Well, this was a good Thanksgiving weekend. A lot of driving in a short period of time, but good.  My mom in upstate NY cooked – she’s a good cook. 🙂

Jamie got in late from NYC on Wednesday night – around 11 p.m. so by the time we got home, it was about 11:30, and by the time we actually got to sleep it was after midnight. We were a bit tired when 6 a.m. rolled around on Thursday morning. We wanted to leave by 7:15ish to get to the race and find parking. 7:15 turned into 7:30 (this is not a surprise for anyone who knows us) and we got to North Andover by around 7:50 or so. Luckily we found parking, and it was pretty close to the finish line, which was awesome considering I didn’t want to have to walk a 1/2 mile afterward like last year (when we had no clue as to how close we were really parked to the finish line.)

Anyway, imagine 7000 runners for a 5K and 5 Mile race with the same starting time, some with dogs, some with strollers, some fast, some slow. We were crammed in pretty tight, so tight that Jamie and I felt like we were indoors, and both of us took off our outer layers as we got to the start line – we were already warmed up.  The Merrimack Valley Striders have pictures of the race on their website – if you scroll toward the bottom, you’ll see the crowds at the starting line.

Now, did I forget to mention that basically the first  mile (actually even more) of the Feaster Five is UP A HUGE HILL?! I am proud to say, we made it, and I didn’t stop until around mile 1.5, when seriously, my lungs hurt, and I felt like I couldn’t get enough air into my lungs. I am noticing that much more this year, and am beginning to wonder if my asthma medication needs to be changed.  I took a few puffs on the inhaler and we continued on.

After that first uphill, the race is pretty flat, thankfully.  We had great weather, and it was in the high 30s/low 40s.  I carried my water bottle causing my brother to just laugh in the morning as I struggled to unravel my headphone cords, and just say “you’ve just got so much…..GEAR!!”  Yes, I am a “GEAR-HEAD,” AND PROUD OF IT!

Anyway, before the race, I visited the porta-potties while Jamie ran around a bit and tried to keep warm. During the race, he stopped at the first water stop, and when we passed the second he didn’t stop, even though I kept urging him to. It was at this point that he admitted he needed one of the porta-potties.  

When the 5Mile runners join up with the 5Kers, there is a wooded area to the right side of the road, up a hill. I saw Jamie start looking and I was like “I know what you’re thinking!”  So he took off when he saw a good spot where he could hide a bit from the crowd (but with a race that big, there really is no complete way of hiding), and said he’d catch up.  Another runner asked me if I thought he could really catch up to me, and I was like “um, yeah, he’s a 6 or 7 minute miler, I have no doubt of it!”

Anyway, long story short, he did.  Around the 4 mile point, I saw that we were already at 41 minutes. Jamie asked me if I still wanted to break 50 minutes and said he could get us there if I did. I didn’t think I could do a 9 minute mile considering my lungs had already had me walk twice at this point and told him so. But the amazing thing is that when we hit about mile 4.70 or so, I did feel pretty good.  We also had a downhill at that point (followed by a steep uphill right afterward, which I knew about), and I yelled out “free speed, right?!”  That’s been  my motto ever since our marathon together, downhills = free speed. 

So we took off, and 200 yards from the finish, there’s a guy with a megaphone telling you about that distance, and even though it was pretty difficult to sprint up a hill, through crowds of walkers (and yes, dogs and strollers doing the 5K), I looked at my watch, saw it said 48:22, and knew I could finish under 50 minutes!! 

End official time for me: 49:23, and 49:24 (we’re still not sure why I seem to finish ahead of him when we run), and our places were 1901 and 1902 out of 2600 or so.  So yep, in the middle-of-the-pack, just like I like it!  

I am so thankful to be able to run with my brother in races like this, it makes it all the better. No pics though, neither of us carried our cell phones during the race, and Bill didn’t go to watch, he slept in!

Hope you like the pictures, they are me with my mom’s cat, Persephone (my mom had no choice about her name, she just adopted her a few years ago), her dog Amos, who is just such a lover-boy, and the snow that we woke up to in upstate NY on Saturday morning.  Thought those of you in warmer climates who never see snow might like it!

Hope everyone had a great holiday, and ran happy at the same time.  (I took two days off, worked out today and am going to hopefully run outside tomorrow, taking the day off.)

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