Throwback Thursday: My 1st Race

Am I actually writing one of these Throwback Thursday posts? Crazy! It’s kind of funny; the whole reason I wanted to start this little series is because I wanted to recap my old races on the blog. I started the series writing about how I first started running (the boring preamble, in my mind), but then when it finally came time to write about my first race, well…other things came up, and it’s been over a month since the last Throwback Thursday post. Weird how that happens, isn’t it? But I’m back at it now and ready to recap!


Race: The Run to Remember
Location: Boston, MA
Date: May 27th, 2007
Distance: 5 miles
Time: 55:50 (11:10/mile)

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures from this race to include in the post, instead I took a little creative license here. First, please enjoy this photo of my niece wearing my old clown hat. (In case you’re wondering, this totally counts for throwback Thursday because I used to wear that hat a long time ago.)

clownin around

Photo courtesy of my sister!

Decision & Training:

When I first started getting into running, I never looked into local races. I always thought it would be neat to run a marathon some day, but racing just wasn’t on my radar for quite a long time. After about a year of running, I saw an ad on the subway and it made me think that maybe the time was right.

The ad was for The Run to Remember, a race to benefit families of police officers injured or killed in the line of duty.  There were two options, a half marathon and a 5 miler. At the time, I was consistently run/walking 5 miles a few times a week, so that option seemed perfect for me, and when I’d finally seen the ad enough times to remember it, I signed up.

I didn’t change much about my running routine in preparation for the race. I continued to run exclusively on the treadmill about 3 times a week for 5 miles. The only thing I did differently was to make an effort to eliminate walk breaks. By the time race day rolled around, I could run 5 miles without stopping in about an hour.

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What’s that, this pic doesn’t apply either? Well, the puzzle says Boston, and that’s where this race was, so….yeah, totally works.

The Expo & Morning of the Race

I decided to go to packet pick-up the day before the race in order to avoid extra craziness the morning of the race, and to give me a little extra time to sleep in. Also, having never been to the start before, Jeff thought it would be a good idea to know how long it would take to get there.

There were not very many people hanging around the expo, and it was not very impressive. I think we may have arrived either before or after the thing began. In general, I’m not a big expo person, so in retrospect it’s not surprising that this one didn’t excite me.

The morning of the race went off without a hitch. Jeff and I took a combination of walking and public transit to the start line. We saw a few other racers on the ride there, and it was pretty exciting. Before the race, running was very much a solo endeavor for me, and it was cool to feel the camaraderie that you get at races.

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You thought the last few pictures didn’t apply? Ha! This is a radiator. You guessed it, a really OLD radiator….totally counts!

My Race

Shortly after lining up, the national anthem was sung and the gun went off. I’d lined up towards the back, and it took a little bit of walking and shuffling along before I crossed the start line and everything erupted into chaos! At least, that’s what the start of the race seemed like to a newbie. Some people took off like they were hoping to win the race, while others continued to walk and chat (oblivious to others around them.) Most people started darting around and zig-zagging like they were trying to get lost in the crowd. I had never seen anything like it. And the whole process was such a huge distraction that I was shocked at how quickly we reached the first mile.

As we ran through the first few miles, things had calmed down and I was just cruising along enjoying the scenery and people watching. Not only was I new to races, but I ran exclusively on the treadmill at the time, and all of this action was quite exciting. The course went through downtown Boston, nearly passing by the office building where I worked at the time, and one of the best parts was getting to run the streets that are usually so packed with cars. It’s still one of my favorite things about races with road closures: feeling like we own the roads for just a little piece of time.

With all the excitement and novelty, miles 2 and 3 passed almost as quickly as the 1st, but as I closed in on the second half of the race, I started to wilt a bit. I was not used to running outside, and my legs were getting tired from the elevation changes as well as pounding the pavement. Simultaneously, I noticed that it was getting pretty hot and sunny out there – another thing I wasn’t used to. These miles felt like a lot of work, and I was eager to be done.

After what felt like twice as much time as the first 3 miles combined, I finally turned a corner and started up the final bridge. The finish line was in sight (if somewhat far away), and I was thrilled to be on my way.

And then my iPod died. I had never run without it, and the silence was unnerving and distracting. Pushing up that last hill had suddenly become ten times harder.

As I finally crested the hill and took off for the finish, I swallowed a bug. It tasted BAD.

Again I was distracted and really not focusing on finishing my race. But I kept plodding along (seriously, why was the finish line so far away?) As I got closer and closer, I noticed people holding up a ribbon. What’s going on? I’m clearly not in first. Is someone special behind me? And then I was directed off to the side. I ended up finishing to the left of the big finish line in some mini version of the finish shoot. I grabbed my bottle of water and medal, returned my shoe chip, (remember when you had to tie them into your laces and then give them back?), and turned back to see the winner of the half marathon barreling towards the ribbon. That race had started slightly before the 5 miler, but I was still amazed (and still am) at how quickly someone was able to run a half marathon.

Afterwards, I stumbled around looking for Jeff in a bit of a daze. It didn’t sink in right away that I had run my first race. It was a weird finish, with my iPod, then the bug, and finally being detoured out of the way. But by the time I found Jeff, I was excited about my time and couldn’t wait to tell him all about the race.

Overall, I had a terrific time, and afterwards, I couldn’t wait to sign up for my next one.

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What’s this? A picture that has something to do with the actual race! That’s crazy!

 Do you remember your first race? Do you have pictures of it? Any weird things happen? 



Throwback Thursday – My 1st Year Running

Yesterday was national running day. I celebrated by going for my normally scheduled run, and buying a pair of compression socks at half price. The run was intervals, a toughie, but I enjoyed it, and today is a rest day!

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Hittin’ the beach for running day!


If you’ve been following along with my Throwback Thursday posts, you’ll remember that last week I talked about how I started running. At first it wasn’t much, just a little time on the treadmill after using the elliptical or arc trainer.  I continued like this for quite a while, adding more running time as it became easier. The gym I belonged to after I graduated college was always VERY busy, and sometimes all the ellipticals and arc trainers were taken, so I was forced (in a way) to add in some running only workouts.

Even though it wasn’t my choice at first, these treadmill only workouts soon became my norm. At the time I was attempting to go to the gym 3 days a week after work for about an hour. When I switched over from elliptical/arc trainer to treadmill, I wasn’t able to run for that entire time. I would spend 10 minutes walking to warm up, and 10 minutes walking to cool down, and I’d also take walk breaks during my run when I needed them – not necessarily on a schedule.

Over time, I took less and less walk breaks, and my warm up and cool down walks shortened. I remember the first time I ever ran 5 miles without stopping. It was so exciting! Every time I wanted to stop, I just slowed WAY down and eventually I felt better and could speed up again. I don’t have anything against walk breaks, but seeing how far I could run without stopping made me feel strong. I still use this “slow way down” tactic whenever I’m tuckered out, but am afraid that I won’t start up again if I take a walk break. I tell/let myself run as slow as possible, and eventually things tend to turn around.

By the end of my first year of running, I would regularly run/walk 5 miles on the treadmill every time I went to the gym (maybe 3 times per week). I didn’t pay much attention to my times, and I NEVER ran outside, but around this time, the idea of running a race started to worm it’s way into my brain. And that’s what you’ll hear about on my next Throwback Thursday post.

I don’t have a good picture to go along with this post, so here’s one of my sister and me when we were little. It’s applicable because I’ll be seeing her today! Yay!

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Throwback Thursday – Starting to Run

Before I jump back in time for Throwback Thursday, let’s talk about yesterday’s run. I did my first level 2 key workout: a ladder run (I think that’s what it’s called). I did this same run a couple weeks ago, but I’m having to repeat level 2 because I didn’t finish it before I took a week off.

This time around wasn’t exactly easy, but my legs felt better than the first time I did it. I really feel like the run went pretty well, except I’m having a hard time getting too excited about it because I stopped and sat down to rest on a bench for a couple minutes at about the halfway point. Ha! I think this is the first time I’ve ever sat down on a run. But I needed a little break, and the bench was there, so…haha.  I think the problem was that I ran too soon after dinner.

Anyways, the little break made my full stomach feel better and I continued on with the workout. Is there something wrong with me that I feel so happy/good about a workout that should probably be considered a failure because I SAT DOWN during it?

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Sitting breaks are a good time to take pictures. This is the Beverly Commons. It’s not much, but it’s a nice little gravel path for a change.

The details

  • Warm-up
  • Brisk Run: 3 min, Jog: 1 min
  • Brisk Run: 5 min, Jog: 2 min
  • Brisk Run: 8 min, Jog: 3 min
  • Brisk Run: 5 min, Jog: 2 min
  • Brisk Run 3 min, Jog 1 min

Total: 3.68 miles, (9:45/mile)






Now, onward into the past….

Last week I jumped on the Throwback Thursday bandwagon, and I wrote about my first experiences with running that I encountered during my time on the soccer team in high school. All the running during soccer didn’t make me a runner, though. I hated running then, and once high school was over and soccer was over, I didn’t keep running. So this week’s post is about when and how I started running.

Up until college, I never exercised just to exercise. I played outside as a kid, I was on sports teams, and my family went on the occasional bike ride or walk, but outside of team practices I didn’t have a regular exercise routine and I never went to a gym or exercised with the purpose of staying healthy or losing weight. That was never on my radar. In fact, until college I didn’t realize that people actually went to gyms. I kind of thought that that was just something that happened on TV (the episode of Full House when DJ stops eating and starts exercising too much was pretty much the only exposure I had to a gym while growing up).

So, I went off to college, and my main exercise became walking to/from classes and meals. I played a few sessions of intramural sports (soccer and broomball), and tried out some club teams for a few practices before quitting (rugby – ha!, and indoor track – ha ha!), and I also went to the gym a few times to see what it was all about. But nothing stuck, so mostly I was inactive.  And that was mostly okay with me.

Until midway through senior year, when I realized I had gained weight, and I never exercised, and I decided that maybe that should change.

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December 2005, going in to the last two terms of senior year.

So, slowly, I started to exercise. My weapon of choice was the elliptical. I would listen to music and read while working out, and it wasn’t really all that bad. A little boring, and I wasn’t very consistent, but it was a start. When winter term ended and spring began, I had more free time. I went to the gym more regularly, and I noticed a girl that would come in and run on the treadmill for an entire 45 minutes.  This was astonishing. Amazing! How could someone run for so long? For some reason, this made me want to run, too. I figured if she could run for 45 minutes, I could run for 10 min. And one day, when no one else was in the gym, I hopped on the treadmill at the end of my workout and tried to run for 10 minutes.

I’m not sure whether I made it through a whole 10 minutes that first time.  It was not easy, and it was not fun. But whatever it was, it made me want to be better. Being so bad at running made me want to get better at it. There was no reason I couldn’t run for 45 minutes if that other girl could. After all, I used to run all the time for soccer.

For a long time, I still mainly exercised on the elliptical and the arc trainer, but I also tried to run for a little bit every time I went to the gym. Eventually, 10 minutes of running wasn’t so awful, and I added a 1 mile run to the end of my workouts. I wasn’t quite a runner yet, I wasn’t hooked like I am now, but it was a start.

How did you start running? Was it hard? What made you stick with it?

Throwback Thursday – Running Edition: Soccer and Running

I’ve been seeing Throwback Thursday (aka #TBT) stuff all over the internet lately. Looking at people’s old pictures is usually good for a laugh, but I haven’t jumped on board and participated at all.

Until Now!

But, instead of posting pictures from when I looked like boy and/or was shaped like a rectangle, I’m going to tell some stories and recap some races from my pre-blog running days. (Of course, I’ll add some pictures when I can).

My first real experience with running was when I played soccer in high school.  We ran a lot. And I hated it. My coach (for the first two years) was also the school’s track coach, so I always assumed we ran so much because of that. However, after he left, we did not run any less so it’s possible we just ran so much because it made us better at soccer.


Brian Andreas’ take on soccer. He couldn’t be more right.

The kind of running we did on the soccer team was different than the kind of running I do now. We’d show up at practice and stretch and then run as a team for 1 to 2 miles (at least this is an approximation of what I think we did, but it was something like 15 years ago, and we never measured it). We ran as a team, and occassionally we’d sing songs to help the time pass. We ran in our cleats, and mostly ran on the grass, but also on sidewalks. I always liked the sound 20+ pairs of cleats made when running on concrete (although, I know it wasn’t good for our shoes, and probably not our legs either).

Aside from the running at the beginning of practice, we sometimes did running drills during practice too. These were mostly sprint drills. We ran suicides and some type of intervals, and I even remember running up and down the field carrying another player piggyback. (Was my coach just doing this for a laugh?)

We also did a lot of laps around the field. On days before games, we ran less at the beginning of practice and maybe just did a couple laps. We were threatened with laps if someone was late. The rule was that the entire team had to run one lap for every minute the person was late. The late person watched. (I only remember this happening once, and we ran something like 38 laps around the field, and the girl who was late cried – she definitely felt worse than we did.)

In between all this running, we also played soccer. I don’t remember a lot of the specific drills we did as much as I remember all the running, because I never felt as strongly about the soccer part of soccer practice as I did about the running part. The soccer part was fun, the running part was torture.

But it DID make us a better team. Even then I realized it. I always thought we were a fast team, that we could outrun the other team. And I was proud that we had the best off-sides trap in the league – may or may not be related to the running. (Any Mounties out there reading this? Don’t you agree?)

And now for that TBT picture you’ve all been eagerly awaiting:

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This is a picture of a picture out of my yearbook. Can you find me? Middle row, 3rd from the right. When searching for it, I found something else that I completely forgot. I used to sign my own yearbook/write myself a note every year. I’m embarrassed for myself.

Go Thunder!!!