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IrishFest 5K, Part Deux: Revenge of the Bagpipes

Bagpipes in 2009

Unlike my first running of the IrishFest 5K, I didn’t witness an unofficial “Escape The Cops 5K” on my way to the starting line. This year’s race also wasn’t at night like the one two years ago was, so they did not hand out any glow sticks :( But by God, there were bagpipes!

I sat on a folding chair waiting for the race to start, when a thirty-something man in a grey shirt and square-frame glasses came up and said, “Excuse me, but do you know what pace you plan on running?”

“I have no idea,” I told him honestly. I haven’t been tracking the distance I’ve been running while training, just the amount of time I spend running. “Maybe a 12-minute mile pace?” I said optimistically recalling my average pace a year and a half ago.

“Do you mind if I pace off of you? I haven’t run a 5K for almost two years and it would help a lot if I could pace myself with somebody.”

“Sure,” I told him.

“I just thought I’d ask you…because you still have a jacket on,” he said, though I wondered if he really meant, “because you’re heavier than most of the other freakishly lean and well-muscled people here.” It was about 60 degrees out, yet many of the hardcore athletes were only wearing their running shorts and t-shirts. Either way, it made for the second time someone has propositioned me to be their running buddy because I’m a slow runner; the other person was a woman on the nature trail about 2 or 3 years ago.

So that is how J1m H0gan and I ran the IrishFest 5K together, though I have obscured his name in case one day an employer Googles him and decides they simply cannot hire a slow runner for a job. For the first 25 minutes, we did intervals of 4 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking. Then for the rest of the race we did intervals of 2 minutes of walking and 3 minutes of running, finishing in 44:12, which is over three minutes faster than my last run, which goes to show I perform much better when it’s not hot and humid with no water stations in sight. I brought my own water bottle this time too, and the cool weather was much more pleasant for a three-mile run. I wasn’t sure if I’d like running with someone, but it made me accountable to stick to the intervals I’d set. Otherwise, I might have chipped 20 or 30 seconds off the running intervals because no one would have known one way or the other.

My best 5K time ever was 31:17, and I remember at the time thinking it was still rather slow because the fastest runners could finish in about 15 minutes. Comparing it to my current time of 44:12, it looks downright speedy, and I finally understood my aunt who once commented on how good that time was. I suppose it’s like how I used to look at old photos of myself from high school, a time when I felt HUGE, and realized I hadn’t been that fat at all.

I improved on my last time, which was my goal, and ultimately I’m only competing with myself. After the 5K I went online and signed up for another race scheduled in about a month called Run Like Hell. It’s held at night on the day before Halloween and the participants are encouraged to dress up for the occasion. Looking at last year’s photos of people dressed as everything from a school bus to the three little pigs, it appears to be a hell of a lark. Anyone got an idea for a costume that might win me a prize, but that I can also run comfortably in?

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That Kind of Girl • September 21, 2009 at 10:28 am

I love it! Nothing like bagpipes to get people running at a goodish clip!

Costumed run sounds hilarious. You could dress up as a bull (or Chicago Bull) and make Pamplona jokes all night!


Lori • September 21, 2009 at 10:47 am

Great job! You know, I actually really like bagpipes :D

Running comfortably would be something like black compression shorts and a black top, with some yellow tape around to be a bumblebee. Running with compression is the best thing around, especially if you have loose skin as I do!


Rachel • September 21, 2009 at 12:28 pm

I have no ideas for a costume but I am requesting pictures of you in whatever you decide to be!


Caitlin • September 21, 2009 at 12:40 pm

You should call up J!M and see if he’ll agree to wear all red. Go as Ketchup and Mustard =)


Claire • September 21, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Why the pics of men wearing kilts and playing bagpipes at an Irish Fest? That’s Scottish, noone does those things in Ireland.

Just sayin’!


Beverly • September 21, 2009 at 1:05 pm

You should dress up as the Pasta Queen, duh. It may not win a contest but it would make good pictures to use for the website and future books. You dressed up as the Pasta Queen running! Awesome.


Bethama • September 21, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Hm. Could you dress as spaghetti? Or at least, make a spaghetti wig out of yarn and wear a hair tie with meatball pom poms?


Courtney • September 21, 2009 at 2:03 pm

I ran a half marathon last year in a batgirl costume! Super fun. Black running skirt, black tank with the batman logo sewed on, and a cape. Every one runs faster in a cape. :D


Benita • September 21, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Well, how about wearing a bright orange pair of coveralls and going as an escapee from jail? I’ll bet you get LOTS of double-takes.


Babyrunner • September 21, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Do what I do every year for halloween – put on a tiara and be done with it!

But I like Courtney’s idea too.

Maybe a tiara AND a cape?!?


Sheryl • September 21, 2009 at 2:39 pm

I second the tiara, plus a little pink skirt, and then you’re a ballerina! You could put a sparkly star on your water bottle to add to the effect.


PastaQueen • September 21, 2009 at 2:47 pm

@Claire – I wondered that myself, but I thought it was better to just enjoy the music and not ask questions :)


Tamara • September 21, 2009 at 3:09 pm

One time Me and a friend dressed up as cows.. We took a white sweat pants and painted spots on them and wore our hair in pig tails.. It was a cowboy theme. It was fun and comfy… but you could paint on yours “run with the herd” hahaha..


Amy • September 21, 2009 at 4:07 pm

you could totally be richard simmons- spandex is pretty comfortable for running!


Quix • September 21, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Great race! Glad you beat your time and did what you set out to do!

As for a costume, um… you could dress up like water. And say that you’re running water? Yeah, it’s dumb. It’s Monday and I’m not feeling creative. I do request pictures, whatever you do!


Flora • September 21, 2009 at 5:17 pm

@Benita – This.


Lari • September 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm

Maybe it’s a new 5K theme! We had bagpipes at last weekends 5K for the American Heart Association too.


kat • September 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm

A few years ago I was “Awareness”. Took a white t-shirt, got some felt from Michael’s (pink-breast cancer, yellow-lance armstrong, burgundy-Headaches…) and made ribbons- sewed them to the t-shirt. On the front of the shirt wrote, “Aware?” and on the back wrote, “F*ck Yeah!”


Deanna • September 21, 2009 at 7:20 pm

I just ran a relay race and it encouraged costumes – most of the teams were dressed up (except for us ’cause we are lame and couldn’t get our act together), with that being said.. I saw a Princess Laia, the entire Mario Kart team, The Brandy Bunch (entire team was a character, and they put “Jan”, “Marcia” on their backs), Jane Fonda (Fond-of-Running (three men, in body suits, hilarious!!)), 80’s porn stars (tights, booty shorts, big hair, tank top – all in gold and silver), Disco era (big hair, bell bottoms…), Cavemen/Cavewoman, so many more that I can’t even think of… maybe this will help you brain storm!


psychsarah • September 21, 2009 at 9:15 pm

My first thought for a costume was Wonder Woman-probably for nostalgia sake (smiling fondly at the memory of my underoos), and ease of running, but there are way better ideas here. I second/third/fourth the motion for pictures.


Dixie • September 21, 2009 at 9:42 pm

You could get one of those clear umbrellas. Then tape long strips of bubble wrap all around it. And go as a jellyfish!

You could wear whatever you wanted underneath, and lower the umbrella when not running so that it covers you more, and hold the umbrella up higher while you run!


Bb • September 22, 2009 at 4:27 am

I can’t say why, but I’m hoping to see someone dressed up as the old guy from the movie Up this Halloween. Get a grouchy old man mask, big glasses, a baggy suit and a giant bouquet of helium balloons. In your case it’s not only funny but the balloons are sure to give you an advantage. Think about it. ;)


A fan • September 22, 2009 at 7:03 am

There are “Irish pipes” that are, to me, anyway, totally indistinguishable from regular Scottish bag pipes. To be honest, they’d improve my 5 km time because I’d happily sprint to get away from that racket. :)

Congrats on finishing and improving your time, Jennette!


Kathy • September 22, 2009 at 7:24 am

HI Pasta Queen! I wanted to let you know that I love your blog, bought and read your book and hope you are having a headache free day. I keep thinking I should try to get in shape to run a 5K but then I walk up the one flight of stairs to my office and think maybe not! Congrats to you though! You rock!


Tina • September 22, 2009 at 7:56 am

I vote for one of the characters from Lost. Nothing could be more comfy than a Dharma Initiative jumpsuit and if it’s cold, you can layer up and pretend you’re Hurley.


Mom Taxi Julie • September 22, 2009 at 7:15 pm

I think just as long as you are out there doing the run, it doesn’t really matter what your time is!! Congrats for doing it!

So how do you find out about these runs? Do you just do a search for 5k’s in your area? I wonder if I’d die.


PastaQueen • September 22, 2009 at 8:03 pm

@Mom Taxi Julie – There is a running group here in town called Indy Runners and they list all upcoming runs on their web site here: http://www.indyrunners.org/race-calendar.cfm


Rita • September 22, 2009 at 11:36 pm

There are already so many good ideas for dressing up that I hate to even post . .. but along the balloon ideas .. .. you could blow up some purple balloons, afix them to you somehow and go as a running hemorrhoid (better than going as the johnny quick steps I suppose). Might be good for a few laughs but probably not for your time.


Merry • September 23, 2009 at 1:06 am

@Claire – When I participated in the Portland Bridge Pedal, they had musicians (sic) on every bridge we crossed. On the Fremont bridge, there was a guy playing the bagpipes — right next to a sign on the bridge that gave a phone number for people who needed suicide counseling. Coincidence? You be the judge.


kyle • September 23, 2009 at 3:29 am

Hindsight is always twenty twenty. Nah, that’s cliche, but it really does put things into perspective doesn’t it?


Alecia • September 23, 2009 at 4:50 pm

You could go as the food thief…The typical orange jump suit or black/white stripes with felt food attached! If you have a running pal they could go as the “food police” and attach healthy foods.


Caron • September 24, 2009 at 11:50 am

@PastaQueen – There’s the old joke:

The Irish invented them and gave them to the Scots as a joke, and the Scots haven’t seen the joke yet.

You could wear an empty cereal box that has red paint on it with a plastic fork sticking out of the red paint and be a cereal killer.


Tiffany S. • September 27, 2009 at 12:51 am

Whatever you go as, I just think it’s awesome that you signed up for the next one. You continue to be an amazing source of inspiration!

Can’t wait for pictures!


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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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