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Showing content with the highest reputation on 04/20/2018 in all areas

  1. 2 points
    Ok, TL;DR version to reacquaint: I used to do ultras, I started CrossFit to get better at them. I stopped running and did CF exclusively. I'd threaten periodically to start running again. It never happened. I haven't run in eons. I hadn't done much of anything since November. Last Wednesday, I get a text. We chat...usual convo. Then, outta nowhere, "You wanna run Saturday?" followed by a link to her church's website. I follow the link. First year race...5k and 10k option. 5k plus the shirt is $15 (See @garbanzo a gogo, there are still cheap races). It supports Friend's church's preschool. Her church is within a 5 minute walk. Crap. How do I say "no?" Neighborhood is one of the hilliest places in town to run. It's beautiful outside. So, I text her and ask what the route is. She tells me. It's simple and I know the roads well from all of my running around the neighborhood in prior years. I explained how I haven't run in forever, but told her that I would run it and get back to her. When I got home, I opened the brand new stick of Glide that I had gotten when I had planned on trying to run again months ago. Like at least before September (but, might have even been longer than that). I broke out the running shoes that I got nearly a year before and had yet to take them on their maiden voyage. I knew it was gonna suck, but what the heck. Let's try and do 5k. So, off I went around the race course. Physically, I got tight quickly and lost my wind easily. So, I took walk breaks. I think I ended up with 4 walk breaks over that 3.1 miles. I finished it in like 40 minutes. Despite being slow and out of shape, I was very happy as I walked back to the house in the great weather. Ahhh, endorphins. I decided not to text my friend back until the next day. I mean, you don't not run for a year, and then go out and do a 5k run walk without tearing something or breaking something once you're passed 40. The next morning, I felt pretty good. So, I sent her a screen shot of my Garmin 205. I told her that I "might manage under 40 minutes." She replied back that she wasn't worried about the time, just that she was out trying to help her church. I paused and procrastinated in registering, hoping that Friday would come with an incredible case of DOMS. But, no such luck. After thinking it all through.... $15, tee shirt, walking distance, friend, I couldn't say no and I couldn't procrastinate anymore. I registered online. I woke up early Saturday due to the DK9s, which worked out great, I had time to let them out and feed them, and get myself a cup of coffee. When I arrived at the church, I found the registration table and my friend. She had a bunch of gals with her that she was socializing with, so I went off to get some fresh air. In no time, we were standing at the starting line. Beautiful temps, fresh air, a girl singing the national anthem and we were off. There were only about 50 runners total. I started with my friend and decided that I'd just see what happened. We ran, we chatted, we took walk breaks occasionally. Most importantly, we stayed together the whole time. It was an absolutely great time. The course was well marked, cops were directing traffic, they had appropriately placed water stations for both the 5k and the 10k. It was a great first year event. We finished under 40 minutes, which was the only real "goal." We weren't pushing it...just two friends out running. I missed it. Oh, and I am running another one this weekend, but that's with another friend...and free beer.
  2. 1 point
    It was cold, windy, snowing. Perfect conditions for a race, especially one where I told myself beforehand that I would not and should not PR. Two 10-mile loops on the trail in early April is just about where my fitness is right now. This was my kind of bare bones race: No awards, no medals, no shirts. $30. The fire in the fireplace at the start pavilion was enough for me. And lots of food. All you could ask for at the start/finish, and a well supported aid station at the halfway point. God bless those people. Racetime temps were in the mid-20’s, and the 18mph wind made it “feel like” something else. These folks were up on top of the hill, where the wind felt really nice. Somebody made a nice 3d print of the course: The 50 or so in the 50k took off 30 minutes before us, and the 10-milers left a half hour later. I started at the rear of our 25-person 20-miler pack. In my runs on these trails leading up to the race, there was still quite a snow pack on some sections that would have been awful. But we had a good melt during race week, and all the snow was gone. The overnight cold froze the ground up nicely, though, so there wasn’t even any mud. I congratulated the RD on his impeccable timing. Just a nice dusting of snow on the ground, plus whatever was falling during the race made it quite pleasant. The trails in this park are all runnable, but the RD made sure we hit all the hills, and it added up to 1100 ft per loop. Enough to make sure I did my share of walking. There was a perfect mix of roots, rocks, grass, and woodchip running. And no standing water - I finished with dry feet. Let me know if you ever need tips on bib-pinning I ran with a couple others for the first loop, then pushed it a little to finish. I didn’t get too crazy, but made sure I never stopped, ran all flats and downhills, and did my best powerhiking on the ups. Finished in 3:42. Not sure if that’s good or bad, but a finish means I did something over the winter. Next up is a charity 13.1 in June, then a Last One Standing trail challenge shortly after. Keep running 1.2 mile timed loops until you can’t. Also $30. That should be a fun one.
  3. 1 point
    I want to go back to the way it used to be — the prophet bob schneider I used to run by myself. I’m sort of an introvert, in the same way that flat earthers are kind of silly and chocolate frosties are kind of good. And then one day I stumbled across a running club. I had never been much of a running club person before. We had a little group in Georgetown, but it never much caught on. This running club was different. People from all over. Serious runners, hilarious runners, short distances, insane distances. We would meet up every day. We shared runs, stories, lives, jokes, barbs. I realized running wasn’t just running. It was a metaphor for life. We were sponsored by a running company, but nobody thought much about that. We were just a little group of misfits, runners drawn together by chance and word of mouth. It was so much fun. New people would show up, old people would welcome them. It was a party on running shoes. I made friends. Which is weird for me, because I Don’t Make Friends. We were a family. I thought the club would stay together forever. And then it didn’t. People wandered off. I guess they joined other clubs or got hurt or lost interest or had lives. Hard to say. A few people would still show up, but the numbers dwindled. It’s hard to stop the momentum when that happens. And then the running company pulled its sponsorship. One of the club members figured out a way to keep the club running independently, but nothing much changed. You want things to go back to the good old days, but that’s life. I mostly run alone again now. A few friends show up now and then, but the spirit is gone. We pretend, but we know. It’s sad. Those friends will always be with me, but not that place where we would meet up to share the energy, the laughter, the love. I miss that running club.
  4. 1 point
    It started as more of a heavy mist than a rain. But there was no mistaking the wind. It came in gusts, battering at our resolve before we had even begun. Each gust came without warning, or rhyme or reason, which made the situation somehow more unpredictable, more grim, like no matter what we did, there was no escaping it. We walked -- or trudged -- the .75 miles to the start, this misbegotten horde of rejects who seemed for better or worse (mostly worse) to be on the outs with society. Trash bags snapped around us, Mylar sheets pulled snug, mismatched sweat suits and tech vests starting to absorb the rain. Even the best among us were likely asking the eternal question, "How the hell did I get here?" And what's more, "Why am I here?" I bit down on the edge of my poncho hood with the desperate hope it would stay in place and keep my head dry even though I would be saturated in minutes. The wind whisked the last remnants of our conversations away, our last words perhaps? I stepped between the barrier and into my corral. The clock read 9:55, and I decided to wait three more minutes to strip down. The announcer (executioner?) did his best to buoy our spirits. I watched the seconds tick down to the unavoidable. I peeled off my poncho, vest, sweatshirt, and long sleeve. The cold started in on me immediately, and I began to shiver and thought, This isn't good. But then crack! The gun. The night before, my friend and I went to our favorite philosopher, Jonathan Beverly, for his insight and perspective: "You have to respect a distance that can reduce you to survival four out of five times, despite the best laid plans and preparation." Addendum: the distance and Mother Nature. We chatted with our coach and modified our race plans as one might do with a forecast for 25mph headwinds. In short, I knew (as I had likely known for days) that my 2:35 would have to wait. We resolved to find an effort that made sense but ultimately agreed to run the race by feel. I channeled my inner Stan Beecham and vowed to get the best out of the day. I'd like to tell you that despite all odds the day came together, that there was a singular moment where I pulled myself together, righted the ship, and, you know, dug deep. But I can't. Because sometimes you put in the work and it's just not the right day for it. But like the badass woman who persevered on Monday said, you have to keep showing up. With that in mind, I can sum the race up fairly quickly. After my initial reaction just before the gun, I started in on myself. You haven't started running yet. Relax and get into the race. And I did. For my first seven miles, the rain remained a light mist, the wind hardly noticeable. So, I settled into sub-2:40 rhythm for as long as I could and felt the miles floating by, the pace and effort coming easily. At seven, the first downpour came and transported me back to my New England college days, when the cold rain seemed denser somehow and could penetrate down to your core and chill your spirit. My singlet clung to me and did nothing to abate the wind that blew right through me as if I was a ghost. I reigned back on the pace to keep from fighting the wind and burning any extra energy, and pulled the bill of my hat down to shield my face. The Wellesley girls managed to get a smile out of me, but only just. I didn't look at my watch again until half where I came through in 1:21. From 13.1-22, I entered into a constant battle of med tent and mile marker. The downpour would come and the wind would stand me up. My teeth chattered and my thoughts fogged. For large stretches, my view of the course was the narrow sliver of road that appeared under my hat brim. The road turned to river. I splashed through puddles, now unavoidable, and managed to spray more water up my calves and into my socks. And just as the med tent would come into view, the rains and wind would slacken and I could continue. I'm not sure why or what was pulling me on. The rains mingled with a few tears because I felt downright miserable and even a little sorry for myself. I remember ditching my gloves at 15 because they were soaked and seemed to be trapping the cold. I made a fist and wrung water out of them. And at 15.1 I regretted it as the wind ate at my now raw, red, and exposed fingers. What could I do but continue putting one soggy foot in front of the other. I soldiered on. Heartbreak (the hill), came and went. Hardly the formidable or momentous moment it usually becomes. At 22, I realized I had just four miles to go, and what was another four at this rate? Hey, you might actually finish this thing. The crowds thickened and spurred me on. Quintessential Boston. Even in the worst of conditions, the crowds still came. They carried me past the Citgo sign and eventually onto Boylston. That finish line never looked so sweet. It was the end of another chapter, another Boston, and also a reason to finally say for sure, it's ok to stop. I crossed in 2:53:59. Empty. I immediately began to shiver and wouldn't stop for another hour despite dry clothing. But after a very long, hot shower, after the cold had left me, and the texts and emails and calls had been answered, I returned to Beverly for one more passage: "I've learned that even when the marathon wins--perhaps especially when it does--we discover truths about ourselves. When all goals are abandoned, when it didn't matter if I walked, crawled, or curled up in the ditch, I found a core that I still cared. I found myself still pushing through the fog toward the finish as fast as my compromised body will allow." And in that I can find solace and peace with this race. It was one to be endured. One where I continued to push my compromised body as far as it would allow. One that deepened the shared camaraderie we already share as runners. One where we had to pry ourselves open to see what was deep inside us and how much our bodies and minds could withstand. As with Bostons past, it would seem quite a lot. And what of this race in particular? Just another waypoint along the journey. Another layer of callus and of opportunity to be put toward the next one. Until then, the number in my head is still 2:35.
  5. 1 point
    I couldn't have left it like that. I always repin my bib at least once. That is some tough course. Good thing trail conditions were nice.
  6. 1 point
    Cross Fit Nole Fan just doesn't have the same ring to it. Have fun!
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