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!”

Must be something in the air

We started our run at the Quincy YMCA (the plan was to run the first 5K then run/walk the rest). I should point out that the day looked gorgeously bright, and felt unseasonably warm in the sun.

Weather fake-out!

As I started moving, a diabolical wind came at me out of nowhere. It had clearly been waiting for the right moment to strike. As it whacked me in the face, I’m sure I heard a breezy “bwahahaha.”

I struggled from the outset. Each inhalation was a groan (I normally gasp for air in this fashion at the end of a run, but never at the start). I couldn’t find my rhythm. That evil, unrelenting breeze sucked (or rather blew) the energy right out of me. It was a mighty foe.

Wollaston Beach

Our run took us along Wollaston Beach in Quincy, MA. I'm cheating a bit; this photo is not from that infamous day, but the sky looked almost the same.

At one point I stopped, which is something I would never do on a “proper” 5K. Hubby did his best to keep me going, but I felt like I had hitched a Delorean ride back to the Before Time, when I couldn’t jog for two minutes without collapsing in a wheezy heap.

I would normally be encouraged by the long, flat stretch along Quincy Shore Drive, which is picturesque, and contains my house, but the headwind was particularly belligerent and I had no comeback.

I was running against the wind, but I felt neither young nor strong.

Brooks sneakers

Not even my new Brooks kicks could salvage this run. More on them in a future post.

Here’s what happened next …

1. I made it to the end of the 5K, but it was so windy and nasty that I almost cried, especially when I saw my time. If I had wanted to cry, I would have watched a sad movie from the comfort of my sofa. No tights required.

2. I decided there was NO way I could run/walk/skulk/plod/trudge any farther along the half-marathon course. A detour to deposit me at home was in order.

3. We reached the house and realized that the key I had so cleverly tucked into my water bottle pouch was the wrong one. We were locked out. My dreams of a post-run beer were dashed.

4. Leaving me behind to hang out on the stairs without beer, Hubby – who still had plenty of run left in him – took off back towards the YMCA, where we had parked our car at the start of this disaster (keys inside).

5. Forty-five minutes later, Mr. Peppy Runner returned to liberate me from my stairwell freezer. It was enough time to make me realize I need to do a lot more training if I ever want to conquer hilly, windy adversaries.

6. Can I have a do-over?

Five runs down, 47 to go. It’s a long, windy road ahead.

The event: Quincy 5K Disaster
The location: Quincy, MA
The date: January 29, 2012
My time: 37:18
Hubby’s time: 37:18 (we ran together)
The aftermath:
Chicken burger at B.Good
The cause: American Cancer Society Daffodil Days program

Playlist postscript

I’m still working on the results of my playlist experiment. I want to get at least two decent runs in before I come to any conclusions (and clearly my last two have been far from decent). So stay tuned …


23 responses to “52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 5: This really blows

  1. The route goes right by my house around the 8.75 mile mark! Maybe I’ll stans outside for a bit and cheer on the marathoners the day of the race… while noshing on a piece of fried chicken? No? Not a good idea?

  2. Still going to get you through the whole of the half marathon course…just in three stages and with prior wind analysis so you don’t meet your new nemesis on the course again.

    • I’m up for it! Now that I have had the initial encounter with the nemesis, maybe subsequent ones won’t be so bad. Alternatively, I could just throw fried chicken at it.

  3. As for the fried chicken, definitely a terrific idea. Charge by the piece and make a profit from the savvy runners who remembered to keep some quarters in their shorts!

  4. I hate to laugh at someone else’s discomfort but your post had me rolling! Way to put a humorous spin on a bad situation!

    • Thanks! It wasn’t even one of those situations that’s only laughable after a little time has passed. It was pretty much hysterical from the get-go. Or at least I was. 🙂

  5. Aww, poor you! Really windy conditions are a complete killer. But I have to admit that the great key disaster did make me laugh just a little bit.

  6. There are just some days that no matter what you wish for in your head, your body does not want to follow. I feel your pain. I don’t think I’ve hit winds that strong before, and I don’t know how long I would havekept it up. Good for you for getting through the 5k!!

    • Thanks!! I’m not sure exactly how strong they were, and it may have been their unrelenting nature rather than their strength that toyed with me so much. But, you know, when you’re in it, it feels like a hurricane! 🙂

  7. i was going to say you should’ve called me when you were locked out, but then realized we were at the aquarium sunday. but still, if that happens again, call me!

    • No worries. It was just a matter of Mr Perky Runner scooting back to the YMCA to grab the car. He was more than happy to do it as he could go at his own speedy pace rather than at my crap one. So I was only in the stairwell freezer for about 45 mins. Thanks for the offer though! I may well need to call on you one of these days. 🙂

  8. Disaster would’ve been to decide staying at home. You’re doing great! Keep moving and being a source of inspiration! I flaked last Saturday. 😦 I forgot my tennis shoes at work and using my walk shoes are a no-no. Been there, done that and one of my toenails is still bruised from the experience. But this Saturday is definitely a go. You’re my determination inspiration 🙂


    • Ha. Thanks!! I’m glad I can be a source of inspiration for someone! It’s much harder to inspire myself, it seems. I hate when you forget something crucial, like the right shoes. Or when you turn up for a run without something that seems small, like a hairband, but is actually a huge deal. Good luck on Saturday! And thanks for inspiring me back. 🙂

  9. The wind should just where it belongs: beneath your wings.

  10. your tough day made me smile, it was the writing not the running disaster. anyone who runs has been there, yours just happened to be during a race. ever gone for a run where you get your ass kicked but two days ago you rocked it. it happens! weather can be such a culprit. keep up the good work and good stories.

    • Thanks!! I am DEFINITELY getting my ass kicked at the moment. A combination of the weather and my head, methinks. My mind is defeating my body! Happened again this past weekend. Hopefully it’s just a phase.

  11. Pingback: 52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 6: Riding in buses with runners | Stride and Joy