Tag Archives: Massachusetts

Haven’t hung up my sneakers yet

I’m dismayed. It’s been two months since I last wrote—and that post wasn’t even mine! But thankfully, my feet haven’t been as lethargic as my fingers (which are getting a stern talking to, by the way). I’ve continued to do races, just in a somewhat less elegant fashion than before (and considering I’m the world’s least elegant runner to begin with, that’s saying something).

Rather than write an individual post about each event (my memory isn’t that good and they stretch back to May), here’s a quick roundup of what I’ve been up to. Proof that I keep pinning on those bibs despite the fact that my form has seriously regressed.


Boston’s Run to Remember (5 miles)

RuntoRemember2013

Boston’s Run to Remember, 2013. Freezing!

Boston, May 26, 2013
The event: well-organized, poignant, cold
My performance: middling (53.26)
Hubby: 1.35.57 (half-marathon)

* Despite being so late in May, it was a seriously cold morning (I saved a screen grab of the weather, and it was 6C/42F. Brrrrrrrrr). The 5 mile race was late getting started so we all stood around shivering in short sleeves for what felt like forever.
* There was a great deal of significance attached to this race, as it was the first biggie in Boston since the marathon. Sean Collier, the MIT officer killed in the aftermath, was prominent on T-shirts and in speeches. The “Remember” part of the Run to Remember, which usually refers to fallen law enforcement officers, took on new meaning for many. The race itself was huge. In the weeks after the marathon, everyone was a runner!
* The shadow of the marathon hung over this race in its extreme security: significantly, no one was allowed at the finish line and the runners’ area was strictly controlled. It wasn’t inconvenient, but it was sad.


P.R.O.N.E. 5K

prone2013

P.R.O.N.E. 5K with Tonto (star of cutedogsandhugs.com).

Boston, MA, June 1, 2013
The event: cute, fuzzy, very hot!
My performance: I walked (leisurely) the whole way, so it doesn’t count, but for those keeping score (i.e., me): 1.01.24

* I did this event last year in soak-you-to-your-bones rain, so it was only fitting that this year it would be boiling!
* This race is for Pug Rescue of New England, so there were lots of cute dogs around to make me sneeze, although probably not as many as there would have been seeing it was so hot.
* Tiffany from Cute Dogs and Hugs, her hubby, and I met for the first time at this race last year so it was only fitting that we do it again. However, Tiffany was pregnant this time around, so she, I, and Tonto took a 5K stroll. There goes my average! I’ll never look at Athlinks again.


BAA (Boston Athletic Association) 10K

BAA10K2013

BAA 10K, 2013.

Boston, MA, June 23, 2013
The event: crowded, hot, poignant
My performance: dismal (1.16.31, a whopping seven minutes slower than my 10K PR)

* If any race deserved to be heavy on the “Boston strong” references it was this one. This was the BAA’s first run since the marathon, and it’s not surprising that their blue and gold signature colors, which had become ubiquitous across the city of Boston, were on prominent display here.
* It was heavier on the celebration than the emotion, which I appreciated, although there was a great moment after the race when the winner of the marathon, Lelisa Desisa, returned his winner’s medal to Boston Mayor Tom Menino and the city. There were some injured folk there from the marathon too, and they got an ovation from the huge crowd that stuck around.
* I also appreciated that this run wasn’t overzealous on the security. Hopefully a sign of things to come.
* Oh, my run was terrible. I walked a huge chunk (I didn’t have a dog with me, so there wasn’t really an excuse). It was hot and my heart and legs just weren’t in it. I’m beginning to think I dreamed 2012.


Mad Half-Marathon Walk

Mad Half Marathon, 2013.

Mad Half Marathon, 2013. Rural splendor.

Waitsfield, Vermont, July 7, 2013
The event: fabulous, picturesque, very hilly
My performance: decent; a little slower than 2012, but fourth overall in the walkers category (3.05.17)
Hubby: 1.44.57

* I love this event. We did it last year (it was the first time I had done a half-marathon distance—I was a walker) and knew we had to go back. It’s an extremely hilly course but worth it for the views (although not necessarily the barnyard odors).
* I can never quite tell how many walkers are in front of me, but I could see at least two, and I knew I had to get ‘em. They’re in the photo above, one is in bright pink and the other in the yellow scarf. It took me a while, but I eventually caught up with the pink lady. The woman in yellow was a formidable foe and we walked together for a few miles before I got slightly ahead at about mile 9 and spent the rest of the race alone. I mean, really alone. It’s a lonely walk at the end.
* I could barely move for three days.
* On the plus side, I kept all my toenails this year!


Shipyard Old Port 5K

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Shipyard Old Port 5K. Blistering!

Portland, Maine, July 14, 2013
The event:
hot, damn hot
My performance:
I’d rather not talk about it (44.13)
Hubby:
1.43.05 (half-marathon)

* Beautiful setting, but man it was crazy hot this year. The half-marathon course was very hilly and there was a lot of moaning afterward that it was too hilly for the weather, which is just silly.
* Last year’s 5K had a stairwell that we had to run down. This year, we had to run up it, too. Seeing as it was so hot, quite a few runners switched to the 5K. The result: a HUGE bottleneck at the stairs in the first mile. I’m talking almost seven minutes of standing around. I like a good rest as much as the next person, but this … well, I though it was pretty funny, actually. Good thing I wasn’t looking for a PR. I think that ship may have sailed …

This coming weekend: I’m doing the SeaWheeze Half-Marathon in Vancouver. Training? I’m not even going to go there. Promise it won’t take me two months to write about it.

52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 50: Not too fa la la la la to go

When I showed up to the Jolly Jaunt 5K at the Boston Common in 2011, I stood out like a sore thumb because I was decked out in a pink beanie in a sea of red and green. I didn’t really learn my lesson in 2012. The pink beanie is long gone (I can’t seem to find it. Sniff), but I arrived in my usual slightly absurd winter running outfit with nary a festive hue on me. Oops. Sore thumb alert.

Jolly Jaunt 2012

Red and green was nowhere to be seen on my person (trust me).

More troublingly, I also showed up incredibly late, thanks to some uncharacteristic misreading of the MBTA Trip Planner. If Hubby hadn’t been away Guarding, it’s unlikely this lateness would have occurred. Firstly, we would have been driving rather than public transiting, and secondly, we would have been there 90 minutes before—because Hubby refuses to turn up to a run any later than that. I mock him for it mercilessly (we spend large chunks of time waiting/napping in the car having woken up at 5.30am), but we never, ever have to line up.

I recognized the prudence in his approach when I was standing in a 30-deep line of people to get my bib 20 minutes before the start of the run while crazed volunteers ran around trying to locate bibs and T-shirts. It’s probably a commonplace fiasco at a large event such as this; I’ve just never experienced it. (Because I picked up my bib in a previous geologic age.)

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Race company awesomeness

I left out a part of the story about me implausibly winning an age group award at the Wolf Hollow 5K.

When the results were posted at the run, I was fourth. When we checked them again at home, I was third. I guess the gal above me was in the wrong age group. Score!

It meant, however, that I didn’t get a pint glass. 3C Race Productions, the folks who put on the Wolf Hollow, are famous for their pint-glasses-as-prizes (soda glasses if you’re under 21), and I was very excited by the prospect of getting one by means other than having my name pulled out of a hat. (I had obtained a 3C glass this way before, at the 4K on the 4th, and also at the Covered Bridge 5K, as pointed out by an avid S&J reader also known as Hubby).

So I emailed Mr. 3C, explained what had happened, and he said he’d mail me a glass. How nice! A couple of weeks passed and I hadn’t really thought about it. Then this week (funnily enough, on the same day I posted about the run), I got a package in the mail. It seemed suspiciously flat for a pint glass.

Fun on Foot in New England

Fun!

It was a copy of Fun on Foot in New England, with a nice note from Mr. 3C saying they had warehoused all the glasses and I should ask about them again in the new year.

How fabulous and unexpected is that? So, not only can I now prove to my likely mocking grandchildren that, yes, it’s true that I won a running age group award back in the day (my mother is surely wondering what parallel future universe I am referring to), I can also, you know, find out where to have fun. On foot.

Getting this terrific prize gives me a chance to talk about the all-around awesomeness of 3C Race Productions. They put on more than 200 runs in New England every year, to the point where I am convinced their folks are cloned, especially owner Michael Amarello, with whom I corresponded over my prize. We have run a lot of their races, and the events are always amazingly fun, laid-back affairs but super well organized. We especially appreciate 3C’s approach to handing out awards. Get it done fast! (I’ve aged 10 years standing through interminable awards ceremonies.)

Our 3C runs:

* The Covered Bridge 5K. Henniker, NH. September 4, 2011 (Hills from hell)
* Semap Bog Jog. Wareham, MA. September 17, 2011 (Still one of my favorite runs)
* Lake George 5K. Lake George, NY. April 29, 2012 (Was my PR run for ages)
* 4K on the 4th. Concord, NH. July 1, 2012 (Horrendously hot and a terrible run for me, but where I met Courtney Marshall)
* Tiger Trot. Hampton Falls, NH. November 17, 2012 (Fuzzy mascots!)
* Wolf Hollow 5K, Nashua, NH, November 25, 2012 (Age group award!)

Hubby also did this one:

* Zach Attach 5K. Hudson, NH, August 25, 2012 (Great cause)

Any New Englanders reading this, I recommend you find a 3C race or two to run if you like small, smooth, spirited events. They’re a friend to beer everywhere!

52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 48: Will run for pie (again)

We may have eschewed turkeys in favor of tigers last week, but we knew it wasn’t going to be long before we were back out among the turkey faithful. We signed up for the Thanksgiving Day Feaster Five in Andover, MA, many months ago (it’s the one with the free whole apple pie for every runner at the end!). I had some vivid non-pie memories of this event from last year, mostly because it was the first time I had run in obscenely cold weather. I had little experience running in such conditions and my hands were so freezing that I insisted on wearing my Columbia snow gloves. Worst. Idea. Ever. The run was definitely the first of many iterations of the Absurd Winter Running Outfit™. I think I eventually got it right.

Last year’s Feaster was also the occasion of the infamous fakeout finish banner. You can read more about that here.

Ah, the things I have learned since then, apart from how to read a sign. I believe I have discovered how to actually run (or at least I’ve convinced myself that I can) because this year I willingly signed up for the 5 miler instead of the 5K. I am always intrigued when I willingly sign up for a longer distance when a shorter one is available. What the heck is going on in my brain?

Feaster Five 2012

The morning sun beats down on the giant crowd.

Thankfully, I had my friend Tiffany from the fabulous Cute Dogs & Hugs along with me for the ride. We were both pretty apprehensive about this run. Tiffany because she had been vacationing and hadn’t trained much, and this was going to be her first 5 mile race; me because I was struggling with IT band issues and am generally lousy at training anyway. Also, because I knew there was one big-ass hill between mile .5 and 1.5. I remembered it so well because last year I spent quite a lot of time on it. Walking.

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 34: Blistering! (And I don’t mean my pace)

I think I’m still traumatized after this past weekend’s double shot of runs, the Shark Weekend 5K in Nahant, MA, and the YuKanRun 5K in Cape Ann, MA. Maybe I am suffering from residual heatstroke that manifests itself in the blocking out of salient yet humiliating details, but both runs have managed to blur into one.

If I hadn’t set myself this insane 52-week challenge, there’s no way I would have been outside exerting myself in such conditions two days in a row, especially when I could have broken a sweat just by standing still. It was my most grueling race weekend ever.

Good thing I am about to run a half-marathon on Saturday. What with the lingering trauma and all …

Shark Weekend 5K

This way for sharks!

These runs weren’t just hot. They were also hilly. Swear-inducingly hilly. I’m normally not allowed to complain about hills, but this is an exception. It was comedy. A hill lurked around every corner, meaning maximum grouchiness and slowpokery on my part, especially during the YuKanRun 5K. About a mile into that one, I expressed myself in a manner not fit for a family blog.

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 33: An amazing cause and an almost-triumph

We’ve done our fair share of races over the past six months – some tiny, some huge, some with purpose and others that felt soulless and corporate. The ones that stand out for me are usually the small events that have a great charity attached (like the Brian K. Betts 5K). They are more about the cause and less about the running. Which is good, because I am generally pretty crap at the running.

This past weekend we did the 1st Annual “Be Like Brit” 5K in Rutland, MA. There’s a tragic story behind this race. In 2010, 19-year-old Lynn University student Britney Gengel traveled to Haiti to work at an orphanage there. The day after she arrived, Britney, three of her fellow students, and two professors were killed in the massive earthquake that struck the country.

In Britney’s memory, her family established Be Like Brit to build a “safe, nurturing and sustainable orphanage” in Haiti. We saw Britney’s mother at the run. It’s truly amazing what that family has been through and what they’re doing now. We were more than happy to jump in the car in the very early morning to participate in this small but fantastic event. Hopefully it’s the first of many.

Be Like Brit 5K

Cop car marks the start.

It was a lovely, cool, cloudy day (finally!). The rain threatened to show up but never did. The run was point-to-point, so there were some logistics to overcome (car at start or finish? We chose finish), but other than that it was perfect. Did I mention it was mostly downhill?

Be Like Brit 5K

Rural running.

I felt pretty strong from the start. Sneaking glances at my pace, I was excited to see I was consistently in the nines. Hmmmm, could this be the day I go under 30? I tried to pick things up when I saw the timing clock in the distance, and when I realized the first number was 29 I really started to motor (as much as I can motor). But alas, I was just over 30. No PR – I did that in Lake George in April, although I have my suspicions about the accuracy of that result – but I was thrilled to be heading in the right direction again (forward, that is). That heat really is a momentum killer.

Be Like Brit 5K

It’s gotten more purple since this photo was taken. Who needs nail polish …?

Oh, and did I mention the big toe? I have been running with an injured nail ever since the Mad Half Marathon walk a few weeks back. It oscillates between a mild throb and an excruciating stab (who knew something so small could be so painful). I’m in denial about it possibly falling off.

I do feel like it’s boosted my hard-core score by a number of points. If I can run close to 30 with this bum nail, surely I can kick 30’s butt if it ever goes back to normal? Sadly, I don’t think the going-back-to-normal part of that equation is going to happen before the half-marathon I am supposedly running in Vancouver in two weeks’ time. Eeeek.

A radio host from WXLO (one of the sponsors) did the post-run announcing for this event and he was fabulous. Race directors do amazing jobs, but sometimes the mic best belongs in the hands of a pro.

The event: Be Like Brit 5K
The location:
Rutland, MA
The date: July 29, 2012
My time: 30.04 (pace: 9.40)
Hubby’s time:
19.43 (pace 6.20; 5th overall!)
The cause:
Be Like Brit
The T-shirt:
White cotton
The aftermath: Bananas, apples, DIY bagels with cream cheese and peanut butter

52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 25: Too hot by half

One very overdue post. Better late than never, eh?

Endurance, you are dead to me. You abandon me right when I need you, like when it’s 82 degrees and I’m running up a hill and it feels as though my head is about to pop off.

This pretty much sums up the run I did the weekend before last (before I had to unexpectedly return to Australia), the Halfway 5K, in Canton, MA – No. 25 in my 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge. (And yes, I’m disappointed that we didn’t time this one to fall at No. 26, halfway into the challenge. That would have been clever, no?)

It was a splendid day for a 5K. Maybe a little too splendid. (When someone says “it’s a perfect day for a run,” I die a little inside. These perfect days usually mean cloud-less skies, piercing sun, and soaring temperatures. Which for me means one thing: sweaty beet-face.)

Halfway 5K

A gorgeous day for it.

Notwithstanding my ridiculous intolerance to heat, I was thrilled that the organizers of the Halfway had won the weather lottery, as it no doubt helped them attract about 1,200 runners to their cause: Cops for Kids With Cancer, which is a wonderful organization that sports a truly awesome logo.

The turnout was all the more impressive given that this was an inaugural run. We turned up expecting your typical smallish neighborhood event – with a Vita Coco stand, perhaps (there is always a Vita Coco stand) – but this was nothing of the sort. There were freshly grilled turkey tips! And offerings of Sam Adams beer! And cups of free coffee! And frozen yogurt popsicles! And can you tell I love this kind of stuff?!

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