Winter Classic 5K, 8 December 2013

What: 5K

Where: Cambridge, Massachusetts (course map)

Who: As part of Shauna’s “Team NeverWin,” with moral support from Drew

Benefited: Cambridge Family & Children’s Services

Time: 33:31

Photos: (click to open larger versions)

Team NeverWin before the race

Team NeverWin before the race

Drew caught me struggling to the finish line. My posture and form is terrible, but you can see my sweet socks and can almost see the jolly thing I did to my hair.

Drew caught me struggling to the finish line. My posture and form are terrible, but you can see my sweet socks and can almost see the jolly thing I did to my hair.

Me lurking in one of RaceWire's finish line photos with the classy watermark

Me lurking in one of RaceWire’s finish line photos with the classy watermark

Lurking again on the far left

Lurking again on the far left

Recap: Now is the winter of my right foot’s discontent. As I mentioned in my last post, the outside of my right foot began hurting me a little over a week ago during the Gobbler Gallop. The pain lingered for a day or two, especially when I’d try to rise up on my toes, and it returned again three days ago during my training run with Colin. I was hoping it wouldn’t return today during the Winter Classic, but alas.

I went into this race intending to try for another PR. Colin’s friend Shauna had organized a team – we didn’t all run together; having a team got us our own tent in a VIP area and free beer after the race – and Colin reported to me that Shauna intended to try to PR herself. Her 5K times tend to be well under 30 minutes, so Colin and I decided to start out the race running at her pace, and to try to keep up with her for as long as possible. Our fast start at the race in Plymouth gave us both surprising PRs, so we thought running with Shauna might give our times another boost.

The main problem with this plan is that there were more than 2000 runners. When we start at the back of the corral, people tend to be more spread out and chill. At the 8- or 9-minute pace corral, however, we were squished like sardines and everyone was jostling for position once we started running. Despite being between Shauna and Colin in the corral, I ended up too far behind them to catch up after maybe 1/10th of a mile, just because people scooted in between us. Though I couldn’t see, Colin got separated from Shauna not long after.

And so I ran the race alone. Luckily I had anticipated this happening, so I brought my iPod with a few motivational tunes cued up (Robin Thicke, the Kinks, Tom Petty, the Fratellis, etc.). When my foot started hurting just shy of the 1-mile mark, I used the songs to keep me going; I’d try to make it to the end of a song, then give myself a walk break. Having the music, and good beats to try to run in time to, ended up being better than running alone without music, but it wasn’t a miracle cure to the motivation blues.

I alternated running and walking for the rest of the race, walking much more than I had since I was running on really hot days. It probably didn’t help that I wasn’t quite hydrated enough and had a side stitch, but it was mostly my foot that kept me from running the whole thing.

Despite struggling, I was surprised at how short the course felt. Usually the 3.1 miles stretch for an eternity and it seems to take ages to get to the finish. Today, however, the finish line sort of sneaked up on me, and it was quite a pleasant surprise! I didn’t expect to have a great time, given all the walking I did, but I ended up with a time that was my second best. Not bad!

Other than my foot – which stopped hurting pretty quickly after I stopped running – I felt fine when I crossed the finish. I wanted water, but I wasn’t feeling fainty or like my innards were being squeezed, and my muscles weren’t too sore. I heard from Colin that he got dizzy a few times during the race, and he felt pretty rough afterwards. Though it was a bummer he didn’t feel well, it means that he’s all for taking it easy in next week’s Jingle Bell run, so it will be more for fun than gunning for a PR like we’ve been doing. I’m looking forward to an actual fun fun-run!

[Edit] Though they are turds with their watermarked photos, RaceWire also provided a video of the finish line, in which you can kind of see me on the far side fighting my way to the finish. The video should be cued up to where I am… look for a bright green shirt and black hat.

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