Thursday, October 15, 2015

BAA Half Marathon Recap

During the long weekend I ran the BAA Half Marathon, the third and final event of the BAA Distance Medley.

The day was beautiful - a perfect fall day in New England and idea for a nice, long run.

This wasn't my first time running the BAA Half Marathon. I first did it when the course started and finished near Fenway Park, but now to accommodate more runners, it begins and ends at Franklin Park. This makes the course more challenging as you need enough energy for a big hill towards the end of the race, but it's the same great course that winds along the Emerald Necklace.

In this race more so than most others, it's critically important to run the tangents. The very windy road can vary in distance depending on how much attention you pay to cutting the corners, especially during the first 5-6 miles of the race.

There's also two areas where you go by runners ahead and behind you, so it's a nice opportunity to spot friends and family you're racing with, or didn't even know were running (both, in my case).

At the end there's the same great BAA finish experience, a wonderful medal and awesome shirts for all the runners. Plus, I completed the Distance Medley and finished third in my age group, so I'm awaiting a nice surprise that should come in the mail sometime in the next few weeks.

Overall - a great race on a great day!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Doug Flutie 5K Recap

On Sunday I ran the Doug Flutie 5K, which I haven't run in a few years. The race hasn't changed - it's the same great course and the same great atmosphere as it has always been.

The course begins and ends at MetroWest Medical Center in Natick. The course winds through some beautiful neighborhoods in Natick, with a mix of flat and rolling hills. Along the entire route there are groups of spectators cheering everyone on and clear roadblocks, making it an easy run. The finish is a slight uphill, and has a crowd of people at the finish line - which is impressive for a small-town 5K.

After finishing there are several sponsors giving our snacks and drinks, which was highlighted by a Ben & Jerry's ice cream truck. And of course, the race is for a great cause.

Overall it's a great, low-key race for a fall day.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Rave Run: Berlin

The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany

Friday, July 31, 2015

San Francisco 5K Recap

Crossing the finish line of the San Francisco Marathon 5K race
Last weekend I was in San Francisco, so signed up for the 5K, which is part of the weekend's race festivities.

The race began and ended near the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero, which made for a flat and fast race, mostly along the water.

The race started a couple minutes late for whatever reason, and the start was a bit crazy, with a lot of slower runners starting up front. A little organization at the start would be very beneficial in the future.

After about a half mile, the race thinned out and I was able to enjoy a nice run in the morning, before hopping a plane back home.

The expo for the race was crowded, with a lot going on in the building. It took place overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and had a lot of great vendors and race gear.

May years ago (probably 7-8), I ran the SF Half Marathon, which occurs the same day. It was a lot of fun, even though it was such a foggy morning I couldn't see anything. Overall, this is a good race to do, especially if you're in/around SF.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Rave Run: San Francisco

Baker Beach in San Francisco

Monday, July 20, 2015

Marathon Sports 5 Miler Recap

Last week I ran the Marathon Sports 5 Miler for the second time (though the race is now in its 40th year).

The race begins and ends at Weston High School, and winds through some beautiful neighborhoods, looping around the south part of Weston, before going through some fields and trails on the way to the finish line on the track.

Race day (Thursday) was by far the nicest day of the week, as the humidity suddenly disappeared and allowed for a beautiful day of running.

The weeknight race is a great one - it's a fun setting and is a great course for a race, tempo or just an evening run. There are light rolling hills, keeping it interesting but not slowing down times. And after finishing there is watermelon and pizza to reward your efforts - a win, win!

I look forward to running this one again next year.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Rave Run: Paris

Le Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Rave Run: Washington DC

The National Mall in Washington, DC

Sunday, June 21, 2015

BAA 10K Recap

The start and finish of the BAA 10K (picture via BAA)
Today I ran the BAA 10K - and it was a wet one. While there were slight tweaks to the course, it was more or less then same as the previous years, starting and ending at the Boston Common, with the turnaround point happening in the middle of BU's campus.

Before the race began and during the first two miles it was pouring, then the rain let up a bit for the rest of the race. However, that didn't deter many people from coming out, as the field was packed. It made the start a little more disorganized than usual, but with many people not racing for a PR today, it wasn't a problem.

This was actually the first time I've ever run this race without it being really, really hot out, which was kind of nice. Given the disorganized start, I focused on running negative splits, which was fun and allowed me to feel strong the entire race. Overall it was nice to get in a good run, despite the rain, and have the rest of the day to relax.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Rave Run: Amsterdam

Huidenstraat in Amsterdam

Monday, June 15, 2015

JP Morgan Corporate Challenge Recap

The start of the race (picture via JP Morgan)
Last week I ran the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge, taking place on a weekday evening in Boston. The race - which is 3.5 miles - had over 9,000 runners, mostly in large corporate teams. Needless to say, it was a crowded.

The course was almost identical to the BAA 5K. The only difference is that the turnaround point was 0.2 miles further down the road (in Kenmore Square), and the route back was on Commonwealth Ave, rather than Boylston Street. It worked well because the road is wide and it was really easy for people watching to see runners go back and forth. The start and finish line was in between the Boston Common and Public Garden.

The only downside was that the race started about 15-20 minutes late, and the race organizers felt it was necessary to introduce several people from JP Morgan and other sponsors - which only further delayed the start. Otherwise is was a nice, flat and energetic run through Boston on a beautiful and warm evening.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Luxembourg Half Marathon

All smiles after the race
ALast week we travelled to the small country of Luxembourg - nestled in between France, Germany and Belgium. While we were there (in Luxembourg City, the capital), we ran the ING Night Half Marathon, which winds through the beautiful city.

Since it's light out to late in Luxembourg (it get dark after 10 p.m. at the end of May), the 7 p.m. race start time meant we were running the entire half in daylight. It's a bit strange running at night rather than the morning, and changes the way we approached the day.

The race begins and ends outside of the city center, at LuxExpo, which is the convention center serving the city. It's about 3 miles from the center and there are buses that bring runners and spectators back and forth. The course goes through some neighborhoods located outside the city center, winds through the beautiful valley parks, then hits the city center. In the center (and several spots in the neighborhoods) the streets are lined with people - and they're really loud. It had the atmosphere of a major US marathon, which is without a doubt helped by the fact that people can have drinks and food before/while they watch the race (no need to wake up early for this one).

There were about 12,000 runners entered into the race (there was a full marathon as well - many of those folks were running when it finally got dark out). The start location wasn't quite prepared for that many runners and spectators, but once the race began everything was organized and ran smoothly. It was a great way to see a city, and for a city this small, we saw a lot of it. Plus, there's something very unique and special about running through a European city center, where there are cobblestone streets and stunning squares.

After the race there was essentially a carnival both at the finish area and in the city center - people were out and there was tons of food and drinks, making for a run environment. Overall it was a unique and fun experience.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

BAA 5K Recap

A fun race and beautiful day in Boston
Over the weekend I ran the BAA 5K. The first time I ran this race was in 2009, which was the inaugural race. The finish line in 2009 was the Boston Marathon finish line - which was awesome. However, due to huge demand (there were over 9,000 runners this year), the BAA switched the course a few years ago. Now it starts and ends at the Boston Common, but everyone still gets to run through the Boston Marathon finish line on the awesome - and very, very flat course.

As I said, this year's race had a LOT of runners, which made for a very crowded and difficult start, especially with three quick turns before reaching Commonwealth Ave. After that it started to spread out and I was able to get into a comfortable pace. The weather was amazing - one of those perfect spring days in Boston.

After the race we made our way over to the marathon expo to check out the scene. It was just starting to get really crowded (like always), so we didn't stay too long.

Overall, it was a great way to start the day, and weekend.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Wellesley Turkey Trot Recap

The start of the race (picture via
The past few years I've run the Framingham Turkey Trot, but with a new town comes a new race. So this year I signed up for the Wellesley Turkey Trot to get a fun run in before sitting down for a large meal.

The Wellesley Turkey Trot begins and ends on Linden Street, giving runners a slight uphill in the beginning and downhill at the end. The course goes through the center of town, before winding through the beautiful Wellesley College Campus, then loops back through the center and to the finish line. It's a closed course and brings out lots of people of all ages - it's a true family race.

And the finish line is about 25 feet from a Starbucks so you can get warm after the race.

Overall it's a wonderful race - it has some rolling hills, beautiful scenery and is serious enough for some runners while relaxed enough for others. I'm sure this will become a new annual tradition.