2021 Race Recap #12: Reliant Foundation 5k

I don’t know if this was the former “Shore Park 5k” or just the same setup/course, time of year, or what, but in re-reading that write up there are more than a few parallels – starting with the late registration.

I was trying to decide what to do for a run today, and the RD gave a presentation with a bib giveaway at Sneakerama Thursday evening so I decided to go down and run this. The time of day worked out well so it fit in with my busy lifestyle. <<eye roll emoji here>> The day started off with a slice of cold pizza, a sausage & French toast breakfast sandwich and a large coffee, so why not race a 5k?

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2021 Race Recap #11: Clarence DeMar Marathon

This was my fifth marathon. A distance is swore I would never – NEVER – do. Where the Half Marathon is a challenging distance, but still doable, the full marathon is straight pain cave nonsense. The elite runners – the folks who have sponsorships to do this stuff – do this seemingly at will. Sure, they’re training, but it’s also their job. For Joe Average, this stuff is hard work.

It’s me. I’m Joe Average.

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2021 Race Recap #10: Black Cat 10-Miler

The saga of the endless pandemic effects continues. The Black Cat is typically run in March as a training race for the Boston Marathon – with the 20-mile distance being a healthy part of a solid training plan. Well, as we’re aware the 2020 races just didn’t happen, so this got deferred to 2021. Which too didn’t happen on schedule.

Now the company that runs the Black Cat, also runs a half marathon called the “Wicked Half,” a race I ran in 2019…you know, in the “beforetimes.” So, incorporating the majority of both courses and combining the races made sense for 2021 and here we are.

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2021 Race Recap #9: Laborious Labor Day 10-Miler

There’s no easy way to say this. It was abominable. The Laborious Labor Day 10-miler is the Labor Day version of the same race a local club – the Highland City Striders – runs near Thanksgiving, the Tough Turkey Trot. It’s basically 8-miles of downhill, until it’s not for the last 2.

On this day, I ran the first 5-miles pretty well. Until I didn’t.

Rolling, rolling, rolling, rolling, rolling….bonk

This is one of the situations where I feel like I could have, should have done better. It was a nice day, a familiar – albeit challenging – course. It was a bit of a wake up call for me. “You ran a marathon last weekend!” I heard that a few times, and I’m sure that was part of it, but honestly I know I hadn’t hydrated well. It was a train wreck that never should have happened.

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2021 Race Recap #8: New England Green River Marathon

May be an image of 6 people, including Iain Ridgway, people standing and outdoors
To the far left, waring bib #467 is my club mate, Iain Ridgeway, starting the race. He finished 7th,with a course record for the age group of 2:46:49.1. To put just how fast a marathon that is, I finished almost exactly an hour later, didn’t finish last AND set a personal best. The guy in the middle wearing #504? He won at 2:30:42.3. That’s a 5:45 minutes per mile pace. I raced a 6:11 mile once in a 5k and it almost killed me.

Back in 2019 or so, when I was fresh off my Baystate Marathon personal best, my friend Eric suggested that I should run this marathon. Mostly downhill, beautiful scenery, relatively inexpensive and small. There was a lot to like about this. “Sure. Why not?” and so I pried open my wallet and registered.

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2021 Race Recap #7: TVFR Woodland Trail Series Race 3 of 3

The Woodland Trail Series is billed as 3 5-mile races. The August race historically starts 30-minutes early to accommodate the series awards ceremony and the potentially waning daylight, etc. This year, the third race was also 2-miles shorter. Not sure why, but for a race that costs $6 and which this year donated roughly $500 to the local food bank I won’t complain. Besides, it was 91-degrees at the start time (6PM) and according to Strava, it felt like 103, so it’s entirely likely 5-miles may have in fact killed me.

It’s not hard to see just how much I was affected by the heat and general grossness of the weather.
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2021 Race Recap #5: Fred S. Warren 5.5 Miler

As I sat down to write this, I realized I hadn’t read my last write up for this race when it was last held in person in 2019. I was surprised to read that I had essentially the same issues at the same points – I mean, today I didn’t have the foresight to use the porta-potty before the race and paid for that starting about mile 3.5, and my shoelace didn’t come undone – and ran essentially the same race, despite the fact that it was roughly 20-degrees cooler today than then. So, all-in-all, despite running today 27-seconds faster, I’d say I had the better race then.

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2021 Race Recap #4: CMS 52-Week 5k

It’s been a while since I ran a 5k – looks like it’s been since December 2019 since I actually raced one. This was the race that started me toward believing I could become a better runner – faster, do longer distances, more consistent. The club that runs the race –Central Mass Striders – has become important to me as a support system for both running and lasting personal friendships, but also giving back, so since the return of racing in Massachusetts I’ve been volunteering at this race while we work out the kinks on a new course and getting people back into the swing of things.

20210703083227_IMG_7304.JPG
Here I am hanging around shady interstate overpasses.

This week with the July 4 holiday on Sunday, meaning a long weekend for a lot of folks and the generally crummy weather, I figured there wouldn’t be too many people out running this race (I was correct) and with some encouragement that we could get some course monitors, but only if I ran the race, it was an easy decision to make.

Where in the before times the course was around the neighborhoods surrounding Worcester State University and Tatnuck Square in Worcester, and since the college is still not allowing outside events, the club partnered with a fitness club, Worcester Fitness, in another part of the city, to use the course the fitness club had typically used and to use their facilities for registration and the like.

It’s a reasonably familiar 5k route in Worcester, around Indian Lake. Worcester Fitness uses it for their runs, both clockwise and counter-clockwise, and the Greendale YMCA and Bancroft School used to run the Shore Park 5k using it but starting on the other side of the lake.

The first week we ran the race – June 5 – we had 34 participants. 31 the following week. 26 the next two weeks. The month of June gifted us with some beautiful Saturday weather. Today, July was kinder in terms of temperature, but the happenstance of the calendar noted earlier and the rain gave us 15 runners.

I ran a pretty good race today. I didn’t feel great, but I knew I was running pretty quickly, keeping up with the eventual winner for roughly half of the first mile and keeping him within shooting distance for probably 3.5k. I started off in first or second and kept that place for the entirety of the race and I got to High-5 a pair of very enthusiastic course monitors as I ran by which lifted my spirits.

Just as my watch clicked off mile 2, my heart rate was skyrocketing – I haven’t pushed that hard in a long time and it caught up with me – so I actually walked for a short bit while I brought it down. Short races are much different in terms of pacing and I’ve clearly not practiced running hard and short.

I finished with some of the best mile splits I think I’ve had in a very long time, if not ever, and came in second – which has NEVER happened. I’ve never even sniffed second place in any race. This was a top-3 5k effort for me. The dirty little secret here is that it’s probably a Personal Best, given the Top 2 are times earned at Canal Diggers races, widely known in the area as something shorter than 5k. But, it is what it is.

And I’m super happy we’re racing again.


5k Race History

Canal Diggers8-Sep-1821:13
Canal Diggers7-Sep-1921:44
CMS 52-Week 5k Series3-Jul-2122:34
Celtic 5k11-Mar-1822:46
Celtic 5k24-Mar-1922:58
Run4Veterans 5k Road Race/Walk4-Nov-1723:59
CMS 52 Week 5k Series10-Mar-1824:11
CMS 52 Week 5k Series24-Feb-1824:16
CMS 52 Week 5k Series17-Feb-1824:22
CMS 52 Week 5k Series27-Jan-1824:24
Old Fashioned Ten Miler & Flat 5k19-Feb-1724:26
CMS 52 Week 5k Series21-Jan-1724:27
CMS 52 Week 5k Series3-Mar-1824:30
CMS 52 Week 5k Series4-Feb-1724:36
CMS 52 Week 5k Series25-Feb-1724:36
CMS 52 Week 5k Series26-Nov-1624:42
CMS 52 Week 5k Series18-Mar-1724:42
Shrewsbury Road Scholars 5k10-Apr-1624:45
CMS 52 Week 5k Series28-Jan-1724:48
CMS 52 Week 5k Series28-Oct-1724:55
CMS 52 Week 5k Series25-Nov-1724:55
CMS 52 Week 5k Series21-Oct-1725:13
CMS 52 Week 5k Series2-Dec-1625:14
Craft Brew Races|Worcester30-Apr-1625:18
CMS 52 Week 5k Series25-Jun-1625:26
CMS 52 Week 5k Series9-Jul-1625:28
CMS 52 Week 5k Series17-Jan-1725:29
CMS 52 Week 5k Series13-Jan-1825:30
St.Pat’s 5k19-Mar-1625:31
CMS 52 Week 5k Series31-Dec-1625:41
CMS 52 Week 5k Series4-Mar-1725:42
CMS 52 Week 5k Series13-Jan-1925:44
CMS 52 Week 5k Series4-Jun-1625:47
Guinness Shamrock Shuffle26-Mar-1625:48
Irish 5k5-Mar-1625:49
Worcester Running Festival 5k19-Jun-1625:50
CMS 52 Week 5k Series16-Sep-1725:54
LUK’s 6th Annual Scholarship 5k22-May-1625:55
CMS Lake Park Summer Fitness 5K26-Jul-1625:57
CMS 52 Week 5k Series30-Apr-1625:58
CMS 52 Week 5k Series21-May-1626:00
CMS 52 Week 5k Series16-Jul-1626:01
Franklin County 5k23-Apr-1626:13
CMS 52 Week 5k Series27-Feb-1626:15
CMS 52 Week 5k Series2-Jul-1626:15
CMS 52 Week 5k Series11-Feb-1726:17
CMS 52 Week 5k Series12-Mar-1626:27
CMS 52 Week 5k Series18-Jun-1626:32
CMS Lake Park Summer Fitness 5K12-Jul-1626:34
CMS 52 Week 5k Series2-Apr-1626:35
CMS 52 Week 5k Series19-Aug-1726:36
CMS 52 Week 5k Series19-Nov-1626:44
CMS 52 Week 5k Series6-Aug-1626:47
CMS 52 Week 5k Series22-Oct-1626:51
PLR ShamRock & Roll 5k6-Mar-1627:07
Katie Chalifoux Memorial 5K Road Race30-May-1627:10
CMS Lake Park Summer Fitness 5K5-Jul-1627:32
CMS 52 Week 5k Series20-Aug-1627:37
CMS 52 Week 5k Series20-Feb-1627:39
CMS Lake Park Summer 15-Jul-1727:48
FIT Turkey Trot 5K24-Nov-1628:37
Sweetheart 5k Fun Run13-Feb-1628:48

2021 Race Recap #2: Soapstone Mountain Trail Race 24k

I’m only about a month behind with this recap, so I’m likely leaving a bunch of details out. It turns out that it’s a little hard to keep all the balls in the air when there are a hundred balls in the air, and they’re made of lead, and the clown in the corner of the room is throwing water balloons at you.

BUT a race is a race. This was the second of two that are on my calendar that wasn’t deferred from last year.

Unlike a lot of trail races, this one was really well marked – there was never a question as to where a runner needed to go. There were appropriate aid-stations every 4 miles or so.

About 5k into the race, there’s a really technical “killer hill” that accounts for most of the elevation gain of the event. Basically straight up, over boulders and the like. Otherwise, the trail itself – although there is a healthy sample of single track trail – isn’t terribly technical. I made the strategic error of wearing my Salomon Speedcross shoes thinking it would be a lot more technical, which compromised some of the cushioning and comfort another choice would have provided. It’s not child’s play – rocks and roots and all kinds of potential ankle twisters are afoot – but it wasn’t highly technical. It was warm and that too slowed things down.

I had made a plan for 3 hours for completion. It took me 3.5 and I really thought I had blown it because I only saw a smattering of other runners near me since that killer hill and the ones I did were basically running away from me, but as it turned out I finished 57 of 133. Nothing to write home about, but nothing to be ashamed of either. My ultrasignup ranking essentially stayed the same and I finished right about where their projections would have put me.

results
Overall 57/133
GP: 45
TIME: 3:29:19

2020 Race Recap #2: Old Fashioned Ten Miler

Racing is definitely becoming less important to me than getting good training runs in. I made a calculated decision some time back that fewer, higher challenge races was where I wanted to go. As a result, my race totals have consistently dropped over the last few years while my aggregated miles per year have consistently increased.

So, the Old Fashioned Ten Miler is a race I’ve done three times now. The first time I did it, it was a part of the “bad ass combo,” a 5k race they tack on before hand, which can be a bit of a challenge – I mean, 5ks are meant to be balls out, and then to run a 10 miler after, that is a feat. BUT, I’m kind of out of the business of getting medals for completing a high-cost 5k, so I’ve not run that in some time.

When I did do it the first time, it was a personal best…my 10-miler time was crap, but the 5k got crushed.

This is a race through the streets and back roads of Foxborough, Massachusetts. If you’ve ever watched a Patriots game, you’ve seen the rotary near the town center, with the town name on a sign. The course runs by there, down past a school, behind Gillette Stadium’s private access road. It’s a nicely organized race, starting and finishing at Schneider Electric and the Foxboro Company. And because it’s sponsored by Ashworth Awards, there is some SWEET Swag for finishing.

I haven’t been feeling great about my running lately, some of which is because I’m still in winter hibernation I suppose, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The fact that I haven’t been racing much at all – my first and only other race on the year was New Years’ Day’s Freezer Five – so all those slow, plodding and high heart race runs led me to believe it could get ugly out there.

As it happened though, the weather was just shy of perfect – about 40 degrees Fahreneheit.

Despite my new Age Group, and despite my lack of confidence going into the race, it turned out to be my fastest 10-Mile time, with my overall pace beating out my then-PR pace 5k time three years ago. My ten mile pace was faster than my 5k. There’s even a youtube of the finish line – don’t blink, you may miss me finish! The funny part is that when last I ran this race in 2018, I finished just 2 places (both overall and in gender) behind where I finished this year. Except the field was much, much smaller.

So, results:

Place:  172 of 690 (24.93%)Gun Time: 1:18:28.32

Chip Time: 1:18:20.79
Gender Place: 113 of 299 (37.79%)

Age Grp: M 50-59  21 of 82
Pace: 7:50/M

Age Grade: 0.6285

PREVIOUS RESULTS

2020: Chip Time: 1:18:20.79 / 7:50 pace
2018: Chip Time: 1:26:33.84 / 8:38 pace
2017: Chip Time: 1:36:10.20 /9:37 pace