Get comfortable getting uncomfortable

Training a puppy has definitely similarities to training a runner.  One of the most important things in both situations, is to get comfortable getting uncomfortable.

This epiphany started during class on Thursday, and then really struck home during my run  on Sunday.  See in class, the focus last week was about body awareness (also good for runners) and pushing limits – putting the puppies in new, and likely uncomfortable, situations.

For Mugsy (and his classmates) this meant climbing over a plastic ‘ladder’, sitting on low platforms of various surfaces and climbing a ramp.  Mugsy approached each new obstacle with a little trepidation, but also curiosity.  And was quickly comfortable. By the end of class he, offleash, focused on us and his obstacles and completed the little course the trainer had set up, with ease.  SO proud of this kiddo! (future agility star in training!)

Obligatory photo because he’s cute. 🙂

How does this apply to running?  The only way we get more confident and comfortable as runners is to push ourselves outside of our own comfort zones.  Whether it be new distance, new surfaces, or new paces.  We should approach these obstacles like a puppy, with a little trepidation, but also curiosity.  What would it feel like to run that fast, that far.

You gotta push, to grow. You have to take a deep breath and step into the unknown.  And soon, what you once thought impossible becomes possible.  And then you can push even further.  Your world is full of possibilities if you just take that first step.

For me on Sunday, all that crossed my mind during my run.  I know i’ve phoned it in lately.  I haven’t done all my speedwork or been totally dialed in to runs.  And i’m selling myself short.  With my next half in a few days, I realized I want to do well. And while I was trying to run easy (since you know, taper) I also wanted to get uncomfortable.  So I did.  My last mile I pushed…just enough, just to be a little bit uncomfortable and to see if I could stay there.  And it was an entire minute faster that the mile before.  Yes!

So while i’m not saying i’m in PR shape, I am ready to spend some of this race getting uncomfortable. Wish me luck!  🙂


Ocean Road 10k – Tale of a Rock & Roll Mermaid

So….do I bury the lead or not? Not…   Guess what?  I got a FREAKING PR!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not like i’m excited about it or anything.  LOL   But it was a total surprise and i’m so thrilled and i’m going to make you read all the way to the bottom to see what it is.  🙂

Anyhoo…. so Sunday was the Ocean Road 10k. A great little race in Narragansett, RI that is a point to point along – Ocean Road. 🙂  This was my third year doing it and I absolutely LOVE this little (well, about 2,000 people little) race.

This has become a girls weekend away for friends and we always have so much fun and dress in theme.  Last year was the Pirate Posse and this year was Team Mermaid.

Funny enough – you can dress 9 women as mermaids and get 9 completely different pairs of pants (skirt).  See? #obligatoryshoephoto

I am madly in love with my outfit.  The pants were a last minute choice.  I had the mermaid skirt from sparkle athletic but was worried about bib placement because i didn’t want to cover my shirt at all.  So i got the pants.  And SO glad i did.  They’re actually pretty comfortable and I LOVE the leg pockets (carried my phone and room key no problem).

So….wanna see my shirt?  This is if Ariel went to a rock concert and bought the t-shirt.  #ironmermaid

Epic right?  Of course…feeling the whole rock star mermaid vibe, my friend Cara convinced me I should do the rock & roll hair and sunglasses look.  So, I ran the whole race with my hair down because sometimes, its all about the photos.

Race morning was GORGEOUS.  Beautiful sunrise, a little chill in the air and just one of those days you can’t wait to go for a run.

We took the bus to the start (but forgot to do our singalong lol) and gathered as a group.  Some stretched, some snacked, I finished my coffee (this mermaid truly did run on dunkin) and we got ready to go.  

Cara asked if i was going to race it. I said yeah, I think so. I think I said something like “I’m shooting for 58 minutes.  I’m not in PR shape, but I think i can pull 58”  (Lesson here – you are often capable of more than you imagined)

I tucked into the start corral, found my friend Ashley and waited for the start signal (a rather half-hearted ‘go’ (really dude?  Want coffee??).  And off I went.  I darted and dashed and found room to go.   I knew I was going out a little hard but figured I could reign it back in later when needed.

Which wasn’t really needed until almost mile 4. 🙂 I followed the group and passed people where I needed to, and never looked at my watch. I heckled some spectators for not cheering and barked at some dogs (a race tradition).

Mile 5 was a long gorgeous downhill which I was grateful for. And as I hit the mile marker I smiled, thinking of Linda, Amanda and Nancy. And how we posed with every one of those makers last year.

Mile 6…is stunning. It’s wide open ocean views and yet also annoying because you can see the finish area. But know how far you still are from it. I let my head go blank. I soaked in the view and just stuck with the guy in front of me (thanks for pacing me even tho you didn’t know you were) and made the final turn knowing I only had a 1/2 mile left.

And when I finally saw the mile 6 mark I pulled my phone out of my pocket, said “Hey Siri, play ‘The Trooper'” and gunned it.

As I neared the finish line with a grin on my face and my hands in the air I looked at the clock and saw 59:31. And thought sweet – I’ve totally got 58 minutes.

Then I paused my Garmin (and my music) and just stared. I had a little trouble believing what I saw. I collected my medal and texted the hubs.

“Hey babe? Can you check the post-it in my bib binder with my PR list? I think I’m close.” The reply? I’m out with Mugsy. 😂

But I knew I had to find out. And I pulled up my photos. And flipped to the Camp Chingachook Challenge 10k from last year. My 3rd 10k PR of 2018 – and saw a 56:39 result.

So I stood along the fence – waiting for my mermaids to finish and just bouncing with excitement. For me…and for them. Because it’s a rare treat to cheer friends on.

And to witness Ashley cross with a PR and Cara finish strong and Rachel come cruising across in a ridiculous pair of shells just makes a great race even better.

Because my PR? It is now a 55:45.

Almost a freaking minute faster than the old one. And the fact that it came after a summer nursing a cranky hip – one that went out at mile 9 of my last half a month ago – makes it even better.

I’m writing this with a huge smile on my face. Because a sub 56 seemed like something I would never see. And yet, again, somehow shows I’m not getting older. I’m getting faster. (At least at 10ks). 😁

And this heavy medal is totally heavy metal mermaid appropriate.

Hello October…

I know, its been a while, eh?

Sorry – I got some major writers block (and runners block) and needed a break.  I just hadn’t meant to take a six-month one.  Oops.

So…how’s everyone’s 2019 going?

Mine’s been good… mostly. LOL   Running hasn’t been my friend this year.  I have been dealing with a myriad of minor injuries and just mentally struggling.  I went from knocking out miles to wondering WHY 10 miles suddenly got hard.

My May marathon didn’t go as planned – but still turned out great.  I hit a wall around mile 13 and was dealing with a wonky leg and ended up run/walking (1/4-1/2 mile intervals) the second half.  I still finished in 4:38 which is a great finish for me.  But walking so much was mentally defeating.    I know there’s people who LOVE the run/walk method.  But i’m not one of them.  I really only do intervals when injured, or running speedwork.

So…between the mental struggle and the physical struggle I decided to take a bit of a distance break this year.  I opted out on my planned ultra and I focused on shorter races and events where friends were running.  I needed company more than I needed miles.

Oh – and I GOT A DOG!  THAT…was totally the highlight of my year.  For those of you who only read my blog and aren’t a social media follower – meet Mugsy.IMG_9131.jpg

Mugsy is a border terrier.  He’s got a bit of a split personality disorder – goes from snuggle bunny to baby stark in a heartbeat.  LOL   But he’s my heart and I love him.  He turns 5 months old tomorrow.

Mugsy recently graduated from puppy kindergarten and is starting ‘middle school’ next week.  He can sit, shake, lie down, crawl, stay (somewhat), identify specific toys, fetch and run through an agility tunnel like he was born for it.

Its going to be SO much fun helping my boy discover all his talents.  But for now…lets just hope we all survive TEETHING.

But…its October.  And i’m building back the miles (hit 100 last month – woohoo!) and have a couple of races coming up.   First up – this Sunday is Ocean Road 10k.

I’m really excited for Ocean Road.  This will be my 3rd time at this one.  2017 I ran it with my sole sister Karen and 2018 with my pirate posse.  This year, i’m #teammermaid and I have a shirt even more epic than last year’s pirate hamster.  (If you give a girl a cricut she will create…)  I’m looking forward to my girl’s night out and running my own race this time.

I’m also a little nervous about my first night away from Mugsy. But he’s got a momma who likes to travel for races and Dopey will be here in ONE HUNDRED DAYS so he needs to get used to it.  This is a good test to see if he’ll be fine with Daddy.  LOL  (I picture them on the couch with popcorn and car shows on tv)

Well…my boy is bored, so i gotta go.  But don’t worry – i’ll be back next week with an update on both my race and boys night in.  🙂


‘‘Twas the night before Dopey

”Twas the night before Dopey, and all through the parks, not a creature was stirring, not even Mickey Mouse.

The runners were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of medals, danced in their heads.

Okay, yeah, I know – no sleep at Disney!! Lol

But omg guys – we did it! We survived training and taper and now it’s Go Time!!!!

I’m so excited to go “home” today and hit the expo and meet a bajillion new friends and have a truly epic weekend full of fun and frivolity and All the Miles. Yay!!!!!

Hope everyone’s final week of running went well, and that you’ve all reviewed the event guide and know where you gotta be when. I have been studying it like it’s the Patriots playbook. 😁😂

I also have a printed map of the expo vendors, with my must haves circled. (Seriously sparkle athletic – did you actually really put out a rose gold visor? Way to guarantee I stop by!!!)

I feel…oddly calm about running this weekend. Maybe my training was spot on after all. Maybe because I’ve been through this once already I know that the marathon will hurt, but that I will finish. Or maybe it’s because I know that I don’t give up, I don’t give in, I just finish what I start.

And tomorrow – starts 48.6 miles in 4 days.

To all of you running this weekend, no matter the distance, may it be an epic voyage. And may you get all the merchandise, photo ops and gram marnier slushees your little heart desires.

See ya real soon!!

One little week….to Dopey!

Omg, omg, omg, it’s one week to Dopey!!!!! Is everybody ready? I am!! At least I think so.

img_9021Of course, this is taper…where the first rule is QUESTION EVERYTHING!!!!!  lol

The second rule of taper is trust the training….so when that little voice pops up with “what ifs” ya gotta just say “knock if off…we got this”

First, my apologies for the lack of blogs the last couple weeks. See, I totally wiped out on the second day of my Dopey simulation before Christmas.  I was sprinting to beat the crosswalk countdown and when I got to the curb, not all of me made the jump onto it.  I fell HARD and did a number on both my knee and my right hand. (i’m more ticked I tore my favorite gloves than anything else).  So….my thumb is sprained and in a splint, which has made typing a bit of a challenge.  I know, excuses, excuses.  LOL  I couldn’t skip the one week announcement tho, so bear with me on any typos.  🙂

Other than that, the simulation went great.  I got in my miles in some interesting weather and survived a good chunk of the 20 miler on a treadmill.  If I can survive that, I can totally survive the WWOS miles during the marathon.

I also kicked off the year with a New Year’s Day race – the Hangover Classic 5-Miler in Bristol, RI.  Ran wicked fast and surprised myself.  It was also fun running in shorts on Jan 1.  The course was mostly in my favorite park – Colt State Park – where i’ll be headed back in August for 12 hours of running loops.  Can’t wait to run the Anchor Down Ultra again.  Its the craziest thing i’ve run other than Dopey.

So here we are in the final week of taper.  Just 3 little runs between now and the Disney 5k (which will be my 100th race ever – cool, huh?).  3 miles tomorrow, 6 on Sunday and then 2 on Monday….followed by 2 days of rest.

So what am I doing with all my free time? I finished making my costumes, I jazzed up my magic bands and i’ve started lists.

This weekend I really need to pack. And watch Disney movies.

While i’m refusing to weather stalk this year – since one week out last year it looked AH-mazing and turned into “holy crow its friggin cold” – I do plan to just pack for all possibilities.

So what am I bringing?

  • Race outfits – including sparkle visors, arm sleeves, sparkle skirts, shorts / capri options and possible layering shirts
  • Start Line “tossables” – hoodies from the goodwill store, cheap gloves, hand warmers, mylar heat sheets (got a 10 pack off amazon), cheap poncho
  • Footwear – 2 pairs of race shoes (to alternate), an extra pair of sneakers, my snow white toms and my birkenstocks. Oh, and my sparkly purple snoozies.
  • GU and sports beans – I used to be a citrus person for gels, but this training cycle i’ve developed an addition to birthday cake Gu.  It tastes like funfetti!
  • Miscellaneous – glide, mini flashlight, tape, tiny scissors, bandaids, Advil, sandwich bags, sharpie
  • Food – as a celiac vegetarian i’m used to packing snacks to even just leave the house.  For Disney I pack paper travel coffee cups and starbucks instant, plus granola bars, protein bars and gluten free pop tars
  • Ears! – My collection has been growing – I now have my Minnie Mouse ears that have been at all my runDisney weekends, a pair of Dopey themed sequin ones (purple ears, green bow and 100% gorgeous), the official rose gold ears, and a pair of black and rose gold for my half-marathon costume.  I’m hoping to add the purple potion ones to my collection while i’m there.  Swoon – they are SO gorgeous!

How about you? What’s in your suitcase?

So logistics – we have our waivers, we have our event guide, we probably all have our dinner reservations and fast passes.  I just ordered memory maker (to save the $30 with advance purchase) and now i’m just stalking the parks blog for our merchandise preview (hopefully friday???) and i’m stalking the alex and ani blog, hoping for marathon weekend bangles agin.    Gotta make my shopping list for the expo!

I really can’t believe that in six days from right now I’ll be blogging from the airport as I get ready to head to Best Race Weekend Ever. And one week from right now i’ll be heading through Epcot towards the finish line of my 100th race.   Squee!!!!!!  😀

To my fellow marathon weekend runners – see ya real soon!

Four weeks to… 4 days, 4 parks, 48.6 miles

Its just four little weeks to Dopey…. So what do we want? Waivers!  When do we want them?  NOW!!!!  LOL

Hopefully this week….especially since last year they came out like the day I wrote about them. But, this year NONE of the race distances are sold out.  (Side note – wanna run??? You still can!)  But, we’ll see.  Not that it really matters where  you start…its the same journey anyways.  Just a matter of how dark it is when you hit main street.  🙂

So FOUR.  Four weeks left for training and planning and ‘omg am I really doing this again.’  Four weeks until….Four Days, Four Races, Four Parks, Four freaking early wake-ups.

In keeping with this week’s theme, i’m going to bring you four top-4 lists.  But first, a training update.

This weekend was 18 miles… And it made me realize just how far out of marathon shape I am.  Its my own fault.  I had the summer of speed followed by peroneal tendonitis.  I hadn’t done 18 miles since May.  That’s too long.  Not to self – distance all year!!  (And no injuries, please.)

I am being realistic in my training tho.  Knowing how I felt and how I ran last year, I tried to make this more of a marathon simulation than a “lets go kill it” run.  What that means is…running 14 and then run/walking.

Mad props to those of you who can run every step of those 48.6 miles.  I’m not one of them.  And i’m okay with that.  Even my 44-mile overnight ultra had some walking.  Its just a matter of ever forward.   I figure my Dopey brother & I will be using the same strategy we did this past year.  Run to the parking lot at animal kingdom (where I always smile thinking about leaving my toss hoodie at the base of unicorn parking sign) and then alternate walk a mile / run a mile.

So the 18?  I ran a good solid sub-10 paced 13.5,  And then I walked a half-mile eating a chocolate-mint (HOLY CROW THAT IS DELICIOUS) Gu.  Ran the next, then went into 1/2 mile ‘intervals’.  And I finished the 18…feeling like I could totally knock out a couple more miles – as long as I didn’t have to run more than 1/2 of one at a time.   And that’s perfect.

End of next week will be my full-dopey simulation (3, 4, 10, 20) and then taper.  OMG TAPER – that means we’re almost there.  LOL

Okay – getting ahead of myself… lets talk Disney fun…

So here’s four lists, each with four items, to get you in a Dopey state of mind: Costumes, Characters, Rides, and Things We Want.

Costumes – do you have yours planned?  I do. And I’m ready to reveal them….

  • Mike Wazowski (repeat, sorta, last year it was covered in a very warm winter hoodie – fingers crossed I can actually wear the real shirt this time!)
  • Dopey “style” (I made myself a wicked awesome dopey challenge shirt that i’m SO excited for.  Its green and will be paired with purple accessories.  I might even race in my ears again)
  • Rose Gold Minnie (again, custom design – and unless Sparkle Athletics puts out a rose gold visor (PLEASE!!!!!) will also include minnie ears)
  • Snow White (i’m very excited to run as the OG….)

These are in race order….I think.  LOL  And I’ve got my race posse in coordinating outfits for the 5 & 10.

Characters – I have never stopped during a race for a character.  The lines are just too long and while I’m apparently willing to wait 10 minutes for Sangria, I haven’t done the same for a princess.

I mean, I stopped to pet a sheep, and yet I wouldn’t stop for poor Meeko who didn’t even have a line.  Priorities…  Anyway – there are some people that i’m hoping to meet that weekend.  Or at least see.

  • Snow White (She’s a guarantee – i’m having dinner with her that Friday night!)
  • Stitch (I have seen him on course.  This year I may be tempted to actually stop)
  • Flynn Rider (I would love to get up close with that smolder!)
  • Oswald (he’s this year’s GOAL.  He’s the 5k mascot and my nephew LOVES him.  If he’s out – we are stopping!)

Rides – What’s on your fast pass list?  Did you get all the ones you want?  My four that i’m most excited about riding (one in each park) are…

  • Flight of Passage (Best.  Ride.  Ever.)
  • Seven Dwarves Mine Train (Sooooo fun.  And I love seeing them dance at the end.)
  • Spaceship Earth (I know – for some people its a toss-away.  But this ride just speaks to me.)
  • Rock & Roller Coaster (horns up, upside down that is…. fast and fun!)

Things We Want – The important one! What are we runners waiting for right now? What, other than the long runs, is keeping us awake at night? These…

  • Waivers – show me the waivers!  They’ve come out anywhere between the 5th & 16th. So soon my pretties.  Soon.  And may the corrals be ever in your favor.
  • Event Guide – Just as important as the waivers…we want the courses and the other little details and information that matters.  Personally I want this even more!!!!
  • Magic Bands – Mine are ordered and I’m just waiting on them to ship.  I can’t wait until they arrive so I can customize them with the decals I designed. Yes, I may be a little cricut crazy, but if i’m going to wear something all day, its gotta be pretty.
  • Merchandise – this we won’t see most of until race week.  Although a picture of the Dooney & Bourke purses has been released, and I AM due for a new tote (I just wish it had Dopey on it) and the magnets have come out – which totally gives us an idea of the them for all the merchandise.

I definitely need the magnet.  And probably another ‘I did it” shirt.  And a headband. And oooh – fingers crossed for another Alex & Ani bracelet! Or a pandora charm…Maybe a pint glass this year (i’m still bummed they didn’t get the last year).  Yeah – I always overspend at the expo.

What else is on your “alright, where is it” list?

Are you as excited as I am? Let’s Get Dopey!!

6 weeks to Dopey – let’s talk costumes!

Doing weekly countdowns keeps me so very aware of how many (or few?) days are left until Dopey. And we’re at 42. Eek!!!
It’s time to really get my costumes together. While I know what I’m planning – there’s still some organizing and cricuting still to do. 🙂 And I’m definitely doing some reminiscing about the ones I’ve worn over the years. Below…I’ll discuss my favorites!
But first…training update. While my mileage is definitely down from last year, having been through it once already totally helps my confidence.  I know I can finish.  And having the loooooong runs begin totally makes it feel like go time.
I did run my last race of the year on thanksgiving.  My third time at the Attleboro YMCA Gobble Wobble.  Some of you may remember the last two years of Turkey Vision Quest…well this year was NOT that.  LOL  I had no time or placement goal, I had no expectations and I had no idea what my legs had.  It was C O L D and I felt both totally silly and badass running a 5k in feels like -1.
When the race started I took off with the group, fell into pace, warmed up and just went for it.  That said – when I saw the clock at the end I had to grin.  Because it was over 2 minutes faster than I expected!  And within 40 seconds of the PR I set last year.  So while sure, part of me was disappointed I missed 3rd place in my age group by 30 seconds (drat!) I know there is NO WAY I could have shaved that off what I ran.  So i’m happily walking away from that with 4th AG.  And 99th overall, which is pretty cool.  😀
I followed that up two days later with a Saturday 16-miler.  I found that window of time that would be prime running – and it was Saturday afternoon.  A time I NEVER run.  But it was single digits again friday and rain expected Sunday – so when you find 45 degrees and sun you take it.
I told myself the run was a no-pressure, time on my feet kinda long run (just Dopey marathon practice) and yet, my legs had other ideas.  I should NOT have been running 9:40’s…for 10 whole miles.  I did finally get my legs to slow some after that…but still super awesome long run pace for me.  I ran by a lot of christmas decor and even a tree farm.  I saw two ponies and some chickens.  And I just enjoyed what might be the last chance to run in capris in 2018.  It was an awesome run and a confidence boost for sure.
Of course, since my mind loves to wander during runs….I was trying to remember what I still need to do (or buy) for my costumes.
Picking out four is both easy, and hard. There are SO many to choose from! And while I try to not repeat myself, I am bringing back characters this year – although with new costumes.
One is my girl Snow White. She wasn’t meant to be a costume last year. But it was SO cold for marathon weekend, that what I had originally planned just wasn’t gonna work and I had enough cold gear with me to “Disney bound” her. So this year, she’s gonna get the royal treatment. She’ll be my marathon outfit.
She’ll join that ‘hall of fame’ of the four other outfits i’ve worn running the Disney marathon.  And I think she’s a great choice for fifth.
I definitely have a favorite from each year – and its usually my m marathon one.  I think its because I save the good one for the big race (whether i’m running Goofy or Dopey). I also have a favorite picture that goes with each one.
So here they are…my favorites so far!
2014 –  Minnie Mouse / Goofy
It was my first year and I wasn’t as good at costumes yet.  I chose Minnie as my first (for the half) and Goofy for the marathon, as that was my challenge of choice that year.  I made custom shirts for my brother (who was running Dopey) and I that read – I’m Goofy but my brother’s Dopey…it runs in the family (and the reverse for him.) Those shirts got a lot of love…and will always have a special place in my heart.img_0382
2016 – Ariel / Tigger
My second Goofy, I branched out a little and joined team sparkle.  I kept Ariel simple so I could run well (purple shirt and visor, green sparkle skirt) and Tigger, my bouncy trouncy flouncy pouncy buddy, was FUN FUN FUN FUN FUN!img_1356
This is also the infamous “I kicked a squirrel” photo…(see my 2016 weekend recap blog.  LOL)
2017 Joy / Merida
This year my family ran the 5k together as the emotions from Inside Out.  I was Joy (obviously – lol) and it was fun to do a group costume. I had planned Mike Wazowski for the 1/2, which got cancelled and almost chose to run in that for the marathon…but I knew I had to stick with my original plan – Merida.  And i’m SO glad I did.  I had a blast posing for the photographers…and got what will always be one of my most epic race photos.img_2091
2018 Mike Wazowksi / Dopey colors / Snow bounding / Figment
My first Dopey…and boy was it cold!  I had planned to run the 5k as Mike with my hubs as Sully, but when its in the 30’s, you adapt.  I was fortunate enough to have a green fleece Mike colored, but still, my awesome shirt has yet to have its moment.  So him, we will bring back in January – hoping third time is the charm for this guy.
This was also another year of the costume shirt.  I designed Dopey challenge shirts and a challenge shirt for my nephew (who runs the 5k/10k) and we wore those (with a billion layers under them) for the 10k.  I ran the whole race also in a pair of sparkle purple and green minnie mouse ears.  So awesome!
For the half – I had a minnie mouse costume packed…but it wasn’t going to be nearly warm enough for a thank top, and i didn’t have any black long sleeves. So a quick plan B and Snow was ready to go.  Like I said, this was not one of my best costumes and the OG princess deserves a chance to shine.
Figment….this goes right up there with Merida as my favorite Disney costume ever.  My awesome sister in law gave me the idea (she’s a MAJOR Figment Fan) and I totally ran with it.  It was fun to craft and fun to run it – the crowds loved it.  And this picture…makes me smile.img_2933-1
So my fellow Dopeys, Goofys and other marathon weekend runners…what’s your favorite costume ever?