Tag Archives: Massachusetts

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. 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. 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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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 11: Gimme five!

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.

Hynes 5 Mile Road Race

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.

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52 Weeks, 52 runs. No. 10: The fantastic four

It occurred to me on the weekend that I spend a good deal of time these days looking at butts. It’s the price I pay for always being in the bottom (heh) third of a run. I’m privy to 30-45 solid minutes of butts in tights; butts in leggings; butts in jeans (yes, jeans); butts in shorts; butts in shorts-over-tights; butts in tutus; and – my new favorite – butts in kilts.

The latter I hadn’t experienced prior to the Wild Rover series, which I am currently in the midst of running as part of my 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge. (I wonder how it feels to run in a kilt. If any aficionados are reading this, you must let me know.)

Claddagh Pub 4-Mile Classic

The colorful crowd lines up for the start. Spot the kilt!

This past weekend was the Claddagh Pub 4-Mile Classic in Lawrence, MA, No. 2 in the series. Savvy readers will note that I had never run that far. Ever. You might also recall that I hadn’t done a stitch of training coming up to this race, apart from the Frozen Shamrock 3-Mile Run the weekend before. If you look up “unprepared” in the dictionary, you may well find a picture of me, probably wearing tights and holding a beer.

Claddagh Pub 4-Mile Classic

The start. Needless to say, I was nowhere near here when the race began.

Despite the gloomy skies, it was a great day weather-wise. I’ll take any scenario where the temperature is above zero, and the wind isn’t being huge fat bully (see last week’s run). Also, no sun means my face is at least one shade of crimson lighter.

But still, I was convinced, convinced that this was going to be a disaster. I hadn’t trained, hadn’t ever run farther than 3.5 miles (and I wouldn’t call what I was doing on that day running), and hadn’t mentally prepared for a longer distance (four miles is short to some, but an eternity to me).

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