The ‘not so big’ 3-7 and Finish on the 50 Race Report

There are pros and cons to having a summer birthday.  As a kid it was great, the opportunity for pool parties far outweighed bringing 3 dozen cupcakes to share with my classmates.  Birthday celebrations were combined with 4th of July picnics and when I was young I didn’t know any better so I just assumed all the hoopla and fireworks were for me.  As we grew older it got a little more complicated and a night out to celebrate my special day conflicted with others plans for the holiday, but someone always comes through and I end up dancing barefoot at the best outdoor bar we can find. 


This year was no different and with July 1 landing on a Sunday there were plenty of opportunities to celebrate.  Jared and I always treat each other to a special dinner for our birthdays, researching for weeks to pick a great restaurant to splurge on.  I chose Meritage in the Boston Harbor Hotel where we could request a view of the harbor and have fun with the menu which was designed in collaboration with Boston annual wine fest.  Our meal was wonderful and so were the perfectly paired wines we enjoyed.  They even brought over a beautiful dessert plate so Jared could serenade me. 

I woke up early on Saturday since I had planned to meet Kate and the SRR gang in Chelmsford for a long run.  I definitely over indulged at dinner plus it was very warm and I was super dehydrated but somehow Kate and I powered through an excruciating 10 miles at a ‘responsible’ pace – and by responsible I just mean slow.  We were rewarded with a post run barbeque and dip in our host’s pool to recover.  Not long after we headed into Boston to clean up and head out for a night on the Waterfront.

We chose Whiskey Priest for the night because they have a great roof deck and it was going to be a beautiful night.  We were able to get a couple of tables to accommodate the eight of us who were there early and got a bite to eat.  Throughout the evening more friends joined in to wish me a happy birthday and the night flew by.  By midnight Lucy and I were leading the bar in a line dance and I was sending texts that made no sense.  We had a great time and my friends were awesome, especially the ones who waited in line to get up to the roof deck. 


I woke up on Sunday feeling ‘tired’ but this was my actual birthday so I wanted to enjoy it.  Jared took me to breakfast at my favorite brunch spot called North Street Grille and I took full advantage of his generosity by ordering the famous North End Omelet.  I must have been delirious from the night before because after breakfast Jared somehow convinced me to go for a bike ride.  We have the Nantucket Triathloncoming up in a few weeks and I hadn’t biked since my last tri, which was in 2010.  We agreed to a slow pace on the Minuteman bike trail so I wouldn’t be anxious about traffic.  It took me a couple of minutes to get back into the groove but quickly remembered why the expression ‘it’s like getting back on a bicycle’ exists.  We rode the whole trail out and back from Cambridge to Bedford, 22 miles.  I was certainly tired but really excited that the ride went well and proud of myself for going for it.  We came home and cleaned up before heading across the street to get a bite and drink with some friends.  I was all birthday’d out but they surprised me with a giant piece of chocolate cake which I ate all of with very little help from the group. 

Thankfully, I only had a day and half of work before it was time to celebrate another birthday, America’s.  The party got started Tuesday night when we headed to Foxboro for the Harvard Pilgrim Finish on the 50 10k.  The course raced through Foxboro and was flat and fast.  We finished by running into Gillette Stadium through the cool tunnel the players run through and finished on the field at the 50 yard line with Pats cheerleaders and volunteers cheering us through.  It was a great race!  I don’t schedule 10k’s very often, mostly because there aren’t too many around but also because I can never figure out how fast to run them.  After Saturday’s train wreck of a long run and very little speed training this season, I didn’t have high expectations.  I planned to get comfy at an 8:15 pace and see how I felt, after a couple of miles I knew I was feeling just fine so I sped up looking for an 8:10.  The miles were flying by and the course was just as fast as promised so I finished in 49:51 (8:02 pace) and was thrilled.  The crowd was huge so it was a challenge to find the gang after the race but eventually I caught up with everyone and even got to see a few old friends from the ALF Run for Research team. 

Nancy, Me, Stacey and Eric post race
Nancy is dressed like Wonder Woman & my glowing shirt
makes me look like Iron Man.

My only negative thoughts about the race are that the number pick up tables and shirts were so far away from everything else that we had to rush before the race.  I don’t like to be anxious about those types of details before racing so I wish it was closer to the start of the race and better marked of where we needed to go.  Over 6000 runners participated in the 10k and 5k races and the fireworks were scheduled to go off at 9pm, so all of Patriot Place was packed with people.  Every restaurant had an enormous line so Stacey and I opted to skip the fireworks and head toward home stopping for a post race meal on the way.  I will definitely run this race again and maybe prepare a little more to bring the speed on such a great course.  I will also bring food to tailgate so I can stay and enjoy the fireworks show.

The following day was Independence Day and while I had a very long ‘To Do’ list  I wanted to get done while I was off from work, there was one in particular that I was looking forward to.  I joined the Waltham YMCA – they have a good size workout area and TWO pools (one indoor and one outdoor).  For $50/ month I think it will be well worth it and so fun to have a pool for lounging in the warm weather.  I also learned that with my YMCA membership I can use any Y in New England – including the ones near Shelton when visiting my parents.  There are great benefits to this choice, plus I think joining a local YMCA is super Americana and a great way to celebrate U.S.A.’s birthday. 

It’s been a remarkable busy but fun week and while I have been exhausted for days, it’s all been well worth it.  We don’t celebrate birthdays because we are getting older (that would be insane) we celebrate life, how far we have come and the excitement of what’s ahead.  Looking young for my age, I joke that while I keep having birthdays I don’t seem to get any older.  Well, I may not look a whole lot older but when reflecting on the past, I’m quite grateful for all 37 years and fired up for next 37 and beyond. 

My first birthday vs my 37th, I really don’t see much
difference beyond the photo quality.

 Wondering what to get me for a birthday gift?  How about a generous donation to the American Liver Foundation to support my NYC Marathon campaign?  Learn more here: http://go.liverfoundation.org/goto/LauraNYC


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