Confessions of a Running Metalhead

So this weekend, while sitting outside relaxing with the hubs and noticing that someone had read one of my blogs (yes, I check daily, and yes I LOVE my readers!), he said to me…

“You’re a really good writer, but you need to branch out on your topics. All you write about is running.”

So after I went all ‘Rudolph after Clarice tells him he’s cute’ (lol), I told him, okay, I will write about music this week. But as they say to write what you know… I am going to give you my top six favorite running songs. And why I love them.

People might be surprised that they are ALL metal. But its because a) I LOVE metal and b) you can’t run fast to a slow song. Its about trying to keep your feet to the beat. So make it a good one.

These songs make it onto ALL of my speed playlists – be it a 5k, half-marathon or just Thursday Sprintervals. They were there when I set my 5k PR (Turkey Vision Quest playlist) and kicked asphalt at the Blackstone Valley Half (2:01 or bust playlist). They are those songs that when I hear them when i’m not running, they make me wish I was running.

They are:

6. Ready to Rock – Airborne
Why? The lyrics start with “Went down to the crossroads, made a deal with the devil. Sold my soul for a guitar. Became a rock & roll rebel” Plus those O’Keefe brothers are mad talented. Love the whole Black Dog Barking album.  But this song? As it surges, so do I. I’ve put it on repeat before and run the whole time to it. Its fast and hard and my sub-8 mile pace song. Are you READY????

5. Electric Eye – Judas Priest
Why? Its fast. Its fun. I’m listening as I write this and can’t stop moving my foot. It moves.

4. Stand Up and Shout – Dio
Why? Cuz its Dio. And like the others on this list, starts out with a bang. And never slows down. Plus I love the lyrics. “You’ve got desire so let it out. You’ve got the power.” YES… So what if I lip-sync on the treadmill.

3. Riding on the Wind – Judas Priest
Why? Cuz its awesome. From drums to guitar to them together…. i’m just trying to keep up. And Rob’s vocals are spot on.

2. Death Alley Driver – Rainbow
Why? Ritchie freaking Blackmore. Because the song starts out setting a great uptempo beat. And the guitar solo mid-song just makes me smile. And push the pace even more. And the lyrics are SO running.. “You’ll never win the race, but you won’t give up the chase” resonate with this mid-packer.

1. Kickstart My Heart – Motley Crue
Why? That opening. This is my leadoff song for most races. It kicks in fast and hard early and just sets the groove. Guitar, to Drums (tommy sets a killer beat) to Vince’s scream..it just moves. And so do I.

So…. how many of you are itching to run right now? Or tapping your foot? LOL Who else is secretly a running metalhead? Are any of these on YOUR must list?

Rock on my friends…🀘🏻🀘🏻

Cinderella seeks glass slipper

My glass slipper shattered…

Well, it shattered my 5k PR in November. Lol But now….it has reached its maximum miles. And is about to go into retirement. 

It’s my fourth pair of this particular shoe. The Brooks Launch 2. My favorite pair of running shoes EVER. And…it no longer exists. 

Believe me, I’ve looked. Everywhere. It’s just a couple years old and I can’t find it in my size on discount sites or running sites or the back dusty corner of a running store. 

So here I am…a running Cinderella seeking that new perfect fit. 

I have the Launch 4, the newest iteration. I even ran the Maine Coast marathon in them. But I don’t get that same sense of magical happiness that the 2’s gave me.  

They are stiffer. And I think are aggravating my Achilles. Which is kind of a problem. 

I recently bought a pair of the new Ghost 10 to try. And they are squishy marshmallows of goodness. But they are a little heavier than the Launch. So while I know they are going to be awesome for marathoning…I still need speed shoes. 

There are SO many new ones on the Brooks website that I don’t even know what to try. So I actually sent them an email to see what they might suggest.  Do I pureflow? Am I a Revel? Or is this a job for the Neuro…  help!!! 

I’ll keep you all posted – because I am fairly sure I’m not the only one mourning the 2’s. 

I did give them one last hurrah. I took them to Potsdam NY this weekend to run the 5k at my husband’s college reunion. And they went out on top. 

We ran a 26:14…good enough for 7th overall and 2nd female. πŸ™‚ woohoo!

Now…they become my weekend errand pair.  Because even old glass slippers deserve respect. And I just can’t quit them…

Full Moon Running…a quartet of crazy

I’ve always believed that the full moon brings weirdos out of the woodwork. But this week truly reached a new level.

I should have caught on Sunday that it was a full moon when I encountered the snowman on my long run. LOL

But it wasn’t until after finishing my ‘runch’ yesterday that it sunk in.

Because during the first mile I encountered three rather unusual individuals…

First there was the rather heavy woman, sitting on the curb of the island of a large intersection. Who was only wearing a shirt. Fortunately her stomach was large enough to cover her ladybits, but it was still way more than I needed to see. (side note – she was gone on my way back, so either she left, or was encouraged along).

Then came the human squirrel. He had to be part squirrel, because most human beings don’t suddenly dart in front of another person for no good reason. And yet, this gentleman coming up the other side of the sidewalk just randomly came over right in front of me. Not texting, not avoiding an obstacle, just apparently decided to see if I was paying attention. Okay…

And, a block later, number three. The woman in the motorized wheelchair who, at the exact second I swung down to the right around her, turned without looking and headed for the road. I swung wider and apparently ticked her off, as I heard her yell “Next time you do that i’m gonna run you over”. I wanted to yell back “you’d have to catch me first” but instead settled for “watch where you’re going”. Because someone that has no chance of catching you is fairly safe to yell back at. LOL

Fortunately soon after I made it to the river and the next two miles were uneventful. Even coming back up that final mile hill was no more than the usual people who don’t pay attention and cell-phone starers who are gonna end up with serious chiropractic issues.

I figured the crazy was over. Until I got back to the locker room to change. And encountered the fourth member of my Quartet of Crazy.

Because you know those fancy dyson hand-dryers where you slide your hands down in and pull them back out? Well, I watched a woman use it to dry her dirty sports bra. Genius, but disgusting. I mean lady – people use that to dry off clean hands, and now your sweat stank is all over it. Not. Hygenic.

Oh well, at least the full moon is only once a month. I’ll just have to be more aware next month and not run downtown Boston that day. Unless I need another good blog topic!

Stars & Stripes – the recap

Some people celebrate Independence Day with sparklers and hot dogs…and some of us prefer to dress up in sparkles and run races.  

I decided to run two this year and make my own 19.3 Challenge – the Stars & Stripes. Sure there was no bonus medal like at Disney, but it was still a totally awesome experience. 

It consisted of the Independence Half in Bristol, RI and the Finish at the 50 10k in Foxboro, MA. 

I’d never run Bristol before, but I totally would again. Despite it being insanely humid it was an absolute blast. 

The course is rolling hills and mostly water views and Bristol really goes all out for the 4th (events and a parade) so the town is draped in flags and bunting. Plus a lot of the route is within Colt State Park, one of my favorites places by the water and where I spent 12 hours last summer at the Anchor Down ultra. πŸ˜€

A lot of runners were all dressed up in red, white and blue and some really fun outfits. I was saving my really good one for the 10k, but still got into the spirit. 

Some highlights of my race:

  • Meeting a Facebook friend in person finally (hi Sarah!) and another member of my team runDisney fb group
  • Making it all the way up the longest hill to mile 8. It wasn’t steep but it took forever 
  • Finding the “Road Rage” sign
  • Taking a selfie with Potato Head Uncle Sam
  • Knowing that water on the back of your neck does more good than in your mouth. Lol 
  • Having the courage to walk at mile 10. (It was too humid. I couldn’t make myself slow down. So I knew I had to start the walk breaks)
  • Finding out later that despite taking those walk-breaks I was still sub 10:30 pace for those miles. 
  • Finding my fierce at the end – to rally and  run solid the last 1/3 of a mile. With one heck of a finishing kick!

Overall? I finished in just over 2:07. Not my best, not my worst. And I worked hard for that.  It’s been a long time since a half-marathon felt that hard. Sometimes, the reward is in the struggle. 

And I got a cool medal. πŸ˜€

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The Finish at the 50? That one I’ve run a few times before. 

It’s always hot. And I always wonder why I insist on running it. And then I remember…it’s all about the finish. I will never get tired of the chance to run through the inflatable helmet and out onto the field at Gillette Stadium. 

The whole day is like a giant party. They have a kids race, 5k and 10k. There’s a dj and people hang out before. Plus there are fireworks after the races, so you get a lot of spectators the last mile of the race. 

I headed over a couple hours early to meet up with some more members of my runDisney group.  Such a fun buncha people.  A couple of them were running the 5k so I got to watch them start and cheer on all the 5k runners (Trust me, no one is as enthusiastic as a spectator as another runner. Lol) before getting ready for the 10k.  

And there were a lot of 5k runners! Love seeing everyone dressed up and patriotic. 

Me? I went with Wonder Woman. Which was a huge hit with the spectators. 

Hanging out with my group before the race the question came up of goal times.  And as I had hoped to do okay but not great  (it was 80 – and heat is not my friend) I laughed that the goal was to finish. And hopefully under 1:10. 

Another responded “you know how the Disney training plans say – use this one if you want to finish in the upright position?” That’s my goal. To finish in the upright position. Yes!! 😁

We lined up, and after the national anthem (yeah, watching a flag wave in the breeze on independence eve will get ya right there…) headed off. 

I started purposely easy. And spent the next 3 miles trying to hold myself back. 

I chatted with a few other runners here and there. 

I ran through a LOT of sprinklers (you foxboro residents are so awesome!). 

And I never looked at my watch. 

Just watched the mile signs pass by. And passed the people who dropped to walk. And suddenly knew that was my goal. 

That unlike Bristol where I couldn’t go slow enough to not walk, I was going to run easy enough to not need to. Wonder Woman doesn’t walk. 

Suddenly mile 4 clicked by and I was having fun. And then we turned to see the stadium in front of us. Knowing we hadn’t hit mile 5 yet it felt like a joke…so close and yet so far. 

And at mile 5, there was an ugly hill. And I think I passed 7 people on it.  And I grinned at the cheers. Because Wonder Woman never gives up. 

 As we looped through the parking lot of tailgaters I high fived SO many kids I lost count. I couldn’t stop smiling.  

Finally, we headed to the stadium. And down the ramps to the lowest level.  Just before we entered, I spotted the first of the photographers. And picked up the pace. 

(Note:The next photos to follow – credit to Capstone. I will be buying them, but snagged these watermarked versions for the blog…)


And entering the stadium, let out a cheer 

I reached the middle, turned toward the finish line and watched for myself on the big screen (this is the first year I’ve actually seen it!!!!)

I heard my name announced as I approached the line (woohoo!) and sprinted across. 

Where I finally looked at my watch. 

A 1:01:34 finish. Sweet!!!! A fairly typical 10k time for me. Especially for this race.  And way better than I expected. 

So feeling like a total rockstar I got in the line for a photo with Pat… who high fived me. 😁 it’s always good to impress a mascot. Lol 

That. Was. So. Much. Fun!!

Overall? I definitely enjoyed myself more at the 10k than the half. But I would run both again in a heartbeat. And even both the same weekend again. πŸ˜€β€πŸƒπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

Hope everyone had a great 4th!! 

When bad runs go good

Sunday had the makings of a spectacular disaster.

I was tired, I was cranky, I did NOT want to go run. My left knee hurt, my left calf hurt, my right foot had both heel and toe issues and I was just not feeling the run-love.

I sat on the couch all “I don’t want to run. But its Sunday, I have to run. But I REALLY don’t want to. But i’ll regret it if I don’t. GO RUN.”

Instead I took the Gus out, and then changed my outfit because you know, stalling… and finally headed out.

I almost didn’t take my Garmin. I didn’t want to know how slow and hideous my pace was gonna be. But I couldn’t remember exactly how far my loop was, and I needed 12 miles, so instead I promised myself if the pace was truly embarrassing that i’d just delete it.

Sure, I have a half-marathon in two weeks and so I should have been trying for a decent run. But it was warm and slimy-humid and with the list of grievances listed above, I knew I had to just let it go and run easy.

Well, not EASY, but slow. Because nothing was going to be easy.

And as I chugged along I tried to change my brain. I stopped to photograph a random stuffed animal.

And I stopped at a waterfall for a minute. And I kept an eye out for critters and commiserated with some other runners about how hideously humid it was.

It was around mile 8 that things started to turn and my pace got better. I want to blame Sasquatch. (This must be freaky at night!)

But really, it was the ‘incredibly fit couple’ i’d seen a minute before. There they were, dressed in black and muscles, strapping their child into a stroller. They gave a very cheerful hello as I went by. And then, I could hear them behind me. And I was all “Yeah, no. I am NOT getting passed by a stroller on a Sunday run.” LOL

So I surged a bit and it felt good. And I shimmied up the giant hill at mile 9. And I kept going.

At mile 11 I had reached my house and debated going in for water and then doing 2 more miles, or just toughing it out for 1. And was afraid if I went inside i’d stay there. So 12 it was going to be.

And as I headed up my loop and saw the row of sprinklers on, I did a happy dance of joy. With my arms raised and a smile on my face I went straight through. And got soaked. Yay!!

And it made me happy enough that I speed up, and had my fastest mile of the day. A 9:00. I ended a hair under 10/mi overall, so I decided it was save-worthy.

Because it truly wasn’t that slow – it just felt it after how great i’ve been running lately. I have to remember that its summer, and that it means i’m going to get a smidge slower.

Which is okay, because a 2:00 Disney POT and a 2:03 Disney POT will put me in the same corral. So I don’t really need to kill myself on course in Bristol in oh, less than two weeks, if I don’t want to. We’ll wait and see what the weather brings.

For now, i’ll just trudge along and hope for sprinklers!

PS. How awesome is my new shirt? I just can’t resist anything hummingbird.

Road to Victory – Village Fair 5k race recap

β€œThe best pace is a suicide pace, and today looks like a good day to die.” – Pre

Saturday, was a good day to die. 

I’m not sure why I felt so insistent on running the Village Fair 5k in Walpole, MA on Saturday. I don’t run 5ks. I’m a marathoner who takes 3 miles to hit my stride. 

Maybe it’s because I just wanted to spend a morning in the company of other runners. Maybe it’s because there’s a definite charm to a small race. Or maybe it’s because I thought maybe I had a chance to finally place in my age group. 

But whatever it was, come Saturday morning I found myself on the lawn of a church in the middle of Walpole, grabbing my bib and ready to race. 

About to start my warmup I heard the DJ play “Try Everything” from Zootopia and as I sprinted across the parking lot I was singing along… I won’t give up, no I won’t give in, til I reach the end, then I’ll start again. And I smiled. 

This race, was mine to lose. And I was going to give it absolutely everything I had. πŸ˜€

So I hung by the start, watching the kid milers finish, and other runners stretch as I just shimmied to the music. That’s my favorite kind of warmup. 

And when all 80ish of us walked up to the start and no one seemed to want the front line, I took it.  Because when a race is gun-timed (not chip), every second counts. 

Then…as the air horn blew, I reached up to turn on my music (kickstart my heart to start…) and took off.  

And I mean TOOK OFF. Full out sprint that I knew I couldn’t maintain. But that I knew would level off to something I almost could. 

Because a 5k is no time for holding back. There’s no later miles to save it for. It’s truly a race. An all out, full on, sprint of a race. 

I ran hard, I let those faster than me pass, and I ran my own race.  

Of course, being passed by a guy pushing a stroller kinda hurt. And I turned and said to him “now THIS is kind of embarrassing” to which he laughed and replied “don’t worry, you’ll get me on the uphills”

And when my watch beeped mile 1, I dared a glance. And saw an 8:08 staring back at me. Hell yeah!!

I was also starting to breathe a little heavier than I should have been. (Where did this heat and sun come from?)  So while I told myself “it’s just 3 miles, it’s okay” I also saw the small hill leading into a small neighborhood loop and reigned myself in a little. 

As I saw the woman I had considered my competition stop and drink water and seem to struggle a bit I knew it was the right choice.  

I also told myself that when I came back out of the loop I’d do the same. 

And yet, when my watch beeped mile 2 a little before that water stop and it read 8:52, I knew I couldn’t chance it. Time for water could cut me out of a place-finish. 

So I pushed on, cruised the downhill and knew it was just a mile. I could do anything for a mile. 

Even climb Mount Everest. Because when we made a right turn, and I saw the hill, I was thinking “what is this? The Himalayas”? 

I knew it wasn’t a very long hill, but it was a very steep hill, that seemed to get progressively steeper towards the top.   But the woman standing there spectating, who yelled “Come on. Almost there. You got this!” Was just what I needed. Because I don’t like to walk hills. Especially in a 5k. And she was right, I did have this. 

Fortunately, after the top was downhill. A LOT of downhill.  Like almost all the way to the finish. 

Which was good, because I had maybe pushed a little too hard on that hill and spent the next two minutes dry heaving. Filled with both horror and amusement and the thought of hurling during a race. (After, sure. During, not so much.). But I got past it. 

And as the downhill continued and my legs took over, my brain went to the Steve Prefontaine quote I posted above. I was going to wring every last drop of everything out of me and leave on on that road. 

Somehow I surged. I could hear someone behind me, tho no idea how close. I just knew I was NOT going to be passed. And as people cheered and I was waved to the finish chute I gave it every last bit. And grinned when I saw the clock. 

It read 25:54. 

My second fastest 5k. 

One I hadn’t really trained for. One I ran 4 weeks after my second fastest marathon. And one that I still totally kicked asphalt at. 

As I walked over to where my hubs and my puppy sat. I gleefully told him my finish time. And that I KNEW I had to have placed. 

Because no one had passed me after about a half mile. And there was no way there were more than 2 women my age in that group. 

So we hung. And we waited. And I discovered my dog likes watermelon. And I chatted Disney with a couple other runners. And then…the results were posted. 

I walked over, waited for the crowd to part, took a deep breath, and found my name. And saw the #2 in front of it. And actually started jumping up and down. 😁😁😁😁😁

I ran back to the hubs and said “I got 2nd!!!!!!!” Finally…finally… for the first time ever, I placed my age group.  I mentioned it to another runner who high-fived me. Joy truly is contagious. 

And when they gave out the awards, and I shook the race director’s hand and accepted my medal, I was prouder of myself than perhaps ever. 

Because sure, finishing a marathon is totally badass, but finally placing in your age group after almost 10 years of running? Ranks higher. 

Like me…this medal may be little, but it is fierce. 

And I will treasure it always. πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸƒπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ₯ˆ

Hello June!

I’ve been waiting for you. Do you mind bringing along some warmer weather? 🌞

Although really, 50’s ARE nice to run in. But I’m reading for shorts and jimmy buffet music and margaritas on the deck in the sun on Saturday afternoons. πŸ˜€

June is a serious training month for me this year.  I’m feeling all recovered from Maine Coast and ready to put in the work and have a great Stars & Stripes challenge weekend (half in Bristol, RI  Jul 1st / 10k at Gillette Stadium July 3rd).

So, I figured I’d set some goals for June. 

  • Log at least 120 miles πŸƒπŸ»β€β™€οΈ
  • Speedwork once a week
  • Strength train twice a week πŸ‹πŸ»
  • Go to the zoo and see the new red pandas (no, it won’t help my running, but it’s a goal. Lol) 
  • Find a local short race (5k, 10k) for a time trial. πŸ…
  • Ride my bike at least twice πŸš΄πŸ»β€β™€οΈ
  • Stretch more

Sounds reasonable right?  

Do you have any goals for June? Let’s all have an awesome month. 😁