Tag Archives: road race

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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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 39: Don’t let that scenery fool you

I didn’t think anything could ever be as physically challenging for me as last month’s SeaWheeze half-marathon, especially considering that my calves spearheaded a full-blown mutiny during it. But I was naive. Little did I know that lurking around the corner was the New Hampshire 10 Miler, waiting, despite the slightly shorter distance, to assume its place as my Toughest. Run. Ever.

NH 10 Miler

Pretty perilous.

This race (my second-longest run yet and No. 39 in the 52 Weeks challenge) fell firmly into the pretty-but-perilous category. What is it with scenic runs? I’m not sure if we’re supposed to be so distracted by nature that we don’t notice the torture, but that rarely works for me. The 10-miler was around Lake Massabesic, which looked quite lovely on the map. I initially envisioned a nice easy loop around the lake, with cool breezes and water views. I really need to stop envisioning things. A fellow runner snapped me out of it when he described the course as a “roller coaster.” This was bad.

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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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High society: The Mt. Washington Road Race

I have a guest blogger this week while I am in Australia! My hubby and partner-in-running-adventures did the Mt. Washington Road Race last weekend. That’s UPHILL for 7.6 miles. Gives me asthma just thinking about it. Here’s his take … 

Heading into this past weekend, in the tradition of Stride and Joy, I had The Fear. Actually, a double dose of The Fear.

The first dose came from having to be the guest blogger. How could I live up to the exacting standards of Stride and Joy? I wanted to take flight. The second dose came from having to run “Only One Hill.” That’s the catchphrase of the Mt. Washington Road Race. I wanted to take flight again. Preferably aboard a small helicopter. That’s a saner way to the top.

Well, in the true character of this blog, there was to be no running away … but there would be cursing.

Mt. Washington Road Race

This sign should say you may also not appreciate this “running experience.”

This was the 52nd running of the Mt. Washington Road Race. I “won” the right to run via a lottery that opened in March. It seemed so easy: enter your details, input the credit card info (no charge unless you won) and click submit. No sweat. Then I received a “congratulations” email. Oh crap. What did I do?!!

Inclined to train

So, how to train? I live at sea level and my nearest hill takes a mere 30 seconds to get to the top. Move to Colorado! Tempting indeed, for that’s where the top finishers of this race hail from. They’ve got the altitude and attitude on their side. They don’t hold the course record though; that honor belongs to a Kiwi. There are lots of hills in New Zealand, but I like to think that some of his training involved running away from the Orcs from the Lord of the Rings movies. Or the walking trees. They are scary. An argument for clear felling forests if ever there was one.

Well, without a quick way to move to Colorado and in the absence of a build-your-own Orc kit, it was off to the treadmill to train.

The incline of the auto road is between 12 and 20 degrees. That fierce sounding 20 is only at the last part … you know, to the finish line, because the rest of the “hill” just wasn’t enough.

So on the treadmill, I cranked the incline up to 12 and pressed start … crikey … this was going to involve some change of pace. But at least now I knew: slow and steady would finish the race.

Rise and shine

Mt. Washington Road Race

On the up and up.

Race day arrived, and what a morning it was. One of the volunteers said he had never seen weather so good. All week, I had been watching the conditions. A few weeks before, it had snowed. A few days earlier, there were 60mph winds. Today, though, it was clear from top to bottom. I hoped it would last.

In order to “run” up the mountain, you had to have organized a ride down in advance. This was facilitated via a forum on the Mt. Washington Road Race website. After picking up my bib, I met Roy, the guy whose car I would ride my weary bones down in. Roy is a veteran of this peak. He’s also 73 years old and has done the run twice. There was also a bloke who was 92. Now if they could do it, I had no excuse but to head to the start line.

Mt. Washington Road Race

That’s not a hill … THAT’s a hill!

The canon fired and we were off. In taunting fashion, the race started downhill, across a flat bit and then began to climb and climb and f**kin’ climb. I told you there would be cursing.

A woman I had spoken to prior to the race, also a veteran of the mountain, told me to just keep running, and I tried my best to do that. I made it over half way, in fact I even ran in place at a water stop just to keep the rhythm, but then looking at my pace I realized on certain steep areas, I could do just as well power walking and so over the last half, it was a run/walk. More of the former, I am proud to say.

As for the running part, it was easier to run on my toes, and here’s where my new Newton Running shoes worked their miracle. They have series of “energy return” ribs that create a block just to the front of the arch of the foot. This block made it so much easier to run the peak as I never had to land flat on my feet and it helped me spring off every time. Newtons, of course, come from Colorado. I am seeing a pattern here.

Mt. Washington Road Race

The clouds roll in at the finish.

The best part of finishing the race, apart from not having to run up hill any more, was the blankets. Fleece blankets. Made in New Hampshire! None of that space blanket malarkey for us “mountain folk.” They came in handy too, as shortly after the finish, the clouds rolled in and it cooled.

As for the time to complete the 7.6-mile course, someone had posted on the forum that it would be around your half-marathon time and that’s exactly what it was.

Would I do it again? Hell yes! Next time though, I will be running all the way to the top … powered by anything that Colorado will offer. Coors beer maybe.

Mt. Washington Road RaceThe event: Mt. Washington Road Race
The location:
Mt. Washington, NH
The date: June 16, 2012
Hubby’s time: 1.41.16 (pace: 13.20)
The T-shirt: Blue tech shirt
The aftermath: Turkey dinner with all the fixins

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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