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What a weekend!!
As evidenced by the above photo, my mom and I had A LOT of fun this weekend. A couple years back, my mom and I had done the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon which is also put on by Runners World, so this weekend felt kind of like a running flashback.
Friday afternoon, my mom came up to my apartment to stay for the weekend. We had fun cooking and watching a little TV, keeping things low-key in preparation for Saturday’s early morning. The 5k started at 7 and we still had to pick up our bibs beforehand.
Merrimack College in North Andover was a great, easy location for the races. We had no problems getting there and parking was a cinch (despite my alarm somehow failing to wake me up Saturday morning so we were a little later than we intended.) We grabbed our bibs and shirts and took a minute to check out the expo. One of my ONLY complaints about the event would be the T-shirts – I love the color, but I was bummed that they were cotton! I’ll still wear it, but it would have been nice if I could have worn it out on runs.
The expo was also very small – I think there were 2 vendors, apart from Runners World! I was super stoked to see Sarah Marie Design Studio there (check out her website if you haven’t heard of her!!) I had actually just ordered one of her “Netflix and Treadmill” tanks, and me and my mom both decided to buy some new running tanks (I got “Positive Vibes, Negative Splits” – love that slogan!)
Finally, it was time to head out and do a little warm-up and stretching before hitting the 5k. My mom was also running this one.
My plan was to push the pace a little bit on this 5k. Knowing that I also had a 10k and half marathon ahead of me, I had no intentions of trying to PR, but I wanted to put in a decent effort. Right at 7 am sharp, we lined up in the starting corral and were off!
The first mile was pretty congested and just took you out through the college campus so not super exciting. Mile 1 – 7:49.
Once the congestion had cleared, I was able to pick it up a little more. I tried to stay in tune with my breathing and exertion levels, not wanting to get caught up in the excitement of the race. Even so, I was surprised when I ran a 7:27 for mile 2 (this was mostly downhill so I think that was the real explanation).
There was more climbing between miles 2 and 3 and my pace slowed a bit to 7:48 for an average pace of 7:38 per mile. Official time – 24:04. A pretty good time, but obviously well off from my PR of 22:29. I was happy with how I did, but I wasn’t even going to check the results because I figured there was no way that time was going to earn me anything. Thank goodness my mom and I just happened to walk by the results kiosk!! SOMEHOW, I got 1st in my age group!!
I had about an hour to relax and then it was time for the 10k. By this point, the heat and humidity were really beginning to ramp up. I decided to think of this as just one of my regular training runs – I was going to take it pretty easy and finish when I finished.
I finished the 10k in 54:55, with an average pace of 8:46/mile. A little faster than I normally go on an easy run, but I felt pretty comfortable throughout so I went with it. There were plenty of water stations on the course, which was a good thing because the sun was really beginning to beat down in places along the course (temps reached the low 90’s in North Andover that day). At the finish, volunteers gave out sponges soaked in cold water – AMAZING!!! It definitely felt like DMSE Sports (the company putting on the race) had taken the forecast into account, adding some water stations, the sponges, and plenty of medical staff to keep everyone safe.
It felt great to be officially done for the day and I happily stocked up on plenty of the post-race foods (I had been really good about not eating much of anything in between the 5 and 10k). There was a great selection of chips, granola bars, yogurt, Yasso bars (probably my favorite post-race food!), and Tazo chocolate. The official finisher food was a single hot dog (though you could opt to buy a second one). I’m not a big hot dog person, but it kind of hit the spot after 9.3 miles. You also got a ticket for 1 free beer and they had a choice of Coors Light and Blue Moon. After missing the champagne toast at Delaware, it felt nice to finally get to take advantage of my drink ticket!
For the next hour or so, my mom and I hung out, walked around, and checked out the celebrity mile.
This included Runners World editor David Willey (up front in the blue in the photo), Adrienne Haslet (Boston Marathon bombing survivor), Dick Hoyt (of Team Hoyt), Bill Evans (the Boston police commissioner), and many more.
After the Celebrity Mile was over, my mom and I met up with a running friend to check out the seminars. What better way to celebrate spending your whole morning running than to follow it up with afternoon discussions on running? 😉 The first seminar was called “Getting the Most from your Machine: How to Become your Fastest and Healthiest Runner”. This one was led by Amby Burfoot, winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon, and Bud Coates, a 2:11 marathoner and 4-time Olympic marathon trials qualifier. This discussion was a little more anecdotal, but it was pretty cool getting to hear these incredible runners describe their experience with running, injuries, and training.
The second seminar was led by 2 physical therapists on how to keep running injury-free. This was another fascinating presentation as we discussed why so many runners get injured, and how the regulations of the health care system contribute to that. I don’t remember the names of these speakers, but both were physical therapists in the Boston area and very engaging speakers. They also stayed around after the talk to answer questions, so my mom was able to get some advice on some nagging hamstring issues.
By that point in the day, my mom and I were wiped out. We decided to skip the last couple seminars which were similar to ones we had seen at the Heartbreak Hill Half and headed out in search of iced coffee.
Stay tuned for a recap of Sunday’s half marathon!