Five Reasons 5Ks are Proof that Hell on Earth Exists

 

hell

I am in hell. 

I ran a 5K this weekend. I ran it as a training run sandwiched between 2 easy mile bookends for a total of 7.1 miles for the day. My new Coach thought it would be a “fun” thing for me to do as we kick off marathon training.  At the time, I was totally on board. I even suggested it. “Sure, Coach! FUN!” Let me preface this by saying that I really believed this would be a fantastic idea- it was for an incredible local cause. And being a shop-local-community-type gal, I signed right on up. I also thought I was fairly fit, having run a marathon and hiked a million miles on vacation the past two weeks.  In that brief moment, I forgot the fact that I hated 5Ks. I hate them more than any distance. Gimme a marathon any day over this hell fest. At least with a marathon, there’s time to settle in. With a 5K, it is ON.  I’m nervous. I have to pee incessantly.  And my stomach feels like it’s been taken over by a swarm of bumble bees. I’m a wreck for a 5K. An ill prepared- SHIT I NEED TO RUN FAST!- wreck. It’s crazy. Because for many of us, this is the race that starts it all! This is our first date with running. We swiped right. From here our love affair with running blossoms! From here it becomes a 10k, a half-marathon, a marathon….and maybe even an ultra. The sky is the limit! I ran a 5K! I love it! I love running! Oh, how quickly we forget. Maybe we black it out. Box it up and banish it to that far away place in our minds.  Because as I damn nearly forgot, 5Ks STINK. Here’s why….

Five Reasons 5Ks are Proof that Hell on Earth Exists

5. You need to run really, really fast. Sure, you can saunter along and chit chat with your squad but if you’re planning on racing one, in the words of the almighty Ru Paul – “You better werk!”  And by that I mean, you shouldn’t even be able to talk. There is no ‘Easy Pace’ in the 5K. You should be able to grunt. And maybe make a few simple hand gestures involving a middle finger. If you can carry on a conversation during a 5K, Gurl, you ain’t running hard enough. And who wants that? We’re social creatures for Pete’s sake. Let’s chit chat and be merry!

4. There is no time – I REPEAT – no time to screw around. That gun goes off and it’s time to make the donuts, eat them, then forget you even had them – GO! No dicking around people. There is little room for error with a 5K. Whatever the pace you’re huffing and puffing for, you better dial it in right off the line. If you don’t you’ll inevitably go out too fast, blow up and blow donut chunks at the finish. Graphic? Yes. But totally true.

3. Your heart may very well explode. Or minimally, bounce out of your chest, stop, restart, then hop back in it’s comfy cavity, exhausted. Feeling like you’re dying is never, ever a good thing. I’m all for ’embracing the suck’ and ‘getting uncomfortable’ and all that cliched happy horseshit- but for the love of coronary arteries, it’s all a bit much. I’m sure the 5K is the ideal HIIT workout (high intensity interval training).  HIIT workouts usually feature a short period of intense work with an easier recovery period only THERE IS NO RECOVERY PERIOD IN A 5K. Unless you count laying face down on the finish line in a heap of broken dreams. That’s why your heart wants to burst.  It hates you and your 5K.

2. Wait. That’s it? I’m done?!? After you’ve died a thousand deaths, sucked wind and hurled – it’s over. 5Ks are quick. So if you’re trying to avoid mowing the lawn, re-staining your deck or spending time with your in -laws on a gorgeous summer weekend THIS AIN’T THE RACE FOR YOU. You will be home and ready to throw yourself into your annoying house hold chores zippity quick. You can’t bail on a gorgeous summer mid-day baby shower and forgo ohhh-ing and ahhhh-ing over diaper genies and onsies if  you’re running a 5K because you will have time to go home, shower and fluff up in no time. Who wants to run a race that doesn’t involve a “Get Out Of Annoying Obligations Because You’re Racing -Free” card?  Gimme a nice long marathon as an excuse to get out of doing pesky things on a weekend any damn day.

And the Number 1 reason why 5Ks are proof that hell on earth exists…..

1. 5Ks HURT. In my humble opinion, those wretched things may last less than 30 minutes (god willing) BUT it will be the worst 30 minutes of your life. Your heart, your lungs, your legs, your ego…..EVERYTHING HURTS AND YOU’RE DYING. Improving your time on the damn thing? That hurts even more. And is it even worth it? I’m not quite sure.

Although….

Maybe if I focused on shorter distances and did more speed work and maybe prepared to race 5Ks or even ran more than one a year or maybe spent more time on the track or didn’t have a few beers the night before…maybe then it wouldn’t be so bad?…

Don’t kid yourself. We runners are masochists. Pain is temporary. Just like our memory.

XO,

Colby

 

Trail 2 Trail Series: Kettletown State Park Race Recap and a Zombie Pinky

T2T SeriesI’m just FINALLY recovering from my weekend which consisted of a “Wine and WOD” Ladies Only Crossfit Night (Stay Tuned!), a 10K Trail Race (EPIC!) and a kick ass training ride that turned into a time trial after I played cat and mouse with a disgruntled dude on a bike (Winner!). The weekend was fantastic. And left me totally glycogen depleted. Oh. And with a broken pinky finger but I’ll get to that in a few. Nothing an ice pack, a massage and copious amounts of beer couldn’t cure. That’s for sure.

The Start Pre-Monsoon. Photo: https://www.facebook.com/Trail2TrailSeries

The Start Pre-Monsoon. Photo: https://www.facebook.com/Trail2TrailSeries

I (happily) discovered the Trail 2 Trail Series, a competitive racing and endurance trail running series, a few weeks ago. Ever since I fell in love with trail running, I have been on the lookout for local races. The transition from road to trial for this broad has not been, shall we say…Graceful?  Yeah. No. Girlfriend needs practice. And confidence. Enter Kettletown. These races are fortunately right in my backyard. Well, not exactly. The T2T Series is in Connecticut. Which is practically my backyard as nothing is really more than an hour or so away. Their slogan is “We Won’t Do Easy.” And?  They’re not lying. Easy, it wasn’t. Fast, winding trails, very decent climbs, lots of rocks, single track and simply BEAUTIFUL. I suspect it would have been ABSOLUTELY beautiful if Saturday’s race wasn’t in the midst of a monsoon, but there you go. Trail Running is the Original Obstacle Mud Run. Hands down. Thank god I love mud because Saturday’s T2T Series Race in Kettletown State Park, was a greasy, challenging mud fest.  And I loved every slippery second of it. How could you not? Look how pretty it is.

Photo: www.facebook.com/Trail2TrailSeries

I would have snapped my own photos, but I feared my iPhone’s life in that rain. Photo Courtesy of T2T’s Facebook Page. http://www.facebook.com/Trail2TrailSeries

I decided after eyeballing the forecast, that I would run the 10K. They had other options available: 5K/10K/20K/50K all of which consisted of partial or multiple full loops of the 10k route. I was happy with my choice. Kettletown-SP-10kEspecially seeing as how I bit it crossing the one river on a patch of ice rock. After a string of profanities and a potentially broken pinky, I brushed myself off and continued on my merry way. Let’s be honest. It’s not trail racing unless you fall and have some sort of flesh wound. (Trail, 1. Colby, 0.) There were several pretty steep climbs coupled with leaf and rock strewn descents which the rain and humidity had made pretty slick. After my earlier fall, my Pinky and I turned into total Chicken Shits and were a bit more cautious. It is the 1 Year Anniversary of that long run where I fell and wrecked my face, so you can imagine, I was in full yellow-flashing-light mode. Feel free to relieve the horror here.

Along the route there was also really scenic, pretty views of Lake Zoar. The place where as a kid I learned to water ski. Ah. Nostalgia. The best part? I didn’t get lost. The course marking was excellent. Red flags on your left and you were golden. The only time they were on your right was if you were taking a sharp right turn, then then they went back to left. Very simple to follow. The race was sponsored by Energybits and Hammer Nutrtirion, two of my old favorites. I love Hammer Nutrition’s Enduralytes. They have saved my dehydrated ass on many occasions. There was plenty of grub afterwards and a swag bag with a few odds and ends. I think if you pre-reg’d far enough in advance, you could have gotten a race t-shirt. But as a Last Minute Nelly, I was shirtless. (Not topless, shirtless. Silly Fools.)

Such a great course.

Such a great course.

The thing I love most at trail races- even trail races in far less than optimal conditions like this one- is the general vibe. Trail runners are chill. Competitive, but friendly and relaxed. It’s been my experience that there is zero to very little pre-race hysteria more commonly found at road races. You know what I mean, right? The high knees. The sprints. The obsession over Garmins. The occasional attitude. I’ve never experienced that at trail races. And this race was no exception. Everyone here from the race directors to the runners themselves was just plain nice. Gotta love that. In fact, I registered for their next race as I was tending to my wounds from the first. I’m hooked. (And next time I’m getting a t-shirt!) This race very much seemed like it was for trail runners, by trail runners. It was well done and well run. Well, it would have been run well by me if it was drier and I was gutsier, but that didn’t even matter. I loved it. Busted zombie paw and all. See you next time guys!

Have you ever run a trail race? Do you have a local trail racing community? What’s the worst fall you’ve ever taken while running? I think we know mine! 🙂

Zombie Pinky conveniently obscured by awesome Janji singlet.

Zombie Pinky conveniently obscured by awesome Janji singlet.

12 Months of Racing

On this, the 5th day of Christmas, a 2014 recap of sorts. Go ahead: sing out loud. You know you want to.

The Happy Finishers!

xo Colby and Tina

In the year 2014, Colby and I did do:
A lot of stuff between us two

In the year 2014, Colby and I did do:
2 marathons
And a lot of stuff between us two

In the year 2014, Colby and I did do:
3 hilly half’s
2 marathons
And a lot of stuff between us two

In the year 2014, Colby and I did do:
4 centuries for cancer
3 hilly half’s
2 marathons
Yes, a lot of stuff between us two

In the year 2014, Colby and I did do:
103 blog posts (so far)
4 centuries for cancer
3 hilly half’s
2 marathons
Yes, a lot of stuff between us two

In the year 2014, Colby and I did do:
12 miles in Central Park
103 blog posts (so far)
4 centuries for cancer
3 hilly half’s
2 marathons
Yes, a lot of stuff between us two

In the year 2014, Colby and I did do:
A freaking trail Ultra (Colby)
12 miles in Central Park
103 blog posts (so far)
4 centuries for cancer
3 hilly half’s
2 marathons
Yes, a lot of stuff between us two

In the year 2014, Colby and I did do:
A new 5K PR (Tina)
A freaking trail Ultra (Colby)
12 miles in Central Park
103 blog posts (so far)
4 centuries for cancer
3 hilly half’s
2 marathons
And a lot of stuff between us two

In the year 2014, Colby and I did do:
Obstacles at Fenway
A new 5K PR (Tina)
A freaking trail Ultra (Colby)
12 miles in Central Park
103 blog posts (so far)
4 centuries for cancer
3 hilly half’s
2 marathons
Yes, a lot of stuff between us two

In the year 2014, Colby and I did do:
A single-digit snowshoe race (brrr!)
Obstacles at Fenway
A new 5K PR (Tina)
A freaking trail Ultra (Colby)
12 miles in Central Park
103 blog posts (so far)
4 centuries for cancer
3 hilly half’s
2 marathons
And a lot of stuff between us two

In the year 2014, Colby and I did do:
Races in 4 states,
A single-digit snowshoe race (brrr!)
Obstacles at Fenway
A new 5K PR (Tina)
A freaking trail Ultra (Colby)
12 miles in Central Park
103 blog posts (so far)
4 centuries for cancer
3 hilly half’s
2 marathons
Yes, a lot of stuff between us two

In the year 2014, Colby and I did do:
Raise $15K for the PMC
Races in 4 states,
A single-digit snowshoe race (brrr!)
Obstacles at Fenway
A new 5K PR (Tina)
A freaking trail Ultra (Colby)
12 miles in Central Park
103 blog posts (so far)
4 centuries for cancer
3 hilly half’s
2 marathons
PHEW! That’s a lot of stuff between us two!!

CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT 2015 BRINGS!!

‘Twas the Night Before Race Day

20141126-222452-80692928.jpg‘Twas the night before race day, when all through the town
No sleep would be had by the runners around;
Their race clothes were laid by the door with care,
In hopes that a PR soon would be there.

The rest of the world – they were snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
But for runners like me, sleep would not come,
We tossed and we turned until up came the sun,

Only then did our bodies succumb to a nap,
But then – BOOM! Our alarms went off like a slap.
We frantically pulled our clocks to our faces,
To make sure we hadn’t slept through our races.

Next: Check the weather. Sunny or Snow?
Running through heat or twenty below?
Even though we’d stalked the forecast forever,
We needed that last minute check on the weather.

Time to get dressed, get stressed over layers,
Yes, it’s cold now, but what about later?
Sure we can shed some clothes as we go,
But where goes the damn race bib? We know it must show.

Once our wardrobe is finally complete,
It’s time for the Glide and to deal with our feet!
Glide is easy: everywhere it goes
More difficult is dealing with feet and with toes.

Long or short socks? Compression or not?
Too risky to try the new ones we’ve bought?
And no matter how much we adjust our right sock,
There’s a bump in it that feels like it’s hiding a rock.

Next come the sneakers, a whole different stress
One wrong lace and BINGO! Your feet are a mess.
First they’re too loose. Then they’re too tight.
On race day they never ever ever feel right.

Next up: some food, though it’s barely daylight
And who wants to eat when it’s still kind of night?
So we choke down bagels, maybe oatmeal instead,
And toss back some coffee to wake up our heads.

Breakfast is over, so now we must pack
Some fuel to eat for a mid-race snack.
Chompers or gel? Sport beans or Gu?
Too many choices, so we just grab a few.

We’re dressed! We’re packed! We finished our meal!
Time to head out – shit’s getting real!
But of course we cannot just head out the door,
Without visiting the loo, at least one time more.

Off to the race site, time to check in,
Stare at the elites – those guys might win!
Then straight to the porta potties – get in a line,
We know that is where we will spend most of our time.

After spending quality time at the John
We realize the moment has come to move on
And make our way over to the starting line;
Adjust our Garmin and pacebands one final time.

Do a few stretches, hand to your heart,
As the national anthem signals the start.
Excitement builds, you’re ready to burst,
Whether it’s your fiftieth race or your first.

The countdown begins and off goes the gun,
It’s finally here – the race has begun!.
So we look up and wish on the new morning star,
“HAPPY RACE DAY TO ALL, AND TO ALL A PR!!

Top 5 Reasons Why You Need to Do the Fenway Spartan Sprint

The Green Monstah!

Tina, myself and a handful of our Crazy Friends did the 2013 Fenway Spartan Sprint at Fenway Park in Boston on November 16th, 2013. It was like Crossfit Meets A 5k in an alley after doing 100s of burpees, and beats the snot out of it. I’m just going to cut straight to the chase here.

It was EPIC.

Here are the Top 5 Reasons why YOU need to add The Fenway Spartan Race to your “Here’s How I Will Be Badass in 2014” to do list.20141106-201546-72946700.jpg

1. Because you’ve pledged “To Get Uncomfortable” in 2014. Comfort Zone, Shmumfort Zone. You want change? Then get uncomfortable. And lemme tell you, if this race doesn’t make you uncomfortable, I don’t know what will. (I limped for days.) It’s hard. And there are stairs. 1000s of them. You run just about every step in Fenway Park. You also haul sandbags, jugs of water and Your Tired Ass and up and down those stairs. When you’re done with stairs? Walls. Put on your Spidey suit ‘cuz you’re scaling them. (See Exhibit A: Tina scaling a cargo net, below.) Thankfully, your Crazy Friends are there to help. And if they’re not? Another Spartan will pay it forward and give you a boost. This aint yo’ mama’s obstacle race. This is nothing like anything I’ve ever done before. It forces you to do things you normally wouldn’t do- physically and mentally. Besides, Comfort Zones are overrated. Train for this baby and “Change” will become your middle name. Goodbye Comfort Zone.

Spartan Tina in Action!

2. Because you’ve a “Serious Runner” who needs to MIX IT UP. Stop taking yourself so damn seriously. I get it. You’re a runner. You’ve run 3 marathons a day for a year and your Garmin says so. Believe me, I understand. But, it’s time to loosen up! This is exhilarating. And difficult. This race tests your will, strength, and stamina. Like to the max. That’s what us Marathoners like. You’ll feel right on at home.

Not thrilled with a piddly 3+ miles and 15 or so obstacles? Then go for the Super Spartan, 8+ MILES / 20 + OBSTACLES.

Too easy? There’s the Spartan Beast, 12+ MILES / 25+ OBSTACLES.

According to the Reebok Spartan Race website the Spartan Beast is “An obstacle course race from hell.” Now that’s a race tag line. {Gulp!}

Spartan Colby!

3. Because you’re a burpee loving sadist. I ran an awful lot of races in 2013. And I am going to just say it: This was the most fun I have had while torturing myself all damn year. {See Exhibit B, above. That’s me, Colby. Running stairs. And laughing like a maniac.} When you run this thing, grab your friends, say a prayer and GO! There are around 15 obstacles—stairs, walls, cargo nets, spear toss (yes I said spear toss), rope climb, box jumps, push ups, sandbag carry, Hercules pull (You hoist a ridiculously heavy weight an absurd height then bring it down to the ground. Gently. This is where I found Tina, laying on the ground, teeth clenched swearing like a sailor. It was fantastic.), monkey bars, timed row and jump rope (with a weighted rope that I swear tied the Titanic to port). There are more, but I have chosen to repress all memories of them. If you “fail” at an obstacle (and you will fail at least once), there is a 30 Burpee penalty. Plan on doing a hundred or so. Minimally. Lastly, a Gladiator swats you with a giant padded Q-Tip. (See Exhibit C, Colby, below.) After that, you are crowned Spartan. Advice? Train. And train hard.

Spartan Swat!

4. Because misery loves company. There is no better way to bond with a friend than grabbing their ass and shoving it over a 12 foot wall. You’ll find yourself cheering, rooting, helping, hoisting and encouraging your friends at every obstacle. Worried? You’ll get through it together. Fail? She’ll burpee alongside you, all the while lamenting that next year you are really training for this shit. Over beers you will discuss strategy. You plan on doing burpees between meetings at work, box jumps while watching a Dexter Marathon on Netfix in your living room. You will draw plans for the wall you will construct in your backyard on a cocktail napkin. A friend will give you a Home Depot gift card for Christmas. Yes! You will be ready.

Team Marathoners AND Sprinters!

5. Because it’s in Boston. And who doesn’t love Boston? Love the Red Sox or not, there is NOTHING like running around the outfield at Fenway Park, under the lights, hands brushing along the green monster in left field as you run toward the next obstacle. (Ahhh the history!) Or doing push-ups in the club house only to find yourself running down a ramp and emerging out onto the field in the stinkin’ dug out! There is also nothing like running full speed into a seat in the stands TWICE and having the arm rest give you a bruise on each quad that lasts well past Thanksgiving. Holy hematoma.

Meh.
It’s just a flesh wound.
Spartans laugh at contusions.

You will too.
Trust me.

Happy Spartan Bloggers!

Running Like A Diva. The Half Marathon Recap.

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Our Mantra. But really, how can you keep calm when you’re covered in glitter?

Feather Boas. Tiaras. Shirtless buff men. Champagne. Roses. Bling. Oh and PINK. Hot Pink. Like Everywhere.
Bachelorette party? Chippendales Review? What happens in Vegas…?
Nope.
Try, Half Marathon.
Where the terrain is flat and fast, and the runners are all Divas.

Welcome to the Diva Half Marathon, Long Island. Tina, Our Friend Cindi and I ran this baby on October 7th, 2013. Yes, I am finally getting to the recap. Yes, I have time now that I am tapering for the New York Marathon. And No, this may not necessarily be my last glass of wine. (Hey. Just being honest People. Just bein’ honest.)

Having run this half marathon before, I can tell you, every time I have run it, it has been a blast. And not because it’s the prettiest half marathon in the Tri-State area. (Ummm. No.) The course? Flat and fast. The scenery? Uh. Concrete Jungle Chokes an Awesome Park in the Middle of Long Island? Christ. You run past Nassau Coliseum. After a New York Islanders Game. On a weekend. There were still orange and blue clad Islander Tailgaters milling around doing keg stands in the parking lot when we ran by early in the morning. You do however wind up running a lap in Eisenhower Park, which is this awesome greenspace within a urban landscape. The park is huge. It’s a nice retreat.

So what makes this race great? The medal is insane. Anything rhinestone encrusted with a spinning diamond that you can put your race picture in, wins hands down. It’s bling on acid. Champagne at the finish? No beer here. No, no you heathens! Divas are civilized. We sip champs at the finish. Shirtless, ripped men who hang those insane medals around your neck? Totally objectified. (But honestly, I’m not complaining.) Tiara station? Here I was thinking I was reaching for water at mile 11.5. Instead a High School Cheerleader slaps a tiara on my head and throws a hot pink feather boa around my shoulders. Who needs water after that? {Thumbs pointing at chest.} Not this Diva! I’ve clocked my fastest half marathon time at this race, and even that isn’t what makes it great.

What makes this race great is seeing women of all shapes, sizes and colors, RUNNING. And rooting for one another. All together. And shouldn’t we root for one another? Think about it. How often in our adult lives do we root for one another? I’m going to go with rarely. (And I’m a goddamn cheerleader.) And that’s sad. It really is. For so many women, this is their first half marathon. This is their Everest. These women decided that being comfortable was not where they wanted to be. So they grabbed their best friends, set a goal, and ran for it. Along the route? Spectators! Tons of kids, husbands, partners–all cheering for their Diva. Cheering for your mom as she runs a half marathon is just plain awesome. Such an example. I love that.

And Tina, Our Friend Cindi and I? We may have looked more “Corporate Challenge” than “Diva”, but trust me: We bleed GLITTER! We empower one another! To me, that’s what Running Like a Diva is all about. Empowering, not competing. We are women, not girls. We are happy, laughing, cheering, pasta eating, wine swilling, fast as all hell, Divas. To the core. And I love that the most.

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Cheerleaders! Boas! Fun! Photo credit: https://m.facebook.com/RUNLIKEADIVA

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Shirtless buff men! Photo credit: https://m.facebook.com/RUNLIKEADIVA

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The Bling.

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Your Diva Bloggers!

A Follow Up Letter to the Lady in the Way Too Huge Cotton Tee

Hello, Lady in the Way Too Huge Cotton Tee,

I have never seen you, but I feel like I know you after reading Colby’s Open Letter to you. And I certainly have seen many like you – runners at the start of their running journeys – unsure, intimidated and probably in pain. Like Colby, I don’t look at you with pity or condescension. I, too, am rooting for you. Impressed by you, knowing the courage it takes to start. Thrilled to see someone starting an activity that can truly change their life.

Keep Going. Wherever you are headed – be it a miler, a 5K, a marathon or no race at all – just general fitness, you will get there.

Oprah has said, “Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.” And she is right. Unlike sports that might require technical skill, strong coordination or special training, running really is about what you put into it. If you keep trying, you will be able to run your goal distance without stopping. You will. It really is that simple.

Note that I said “simple,” not easy. Running is not easy. And it is not for everyone. But I hope you stick with it at least until you reach whatever goal it is that you have set for yourself. After that, maybe you’ll decide that a different form of exercise is better for you. But I hope you stick with it long enough to get that amazing sense of satisfaction from doing something difficult and reaching a goal.

Colby told you in her letter that she WAS you – years ago, when she began running. I’m here to tell you that I AM you. Now. Not with running, but with cycling. If you saw me running on the road, you might avert your eyes and feel shy. I have been running for 25 years. And I run like someone who has been running for, pretty much, forever. With ease and a sense of confidence.

Oh, but if you saw me on my bike!! You would look me in the eye and know that you were looking at a fellow struggler. I just started cycling this past year and know the trials and frustrations of starting a new sport. Being a natural runner does not translate into being a strong cyclist. Sweet Jesus, I can confirm that.

On my bike, I’m a total novice. I’m nervous. I’m slow. I crawl up hills. I fall down for no apparent reason. Once I even fell down in my driveway, for no reason other than…screw it. I had no reason at all and I still can’t figure out what the hell happened. I just know I was up, and then down on the ground, still clipped in and tangled up in my bike. Not my finest moment.

I know that feeling of not wanting to look others in the eye and usually, the only reason I look fellow cyclists in the eye and greet them is so they know I am ok and that they don’t need to provide medical or other assistance to me. Nah, I’m just slow and ungraceful, but otherwise, fine. Howdy!

Let me tell you though, as happy and exhilarated as I feel when I finish a great run, I NEVER feel so proud as when I finish a long ride. Even if it isn’t pretty and (it rarely is), I feel like I am on top of the world. Why? Because it’s hard. Because it scares me a little. And I do it anyway. That’s where a true sense of accomplishment sets in. It sounds like that might be what running is like for you right now. All the more reason to be proud of yourself.

So, please, please, keep up with the running. It doesn’t matter how you look, how long it takes or how many times you need to stop for a rest. Every time you set out, you are getting stronger and better, even though you can’t always see it. Keep up the good work!

Oh, and the next time you see Colby, look her in the eye and let her into your life. You won’t regret it.

miraclestart

An Open Letter to the Lady in the Way Too Huge Cotton Tee

Hi,

I see you. Lately, I see you often. I am here, running behind you. Even though you never acknowledge me. I know you hear me. I know you can see me from the corner of your darting eyes. You cross the street, as far away as you can get from me, every time you feel I am too near.

You won’t look up.

You are running. Even though I am certain you don’t believe that you are. In fact, I know you don’t believe it. There you are, looking straight down at your feet, willing them to move faster. They are not being compliant. Your stride lacks confidence. You are unsure. Your legs are not as strong as you would like them to be and it is bothering you. It’s bothering you immensely. You are frustrated. I can see it. You shuffle along, huffing and puffing, in a four sizes too large cotton T-shirt, that hangs limp, well past your knees. You are a shadow of your former self. This much I can clearly see. You are struggling. You walk. You run. You walk again. You slap your thighs in disgust. Defeated. You can see me. You can hear me. Yet, you cross the street. Again.

You run from mailbox to mailbox at first, stopping short when you reach the second as if you’ve run right smack into an imaginary wall. You stop dead in your tracks. Spent. Your ponytail flops forward over your face. You exhale. Frustrated, but not thwarted. You start again. I smile at you.

You can’t see it because you won’t look up.

Telephone pole to telephone pole. First two. Then three…You keep at it. Pole by pole. I slow my pace and I watch you. You’re up to 3 poles before you slow, out of breath. Only this time, you don’t stop. You keep moving. Forward.

And if you would look up?

You would see me running along behind you, cheering you on. I am proud of you, my Stranger Neighbor in the Too Huge Tee. I am rooting for you. Christ. I WAS you. Running from pole to pole, house to house. A half mile. A mile. A 5k. And so on… You are stronger! Your strides more confident! You are progressing! And isn’t that wonderful?! You ARE a runner- just as much of a runner as you think I am. We all have to start somewhere. And I will never forget where I started. Ever. Thank you for reminding me. It takes more courage to start, than to finish. You are so very brave. Someday, You will be Me, The Runner You Think I Am, zipping along and you will spot someone, Starting. They will stop short, and crash into the imaginary wall that exists only in their mind. Just like you did.

Only when it happens, I hope you are looking right at them. And cheering away.

-Colby

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Ready to Roll?

Actually, no. No I was not “ready to roll” for the ShamRock & Roll 5K on Sunday. As I wrote on Tuesday, I was not feeling my best Sunday morning. Not even my second-best. In addition to feeling tired and achy, I was really scattered. I’m normally really organized and over-plan everything, but that Type-A person was nowhere to be found on Sunday. Couldn’t figure out what to wear for the weather, couldn’t find my shamrock Chicaband, couldn’t find my running gloves– I think I even wore the wrong pair of running sneakers (Old ones. Feet were killing me afterward.). Forgot the address of the race and had to pull over on my way and google it. Forgot the start time of the race and actually didn’t figure that one out until I got there. In short, I was a bit of a mess.

Fortunately, the ShamRock & Roll is a GREAT race. It is the perfect mix – there are some super-fast runners, so it can challenge your pace if you want it to. It also has the best atmosphere, and feels like one big party from beginning to end. People are encouraged to wear costumes, and many heed the call, with entertaining results. You couldn’t throw a dart without hitting a runner in a leprechaun suit for blocks. I rolled into Toad’s Place, the bar that serves as the start and end point of the race, to see people tossing back beers while listening to a live band play “Sunday, Bloody Sunday.” At 8:30 A.M. I don’t do that particular kind of carb-loading before races (they don’t call me Two Beer Tina for nothin’), but more power to those who do.

So, the ShamRock & Roll definitely has the yin and yang down for a great race, and also has the best awards list of any race. In addition to the race awards that are usually handed out at races (top 3 overall, top 3 age group, blah, blah, blah), awards are also granted in the following categories:

• Best Individual & Group Costume – St. Patty’s Division
• Best Individual & Group Costume – Diaper Division (The race requests diaper donations for a local diaper bank, so some like to wear costumes celebrating the theme).
• Shortest & Tallest Finisher
• Slowest Finisher
• Weirdest Finisher

I didn’t get any of the awards (thankfully, no “Weirdest Finisher” here. I don’t even want to know how weird you need to be to get that award), but I did end up posting a good time, especially given how crummy I felt. I ended up running the race with a 7:37 pace, which is the fasted pace I have posted since I started running races again last year. I’m not yet at my goal of 7:30, but getting closer.

Of course, dear Colby, the Snowshoe Warrior, came down to meet me after the finish and we got to catch up for a little while over tea. The combination of race silliness, physical exertion and laughs with Colby completely improved my mood and I went home a different, happier person than when I arrived . All in all, not bad for a chilly Sunday morning.