Doyle’s Road Race
Jamaica Plain, MA
Sunday, April 22, 2012
29:27 (pace 5:53)
26th Place Overall of 1560
8th AG M40-49
Doyle’s Emerald Necklace 5 Miler, a road race otherwise known as “Doyle’s”, is a must-do event in my family. With a roller coaster of a course through Jamaica Plain’s Franklin Park and a legendary after-party, neither my sister-in-law nor Heather nor I miss this race. It is so much fun that this year we extended an invite to include friends Jay and Gina. Add in the regular contingent of Turtles (Tuesday Night Turtles) from Rhode Island and I knew this year would go down as memorable. And it did!
Held in April every year, typically the week before the Boston Marathon, Doyle’s often serves as a tune-up for hoping to dance with unicorns (those running Boston). Not so this year. With Easter falling the week before Boston, Doyle’s was pushed back to the week after. Would six days recovery be sufficient to race 5 miles over rolling hills? I didn’t know. What I did know was that there was plenty of fun (and beer) ahead.
First one to the parking lot of Doyle’s Café, location of free-flowing Samuel Adams beer, wins. Tag, you’re it!
Out the starting gate I went along with 1600 others. I was in control, my breathing was where I wanted, and I was running strong and feeling stronger.
Where I normally start only a few rows from front, this year I slipped back a good 10 rows or more. I wasn’t sure if my legs would get rolling, what with having raced 26.2 miles only six days prior, so I made a conscious decision to take the first two miles easy.
Mile 1 (6:02) came. Even though this stretch through Franklin Park rolls with a net uphill, I was a little disappointed to see a split over 6 minutes. No matter, I was in control and still running comfortably. Plus, with Boston still in my body and mind, I had no expectations on the day other than to run to my ability with the goods I had, as tired and beat as they might be.
Running by the Franklin Park Zoo and then through Mile 2 (6:00), I was still in control and trying to stay on the easy side. My breathing was labored but steady. I was passing many runners and feeling stronger with each mile. Although I didn’t have an extra gear – I didn’t start that easy – I knew I could run faster by exerting greater effort to all out and by focusing on form. And that’s what I did.
Just beyond Mile 2 came the turnaround. From there until the end, I dialed effort to max and held, focusing the entire time on picking off the next guy ahead of me.
Mile 3 and 4, predominantly downhill, I smoked.
As the finish line came into sight, I tried to make out the time on the clock. I was hopeful that even though I had a slow start I would still be able to get under 30 minutes.
Hauling ass, trying to keep my legs under me and moving fast with the longest stride possible that still supported top leg speed, I was nearing the finish line quickly. Finally I was able to see the clock. It was then that I realized that I would not only slip in under 30 minutes, I would smoke the course so much that it would be the fastest I have run 5 miles in 20 years.
Mile 5 (5:43). Finish came in 29:27 (5:53 pace), good for 26th place overall of 1600 and 8th place AG M40-49.
After crossing the finish line, I grabbed a bottle of water and then quickly hooked up with Heather and my nephews, who were at the finish line cheering people on. Seconds later I had two pint-sized plastic cups filled with Sam Adams and was going back for more. I was banking pints for family and friends. To make the party even better, both Jay (Brewski) and Scotty (Mr. Mason to you) brought homebrew. Together with Gina, who also ran well (check out Gina’s race: here), and friends Bob and Jackie and a few other Turtles, and my family, we all enjoyed the day. Nobody noticed the drizzle falling from the sky. There was more beer to be had.
Doyle’s, the best year yet!