I have been struck with an affliction that I’m going to call 5K Brain. When I sat down to write about last weekend’s run, the 10th annual Marcia Lemkin Lung Cancer Foundation 5K, I could barely remember it. This has nothing to do with the quality of the race or the excellent cause it supported. I guess when you do one run every weekend (and sometimes two), there’s going to come a time when they all bleed into one giant, sweaty, event.
Contributing to my case of 5K Brain this particular weekend was the fact that the Marcia Lemkin run was in Lowell, MA, site of the Jack Kerouac 5K, the First Run 5K, and the Hynes Tavern 5-Miler. You can see how a girl might get confused. (Maybe we should just move there and save ourselves the drive.)
Pre-race scenery in downtown Lowell.
But I place the real blame for my problem firmly on the sun (because obviously it’s not my fault). It has turned my mind into a big pile of melty mush. Extensive scientific research (i.e, reading all the blog posts in which I complain about how hot it’s been) proves it. Running over and over and over and over in the heat has melted my brain.
I never thought I could run five miles in a row. Maybe over the course of my life, but not in a row. If you had told me this time last year that I would be running such a vast distance at some point in the next 12 months, I would have declared you the ruler of Crazy Land.
Well, I must have relocated to Crazy Land, because last weekend I ran the Hynes 5-Mile Road Race. It was No. 3 in the Wild Rover series, and No. 11 in my 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge (gosh, the time has flown by – at a blistering speed of 5.5 mph). Needless to say, this race signaled a new distance for me. And, I am ashamed to say, yet another week of zero training. I must stop doing that.
The Hynes Tavern in Lowell, MA, that would soon be overrun (!) by folks in bibs. This was the 32nd incarnation of the Hynes road race.
The forecast was for windy/warm weather, which prompted a question: Could I finally retire the Absurd Winter Running Outfit? It’s a fine line between too chilly and too hot. Sartorial quandaries aside, it turned out to be a glorious day. Warm but not steamy; breezy but not blowy. Ideal. So I doffed my trusty wool and donned one of my many, many running shirts. I would have felt totally hard core had a significant number of runners not also been wearing the same threads. Note to self: Next time, wear a shirt from a different series.
At the end of last year, I publicly declared my intention to do 52 organized runs in 52 weeks. In the harsh reality that was 7am on New Year’s Day, I wondered whether I hadn’t been chemically altered when I concocted this folly (too much Mamma Chia, perhaps?). Or potentially replaced by aliens …
But a quick 2012 audit of my corporeal self confirmed that everything was in order. So I decided to place the blame squarely on my new running alter ego, who, after appearing out of nowhere, is apparently now calling the shots – fueled by Spandex, Lululemon and many playings of Kylie. What else can explain my sudden desire to travel vast distances on freezing weekend mornings to run until I feel as though I am going to pass out? It can’t be the bananas. Or even the beer.
The happy crowd gathers for the start of 1st Run in Lowell.
It’s a good thing (or a sad thing, depending on how you look at it) that neither myself nor my alter ego overindulged on New Year’s Eve, or we would not have been at all equipped for the 5K 1st Run in Lowell, MA. Of course, I may have been secretly hoping that others had overindulged, in the interests of making me look faster. But these running types are serious!
Author Jack Kerouac (he ran with us in spirit).
Where boobs characterized weekend 5K part one, part two was all about beer. (And you wonder why we chose to run both.) Some would probably point out that I’m taking a far-too-lowbrow view of the Jack Kerouac 5K in Lowell, MA, but having read the author’s classic novel and gotten little out of it, I chose to focus on the event’s post-race libations rather than its high-falutin’ literary pedigree. (Lowell, by the way, is Kerouac’s hometown and where he is buried.)
It wasn’t our first run with beer at the end, but it was our first that started and ended in a pub – Hookslide Kelly’s – which made me infinitely happy. I’m not sure of the health ramifications of post-race ale, but, hell, it’s not like we were drinking before the run.