Wednesday, November 16, 2016

13 Neighborhoods in 13 Miles: Cambridge Half (11/13/16)

SRR pic
Somerville Road Runners - third place team
Race: Cambridge Half
Goal Time: 1:25:00
Actual Time: 1:27:21

There are thirteen official Neighborhoods of Cambridge - my home town.  And, in the 13 miles of the Cambridge Half, we ran through ten of them.  It was great to have such a high profile event running through the streets I run, bike, walk everyday.

Starting in East Cambridge (factoid: East Cambridge was originally an island), we ran down First and then took a left onto Cambridge Street.  Victor was there to cheer and yell and get the beginning of the race pumping.

Before mile one, we entered Wellington-Harrington (factoid: the neighborhood is home of the iconic Roosevelt Towers) which and ran past Andy and Joe who were cheering on their intersection with Cambridge Street.

After Mile One (which was too fast), we continued on Cambridge Street and into my neighborhood Mid-Cambridge (factoid: Mid-Cambridge is home of Harvard Yard, where you can't pahk ya cah).

Around the Mile Two mark (closer to the right speed), we went under the tunnel at Harvard and took a right at the Cambridge Common onto Mass Ave to enter Agassiz (factoid: home of Lesley College and Harvard Law) as we passed the Harvard Law School and headed towards Porter Square.

As we ran by the Porter Square train station and crossed mile 3 (close to the right speed), I caught sight of TomBWarrior and tried to catch up.  There were a good number of spectators throughout North Cambridge (Factoid: Alewife Linear Path will connect the Minuteman with the eventual Green Line Extension Path for a Bedford to North Station bike path).  I spent that fourth mile catching Tommy and Mike Tuttle.  The effort for the 6:18 mile may have been a mistake.  After the water stop we went onto the bike path, I slowed a bit until I got a big cheer from Bev.  (I waved and tried to get Miles' attention.)  I lost Tommy and Tuttle as we passed Alewife and went onto the Fitchburg Cutoff path.

The path took us out of Cambridge and into the Town of Belmont where we spent about a mile as we turned back into Cambridge.

By the time we got to Cambridge Highlands (factoid: home of BBN Technologies which helped found the early internet), I was spent.  The first and fourth miles might have done me in and the next few were fights.

At mile 9, we had entered Peabody (factoid: home of the Harvard University observatory - founded when there was probably less light pollution in Cambridge) in Denahy Park.  I realized that I was two thirds done but to quote Mike Millbury between the 2nd and 3rd periods: "There's a whole lotta hockey left."  I did get another cheer from Bev and might have got Miles' attention.  Once we were out of Park, we climbed up toward the Observatory.  Trying to get myself to kick it in for the final period, I got big cheers from the Bok/De Ruiter clan.

After the Observatory, I knew I had this.  In West Cambridge (factoid: site of an Episcopal monestary)  we were back on my home turf.  We ran by the Sheraton Commander where Urvi and I got married right at mile 10.  Then back into Harvard Square and through the tunnel I dropped the hammer (as best I could - it was one of those little ball peen ones).

I kept my act together as we climbed up Broadway - back into Mid-Cambridge, since I knew there was one more little hill up to Dana Street.  But once we reached that I took off.  Near my house, around mile 11, I caught and passed Matt Ridout.

There was a brief moment when we got into The Port (factoid: home of the first reciprocal phone conversation in 1876), where I panicked.  My left shoe came completely undone.  For one or two steps I thought about doing the last 2 miles with an untied shoe.  Then I realized I would be doing the last two miles with an untied shoe.  I tied it and had to pass Matt again.

I recovered, and despite the 15 seconds or so I lost, still had a respectable (if not good) mile 12.  We kissed the edge of the MIT/Area Two (factoid: MIT has just celebrated 100 years in Cambridge) neighborhood for our 10th and last of the 13 neighborhoods.

But then almost immediately we went left on Binney and back into East Cambridge.  I got another big cheer from Andy and Joe who'd switched cheering spots.  I tried to keep it together as best I could.  At First Ave, we took the left and for that last quarter mile I maintained a pace right at 6 minutes.

Shoutouts -
Big PRs from Deb (3 minutes), Todd (4 minutes), Patrick (4 minutes) and Jon Bean (8 minutes)
Team award (3rd) - Todd, Kieran and Nichole.

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