Tuesday, March 20, 2012

St. Patrick's Day 5k Recap

Where do I start?! This weekend was one I had been looking forward to for a couple of months now, ever since I signed up for the 5k in South Boston back in December (ok, who am I kidding, ever since I recovered from last year's debacle!).

If you have heard much about St. Patty's Day celebrations and Boston, you might have heard about or known about what goes down in South Boston (my "hood") on the weekend of green beer, funny hats, parades and more.  South Boston has a very rich Irish background, and to this day a very Irish heavy population (most of the bars are Irish bars, with an Irish accented tend or two), so it comes as no big surprise that the parade day (not always March 17th) is one of the most anticipated holidays in the city.

Last year's get up!
This year marked my fourth experience with parade day, and third living in Southie, and this year did not disappoint.  Despite having a fantastic "here comes spring head-cold" (which I am still trying to get through), Tripp and I were all ready to get a little 5k race on and then our party on!  The South Boston St. Patty's Day 5k runs at 11 AM, the morning of the parade, along a portion of the parade route.  It is a HILLY out and back from the South Boston Boys and Girls Club to the water and back.

Going into this race, I was feeling really drained, as I hadn't slept much the previous nights due to coughing fits and stuffed up head/nose, and I was still so stuffed up, I was forced to only breath through my mouth.  I was not too excited for the hills that awaited me, all five of them (which is a lot, for a 3.1 mile race).  Tripp and I dressed in a bit of green, pinned on our numbers and met up with our friends Tori and Paly, who were awesome enough to sign up and run with us!! Seeing as the parade started less than a quarter mile away, we waited until 10:50 and jogged over to meet the massive crowd of runners with 5 minutes to spare before guntime (1724 runners finished the race - and the race was sold out at 1750).  We pushed our way to a mid-point in the crowd and waited for the herding to begin.  The time spent dodging and weaving to get a small bit of personal space was an additional nice warm up, as it was up the first hill, and was tough to get into a groove on anyways.  The four of us stayed together until the crowd started to break up and Tori and I were separated from the guys a little.  On the first downhill was when I realized I was the one who pulled away from the group (#fail).

Paly (Jon), Tori, Tripp, and I post-race, pre-beers (well except Tripp :) )

Once I realized I was going to be running the majority of this solo, I kicked into a comfortable race gear (not slow, but not pushing it) and gauged my breathing and energy levels.  I felt good so I kept the cruising pace on  and formed my one goal for the race, besides have fun and notice the crowds this year - beat Tripp :) I know this sounds selfish and foolish, but in last year's race, I was in front of Tripp until just past the turn around point and when I saw him I double backed to run with him for a little bit, we stuck together for most of the second half of the course, before he kicked it in three blocks from the finish and schooled me!! I was a little perturbed with last year's ending, so I wanted to see if I could beat him on my own, hey I am competitive.

I hit a slight wall on hill 4, about 2.5 miles into the race and contemplated walking up the rest of it, but instead I powered through it best I could and held down the vomit I could feel creeping up my sandpaper throat (thank you head-cold).  I saw a neighbor on a portion of the homestretch, slapped him high five and checked the garmin - I had a chance to finish under 23 and I was going to jump on it!! I turned on the gas (whatever was left at least) and strided the next few blocks and up the final hill to the finish arch up ahead.  I crossed the line in 22:59 (I can't make this up) and realized I was the first of the group to cross, which means I beat Tripp :)  I held down another little heave and chugged a water (it was already in the high 60s and sunny - felt like 75) and waited until I saw the neon green of Tripp's shirt and the face of Tori and Paly.

A little blurry, but happy with the race :) Yes, we were those over-achievers who signed up on the first day of registration (50/1750 bibs) )
There were some ice cream shake samples, powerade zero, pop chips and KIND bars at the finish (I raided the KIND bars table!), but we had our eyes on the prize back at the house - a keggarator (courtesy of our good friend Jeff) roaring to go with a keg of ice cold Bud Light (not my fave, but goes down like water on a hot day) and some great snacks to dig into.
The highlight of the party, the keggarator.  There were some carbombs consumed as well, but with Jameson, not the Jim and w/ Guinness, not the  keg
My roommate and I threw a rager of a Parade party, and only a handful actually made it up to the main road to watch the parade, but it was definitely a success, no leftover beer, no leftover food - just some great friends, great times, and a fantastic St. Patty's Day celebration!

I found out yesterday that I ended up coming in 36/595 in my age group and 179/1724 total finishes, and beat last year's time (23:23) - not bad for some unseasonably warm weather, a horrid head-cold and some killer hills! Best was, I felt good enough after finishing to keep up with the party all day/evening long (didn't drink too much, but that only meant Monday morning was less painful).

How did you celebrate St. Patty's Day weekend?

I laid low on the couch all day during St. Patty's, so I was ready for the extravagance that was Sunday!


  1. hey friend! i am so sorry i have been missing your posts. i think you disappeared from my reader so I am re-adding you now. I just searched your blog and realized I was missing posts :( I apologize!

    anyway. wow. SERIOUS CONGRATS you speed demon. and you rocked your AG as well! this race sounds so fun...and the after party too! glad you all had a fun and festive celebration :)

  2. So glad to read this post about your awesome, fun day, and to see your beautiful smiling face. Love it!


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