Throwback: Feeney Five Road Race, 4 July 2013

What: 5K

Where: Woburn, Massachusetts (course map)

Who: Me and Drew, with moral support from Mum and Jack

Benefited: In memory and celebration of the founder of the Shamrock Running Club

Time: 50:04

Photos: (click to open larger versions)
Photos with * courtesy of Bob Hurkett; those without courtesy of my mum

All kitted out and ready to go!

All kitted out and ready to go!

Drew and me, bringing up the rear as the race gets under way

Drew and me, bringing up the rear as the race gets under way*

Help me!

Help me!

Clutching all my waters as I approach the finish line

Clutching all my waters as I approach the finish line*

Drew crossing the finish line

Drew crossing the finish line*

Lurking in the background, guzzling water in the shade

Lurking in the background, guzzling water in the shade*

Recap: The Feeney Five was my first attempt at running since the Finish Line 5K; my back/shoulder injury kept me from doing any kind of running or exercise for all of June. That said, I approached this race as a test to see if my body could handle running. Given that, you’d think I wouldn’t mind finishing last with my worst-ever time, and yet my slowness did bother me.

I tried to get my running buddy Colin to run with me, but understandably he didn’t want to pay the entry fee to walk the course, since I had told him I wasn’t sure I’d be able to run. Drew, being the most supportive and awesome husband ever, ponied up and joined me even though his knees protest whenever he runs on cement or asphalt.

We started the race off easy, with Drew letting me set the pace and stopping to walk with me whenever I needed to (which was often). In addition to taking it slow due to my being wary of my back, the race proved to be the hottest yet, even warmer than the Finish Line 5K, which made me even less excited about exerting any energy. Just as we were feeling good that there were still some stragglers behind us, one of the cops on race duty rode up next to us to say we were the last two… everyone else behind us had dropped out.

We struggled along, stopping gladly at each water station, and falling in love with the people who lived along the course who dragged hoses and sprinklers down to the street to let us cool off. It also helped to have my Mum and Jack sitting on the porch, yelling out encouragement as we passed and making me feel like a marathoner.

By about the 2-mile mark, all the volunteers along the route were falling in step behind us and the cops on race detail were following closely behind as well. I was painfully aware that we were the last runners on the course. We passed through another sprinkler, and as I got my the-finish-line-is-near second wind, we found ourselves behind a woman running her first 5K and clearly struggling with the heat and the effort of it all. As I did during the Exeter 5K, I decided not to pass her, but to let her cross the finish line without knowing that she had come in last. Besides, by that point I had decided that finishing a race dead last would make a fun story.

As it turned out, I finished second-to-last, with Drew’s name appearing last in the results, despite our identical finishing times. My shoulders and back felt okay after the race, and I was happy to know that I could ease my way back into running once again.

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