Thursday, July 5, 2012

Finish at the 50

Hope everyone had a Happy July 4th!

Mine was filled with lots of fun with friends, so it was definitely a great day.

On Tuesday night, I had the pleasure of running the "Finish at the 50" race. The race took place in Foxboro, MA-home of the New England Patriots. The race started at the stadium, and then you got to finish on the field. I'd heard that it was a fun race so I was looking forward to it.

The race was previously held the morning of July 4th, but they moved it to the night before this year. They also added a 5k. So while it was an established race, there were some new twists this year.

After work, my awesome husband drove me to the race. With everyone heading out of the city for the holiday, this ended up being quite an adventure. We left well before the race, and got to the stadium about 90 minutes before the race. Number pick-up was on the opposite side of the venue than the runner parking, so we had quite a hike ahead of us!

I couldn't believe how many people were out and about! There were tons of vendor stands mingled amongst the shops, and there was even live music! The number pick-up went fairly smoothly and then I headed over to the looooong line to get my t-shirt. It actually ended up moving very quickly, and Rob and I had about 45 minutes to kill before the race started. We popped into a couple shops, tried to find water (with no luck) then before I left him to head to the start.

The start had pace signs set-up, but judging the crowd, I don't think anyone really paid the self-seeding any attention. There were some volunteers with water, so I snagged a cup and jumped in between the 8 and 9 minute mile markers.

Shortly after 6pm, the race started. The 5k and 10k had the same start but the courses separated about a mile into the race. I was nervous I'd go with the wrong group, but the race officials did a great job of directing the group and there was plenty of signage!

The heat and the hills were getting to me early on. The course had several long inclines, and it felt like I was always running up hill! The route was very scenic, and I was amazed by the number of spectators along the course. I ran without an ipod during the race, and it was so much fun hearing all the cheers.

I forgot my watch at home, so I just ran with my heart. All the miles are blending together now, but around mile 4 I saw the Hoyts. They are truly inspirational, and I swear running felt easier after seeing them.

Finally, we turned back toward the stadium. It was cool to know that the finish was within the massive building! I ran as hard as I could to the tunnel. I wish I'd had my camera ready to go, because it was truly a neat experience to literally run to the light at the end of the tunnel.

I came out onto the field and ran through a giant inflatable football helmet to the finish line. The announcer was calling out names, and finishers were being shown on the big screen.

After crossing the finish, I looked for Rob in the stands. While I was running, he apparently ran into Jared Mayo, who is a linebacker for the Patriots. He thought that was kind of cool, so hopefully he doesn't totally regret volunteering to cheer me on!

I would have posted a photo of me on the field here, but the girl who I asked to take my photo totally lied to me about taking it. I didn't figure this out until I'd already walked past the point of no re-entry. Drats!

My final time wasn't anything record breaking (59:15), but I had fun. It was certainly a cool experience. It was tough getting there after work, and the crowds made it tough. I doubt this will be come an annual race for me, but I would recommend it to anyone looking for a unique experience.

My feet on the turf

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