Harvard Pilgrim / Finish at the 50 – part 2 recap

The Harvard Pilgrim / Finish at the 50 race was one of my “bucket list” races because the finish line is on the football field at Gillette Stadium. I’m happy to cross it off my list, and it was my first 10k to boot.
on the field at Gillette Stadium

Day 2: Race Day

Having a race scheduled for 6:30 pm on a weekday totally threw me off. Take your pre-race morning jitters, and stretch that out by 10 hours. I also had to work that day so I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I was confused about what and when I was supposed to eat. Since it was so hot that day, I was guzzling water and coconut water and peeing every 5 minutes, and I was careful not to eat any dairy. I also wasn’t sure how to schedule lunch/dinner until I realized I should just think about how I normally eat breakfast before a morning run. Since gun time was 6:30, around 4:30 I ate ate a small roast beef sandwich (no cheese) before running out the door. It was just the right amount of food.

july10k05I got to the stadium after the 5k race had already started, and had to park in pretty much the farthest spot from the stadium. So far this day I had already walked 2 miles total to/from work, then to pick up my vegetables (about .5 miles), and then this long walk through the stadium parking lot. I should have tried to conserve energy, especially in that heat! This was the temperature when I got to the stadium:


Are you serious?? Here I am at the starting line and I’m already sweating my balls off:

Finish at the 50 race at Gillette Stadium

I lined up way in the back and we were off. The course led us through the parking lot out of the stadium grounds and into the back streets of the town. The streets were very shady, thankfully. And even though there were not very many spectators, the people who were there were very dedicated! They were so nice and enthusiastic, and there were at least 5 people spraying runners with hoses. It was awesome.

I ate these Stinger Chews a few at a time between mile 3-3.5 and felt it kick in about 10 mins later. This was my first time trying these and I liked them. Prior to this I had used Cliff blocks or Sport Beans, which are corn-syrup based.


The course was mostly flat with a couple of tame bunny hills, and I was making good time. At mile 4, we re-entered the stadium grounds and somewhere around mile 5 is when you start going up the ramps in the stadium itself. THOSE RAMPS WERE KILLER.

This is the ramp section going up. The course info says the total distance is only about 1/4 mile or so but it was rough.

Finish at the 50 race at Gillette Stadium

Since I had never been to a stadium, I thought you would go up one ramp, go around the stadium, up another ramp, and so on. I didn’t realize it would be a zig-zag: ramp, sharp turn, ramp, turn, etc. Even though I jogged most of the ramps, I ended up losing tons of time, and since it was towards the end of the race, I didn’t have enough distance to re-gain the time going dowhill. Even going down wasn’t easy. Due to the short, steep ramp sections and sharp turns, you couldn’t really pick up a lot of speed and let gravity take over.

The views at the very top of the stadium were very cool. I was a little sad I couldn’t take a picture for my own memory. During these last 2 miles, both due to the heat and running the ramps, I felt like I was going to overheat. Then as soon as I knew it, there I was coming through the big inflated helmet and standing on the football field:

Finish at the 50 race at Gillette Stadium

I’m glad I had this finish party experience to distract me from my time. I was hitting my target times for the first 4-5 miles but like I said, I lost it all going up the ramps. After I finished, my average pace was a full 30 seconds per mile slower than what I know I can do for 6 miles.

For finish line food, there was plenty of plain bottled water and they handed out a goodie bag of snacks which I thought was a nice touch. Much easier than trying to fill your arms with bagels, bananas, or pizza.


I didn’t see Gatorade anywhere though, and none of the snacks were salty. I know it’s not common to have Gatorade a 5k, but I think with a 10k in 80+ degree weather, I could have used some gatorade or salty snacks at the end.

I only stuck around for about 15 mins to catch my breath, get my temperature down, take in the sights and sounds of being on the field, and snap some pictures. I would have stayed longer but we had to rush home because family members were coming in to visit. Finish at the 50 race at Gillette Stadium

894 Calories! Did I mention how HOT it was?
heart rate monitor data

Even though I was mad at how much the heat and the ramps slowed me down, I think I ran the rest of it pretty strong. For once, I think I paced, fueled, and hydrated well too because I wasn’t dizzy or shaky immediately afterwards – that often happens to me when it’s really hot. This was a fun experience and I’d do it again if I had the chance.

What’s next?

Can you believe I don’t have a race scheduled right now? I can’t believe it myself. I signed up for a 5k in August but I have to cancel. I will definitely do a Fall half marathon but I still don’t know which one yet.

As for the short-term, I may have a problem. Since Sunday, my big toe has felt numb. I did the race, walked a ton the next day, and now the ball of my foot hurts too. I’m trying to wear only sneakers for a few days and also not running on it. I’m not sure what to do for exercise because I’ve been eating out every night (family in town visiting) and therefore I’m feeling huge.

What’s next:

2 thoughts on “Harvard Pilgrim / Finish at the 50 – part 2 recap

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