52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 1: Snappy new year

At the end of last year, I publicly declared my intention to do 52 organized runs in 52 weeks. In the harsh reality that was 7am on New Year’s Day, I wondered whether I hadn’t been chemically altered when I concocted this folly (too much Mamma Chia, perhaps?). Or potentially replaced by aliens …

But a quick 2012 audit of my corporeal self confirmed that everything was in order. So I decided to place the blame squarely on my new running alter ego, who, after appearing out of nowhere, is apparently now calling the shots – fueled by Spandex, Lululemon and many playings of Kylie. What else can explain my sudden desire to travel vast distances on freezing weekend mornings to run until I feel as though I am going to pass out? It can’t be the bananas. Or even the beer.

The happy crowd gathers for the start of 1st Run in Lowell.

It’s a good thing (or a sad thing, depending on how you look at it) that neither myself nor my alter ego overindulged on New Year’s Eve, or we would not have been at all equipped for the 5K 1st Run in Lowell, MA. Of course, I may have been secretly hoping that others had overindulged, in the interests of making me look faster. But these running types are serious!

Like a record, baby

It was a gorgeous day, unseasonably warm for January 1, which must have inspired me. I felt great over the first mile, an unusual sensation. I usually run in two states: desperation (as I loudly try to suck in air, no doubt alarming many other runners in the process); and bewilderment (how did I get here, and when is it all going to be over?).

I rarely reach the point where I feel comfortable, so this was one for the books. (My Nike+ GPS even said I had run a 10.17-minute mile. I was happy to ignore the fact that it’s prone to exaggeration.) In a strange twist, I felt good through the second mile too. I was starting to figure that those aliens must have come back when the third mile brought me down to earth. Ah, that familiar near-death feeling; I was beginning to wonder what had happened to you.

Still, I managed to produce a personal record! Joy. Although I still don’t understand how my face manages to be so red in the presence of temperatures requiring heat blankets. (Ah yes, this was my first heat-blanket race. Only a handful of people used them, but I had to grab one. Major hard-core points.)

Heavy medal

1st Run Lowell

Medal of awesomeness.

I have often complained to Hubby that I don’t understand the point of medals for adults. I mean, unless you’re a super-serious athlete (or have a fetish), they amount to little more than useless tchotchkes that clog up your life. But the medal given out at 1st Run was above average. Festively themed for the new year, it doubles as a wine stopper. Genius! And for anyone who knows me, completely appropriate!

I don’t usually go in for reporting on the minutiae of the races, but this one was fabulously organized, right down to the personalized emails we got the day after with our times. And yes, there was beer. It was Part One of the Will Run for Beer series that made me so excited earlier. I am nothing if not predictable.

One run down, 51 to go. It’s a long, hilly road ahead.

1st Run LowellThe event: 1st Run
The location: Lowell, MA
The date: January 1, 2012
My time: 33:14
Hubby’s time:
46:35 (he did the 10K)
The T-shirt:
Blue long-sleeved technical shirt and white technical hat, plus the medal of awesomeness
The aftermath: Beer by Smuttynose Brewery, chicken noodle soup, pasta


94 responses to “52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 1: Snappy new year

  1. Congratulations! What an amazing way to commemorate a year … and make lots of memories, I’m sure.

    Here’s to an equally memorable 2012!


    • Thanks so much! Hopefully my memories will be of the good kind and not the what-the-heck-have-I-done-to-my-knees kind! 🙂 It should definitely be memorable.
      Happy 2012!

  2. Kudos to you Tracey! You go girl!

    Just in case you stumble sometime during the year, have a read of my blog post http://thestillspot.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/have-you-flopped-on-your-new-years-resolutions-or-goals-yet/ for some inspiration.

    All the best for 2012!

  3. The medal which doubles as a wine stopper is really cute :>

    • I know, right? I was so impressed. For me, it combines a great love, wine, with a new-ish passion, running. How can you go wrong! 🙂 Thanks for reading.

  4. What a cool idea! I’m getting ready for my second marathon in a couple weeks. I may have to try this one year!

    • Thanks! I am SO impressed by anyone who can do a marathon, so go you! I think 10K is as far as I am ever going to go, and even that puts the absolute fear into me. Good luck!

  5. Love it! Good luck on your remaining 51 races!

  6. You’re my hero. I only want to run one half marathon.

  7. Awesome post!! Good luck this year 🙂

  8. Fantastic post and congratulations on your first race of 2012!
    I am so impressed by the awesome medal and the amazing goodie bag you received. Here in the UK, we are lucky to get a technical t-shirt and boring generic medal at the end of a half marathon, let alone a 5km. I think I should move to the States!

    • Ha! Yes, there are certainly plenty of perks here. And no shortage of runs to choose from either. It’s insane! In and around Boston on a given weekend, we sometimes have 10 we could potentially do. Australia is like the UK though. You’re lucky to even get a cotton T-shirt there, and if you do get one it costs 40 bucks!

  9. Wow, you’re going to be a racing machine this year! Great start; nothing like a PR to kick off the year.

    I had to make a resolution to reduce the number of organized races I run this year. The 29 I ran last year cut so deeply into my disposable income, they almost hit the non-disposable stuff, haha.

    • I hear you about the money. Hubby and I were calculating how much we are going to potentially spend by doing this, and it’s not a small amount! Looks like it will be our only extra-curricular activity this year. Thanks for reading!

  10. Tracey, thank you for posting this. I used to jog in my teens and really enjoyed. Now, very close to 40 I find myself finishing a 60 minute walk session in the treadmill a victory. I am wondering if I could not take then each Saturday of this year and try to jog 5km? One lap around the neighborhood University will do it. The idea is so tempting, and sounds relatively simple to accomplish. I am wondering if this year for me will be a return to jogging. Thank you for the inspiration and have a wonderful racing year!


    • Thanks so much! Honestly, if I had managed to complete 60 minutes on the treadmill last year before all this started, I would have felt as though I had run a marathon! You should definitely do a Saturday 5K around your ‘hood! It’s a great plan, and you’re right, so simple. Thanks for reading! And best of luck getting back into jogging. You can do it! 🙂

  11. That’s lot of running over the year.
    Not a bad year to pick 52 runs, when there’s already lot of running going around.
    The years off to a running start, the expectation for the year are running high amongst the optimists, our President is going to run for his office again, there are bunch of republicans running the race to determine who will be in the running for Nov battle. Amidst all the running economy is giving me a run for my money, every single day.
    Congratulations on being freshly pressed!

  12. Congrats on getting the first run finished so splendidly. And hurrah for landing on freshly pressed! xo

    • Thanks!!! If you told me this time last year I would be doing this, I would have scoffed in disbelief. But who can resist all those T-shirts?! Hope things are good with you! xx

  13. It makes me tired just thinking about it!! Having said that, GO GET ‘EM!! Congrats on being freshly pressed.


  14. why'd i come in here? (kbean123)

    yay!! Good for you! I LOVE when people set ridiculous goals and freak themselves out a week later! I do it all the time. YOU CAN DO IT! You’re my new hero!!!! Go Girl!

    • Many thanks! Not too freaked yet (despite appearances)! But it’s early days. Plenty of quality freaking out time left, especially during February. 🙂 I’ll be an expert at it by then!

  15. Great job!!!
    And next year you can try for one in each state!!!

    • A great idea, and not outside the realm of possibility. Hubby and I are avid road-trippers, and we have so far visited 41 states (not bad for a couple of Aussies!). Bring on 2013! Oh, wait, I had better get through this year first … 🙂

  16. Congratulations on 52 runs in 52 weeks. I’m out of breath when I run for the bus! Cheers!!!

    • Thank you!! Don’t worry, I’m also out of breath when I run for the bus! Weirdly, doing all these runs doesn’t seem to have made me more able to run in my regular life without feeling totally puffed and looking like a deranged person. I blame my handbag.

  17. It was aperfect day for running new years, just beautiful weather, not surprised with the crazy weather we been having. But I’m happy for you, Congrats because I dont think I could run the much hahaha. 1coffeehouse.wordpress.com

    • Wasn’t it the most gorgeous day? I couldn’t believe it. I definitely overdressed for the occasion. My ear-warming headband came off before I even started! I am imploring the weather gods to keep it similarly nice during February, as that month gives me the fear!

  18. Wow! Excited to continue reading about your progress. What a great goal!

    • Thanks so much! I figure it will be doable as long as my knees hold up and there isn’t a blizzard! I’m not running in a blizzard for anyone. Although it might make for a good story. 🙂

  19. Great 5K. Love the medal. I felt the same way you did about the medals but now I think they’re kind of cool. I collect mine as little traveling knick knacks and display them on my desk at work.

    • Love the idea of using them as traveling mementos. My hubby has A LOT of medals, and they were all hanging on a closet door handle. The clatter they made every time I opened it started to drive me nuts, hence my anti-medal agenda! 🙂 But no, some of them are pretty snazzy. I guess it’s all in the way you store them! Happy running!

  20. Love the mission. I am a recently converted runner myself and know the pains of winter outings. Consider me among the impressed. More power to you as you pursue this goal.

    • Thanks!! Much appreciated I still find it so weird to think of myself as anything but a couch potato. The winter outings are definitely brutal. I’m not sure what I was thinking, deciding to do this while living in the Northeast. Time to move to California methinks! Happy running. Stay warm!

  21. best of luck on your 2012 resolution!

  22. I like the aftermath nutrional meal¨:-)!!! Congratulations on your achievement!!

    • You’d think it would be strange to drink chicken noodle soup and beer after a run, but for me that’s one of the best parts! (OK, I’m easily impressed.) Thanks for stopping by!

  23. Awesome!!! As an avid runner myself, I’m going to have to follow you all year, because this is quite the resolution! And I am certainly a “will run for beer” type of person, as well. Good luck and great job!

    • Thanks so much! I say the more beer the better. Although, I am still trying to get my Will Run For Dirty Martinis series off the ground. Now THAT would be an incentive! Happy running in 2012!

  24. Excellent goal, I love it!!!!!!!!


  25. Wow, that’s some achievement – Well done! I’m lucky if I get out for a run once a month never mind once a day!!

  26. I’m really looking forward to reading about the rest of your runs this year. Good luck!!

  27. Are there enough runs such as this in your area? I hope you don’t run out! Good luck with it all.

    • Heehee, run out. 🙂 There are plenty of runs! So many that we usually struggle to decide which one to do. I don’t understand why, but Massachusetts seems to be running central. February is a problem, but that goes without saying! Thanks for reading!!

  28. What a great idea! I ran my first half marathon in May and I’m looking to run more. I live in Boston too so I look forward to hearing about all the races!

    • Thanks! The thought of doing a half marathon gives me the fear, and I doubt there’s enough beer in the world to tempt me to do one, so I am duly impressed! I’m going to try to post a list of upcoming races as I register, so keep an eye out. Maybe we’ll, ahem, run into each other. Cheers.

  29. That’s a super-cool idea. Inspiring in the sense that it’s possible and all. Of course, you can write a parallel blog about the 52 bake sales that you’ll need to do to afford the entry fees. 😉

    • Ha! Sadly, I’m a crap baker so I may have to find another way. Look out for my upcoming blog entry ‘How I sold all my clothes to afford 52 Runs in 52 Weeks.’ It’s not a cheap proposition, that’s for sure.

  30. I think this was a great idea! I love to run and if i had the time as well as the money, I’d definitely do something similar to this! Good luck and keep us posted!

    • Cheers! You’re right about the time and money factor. But the good thing is, most of these runs are early-ish on a weekend morning, so it gives you a great excuse to get out of bed! The whole thing is over in an hour. Like a gym workout, only with food and a T-shirt at the end. 🙂

  31. Great post — and best of luck to you in reaching your lofty goals this year. I got so inspired, I went to the gym! : ) Happy 2012!

  32. I am not a runner or athlete in the slightest way. But I signed up for my first 5K in February. The Color Run. Watching the videos made me want to run, so I decided I would. But I am painfully huffing and puffing my way through the training. Just because I’m skinny doesn’t mean I’m strong or in shape! Your posts are amusing and I love that you live in Boston. I moved from NH to Austin, TX 1.5 years ago and miss it every day! Hopefully I can find some encouragement here! 🙂

    • That Color Run sounds awesome! What a great first run. I had never heard of it before and am sad it’s not in Boston. We may have to go down to DC to do it! Thanks for letting me know of its existence.

      I’m a huffer and a puffer as well! Part of it is because of my asthma, and part of it is because I am not in shape at all. I’m skinny too, but it’s an illusion. 🙂 Even though I have been doing 5Ks for about seven months, I don’t consider myself an athlete, and probably never will. (The whole idea makes me laugh.) But I still love the challenge, and I think the very fact that I’m such an unlikely runner makes it fun. Keep at it! I’m sure it won’t take long till you are enjoying it. Or at least getting some good laughs.

  33. Nice! I am hoping to run one race every month, so I admire your pluck at going for one every weekend! 🙂

  34. Oops, I used someone else’s account on the above post. So much for public computers!

    • Oops, I sent this reply to the above account too! They’re probably wondering what this crazy person is rambling about.

      Thanks for your comment!! “Pluck” is one way of putting it. The other way might be “lunacy.” Good luck with your goal! One race a month is very smart, i think! 🙂

  35. Love your post! I have also just recently gotten into running, and plan on running a 10K at the end of February! My first 5K was a bad idea- In June, in Texas. It was 90 degrees by the time we started running! The wonderful camera man continued to capture my moments of anguish, and then they were nice enough to email them to me so I could re-live the horror. I’m determined that that will never happen again! Good luck in all your runs! What a great goal!

    • Yikes, 90 degrees in Texas for your first run! Good job getting through it. A 10K in Feb sounds like a walk in the park in comparison! My first 5K was in summer too, but it was nowhere near that hot. I too had my red-faced shame captured on camera though. The horror indeed. Thanks for reading and good luck too with your 10K!

  36. Best of luck reaching your goal! I ran a half marathon in the past & trained in the cold of winter back in Canada… nice blog. Happy running!

    • Thank you!! Having lived in Canada for eight years, I admire anyone who can train and run in that crazy weather! Way more hard core than I will ever be. Happy running to you too!

  37. Wow! You had quite an impressive crowd there. What an excellent and challenging goal. Very inspirational! 🙂

    • Yeah, it was a great turnout! I think about 1,600 people! I never would have thought that many people would be interested in getting up on New Year’s Day to stand around in the cold and then sweat for half an hour. Thanks very much for reading! Happy 2012.

  38. Grateful that Freshly Pressed brought you into my life! Love your blog. Can’t wait to get at least 51 more delightful posts from you this year.

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  40. Wow! 52 runs! That certainly is optimistic!
    I wish you the best of luck!

  41. Saving My Belly Button Ring

    Sweet goal! Best of luck!!

  42. What an awesome goal! I’ll definitely be following your blog for inspiration. Can’t wait to read about the next race!

    I noticed another person suggested The Color Run, and I’m going to second their suggestion. I just signed up for the race in Atlanta and can’t wait for March 31 to come around!

    I’m also considering registering for the Zooma women’s race series. It sounds like it’ll be an amazing experience — what kind of race has an “after-party expo” where women come together for “partying and pampering”? This one. The closest Zooma run to you will be in Cape Cod on Sept. 22. (http://zoomarun.com/capecod/cape-cod-race-details/)

    Best of luck! 🙂

    • Thanks for following! And thanks for letting me know about Zooma. I’ll definitely look into it. Sounds like great fun. Dang it that both that and The Color Run are so far away (although Cape Cod isn’t too bad I guess).

      Hope you have a blast at The Color Run. Can’t wait to read about it. Happy running!

  43. I’d be lucky to do one run in 52 weeks

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