3rd Annual Running of the Bulls, 30 November 2014

Well that was a wee blog hiatus there, wasn’t it? Please forgive the lack of posts for over a week… Drew and I jetted off to Aruba for a nice dose of relaxation and reading on the beach – to both celebrate my 30th birthday and go on our delayed honeymoon – and it was glorious. I had every intention of writing a few posts to schedule for while I was away, but, well, things went awry. So anyway, I’m back now… on with the blog!

3rd Annual Running of the Bulls

What: 3-mile road race

Where: Woburn, Massachusetts (course map)

Who: Just me (plus a bunch of Shammies), with moral support from Drew

Benefited: Tanner Ta Ta Foundation

Time: 31:48

Splits (according to Simon):
-Mile 1: 10:48
-Mile 2: 10:32
-Mile 3: 10:14

Photos: (click to open larger versions)

Me looking all awkward (and sunburned) as I picked up my bib before the race. (Photo credit: Scoreboard Sports Bar & Grill)

Me looking a little awkward (and sunburned) as I picked up my bib before the race. (Photo credit: Scoreboard Sports Bar & Grill)

Everyone lined up and ready to go!

Everyone lined up and ready to go!

So many Shammies singlets at the front! My run club is a fast bunch.

So many Shammies singlets at the front! My run club is a fast bunch.

...and then there's me, bringing up the rear.

…and then there’s me, bringing up the rear.

Goofy grin

So this is what it feels like to not fret about a race, eh?

And just under 32 minutes later, here I come toward the finish. Why do my arms look so weird?!

And just under 32 minutes later, here I come toward the finish. Why do my arms look so weird?!

Race swag: long-sleeved cotton tee, Marathon Sports coupon, ticket for free wings at the after party, and a dog biscuit.

Race swag: long-sleeved cotton tee, Marathon Sports coupon, ticket for free wings at the after party, and a dog biscuit.

Recap: This was yet another race I signed up for wicked early, excited because a lot of Shammies were going to run and also because it benefited the Tanner Ta Tas, a wonderful organization in the community that supports breast cancer patients and their families. So I was pumped when I realized I would be back from vacation in time to run it… not really thinking at the time that maybe running a race wouldn’t be my number one desire the morning after returning from a week away.

And while running a race really wasn’t my number one desire yesterday morning, I realized that tackling a race while still in island mindset is actually quite a good idea. Usually I’m a worrier before races (as shown here and here), flapping about anything from niggles to porta-potties to what to wear to my pre-race meals to making sure I’m at the start with tons of time to spare.

Yesterday, I lazed in bed a while (luckily the race didn’t start til 11:30), drank a glass of Nuun, ate some scrambled eggs and hash browns because that’s what Drew was making, watched a bit of footie, and then threw on some clothes that kind of made me look like an elf, but for once I didn’t care. The only thing I cared about kit-wise was that I absolutely had to wear shorts, no matter the weather, since I managed to sunburn my legs (especially my knees) quite badly on our last day in Aruba and there was no way I was putting anything other than sunscreen on those puppies. (Luckily the weather cooperated with temps in the upper 40s and plenty of sun!) Other than that I pretty much rolled out the door with a giant shrug and made my way to the race start roughly 30 minutes before gun time (late for me!). It was refreshing to not be bothered about anything!

Bib pickup was a bit of a madhouse, taking place in a hallway of the Scoreboard Sports Bar & Grill, where people were staying huddled indoors and making it difficult to squeeze through to find where I had to go. There seemed to be a long line stretching down the row of tables so I went to the end, only to be told that I should go back up to the first table since I was pre-registered. I kind of wandered back and forth a bit, trying to figure out where I should insert myself without cutting anyone in line, and eventually got my bib and goodie bag and escaped back outside to get out of the madness.

I was a bit disappointed with the contents of the goodie bag, since a) I signed up for a small shirt and got a medium, b) all the ad photos for the race showed orange shirts and mine was white, and c) I thought the dog biscuit was a cookie when I saw the volunteer slip it in the bag. However… a) I’m assuming medium was the smallest size they had at that point, considering I showed up so close to race time, b) the color really doesn’t matter and since it’s too big for me it’ll likely become a cool square for a t-shirt blanket sometime in the near future, and c) I really didn’t need a cookie after all the ridiculous things I ate while on vacation. Plus, I was running this race to support the Ta Tas and to run with the Shammies, and whatever was in the goodie bag was just an added bonus.

There was a health walk before the race started, so while I waited for the running to begin I sat in Drew’s car and applied thick layers of sunscreen all over the place, and then ran a few half-hearted warm up laps around the parking lot with a few sprints and stretches thrown in. Since the only exercise I did while on vacation was this:

Untitled…I was well winded and realizing that this 3-mile race was going to be harder than I thought. But, still in island mindset, I shrugged it off and lined up at the back of the pack, ready to do what I could.

Once the race got started I found that I was right – it was hard. I started breathing hard pretty quickly, my right foot was hurting randomly, and then my right shin acted up a bit about a mile in. However, I was somehow awesome on the hills. I haven’t done any hill training, or even running on anything remotely hilly, but I didn’t flag like I tend to and even passed a bunch of people ahead of me who had to walk. Who knows where that came from… the 7 minutes of beach running I did?! Probably not.

Anyway, it was a bit of a slog and I had to break it down to manageable bits to keep going – “Just make it to the mile mark, you can do that” “There’s a downhill coming up, make it to that and then go downhill with abandon!” “Just run to the water stop, it’s only a little farther” etc. I used people around me to pace myself, and kept checking in with Simon to see if I was hitting my goal race pace (10:47). Despite feeling a bit leaden, I managed to hit that pace, and even negative-split each mile which was a pleasant surprise.

The last half-mile was a little extra tough because it took us back down Main Street, which had had one lane closed at the start but was back open to traffic in both lanes on the return, so we were squished onto the shoulder (sidewalk was not an option because people in this city don’t shovel or put salt down pretty much ever and it drives me crazy). Shoulder running meant dodging walkers who were two- or three-abreast, dodging puddles, and dodging other runners who were dodging puddles, all while not getting hit by a car.

After that it was a quick downhill and around a corner to the finish line. I manged to pick up my pace but I couldn’t quite sprint (at least without vomiting, and I want to keep my no-vomit race streak going as long as possible), though I did pass a good number of people. The one good thing about being the slowest Shammie is that some of the others, like my buddy George and the club president, hang out near the finish line and cheer for other Shammies by name, and that’s always a huge boost… as is having Drew there cheering my name too!

Despite the slight twinge of shame at always being the last Shammie to cross the finish line, I was happy with my result. I managed to stay around or under my goal pace, I negative-split each mile, and it was a vast improvement from my last two 3-mile runs which were both frustrating and frankly unenjoyable:

fitsnap1fitsnap2Yes, I may be the slowest Shammie, but I’m seeing my own little improvements. I just need to keep at it and not let the occasional doldrums get me down, and who knows? Maybe someday I won’t be the last Shammie to cross the finish line. Until then, I’ll just keep saying that I’m in the club to make the rest of them look good πŸ˜‰


14 thoughts on “3rd Annual Running of the Bulls, 30 November 2014

    • Right?? Haha… honestly it seemed like a great idea when I was signing up. But the night before, as we were landing at Logan it dawned on me that I had to run the next morning and I wasn’t as excited as I had been πŸ˜‰

    • Aruba was awesome! Drew and I had never taken a vacation *just* to relax, so it was long overdue! πŸ™‚
      Knowing me, the island ‘tude probably won’t hang around very long… too bad I can’t bottle it!

    • Heh, definitely crazy! But yes, somehow it all worked out well. πŸ™‚
      I’m so annoyed at myself about the sunburn… I had gone the whole week without getting burned and then a few minutes of brain-fart and I have a nice burn to bring back as a souvenir. Luckily it’s mostly faded now. I think I learned my lesson!

    • Thanks! πŸ™‚ It was a really good pace for me, especially considering my lack of regular running lately. I guess I just joined a really fast run club… maybe it bodes well for making me faster!

    • Thanks! You’re not mistaken… those are very good splits for me, especially the last mile! Had I run this race anywhere else I probably would have been ecstatic, but the Last Shammie Syndrome colored my result a bit too much. In retrospect I am well chuffed! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks! No idea how I did so well on those hills… usually they kill me! Subpar goodie bags are always a bit of a let-down, it’s true… especially when you were looking quite forward to a fun, bright shirt! Ah well πŸ™‚

  1. I’m glad to see another post, I kept checking here to see if you had updated! Wow, Aruba, the closet I’ve been to there is a night club in Doncaster when I was a teenager, haha.

    Well done on the pace!

    What’s a Shammie?

    Corinne x

    • Aruba was lovely, and a much shorter trip from this part of the world! I’ve never been to Doncaster (or most of Yorkshire, for that matter) so there’s that? πŸ˜‰

      Thanks! It was one of those weird races where I felt like I was running sooo slow despite all the effort, so I’m really pleased with how the splits turned out!

      The Shammies are my run club, the Shamrock Running Club. They call themselves the Shammies for short πŸ™‚

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