Thanksgiving morning, I drove over to Andover, MA and ran the 22nd Annual Feaster Five road race. It is advertised as a 5 miler for promotional purposes and every sign and mile marker out on the course indicates it is a 5 miler but in reality it is an 8k. Going into this race, I was not sure what to expect as I still believe I am feeling the effects from numerous fall races and not having a substantial base to carry me through. But I figured I would give it my best shot. After receiving a $5 discount from the $30 entry fee due to the fact that they ran out of t-shirts (there were only 9,000 runners between the 5k and 8k so I don't know how that happened) I went out on the course to warmup. 12 minutes into it I bumped into Double J (Jim Johnson) who was racing in the 8k as well. We went another 8 minutes or so and met up for the jog over to the starting area after lacing up the racing flats (I wore my Loco Banditos and made sure they were good and tied).
After managing to get past tight security we lined up right in the front and I stood next to eventual winner Nate Jenkins and joked that all the slow people should line up in the back and he went along with the joke good naturedly and pretended to move to the back.:) After all the pre race festivities (which get a little played out) we finally got the start to race. I wanted to win the master's division. I am not going to lie this was my goal. I have won the 5k master's division once so I wanted to add the 8k to my resume. My time last year was 27:22 which looking back was one of my best races. I honestly did not think I had 27:22 in me based on my last couple of races but this is why we run the race. Looking at the field I noticed Robert Dabreio (Whirlaway) who I beat at Ollie 5 miler and he beat me at Lone Gull 10k, so I figured he was the guy to beat.
I got out good and actually beat Jenkins, et al to the 50 yard mark but my lead was short lived as Nate took off pretty much uncontested. Matt Ely (BAA) a former Andover, MA resident gave chase but it was clearly a one man race. I was concentrating on staying with Dabreio but I really did not give much of a challenge as I was losing ground early and was about 5 seconds back at the mile (5:52). I felt decent but just didn't have the leg turnover to go any harder early with the long uphill. As we made our way onto Main Street the early morning fog served as a shield and I lost eye contact with the top 8 runners but could see Dabreio the entire way. Turning left and then left again brings us to the top of the hill and then there is a long downhill to the Town Offices and mile 2 (11:38). My second mile was 5:46 and I was giving it everything to stay in sight of Dabreio and actually gained a bit as we winded through the Carmel Woods neighborhood and onto Elm Street. The 3rd mile is very generous and has substantial downhill which helps at this point in the race but wasn't enough for me to get back to the lead master. I ran hard and hit mile 3 in 17:22 and was probably 15 seconds behind. My 3rd mile was 5:44.
Mile 3 to 4 is more downhill to the turn onto High Street and this is where the 8k meets up with the 5k. This can cause problems because several 5k runners drift to the right and hinder your progress at times and also allow runners up ahead to hide in the pack. Of course, this effects everyone so, it is a wash. I actually like this section of the course because I always feel the energy of the pack of runners but it is usually when the pain of the race is starting to hit you. At about 3 1/2 miles Anders Samuelson (Joan Benoit Samuelson's son) went by me and I tried to hang with him. He was running strong and I could not sustain his pace even though I was surging as best I could. I hit mile 4 in 22:53 (5:31) and took the turn onto Lowell St (Rt 133) for the final push home. I actually passed two runners during this long stretch but, as I ran up the final hill to Brookstone Square, they both passed me and I finished the final .91 in 5:30 for a finishing time of 28:22 which put me officially in 13th place and 2nd master overall. Dabreio beat me handily with a time of 27:35.
Jim Johnson took 4th overall in 26:10. As I walked past the finish line his dad took a photo of the two of us. Overall I am pleased but feel I have more in me for the future because my foot is not bothering me and I should be able to start to bring the mileage up and start building for future racing. Next up is the Andover CC 6k XC race Sunday morning.
Story and video from tribune