Tag Archives: 5K

52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 25: Too hot by half

One very overdue post. Better late than never, eh?

Endurance, you are dead to me. You abandon me right when I need you, like when it’s 82 degrees and I’m running up a hill and it feels as though my head is about to pop off.

This pretty much sums up the run I did the weekend before last (before I had to unexpectedly return to Australia), the Halfway 5K, in Canton, MA – No. 25 in my 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge. (And yes, I’m disappointed that we didn’t time this one to fall at No. 26, halfway into the challenge. That would have been clever, no?)

It was a splendid day for a 5K. Maybe a little too splendid. (When someone says “it’s a perfect day for a run,” I die a little inside. These perfect days usually mean cloud-less skies, piercing sun, and soaring temperatures. Which for me means one thing: sweaty beet-face.)

Halfway 5K

A gorgeous day for it.

Notwithstanding my ridiculous intolerance to heat, I was thrilled that the organizers of the Halfway had won the weather lottery, as it no doubt helped them attract about 1,200 runners to their cause: Cops for Kids With Cancer, which is a wonderful organization that sports a truly awesome logo.

The turnout was all the more impressive given that this was an inaugural run. We turned up expecting your typical smallish neighborhood event – with a Vita Coco stand, perhaps (there is always a Vita Coco stand) – but this was nothing of the sort. There were freshly grilled turkey tips! And offerings of Sam Adams beer! And cups of free coffee! And frozen yogurt popsicles! And can you tell I love this kind of stuff?!

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 24: Why do I smell wet dog?*

I believe I entered a new realm of hard-coreness this past weekend. No, I didn’t run any farther than usual, I didn’t PR in spectacular fashion, and I definitely didn’t wear compression socks. But I did run in possibly the worst weather I’ve ever encountered on a race. Just showing up for the P.R.o.N.E. 5K on Boston’s Castle Island was an accomplishment, if I don’t say so myself. Indeed, I can’t believe how many runners came out, given the conditions. But then again, there were a number of small, fluffy enticements …

P.R.O.N.E. 5K

This raincoat-clad pug was the star of the show.

P.R.o.N.E. stands for Pug Rescue of New England, an organization I was beyond thrilled to support. I am the most dog-obsessed person I know who doesn’t actually own a dog. (I’m terribly allergic, which is the tragedy of my life.) Surely, only a pug-fest could draw so many people out of doors in such weather.

P.R.O.N.E. 5K


I had been obsessively Googling the forecast all week, but sadly each time I checked, things looked more dire. It was raining only lightly when I left home, though, so I had some hope that things might improve.

They didn’t.

I was especially unprepared for the wind. As I walked with a fellow runner along the water towards the start area, I was shocked at how blowy it was. Then I realized we were traveling along part of the course, and I started to get The Fear. I am terrible at running in the wind. In the annals of things that make me quake in my sneakers, it lies somewhere in between hills and compression socks.

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 22: Better off Fred

Rather than give running some space, I decided to crowd the heck out of it this past weekend by doing a double-header. Bad idea? Maybe. But at least I would know how it really feels about me. (And I’d have a run up my sleeve for the 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge.)

Someone who has no issues defining his running relationship is Hubby, who on this all-running weekend decided to do a trifecta: a 5K (the previously mentioned Brian Betts run), a 10K trail run (the James River Scramble at the Dominion River Rock festival in Richmond, Va.), and the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon, in Fredericksburg, Va. (Overachiever.) Luckily for me, the Marine Corps folk also put on a 5K, the Semper Fred, thus saving me from potentially three more hours of torturous bib counting.

Marine Corps Half Marathon

The day before. Hence the lack of Lululemon-clad chicks and compression socks.

This was the fifth year of the Marine Corps Historic Half/Semper Fred, and it is one of those events that was organized so seamlessly and had so much energy, it was a joy to be a part of (despite starting at 7am). These guys also organize the 30,000-strong Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington, Va. (October 28), which this year sold out in two hours, 41 minutes, a record for all marathons. Can you believe that? This is one well-loved race series.

Probably because it has a mascot called Miles …

Marine Corps Half Marathon

Hubby and Miles get friendly at the expo.

And bands that play jaunty tunes as you run …

Marine Corps Half Marathon


And porta-loos as far as the eye can see …

Marine Corps Half Marathon

Seriously! They just kept going.

You’ve got to love a race that provides that many places to go before you go …

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 21: What? You mean running a 5K in under 30 minutes is not the most important thing in the world?

I declared last week that perhaps running and I needed some space. Things were getting a bit rocky – and not the fist-pumping, Eye of the Tiger kind. You would think this realization would be reason enough for me to take a weekend off, use the time to decide what I really want out of the relationship. Running, maybe I’m just not that into you.

Instead, I decided to do two 5Ks.

Of course I did.

Brian K. Betts Foundation

The Washington Monument looks over West Potomac Park in Washington, DC, the setting for the Brian K. Betts Foundation 5K.

The first, the Brian K. Betts 5K, in Washington, DC, was one of those events, though, where the cause really transcended the run. One of the things I love about these smaller 5Ks is that sometimes they shed light on a person or a charity I never would otherwise have heard of. And while I love to make jokes about free beer and T-shirts and all the things that running gives me, I much prefer it when I know my entry fee is going somewhere truly worthwhile.

In this case it was the Brian K. Betts Foundation. Betts was the principal of a troubled Washington school, and by all accounts a “rising star” in the DC system. His mantra for students was “I will not let you be average,” which I love. He was fatally shot in his home in April 2010. The foundation in his name promotes academic excellence and educational enrichment for students and faculty.

Brian K. Betts Foundation

Lovely morning run along the Potomac.

This was clearly so much bigger than me and whether or not I ever manage to run a sub-30-minute 5K …

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 20: On the rocks

My relationship with running is on shaky ground this week. We are just not moving forward as a couple. I mean, we are moving forward, but not moving forward, if you know what I mean.

As much as I’d like to blame running for this situation, I know it’s mostly my fault. If I’m not willing to put in real, sustained effort, how can I expect us to develop and grow? But surely running has to shoulder some of the responsibility. If it weren’t so difficult, and if it didn’t make my lungs so angry, and my legs so burny, and my face so red, perhaps I’d be more willing to spend more time sorting through our issues. I’m starting to think maybe we need a temporary separation. Or therapy …

In case you couldn’t tell, I had a bad run this weekend.

Margaritas 5K

Runners as far as the eye can see at the Margaritas 5K in Exeter, N.H.

Margaritas 5K

The aftermath.

It wasn’t my worst time. It wasn’t my hilliest race. But I just felt lousy. And when a run called Margaritas 5K doesn’t make me happy … well, all hope is lost. My first run with a hard-liquor theme, and look what happens.

This was part of the Loco Will Run for Beer series, so naturally the event was fabulous. (Thankfully, it didn’t reflect my lackluster performance.) The only hitch came as we were lining up for our gratis drink at the end and were informed we all needed ID. You could gauge my mood at that point by the fact that I wasn’t willing to schlep back to the car to get it. It takes a lot to make me give up on free booze.

The run itself went something like this: run/stop to tie shoelace/run/walk/run/walk/walk/run/curse/run/take inhaler/run/walk/water stop/run/walk/curse/run/walk/give death stare to hubby who came to run me in/walk/run across the finish line/grimace at photographer.

Not my finest half-hour.

It was exceptionally warm though, the warmest run of the season so far. It became clear that transitioning back to hotter weather is going to be tough. I am going to put my lack of skills down to that, and not to the fact that I am heading for a break-up. Because that would be sad.

Twenty runs down, 32 to go. It’s a long, exceptionally sweaty road ahead.

Margaritas 5KThe event: Margaritas 5K
The location: Exeter, N.H.
The date: May 13, 2012
My time: 33.58 (pace: 10.58)
Hubby’s time:
21.27 (pace: 6.55)
The cause:
Exeter High School track and cross-country programs
The T-shirt:
Blue cotton short-sleeved
The aftermath: Chicken burritos from Margaritas. Yum! There may have been other bits and pieces, but we were too focused on the burritos.