It was reasonably chilly in Boston for race number 14.
But a sunny, wind-free morning, terrifically flat course, and the promise of beers at the finish line made Winter Classic 5K a great time with a great crowd.
After straining my hamstring in a sprint workout just eight days prior, this race was a good test. Coach Matt instructed me to stay in Zone 3 (155-162 BPM) and not to push it (no finish line sprinting!)… and I (mostly) did just that. I also needed to get in a few miles before and after the race to make the event a useful workout.
1) Beat Nick by a lot. (✓✓✓)
2) Don’t aggravate hamstring injury. (✓)
3) Don’t injure anything else. (✓)
4) Maintain a Zone 3 tempo. (✓/X)
5) Run before/after the race. (✓)
My race went pretty well… even though it didn’t feel great.
I had to spend some energy darting around runners at the congested start and then settled in to a pace just over 7min/mile. Two things happened about a quarter of the way through the race:
First, my stomach reminded me that I am still a long way from near-optimal running fitness. I’ve still got about 10-13 lbs. to drop before I’m near a reasonable racing weight and I felt every one of them.
Second, Jessie, who has not been able to run very much and was planning to cruise the race and see how she felt, jogged up alongside me and showed up in the race photos looking like a running model:
The second and third miles felt pretty sluggish, but I was able to maintain my speed despite not feeling great. My heart rate strayed a bit above Zone 3 during the last half mile, but resisting a final surge, I was able to cruise in at about a 6:55/mile average for a total time of 21:30 (155/1766 overall, 123/832 men) – an unintentional season’s best by just a few seconds!
Much more impressively were the times of many of my fellow running friends. Notably, Chris, Natalie, and Nick Swerdlow each ran lifetime 5K-race personal records. Swerds also ran a lifetime worst 5K-race record. Pam, Wyatt, and Nick Downing all finished strong. A few others (MARISA JULIA LOGAN WILL) didn’t make it out of bed in time.
Big shoutout to Caroline who played the role of Team Mom and cheered us on in the cold!
After a cool-down run with Jess, it was time for some beers. The event had a solid selection of brews which quickly improved our temperature tolerance.
It was great to see so many friends (even the ones who came late just for the beer) and I was pleased that I could crank out a respectable time despite feeling sore and overweight.
Next Sunday is another 5K in Westchester, NY, where I’ll go for another season’s best time to try and close out the year on a good note. These next few weeks will feature some hard training before mid-January’s half-marathon!