Category Archives: 52 Weeks, 52 Runs

I ran 52 races last year and all I got was…

… this massive T-shirt collection (nothing lousy about it, really).

Here they are, in all their frequently ill-fitting glory. This represents the sum total of all the shirtage from last year’s 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge. Yep, this is just 2012. There’s more from 2011 here. I love seeing what race directors come up with, hence my obsession with posting pictures of shirts.

Unfortunately, this also chronicles just how badly the majority of these fit me. I believe I have enough bedwear to last me the next three decades. From the 50 shirts I got last year (we missed out on a couple because we signed up too late), a few stand out. So, for the two of you who may be interested, herewith my Top 5, er, tops.

1. Shark Weekend 5K
2. Feaster Five
3. Super Sunday 5
4. Wineglass Half-Marathon
5. Stowe 8-Miler

Honorable mentions, because I love the graphic and color but won’t ever be able to wear them outside: Prone 5K, St. Charles Children’s Home 5K.

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It’s a wrap! A year of running mayhem, by the numbers

Farewell, 2012! Farewell, crazy running challenge! It was a great year, not only because I accomplished a big goal but, more importantly, because I came to meet and know some fabulous people. Thanks again to everyone who read this blog and supported me in various ways throughout the year. You all rock.

I’m not sure yet what the new year will bring, but I’m working on figuring it out, and looking forward to sharing my adventures with you. In the meantime, here’s a little 2012 graphical wrap-up, just for fun. Happy 2o13!

Stride and Joy 2012 Wrap-up

52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 52: The end of the road! (Or, it was the best of times, it was the worst of timekeepers)

Hooray! It’s all over! I can’t believe how fast 2012 has gone. When I started this challenge back in January, I (and many others) wasn’t sure how it would play out. Would I enjoy it? Would I get sick of it halfway through? Would my face turn a permanent shade of crimson? Would I wind up trapped under a giant pile of race T-shirts? Would I need a Lululemon intervention?

I never really had any doubt that Hubby and I would pull it off (it was only one race a week, after all), although I did do some major sanity-questioning along the way, especially during the summer. But if I didn’t think my bank would cut me off completely, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I’m getting ahead of myself though. Here’s No. 52. Wrap-ups of various kinds to come later…

The not-so-grand finale

There’s something fitting about my last run in the challenge being a race director’s first. We signed up for the All I Want for Christmas 5K in Exeter, NH, because it sounded like it would be one of those fun small-races-for-a-good-cause that I’m always going on about (proceeds to the Hope for Gus Foundation), and because it was in Exeter, which for some reason became our running home away from home in 2012 so it seemed appropriate to end it all there.

All I Want for Christmas 5K

Colorful gathering on a gray day in Exeter, NH.

You never really know what you’re going to get with an inaugural run, especially one that’s so small it doesn’t even have a web presence, but we were heartened to see cars slowly trickle into the Exeter High School the morning of. We, naturally, were among the first to arrive, giving us plenty of time to beat the, erm, traffic and really get to know the parking lot. Despite having 60 minutes to mentally prepare, we neglected to collect our bibs straight away and wound up having to— shock—line up.

All I Want for Chistmas 5K

Hubby busted out the festive attire, which also has neck-warming properties.

I mention this because the long bib-pickup line, and therefore slightly late start, was one of the first indicators that this run might have some first-time-event hiccups. The second was the race director telling us that her PA guy had failed to arrive so there would be no microphone. The third was her revelation, as we were lining up to begin, that the course was 3.4 miles long instead of 3.1. Ouch.

But no matter. The run felt great at the start despite the chilly weather, and I got it into my head that this was going to be a PR triumph. How awesome would that be, on race No. 52? (Forgetting, of course, that this was 3.4 miles, so it’d be hard to measure.) There was a gorgeous Golden retriever in front of me who was making good time, so I decided she/he was going to be my pace dog.

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 51: Sweaty Santa

I’m a bit late to the Christmas party with this post, but oh well …

There are some looks I can pull off, but “Santa” isn’t one of them. I came to this conclusion last year at the inaugural Santa Sightings run in New Bedford, MA. In a sea of 1,200 Clauses, I may well have been the most dodgy. My jacket didn’t fit, my pants were too short, and my beard was an epic fail. This is what I wrote back then: “I looked more like a dumpy, slightly shady elf than a spreader of joy.” Yep.

Nonetheless, we decided to revisit Santapalooza in 2012, because we really, really wanted two more awesomely bad red felt suits to add to our collection. So handy for parties …

Santa Sightings 2012

Spot the Santa.

I guess not. We ran it again because it’s amusing to see a downtown overrun (literally) by many identically dressed but radically different-sized Santas. And it’s nice to participate in a race in which the majority of people are there purely for the fun of it. Also, it’s an untimed event, meaning Hubby and I can run together without it seriously messing with his average. We very rarely get to run together.

Five minutes into this 5K, however, I think he was rueing the day the race organizers decided to forego timing chips. Sure we got to run as a duo, but alongside him was the hottest (not the good kind), sweatiest, most complainy Santa ever …

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 50: Not too fa la la la la to go

When I showed up to the Jolly Jaunt 5K at the Boston Common in 2011, I stood out like a sore thumb because I was decked out in a pink beanie in a sea of red and green. I didn’t really learn my lesson in 2012. The pink beanie is long gone (I can’t seem to find it. Sniff), but I arrived in my usual slightly absurd winter running outfit with nary a festive hue on me. Oops. Sore thumb alert.

Jolly Jaunt 2012

Red and green was nowhere to be seen on my person (trust me).

More troublingly, I also showed up incredibly late, thanks to some uncharacteristic misreading of the MBTA Trip Planner. If Hubby hadn’t been away Guarding, it’s unlikely this lateness would have occurred. Firstly, we would have been driving rather than public transiting, and secondly, we would have been there 90 minutes before—because Hubby refuses to turn up to a run any later than that. I mock him for it mercilessly (we spend large chunks of time waiting/napping in the car having woken up at 5.30am), but we never, ever have to line up.

I recognized the prudence in his approach when I was standing in a 30-deep line of people to get my bib 20 minutes before the start of the run while crazed volunteers ran around trying to locate bibs and T-shirts. It’s probably a commonplace fiasco at a large event such as this; I’ve just never experienced it. (Because I picked up my bib in a previous geologic age.)

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 49: I’m number three!

I expected many things from this almost-over (!) 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge. I expected that I would run 52 races. I expected that I would be out of breath—a lot—and that my face would frequently be as red as a tomato. I expected to be hot. I expected to be freezing. I expected to always be at the back of the pack.

I never, ever, ever expected that my name would wind up on Cool Running under the title “5K Age Group Winners.” (I was third, by the way.)

OK, you can stop laughing now. (It took me about a week.)

Wolf Hollow Half Marathon

I am a logo.

The occasion of my dubious glory was the Wolf Hollow Half Marathon and 5K in Nashua, NH. This wasn’t a race I was particularly prepared for (although when has that ever been the case?). I had run the Feaster Five Thanksgiving Day 5-miler a few days before and that had pretty much done me in. (Note: It doesn’t take much to do me in.) Also, it was really freaking cold. Thankfully, we were allowed to take pre-run refuge inside the Nashua YMCA, which is the Taj Mahal of YMCAs. It put our poor, long-suffering (albeit in the middle of a major makeover) Quincy Y to shame. So much so that all I wanted to do was hang out in the well-appointed coziness until Hubby finished the half (they started before us 5Kers). I was wearing my bib; that counts as a run, right?

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 48: Will run for pie (again)

We may have eschewed turkeys in favor of tigers last week, but we knew it wasn’t going to be long before we were back out among the turkey faithful. We signed up for the Thanksgiving Day Feaster Five in Andover, MA, many months ago (it’s the one with the free whole apple pie for every runner at the end!). I had some vivid non-pie memories of this event from last year, mostly because it was the first time I had run in obscenely cold weather. I had little experience running in such conditions and my hands were so freezing that I insisted on wearing my Columbia snow gloves. Worst. Idea. Ever. The run was definitely the first of many iterations of the Absurd Winter Running Outfit™. I think I eventually got it right.

Last year’s Feaster was also the occasion of the infamous fakeout finish banner. You can read more about that here.

Ah, the things I have learned since then, apart from how to read a sign. I believe I have discovered how to actually run (or at least I’ve convinced myself that I can) because this year I willingly signed up for the 5 miler instead of the 5K. I am always intrigued when I willingly sign up for a longer distance when a shorter one is available. What the heck is going on in my brain?

Feaster Five 2012

The morning sun beats down on the giant crowd.

Thankfully, I had my friend Tiffany from the fabulous Cute Dogs & Hugs along with me for the ride. We were both pretty apprehensive about this run. Tiffany because she had been vacationing and hadn’t trained much, and this was going to be her first 5 mile race; me because I was struggling with IT band issues and am generally lousy at training anyway. Also, because I knew there was one big-ass hill between mile .5 and 1.5. I remembered it so well because last year I spent quite a lot of time on it. Walking.

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