Race Day – Thanksgiving

Andover, MA – Thanksgiving Day, I ran the local Feaster Five Road Race with my family. With about 8,000 participants in the two races; the 5,000 meters (5K) and the 5 mile. Being part of such a large crowd can be really thrilling but it can also make the start complicated. Usually it makes a big difference between the gun time and my actual time after crossing the line and that happened to me after the start. The only funky thing was we didn’t actually get to line up in the corral because there were so many people.

It is was in the high 40s around Andover, MA. For the race, I rarely get away without wearing a hat but this year all I needed was gloves. The whole race atmosphere was great with everyone happy because of the holiday and to be outside. I started off with my family before we gradually spread out along the course. I don’t usually push out toward the front, in the beginnning, and personally for some of these larger races, I actually prefer to be little farther back because I enjoy weaving in and out, Thursday was no exception. Time-wise, running around people isn’t particularly helpful, but it does add interest to the race and helps me focus on the course.

I only came back to running after a 2 month break at the beginning of November, so I was shooting for around 7:30 a mile for the 5K. The first mile of the 5K and the 5 mile are the same, heading up main street in Andover toward the center of town. The first half mile is pretty flat, but then it steadily starts going up. At the top of the hill in the center of town is where the two courses split with the 5K making an almost 360 left turn. The course flattens out for about a quarter mile before heading steeply downhill and meets up with the 5 mile. DMSE Sports always does a great job making sure people don’t cut the course, with an extra chip reader. After the 2nd mile the course goes back up slightly and then another steep downhill with another tight left turn. It then flattens out until you go under the railroad bridge. It’s a down and up then up under the tracks and the final push to the uphill finish in Brickstone Sq. I finished with a gun time of 22:46 and a total time of 22:05 overall averaging a 7:07 mile it looks like I accomplished my goal of at least 7:30 pace. The time put me in the top ten in my age group and accomplishing my goal was enough for now.

After the race, I literally bumped into Joan Benoit Samuelson, while grabbing some water. While saying ‘excuse me,’ I made the mistake of calling her “Mrs Samuelson.” She smiled and corrected me, saying “Call me Joan.”

It was a great time! I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday!