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 …

Son of a beach!

The first two miles were typical road racery: paved, flat, asthma-inducing. Determined to redeem myself after last week’s inferior display, I ran without stopping – all the while inventing ways to sneak back to the car without anyone noticing (I should probably stop doing that).

As we crossed over on to the sand, my first thought was: “I’m really not dressed for this.” My Absurd Winter Outfit™ looked nothing like a bikini. Are you even allowed to run on the beach in sneakers? It just didn’t seem right.

Frosty Knuckle 5K

Fellow runners busted out their beachwear.

Naturally, I headed down to the water’s edge. My experience watching others beach-run had taught me it was the place to go. Right?

It would have been fine had the tide not been unusually high, and had we not just entered Crooked Land. The water’s edge was at such an angle that running was painful, undignified and, for me, basically impossible. I stumbled ineffectually for a while, running back and forth in an attempt to dodge the water as it closed in on my shoes. I started to shriek. All I needed was a plastic bucket and a shovel and I would have been all set.

I decided to flee the slant. Away from the water it was flatter, but the bulky wet sand made for a formidable opponent and I couldn’t conquer it. (Great workout for the legs though!) There was no other option but to walk.

I noticed that the runners I could see in front of me clearly had the same idea. This 5K had turned into a casual mid-winter stroll along the beach. In tights.

Frosty Knuckle 5K

Where are the umbrellas?

When Mr. I Ran The Whole Way And Barely Broke A Sweat came back to cheer me home, I still had a good three-quarters of a mile to go. Normally I’d be concerned about my time, but had long given up on the idea that it was going to be anything but a disaster.

And I didn’t much care. Despite the deranged staggering, I had a lot of fun just being out on the beach at this time of the year. (My face as I crossed the finish line may have conveyed a different story.) It made me realize that my fitness levels still hover around the Couch Potato mark, so I knew what I had to do …

Drink beer! Eat chilli!

The run was sponsored by a local brewery called Frosty Knuckle, and the brewer was on hand to provide samples of his ale (“a tribute to seafarers, barkeeps, and local characters who always have a story to tell,” according to the website). There was also chilli. Who cares about times when there’s chilli to be had?

Seven down, 45 to go. It’s a long, slanty road ahead.

The event: Frosty Knuckle 5K (actually 3.5 miles, my longest distance yet)
The location: Salisbury, MA
The date: February 11, 2012
My time: 44.57 (yikes!)
Hubby’s time: 26.12 (third in his age!)
The T-shirt: White, long-sleeved cotton
The cause:
We donated $25 to the USO as this run didn’t support a charity

13 responses to “52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 7: Didn’t sand a chance

  1. Pshhhh. Your husband is an over-achiever! You did great. Be proud that you braved the cold, to run none-the-less!

    • Ha. Over-achiever indeed! I am proud. And it was actually really fun, despite being torturous! The regular road races can get kind of boring (and then I have to invent things to write about)!

  2. Congrats on number 7!

    “Drink Beer, Eat Chilli” should really be every runners mantra. Keeping them going, at least during winter, during the coldest most miserable runs.

    Can I get a shirt with that on it?

    At least your next scheduled run promises to be a) flat, b) exactly 5k, c) sand free!

  3. Congratulations! I think your time was really good for those conditions – Running on sand is so hardcore, I can’t even imagine how hard it is to do during a race setting. LD once tricked me into going to a military-style boot camp on the beach, I’d been picturing something beautiful scenery, a but of gentle jogging and maybe a couple of situps. It was NOT like that. Not at all! I still have nightmares about trying to make my body move forwards while the sand and my lower legs seemed perfectly happy for me not to move at all.

    Did you have any weird aches and pains as a result of running on sand? I remember the soreness in the muscle running up the outside of my lower leg was so bad I had to learn what it was called so I could complain about it in very specific detail ;) (it’s the peroneus longus, in case you were wondering).

    I can’t wait to read about your next race adventure.

    • Ha, nothing like being able to put a fancy scientific name to your pain! I don’t think I felt anything as specific as that, but I was VERY achy the next day in my ankles. More so than any of the other runs I’ve done. I was thinking what an amazing workout it was though, and if I wasn’t such a wimp I’d do it more often! I know what you mean about trying to move forward but feeling like it’s a futile exercise. It was like I was running through wet cement!

      Your boot camp story made me realize why my hubby did so well. He is in the army after all!! :-)

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