Summer Fun

Who’s ready for summer?? Me!!!!

I’m ready for sunshine and Garmin tan lines and running in tank tops.

And I’m giving myself tons of opportunities to this summer.

Between now and the end of August I’ve got oh…2 10k’s, a 5k and a half-marathon. Plus two concerts and a wicked awesome vacation. 🙂

Races first…

  • BAA 10k – second leg of the distance medley and I’m ready for my next unicorn medal
  • Finish at the 50 5k – first time doing the 5 instead of the 10, but the hubs is running too (yay!). And I just love running out through the helmet onto the field.
  • Gansett Summer Run Festival 10k – one I’ve never done, but it looks SO fun. And my friend is running the 5k too. Plus I hear it’s a good after party.
  • Camp Chingachgook Challenge 1/2 – this was my first 10k ever. And I’m looking forward to trying the half – a gorgeous point to point race in the Adirondacks.

Race goals? Have fun. Run fast. Smile a lot 🙂

Concerts? I’m seeing Gov’t Mule and the Foo Fighters. First time for both and equally excited for both.

Vacation? Epic – Zion & Bryce National parks and Vegas, baby. Looking forward to hiking and running and relaxing. And warmth and sunshine and amazing scenery. (Don’t worry – I’m sure I’ll write a “vacation recap” blog. lol)

How about you all? Running anything good? Going anywhere Epic? Whatever you’ve got planned…I’m sure you’ll do great and have fun.

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A Tale of Two 5K’s

This month so far I’ve run two 5k’s which were as different as night and day…and not just literally. Lol

April 7th was the Newport Night Run, held at sunset on a gorgeous (from what I could see) ocean loop in Newport, RI.

April 14th was the B.A.A. 5k, held in the morning at Boston Common, on a great loop that goes right on, left on, and across the famed marathon finish line.

Both were different field sizes (900 versus 9,000), and totally different experiences, both both equally amazing. 🙂

For Newport, I had my favorite training partner by my side. We were decked out in full neon, reflective strips and a headlamp, as suggested by the race director.

And just before dark, we joined the glow at the start line and headed off.  There was a great starting downhill, which unfortunately my wonky leg didn’t love.  But I hung in there and tried not to think about it.  We went through a lovely narrow section lit by luminaries where we noticed a HUGE osprey nest high atop a pole.  We wove around, up and over hills, past some enormous houses and cool stone walls.  The mile marker signs were crazy lights you could see from a ways back, and checking out the cool reflective patterns on some people’s backs when my headlamp hit them was fun.

The race was crowded.  There were definitely spots it was hard to run your pace, and it was WAY hillier than I expected, but we had so much fun chatting and pointing out cool stuff to each other.  And when we finally crested the last hill and saw the downhill to the finish, we ran it out strong.  It was a little slower than i’d hoped – but considering how much my leg hated the downhill sections, how crowded it was, and how it was hard to see where you were stepping sometimes, i’ll take it.  🙂 A 31:07 finish.

But while I said i was fine with it, I sorta feel like I let the hubs down.  He’s fast for a beginner and I know we ran slower than capable off.  I had wanted him to get a sub-30 finish for his second 5k of the year (Disney was the first and we purposely ran that sucker slow), but I know he’ll nail that at his third in Providence next month.

So with the BAA 5k looming, I really wanted to nail that one.  I spent the week between resting more, stretching more and trying to stay zen.  I had a great freak out, and then, just let go, knowing it would be what it was.

Reasons I knew this would go better?  It was morning (my fave run time), a little warmer (high 40’s) and flatter. Plus this time I taped my leg.  🙂

And as we headed up into Boston to meet my friend, and the sun rose above the horizon I broke out into the Circle of Life (LOL!) because it just seemed the thing to do when your friends are also Disney runners (Hakuna Matata Cara).

The hubs didn’t run this one, but was serving as team coach & equipment manager, saving me from having to deal with what was apparently a zoo at bag check.  We met up with the princess posse and hung out, snagging some prerace photos and getting ready.

And a little before 8, headed to the corral, which was SO far back from the start it felt extremely Disney.  In fact, by the time we approached the start, we were just in time to watch the elite men finish.  COOL!  Then…it was our turn.

I went out solid with the crowd, dodging and weaving to get room to run.  I surged up Comm Ave feeling pretty good and when the mile marker hit, I chose to not look at my watch.  I was just gonna run my best and not worry about my time.  I had told my friend Cara that anywhere between 28 & 32 would make me happy, and I meant it.

When we hit the turnaround at Charlesgate I smiled, knowing I was now on the marathon course.  After running it three years in a row, I knew it well.

When we hit the underpass at Mass Ave, I had a brief moment where I remembered 2013, and how that was where my race ended at mile 25.67.  So close, and so far. But I got past myself, I high-fived a guy on the corner of Hereford as I made that infamous right, and scurried up the hill thinking “this is way easier when I haven’t already run 26 miles”.

I turned that left onto Boylston and shouted “Best Left Turn in Town” and raced towards the finish line to fly across and keep going as there was still 3/4 of a mile left.  I started watching the crowds, in case there were any familiar faces.  And cracked up at the blue t-rex alongside the public garden.

Then there was the left turn onto Charles towards the finish line, which seemed SO far away.  I didn’t want to kick until I knew I could sustain it, but when the young girl started to pull alongside I thought “oh honey no” and kicked.  Flew across the finish and to a dead stop (oh no, folks, I gotta keep going, or this won’t be pretty……this is not the place for selfies!).

Checked my watch, got my medal, hugged a friend I randomly bumped into (we’ve managed to run into each other at three or four different races now) and went to find the hubs.  Because I was ready to celebrate….  I pulled a 29:30.  YAY

Now granted, I am so far from my PR paces it sucks, but to at least be back under 30 makes me happy. And the leg continues to get better every week.

What was also cause for celebration?  My friend Cara got a PR!!!!!!!  So exciting.  I just love seeing my friends achieve greatness. 😁

So yeah, these two races were completely different experiences for me, but I loved both and would run both again.  We run different races for different reasons.  Newport was a birthday celebration for me, and quality time with the hubs.  Boston was because its the 5th anniversary of my only race DNF and a chance to earn another unicorn medal.  I had something to prove out there…and I did.

Another thing both races had in common?  Cheers!

Keeps Getting Better

I am oh…. thisclose to being back to normal.  I can almost taste it.

I was running SO much better this week that I felt almost silly for spending close to 8 weeks wondering if this is my new normal.  If i’d ever be my self again.  The non-injury is finally down to one little tiny spot that still makes my knee twinge if I overstride, but we can deal.  We have KT tape.  And its magical…

Of course this progress comes just in time…as we’re a mere THREE DAYS to the season opener of Spring Racing. Yay!

First…how did the weekend go?  Well, the hubs and I drove over to another part of town on Saturday for a 3-ish miler…and its going to definitely be one of our favorite run loops. Swans, waterfalls and just enough rolling hills to keep it interesting – and by mile 3 we had a great pace going (his fastest mile to date). IMG_7544.jpg

Sunday was my long run.  This marathon training cycle has been weird for me.  We’ve had just enough weekend plans that i’m only getting in a long run every other weekend.  But i’m trying to find that life-run balance and not freak out over missed 12-milers. Sometimes family and friends are more important.  I just plan around to get in the ‘big runs’.   So Sunday was a 16 miler – and I really wanted to run as much of it as possible, since 2 weeks ago i’d only run 10 of my 14.

I made it a full 13.1 before my legs were all WHAT?  And not only that – but I did it without needing to stretch every couple miles.  YAY. (I know – I feel silly being excited, but still.  I AM!)  But this was more my legs having lost some endurance than that anything was bothering me.

I ran / walked the final 2.9 for an even sweet 16.  And then did the runner math…which leads me to believe that if I had to run Vermont City next weekend, I could pull off a 5:30 finish.  And hopefully with another 53 days to go, I can pull off a sub-5.  A far cry from a PR…but I’m really earning this one, whatever it turns out to be. The ones you have to fight harder for, usually mean more.

Anyhoo…. like I said, its almost Racing Season and i’m so happy.  I haven’t done a race since the Dopey Challenge and what a long three months it been.  I’m so ready to put on a bib and get back out there.

I’ve got four races on the schedule between now and June 1st and i’m looking forward to all of them:

  • Newport Night Run – April 7th
  • BAA 5k (part 1 of the distance medley) – April 14th
  • Providence half-marathon – May 6th
  • Vermont City marathon – May 27th

I’ve got different goals for each but fully expect to have a blast at them all.  First up:NNR

The hubs is joining me for the Newport Night Run this weekend and i’m SO excited to race with him again.  Even tho i’m making him race in the dark for the second time this year (lol) he’s a good sport about it.  Newport encourages neon and reflective – and we fully intend to look like the 80’s threw up.  😀

If you’re running it too – come say hi, i’ll be the one in ALL the neon and a pink sparkle skirt.

Fab 5 weeks to Dopey! Here’s some must pack items and a TVQ Vol 2 update

Another week bites the dust…and we are now just five fabulous little weeks to Dopey!  Yay!!

I know its still a little bit early for packing – but I totally started my packing list already.  There so much to remember to bring that if I don’t write it down while i’m thinking of it, i’ll forget. Especially the little random items that aren’t on everyone’s list. 

But before we get to that…gotta talk turkey!   As in Turkey Vision Quest Vol. 2.

I hadn’t brought it up in my blog because I wasn’t sure I could pull it off, or if it was even a goal this year, but now that I have…gotta brag!

Thanksgiving morning was my new favorite tradition – the Attleboro Gobble Wobble 5k.  What I nicknamed Turkey Vision Quest last year, as I had a goal to finally get a new PR and / or place in my age group.  How that went, was the PR, but 6th place. And I was kind of disappointed.  So I went into this year with a ‘well, i’ll just do my best out there’ attitude.

Things I did differently this year? The hubs, my sole sister Karen and I hung out in the car until right before the start to stay warm and my ‘warmup’ consisted of a quick 20-foot sprint down and back.  Just to make sure nothing bounced, moved or rubbed.   I did however, line up in front with the fast folk.  Because taking off like a shot with them definitely helps get me to a faster pace early and then I just kind of hang on for as long as I can.

My watch was buried under a sleeve and I didn’t want to see it anyway.  So I had no idea my pace.    There was some ice on the course from the rain the day before (did I mention it was COLD?), but otherwise its a nice flat fast route with a few speedbumps so its easy to go fast.

The course is looped out and back so you can see runners going the other way,  and at mile 2ish I heard Karen yell my name.  I yelled back and grinned.   Shortly after someone else called my name – thanks and my apologies for not looking over, but I was in the zone. Then just before mile 3, when the exact same song in the exact same place as last year came on my playlist – I knew I had to be close to last year.  And figured I could definitely snag top 10 AG, maybe top 5.  But I had no idea how many women my age had been in front of me.

We turned the corner at the 3-mile mark and I kicked.  And kicked again.  And gave it every last bit I had out there.  And after I crossed, I finally looked at my watch.

A PR!  25:08.  Unfortunately the race is gun time (not net), so my official was a 2:11. (What’s 3 seconds right? Lol) When I walked over to the results tent, I didn’t get my hopes up…and when the page flipped and there I was, I almost shrieked with delight.  2nd AG!  22nd female and 77th overall.  Out of nearly 600 people.  WOW.  Just WOW.    

Must be the shoes. 

Because #purpleisalwaysfaster. And, this year, Turkey Vision Quest is complete.  A PR and an AG win.   I suppose next year the quest is to be sub-25.  #alwaysroomforimprovement

But that wasn’t my only Dopey training run of the weekend.  I got in a slower 10k run on Friday and a half-marathon distance run on Sunday.  So a sort of Dopey simulation.

And speaking of Dopey… I said I’d give you some ideas on what to pack.  Pack Everything!!

Be the Macgyver of Disney races.  Have such an assortment of random items in your travel bag it looks like you’re about to go on Let’s Make a Deal (instead of about to run Disney.)

Here’s a list of some items I bring that people don’t always think of.  Things that to me, are packing essentials.

  • Ziploc bags
    • Why?  I like to eat my pre-race meal/snack (muffin, bagel, dry cereal) in the start corral. A baggie is a great way to do it.  And toss a napkin in there too.
  • Mini Flashlight
    • Why?  Do you know how dark a portapotty is at 4am?  DARK.  And I kind of like to know what i’m getting into.  Sure, most phones have flashlights built in, but i’m kind of old fashioned about some things.  (and I worry about dropping my phone somewhere it can’t be retrieved)
  • Garbage bag
    • Why?  To sit on in the start corral or even wear to keep warm.
  • Cheap poncho
    • Why?  A) in case it rains and B), you can always use it to sit on in the corral if you don’t bring a garbage bag.   True story – I had one I carried to close to a dozen races before it finally rained at my May marathon and I ran 26.2 miles in it.
  • Sharpie
    • Why? Because they don’t sell them on property anywhere.  And its handy for marking stuff.  Or having someone sign your medal.
  • Disposable coffee cup
    • Why?  Personally I cannot run without coffee.  So i make a cup to go in the room and bring it to the start.  I don’t like to check a bag at the start, so these are great for tossing.  You could always instead bring a travel mug and check it in your race bag.
  • Old pair of socks or cheap pair of gloves
    • Why?  Hand / arm warmers.  If you aren’t using arm sleeves as part of your costume and just want something to keep your hands/arms warm before the race (or during those first couple miles), these work great.  I have a collection of the hub’s old tube socks for just this use.
  • Handwarmers
    • Why?  In case its cold.  Because yes, its Florida, but its still January and sometimes its just cold.  I have circulation issues and my fingers go numb if i’m cold.  And trying to open a gel packet when you can’t feel your fingers is a challenge.
  • Moist Towelettes
    • Why? Because portapotties don’t always have hand gel. And sometimes, your gel gets your fingers sticky.  Or you get biofreeze on your hands with no way to remove the remnants. These little packets fit neatly into whatever is hauling your gear so its easy to carry.
  • Masking tape or duck tape
    • Why?  Why not!  It can work for fashion emergencies (OMG my costume eyes fell off) or to put on something you need to label so your nephew doesn’t claim it as his (hands off the oreos buster.  LOL). You know what they say – theres’s nothing duck tape can’t do.

    Yes, I’m skipping over the essentials like gel, and your costumes and your buddy pouch (or whatever carry pack you use).  And safety pins are a plenty at the expo.  This is just a list of stuff i’ve learned over the years that I’m glad I have. 

    Anyone have anything fun i’ve missed? What’s your can’t live without that people tell you is a “genius idea”?

    And happy training fellow Dopeys. 🙂

    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. 🙂 woohoo!

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

    Road to Victory – Village Fair 5k race recap

    “The 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. 😀

    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. 😀😀🏃🏻‍♀️🥈

    Let’s Get Goofy – Top 9 Things I love about Running Disney

    With just 9 weeks to go until Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, I can’t help but get excited.


    Yep, 9 weeks from today i’ll fly down to the most wonderful place on earth and meet my family so that my brother can run his fourth straight (perfectly) Dopey.  And i’ll tackle not only my third (and second in a row) Goofy, but this year i’m adding the 5k too.

    Hmmm…so i’m somewhere between Goofy & Dopey.  What exactly does that make me? I gotta think on that.  🙂 Some level of crazy for sure!

    Training is officially underway now.  I have my characters selected and my costumes almost together.  I have my packing list started.  We have all our dining reservations made (can’t wait for that Hoop De Doo gluten free cornbread!) and in a few days, will book the ever important fast passes (to Frozen, or not to Frozen..that is the question).

    There are SO many things I love about running Disney…and in honor of this 9 week mark, i’ve decided to share my top 9 with you.  So here goes.

    9. The other runners.  What an amazing group of like-minded people.  You will make new friends every mile.

    8. The course.  Running through the parks, with no other guests but the runners. It has a magic all its own.

    7. The costumes. Where else is it perfectly acceptable to run dressed as your favorite characters?  And some people are SO creative.  Ever year I continue to be amazed.  And try to up my game.

    6. The cast members.  The golfers with the crocodile (OMG so scary!). The movie director in Hollywood Studios (love hearing that same bad joke every time).  There is entertainment EVERYWHERE you look.

    5. The chocolate and gummies at mile 23-ish.  You’re coming through the back of Hollywood Studios and you’re tired.  And that little piece of chocolate is the MOST delicious thing you have ever eaten.  EVER.

    4. The Gospel Choir.  You’re almost there…its been an emotional morning and then..you hear the singing. And as you go past in your quest to finish, you can’t help but do so with a smile and a spring in your step.

    3. Kicking a squirrel during the marathon last year.  In Epcot.  Near Mexico.  He (she?) crossed against traffic.  LOL (see my race recap blog for details…)

    2. High-fiving Minnie Mouse at the finish line.  Totally made my day.

    1. Turning the corner onto main street, seeing the castle all lit up in its holiday finest, like a beacon of hope and happiness, while hundreds of screaming fans cheer you on.  Its Disney Magic.

    And the Bonus? Getting to run with my brother. He’s my favorite Disney character.

    Okay…are we there yet?  Because i’m not sure I can wait 9 more weeks… except yeah, there’s that little matter of training to attend to.

    Because miles of 39.3 or 48.6 or whatever combo you do is no joke….but it is however Goofy, Dopey and just plain fun.