Tag Archives: vermont

Haven’t hung up my sneakers yet

I’m dismayed. It’s been two months since I last wrote—and that post wasn’t even mine! But thankfully, my feet haven’t been as lethargic as my fingers (which are getting a stern talking to, by the way). I’ve continued to do races, just in a somewhat less elegant fashion than before (and considering I’m the world’s least elegant runner to begin with, that’s saying something).

Rather than write an individual post about each event (my memory isn’t that good and they stretch back to May), here’s a quick roundup of what I’ve been up to. Proof that I keep pinning on those bibs despite the fact that my form has seriously regressed.


Boston’s Run to Remember (5 miles)

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Boston’s Run to Remember, 2013. Freezing!

Boston, May 26, 2013
The event: well-organized, poignant, cold
My performance: middling (53.26)
Hubby: 1.35.57 (half-marathon)

* Despite being so late in May, it was a seriously cold morning (I saved a screen grab of the weather, and it was 6C/42F. Brrrrrrrrr). The 5 mile race was late getting started so we all stood around shivering in short sleeves for what felt like forever.
* There was a great deal of significance attached to this race, as it was the first biggie in Boston since the marathon. Sean Collier, the MIT officer killed in the aftermath, was prominent on T-shirts and in speeches. The “Remember” part of the Run to Remember, which usually refers to fallen law enforcement officers, took on new meaning for many. The race itself was huge. In the weeks after the marathon, everyone was a runner!
* The shadow of the marathon hung over this race in its extreme security: significantly, no one was allowed at the finish line and the runners’ area was strictly controlled. It wasn’t inconvenient, but it was sad.


P.R.O.N.E. 5K

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P.R.O.N.E. 5K with Tonto (star of cutedogsandhugs.com).

Boston, MA, June 1, 2013
The event: cute, fuzzy, very hot!
My performance: I walked (leisurely) the whole way, so it doesn’t count, but for those keeping score (i.e., me): 1.01.24

* I did this event last year in soak-you-to-your-bones rain, so it was only fitting that this year it would be boiling!
* This race is for Pug Rescue of New England, so there were lots of cute dogs around to make me sneeze, although probably not as many as there would have been seeing it was so hot.
* Tiffany from Cute Dogs and Hugs, her hubby, and I met for the first time at this race last year so it was only fitting that we do it again. However, Tiffany was pregnant this time around, so she, I, and Tonto took a 5K stroll. There goes my average! I’ll never look at Athlinks again.


BAA (Boston Athletic Association) 10K

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BAA 10K, 2013.

Boston, MA, June 23, 2013
The event: crowded, hot, poignant
My performance: dismal (1.16.31, a whopping seven minutes slower than my 10K PR)

* If any race deserved to be heavy on the “Boston strong” references it was this one. This was the BAA’s first run since the marathon, and it’s not surprising that their blue and gold signature colors, which had become ubiquitous across the city of Boston, were on prominent display here.
* It was heavier on the celebration than the emotion, which I appreciated, although there was a great moment after the race when the winner of the marathon, Lelisa Desisa, returned his winner’s medal to Boston Mayor Tom Menino and the city. There were some injured folk there from the marathon too, and they got an ovation from the huge crowd that stuck around.
* I also appreciated that this run wasn’t overzealous on the security. Hopefully a sign of things to come.
* Oh, my run was terrible. I walked a huge chunk (I didn’t have a dog with me, so there wasn’t really an excuse). It was hot and my heart and legs just weren’t in it. I’m beginning to think I dreamed 2012.


Mad Half-Marathon Walk

Mad Half Marathon, 2013.

Mad Half Marathon, 2013. Rural splendor.

Waitsfield, Vermont, July 7, 2013
The event: fabulous, picturesque, very hilly
My performance: decent; a little slower than 2012, but fourth overall in the walkers category (3.05.17)
Hubby: 1.44.57

* I love this event. We did it last year (it was the first time I had done a half-marathon distance—I was a walker) and knew we had to go back. It’s an extremely hilly course but worth it for the views (although not necessarily the barnyard odors).
* I can never quite tell how many walkers are in front of me, but I could see at least two, and I knew I had to get ’em. They’re in the photo above, one is in bright pink and the other in the yellow scarf. It took me a while, but I eventually caught up with the pink lady. The woman in yellow was a formidable foe and we walked together for a few miles before I got slightly ahead at about mile 9 and spent the rest of the race alone. I mean, really alone. It’s a lonely walk at the end.
* I could barely move for three days.
* On the plus side, I kept all my toenails this year!


Shipyard Old Port 5K

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Shipyard Old Port 5K. Blistering!

Portland, Maine, July 14, 2013
The event:
hot, damn hot
My performance:
I’d rather not talk about it (44.13)
Hubby:
1.43.05 (half-marathon)

* Beautiful setting, but man it was crazy hot this year. The half-marathon course was very hilly and there was a lot of moaning afterward that it was too hilly for the weather, which is just silly.
* Last year’s 5K had a stairwell that we had to run down. This year, we had to run up it, too. Seeing as it was so hot, quite a few runners switched to the 5K. The result: a HUGE bottleneck at the stairs in the first mile. I’m talking almost seven minutes of standing around. I like a good rest as much as the next person, but this … well, I though it was pretty funny, actually. Good thing I wasn’t looking for a PR. I think that ship may have sailed …

This coming weekend: I’m doing the SeaWheeze Half-Marathon in Vancouver. Training? I’m not even going to go there. Promise it won’t take me two months to write about it.

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Race company awesomeness

I left out a part of the story about me implausibly winning an age group award at the Wolf Hollow 5K.

When the results were posted at the run, I was fourth. When we checked them again at home, I was third. I guess the gal above me was in the wrong age group. Score!

It meant, however, that I didn’t get a pint glass. 3C Race Productions, the folks who put on the Wolf Hollow, are famous for their pint-glasses-as-prizes (soda glasses if you’re under 21), and I was very excited by the prospect of getting one by means other than having my name pulled out of a hat. (I had obtained a 3C glass this way before, at the 4K on the 4th, and also at the Covered Bridge 5K, as pointed out by an avid S&J reader also known as Hubby).

So I emailed Mr. 3C, explained what had happened, and he said he’d mail me a glass. How nice! A couple of weeks passed and I hadn’t really thought about it. Then this week (funnily enough, on the same day I posted about the run), I got a package in the mail. It seemed suspiciously flat for a pint glass.

Fun on Foot in New England

Fun!

It was a copy of Fun on Foot in New England, with a nice note from Mr. 3C saying they had warehoused all the glasses and I should ask about them again in the new year.

How fabulous and unexpected is that? So, not only can I now prove to my likely mocking grandchildren that, yes, it’s true that I won a running age group award back in the day (my mother is surely wondering what parallel future universe I am referring to), I can also, you know, find out where to have fun. On foot.

Getting this terrific prize gives me a chance to talk about the all-around awesomeness of 3C Race Productions. They put on more than 200 runs in New England every year, to the point where I am convinced their folks are cloned, especially owner Michael Amarello, with whom I corresponded over my prize. We have run a lot of their races, and the events are always amazingly fun, laid-back affairs but super well organized. We especially appreciate 3C’s approach to handing out awards. Get it done fast! (I’ve aged 10 years standing through interminable awards ceremonies.)

Our 3C runs:

* The Covered Bridge 5K. Henniker, NH. September 4, 2011 (Hills from hell)
* Semap Bog Jog. Wareham, MA. September 17, 2011 (Still one of my favorite runs)
* Lake George 5K. Lake George, NY. April 29, 2012 (Was my PR run for ages)
* 4K on the 4th. Concord, NH. July 1, 2012 (Horrendously hot and a terrible run for me, but where I met Courtney Marshall)
* Tiger Trot. Hampton Falls, NH. November 17, 2012 (Fuzzy mascots!)
* Wolf Hollow 5K, Nashua, NH, November 25, 2012 (Age group award!)

Hubby also did this one:

* Zach Attach 5K. Hudson, NH, August 25, 2012 (Great cause)

Any New Englanders reading this, I recommend you find a 3C race or two to run if you like small, smooth, spirited events. They’re a friend to beer everywhere!

52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 44: Quick, call the help desk!

Eighteen months ago, if you had asked me what an IT band was, I would have told you it was a group of musically inclined computer nerds. I know better now, of course. Running has, if nothing else, given me a new understanding of bodies, and what they can ­– and can’t – do. Before this 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge, I had never, ever put my own under so much stress. (It’s important to know that prior to my first 5K in May 2011, I would have considered it a huge accomplishment to run for two minutes on the treadmill without stopping.)

This past weekend, we headed to Vermont for the 29th Leaf Peepers Half-Marathon and 5K, timed of course to take in New England’s brilliant fall colors. For the second weekend in a row, it was pitch black when we departed, although this time there were no school buses involved (phew).

Leaf Peepers 5K

Starting crowd. You can’t really tell here, but the fall colors on the hills are lovely.

The first thing we noticed when we got out of the car in Waterbury, Vt., was a tantalizingly sweet aroma hanging in the air. The start line was at the headquarters of Green Mountain Coffee, and it turns out they were brewing their dark roast that morning. Nothing like coffee in vapor form before a run. I was feeling the shame because I got out of the car with an empty cup of Newman’s Own from McDonald’s, but then we discovered that Newman’s Own is brewed by Green Mountain, so all was forgiven. We also got vouchers for free cups of coffee, of which we availed ourselves after the run. Talk about a caffeine-fuelled adventure.

Alas, all the coffee in the world couldn’t help me out on this particular day. The weather was perfect (cloudy and 7C/44F to start), and I had high hopes again that all my summer running would pay off and I’d finally finish in under 30 minutes. My start was fast (for me), and I felt good …

Leaf Peepers 5K

This way to Camel’s Hump. I have no idea what that is.

That was before the pain in my right knee.

Uh oh.

It was a vaguely familiar pain. I felt it around mile 10 of the Wineglass Half-Marathon last weekend, too. But I had chalked it up to my body reacting to an unfamiliar distance, and finished the run without incident. I stretched a little afterwards and went to my regular Strength and Stride class at the Y during the week. I thought my knee still seemed miffed, but I chalked that up to ongoing recovery and put it out of my mind.

That is, until mile 0.75 of the Leaf Peepers, when mild knee annoyance turned into full-blown knee rage. Concurrently, my right hip decided to also join the pity party. I knew these were the telltale indicators of an unhappy IT band, Hubby having gone through his own IT woes last year. Crap.

Not interested in pushing myself while parts of my body were staging a protest, I slowed. Every few minutes or so I’d try to pick up the pace, but the pain would pop up again. I didn’t want to tempt a full-blown knee revolt, so I walked for the last two miles, with a few minutes of lame jogging here and there. I did run across the finish because I have never not done that, even on the toughest run.

Leaf Peepers 5K

This is where we walk.

Funny thing is, I felt OK with the walking because I knew it was for a tangible reason and not because I was a loser with no endurance. And, I kept reminding myself, I had done a half-marathon the week before. If only that could have been on the front of my shirt. Like those bumper stickers that say, “My Other Car Is a Corvette,” my T-shirt would read, “My Other Run Is a Half.”

Leaf Peepers 5K

Coffee and maple syrup awards!

I was scheduled to do the Tufts 10K for Women the next day but decided to opt out; it’s the first time I have done that since I started this challenge at the beginning of the year. I’m still on track though, as we have done a number of two-run weekends. I have no doubt I’ll reach my goal, even if it’s at walking speed, and I plan to get my naughty knee/hip seen to this week. I was taking next weekend off anyway as we’re escorting my Aussie parents to New York and Washington, D.C. I’ll report back.

By the way, while I was limping through my run, Hubby was doing his 18th half-marathon of the year. He began 2012 with a goal of one half every month, but has far surpassed that and now has his eye on 20 by Dec. 31. Impressive, no?

The events: Leaf Peepers Half-Marathon and 5K
The location:
Waterbury, Vt.
The date: October 7, 2012
My time: 38.38
Hubby’s time:
1.38.47
The cause:
Vermont flood relief
The T-shirt:
Blue long-sleeved cotton
The aftermath: Bananas, bagels, cheese

52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 29: It’s a mad, mad, Mad Half-Marathon world

I’m scheduled to run a half-marathon in Vancouver on August 11. That’s 25 days from now. Yep, 25 days …

My preparations for this run have been what some might call “erratic” and others might term “crap.” I had good intentions, but an unscheduled trip home to Australia knocked me off course and I haven’t quite managed to get back on. So I decided to just “train” at my own speed rather than sweat the fact I’m not doing pickups every Monday and hill repeats every Thursday. I won’t be fast when I finally run my half, but I’ll finish it eventually. Maybe. Probably.

When the Mad Marathon and Mad Half in the Mad River Valley, Vt., announced a walkers division (genius!), we thought it would be a good experiment. If I can walk a  half-marathon, then my running time should be faster. Right? (This statement may fall under the category of “famous last words.”)

Mad Marathon & Mad Half

At the back from the start. The pack has already pulled way ahead.

No running allowed

I was looking forward to not having the pressure of running hanging over my head at the Mad event. On this day, I was among a select group of people who had chosen dignity over beet-face. We weren’t allowed to so much as think about running or we’d be unceremoniously deposited among the speedy folk and left to fend for ourselves. I was going to be at the back of the pack, but it was by design, so I was down with it.

Mad Marathon & Mad Half

Hilly!

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