Tag Archives: beginners

52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 3: The power of chowder

I was miffed when Old Man Winter decided to drop by last weekend. I mean, can’t he schedule his visits for mid-week, when I haven’t committed to being outdoors for 45 minutes in tights and no jacket? With a cold.

Had the Run for Your Lunch 5.5K in Middleboro, MA, not been for such a fantastic cause (and had I not publicly declared my intention to run 52 races this year), I may have decided to sit this one out. But, despite protestations by my nose, I was happy to run in support of the new All Are Welcome Community Kitchen and Bakery, which is dedicated to providing access to nutritious meals to those who need them.

And it could have been worse. We could have been in New Hampshire.

Run for Your Lunch 5.5K

Running assassin!

Mask and you
shall receive

I have learned many lessons over the past month or so about dressing for winter runs. But until this particular day, I had not experienced the genius that is the running balaclava.

Hubby was kind enough to hand his over when he saw my formerly red nose turning blue at the start of the run, and I was happy to accept this multi-talented piece of fabric. Not only does it take your running ensemble to new levels of absurdity (see left), it also conceals any and all instances of tomato-face. And after the run, you can go rob a bank or two if you feel so inclined.

OK fine, it also functions as a hat and a neck warmer, although trying to manipulate it between these states as you are running a blistering 10:50 mile pace is somewhat challenging (I believe I looked as though I had hair-ears at one point. Not ear hairs, but ears made of hair).

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Cold runnings: when it’s perfectly acceptable to dress like a superhero

It’s well documented that heat is my No. 2 nemesis (No 1: hills), so I was quite keen to give cold running a try. But there’s cold and then there’s standing-around-at-7.30am-in-New-England-waiting-for-the-run-to-start cold. Herewith, what I’ve discovered first-hand about dressing when your runs take place in a giant fridge. (Of course, my upcoming events are set to take place in a giant freezer, so stay tuned for “Part Two: What the heck was I thinking?”)

Feaster Five

My duds for the Feaster Five Thanksgiving Day race. Note, fancy tights.

1. The outfit is ridiculous. Where outside of comic books is it OK to roam the streets in shorts over tights? Unfortunately, tights aren’t made to carry an iPhone, an asthma puffer, a lip balm, a hairband and a packet of tissues, so, for me, shorts with giant pockets are mandatory. One day, I’ll rule the world in them! Bwahahaha.

2. OK, I concede the tights are fabulous. Avid readers will recall the  concern I had over my new CW-X Insulator Expert Tights and their circulation-hampering properties. But the tights are genius. They are remarkably warm and indeed have many insulating skills. I’ll take the company’s word for it that they also support my muscles and help them bounce back faster.

3. Bulky gloves are unwise. It was a rookie mistake wearing heavy-duty winter mitts. Who knew hands could sweat so much? And they make it impossible to get anything out of your pockets. (Forget trying to pull the top off an asthma puffer.) Also, when your hands are on fire and you have to take the gloves off, there’s nowhere to stuff them. Disaster.

I replaced them with Lululemon’s Brisk Run gloves, which are not only thinner, they can be used to compose that crucial mid-run text message (“Forget this, I’ll meet you at the bar!” perhaps?) thanks to those smartphone fingertip dealies.

LL Bean Women's Cresta Wool Base Layer4. Merino is your friend. Wearing cotton as a base layer on a cold run is a very bad idea. Or so I discovered. Cotton lets sweat linger on your skin, turning you into a walking block of ice when you start to cool down. I bought the LL Bean Women’s Cresta Wool Base Layer, made of merino, which has serious wicking abilities (I love how the word “wicking” has crept into my life). It’s also toasty warm. And it has thumb holes …

5. Thumbs up for thumb holes.
Where have you been all my life?

Sweating for good: Butterfly 5K

Running is not just about getting to the finish and trying not to fall over while you’re doing it.

OK, it’s mostly about that.

But being able to contribute to small but worthy causes is appealing. It almost makes up for all the sweat and the tomato-face. Almost.

Julia's Garden

The gateway at Julia's Garden.

The Julia Foundation

A glutton for punishment, I signed up for my second event: the Butterfly 5K in North Attleboro, MA. It was in support of The Julia Cekala Charitable Foundation, created in memory of nine-year-old Julia, who died after suffering numerous illnesses during her short life. The foundation supports the local community through the building and maintaining of Julia’s Garden and Playground in the World War I Park in North Attleboro.

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My first-ever 5K

To say I was unprepared for my inaugural road race is an understatement.

Before the Chick fil-A 5K. My first run ever.

My expression conceals my fear pre-5K No 1. I may never look this relaxed again.

Army hubby, who had started running about six months before, was picking up his “packet” (which I was quite sad to learn did not contain potato chips) for the 2011 Chick fil-A 5K and Running of the Cows in Newport News, Va, when he turned to me and said: “You want to do it too?”

“Errrrrr, sure,” I replied, promptly breaking out into a lavish sweat. I am an asthmatic, you see. I know that means little at a time when every second athlete seems to be sporting a puffer, but it has always kept me from doing anything that even remotely resembles running.

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