I made it down to Tewksbury this morning for my first Fudgcicle (or however you spell it) 5K of the year.
Fudge is a GLRR series that's been ongoing now for over 30 years(?!). Yowsers.
This was week 3 of the 8 week series. For a buck a race, you can't go wrong.
As treasurer/accountant for GLRR, I always joke that this race is our most profitable race. Not far from the truth when you're bringing in 100+ runners every Saturday for a no frills race like this.
When I use to live in Tewksbury, I would use this "race" as part of my Saturday morning workout. Two miles out to the course, 5K tempo, two miles out to Catamount hill, hill repeats, and then two miles back. Made for awesome workouts leading into Boston.
This was going to be my first 5K in over 3 months, which is definitely the longest stretch I've gone without racing one. Goal was to get under 18, but I honestly can't even remember how to race this distance after running six marathons during that same time span.
A number of speedsters decided NOT to sleep in (dammit) and showed up, including Steve Gendron, Dave Corbett, Cody Freihofer, and Dan Verrington (EJ's race-nemesis).
I knew right off the bat that I was going to be 5th or 6th even if I hit my goal of breaking 18 minutes.
I was hoping that my marathon fitness, along with my recent track sessions, was going to carry over to this race.
Not a chance.
I decided to go with just one thin layer up top and tights down below after a 1.5 mile warm up on a relatively mild day (low 30's).
As expected, Gendron, Corbett, and Freihofer took off from the start, followed by two other runners, myself, and Verrington.
Verrington passed me about a half mile into the race, averaging high 5's.
I stayed with Verrington and we both passed Unknown Runner #1 at mile 2, still averaging high 5's.
Gendron, Corbett, and Unknown Runner #2 were long gone by now, but I could still see Cody 30 seconds ahead. How can you not, the kid is 7ft tall!
I couldn't make up any ground on Verrington over the final mile when the head wind picked up. I just made sure that I hung onto my position.
Sub-18 was also out of the question.
No matter how many times I run a heart attack distance like the 5K, I always think, in the back of my mind, that it's going to hurt so much that I'm going to blow up and stop dead in my tracks. Its never happened before. Hopefully it never happens, but it still doesn't prevent me from thinking about it. Stupid brain.
I crossed the line in 18:33 for 6th place. One of the slowest Fudge 5K's for me.
Overall, I felt pretty good and not disappointed considering how early it is in the season, but it's definitely time to wake up those fast twitch fibers.
Gendron with the walk off win in 16:50.
Funny story time.
While cooling down with Gendron, Steve asked me who he was "running" with today. He was asking about Corbett.
Apparently, Corbett and Gendron went back and forth physically and verbally during the race. According to Steve, Corbett would take the lead and intentionally slow down in front of him. Steve was a little ticked that someone was trying to be tactical on a Saturday morning run. A tempo run for Steve who could lay down a low 16 minute 5K on any day of the week.
This continued on for two miles before Steve decided that he had had enough and pulled away for good and for the win.
Then, when I went to the Deli King for breakfast after the race, Dave Corbett was there and he asked me who he was "racing" with today. Dave was asking about Gendron.
Corbett was peeved that Gendron was peeved at him for using race strategy during the race! I told Dave that Steve was using it as a tempo run, so that's the reason why he got a little upset out there. Nothing personal. Just a little misunderstanding.
In the end, Corbett got a fresh Fudge 5K PR chasing down Steve who was out there just enjoying the scenery.
Everybody wins at Fudge.