50 5Ks and beyond

Race Name Date Location Finish time Result
Mystic’s Lake Q 5K 9/17/14 Wakefield 21:39 14th
Granara-Skerry 5K 9/27/14 Medford 21:33 29th
Baystate Marathon 10/19/14 Lowell 3:49:27 701st
Mystic’s Lake Q 5K 10/22/14 Wakefield * *
Melrose YMCA Spooky Sprint 5K 10/25/14 Melrose 21:37 2nd Place M50-59
5K Stride for the Saugus Y 11/8/14 Saugus 23:29 3rd Place M50-59
Burbank YMCA 5K 11/22/14 Wakefield 22:50 19th
DCR Turkey Trot 5K 11/23/14 Saugus 23:04 *
Boston Volvo National MS Society 5K 11/27/14 Brighton 22:42 114th
Cambridge Winter Classic 5K 12/7/14 Cambridge 21:42
Assault on Mt. Hood 3.6 Mile 12/13/14 Melrose 25:58 104th
Jingle Bell Run 5K 12/14/14 Somerville 23:44 543rd
SRR Club Run 5K 12/22/14 Somerville * *
Castaway Cay 5K 1/3/15 Bahamas * *
Derry 16 Miler 1/25/15 Derry, NH 2:23 202nd
Super Sunday 5K 2/1/15 Cambridge 22:21 3rd Place M50-59
Smuttynose Palooza 5K 3/7/15 Salisbury 21:53 51st
Running of The Leprechauns 5K 3/14/15 Medford 21:40 1st Place M50-59
Nutty Irish 2.7 Mile Snow Shoe Race 3/21/15 Salem 30:48 *
April Fool’s 4 Miler 3/28/15 Salisbury 29:19 88th
Cambridge City Run 5 Miler 3/29/15 Cambridge 37:34 *
Great Bay Half Marathon 4/12/15 New Market, NH 1:51
Cambridge Spring Classic 5K 4/26/15 Cambridge 22:30 *
Healthy Melrose 5K 5/2/15 Melrose 23:10 3rd Place M50-59
Boys & Girls Club 3.5 Miler 5/3/15 Woburn 25:56 37th
Pine Hill Little League 5K 5/9/15 Lynn 21:38 1st Place Male
Harpoon 5 Miler 5/17/15 South Boston 36:46
Boston’s Run to Remember Half 5/24/15 Boston 1:46 954th
New Balance Foundation 5K 5/30/15 East Boston 22:43 4th place 18+
Hallmark Health 5K 6/6/15 Wakefield 22:30 1st Place M50-59
JP Morgan Corp Challenge 3.5 6/11/15 Boston
Samantha’s Harvest 5K 6/14/15 Reading 23:13 16th
Mystic’s Lake Q 5K 6/17/15 Wakefield 23:59 22nd
BAA 10K 6/21/15 Boston 51:34 1504th
Brendan’s Home Run 5K 6/21/15 Belmont * 273rd
Mystic’s Lake Q 5K 6/24/15 Wakefield 23:30 24th
Mystic’s Lake Q 5K 7/1/15 Wakefield 23:25 15th
Lynnfield 4th of July 5K 7/4/15 Lynnfield 22:26 3rd Place M50-59
Mystic’s Lake Q 5K 7/8/15 Wakefield 24:02 20th
Marathon Sports Trail Run 7/9/15 Medford
Marathon Sports Trail Run 7/16/15 Medford
Mystic River 5K 7/18/15 Medford 23:30 24th
Mystic’s Lake Q 5K 7/22/15 Wakefield 22:27 28th
Moving Beyond Witness 5K 7/25/15 Medford 22:33 8th
Maine Lobsterfest 10K 8/2/15 Rockland, ME 48:47 58th
Mystic’s Lake Q 5K 8/5/15 Wakefield 22:52 20th
SRR Club Run 5K 8/10/15 Somerville 22:49
Mystic’s Lake Q 5K 8/12/15 Wakefield 22:00 17th Course PR
Mystic’s Lake Q 5K 8/19/15 Wakefield 22:27 17th
Mystic’s Lake Q 5K 8/26/15 Somerville 22:02 17th
Cure SMA 5K 8/29/15 Wakefield 21:17 1st M50-59

I’ve sat down to write this post several times now. I guess I’m still sorting out how I feel about the challenge being met, not having a goal to focus on and what does it mean.

I think most of us like goals. There’s the feeling that what we are doing has some purpose beyond just the doing. The feeling that each step gets us closer to that something that we want.

My running goal was my way to celebrate and embrace turning 50. I didn’t want to go out and eat a big fancy dinner or buy an expensive bottle of bourbon. I didn’t want to consume, I wanted to experience.

I’d like to think that 50 years old is half-way. In many ways I’m in my prime and in many ways the glory days are over. That’s life, can I get 50 more years please?

Running 50 5Ks was a long term project. As such I got to think about and appreciate where I am many times throughout the year.

My life isn’t perfect and there are things I wish I could change, but that’s life.

Running 50 5ks was a way to celebrate my health. I have friends who never made it to 50. Before many races during the year I thought about how lucky I am to be able to do this. To want to do this.

Now that the goal has been met and one race beyond, I’m not sure how I feel.

Do I feel worthy of claiming success of a goal I set for my self? Did I set the bar too low?

I don’t know.

Running 51 races in 51 weeks wasn’t easy. I did give up many leisurely nights at home. I had to plan ahead and stay on top of my schedule.

Looking for, registering for and running all of those races took a level of focus not unlike that required to prepare for and run a marathon.

I didn’t cross a single starting line without thinking I could go all in. Even when I felt tired or sore I always ran all in.

Even in the rain on Father’s Day for the BAA 10K I had a good time. Maybe even a great time.

Maybe I discovered how much I love to run. Why else would I do this? How else could I do this?

I firmly believe that you have to want something in order for it to be a goal. Moving towards it and achieving it has to give you satisfaction. There has to be purpose to the effort.

Only a leader or a lover can create a want outside of yourself. You want to achieve to make them happy. Their happiness is your happiness.

You have to want something in your heart in order for it to be a goal. It may be to please a leader or a lover or it may be to please yourself. Without joy in the doing and achieving, the effort and accomplishment are meaningless. Mere tasks and obligations.

My Journey

I had many moments of joy while running these races. There were times when I felt I was in the best place possible and doing the best thing possible. I met new friends and and got to know old friends better.

During one race in Wakefield I was running down Rt. 129 by the lake with four other guys. We were in the road hugging the parked cars trying not to get hit. I laughed to my self that we were crazy to be running balls to the wall in traffic. Then the thrill of the run hit me. We were racing each other and no one was letting up. If any one of us had slowed just a bit someone could have gotten hurt.

The thrill may have been from the danger. I trusted these guys because I knew they were runners and just like me, they knew what they were doing. No one was going to do anything stupid and all of us trusted our bodies to carry us through this dangerous section.

I felt great joy running with guys who had the same focus and intensity that I did. I didn’t pass all of those guys, but I did pass one or two, and they didn’t make it easy. Finishing that race and running with those guys was a great time. None of us came in first, but we all killed it that night. What a run!

As I put together this list of races I was able to recall moments from each race like it was yesterday. Not the entire race, but at least a few special moments from each one. I don’t recall every moment of that night on Route 129, but I’ll never forget that stretch of road.

My Races

You will note that some races on my list are 10Ks, half-marathons and then there’s the Derry 16-Miler. You will also note that a few races were less than 5K.

The Nutty Irish Snow Shoe race was supposed to be a 5K, but the conditions were so poor they had to change the course.

It was my first race in snow shoes and it was an adventure. Less then a dozen of us ran in snow shoes and mine were hiking snow shoes. I’ll never forget that one!

Taking into account my slightly longer races, I think my average is well over 5K per race.

A few wins along the way

I actually won a race for the first time this year! Two women finished ahead of me, but I was the First Place Man at the Pine Hill Little League 5K in Lynn!

It was a small race but there were plenty of guys there younger than me. Even after I passed the last guy in front of me, I expected someone to come jogging by me barely breaking a sweat! I was shocked when the race director walked up to me and told me she had a trophy for me! Another unforgettable moment.

This year I came in first in my age group 3 times, second place once and 3rd place four times. Sometimes I still cannot believe it.

50 5Ks and one big lesson

Now that it is over, how do I feel?

With 8 age group top three finishes and a race win, I definitely went after my goal. I took this seriously and worked at it. I’ve never run this well or gone this long without an injury.

I put in my time in the gym for strength and stretching and that made a big difference. I made a plan and I stuck with it.

As I’ve sat down to write this post so many times, I never felt the joy that I felt while running. I guess I thought I would feel that joy or a sense of accomplishment when I reflected on my year. But I do not.

The lesson I have drawn from my experience this year is that the joy is in the doing.

Run well my friends,


© 2015 andrew nagelin

50th 5K Race

My 50th 5K race has been run

I crossed the 50th finish line in Wakefield on Wednesday night. This was my 12th Lake Q race with the Mystics during this quest.

Boston JP Morgan, Andy nagelin

It was only fitting that I should complete my quest with The Mystics as my first race in this quest was with the Mystics on September 19th 2014. I only ran with them twice in 2014 and then 10 times this year. Without their Wednesday night races I don’t think I could have done this.

Not every race was a 5K. The Marathon Sports trail runs were much less, but the Bay State Marathon was a wee bit longer. At a few 5Ks the race directors acknowledged that their course was short. It never bothered me.

A few nights as I fought 93 North traffic going to my 2nd or 3rd race of the week I wondered what the hell I was doing. Why am I doing this?

I think all of us have had those same thoughts while either on a run or during a race. Why do we do this? Why do we go out in the cold and the heat and get all hot and sweaty when we could be sitting at home or asleep in bed? Who doesn’t love sleep?

Just as something compels us to get up on Sunday mornings and run 16 miles come hell or high snow, something compelled me to keep going.

At some point during every race I wonder what the hell I’m doing. Then after the race I’m usually thrilled by the experience. Over the past year I often asked why I was doing this, why I was spending so many evenings out running and not taking care of things at home.

I can’t say that I have that same post race feeling of satisfaction right now. My friend Paul Whitelam asked me how I felt after the race tonight. He read my previous post and asked if I felt worthy. I smiled and said, “I guess so.”

Being the Englishman that he is, he stuck out his hand and said, “Well done.”

Run well my friends!


Quest for 50 5Ks

The Quest for 50 5Ks is coming to a close

Tonight I’ll be running my 50th official race since turning 50 last September.

April fool's 4 miler
At the finish

There were times I thought that I’d never make it. When the snow banks were over 6′ high and the tempts were 20º low, it looked doubtful. A managed to have a strong fall running season, a middling winter season and took the spring and summer by storm.

There were weeks when I would run two or three races in a week. Not all race were big events, some were not even officially timed, such as the Marathon Sports trail runs.

Last night a few friends were egging me on as to what my next challenge will be. 50 5Ks in 6 months? Other crazy ideas I didn’t even listen to. Some people think personal challenges are foolish.

We all face challenges every day and quite often we prevail. Often failure to prevail teaches us more than success. Often we feel unworthy of our success or that some how it came too easy and we should have worked harder or set a higher goal.

Many times after a hard race where there were moments I felt like I just might die, I’ve berated myself for letting up for that moment. That moment of doubt and softness of will. In the moment I was all in, afterwards it somehow did not feel like enough.

Are we worthy of our success?

Somehow saying we succeeded seems boastful and immodest. Some people brag of their success. I prefer to make note of them but feel embarrassed when others make note of anything I do. I’m just an average middle-aged guy doing what I love. How could there be anything notable or remarkable about that?

I know when I tell people about what I am doing I am often talking to people who would not or could not do the same. When I casually say what my goals are sometimes I feel embarrassed when I then find out the other person has different goals than I do. But why?

We all have something to overcome. A goal to achieve, a place we want to be in our lives. Each goal is as unique as the individual who holds it. We should all be in awe of the person who finally gets off the couch and decides to take control of their lives. Their goal may simply be to walk a first 5K. They don’t care about running.

We should all be in awe of the folks who come in last at the race. Any race. They are the ones who have struggled the most. They are the ones who battled the daemons with the greatest valor. They had to overcome all of the doubt and butt cushion inertia to keep going.

Now that I am near the end of my quest I ask my self, did I accomplish anything? Why? Was it worth it? I’m not sure that running 50 5Ks is much of an accomplishment. I ran all of my races as hard as I could, won one of them and had a few age group awards. So I guess I ran competitively. I tried not to take anything for granted or make any race just another one to check off on my quest.

It took a lot of focus, planning and determination to hit my goal. It took a lot to run each race at 100% of what ever I had at the time. Sometimes it seemed crazy and I wondered why I’m doing this and why continue? Why am I chasing this crazy goal?

With great humility and respect for everyone I run with I must say that I did succeed. I will reach my goal tonight. I don’t know what it will mean or how I will feel when I make that last turn and run into the parking lot. I hope that at least for a few moments I will feel worthy.

*This is extemporaneous and un-edited.

Run well my friends!


5K number 48

5K 48 has been run!

I ran race number 48 Wednesday night at Lake Q with the Mystics. We had a good crew show up and very good conditions.

I wore my new Saucony Kinvara 5 shoes and felt pretty good. This was my first race and first run in these shoes and I wasn’t sure what to expect. My “go to shoe” is the Brooks Adrenaline GTS. A nice solid shoe for neutral pronation.

The Kinvara’s are lighter and you can see how they have taken some of the stylish extras out to remove weight. The shoes are still flashy but they definitely have less mass and are much more flexible.

I had a few worries about running on uneven pavement, sand and dirt paths. I’ve never worn such a light shoe before. Everything worked out fine and I was able to run at 100%.

The elusive PR and pleasant surprises

My finish time was 22 minutes even. A course PR but still way off my “official” PR time of 21:11. I ran that PR race in New Market, NH at the Beyond the Rainbow 5K in 2014. This 5K runs the first two miles of the Great Bay Half and then peels off back into town.

My PR race was short! My Garmin had Beyond The Rainbow at 2.92 miles. Club Loco has a lot of experience with races but there is no way I cut corners enough to cut 0.18 miles off of that race. I was happy to see the PR, but the course was short by almost 0.20 miles!. I always think of that race with an asteric in my mind.

Running bib, number 1, 5kIf I set aside Beyond The Rainbow, my 5K PR actually happened earlier this year. At the Pine Hill Little League 5K in Lynn, I ran 21:38 and was the first place male. I even got a trophy and ran with bib #1! Just a crazy day. That course was accurate within the standard margin of error.

I picked Pine Hill randomly. I needed a 5K, Lynn is fairly close, price was good and I figured what the heck. I’d never run a 5K in Lynn before.

I guess the moral of the story is that you just never know when you are going to run that PR. You can just show up and not be particularly well-trained and run well. You can also follow a program, be disciplined and run an average race or worse. Life is full of surprises.

I’ve worked hard and been disappointed. In Lynn I was totally shocked. I ran my ass off but when I showed up that morning I never expect to be first and run a PR.

I appreciate that I can run and make myself run really hard. I’m not the fastest guy out there but I run every race as hard as I can, almost always on the edge. Running makes me feel alive and that is something to be grateful for.

Run well my friends!

© 2012 Andrew Nagelin

The March is on!

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.

Smuttynose Palooza, 5k race, running, the march is onOut 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.

5k race, medford 5k, the march is on

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.

the march is on, medford 5kBy 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,


Assault on Mt Hood XC Race

Melrose Running Club held Assault on Mt Hood

The 10th annual 3.5 mile cross-country race was hosted by the Melrose Fish and Game Club. The race itself is run on the Mount Hood golf course.

How’s this for a crazy ass course? I included the topographical map so you could see the hills. If I wasn’t following all of those people, I definitely would have been lost!

assault on mt hood, XC raceDue to unseasonably warm weather, the course was very wet and soggy in most places. There were a few puddles and areas of assault on mt hood, fall racemud. But the only snow we had was in the air.

Last year we had an inch or so of snow on the ground. Today, someone told me that the first year they held this race they had a lot of fresh snow on the ground.

The golf course was so wet and soggy that the route was re-routed to avoid the worse of it. When the guys came back from re-marking the course they sprayed 3.6 on the pavement at the finish line.

I think they included their wandering around distance in their final number. My watch measured the course at 3.15 miles.

The official results had me at 104th place out of 354 runners. My pace was 7:13! I can run a 5K at that pace, but on level ground. My Garmin pace was 8:13.

This course had a lot of hills, many quite steep. Some hills had paved golf cart paths, others were mud and stone. Running down some of the hills I was worried about falling and had to put on the brakes. I have many miles to run yet.

The Assault on Mt Hood

A cross-country race does not lend itself to the usual turn by turn type of report I normally give. We started out on a flat, soggy plain, and then ran over hills, rocky paths and through a grown in area with many small trees.

There was a little terrain for everyone’s taste. Except for urban street runners. No flat, wide city street. None of that.

I don’t run XC often so I can’t really compare this race to others. At times we were on paths barely a runner wide. We ran up muddy hills that I was not sure my footing would hold. We ran down rocky slopes that I feared may twist my ankle with one wrong step.

It was just crazy out there!

assault on mt hood

It was impossible to lock into a nice pace and push it. The terrain was constantly changing and my stride and effort had to change just as quickly. I even walked two hills that were too steep. While running up one hill I knew my quads were shredding. I knew it. But I ran to the top of the hill anyway.

Runners come from all over for this challenging race. It’s hilly and cold and really tests your medal. As I watched people walk in to pick up their bibs, I could tell by their stride and the look in their eye that they meant business. This was an important race on their schedule.

I love seeing that purpose and determination. For these people the race really means something. It’s not just another race. Being a small part of providing that race experience to these people is rewarding.

assault on Mt Hood, cross country, XC race


50 5Ks at 50

For me this was race number 11 in my series of 50 races. I’ve decided that I need to include all races if I’m going to hit 50 5Ks in a year. I won’t count a 10K as 2 5Ks or anything like that. But I will count every race of 5K or more as a 5K. #505ksat50

Including the Baystate Marathon I’ve run 11 5Ks, or better, since September. This is going to be a challenge!

Run well my friends!