Sunday, April 28, 2013

Hills, times and perceptions

I ran two 5K's just two weeks apart and my times were 32:46 and 33:44.  I figured it made sense, they're both at the faster end of what I've been running lately, and the second race was hillier (Boston vs the "Worcester Foothills".  So, I did what any good engineer would do and pop on over to RunKeeper to see what the difference in Feet Climbed was.  I was a bit surprised.

First race: BAA 5K.  It runs along Comm Ave, and the "biggest" hill is going under Mass Ave. for an almost 30 ft hill.  And yet, the feet climbed totaled 280 ft.  Here's my RunKeeper File.

Then, two weeks later, I ran the AMSA Inaugural 5K. I swear to you, this race felt like it was uphill, both ways.  In actuality, there was a short up hill, a long downhill, then rolling hills then reverse of the first two hills.  That was a 120 ft climb in about 1/3 of a mile, including one stretch that I need to put my Prius into "super break" mode to not roll backwards down the hill.  But, the overall climb was only 228 ft! That would be LESS hilly than the BAA 5K. Here, check out RunKeeper.

A minutes slower, but 60 feet less of hills? Different day, so it's within my normal error of pace?  Technical glitch? (I've seen most running app's get confused about elevation near water. Every time I cross the Charles, my elevation goes to 0 ft, even though I'm not walking on water!).

Friday, April 26, 2013

Zooma Ambassador and Discount Code

I have been trying to write this post since I got the email from Zooma right before Worcester Sharks Ice Hockey Game. Unfortunately, as it sometimes does, life got in the way.  Anyway, I have some great news to share!

I have been selected as an Ambassador for the Zooma Cape Cod Half and 10K.  To say I'm excited about this is an understatement. I ran this race last year and absolutely loved it!  It was a beautiful location, fun course and the atmosphere!  It was like I had a couple of hundred running buddies for the day.

I want to encourage you to run a Zooma race (they're nation wide!).  Even if you've only done 5Ks until know, you can easily get up to a 10K by September! If you're already doing 10K mileage, you can get to 13.1 by the end of September (it's 22 weeks away, and I know a great 16 week training plan over at Another Mother Runner!). 

I'm sure you could some extra incentive, right?  How about a discount code!  When you sign up for either the Zooma Cape Cod 10K or Half, use the code CCAMB6 for 10% off.  Then you can use the savings to buy a new running skirt ;) (please tell me I'm not the only one to do that!)

Running Community

I think for some non-runners, the running community is a bit of an anomaly.  I've only been a runner for 2.5 years, but I've already gotten used to talking to someone about races, IT bands, and gear before learning their name.  My mom, who's never run, chatted with a runner (a women in her 50s or 60s) this week in a doctor's waiting room and relayed the story to me.  Here's the "transcript" of that conversation that I got from my mom:

Mom: You're wearing a Boston Marathon jacket, did you run Monday?
Runner: No, it's from <insert year that Mom couldn't remember, 90-something, maybe?>.  I'm surprised you recognized it, not a lot of people around here do [there in western NH]
Mom: My daughter ran the 5K on Monday, I bought her a shirt with the Unicorn logo on it
Runner: Oh, your daughter runs! How long has she been running? How old is she? What distance does she do? Oh, she does halves? Has she ever done a biathlon or triathlon? I do biathlons. Tell her she should try it, she's not too old!

As my mom was telling me this, I started smiling.  Just thinking there was this woman in NH who never met me and was so excited about my running that she was encouraging me through my mom!  Then, my mom added "It was weird".  And I thought I misheard my mom.  But, then I realize the whole conversation was alien to her, while it made perfect sense to me.  We're runners, and two things we love are: running and sharing running. 

You share running by talking about, encouraging others, running with (or against!) others.  It's why we race, get to the finish line, chug some water then start cheering for everyone behind us.  It's why on those U-turn courses along Comm Ave, the middle of the pack seems to be cheering the whole run; cheering going into the U-turn for the Elites at the front and on the way out of the turn those not quite as fast.

Since April 15th, I think we all needed some extra sharing. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Go the Distance

I was on vacation last week, since it was MA school vacation week. I got back to work this morning and saw the 400+ emails waiting for me. There were the daily work updates, spam, a few emails that needed responses and the news updates.  I also subscribe to a few email newsletters and one of these caught my eye.

Paul Hellman taught a public speaking class at my office.  I enjoyed the class, and apparently made an impression with my opening line of "Half my group quit". (that's a story for another day.  He sends out weekly "Energize in 30 Seconds" tidbits to get you thinking.  The tidbit from Thursday, April 18th really spoke to me and I wanted to share it.  He doesn't have it on his website, so I've copied it here.  Please share, but attribute it to Paul.

Go the distance
by Paul Hellman

Go the distance.

I'm working at home today.  Or attempting to.

If you live in Boston, and even if you don't, your attention keeps getting pulled back to Monday's Boston Marathon.

You heard the news, you saw the pictures, you feel the heartache.  And you think, the Boston marathon, this glorious event, will never be the same.

But consider:  A marathon is about going the distance, no matter what.  It's the hero's journey.

I've never run a marathon.  But I run almost daily.  Running, I used to tell my kids when they lived at home, solves about 20 problems, 10 of which you never knew you had.

You may not feel like running, but running teaches you to ignore that feeling.  Running is action.  You put on your sweats, lace up your sneaks, and start moving.

People have been running, of course, for thousands of years.
Some days, it feels like that's been you, the entire time.

Marathon, a Greek town, was a battlefield in 490 BC.  The Greeks expected defeat, they were outnumbered.  Afterwards, a messenger was sent to Athens.  He ran a long way, got to the assembly, and said, "We won."

Then he collapsed and died.

That's the story anyway (Wikipedia).  Maybe it happened, maybe it didn't.

But you and I know the truth about marathons.  It takes grit to run one.  And it takes grit, after a day like Monday, to keep moving.

Every marathon that ever was, and every marathon that ever will be, delivers the same message:


Thursday, April 18, 2013

My Thoughts as an Adopted Bostonian

I'm still not processing this all that well, so this post is going to be a bit jumpy.  I want to start with the end: I'm a Bostonian and I'm a Runner.

On Sunday, I woke up at 3:30 am, so my mom and I could drive from her house (where we're staying for April Break) to my office in Cambridge. After we parked, we hopped on the T to get to Copley.  We made it there right at 6:30. I got my 5K bib, we walked around, I took pictures of the Finish Line. She bought be a Boston Marathon shirt (I made sure it didn't have 26.2 on it, since, well, I've never run a marathon).  I ran the 5K. Saw Mom in the crowds right before the start line. Had my best time all year.

Monday was a beautiful day in NH. We were playing outside, when my phone pinged and I got the first new flash.  About an hour later, I turned on the news for 2 minutes.  That's all I could take, was 2 minutes.  I turned it off and started crying.

Since then, I've pointed out where we bought the shirt (you can see it in one of the videos of the techs looking for evidence), where I took a picture of the finish line (pretty darn close to the first explosion, only 30 something hours earlier), of the buildings I ran past, even what song I heard from my running mix.  I know a few acquaintances who ran on Monday. I had a friend at the Red Sox game.

I grew up in NYC suburbs. My dad worked as a firefighter in our town.  On Sept 11th, he drove to the Bronx to help (he stayed in the Bronx for 2 days, manning that firehouse, then did search and rescue that Friday).  I was sad and angry, but realized I wasn't a New Yorker anymore.  I wasn't heartbroken.

On Monday, I felt that heartbreak. This is MY town. This is MY Running Community.  Running helped me so much over the past 2 years; it's an instrument of good, of health, of peace, of friendship, of strength.  

I've been in NH all week, I haven't been for a run along the Charles yet.  Monday, before work, I'm going.  I'm going to cry and take pictures.  But I'm going to run. For Boston.