We may have eschewed turkeys in favor of tigers last week, but we knew it wasn’t going to be long before we were back out among the turkey faithful. We signed up for the Thanksgiving Day Feaster Five in Andover, MA, many months ago (it’s the one with the free whole apple pie for every runner at the end!). I had some vivid non-pie memories of this event from last year, mostly because it was the first time I had run in obscenely cold weather. I had little experience running in such conditions and my hands were so freezing that I insisted on wearing my Columbia snow gloves. Worst. Idea. Ever. The run was definitely the first of many iterations of the Absurd Winter Running Outfit™. I think I eventually got it right.
Last year’s Feaster was also the occasion of the infamous fakeout finish banner. You can read more about that here.
Ah, the things I have learned since then, apart from how to read a sign. I believe I have discovered how to actually run (or at least I’ve convinced myself that I can) because this year I willingly signed up for the 5 miler instead of the 5K. I am always intrigued when I willingly sign up for a longer distance when a shorter one is available. What the heck is going on in my brain?
Thankfully, I had my friend Tiffany from the fabulous Cute Dogs & Hugs along with me for the ride. We were both pretty apprehensive about this run. Tiffany because she had been vacationing and hadn’t trained much, and this was going to be her first 5 mile race; me because I was struggling with IT band issues and am generally lousy at training anyway. Also, because I knew there was one big-ass hill between mile .5 and 1.5. I remembered it so well because last year I spent quite a lot of time on it. Walking.
The Feaster Five is a marvelous event that attracts about 10,000 runners, as well as celebs like Team Hoyt and Jean Benoit Samuelson. Because of the sheer volume of people it’s almost impossible to start quickly. True to form, Tiffany and I got caught up in a crush and had to play human dodgem for a while (we were quite far back so there were a lot of walkers around us). Had I been by myself I would probably have walked that first hill. Because that’s what I do. But having someone by my side who is not a complete hill wuss was fabulous, and we got to the top without stopping. We weren’t fast, but we were consistent.
And that’s the way it continued. We settled in, occasionally chatting. Normally I don’t have enough air for breathing let alone talking, so this was notable. We probably could have gone faster, given the gabbing, but I was wary of doing that lest the old angry ITB, which was slowly making itself known, should decide to really have a hissy. We were doing it tough for the first two miles, but then the course started descending and we were able to take advantage. Remember, we were both convinced this would be a disaster. It’s funny how your mind does that.
Mile 4 came up on us quickly (at least it seemed to for me), and we picked up the pace. Yay, negative split. My knee calmed down, probably realizing it had left its evil run a little too late.
No road race is complete without its little twist, and at the Feaster Five it comes in the form of a hill right at the finish. It almost mucked up what up until then had been a pretty great run (we hadn’t stopped). But we gritted our teeth and made that hill our bitch, running the whole thing right into the finish line, where the Hubbys were waiting, having finished their own 5 mile runs about a year ago.
I was happy. It wasn’t my speediest 5 mile (that was Boston’s Run to Remember), but I like knowing I could have gone faster, had I not been worried about my knee (nervous knee-ly?). When I finished, I didn’t feel anywhere near as exhausted as I did at the Tiger Trot. More important, it was great to run with someone, to be motivated and return the favor. It made the whole thing really fun, and go much, much faster (so to speak).
The event: Feaster Five
The location: Andover, MA
The date: November 22, 2012
My time: 54.50 (pace: 11.02)
Hubby’s time: 33.32 (pace 6.45)
The cause: Ironstone Farms; Merrimack Valley YMCA
The T-shirt: White long-sleeved tech
The aftermath: Bananas, granola bars, bagels, snap candy, apple pie!