5K number 30 has been completed
I ran the Let’s Get Movin’ New Balance Foundation Walk/Run 5K in East Boston.
The race was $10, near my house and fit my schedule. What’s not to love? I signed up on the 25th and we ran on the 30th.
When I signed up I noticed the oldest age group was 18+. It seemed a little odd that they didn’t have older age groups.
The race was at 10AM, and I had a leisurely drive. As I parked I noticed there was an army of orange t-shirt clad volunteers still setting up.
I was one of the first to pick up my number.
I went back to my car, drank some ice water, had some Lara bars and then went out for a jog. I was unfamiliar with the area so I jogged along the course for a half mile or so and turned back.
People were starting to gather. There were a ton of little kids and I began to notice most people were speaking Spanish. As I was stretching I struck up a conversation with a guy named Sergio.
He was there to support his son who was in the fitness program that New Balance sponsors. Neither one of them had ever run a 5K before. It was getting hot so I told them to take it easy and don’t start to fast. I got the impression that they were going to walk and didn’t give any additional advice.
There were a few people who looked like runners milling around. We kind of eye’d each other warily and didn’t speak. I was 10 years older than most of them. We were the folks who were going to compete with each other today. I was glad to see runners and confident I could give them a run. It was an odd feeling.
We lined up for the race and announcements were made in English and Spanish. I was about 5 back from the starting line and in front of me were young kids. Directly in front of me was a lady with a back pack.
I tried not to sound like a dick when I asked her if she was going to run with it. Oh no, she said, she was going to walk. I told her there were a thousand runners behind us so she should be careful and get to the side when the race starts. That was the kindest thing I could say.
In my head i’m thinking, WTF, I’ve lined up behind a walker with a back pack on. WTF! Why do walkers line up in front?
But I had to remind my self that this is not a typical race. Most of these people were going to walk and for most of them it was their first 5K walking race. I had to take a chill pill.
All I had to do was get around back-pack lady and dodge a few dozen kids. I had visions of collisions that would be much worse than my track incident.
5K number 30 starts
As they announced 5 seconds to start, I noticed my Garmin had reverted to watch mode. I quickly swiped the screen and prayed for a quick link up. As they yelled start I did not have full signal yet, but hit the start button and was off.
The first quarter mile was on a paved path. I got around back pack lady in about 5 strides and then got about dodging children and a few other aggressive runners.
We were headed for the East Boston Memorial Stadium with it’s state-of-the-art track. Before I went through the gate most people were behind me. As I ran around the track I noticed about 10 people with me. I also felt a slight familiarity with the track.
It was hot as hell but I knew what I was doing and what I was capable of. My fellow runners were younger than me and my training has been poor. I needed running smarts to do well today.
As we exited the track they had the first water stop. I think all of us grabbed a cup. A PLASTIC cup. I got one gulp.
We looped around the outer edge of the park and hit mile 1 just past the starting area. I was surprised to see 7:06 on my watch. I had to dodge all of those walkers and kids in this heat and still put up a great time.
Now there were no kids and we were headed down the path that I had warmed up on. I knew there were no hills.
I passed two young guys who were over dressed for a day like this. I knew I had them as soon as I saw them. I just had to bide my time and run my race. I never saw them again.
The path had some curves so I could not tell how far away the leader was. I passed another guy and then heard someone surging behind me.I thought it was the guy I had just passed or some other young bucks.
It was the young lady who would be the 1st place female 19+ finisher. They didn’t list ages in the race results, but I think she was 20-something.
It always helps to run with someone during a race. If they are faster, they pull me along. If they are slower they push me on.
At the turn I could see the leaders and we were not going to catch them. Corilynn pulled ahead of me a little but not by much. As we passed the other runners on the way back a woman called out to Corilynn that she was the first woman runner. That meant I was in 4th or 5th place.
As we hit mile 2 I could feel the heat draining the energy from my body. I had hydrated properly, but this was the first hot race of the year. My watch showed 7:19. The heat really was getting to me.
How much did I want this? And what was it that I wanted? I wasn’t even sure they had an age group award for old-timers. So what was I after?
Run to the finish
In the sun the heat was unbelievable. There was very little breeze. I felt okay, so I kept pushing.
We hit mile three on the path outside of the park. I knew the left into the park was very soon.
As I took the left the race director and some other folks were there. I felt spent and knew I had no kick for the finish.
As I ran towards the finish I just hoped someone wasn’t going to surge past me. I ran mile three at 6:35 and the last quarter mile at 7:01 pace.
There were 386 runners and walkers at the race. I came in 6th place with a time of 22:43 and pace of 7:19. A little slow for me, but it was hot and I have not been working for a better time.
There were 62 M18+ runners and I was 4th. The top three men all ran under 7 minute miles. Patrick Roche finished first with a time of 19:50. Corilynn Smith finished 5th over all and 1st female 18+ with a time of 22:17.
After the race I took about 10 minutes to recover and headed over to the finish to watch the runners and walkers come in. There were so many little kids and they were so cute. Some had water bottles that were almost as big as they were. We were laughing and lovin it.
A lot of people needed our encouragement to go the last 100 yards to the finish. They were spent. I imagine that for many this was their first 5K and it was a hot day. Several walkers got into a jog as we encouraged them to run it in and such. I waited for the last walkers to finish.
At the gazebo they had a Latin band who looked to have an average age of 15. They all are pretty good and played well above their age.
Since they only had top male and female for 18+, I didn’t win anything, but I had a good time and that’s what it’s all about.
Run well my friends,