Several people may have just fallen over onto the floor, in shock. “What? She’s posted twice in three days?! Say it ain’t so!” I’ve got news for you, kids, I’ve even got ideas for a few more posts this week!!

This is a really fun race. They take great care of you at the finish also, although there were some changes from last year. Last year, you got your carnation at the end. This year, you got them beforehand (still handed out by a bunch of cute  little girls who were dressed in girl-scout type sashes. I broke mine within 5 minutes of receiving it.) With the bad economy, this year, you had to be one of the first 400 who signed up, I think, to get a long sleeve shirt.  I waited until yesterday to sign up, but it’s my own fault I didn’t get one, so I’m not upset at the organizers, just myself! Good to see that they still offered lots of food, and continued on with the raffle prizes. 

I like this race because there’s both a 6K and a 5 Mile race.  They start together and end together. It’s exciting for me because the leaders of the 5 mile race end up passing people like me in the 6K at the 2 mileish mark.  I must have been going faster than last year, because last year, they passed me around the 1.75 mile point.  I yelled out something dorky like “you guys are awesome!” I think they were pretty much in the zone, though, because they didn’t respond back. (Just what local guy runners need, right? Some local groupie yelling out random encouragement. LOL.)

The course is challenging. You’re climbing a lot until you reach about 2.2 miles. The elevation chart shows a total climb of 155 feet with a total elevation change of 304 feet.  You could see that a lot of people were unprepared to run hills  like that, but having run the course before, they didn’t bother me too much.  The middle part of the race is made of flat areas interspersed with rolling hills, I’d say. You end on a wicked downhill, great for kickers like me. NICE!

The only thing I think I’d change is to have an actual timing mat at the beginning. They give you the D-tags for timing chips, but with no starting mat, you don’t get a true time unless you’re on the starting line, and I never line up there.  Here are few photos of me at the start line, and in case you’re wondering, yes, it was pretty friggin’ cold at 10 a.m. I’ve got a hat on, and headband under the dorky hood. I took the hood off, oh, about 15 seconds into the race.

Dorky close-up. Can't believe I'm putting it on the blog, I look so silly.

I made a strong mental note to have fun on this race, for myself and for my friend, Lis, who’s a CPA and therefore works 6 days a week for most of the year between January and April. I thought of her, stuck in her office, wishing she could be out running with me. I made sure to thank volunteers (they always get big smiles on their face in return) – I’m sure their jobs can be somewhat boring at times.

After about the first mile, much of which was uphill, I saw a girl walking and I told her to keep it up, that she was doing well, and she started right up again. She ran next to me for a while.  (I have to admit, I never know if I should say something encouraging to people – I’m always worried it’ll come out like I’m condescending to them, which I’m definitely not.) 

Thankfully, taken farther away. Still lookin' stylish.

 There was only one water stop, but I’ve begun to walk through them to make sure I get water in me, not on me.  That accounted for my second mile being much slower than the rest, I think. Anyway, I’m happy with my overall time, especially considering that two weeks ago, I didn’t run for about 5 days straight.  I’m happy to say that the miles I did under 9 minutes didn’t feel too painful, though. I really think my track workouts with the group (and yes, even those on the treadmill around the crack of dawn) are helping my speed increase a lot. I think I’m going to sign up for the spring season also.

Here are my overall stats:

  • Official overall time; 31:50 (Garmin time was 31:41, but I forgot to stop it immediately)
  • 77/280 overall; 38/165 Women; 12/42 Women 30-39
  • Mile splits (per Garmin): 8:39; 9:17;8:41, last .65 of 7:46 (yep, I did well at running tangents!)

Love the "bride" outfit!

Since this is a Valentine’s Day race, they have team contests too- father/daughter; husband/wife; partners (remember, I live in MA!), etc. With the teams, one person has to run the 6K, and the other has to run the 5 mile race.  Some people wore cute costumes, like the woman all in white, wearing a tutu, below (look to the right of the guy in red.)

Finish line!!

 Oh, and here’s an action shot of me at the end – for once, I actually look like I’m running in a photo! That morning, I’d told my husband I hoped to finish anywhere between 31 and 33 minutes.  Because, in his mind, the race is “all about the spectator,” he snarked back, “do you think you could be a little  bit more accurate, so I don’t have to waste an extra minute out there?!” He was just on time – he came outside at about 31 minutes and said he only had to wait about 30 seconds before he saw me running down the hill. 🙂

Now, in case you’re wondering about the bulge in my jacket that Lindsay of the Chasing the Kenyans blog jokingly commented on, on Twitter, NO, I’M NOT PREGNANT! Those are GLOVES SHOVED IN MY POCKETS!!!  Really!!   🙂

I am really psyched to start racing again this spring!