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thanksgiving races, first 5k medal, Boston Volvo

Thanksgiving Races 2014

Thanksgiving races began a week before the holiday

My first holiday themed race was the 25th ANNUAL BREAKHEART TURKEY TROT at Breakheart Reservation in Saugus, Mass. This was a free race put on by the Mass DCR and staff at the Saugus park on November 23rd.

I’m not sure if this would qualify as a “Park Run” for my English friends. But the race was entirely within the 600+ acres of the park.

Anyone who has run a 5K in Breakheart is familiar with the usual loop and the five hills in the last mile of the race. The people running this race know the park unlike any other race organizers. They run the place after all!

After we did the first three hills and just before mile 2, they had us turn left onto a trail through the woods! I have never run a race through Breakheart on the trails. I almost didn’t believe it, but they had orange cones across the paved path.

We did not escape the hills completely by running on the gravel trail. Almost immediately after getting onto the trail the grade increased. I tried to run on my fore-foot, but maintaining traction on the gravel, rock and un-even terrain was difficult. At one point I landed on a stone and twisted my ankle.

I was running with two young guys who both asked if I was okay. I know all of us would do the same. But when someone asks if you are okay after a slip, it is appreciated.

After about half a mile on the trail we came back out onto the paved path. I was a little disoriented and not sure where we were. Did we still have hills in front of us, or were we near the end?

Brooks Running shoes, Adrenaline ASR GTX, thanksgiving races 2014

It turned out that we were near the end and it was mostly down hill from there to the finish. This time the trail was clear of leaves and I had my new Brooks Adrenaline ASR 10 GTX shoes on. With no leaves and my new shoes I had no fear of slipping, so I let ‘er rip and charged down the hill.

The two young guys that I had been running with took off, and I could not keep up. When I’m running down hill I find that I need to keep good form and control of my legs. On occasion I’ve felt like I was going to fall while barrel assing down a hill. I ran as fast as I could.

This was an un-timed race. No clock at the finish and no one keeping track. Garmin showed 3.03 miles at a 7:36 pace for a 23:04 finish. My friend Paul Locke said that he came in 10th and saw me finish two in front of him. I probably finished 8th.

Post Race

This was a free race. Instead of an entry fee they were taking donations. I think just about everyone put something into the jar. Instead of awards for the top finishers, they held a raffle for turkeys, chickens and some gift cards. Stop & Shop donated most of the food and raffle prizes.

I didn’t win a turkey or anything, but I did have a good time, hung out with some friends and enjoyed a great run. Just for signing up they gave us a DCR Volunteer t-shirt and a coffee mug from their 2009 75th year anniversary. I thought we got a lot for a free race.

DCR 5k race, running Thanksgiving races 2014

Thanksgiving Day Race

My Thanksgiving Day race was the Boston Volvo Village Thanksgiving 5K Run for MS. This race took place in Brighton, MA which is actually part of Boston. 929 hearty souls came out for this neighborhood race.

I was up bright and early and got to Brighton with plenty of time to spare. I got a great parking spot, picked up my bib and swag bag and went back to my car. The air temp was 36°, which believe it or not, is beginning to feel okay. A little sun and a light breeze really made a difference.

As I sat in my car I thought about other recent races. When the wind is light and the sky is clear, it’s easy to get hot even when the temp is sub 40°. Crazy, I know. I knew that being cold at the beginning of a race was okay and that I would be sweating by mile 1.

So while sitting in the car I stripped off my running pants and slipped on my running shorts. I had my Under Armor shorts on so I was decent while changing, and warm enough afterwards.

I had on a long sleeve Under Armor shirt and contrary to tradition, wore the race day shirt with my number pinned on it. Some people say it is poor taste to wear a shirt for a race you have not finished yet. Other people don’t understand that at all. I don’t like to wear shirts from races I did not run, but feel okay wearing the shirt for that day’s race. It was a 5K, I was going to finish.

What do you think? Do you race in the shirt they give you on race day?

The race provided a decent pair of gloves, so I wore those. I also had my new balega wool socks and my new Brooks Adrenaline ASR 10 GTX shoes with Gore-Tex. I knew my feet would be warm and comfortable also.

As I sat in my car getting some last-minute carbs and sipping water I watched the crowd go by on their way to get their numbers. Folks of all shapes, sizes and ages. I could tell some groups were families. I thought that was really great and envied them a little bit.

After I was warm, I decided to go for a short warm up run. I went down North Beacon Street a bit, turned around, passed the Volvo dealership and up the hill to the corner before Everett Street, went back to my car to stretch a little. I even found some dry pavement to sit down on!

Running The Thanksgiving 5K for MS

I don’t recall the National Anthem and we couldn’t understand any of the announcements. They gave us a five-minute warning, told us the race was chip timed so don’t push and then did a 10 count down to the start.

The race started on a slight incline and took a quick turn onto Gordon Street. I’d been down this street many times on my way from The Mount to Home Depot to get supplies for the MSJA FIRST Robotics team. Good memories.

The crowd was tight and some people were walking! It wasn’t even a quarter-mile yet! WTF! Gordon Street is narrow and there were cars on both sides. I tried to be nice as I made my way through the crowd. Like a fool, I lined up too far back and was paying for it.

We soon took a right onto Cambridge Street but were restricted to the right side of the road. We did have more room, but it was a challenge to make my way through the crowd. Sadly, I did not even notice passing the old Mt. Saint Joseph Preparatory Academy, MSJA, aka “The Mount.” This was my girls high school and a place I spent a fair amount of time.

It’s still a Catholic school, but is now co-ed. I think it is still a big institution in Brighton. Further down the road we passed another Brighton institution, St. Elizabeth’s hospital. This is a large Catholic neighborhood hospital that has been around for a long time.

After the Hospital, Cambridge Street turns into Washington Street. After the first square the road started to descend for the next half mile or so to Oak Square. At Oak Square we took a right, passed the Brighton Faneuil Library and headed back on Faneuil Street.

Where Washington is a commercial area, Faneuil is mostly residential. There are many beautiful houses, single family and some triple-deckers. This being Thanksgiving, we could smell turkeys roasting as we passed some houses. That was really cool.

Faneuil wound through a quintessential Brighton neighborhood. I don’t believe I’ve ever been on this road and seeing it during a Thanksgiving morn jog was a treat.

Eventually Faneuil connected back to North Beacon and the last bit of the race was on. My legs were a little tired but I knew I had juice. I kicked it in and started passing people. My gait was smooth and felt comfortable. My lungs were clear and my desire strong.

thanksgiving races, brighton 5k, MS SocietyI ran the last full mile at a 6:56 pace. The last .16 miles I ran at a 6:02 pace. For me, that’s really fast. As we approached the dealership we took a left onto Arthur Street. I ran hard to get over the timing mat. My official time was 23:04.

I wasn’t out to PR. I didn’t line up properly and got caught in the crowd. I still managed to come in 9th out of 65 men 50-59 and 114th over all. The top guy in my bracket ran a 19:15 race.

Post Race

I grabbed some water and walked around for a bit. There were still about 800 people to come in so the crowd was still big. Eventually I went back to my car to put on a jacket and get warm. After a bit I went back out to cheer on the last of the finishers.

These are usually the casual runners. Probably some of them were coaxed into running by family or friends. Hopefully a little cheering at the finish and the rush of endorphins after the race will encourage them to give it a go once again.

By the time they announced the winners, 75% of the crowd had disappeared. It was Thanksgiving after all. Dinner and family were home waiting.

As I drove down Cambridge Street on my way home I saw the guy who came in second place running home. Yuji Wakimoto lives in Brighton and came in 2nd over all and 1st in his age group with a time of 16:03!

I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend with friends and family.

Run well my friends!


© andrew nagelin 2014, pub-4167727599129474, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0





One response to “Thanksgiving Races 2014”

  1. […] first road test was the 25th ANNUAL BREAKHEART TURKEY TROT. This race was mainly on the paved path in Breakheart, but about a half mile was on trail. This […]