The Hangover Classic 2018 was held on one of the coldest January 1st on record. New Year’s Day in New England is guaranteed to be a cold day, it’s just a matter of how cold.
I’ve run The Hangover Classic 10K six times since 2011. It’s one of my favorite races for a number of reasons. First of all, many friends from the club and my race friends run this race.
My second reason is that running a 10K is a great way to kick off the New Year. If I wasn’t out for a run I’d be sitting at home finishing off the Christmas goodies.
The third reason I enjoy the Hangover Classic is the Ocean Plunge after the race. If memory serves, and it may not, I’ve jumped in the ocean in all previous years. They never do this for a summer race along the shore, but we love to jump in when the water is 45° for some reason.
Jumping into water that cold literally takes your breath away. In 40° to 50° water, hypothermia can set in in as few as 30 minutes(Source).
The air is usually colder than the water so you’re not out of danger when you get out of the water. When you get out you need to dry off quickly and should change into dry clothes as soon as possible.
Because the wind chill was -8°F, I skipped the Ocean Plunge this year. I’m man enough that I don’t need to prove how much of a man I am by jumping in the ocean.
The race organizers discouraged runners from taking the plunge:
Hangover Classic 5K/10K Runners
Due to the conditions expected at the beach on New Years Day, we strongly encourage you to abandon any thoughts of a New Year’s Day ocean plunge at Salisbury Beach. In addition to the near record low temperatures and high winds, the beach is covered in snow and ice above the tide line. The beach is always there, and we strongly encourage you to wait for more favorable conditions for a plunge.
Come and enjoy the road races and post race, and be sure to dress appropriately for the run.
Abominable Snowman Runs Hangover Classic 2018
With air temperatures in single digits and a 10 to 15 MPH breeze, the windchill was anywhere from +5° to -15°. While it may take more than 30 minutes for frostbite to set in at these temperatures, I wasn’t taking any chances. I also hate the cold and being cold.
I wore three layers on top and bottom. The first layer was skin tight and I always feel like this restricts my movement and increases the effort to run. I wore a $2.00 pair of gloves that have a cellophane lining that blocks the wind, 100%. My hands actually sweat during the race.
I also wore my old Brooks Adrenaline ASR GTX running shoes. Not only are these shoes old, they weigh a lot more than my normal running shoes. But, Adrenaline ASR GTX are not ventilated and are made with Gore-Tex, so they are perfect for frosty conditions.
Since they are so old I used my newer inserts to provide some support. I could feel the difference as I ran the race.
Running Hangover Classic 2018
The race didn’t start until 11:30, and we don’t go out New Year’s Eve, so getting up and on the road on time wasn’t an issue.
Bib pickup didn’t begin until 9:30 so I set the cruise control to a little over 65 MPH. I knew which exit to take from Rt. 95, but wasn’t 100% sure of the roads thereafter to get to Salisbury Beach. After I got off of Rt. 95 I pulled into the Winners Circle parking lot and punched in the final destination.
I got a parking spot close to the start line and headed to The Carousel Lounge. It seemed like they were still getting set up when I walked in to get my bib and shirt.
I signed up for this race in September and my bib was number 69. My friends have had a great time with this. Such filthy minds. I love it!
I headed back to my car and tried to stay warm. As I sat in my car enjoying warm coffee and snacks I watched runners walk by. Some were so bundled up I couldn’t imagine how they could run. Some wore street clothes and coats.
At 11:13 I finished my prep, got out of my car and headed for the start line. I added a balaclava to what I wore when I jogged up to get my bib and didn’t really feel cold.
I jogged over to the porta-potties which were near the start. The line was like a flock of birds: no obvious organization, but complete synchronization. Someone walked by and told us it would be more efficient if we formed multiple lines.
The guy beside my chuckled. All the doors were red and everyone in line seemed to know the drill. We laughed about how all of us seemed to know how to do this without her help.
As I waited I saw Audie Bridges from the Melrose Running Club. We exchanged words briefly as he headed towards the 5K start line.
The crowd moved swiftly and efficiently and the TP was unrolled as it should be. It’s nice to work with people who know what they are doing!
I headed to the left side of Broadway and lined up with the other 10K runners. As I looked around I saw many people jumping up and down to stay warm. Steve Viegas who runs with The Mystic Runners said hello. I only recognized Steve by his mustache!
Hangover Classic 2018 10K
As we stood waiting a few people joked that they should just let us start as soon as we showed up. It was too freaking cold to wait for the official start! Surprisingly, I wasn’t as cold as I thought I would be. It was cold standing there, but I really expected deep space cold. It was just fucking cold.
At 11:30 AM they let us go. With the small 10K crew of 191 runners, we got across the start line in no time. Almost as soon as we started running we took our first left onto Railroad Ave. The corner was icy and I was worried about falling 100 feet into a 10K.
Railroad Ave was about a half-mile run to our first loop-back. As the 10K runners ran down Cable Ave we could see the 5K runners off to our left heading down State Beach Road. I reviewed the map but was not 100% sure that we were not going to take a left and follow them. I’ve been down that road before in the winter and it is totally exposed to the wind off of the Atlantic.
As we ran down Cable Ave I began to feel my pace. It wasn’t fast, but I knew I was going to make it. I had the right clothes on, I was well fueled and hydrated and my pace was realistic.
I hit Mile One on Cable Ave at 8:24. A little fast, but I felt pretty confident.
At about 1.25 miles we crossed Broadway and headed down US Route 1A. A few years ago we had to run about one-quarter mile on the beach on the way back! That totally sucked!
I had visions of beach running and my last race down Route 1A, the Eastern States 20 Miler. I was pretty sure that we wouldn’t be running down the beach this year and we were only running 6.2 miles, so I quickly settled my fears.
I maintained a comfortable pace and Mile Two came in at 8:22. This was much faster than I had planned on and I worried about flaming out later in the race. I trusted my instincts that I had settled into my pace and spent the rest of the race running it.
At about 2.5 miles the lead runners passed us on their way home. Before I made my turn for the loop back, I counted 26 runners in front of me. When we made our turn, I had no idea how many runners were still ahead of us. Like it mattered.
We hit Mile Three on Commonwealth Ave on our turn around. Mile Three came in just under 8:30 and my pace was 8:23. It still seemed too fast, but I still felt the juice.
It was now the long slog down Route 1A to the finish. I wasn’t passing anyone, and no one was passing me. There was a group about 100 yards in front of me and then there was just one runner 100 yards in front of me. There was no way I was going to pass this runner, but I was holding my own.
I had pulled my balaclava away from my nose and mouth earlier. It made my glasses fog up and restricted my breathing. When I went to pull it back over my face, I found that it was now frozen!
On a nice flat piece of road I clocked Mile Four at 8:17 and Mile Five at 8:20.
With just 1.2 miles to go I tried to pick it up a bit. This is the stage of a 10K that can make or break your run. Everyone is spent, but can you give it a bit more than the next guy in your age group?
At this point my knees were starting to hurt, but I still had good energy. I had to pay attention to the fucking knees. It made no sense to stress my knees when I had other plans for 2018. I actively maintained my pace and Mile Six came in at 8:25.
Whenever you hit six miles in a 10K, you know you are near the end. It is certain. But my watch had hit mile four really early and I wasn’t confident in the distance anymore. There wasn’t a Mile Five flag and the mind can do strange things even during a 10K.
Whenever I wasn’t actively focused on my running I had a Whitney Houston song stuck in my head! Where the hell did that come from? The chorus kept repeating itself and I had no idea what the verses were. So a mind can do strange things even during a 10K.
I was so happy to see Broadway and someone flagging us to take a right onto this road. It was a bit of an uphill, but I could see the finish!
As I charged the finish line I could see the clock ticking up from 51:40. My goal was 54 minutes and I was going to break 52 minutes!
Apre Hangover Classic 2018
I felt pretty good about finishing at 51:43. This was much better than I had expected and I hadn’t even frozen to death!
I didn’t see anyone that I knew, so I grabbed a bottle of water and headed for the beach.
As I went down to the beach to see if anyone was foolish enough to jump into the ocean someone told me that you only had to dip your hand into the ocean to have it count. I verified this with a young lady holding the bag of Popsicle sticks and proceeded down to the water.
I waited for the next wave to roll in and swooshed my hand through the freezing water. My shoes got a little wet also, but compared to a full body dive this was nothing.
I got my Popsicle stick and headed for the lounge to get my Ocean Plunge glass.
As I walked towards The Carousel Lounge, someone stopped me and asked if I wanted his beer tickets. Why not?
When I walked into the club my glasses were so dark that I couldn’t see a thing. Looking over my glasses, I made my way to the back of the bar.
There I found Derek and Lisa Hentschel and Brian Sarro. There were some other folks I’ve met before but don’t recall their names. They knew the bar tenders and LOCO Mike.
I hung out for a while with the crew, had some beer and pizza and headed home. I may not have done the ocean plunge but I ran a good race and had a good time with my friends.
I really expected a much tougher run. But I planned well, I dressed appropriately and ran a sensible pace. My previous race was The Honolulu Marathon so this 10K was about as opposite as you can get.
The Winners Circle Running Club did a great job organizing the race as they always do. There was plenty of beer and pizza after the race which was most welcomed.
Full Results HERE.
Run well my Friends and try to stay warm!