Three Friends

Three Friends
Three Friends

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Best and Worst of 2012

By Slick

So, taking a page from Spinster Beth’s blogpost, I (Slick) have also assembled a best and worst blog. 
By my calculations I completed four 5ks, two Half Marathons, and two 1-milers.

 Here are my bests: 

1.       Best Race Ever:  Okay, this was easy, the Rock n' Roll USA  race.  Not only was it the inaugural DC run, it was my first Half-Marathon and the first time I ever ran 13.1 miles.  The swag bag was great, and everything seemed to be well planned and executed.  This will probably be my best race ever, forever.
2.       Best Packet Pick-up/Expo: Well, hands down, the Rock n’ Roll races had the best expos and packet pick-ups. Since they were the only major races I ran in 2012, no competition.  They were all similar, so no way to just vote for one of them.  Of the small runs, I would have to say that the Remembrance Run probably had the easiest packet pick-up.  It was also one of the smallest races.  My daughter and I did same day registration and it only took a couple of minutes.
3.       Best Tee-Shirt:  My favorite tee-shirt was the tech tee-shirt from Rock n’ Roll San Antonio Rock n' Roll San Antonio.  I cannot really point to any one thing.  It was pleasing to my eye and it fits well. 
4.       Best Post- Race Chow:  So the Rock n’ Rolls give you tons of food after you finish and a free beer, but my favorite was definitely the Catonsville Fall into Fitness post race  chow.  They had a local brewery RavenBeer with samples and sales and they had volunteers grilling burgers and dogs.  I love bananas and yogurt, but sometimes nothing beats a nice hot meal.
5.       Best Course:  A lot of the races had different aspects that I enjoyed.  The Rock n’ Roll USA went by the Washington Monument.  The RNR San Antonio went by the Alamo (there is a pic of me running in front of it, but I didn’t actually see it.)  The Jingle Bell Run Jingle Bell Run ran around beautiful Centennial Park in Ellicot City, which would have been a spectacular solo run, but not with hundreds of other runners and walkers…and strollers and dogs.  Path was too small for everyone.  Even though it was not one of my favorite runs, the Rock n' Roll Virginia Beach was probably my favorite course.  It was flat and you end up running next to the ocean.

Time for the worst…again, these are only out of the 8 races I ran this past year.

1.       Worst race:  Even though the course was nice, the RNR Virginia Beach was not only hot, but the humidity had to be at 100%.  It was so humid I was exhausted before the race even started.  The medics appeared (to me) to be super busy with all the runners overheating.
2.       Worst Tee-shirt:  From my daughter’s school.  As my daughter is in elementary school, the tee-shirt always has some cutsey animal on it.  And they only use the colors that the uniform wearing students wear to school.  Other than that, it was just a standard tee-shirt.
3.       Worst packet pick-up/expo:  Was the Catonsville Fall into Fitness run.  When we showed up an hour before the posted closing times, we found out they had closed early because the volunteer was cold.  I am sure there was more to it than that…but we drove 45 minutes to get there, so it was very annoying. Which leads me to…
4.       Worst amenities:  This might be common, but the Catonsville Fall into Fitness had one water point, at the 5k mark.  I am not one of those people who runs with water, so I am a bit dependent on water stations.  There was only one, and it was at the end of the race.  There was also some confusion about the start line at this race…I think Spinster Beth covered that in her blog.
5.       Worst Course:  Was the one held at my daughter’s school.  It was only a mile, which I finished in about 7 minutes.  Now if you have been following this blog at all you would know I do not run a 7 minute mile, which means that this mile was not really a mile. I would love to run a 7 minute mile, but I don’t…yet.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

She's One Tough, Dirty Mudder!

I've often been curious about - and intrigued by - the Dirty Girl Mud Runs. So when we heard that our friend had taken the plunge, it only made sense to get her to tell us all about her fun here!
Feeling a bit crazy in the middle of Summer, I decided not only would I sign up for this Dirty Girl Mud Run, I would sign up my 16 year old too! I sent out a message asking who would be interested in joining me and in the end, we had a team of 5. I was a bit disappointed in the size but in the end, it was the right number. 2 teenagers who were not happy and 3 ladies who were scared about what was to come on race day.
It's no good if you stay clean! (Reverse these pictures and you have a Tide commercial!)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012: The Year in T-Shirts

I ran seven 5ks in 2012! What a great improvement over 2011 (one 5k) and 2010 and all the previous years (no 5ks!)

There was the Iron Girl in April and the Metric Marathon and 5k in November, both held in beautiful Columbia, Maryland.

The September 5k, Fall into Fitness, didn't give t-shirts. But they did give beer. 9:00 in the morning, and there was beer, and hot dogs and hamburgers and sausages being cooked right there. It was quite an event!

The starting point was a total mess, though. We were herded up to the start point, which was not marked, and no one knew which way to face, so we were two large groups of people facing each other, ready to run ... right into one another. We all turned the same direction, and then the organizer hollered at us to move back. So everyone turned around and started walking backwards -- and then the starter fired the gun. Imagine a few hundred people suddenly whirling around, slapping their watches, and taking off.

The 22nd Annual Spirit of Gettysburg was in June, and I felt like I was going to die of heatstroke. I will do that one again, but I will walk it. I just can't handle running on a warm day. It was a beautiful run, right past a flaming memorial (which I couldn't see because I was blinded by sweat).

The Jingle Bell run was part of a series of runs held throughout the country on 1 December. Slick and I ran the one held at Centennial Park in Clarksville, and Tillie's husband ran one in Alabama, where he was visiting at the time. It was cool and humid, and I felt like I was going to melt away. This one was a mess; the running trail was narrow, and there were about 1400 people there -- 600 more than expected. And there were some exceptionally rude people at this one -- walkers ambling 2 and 3 abreast in the middle of the path, which made it impossible to get around them without running in the mud on the sides. If I could have gotten my breath I would have fussed at them (orpushedthemintothemud). But you know how some people show up for runs with no intention of either running, or getting their pretty shoes dirty ...

These two events were held by my workplace. The annual Armed Forces Week 5k is held during Armed Forces Week in May; a bit warm for me by then, and it's actually a very hilly 5.3k run.

The Monster Dash is the annual Halloween run/walk. A lot of people walk, but that is because their costumes won't allow for running. And we saw some very creative (and disturbing) costumes. My favorite was the Octomom, but there were also characters from comic books and movies.

This is the 5k that started it all, in October 2011...

I actually couldn't fit into this t-shirt until six months later. I started 2012 weighing 20 pounds more than I do now.

And this year, 2013 started with this:

Held in Patterson Park in Baltimore, yesterday afternoon. Again, very hilly and very cold outside. About 1,000 people showed up. Guess how many port-a-potties they had available?

Go on, guess. You'll never guess.

None. There were none.

Absolutely none. 1,000 people had to make do with the bathrooms in the basement of St. Elizabeth's Church, and guess what? They all backed up and overflowed (basement bathrooms near the waterfront, go figure). It was a mess! Afterwards, there was chili and cornbread (we just had to avoid standing in the uh, water near the bathrooms), the inevitable bananas, and dozens and dozens of homemade cookies. I couldn't stomach the chili, but I did have four cookies. Five cookies. No regrets!

I have to say a big part of the fun of these runs is the energy and high spirits of the other runners. No matter what happens -- too few toilets, too many people crammed into a small starting space, the man with the starting gun shooting it at the worst possible time -- everyone is excited and happy and laughing. The serious runners are way up front where they can run unimpeded, but everyone else just arranges themselves in the line according to their abilities, and then we shuffle forward until enough fast runners clear out and we can spread out a bit.

And now I've been to a total of nine 5ks. None of these would have been possible without all the organizers and volunteers, handing out water, picking up discarded cups, making sure everyone gets a banana, and standing along the trail helping us all stay on the right route. It's thankless, because no one ever thanks them except for in passing. Runners tend to be a little arrogant (we saw that when the New York Marathon was canceled) and I am just as guilty of this. Next time, I will go around and personally thank the volunteers for their assistance.

Here's to a great 2013!