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Harpoon Brewery Octoberfest 2013 Race Recap

Otherwise known as the race where I made a friend who dropped me at the finish line.

Or maybe – Karmic payback for what I did to my husband last year.


It may seem strange that a very pregnant woman would sign up for a race hosted by a brewery (particularly when the entry fee includes drink tickets that she won’t actually benefit from), but there’s just something about the Harpoon Octoberfest Race. It’s not that the course is particularly fun — you basically run up a huge hill, through neighborhoods, and back down the hill into the brewery, or even PR-worthy — with a random distance of 3.66 miles, you can’t really compare your time to anything. There’s no cool t-shirt or even a finisher’s medal.

But there are cool beer mugs filled with water when you cross the finish line. A fun and festive atmosphere. Awesome food at the end (brats for the non-veg and delicious black bean burgers for those of us who prefer our veggies). And of course, lots of delicious beer to taste and (potentially) to win.

Plus, it just so happens that the Octoberfest is held the same weekend as the annual Conkey family camping trip, and we’ve somehow made this race into a family tradition.

Because this race happened over a week ago and because I don’t have any particularly inspiring tales to tell, here are the highlights in short, numbered form. Or in other words, The Joys of Running at a Beer Festival While Pregnant:

1. Although I publicly said that I didn’t have any goals for this particular race other than to finish, the real truth is that I wanted to keep a steady 9-minute mile pace…as long as everything was feeling good, that is. I figured that with the help of a few race day endorphins, this was a perfectly manageable goal.

2. Ever since the 5K we ran together in September, I’ve come to terms with the fact that Evan is now faster than me. I’m okay with this on account of two things: a) I’m carrying over 20 extra pounds in the form of our child; and b) I believe this to be a temporary state (we’ll see what Evan has to say about that). Even so, Evan and I had a last minute debate on the starting line about whether or not he should run with me. I pretended I didn’t want him around, but the truth was that I knew he was itching to go fast…and it really didn’t take that much convincing to send him up closer to the front. Once the race started he took off and I didn’t see him again until the finish (where he was waiting for me right at the line…what a guy).

3. Despite the fact that my pace continues to slow every week, those race day endorphins are still magical. When the race started, I found myself easily keeping a sub-9:00 pace without feeling like I was even pushing — something I haven’t been able to do on my own in weeks.

4. On a related note, this was the first race where I truly felt absolutely no desire to push. I don’t know if it’s that 3rd trimester, zen-preggo-running phase that I’m entering into, or if subconsciously my body has finally learned that it’s just not worth it, but all I wanted to do on that beautiful Sunday morning was to run. I kept the pace faster than my normal jog, but it felt effortless…and every time I felt my legs starting to surge forward, I held myself back. My pregnancy running “journey” (if you want to call it that) has been so full of ups and downs. All I wanted to do was take advantage of one of those good days…because who knows how many I had left.

Race 28 photo 587301Running up that first hill. Objects in picture are happier than they appear.

5. Somewhere after the 2nd mile mark, the course turns up this short but steep hill — the kind of hill that takes all the wind out of your sails, if you happen to be actually racing, of course. Right before I started to make the climb, a guy came up from behind me and says: “Let’s go! You and me. I’ve been waiting for this. No talking, let’s just push it up this hill!!” I had no idea what inspired him to use me as his hill running motivation (besides maybe taking pity on the pregnant lady running by herself), but I wasn’t about to turn down a good challenge. So up the hill I went, matching him stride for stride. We made it to the top together, congratulated each other on an outstanding effort, wished each other luck and went our separate ways. I was amused by the interaction but didn’t think too much of it, figuring that would be the last I’d see of my hill running friend.

6. Until…he caught back up to me just before the 3rd mile mark. With a quick, “Me again!” we resumed running together, stride for stride. I felt myself starting to pull away a little bit so I said (in the spirit of friendly competition): “You aren’t going to let a pregnant woman beat you in the last 0.5 mile, are you?!” (because, you know, he helped push me up that hill. I owed him. Plus let’s be honest, gentleman…what’s better motivation to get your butt in gear than that?) Well, turns out the guy didn’t even know I was pregnant! So we started chatting. I learned that he was a certified first responder (phew!) and we talked a little bit about running through pregnancy. At one point he asked me, “How much extra weight are you carrying??” which made me laugh. I don’t think another women would ever ask me that question, but I think he was genuinely interested in how I was running with all that extra weight…plus you all know I haven’t exactly been shy about my pregnancy weight gain.

Race 28 photo 589819

7. As friendly and encouraging as my new buddy was, I don’t think he really wanted to be beaten by a pregnant woman. He started picking up the pace quite a bit coming into the final stretch…you know, that same downhill stretch where I “accidentally” ran away from Evan last year and never looked back. I couldn’t be mad though. Mostly because as we were coming around the corner, he kept pointing to me and yelling “Lady with a baby!! Lady with a baby!!” I’m not really one who normally likes a lot of extra attention, but I can’t say I hated the cheers…or wasn’t touched by this stranger’s pride. And even though he totally surged ahead of me right at the finish, I forgave him because he high-fived me and then immediately wanted to meet “the father” so he could congratulate Evan too.

8. Runners really are all sorts of awesome. That’s all.

9. Evan ended up running a course PR — almost 2 full minutes faster than last year. Which also means that he now holds the family record for fastest time on the Harpoon Brewery course. I’m pretty sure he has caught the racing bug and will do everything in his power to keep it. Bring it on, I say (in the meantime, Cheese Baby and I were incredibly proud!)!

EC_harpoon octoberfest2013He also got to drink my extra beer so…I’d say it was a pretty good day for him

10. Despite my zen I-don’t-want-to-push-it-this-year attitude, I will admit that I DID look at the winning times (AG and overall)…just to see. I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’ve got some new goals for 2014. And they include winning a case of beer.

All in all, another fun race in the books for Cheese Baby and I! This was the last official race I signed up to run during pregnancy — that big goal I’ve held onto for the past 7 months. Although I still think it would be super fun to do a local Turkey Trot, I’m glad I made it through the 30 week mark still running. It’s been a fun and interesting adventure!

EC LBC harpoon_octoberfest2013

In case you’re wondering, here are the splits:

Splits: 8:53, 8:28, 8:45, 5:07 for last 0.67 (7:36 pace)

Official Time: 31:12 (8:32)

17 Responses to Harpoon Brewery Octoberfest 2013 Race Recap

  1. You are just too cute! And I was cracking up at “Lady with a baby!”

    Congrats on a good race!!
    Ashley @ This is the Place´s last post ..Cross Training Recap 10/14 – 10/20

  2. Wow look at those splits girl!! That’s awesome! You are wonder woman I do believe! Great job!
    Sara @ LovingOnTheRun´s last post ..“Shrinking Women”

  3. Wow – respect! Well done!
    Karien @ Running the Race´s last post ..Medal Mama

  4. Seriously, 30 effing weeks and those are your splits…you’re a beast! Awesome job!

  5. OHMYWORD. For some reason, this totally hit me. I’m pregnant too but for some physical reasons had to stop running. It’s KILLING me.

    This post made me tear up (I think it happened at the “Lady with a baby!” mark.) I cannot wait to get back into it.

    Way to go Lady with a Baby!

    • I’m so sorry you had to stop running during pregnancy. I know it must be incredibly difficult to give it up. But hang in there! At least you know it’s only temporary…and for a great cause. :)

  6. Congrats to all three of you! Cheese baby is going to have quite the racing resume before she is even born!
    EB @ Running on E´s last post ..Race Recap: 7 Bridges Marathon

  7. Sounds like a fun race, and I love that the guy was yelling “Lady with a baby!”

    And those are some impressive splits!
    Megan´s last post ..Healthy Breakfast Cookies

  8. What a great story!! I ran a stroller 5k last week at about the same pace as you (taking off that ridiculously speedy last stretch). This has made me inordinately happy…to be as fast as a heavily pregnant LC, all a girl can ask :)
    Cathryn´s last post ..A girl with a plan!

    • HAHA! Okay, I think you need to give yourself a little more credit. Running with a stroller is hard work! So I think it’s safe to say that you’re definitely faster than “a heavily pregnant LC” :)

  9. You look fantastic! I’m glad you got to experience running a race super pregnant. It’s so fun! My husband and I used to also have ‘family PRs’ haha. For a while I held the half marathon family PR and it just killed him. haha! Unfortunately for me, it drove him to train a lot harder and now he’s super fast. :)

    I hope you get to run until the end! I’m 10 weeks postpartum and still having a hard time getting back into running – I’ve developed plantar fasciitis (and that whole ‘life with a 2 month old baby’ thing). I am dying to hit the pavement! I have a 5.5 mile race next weekend and at this point I think my only goal is to not walk!

    • Oh no! I’m sorry to hear about the plantar fasciitis. I know that the postpartum recovery/return to running is going to be tough (and probably slower than I want it to be), so I’m just trying to appreciate every run that I can for now….especially since I’m not sure how much longer it will last.

      Good luck next weekend!! I hope the race goes well and you’re able to run the whole way!

  10. I love the pregnancy running…and racing! I would be a little sad about not being able to have the beer, but you’re almost there, isn’t that crazy?? (More so for you than for me, obviously.)
    Susan – Nurse on the Run´s last post ..Runner’s World Half Festival highlights

  11. I love the running community!! So fun!
    Elizabeth´s last post ..Five Things Friday.

  12. Lady with a baby…that is beautiful. I once saw a pregnant lady running a 10k and I screamed “Mommy you’re my hero!” She got all choked up. It’s amazing to see what you’ve been able to do, and your times are incredible! Between you and E, Cheese Baby is going to be ready to run!

  13. Such a cute recap – and you are AWESOME for running so fast!
    Jen´s last post ..Pregnancy update: week 15

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