Tag Archives: road race

52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 52: The end of the road! (Or, it was the best of times, it was the worst of timekeepers)

Hooray! It’s all over! I can’t believe how fast 2012 has gone. When I started this challenge back in January, I (and many others) wasn’t sure how it would play out. Would I enjoy it? Would I get sick of it halfway through? Would my face turn a permanent shade of crimson? Would I wind up trapped under a giant pile of race T-shirts? Would I need a Lululemon intervention?

I never really had any doubt that Hubby and I would pull it off (it was only one race a week, after all), although I did do some major sanity-questioning along the way, especially during the summer. But if I didn’t think my bank would cut me off completely, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I’m getting ahead of myself though. Here’s No. 52. Wrap-ups of various kinds to come later…

The not-so-grand finale

There’s something fitting about my last run in the challenge being a race director’s first. We signed up for the All I Want for Christmas 5K in Exeter, NH, because it sounded like it would be one of those fun small-races-for-a-good-cause that I’m always going on about (proceeds to the Hope for Gus Foundation), and because it was in Exeter, which for some reason became our running home away from home in 2012 so it seemed appropriate to end it all there.

All I Want for Christmas 5K

Colorful gathering on a gray day in Exeter, NH.

You never really know what you’re going to get with an inaugural run, especially one that’s so small it doesn’t even have a web presence, but we were heartened to see cars slowly trickle into the Exeter High School the morning of. We, naturally, were among the first to arrive, giving us plenty of time to beat the, erm, traffic and really get to know the parking lot. Despite having 60 minutes to mentally prepare, we neglected to collect our bibs straight away and wound up having to— shock—line up.

All I Want for Chistmas 5K

Hubby busted out the festive attire, which also has neck-warming properties.

I mention this because the long bib-pickup line, and therefore slightly late start, was one of the first indicators that this run might have some first-time-event hiccups. The second was the race director telling us that her PA guy had failed to arrive so there would be no microphone. The third was her revelation, as we were lining up to begin, that the course was 3.4 miles long instead of 3.1. Ouch.

But no matter. The run felt great at the start despite the chilly weather, and I got it into my head that this was going to be a PR triumph. How awesome would that be, on race No. 52? (Forgetting, of course, that this was 3.4 miles, so it’d be hard to measure.) There was a gorgeous Golden retriever in front of me who was making good time, so I decided she/he was going to be my pace dog.

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 48: Will run for pie (again)

We may have eschewed turkeys in favor of tigers last week, but we knew it wasn’t going to be long before we were back out among the turkey faithful. We signed up for the Thanksgiving Day Feaster Five in Andover, MA, many months ago (it’s the one with the free whole apple pie for every runner at the end!). I had some vivid non-pie memories of this event from last year, mostly because it was the first time I had run in obscenely cold weather. I had little experience running in such conditions and my hands were so freezing that I insisted on wearing my Columbia snow gloves. Worst. Idea. Ever. The run was definitely the first of many iterations of the Absurd Winter Running Outfit™. I think I eventually got it right.

Last year’s Feaster was also the occasion of the infamous fakeout finish banner. You can read more about that here.

Ah, the things I have learned since then, apart from how to read a sign. I believe I have discovered how to actually run (or at least I’ve convinced myself that I can) because this year I willingly signed up for the 5 miler instead of the 5K. I am always intrigued when I willingly sign up for a longer distance when a shorter one is available. What the heck is going on in my brain?

Feaster Five 2012

The morning sun beats down on the giant crowd.

Thankfully, I had my friend Tiffany from the fabulous Cute Dogs & Hugs along with me for the ride. We were both pretty apprehensive about this run. Tiffany because she had been vacationing and hadn’t trained much, and this was going to be her first 5 mile race; me because I was struggling with IT band issues and am generally lousy at training anyway. Also, because I knew there was one big-ass hill between mile .5 and 1.5. I remembered it so well because last year I spent quite a lot of time on it. Walking.

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 47: Grrrrrr

There are so many Turkey Trots around this time of the year that we decided to go against the grain the weekend before Thanksgiving and run a Tiger Trot. Those cooked-turkey hats scare the crap out of me, but tigers are OK. Not that there were many people sporting novelty headwear at this small event in Hampton Falls, near Exeter, NH (which seems like our second home these days). There was, however, a tiger mascot doing the rounds, as well as a priceless kid stumbling about in a fuzzy Dunkin’ Donuts costume that was far too big for him (he had to look out the arm hole). I don’t know what I was thinking, but I failed to snap a photo. You’ll just have to imagine the hilariousness.

Tiger Trot

Check out that sky!

Hosted by the Lincoln Akerman School, the Tiger Trot had lots of kids and parents, and a fun community atmosphere. I love these kinds of runs. There was a 5K and, oddly, a 10 miler, which was pretty adventurous given that this was a first-time event with a smallish crowd (although they had a pretty good turnout, considering). I ran the 5K, and Hubby the 10 mile. I don’t think I was mentally ready for another 10 after my last disaster over that distance (although I have run a half since then).

I would normally insert my customary weather rant here, but it was actually a gorgeous day for a run. My ideal running weather window is definitely anything between 3 and 10 degrees Celsius (36-50 F for all my American friends). Got to be sunny though. I’d happily run in those conditions all year round.

My performance expectations were high. After all, last time I did a 5K, I set a PR by more than 20 seconds and ran under 30 minutes for the first time. I just assumed that now I had managed that once, my legs and lungs would naturally rise to the occasion and let me do it again.

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 42: Double trouble

We had originally signed up for the WOW Fest, in Laconia, NH, to run with our friend Courtney. So it was sobering when we arrived last Saturday morning knowing he wouldn’t be there. (In fact, his service was later that day.) But he was on our minds, and he wouldn’t have been happy had we decided not to do the run on his account. (Still pushing us!)

Taking a leaf out of his book, we also completed an event the day after — the Ocean’s Run in South Kingstown, RI. It’s a lovely area, one we hadn’t visited. Something I love about this running business: It definitely gets us around.

WOW Fest

The Laconia Fire Department went all out for the WOW-festers.

Ocean's Run

South Kingstown Town Beach in Rhode Island.

Lululemon arm warmers

This isn’t me and mine are a much more awesome color, but you get the idea.

It’s amazing how much the weather has turned in the past couple of weeks, seemingly in the blink of an eye. It makes me giddy, because not only is it much more comfortable for running, I can now bust out the Lululemon arm warmers I bought at the SeaWheeze Half-Marathon. I can’t say enough about how fabulous these things are. You’re nice and warm waiting around at the start, but then, presto, you roll them down as you start to heat up along the way, and then you’re nice and cool. Arm warmers, where have you been all my life?

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Stadium-sized tribute: Zach Attack 5K

First, a huge thank you to everyone for the lovely comments you left on my last post. I know Courtney’s family truly appreciated all the support from the running community. 

Back to our regularly scheduled programming! Hubby did such a great job writing about RoadNoise that he’s back for his third appearance on Stride & Joy. I didn’t run this race, but it was such a great cause that it deserves its own post …

Since moving to Boston, I have learned a few things about folks in New England. When they speak they sound a little funny (though I am sure they think the same whenever I open my mouth); they take a perverse pleasure in poor weather; and they like to run. Boy, do they like to run.

When Tracey decided on her 52 runs in 52 weeks challenge, I started looking to find her races to fill her calendar. Two websites came to be the go to places for runs: Running in the USA and Cool Running.  There are always a swag of runs in the Northeast, any time of year.

Through these sites, we found several companies that put on excellent events in New England: Loco Races  – they’ve never found a hill they didn’t want you to run, though they reward you with beer. In fact, they have a series named for it: Will Run for Beer. Millennium Running – the new kid on the block with some great races to their name.

And finally, 3C Race Productions – these guys have the most laid-back attitude when it comes to award ceremonies and prize draws. Also, they keep me in pint glasses (lemonade glasses for the kids); the most useful prize a runner can receive. Hydration is so important!

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