Tag Archives: Quincy

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

52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 41: That familiar feeling

There’s a smorgasbord of runs to choose from every week in New England, so we’d managed to steer clear of repeats from 2011. But I was keen to do one to really get an idea of how much I have improved. Or if I had at all … The Officer Jamie Cochrane Memorial Road Race was perfect. It’s right on our doorstep in Quincy, MA, and last year it had a great raffle and terrific food. All excellent reasons to run. No beer though, but that’s OK. I guess free ale and law enforcement don’t really mix. There were lots of cops around.

This run honors Quincy officer Jamie, who was killed on his motorcycle while off-duty. It’s been going for five years and attracts a sizeable local crowd. Last year I showed up solo (pre-52 Runs, 52 Weeks), so it was great this time to not be the loser sitting by herself on the grass at the end. I talked Cute Dogs & Hugs blogger Tiffany and her hubby into it, as well as my running buddy from the Old Fashioned 10 Miler and Flat 5K, which seems like eons ago. And of course my own hubby was there. It was a merry gathering.

I was particularly merry when I realized the weather was going to play nice. I’m still so shell-shocked from the long hot summer that anything that seems remotely cool is making me completely giddy. I recalled that this course was relatively flat. Hmmm, could this be the day I set a PR (30.02, for those keeping score)? If nuns can’t get me there, maybe cooler weather and trainee cops in formation can …

Jamie Cochrane Memorial Road Race

On your bike!

There was a good amount of pomp and circumstance at this event. The cops rode though the crowd on their fancy bikes and we got a low-level flyover from a helicopter with its sirens blaring. There was also a lovely rendition of the anthem from a cop and his two daughters. I love that kind of stuff. This is an especially poignant race as it involves law enforcement and happens near Sept. 11 (last year it was right on that date).

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 26: (Jet) lagging behind

Apologies for the extended absence. Can someone please invent a time machine? …

I had really been looking forward to writing this post. Last week, I officially hit the halfway point in my 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge. Hooray! I figured I would spend the next 300 words excitedly recounting my experiences and proclaiming how far I had come. (Nothing like a little proclaiming between friends.) But instead, on the illustrious occasion of my halfaversary, any excitement I may have had gave way to a feeling that I am Right. Back. Where. I. Started.

Lest you think I am a total drama queen, allow me to explain. I ran the five-mile Squantum 5 on Thursday night. It was very, very hot and there were hills. I was suffering from horrible jet lag, having flown in from Australia a couple of nights before and gone straight back to work. I had done very little exercise the previous two weeks thanks to travel and family obligations. (I squeezed in five miles, but they weren’t quality miles.)

Squantum 5 Road Race

Best start sign ever.

You know what happens when you combine jet lag, heat, hills, and a lack of preparation?

You come fourth last.

As in only three people are slower than you.

As in almost everyone is already on their second beer at the party tent before you’ve even managed to put a toenail across the finish line.

Squantum 5 Road Race

I’m the shadowy figure taking a photo. I thought I’d have no trouble keeping up with the woman in front with the knee brace, who looked to be pretty hobbled as she started running. But nooooo.

It was tough for me to get my head around this turn of events. I’m not fast by any means, but I’m usually somewhere about three-quarters into the pack; I have even been known to be in the middle on a good day.

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 5: This really blows

I have discovered something worse than hills. And treadmills.

There was a dearth of organized runs this past weekend, but I am committed to my 52 Weeks, 52 Runs plan. Rather than take to the treadmill again (savvy readers will recall how well that turned out), I decided to invoke yet another made-up rule:

4. If I’m traveling and no runs exist, and I don’t have a gym to go to, I can as a last resort huff and puff on my own.

Sure, I’m not traveling, and I certainly have a gym, but it’s my challenge and I can bend the rules if I want to. So Hubby and I decreed that we’d huff and puff on our own. Specifically, we decided to run/walk the Quincy Half Marathon route (he’s running this race for real in March) and donate $25 to the American Cancer Society Daffodil Days program.

Half of Quincy

Quincy (MA) Half Marathon route.

I was down with this plan, although at one point I said to my running buddy: “You do realize this is going to take HOURS!”

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 4: The treadmill. My most hated of all mills

I have no qualms about running in a freezer, but running in a giant Slushee is another story. The weekend’s snowstorm, while nothing to write home about, was enough to make me want to put my 52 Weeks, 52 Runs plan on ice. (The lack of available events at the right distance didn’t help.)

The beach covered in snow.

This après-snowstorm shot of the beach at the end of my street has little to do with running. But for this Aussie, seeing the sand covered in white is a wonderful thing.

But this is my challenge and I can set my own rules (such a rarity). Savvy readers will recall my original 52 Weeks, 52 Runs post, in which I outlined “The exceptions to the rules that I’ll make up as I go along.” In this vein, I give you:

3. If no runs exist, I take to the treadmill, or do one of the virtual runs that abound on Twitter. I will donate the equivalent of an entry fee to charity.

Hence this weekend, I invoked made-up rule No. 3 and took to the treadmill …

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 2: Or how I learned to stop worrying and love hills (kind of)

A side effect of becoming a “runner” (I use the term loosely) is that I now apparently have the ability to stop traffic. It’s every girl’s dream, yes? This skill was on display during last weekend’s South Shore YMCA Frozen 5K (the second of my 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge) as I ran solo – hair blazing, face subtly aglow – through a forbidding intersection and coolly waved to a handful of Quincy police officers who were standing around looking bored. “Don’t mind me, guys. This kind of thing happens all the time.”

OK, it may not have gone down quite like that.

I did run through a forbidding intersection, but my hair was plastered to my neck and my face was its usual shade of bright crimson. (I could tell.) At this point, the Speedy McSpeedersons had finished or were close to it, and the rest of the runners – who had clearly become lost – were behind me. So I was briefly, and disconcertingly, solo. I did wave to the fine officers of the Quincy PD as they used their mad skills to hold back the throbbing traffic, but it probably looked less like a nonchalant thank you than a deranged “Holy crap!”

Quincy YMCA Frozen 5K

Running like the wind (but slowly enough that I can take my phone out of my shorts and snap a photo). So, really, running like the breeze.

Despite the pain suggested by my facial hue, things were pretty good. I had just come off an amazing downhill stretch that gave me a burst of energy, and I was feeling free and almost speedy. Even my lungs were playing along. Maybe I was born to run after all!

This sensation lasted for about a minute and a half …

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Running with the dogs: Cause 4 Paws 5K

Cute dog

OK, fine, it's not a photo of the run. But I imagine this is what my lump of a dog may have looked like if he had finished the Cause 4 Paws 5K. And been in Quincy, MA, instead of Sydney, Australia. Still – cute, yes?

My running education has come to a brief halt while I’m in Sydney. There are nowhere near as many events here as I would have thought, which is surprising given Aussies’ tendency to spend as much time outdoors as they can, wearing as little as possible.

So it’s been left to Hubby to carry the running torch in chilly Massachusetts, and a fine job he has been doing. This past weekend, he signed up for the Cause 4 Paws 5K to benefit the Quincy Animal Shelter. I was disappointed at not being able to participate in this one. Not only did it feature many, many puppies, but it was flat! Allow me to reiterate: Puppies! And flat!

You can read about it here. There’s even a video (discerning readers will be able to spot Hubby on the far left in his extra-special running leggings; I can sense a future post on that topic).

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