The Big 5K

This is 5K #1 of three within the next three weeks. I didn’t plan it that way, trust me. It just happened. And it’s definitely going to kick my butt.

This race was at The Big E fair grounds and it was one that I was looking forward to. The Big E is a big New England fair that takes place during two-ish weeks in September. (The grounds also have different events throughout the year, too.) There’s always crazy food, there are vendor booths and concerts, and each New England state has its own “state house.” It started as an agricultural fair in 1916 and has definitely grown over the last 103 years. (It’s probably just easier if you Google it haha.) But it’s such a thing that you know you avoid that part of the city during the time The Big E is running, because traffic is ridiculous. Like backed-up on the highway, and there is some parking on the grounds but not enough to hold all of the visitors, so you’re more likely to park on someone’s front lawn for $10 on one of the side streets.

The race was taking place on the fair grounds prior to The Big E opening on September 13. I’ve only been there when it’s up and running, so it was weird to be there when it’s not all set up yet.

I ran this race with my boss and one of my co-workers. We went over at lunchtime to get our bibs and swag bags, including a t-shirt and a ticket to The Big E. The race started at 6:45 p.m., and we got there a little after 6:00 p.m. since we already had our stuff.

It started between two of the state buildings—in the picture on the left, you can see the Massachusetts state building, and in the picture on the right, you can see the Maine state building—and went out to the left onto the Avenue of States, up around the front of the grounds, a right near the Big Yellow Slide—yes, that’s a thing, and it’s awesome—back out into the back, and then up the Avenue. We had to do that three times.

Prior to the 5K, there was a kid’s run, which, realistically, I should have run instead of the 5K haha. After that was over, we all lined up, stood for the National Anthem, and we were off. Literally. There was no time between the end of the Anthem, us turning around to face the starting line, and starting to run.

My listening of choice was Brunch’s latest podcast in which they ranked the songs on Taylor Swift’s new album. It was a good episode but maybe not the best running material.

Mile 1

Felt good, didn’t feel like I was running super fast. It was 9:18. Yeah, that’s not sustainable for me long-term. I wish it was, though.

Mile 2

I think I kept at the same pace, and once I was close to 1.85, I had to stop and walk. My goal was to not have to walk, but it was a combination of my asthma and tired legs. (I had run four miles Monday—after running around for Convocation at work—and two miles on Wednesday.) I fast-walked to two miles. My mile time was 10:36.

Mile 3

I made myself run. I felt wicked slow but I kept at it. My mile time was 10:27.

Post-3 miles

So. Fun fact about this course is that it’s more than 3.1 miles but is still a 5K. My running app said I finished 3.22 miles. I knew prior it was a slightly longer course and to stay to the inside of the loop to cut down on my total miles. Once I saw the finish line sign, I sprinted toward it and finished in 32:11—a new PR. Had the course been actually 3.1 miles, my time would have been closer to 31 minutes, and imagine if I didn’t stop to walk? I could have been close to a 30 minute 5K.

Look, me running, knowing I’m getting food and beer after I finish.

After the race, we took pictures in front of the backdrop.

I was 91 out of 215 runners, 40 out of 132 females, and sixth out of 21 in my age group.

We headed over to a brewery that was off one of the side streets—Two Weeks Notice—and luckily for us, there was a food truck there.

I hadn’t been there before, so I got a flight: Punch Card, Fake Saturday, Have You Tried Restarting It?, and West Side Big Slide. The hot dog was probably the best hot dog I’ve ever had in my entire life, hands down. It had a dill pickle spear, crispy onions, and spicy honey mustard. SO GOOD. And the beers were good, too.

We stayed for a few hours before leaving before 9:30 p.m. When we had walked in, we all had on our race shirts—we changed after we were done—and a guy saw us and gave us all high-fives for running the race haha. The shirts are also bright yellow, so we stood out.

I’d definitely do this race again next year. It was a lot of fun, and I liked that the course was flat.

Next race: This Saturday afternoon at a reservoir.

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