Monthly Archives: April 2013

Race Report: Running for Boston

by Shamala Kandiah Thompson

On Sunday I ran a 5K race with a great group of women who actually made the experience enjoyable. It all started with my last blog post written a few days after the Boston bombings which ended with this sentence: “I know it’s unlikely that I will ever qualify for Boston but I have two legs that can run and maybe I need to start putting them into a few more races.”

Sometimes you have to walk, or run in this case, the talk. Alta, one of Paul’s colleagues, emailed a group of us saying that she had been inspired by my post and invited us to run/shuffle/walk the George Wodicka Hook Mountain half-marathon and 5K race in Rockland Park. for Boston. I couldn’t say no. (Although I politely declined to do the half-marathon which Kimberly, who had told Alta about the race, was doing.)

Over the next 24 hours all five of agreed to sign up. We ranged from veteran marathon runners to one who had never run a 5K in her life. Like so many this week-end we all wanted to show our solidarity with Boston.


Kelly G, Bernadette and Alta ready to race.


Kelly A showing off her first ever race bib.

Sunday morning dawned bright and chilly. One of my biggest worries was how to dress. Temperatures were expected to be between 37 and 39 degrees farenheit, lower still with the wind chill. I hate being cold so I packed lots of layering options. After my warm-up I decided to be daring and go with just a light long-sleeved top and capri pants. Plus headband and gloves. It was just right.

There are advantages to a small race. You can park your car several hundred meters from the starting point. Everyone just gathers at the start, no herding into corrals. Having friends to hang out with distracted me from my usual pre-race jitters. So for the first time in my life as I stood at the starting line with my running partenr, Kelly G, I did not have butterflies in my stomach.


The five of us just before the start.

We headed around at a steady pace. The course which does a loop of Rockland Lake is nice and flat. I understand there were forsythia bushes in full bloom and the water was a lovely blue but nothing registered other than runners ahead of me and the path beneath my feet.


Tryng to keep it together at near the finish.

At the 1 mile mark the race clock flashed 7:30. I didn’t think my legs could move that quickly. Had I gone out too fast? As a few people began to pass me I worried that I would fizzle out. Somehow I held it together, not quite at that pace, but enough to come in at 24.29 in spite of a head wind and queasy stomach in the second half. ( Ineed to work on my finish – I was outsprinted by two teenagers right at the end!) It was a personal best and a 3rd placing in my age group. The flat course helped. As did the thought of why we were doing it.


Both of us were thrilled to get PRs at this race.

It was a good day for all five of us. Kelly G came in right behind me to finish second in her age group. Kelly A – who had never run a 5K – clocked an impressive 33 mintues. Alta and Bernadette who were originally planning to walk, ran most of the course and Kimberly finished a tough half-marathon in 1 hour 45 minutes with a smile on her face!


Kimberly coming into the finish.

Post-run brunch at Alta’s was a chance to bond over our race experiences. Doing a race with these women brought home once more that in a race it is not about winning but about daring to go out and push those boundaries.


Lovely post-run brunch was a perfect end to the morning.


Boston Marathon Bombing: An Attack on My People

by Shamala Kandiah Thompson

As part of my job I have to read about terrorist bombings all over the world. So why was I so shaken by this bombing? No one I knew had been hurt.  I thought it was because for the last two years I have been at the exact spot where the bombs went off.  And Paul has crossed that finish line. But it was more than that. This was a direct attack on my people – the runners and the people who support them.


Runners coming into the finish in last year’s Boston Marathon at about the time the bombs went off this year.

I am both a runner and a spectator. I spend a lot of time running but have also spent hours at numerous finish lines waiting – with camera in hand – for Paul and other friends to come in. I get a thrill from seeing the front runners sprint to the finish. But watching the slower runners in all their various shapes and sizes get to the finish line reminds me that  only by pushing our boundaries do we discover what we really can do.  A marathon celebrates everyone who has pushed their bodies and their spirit to the fullest. No one should mess with that.


Runners in the 2012 Boston Marathon struggling because of the heat but not giving up.

The running community is still reeling from shock. But I know that it will not deter most runners from racing. And Boston will bounce back.  Not just because it has one of the best marathons in the world. But because Boston is possibly the most runner-friendly town in the world. Several weeks before Paul ran Boston in 2008 we decided to  check out the route. Running along the course that weekend we came across people at tables with cups of water. First we thought there was a race on. There wasn’t. Just normal Bostonians offering refreshments to the runners in their final weeks of training for the Boston Marathon.And on race weekend Boston is one big running town.  Signs of the marathon are everywhere from churches to the T train stations.


Posters from the 2011 Boston Marathon.


Every aspect of life in Boston is touched by marathon week-end.

I know my people. The running community will not be cowed by this. It will fight back by racing without fear. As has been well documented in this blog I do not enjoy racing. But this has made even me want to get out there and race. I know it’s unlikely that I will ever qualify for Boston but I have two legs that can run and maybe I need to start putting them into a few more races.

Rolling on Balls and Posing as Warriors

by Paul Thompson and Shamala Kandiah Thompson

Sham and Ball Rolling

Recently we’ve been preoccupied by balls. Big and little ones. We have silver balls, black balls and blue balls. We’ve been sitting on them, rolling on them and lying on them. And how you may ask is this connected to running? Or living in Boulder? Ball rolling just might be the key to injury free running while living in Boulder at some point in our lives!

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