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. πŸ™‚


    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…

    Providence Rhode Races – the road to a PR

    I have a new favorite number. It’s 4:23:37. 

    That, my friends, is my new marathon PR. πŸ™‚

    I read something recently that said it’s what you do in the offseason that sets the base for your training. And I spent the offseason building speed and building strength. And that translated so well into my marathon training. 

    My long runs all came in under my goal pace. I kept up with my strength training and speedwork. I tried to master the art of quick recovery. 

    And it all came together. And it gave me confidence. 

    This was my 7th marathon and the first one I wasn’t nervous for. No freak outs. No doubt. Just absolute faith that I was going to PR.  

    And others knew it too. I got a lot of “you are so going to do it” the week before the race. And instead of “I hope so” I replied with “yeah, I am”. 

    And then there were the signs…Friday night? A shooting star. Saturday morning? Our first hummingbird of the year.  

    And my friend kicked asphalt at her 5k and set a PR! Yay Karen!!!!

    So Sunday morning, when I toed that start line beside my sole sister, coach and cheerleader Lori, I knew magic was about to happen. 

    I spent the first 15 miles under my goal pace. But wasn’t running hard, just confidently. I knew the pace would slow a little once I started using water stops. And as the sun and the temps rose, my pace would slow a little too. 

    I only checked the time once. As we crossed mile 13. And was happy with it. In fact only six miles were slower than my goal pace.  As expected. But my faster miles were enough above it to compensate. 

    I tried to only walk at water stops. But there was a hilly section that was inevitable.  In fact one hill was so steep I wasn’t sure I could even walk it. Lol

    But that too shall pass. And to the girl that came flying up it running and passed us? Wow – impressive!

    After the mile 25 water stop it was all business.  I hurt. I was having trouble controlling my breathing, my rib cage hurt and I wanted it over. I didn’t want to stop. I just wanted to be done. 

    And I embraced the pain. The lesson we are taught as runners to “get comfortable being uncomfortable”. I sucked it up. And this was where having a pacer came in so handy. Because she wouldn’t let me give up on myself. She knew what I was capable of and made sure I knew it too. And mile 26? Our fastest since mile 17. Lol

    And when we turned the corner to the clock I almost fainted. It was under 4:24. And I never looked at Lori. Or the crowd to see if Kevin was there. I stared at that clock, trying to beat every last second I could. I kicked harder than I knew was possible and crossed the finish. 

    Got my medal, and almost returned some blue Gatorade to the course. Lol That, my friends, is how you know you have wrenched every last drop out of yourself. πŸ™‚

    Thank you to the volunteer and emt who were concerned. But it was just that sudden stop that did me in. A water and a little walking and I was fine. And grinning.  And repeating “holy f@ck”. 

    Because I did it. I really did it. I didn’t just break 4:30. I didn’t just take out that asterisk. I beat my dream goal of 4:24.  I got a 4:23:37. 

    Side notes…

    Having a friend who is so much faster than you that she can stop to say hi to people she knows, take photos along the course and even of you from behind and catch up easily is awesome. It really made me laugh. And laughter during a marathon is a very good thing. 

    Also funny? The “mile 26. Just kidding” sign at mile 10. 

    And this morning, I hung my medal with the others and said “ladies and gentlemen. This is PR”. And then I turned to my Boston marathon shadow box, where the 4:26 “projected finish” certificate sits. I pointed to it and said softly “I win”. 



    Seven days to marathon number seven. 

    Lucky 7 right?

    It will be. This will be the race I slay the dragon. This will be the race I break the elusive 4:30 barrier. 

    I have trained hard. I have trained confidently. I have trained faster than I need to. Because – I really really want this. 

    You see, we are nearing the two year anniversary of “the injury”. It actually is the day before the race. 

    Sometimes timing is everything. 

    Just over two years ago I almost had it. But, due to circumstances beyond my control, the race ended at mile 25.5. And that * never sat well with me. 

    So this time I have two goals. One is that elusive 4:29:29 and the other is 4:26:08 – one second faster than the Boston estimated finish. The *. 

    Really? I think 4:24 would be fun. Because I like even numbers. 

    So I am spending the next 7 days in “taper town”. I’ll get in three more shorter but solid runs. I’ll hydrate. I’ll eat well. I’ll carbload. 

    Saturday I will go cheer on my sole sister at her 5k. 

    And next Sunday morning I will lace up those magic purple ghosts. And I will fly. πŸ™‚

    Another race, another record

    Okay, seriously, I thought we were supposed to get slower as we age? So how is it, that is year, all my old PRs are falling like dominos!

    I think, honestly, it all goes back to “the injury”. And what I learned from it. 

    Patience, balance and strength. 

    Be patient…both in races and in training. It will come. It just takes time. 

    Balance…a runner cannot live on miles alone. She needs crosstraining. And stretching. And rest. 

    Strength… A strong runner is a fast runner. Running doesn’t come from the legs. It comes from the hips and the core.  And sometimes the arms. 

    I practice all of these weekly. And love putting my hard work into action. 

    This week – I didn’t just break my 5k record (in place since 2009), I shattered it. By a full minute. πŸ™‚ 

    And I did it after having already run 10 miles. Lol

    This weekend was the second annual Outrunning Rett Virtual 5k. A race I co-founded last year. So I couldn’t not run it. But also needed a long run for my marathon training. So I combined them. 

    10 miles easy on my favorite route that finally had enough snow melt so as to have its nice wide shoulders back (yippee!) at what ended up being a 9:40 pace. Sweet. 

    Then a brief pause to reset the Garmin and Go Time!

    And go I did. Focused, yet thinking of the girls I spent three years running the Boston marathon for. Naming them with my steps… Avery, Charlotte, Sammy, Cristia Isabelle, Lori, Caroline and so many others. I thought of the parents, the families. Those who sacrifice for these girls. And those of us who will run until they can. 

    And the steps and miles flew by. And I kept pushing harder. And somehow, when I hit that 3.1 mark, I had achieved something special. 

    A 25:05 5k. 

    Wow! Like seriously wow. Like impossible wow. πŸ™‚

    I guess when you run with purpose (and in purple and sparkles) magic happens. 

    Side note…today is my 1-year Blogniversary. Thank you to all of you who have followed me this year. Hope you have enjoyed reading as much as I’ve enjoyed writing!!

    Happy Monday and Happy Running!


    Purple is always faster

    So late last Monday I found I out that my next race, the Hyannis Half-marathon was cancelled.

    I was a combination of disappointed and relieved. Disappointed because I’d trained hard for it, yet relieved because I wasn’t quite over my bronchitis and with the giant snowbanks and slushy roads, it wasn’t going to be the most fun race ever. Lol

    So, in lieu of tapering, I hit it hard.

    Tuesday I set the treadmill to a 9:40 pace and knocked out five solid miles.

    Wednesday, I opted for intervals. I have a goal to finish in 4:29 in my May marathon, plus a goal of a 9:00 average pace for my April half. So I ran 1/2 miles at an 8:58 pace. Yasso’s for the marathon and practice for the half pace. Really – the perfect workout!

    Thursday I said goodbye to a friend. The ghosts that I ran my October marathon in. They had reached 441 miles (a nice long life) and were starting to bother my knee. So I gave them a nice little eulogy and buried them at the bottom of the trash. 😦 RIP my pretties.

    And Friday I test drove their replacement. A fabulously purple pair of ghosts. What my friend called PR shoes even before I took a step in them. Because, as everyone knows, purple is always faster.

    I did a mile warmup and then thought I’d see what these babies could do. I ran intervals of 2min sprint, 3min fast walk at increasing paces of 8:58 to 7:30. And then, really had some fun. If you remember I set my new mile goal for the year to a 7:00 mile. And despite the fact that I had already logged over 5 1/2 miles, it seemed like a good time to work on it. Lol so – .3 miles at 7:00 pace. Not too bad. Let’s see what else we got. We had a 1/2 mile in us!! A new 800 PR of 7:00! And really – if you add it up I ran .8 at 7:00. Just broken up. πŸ™‚

    But the PRs didn’t stop there.

    Since Hyannis decided that they would allow us to pick up our shirts and medals this week, I knew I needed to earn it.

    Saturday morning, once the temps reached above 0, I layered up and headed out.

    As my friend told me this week, training is training and racing is racing. And Saturday, I raced.

    I started out at what felt like a good clip, but decided to not look at my watch for a while. And made it til mile 6 before I checked my pace. Ummm 8:47? Really? Did my Garmin freeze? Cuz that’s just not possible.

    Mile 9, looked again. 8:30? Whoa nelly. No wonder I’m breathing hard. Lol

    Mile 12 was the first I actually looked at the overall time. And almost fainted. Cuz it wasn’t possible. Clearly my garmin had frozen. Or else my eyes had. Cuz it wasn’t making sense. But I was breathing hard and about ready to drop so maybe it was true.

    And I turned into the homestretch and tried to rein it in a little. And then when it beeped 13 I tried to kick and felt like I was moving through molasses. But stared at the watch til it hit 13.1. And walked it off while muttering “holy crap” about 17 times. Lol

    Because I was under 2 hours for only the third time ever. Ever!! In fact, this 1:55:58 is my second fastest half ever.

    But that’s not all. My watch awarded me with two additional “medals” a 5k of 26:06 (a mere two seconds slower than my 2011 PR) a 10k of 53:12. A legit all time 10k PR!! (Breaking my prior record from 2011).

    So this week I will hit the local running store and claim my medal. And display it proudly because I 100% earned it.

    The only bad part? Because it’s not official I can’t use it for corral placement for Disney. Lol

    Guess I just need to keep running sprints in those magic purple shoes and kick asphalt in April at my next race. πŸ™‚

    Happy Monday my friends. And happy running!!