Cambridge Winter Classic 5K 2021

Only my second in person 5k of 2021!

I’ve run the Cambridge Winter Classic almost every year since it’s inception.

One year it was so cold that they had a huge tent with sides. Not just a canopy or pop-up. That was a wild day!

This year it was a seasonable 37-40º F. Balmy.

Getting Ready to Run the Cambridge Classic 2021

I’ve been dealing with injuries for about a year now. I’m beginning to think of this as “middle-aged runners syndrome”. It’s not just an injury. Not sure it qualifies as a “syndrome” but it’s more than a simple injury.

I got to the race before all of the barriers were up and was able to get a parking spot right off of Sydney Street.

Very few people were there so I was able to pick up my bib and shirt without standing in line.

I took everything back to my car and got my running kit together. It seemed nice enough that I would not need a jacket. Instead I tucked my phone into a running belt and put on some sun screen.

My PT, Sarah, has been telling me how important dynamic warm ups are, so I went out for a slow jog.

I headed towards Race Central and used the porta potty and continued on my way.

This part of Cambridge is really cool. Parts are residential as they have been since before Paul Revere and The American Revolution. Other parts are post industrial buildings and MIT sprawl.

Running a very slow pace, 13.20, I was able to look deeper into yards and further down side streets. I love architecture and history so it was more of a visual treat than a warm up run.

My vivid imagination saw people walking to foundries and shoe factories. I imagined all the secret work that MIT and Harvard did in those industrial looking buildings during WWII and The Cold War.

Cambridge, MIT, warm up run My knee hurt for a while and I actually wondered if it would be a mistake to run this race.

I’ve experienced more pain during a marathon, but a marathon is a mission. Neither hell nor high water will stop me.

It’s a fucking crazy frame of mind. It’s much easier to walk away from a 5K, or even not start. I’ve done it once or twice before.

When I got back to the Team Clark table my left knee was at least a 4 on a scale of 1-10. I did some stretching, walked about and did a bit more un-recorded running. It did happen even though it’s not logged!

Running The Cambridge Classic 2021

Before the race the only person I saw that I know is the race director Paul. There were about 3,000 runners including 6-8 from my club.

I hung out at the table until 9:23 and then slowly made my way to the back of the pack.

As I walked down Sydney Street I could see that we had a good crowd today. I kept going until I got to the end.

I chatted with another guy my age who had a similar idea. His was to start in the back and see how many people he could pass.

When they started the race, we were so far back that I couldn’t tell if the race had begun. As we walked to the start we wished each other a good race and parted.

It was interesting to be walking with the people with strollers. As I crossed the start I began a light jog. It took a great deal of restraint to not pass everyone.

When we got to the first turn onto Pacific Street I was running easy. A few times I was running behind elementary-school kids.

My mission was to run a 30-minute 5K.

As we turned onto Albany Street I could see people running onto the sidewalk or tucking in to the curb for a tight turn. I held back and stayed behind the kids.

The perfectly executed turn was not of my concern today.

As we ran down Albany Street I began to pass people. Many were walkers or almost walkers. If I went any slower I felt like I was going to fall over!

I tried to look around and take in the sights. I also had to watch the pavement as there were some rough spots.

When we turned onto Mass Ave I had to control my self. One of my favorite things to do is run down Mass Ave in Cambridge.

Normally it is 5-6 lanes of traffic and impatient drivers. On race day it is all ours.

I did pick up the pace a bit but rarely hit a 10 minute pace. Nothing hurt and it just felt so slow!

As we approached the left onto Putnam Ave I could tell that my cardio had slipped. I wasn’t gasping for breath, but I also wasn’t pushing it.

I made the turn at exactly 1.55 miles.

As we ran down Putnam I decided to maintain my pace until the two-mile mark. Then I would see how I felt.

Mile one was 11:44 and mile two was 10:22.

Finishing The Cambridge Classic 2021

Mile three began just after we crossed Western Avenue. It was a bit of a downhill so I went with it.

This road is in rough shape with wavy pavement and a few potholes. So I had to pay attention.

As I weaved between runners I herd bits of conversation about time at Harvard Law and joining the SEAL program. I also saw many MIT shirts running down the street. But I was passing these folks.

I tried not to open it up like I normally would at this stage in the race. And I really wanted to!

But I knew if I broke anything my PT would not be impressed! So I kept mile three to a 8:34 pace.

8:34 felt “fast” and I felt like my legs got the stretch that they needed. They wanted.

When we hit mile three I heard someone tell their running partner that they had 0.2 miles to go and they both put in the kick. I had to chuckle.

Hopefully they were able to maintain their kick for almost a quarter mile.

The street was narrow and many of us were bunching up. I thought about kicking but decided to keep a more constant pace.

My last 0.27 miles came in at a 9:07 pace. Not bad.

Apre Cambridge Winter Classic 2021

After the finish line I grabbed a bottle of water and headed for my car. I wanted to put on my jacket before the freeze set in.

In no time I was headed for the beer table. Security looked at my beard and told me to grab two beers.

Cambridge Winter Classic 2021, Zero Gravity BrewingI took the Zero Gravity Madonna IPA and a Conehead IPA. The Madonna was 8% and 90 IBU. It was actually too malty and sweet for me. Often brewers try to off-set a high IBU with extra malt.

Since I wasn’t enjoying it and the alcohol was 8%, I left 3/4 of it on the table. Blasphemy, I know!

The Conehead didn’t list the IBU which is odd since it features a cone of hops on the label. But at 5.7% it was much more enjoyable.

The Paul Clark table always has a few of the same folks for every race. I don’t know most of their names and some of us are getting older!

But we always have fun talking about the race, running in general and beer!

There were a few people who were new to me and we had a good chat.

Heading for the corral I saw one of my friends, Jessie Almeida. We just said hello and headed to our spots. During the race I caught up to Jessie on Mass Ave. She had earbuds and was doing a walk/run program.

We chatted a bit, but I could see I was interrupting her plan.

But after the race she came by the table with a few of her friends and we chatted for about 15 minutes. We talked science, running and beer.

By this time the crowd was thinning and most of us had reached our limit.

When I turned around my crew was gone and there was a twelve-pack of Zero Gravity with 11 beers sitting on the table. How could I walk away from that? I also took two energy drinks.

There were most of two 12-packs left and I could have taken more. But I’m not a big fan of energy drinks.

It was great to get out and run a race and spend time with people.

It has been a long pandemic and injury recovery.

Run well my Friends!


Super Sunday 2019

The Melrose Running Club had a great time at Super Sunday 2019. Here are some photos, link to results and my recap.

The 12th Annual Super Sunday Run took place on Super Bowl Sunday.

It goes without saying that this was a cold day. The temperature was in the 30’s with a nice breeze off of The Charles River.

You can almost see the river from Race Central. This neighborhood of Cambridge is home to The Broad Canal which runs right beside Race Central. The Broad Canal is one of the last remnants of a once extensive canal system that Cambridge was known for.

In the summer the canal is a popular gathering area. People like to get lunch and hang out near the water. There is also a Super Sunday Race Central, Broad Canalkayak and canoe rental business that has become very popular.

In the winter the wind off of The Charles whips strait up the canal.

Fortunately, Race HQ was in a tent with sides. All of the people packed inside built up enough body heat to keep it warmer than the ambient temperature.

Bib and swag pickup was in here. After the race, awards and the band and a DJ were in the tent.

The Melrose Running Club had 31 runners and three volunteers at this race. The races were part of our Melrose Racing Series for the first time this year. We always have a few runners at this event, but this year the turn out was unbelievable.

The races raise money for cancer research and we had two cancer survivors on our team, including team captain Judy Dolan. Judy did an awesome job promoting the race to our club and got a huge crowd to show up.

The Super Sunday 2019 Races

You may have noticed that I keep saying races. That is because this event incorporates a 5K and a 5 mile race. Our club had 8 people run the 5K and 23 run the 5 Miler. Over all about 1400 people ran the races.

In 2015 I ran the 5K and I’ve run the 5 Miler each year since. 5 Mile races are rare so I like to run one when I can. It’s 1.9 miles longer than a 5K and a good way to push the 5K pace a little longer.

Since we had a VIP tent, we had a place to gather and stow our gear. Judy brought a coffee cake and a nice card and chocolate for everyone. Someone else brought banana bread and the race gave us 2 cases of Body Armour sports drink.

I picked up most of the numbers on Wednesday after work and Zelia Magliozzi picked up the rest on Saturday. It was a team effort. As people showed up I made sure they got the right bib and any raffle tickets or t-shirts they purchased.

Just like the bib pick up, it was a bit chaotic but we managed. I only ended up with one extra shirt that no one has claimed so far.

Then each runner had to pick up their race swag in the Race Central tent. Before I did the bib pick-up I thought swag was just hat or gloves. Turns out there were several different hats, a neck gator and bottle opener in addition to three sizes of gloves!

I took a few photos before the race but they didn’t come out very well.

Around 9:45 we headed for the starting line.

Running the 2019 Super Sunday 5 Miler

As we headed over the crowd seemed light. I thought maybe people were hanging out in the warm tent or parking garage lobby.

Walking down Athaneum Street I could see about 100 runners lined up behind the start. There were another hundred or so milling about looking a bit lost. I knew which side of the start line to head to and lead the gang down the street.

It was so cold that I kept my Cambridge Marathon jacket on! I didn’t see anyone else from The MRC at the start line, so I stepped up to the front.

I was standing there next to twenty-something year old guys in shorts and singlets. Some of them gave me the impression they didn’t like the old dude muscling in on their start line. I chatted up everyone around me.

About 5 of, Alain came to the start with his mic and told everyone which direction the race was going in and that we had a 5 Miler to get started.

I was determined to have a purple Melrose Running Club singlet in the start line photo, so I unzipped my jacket. It was cold, but I had to take one for the team, or club.

I heard some commotion behind me and turned to see a wheel chair racer making his way through the crowd. Alain said he was the first wheel chair racer ever to do a Super Sunday race. To give him time to get down the street Alain was going to start him on a verbal command one minute before the 5 milers.

And their off!

I’ve only started one other race this close to the front. In that race I kept up for about 100 yards and it was all over from there!

This time I was one person from the line and before I even crossed the line I was further back in the crowd! I was running with the big dogs!

Before we made our first left onto 3rd Street a hundred people had passed me. I knew this was going to happen but the idea was to make a good showing for the club.

I kept the after-burners on for as long as I could and mile one came in at 7:28. I knew that was unsustainable so I consciously backed off a bit.

The road was nice and flat, but the first mile of energy was gone. I was in real running mode now.

So many people were properly dressed and here I was in a heavy running jacket. I even forgot to double tie my laces. What a mess I thought.

Mile two clicked in just before Harvard Yard and our turn around. I grabbed a water at the water stop because I felt like I was going to need it. I managed a marathon gulp and didn’t loose much time. Mile two was 7:38.

Not bad. Had I managed to only loose 10 seconds or had I managed to hold my self back by 10 seconds?

And what the hell was I thinking? Over dressed, over weight and out of shape. Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead!

It was a bit of a relief to be turned around, but we had only run two of five miles. Not even half way, wise guy. I knew I had to save a bit of juice so I wouldn’t flame out.

We were now running east on Cambridge Street. I was amazed at how many bars, restaurants and shops of every variety I saw. It was block after block of interesting places. I may have seen one or two vacant store fronts.

The Last Half

Super Sunday 2019, Cambridge 5KWe hit half way mark near The Cambridge Hospital and I still felt okay.

I’ve become pretty obsessed with my watch this past year or so. I’ve always paid attention to it, but now I check it much more often.

When I ran Honolulu in 2017 the habit locked in. I was under-trained for that race and my strategy was to run even splits at my goal pace. It kind of worked, but that’s another blog post.

For the Super Sunday 5 Miler my goal was to run as fast as I could, just not under 7:30! That was working out pretty well as mile three came in at 7:44.

My goal was under 40 minutes so I had built in some cushion over the first three miles.

We were now at the 5K mark and I think they had a timing mat. I know I saw a timing mat out there somewhere. I think I did. It could be interesting.

Mile four chimed in at 8:05 just after we turned right onto 1st Street. One mile to go!

I certainly didn’t have any kick left for the end. The 5K runners had joined up with us around 3.5 miles. They were running a bit slower and some had young children with them.

I saw a few people walking, but most of them seemed to be with children.

Everyone around me seemed to be running comfortably. The caliber of runner in the 5 Miler seemed quite high. There were some super fast runners who I started with and there were solid 7:30 runners hanging with me now.

There wasn’t a lot of passing going on anymore. A few hot shots would shoot by us, but where the hell had they been all this time?

The Finish is out there Somewhere

First Street runs behind the Cambridge Gallaria Mall and Lechmere Canal. It was still early Sunday morning, but we had a few drivers backed up.

I knew we were close because I knew the neighborhood and was checking my watch. Part of me hoped the race was marked short! How many turns were we going to make in order to get to five miles?

We took a right onto Rogers Street for two blocks and then took a left onto 3rd Street and crossed Binney. Then we took a left onto Linskey Way. As we crossed 2nd Street I could see runners headed down Athaneum Street to the finish line.

At the end of Linskey we took a right back onto 1st Street and passed The Athaneum building and immediately took a right onto Athaneum Street.

Now I could see the finish. I really didn’t have any juice left for a kick so I just kept on pushing anyway.

The finish area was pretty clear. There was only a small crowd and I didn’t see anyone I knew. As I approached the finish line I could see that the clock still had 38 on it.

As I passed the clock it still had 38 on it! I had beaten my goal by more than a minute. I jogged down the street a bit and saw Mike Sikkema. I later found out that he had finished in 29:54 at a 5:58 pace! Smokin! And I don’t think it was even a PR for him.

As we talked and walked back towards Race Central we saw Dorota Bulik cross the line. She didn’t hear us call to her and we were getting cold so we kept heading towards the tent.

Dorota finished in 38:18 and was Team MRC’s 2nd place finisher. Mike was first. To her surprise, Dorota won her age group!

Super Sunday Apre Party

The great thing about having a VIP tent is that it gives everyone a gathering spot. Slowly everyone came to our tent and the fun began. Everyone had a good run and a good time.

The course is on good roads and is has plenty of police details to keep things safe.

The beer tents were on the other side of the plaza so Durm Cahill and I headed over. Mighty Squirrel and Sam Adams were pouring. The line for Mighty Squirrel was very long and the line for Sam Adams was not. I got a Sam Adams Lager and a Sam 76. Both were cold and tasted great.

When we got back to the tent Thuy Dang took one of my beers and headed for the beer tent. I thought she just wanted to try it, but really wanted a beer to drink while she was in line. She came back with two beers and gave me one.

After a while they came around with three pizzas for each tent from Za. They were hot and tasted great. We opened one pizza at a time to try and keep them hot or at least warm. I think everyone got a few slices.

We had a lot of fun comparing notes and enjoying each other’s company. Slowly people trickled away to other obligations. Mike Sikkema actually ran 10 miles back to his home in Melrose! He had to get those miles in.

I made a few trips to the beer tents and eventually made it to The Mighty Squirrel, but I don’t recall which beer I had. It was good though.

I also managed to get some buffalo wings from Miller’s Ale House. They were hot and spicy, just the way I like them!

Here are the Super Sunday Full Results

Run well my Friends!


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!



CambridgeSide 10K Classic 2018

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. 

CambridgeSide 10K Classic 2018, Melrose Running Club, Andy Nagelin
Most of The Crew

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. 

CambridgeSide 10K Classic, Cambridge 10K

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.

Apre 10K

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.

Cambridge Brewing Company had three offerings , but my favorite was their Remain in Light hoppy Pilsner. Just enough hops to make it interesting.

We all ended up with a bag full of samples, had a few beers and some good conversation. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures! I had my phone but my hands were full and other people took pictures. 


I’m sure there will be official race photos soon, so be sure to check back.

Run well my Friends,


Cambridge Summer Classic 5K 2018

The Cambridge Summer Classic 5K 2018 was a perfect race.

In 2017 we had a massive thunder and lightening storm roll in just after the race began. This year the temperature was around 70° and the sky was partly cloudy. The humidity was on the high end, but what do you expect for July in Cambridge?

Just over 2200 people registered for the race and 1770 finished. A pretty good turn out but the crowd did seem smaller than at previous races at the same location.

I think that a Thursday evening race in Cambridge is convenient and a nice change from always running on weekends. But, getting into Cambridge and finding parking can be a challenge.

Running Cambridge Summer Classic 5K

I walked across town from my office in Kendall Square. It was a great afternoon and I wanted to enjoy the nice walk back to my office after the race. As I walked West, everyone else seemed to be walking East towards the T stop.

I hadn’t walked too far down Sidney Street when I saw my buddy Don Keren parked in a primo spot. Street parking in that neighborhood during a race is always challenging but Don lucked out with a spot near the starting line.

We hung out for a bit and caught up on life in general and enjoyed the air conditioning in his car! After my walk it really felt good.

A little before six we headed for the porta-potties and then made our way to the team area. Once again I couldn’t pull together a team of twenty plus runners, so we landed at the race director’s table for folks like us. We didn’t have any beer on our table, but at least we had a place to leave our stuff and meet up after the race.

Around 6:15 Don and I headed for the corral. Don has been doing a lot of hiking and ran a half marathon the previous weekend. He was feeling a little beat up.

With my Father’s passing and a recent vacation I’ve barely run 20 miles in the past month. My legs were rested and my injuries were not barking at me, but my cardio was shot and my muscles were not ready for a strenuous run.

As we hung out in the corral none other than Dave McGillivray walked into the corral in front of us. He was hanging out talking to the runners around him just like I would do if I showed up at a race by my self. I had seen him walking around before the race and said hello. He smiled and said hello but obviously had no idea who I was. He was in a BAA 5K shirt and I thought maybe he was there to help out with the race or something.

At 6:30 they fired the starting gun and we were off. This time we ran east on Sidney Street and took a right onto Mass Ave, just like last year. Other races take a left onto Mass Ave or go West on Sidney and wind us through the neighborhood.

Don and I took the corner wide so as not to get caught in the crowd. My legs felt pretty good so I started to make my way. Before we took our turn off of Mass Ave I had passed Dave McGillivray and lost contact with Don. I really thought Don was following me through the crowd, but eventually I stopped looking for him and just ran.

At Mile One they had a water stop and I grabbed a cup. It was a warm evening and I felt like a drink. Thankfully they used paper cups and I was able to pinch the cup and drink on the run. Mile One came in at 8:10. A little faster than I had expected.

We were on Sidney Street and wound around to Putnam Street. Some areas looked familiar but others seemed like new territory for me. Cambridge neighborhoods have a lot of little parks. Probably lots where a house once stood and for one reason or another the city ended up with a lot on their hands and turned it into a park. It’s pretty cool.

There is also a lot of construction and re-hab of older buildings going on in Cambridge neighborhoods. The economy is just on fire in the Greater Boston Area (GBA) and they are building housing and office buildings everywhere.

From Putnam Street we took a right onto River Street. This is a busy street as it leads to one of the bridges into Boston. We had good traffic control and rush hour was slacking by the time most of us got to River Street.

Shortly after making the turn we hit Mile Two and I skipped the water stop. On these warm evenings races often have a water stop at every mile instead of just the half-way mark. It’s as much about safety for runners as it is about letting people have a refreshing drink to help their run.

Mile Two came in at 8:05. At this point in the race I was sweating through my shirt. I thought I saw sweat dripping from the shorts of some near-by runners. It was getting toasty!

As we ran down River Street I kept on pushing as hard as I could. I was probably only giving about 90% but it was my first race in about a month. I kept passing people and plenty of people kept passing me. I didn’t care. I had to run my race and not die doing it!

At about 2.25 mile we took a right onto Franklin Street and then a quick right onto Pearl Street. We still had over half a mile to go so I held back on any sort of kick. Some people were walking but most of us pushed on.

At about 2.75 mile we took a left onto Valentine Street and then another left onto Brookline Street. I recognized this street and knew that we were close! But I knew that there was at least one more more turn and possibly more. Once in a while they change up the course on us.

As we approached an intersection I thought I saw runners turning right! As I got closer I could see that everyone was turning onto Franklin Street and headed for the finish.

As we approached the finish some younger folks ran past me. I tried to leave some space for any potential photographer to get a good shot of me at the finish. I’m pretty good at not showing up in race photos. It’s pretty remarkable.

As I approached the finish it looked like I would finish in under 25 minutes. Not too bad. When I glanced around, I didn’t see a photographer!

My official time was 24:51 for an average pace of 8:00 exactly. I was 503rd out of 1770 finishers. Not too bad I thought.

Apre Cambridge Summer Classic 5K 2018

I grabbed a bottle of water and tried to get out of the way of the other finishers. I looked around for Don but didn’t see him. After a bit I started slowly walking to the beer garden hoping he would catch up to me.

cambridge Summer Classic 5KThings were pretty quite at the table when I arrived. They used a bracelet and beer tickets this year, so I went up and redeemed my tickets. Cambridge Brewing Company was poring at this race and their brews were pretty good. I’m sure I’ve had some of their beer before, but right off the tap is always best.

Soon after I got back to our table I saw Don walking across the park. He looked like a hot mess but said he had a pretty good race. There were a five more Melrose runners at the race, but we never saw them.

Don didn’t hang out too long. He had to get home so he gave his tickets to some people gathered at the table.

I hung out for a while and talked with runners that I’ve met at the same table at previous races. The group changes with each race and the races are months apart. It’s easy to forget names and faces. But as we hung out we got reacquainted and had fun drinking beer and talking.

It was a great evening to hang out and drink beer. The weather was perfect, the company good and the beer was flowing. But I had to take it easy and left after a few beers.

The walk back to Kendall Square was longer than I remembered, but still enjoyable. I always feel safe on these streets and I probably walk to fast for most people to bother with me. It’s essentially the MIT campus so there are a lot of people on the street and both MIT and Cambridge police around.

I’m looking forward to the Fall and Winter Classics! Join the Melrose Running Club team and lets get a table next time!

Cambridge Summer Classic 5K 2018 RACE RESULTS

Run well my Friends,


Cambridge Winter Classic 2017

This was my fourth running in five years of the Cambridge Winter Classic 5K. The race always takes place on the first or second Sunday in December.

Early in December you can get a relatively mild day or the deep freeze. This year it was relatively mild at 39° and a light breeze. If this was October we would have been freezing, but with Christmas only three weeks away, 39° felt pretty good. We even had some sun.

Running Cambridge Winter Classic 2017

Derm Cahill parked at my house, and the plan was to drive in and park at my office. When we got to the end of Third Street, an officer told me I couldn’t go 100 feet down the road to my office. We did one loop around the block into a one-way street and then back to the officer.

I told him there was no way around and he told me the road was closed for construction. As he watched, I pulled a U-turn in the intersection of 3rd and Broadway and headed west. Normally I would have drawn fire for that move!

I know the area well and was able to find a spot quickly. It didn’t take us long to get ready as we are used to this weather now.

The people in front of us started to move their car and told us there were some definitely legal spots down the road. Since Cambridge would ticket The Pope on Easter, I decided to move.

We found the table that the race director set aside for us non-affiliated runners, dropped our bags and headed for the facilities. Skipping the detail, all I will say is that women leave the most disgusting messes in porta-potties. Let’s just say it was beyond a few drops of pee on the seat.

Ipswich Brewery, Cambridge Winter Classic 5K 2017We headed back to the table and went for a short warm up jog. It was too cold to stand around for long. Ipswich Ale was poring, so we we grabbed some chachkas and checked out what they had for us. They had their 101 IPA, a lager and a Pilsner.

I’m glad to see brewers making Pilsners again. They are lighter and have lower alcohol which make them great for hanging out after a race. They are also more challenging to brew as a bad flavor cannot hide behind the hops.

Ipswich BreweryAround 9:20 we headed for the start on Sydney Street. The crowd seemed light on the mall and it seemed light at the start.

We entered near the start and only walked back about 20 people. Derm asked if we were back far enough. He didn’t really want to push it. I assured him that when they called the runners to the line, the crowd would move up and we could stay put.

I started my watch and we did some light stretching. Paul Clark called the runners to get ready, and no one moved up! My watch only had three bars, so I knew it would not be accurate.

Paul yelled out “go, go go!” and we were off in a flash.

We ran pretty quickly down Sydney to Pacific Street. People were passing us, but the plan was to not push until Mass Ave. Just after the turn onto Pacific Street my watch locked onto the satellites.

Derm was following my lead, so I moved to the right as we approached the left onto Albany Street. We weren’t running hard, so I didn’t want to get slowed down as everyone crowded the corner. There’s more than one way to make a turn.

As we ran down Albany Street I took in the now familiar converted factory buildings. I’m sure MIT owns most of these now, but I bet there is still a lot of cool stuff being invented and manufactured behind those walls.

A runner I know from Everett ran by me and said “Hey you’re training for a marathon!” We don’t even know each other’s names but we go to the same races all the time.

We were about a quarter mile into the race and I could feel the run. My watch said our pace was 13 and change, my legs told me we were under nine minute miles. We took the left onto Mass Ave tight to the curb but had plenty of room.

Hauling Mass Ave

We got over to the right of the yellow line and laid it down. Derm and I took turns on point and just hauled ass down Mass Ave. The crowd was sorting out now and there was room to move.

Some people passed us but we consistently weaved through the crowd and made our way to the turn onto Putnam Street. Way past the one mile marker on Mass Ave my watch chimed Mile One at 8:57.

We had settled into an aggressive pace and were making up for lost time. As we approached the turn onto Putnam Street I called out to Derm to get ready and stay wide to avoid the crowd.Then I told him to stay to the left to avoid the water stop crowd.

Maybe I missed it, but I didn’t see a water stop. At 39° it wasn’t really necessary anyway. Putnam is a neighborhood street with parking on both sides and things got crowded again.

We continued to make good progress. At the official Mile Two marker my watch said 1.8 miles. I had little hope of getting an accurate result from my watch.

When my watch did chime Two Mile, we had a 7:20 pace! We had really hauled Mass Ave!

To the Cambridge Winter Classic 5K Finish

Cambridge Winter Classic 5K 2017With my watch being so far off, it was difficult to tell exactly where we were. Somewhere beyond two miles, but not close enough to Three to kick.

Derm and I were talking about this and another runner asked about the distance. I told him I would guess we were around 2.5 miles. Still too far for two old guys to kick yet. Some runners were passing us, but we knew what we had to do.

The last mile had been 7:20 and we started to pick up the pace part way down Putnam Street. As the last turn came into sight we decided to kick.

It wasn’t a huge surge, but we definitely kicked in the after burners.

Coming around the last turn we were right of center but away from the curb. The kids were zipping past us but we were not dragging ass by any means.

As we approached the finish I could see it was less than 24 minutes on the clock. I thought we would be lucky to get under 25.

Cambridge Winter Classic 5K 2017 FinishjThere wasn’t any of that lightening fast last minute kick for the last 100 feet, but we did the last mile at a 7:18 pace and finished at 23:06.

My official pace was 7:26 which is my second fastest 5K of the year. The other race was on a known short course, so this race was my 2017 5K PR.



Cambridge Winter Classic 5K Party

We quickly moved through the finish area. A nice girl gave us each a bottle of water with a pleasant smile. I thanked her and kept on walking. I needed to keep moving.

Derm wanted to walk around the block, but I convinced him to take the first right towards the beer garden. Usually there are a few food vendors with samples and I wanted to eat something. Turns out, there wasn’t any food.

We got back to our table, grabbed some beers and quickly changed our shirts in the chilly air. Even in Natures Path Organic, chia, hempthe cold, the beer tasted great.

We had a case of Nature’s Path Organic Superfood bars on our table. They had a crew at the next table also. So we added some bars to the beers we slipped into our bags and started making friends.

People would stop at the table and meekly take one bar. I’d call out to them to help themselves and take a few more, some did. Somehow I find this fun to do. I did it at The Cambridge Fall Classic when there wasn’t anyone from Nature’s Path Organic. I got to talk to almost everyone at the race.

Cambridge Fall Races

A few more people showed up that Paul had invited to the table of mis-fit runners and we traded stories with them. Eventually Emily McDivitt and Liz Emerald showed up. Just like my friend from Everett, I see these ladies at all the races.

They didn’t stay for long, but we got to get a group photo.

We were beginning to get cold and I had to drive us home, so we headed out soon afterwards. It was an easy drive home without any closed roads.

Thank you to Paul Clark for setting us up with a table and putting on another fine race. Thank you to the citizens of Cambridge for putting up with us crazy runners yet again. We still block less traffic than MIT!


Run well my Friends!