The Cambridge Fall Classic is always a good time.
I’ve run the Fall Classic a few times, and the Winter and Spring Classic a few times also.
The course is always the same, and for some people that’s a problem. I like to run new courses also but there is something fun about running the same route at different times of year and over several years.
There is a fun familiarity that develops over the years. Knowing the course, I don’t get worked up about getting crowded at the start. Once I get onto Mass Ave I know I can run at my comfort level.
I know where to park. I know Jack’s Abby will take care of us after the race. I know a group of friends will be there to tell stories and laugh with.
I look forward to having a relaxed race and a good time with people who are becoming old friends.
Running the Cambridge Fall Classic
I rolled in to Landsdowne around 7AM because I forgot to pick up my number on Friday. No glasses this time and a cotton shirt.
I have an extensive collection of shirts and pint glasses, so I was happy to see them taking steps to keep registration fees reasonable. I like cotton Ts.
My buddy Andy Brown sent me a text after I posted that I was chillin on Landsdowne Street. I gave him my location and we sat in my car for a bit shooting the breeze. We could see the biergarten from my car.
Most of our usual crew did not show this time. Earlier this week, our Team Leader, Lisa Hines asked me about the names on our team. I didn’t know any of them, but they were friends of friends.
We have a nice rotation of regulars, our kids and colleagues. You never know who will show up.
Rachel Cuniberti and Jeanne Boisseau from the Melrose RC joined our crew this time.
Andy and I did a short pre-race jog and then split up. I entered the corral near the front and made my way back to about 12 people from the line. A little aggressive but I felt confident.
The crowd seemed thin this year, though the race director said we had 4,000 runners. In light of events in New York City Saturday night the race director announced several times that unattended bags would not be there when we came back, so use the locker or team drop location.
And they’re off
We flew down Sidney Street and I was in good position for the first turn onto Pacific Street. I was with the fast kids and running hard. As we turned left onto Albany Street my breathing became apparent.
I glanced at my watch and it said something like a 7:32 pace. I knew that I had to dial it back a bit and try to settle into a more sustainable pace around 8:00.
As we turned left onto Mass Ave people surged, but I kept trying to slow down. My lungs were telling me that sub 8 minute miles were not the right thing to do.
I was breathing so deeply I actually wondered if my lungs could pop. Can you breathe past 100% and rip your lungs apart? My legs didn’t hurt and I felt steady.
We hit the one mile mark around the intersection of Prospect and Mass Ave. My watch said 7:33. Apparently that was the pace for me. I was working, but it was manageable.
As we made the turn onto Putnam Ave I was in a good position and maintained my speed. I knew the water stop was coming up and tried to get into position. A benefit of knowing the course well.
Unfortunately, a lot of people had the same idea and I managed to grab the last cup being held out. That was freakin close. I NEEDED that water!
I managed to get two good gulps and only lost a few breaths of air. After I recovered I looked at my watch and we were around 1.78 miles. Over half way, but not mile two yet.
Soon mile two chimed in at a 7:45 mile pace. I was holding up pretty well. There was some down hill on Putnam Ave, so I let it take me along.
Deep into the run
After mile two a 5K is deep into the run. Deep into the run everyone has been sorted. Most of the aggressive passing is over and the top finishers have crossed the finish line.
Deep into the run, the faster runners who started further back start passing us.
Deep into the run, if I care, I’m running near 100%. There is nothing I can do to keep up with those folks. Deep into the run I don’t even care. I just want the race to end.
As we made the last turns and hit mile three my watch chimed in at an 8:05 pace. I knew I would beat my goal of a 25 minute 5K.
People kicked it and some roared past me. I was chugging along at close to an 8:00 pace this deep into the race. I had no kick and I didn’t care.
My official time was 24:20 or a 7:49 pace. I had achieved my goal.
As I was gasping for breath and looking for water I saw Liz Emerald. We did a fist bump and I wandered off to get water. Liz came in 2nd in her age group!
As I chugged down a 500ml I saw Dave McGilivray. He was talking to a bunch of friends and looked like I felt. I kept moving along and didn’t say hi. If everyone said hi he’d never get to enjoy himself.
Back at the Tent
By the time I got back to the tent Lisa was there and Andy was right behind me. We had three 12-packs on our table and Jack’s Abby had hundreds of cans of goodness waiting for us in the biergarten.
I grabbed two biers and headed back to the tent to break out home-made salsa and chips. Usually the ladies bring all kinds of good food, so I figured it was my turn.
The other members of our team gathered with us and we traded stories, drank some beer and had a great time.
Slowly people drifted off and it was still before Noon. Lisa headed out and took a few beers. We had over a case on the table and the biergarten tables were loaded.
Andy and I grabbed another beer and tried to ignore the tables weighed down with beer.
We hung out and talked about the joys of running and what a shame all of this left over beer was. All the cans were open so no one could take any home.
I tried to get Andy to take some beer from our table, but he didn’t have a bag and was taking The T back to his car.
Fortunately I had a bag for my salsa and chips, so I took a ton of beer home.
We decided enough was enough and headed out.
We ran well my friends!