I had one of those sinking “whoopsie” moments a couple of weeks ago and learned a valuable lesson in double-booking oneself. As a result, I ended up running not one, not two, but three races last weekend.

That’s right – on a day I originally hadn’t even planned to run a race at all, I ended up running two. Then I ran one the next morning. I’m going to break this down in three articles because, frankly, I may have made one dumb move, but I ran three awesome races…and they each deserve their own recap. Today is all about the lead-in / how this happened…and the first race I ran – the Herring Run Classic 5K.

How did this even happen?

As many of you might be aware…I am slated to run a RIDICULOUS number of races this year. Currently, I am either committed to or registered for 33 races in 2014…and frankly I expect to add a few more late in the year. Why? Because I can. I want to see how far I can push, and I want to show others that if I can go from where I was to a place where I can do this…there’s no reason they can’t reach their goals too. One of those 33 races is the Herring Run Classic 5K….which brings us to today’s lesson… 

As I approached Saturday, April 19th I was eagerly anticipating the Herring Run Classic 5K in Plymouth, MA. Just a couple of days out I decided to look at the event website…and that’s when my heart sank – it wasn’t scheduled for April 19th, like I thought it was…It was instead scheduled for Saturday, April 26th…the same day as the 26.2 Challenge – a 6 man marathon relay! CRAP. Lucky for me they were both set to take place in Plymouth…and the start times were an hour apart…

It was a one in a million thing…and it looked like it just might work.

I was sponsored for the Herring Run Classic 5K…and honestly I wasn’t interested in the headache of finding a DIFFERENT race to run in place of it…I’m already pretty-well booked. I also wasn’t about to leave my relay teammates high and dry – besides, that was the race I had actually MEANT to run that day…So I looked at times, I looked at Google Maps…

And it WOULD work.

The short version is – I showed up to the 26.2 Challenge right smack at 8 am to get my team checked in and settled. We figured out our running order, got everybody set to go, and when 9 AM came, off went our first runner. I then said my good-byes and my good-lucks and hopped in the car for the 8 minute drive to the Herring Run Classic. That race was slated to begin at 10 AM – I figured I’d run about a 24 minute 5K, take 5 minutes to wrap up, catch my breath, and thank the Race Director, then 8 minutes back across town with a 2 minute walk to the team area – by 10:40 I should be back and ready to go! I anticipated running the final leg of the relay, or maybe even the 5th if I got back soon enough (it WAS possible depending on how fast they all went).

Yes, this was LITERALLY how I was thinking and processing it all that day to make sure it worked.

What about the 3rd race, you say? That one I had been registered for for quite some time…I just hadn’t anticipated running TWO races the day before. Whoops.

So Let’s Talk About The Herring Run Classic 5K!

The Herring Run Classic was a ton of fun! This race was put on by Plymouth Rock Racing…I have yet to be disappointed by an experience with them, and I doubt it’ll happen any time soon. Plymouth Rock Racing, for those who don’t know, is a small race company – it’s pretty much one guy and his kids! They have all their own equipment and they do their own timing – this allows them to put on small races on courses you might otherwise not get to run! The Herring Run Classic was one of those races! The field was very small – just 21 runners crossed the starting line. This was, likely, due in large part to the fact they were competing with such a big race across town (26.2 Challenge).

The small field had no ill effect on the race, though! The race began by the old Plimoth Grist Mill, went along the pavement on Court Street in Plymouth, and eventually you snaked your way to a woodsy area where the actual river is that the herring run through in Plymouth! Apparently Plymouth is home to one of the most active herring runs in the country…who knew?!

The course was great – very scenic, not too many potholes and divots in the dirt road (though there were some), but it was DEFINITELY hilly as described. The way out was hilly, the way back was nice and, for the most part, downhill. Makes sense.

How about my own experience in this race?

I was feeling pretty good going into this race! It was my first race of the day, and it was a BIG day, so I was pretty amped up! I also remembered that Plymouth Rock Racing’s events have the potential for small participant fields, so there was a shot I could get a podium finish! Then I saw that guy… yeah, that guy in the photo to the right. Wearing the neon. The guy was decked out in matching neon Brooks gear…he looked like he was sponsored by them the way he was decked out (not a bad thing…go you!). He looked like he meant business. I actually cracked a joke…something like “guess I’m not winning THIS one!”. By the time we finished…shocker…he won 1st place.

The course was good to me, though. The beginning, as I said, was a bit hilly. That was a good challenge, but I’m used to hills (and trying to train on them more often) so it wasn’t that bad. Once we got into the woodsy park area I pushed myself a little more to maintain/improve my pace – I could tell I was up with the leaders and I wanted to keep it that way. I also saw my buddy (and brother Freemason from my lodge) Chris behind me – no offense brother…but I wasn’t letting you get ahead of me ;).

Once we hit the turnaround and I saw the leaders coming back at me I knew exactly what place I was in…and what I COULD finish in. I pushed it, and right at the 2 mile marker I broke away and pushed to the 4th place spot. I maintained my distance and widened the gap ever so slightly as we made our way back along the last mile. When we got within .5 miles there was even a police escort along the busy street! How cool was that to run behind a cop car again 😀.

As we got to the final corner and the home stretch, the Race Director (Craig) was there cheering you on and waving you down that last stretch of road to the finish line. I finished 4th place overall (out of 21) with a time of 24:14. Not too shabby :).

Once again, Plymouth Rock Racing nails it

Craig and his team really know what they’re doing! Great course, well-organized, good people, and a fun race experience. There may not be a big ridiculous booze-filled post-race party…but so what?! Sometimes it’s nice to go run a good race, have THAT be the focus, and enjoy a laid-back day of running. Maybe next time I can hit a local bar with the RD and grab a drink after the race is all broken down. That’d be nice.

So in case you couldn’t tell…I HIGHLY recommend finding one of Plymouth Rock Racing’s events and registering for it. You won’t be disappointed :). Check them out at www.PlymouthRockRacing.com

PS – see those sweet photos?

I have added to my Rolodex of people 🙂 I now count among my friends an up-and-coming photographer! She does lots of weddings and engagements, but had decided that sports is a good area to branch out into, and she’s learning right alongside me! All of the actual photos (rather than clipart) in this article were taken by her! You can find Keri and Sees The Day Photography here.

And after alllll that…I hopped in my car, went back across town and got ready for my leg of the 26.2 Challenge. Keri brought her camera and ran all over creation with me too! More on that tomorrow 🙂