Tag Archives: 5K

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. 47: Grrrrrr

There are so many Turkey Trots around this time of the year that we decided to go against the grain the weekend before Thanksgiving and run a Tiger Trot. Those cooked-turkey hats scare the crap out of me, but tigers are OK. Not that there were many people sporting novelty headwear at this small event in Hampton Falls, near Exeter, NH (which seems like our second home these days). There was, however, a tiger mascot doing the rounds, as well as a priceless kid stumbling about in a fuzzy Dunkin’ Donuts costume that was far too big for him (he had to look out the arm hole). I don’t know what I was thinking, but I failed to snap a photo. You’ll just have to imagine the hilariousness.

Tiger Trot

Check out that sky!

Hosted by the Lincoln Akerman School, the Tiger Trot had lots of kids and parents, and a fun community atmosphere. I love these kinds of runs. There was a 5K and, oddly, a 10 miler, which was pretty adventurous given that this was a first-time event with a smallish crowd (although they had a pretty good turnout, considering). I ran the 5K, and Hubby the 10 mile. I don’t think I was mentally ready for another 10 after my last disaster over that distance (although I have run a half since then).

I would normally insert my customary weather rant here, but it was actually a gorgeous day for a run. My ideal running weather window is definitely anything between 3 and 10 degrees Celsius (36-50 F for all my American friends). Got to be sunny though. I’d happily run in those conditions all year round.

My performance expectations were high. After all, last time I did a 5K, I set a PR by more than 20 seconds and ran under 30 minutes for the first time. I just assumed that now I had managed that once, my legs and lungs would naturally rise to the occasion and let me do it again.

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 46: In your face, 30 minutes!

Much like running itself, I am hot and cold on blogging. Sometimes I appreciate it as the wonderful creative outlet that it is, one that I don’t really have anymore in my professional life (I used to write headlines; now I write emails). Other times it’s just a huge pain in the butt, requiring more time and maintenance than I’m willing to give. I’m sure my fellow occasional bloggers would agree that the activity also comes with its fair share of nagging self-doubt. (Where did everybody go?) The blogosphere is a mercurial place to inhabit.

I mention this for two reasons. One is by way of explaining my recent on-again, off-again approach to S&J, which has been driven by my lingering IT injury, work and life busyness, and the reasons I mentioned above. The other is that I was doing a sweep of all the blogs I have followed over the past 12 months and was astounded by how many have just fallen by the wayside. They were good bloggers writing about interesting things who obviously just decided they didn’t have the time for it, or that directing valuable effort to something that, for the most of us, winds up in an internet vacuum is rather a waste. Motivation to write, or run, for that matter, is a tough thing to maintain.

Indeed!

For those of you fabulous folks who have been following me during the year, I haven’t given up. In fact, my run last weekend, No. 46 in the 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge, was my best 5K yet. I have no idea how, and have decided it’s probably better not to think about it too much. The words “course not measured properly” keep entering my mind.

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 45: The mandatory Color Run

It occurred to me soon after I started Stride & Joy that one of the requirements of the runblogosphere is that you MUST participate in at least one Color Run. Two if you want to be taken really seriously.

I kid. I do admit that the run appealed to me. But I’m not sure why. I wouldn’t have thought being sprayed with colorful crap would be that enjoyable. But I was completely sucked in by the marketing: Happiest 5K on the Planet!!! The planet!! The folks on the Color Run website may look like rejects from the Rainbow Brite factory, but they’re all having So. Much. Fun.

The Color Run

A sea of white to start.

Lest you think this is going to devolve into a rant about big, expensive, soulless running events, it’s not (although the Color Run does fall into each of those categories to varying degrees). I did indeed enjoy being covered with colorful crap, OK cornstarch, even though I didn’t emerge from the melee as colorful as I thought I would, and the wave starts took an eternity (diminishing my fun at the outset). The Color Run is expensive, but it does donate to local charities in each city it’s held in, so there’s that. And it gets people out running who may not normally do it, so there’s that as well.

The Color Run

Lovely day for it.

However, mostly what I enjoyed about this event was Hubby’s get-up. When we signed up for the Washington, D.C., Color Run months ago (actually held at National Harbor in Maryland), he declared his intention to do it in a white Root Suit. The run suggests you wear white to maximize the impending colorfulness, so, he figured, why not go the full blanc?

Made sense to me.

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 44: Quick, call the help desk!

Eighteen months ago, if you had asked me what an IT band was, I would have told you it was a group of musically inclined computer nerds. I know better now, of course. Running has, if nothing else, given me a new understanding of bodies, and what they can ­– and can’t – do. Before this 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge, I had never, ever put my own under so much stress. (It’s important to know that prior to my first 5K in May 2011, I would have considered it a huge accomplishment to run for two minutes on the treadmill without stopping.)

This past weekend, we headed to Vermont for the 29th Leaf Peepers Half-Marathon and 5K, timed of course to take in New England’s brilliant fall colors. For the second weekend in a row, it was pitch black when we departed, although this time there were no school buses involved (phew).

Leaf Peepers 5K

Starting crowd. You can’t really tell here, but the fall colors on the hills are lovely.

The first thing we noticed when we got out of the car in Waterbury, Vt., was a tantalizingly sweet aroma hanging in the air. The start line was at the headquarters of Green Mountain Coffee, and it turns out they were brewing their dark roast that morning. Nothing like coffee in vapor form before a run. I was feeling the shame because I got out of the car with an empty cup of Newman’s Own from McDonald’s, but then we discovered that Newman’s Own is brewed by Green Mountain, so all was forgiven. We also got vouchers for free cups of coffee, of which we availed ourselves after the run. Talk about a caffeine-fuelled adventure.

Alas, all the coffee in the world couldn’t help me out on this particular day. The weather was perfect (cloudy and 7C/44F to start), and I had high hopes again that all my summer running would pay off and I’d finally finish in under 30 minutes. My start was fast (for me), and I felt good …

Leaf Peepers 5K

This way to Camel’s Hump. I have no idea what that is.

That was before the pain in my right knee.

Uh oh.

It was a vaguely familiar pain. I felt it around mile 10 of the Wineglass Half-Marathon last weekend, too. But I had chalked it up to my body reacting to an unfamiliar distance, and finished the run without incident. I stretched a little afterwards and went to my regular Strength and Stride class at the Y during the week. I thought my knee still seemed miffed, but I chalked that up to ongoing recovery and put it out of my mind.

That is, until mile 0.75 of the Leaf Peepers, when mild knee annoyance turned into full-blown knee rage. Concurrently, my right hip decided to also join the pity party. I knew these were the telltale indicators of an unhappy IT band, Hubby having gone through his own IT woes last year. Crap.

Not interested in pushing myself while parts of my body were staging a protest, I slowed. Every few minutes or so I’d try to pick up the pace, but the pain would pop up again. I didn’t want to tempt a full-blown knee revolt, so I walked for the last two miles, with a few minutes of lame jogging here and there. I did run across the finish because I have never not done that, even on the toughest run.

Leaf Peepers 5K

This is where we walk.

Funny thing is, I felt OK with the walking because I knew it was for a tangible reason and not because I was a loser with no endurance. And, I kept reminding myself, I had done a half-marathon the week before. If only that could have been on the front of my shirt. Like those bumper stickers that say, “My Other Car Is a Corvette,” my T-shirt would read, “My Other Run Is a Half.”

Leaf Peepers 5K

Coffee and maple syrup awards!

I was scheduled to do the Tufts 10K for Women the next day but decided to opt out; it’s the first time I have done that since I started this challenge at the beginning of the year. I’m still on track though, as we have done a number of two-run weekends. I have no doubt I’ll reach my goal, even if it’s at walking speed, and I plan to get my naughty knee/hip seen to this week. I was taking next weekend off anyway as we’re escorting my Aussie parents to New York and Washington, D.C. I’ll report back.

By the way, while I was limping through my run, Hubby was doing his 18th half-marathon of the year. He began 2012 with a goal of one half every month, but has far surpassed that and now has his eye on 20 by Dec. 31. Impressive, no?

The events: Leaf Peepers Half-Marathon and 5K
The location:
Waterbury, Vt.
The date: October 7, 2012
My time: 38.38
Hubby’s time:
1.38.47
The cause:
Vermont flood relief
The T-shirt:
Blue long-sleeved cotton
The aftermath: Bananas, bagels, cheese