Sole Sister Stroll – Ocean Road 10k

So week one of Dopey Challenge training ended with me channeling my inner Ariel.

At the Ocean Road 10k in lovely Narragansett, RI.

Since I was supposed to be coming off a marathon (the one I ended up two-parting) and my sole sister had been having training issues, we decided to just fun run it. No time goal, just fun and sparkles and 6.2 miles of scenery – oceans and mansions and seaside charm.

When we pulled up to the parking lot facing the beach at SIX AM (eek!) there was the most spectacular sunrise. And we knew it would be a good day.

We got our bibs, took the bus to the start at Point Judith lighthouse and tried to stay warm. Because it was suddenly fall (well played, October) and I was a little underdressed (shorts were not my best idea), so I ended up wearing my fleece zipup for most of the race.

We dressed in full-on sparkle…me in mermaid on mermaid skirt & visor and her in blue & blue. And we were a total hit with the runners and spectators. LOL #itsallaboutthesparkle Both wearing our buddy pouches to carry our gear and buddy clips to keep our bibs secure against the ocean breeze we were ready.

I met lots of people from the Facebook group (for disney runners of course) i’m in at both the start and finish, and I always make new friends at races so we had lots of fun chatting while we waited. And then, off we went.

Slow and steady, with a run/walk plan we made our way along the course. Stopping for photos and water stops and just having fun. Swapping stories and catching up on each other’s lives.

We saw a cow driving a van….

And some cool rock cairns on the beach…

And this fairy-tale castle gate that just begged for a photo. 

The miles flew by and before we knew it we could see the finish. We entered the chute and I noticed that the person before us had crossed and we had it wide open. My sole sister looked over at me and said “wanna race?” Heck yeah! With a wide grin we sprinted to the finish. I can only imagine the sheer joy coming through in those pictures. πŸ™‚

After the race we sat on the beach for a bit, just taking it all in, taking pictures and chatting with other runners.  

Took the “finisher photo” πŸ™‚ 

And then… I saw this mangy blonde terrier walking up the beach. And thought of how my Gus hated the beach (mama this smells funny, can we go yet). I walked over to say hi to the puppy, who, delighted with me, started running around in figure 8’s coming back to ‘play pose’ in front of me. I laughed and asked his name. It was Goose. My heart clenched for a moment but instead I said “you are one silly Goose” and with one more pat walked away.

Its been two weeks today and I still so very much miss my baby boy, but I know encounters like this are his way of saying he’s with me. Watching over me and making sure i’m okay. Thanks bubba. Love you.

We took the obligatory ‘sole sister shoe’ photo

and found someone had spelled 10k in rocks, which was perfect for a medal pic.

This ‘its not a race, its an adventure’ was exactly what I needed. Good friends and the sea? They both heal.

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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!! 

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. 😁

We’re on to July

So…you just ran the Maine Coast Marathon. Now what?

Well, to paraphrase my favorite coach, we’re on to July!

Next up, is a little something i’m calling the “Stars & Stripes Challenge” – a half-marathon and 10k in the same weekend. A shame they aren’t back-to-back days like a good challenge should be, but other than Disney this will be the first time i’ve done multiple races in the same weekend and I think it will be fun.

So, what makes up this challenge?

The first part is the Independence Rhode Race in Bristol, RI on July 1st.

And the second part is the Finish at the 50 10-k in Foxboro, MA on the 3rd. I’ve never run Bristol, although I spent 12 hours on part of its course last summer (the Anchor Down Ultra – Colt State Park) and if you’re going to see downtown Bristol, July 4th weekend is the time to do it. Sure, the race starts “Disney Early”, but it should make it better for running temperature-wise.

Finish at the 50 i’ve done a few times. And there is just something SO magical about the stadium finish. Running up the field to the 50-year line will never not make me smile.

I already have half of my outfit picked. Can’t go wrong with a good sparkle skirt! 

 And I think I know what the tops will be – but that, i’ll share later.

Its going to be fun spending June rebuilding to race. I’ve got that 2:00 i’d love to hit for Disney corral POT and I want to PR the 10K (59:31 for a course PR or 58:28 overall 10K PR – I don’t run a lot of 10k’s and they are always summer. LOL)

Is anyone else running either of these? Would love to know who I might see out there. πŸ™‚ And wish me luck in training – but don’t worry, i’ll keep you posted how it goes!

Things that fly…level 10k recap

Things that fly? Heron, dragonflies and me. 

The first two I encountered pre-race and the final, during. πŸ™‚

Sunday I ran the Level 10k. A race I hadn’t planned on or trained for. Or even known about until the week before.

And there is something so relaxed and liberating about that kind of race. 

See, I’m right in the middle of my ultra training, and focused way more on distance and heat acclimation and cumulative movement than I am on speed. 

But when your bestie asks you on a Monday “wanna come run a 10k Sunday?”  You say yes. 

Because running a 10k she’ll be at is way more fun than a standard 12-mile solo run. 

She warned me it was a hilly course (despite being put on by Level. Lol) and I knew it would be hot. But I craved the challenge. 

It was a nice small field (about 200 people) in a lovely state park. And right from the time we arrived had a great feel to it. 

I found my bestie and her friend immediately. And hung out while we waited.   

 Group photo!! 

It was 81 and humid at the start, but mostly overcast. And even tho the sun did come out, the course was fortunately quite shady. 

It was a looped course, which I actually quite liked. An initial shorter loop, followed by a longer one. And the start was below the finish. 

This meant I got to pass my cheering section (my hunny and my pup) twice during the race. 

It also meant I got to run Tower Hill three times. Ulp! It’s one of those hills just tough enough.  And I’m happy to say I successfully ran it all three trips. Tho the third time, at mile 6, was not easy. 

Advantages of a small race? No corrals, no formality, just a group of people casually chatting while they waited. Got the pre race announcements and the “any questions?” To which the smartass in me replied (only loud enough for my bestie and a couple others to hear) “how far is it?” πŸ™‚  

And we were off….

I started with the crowd, completely unsure of my pace. Trying to set a good, but not crazy, pace from the beginning. I had no idea how I would do, but had hopes to be under 1:05 overall, maybe 1:02 (a 10 minute mile average). 

Cruised up the hill and saw my hunny with his phone, so I cut across for the photo op.  

 Early race photos are the best – I look so fresh. Lol

And I cruised along…the crowd thinner and I ran my own race. Neither hard nor easy, sort of trying to figure out what pace I could hold for 6.2 miles. 

There were a lot of wonderful downhill stretches which were great for saving energy, knowing tower hill was coming back up shortly after mile 2.  And oddly, it felt easier this time. 

Saw my hunny again – got a high five – and was told “a lot of runners are grabbing water to pour on their head. Want to?” I told him in was fine right now, bout would soon. 

Kept cruising, and passed the timing mat at mile 3 in about 29:30. Hmmm…I thought. Keep this up and we got 1:02 no problem. 

And at mile 3.5, I did as advised and grabbed a water. Few sips and the rest on my head and neck. Oh yeah that felt great!!

I knew there’d be another stop at mile 5. And I knew I’d do the same them. 

But for now, I held pace. Which I could feel was getting faster. I tried to reign in it a little, but since I felt okay and was breathing fine I didn’t worry. 

And as I neared the final turn late in mile 5, and the urge to surge hit, I told myself “Don’t  be stupid.” Followed by “Don’t be a chicken”. 

And I held where I was…because that hill loomed. 

By now I was hot. And I was slimy. And I was tired. But I was NOT going to let the hill win. I dug in. Fought for it. And was rewarded by this picture of me cresting the hill.  

 The photographer said to me “Congrats. You made it to the top”.  And that smile was my response. 

I hit the straightaway, slowed for a second to catch my breath, and saw the cones for the finish just as the downhill hit. 

And I surged. And I flew. You know, that kind of speed where your legs feel unhinged from your body and you are giving it absolutely everything you have left? That kind of flying. And thanks to my friend’s daughter for getting this picture.  

 

My official finish time? 1:00:54. Sweet!!

And oddly, it placed me 5th in my age group. Whoa!! 

I guess you don’t know what you have in you, until you let it out. 

Thanks to my bestie for talking my into sole sister Sunday. 

And thanks to Level Renner for putting on a great event. I will totally be back next year!!

Birthday Blog!

A little bonus blog for all of you…

Because – it’s my birthday. And I like to give gifts as well as get them. 

Today, my 43rd, has been stellar so far. 

I started the day with coffee and a 10k. Which I ran in 54:05. Hadn’t really meant to go that fast – just wanted a tempo run. But, as I always get faster as I go, and the first mile was a 9:09 (goal half marathon pace) – it was meant to be. πŸ™‚ and I’m quite happy. 

Then, I went to see Cinderella. 

Go. See. Cinderella. It was great. The costumes, the cgi, the background elements to the story. All fabulous. 

I have a birthday connection to Cinderella. When I was younger my aunt took me to see it on stage in Albany, NY. Afterwards the prince signed my program. And yes – I still have it.  So seeing the new movie on my birthday seemed perfect tribute. 

And then…I get out of the movie, turn my phone on, and get a news alert they found the Boston marathon bomber guilty. I stood for a moment in the lobby. Feeling relieved and grateful. And texted my sole sister. The one who had just crossed the finish line that day and would understand. She wrote back “happy birthday” 

That…is my third favorite gift. Second is my born to fly shirt, which I ran my 10k in. First…is my new bling. Because my honey? He went to Jared. 

Hope you all are having a day as fabulous as mine. 

But I gotta go – I got a date with some fro yo. πŸ™‚