Friday five: my favorite races

Hello hello and happy Friday! As we gear up for another snowstorm (yup, happy freaking April to us), I wanted to think back to the warmer days and talk about my favorite racing memories. One of my favorite bloggers/podcasters, Ali on the Run, did an episode this week on her favorite races and it got me thinking about some of my own favorite races and racing memories.

I came up with this list without considering races of different distances, but oddly enough, it ended up including a 5 miler, a 10k, a half, a full, and a relay. I truly loved all of these races for very different reasons, so I’m going to list them from shortest to longest instead of ranking them, which I can’t bring myself to do ūüėČ

Harpoon 5 Miler: This uber-popular race takes place every May, starting and ending at the Harpoon brewery. I had avoided it for years because I can’t drink beer and that seemed like the main reason most people ran (#celiacproblems). But I decided to give it a whirl last year and it was SO much fun!! The course is flat and wicked fast, you can run as part of a 6 pack team (you run individually, but your results count for team awards). I loved this race mostly because it was the first time I felt like I could really run fast, not just long. Also, I got to drink cider afterwards with J and a crew of our pals! Harpoon is the weekend of my marathon this year, so I won’t be running, but I can’t wait to be back.

Tufts Women’s 10k:¬†I think this was one of the first race recaps I ever wrote! It’s also oddly the last 10k I did (back in 2014) so I need to fix that, stat. This is a fantastic, fast, all-women’s race that has been happening for the last 40 years (!) in Boston. I didn’t have a watch at the time, so I ran totally by feel and just enjoyed myself and ran for fun. Everyone was super encouraging and the 10k distance was the perfect challenge at the time. I really hope to get back out for this one soon!

Cambridge Half Marathon: I think this was the first time I’ve ever run an inaugural race, and it was so awesome! I was coming off of the frustration of just missing my goal time in Chicago¬†and went into this local race with no goals other than to run hard and see what I can do. I was SHOCKED to run a 1:36! The course was perfectly varied and not too crowded, and it was so fun to run through a couple of my old neighborhoods. I am crossing my fingers and toes that this race happens again this year!!

NYC Marathon:¬†I’m 1000000% biased on this one because NYC was my first full marathon, but oh my goodness is this one magical race experience! The crowds are wildly supportive and it’s so incredibly cool to run through every borough of NYC. I experienced pretty much every emotion in the book during this race and honestly don’t know if I would run it again (it’s expensive and kind of a logistical nightmare) but I think every runner should have this one on their bucket list. Once in a lifetime for sure.

Ragnar Cape Cod: First of all, a HUGE thank you to my amazing friend Megan for making this happen. She got a group of our coworkers and friends together for this insane, sweaty, exhausting 200 mile relay down the entire length of the Cape. I don’t know that I ever would have thought to do a Ragnar on my own but it was such a fun experience, mostly due to getting to run with an amazing group of ladies. You can read more in my recap, but suffice it to say that if you ever have a chance to do a Ragnar, say YES.

What are your favorite race memories? Got any tips on races I need to add to my bucket list?

Linking up with  Lacey, Meranda, and Rachel for the Friday Five 2.0.

Friday five: my marathon training must-haves

Hello hello and happy Friday! I’ve been pretty stuck in a rut of only posting my training recaps, so I thought it would be fun to pop in with a list of my top 5¬†marathon training essentials for this training cycle. It has been interesting and a little bit different training for my first spring marathon–less tank tops and more warm layers. Here are some of my old and new faves!

Mizuno base layer: I tend to shy away from paying full price for any of my running gear, so I snagged this base layer on sale a few months ago after seeing lots of bloggers recommend it. It is SO worth it if you live in a cold climate!! It’s super soft and incredibly warm, while still being breathable. Plus the blue and orange is really cute.

Salted Caramel GU: I’ve always been a gu skeptic, which I am now realizing had more to do with my lack of acceptable gu technique than the gu itself. Basically, you have to take it down slowly with sips of water, otherwise it feels really icky in your throat. But this salted caramel stuff is the bomb! It tastes like caramel sauce and goes down super easy. I usually do a caramel gu or two and then a peanut butter one, since the caramel has caffeine and I only need so much of that. I digest these SO much better than the shot blocks I used to use!!
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Tasty Burger: This is a local Boston burger chain that I absolutely adore–I eat a burger and fries for lunch before my long runs or dinner before races, and it’s the BEST. Just the right amount of carbs and protein, it’s cheap and delish, and they have gluten free buns!! I swear this isn’t a paid endorsement, but I do think I should probably buy this shirt.

Yurbuds: I just found a pair of expensive wireless earbuds on eBay for relatively cheap (see above re: not wanting to buy things full price) and honestly don’t like them–I’ve tried every combo of earclips and tips and they fall out every time. I’m sticking with Yurbuds from here on out! They are super comfy in my small ears and if I tuck the cord into my sports bra strap I don’t even notice they’re there. Plus, they’re super cheap so if they break I just buy a new pair, no sweat!

Trail Toes: If you’ve ever gotten blisters on your toes, get this stuff immediately. It’s actually made for ultrarunners but it’s the one product that lasts for me and keeps any potential blisters at bay. If I’m good about applying before long runs. I can avoid blisters on my hot spots entirely.

What are your top marathon training essentials?

Linking up with  Lacey, Meranda,  and Rachel for the Friday Five 2.0.