Five College Realtors 10 Miler Race Recap

The Five College Realtors 10 Miler Race took place in Amherst, MA on February 22nd, at Noon. The cost was $45 and while the price of being able to finally run outside was priceless.

This wasn’t on the race schedule and this wasn’t planned, so how did I end up running a 10 miler on Sunday February 22nd in Amherst… a good 2 hour drive away?

Well… a friend mentioned that she’s running this race earlier through her running club and I looked at it, noticed it was too hours away and decided I was saving a bit up for a few other destination races, so I passed.  Then weeks (although it feels like months) of snow and ice and the terrible winter of 2015 that is happening in Boston occurred…. and after realizing that I literally haven’t stepped outside in over a month besides a half block walk to the gym from my office and two block walk from the car garage to the office, that I should try to get outside no matter the cost. Boston and Malden sidewalks are pretty much icey death traps unless you’re in a shopping area.

I just wanted to run outside and not worry about falling on the ice that has replaced all the sidewalks in my hood. Rumor had it that Amherst got inches compared to our feet of snow and the photos I looked were runnable.

So there,  I found myself texting Sonia on Saturday night wondering if she has extra room in her car the night before a race. She was driving up with a few running clubmates and they had just enough room for little ole me!

The Five College Realtors 10 Miler Race was race # 1 in the USATF New England Grand Prix race championship. What exactly does it mean? That I am surrounded by some of the beset and fastest runners in New England. And yes there was nothing more humbling than seeing my results post race. But back to the story from the start.

The night before it snowed as it seems to be everyday lately, but luckily the drive up was easy.  We stopped at one point at Dunkin and I picked up coffee and an egg white flat bread with cream cheese.  Note ideal pre-race meal, but I had more than four hours before guntime and I really didn’t want to feel hungry mid-race. We got there at about 10AM, giving us enough time to mingle, me to sign up for the race, and all the bathroom breaks I needed. The race start was next to a school and we got to hang out in a warm cafeteria with plenty of bathrooms for all the anxious runners.


If funny… when you get to a race two hours early, it always seems like you got forever to go before gun-time, and yet it still sneaks up to you.  I edged myself in a comfortable 10 lines to the front. I knew I wasn’t in any shape or even league as a lot of the runners to weasel my way to the front like I normally do.


The first 2.5 miles or so are pretty much a down-hill ride. I was trying to keep it easy, but saw myself slipping in and out of 6:30 on the downgrade. The race had mile markers so it was nice to see my pace as I didn’t have complete faith in my Garmin after not using it for over a month.

It was nice to start off fast, but I reminded myself I’m going to really regret this downhill part when I have to climb this back up to the finish. The race is what they call a lollipop loop so what goes down, will be coming back up to smack my heart right out of my chest.

Mile 2.5-7.5 – They say this course is hilly and that’s not a lie


It was up and down for a bit and somewhere in the middle around mile 4-5 we hit the dirt path.


I was a bit worried that it would be muddy or slippery because of the snow, but for the most part it was perfect.  Only a few parts that were more snowy than others and felt like running on a sandy trail.

After the nice break, it was back to rolling hills for a bit. I started getting into a groove and enjoying them a bit. My pace even started to drop around 7:20s.

And then the last 2.5 miles came… It felt terribly hard… I forgot just how hard running a real hill is. Nothing to make you feel even more out of shape than hill. It felt like my heart was going to explode straight out of the chest as my brain went into an aneurysm. I spent a great dealing of walking in parts of it as I watch my pace tumble into slower times. And the whammy of it all as it took its toll was a stomach cramp .4 miles from the finish line! I tried to kick, but instead slowed to a jog/walk as I tried to make it to the finish line in one piece.  I saw the clock say 1:16 and I fought my way through to not break another minute! Success.

There are no medals in this race similar to a lot of local races, but you do get a fairly nice, but not gender specific long sleeve shirt to add to the collection.

FullSizeRender (1)

Additionally, the race advertises showers, but by showers they mean two small dark stalls in a high school locker room that forever reminded you why high school kids are smelly… yea, needless to say I skipped the shower and just changed out of sweat clothes. They did have some refueling with bananas, bread, soup, cookies and candies.  Calories.. calories… calories. Maybe beer sponsor next year?


My ending results:

Time:  1:16:44

Pace: 7:40

Overall Place: 288/565

Gender Place: 76/221

Division Place (0-39): 58/106

I felt like I did a pretty good job despite it being far from my half marathon PR.  But with fighting injuries this year and all the snow, you take what you can get and enjoy it the most. I think I could have put a harder effort in it. Since I’ve been mostly running marathons or 5Ks, I haven’t figured out a great way to pace myself on these middle distances.

If I lived closer to the area, I would definitely do this race again! I wouldn’t mind if the cost was a little lower since it’s so far away, but the roads were mostly clear of cars. I only saw like 2-3 drive by and all drivers were really nice to the runners. It was also nice to warm up in the school before and after the race.  All in all, a well-organized race!

Brunch at Beat Brasserie with Boston Brunchers

I’ve heard of the Boston Brunchers for a while now, a group that connects bloggers with businesses during my favorite meal of the week! However, typically, my Sundays have been reserved for one thing and that one thing is either a trail run or a long run that makes it hard for me to make it to brunch on time. However, this year with well the 84 inches of snow we have and my heel drama, I’ve found myself with nothing but time.

And that’s how I found myself jumping into a Lyft ride to go to Harvard Square. With all the snow, I almost missed Beat Brasserie (formerly Beat Hotel) as it’s almost a hidden gem below the Gap smacked in the middle of Harvard Square.  If you’re familiar with the Beehive in the South End, the vibe is very similar in a chic bohemian style if those two words could go together.

Beat Brasserie Brunch (9)

At the front there is a stage that has Jazz on Sunday 10AM-2PM and every evening as well.  The sound works well with the background ambiance, and yet still being able to have conversations without screaming.

Beat Brasserie Brunch (3)

The girls and I at my table decided to go a la carte and share all our dishes.

But first things first… Since a long run was out the snow covered window…

Beat Brasserie Brunch (1)

This bloody Mary may not be the largest, but it packed quite the punch needed to wake me up.

The girls and I then moved onto the Pumpkin Crumble Coffee Cake. We split this gem four ways which was perfectly satisfying.

Beat Brasserie Brunch (2)

Next we each picked out a few entrees to share. We started with the Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella & Basil Omelette, a solid choice

Beat Brasserie Brunch (6)

Next came the Bowl Azteca with Adobo-Spiced Quinoa, Tomatillo Salsa, Fresh Corn, Squash, Green Beans, Avocado, Baby Spinach & salmon.

The Salmon was cooked perfectly, but I’m not sure if this is a dish I would order again.

Beat Brasserie Brunch (4)

These Wild Flower Honey & Lemon Pancakes were some of the most addictive pancake I’ve had in a while.  Fluffy but packed with a ton of flavor. Beat Brasserie Brunch (7)

We also added a side of lamb sausage!

Beat Brasserie Brunch (5)

I saved the best for last, this Braised short rib eggs Benedict is reason alone to visit the Beat Brassiere for brunch!

Beat Brasserie Brunch (8)

My only regrets in these  brunches is that my stomach isn’t big enough to fit in more food.  There’s so many more dishes that I hope to try next time I’m in the square, such as Buffalo cauliflower or the smoked salmon Benedict! O well, always great to save something for next time!

Checking out the new Planet Fitness Medford

Ugh… we just got 18 more inches of snow on top of 23 inches of snow with little chance of weather going above freezing any time soon.  Needless to  say, running outside is probably going to be out of the picture for quite a while.  And while I love beyond love my gym, but it’s sadly in Boston and chances are pretty minimal of me making it there on weekends. At the same time, Tony been looking for a new gym as well so I went with him to scoop out with the new Planet Fitness had to offer.

Another lifetime ago, I used to live near a planet fitness that opened up in porter square. It was nice for about half a year, before it turned into disrepair and I think is now shut down.  Since the Medford location is brand new, we decided to join.  He got the black card membership that’s $20 a month plus a hidden annual fee of $39 plus who knows what taxes a year. We decided to do that one, versus the regular $10 a month. The fancier membership allows you A. visit any club and B. bring a buddy called Liana to a club. Since I probably wouldn’t ever go on my own (I prefer working out near my work versus near my home), it seemed like a great chance for me to still have opportunities to go to the gym with Tony on weekends.

The location is pretty clean and nice. We went on a Saturday early afternoon and the location was probably about 30% full. Not too bad for a cold winter stay. The walk in areas were fairly slick looking. I tried to take pictures where I could. I didn’t want to photograph random people and weird them out, so I skipped photos on some areas.

PlanetFitnessMedford (8)

Clean and minimal carpeting!

PlanetFitnessMedford (1)

The locker room is a little industrial designed but I liked it. Only thing I noticed was that there are only 4 shower stalls in the locker room.  The other thing that I quickly released was for $10 a month, you don’t get a towel service so I think most people just take their stinky butts back to their car and shower at home. So maybe 4 shower stalls is not an issue here.

PlanetFitnessMedford (5)

Cardio.. cardio.. cardio… I asked the membership girl that gave me a tour, how many treadmills are in the gym.  She wasn’t sure, but told me they have over 100 cardio machines, with no wait time, sign on sheets, or time limits at peak time.

PlanetFitnessMedford (4)

I tested the treadmill out on an 8 mile run and am sad to report that like most gyms, the treadmills reset at 60 minutes. WHY!!! Some of us got long running to dooo.  Otherwise, while I am not a fan of so much purple, the machine was sturdy and incline seemed pretty well matched p. Only thing I wasn’t sue if they have or if I missed is one of those quick drop speeds where say you want to drop down to a walking pace (4MPH) quickly, I had to press the speed down.  The other thing, unless fancier gyms, the treadmills don’t have TVs, but instead have a plug that you can use to listen to one of the 8 TVs or so up at the front. Since I watch mostly shows from my own cell phone it wasn’t an issue. And they do have wi-fi but I had trouble getting a steady streaming space so I switched to data.

PlanetFitnessMedford (6)

One thing I noticed that compared to my personal gym, they have a ton of machines, I didn’t get a close look to tell if they’re just repeats of the same machine, or they’re all different. From what I could see, there was no shortage of weight machines to exercise whatever you want. I believe they have free weights too, but I’m not sure how well the space available is if the gym is packed.

They also have an ab section with ab machines and a stretching area. Although, I have to confess, I thought the stretching, mat area was kinda tiny, about 8 people max, but I’m not sure how many PF members actually use that area as it was empty when I went post run.

Additionally they have a 30 minute workout, that features a circuit with weight machines and some steps to integrate cardio. Tony liked it, but he skipped the steps.

PlanetFitnessMedford (7)

One thing I didn’t really care was the tanning area available for black card members.  They have rooms with standing and laying tanning beds.  Muscles sexy, skin cancer? Not so much… but to each its own.

PlanetFitnessMedford (3)

Tony completed his workout with one of these water massage beds something or other. People look pretty cozy on it.

PlanetFitnessMedford (2)

I personally preferred to end my day with one of these massage chairs instead.  The back massage felt really nice!

Overall, not a bad option if you’re close by and want a place for indoor cardio from the 10 feet of snow we’re slowly collecting. I’m still sticking to healthworks as I love everything about it, but being able to be Tony’s guest on weekends will still be useful.