B.A.A. 5k Race Recap

On Saturday, I competed in the B.A.A. 5k as part of the Distance Medley series hosted by the Boston Athletic Association. This year’s field expanded to include 10,000 runners, as the BAA wanted to include as many runners as possible, allowing us to celebrate our love of Boston following the marathon bombings.

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I decided to get up and run to the start of the course instead of cabbing it in. It should have only taken about 3.5 miles, except I made a few errors about where to go and how to get there. In the end, I wound up running 5 miles to the start of the race in Boston Common (as seen in the map below, hahaha whoops). I fueled the whole morning on just a single ripe banana.

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Because of the number of runners and the insane (for a 5k!) amount of spectators, the start of the race was a little overwhelming, especially for a 5’2″ tall girl. There was also heightened security and a larger than normal police presence. Furthermore, if you wanted to check your bag, you had to dump all of your belongings into clear bag provided by the BAA, making sure all of the contents were visible. Since I only brought my garmin and armband, I just stored my race t-shirt and a bottle of water I picked up from the poland spring stand. After getting through bag check, I got myself down to the “corrals” to get ready for the start of the race.

Most of the runners only fed in and out of one section of the “corrals”( aka, put yourself next to your projected pace). Given that there were so many people, there were many runners who did not place themselves into the correct location because it was so difficult to get to the back of the line. Unfortunately, this also clogged the entire first mile of the race with many faster runners having to dodge some of the slower ones. Most of us cut the B.A.A. a little slack though, because this race was about uniting together as compared to riding the train to PR city.

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One of the best parts of the race was when we eventually ran through the finish line of the Boston Marathon. I did my best to take a picture of it while running but it was really really hard. I almost dropped my phone at this point, but managed to scoop it up before it hit the ground at the last moment. I also happened to get a little teary eyed once I directly passed underneath, which slowed down my pace a bit as my lungs were having a bit of difficulty expanding to full capacity.

photo 5I fed into the finishers shoot, which directed us towards our medals and a sweet stash of food, much more than I had even received for many of my half marathon! I also happened to be one of the lucky few that took their picture with the bag and fife band that played the National Anthem at the start of the race, that is…right before the police made sure to shoo us along.

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Regardless, I was only about 20 seconds behind my 5k race PR time! Yahoo! I was number 1343 out of about 9000 runners and was 67th out of 844 runners in my age group. Pretty stinkin’ good if you ask me! Splits listed below also include my jog into downtown. I’ve actually found that racing more has improved my racing times, because I’m getting better at the mental game that also comes into play. Duh moment. Who would have thought that racing more meant better race times.

Screen shot 2014-04-19 at 4.49.00 PMOverall, it was such an honor to be a part of this race and I am so thankful for having gotten the opportunity to take part. Thank you to the BAA for putting on a spectacular event, and for making every runner feel important, despite their experience or pace.  It truly is an event that I would recommend all of my Boston friends take part in at least once in their running history. Hey, come July, I might even be able to train you for it!

Did any of you readers participate in a race this weekend? Anyone run the BAA 5k? What was your experience?

A night in Union Square

Union Square is well known in NYC for its outdoor markets and intersection of fashion and politics. The lesser known Union Square in Somerville, MA, is approximately one mile from Boston and poised to be an up and coming neighborhood thanks in part to the green line moving into the area and many trendy eateries and bars opening up shop. On Friday evening, I had the pleasure of making stops at Ebi Sushi and The Independent Bar.

As I had alluded to in my Five Things Friday post, I was embarking on a mission with Chris in order to try to the ever elusive Natto. Nattio is a traditional Japanese side dish consisting of fermented soy beans. Not only was the taste described to me as horrific beyond compare, but its consistency and aroma are just as notorious. Regardless, I was willing to take the plunge just to say I had done it.

We were greeted by Sushi Chef Sean, who was not only knowledgeable about both Japanese cuisine and culture, but was a gregarious, funny, and welcoming host who put me at ease about my impending doom. I sat down to a bottle of Saki in order to help dull the experience I was about to indulge in and listened to Chef Sean and Chris discuss Japanese food and culture.

After a good twenty minutes, I decided it was time to take the plunge. When the dish first arrived, I wasn’t as put off by the smell, as it was not as putrid as it was described. Instead I was disgusted by the consistency and texture of the dish.

(Oh god, is this really happening?)

I gave the Natto a good stir and then went into for the kill. It tasted…awful. So awful, bitterly awful. What was worse, was that the sticky coating from the fermentation process was all over my lips. It looked like little peanuts stuck in a spider web. It was everything that Chris described, and that employees of Ebi shuddered at the thought of. I poured some soy sauce to make the next bite go down a little better. When I decided that enough was enough, one of the servers brought over a bowl of miso soup in order for me to get the taste out of my mouth. I’m still gagging at the thought.

Chris and I wound up staying until the sushi place closed, with the two of us being the last customers in the restaurant.  Thanks to the allure of the Natto, the wonderful conversation with Chef Sean and the kind attention of the staff at Ebi, Chris and I most certainly will be back to enjoy the sushi. After leaving Ebi, we walked across the street to the Independent Bar.

The drinks were phenomenal, the music was great, and the crowd was small, which is something that every 30-year-old grows to appreciate in a bar as the years go by. The prices were right, with cocktails falling between 7 to 9 dollars. I believe I had the Old Hemingway, which consisted of white rum, mint, grapefruit, lime, angostura, and cava, while Chris stuck to his beer.

 (Too much saki? Maybe it was the Natto that did her in.)

Thanks for the experience, Union Square, Ebi Sushi, and the Independent.  We’ll definitely be back soon (as we only live about a mile away!). As for the rest of you in the Boston area, I highly recommend making the trek to the neighborhood! Do it, even if you are trying to get down to your racing weight (whoops. Oh well, its all about balance, remember?).