52 Weeks, 52 runs. No. 10: The fantastic four

It occurred to me on the weekend that I spend a good deal of time these days looking at butts. It’s the price I pay for always being in the bottom (heh) third of a run. I’m privy to 30-45 solid minutes of butts in tights; butts in leggings; butts in jeans (yes, jeans); butts in shorts; butts in shorts-over-tights; butts in tutus; and – my new favorite – butts in kilts.

The latter I hadn’t experienced prior to the Wild Rover series, which I am currently in the midst of running as part of my 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge. (I wonder how it feels to run in a kilt. If any aficionados are reading this, you must let me know.)

Claddagh Pub 4-Mile Classic

The colorful crowd lines up for the start. Spot the kilt!

This past weekend was the Claddagh Pub 4-Mile Classic in Lawrence, MA, No. 2 in the series. Savvy readers will note that I had never run that far. Ever. You might also recall that I hadn’t done a stitch of training coming up to this race, apart from the Frozen Shamrock 3-Mile Run the weekend before. If you look up “unprepared” in the dictionary, you may well find a picture of me, probably wearing tights and holding a beer.

Claddagh Pub 4-Mile Classic

The start. Needless to say, I was nowhere near here when the race began.

Despite the gloomy skies, it was a great day weather-wise. I’ll take any scenario where the temperature is above zero, and the wind isn’t being huge fat bully (see last week’s run). Also, no sun means my face is at least one shade of crimson lighter.

But still, I was convinced, convinced that this was going to be a disaster. I hadn’t trained, hadn’t ever run farther than 3.5 miles (and I wouldn’t call what I was doing on that day running), and hadn’t mentally prepared for a longer distance (four miles is short to some, but an eternity to me).

View to a hill

Claddagh Pub 4-Mile Classic


Worried I was going to shame myself somewhere between the third and fourth mile, I started this run more slowly than usual. When I got to the first mile marker, I was just above a 12-minute pace. All good. At about a mile and a half, there was a hill. I ran three-quarters of the way up and then walked briskly to the top. Ha! Not as bad as I thought. Hill, you are my bitch …

But no. Hill fakeout!

The real hill was lurking around a corner. I let out a chuckle/gurgle/gasp as I rounded the bend and saw it. There was no way, no way I could take this at anything faster than a walk. Heck, even that was tough. Lungs against me the whole way, I plodded to the top. (Thankfully, everyone else around me was also plodding; one benefit of my back-of-the-pack position.)

But, of course, a hill that steep means a glorious descent. It was brilliant. I started running and found that elusive rhythm. I was back in The Zone. But this time it lasted more than two minutes. In fact, it may have lasted the rest of the way. That’s right, I kept running.

Claddagh Pub 4-Mile Classic

Normally I don't post pictures of myself running. But this may be the only one where I don't look completely deranged. Thanks, Ted Tyler from http://www.coolrunning.com!

When Mr. I Finished 15 Minutes Ago came to run me in, I was motoring at a decent pace and didn’t stop to walk. I had even managed to pick up my pace over the last two miles. Granted, the downhill was my friend. But still, I was shocked, shocked that I managed to pull it off.

Perhaps I was motivated by phase two of the Wild Rover neck bling (the final piece next week brings the awesome threesome together to form a shiny shamrock).

Claddagh Pub 4-Mile Classic

I heart this.

Perhaps I was just so worried that I wouldn’t be able to do it that I pushed myself harder than usual. (We’ll see how that theory holds up on this weekend’s five-miler. Yep, still no training.)

Perhaps it was the weather.

Perhaps I just really wanted a beer.

Ten down, 42 to go. It’s a long, slightly more awesome road ahead.

Claddagh Pub 4-Mile ClassicThe event: Claddagh Pub 4-Mile Classic
The location: Lawrence, MA
The date: March 4, 2012
My time: 43.52 (pace: 10.59)
Hubby’s time:
28.48 (pace: 7.13)
The cause:
The Kara Barry Foundation. A non-profit organization servicing the youth of Greater Lawrence
The T-shirt:
Yellow long-sleeved tech shirt
The aftermath: Beer, pasta, salad


17 responses to “52 Weeks, 52 runs. No. 10: The fantastic four

  1. Good to know you are behind us…at the tail end…bringing up the rear as it were…ok, I am done now!

    Nice work on the run.

  2. You look a lot more sane/composed/athletic than some of my race photos. I can’t stand them – I either look in pain, or rather gormless. Apart from the one where I am clearly off the ground, which I love even though I look completely stupid.
    Keep it up!

    • I hear you!! Trust me, this is the ONLY photo in which my face isn’t contorted into an expression I didn’t even know existed. I’m not a particular fan of this one either, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. I love how my foot is flat on the ground though; it’s like I’m hardly moving! I would love to find one where I am clearly off the ground, but I would probably have to chop off my head if I deigned to show it! 🙂

  3. I always look like I’m dying while I run. My face is normally a fabulously flattering shade of bright red, so yeah. You have nothing to worry about.

    And a beer at the finish line is always a great motivator. I hope it was a good beer–when I did my half marathon Labor Day weekend the beer at the end was a gross light beer. Very disappointing.

    Anyway, good job! Glad the race went better than you anticipated–that’s always a great feeling.

    • Thanks!! This time around it was a light beer. Bud Light, I think, as they were sponsors. I’m not a huge fan of it either, but I’ll take what I can get. Had we stayed around longer, I would have dived into the Guinness. I saw lots of folks doing that and I was jealous. But you’re right, beer is an excellent motivator. I like events that are sponsored by microbreweries, so you get a chance to try something new.

      As for the face. Mine is also bright, bright red. You can’t really tell in this photo, but oh my!! It normally gets worse about five minutes after I have finished a race, which is just fabulous. Good way to scare off the crowds. I once had a staffer at the YMCA ask me if I was OK because of my face. 🙂

  4. I love your writing style and sense of humor! I wish you were on the west coast so I would know someone in the race feels the same way as me. Love these posts. Thanks for the updates!

    • Thanks! Ditto! I’ll let you know if I’m ever over there; you should do the same if you’re ever in New England. There are many, many very serious folks at these runs, which is fine of course. But there’s no way I could ever see it as anything less than amusing. 🙂

  5. 4 miles now onto to 5! Good luck! I can’t wait to read about that race. When I ran the Baltimore 5k last year a group I was chatting with prior to starting reminded me to smile whenever I saw a camera. My pics from that race look horrid. My face twisted in some kind of scary, painful, forced happy face. Next race, I won’t smile. Maybe a polite grin.

    • Hehe. I know the feeling. I have tried to smile in the past when I spotted a camera, but the camera has never quite managed to get me at the right moment and I always end up looking mental. Even in this photo I was attempting a smile, and wound up with a weird half-smirk. I don’t know how people can take these natural, cheery shots when they’re running. It’s a skill I have yet to master, I guess. 🙂

  6. On your last post I commented how it seems like we do a lot of runs together….on this post the girl BEHIND you in the maroon, is ME! I guess we do a lot of runs together! That hill did SUCK! I am doing Hynes tomorrow too! Good Luck and Have Fun!

    • HA! That’s too funny!! Classic. I will look out for you tomorrow. I’m going to be bib #91. Seems like it’s going to be a nice day! Good luck to you too. Happy running! 🙂

  7. I just noticed you are running the Ukrops 10K! It’s my hometown race (pre-move across pond to London). It’s such a fun race – thousands of people, great scenery, energetic cheering sections, and IT’s TOTALLY FLAT! Have a great time and good luck!

    • Hi! Thanks so much! I’m really excited about this race, although I’ve never run a 10K before, so I’m a bit freaked out. But I’m thrilled about the flatness! Wow, it’s going to be HUGE. Ha. What a cool run to have as your hometown race. Hopefully you’ll get to come back and do it again. 🙂

  8. Congratulations! Glad you got that hill! I wonder if the guy in the kilt was wearing underwear? I read or heard somewhere guys in kits usually don’t wear any. He he he. We’re getting a treadmill for home, so I will start putting in numbers for Saturdays again soon! Have a wonderful week, Tracey!

  9. Pingback: 52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 11: Gimme five! | Stride and Joy

  10. You do not look that red faced in your pic!