Travel, Racing

Back in Boston

I'm back, Boston! No not to tackle the marathon course again, but for the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting. The meeting rotates locations around the US and this year it just happened to be in Boston where I was just a month ago. This is a meeting I attend every year to present my research and rub elbows with influential people in the exercise science world. It also gives me a chance to catch up with friends from other schools and try out lots of local (and delicious!) food :) There is also a 5k "fun" run on the last full day of the conference so I was looking forward to that too!

Here are just a few pictures of the MSU grad students rocking out our presentations:

Okay, enough of the boring conference stuff. Although, I must say, we are a good looking group! Alright, onto the food and fun of Boston!

I finally got my King Cakes and boy were they good!

The last time I was here, I didn't really get to enjoy the city. We stayed about 20 miles outside Boston in Natick, MA and the only time I was really downtown was at packet pickup. Well that and the 30 minutes after I crossed the finish line, before we hopped on the T, and headed back to our hotel. Mom, dad, and I had planned to eat at a little diner called The Friendly Toast, but I was hurting after a really tough race so we decided to skip it. So where do you think the first place I went when I got back was? You guessed it! This place was well worth the month long wait too. I finally got my King Cakes (2 chocolate chip, banana pancakes with peanut butter spread in between, topped with bacon and whipped cream!) 

For dinner the first night, I ate what may have been the best pizza I've ever had! It was fittingly called the "Red Sox" from Todd's English Figs (clearly this place is already a winner because of the name. Why do you think I chose it?!) The description of the pizza on the website: Tomato Sauce, Roasted Red Peppers, Caramelized Onions, Italian Sausage, Mozzarella, Lemon Aioli. I don't think this does it justice, though. I had goosebumps from the first bite and, even though I took 2 slices to go, it didn't make it back to my hotel room!



Top left: GF chocolate lava; top middle: chocolate ganache; top right: sea salt caramel; bottom left: marbled cheesecake (the BEST!); bottom middle: peanut butter chocolate; bottom right: GF/V apple cinnamon

Speaking of making it back to the hotel room...on the way back from Figs, we passed a cupcake shop (Georgetown Cupcakes) so I wasn't NOT going to get a few!

Clearly there was a lot of walking in Boston. The hotel we stayed at was only 1/2 mile away from the convention center and everything else was so close that there really wasn't a need to rent a cab or hop on the T. This meant that my step count skyrocketed, though. Just take a look at my step totals from Monday through Friday.


Another thing that was quite a bit different from normal was the amount of sleep I was getting. Conference things would start at 8 or 9am and continue until 7 or 8pm. This meant that I had to wake up at 6am to get my workout(s) in. Then, after the conference goings on finished, we would go out for dinner and I would be lucky to get back to the hotel by 11pm. Not a lot of sleep this week, but it was worth it!

5k "fun" run

One thing that took a hit because of my increased steps and decreased sleep was the 5k on Friday morning. I do not suggest trying and run fast on tired legs, not a lot of sleep, and a REALLY a bad (but oh so delicious) diet for 5 days. I started off the race right at the front and held the lead for the first half mile or so. 3 others were sitting right behind me and then decided to take the lead so I was happy to let them do the work and I tucked right in behind them. At about the half way point, one of the 3 others dropped off and we were left with 3 up front. Right around 2 miles, one of the guys started pulling away and worked up about a 10 foot gap. I told myself not to let him get too far away and turned it up just a little bit to close the gap. The other guy said to me, "Go get him." and so I did. As I came up on the leader, I was moving just faster than him, kept my pace, and pulled up alongside him. He responded with a little surge of his own and kept the lead. Just passed 2.5 miles, we made a left turn up and over a tiny little bridge (it was really only like 10 ft high), and he made a surge that I just couldn't cover. My pace dropped and my legs just felt like bricks. He put about 20 feet between us in a span of 50 feet or so. The last half mile just felt like a struggle and I was wheezing and my form felt like it was falling apart. My mile splits were pretty consistent (5:06, 5:02, 5:07), but I just couldn't pull off the win in the end and finished 2nd in a time of 15:46. I could hardly stand up after the race, though because I was wobbling all over the place on my tired legs. When I finally got a chance to talk to the guy who beat me, he said he was from Ireland and he ran professionally, or for the Irish national team, or something like that, as a 1500m track runner. It's no wonder he outkicked me in the end! I was happy with my 1 second PR (especially with everything I had been doing and eating! over the previous 5 days), but one of these days I'll win this stinking race! haha. I think I've finished in the top 5 the last 3 years in a row...always the bridesmaid, never the bride!

So you all know my post-race tradition, right? Of course, the cinnamon roll! Well I went to a little bakery because they had the best cinnamon roll reviews in Boston. Unfortunately, when I got there, they told me they had sold out about 30 minutes earlier. NOOOOOOO! I was so sad. Instead, I had to settle for these cookies, which were still delicious, just not the same as my cinnamon roll. I WAS able to pick up a sticky bun from another bakery, but it just didn't compare to a true cinnamon roll. 




The last night in town, I had to get to a Red Sox game. It's a bucket list item of mine to visit every major league ballpark and Fenway is at the top of the list (I'm at 15 of 30 now. Halfway there!) The atmosphere at the stadium was amazing and unlike any other that I've been to before. 

I'll just leave you with a few more pictures from my trip. It was great to be back in Boston and actually get the chance to experience the city this time around!

In the meantime, I'm off to get a cinnamon roll! Don't worry, I'm waiting until after my race in Grand Rapids tomorrow of course! It's my first tri of the year, so wish me luck!