Doyle’s Road Race
Jamaica Plain, MA
Sunday, April 10, 2001
5 miles (official – no chip)
31:30 / pace 6:18 (31:54 / pace 6:23)
75/2400 place overall
26th Age Group M40-49
Photo Credits: Scott Mason
When it comes to running road races in my family, April means two things: The Boston Marathon and Doyle’s Road Race.
Boston is, well, Boston. I run it. Every year.
As for Doyle’s, not an April goes by when my sister-in-law and I do not chat about “doing Doyle’s”. It is not exactly for the course but rather the incredible after party back at parking lot of Doyle’s Cafe, race sponsor. This party is so good that my older brother even comes out to cheer on — or perhaps to get his cheer on!
This April was no different. Heather and I were in!
What was different was that this year I was injured. Only weeks earlier, before I injured my left calf during the National Marathon, I was running very fast as was evident by my performance at Ras 5K, I was hoping to go under 30 minutes on this rolling 5 miler traversing Boston’s Emerald Necklace park system through Franklin Park. But now with a debilitating injury, I had no goals other than to have fun — and to not tweak the injury further.
With plenty of smiles and catching up with Kathy and family and saying hello to old and new friends alike (hi Scotty, Chris, and April, not to mention Bob and Jackie), I slotted into the starting line in the middle of the pack with Heather and Kathy. With 2400 runners, it was tight. So tight that it took us 24 seconds to cross the starting line, and we still weren’t running.
After a stop-and-go start, I got into a jog and promptly lost Heather and Kathy. It was so crowded that, I’m guessing, instinct took over where I found myself trying to go faster to get ahead, away from the jostling and groups of people running together shoulder-to-shoulder. That sent me to the side of the path.
Just then I realized that my calf actually felt pretty good. I had connection to the road and was able to push off. I still felt the injury, but it didn’t feel bad, as if it would injure further. It even felt strong in there.
Still caught among too many runners, I picked up pace enough to where the calf still felt good. Ease into it. During this time, I was surprised to see Kathy just up ahead. She must have, I reasoned, done as I did and went up the side trail passing others. She’s fast, so it was entirely possible.
The course rolls pretty good. If you’re strong on hills, you can run a decent time here, but it isn’t a fast course — it just rolls too much. The course “rolls up” during the first two miles. The next two roll back down. And then the last mile is very fast.
In all, the slow opening mile was a nice way to ease into. I steadily picked up pace during this second mile so that I was very near race pace by the time Mile 2 (6:28) came.
Mile 3 (6:00) & Mile 4 (5:50) rolled up and down as I elevated effort to max. The calf felt good. I felt it. But it was transferring energy from the road, through the calf, and to the body to propel me forward.
Due to the slow start, I was not exactly slotted in the race at my “true” pace. For this reason, I passed hundreds of runners; I did not get passed.
Just before the course hits the homestretch, the long road outside of the park that leads to Doyle’s Cafe and the finish, I saw my buddy Scott Mason beside the path. He was snapping photos. He got a few good ones. Thank you, Scotty!
I was actually thinking of Scotty the whole time, because he, being a home brewer extraordinaire and an all-around great guy, told me that he brought a few of his creations along and that he’d have them, one with my name on it, at the finish celebration. Chocolate Porter. I love this guy. And I was thinking about him.
Mile 5 (5:43) and the finish finally came!
Heather, Kathy and myself plus my older brother and kids met back at Doyle’s for a wild after party. One or two beers were consumed.
1 – 7:12
2 – 6:38
3 – 6:00
4 – 5:53
5 – 5:43