First You Run a Slower 5k

Late in July, I picked a new three-month project: Run a Faster 5k. Reminder: the time to beat is 33:15; the goal is sub-30.

The day after I wrote that post, Liz, Jaclyn and I ran the Urban Raid 5k here in Boston. Admittedly, it’s very trendy in running right now: Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, etc. I know, I know – but we had so much fun! Trendy things are popular for a reason – people like it! Liz and I had been working with Clayton at Healthworks Fitness between May and July, training for the obstacle aspect of this race. (Ok, that was a really good excuse to work out with a friend and with a great trainer!) We had already seen an improvement in the gym, so we were excited to test out if we were actually stronger “in real life.”

This race was really just a playground for adults. There were various hurdles obstacles, monkey bars, a cargo net climb (overlooking the harbor), rope climb, and the finishers wall. I would get out there and do that every weekend – except for the $50 average price tag on these events. Yikes!

Liz, me, and Jaclyn after the Urban Raid 5k.
Liz, me, and Jaclyn after the Urban Raid 5k.

Doing this race with Liz and Jaclyn (who I actually first met the morning of the race) was so nice – what a great group we were. I am definitely the slowest of the three, and unsurprisingly that made me feel incredibly guilty at first. Sure, it’s fun to run a race like this with your friends, but who wants their time impacted by someone slower? It wasn’t like that at all though – they were great cheerleaders and teammates. I can’t wait to take up a notch with them next year! We definitely have designs on the Warrior Dash race.

It’s a month later now though, and I’ve went out for a few runs (just 4). I have not really committed to this “get faster” thing in the way I thought I would. I didn’t run at all for three weeks after that 5k!

August Runs

  • 8/17, Vermont. Distance – 2.99 mi, Time – 34:45.
  • 8/24, Esplanade (Boston). Distance – 4.06 mi, Time – 50:33.
  • 8/25, Seaport (Boston). Distance – 2.83 mi, Time – 31:48.
  • 8/28, Marathon Sports Run Club. Distance – 3.66 mi, Time – 43:04.

But it’s ok! I needed a bit of a break. No big deal. Liz and I went to Marathon Sports run club last week and ran a slow 3.5 together. While it was slow and we were not pushing ourselves really at all (we were able to chat the entire time), it was definitely the first run of many this fall. It just felt like the beginning again, you know?

I’m still looking for an official, chip-timed 5k to run in late October or early November. I have signed up for a December 5k, but that is basically just a holiday-themed party. It absolutely will not fit into this plan – we have a team name; there will be costumes; there will be beer.

But… I signed up for another 10k, in October! My running plan for the next six weeks is essentially focused on distance then. It would be nice if those 6 miles felt a little easier this time around. In addition to running, I’ll keep training with Jason, try to fit in 2 spin classes per week. And I’m going to add in one evening yoga class per week for September as well.

So, each week I go out for 3 runs – one long run, one tempo run, and one set of speed work (usually on the treadmill). In order to also prioritize getting faster, my long runs will incorporate that attention as well: running one mile at my best pace, resting, and repeating for the full distance. Tempo runs will be treated as race day runs – the full distance at race pace. Speed work will continue to be the drudgery of training for a race, the type of running you need a playlist to get through and quickly uses up your entire day’s supply of grit and perseverance (which is why I do speed work on Fridays).

I know reading and talking about running is, at best, tedious for non-runners, so here’s a reward for making it to the end. My running playlist for the last two weeks is one of the more perfect (for me) playlists I’ve put together. Highlights include:

Ellie Goulding — “Burn”

M.I.A. — “Bad Girls”

Jay-Z — “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”

Jay-Z, Rihanna, Kanye West — “Run This Town”

I’m working on September’s running playlist – what music are you running to?


I seem to listen to primarily male singer-songwriters, broken-hearted and angsty young men. Damien Rice is a favorite. Sufjan Stevens. Mumford and Sons. More Damien Rice. Even more Damien Rice. Sometimes I need a break, though, and my friend Jason is replete with recommendations for female musicians to listen to and through him I have found some very lovely music. A few months ago, I asked very specifically for something I could listen to at work… not too sad, not too happy…and a female, please… and he recommended Meiko.

I listened a few times, here and there. I liked it. But listening to music at work is not the way to give a new artist a fair shot. I couldn’t tell you any specific songs I liked; I certainly didn’t retain any lyrics. It fades into the background for most of the day (which is how I listened to Lana Del Rey on loop for 8 hours without realizing it last week).
A few days ago, a friend offered a free ticket to the Meiko show at Lincoln Hall. I know that name! I thought, looked her up on Spotify and instantly remembered that, yes, I like this. So I jumped at the ticket and headed the beautiful Lincoln Hall venue Wednesday night for what turned out to be one of the best shows I’ve been to in months.
Meiko is just seriously so adorable. I can’t help it – I’m a little in love with her. She was phenomenal live. I’m just waiting for a live album to release because it was so much better than a studio album. That sounds terrible but I mean it as a compliment. She has a lovely voice and was just on all night. Great music, super charming – I was swooning, I can’t deny it.


She was so sweet and genuine and accommodating at the merch table. I picked up a super cute t-shirt, snagged her autograph, and yet somehow resisted from just putting her in my pocket and taking her home (that’s how we talk about about things that are adorable, ok). Just a wonderful night all around.

Both of her albums are great but I am looping The Bright Side like crazy – happy, upbeat, cheerful songs that are guaranteed to make you smile. She loves love, y’all! And it’s fun!

And yes, I asked her where she got her dress and then I bought that dress. We’re surprised? (No, we’re not.)