Double Race Day Didn’t Go As Planned…

…but that’s okay! What was supposed to be a day in which I ran one 5K in Cambridge at 9.30am and then traveled to Worcester to run another 5K at 2pm ended up being much more relaxing, but still fun, AND I didn’t suffer from sore legs the next day. Wahoo!

Running two races in one day seemed a bit crazy, but there were good reasons behind my craziness. In late January, Shauna sent out an email to people who had run the Winter Classic as part of her Team Neverwin, to see if we wanted to recreate the fun at the Spring Classic, a supposedly warmer version of the winter race. I wanted to try the course again after limping for most of it back in December, and I wanted to help Team Neverwin achieve VIP status (our own tent with free beer!) by helping up the member list. I got several friends to sign up too, and was looking forward to a race full of people I hadn’t seen in a while.

Fast forward a few weeks to when registration opened up for the Jay Lyons Memorial Road Race, the first race in the Tour de Worcester, which I am set on completing this year. In addition to being determined to complete the Tour, the Jay Lyons race (along with the upcoming Firefighters Memorial 6K) was an important race to me, as it’s run in honor of one of the six Worcester firefighters who died in the Cold Storage fire back in 1999. That fire was a huge, tragic event for the city and citizens of Worcester, and I only wish I had been running for years so that I could have taken part in the earlier races in honor and memory of the Worcester 6.

So for those reasons, when I went to register for the Jay Lyons race and saw it was the same day as the Spring Classic, I was undeterred by the craziness and quite relieved that the Lyons race was late enough in the day so I could run both. I was quite looking forward to running two races in one day, actually… seemed a bit badass and like some weird, probably-not-good way to train for a 10K.

Fast forward once again to the present, where I am taking a break from running to allow my torn ankle tendon to heal. I ignored all reason and ran one race on my injured ankle already, and couldn’t risk running another, much less two in one day! So I decided to relegate myself to Team Neverwin’s cheerleader, cheering and clapping for my fellow runners at the starting line and again when they looped back towards us on Mass Ave (see photo below). Then Drew and I indulged in warm beverages as Tosci’s and yummy breakfast at the Beantown Taqueria, where we enjoyed sitting in the warm and dry dining room.

The one picture I took during the Spring Classic... no one I know is actually in this shot. I was waiting to cross the street and was amazed at how long the stream of runners was.

The one picture I took during the Spring Classic… no one I know is actually in this shot. I was waiting to cross the street and was amazed at how long the stream of runners was.

After meeting up with everyone at the VIP tent (we missed everyone crossing the finish line… oops!), we drove Colin home, changed into more comfortable clothes, and drove out to Worcester. Even though I can’t/am not supposed to run, I was still determined to complete race #1 of the Tour, so I decided to walk the course. I signed Drew up so he could walk with me, and despite the weather’s inability to make up its mind, it was a nice experience:

Photos: (click to open larger versions)
Photos marked with * courtesy of the Jay Lyons Memorial Road Race’s Picasa

Ready to walk the second 5K of the day... all kitted out in my ankle brace from soccer.

Ready to walk the second 5K of the day… all kitted out in my ankle brace from soccer.

How does one dress for a day that's simultaneously cold, warm, rainy, and sunny?!

How does one dress for a day that’s simultaneously cold, warm, rainy, and sunny?! Lots of layers.

Near the starting line of the Jay Lyons Memorial Road Race

Near the starting line

These firemen ran in their full gear! (They added helmets after I took this shot.)

These firemen ran in their full gear! (They added helmets after I took this shot.)

It was rainy and cold while we waited for the race to start.

It was rainy and cold while we waited for the race to start.

Jay Lyons's father started the race by honking the fire truck's horn. *

Jay Lyons’s father started the race by honking the fire truck’s horn. *

The only "official" picture of Drew and me during the race (we're circled in red) *

The only “official” picture of Drew and me during the race (we’re circled in red) *

Mid-race selfie

Mid-race selfie

After the rain cleared up, the sun peeked out but the ominous clouds kept lurking.

After the rain cleared up, the sun peeked out but the ominous clouds kept lurking.

This amazing "fire truck" was camped out at the start/finish line.

This amazing “fire truck” was camped out at the start/finish line.

A view of the whole fire/beer truck *

A view of the whole fire/beer truck *

I, however, opted for this is my post-race refreshment. (I wanted Orange Dry, but people were grabbing several cans each so there were none left by the time we finished) :(

I, however, opted for this as my post-race refreshment. (I wanted Orange Dry, but people were grabbing several cans each so there were none left by the time we finished) 😦

Recap: It’s very weird walking a 5K. I’d done it a few times, years ago, at run/walks for cancer fundraising, but I’ve never walked a 5K that’s meant to be run. I felt a little embarrassed at the start, when the spectators were still cheering for everyone even though we were all just walking. It felt anticlimactic. I know I was still taking part in the event, but because I wasn’t actually running it felt like I didn’t deserve the applause (not that I wanted my fellow walkers to be denied!). There was one small cluster of cheering on-lookers about a quarter-mile in, and walking by them was embarrassing too. I should have just been able to appreciate the nice gesture, but going into the race knowing I wasn’t going to try my best made me feel like I didn’t deserve cheering.

The end of the race was really anticlimactic too. By the time we got to the last stretch, the road had been reopened and we were walking on the sidewalk. People who had already finished were streaming toward us, on their way to their cars presumably, and we had to bob and weave out into the road and between parked cars as they walked 2- or 3-abreast at us. (People, I know you just finished a race – congrats by the way – and are tired, but Drew and I had bibs on and were speed-walking (single-file!!) in the direction of the finish… your walking single-file for 2 seconds while we passed wouldn’t have been that hard!!) As we approached the finish line, it looked like the organizers were tearing the sensor-pad-things up, and we weren’t even sure our results would count. I did a fancy little jump over the finish line, partly because a guy was in the process of lifting it up, but also partly to be silly, but the finish line photographer was long gone by that point so it wasn’t captured on film.

It was fun following along on MapMyRun to see what pace we were going. I walk pretty fast, and sometimes when I’m running I feel like I could walk faster than the speed I’m going at that point, so I was curious to see if that was actually true. Thankfully, I do actually run faster than I walk, even when walking fast! I remember feeling like I was running SO slowly at the 4-miler race I did last month, but my “wicked slow” running was still more than 2 minutes-per-mile faster than my fast walking.

Drew and I finished the race in 48:53, which – despite walking the entire thing – was not my slowest 5K time! The Old Port 5K was 49:18 (it was wicked hot and included a 5+ minute bottleneck at the bottom of a flight of stairs) and the Feeney Five (my first race back from a bad injury, and also an incredibly hot day, and the race had a noon start (why??)) was 50:04. Drew walked the Feeney Five with me too, so the Jay Lyons Race ended up being a PR for him! I can’t wait to start doing trail races so that we can actually run together!

Even though walking felt a little wrong, it was nice to be able to actually look around and take in the course surroundings without either speeding past them (heh, right) or glancing blearily at them while I struggle to breathe. I’m really happy that I was still able to take part in this race, both because I was able to complete the race in honor of Jay Lyons, and because I’ll still be able to complete the entire Tour de Worcester. I just hope my ankle is back to normal in time for the WFD6K!

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3 thoughts on “Double Race Day Didn’t Go As Planned…

  1. Hi there! I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for a Liebster Award–you can check it out on my blog. Thanks so much for your great posts!

  2. Pingback: Friday Five of Randomness | Slow and Steady(ish)

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