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.)
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
The 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