Tag Archives: 5K

52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 34: Blistering! (And I don’t mean my pace)

I think I’m still traumatized after this past weekend’s double shot of runs, the Shark Weekend 5K in Nahant, MA, and the YuKanRun 5K in Cape Ann, MA. Maybe I am suffering from residual heatstroke that manifests itself in the blocking out of salient yet humiliating details, but both runs have managed to blur into one.

If I hadn’t set myself this insane 52-week challenge, there’s no way I would have been outside exerting myself in such conditions two days in a row, especially when I could have broken a sweat just by standing still. It was my most grueling race weekend ever.

Good thing I am about to run a half-marathon on Saturday. What with the lingering trauma and all …

Shark Weekend 5K

This way for sharks!

These runs weren’t just hot. They were also hilly. Swear-inducingly hilly. I’m normally not allowed to complain about hills, but this is an exception. It was comedy. A hill lurked around every corner, meaning maximum grouchiness and slowpokery on my part, especially during the YuKanRun 5K. About a mile into that one, I expressed myself in a manner not fit for a family blog.

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 33: An amazing cause and an almost-triumph

We’ve done our fair share of races over the past six months – some tiny, some huge, some with purpose and others that felt soulless and corporate. The ones that stand out for me are usually the small events that have a great charity attached (like the Brian K. Betts 5K). They are more about the cause and less about the running. Which is good, because I am generally pretty crap at the running.

This past weekend we did the 1st Annual “Be Like Brit” 5K in Rutland, MA. There’s a tragic story behind this race. In 2010, 19-year-old Lynn University student Britney Gengel traveled to Haiti to work at an orphanage there. The day after she arrived, Britney, three of her fellow students, and two professors were killed in the massive earthquake that struck the country.

In Britney’s memory, her family established Be Like Brit to build a “safe, nurturing and sustainable orphanage” in Haiti. We saw Britney’s mother at the run. It’s truly amazing what that family has been through and what they’re doing now. We were more than happy to jump in the car in the very early morning to participate in this small but fantastic event. Hopefully it’s the first of many.

Be Like Brit 5K

Cop car marks the start.

It was a lovely, cool, cloudy day (finally!). The rain threatened to show up but never did. The run was point-to-point, so there were some logistics to overcome (car at start or finish? We chose finish), but other than that it was perfect. Did I mention it was mostly downhill?

Be Like Brit 5K

Rural running.

I felt pretty strong from the start. Sneaking glances at my pace, I was excited to see I was consistently in the nines. Hmmmm, could this be the day I go under 30? I tried to pick things up when I saw the timing clock in the distance, and when I realized the first number was 29 I really started to motor (as much as I can motor). But alas, I was just over 30. No PR – I did that in Lake George in April, although I have my suspicions about the accuracy of that result – but I was thrilled to be heading in the right direction again (forward, that is). That heat really is a momentum killer.

Be Like Brit 5K

It’s gotten more purple since this photo was taken. Who needs nail polish …?

Oh, and did I mention the big toe? I have been running with an injured nail ever since the Mad Half Marathon walk a few weeks back. It oscillates between a mild throb and an excruciating stab (who knew something so small could be so painful). I’m in denial about it possibly falling off.

I do feel like it’s boosted my hard-core score by a number of points. If I can run close to 30 with this bum nail, surely I can kick 30’s butt if it ever goes back to normal? Sadly, I don’t think the going-back-to-normal part of that equation is going to happen before the half-marathon I am supposedly running in Vancouver in two weeks’ time. Eeeek.

A radio host from WXLO (one of the sponsors) did the post-run announcing for this event and he was fabulous. Race directors do amazing jobs, but sometimes the mic best belongs in the hands of a pro.

The event: Be Like Brit 5K
The location:
Rutland, MA
The date: July 29, 2012
My time: 30.04 (pace: 9.40)
Hubby’s time:
19.43 (pace 6.20; 5th overall!)
The cause:
Be Like Brit
The T-shirt:
White cotton
The aftermath: Bananas, apples, DIY bagels with cream cheese and peanut butter

52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 32: Maine-ly excellent

In our 2011/12 running tour of New England, we had somehow managed to overlook Maine. Nothing against that fine state, of course. Its tree-to-person ratio alone is enough to recommend it. And even though Crabapple Cove doesn’t really exist (that’s for the two M*A*S*H fans reading this), I don’t hold it against the Pine Tree State.

Anyway, we were excited to make the trek north for the Shipyard Old Port Half-Marathon and 5K in Portland, which, given its port-like qualities, promised a pretty backdrop to our respective runs (me, 5K; hubby, half).

Old Port Half Marathon & 5K

Starting scenery. The Casco Bay.

It was another hot weekend for a race (oh, for the day when I don’t have to write that). I was particularly excited when I was informed that this 5K would start on a steep uphill, and continue in that fashion for the first few minutes. Talk about getting off on the wrong foot. The rest of the run was a downhill grade. Allegedly.

The half-marathoners started first (on higher ground, mind you), leaving the rest of us to hang around for a while and get nicely crisped in the sun. My favorite moment was the start sign being shifted for the 5K – down the very same hill we were about to run up. Couldn’t they have just left it at the top? I’m sure no one would have minded.

Old Port Half Marathon & 5K

Going down.

The beginning met all my expectations in its level of suckery. I couldn’t run to the top. That’s right, I walked in the first three minutes. Never done that before. (OK, apart from the time I walked an entire half-marathon, but that was different.)

Old Port Half Marathon & 5K

Slanty start.

Stairs and poop

Just after the first mile, we had to descend a hazardous flight of granite stairs that took us through the woods and down on to the promenade below. (Guess that’s what makes it downhill.) Fearing for my bones, I took these at what some runners behind me might have considered an unnecessarily slow clip. I wasn’t breaking an ankle for anyone.

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 31: Short and sweet

We live just south of Boston, but you wouldn’t know it from all the time we spend gallivanting around other states. So it’s nice to occasionally do a run that doesn’t involve a 4am start, a tank of gas, and a stay at the Hampton Inn (I swear we are becoming known).

It doesn’t get more Boston than the Jim Kane Sugar Bowl, which celebrated its 25th year last week. I love an evening run. This one was still really hot though (we may as well be living in Phoenix right about now), but at least it was a tired, on-its-way-out kind of hot.

Jim Kane Sugar Bowl

Nice night for it.

I never in my life thought I would say this, but I was so happy the event was only a 5K. After the toe-pummeling half-marathon walk and eight-miler of the past two weeks, I was ready for something easier. (Not that a 5K will ever really be easy for me.)

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 28: Ready, set, glow

We signed up for the Firefly 5K in Waterville Valley, NH, months ago – long before the heatwave struck the US east coast and turned every run into a torture-fest, making me feel with each step like I was a chicken slowly being roasted (although hopefully slightly less crispy).

This 5K had an 8pm start and there were glow sticks involved (which, between you and me, may have been the real reason I wanted to do it). I had envisioned an idyllic, colorful romp through the mountains (Waterville Valley is a resort community in the White Mountain National Forest). I would be gently swatting away fireflies and generally reveling in the cool mountain air.

You know, I should really stop envisioning idyllic romps. Has anyone ever had a run that matched that description?

Firefly 5K

Runners gather at the start. Purty.

The temperature had dropped a little bit by the time we lined up at the start, but my definition of “cool” is, you know, not hot. And it was still pretty hot. Also, it wasn’t dark enough yet for the glow sticks to really do their thing. Sad.

But still, I was looking forward to this one, and I figured it would cool down eventually. I hadn’t had a good run in a while (in fact, I hadn’t run a full 5K in a while), so I thought this might be a chance to remind Mother Nature that, no, I don’t suck completely. My failings are all your fault.

Firefly 5K

The sun sets on my running career?

For safety reasons, we were told not to run with headphones, so I put mine away. I also had surrendered my GPS watch to Hubby because his was in the shop. I wasn’t too concerned about the watch, but I had never run without music. It felt so weird not having the buds in my ears. I may as well have been naked.

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