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Mystic Runners Lake Q 5k May 24 2017

Mystic Runners Lake Q 5k takes place every Wednesday evening in Wakefield, MA. It’s been going on since I can remember and is the weekly club run for The Mystic Runners.

Mystic Runners Lake Q 5k, pub-4167727599129474, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

I’ve run with The Mystics quite a few times. Two years ago when I was going for 50 5K races before I turned 51, I ran the Lake Q 5K 9 times.

One of my fondest running memories was running one of these races. Me and about five other guys were flying down Rt. 129 on the eastern shore of Lake Quannapowitt. For those of you not familiar with the area, Lake Q is surrounded by roads and parking lots.

It’s a large pond but it is an urban body of water with no camps or cottages and no power boats. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone swimming in the lake, nor would I want to.

Route 129 is a very well traveled road with cars doing up to 40 mph quite often. All along the road there is parking. When no cars are there it makes a great space to run in.

The night I was racing those guys each parking space was occupied, and often we were on or over the white line. We were pushing it in more than one way.

As we brushed mirrors with our right shoulders, often it felt like our left shoulders were being brushed by passing cars. It was tight, but none of us was letting up and heading for the side walk.

Running down Route 129 is between the one mile and two mile mark for this race. When you are still hauling ass at this point, you are in a race.

It was so much fun to be totally in the moment and a little bit in danger. Each of us knew what we were doing and each of us trusted that the guy right behind or right in front of us wouldn’t do anything stupid.

It was kind of like the stories my friend Big Daddy Jim tells about cycling. You push the limits, go to the edge and trust the guys you run or ride with won’t screw up.

Mystic Runners Lake Q 5k May 24 2017

Wednesday night was the first time I’ve run with The Mystics since August 26th, 2015. I ran a 22:02 that night and two weeks before I ran 22:00. That was the night I raced five guys down Route 129.

I’m not in the same shape that I was two years ago. Age is only part of that.

Wednesday night I ran a 24:20 race, which isn’t too bad for where I’m at right now.

When we lined up for the start my buddy Mat Kerton tried to get me to start in front with the fast people. I knew better and started about a third of the way back. I did a warm up jog and some stretching, so I was ready to go.

As we ran down Quannapowitt Parkway I got the feel for my legs. My quads were a little sore from running a hard 7.53 the night before, but no twinges in my knees. My lungs were clear and the weather was perfect.

I decided to go all in. Nothing new about that I guess!

I kept up with the people around me and by the time we got out onto Route 129 I began to pass a few people. I kept telling my self that anyone can run a good first mile and mine came in at 7:47.

Mile two is where the work begins in a 5K. The first mile gets you into your group and mile two is where you pull ahead or settle in.

As usual, I ran in the road down Route 129. The traffic was light and there was room to run in the parking lane. All the way down the road I looked around and admired the beautiful homes and the view of the lake. Lake Q may not be fit for swimming, but I still enjoy looking at it.

As we hit the bottom of the lake and took our right onto Church Street, I began to feel the run. I was pretty much maxed out. I set my sights on the runner in front of me and went after her.

Mystic Runners Lake Q 5KWe had hit mile two right at the turn and I managed a 7:57 mile. I wasn’t going to get a 24 minute 5K, but I was doing all right.

With about three-quarters of a mile to go I knew it was going to be tough. I traded places with one runner and another passed me and kept on going.

All I could do was keep going at 100%.

As we ran down North Avenue, once again I got into the street. The street pavement is even and I didn’t have to look out for walkers.

As I approached the turn for the finish I could hear shoes behind me. With only a few hundred yards to go I tossed it all in. When the shoes got closer my stride lengthened. Near the finish it sounded like the shoes were going to overtake me.

Photo Courtesy: John Mulroy

As you can see in this photo I was very focused on staying one step ahead of this young lady. It turns out that I tied with Jennifer Rolfes who is 27 years my junior. While she looks like she is effortlessly finishing, I look like every fiber of my body is fully engaged in getting to that finish line.

Immediately after the finish I was exhausted. Lately, I’ve been making note of how quickly I recover. In the first 30 to 60 seconds after a race I can barely talk. But after about two minutes, I’m ready for a great conversation or a cool off jog.

I did not get a chance to talk to Jennifer, but I think I gave her a fist bump. What a great run.

Driving from Cambridge to Wakefield at the height of rush hour can easily take an hour, as it did this week. Getting to these races is not easy and requires planning ahead. But they are so much fun!

To me, this race was the symbolic beginning of the summer racing season. What a great way to start the season!


I have two races this weekend, so look for my post on Tuesday.

Run well my Friends!





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