It sure didn’t feel like the Cambridge Fall Classic 5K. While my phone reported 64°, the 98% humidity made it feel like a Summer race.
This year I ran the Cambridge Fall Classic 5K by myself, if you don’t count the other 1,063 runners. I usually run with Team Slow and Thirsties, but no one signed up for this race. Usually a few people from The Melrose Running Club also show up, but not this time.
It is deep into Sunday Long Run season and a lot of people needed to get in their 16 or 22 miles. I could have used those miles today also, but I love 5Ks and had registered for this one in the spring.
September is also a popular racing month and there were several other local races this weekend.
Pre Cambridge Fall Classic 5K
As usual I arrived early and managed to get a parking spot on Landsdowne Street about 20 feet from University Park Commons. This is party central after the race.
I wandered over to the pick up zone around 7:40 to get my bib and shirt. As I crossed Sidney Street I saw the race director Paul and his crew. He called out to me by name and I went from feeling like a stranger to feeling like I was home.
Pickup didn’t open until 8, but I was able to get my number and shirt and chat with one of the volunteers. I joked about the Summer Classic and how this weather was much better. I couldn’t tell if he knew what I was talking about or was just going along with me. That race is legendary.
I took my stuff back to my car, pinned on my bib and went for a warm up jog. Just quick loop out to Mass Ave and back to the start area. Nothing strenuous, but enough to work the kinks out of my muscles, knees and hips.
As I was walking through the pick up area I saw Paul again. He told me he had a table on the end for my “team” with the name “PVC” on it which are his initials. I thanked him and felt like I was getting way more than I deserved.
As I wandered back I saw Liz Emerald and told her about the table.
I went back to my car and got my bag and jacket. I’ve never had a problem with my gear walking away and felt safe on my own this time as well.
When I got to the table there was a case of Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn Lager and six cases of Nature’s Path Superfood bars.
While I hung out and stretched I chatted with the ladies next to me at the Downeast Cider House tent.
At 9:15 I headed for the corrals.
Running Cambridge Fall Classic 5K
As I walked onto Sidney Street I realized I was in front of the start line. The opening in the barricade was right in front of me so I walked to the starting line.
There I saw Liz Emerald and Emily McDivitt. I invited them back to my table after the race, but neither one was much interested in drinking beer.
We were about 2 runners back from the front. When they moved the barricades and told us to move up, I let most of the crowd go around me. I was about 10 runners back and that seemed a little aggressive.
At 9:30 AM they called out “Go, Go Go!” and we were off.
I flew out of there with the rest of the lead pack. It was humid but cooler than my previous race in California, so I felt pretty confident in this pace.
At the first left onto Pacific Street I still felt good and negotiated the turn well. I got into position for the next turn onto Albany Street and still felt good. As we ran towards Mass Ave I began to feel like I was running.
I tried to decide if I should push or let people pass me. I let some people pass. At Mass Ave we made a left and the wide avenue was open to us.
My legs felt strong and my feet felt solid as they landed. I tried not to think about my breathing but there were people around me who were laboring. I tried to ignore them and focus on my pace.
I didn’t want to spend too much time looking at my watch, but when I did I was pleasantly surprised. The first time I looked it said 7:14, then on Albany Street it was 7:12! Still early but I felt good at this pace.
On Mass Ave I locked into a pace around 7:20 and kept it going. Mile One chimed at Central Square and I had a 7:15 pace. Unbelievable!
Everything felt good and I was passing a few people. At the turn onto Putnam Avenue I got close to the curb and slowed a bit to slip behind some other runners. Just after the turn was the water stop.
Lots of runners took a cup and I was worried I wouldn’t get one. As cups got snapped up I saw one still held out and focused on it. As I approached I got into position to keep anyone behind me from grabbing it.
I made eye contact with the young girl and plucked the cup from her hands. Without breaking stride, I took a gulp, crumpled the cup and missed the trash bag. Almost a perfect execution!
Taking the drink broke my breathing pattern and it took me a few steps to get back into a normal breathing pattern.
I was half-way, had a drink and still felt good. Wow.
We were in the neighborhood now and there was some shade. I recalled how the last time I ran in this area it was pouring rain and the streets were lit by lightening. I was moving so much faster this time.
Just past Western Avenue mile two chimed in at 7:29. I was surprised I was still running so strong.
Putnam Avenue seemed to go on forever and then I saw the turn onto Brookline Avenue. How many more turns were there?
We were still in the neighborhood and I looked around at the shops and business as we ran down the street. It’s an interesting area. Way more urban than I am used to.
Before long the turn onto Franklin Street came into view. I was pretty sure it was the last turn and waited for mile three to chime on my watch.
Just over a block from the turn my watch chimed 7:30 for mile three! I had hardly slowed at all. Now the foot race down Franklin to Sidney Street began.
Finishing Cambridge Fall Classic 5K 2017
Soon after we had turned onto Brookline Ave, I knew I wouldn’t have any kick for the end. All I could do was maintain my pace and hope a bunch of kids wouldn’t smoke me at the finish line.
As I ran down Franklin towards the finish I kicked in what I had. It wasn’t much but I ran the last 0.14 miles at a 7:18 pace. Probably could not have maintained that pace for much longer.
At the Summer Classic I didn’t get any finish line photos. I tried to run on the right side this time and dropped back a bit so other runners wouldn’t block me. I didn’t see a camera person, but they must have been there.
I didn’t even see a clock at the finish.
As I slowed to a walk my breathing was deep and insufficient. In California my chest was actually sore from breathing so hard. This time nothing hurt.
As I made my way down the street I got two bottles of water and headed for the team area. I knew I was on my own so an extra bottle of water would keep me from drinking too many beers.
My official finish time was 23:13 for a 7:28 pace. In California I ran 23:36 on a slightly shorter course, so I was happy and surprised by my time.
Apre Cambridge Fall Classic 5K
There was a case of Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn Lager on my table along with six cases of Superfood bars. I went over to the beer table and grabbed a lager and an Oktoberfest.
Soon after getting back to my table I went into trade-show mode and started passing out Superfood bars. What else was I going to do?
It was actually a lot of fun and I got to talk to a lot of people.I managed to move all but a case of the bars. I took a bunch home and even managed to take a few beers with me.
Since I was driving I didn’t drink very much and even tossed some beer in the trash! With a box of beers, it made little sense to keep drinking. Especially since the crowd was thinning and I didn’t want to hang out by my self.
It was another fun Cambridge Classic, even if I had to make my own fun this time around.
Run well my Friends!