Tag Archives: running uphill

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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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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My own private Everest: Pentucket Pride 5K

After the massive crowd and silly millinery of the Feaster Five, the Pentucket Pride 5K, at Pentucket Regional High School, in West Newbury, MA, was a laid-back affair, with 223 runners gathering on a foggy morning to support the high school’s athletic programs.

Pentucket Pride 5K

Runners at the foggy start of the Pentucket Pride 5K.

The course had been described as “challenging,” which, as my avid readers (!) know, puts the fear into me. In road race language, “challenging” always means “hilly.” Just once I’d like there to be a water hazard or something. You know, to shake it up a bit.

This helpful poster at the entrance to the high school cafeteria, where we gathered pre-race, did little to comfort me …

Pentucket Pride 5K

I may have peaked.

Sure, it may not seem so steep if you look at the numbers, but trust me, on a damp and chilly day, it was basically Everest.

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Things that give me The Fear #2: Hills

The hills are alive

The hills are alive ... with the sound of wheezing.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I am terrified of hills. The sight of them makes me quake in my sneakers; the mere mention of them leads me to question my new-found commitment to acquiring as many running T-shirts as possible.

In my extensive (!) experience with 5Ks, I have come across some doozy inclines. The Covered Bridge 5K in Henniker, NH, springs to mind. My approach to these  perils is usually to slow to a walk while tendering my best stink-eye. Sadly, the hills usually fail to respond (much to my chagrin, my death stare apparently cannot move mountains). This means I have no choice but to switch my jog to a swift plod and asthmatically ascend as best as I can.

If you thought my face was red on the flats, you should see it on the rises. I may have to contact the Pantone company about creating a new color in my honor: 5K Crimson.

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Two runs, one weekend: Tanger Outlets 5K

Tanger Outlets 5K Run/WalkThere are so many races going on every weekend across New England that it’s almost impossible to choose. But many of them have one thing in common: boobs.

Or breast cancer, to be more precise. Yes, the Pinking of America is alive and well in running-land. That’s not to take anything away from the cause, of course, and we were happy to sign up for the Tanger Fit for a Cure 5K Run/Walk in Tilton, NH, which raised money for LRGHealthcare.

However, at the risk of sounding completely shallow, there was another reason for committing to this particular event: shopping.

You really can’t go wrong with a run that provides coupons and encourages post-race consumerism. Can you?

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