long run report: 2/15/14

Distance: 3 miles (I know, I know, not super-long, baby steps)

That pretty building is a piece of Boston College.
That pretty church-like building behind the trees is a piece of Boston College. It is probably actually a church. I really have no idea. Cool story, bro.

Today’s run was choppy because I kept having to climb over snowbanks and stopping to penguin-walk over ice until I figured out that I should be in the clean carriageway (pictured) instead of on the sidewalk. I figured this out because the runners training for the Boston Marathon are starting to appear on this road (the marathon route), and they were all running over there away from the traffic, because they are smarter than I am. (Also, they are better runners. I just put my head down and bopped along to Paula Abdul and tried to feel proud of my 3 miles.)

When I was almost home I passed two bros, one of whom was carrying a case of Coors Light (which, blegh) at 11am. “It’s my 21st birthday!” he proudly announced to me as I ran past, pointing at the case. So wherever you are, happy birthday Mystery Bro!

And that was today’s run.

jingle bell 5K

In case you were wondering, this is what a super-tough runner looks like when it’s cold as balls and she’s getting ready to run a 5K.

Look at that determination. Grrrrr.

This was last weekend, at the beginning of the Jingle Bell 5K in Somerville, MA. I ran a decent race, especially considering that this course had MOUNTAINS (ok, hills). A lot of people dressed up, but I didn’t because I am lame and also don’t really own a lot of Christmas gear. Maybe next year, though!

new goal

So the obvious action to take after you’ve run your first 5K (3.1 miles) is to sign up for a half marathon (13.1 miles). Right? I hope so, because that is what I did—namely, the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon next June. Ambitious, but totally doable in that amount of time if I’m not stupid about it.

Given my luck, though, I’ll probably blow out a knee or a shoulder or a ribcage sometime next week.

No! Optimism! This is going to be awesome. Difficult, but awesome.

So I’ve put a countdown widget off to the left, and I’ll probably write a bit more about running in the coming months because I’ll be doing a lot more of it. I know that running’s one of those things that’s kind of dull to hear about if you’re not into it, so I’ll try to keep my enthusiasm under control. And I promise not to talk about split times. (Before I was a runner, I got cornered in a bar by someone who wouldn’t stop talking about her split times at her previous half-dozen races. I love you, other runners, but honestly most non-runners don’t care about your split times.)

My plan, if you’re interested: I’ll spend the next few months building a good base of miles (3 mile runs are still actually kind of rough for me, even with the 5K under my belt), and then around February or March I’ll start properly training with something like Hal Higdon’s plan.

And for those of you who aren’t interested in running updates, I promise the next blog post will either be cat pictures or my opinions about a comic book.

take your passion, make it happen

This was a big weekend for me. After multiple knee-dislocations, surgery, many months of physical therapy, and finally re-learning how to run, I officially ran my first 5K on Sunday!!

They gave me a medal and everything. (Don't be impressed, everyone got a medal. It's like Little League.)
They gave me a medal and everything. (Don’t be too impressed, everyone got a medal. It’s like Little League.)

The race in question was the fabulous Superhero 5K in Central Square, Cambridge. Everyone dressed up, it was a lot of fun. (You can see some of the costumes here.) I dressed up as Flashdance (get it? get it?). OK, wow, coincidentally the Flashdance song just started playing on my computer. WEIRD. Anyway. Here I am practicing my official Flashdance pose pre-race:

Flashdance
Watson is annoyed that I’m not petting him.

My only real goal was to run the entire race without stopping, which I did. My secondary secret goal was to run it in under 40 minutes, which I also did! So yes, I spent most of Sunday afternoon feeling very satisfied with myself. Hooray running!

I’m not sure what’s next, but the race was so much fun that something will be next. Anyone near Boston have any suggestions?

Boston Book Festival, 5 years later

I went to the first Boston Book Festival in 2009, near the end of my first year in Boston. I wrote two quick posts about it, one of which I can never delete because it’s cited on Wikipedia. It was a great experience. Boston was still a new home to me and I didn’t have tons of friends or feel particularly connected to the city. Sitting in the Trinity Church’s Old South Sanctuary with hundreds of other people, listening to John Hodgman, I thought, “I could actually like living in Boston. Look at all these other people like me.”

I’ve attended most years since then, I think only missing the one when I was out of town. I love going to the sessions because I always love listening to writers talk, and I love the energy of all the fantastic Bostonian book-lovers bustling around Copley Square. This year, though, there was too much. I couldn’t really handle it.

I wanted to attend the Heroes and Antiheroes session but due to my own inability to get my butt moving on a Saturday, I didn’t get there until exactly when it started. The Sanctuary was already packed, and after a few minutes I decided I was an old person who didn’t want to stand for an hour and I went to check out other things. I ended up going to the Imagining the Past session, which also ended up overflowing its room but I got there about ten minutes early and was able to claim a seat.

Because I really wanted to go to YA: Other Worlds, I left Imagining the Past during the Q&A (sorry presenters), which enabled me to get across Copley to the library around 20 minutes before the YA session started. The room was already at capacity and a line was forming out the door of the room. 20 minutes early! So I hung around (talked to the guys at Soho Books who told me Peter Lovesey might be coming to Boston next year!) and then went half an hour early to the final session of the day that I really wanted to see, Graphic (Non)Fiction. That one seemed to have exactly the right amount of room for the people who wanted to attend, so that was fine, and the session was great.

Heroes and Villains was my fault—the big keynote events are always packed and it was my own damn fault I didn’t get there in time to find a spot. But everything else was also at or over capacity, and it’s a problem if you can’t get into a session because the sessions are the core of the BBF. Yes there are the vendor booths as well, but if you are on a budget and don’t want to spend tons of money they aren’t super useful. The music is fine but it’s not why I’m there. I’m also a homebody who doesn’t really love being in large outdoor crowds.

Now don’t get me wrong, I adore the Boston Book Festival and I am so glad that it exists and is thriving and is free. Love it! But it’s bursting at the seams. If I can’t get into the sessions I want, even arriving early, there’s not much point in my attending. I don’t know what they could do, exactly, to fix this problem—when you’re putting on a free event you don’t know how many people are going to come, and you take whatever space you can get. The BBF can’t control attendance. They can’t really add Sunday sessions because half their space is in various churches. So I don’t know what the fix is. On my end, for next year I might make a more targeted plan and pick one or two sessions to attend (arriving really early), and then bail.

I do love what it says about this city that both Boston Comic Con and the Boston Book Festival are so popular. Go Boston!