The CambridgeSide 10K Classic was a great run through Cambridge and a fun party afterwards.
While we may have lost The Cambridge Half Marathon, we have gained a great 10K race across Cambridge.
The race was based out of The Cambridgeside Galleria Mall and began at 8:00 AM. I enjoy races that get me up and out nice and early. The CambridgeSide is on my way to work and is only about five miles from my house. Love it!
Since the race is at a mall there was plenty of free parking for runners in their garage across the street from the mall. They also gave us a parking pass good for five free visits which will be very handy with the Holiday Season rapidly approaching.
Running The Cambridgeside 10K Classic
I got to my parking spot around 6:30. From the lack of cars I could see that I was early. With a city race you can never tell what traffic will be like or if parking will be a mess. I like to arrive early and avoid as much stress as possible.
Usually races from The Mall use the parking garage as the staging area and Party Central. This time they had us on the 3rd floor of the mall. The garage is like a cave and never warms up much even with a large crowd. It’s a concrete bunker.
In the mall we had real restrooms and warmth! I was going to use the bag drop for my jacket and running pants after the race. Since it was so nice in the mall I took my bag back to my car and prepped for the race.
I saw a guy doing laps around the lot and decided that looked like a good idea. I like to warm up for 5K and 10K races and a few laps around the parking deck would be perfect.
I ended up doing six laps which was probably less than half a mile. Probably way less! But there was some incline which I used to warm up my hill running muscles.
Around 7:00 AM I headed back over to the mall. I had used the restroom before but thought it might be a good idea to make one more visit.
While walking around and making my way to the restrooms on the second level of the mall I ran into these guys. I also saw Andy Brown and Emily McDivitt.
It was about 7:45 and we were all hanging around talking and having a good time. I decided to see how bad the line was for the restroom and headed off. Everyone else headed out to the starting corral.
Fortunately the line moved quickly. As I got to the first floor a voice on the mall PA announced 5 minutes to starting time.
As I headed towards the door I struck up a conversation with a woman from The UK. She asked me how difficult the course was and if there were any hills. I’ve run a lot of 5Ks in Cambridge but not this particular course. Between my poor memory and lack of direct knowledge of this course I told her there really weren’t any hills. The course wasn’t flat but no real hills to speak of.
As we got to the corral we went our separate ways. I expected a bigger crowd, but we did not even reach back to the intersection behind us. I estimated about 2,000 runners, but as I moved forward in the crowd the crowd was thinner than I expected. As such it was easy for me to move up quite a bit and ended up talking to the English lady again.
Around 8:00 they let us go. With my position and the small crowd I was able to cross the start line in about 15 seconds. I had looked at the map the night before and thought we were taking a left from 1st Street onto Binney. We took a right! Of course!
I know Binney Street and enjoyed looking at the buildings and construction sites as I ran along. Normally, traffic is too busy to do much gawking. It was early in the race and I made my way through the crowd.
When we got to Broadway we took a right. This was a long stretch of wide road where I knew I could make some time. We only had the right side of the road but there wasn’t any traffic on the left, so as soon as I could I ran to the left of the median line.
I was feeling pretty good. I had hydrated and fueled properly for this race and hoped it would last. I had given up a longer training run for this race so I needed to treat this race like a speed training run.
My watch had me running at a 7:40 or so pace, which is better than my 5K pace. I don’t run a lot of 10Ks but my training runs have been going well and I thought I could keep this pace up for most of the race. I reminded myself that anyone can run a fast first mile and a lot of people can run a fast 5K. It’s the last 5K of a 10K that gets a lot of people.
We hit mile two on Broadway near Highland Ave. I kept passing people and I kept listening to the breathing of other runners. Some already sounded like they were dying or having sex. Less than half of the other runners sounded okay.
I tried not to think about my own breathing. It seems that as soon as I do I change my breathing and it goes against what my body wants. It’s like the pistons get out on sync.
Inevitably I did spend a few moments paying attention to my breathing. I take nice deep breathes and probably half as many breathes as those other runners were taking. This works for me and I don’t see how this rapid, labored breathing works. I’d hyperventilate if I did that.
Around 2.5 mile we approached Harvard Yard. There were more people on the street and we had a few cheers. Rather than going through Harvard Yard we took a left onto Quincy Street and a quick left onto Harvard Street and another left onto Linden Street which took us to Mt Auburn Street.
This entire area is usually very busy with traffic and pedestrians. It was cool to run down the middle of Linden Street and not worry about getting hit my a car.
When we turned right onto Mt. Auburn Street I felt like we were headed home, that we were half way. We hit mile three on Mt. Auburn Street and probably the 5K mark just as we turned onto Putnam Ave.
Just like a marathon, it’s the second half of a 10K that makes or breaks a race. If you have run your pace without wiping yourself out, you can have a successful second half.
The Second Half of The Cambridgeside 10K
I had missed the water stop on one of those side streets. The crowd was thin and I had line up correctly, but my gloved fingers slipped off of the plastic cup. There was no way I was going to stop for a drink on a cold day like this. I was barely sweating.
On a hot day that would have been a big mistake. During The Malden Irish American 10K I probably hit four water stops, and needed each one. But it was almost 90F that day.
As we ran down Putnam Street I kept looking around at the condos, homes, businesses and industrial buildings. There is so much packed into this little neighborhood and I always love running through this area. I guess it’s what I always expected “Boston” to look like.
As I ran along I also began to think about how I felt and what I was trying to accomplish with this race. My breathing and energy level were great, but my legs were beginning to feel a little bit tired.
I thought to my self that I could either hold on to what I had and have a satisfactory finish or I could push the next three miles or so and see what I could do.
At mile three my mile pace was 7:39 and my average pace was 7:45. My total time at three miles was 23:13. I figured that if I ran 9 minute miles I could finish around 52 minutes.
If I ran 8 minute miles I could finish under 50 and possibly hit 48 minutes.
With that running arithmetic class finished I decided to toss it all in and go for 48 minutes. I had set up a good base time to run with and I felt pretty good.
We hit mile four at the intersection of Putnam Street and Pearl Street in the Cambridgeport neighborhood of Cambridge. My mile came in at 7:42. Even with my resolve to push to the finish mile four still ended up slower than mile three and there weren’t any hills at all. I was still in good shape.
Around 4.6 miles I checked my watch and noted that we had about 1.5 miles to go. I started thinking about my kick. Did I want to push the next mile and risk falling apart the last half mile, or did I want to dial it back a bit and kick the last half mile?
At this point in the race it dawned on me that I kept passing runners fairly consistently. We were spread out but I kept setting my sights on the next runner or runners and chasing them down.
Only occasionally did someone pass me. I had also passed a few people who were out of gas and walking or peeling off layers.
I wasn’t going to set a PR or place in my age group. Now I was just trying to move up in the over all finish places.
I was running among people with similar capabilities to me or 5K runners who were now over-extended. I knew I would overtake some of the 5K runners but the long-distance runners would be a tough lot.
I had been running the straightest lines I could around curves and corners. At this point in the race, most other runners didn’t seem to be paying attention to these little things. By paying attention to the road I was able to pass a few folks and use smarts and not speed to get ahead.
Most of the way down Putnam we took a right onto Sidney Street and then a left onto Chestnut Street. We were now in MIT’s back yard and things began to look a bit more industrial and less residential.
For a while the railroad spur that goes through Cambridge was in sight. I kept hoping a train would not show up. I have seen a train go through Cambridge during rush hour before, so anything can happen!
Finishing the CambridgeSide 10K
We took a left onto Waverly Street which turned into Albany Street. On the north side of the intersection of Albany Street and Mass Ave I hit mile 5. My mile pace was 7:59 and my average pace was now 7:47.
With about 1.25 miles to go it was time to push.
At Main Street we took a right. As I ran through the intersection I heard a cop talking loudly to someone in their car waiting for us to pass. Apparently this person wasn’t too happy as I heard the cop say loudly, “So I’m the F-ing ass hole? What the F do you want me to do about it buddy?”
I kind of laughed but I was also a bit shocked at the lack of restraint shown by the Cambridge Police Officer. How does this guy deal with higher stress, higher stakes situations? Maybe it’s easier to mouth off when it’s just traffic? I sure hope so.
As another runner ran past me we joked about the guy in the car. Where was he going that was so important? Was his pre-order at Starbucks getting cold?
We continued down Main Street into Kendall Square. The pavement is a little wavy here due to all of the traffic. There is a ton of construction going on so a lot of very heavy trucks beat this road every day.
I paid attention to my feet and worked to keep my pace up. I made a good turn onto 3rd Street and knew we were almost home. Up ahead I could see runners making a right onto Binney Street.
There are some new office buildings on Binney now, about two years old. As we ran along I noticed that IBM Watson Health was in one of them. Interesting I thought. The whole section of Binney Street is like a new neighborhood now, except for the Mormon Church.
About half way down Binney we hit mile six. My mile pace was 7:52 and my overall pace was 7:54. It was time to kick!
I picked up my pace as much as I could and made a well executed turn onto First Street. I could see the finish and hear the announcer. There weren’t that many runners in front of me.
I was pretty much in the middle of the road and trucking to the finish. I was hoping for a good finish line photo but some young guy came hauling up on my right side and may have blocked the shot.
As I crossed the first mat the clock said 49:23. I was hoping the first mat was my official finish. I didn’t want to add any split seconds to that finish!
My last quarter mile pace was 7:44. Not bad.
As I left the finish area in search of water I heard Paul Clark call out my name. He was standing in a small crowd cheering us on. It’s always nice to see a familiar face.
My official time was 48:47 or about a 7:49 pace. Not a PR but my fastest 10K in about 18 months.
Even though my training for Honolulu is fairly lax, I feel like I am peeking in my fitness level. My most recent half marathons have been better than they were last year. Howling Wolf could have been faster but I ran the first eight miles with someone who is dealing with some issues. As a result this year was slower than last year. But I know why and it wasn’t my fitness.
After I got my bottle of water I headed right for the mall. It was warm in there and they had food and beer. As I went up the escalators I stretched my knees. They were a little sore.
When I arrived on the third level there were very few people. As I stood in line for a beer a couple basically walked in front of me. WTF! I was more amused by their complete lack of awareness of their surroundings than I was pissed.
Up to this point I didn’t notice that we had beer tickets. And we had three of them! Usually you get two. Kudos to the race director!
World of Beer had some pizza out. KIND snacks had some KIND Kids bars and Powercrunch had samples of their energy bars. They looks delicious! Hippeas had their chickpea puffs also. I love their Sriracha Sunrise puffs but they had some kind of cheddar puffs. I’m sure they will be great with lunch. If you’ve never had Hippeas, you need to try them.
As I wandered around I found the Melrose Running Club gang. Everyone seemed happy with the race and that we were in a warm building. I think everyone wants to do this one again next year.
We all ended up with a bag full of samples, had a few beers and some good conversation.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures! I had my phone but my hands were full and other people took pictures.
I’m sure there will be official race photos soon, so be sure to check back.
Run well my Friends,