Cambridge Winter Classic 5K 2018

The 2018 Cambridge Winter Classic was a smaller race due to the weather, but we all still had a good time.

What a way to start December! I’ve begun to get used to weather in the 40’s but the Cambridge Winter Classic was cold and wet.

I used to run with The Slow and Thirsties, but everyone is either dealing with an injury or life. For a few years we had our own team table. Now the race director, Paul Clark, is kind enough to set up a table for the “Unaffiliated Runners” as I like to call us. We have a different mix of runners at each race.

For the Winter Classic, since it is close to Christmas, I call us “The Table for Misfit Runners.” We are a collection of Paul’s friends who do not belong to a team but still love to run his races. Over the past few years I have met some people several times and we have become running friends.

Some I know their names, some I do not. But we always recognize each other and the conversations seem to pick up where they left off. Often about running, but sometimes politics, family and work. The usual stuff.

Running the Cambridge Winter Classic 2018

This was my last race and second to last run before the Honolulu Marathon on December 9th. I wanted to have a good run, but avoid any sort of injury. At this point no run is going to appreciably add to my run in Hawai’i but one bad step could  derail everything.

The week before any marathon is important. You need to keep your body in shape and not let things slip. But you also have to avoid any type of injury. I normally wear shoes around the house just to keep from stubbing a toe. 

I’ve only run about 70 miles in both October and November, so I haven’t exactly been killing it. It’s been hardly what I would call a marathon training program. Knowing what I face in Honolulu I have put some emphasis on hill running but my long runs have not been long!

I woke up around 7AM and heard the rain. The race didn’t start until 9:30, but if I got there early enough I would get a good parking spot. I took my time getting ready but kept things moving.

I found a parking spot around 8:00 and went over to race central to use the facilities. On the way over I saw Paul Clark and his crew getting things ready. We said hello and kept on with our business. On the way back to my car I saw Emily McDivitt and her cousin Daniel.  We chatted for a bit but they were headed back to their car to get warm also.

I sat in my car, listened to a book on CD and watched other cars pull up and then leave. I was parked in front of a building with a “No Trespassing” sign screwed into the wall. It was Sunday in Cambridge so I thought I was okay. After about six cars pulled up and left I decided to drive around the block and look for friendlier parking. There was none.

I headed back to the same street and took up a spot near where I had been before. The building may say no trespassing, but it is a public street. Before I left my car two others pulled up and parked.

When I got to the table for my “team” no one else was there. I chatted with the people at the next table and then headed for the start.

With the cold and the rain it was easy to get a good spot. We entered the coral from in front of the start line and then walked back as far as we wanted. I stopped about 50 people back from the front. I didn’t plan on setting any records, but I wanted to be able to do my thing also.

The announcer soon told us we had about 30 seconds and that he would give us a verbal command with a count down from three. 

And they’re off!

Just about on the nose we started at 9:30. I was quickly across the start lines and headed for the first turn. Some people don’t like to run the same course repeatedly. I don’t mind as it allows me to run more strategically. 

I know it takes us three turns to get onto Mass Ave and that on Mass Ave I’ll have all the room I need. As we ran down Albany Street towards Mass Ave. I picked up some speed and started passing a few people. When the corner approached I was in the clear and didn’t have to slow down. 

Cambridge winter classic, Cambridge running, Fall 5K races

Running down Mass Ave in Cambridge has become familiar to me. I know it’s about a mile of clear running and I can kick it in if I want or hold back and take it easy. 

I hit mile one about half-way down Mass Ave at 7:53. It felt really comfortable and I knew I had some more speed if I wanted it. 

I decided to push a little harder and cruised down the street to our next turn onto Putnam Ave. Usually there is a water stop just after the turn, but I didn’t see one this time. We really didn’t need it. 

On Putnam I began to feel the run. I could tell that everyone around me was feeling it too. My lungs felt a bit of that cold air burn and others were doing that heavy breathing thing. 

I knew that pushing my legs on this run would help me in Honolulu. Running through fatigue now at a much faster pace is good training. I was well over a minute faster than my goal marathon pace. 

We hit Mile Two at the Western Ave intersection. I came in at 7:29. I was working but still felt pretty good. 

Finishing the Cambridge Winter Classic 

Now we were about a mile to the finish. I still felt good and decided to hold on as much as I could. I passed a few more people and hoped they wouldn’t be passing me just before the finish!

Around 2.6 miles we turned onto Brookline Street. This is the last long stretch of the race. Only one more turn to the finish. I was feeling the race and my left knee was acting up a bit, but not too much.

There were a few people out spectating, but it was 40 something degrees and raining. You can’t expect a crowd. 

Before long I could see the final turn. My watch chimed for mile three and I had a pace of 7:25. It was now down to about 1/10 of a mile. 

I noticed there weren’t that many runners around me as I made the last turn. Often it is crowded at the finish. Maybe I’ll get a good photo? 

As I approached the finish line I saw 24:07 on the clock. I knew it took me a few seconds to cross the line, so maybe I would get under 24. My watch showed 24:16 when I stopped it after the last timing mat. 

There weren’t that many people at the finish line. I saw some high school kids walking towards the runners with bottles of water and I happily grabbed one. As I passed a table with more water bottles I grabbed another. I thought I might need it.

I kept walking down Franklin Street away from the crowd and towards the team tents and beers! It was still raining and I wasn’t waiting for anyone, so why hang out in the rain?

As I walked along I had hoped to see a food company providing samples. I was actually hungry during the race and was looking forward to a little something. Unfortunately, no one was there.

I chugged down my water and headed for a recycle bin. Another runner was in front of me tossing in two bottles of water! Don’t mind waiting for that!

Apre 5K

I headed down the left side of the plaza towards the beer stand. When I went to look for my tickets I didn’t see them on my bib. I thought maybe I tore them off while running. Turns out they were just folded under my bib! 

As I approached the beer stand, mud oozed into my wet shoes! I tore off two tickets, grabbed two IPAs and headed for the tent. I was hoping to avoid the soon to appear crowd and the mud which was sure to get worse. 

I put down my beers took off my jacket and racing shirt and put on a dry cotton University of Maine t-shirt. It felt a little better, but my jacket was still wet.

After a few minutes Jessica Crispin and Christina DiCalogero from The Melrose Running Club showed up. They were cold and wet also, but were in good spirits and had run a good race. The ladies hung out and chatted for a while.

As they went to leave we insisted that they take of one the six packs on the table. Surely their husband’s or someone would enjoy the beer, even if they didn’t want to drink them.

I saw other people looking at their phones and I kept waiting for a text message with my finish time. I never got one. My official results were emailed to me later in the day.

I ran 24:11 at a 7:47 pace. That was good enough for 244th over all and 18th in the Men’s 50-59. I made the top 30% in my bracket and top 25% over-all. I know that’s pretty good, but I just can’t seem to get under 24 minutes lately. 

I’m not complaining. If I want 23 or 22, maybe 21? I need to work for it. I can be done, I just need a little more discipline.

Within a half hour we had a dozen people or so around the table. I recognized most of them from previous races and even knew the names of a few! I always have so much fun hanging around after a race talking with people and having a few beers. Paul Clark dropped by to say hello, and he seemed to know everyone at the table. I think he made his way around to every table after the race. 

Even with the canopy tent, it was still cold and wet. I drank less than my limit, grabbed a six-pack and headed for home.

Run well my Friends and stay warm!

Andy

FULL RESULTS

Melrose YMCA Spooky Sprint 5K 2017

The Melrose YMCA Spooky Sprint has been a popular race with Melrose Running Club members for years.

It starts across the street from where the club meets and many runners come out for the 5K run with their kids.

This year the MRC had 38 runners, which may be an all time high.

MRC at the Melrose YMCA Spooky Sprint

Melrose Running Club, Spooky SprintThe top Melrose Running Club finisher was Charlotte Tysall at 18:52! She was the second place women’s finisher over all, and came in 9th place over all.

Nicola Tysall came in first in her age group at 24:08! Nicola ran with her mother who also came in at 24:08.

Kate Sikkema came in second in her age group at 24:54, but she had her dad Mike to hold her back! After the race Mike said that Kate had improved her finish by more than a minute over last year’s finish.

Kate Sikkema, Mike SikkemaCynthia Berger came in second in her age group at 24:11 and Judy Dolan placed second in her age group at 29:47.

Ed Bradford came in first in his age group at 19:10! Ed was the top men’s finisher for the MRC and came  in 11th place over all.

Congratulations to everyone on your great runs.

Running Melrose YMCA Spooky Sprint

Many of us have run this course many times, but it is still challenging. The race starts on East Foster Street next to the YMCA. All the way up Foster it is up hill until we turn right onto Lebanon Street.

Ed Bradford, Melrose YMCA Spooky Sprint

Lebanon rolls a little bit and then goes down hill as we approach the right onto Sylvan Street. Sylvan has another hill and then we run through the gravel parking lot behind the ball fields and track at Pine Banks.

When I first started running on the gravel it felt odd and it seemed difficult to solidly land my feet. I thought about slowing down to avoid rolling an ankle. About half way across the parking lot it suddenly felt natural and I passed a few people.

At the end of the lot we ran across the wet grass to Woodside Road. Woodside winds behind the care takers home and has a bit more hill. On this road at about 1.6 miles they had the water stop. It was a cool day and few people seemed to be stopping.

We ran Woodside out to Main Street and took a right. The road seemed closed or at least patrolled, so some of us ran on the side of the street. We were now about two miles into the run and people were slowing down.

As we approached the intersection with Sylvan Street I remembered that this race had a few turns before the finish.

There were police at the Sylvan and Wyoming Street intersections. The smaller streets were not controlled. As we approached Grove Street it became apparent the the street was open to traffic and many people ran on the sidewalk.

The crowd of runners was pretty thin as we ran up Grove. At the corner of Dell Ave we took a left and a small crowd cheered us on. I could hear someone close behind me on Dell Ave so I kept pushing.

As we turned left onto Foster I heard steps getting closer. I kept pushing but three or four people younger than I passed by quickly.

I had a good run and felt comfortable and in control the entire race. I finished in 67th place at 23:39 for a pace of 7:37. I could have started closer to the front and pushed harder and maybe placed third.

But for some reason, that drive was not in me. With 42 days to my marathon, I approached this race as a speed workout. Avoiding injury so I can continue training is more important than placing.

Apre Spooky Sprint

Melrose YMCA Spooky Sprint 5K 2017People were hanging out after the race. A lot of people were there with their children and many people knew each other.

I quickly headed for the donut table and picked up half of a chocolate glazed donut. It’s better to grab a donut from the back of the rack and before the kids get there!

I watched one little boy touch three or four donuts like he was buying fruit. He settled on the fifth half jelly donut he touched, which looked just like the other four. But what do I know?

These cup cakes looked really good. But I had a donut and was able to resist.

I got to talk with many MRC members, but not everyone. When people are wearing costumes, it can be difficult to tell who they are!

There are a lot of photos on Facebook. The photos posted here are from Rob Busby and the YMCA’s photographer.

Melrose YMCA Spooky Sprint Results

Run Well My Friends!

Andy

Running What Moves You 5K

What Moves You 5K was my first 5K for June. The race takes place in Exeter, NH which is about 53 miles from my house!

I swore off these long drives for short races years ago. But I signed up for the Will Run for Beer series and this was the fifth race that I needed to complete my series and get my jacket. What a guy will do for a jacket!

Moving Down the Highway

I woke up around 6AM like I usually do. The house was warm and the windows were light. It felt like summer. I planned to leave around 7AM, but left the house around 6:30.

I find that if I putter around the house time slips away and I end up hustling to get where I need to be.

My bag was packed and I topped off my water bottle.

After I got onto 93 North I set cruise control for 65 mph and tried to relax. There wasn’t any traffic and I had plenty of time. I brought some CDs with me so I wouldn’t have to keep looking for good music on the radio.

What Moves You 5K Club LOCOWhen I pulled into the garage at Exeter Hospital, the crew was still getting their instructions. I was parked on the top deck before the volunteers emerged from the stairwell.

It felt hot already. I checked my gear and had some water before heading off to get my bib and shirt.

There were plenty of volunteers and few runners yet. I quickly got my bib and shirt and used the facilities.

I headed back to my car to pin on my bib and do my final race prep.

 

What Moves You 5k, Club LOCO, Exeter Hospital

Running What Moves You 5K

Around 8:20 I started my stretching routine. It was hot! Around 8:30 I left the garage and did some light jogging to warm up. I followed the race route out to Portsmouth Ave and ran past the shopping plaza where the race started.

Then I headed for the shade, did some more stretching and sat down.

Around 8:50 they had us line up. The area right behind the starting line had few runners. The announcer told the faster runners to fill in the front and for everyone to move up. No one really seemed to pay attention.

I was about 20 feet back from the line and could have walked up another 10 feet easily. It was hot and I think most people wanted to take it easy. I finished my drink and put the bottle on the side walk. No barrels of any kind were in sight.

They played The National Anthem and we were off.

The crowd wasn’t too bad as we turned onto Alumni Drive. There were definitely some fast people here. When we tuned onto Portsmouth Ave they had one side of the road blocked off for us.

We were in full sun and I saw 80° on a bank clock right after we got onto Portsmouth Ave. It felt warmer than that. Having those last few drinks just before the start made me confident that I wouldn’t stroke out. 

5K course, 5k runningLooking up I could see the police car and lead runners about a quarter mile ahead of me. The running lane had dropped down to the breakdown lane and the crowd had thinned out. I also noticed my running buddy Brian Sarro up ahead.

Brian usually finishes ahead of me and I wondered if I could catch him in this heat. As we turned onto Holland Way, Brian was still ahead of me.

We were near Rt 101, which is a busy road, but there were woods and swamp on either side of the road. There were some homes and businesses, but it was almost like running in the country.

As we approached the 1 mile sign I had a moment of doubt. This was the hottest race I’ve run since last summer, my running miles are still low and I’m still carrying my holiday gift with me. It wasn’t so much a question of did I want this. I was actually concerned about my ability to do it.

I was damp with sweat and was giving at least a 90% effort. I knew that there was water before mile two, but this felt like extreme conditions. Was this even safe to do?

My watch chimed 7:36 right at the One Mile sign. I don’t think that has ever happened before. The time was very good and it boosted my confidence. If I could keep the rest of my miles under an 8:00 pace, I might be able to hit a 24 minute 5K.

With that, I was all in. We were on a bit of a decline, so I picked up the pace and started looking for shade and that water stop!

I saw a rugged young guy in front of me. He had on a t-shirt, compression shorts, shorts, compression socks and gym socks. I was probably 30 years older than him, but I knew the sun was going to melt him down.

He was soaked through with sweat just like me, but I was dressed for the conditions. It probably took half a mile, but I passed him and was having some cold water when he crossed the finish line.

We made a sharp right onto Rt 27. There were red cones marking our running lane on the side of the road. The lane was pretty narrow and I was worried I would trip over a cone while trying to make the turn!

As we approached Mile Two I could see the water stop. Brian was still ahead of me and I didn’t think I was going to catch him. I saw Brian grab a cup and right behind him I grabbed a cup.

Brian started walking through the water stop while he drank. He seemed okay and was at a support station. So I knew he would be alright. I really expected him to catch up with me.

I tossed water down my throat between breathes. I got most of it down the hatch and even managed to get my crumpled cup into the trash! I was feeling pretty good.

Finishing What Moves You 5K

We were on the home stretch. I had lost sight of the lead runners and their police escort soon after the first mile. Oh well, I wasn’t going to win this one!

Mile Two came in at 8:03. I was slowing down too quickly and was running slower than I thought. 24 minutes seemed out of question at this point.

With only 1.2 miles to go, I decided to press on and see how close I could get.

I began to recognize some buildings as we ran back into town, and I thought we were too close to the finish to get in a full 5K.

They had us take a few turns and looped us behind the hospital on Alumni Drive. We made our final turn and I finished strong in front of the parking garage.

Mile Three came in at 7:49 and the last 0.12 mile came in at 6:43.  My watch and the timing company both had me at 24:19! So close to my goal!

I exchanged first bumps with a few runners that finished with me and gulped down a 500ml bottle of ice cold water. It tasted so good!

I saw Brian and Lisa Hentschel finish and headed for the snack tables. I skipped the bananas and yogurt as they didn’t seem like they would agree with my stomach. I managed two CLIFF bars and a Hint water.

I walked up four flights of stairs to drop my loot off at my car and then walked down four flights of stairs for a beer and a bite to eat.

On the way over to Margarita’s I found a spot to lay down and put my feet up. Lately I’ve been trying to elevate my feet for five minutes after a run. It’s supposed to help drain the junk out of your legs after a run. Apparently your heart only pumps out and does not actually pull the blood out of your lower extremities.

I think it’s too soon to tell, but my knees seem to bother me less. But my knees could be improving do to yoga and the gym.

What Moves You Apre Party

Melrose Running Club, What Moves You 5KThe North Shore contingent of the Melrose Running Club was there. Brain Sarro, Derek and Lisa Hentschel, Brian’s nephew and his wife and Dan and his wife. Sorry, but I’m really bad with names.

Derek had secured a seat on the covered patio with two tables. I redeemed my one beer ticket and got a breakfast burrito.  The beer was cold, the burrito tasty and the conversation lively.

I had a long 50+ mile drive home. So after I fished my apre race meal I said good bye to all and headed for the door.

That race was a taste of things to come.

Full Results Here

Run well my friends!

Andy

Stonyfield 5K 2017 Londonderry New Hampshire

Stonyfield 5K 2017 was the 7th running of this New Hampshire 5K. Taking place at the Stonyfield Farm Yogurt Works in Londonderry, NH this was quite a drive from the Greater Boston Area (GBA).

Driving to Stonyfield 5K

I needed this race so that I could fit five races into my schedule from the Club LOCO “Will Run for Beer” series. The series has eleven events on the schedule including three half marathons. If you finish five races you get a “Will Run for Beer” series wind breaker.

I’m not in half marathon condition so I had to weave five 5K races into my complex and shifting schedule this year.

Focusing more on my schedule than where this race was, I didn’t notice that the race was right next to the Manchester Airport! That’s about a 50 mile drive, one-way, from my house. 100 miles RT to run a 5K and I didn’t even have anyone with me!

I guess that is why I’ve never run the Stonyfield 5K before, it’s just too far away. It is an easy drive up Rt 93, but it’s one hell of a drive. Even with no traffic it took me about 45 minutes.

Arriving around 8:30, all of the parking lots were full. I was directed to park on the road, closer to the event than most people.

Running Stonyfield 5K

Stonyfield 5K, londonderry 5k raceAs I approached the race area it was easy to spot the bib pickup tents. Most people already had their numbers, so the lines were short. I picked up my bib and shirt in no time.

I guess sometimes it pays to be late!

I saw my friends Brian Sarro and Derek and Lisa Hentschel. It’s been about a month since we ran and hung out in Newmarket, NH. That was a wild party!
Stonyfield 5k, petting zoo

It was a little on the cool side, so everyone decided to head back to their cars to get ready and stay warm.

As I was walking through the parking lot I saw the Charmingfare Farm Petting Zoo for the kids. As I walked by I could see and hear how excited the kids were to touch the chickens and rabbits in the cages.

I sat in my car, pinned on my number and had part of a Clif Protein bar and something to drink. The temperature was in the low 50s and there was a light breeze, but I decided to go with just the singlet.

Lately I’ve been over dressing for races and it hasn’t helped my performance.

Around 9:30 I headed back to the race area and stood in line for the porta-potties. I was lucky to find a short line which was also close to the starting area.

I couldn’t get near the front and so started about 300 runners back. Someone sang the National Anthem and then we started. It took about a minute to cross the start line.

stonyfield 5K, londonderry 5k raceIt was very crowded as we headed down Burton Road. About 400 yards into the race I ran into four people walking arm in arm! I was pissed. Nothing against walkers, but what the f@#% are they doing at the front of the race? That is just inconsiderate, stupid and even dangerous.

After the race a friend said he thought about tackling them. I saw many walkers at the head of the pack. Maybe they don’t know any better or maybe they just don’t care. All of the stroller runners started near the back.

We crossed Harvey Road and ran down Aviation Park. The pack began to spread out and I started moving up. This was our first cul-de-sac turnaround and gave us a chance to see the leaders as they headed back out to Harvey Road.

From Aviation Park we took a right onto Harvey Road. We had one side of the road to run on and plenty of police.

As we came down the Harvey Road hill, a large runway came into view! Did I mention the race was next to the Manchester Airport? I wondered out loud which airport this was and wouldn’t it be cool to have a jet take off and fly over us.It also donned on me just how far I had driven.

As I said this, the guy next to me said a jet just taxied onto the runway. He took out his phone and started taking pictures. Sure enough, just after we made the turn onto Delta Drive and were under the flight path, the jet flew over us. Amazingly, the jet was quieter than when they fly over my house!

Delta Drive was our second turn around on a cul-de-sac. Just as we turned they had the water stop. The road is wide and I tried to make a tight turn. As I did so I had to look out for runners spinning off the turn to get a drink.

We hit mile two shortly after the turn. My first mile was 7:52 and mile two was 7:55. Not bad, but I wasn’t going to be close to 24 minutes.

On the way back we ran up the hills we had just run down. My knees had tweaked a few times, but felt pretty good. I had some juice in the tank and my temperature was perfect, so I kicked it in and ran those hills.

Lots of people were toast at this point. Many who were still racing began to drop back as I charged up the first hill. As I came down Delta Drive hill, just before the turn I caught up to Lisa Hentschel. We chatted for a few moments and I pushed ahead.

After the turn was the last hill. It was probably about 30 feet over half a mile. Not a big hill but enough to feel it.

My legs still felt good. I hadn’t really trained for this race, but I did run intentionally for it. My Tuesday night run was 7.24 miles and my Thursday run was 4.15. I felt good on both runs and knew I needed them for my legs and to build my cardio a bit. Not much you can do in two runs, but they felt good.

It seemed to be paying off. I would spot the next runner in front of me and head for them. Some were younger and some were older, but I passed them all. A few younger runners also passed me and there was nothing I could do about that.

Finishing the Stonyfield 5K

As the Harvey Road hill crested, I could see police cars in the road ahead. This was our turn onto Burton Way and to the finish.

I began to recognize the area and saw the group of cheering children that we saw on the way out. Just after the turn my watch hit the three mile mark and my pace was 8:12. Those hills definitely slowed me down. My average pace was now 7:58.

I kicked in for the last tenth of a mile or so and ran a 7:00 pace. My watch gave me a 25:20 finish and my official time was 25:18. The only difference was that my distance was 3.18 which gave me a pace of 7:58, they had me at 8:09.

I was a little winded after the finish but recovered quickly. I grabbed a water and walked around a bit, then headed back to my car.

It was too cold to stand around in a wet singlet. I stripped it off, toweled off and put on my Stonyfield 5K t-shirt. I put the singlet back on for some extra warmth.

Stonyfield 5K LondonderryAs I approached the biergarten I could see Brian with a beer all ready! The bouncer let me in with just the gray beard on my face as proof of age. I said hi to Brian, Lisa, Derek and the gang and went to get a beer. No line!

I went back to the gang and saw some people had hot dogs. Brian held my beer so I could leave the biergarten and get a dog. There wasn’t a line but a dad in front of me was holding two young children and the three of them couldn’t seem to make up their minds what to do.

With dog in hand I headed back to the gang to enjoy good company and good beer. It turned out that my dog was cold, but I ate it anyway! As usual, we had fun talking and catching up.

It was still a little cool and I had decided to only have a beer or two. They were changing over kegs and the line was long so I decided one was enough. I parted company with my friends, walked around a bit and headed for home.

RACE RESULTS

Run well my Friends!

Andy

Running Craicfest 2017 5K Road Race

Craicfest 2017 was a frosty, fun run.

Running Craicfest 2017

After a spell of warm weather, the Greater Boston Area has been plunged into a deep freeze. We had snow on Friday and a big storm is expected Tuesday into Wednesday.

Sunday morning it was 9° F when I left my house. Fellow MRC runner Diarmuid Cahill parked at my house and we carpooled into Cambridge. It took a few minutes for my old car to warm up.

We made a quick stop at Starbucks at Station Landing and got to The Cambridgeside Galleria Mall in no time. Diarm had to pick up his number so we made a quick foray into the garage.

We were chilled to the bone in just a few minutes. It made deciding what to wear for the race easy: just about everything we brought! As we sat in the car a group of people got into a car a few rows in front of us. I thought I recognized Andy Brown.

After a few minutes we decided to use the facilities. On the way back I heard someone yelling my name, and it turned out to be Andy! He was with Matt and Andrea Kerton.

We went over and chatted for a few minutes, then headed back to my car to warm up and finish our race prep.

I didn’t want to over dress, but it was only about 9° out. I ended up with four layers on top with my MRC singlet on top. I also wore my purple neck gaiter just for fun.

Around 9AM they started calling us to the start. We decided to wait until 9:15 because it was so cold, and we were close to the exit to the starting area.

Running the Craicfest

Around 9:15 the five of us headed for the start. It seemed like everyone else had the same idea. Before we got too far we asked a stranger to take a group photo for us. Haven’t we all done this for someone?

Craicfest, Melrose Running Club

Diarm and I never saw these guys again and missed Katherine Kulig also. Katherine was the first MRC runner to cross the finish line at 21:38 in 97th place.

Diarm is new to running but he is fast and a serious runner. We saw the pace signs and Diarm thought we should line up with the 7:30 to 7:59 group. I wasn’t feeling that fast but figured, what the hell!

After a few minutes the start area filled in and they had us move forward. Before we knew it, we were about 20 people from the front and in the “way less than 6 minute pace” group. I knew we were close to the front and when I turned around and saw all of the people behind us, I realized just how far in front we were.

For the start, they actually used a starter pistol. At least that’s what it sounded like. We jogged for about 10 seconds and then the sprint for the first left hand turn was on.

Craicfest 2017 mapThe turn onto Charles Street seemed to take 15 seconds to reach. We ran past the mall and took a left onto Land Boulevard in front on The Sonesta hotel. It seemed odd to be running through this normally congested intersection.

As we ran over the Broad Canal, a vicious wind whipped down the canal to greet us. It wasn’t 9F anymore, it was F’ing 9 below!

We then crossed another busy intersection by The Science Museum and headed for the Gilmore Bridge. We were fully exposed to the wind.

As we ran past Bunker Hill Community College there had to be 200 students cheering us on. It was completely unexpected and totally awesome!

At this point, Diarm was starting to move ahead. I was running at about 100% and knew I had to save some juice to get through the race. I skipped the water stop at Mile 1.

Soon after the water stop on Rt. 99 we took a right into the Millers River Basin park area. I’ve run parts of these trails before, but today we took the full tour.

Craicfest 2017 Trail Run

This is an area that has been re-developed since the Big Dig. What was probably an industrial waste land is now a great place to run. There is also a skateboard park in there somewhere.

We looped down to the locks that keep Boston Harbor from flooding into The Charles River at high tide. We turned here at about 1.5 miles and headed under Rt 93 and The Zakim bridge. As I ran along I looked up at the bridge way over our heads. It really is something to see.

Then we crossed the Millers River and went over the MBTA tracks for North Station. Fortunately there was only one train coming into the station, so we avoided too much diesel exhaust.

Then we made several loops in Northpoint Park and left the park on Northpoint Boulevard. At this point we were about 2.5 miles into the race. As we crossed the Gilmore Bridge Road the cop who was directing traffic encouraged us by telling us that there was cold beer waiting for us at the finish!

I knew that we were close to the finish, but it seemed to sneak up on me. Northpoint Boulevard ended and we took a left onto East Street which went through another incredibly busy intersection on The O’Brien Highway. Before I knew it, I was on First Street and I could see the finish line.

Many Boston Marathon runners have had the experience of turning onto Boylston Street and seeing the finish line. They run and run and it never seems to get closer. I had a scaled down version of that today.

I really didn’t have any juice left for a final kick. Other people did and ran past me. I could see the finish line and I didn’t care. I think the photographer got a good picture of me because there wasn’t anyone around me!

I crossed the finish line around 24:40 and breathlessly grabbed a water. As I walked along I spotted Diarm in his MRC singlet standing near the entrance to the mall parking garage.

As I caught my breathe we talked about the race and how cold it was. Very few people were in the garage, so we made a quick sweep of the vendor tables. With our samples and a beer, we headed for the car to warm up and change. We did have to finish our beer before leaving the party zone.

Apre Craicfest 2017

After warming up and putting on heavier clothes, we headed back to the party. We loaded our pockets up with samples and had some more beer. Eventually we ran into Cynthia and Greg Berger.

Cynthia Berger, Greg Berger, Craicfest 2017

They had enjoyed the race and were having fun walking around. Greg wore only shorts and a Boston Celtics headband! He said he was fine, but I was cold as hell and wore double what he did!

We chatted for about five minutes and they headed out. Diarm and I made another round of the vendors and were given mall synch (sp?) bags so we could carry more stuff!

I know that the vendors do not want to pack all of that stuff back into their cars. They were freezing too, and the sooner they ran out the sooner they could leave.

We got all kinds of stuff, and people were trying to give us more. Next time, I’m bringing a shopping cart!

To Craic or not?

The Craicfest 2017 5K is the 3rd race in the Melrose Running Club Race Series. I pulled the series together in mid December 2016 and picked races I thought people would enjoy. The Craicfest had a competing race and one that people had signed up for before I published the Race Series list.

The Craicfest 5K runs through a part of Cambridge that few if any other races do. The other race is less expensive and closer to home, but everyone I spoke with wants to run the Craicfest again next year.

I thought it was a fun race also and I think we will Craicfest in 2018!

Full results HERE. This link also has some cool demographics.

I also heard that our team came in 13th out of 43 teams. Not bad!

Run well my Friends!

Andy

2017 Cupids Chase 5K Road Race

Cupids Chase 5K

After a one week weather delay, the 4th Annual Cupids Chase took place in Wakefield, MA.

This is the second race in the Melrose Running Club Race Series. Unofficially, I think we had about a Cupids Chase 5K, MS Society, Cupids Chasedozen runners turn out. The postponement probably didn’t help. For some people February vacation began Friday night also.

The official results show 206 finishers which is up quite a bit from 2016.

The winner was Ciara Camire of Beverly with a time of 20:1. Second place went to Julie Barrett  of Wilmington finished in 20:40. The top man to finish came in 3rd over all, which is quite unusual.

Douglas Cronin of Waban finished in 21:17.

Cupids Chase 5K, Matt Kerton
Courtesy – Andrea Kerton

The top Melrose Running Club finisher was Matthew Kerton at 22:30. Matt won his age group also.

Next was Diarmuid (Derm) Cahill who came in first in his age group at 23:13. Audie Bridges came in second in his age group at 24:02. Don Keren, our club President, came in third in his age group.

The three of them cleaned up the 60-69 men’s age group bracket!

I came in 29th over all and 2nd in my age group at 24:34.

Just about everyone I spoke with enjoyed themselves. It was cold, but it wasn’t raining and it was a 5K on a flat course.

There is a long slow rise in the road around mile 2.5 that you would barely notice in a car. You certainly notice it near the end of a race!

Cupids Chase Chaser

It was too cold to wait at the finish line and cheer people on, though many of us did hang out for a bit.

The after race party was fairly subdued. The food options were limited and they had Sam Adams by the bottle. This made it difficult for the bar tenders to keep up with a long line of thirsty runners.

It was great to have a Saturday race. Several runners were also running the MRC Sunday Long Run, so this was great for them. A few people had to rush off to take care of family commitments and the usual Saturday errands we all have.

I think most people had a beer, socialized a bit and headed out. I heard that the Mac & Cheese was awesome!

Full race results here.

Melrose Running Club, Cupids Chase

 

A few photos