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Race #7: The Mews Tavern Gear N Beer 5K in Wakefield

26 Nov

Wow, its been four months since my last race.  Crazy, and kind of sad.  The Mews is one of my favorite races, because a bunch of friends do it, and, more importantly, there’s free beer at the end.  It was a beautiful day, 60 degrees and sunny, but I woke up with a stomach ache and just wasn’t in to it.  I nearly just stayed at the bar and ordered a beer and a burger instead of running.  Instead I lined up at the start with J.  Bad decision.

Even though this is the 3rd time I’ve raced this course, I swear the hill got bigger at the beginning.  Good lord.  I should have quit then.  But I soldiered on, and J stayed with me the whole time.  The first and last hills are killers, but the middle of the course is nice, through neighborhoods with lots of people cheering.  I briefly lost J when I stopped at the second water stop and it was manned by one dude who was not keeping up with the water consumption at all, but I caught back up.

Until the big, giant hill at the end.  I had in my mind that I would walk up it, and that’s what I did.  J kept right on going, though.  He may be more stubborn than I am.  I walked the steepest part, then coasted downhill to the finish, but he beat me by about 30 seconds.  I saw him look for me at the end, but he didn’t slow down.  I was okay with him beating me, I had my worst race in a long time (31:56, it pains me to type that), and its my fault for letting him run with me a few times recently!

After, we had a lovely afternoon drinking beer, tasting whiskey, getting free Chapstick, and later, eating pizza and cookies.

Next up – I really don’t know.  The Jingle Bell in Somerville is the day after our Christmas party, so that’s not going to work.  I might do the Providence Jingle Bell next weekend, but I kind of doubt it.  2011 may end with only 7 races.  Here’s hoping to a better 2012!

Looking Forward

17 Nov

Its been a long couple of weeks at our house.  In retrospect, we probably should have stayed in FL like J suggested.  In the spirit of optimism, I’m not going to talk about the issues here, but instead, tell you about the things we’re looking forward to!

I have tomorrow off, and I’m going to Boston to visit my old office at BAC.  More importantly, I’ll be having lunch and extra strong margaritas with Joe during the day, and J is coming up at night to join the fun.  I’m actually looking forward to the train ride!

Sunday we’ll be running the Mews Gear N Beer 5K, my first race since July.  (Wow, that’s pathetic).  I made the mistake of running with J a couple of times in the last few weeks, so I’m mentally prepared for him to beat me.  Again.  It doesn’t really matter though, since the important thing is that there is free beer at the end, and pizza and cookies later!  And turkey hats!

Because I’m obsessed with pinterest, I’m also obsessed with organizing.  My current dream day is a trip to the Container Store with no budget, to get all sorts of jars and racks and shelves.  My kitchen is giving me anxiety.

Next week, we’re hosting our first big holiday, and I’m super excited.  I have my menu planned, lots of help from my family & J, and am looking forward to having everyone over to celebrate.  I’m also hoping that the smell of turkeys frying will keep this guy (and his buddy) away!

If you’ve been in a store in the past 3 months, you know that Christmas is coming!  I love the holiday season, and I’m not afraid to admit it.  I can’t wait for a tree, and cookies, and presents, and food, and family.

Looking even further ahead, I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of my BFF’s twins.  She is too, as she is on bed rest, and March can’t come soon enough!  In the meantime, I look forward to visiting with her, making her food, and planning how I’m going to spoil my future niece & nephew.  They will, obviously, each be getting something like this, along with every stupid onesie and loud toy I can find.

So, yay!  Good things!

Out of Gas

20 Oct

I’m in a huge running rut.  Remember the list of races I was going to do this year?  Did you notice I haven’t done one in 3 months?  I have my reasons, and these are some of the lamest:

–          I hate my running route at home.

–          I can’t run first thing in the morning before work.

–          I hate the treadmill.  Hate it.

–          My running buddy is on the DL for at least the next 5 months.

Lately, I’ve been running once or twice a week, 2-3 miles.  I’m getting slower and slower.  I don’t even save runs on Run Keeper because I’m embarrassed by them (which makes no sense, since I’m the only one who sees them).  I was invited to join a trail running group at work and I’ve come up with 1,000 lame excuses why not to run with them.  #1 is fear of being too slow and getting lost on the trails, which is something I do constantly on my own.  (I ran by the same truck yesterday three times.  I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to read the map.)  I’m also afraid of being eaten by a coyote.  Actually, I’m just afraid of seeing a coyote.  I’m pretty sure I’ll just drop dead on the spot.

I’m doing other stuff, which is good.  I’ve never been a run every day kind of girl.  Even when I was training for the marathon, I’d only run 4 times during the week.  I need variety.  I’ve been doing DVDs at home (P90X, 30 Day Shred) and doing the elliptical at the gym along with the running days.  I’m planning on joining the gym at BAC to give myself less excuses in the winter.  But I miss going out for a “good” run.  I know any run is better than no run, but I want to run far & fast and be exhausted and proud at the end.  And I know the only way to do that is to run more.

So, what’s next?  I guess I need to pull the trigger and sign up for some races.  The Mews Tavern Gear N Beer 5K is coming up, and I’ll be damned if J beats me again.  I’m looking into an obstacle course 10K in RI.  Regrettably, I have to skip my Thanksgiving 4 miler (the Gobble Gobble Gobble) as we are hosting Thanksgiving this year (yikes!)  I’m sure I can find some sort of race in December that gives me jingle bells for my shoes, so I’ll sign up for that as well.

I have loftier goals for 2012 (don’t I always?)  2011 didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, in a few different ways, so I’m hoping 2012 steps it up a bit.  I’d like to do a destination half marathon in the Spring, and then, possibly, run a marathon in the Fall.  Yup, I said it.  It will be 5 years since Boston, so now feels like a good time.  (Note that I said it feels like a good time now.  Before I start training).  Of course, there are a lot of things I need to do before that.  Such as, find a running buddy, lose 15 pounds, map out some good routes, and, most importantly, get off my ass and run.  I’ll work on those all after vacation.








Race #6: The Urban Dare in Providence

14 Jul

I believe this was my 50th race ever (since my first in 2005), so I wanted to do something a little different.  I found out about the Urban Dare on Cool Running, and quickly recruited three friends to join me.  The Urban Dare is basically a one day Amazing Race.  No course, no real starting line, just a sheet full of clues and a whole city to roam.  The only rules are that you can only run, walk or use public transportation.  Since we were in Providence, public transportation wasn’t really an option.  (I hear there are buses, I just don’t know where you get them, when they run, or where you go in them).

Saturday was a beautiful day, a little warm for a race that starts at noon, but no humidity.  It started at my least favorite bar in Providence, Ri Ra, but it’s not so bad with no people there.  My teammate and I got these awesome shirts the night before, and met our other friends to start the race.  The plan was to work together, and then we would pull away and win (I’m a little competitive).  Here we are before the start:

We started the race with a bang, figuring out one clue and running to the State House while looking up other clues and making phone calls on the way (very dangerous for klutzes like myself).  Most clues (like this first one) required us to take our picture in front of the landmark.  While at the State House, we stood on the lawn and figured out the other clues.  Thank God for iPhones.  We seriously would have gone nowhere fast without them.

One clue required us to take a picture of a couple acting out this photograph:

The “couple” we chose were a father/daughter from NJ, who obliged after much begging, but we had to do them a favor first.  We had to take their picture in front of the State House, very specifically, with no brick, but most of the building.  With his big fancy camera.  I let my pal B handle that one, I probably would have cut off their heads and they would have stormed off.

From there, we had a plan.  Well, people who knew the city had a plan, I tagged along and periodically asked “now, where are we?  what are we near?  which way do we go?”  My teammates also had CamelBaks, while I had one warm bottle of water.  My only asset was my iPhone, I really brought nothing else to the table.

Providence is quite hilly.  So hilly that I had to walk like I was riding a horse up the hills.  Trust me, it works.  We hiked up an extra hill to get bonus points on this one, and then wanted to die:

Our one real failure was phoning my brother for a clue answer.  He neglected to note that Patrick Keely designed two churches in Providence, and sent us to the wrong one, clear across town from the correct one.  We left a confused older man at the first one, looking for a memorial that wasn’t there.  I hope he’s not still looking for it.  (My brother’s free post race beer was revoked for this mishap, by the way.  I don’t play around).

In addition to the picture-taking, we had to answer a few trivia questions, do a 3-legged race for some homeless people, and jump rope five times.  Overall, we covered about 6 miles, and I’d say we ran almost as much as we walked.  And we did not trip over any sidewalks or hoses while running, even if we almost tripped twice.  (yes, by “we” I mean “I”.  I told you I was not an asset to the team).

We sprinted in to the bar  (beating the other team, of course) at around 2-1/2 hours.  The judges checked our pictures, and we got some time bonuses, so our official time was around 2:05.  I was pretty happy about that, considering I was afraid we wouldn’t make the 5 hour cut off.  After the race, we had burgers and as much water as we could hold, plus a super late, super gross order of fried pickles.  Not bad for race #50!

Next up: TBD.  My training is all but non-existent, making the 10 and 13 mile races I had planned on impossible.  There aren’t many races in July & August around here, but I’m hoping to get one in before September.  My running bug is back, so I need to capitalize on it before I lose it again!

Race #5: The Harpoon 5 Miler in Boston

8 Jun

The last time I ran the Harpoon was in 2007, and it was disgusting.  It was 90 degrees and muggy, the brewery smelled like old beer, the ocean smelled like old fish, and the runners smelled like old hockey bags.  However, there is free beer at the end, and the best beer to drink after a race is Harpoon, so I signed up this year.  (I’ve wanted to sign up other years, but the race always fills up fast.  This year there was a lottery and I got in – woot!)

I ran this race with my college roommate, Michelle, who I ran the Boston Marathon with, and is the worst training partner ever.  I’m sorry, but its true.  (She’s also banned from my fruit bowl, and from drinking margaritas around me, but that’s another story).  Michelle was running with some friends from her hometown of Rock-Vegas, MA, and I tagged along.

It was kind of chilly, but not too bad.  I can usually keep up with Michelle, but she took off on me, despite the fact she was on 5 hours sleep (please see above, re: worst training partner ever).  I felt really weird during the race – like I was sweating too much, but then I’d get the chills.  I actually drank water, which I skip during my 5Ks.  I like the 5 mile distance, its long enough to be difficult, but not long enough to have to train.

There were no clocks on the course, so I was pleasantly surprised to cross the finish line at 45:15 (net time).  If I had seen I was running 9ish minute miles throughout the course, I would have slowed down.  No wonder I felt like I wanted to die!

After the race I had 1/2 a sausage, pasta and 4 free beers – what more could you want?  Oh, wait, how about a cheeseburger & fried fluffernutter for lunch?  Speaking of wanting to die, my stomach hated me for the rest of the day, but whatever!

Here we are enjoying beer #1!

Next up: My 50th Race!  The Urban Dare in Providence.

(And a PSA: Harpoon Summer comes in cans.  Try it, you’ll like it!)

Race #4: The Jamestown Bridge 10K in Jamestown

1 May

Wow, its been a month since my last race.  You would think I might have used that time wisely and trained, but, no.  Who do you think I am, a real runner?

In addition to being ill-prepared for this race, I was flying solo.  Not completely solo, I did go to & from the race with a few friends, but they all run faster than me (stupid boys), so I had no running buddy, as my BFF deserted me for sunny FL, and I couldn’t rally anyone else.  The weather forecast was not promising, but I was optimistic.

I was also wrong.  No sooner did we get to the bag pick up (an hour before race time) and collect our numbers (no bunny ears!), the rain came.  Hard.  Did I mention it was 40 degrees?  I was so optimistic I wore a running skirt and a windbreaker.  Once again, my toes were like icicles.  If I had a car near me, I would have gotten in it and driven straight home.  Frankly, I should have never gotten out of bed.

We huddled under the energy drink tent while the perky energy drink woman tried to kick us back into the rain.  The rain let up a little bit, and at 9 am we were off.  The race started off flat but crowded, as we were on an on-ramp, and then we were on the bridge.

I knew the bridge was a climb, but I didn’t fully realize how much of a climb it was.  I also underestimated the fact that metal joices (I think that’s what they’re called – the things that hold the bridge together) get ridiculously slippery when wet.  I almost fell on my ass when I hit the first one, and then had to attempt to gracefully leap like a gazelle over the others.  Not pretty.  We ran over the bridge, through a neighborhood, up another hill, then back up and over the bridge again.

Here is my nemesis:

I had to walk up the bridge a bit, then I walked long enough at the water stations to get some liquid into my mouth (I am not coordinated enough to run and drink at the same time, of course).  I fully expected to walk a bit the second time over the bridge, but it felt easier and I made it up just fine, and then I was coming down with the wind at my back.  I felt great when I hit mile 5, then I realized I had another 1.2 miles of slight incline ahead of me, and I was not happy.  I had to walk a bit, which I hate doing so late in the race, but I was pretty much done.

By the time I crossed the finish line, looking like a drowned rat and needing a shower worse than I ever have in my life, it was 1:02:58.  My worst 10k to date, not that I’ve done many of them, but still, disappointing.  I did make it in before the bus had to pick me up so they could re-open the bridge, so there’s that.

Overall, a fairly awful race.  But I had a beer in the shower, so there’s that.  What?  Its called multitasking.

Next up: Harpoon 5 miler, May 22nd.  Free Beer!

Race #3: St. Pat’s 5K in Providence

22 Mar

I was kind of dreading this race.  The last time I worked out was Race #2, and I had no confidence that I wasn’t going to die during this one!  But, I signed up, and I’m too cheap to lose $30, so away I went.

Race day was, unfortunately, not nearly as nice as the 70 degree weather we had the day before.  It was in the forties, but nice when the sun was out and the wind wasn’t blowing.  There were 4,000 entrants, and there was a lot of jostling for position and bobbing & weaving around runners.  There were also a lot of cranky people.  I had a guy elbow me while yelling at someone for walking.  I did not love people that day.

The course itself was pretty much an out-and-back, with a turnaround loop in a neighborhood with two big hills.  I did pretty good on the hills, then started to feel like concrete towards the end.  You can see the RI State House (the finish line) for what feels like a long time before you get to it.

After the race, we had beers & nachos.  What more could you want?  Oh, and my time was a little better than race #2:  29:41.

Next up: I’m shooting for a 10K Easter weekend.  Free bunny ears!

(by the way, I promise to blog about more than running ASAP)