Archives for category: running

I recognize that I will not fully appreciate this until later, but I’ll do my best now.

A Saturday morning, legs crossed, one foot pressed against the boards. On the other side of the wood and glass, hockey players circled the rink—tall, bulky, padded black-and-goldfish on skates. They largely focused on their drills, motivated by short blasts of a whistle. But they snuck occasional looks, grins, stick-on-glass taps to the 100 or so of us on hand. I saw my favorite guys. The new guys. The boys, 18 or 19 years old, fighting for what amounts to a roster spot two seasons from now.

The buzz I’d expected to sense during my trip to Fort Myers back in March was finally here—six months late, different sport, right at home in Boston. This is what training camp is supposed to feel like: Players are competing for their spots, proving their worth, while diehards show up with their smuggled-in bagels to sit around, talk shop with fellow junkies, and get sneak previews of lines and pairings from vantage points significantly closer than anything they’ll experience during game play.

I made my way around the rink to take in the view from the other side, feeling my late morning stretch into an early afternoon. My later plans were much more flexible than the Bruins’ schedule, and I was reluctant to leave without seeing my favorite player skate in the second session. No stress in the preseason.

Two subway lines later, I navigated a collegiate crowd I’d spent the past month avoiding. Harvard Square wasn’t as congested as I’d feared it would be. That said, it would still be a few weeks before I’d return with any sense of regularity. But Harvard’s running shop was the easiest to visit on the way home and Mark Stuart had led to a time crunch. I was in and out in seven minutes: running socks, the sports beans that would give me a carbohydrate boost during long runs, and a couple other odds and ends I would never have imagined needing even a year ago.

Two hours later, the socks were on and the beans were tucked into the back pouch of my hydration belt, along with my cell phone, keys, transit pass, credit card, license, and health insurance card.

(Once you’ve cleared at least two hours in your schedule for running purposes, you ought to be prepared for anything.)

The route felt shorter this time. Perhaps it was that I felt stronger this time. I suspected that it was a combination of the two. Regardless, the doubt about whether I would be able to reach the twenty mile milestone had come and gone, replaced with focus and the flood of endorphins that kept my feet moving in time to the Ryan Adams song playing on my iPod. It was my first genuine runner’s high of the season. And it propelled me through Somerville, Cambridge, and Boston.

For twenty miles.

After the endorphin high faded and the muscle stiffness set in—albeit not nearly as badly as I’d anticipated—I sat on my couch, toasting the day with a glass of pumpkin beer and vanilla vodka while discussing how much fun was going to be had picking apples the next day …

… after getting out of work at Fenway Park.

Again, I recognize that I will not fully appreciate this until later. That said, I’m certainly doing my best right now.

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I was reluctant to get out of bed this morning, but I knew that I needed to up my marathon training. Last week, a crazy and wonderful crush of social engagements kept me away from my regular training–and while I was still able to enjoy my long run on Saturday, I needed to work in more time for the smaller, utility runs.

That’s why my alarm went off at 5 am. That’s why I got out of bed, fired up the iPod, and took off in that soft gray early morning light to log a 5k.

And that’s why I found myself sprawled out on the sidewalk just around the corner from my house–hands bleeding, shoulder raw, and knees a mess I haven’t seen on my body since probably the time I was first learning how to ride a bike.

The good news is that I was close to home when I decided to trip and launch myself through the air. I limped home, winced my way through a shower, and bandaged myself up before heading into work early.

The sad news–and I won’t necessarily say bad here–is I realized a reality about being an independent person. There was no one there to pick me up, dust me off, and tell me that I was going to be OK. I just had to do it myself. I didn’t realize until after that while this hurt–and still hurts an awful lot–the thought never even crossed my mind to cry. I didn’t have any reason to.

Oh, and morning running can suck it.

I could tell you about how the first three miles of my race on Sunday were actually downright pleasant – that the skies were overcast and there was a breeze that, coupled with the 9 a.m. start time, helped me forget that I was running on a day expected to reach the 90s. That the sun came out during the loop back, which wound us through the surprisingly quaint town square of Foxborough and past cheering fans waving signs. That there was a glorious saint of a woman who sat on her lawn in a chair, grinning as she squeezed the handle on her hose and sprayed us grateful runners with ice cold water as we moved past.

But I’d rather just tell you about the end.

After six miles, my friend Kim and I (who had wound up running within sight of each other over the course of the entire 1oK) kept telling ourselves to converse a little bit of energy. “Wait for it. Wait for it,” we repeated as we watched the lights and stands of Gillette Stadium grow larger and larger. We held back as we ran past Bill Rodgers, who was cheering on fans near the back entrance to the stadium parking lot. We held back as I tried to find “Crazy Train” on my iPod, settling for “Motownphilly” instead. And we held back as we wound our way around the final bends…

…through Gate 8…

…and as we approached The Helmet.

And then, after slapping the side of The Helmet like we’ve seen them do from our various spots in the stands over the years, Kim and I emerged from the tunnel, arms raised, and then booked it. An all-out, leave-it-on-the-field 50-yard dash where we blew past our fellow runners and raced each other to the end. We crossed the finish line at the same time. Kim unleashed her best Randy Moss and we dropped to make Welker-approved snow angels in the endzone (verdict: awesome, yet scratchy and HOT on the turf in July).

That dash – and 10K that preceded it – left me breathless in the short term. It put me out of commission later in the day, when I took what was supposed to be an hour-long break from barbecue and revelry and fell asleep until 2 a.m. But it was a moment of pure fun and adrenaline in which I had such a sudden spike of runner’s high, feeling strong, powerful, and amazingly alive.

I like to think that I’m a nice person. I try to be, anyway. I like to be helpful. I believe in karma. Many of the breaks I’ve gotten in life have come from people who’ve looked out for me the same way I’ve looked out for them.

That said, I’m such a bitch when I run.

Seriously. My weekly long runs take me out of my neighborhood, where I’m able to run comfortably and safely without a whole lot of interruption or agitation, and into a much busier environment. I like it that way – the stimulation and changing scenery keeps me entertained. Historically, I’ve had greater success running down Mass Ave to the Charles than I’ve had running through the wooded areas of the Minuteman. I love the exhileration of running against a city backdrop.

But I’m reminded every week of just how much people suck when you’re a runner. And rather that smile and carry on, I’m a bitch about it.

There’s ample discussion about how tough it can be to bike in the city. There are movements to make sure that pedestrians are taken care of. People lament trying to drive safely in Boston. But I don’t hear anything about how all of these other groups seem to conspire to make running as difficult as humanly possible. You have cars speeding through crosswalks, bikers eschewing bike lanes – lanes specifically established for the purpose of their travel – for sidewalks. Skateboarders are flipping all over the place, their boards flying out at whomever happens to be running by.

As for those fellow travelers by foot? A runner weaves past:

  • dogs
  • people walking side by side by side by side
  • others crawling at Newbury Street speed
  • those who are taking photos on one side of the path of the people standing on the other side (not knocking photography, of course, but still)
  • and, most obnoxious, the people who ignore repeated calls of “on the left” until you’re jogging in place behind them, having to pretty much shout “EXCUSE ME PLEASE.” And then, bless their little hearts, they snap at the runner that she should get out of the way.

Listen, people. I’m in training. I’m training for a marathon. I’m not trying to take up the entire road. I’m not trying to get in your way. I’m just trying to travel a path that gets me from Point A to Point B. And I’m a nice person, I swear, but after seven miles, when you are busy yapping with your buddy as you walk at a snail’s pace and block the entire sidewalk, I am going to be snippy.

So, in the immortal words of that poet for our times, Ludacris:

Move, bitch. Get out the way.

This morning, I had the priviledge of running in the inaugural Run to Home Base 9K, which began and ended at Fenway Park.

Not only was I able to help raise money for a good cause…

Not only did I get to feel the adrenaline rush that comes with taking to the roads with a couple thousand fellow running enthusiasts…

Not only did I get to feel like a superhero, zooming off of Lansdowne to pass security and make a beeline through the concourse and onto a sun-drenched field…

The Red Sox were so appreciative of my efforts that they put my bib number up on the outside of the ballpark. In huge red numbers, no less.

As you can see, I was touched by this gesture.

(In case you’re keeping track, that’s the second in the Fisk series. I never claimed not to be a dork.)

The Run to Home Base 9K is less than a month away, and I’m excited to set out on a run that will take me from Boston to Cambridge and back again, ending at Fenway Park’s home plate. But in order to get there on May 23, I need some help.

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to meet some of the veterans involved with the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program, and I have to say that doing so has been one of my personal Fenway highlights. I’m running the 9K in honor of those veterans, as well as in honor of family and friends who have served so bravely over the years.

I tell you this to ask for your support. I have pledged to raise $1000 for the Home Base Program and I want to not only meet that goal, but exceed it. I would greatly appreciate any help you can give to help me do so. As a thank you for your support, I will be raffling off a pair of tickets to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park this year. For every $20 donation to my run, you will earn an entry into the raffle. Every additional $20 will get you an additional entry! By supporting such a good cause, you’ll have a chance to cheer on the Sox at Fenway this summer!

Please visit my fundraising page at http://www.runtohomebase.org/runtohomebase/VictoriaWelch and spread the word. Know someone who would like to help the cause – or someone who’d like a chance to win the tickets? Please let them know about my efforts!

Every little bit helps and I appreciate anything you can do to help my efforts. Here’s to a great cause and what’s going to be a great day at Fenway on May 23.

On May 23, I will participate in the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Run to Home Base 9K. As one of the runners taking to Boston streets on that Sunday, I will be running to support and say thank you to the veterans and their families who now live with the realities of combat stress disorders and/or traumatic brain injury.

I’m pleased and honored to have an opportunity to honor all veterans, but especially the three members of my family who have served in the military.

While I am committed to running this race – which I will finish by crossing home plate at Fenway Park – I can’t complete my Home Base mission alone. I have set a goal of raising $1,000 for the Home Base program and hope that you can support me in my endeavor. Every little bit helps!

Please visit my fundraising page for more information about the program and the run. Consider supporting my run and please spread the word to others – whether it’s a runner who might be interested in participating or someone who would be interested in helping me reach my goals. I am incredibly excited about this run and look forward to being able to report on its success after May 23!

Thank you for any and all support you can provide.