Tag Archives: Boston

Down with it: Second Quincy Frozen 5K

There wasn’t any doubt that Hubby and I were going to do the second Frozen 5K in Quincy, MA. For one thing, it’s right in our ‘hood, meaning we only had to drive for 10 minutes in order to be there 90 minutes before the start. For another, it is hosted by our YMCA, where we go every Tuesday night to be lovingly tortured by our trainer, Mary, in a class called Strength and Stride. Mary and most of our classmates were also doing this run.

And then there’s the fact that I couldn’t pass up a second stab at one of the most glorious downhills ever. Here’s what I said about it last year …

“… Which brings us back to the delicious descent that helped me feel so (briefly) speedy. Momentously, I had to stop for a couple of seconds at the bottom because I was going too fast, and was perilously close to falling down. But I stayed upright and posted a significantly improved personal record. In a shocking twist, I even felt as though I could go a little farther.

Hills, I think perhaps I have been too hard on you.”

OK, so I was obviously experiencing some kind of delirium when I wrote that final bit. But there’s no doubt that it was an epic descent.

2nd Frozen 5K Quincy start

Chilly, but the clouds burned off just before the start.

Seeing as I’d done this run before, I had a pretty good idea of how it was going to go down. Although, this time I had an audience so I wanted to put in a shame-free showing. But I was feeling crabby beforehand, and my IT band was still giving me gyp, so I didn’t have high hopes. (When do I ever have high hopes?)

The first mile was slow. I want to say it was because I was saving my reserves for the other side of that glorious descent, but, no, I was just slow. I started running with one of my Y classmates, but she was worried she’d hold me back and was keen to run her own race, so I slowly inched ahead. (I know how she felt; I’ve only run a handful of races with a buddy. I like to work alone.)

The second mile was better. Not in-the-zone better, but better.

The final mile contained the aforementioned hill, which looked like this:

ghgjhgjhg

Trust me, it’s steeper than it looks.

I would have snapped a picture as I was hurtling down the other side, but I was, er, too busy hurtling down the other side. The nice thing about a race you’ve run before is that you know exactly where it’s going to finish. (Better than a GPS any day.) It meant I could go like a bat out of hell over the final quarter of a mile. So bat-like was I that I somehow managed to squeak in under 30 minutes again for only the second time ever. I was very excited. My triumph was extremely hill-assisted, but I’ll take it.

The event: Frozen 5K
The location: Quincy, MA
The date: January 6, 2013
My time: 29.56
Hubby’s time
: 19.37
The cause: South Shore YMCA
The T-shirt: No T-shirt for me (I registered too late)
The aftermath: Bananas, oranges, chowder, Subway

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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. 36: Too much fun to be a run

I barely had time to recover from the SeaWheeze Half before being plunged back into the realm of teeny shorts, at Harborthon 5K on Boston’s Long Island. We frequented this event last year, but I was a mere spectator (which, granted, meant a lot more beer). This year, I was legitimate, although a part of me longed for the good old days of lawn slacking.

This run really has no business being called a run at all. It’s a massive outdoor party that happens to have a 5K in the middle of it.

Harborthon 5K

The scene: Boston’s Long Island.

Harborthon supports Camp Harbor View, which was created in 2007 by Boston’s mayor and a local businessman to provide an affordable summer camp for at-risk inner-city kids. It’s a remarkable setting, with great facilities, a beach, a baseball diamond, and gorgeous views of the city. The camp also offers year-round programming and social service support. All in all, an excellent reason for a run.

Harborthon 5K

The view!

There’s customarily no public access to Long Island, so the race organizers put together an elaborate system of buses and ferries to get us to where we needed to be. We chilled while the rest of the runners arrived in installments, soaking up the pre-entertainment, the lovely view, and the warm night air. All we needed was beer and food. But no, someone thought it was a good idea to make us run three miles for it. Geez.

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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. 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

Awwwwwwwww.

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. 23: Runniversary to remember

It occurred to me halfway through my five-miler at Boston’s Run to Remember on Sunday that it is my one-year runniversary. On May 28, 2011, I ran the Chick fil-A 5K in Newport News, Va., after Hubby signed me up on a whim (there were fuzzy cows involved). Prior to that, I hadn’t run since high school. My sports teacher would likely say I never “ran” at all.

I would like to think that this inaugural 5K sparked in me a deep love and passion for the sport and uncovered an innate athletic talent waiting to be nurtured …

It didn’t do that.

What it did do was plunge me into a brave new world of weekend runcations, early starts, thermal tights, bibs, T-shirts, medals, coconut water, run snobs, compression socks, hills, GPS watches, chia seeds, beer, and weird granola bars. It gave me a physical challenge greater than anything I could have envisioned. It also inspired me to write this blog.

Boston's Run to Remember

Boston’s Run to Remember from above on a glorious Memorial Day weekend. The half-marathoners are coming in on the right.

Running will always be a struggle for me, thanks to my loser asthmatic lungs, but I am getting better. A year ago I could barely run a block. Today I can do 10 kilometers. It’s not pretty, and sometimes (OK all the time) I scowl and swear, and occasionally I want to ditch the whole thing (my 5K to Couch program), but I can do it.

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 19: Strengthening the corps

Last week, despite my race containing many, many hills (on which I will say no more), I somehow managed to get absurdly close to running a 5K in less than 30 minutes. I am partially convinced the race clock was wrong (seriously, if you had seen me trudging along, cursing the asphalt and the trees and the clouds and … well, everything, really … you’d be doubting the veracity of the timing instruments too). But the official results say I was three seconds away from this milestone, so who am I to argue?

Hell, I thought, If I can do that well in the presence of many, many hills, just think what I can do in their absence. In your face, 30 minutes! Next time you see me I’ll be relaxing with a cold one and basking in the post-race glow …

Which brings me to this week’s run, the Boston Marine Corps Honor Run 5K at Carson Beach, No. 19 in my 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge.

Boston Marine Corps Honor Run

Prepping the start.

This run had huge potential. The website said so:

“This is the flattest and fastest course you will find in the Boston area. Perfect for beginner runners or for experienced runners looking for a PR!”

Huge potential. I am not really a beginner, nor am I experienced. Rather, I like to consider myself an experienced beginner. And I was definitely looking for a PR. Perfect …

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