Nothing like a 10K to get the year off to a great start!
I’ve run the Hangover Classic seven times now?
It’s been much colder and much warmer, but this year was pretty good. Temps were in the 30’s and there wasn’t too much wind. The sky was clear so when we had sun and no wind it was quite nice.
This race is so flat that my Garmin didn’t register any elevation gain at all! I know there were a few rises in the road. One time I could hear the guy behind me groan as the road rose to meet our feet. It was almost funny.
2020 Hangover Classic 10K Exactly
Have you ever run an exact distance for a race?
I’ve run a few that were short, including a 5K that was 2.8 miles. I won’t mention any names but the management company has been in the game for years.
I’ve also run a few races that were long. The Bill Rodgers Jingle Bell Run was 3.4 miles and they posted it as such. They had to re-route the race due to construction in Somerville.
It’s easy to over run a marathon and I usually come in around 26.5 or so. Over 26.2 miles, that’s not too bad.
It’s never exact, but sometimes…
My distance for the Hangover Classic was exactly 6.2 miles! I’ve never run the distance exactly.
I started my watch right on the line and stopped it just a few feet after crossing.
So they measured exactly and placed the start/finish exactly where it needed to be. A perfect execution.
I can’t take too much credit for running the correct distance. There aren’t too many opportunities to get lost and few turns to take long.
Except for the first mile and the turn around at mile three, all you had to do was run strait down the road. Piece cake. Cake by the Ocean!
While the race was uneventful I did run a first, the exact race distance.
Running the Hangover Classic
I got to the race nice and early and had a chance to talk to the timing folks. We had a few laughs and then I had to let them get back to work.
The sun kept my car warm and I read a newspaper. I enjoy reading words on paper, but never seem to have the time anymore.
Since I was 100 yards from the start I waited until 11:20 to head for the start.
The Atlantic wind blew down Broadway and made me anxious to start running.
As I looked around, the crowd looked a little thin. Maybe it was my imagination, but there seemed to be more runners in previous years.
We started on time and I was in the first third of the crowd. I found it easy to navigate the few turns and quickly got up to speed.
By the time we wound through the neighborhood and hit mile one I had an 8:06 mile under my belt.
I hadn’t run in a week and was only shooting for 9 minute miles. I told myself that the first mile is the easy one and the last one can be a bitch.
As we headed out onto Route 1A I consciously tried to slow. I’d get behind someone and try to stay a few feet behind them.
But, inevitably I would end up passing. My legs were just surging and at times it felt like the wind was pushing me along.
We’re not talking blazing speed here, but my goal was nine-minute miles. Mile two came in at 8:17.
By this point in the race my legs were stretched out and I just had to decide what I wanted to do.
Around 2.4 miles the leaders started passing us on their way back to the finish. The first five were close but there was a gap between them and the next runners.
I started counting runners and the first woman was 20th at this point.
Just before mile three we took a right to loop through a neighborhood for the turn. We hit mile 3 on the loop and my mile was 8:24. Getting closer!
As we made the turn I thanked the volunteers at both corners. They must have been a little chilly.
Now we had the long slog back to the finish. Most of it was right down Route 1A and I settled in.
There were a few walkers in both directions.
I had been counting runners since the leaders passed us. I had estimated that there were at least 100 in front of me and probably 150 behind me.
As people passed me I had to do a little math.
Mile 4: 8:13, Mile 5: 8:24, Mile 6: 8:31
I didn’t really plan to kick and kind of felt I had left it all out there. This is the end of lazy season after all.
When I saw the six-mile sign on the ground I knew I had 0.2 to go and kicked it in. When I saw the three-mile sign I knew I had 0.1 to go.
As we made the turn and approached the finish I could not believe that the clock said 51:30, tick tock. I kicked in what I had left and managed an official finish of 51:28.1.
Not a blazing time, but not bad for a guy who’s spent most of the past ten days with a beer in one hand and a remote in the other!
I came in 108 out of 288 10K runners, so my estimates were pretty close. They had 10-year age brackets and I came in 24 out of 52.
The Hangover Classic 2019 10K and 5K races were a great way to start 2019. The weather was great and I ran a good race. Check out my race re-cap.
The first race of 2019 has been run! 2019 was the 38th running of The Hangover Classic. You’d think that after all these years we’d know better!
I drove up with Mike Sikkema and Durm Cahill. All three of us managed to get to bed before midnight and none of us had a hangover.
Even without the hangover both Mike and Durm managed to run the wrong race. All of us had signed up for the 10K. Somehow Durm and Mike lined up with the 5K runners and didn’t realize they were on the wrong course until they were will into the race.
Running The Hangover Classic 10K 2019
Durm did a day-of registration but we were there early enough that there wasn’t much of a crowd. After taking care of business we headed back to Mike’s car.
As we walked by the beach we decided to take a look at the ocean. The temperature was in the 50s but the wind was gusting 20-30 mph. When we looked at the ocean we could tell.
There had to be six-foot waves anyway. When I was in Hawaii at a surf beach they said the waves were 10-15 feet. These waves were half that size but they looked like they were creating an under-tow.
I hoped that the race organizers weren’t going to make us go for a swim to qualify for the Ocean Plunge beer glass. Last year it was in the 20s and they had us just get our feet wet. This year the peril to life was of a different variety.
Final Prep and the Line Up
We sat in Mike’s car, pinned on our bibs and did our final prep. After about five minutes we decided to go for a warm up jog.
Mike did some dynamic stretching and then we were off. We looped around near the start line and did about a mile and a half jog. Mike did about two miles.
As we started to head out, I suggested we get in the porta-potty line. It was a warm day, but I knew the cold gusts off the ocean would chill us to the bone as we waited for the start.
As we walked up the street the line looked like it was a block long! Oh well, I thought. As we got closer we saw multiple lines of about 20 people. We had 15 minutes to the start, so we had plenty of time.
Mike and I made it through but Durm barely made it to the starting line in time. It’s a chip timed race so it’s not that big of a deal to miss the starting gun.
As I approached the start line I saw a huge crowd. It was the 706 5K runners lined up. I seemed to recall an email from the race director that said 10K runners should line up on the left.
They didn’t mean the left side of this corral. They meant the other side of the street! I made my way through the 5K crowd and headed to the 317 10K runners.
I was so wrapped up in getting through the porta-potty line and to the 10K corral that I had forgotten to start my watch. With less than a minute to the start I fired up my Garmin. When the race started I still hadn’t locked onto a good signal. Oh well.
Without much fanfare they started the races. Both races began at the same time but each had their own course. I didn’t see Mike or Durm, but I didn’t see any familiar faces.
We lunged to the start and suddenly stopped. The timing mats didn’t go across the entire road so everyone had bunched in to get an official start time.
Quickly we were up to speed and taking our first left. I stayed in the street to avoid any fire hydrants. The first mile wound us through town and back across Rt. 1A, the main road into town.
After that it was the long slog out 1A/North End Blvd.
Hangover Classic Running
I never saw Durm or Mike so I was on my own. I’ve run this race a few times, so I knew what lie ahead. No hills, just four miles of flat road. It’s a good race to settle into your race and drive it.
My first mile came in at 7:38 but I didn’t believe it. I figured it had something to do with partial satellite connectivity. Before the half mile mark my watch said I was running a 6:47 pace. Yeah, right! No freakin way.
I settled on the idea that I would have to use the course clocks to try and figure my pace. This race doesn’t have any clocks on the course! As my watch chimed the miles I never heard anyone else’s watch chime. How far off was my watch?
At mile two my watch chimed 8:13. That seemed more like it. I felt like I was running that pace and I wondered for how many miles more I could keep that up.
At mile 2.5 the leaders passed us. I saw a police car headed our way and thought there had been an accident. After the first place runner passed us the police car roared past us to guide him in.
At this point all of us had the breakdown lane to run in. As the leaders came back we had to move over for them. It’s what we do.
The wind was howling off of The Atlantic and between the shore front homes. When I first noticed the sound I thought it was a jet. But the noise didn’t go away. Sometimes it changed when the wind whipped through deck railings or other structures.
At mile three we took a right off of Rt 1A to loop through a neighborhood for our turn around. My mile three came in at 8:30. Almost half way and I was still doing pretty good.
My goal was 9:00 miles or a 54 minute finish. I was ahead of that.
At about 3.25 miles I spotted a Melrose Running Club singlet running towards me. I had been looking for familiar faces, but the glare of the sun made it difficult.
As the runner approached I realized that it was Mike Sikkema! I was shocked. Had he blown everyone away, finished the 10K and was out for some sort of a fun-run cool down?
Mike saw me and turned around to run with me. I was a little confused but Mike explained. He had lined up in the 5K corral and ran that race! He realized his error when it was too late.
As he neared the three-mile mark people around him started to kick. That’s way to early for a 10K. He already knew something was wrong but this confirmed it.
He ran in the 5K. Before he told the timers what was going on, he was the first place 10K finisher at 18:55. We’re talking Usain Bolt speed here and Usain doesn’t run 10Ks.
After he explained what happened he headed out to find me and Durm.
As we ran Mike tried to tell me what happened and I of course tried to carry on a conversation. Even after running four or five miles, Mike was still killing me. I could barely keep up without talking. Trying to talk was just killing me.
I told Mike, “No talking” and he slowly pulled away. I felt like a jerk for blurting out basically “shut up.” On the way home I explained why I said that and he understood. He said he felt a bit like a jerk also as he could tell I was giving it my all to run and should have known better.
Mile four came in at 8:22. I felt pretty good and the wind was at my back. We had about another mile of this running and I went for it. Mile five came in at 8:20.
At mile 5.03 my watch lost satellite connection! WTF! How could this happen in the wide open? The battery was fully charged so that wasn’t the problem.
I figured I had just over a mile to run, so I should be okay.
Finishing The 10K
As we wound though the neighborhood I tried to keep my pace up. I was keeping up with most of the people around me but others kept passing me.
Somewhere within a half mile of the finish line I saw Durm walking down the road towards me. I thought something had happened, but he looked okay. He said something about running the 5K race. I couldn’t believe he did the same thing Mike had done, but there he was.
As we approached the last turn onto Broadway I kicked in what I had. Without a watch or mile marker I guessed we had a quarter-mile to go.
The finish area wasn’t congested so I got over the line and grabbed a water bottle easily.
I hung around and waited to see Mike or Durm cross the line. After about five minutes I headed for the beach for my ocean plunge.
There weren’t a lot of people on the beach, but 70% had run the 5K and were probably drinking beer as I contemplated The Atlantic Ocean.
Someone said I only had to wade in up to my knees and that worked for me. I took off my shoes and headed in.
It was freakin cold! As I waded towards knee depth water I could feel the veins in my ankles pulse and the feeling in my feet slowly fade.
The waves were crashing in. I made it to half-calf and headed back. If I went too far out a large wave was sure to soak me head to toe.
I gathered my Popsicle stick and head to the boardwalk to put my shoes back on. As I headed to the club I texted Mike and Durm that they should meet me there. As I looked up there they were.
They told me what happened and asked if I’d done the ocean plunge. I told them they only needed to wade in. They headed for the water and I headed for the club.
After I got my beer glass I headed into the club. My glasses were so dark I had to follow the guy in front of me. I knew there was a step in the back of the bar, but I wasn’t sure where it was!
I stood in line for twenty minutes and made very little progress towards the bar. When Durm and Mike showed up we decided to bag it and head home.
While Mike and Durm had a disappointing day, they both seemed to be in good spirits.
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.
C5K Sports has been managing 5K races in Cambridge for quite a few years. In 2016 C5K introduced The Cambridge Half Marathon which has been well received by local runners and is a well managed event.
Malden Road Race 10K
C5K brought their A game to Malden and produced a well attended and managed running event. In my opinion they met the high bar set by their predecessors.
Approximately 1,500 runners registered for the race and 1,128 finished the Malden Road Race 10K.
A well managed event
C5K has a unique bib pick up/number assignment process. Instead of pre-assigning runners a bib number, they assign bib numbers as runners pick up their bib.
When you register for a race they send a confirmation email with a QR code. When you pick up your bib they scan the QR code on your confirmation and the QR code on the bib. You are instantly assigned to that bib number, they hand it to you and off you go to pick up your shirt. It’s a beautiful system!
They are the only local organization using this system. It makes bib pickup quick, convenient and easy. All other races have people searching through piles of bibs or packets to find your name or number.
The C5K system is much easier on the people handing out the bibs as well.
The volume of email sent between signing up and race day was kept to a minimum. Often races send so many emails that eventually I stop reading them. I often receive emails from the timing company, management company and sometimes the organization the race is a fundraiser for.
C5K kept the email to a minimum and I still felt informed and up to date on the details.
C5K even had the course measured and USATF certified. Not every race does that or they use a pre-established route and it’s certification.
Idle Hands Craft Ales provided the after race beer and Bantam Cider Company provided cold cider for everyone.
There was plenty of great food and beverage for all. While the Malden River may not be the prettiest river in Massachusetts, it was still cool that the Piantedosi parking lot was right on the banks of the river.
The registration table and shirt pickup table were well staffed and thew bag drop was pretty easy also. They required ID to get a hand stamp and two drink tickets. I think the entire adult beverage management system was well handled.
On the race course there were police where we needed them and road closures where we needed them. They also had enough water stops that were well manned and used paper cups! It’s impossible to keep running and drink from a plastic cup!
Running Malden Road Race 10K
This 10K was 1.8 miles from my house so I walked over. There are only a few races within walking distance of my house so I like to take the opportunity when I can.
It’s a good way to stretch out the legs before a race and walk off the lactic acid after a race.
I was fairly early and went through the bib and shirt pickup process quickly. After that I wandered around the Piantedosi parking lot checking out the vendors. Dom’s was setting up some grills and Idle Hands was rolling in some kegs.
They also had team tents from groups of 25 or more and a large sound stage set up. It looked like this was going to be a rockin party!
After checking things out I walked back out front and met Jackie Ecker and her fiance Tim. Soon we saw Jessica Crispin and Christina DeCalogero. We knew that there were other Melrose Running Club members around but we didn’t see them.
Jackie wanted to get a picture in front of the race back drop before it got crowded. So the four of us got together for a few quick snap shots. Before we knew it they were calling us to line up in the coral.
The had people holding pace signs so that people could seed themselves properly. I lined up in the 9:00 to 9:59 group. It’s been a slow summer for training for me.
They fired the starting gun and we were off! We started on Commercial Street in front of Piantedosi Bakery. It was a quick right onto Medford Street for about a half mile out to The Fellsway. We took a right and I felt like the race was on.
We hit mile one where The Fellsway West splits off to the left. My pace was 8:34.
I’ve run this piece of road several times during the Irish American 10K. I knew that shortly after crossing Pleasant Street by The Immaculate Conception the hills would begin.
We hit the first hill around the 1.1 miles mark. It’s a 36′ climb of two-tenths of a mile. There’s a short reprieve where the incline slackens and then at mile 1.6 we start a 140′ climb over 0.7 miles. It was a hot day and I was passing a lot of people climbing up these hills.
We hit mile two on this climb just before East Border Road. My pace slowed to 9:01. Mile three was over the Middlesex Fells hill which is where we got most of our elevation gain. Just before we left The Middlesex Fells we hit mile three and my mile pace was 9:05.
Over miles two and three we had gained 197′ and lost only 48′. I had managed to keep a pretty steady pace over those hills!
We took a sharp right onto Washington Street and had some much welcomed shade and cheers from a few people along the way. I even saw a few Melrose Running Club folks and we were able to exchange a few words. It made it feel like this was my home town race!
Washington Street joined up with Pleasant Street and was almost exactly the four mile mark. We had lost 115′ in elevation and my mile pace was 8:32!
Four miles into the race I felt pretty good. It was hot and humid but I had grabbed water at two stops and Gatorade at the last stop. My shirt was soaked through but I felt pretty good.
At about 4.50 miles we passed Oak Grove T station and took a right onto Glenwood Street. I’ve run this road many times and knew it was all rolling hills. Thankfully we took a left onto Summer Street at about 4.75 miles and only had to run about half of the Glenwood hills!
We hit five miles about half way down Summer street and my mile pace was 8:55! The heat was beginning to get to me! I took a water and a Gatorade at the next water stop.
Summer took us into Malden Center and past the fire station. The road had turned into Pleasant Street again which lead us back to Highland Avenue.
I knew that the final turns were near. If the course was measured properly I was probably a half mile to the finish. I hit mile six on Charles Street just before the rail road bridge. My mile pace was 8:37. I had managed to rally a bit for the last full mile.
Just after mile six we took a right onto Commercial Street. I knew we were close but wasn’t sure if we would finish in the same spot we began. It had almost looked like they were going to have us finish in the Piantedosi parking lot. It made sense to me.
At I got closer to the bakery building I could see the finish line on Commercial Street. There was a guy a few steps behind me and I could tell he was picking up the pace.
I was so close to the finish that I decided to give him a run for his money. We both “sprinted” to the finish and I came in just a few steps ahead of him. I think our finished escaped photographic documentation, but the crowd saw us racing and gave us a few cheers!
My finish time was 54:58 for a pace of 8:51!
I came in 365th over all and 15 out of 33 in my age group. For being as poorly trained as I was, that was a good finish. This race drew a lot of strong runners with a good showing of runners from the GBA and Somerville. Somerville Road Runners actually had a large enough group to have a tent!
Melrose had 13 club members run but only three registered under the club name.
It was a competitive group to run against and I am satisfied to finish as well as I did against such a strong group of runners.
Melrose Running Club came in 28 out of 34 teams and I was the number two runner for our club! I didn’t even know until I was looking up the results just now! I don’t think any of us gave the team competition any thought at all. 28 gives us plenty of room to move up next year!
The Gold Star Honor Run is a 5K and 10K road race held in Saugus, MA in honor of Marine CPL Scott Procopio each Memorial Day weekend.
Gold Star Run for Honor 10K
This is the third year that I’ve run the 10K. It’s also my slowest time for this race so far!
The race starts on Central Street in Saugus in front of Town Hall. There are a few groups with tables set up and a WWII Army reenactment group.
The Army guys are in full WWII combat gear and set up a nice display. They lay out all of the gear a GI would have carried into combat during WWII. There are a lot of canvas packs, pouches and backpacks. Absolutely no electronics, Kevlar or night-vision goggles.
A lot of kids seemed quite fascinated with the display with quite a few hanging around asking questions.
Before the race I found a few of my friends and we had fun catching up and talking about the race. At 8:00 AM they played The National Anthem and all eyes were on the nearest flag. At 8:03 we were off.
I didn’t have any big plans for this race so I started off near the back. Between the 5K and 10K about 349 runners took off running.
At Winter Street the 220 5K runners took a left and the 129 10K runners headed up the hill to the turn onto Adams Ave. A few cars were held up at the inter section and some guy three cars back actually honked his horn. I had to chuckle. He probably had to sit there and wait five minutes for all of us to pass.
Adams in a winding road of rolling hills that connects Central Street to Essex Street just before the Rt. 1 bridge. We took a left onto Essex, moved to the right side of the road and headed for Cliftondale Square.
We hit mile one on Adams Street and my time was 8:18. A little fast but I felt comfortable. Essex is essentially flat so I was able to start picking up my pace a bit.
At the Fire Station on Essex Street, the Firemen were giving out cups of water so I took one. It was only a gulp of cold water and in a Styrofoam cup, but I needed it. It was nice to see the fire fighters supporting the race.
Just after the Fire House we hit mile two at 8:08. I knew the water stop was supposed to be at mile two and I worried that I had just passed it!
Fortunately around 2.25 miles they had the official water stop. This time I got about two gulps of water.
The water stop was just after Cliftondale Square and we were now on Lincoln Ave headed east. I noticed a few changes in the square and there seemed to be more empty store fronts. I guess the only constant is change!
Just after Seagirt Avenue in my old neighborhood we hit mile three at 8:20. Further down Lincoln Avenue we passed the World Famous Kane’s Donuts. I so hoped they would have Kane’s Donuts for us at the finish.
At the Ballard Street intersection they had an officer managing traffic and a volunteer waved me through the intersection.
Running in the Gold Star Run for Honor 10K
We were now about 3.5 miles into the race. The 10K runners were stretching out and we began to pass some of the 5K people who were walking the course.
Lincoln Ave was now sloping down to the Saugus River and I could smell the ocean a bit. Soon the turn onto Hamilton Street came into view. Some people cut through the parking lot, but I stayed on the sidewalk as we made the turn.
This is where this race begins. Hamilton has a series of hills that can get you if you ran too hard or haven’t prepared.
Knowing I wasn’t prepared for a great 10K I held back a bit for the first half of the race. About a quarter-mile after the turn onto Hamilton we hit mile four at 8:19. I was doing okay.
Just after mile four we hit the first hill near Pigeon Hill Estates. We gained about 60 feet in a tenth of a mile. There were a lot of walkers and I couldn’t tell how many were 5K or 10K runners. All I knew is that this is where you push for the finish.
Four miles into a 10K is where a lot of people start to loose their mojo. Anyone who runs 5Ks and went out strong is now beyond their comfort zone. For a casual runner doing a 10K this is the pain zone.
I’m not a 10K expert or well trained, but this is the part of a 10K where I pass a lot of people who passed me or kept ahead of me until this point.
At many places along this race there were spectators cheering us on. On Hamilton there seemed to be more, but I may have just been noticing them more.
At about 4.6 mile we took a right onto Saville Street. There was another small hill here and a few more people dropped off. At this intersection the 5K runners went strait towards town hall.
Saville has some small hills and seems to go on forever like Boylston Street. I caught up to two guys and we kept trading places as we ran down the street. Half-way down Saville we hit mile five at 8:41.
When we got to Elm Street there was a cop with his car running and the lights on. The three of us looked to him for direction and he looked at us like he was surprised to see us.
No other runners were in front of us and at this point I was leading the pack. I made a split second decision and took a left onto Elm Street and crossed the Saugus River.
I was reasonably sure this was the way to go. But, when we got onto Central Street we saw a few other runners coming down the street. Were we supposed to turn at Elm or keep going?
The three of us were pissed and it kind of took the wind out of our sails. We were going to run short and the race wouldn’t count.
After I chilled out I looked at my watch and thought we might be about to get 6.2 miles out of what was left of the race. I started running the curves and not strait down the street to try and lengthen out the run.
As we came around The Saugus Iron Works a Park Ranger was raising the flag. Our turn onto Prospect Street came into view and I hoped I could stretch this out.
As we turned left onto Summer Street I knew we were close to the end. I could see the cones marking our final turn onto Taylor Street. My watch still hadn’t hit six miles!
Just after the turn it hit six miles and my mile pace was 8:29. I wasn’t sure I’d get close enough to 6.2 to make it count, but I decided to run it in anyway.
For the last 0.12 miles I managed a 7:23 pace. After I crossed the finish line I saw I had a 6.12 distance. 0.08 miles short would constitute a poorly measured course, but this was my fault. If only that cop had waved his hand.
Apre Gold Star Run for Honor
I grabbed a bottle of water and walked off the race a bit. My friend Daniel De Oliveira and his wife Alex had run the 5K and I stopped to talk with them. I saw them at this race last year also. They are the nicest people you will ever meet.
They were talking to another runner and I thought maybe she was from our club. We have so many new runners and she looked familiar.
I asked her if we had met before because she looked so familiar. She said she didn’t know any of us. I told her she looked familiar but I couldn’t place her. She just laughed.
We headed off to the hot dog cart and the young lady headed off to her friends. I joked that a hot dog was going to be my prize for running the race.
I also ran into Liz Emerald and Emily McDivitt. Liz ran the 5K and was first in her age group. Emily ran the 10K and ended up as her Age Group winner and over all 3rd place female finisher. Not bad ladies!
They did the 5K awards first and I hung around with Daniel and his wife. We talked about our travels and summer plans. They had been to New Orleans recently and loved it. I had been there about 20 years ago we had fun talking about the French Quarter.
Daniel got called up to accept the 2nd place award in his age group! He was totally surprised to hear them try to pronounce his name, but knew it was him.
When they got to the 10K awards, I went for a second hot dog. No way they were going to call my name. I ran as well as I could, but I really wasn’t prepared to run a competitive race. But when they got to the men’s 50-59 group they called my name for second place!
I wasn’t sure I deserved it because of my course deviation, but the guy who came in third was about seven minutes behind me.
Our award was a free registration for another High5Em race! I thought that was awesome. Who needs another medal?
So after a few pleasant surprises and a great time hanging out with friends, I headed home.
The 15th Annual Malden Rotary Road Race 10k and 5K took place on March 24th in Malden, MA. Based out of the Cheverus School on Ferry Street, this race has become a favorite among local runners.
The Malden Rotary Road Race is an old school runner’s race. After 15 years this race still draws a small group of hard-core local runners. You’re not likely to talk to a runner from out-of-state at this race. Most runners come from the surrounding communities with a large contingent of Mystic Runners.
I was told that a few years ago they started having the 5K and 10K start at different times. I guess there were some issues when the races split off.
This year the 10K started at 9:30 and the 5K started at 10:00 AM. I love a race that starts later in the morning and that is minutes from my house!
There is plenty of parking around Cheverus and it looked like most of the businesses in the area had not opened yet. I’ve never been to Cheverus before and wasn’t 100% clear where it was. As I sat in my car getting ready I saw another runner walking through the parking lot.
She wasn’t really sure of where she was going, but seemed to have a better idea than I did. The race web site just said Cheverus School and did not give a street address. After we found the right door to go into, we found the gym and picked up our numbers. We were the line. Even though this race has been going on for 15 years, it was obvious that it was run by Rotary volunteers and not seasoned race volunteers.
I headed for the men’s room where about 10 of us stood in line for a single working toilet. People think public schools are under funded. Have you ever been inside of a parochial school? My girls went to parochial schools, so I understand their struggles. Unfortunately, maintenance cannot be a top priority.
Still, we were happy to have a warmish men’s room and not a cold porta potty.
I then headed for the entrance of the gym to see who else would be coming down the stairs to pick up their bib. I saw Jeff Rushton and Regina Curran who were both there to run the 10K.
The 5K runners started 30 minutes after we did, so none of them were there.
Running The Malden Rotary Road Race 10K
It was now about 9:20 and everyone emptied out of the gym and headed for the start. We decided to hang back and keep warm until about 9:25.
As we walked towards Ferry Street the crowd looked larger than I expected. In 2017 about 65 people ran the 10K. I estimated the crowd to be around 75 at least. It turned out that 115 people ran the 10K!
Everyone was lined up on the east side of Ferry Street and the race director had us move west behind the starting mats. Regina, Jeff, and I headed for the back of the pack. Jeff said he was going to take it easy, but ended up coming in 10th over all and first in his age group. Not bad for taking it easy!
The race director asked who had run the race before and about 10 hands went up. So he gave directions in a loud voice unaided by amplification. There were plenty of signs and volunteers, plus I planned to be following a lot of people!
At 9:30 they yelled for us to go. No starting gun, no Anthem just a nice clean start.
The first half mile was mostly uphill, starting at 20′ above sea level and ending at 75′. Not a huge climb but a challenging way to start a race!
From Ferry Street we crossed over onto Main Street and headed for Pine Banks. We hit mile one at Pine Banks and I felt comfortable. I had run faster than I wanted to, especially considering that half the distance was uphill. Mile one came in at 8:30.
We ran past Pine Banks and took a right onto Sylvan Street in Melrose. I was in familiar territory. At the end of Sylvan we took a right onto Lebanon Street. I’ve run this road a hundred times at least and knew we had more uphill coming as we ran along the cemetery.
I usually turn at Forest Street, but we continued another three-quarters of a mile down to Garden Street and took a right. I had never been in this area and was glad to have so many volunteers and the occasional policeman.
Just after we turned onto Garden Street we hit mile three at 8:37. I had been trying to slow down, but mile two came in at 8:31 so I wasn’t doing very well controlling my pace. It was nice to know we were about half-way and I felt fine.
We wound through the neighborhood and came out to Pierce Street and took a right towards Forest Street. It was interesting running this street in the opposite direction that I normally do. At Sylvan Street in Malden we took a right and past the Forestdale School. I’d never been down this street and was surprised how large the school and playing fields were.
On Forest Street we hit mile four and I came in at 8:42. I felt better that I had been able to reel it in a bit, but it was so difficult.
I think that taking it easy is harder than running hard. Every time a runner would come up behind me I would just wish them to pass me. If I caught up to someone I tried to stay behind them and let them pace me. But after a while I couldn’t take it anymore and had to pass them. I just couldn’t help my self.
As we approached the corner of Columbia and Salem Streets I hit mile five at 8:26. I had passed a few runners. oops!
Salem Street was open to traffic and the pavement was uneven in many spots. I actually worried about tripping and falling under a car. They were going slow, but a fall happens really fast.
There was a good police presence and I think they were holding traffic back for us. We hit mile six near Albion Street and I came in at 8:24.
I felt good and had plenty of energy so I decided to try and catch the guy about 200 feet in front of me. I think he kicked it in for the last quarter-mile also and I wasn’t able to catch him.
I ran the last 0.29 miles at a 7:11 pace. I had to work to do it, but it didn’t kill me to do it.
I finished the race at 53:09, just behind Joe Roesner, the guy I was trying to catch. But since this was a chip timed race I actually beat him by 1 second! And he’s 12 years younger than me. I’ll take it.
As I crossed the line my buddy Jeff Rushton was there to congratulate me. He’s not the guy in the red Speedo in the photo. We waited for Regina Curran to finish her 10K and saw all of the Melrose 5K runners finish their races also.
After the Malden Rotary Road Race
It was great to see the Melrose Running Club 5K runners come over the finish line. I hadn’t seen them before the race and had no idea that six of them had shown up for the race. From my count we had nine runners all together.
This was a new addition to the Melrose Running Club Racing Series and I wasn’t sure how it would go. After a few people thanked me for adding it, I felt like I made the right decision.
We managed a group photo with most of the runners and headed to The Dockside Restaurant for a brunch buffet.
The Tysall family grabbed a booth and some extra chairs and we all joined them. The buffet was basic, eggs, sausage and hash browns but it was all very good. They actually ran out and had to bring out a second round of trays.
I was glad that I jumped in line soon, but wished I had taken more as it was so good. I think that everyone got enough to eat.
Charlotte Tysall came in 4th over all and was the first place female runner in the 5K. Her finish time was 20.1 minutes for a blistering pace of 6:26.6! And she’s only 14. As I we sat there having breakfast I thought I might be sitting next to the next Shalane Flanagan!
Her mother Lisa came in first in her age group and Mary O’Connell came in first in her age group also! That’s her in the picture above approaching the finish line.
In the 10K Jeff Rushton came in 10th overall and first in his age group. I came in 45th over all and was very happy with that finish, though I may pay for it during my 22 mile long run on Sunday.
Regina Curran came in 86th in the 10K and made it look easy.
Stephanie Lawson came in 71st in the 5K and thought she came in last. But this was while we were having breakfast and all of the results were not in yet. 87 people finished the 5K, so she finished ahead of 16 other runners. Way to go Steph!
We ended up with a great day for a run. The temperature was around 40° with a light breeze. Sunday is supposed to be cooler with a stronger breeze.