I know – it’s been a little while. Life, a new/second job and planning a wedding apparently take a lot more time than I initially gave them credit for. Time to get back on the horse.
Remember that weekend I ran 3 races in two days? Yeah…there was one more race I didn’t talk about, and it was pretty fun.
Spring Classic 5K! What a cap-off to my crazy, double-booked, super-packed weekend.
I may have exercised poor judgement in planning my weekend…
To pick up where we left off…
Team checked in at relay for 9 am start – check. Bolted across town for the 10 am 5K – check. Back across town to start my leg of the relay round-about 11 am – check. Placed 4th overall in the 5K (24:14), placed 2nd all-male team, 6th overall team (out of 57) in the relay (33:19 individual time, 4.37 mi). Sweet. Many a post-race libation was shared in celebration of our sweet sweet victory and the awesome medals we took home.
Aaaand then I hit the road to Amherst.
I serve as Chapter Advisor to my college fraternity chapter at UMass Amherst. That night they just so happened to be holding an important ceremony…one which I REALLY should be at. So, of course, I went. In the first article about this weekend of races I mentioned I originally hadn’t even planned on any races…this was why.
So I shot out to Amherst, we had our night, and I didn’t end up going to sleep until about 1 AM. I then got up 4.5 hours later to make the drive to Cambridge. So now, not only was I physically POOPED from running two races the day before…but I was also now running (literally) on 4.5 hours sleep.
Arrived in Cambridge a little over an hour early (as I like to do), and meandered my way to the number pick-up. Got a sweet tech tee AND a pint glass for signing up so early. I had bib #384…aaaand they were capped at 3500 runners. So yeah, I was a little early to sign up. hah.
Ended up doing a LOT of wandering and time-wasting. Kiiind of my own fault. I had registered as a part of the “New England Spahtens” team – they’re a huge Obstacle Course Race enthusiast group / team. The Spahtens, generally, show up IN FORCE…En Masse, in droves, etc…whenever they show up to a race. More often than not they are the largest team present.
Naturally I assumed they would be the largest team at Spring Classic so I went off in search of the special “largest team” tent. I could not find it. Short answer was, I think it was pretty much just me and this other guy that actually ran Spring Classic for the Spahtens. I didn’t realize there were two obstacle races happening that very same morning…so guess where all the other Spahtens were. Whoopsie. In the end I got my stretching in, used my Tiger Tail (review to come) and got to the starting corral in plenty of time.
I had forgotten what it was like to run a big race.
It was jam-packed. Spring Classic 5K had even more runners than Pace to a Pint 5K did, and you could tell. I couldn’t even get into the corral until the gun went off and people started moving and making room. Once we were off, it was pretty crowded on the streets of the course – there was a lot of bouncing between people, slowing, speeding up, etc. Overall, despite the crowd I was able to maintain a strong pace. It was pretty cool running through the streets of Cambridge – traffic was stopped/blocked off and we got to run through major thoroughfares of the city! I love races like that…part of why I enjoyed the Boston Firefighters’ 10K so much.
In order to keep myself at a strong pace, I had to push hard through the lack of sleep and tired muscles. I tried picking people out of the crowd and pacing them, then I’d pick someone else out and try to pass them. I repeated this process for the vast majority of the race. At one point I spotted a guy wearing a New England Spahtens “drill shirt” – he was the only other Spahten I had seen all morning…I had to catch up. I tried, but he was just too fast. I was now determined to find him post-race.
The effort required to keep running was immense.
I was SO tired, SO exhausted…SO worn out...but I wanted to push. I wanted to break 24 minutes. I wanted to end the stupidest weekend of my running career strong. At the time, I mistakenly thought my 5K PR was 23:57 (it was actually 23:51) – I was convinced a new PR was within reach if I just kept pushing.
Funny thing about a 5K…a brief slow-down, a quick walk-break…can make such a difference in your official time. I had a rough idea of how far the finish was, and I pushed it. I pushed hard.
I ended up sprinting it out at the end like I always do, and I got an official time of 24:24. I didn’t PR, and honestly, I don’t think I really expected to. Thinking it was within reach was probably just what I needed, at the time, to get it done with (to me) a respectable time.
Once I crossed it was all over – the last two days caught up with me. My legs felt like jelly and politely informed me I was done exerting myself for a while. Once I got to the beer table, my day got interesting again. I ended up meeting this guy right here – Kevin. The guy in the Spahtens shirt. Found him. Ended up having a great conversation, several beers, and when the free beer ran out we continued our revelry at The Asgard (where the official post-race party was). Then later we went and watched a robot fight at The Middle East club a la BattleBots. I kid you not. I DID say my day got interesting, right?
Definitely a fun race.
If you’re looking for a fun race, a great course, and an opportunity to run through some big city streets with 3499 other people…go run Spring Classic. They also have Winter Classic, and they’ve just added Fall Classic. Same course, just different seasons/weather/conditions. Give it a whirl! I can’t promise you’ll see a robot deathmatch, but you’ll very likely have a good time regardless.
Oh…and…don’t double-book yourself.
Do yourself a favor – learn from my mistake. I may have gotten through it…but good lord…what an effort it took to coordinate, keep it straight, and make it work. I was lucky both the Herring Run Classic 5K and 26.2 Challenge Team Relay were in the same town just 8 minutes apart. They easily could’ve been across the state. Then I would’ve been out my registration money and potentially pissing off a sponsor. Keep your races straight and you’ll thank yourself.
Then again…I don’t know many other people running 35+ races in a year. So maybe this isn’t a common problem…