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the races of 2015: part 1

July 13, 2015
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Because nothing could be more gripping than reading an amateur athlete’s race reports:

The year is already half-over–it really seems like just yesterday my brand new car was covered in 114″ of pure Massachusetts white gold. But now it’s Summer and with it the race season has more than kicked-off including a 5-miler right here in my hood of Jamaica Plain in Boston. So far, lots of PR’s (runner speak for personal record), lots of awards and knock-on-wood, no injuries.

For me, running is a constant, I am always running, so it’s hard to say when training starts or stops unless I am working on something special like a full marathon. My significant training this year started back in January in preparation for my first 70.3 Ironman taking place in New Hampshire, August 16th. (More on this to come.)

So in-between triathlon training my workouts are peppered with plenty of track workouts, tempo workouts, long runs and recovery runs. And just a few races.

So here they are in order, thus far:

Race: Doyle’s 5 Miler


Date: April 12th, 2015
Distance: 5 miles (duh.)
Time: 32:30
Pace: 6:30
PR: no/course PR
Place: overall 66/1282 – division 19th
Strava

Pre-race shits: no
Post-race shits: no
Injuries: none
Pre-race pain: none
Post-race pain: none
Shoe’s stayed tied: yes
Swag: free beer
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 5

Summary: As you may have heard Boston had a pretty shitty winter. I’m not blaming the tundra-like conditions on my showing at this race, but I could definitely feel the slumber of winter weighing me down. I definitely struggled missing my 5 mile PR from the previous Summer by about 30 seconds barely pulling out a 6:30 pace. It is also worth noting that on this specific day, on April 12th, 2015, we experienced the very first day of this thing called sunshine in like 113 days. The singlet was on and I actually came home with a sunburn! (The temps promptly returned back to freezing temperatures for a few more months.) The training continued…

Race: B.A.A. 5k


Date: April 18th, 2015
Distance: 5k
Time: 19:16
Pace: 6:12
PR: no/course PR
Place: overall 254/8894 – division 19th 

Pre-race shits: some
Post-race shits: no
Injuries: none
Pre-race pain: none
Post-race pain: none
Shoe’s stayed tied: yes
Swag: Adidas tech shirt
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 6

Summary: Typically this is not a course to PR. Almost 9,000 participants is A LOT for a short-course. As part of the Boston Marathon weekend kick-off, the B.A.A. (Boston Athletic Association) hosts this 5k which is also part of a Medley consisting of a subsequent 10k in June and a half-marathon in the fall. I didn’t exactly crush this 5k, but I could feel the steam picking up a bit from my previous race. The best part of this 5k? Running under the Boston Marathon finish line. Side note: My randomly selected bib number was 426, the address of my boyhood address, meaningful in many ways. (Additional side note: the only race photo I considered purchasing was of me surpassing a gigantic November Project-bro by way of a collapsed shoulder maneuver. But for $25 it just wasn’t worth it.)

spring classic 3

Race: Cambridge Spring Classic

Date: April 26th, 2015
Distance: 5k
Time: 18:31
Pace: 5:57
PR: yes
Place: overall 45/3395 – division 3rd

Pre-race shits: oh yes
Post-race shits: no
Injuries: none
Pre-race pain: none
Post-race pain: none
Shoe’s stayed tied: yes
Swag: free beer/tech shirt
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 10

Summary: OK, so this is more like it. Not only did I PR, but as did every single person I knew running this race including six other members of my running club. Everyone was just feeling it. Such a great race morning! [Side note: I had the last remaining bib number — 3750.]

A short blurb I wrote for my running club’s blog:

“So what are you shooting for?”

“I don’t know, what are you trying to hit?”

“Eh, can’t really tell how I feel… what about you?”

“Not sure either…”

This was the conversation that took place at the starting line of the Cambridge Spring Classic just moments before the race began. The field of approximately 3,400 participants was seeded per the honor system with runners lining up beside their respective pace markers.

In lieu of verbalizing any particular commitment to a net outcome, our intentions must have been (at the very least) somewhat obvious by the sheer fact that a group of us congregated just a few feet from the start line. Maybe we were just afraid to verbally outwardly project, “I am going to crush this run” and instead opted to understatedly shake our legs out at the front of the crowd.

A round of Good Lucks was shared and before we knew it the race began.

I knew I went out a tad too fast, but the funny thing is I felt really strong and I didn’t get that ‘uh-oh feeling’ within the first four minutes. My first mile was around 5:48. I knew this was a little ambitious but I just went with it.

Maybe we were just afraid to verbally outwardly project, “I am going to crush this run” and instead opted to understatedly shake our legs out at the front of the crowd.

After Mile 2 I knew a PR was in the works. I did slow down a bit but ended up averaging a 5:57 mile and a finish time of 18:31. While I only shaved off 8 seconds off my previous PR, what made this so exciting is my previous 5k PR didn’t come until late last Summer—essentially when I typically peak during the year. This race, in particular, really made me fully aware that the insane triathlon training, the FHR group runs, the biking, the tertiary FHR tri-swims, the FHR track work-outs—all of it, continues to make me stronger and faster.

It’s such an amazing feeling to be able to constantly improve; but also to share this phenomena with a group of people all committed to achieving their best, standing strong at the Start line… even if it’s not always verbalized.

ragnar

Race: Ragnar Cape Cod

Date: May 8th-9th, 2015
Distance: 3 legs – 7.7 miles, 5.5 miles, 2.2 miles
Time: 51:55, 38:01, 14:29
Pace: 6:44, 6:50, 6:21
PR: n/a
Place: team overall 9/500 – division 3rd mixed co-ed
Pre-race shits: all during the race — constant shitting
Post-race shits: no
Injuries: none
Pre-race pain: none
Post-race pain: none
Shoe’s stayed tied: yes
Swag: free beer/tech shirt / medal
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 10

Summary: full race report here.

freedom run 2015

Race: Freedom Run

Date: June 7th, 2015
Distance: 5k
Time: 18:33
Pace: 5:59
PR: no/course PR
Place: overall 14/1600 – 2nd in masters

Pre-race shits: some
Post-race shits: no
Injuries: none
Pre-race pain: none
Post-race pain: none
Shoe’s stayed tied: yes
Swag: t-shirt / pint mug award
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 9

Summary: Ugh! Missed my PR by 2 seconds and was beat out by one second for 1st in masters; however, I finished 14th out of 1600 runners. For me, that’s pretty fucking crazy. As usual, the C5K races are the best. They understand how a brand relates to the total experience–from the design of their t-shirts (no logos!) to the craft beer to the DJ that plays the best, BEST post-par-tay music. I’m happy to say I didn’t hear the song HAPPY once.

Baa 10k

Race: B.A.A. 10k

Date: June 21st, 2015
Distance: 10k
Time: 39:11 (39:19)
Pace: 6:19
PR: yes
Place: overall 131/5,960 – 6th in division

Pre-race shits: yes
Post-race shits: no
Injuries: none
Pre-race pain: none
Post-race pain: none
Shoe’s stayed tied: yes
Swag: Adidas tech shirt, Clif shot blocks
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 9

Summary: So I crossed the first threshold. And then I realized that I hadn’t crossed the timing threshold. I lost 8 seconds on my chip time, but whatever. I still PR’ed significantly despite the rain. I’ve lived in Boston for awhile now, and never, never have I seen a deluge of rain like this before in New England. It just poured buckets during the entire race. Not a sprinkling. Not a normal rain fall. Torrential rain. It was magnificent and propelled me to a very happy place. AND I finally beat red speedo guy.

Race: Race Menu Summer Series, #3

Date: July 9th, 2015
Distance: 5k
Time: 18:50
Pace: 6:04
PR: no
Place: overall 9/79 – 1st in AG

Pre-race shits: no
Post-race shits: no
Injuries: none
Pre-race pain: none
Post-race pain: none
Shoe’s stayed tied: yes
Swag: free zico, award (golf disc, hat)
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 8

Summary: I’ve been a racing this Summer Series for three years now. In fact, it was my first race ever. It’s kind of interesting for me to see how far I’ve come in such a short amount of time. While this wasn’t my fastest 5k, it was my first time winning an award at this series. Normally this race takes place at Christian Herter Park around the Charles river, but due to the blizzards the course endured over the winter the venue has been temporarily moved to Chestnut Hill reservoir–two loops around the lake. Unfortunately the course was packed with non-racing walkers and joggers making the run a little challenging. Additionally, the micro-gravel surface was a little difficult to negotiate. Those things aside, I love this 5k Summer Series solely for its Thursday evening gun-time.

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Race: Vert Sasquatch Trail Race

Date: July 12th, 2015
Distance: 2.3 mile trail race
Time: 14:15
Pace: 6:04
PR: yes
Place: overall 12/913 – 1st in masters

Pre-race shits: no
Post-race shits: yes, missed the group photo
Injuries: none
Pre-race pain: none
Post-race pain: none
Shoe’s stayed tied: yes
Swag: t-shirt, free craft beer + cider
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 10

Summary: A gent at the starting line sized me up and asked, “are you over 40?” (Code for, “are you competing for 1st in Masters?”) I replied back, “Yes, are you?” He said yes and then added, “you look fast.” We shook hands and a few seconds later the gun went off. This was my third time racing the Vert Sasquatch sprint trail race and I am happy to say that not only did I PR, I defended my 1st in masters title.  (2014, 1st in masters, 2013 2nd in masters.) My running club Forest Hills Runners won 1st in team, and one of our members won 1st overall setting the course record previously held by our founding club member Owen Kendall. Racing is always more fun with a team, and this was an amazing morning. I really can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday: racing with friends in the hot sun followed by dancing and drinking cider (all by 10AM).

 

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1 Comment

  • Reply the races of 2015: part 2, triathlon edition - david the tornado November 6, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    […] Dying for more gripping race reports? You can read part 1 of 2015 here. […]

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