Tuesday, October 25, 2011

two races, one new design

Do you find yourself in the North of Boston area looking for a couple of races to participate in or spectate?  Look no further!  This Saturday, Oct 29, join a small group of runners and walkers at the Freedom 5K.  Race starts at 9am, registration begins at 8am.  Get there early!  We'll be meeting at the First United Methodist Church in South Hamilton.  Runners and walkers of all ages and skills are welcome!  Cost is just $20 ($15 for students), tshirts to the first 50 participants. 

Maybe you're wondering why I'm plugging this race?  My good friend, Bonnie, is organizing this race to benefit her ministry, Route One.  It's an awesome cause and I'm proud to support my friend.  Join us if you're able!  There's plenty of space left for more runners/walkers!

Also, if you happen to not have plans for Thanksgiving morning and want to feel slightly less guilty about what you'll be eating later in the day, join me for the annual Feaster Five in Andover, MA!  Choose from either a 5K or a 5 Mile race.  And when you finish, you'll be rewarded with your very own full sized apple pie!  (Now, if you eat the entire pie, I'd suggest running another 10miles or so...)
And one more thing - I hope you like the new design.  It seemed like a good time for a change. 

a seasonable post

Autumn is here!  This past weekend I spent a good deal of time outside enjoying the crisp, fall air.  There is something about the way fall smells that makes it one of my favorite seasons.  Truth be told, there is something about each season that makes me appreciate them.  Fall - apples, pumpkins, the smell of burning leaves, the colors of the leaves, and crispness of the air.  Winter - the very first snowfall, a couple more snowfalls, hot chocolate, curling up under lots of blankets (by the beginning of February, I'm ready for Winter to move along).  Spring - new life popping up all over the place, the smell of freshness and newness, the promise of warm weather and no more snow!  Summer - sun, beach, iced coffee, sundresses, flipflops.

But I digress.  We are in the throes of Autumn and it is glorious.  The leaves are vibrant against a bright blue sky (or grey puffy clouds).  People are out in droves soaking in the last few weeks of nice weather before the snow begins to fly.  I am no exception.  Saturday, I decided that while I wanted to do a long run, I didn't want to force myself into any specific distance - I had just run a half marathon for crying out loud!  So, I set off for a lap around the lake and just kept plugging along around Wakefield until I didn't feel like running any more.  Turns out I got a solid 9.5mi in.  Not too shabby.

Sunday was another nice-enough day.  The sun wasn't shining but it wasn't raining either; and the clouds looked like an upside down bubble bath...they looked really cool.  I didn't have anything better to do, really, so I headed out for a couple of laps around the lake.  I took my time and snapped some pics of Lake Q in the fall (you may remember seeing some from winter and some from summer in previous posts).  They are below.  Enjoy!

there might be a bit of editing in this pic...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

race photos are not flattering

After each race I do I get excited to see my race photos.  The Newport Half was no exception.  When I noticed that they were (already!) available, I was stoked!  There was definitely the anticipation of seeing if what I looked like matched what I felt like - because I felt good!

Now, I would say that I'm moderately photogenic.  Most of the time I look pretty decent in front of the camera but there's always the odd photo when I'm doing something silly and the result is unfortunate.  That is in real life.  Race photos are a different breed altogether.

I feel like the photographers know how to catch you at your worst!  It's like they are trained in it or something.  Even if I notice the photographer and try to put on a smile, inevitably it looks like a grimace and nothing like a smile!  (This point has been proven to me on numerous occasions.)  Well, these race photos cement my notion that race photos are a horrible idea.

See evidence here by searching my last name or my bib number:  3010.  Try not to be too horrified.

Monday, October 17, 2011

newport race recap

Last Saturday I packed up my running gear, warm clothes and Gu, picked up my friend in Boston and headed down to Newport, RI.  Sunday was the Newport Marathon and Half Marathon!

The day started out clear and cool with a brisk 15mph wind.  But with the sun shining it was warm enough, even in the shade.  At the half mile mark or so there was a steady climb, all around me people were saying that was the worst hill on the course, congratulating themselves and others once they'd reached the top.  I thought, "Good!  'Cause that hill was nothing much!"  However the continuous rolling hills proved to take quite a bit out of me...

The first five miles flew by!  The next 5 were a bit of a challenge, I started to feel...off.  Just not so great.  But, I stuck with my pace, had a Gu at mile 8 and kept on going.  The fun part was seeing a couple of friends at 8.5 - one was a fellow half marathoner and one was doing the full.  I ran with them for just a bit before getting my pace back up to where I felt most comfortable.  At this point I was doing about 9:45min/miles.

Around mile 11, my marathon friend came up behind me and we ran together for about 2miles.  It was fun, but by that time I was not really in the mood to chat so I apologized and said, "I'm sorry, Brian, I can't talk to you right now..."  I've noticed that in the last few miles of any run I do, I'd prefer not to talk to anyone, just want to finish out the run/race in my own head.  Weird, rude, annoying...call it what you will, it's what I do.

At mile 13, I left Brian behind.  He still had another 13mi to go and I kicked in the jets for the finish.  The only negative thing I would say about this race was that the finish to the HM and the Marathon were not marked so well.  There was no banner or flags or balloons or anything to mark the finish except time-keeping pads on the ground.  And you can't see those from the course...obviously.  When I did finally see where the finish was, I was pleased to see the time clock registered 2:09:30.  Not my best, but in the top three!  I felt really good about that since the course was a bit more challenging than I'd anticipated.

The course itself was probably the most beautiful one I've ever run.  We ran along the ocean, pastoral settings (cows, geese and horses - oh my!), mansions, mansions and more mansions.  Oh, and tour buses!  So. Many. Tour. Buses!!  But back to the ocean...at one point, the course took us around a corner and there was the coastline.  It was gorgeous!  We ran along the coast for about two miles or so before heading back to the mansions.  We did get to see more of the coast than just that but that was the most breathtaking part of the course.  To prove the point, this was the location of the start and finish:

The final .1mi:

Overall it was an awesome day!  I'm glad I got to share it with some amazing and inspiring friends.  I can't wait for HM #8!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

days like these...

It's a gloomy day here in the Northeast.  Temps are struggling to get past 60, the clouds are low and grey.  And it's wet.  It's been rainy off and on today.  Days like these make me want to put on my cozy clothes, make pots and pots of tea, curl up on my couch with blankets and a good book. 

I was hoping to get 6mi in this morning before work but when my alarm went off at 5:30am and I heard the rain outside my window there was no way I was getting out of bed.

And now, it's almost time to go home, almost time to meet my friends for a walk around the lake.  And this is what it looks like outside my window:

Perhaps you can't tell but it's wet, cold and the likelihood of getting rained on is 30-40%.  I suppose walking with friends will make it worth it.  And getting dinner together afterwards is definitely something to look forward to.  I'll try to make the best of it...(said in an Eeyore voice). 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

down but not out

This summer was tough.  I was supposed to be training for the Newport Marathon (this Sunday!).  Instead, I was healing from a broken heart and rejection from a job opportunity.  That's right, I was sad.  I just didn't feel like running.  So I took more breaks and ran less long runs than I should have...  I was feeling sorry for myself and took that out on, well, myself.

But the good news is that I'm healing.  I'm still running and am enjoying it again.  In fact, I'll still be running in Newport this weekend, but instead of running the full marathon, I'll be running the half.  A much more manageable distance, one I've done 6 times before and am excited to run again.  I won't be alone, a good number of us will be heading down on Saturday evening to eat together and prepare for both the full and half.

I don't want to bore you with all the details of what I worked through this summer...  Let's put it this way:  God is good, all the time.  He is faithful and full of love and mercy.  Even when we don't feel it (or even when we don't necessarily want to feel it).  Healing is hard and takes time, but it happens.  Just as much as hurting happens.  Sometimes more.

So, dear readers, I've picked myself back up and am ready to continue filling you in on the adventures of my marathon journey(s).  Stick with me.  :)