn’t mind if the cost was a little lower since it’s so far away, but the roads were mostly clear of cars. I only saw like 2-3 drive by and all drivers were really nice to the runners. It was also nice to warm up in the school before and after the race.  All in all, a well-organized race!

Cambridge Oktoberfest 5K Race Recap

The Cambridge Oktoberfest 5k is part of a series of 5ks put on throughout the year ending with the Yulefest in December. I haven’t done any of them; however I’ve always wanted to. Sadly when you run as many races as I do and drag your boyfriend into half of them, you have to eventually get picky since these events aren’t getting cheaper. Luckily, Dani at a Weight Off My Shoulders holds tons of giveaways and discounts throughout the year. I entered for Octoberfest and kept my fingers crossed. And… I won!

And immediately went in search of a dirndl. Yes, I have never raced in a costume before, but this seemed like a good way to start. And no, I am not one of those cool kids that makes their own. I’m an accountant, creativity isn’t my strong point and I ain’t got time for it in between all the miles and Doctor Who episodes I’m watching. Soooo,.. Amazon to the rescue!

Race registration was around $40 but I wanted my favorite running partner with me! So yes, that’s how Tony got roped into back to back 5ks.

The bib pick up was offered earlier in the week at Jacob Wirth in Boston and made it super easy for me to grab our numbers on Friday night since they were available until 8pm!

The race swag came with a parking pass to Cambridgeside Galaria and a cotton shirt that although won’t be used for running was pretty soft and cute.

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On race day we woke up at 8AM and in theory had plenty of time to get to the race on time if Mr. snooze didn’t enter our world. Damn you snooze, so tempting like the devil. Before we knew it, we were scrambling out the door. It took us 35 minutes to drive 4 miles and find parking. Luckily parking wasn’t too difficult on a Sunday morning but road closures due to construction were frustrating.

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It was chilly, around 48, so I played around with ideas of how to stay warm and still fit into my costume. These things run small! I only have one small regret, I should have ordered a small and not an extra small!

Anyways, the race started at 9:30 and we got there around 9:27. And at this point, I told Tony I’ll wait for him while he finds the bathroom and we’ll run together.

So I waited for him and we get to the starting line about 2 minutes late and I see tons and tons of runners. Seriously, I don’t know the numbers but I feel like 3,001 is a good guess. Suddenly I get the gleam of reaching the starting line and not trying to run at least 7 minute pace seemed unacceptable to me.

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I don’t exactly know how it happened but the crazy eyes took over and within 3 seconds I parted with Tony and started to weave in and out around people, sidewalk etc to get ahead. If you didn’t start in front of the pack this was a tight race and I started two minutes into the race.

However, I have to say, I work best when the adrenaline or trying pass people takes over. It’s how I ran a 3:24 on my first marathon because the DC metro broke down and I got to the race 20 minutes late.

They had clocks at mile 1 & 2 that I saw and for the most part, my Garmin seemed to be in sync with the distance. The course goes up one street with an uphill around mile 1.5 that rewards you with a mild decline for the remainder of the race. No matter how hard I tried to get ahead, it didn’t get any less packed and I was definitely starting to get tired. The 13 miles from the day before was definitely in my legs.

As my watch beeped 3 miles, I was excited for the pain to end in about a minute, but there was no finish line in sight. Eventually, it came and I kicked ahead because the last 10 seconds of a 5k is always my favorite part.

By the time I finished my Garmin said 3.25 which isn’t a bit deal. I’m no pro, so for me more miles, more smiles even if it’s an extra .1 mile.

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The one thing this 5k is known for is a killer after party put on by Swissbaker, Jacobwirth and Cambridge brewing company.

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After waiting and watching Tony finish, we went to grab out beer and feed. I got the pumpin ale which was light and refreshing for a 10am drink and then it was the food.

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I justified it since it was past noon in Germany so I was drinking with them, right?

Anyways the food… Swiss Bakers had their amazing pretzels

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and I actually have no idea what I ate from Jacob Wirth but it was delicious, there was pickled cabbage, a pulled meat, gravy and something that reminded me of gnocchi but German.

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Yea, this doesn’t look that pretty, but I promise it was tasty.

Overall it was a fun event and I hope I get a chance to participate next year.

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Official Distance: 3.1

Official Time: 21:50

Overall Place: 107/2121

Gender Place: 14/(not sure total)

 

QOTD: Have you ever ran in a costume?

 

2012 Boston Run to Remember Recap

On May 27th 2012, I ran Boston’s Run to Remember Half Marathon.This was the 6th year this race was happening and my second time running it.As I mentioned before this race has a lot of significance to me since it was my first half marathon a year ago.Now I’m back on the course 2 Full Marathons and 3 Half-Marathons later.Needless to say I wanted to PR, I wanted to PR and race; however, with my recent mystery leg strain I was nervous about the results. Luckily, things worked out great and number 4 half marathon is in the books!

Boston’s Run to Remember actually has two races – A half marathon (13.1 miles) and a 5-miler.Net proceeds benefit community & kids programs of the Boston Police Runner’s Club.I think in total there are 8,000 runners between the two courses.Last year the race started at 8AM but this year due to the horrible heat problems in the prior year they started the race at 7AM for the half and 7:15 for the 5-miler.

Costs

The race fees start at $45 for the half & $30 for the 5-miler and gradual raise as the race approaches.I don’t remember what I paid but I signed up relatively early so it was either $45 or $55. Definitely a bargain compared to the BAA & Rock n Roll races.

Expo & Swag Bag

The race expo is really small.I got my number in about 30 seconds.There were almost no exhibits other than Marathon Sports, Odwalla samples and those weird Basement people that are always at any expo/convention possible.They did have popcorn and a bouncy house for the kids.I wanted to go into the bouncy house but some people thought I might cause injury to those smaller than me and should probably refrain.You get a free T-shirt with registration but it’s cotton, white and unisex so it’ll either go to Tony or Goodwill.The other swag included some bottles of Zinco coconut water.Not as good as VitaCoco but free is free.

The Race Course

As a Boston resident, I think the course is pretty sweet.

The 5-miler is entirely in downtown/financial district of Boston while the Half Marathon adds its 8 miles by going across the river into Cambridge with an out and back on Memorial drive along the Charles River.The course is also pretty flat and fast.Aside from the ramp for the bridge to cross the river that you hit twice (once going in and once coming back) there were no major hills.If you’re really curious, there is a driving video available of both the 5-miler and half marathon on the race’s website.

My Splits & Recap

My splits are a bit of an estimate because I don’t have a fancy Garmin (hint you know who that reads this) .I used Runkeeperapp for the Iphone which worked okay enough but when I finished running my total mileage was 13.69.I looked at the map and it seemed the signal bounced in some parts so I adjusted those miles by a minute or 2.I did use the runkeeper coach tool to stay at a 7:30 pace and avoid the crash that I had at Gloucester Half two weeks ago.For the most part it sort of worked.My average pace for the race according to official results was 7:32.

Prerace – I woke up at 6AM and woke Tony up and out to drive me to Boston at 6:25.I have the best bf/driver in the world!We made it downtown in a record breaking time of 11 minutes by 6:26.He went back home while I made my way to the Boston harbor Hotel since Fancy Hotel bathroom is way better than race portys.Munched on a Kashi Go Lean bar and drank my bottle of water with a fruit punch Nuun tab.It was a hot day and I wanted to skip the first few water stops so I tried to hydrate to capacity.At 6:50 I walked over to the start of the line.I passed a few friends who were running the 5-miler but no one wanted to run the half so I walked over all alone.I haven’t ran much in two weeks since Gloucester Half so I wasn’t sure what to expect.I was a bit nervous but I still excited as I am on every race day.

Mile 1-3 – 7:37, 7:33, 7:29B I ran slow and very cautious in the first mile.There were over 6,000 runners so I had no grand dreams of leading the pack this time.There was a very mild incline as we ran out of the Seaport District into the Financial District of Boston.Afterwards we made way past the State House and edged around Beacon Hill as we headed for the Longfellow (a.k.a. Salt & Pepper) Bridge.People said the first few miles were congested but I didn’t really see any issues in my pace area.

Miles 4-6 7:20, 7:25, 7:27B Miles 4-6 were along the Charles going a little bit past Harvard.I speed up a bit since this part of the course was flat flat vs. relatively flat for the first 3 miles.I did get water at the second or third water station.The weather was muggy and probably already reached 70 by 7:30AM.

Some people can look really cute when they run

I am not one of those people

Miles 7-9 7:15, 7:23, 7:40 At the turnaround point on the Charles I got super excited and my pace picked up a bit.I was ready to gun it but I started to feel hot so I stopped for two cups of water at the water stop around mile 9.The fun part was I screamed and cheered on the runners making their way still towards Harvard Square while they cheered us for making the loop back.

Miles 10 – 11 – 7:37,7:38 These were the miles coming back into Boston.As we got back on the Longfellow bridge I remembered that Laura from DailyMile was going to be cheering on at the bridge.A small part of was hoping/praying she wasn’t on the Cambridge side of it. That’s where my walking/slow jog started and I felt ashamed.It wasn’t steep but I definitely felt the difference going from Memorial Drive flat to climbing up a small ramp.Luckily, I saw her on the down-ramp of the bridge on the Boston side where I was running again.

 

Miles 12-13.1 – 8:06,B 7:53 I wouldn’t say I hit a wall at mile 12 but I definitely felt some regret for skipping a water station.My legs started to feel heavy from dehydration as we went around in circle of the Financial District/Post Office Square area.When I realized I was about a half mile away from finish I gunned it with any energy my dehydrated self had.I heard my friends in the background about .1 mile from the finish line and my heart soared!

I was tagged in 17 MarathonFotos, these are the two best ones.You can only imagine how bad my other ones are.

Post Race Food & Festivities

When you finish the race you empty out indoors into what looks like a warehouse of bagels, bananas, oranges, Cape Cod chips, water & Zinco Coconut water.In reality you’re inside the World Trade Center Convention area where the expo was held.There were a bunch of volunteers giving out medals.I started to sweat immediately as it felt a lot more hot indoors than it did outdoors as I swayed looking for water.I couldn’t find any bottled water but I found some cups and took 2 at a time.Ryan, Dan & Ana, my friends who ran the 5-miler found me as I was dripping sweat.Gross, I know but that didn’t stop me from sitting in a chair.

Results

Overall time : 1:38:46 my new PR!

Overall Pace: 7:32

Overall Place 340/5411

Division 41/1392 (Female age 19-29)


	

2012 SunTrust Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon Recap

On Saturday March 17th, 6:20 my alarm went off. I muttered a slur, rolled over and got up. 6:20 seemed to be a good compromise with a goal to leave the hotel at 7AM. My thoughts were; how much priming would a race require? If I wasn’t so nervous, I would have set my alarm for 6:40; if I didn’t have an insane fear of oversleeping.

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I made a list the night before. Wake up, brush teeth, sports bra, tank top, running skirt, socks, (yes, I’m that paranoid; I take no chances in forgetting to wear pants), yoga underwear (a few runs I would forget and lets just say that hours of running and lacy thongs don’t make the greatest experience for those areas.), remove all jewelry, headphones, metrocard, black tea (I need caffeine, but coffee makes my tummy unhappy if I’m running), sunblock (weather report said it was going to hit 75), bodyglide (I have never ran in this outfit before and wasn’t sure how some things would rub me. I was not impressed with bodyglide at all and will say more on it later), and most importantly two Immodium pills (Not to be gross, but I wasn’t sure how those empanadas from this place that was only one level up from a street food cart; eaten the night before would make out on a 26 mile run, and they certainly did not seem to want to make their way out when I woke up (I tried and I know I’m gross)

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I grabbed a full sized plain Pita Bread (secured the night before from Roti) to eat on the train. We made it out the house by 7Am and were set to arrive at the armory around 7:20. However, the metro decided to foil our plans. The train we were on broke down! We were stuck in a packed train full of runners for over 30 minutes. By the time i got out of the train it was 8:03. Tony went to bag check since we run at different paces. We made our goodbyes and I set out in search of the starting line. I knew Rock & Roll races were huge, I didn’t realize how huge… I was supposed to start in coral 4. I have never ran a race that had corals or this many runners. I was dumbstruck. There were 20 something corals, by the time I made it near the starting line coral 18 or something was starting. I was stuck in a swarm of slower runners. My body went into fight mode and I just felt the overwhelming need to get out of the crowd.

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I don’t know what took over me; but I just had this overwhelming need to get past the crowd so I pushed myself forward. At mile 2 the first hill came and I cringed a bit inside. However, somehow by mile 6 or 7; I found the 3:40 pace group. That was probably that only thing that kept me from cringing as the hill at mile 6-7 was greater than expected. My ultimate desire to get away from the swarm of sweating runners propelled me forward.

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I don’t remember which miles I drank water on. I know I tried Gatorade at one stop just to remind myself how nasty it is and stuck to water afterwards. I usually run 10-15 miles without water at home so during the race I only got water every third stop or so. However, when I do get water, I make a full stop, stand to the side and gulp it down before restarting my run. It takes a few extra seconds but is slightly more pleasant than running while drinking amist a sweat/drip of other runners.

Around mile 9, there was GU. I grabbed the first one I saw, some kind of orange flavor and took a small bit into my mouth. Not my favorite to say the least. My instinct was to spit it out (I don’t usually fuel on my run, I’m either hungry or not). I kept 1/3 of the pack in my mouth for it to slowly dissolved and chucked the rest of it to the side of the road. Around this time I decided it was a good idea to send some text messages/Facebook tweets while running.

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I finished the half at 1:38:30 which is a new unofficial PR for me compared to my 1:40 finish before. Yes, there was a giant hill at mile 13 as the half marathoners were wrapping up. No, it was not fun.

After the split-off the crowd got sparser and I felt more at ease. Runkeeper tried to convince me I was at a 7:05 pace. Clearly wrong since it also told me that I was 14 miles in.

Around mile 15 was where I started to lose interest in running. However, I still felt strong. I’m not sure but I think I was kicking it with a 7:35 or so pace. It was around this point where I had this crazy idea I can catch up to Skinny Runner. I was starting to feel real modest about myself. The fact that RunKeeper kept trying to convince me I was at a 7:06 min pace didn’t help my modesty as all.

Then mile 20 hit. I was at 2:31:46. Images of BQ flashed through my brain in a happy dance. But little did I know, this is where the course ran out of places for us to run through. We started doing this random half mile runs just to come back that same half mile. We ran up and down stupid highway ramps. I wanted to die.

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Lovely die face right there. At mile 21 there was a second Gu stop. This time I had a grape jelly one. I held onto it for about a mile, until I finally was able to force 1/3rd of the packet into my mouth. This one tasted much better, but still not that pleasant while running. The rest of the pack went to the trash.

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Then mile 24 came. My legs, my body, my mind all decided they had enough. I hit the infamous WALL at the bottom of another giant rolling hill. I was sick of the crappy route, I was sick of the highway ramps, sick of the rap bands (I thought it was rock n roll, not rap marathon?) giving me migraines. I started compromising myself. Jog 3 minutes, walk 1 minute, walk up hill, sprint downhill. Somehow, the two miles came to an end and I started to see the finish line. I tried to sprint, but my legs refused to go faster. I also didn’t realize that marathon and half had their own finish line. There was no one around me and I was convinced I ran on the wrong side of the finish line!

Confused, ultimately confused and yet somehow I made it. When I crossed the line, the clock said 3:31 or something like that. Never did I imagine that I could run the fast. I later found out that my net time was 3:24:15. I felt out of my element in a good way!

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Tony ran the half marathon which he enjoy. He finished in 1:58:37. His slowest time to date but still an awesome job for a nonrunner!

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At the finish line they had fake Greek yogurt, bagels, bananas, apples, snickers marathon bras, some other organic granola bars and chocolate milk. Definitely enough food to feed your hunger. One tip, if you’re running with friends, pick a meeting spot before the race. The phone signals were jammed and I couldn’t make a single phone call in the area after the race.

Overall, if you ran the half, the course was a lot of fun. Hills are fun! For the first 13 miles… afterwards not so much. You run by the capital, brush against the Mall, hear some tunes, hear the crowd and are constantly in a rush of runners. The second half gets a bit rough but overall was still a good race in my book. If you’re interested here’s the course map and elevation chart. Although I think the elevation chart is very deceiving as sometimes you go through several rolling hills in one mile!

Course Map

Elevation Chart

If you’re curious what I did after the race or the day before the race, here’s some recaps.

Washington DC Day One
Washington DC Day 2 Post Marathon