A side effect of becoming a “runner” (I use the term loosely) is that I now apparently have the ability to stop traffic. It’s every girl’s dream, yes? This skill was on display during last weekend’s South Shore YMCA Frozen 5K (the second of my 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge) as I ran solo – hair blazing, face subtly aglow – through a forbidding intersection and coolly waved to a handful of Quincy police officers who were standing around looking bored. “Don’t mind me, guys. This kind of thing happens all the time.”
OK, it may not have gone down quite like that.
I did run through a forbidding intersection, but my hair was plastered to my neck and my face was its usual shade of bright crimson. (I could tell.) At this point, the Speedy McSpeedersons had finished or were close to it, and the rest of the runners – who had clearly become lost – were behind me. So I was briefly, and disconcertingly, solo. I did wave to the fine officers of the Quincy PD as they used their mad skills to hold back the throbbing traffic, but it probably looked less like a nonchalant thank you than a deranged “Holy crap!”
Despite the pain suggested by my facial hue, things were pretty good. I had just come off an amazing downhill stretch that gave me a burst of energy, and I was feeling free and almost speedy. Even my lungs were playing along. Maybe I was born to run after all!
This sensation lasted for about a minute and a half …
It had its ups and downs
It was another gorgeous day for a 5K. And I was thrilled to be contributing to my YMCA and its Annual Support Campaign. Hopefully this is the first of many such runs for them.
But, as it is with so many of these courses, what comes down must have gone up – and given me The Fear. To get to the point where I was feeling free and almost speedy, and stopping traffic with my very presence, I had to vanquish two hills.
The first I managed to run. That’s right, run. It was a long, slowish incline, but an incline nonetheless. Did I mention I ran it? This has never happened before. Needless to say I felt chuffed, and added this feat to my (very short) list of running firsts. I can only assume my First Hill trophy is in the mail.
The second, an incline of epic proportions, I did not manage to run. I did, however, adjust my form – from shuffling jogger to what I can only describe as “wheezy soldier” – and marched up that dang hill as if my life depended on it. I even overtook a couple of folks. When I crested the top, my face on fire and my puffer crying out for mercy, I wondered where the fireworks were.
Which brings us back to the delicious descent that helped me feel so (briefly) speedy. Momentously, I had to stop for a couple of seconds at the bottom because I was going too fast, and was perilously close to falling down. But I stayed upright and posted a significantly improved personal record. In a shocking twist, I even felt as though I could go a little farther.
Hills, I think perhaps I have been too hard on you.
Postscript: Doing time
We were all handed timing gadgets that were to be worn around our ankles. This was a first for me.
I’m sure they are common at races, and must be cheaper than bib chips because they can be re-used. But is it just me, or do these doohickeys make it look as though 260 ne’er-do-wells under surveillance by the authorities have just come out for their morning run? Just saying.
In most cases, these
prison ankle bracelets timing devices were issued in basic black. Except for mine, which was a feisty combination of orange and blue. You’d think the race organizers might have spared a thought for my color scheme.
Two runs down, 50 to go. It’s a long, perilous road ahead.
The event: South Shore YMCA Frozen 5K
The location: Quincy, MA
The date: January 8, 2012
My time: 32:02
Hubby’s time: It was a National Guard weekend, so no racing for Hubby
The cause: YMCA’s Annual Support Campaign
The T-shirt: White long-sleeved shirt
The aftermath: Bananas, oranges, bagels, assorted waters