“Keep showing up.” I’m not sure Des Linden meant her now famous quote quite so literally but that’s what I did and just like it eventually worked out for Linden, it also worked out nicely for me, too.
HMEA is where Michelle works and we run the 5k fundraiser each year. The last few years I’ve been chasing a young (fast) kid around the course in Franklin, MA. Just like a few recent races this year where I’ve been chasing a young (fast) woman, I just haven’t been able to catch him. Would this year be any different? Yup. He wasn’t there.
When we lived in Boston, there was a strong running culture and a lot of places to run, but you almost always had to pause at some point to cross a road or dodge some cars. In the ‘burbs, you don’t usually has that problem. You have space and if you’re lucky you might have trails.
As a master runner with an arthritic knee, I’ve been very happy to watch the growth of trail races in recent years. There is now a thriving barn-to-trail race series that partners with local farms, plus a number of other races taking advantage of the preserved land and trails in the area. That includes the New Life Furniture 5k trail race on the Medfield State Hospital land.
I thought I had managed to dodge the cough and cold that has been stalking our house the past month. The girls all had it and had recovered. I thought I was good. With the Addison’s, I’m already very conscious of sleep and hydration. I thought my chronic disease actually helped in this case. I’ll admit, I was feeling pretty good about myself. And then I got sick.
Wednesday morning, I found myself a snotty, coughing mess. The perfect condition to compete in Hunter’s Run, a local 5k, for a great cause, that weekend. My plan had been to use the race as a tune up for the duathlon in a few weeks. Yeah….
You never quite know what you are going to get when you sign up for a St. Patrick’s Day 5k in New England. You’ll likely get beer but you are also just as likely to get a snowstorm or a heatwave. It’s what makes early spring running so exciting and unpredictable around here.
Mid-March in New England means a couple things to me. First, I start arguing with the kids that temperatures in the mid-40’s still means you need to wear something with long sleeves. Second, I need to consider chiseling out some furrows for planting the first peas. Finally, it marks the unofficial start of the spring road racing season. I’ve never met a competition I didn’t like!
5 reasons I still like running 5k’s:
Budget They’re not cheap, but they are cheaper than most other races and you typically get the same snacks for running a lot less.
Competing Many longer events are about enduring your way to the finish. 5k’s are about racing.
Fitness The 5k requires strength, speed, power, and endurance. You can effectively train for a 5k with a variety of workouts not just long runs. It will not only help you run better but also improve your overall health.
No Chafing The risk of nipple bleeding is very low.
Beer & Naps It’s just long enough and takes just enough effort that it totally justifies at least one beer and one short nap when you are done.
We totally took advantage of the beer and nap clause yesterday.
When you sign up for a race in New England, you really never know what you are going to get. It could be mid-40’s in June or mid-60’s in January. It keeps you on your toes. It wasn’t quite 60 degrees, but it was way, way warmer for this New Year’s Day 5k versus last year’s version.
Last year, I struggled to pin my bib through six layers of clothes and had icicles hanging from my ears by the end. This year, I was quite comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt. The hill in the first mile? Yeah, that didn’t change.
For me, 2018 has been the year of the 5k. Or, the return to the 5k. Through the first half of the year, I’ve ran 7 5k’s. I’ve improved my time in each one, but I’m still not close to my PR.
And perhaps now I am remembering why I started exploring other races! Despite being short, 5k’s are brutal and difficult to master.