2016 Finish at the 50 Recap

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Last weekend the family and I headed down to Gillette Stadium to take part in the Harvard Pilgrim Finish at the 50. I love when the whole family gets in on the act, and this one was extra special because it was my youngest’s first ever 5K! He rocked it! 🙂

Family race

He was so proud of his medal!

The 5K was scheduled to start at 6 p.m. and the 10K at 7 p.m., so we decided to head to the race around 3:30. Parking was a breeze and we found a great spot where we could watch the fireworks later. There were no lines for either the bibs or t-shirts, so we were done in no time leaving a bit of a wait until the start of the race. We milled around Patriots Place, seeking shade and trying to stay hydrated and cool. As we inched closer to 6 p.m. and the temps were still hovering around 78, I was once again cursing myself for signing up for the 10K.

Side Note:  OK, so I just have to put this right here and say that I really have a love-hate relationshp with this race! I love how well-organized it is and that it has really turned into a great family-friendly event. But the combination of the heat and the late start are just uber challenging for me.  Earlier in the week I had, in fact, thought seriously about switching to the 5K and joining my son and husband – actually who am I kidding, that thought went through my head right up until the moment I got my bib! But, the RC coaches and I agreed that the 10K fit better with where I am in my training plan, and that I should just treat it as a hard training run.

Soon the 5K was off! I had positioned myself where I could easily catch my husband and son in two spots along the first part of the course. I cheered them on and then headed back to the main plaza to listen to the music and wait from the 10K to be called to the start. My husband J sent me texts and selfies so I knew how they were making out. No sooner did I head the start area then I spoted them on the ramps of the stadium closing in on the finish.

Now it was my turn. There were significantly fewer of us running the 10K, and several of us joked that all of the 5Kers knew something we didn’t. Just after 7, we were off. We followed the same loop around the first parking lot the 5K did, but then turned away from the stadium heading for Rte 1. I was thankful we were not on Rte 1 sharing the road with cars for long, as the route quickly took us off into the residential neighborhoods behind the stadium. And, this is where the rolling hills began. A downside of this race (for me at least) is the general lack of spectators – some residents were out in their driveways and front yards and did their best to cheer. The kids were the best and I high-fived as many as I could. The burst of energy I felt during the first mile was short-lived and by the time I reached the long, slow climb that was mile 4, I had hit my heat wall – there was some walking involved. I locked in on a woman in a t-shirt with a fireworks burst on it and promised myself I needed to keep her in my sights. “Follow the fireworks” became my mantra.

As we returned to the stadium, we could hear the music and the announcer, but it was a cruel tease, because instead of heading into the stadium loop, the course veered away again for an out and back across the parking lot. I did not love this part of the race course at all – seriously, who wants to run through people tailgaiting?! Miss Fireworks and I leap-frogged each other and I passed a couple of runners I hadn’t seen since mile 2. Finally, I was back within the stadium, and heading for the final tunnel and on to the field. There were lots of people in the stands and on the field, and I love that the announcer calls out each runner by name and the finish line is shown on the jumbotron – so fun!

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With our races done, we headed back to our car for well-deserved picnic and to wait for the fireworks – always a good show!

This race is really well done and a fun way to spend part of a 4th of July weekend. The volunteers were really friendly and encouraging, and all of the water stops were well staffed and stocked, (though some Gatorade would have been a welcome addition). I really was not a fan of the out and back thrown in at the end – I think it would have been better to add that extra mile to the neighborhood section of the course. I’d also encourage the race organizers to offer a better selection of post-race food – while I love KIND bars, KIND bars and water was not much of a post-race selection.

I’m sure my family will be back again next year, and I’m most certain that I’ll be sticking to the 5K 😉

Did you run a 4th of July race? Do you avoid summer racing or embrace it?

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Fall Racing – A Moving Target

When I saw that this week’s #FridayFive link-up topic was Fall Races, I was tempted to skip posting. Racing has been such a moving target for me, between injury and conflicts with my family schedule, that I’m almost hesitant to count any race as a sure thing at this point. But, if you’ve been around here for a bit then you also know how much I love a fall race….so here’s what I’m hoping for at the moment.

1) #StripAtNight 

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This is my one and only definite race…well it’s actually two because I’ll be doing the Remix Challenge (5K and Half). My husband and brother are running with me, and I just saw friends yesterday who confirmed they’re in! I’ve been waiting all year to get to a Rock ‘n’ Roll race as part of the Rock’n’Blog team – and, well c’mon it’s Vegas! And, speaking of the Rock’n’Blog team, we were just given special codes for a Vegas discount – use code RUNATTITUDE015LV and you can do either the half or the full for $145!

2) Still Rockin’ — Staying with the Rock ‘n’ Roll theme for a minute, I’m still hoping to get to RnR Philly at the end of October, but family conflicts are starting to crop up from all sides…keep my fingers crossed. But, if schedules don’t work, then I’ll be looking at finishing up my 3-race Tour Pass by heading to San Antonio for #RnRSA the first week of December.

3) Tufts 10K for Women is one of my favorite Boston races. It’s always held on Columbus Day, which means it could potentially come in conflict with the boys’ sports schedules/tournaments – it’s happened before, but if I’m free this is always a great race!

4) Canton Fall Classic is another local favorite – I usually run the 5K and my husband J runs the 10K. My son is thinking about running it this year…so once again as long as schedules don’t collide, this could be a family race.

Jingle+Bell+15) Jingle Bell Run — OK this one may technically be a “winter” race as some years it falls on the weekend before Christmas. As you can see from the picture of my brother and I on race morning, this one’s all for the costumes and post-race beer fest. (And, yes that is a giant ball of mistletoe on his hat!) 🙂

Do you find your race schedule is pretty well set or is it a moving target?

(As part of the Rock’n’Blog team, I receive a 3-race Tour Pass. If you want to add a RnR race to your fall schedule, don’t forget to use my code on my sidebar for a discount (or the code above for Vegas!)

I’m linking up with Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia – be sure to stop by to check out where they’ll be racing this fall!

 

 

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Friday Five: Sharing the Love of Running

Hello Friday!

It’s been another whirlwind week and I am looking forward to getting this weekend started! But first, I’m linking up again with Courtney, Mar & Cynthia. Today’s topic is “5 ways to share running/fitness love.” Since catching the running bug five years ago, I have enjoyed sharing my new passion with anyone willing to listen 😉 But nothing has made me happier than to be able to share my love of running with my family!

Let it be their idea! — I’ve shared before my tips for running with kids before, and by far, I think the most important one is to let it be their idea. If you do, they’re more likely to stick with it!

Make it fun — Getting my family on the running bandwagon means keeping it fun. No thoughts of pace or crazy goals – especially in the beginning!

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Mix it up — This is an extension on the idea of keeping it fun. We mix up where we run – sometimes it’s a trail, sometimes it’s the track, and other times it’s around the neighborhood. Helping them to try running in different environments, keeps it interesting.

Cheer their efforts — When my husband J ran his first trail race, the kids and I hiked up to a clearing along the course and cheered he and his fellow runners on. The boys got a lot of high fives and had a ball!

Lead by example — Best way to share your love of running with your family is to invite them to be a part of your journey.  Share both the good and bad runs, and your big race goals – your enthusiasm and passion can be infectious.

Does your family share your love of running?

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BAA 5K – A Family Tradition

 

BAA 5K BibsOn Saturday, my husband J, our oldest son and I were up and out early to run the BAA 5K. This was our 2nd year all running together (my 3rd time overall) – it’s quickly becoming a fun family tradition!

Just like last year, it was perfect running weather, as we gathered with 10,000 of our closest friends. Yes 10,000 runners for a 5K. So to say it was crazy crowded would be an understatement.

Courtesy of the Boston Herald

Courtesy of the Boston Herald

With so many runners, the BAA is still trying to find the best way to get everyone to the start line – especially a challenge when the winners are crossing the start/finish line within 15 minutes of starting! Last year volunteers had to quickly move corral barriers to get runners moving as the elites closed in on the finish. So this time around, they had us line up along Beacon Street and split the start/finish line so the elites had a clear path. There was also a pulse start. Once again, we were still shuffling to the start when the elites came in, but at least we got to see them this time!

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What I love about this race is the vibe – there’s just a great feel about it. People just seem to be having a really good time, high-fiving and encouraging each other on the turn-around; there were lots of kids running with parents, and overall the crowd support along the course was awesome. Since my son had done absolutely no running beyond sprints for basketball and lacrosse, and one trip to the track with me, we decided to try a run/walk approach. We talked about doing set intervals, but in the end we just kind of did whatever we needed to when we needed to – which worked just fine. With our names on our bibs, I loved all the shout-outs my son got and it was really fun to see him enjoying the whole experience. I’m really proud of the effort he put in!

Running down Boylston St definitely brought a range of emotions that I still find hard to put into words two years later. It’s always something to watch people’s reactions to crossing over the Marathon famous finish line. Soon came the final turn back onto Charles Street and the finish line. Getting our medals, post race food and race shirts was easy-breezy,  and we took some time to hang out on the Commons and enjoy the atmosphere before heading off to grab breakfast.

Despite the crowd, this is becoming a family favorite and I think my youngest son finally wants to give it a try next year. Let the family tradition continue!

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Thursday Thoughts – Things that make me smile

christmas lights Christmas lights — I love how my boys still oh and ah at Christmas lights as we drive through town. Makes the early sunsets worth it 🙂

Runs with my hubby — For the past month, my husband J has been joining me for my weekend runs. We’ve never run together before so this has been a lot of fun and a great way to kick on the weekend! Run with Jack

 

Hockey Fever — My youngest son has been completely bitten by the hockey bug, which means we’ve been spending lots of in hockey rinks all over New England. While I’m not loving the cold toes and fingers that come with sitting in the stands, seeing how much fun my little guy is having just warms my heart!

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What’s been making you smile lately?

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Friday Five – Race Memories

Linking up with the fun ladies of the DC Trifecta again this Friday. Today’s theme – Race Memories…so come take a little walk down memory lane with me!

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Boston’s Run to Remember — My first half marathon! Without a doubt, this will go down as one of my all time favorite race experiences! My whole family turned out in force all along the course to support me, and my husband surprised me by ordering matching shirts for everyone. Best cheer squad ever. I smiled the whole race! (Recap HERE)IMG_0717

 

 

 

 

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Philadelphia Half Marathon — This was the first time I’d traveled to a race. I just loved everything about this race experience – as you can see from this picture 🙂 Loved the course and the crowd support — so much so that I’m going back this November! (Recap HERE)

 

ZOOMA Cape Cod Half — What made this race fun was all about the people! I was a race ambassador and the other ambassadors were a great group of ladies to get to know. Also got to meet Sarah & Dimity of Another Mother Runner fame. But best of all it was a fun girls weekend with my running buddy E – we both PR’d and had a blast together! (Recap HERE)

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The Time I Played Race DirectorYep one of my favorite race memories is of a race I didn’t even run. A couple of years ago I took on the crazy, stressful and very rewarding task of being race director for the local 5K and kids’ fun runs to benefit my sons’ school. I was both thrilled and exhausted by the time the day was done, and I had developed a serious appreciation for all that goes into race planning. A very worthwhile experience and while everyone can’t play race director, I seriously encourage every runner to volunteer at a race at least once! (Recap HERE)

My Son’s 1st 5K — For those of you who’ve been around here for a while I’m sure you’re not surprised to see this one on the list of my top race memories! Nothing better than watching your child push themselves to reach a goal…and being asked to come along for the ride 🙂 (Recap HERE)  picmonkey_image (5)

Be sure to check out the link-up with Cynthia, Courtney & Mar — I’m looking forward to reading about everyone’s memories!

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BAA 5K Recap

What a beautiful day! And, what an emotional day!

BAA5K 2014

On Saturday I ran the B.A.A. 5K with my husband J and our oldest son. It was a beautiful morning for a run – a little chilly, but picture-perfect clear blue skies. Because there were going to be so many more runners this year, we decided to park a few blocks from the start and walk over. Not only did it make a breeze to get in and out easily – but the parking garage also had a very nice lobby with clean bathrooms! (Always a score to avoid the porta-potties!)

As we made our way over I could tell my son was a little nervous but excited. This was going to be his second 5K and with a much bigger crowd than the local race we did last summer. And there were so many runners – in an effort to let more people participate in Marathon weekend, the BAA had increased the field of the 5K from 6500 to 10,000. (8,640 actually ran – but still an awful lot of people for a 5K on Boston’s narrow Back Bay streets!) Given the chilly temps and crowds, we decided to keep our extra layers on and skip the bag check. We snapped a couple of quick pics and then heeded the call to head to the corals.

BAA5k 2014 Collage

Yes someone was being goofy 🙂

The corals were jammed and it was a challenge to stay together and find anywhere to slide in.  As we stood waiting you could just feel the energy – I mean obviously runners are always pumped up at the beginning of a race, but this was different. We chatted with other runners and many joked that there were so many of us that the elites would be finishing before we crossed the start. Well in fact that almost did happen!

As we shuffled our way to the start, the announcement of the lead man’s first split was 4:3X. Yes they were flying…and we were soon going to be in the way! No sooner was the announcement made than volunteers started moving corral barriers to open up the street and get us moving faster to the start – so much for self-seeding! It was chaotic but we were finally off.

We tried our best to stay together while also trying to find some open space to run – at some point I ended up ahead of J and my son and pulled up to wait for them. They caught up but my son wanted to take a walk break so they urged me to just keep going so I ran on. I knew even before we started that this was not a day for chasing a sub-30 – this was a day for taking in the moment and I did.  I thanked volunteers, marveled at runners with prostetic legs gutting it out and enjoyed the spectators chanting “Boston Strong” along the course. When we reached the turn-around, runners were hooting and hollering and high-fiving – we were all just having so much fun! I came across J and my son – he was slapping hands with so many runners. It was great to see him see the running community at its best!

The route took us on the famous “right on Hereford, left on Boylston,” and as we reach the corner of Boylston there was an enormous American flag hanging over the course from a firetruck ladder. As I turned on to Boylston it hit me, I hadn’t been back here since the bombing…consciously or unconsciously I hadn’t been back here since I ran last year’s 5K – before everything that happened happened. I wasn’t prepared for the rush of emotions that only got stronger as I passed the Forum, site of the 2nd bombing. I’m not sure I can even put into words what I was feeling as I ran down Boylston and across that famous finish line – it was a lot to process. Soon came the final turn back onto Charles Street and the finish line. The finish area was more chaotic than the start so unfortunately I missed seeing my husband and son finish but heard the race announcer give them a nice shout out as they came across the line! We collected our medals and race shirts and, at my son’s urging, headed off to breakfast.

All-in-all a great morning – the B.A.A. does such an awesome job (though I do hope they return the field to its original size next year)! It was a great event to be a part of and I especially loved how in awe my son was of getting to cross the Marathon finish line.  He’s already talking about running it again next year – and that’s just fine with me 🙂

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Friday Five – Running with Kids

 

As I’ve been running with my son to get ready for the BAA 5K, I wanted to share some tips on running with your kids.

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The idea running must be their idea not yours! I’ve gotten some emails asking “How did you get your son to run with you?” The key is I didn’t “get” him to do anything. As with all of his other interests, starting to run was his choice – and he asked to sign up for a 5K. Trust me you’re better off if you let them come to you with the idea!

Let them set the pace. Yes this can result in sprints followed by walk breaks but eventually they will settle in.

Let them know it’s ok to walk. When we first started running together, my son thought that he must run every step or he wasn’t a “runner.” Clearly he hadn’t seen any of my long runs 🙂

Build slowly. Just because kids have boundless energy and can keep going and going doesn’t mean they should. Build distance as you would with any new runner to avoid injury.

Keep it fun! Above all else this is most important! Our runs have led to some great mid-run giggles and post-run conversations.

Do you run with your kids?

Once again I’m linking up with the lovely ladies of the DC Trifecta. Be sure to stop by and show them some love! DC_linkup

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Coffee and My Friday 5

I’ve got my favorite mug filled so it’s time for another round of my Friday Five.

Don’t think, just go — My joy of returning to the great outdoors was short-lived as snow and icy roads have sent me back to the mill  this week. But I have refused to get hung up about it…don’t think, just go!

Senior Posse — The January fanfare at the gym has subsided so the one benefit of returning to the mill is the ease at which I can find a parking pace in the lot and I get my choice of machines once inside. One interesting trend I have noticed this week is how many seniors have been showing up – and unlike some of their younger counterparts, they’re there to workout, not chat! I love it!

baa5kFamily running — My oldest has picked his next 5K! He’ll be joining me for the B.A.A. 5K on Marathon weekend. J also decided to register so it looks like it’s time for some family training runs 🙂

#FFBurpee Challenge — As I wrap-up the first week of the burpee challenge, I have no problem admitting that this challenge is kicking my butt! I’ve been trying to do some burpees in the morning and then the rest in the evening so it doesn’t feel so daunting. My youngest son’s been joining me for the evening round and you can’t beat his enthusiasm for motivation!

Quiet Weekend Ahead — Aside from the usual chauffeuring  the boys around to meet friends and get to their sports commitments, I’m looking forward to a fairly quiet weekend in the RWA household.  With the amount of racing around that is the norm around here, I’ve learned to really savor these weekends where there’s actually white space on the calendar.

How’s your week been? Any weekend plans?

 

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My Best 5K

Sunday morning I ran my best 5K yet!

And there was no PR or great bling involved. The race itself was full of logistically glitches typical of a new race (mis-measured course, not enough porta potties…you get the idea).

picmonkey_image (5)It was the best 5K because I got to run with my son as he completed his first 5K!

I watched him push himself to go further than he’d ever run before (and in very warm conditions!), watched him experience both the “I can’t believe I’m about to do this!” moments, along with the “what if I can’t finish” moments.

We had a great conversation along the way – none of which I’ll share here…stays between Mom and son. Except that I will say about half way through he started talking about his next race – “it should be in the fall when it’s cooler and I’ll be better trained” – at that moment I knew that despite the heat and walk breaks, he was really enjoying himself!

picmonkey_image (4) I especially loved seeing the look on his face when he knew the finish line was close and watching him sprint to the end! It was a proud mama moment for me from beginning to end – and I can’t wait to do it again 🙂

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