The March is on for 50 5Ks!
I’m a little behind on the count right now, but with spring and summer running right around the corner I should be able to make it.
My first 5K in March was the Smuttynose Palooza in Salisbury, MA.
March 7th was a cold day with a race time temp of 21° and a real feel temp of 14º. I was bundled up pretty good in anticipation of the conditions, and I had it about right.
I always feel like all of the clothes hold me back. The running tights constrict my movement and the wind pants are bulky and catch the wind. Some people run in shorts in these conditions, but I can’t do that.
Out of 848 runners I came in 51st with a time of 21:53.9. In the Male 50-59 bracket I came in 8th.
The guy who won our age bracket was 55 and finished 90 seconds ahead of me. The time difference between the #1 guy and the #10 guy in our category was 2 minutes and 10 seconds.
I’m the guy in orange in the back.
My second race in March was the Running of the Leprechauns in Medford, MA.
This was a local race for me and makes up for the 80 mile round-trip to the Smuttynose Palooza race.
The forecast called for rain and possibly snow. Just before race time it was 33º with light rain. It was a little chilly, but we were able to stay inside of the Elks Lodge until just before race time.
For this race I wore tights and running shorts. It was little cool standing around, but worked well during the race.
I lined up about 3 back from the front with my friend Don Keren. Don is training for Boston and had a long run scheduled for Sunday. He didn’t plan to run hard but ended up in 3rd place in our category with a time of 23:49.
Being this close to the front, the start was very fast. We sprinted down Washington Street and took a quick right onto Park Street. On Park Street I could still see the lead runners and the lead car.
I watched as the leaders took the right onto Riverside Ave. Once I got onto Riverside I pushed a little harder, but began to lose sight of the leaders. I passed a few people and then we turned right onto City Hall Mall, passed City Hall and took a left onto Salem Street.
In Medford Square we took a right onto Forrest Street and passed the Post Office. With all of these turns I focused on getting the corners right and avoiding pot holes and puddles. The sand and gravel on the street made the corners a little tricky. If I cut them too close I had to slow down to avoid slipping.
Just after the Post Office we hit mile 1 and I was at 6:40. The thought of a 21 minute 5K crossed my mind.
Unfortunately, the 5K race really begins at mile one. All of the easy energy is used up and fatigue, doubt and questioning set in.
My legs began to feel tired and I wondered if I went out too fast. Could I keep up this pace?
My mouth was dry and I think I had that sticky spit hanging from one corner of my mouth. I was running like a dog!
I had to keep clearing my throat to breath and my lungs felt less than 100%. Nothing hurt, it was just race fatigue setting in.
By this point in the race I was with a small group. As we ran down Lawrence Road we began to pick off a few people. Three or four of us traded the front spot a few times. Then we took a left onto Governors Road.
This section of road had the only significant elevation in the race.We went over a 47 foot “hill.” It was enough for me to solidify my position with the group. By the time we were heading down the hill I was in the lead. At the corner a young female runner slipped past me on the left. She took the corner more efficiently than I did.
Just before we took the left onto High Street we hit mile 2 and my watch said 7:22. I was concerned that I had slowed by 42 seconds. We had negotiated a bunch of turns and run the “hill”, but I was concerned that it set me back that much.
We ran through Medford Square from High Street onto Riverside Ave. I started thinking about how far down this street the next turn was and how close would that turn be to the finish. I had not studied the map in detail, but was generally familiar with the area.
As we ran down Riverside Ave a T bus was now in front of us. I wondered how many stops it would make and how much that would mess with us. We all moved to the left side of the road and the bus just went away.
A guy who passed me earlier dropped his hat and stopped to pick it up. I think I put about 20 seconds between us while he retrieved his hat. A few guys with some gray in their hair passed me and I figured any shot at an age group placing were shot.
I pushed on knowing I had less than a mile to go. Nothing hurt, I was just tired and my lungs were burning. I knew I was pushing myself hard; beyond what I needed to do. But I needed to do it. Nothing hurt, so why let up?
We took a left back onto Park Street. I began to look for the left onto Washington Street. I could see it in the distance but it looked like everyone was running straight. When we got there that’s what we did also!
We ran up to Franklin Street and then took a left for the last quarter-mile of the race. When we hit mile 3 I didn’t look at my watch. I was to busy running my ass off.
I didn’t have much to toss on the fire at this point. My mouth was dry, my lungs were raw and my legs were wobbly. So I pushed harder.
I ran the last 0.08 miles at a 6:15 pace. I have no idea where that came from. Mile three I ran at 7:12, so I was able to recover a little bit from mile two even on depleted legs.
As I approached the finish line I could see 21:33 on the clock. So close to the 21 minute 5K, but a sub 22 minute 5K was within reach. My legs were steady and my form was good. I sprinted as hard as I could the last 100 yards to the finish and managed a 21:40 finish time.
I felt really good about that time and knew that I left it all out there and didn’t give up for a moment. The conditions were pretty good, I was dressed right, properly hydrated and fueled.
It was probably as close to a perfect race as I have ever run. No mistakes and I ran the course efficiently.
I waited for Don to finish and cheered on a few runners. Don was crossing the finish line in no time. We went inside for some food and waited for the awards. Don was pretty sure that he had placed in our age group.
After last week in Salisbury, I wasn’t as confident that my efforts would put me in the top three.
Unfortunately, they only had awards for the top finisher in each age category. Don came in third with a time of 23:49. He was right.
When they got to our age bracket, they called out my name! I was first in the Male 50-59 bracket! I was totally shocked. I’ve placed 2nd twice, but never first.
I got to go up and receive my medal from the Mayor. It was pretty cool. We’ve met several times before and chatted before the race.
Then I got to stick around with the other age group winners for a photo. When I looked up for the photo there must have been a dozen smart phones trained on us. Pretty cool stuff.
Full results at Race Menu.
The March is On!
I have 5 5ks this month which will help me catch up. One race is 4 miles and another is 5. But they both have a 5K in them, so they count.
Run well my friends,