Monthly Archives: February 2012

Less running, more flying

I started a fab new job this week. On Friday when I left for the weekend, I felt as though I had run a marathon, but without the red-faced shame (I hope) or the medal. (There may have been a banana.) Still, I decided it was all part of my running “training.” So, this is what it feels like …

Anyway, in the absence of stories involving new running shoes or random bulk purchases made by Hubby, I thought I’d share this old-but-great Natalie Dee cartoon (nataliedee.com). It speaks to me in many ways. (The reference to tights makes me think of my trusty CW-X beauties and their circulation-stymying properties. Also, I believe she may be on to something with that cape.)

Anxiety Girl

Her outfit looks suspiciously like my absurd winter running uniform.

More 52 Weeks, 52 Runs shenanigans in the next few days. I’m running the first of the Wild Rover Series in Haverhill, MA, tomorrow. There will be beer.

52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 8: Did 5K just become longer?

Despite the absence of official beer, I had high hopes for last weekend’s 5K run, the Old Fashioned 10 Miler and Flat 5K in Foxboro, MA. This was primarily due to the distinct lack of hills. Or sand. Or sand in hill form. Glee!

Old Fashioned 10 Miler and Flat 5K

Our shadows waiting for the starting gun.

Hills and I have a long, troubled history, and sand is a recent addition to the list of things that give me the fear, so I wasn’t at all upset that they both decided to make themselves scarce. Add to the mix some brilliant weather (if this is winter then I’m a marathoner), and the fact I had a running buddy who shares the same pace as me, and things were looking up.

With the blazing sun at our backs, Running Buddy and I started off strong … Probably too strong … Definitely too strong (when I say “strong,” I mean a 10.20 pace. It’s all relative, of course). We were going great guns until mile marker No. 2 loomed (when I say “great guns,” I mean me wheezing like a cat with a hairball, and taking my inhaler more than I would have thought necessary. But still, we didn’t stop).

But back to that mile marker …

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 7: Didn’t sand a chance

I grew up in Sydney’s western suburbs, an hour’s drive from the nearest beach, so I didn’t get many chances to channel my inner bronzed Aussie. I hated getting sand in all the wrong places, couldn’t surf, and was scared of the waves after I got too big for my dad’s shoulders. The only time I ever ran (i.e., stumbled ineffectually) was when I needed food and had to traverse lava-hot sand in order to get it. Needless to say, I was an inelegant beach-goer.

I adore the beach now – but not much has changed, it would seem.

Frosty Knuckle 5K

Me vs. the water at the Frosty Knuckle 5K in Salisbury, MA.

As part of my 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge, Hubby and I signed up for the Frosty Knuckle 5K at Salisbury Beach, MA (actually, it was a 3.5-miler, but 5K sounded snappier). I was excited about this road/beach run as I figured it would make for a fun change from all the dullsville paved surfaces. Also, there are no hills down by the water! Or so I thought …

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Bai curious

It’s a truism that runners love free stuff. Big races are ideal places for companies to promote their latest energy-giving/electrolyte-restoring/brain-boosting/fast-making/life-altering products. At the end of an event, participants can often be seen trotting back to their cars car with their arms full of goodies, mostly of the edible/drinkable/wearable/coupon variety. (The Oscars themselves would struggle to compete on sheer swag volume.)

Bai Jamaica Blueberry

Best Bai!

Which is how we came upon Bai, a newish addition to the family of drinks that are 95% super-powerful-previously-undiscovered-awesome-ingredient-du-jour and 5% liquid (Mamma Chia also falls into this category).

Why single out Bai? Well, Hubby was clearly so enamored of the beverage’s “astonishing antioxidant power of 4,000 ORAC units” that he had to buy 24 bottles of the stuff. Savvy readers will recall his similar purchase of 48 Roco Choco Banana Bunny Bars this past Christmas. What can I say, the man likes his foodstuff in bulk form …

What the heck is an ORAC?

This vaguely menacing term stands for “oxygen radical absorbance capacity,” which is a lab value used to compare the antioxidant content of foods. Perfect to highlight on the side of your product. Completely baffling! Slightly scary! Yet intriguing!

Bai’s off-the-charts ORACity comes from “coffee’s secret superfruit,” the formerly unloved product of the coffee plant that has been reborn as a beverage superhero with “astonishing antioxidant power.” Here’s a helpful diagram that may clear up any confusion:

Bai: What is ORAC?

ORAC attack. From the Bai website.

In your face, blueberries!

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 6: Riding in buses with runners

A diabolical duo of DIY runs these past two weeks proved what I already knew: unless there’s T-shirts, assorted malty beverages, and a crowd to propel me forward (fear of shame is a great motivator), I’m an epic failure as a runner. So I was excited to get back to my regularly scheduled 52 Weeks, 52 Runs programming by suiting up for the Super Sunday 5 in Cambridge, MA. I figured at the very least, the race would erase from my mind the ignominy of the great treadmill and wind debacles of 2012.

Super Sunday 5

And we're off. The slightly blurry start (for all) and finish (for most).

In addition to its shame-eradicating properties, Sunday’s event promised beer and general Super Bowl Day merriment (with music courtesy of BearFight, “Boston’s premier hard-rock party band”). Also, it benefited Target Cancer, Cycle Kids, East Cambridge Little League, Broad Institute, and LIVESTRONG. Reasons enough to come out in the cold. But what really sealed the deal for me was the presence of the famed Boston party bus The Bustonian.

Super Sunday 5

Hmmm, which to choose?

The race was ostensibly a five-miler, but organizers wisely figured that some people (i.e., me) might want to ditch after 3.1, so the rockin’ bus was there – complete with festive lighting and party music – to transport us back to the start.

Can I have The Bustonian on standby every time I do a race? It’s the dream!

I was a bit sad that I didn’t just get to ride the bus with a cold one (beer, not vampire) for the duration of the 5K, but I guess this 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge requires me to, you know, run …

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Running the numbers: My story so far. In pictures

I’ve reached a milestone. In the past seven months, I’ve somehow managed to run 20 5K races. I’m wheezing even thinking about it. I know this is a jog around the block for serious runners. But for me, who previously collapsed in a heap after two minutes on the treadmill, it’s huge.

It hasn’t been pretty (my redder-than-the-sun face is testament to that). But I thought it deserved a little (graphical) round-up. Why not! …

Stride and Joy. The story so far

52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 5: This really blows

I have discovered something worse than hills. And treadmills.

There was a dearth of organized runs this past weekend, but I am committed to my 52 Weeks, 52 Runs plan. Rather than take to the treadmill again (savvy readers will recall how well that turned out), I decided to invoke yet another made-up rule:

4. If I’m traveling and no runs exist, and I don’t have a gym to go to, I can as a last resort huff and puff on my own.

Sure, I’m not traveling, and I certainly have a gym, but it’s my challenge and I can bend the rules if I want to. So Hubby and I decreed that we’d huff and puff on our own. Specifically, we decided to run/walk the Quincy Half Marathon route (he’s running this race for real in March) and donate $25 to the American Cancer Society Daffodil Days program.

Half of Quincy

Quincy (MA) Half Marathon route.

I was down with this plan, although at one point I said to my running buddy: “You do realize this is going to take HOURS!”

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