Finish At The 50 5k/10k Race Recap

The second race my dad and I signed up for this summer was a 10k that took place at Patriot’s Place, home of New England’s NFL team, the Patriots. (http://www.harvardpilgrimfinishatthe50.com) Now I’m not the biggest football fan, but I was so pumped for this race! I mean how cool, you get to run onto the field where beautiful Tom Brady has stood, and finish at the 50 yard line while they show you on the jumbotron!

This race had the potential to be awesome, if it weren’t for the horrendous heat. I should’ve expected this considering it was on July 3 (Boston in July is never pleasant) but I was not at all prepared for the heat and humidity. I had been out of the country until a week before the race, and hadn’t run at all while I was gone.

The day before the race, my dad and I were both feeling really sick and my hip was really hurting. We considered not doing it, but decided to go ahead with it anyways. When we got to Gillette Stadium and felt the heat I decided to drop down into the 5k race instead of the 10k, which I am wildly glad I did because my chest was so tight the entire race, I felt like I was having a heart attack.

Besides the heat and humidity, the course of the race was nearly entirely on black concrete with no shade, which did not help the situation at all. The 5k route basically took us around the parking lot, then all the way up the crowd control ramps into the stadium, around the stadium, down the ramps on the other side, around the stadium again and then out onto the field. The ramps really messed with my speed because at every turn, a lot of people would stop and walk which made it hard to keep a consistent pace given how narrow they were. By the end of the race I was so overheated I couldn’t even enjoy how cool it was being on the field. All of the water was on the outside of the field and once you left you couldn’t reenter, so I kind of missed the coolest part due to exhaustion.

Best part about doing the 5k though, was that it was at 5:30pm, an hour earlier than the 10k, so I got to cheer my dad on! My awesome friend Molly braved the heat to hangout with me after my race and watch my dad. We were able to see him cross the start line and at two other places on the course. By the time he finished, he did not look like he was doing too well, a rarity for him, but not for the race. All around, there were elite, extremely fit runners taking knees and panting.

For the dignity of my father and I, I will not mention our times, but lets just say it was no one’s best day. We were both around 5 minutes slower than our average pace. Despite the heat, and the fact that they only had women’s large t-shirts left, it was a really cool place for a race, and probably the only way I’ll ever get on the field at Gillette Stadium. Also, as we were leaving, we saw Team Hoyt, who have participated in over 1000 races. My dad said that he ran past them during the race and gave the father, Dick, a pat on the shoulder. Overall, another very cool running experience.

Pre-race

Pre-race

The daunting race ramps

The daunting race ramps

Post-race

Post-race

Dad at the start of the 10k

Dad at the start of the 10k

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Newton 10k Race Recap

Victory pose, post race

Victory pose, post race

Daddy and Daughter right after the finish

Daddy and Daughter right after the finish

Rocking the Newton 10k race t-shirt

Rocking the Newton 10k race t-shirt

The Newton 10k was my first race, with the exception of some 5k fun runs I did as a little kid. It took place on June 2,2013 and at that time, I had been running for a little under two months. Mid-May I got strep throat so I stopped running and had only about a week back on the pavement before the race.

I was wildly excited for this race, partly because of my extreme competitive spirit, partly because I got into running because I missed the electric and fun experience of track meets, but mostly because I got to run it with my dad.

Ever since I can remember my dad has been a runner. I actually plan on writing an entire blog post on the whole daddy-daughter running thing, but this will suffice for now. When I got into track but not distance running, I was really worried that I was disappointing my dad. I imagined that he had always wanted a kid he could run with and train with, and that was something I wanted as well, minus the act of actually running. Much to my dad’s credit, he was never once disappointed in my choice to not run distance, but when I got into this year, I think he was pretty pumped.

While I was still away at school he called me and asked me if I wanted to run this race with him. I said absolutely and now here we were on race day. The forecast for the day was something like a high of 88 degrees, which for an Oregonian such as myself is quite daunting. I have a 10 degree range of temperate from 65 to 75 in which I’m comfortable, and other than that I’m too hot or cold.  The race started at 8am though, so it wasn’t too hot until near the end of the race.

We arrived at 7am to beat the non-existent crowds, explore, and hit the port-a-potties. It was a really manageable sized group, around 650, and after running other races, I have come to realize that this was an exceptionally well-organized race, so shout out to Fattman Productions for that. There were no time corrals, people just gathered down the street from the starting line. People didn’t push and it was very relaxed.

When I first started running in April I was running 10 – 10:30 minute miles. I’ve now gotten myself down to 9 minute miles, and that is my goal for half marathon. My dad, who runs much faster than me, dutifully ran the first mile with me, which we did in 8:40, and then I freed him to go tear it up. Despite the heat, the race was so fun. The sky was stunningly blue and it was awesome to see bobbing neon bodies snaking up ahead. Oddly enough, I ran nearly the entire race with about a 5-10 foot radius of no people around me. The course ran through beautiful residential Newton, and some of the residents came out to cheer us on which was really nice, and gave a very helpful boost. The course also utilized some of the Boston Marathon route and at the bottom of one of the hills, someone dressed in a gorilla suit with a heartbreak hill t-shirt was high fiving the runners, which was hilarious.

I skipped the first water station because I have a little bit of a complex about showing off and being strong which is super stupid, so I need to just get over it and stop when I need to. There were three water stations placed around mile 2, mile 4, and mile 5.5. I suffer from abdominal cramps when I run and I had a pretty gnarly one from around mile 3 to 5 so at the second water stop I decided to take a rest. Once I’d drank half my water, because it was hot and I thought it looked hardcore, I decided to dump the rest of my water on my head. Queen of the idiots over here dumped it right into her ear and short-circuited her headphones. By the third water station I was feeling good so I decided to get water but, against my father’s advice, drink it while I ran. As my father had warned would happen, I choked on it.

Once my cramps dissipate, I typically get a second wind for my last mile. By the end of this race, I was unbelievably hot, but wanted to finish strong and kicked it into high gear. As I came down the final stretch I saw my dad standing right next to the finish line cheering and it gave me the extra boost I needed to finish strong. When I crossed the line, my dad gave me a huge hug and despite feeling like I was going to throw up, I was filled with some serious elation and endorphins.

I really liked the post race offerings. I discovered Hint Water there, which is really mildly flavored water and is so refreshing after running. They also had free samples of Unreal Candy, which I’m obsessed with. I’d discovered the “unjunked” candy a few weeks earlier and my favorite is their version of a Snickers bar. Right before we were about to leave, we checked the results and it turned out I’d gotten third in my age group (I mean there were only eight girls in the 16-19 age group, but hey!) which meant I got a prize in the form of a New Balance water belt! I ran a 55:32.5, 8:57/mile pace, and got 319 out of 647. My dad, beast that he is, ran a 48:45 7:51/mile pace, and got 15th in the 50-59 age group, which is incredible considering the Newton 10k was a Massachusetts Senior Olympics event, meaning that my dad was running against the states’ top senior runners. Overall he got 132 out of 647.

After the race, my dad and I went to a hip Lebanese café nearby (my dad specializes in the discovery of hip cafes) for a celebratory drink and pastry, proudly sporting our finishers t-shirts, which were really nice, fitted dry-fit type material. I’m hoping to make a tradition of running this race with my dad; it was a great size, well run, and a beautiful route. Besides the joy of getting to run with my dad, this was my first exposure to the elite 20-30 year old runners, which has given me something to aspire to.