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Where training meets fandom. And everything in between.

Abington Police Community Partners 5K Race Recap

 

Yesterday, I ran the Abington Police Community Partners 5K in my hometown of Abington, MA.  Since I started running 3 years ago, this is only one of two races that I have run all 3 of those years. Not only do I love running it because it’s in my hometown, but they made a beautiful little course out of it.

Tara and I did what we typically do and stayed at Julie and Dan’s house on Friday night. They only like about 10-15 minutes away from Abington so it’s really nice to be able to sleep in a bit before heading to the race. Unfortunately, we didn’t get in until around 8:30 Friday night so I missed the early bib pick-up. This meant leaving around 7:00 to get my bib when they started giving them out at 7:15. In hindsight, I could have left a little later, but it worked out fine.

 

 

Once I got my bib, we just hung out in the car for a while to stay warm. It wasn’t super cold out, around 60ish degrees, but very cloudy so it wasn’t super warm either. The rain held off, so I was happy about that.

 

 

 

I had two goals going into this race: 1. Not to walk at all and 2. Keep a steady pace.

#1 shouldn’t have been an issue, but there is one hill on Centre Ave that always forced me to walk it. #2 was a general rule because I tend to get swept up in the pace of those around me and if I start out too fast, I never get into a proper rhythm.

 

 

 

The course starts out in front of the police station, loops by the junior high, through the cemetery, back out to the police station right around the halfway mark then loops around Island Grove back to finish at the station.

 

 

 

I am very pleased to say that not only did I meet both of my goals, but I set ANOTHER new 5K PR. I had told you I just set a new one a few weeks ago at a different 5K, but I now have a new one again! I’m super excited!

 

 

 

 

That is the face of a very happy Courtney right there. I refused to look at my watch the entire time I ran because I didn’t want to get thrown off by it at all. I maintained a comfortable, but pushing, pace and figured I’d let the chips fall where they may. Not only did I set my new 5K PR, but I also beat my best time at this race by almost 2 1/2 minutes! And at the end, they had cupcakes with glitter on them. Glitter!

 

 

I’m still riding the high off of this race since yesterday. I know that I can push myself out of my comfort zone and even though some days I don’t feel like I’m doing enough, I know everything I’m doing is helping make me better.

 

 

 

 

 

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Thoughts On 2014 And 2015

 

With how low I’ve been feeling lately, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting. People keep pointing out what an amazing year I’ve had, but it’s hard for me to feel accomplished when all I focus on are my failures. I decided to put it into writing so I can look back at it when I need a boost.

2014 was a year of firsts. In order of this year, I did: my first trail race, first 10K, first 10 Miler, first Tough Mudder, first (and second and third) Spartan Race, first half marathon and first GORUCK. This was among other road races and OCRs for a total of 20 races on the year (click tabs to the right to see all races).

Normally, at this time, I’d already be scheduling my 2015 events. I’d like to do less this year. My first two years of racing have seen me do 15 races in 2013 and 20 in 2014. It’s very busy and very costly and I think I need to cut down for both of those reasons. I need more focus. I can’t just register for every race I have the desire to run.

On my radar for this year is the Marine Corps Marathon. That’s it. There are a few others I would like to do, but I need to see how my weeks are going to line up. I’d like to do the Ragnar Trail Relay with my team, plus I have a free entry to Battlefrog OCR that I’d like to use. Other than that, I need to develop a take it or leave it attitude. I’ll be spending much more time supporting friends at races and events instead of running them. I’d like to keep rucking with Carry The Fallen, as well as become a shadow for GORUCK events that include my teammates and friends.

I have high hopes for 2015.

 

 

 

 

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RI Run For The Fallen Race Recap

 

On Saturday, Tara and I (as well as some teammates) participated in the RI Run for the Fallen. Since Tara was going to do this with me, walking, I decided it would be a great race to ruck. It worked out really well because of my foot anyway. We were also able to pause at each marker and pay our respects, as well as to the Gold Star family members who were present.

The event schedule was that the Gold Star families would arrive by 8:30, opening ceremony at 9:00 and race start at 9:30. We were able to pick up our bibs starting at 7:30, so we left the house around 6:45 for the roughly hour long drive to Colt State Park in Bristol, RI. On a side note, this was my first trip to this park and it was amazing. Beautiful, waterfront views and amazing trails. It’s really a shame it’s so far away or I would definitely run there more often.

This race was a free event, in its first year, and they just simply asked for donations instead of race fees. I signed up myself and Tara through Active under Team RWB RI at a teammate’s request. When we got there, we went to team check-in and they didn’t have us, but gave us bibs and just made a note of the team on a sheet of paper. Later, I thought we should ask if maybe they had us under individuals instead, but they didn’t. With our bibs, we also received a small bag with some flyers and a travel size deodorant in it. Tshirts were available for purchase, but unfortunately they didn’t have any in our sizes when we thought to buy one afterwards.

As we were waiting in line my friend Al snuck up on us and gave us a quick squeeze before we headed back to the car to drop off the bags and grab my ruck. We then went over to the memorial they had set up for all of the fallen soldiers from the state of RI since the war began. They had two bagpipers playing music behind the memorial and it was very moving. Each memorial had a picture of the soldier, his hero date and how he died.

 

 

We hung out by the water a bit and chatted with our friends until the opening ceremony began.

 

 

Everybody lined up near the memorial and they had a pledge of allegiance said by a girl scout troop, presenting of the colors and the National Anthem. They then had a chaplain lead a prayer, there was a poem read by a Gold Star family member, followed by 4 men who read the name of each fallen soldier with a bell ring after each name. That might not be the right order of things, but you get the gist of it. Lots of tears were shed throughout the morning.Shortly after they were done, we all lined up to start.

 

 

It was a beautiful day, albeit a bit warm in the direct sunlight. Along the route were more memorial markers. Family members of each soldier were stationed near their respective markers and it was sad to see that probably half of the markers didn’t have anyone there. At each marker we passed, we put a hand on the marker with a quick “thank you” to let them know we appreciated their sacrifice. If family members were present, we shook their hands and said whatever we could think of, knowing nothing we said could heal their hurt. There was one couple in particular that broke my heart. They were an older couple, so not sure if they were parents or grandparents of the soldier, but the woman was just pouring out tears and her husband looked like he was just barely holding it together. They got hugs, not handshakes. I just wanted to squeeze the pain out of her.

It was a very emotional day, but they had excellent execution for a first time race. The only small complaint I would have, and really just a note for the next time, is to have more water if possible. It was very warm and they were already out of water at the first stop and almost out at the second one. I think we got the last bottle of water to split. Maybe a suggestion would be to ask people to donate cases of water, or maybe suggest people bring their own? One other minor thing would be to have arrows for the course. It was pretty easy to follow along due to the markers, but there was one point where we made a large, unnecessary loop because we were just following the traffic. After the race, we found out they estimated it around 3.7 miles instead of 3.1. Tara and I figured this out as we were leaving and came across that area (next to a rotary) and we didn’t know when we passed that point of why there were hero markers on both sides of the road. We were supposed to come up one side of the road and down the other after going around the rotary, but everyone was following the sidewalk instead of the road, and the sidewalk veered off to the right. That also explained why that section had no markers for a while. If these are the only complaints after your first year, you’re doing great.

 

If you look at this map of the course, in the top right corner, you can see we were just supposed to go straight until the rotary and turn around. That’s not how people were going.

 

I took advantage of a chiropractic tent to have them check out my foot, so that was pretty nice. They were having catered food after the race, but the line was so long we didn’t stick around. I needed to get home and try to nap (which never happened) before the NEFC event (recap coming soon) that night. This is definitely a race we will do again in the future.

 

 

 

 

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Run Wild 5K Race Recap

Yesterday was going to be a fun 5K that I was doing with my friends. My best friend’s FIRST 5K I might add. In my opinion, it was one of the most disappointing I’ve ever done. Although, one would argue I didn’t even do it, but we’ll get to that.

The race was the Run Wild 5K, held at Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, MA. It was a nighttime race, held after the zoo closed after regular hours. The weather was not very nice to us – low 90s, humidity around 80% and a severe thunderstorm/flash flood/possible tornado warnings. Grrrrreat. We actually lucked out that it never rained on us, but at certain points we were hoping it would, just to cool us down. It was a scorcher!

 

 

The first thing I didn’t enjoy about this race was the lack of communication. I had told everyone about this race and thought it would be a fun one for us to all walk together. We all love animals and who wouldn’t want to run a race through a zoo! Typically, as a race gets closer you get emails telling you all the particulars that you’ll need to know. I waited all week, but we didn’t receive our first actual race communication until almost 7pm the night before the race – only to tell us that they would email us our bib #’s in the morning.

Now, when I registered Tara and myself, the confirmations clearly stated each of our names in the confirmation emails for our respective registration. It was very obvious I registered two people. By the time we got the emails with our bibs the following morning (sent at almost noon – when packet pick-up was set to start), I received two emails again, but each one only had Tara’s name and bib #. It made me a bit concerned, but when we got there and picked up, they had both our names and two different bibs so I figured we were good to go.

We had gotten there extremely early. In this heat, it turned out not to be such a great idea, but we thought we were going to beat the traffic we had seen on our way up from RI. Turns out I was thinking we’d be going a different way than we did. I think we probably got there right around 3:00 or just after. We thought we’d spend that time going around looking at the animals, since our bibs got us free admission to the zoo.

 

 

We ended up finding some shaded seating and sat there for an hour or more until the race started. We didn’t even need to move to break a sweat. Since the four of us were going to walk (I’m the only runner), I decided I would ruck the course to get some training in where I can. Once everybody started lining up, we stood up to get ready to head to the back of the line. Turns out where it said “start” was on the wrong side of the line, so they told everybody we needed to move so the entire pack had to move to the other side of the start line and turn around to face the “finish” portion of the banner. Very confusing! Once we did that, the MC said a few words about the cancer charity we raised money for and then we were off. No National Anthem or anything.

It was very clear from the start that we were what seemed like the only walkers in the group. It turned out there was one couple walking ahead of us, but they gained a quick lead and only gained more from there, so basically we were walking by ourselves, other than the turnaround where the leaders passed us. We were immediately concerned with the lack of signage and whether or not there would be people to direct us where to go since we couldn’t see anyone ahead of us. The course, as it turns out, was only in the zoo for maybe the length of a football field, if that*. After that, we were out in the general public, running through a parking lot, into the woods on some trail, back through a football stadium where we looped around 3/4 of the track and back again. Very strange. I have to say, the volunteers we did pass were fantastic! They were all very encouraging and made sure we always knew where we were going. Once we got into the trail portion in the woods, there was much better signage about turns we needed to take and we also felt safer because there was a guy patrolling on a mountain bike that passed us 2 or 3 times. The volunteers were one, maybe the only, positive about this race.

After we finally made it back to the zoo, almost an hour later, we were really just hoping they would still have the finish line up. We realized that the photographer had already taken off, so we wouldn’t get a finisher photo. Now, for me, it’s not a big deal because I’ve done this tons of times, but we’ve never done anything as a group and Julie had never done one at all so I really wanted her to have one. It was highly disappointing, but I shouldn’t say I was surprised. This same photographer didn’t even snap a photo of us at the start because by the time we got to the front he was already turning his camera upside down and climbing down off of whatever little thing he had been perched on to take the start photos.

We were so done with the whole thing that by the time we finished, we really just wanted some water. They were having a big after party with all sorts of craft beers they had talked about, but didn’t mention anything else they would have. We saw people eating food, but didn’t know where to get it. The only thing we saw was a tent for Naked Juice (which only Tara took part in), or a couple of things of bottled water you pumped into a cup. I guess they had pizza and maybe something else*, but we never saw it and were just too hot to hang around.

*As of the time of me writing this Sunday night, we’ve realized a couple more things. When we finished the race and I stopped my Garmin and Runkeeper, and Julie stopped her Runkeeper, we realized we were around 1/4 mile short – it was around 2.77 miles. I didn’t think anything of it and didn’t really care because we weren’t technically racing. As I looked at the “details” link from the email (that I see also gives more detail on the food situation), it shows the course does a whole loop around the back when you come back IN to the zoo – but no one was there to direct us to that point. This would mean also that maybe the finish line wasn’t backwards? Who knows. We never saw these details because we didn’t see the email until we’d already left the house and really only needed our bib #’s to get in. Had we gotten it sooner and had more time to check out all the links, maybe I wouldn’t be so annoyed.

In addition, we’ve never received an email re: results, but I did find a link on the zoo race page for results. Upon viewing the results, I’M NOT EVEN IN THE LIST OF FINISHERS!! So what I thought was just an emailing glitch? Not so much.

Even through the misery of the weather and the lackluster race direction, I still think we had a fun time together. We always do. I just wish that Julie could have had the kind of experience I have when I run a race, versus the “walker” experience or those that finish at the back of the pack. I was actually surprised at the lack of walkers in this race. Oh well – lesson learned! Next time we’ll pick a better one, but we’ll always have fun.

 

 

 

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5K Foam Fest Race Recap

For some reason, I’m having a hard time writing this recap for the 5K Foam Fest I ran on Saturday. I remember how much I loved it in 2013, as only my second OCR race ever, and it’s disappointing to see how it turned out this year.

I feel the best way to do this might be a comparison to last year and then I’ll get into the obstacles themselves. I should mention, however, that this is the first OCR that I’ve completed every obstacle. Now some people might say it’s such a froo froo course that it’s not hard to do, but for me and my fear of heights, a couple were scary. Yes, some of the obstacles were silly and easy, but there were real ones in there and I’m proud of myself, regardless.

I don’t have a lot of pictures. Spectators could really only see/take pics of one obstacle and I don’t carry a camera with me during races. I’ve also been holding out writing this because I was hoping I’d have the pro photos by now, but no such luck.

 

2013: Parking on site – $10

2014: Parking in a lot in NH, shuttle bus ride was 15-20 minutes – $10. In addition to this, the street address given for parking got us lost while using the GPS on our phone. It took us to a dead end road with at least a dozen other people that were turning around in front of or behind us. I didn’t have any waits for the buses since I had an early heat (8:50), but others who ran later had waits of more than an hour each way for the buses.

 

On the bus ride there with our photobombing friend

We make good use of our bus time – on the ride back

 

2013: only 2 visible obstacles for spectators and one of them was deflated and unable to be used by the time I got there

2014: only 1 visible obstacle

 

2013: picnic tables scattered around for spectators to sit and chill

2014: no seats except for one small area with like 8 chairs

 

Julie chilling in the “spectator lounge”

 

2013: no food/drink allowed – bags were checked at entrance

2014: no food/drink allowed – no one was checking anything

 

2013: Registration line was seamless. I don’t remember waiting long at all.

2014: Registration was a nightmare. I waited in line no less than 30 minutes. The lines were arranged by alphabetical order, however there was nothing pointing you in the right direction. It wasn’t until I was in line for 10 minutes or so that I even realized this so I luckily got to move to a shorter line. You were supposed to have your ID ready to check your registration and also give you a band for your free after-race alcoholic beverage of choice. The girl never once looked at my ID, just highlighted my name in a big binder, gave me a bib, gave me a band and told us to only take 2 safety pins. Are you serious? You think a bib will stay on in a mud run with only TWO pins? And they were crappy pins at that.

 

Trying to figure out what to do with the 10 minutes I had left to warm-up before my heat started once I got through the awful registration line

 

2013: Finish line was spectacular. You finished on an obstacle (giant slip n slide), someone handed you your medal, you were funneled into a line to take a professional photo in front of a large banner then someone gave you your tshirt.

2014: This finish line was very anticlimactic. Instead of there being an obstacle right at the finish, the last obstacle was at least 100 yards from the finish line so you did the Death Drop and then just ran to the end. When you got there, nobody handed you anything except a protein bar. They had a tent with tables set up with medals and tshirts laid out, so everyone just took their own. There were no volunteers there when I went through, but at least I’m honest and only took 1 of each. From what I heard, later waves didn’t get medals. In addition, that “professional photo op” from the year prior? Well – that was in front of the changing tents. Not only do I find that disturbing because if you took it at the right angle you might see in the crack in the tent, but we also didn’t realize this and went to walk in to change and were scolded for trying to enter on the wrong side while they were taking pics.

 

Our sprint to the finish line

 

2013: They had lame ass hoses hooked through a PVC pipe with holes poked in it and called it a “shower” to rinse off. It wasn’t rinsing anything off, but luckily the Merrimack River was right behind the venue and came in handy when everyone just jumped in fully clothed to clean themselves off.

2014: Fully excited about using that river to clean off again, I was saddened to see that they blocked off the entrance we used last year to get to the river with portapotties. I thought maybe I could find another spot to get through, but I wouldn’t have been able to anywhere else. At least this year they had regular garden hoses that had at least some water pressure.

 

See that big beautiful river? Yeah…no access this year.

 

2013: Course map released on website inaccurate.

2014: This is the only thing the same as last year – inaccurate yet again.

 

2013: Only 1 obstacle technically not completed. I couldn’t do the walls by myself. The other that I didn’t do (Death Drop) was because it was deflated by someone wearing cleats or carrying keys. I was secretly happy because I didn’t want to do it. The nice thing was we got a $20 coupon code for 2014 registration due to this issue.

2014: The wall this year were more ladder-like, so I was easily able to scale it. Since I completed every obstacle, this meant I needed to do the Death Drop and it was just as horrifying as it sounds for me personally. It’s like 3 stories high and almost a vertical drop.

 

After the race, the same afternoon, I had sent them an email asking if they wouldn’t mind sending me the list of actual obstacles that they set up and the order they were in. I’m having trouble remembering everything since the foam ones are all so similar, but to date I’ve never received any sort of acknowledgement they received my email, so I’m just going to wing it.

Here is the list of obstacles, in the best order I can remember:

 

The start is always fun running through the cascading foam

 

Uphill run right at the start

 

Ladderish Wall Climb

“Chamber of Foam” – basically just a bouncy house filled with foam

Aqua Lily Pads – foam pads over a small pond that you had to run across without sinking in and falling into the water

Trip Wire – a bungee rope course to go over/under

Body Washer – another foam chamber with inflatable poles that move around as you walk across the bouncy platform

Electric mud – which wasn’t electrified. This was a good thing because the ropes were SO low to the ground you couldn’t help but hit every single one as you crawled under it in the mud.

Slip N Slide

E-lemon-ator – a Mike’s hard lemonade (race sponsor) obstacle. It was essentially just inflatable hanging lemons, but they didn’t swing or do anything on their own and there was no one there to swing them at you if that was their purpose.

A-frame cargo net climb

Over/Unders through a water-filled inflatable pool

Monkey Business – basically a sideways cargo net climb

Mud pit

Spider web forest – more bungees in between trees you had to climb through/over/under

Death Drop – probably about 3 stories high, giant inflatable slide that you end up in a pool of water at the bottom, if you make it to the end, which I didn’t. I had to walk the last 30 ft or so but that was OK. I didn’t really want to come shooting off the end anyway.

 

See that tiny person on that GIANT slide? That would be me.

 

SO happy that the Death Drop was over!

 

I may be missing an obstacle or two or five, and they’re most likely in the wrong order, but there you have it.

 

I’m 99.9% sure I will never do this race again.

 

 

 

 

24 Comments »

Abington PD Community Partners 5K Race Recap

Yesterday was my 7th race of the year, for my #14in2014 – the Abington Police Community Partners 5K in my hometown of Abington, MA.

It looked like it was going to be a washout, but we completely lucked out with the weather. Friday night after work, Tara and I packed our bags to stay with Julie and Dan for the weekend. Whenever I have a race up in MA, we try to make that one of our “friend weekends” and stay with them. We hadn’t seen them since Easter so it was nice to hang out. We didn’t get up there until about 8:30 Friday night and just had dinner and hung out for a bit before getting to bed around 10. You know, with a race the next morning and all. Normally, when the four of us get together, we stay up and talk about ridiculous things until who knows when. You wouldn’t realize we talk to each other literally almost every day.

Saturday morning, I got up around 5:30 to get race ready – coffee, breakfast, water, etc. It was pouring rain when I got up and I planned for the worst (having to run with my rain jacket on and no phone/music). The plan was to get Tara up at 6:00 and then Julie and Dan up at 7:00 and we managed to follow it and get out the door by 7:30 for the drive over.

I needed to be there before they closed the road around 8:00 and to pick up my packet since I couldn’t get to early packet pick-up in time. This wasn’t an issue at all and there were hardly any people there when we arrived. As we were driving there, it had been drizzling and by the time we arrived it had all but stopped raining completely. By the time the race started, there was no rain and the sun was even trying to peek through! It was super humid (around 96% humidity), but only around 62* so it was mostly comfortable until I started running and then I ended up getting soaked in sweat. Blech.

 

Tara and I pre-race

 

The course itself is really nice. No one has ever heard of Abington when I tell them where I’m from. It’s a small town with currently around 15-16,000 people (around 13,000 when I grew up there). The race starts right in front of the police station, goes up to one of the main roads, down behind the junior high, through the cemetery, back out to the police station which is about halfway (and where the water stop was), then around Island Grove which is our local lake or whatever you want to call it. We then finish right next to the police station in the parking lot. It’s a gun timed race with no chips, so they just write down your time when you cross the finish line. I hate that, so I’m going to use my Garmin time.

 

 

 

 

I was VERY pleased with my time (which was technically 35:52:54 on my watch itself, but uploaded as 35:53 above). It was only 54 seconds slower than my time last year. Considering this is the first race where I’ve almost run the entire thing again (dealing with all these stupid injuries), I was completely excited to get such a great time. It felt good to be able to feel a little bit of my endurance come back. I did still walk 3-4 times, but for shorter increments. I feel like when I do run, I’m faster than I used to be which is nice since I’m not training to be faster.

 

Oh you know, just checking my time while the blood works on leaving my face

 

I love having people there to cheer me on. Of course, my lovely bride is my biggest and best cheerleader, but I like having my friends there, too. That’s the nice thing about having races closer to them.

 

 

 

I’m definitely chalking this race up as a win. Now, I just need to keep myself healthy for my big goal #1 for 2014 – Tough Mudder. Less than two weeks now!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23 Comments »

Turkey Trot 5K Race Recap

On Thanksgiving morning, I had my first ever Turkey Trot 5K to run. Being my first year running, I signed up for a lot of races. I wanted to experience all sorts of different types, in different cities, so I could find out things I liked or didn’t like about a race or location. I decided as part of this inaugural year of running that I’d sign up for the local holiday races: the Monster Dash, Turkey Trot and Jingle Bell Run (coming up on 12/8).

All week I was watching the weather to see what we could expect on race day. We had a nasty storm coming at us on Wednesday so I was hoping it wouldn’t shift and change to Thursday. Luckily, it stayed on schedule and while the weather wasn’t any fun to deal with on Wednesday, at least I didn’t have to run in it! Instead, we had reallllly cold temps and gusty winds, making it feel even colder. Bright and sunny though…bright. and. sunny. See that “feels like” temp? Yep. It felt like 22*.

 

 

Being that this would be the coldest race I’ve ever run in, I was concerned about how much to layer (or not). I ended up wearing my capri pants with my compression sleeves, which kept my legs warm other than the tiny slit on my ankles. On top, I opted to go with a tshirt underneath a pullover. Prior to warming up a few minutes before the race, I also had a jacket over that (which was great until I took it off!). I made sure I brought gloves and also a warm headband that covered my ears. Boy, was I thankful for those last 2 things!

 

 

Turns out I had planned it perfectly! I was so, so cold at the beginning, even while I was warming up, but by the finish I was pretty warm, almost hot. Poor Tara was numb by the time I finished. Guess that’s the price of being a professional sherpa.

 

 

I didn’t realize it when I signed up, but this course would be exactly the same as the course I ran in May as part of the Navigant Running Festival. And then someone at my job, that was also running the Turkey Trot, reminded me of how hilly it was! Oh man! I went in dreading it, but figured I would just go slow and steady. They were really good about getting us started right at 10am so that everyone could get to their family gatherings, which I certainly appreciated.

 

 

At the beginning is a short downhill, but then we go around the corner and over the highway and there it is: the first gigantic hill! So rough starting out that way, but it was a good confidence booster for me. Being that I hadn’t run in about 3 weeks due to my IT band, I figured I’d be walking early on. Surprisingly, I made it up that first hill by just taking it slow. I’m not gonna lie, it felt pretty good passing people that started out fast and couldn’t handle the hill.

A big bummer about this course is that it’s very industrial. We go by Interstate 95 and then lots of industrial buildings. We barely go through any residential neighborhoods, which could also be boring, but are still better than staring at brick warehouses and semi trucks. I definitely don’t think I’ll be signing up for any races on this course again anytime soon. I like races with at least partial nice views!

Once I got up that huge first hill, I kept my pace steady. Once I saw that first mile marker, I knew I’d gotten through the toughest part (for me, anyway). I though, hey, maybe I could run the whole race. Around mile 2, I had a pretty stiff calf, but it wasn’t painful so I kept going. I didn’t feel very fast, but I felt solid which made me really happy. What made me even happier was the big downhill toward the end that I knew was coming up, our reward for going up it at the beginning! I let my legs move a little quicker going down that hill and felt awesome.

It was around this time that Frankenstein appeared. I’ve nicknamed him this because of the way he runs and because he’s a really tall, square-headed dude. This man drives me insane!! I’ve probably done 5 or 6 races that he’s run in also and we must go pretty close in pace because he’s always near me. What drives me nuts about him is the fact that he will sprint (kind of) for maybe 50 feet, then stop and walk. I have no issue with the method if that’s what works for me, but what makes me cuckoo bunnies is the fact that when he stops to walk, he’ll do it DIRECTLY in front of someone running and that person is usually me. Ugh!

What brought me great joy is that at the bottom of that hill, right around the last corner, I saw him just ahead of me again. At the end of every race I run, I give it all I have left in the tank for that last 100 yards or so. This race being no different, I stepped on the gas and passed him…along with about 4 or 5 other people.

 

Here I am, about to pass “Frankenstein”

 

I felt so awesome and couldn’t wait to see my time. I stopped my Garmin at 34:58!! I couldn’t believe it!! My official chip time is listed at 34:59 so it was pretty spot on. This is a course PR of 1:42 from the other time I ran it in May (36:41) and my second fastest official 5K time overall!

 

 

I’m definitely paying for it today with soreness, but I like to blame it on all the driving we did visiting family and friends right after the race all day. I feel like a beginner runner again but it was well worth it!

 

 

Overall, a good race, but a crappy location. A plus at the start was being able to use indoor plumbing and being able to hang out inside the Blackstone Valley Visitor Center to stay warm prior to the race. This was also a negative because that meant around only 6 bathroom stalls for all the women to use which meant a long line. There also seemed to be some disorganization at the finish line on where to get water or a banana. They weren’t together and it was just set up really awkwardly. Other than that, no real big complaints to be had!

 

 

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Face The Music Friday #6

My weight this week is:

 

185.0

 

Beginning:  240

Last week:  185.8

This week: -0.8 lb

Total loss:  55 lb

 

Eh, a loss is a loss. I’m not even going to talk about it this week. I touched on it a little yesterday.

Speaking of losses, my poor Red Sox went the way the Cardinals did in game 1 last night in game 2 and made some stupid mistakes. Unfortunately, now we’re tied at one game apiece in the World Series. Let’s go boys! Bring it home!

Now, on to the fun plans for the weekend!! Julie and Dan are coming down this weekend and Dan and I will be running in costume on Sunday at the Providence Monster Dash 5K. It will be his first 5K race! Yay! Pics will come of us later in our awesome costumes!

After the race, down the street, they are holding a Food Truck Bash. I can’t wait! Trucks from Providence, Boston and NYC will all be competing and I can’t wait to try something from all of them! Sounds like so much fun! They’re having a costume contest so we’ll just stay in our costumes after the race for a bit and probably bring some clothes to change into once we register the costumes. I imagine I won’t be wanting to stay in my costume all that time.

For the song this week, I am posting the other one I was thinking of last week when I said I couldn’t decide. When this song comes on, I feel like I’m on an epic quest. It should definitely be in a montage of me ninja-kicking a bunch of bad guys!

 

Knights of Cydonia by Muse (and it’s a very strange video indeed)

 

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Electric Run (More Like Electric FUN!) Recap

I can’t even describe how much fun we had last night at the Electric Run! I had originally signed up for this by myself as just another race to do, but it was so much more than that. I was supposed to do this with 3 women I went to high school with so I created a team the day that registration opened (because you could save $5 per person that way). Not a single one of them signed up – NOT ONE.

When I realized they weren’t going to about a week or two before the race, I asked Tara if she’d be interested in just walking the race with me. Technically, I wouldn’t even consider it a race because it wasn’t timed. She can’t run due to a partial muscle tear in her calf a while back, and since I’m injured as well, walking seemed perfect for us so we signed her up at the ridiculously high last minute registration price. It was totally worth it.

I switched shifts at work so we could get on the road sooner because traffic at the stadium is a nightmare to begin with. There is a huge shopping plaza right next to it called Patriot Place so between regular shoppers and racers, there were TONS of people going. We later found out the race had sold out and there were 15,000 people there. Tara met me at work at 4:00 and we ended up getting to Foxboro around 5:00 – not bad for a Friday!

 

 

Once we got into the parking lot, we decided what we wanted to carry in our pockets because the site had said there would be no bags or backpacks allowed. This didn’t turn out to be true because we saw tons of people running with bags or backpacks. Oh well. We then walked all the way over to registration to pick up our packets and when we saw they only came in a giant ziploc baggy, we decided to walk back to the car to dismantle them and repack ourselves. We did end up carrying all of our light up stuff we were planning on wearing in a grocery bag, but we were planning on tossing that with the rest of the garbage once we got dressed up, so we didn’t worry about it.

 

 

After we walked back it was now only around 5:45 or so (with a 7:15 start), so we decided to start putting on our glow gear. We had gone to iParty and Five Below to pick up some cheap neon stuff. We ended up wearing necklaces, bracelets, anklets (which were bracelets but were so huge they fell off our hands), rings and hanging sticks around our neck. We were given glasses too, but Tara’s broke as soon as she opened the package and mine looked really awkward on my face so we ended up getting rid of them.

 

 

After we got all of our stuff on and glowing, we took some pics with the cool backdrop they had set up and the scandalously underdressed SoCo guy. Woo woo! Then we had a little time to kill so we wandered and I kept trying to get my picture with the “bug mobiles”. I don’t know what they were, but they were like golf carts that were all decked out to look like insects or something. They drove around all over the stadium grounds, blasting music from speakers on the back of the cart. So fun!

 

 

We got kind of bored, so we decided to head over to the start chute and found out they were throwing tons of glow stuff into the crowd, so we tried to work our way up closer to get some more stuff. We definitely should have put some more thought into our attire because some people there had awesome costumes! Next time, we’ll definitely be doing that! We ended up getting a foam light up stick that they were throwing that I carried throughout the race but nothing else. The guy at the start line was definitely great at pumping up the crowd and the DJ was good too.

 

This is just the people I could get in the picture – it went MUCH farther back!

 

Once the race got started, it was REALLY hard to see. We were running on the pavement/parking lot/sidewalks around the outside of the stadium so it was nice and flat, but not well lit at the start. Once we started going through each of the “lands”, the decorations lit things up nicely without being too bright. Each “land” had a different style of music playing that suited the atmosphere that the decorations provided. It was really well thought out and I can’t imagine the planning that goes into an event of this size!

 

 

It ended up taking us around 1 hour to walk the whole thing, stopping to take tons of pictures and video along the way. We never knew how far we were because we never saw any mile markers. Tara was SO excited when she saw the finish sign! The whole thing went around the stadium, then it came inside and went up, up, up to the nosebleed seats via the ramps and then we came down the ramps on the other side.

 

 

They had 2 DJs playing sets after the race, along with beer and food, but we were exhausted and the lines for food were huge, so we decided to avoid the crowds leaving later (remember: 15,000 people!!!) and head home. I think we got on the road by 9:00 and, after picking my car up from work, were home by 10:00.

I would highly recommend this for FUN. If you are trying to be a serious runner and actually race, I wish you luck because it was too packed to get any speed unless you started at the very front. Tons of fun and I would recommend definitely doing it with friends. I kind of liked that I ended up doing it with just Tara. It was like another one of our “adventure dates”.

 

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Excuse Me. You Have Something On Your Lip.

Tomorrow is Rock N Roll Day (though I’m only doing the Mini Marathon-5K). Today, was the Expo. Lots to tell, lots of new “toys”, but after too much yard work this afternoon, it will have to wait until tomorrow. But just think…by posting tomorrow I’ll be including my race recap. I know. You’re welcome.

For now, you get this:

 

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