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Harpoon Brewery Octoberfest Race Recap

Posted Oct 11 2012 2:02pm

When Evan’s cousin suggested that we all sign up for the Harpoon Brewery Octoberfest Race , we both jumped right on board. The race was being held on the Sunday of our annual family camping trip and had all the makings of a new family tradition — late morning start (11 am), short run, beautiful location…all followed by a beer festival at Harpoon. The goal was to do this race for FUN (key word here), since we all would be sleeping in tents for two nights before, and I was coming off a crazy weekend of trail running .

What I didn’t really anticipate was just how much I would enjoy this race. In fact, the only thing keeping this from being the most perfect race ever was the lack of cheese at the finish line (dear Harpoon RD…please take note for 2013). I’m already counting down the days until we can do it all over again next year.

10 Reasons why the Harpoon Brewery Octoberfest Race Will Be An Annual Tradition

Harpoon Octoberfest_EC

From the second we pulled into the race parking lot, I was kind of blown away by how organized this race was. Never before had I seen so many volunteers directing cars into parking spots (seriously – there was a flagger like every 10 feet…and they weren’t rude or pushy about it {go figure!}). Packet pick up was a breeze, and even the super long line for the porta-potties moved quickly because of the volunteer directing nervous racers into the empty bathrooms (with 1101 racers, this was a big deal!) The starting line was also divided into pace groups, so runners could easily line up based on expected pace for the 3.66 miles.

When you sign up to run a race that occurs after sleeping in a tent on the ground for two nights and is followed by a beer festival, a mid-morning start time is highly appreciated. I’ve done a lot of races that offer beer at the finish but have been unable to actually drink anything because it’s 10:00 in the morning. Drinking around noon felt a lot more acceptable.

Not only does the race start and end at Harpoon Brewery (obviously), but it takes place in Windsor i.e. “the birthplace of Vermont.” The course wasn’t anything spectacular, but I appreciated the uphills early on in the race and the wonderful, long downhill finish. It was so cool to know that once we hit the 3 mile mark, the race was downhill all the way home.

As you could probably guess from the title, last Sunday’s race wasn’t just about the running – it was part of the larger Octoberfest celebration being put on by Harpoon Brewery. In other words, the run itself was just the beginning of one big party. People were dressed up in lederhosen and running for beer. I would venture a guess to say that the majority of people who signed up were looking at this as a “fun run,” not a PR day.

Harpoon Octobefest_LBECTwins in our ProCompression socks and Saucony shoes

My plan for the race was to run with Evan, which, as it turns out, was a whole lot more fun for me than it was for him. As I mentioned before, Evan is at the beginning stages of LB’s 5K Bootcamp - a very premiere program with the sole goal of getting him to a sub-18 minute 5K in 2013. I know he has it in him, but his training has been hampered by knee issues that have gotten worse in the past couple of weeks (frustrating for him, and a tale for another day). This race was supposed to serve as a training benchmark. Unfortunately, however, his injury meant that he had barely run at all in the weeks leading up to it.

A good, patient coach/wife probably would’ve taken that into account and let him set the pace. But…running a race solely for fun and I don’t mix so well. So at the last minute, I turned to Evan and informed him that we were going to try to keep the pace between 7:00 and 7:15, instead of the 7:3x that we had originally agreed on. I know, I know. I’m currently accepting nominations for Wife of the Year Award…

While I would tell you that I was super encouraging and motivating during the run, Evan might tell a different tale when I’m not around. I may or may not have run the entire race a few steps ahead of him, rationalizing that if I slowed down to match his stride, he would too. And he clearly wanted me to push him (right Evan?). Despite the uphill first mile, we started off a bit too fast (my fault) in the midst of all the race excitement. After 2 miles I could tell that he was really suffering (and probably a bit annoyed) so I asked him if he wanted me to leave him, or if I was being at least moderately helpful by running with him. His response: “I don’t know.”

Looking back, I’m pretty sure that was code for “please be quiet and let me run in peace!” but Evan was too nice to actually say it. So instead I kept up my chipper chirping (“Focus on that guy in the long socks! Reel him in! Don’t let those girls in a dress pass you!! The 3 mile mark is right up there. Just make it to the sign, and then it’s all downhill from there!”).

To his credit, he held on. We were going much faster than he was in shape for (given the whole no-running-thing), and the final downhill stretch ended up being more of a curse than a blessing for his already hurting knee. Finally, we rounded the corner into Harpoon Brewery toward the finish. His family was there cheering, I could see the line, and we were running down a beautiful hill.

What happened next is something that I’m not exactly proud of. I suppose my only defense is that I thought he was right with me as I picked it up for the final sprint. Unfortunately, these photos will serve as eternal proof that I am not as supportive of a wife as I’d lead you all to believe:

Rounding the corner. I am in bright pink and green (obviously) and Evan is the dark one right behind me.

LB_EC_harpoon_1.JPG

…and this is the moment when I drop my husband and start my sprint for the finish line…

LB_EC_Harpoon 2

Sorry Evan. Someday we will both look back at this moment and laugh…since you will be the one leaving me in your dust.

I finished about 5 seconds ahead with a final time of 25:57. Evan came in the line at 26:06 with an average pace of 7:06…i.e. way faster than he thought he would’ve been able to run, all things considered.

This year we ran the race with Evan’s cousin and her fiance, with many others joining us for the Octoberfest celebration afterward. They both ran really well, getting PRs in terms of their average paces (the weird distance of the course makes it tough to compare). So next year the plan is to run the race as a team with as many people as we can convince. Not only will it add to the festive atmosphere, but winning teams received an entire boot filled with beer as a prize…and we want to be up there on the podium.

Harpoon team prize( Source )

As soon as we crossed the finish line, volunteers handed us a commemorative beer mug filled with…water. Getting medals/race shirts is always fun, but I loved that Harpoon Octoberfest gave runners something unique that I’ll actually use on a regular basis.

Harpoon mug

With the price of registration, each runner received 2 free beers and a free bratwurst — exciting to some…not such great news for a vegetarian. I’m used to races not serving many vegetarian-friendly options, so my plan was to just give my ticket to one of Evan’s cousins and allow them to enjoy what I could not. Turns out, I shouldn’t have doubted. Along with bratwurst, Harpoon was serving delicious black bean burgers to any runner who wanted them. Bean burgers after a race is enough to make me a fan for life.

After checking the race results, I was shocked to find out that I came in 2nd in my age group (by a mere 2 seconds…so Evan forgave me for sprinting ahead of him). Although I felt a little bad about the whole thing considering how hard the people that I did the race with had worked (they were the real winners, honestly), I was excited to find out that the age group prizes were something that could be shared with everyone.

Each age group was a different category of beer and winners received beer based on the place they came in. For second place, I received 12 Harpoon Octoberfest Beers (winner got an entire case!) plus a really cool award medal beer stein…currently on display in my kitchen.

Harpoon_AGprize

 

Harpoon_2nd AGApparently winning beer makes me crazy

Harpoon Octoberfest beer

And of course, we can’t forget the fact that this race was sponsored by a brewery. Meaning lots and lots of beer at the finish. The Octoberfest opened to the public at noon, so we joined up with Evan’s family for an afternoon of beer tasting. In case you were wondering, those mugs held a lot of beer. That mixed with the morning’s race meant that we were all feeling pretty good by the end of the day…

 

So if you find yourself in Vermont on Columbus Day weekend next year, I highly recommend signing up for the Harpoon Brewery Octoberfest. At the very least, the odd 3.66 mile distance means it’ll be an automatic PR!

25:57 (7:05 pace)

{Splits: 6:59, 7:06, 7:36, 4:15 (6:08 pace)}

Female: 11th overall

2nd in AG (out of 221)

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