Five Ways You Can Live On & Give On! Plus $100 Visa Card #Giveaway

Inspired. Motivated. Determined.

That was exactly how I felt after reading the stories of 10 individuals who were named the 2014 Bakken Invitational Award Honorees.


The Bakken Invitation, created by Medtronic, was created to celebrate and connect people, who are contributing in communities around the world through charitable work and with the help of medical technology. It is named after Earl Bakken, who was the Medtronic co-founder and humanitarian.

Everyone is asked to share your story on the Bakken Invitation website and share with the world how you make a difference. For every story, Medtronic Philanthropy will donate $10 to Project Hope.

Anyone who shares their story on the site can then apply for the Bakken Invitation Award. Each year 10 people are selected as an Honoree and earn a $20,000 grant from Medtronic Philanthropy for their designated charity.

How awesome is that?

While each of the 10 honorees were extremely motivating and inspiring, there was one particular woman who struck a cord with me.


Krystal Boyea, a 27-year-old Barbados native, has become the face of diabetes in Barbados and the Caribbean.

Krystal was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 10.

It was the worst day of my life. Growing up with type 1 diabetes was never easy. As a child, I always felt different when taking multiple insulin injections every day, or testing my blood sugar, or having to pay close attention to my diet. Diabetes affected my personal life, and I struggled throughout school and in my hobbies. As a child, or even sometimes now, I would ask “why me?”

After struggling with diabetes and finding her way in life, Krystal received her first insulin pump in 2010.. and her life was changed forever.

Shortly after, I made a decision to start volunteering, to give all of my extra time to a cause that changed my life – diabetes. I was elected to represent Barbados at the first-ever, Young leaders in Diabetes Congress, held by the International Diabetes Federation. Inspired by that experience, I came home and founded the first youth chapter of the Diabetes Association of Barbados.


She has devoted much of her young life to sharing how she has lived a healthy, full life with diabetes. She has turned inspiring others into a career.

I completed my Masters of Public Health and co-founded a diabetes clinic that caters to the diabetes needs of my country. My ultimate goal is to be a voice of chronic diseases for the Caribbean people, and I have spoken internationally at the United Nations, at TEDx, the World Diabetes Congress and at NCD Child.

While my story is not nearly as inspiring or motivating as Krystal’s it has still been life-changing for me to be open and honest about my struggles to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. I am honored to be able to share my ups and downs with the world here on my slice of the internet. So when I receive a note from a blog reader, I am ecstatic to hear my story has changed their life for the better… like Krystal.


Here are Five Ways YOU can Live On & Give On in your community:

*Note: These are ways I have tried myself or ones I am planning on trying in 2015!!

1) Volunteer At An Animal Shelter – Animal shelters are almost always looking for extra help, and how cute is it to spend your morning or afternoon snuggling puppies or kitties. While there might be some unglamorous tasks – hey poop – you’ll also get to spend some quality time with some adorable animals, and nothing beats that!


Our Two Rescue Pups – Laney & Molly

2) Sharing Your Pet With Those In Need – My pups make me smile on a daily basis! While watching Dogs with Jobs I saw a dog that would visit local senior centers, veteran’s clubs and hospitals to bring some joy to the residents.

This may not be the right choice for every pet or every location, so be sure to consider your pet and the policy of local location before you try giving back in this way.


Molly was a hit at the rehab center this summer

3) Share Your Knowledge With Others – Consider sharing your smarts with local students. Many schools and after school programs would be happy to take on a volunteer to help students improve.

I have quite a few friends who are volunteer tutors and it is amazing to not only see their students flourish, but to see how they grow as well.


4) Volunteer Your Time – There are a number of youth centers, community groups, local theaters and senior centers looking for your help.

I had a great time volunteering with Girls On The Run in the past. Girls On The Run (GOTR) inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.


5) Donate To Charity – There are plenty of charities looking for help with funding! With any cause, every dollar donated is appreciated and needed.

If you are looking for a charity, please feel free to donate to Tedy’s Team, which is associated with the American Heart Association, to #FightStroke.  Donate here. :)



Now that you are full inspired, it’s time to reward one lucky reader with an awesome $100 visa gift card.

Check out the 10 honorees and share in the comment section below which one inspires you to give back to your community.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Participants must be 18 years or older and living in the US.

Winner will be chosen at 5pm EST on Wednesday, December 24!


Thank you to Medtronic for sponsoring today’s post and inspiring me to give back to my community!

Dec 2014


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Weekend Wrap Up: Running And Spinning And Christmas Tree Oh My!

Go Go Go!

It’s how I have felt the past two weeks. I keep attacking my To Do list, yet it keeps growing. Has anyone else had that? Every time I think I am all caught up – seven more things get added to the list.

Now don’t get me wrong they aren’t all horrible adult-like tasks, it’s just continuous!

I am looking forward to finally getting a chance to veg out this upcoming weekend.

But for now it is time to share all the fun stuff I did last weekend. ;)

Are ya ready? Get your cup of coffee and dig in…

I woke up Friday night on the high from Thursday. No not that kind of high. It was a running high. On Thursday night I hit 1,000 miles run in 2014! Woo!! :)


So Friday brought a happy heart and tired legs. Luckily my friend and Tedy’s Team running mate Page was up for some slower miles. We had a great time catching up on our weekly Friday Five. We had missed it the week prior as she was in Cayman for a half with some of the other Tedy’s Team crew. Yes I was super jealous!!


I was saddened to her her husband’s uncle had passed away earlier in the week from a Stroke. It just reminded us again why we do what we do!!

After a quick clean-up, it was off to lead my final Weight Watchers meeting of the week. This is such an amazing and motivating group. The group works with adults with down syndrome so five of the participants have Down Syndrome. I learn something new from this group every week and always walk away with a smile on my face. :)

Now one would think hey it is weekend time… nope! Paperwork paperwork paperwork was ahead of me. I caught up on all the unglamorous ;) part of work before moving on to the next thing.

Friday afternoon turned into an afternoon of errands before heading to the Cambridge Side Galleria Mall to pick up our bibs for Sunday’s Cambridge 5k Yulefest 5k.


With Boston Marathon training officially kicking off Saturday, it was time to restart the Friday night tradition of movie and Zensah compression everything. We opted to watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. One of my all-time favorites.

Saturday would be the first of many Tedy’s Team runs this winter. It was great being reconnected with teammates and meeting new ones. I was pretty happy to see the schedule call for 6 miles since my legs were still kind of tired.


Following a quick breakfast and blog session, it was time to head back in town for my friend Beth’s Flywheel Fundraiser. Beth is running the Boston Marathon for Dana Farber.


I was excited to have my friend and fellow WW Leader Susan join me for her first ever Flywheel class.


I didn;t know what to expect having run six miles earlier in the day, but I still ended up 3rd overall on the Torq board. Woo!


We opted to celebrate with some well-deserved beers. :)

On the way back to the train, we caught part of a protest happening near the Boston Public Library. It looked as if the group was making their way down Boylston Street. The cops were redirecting traffic block by block as the protestors made their way towards somewhere. Cuhlearly I was paying attention to what was going on. :P

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After making our way around the protestors, it was smooth sailing back home.

While the wife was at her nerd game night, I should’ve been uber productive. But instead I walked 2.5 miles on the treadmill then snuggled with the pups. Oops! :P I just needed a little zen time to recharge the body.

Plus I had to lay out my final race outfit of the year. Sunday would mark Race #52 of 52 for 2014.



As always it was a great time with my Slumbrew Happy Soles at the Yulefest 5k. You can read all about it here.


This shot even made it on to the Cambridge Chronicle’s website. Yay high-fives! ;)

We wanted to stay and party with the Happy Soles all morning, but the wife had a hockey game. So we bid farewell, grabbed lunch and headed home to get her stuff.


My wife is my #1 supporter and at almost all of my races so it was time to pay it back and head to one of her games. It was cold in the arena so I made sure to keep myself moving the whole time. It was a rough loss, but she did great on tired legs. She had also run the 5k earlier that morning (40:12).

Since we hadn’t done enough on Sunday, we made the decision to go straight from the game to buy a Christmas tree. The wife leaves on Monday to spend Christmas with her family in Chicago so we needed a tree sooner rather than later.

We headed to the Arlington Boys & Girls Club to pick a tree. We buy our tree there for special reasons. I grew up swimming at that Boys & Girls Club so I love being able to pay it forward to the kids there now by having our tree $$ go to fund their programming.


So while spending $50 for a tree hurt, I knew it was going to a good cause.

Plus isn’t it a beaut? ;)

By the time we were home and the tree was put up, I was ready to crash. More blog work needed to be done, but it would have to wait until Monday. My eyes were refusing to stay open any longer!


I dragged my butt to the treadmill to squeeze in a 1.5 mile walk just so I could hit my activity goal on my Activelink. Molly came along for moral support.

It was a wicked fun weekend with lots of activity, laughs and love.

And hey I even managed to escape the weekend with Weight Watchers Points still left over! Yay for not being in the negative for the second-straight weekend. :)


Do you also feel like your To Do list is never-ending?


Top Three Stocking Stuffers Under $17 For Your Fitness Enthusiast!

Shopping for a loved one can be one of the trickiest tasks we can have around the holiday season. Picking out just the right relevant Stocking Stuffers can be a bigger chore than the presents themselves… especially if you are on a budget!

Well I’m here to share with you the Top Three Stocking Stuffers I’d recommend for your favorite fitness enthusiast!



1) Shower Pill (Value – $10 for a 10 pack)

What is it?

ShowerPill™ is the hygiene supplement designed to keep you fresh and clean while on-the-go. This large premium antibacterial body wipe is individually packaged to be discrete, yet versatile and big on performance.

So I had no idea what a hygiene supplement is so thankfully they explained it further on their website:

Just touched that doorknob? You should run to the sink, but grab hand sanitizer instead. Finished that tuna sandwich and forgot your toothbrush? Better pop a breath mint. Worked up a sweat during your midday workout? The ShowerPill™ Athletic Body Wipe™ will keep you fresh so that you can stay at your best all day long.

I was scrolling through Twitter the other night and all of a sudden the twitter handle –@ShowerPill – and was instantly intrigued. Many of you know I usually work out in between Weight Watchers meetings and I am always rushing to squeeze a rinse off before interacting with people. :P So I thought I had to give this a shot.


Shower Pill sent me a couple wipes to try and I IMMEDIATELY put them to good use.

I had to fit in a run between meetings and was running late (shocker!) so it was Shower Pill to the rescue. I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t smell at all like I had just been covered in sweat a mere five minutes earlier.

Would I use them after every single workout, probably not. But, I will be keeping them on hand in my house and gym bag for emergencies. I’d rather use one of these than show up smelly. You never want to be the smelly kid. :P

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Shower Pill = Portable Shower … No Water Needed

Also, read how Shower Pill was invented – I found it entertaining! :)

^Discount Alert: Use code holiday20 for 20% off when your purchase two boxes of ShowerPill (code expires 1/1/15).


2) Feetures High-Peformance Socks (Value $10.99)


How Feetures got their start:

In 2002, after spending 25+ years with a leading manufacturer of athletic socks, I believed that there was an opportunity to create a better performance sock that took advantage of the latest breakthroughs in sock technology. As a runner and someone passionate about being active, I wanted to design a great sock that would enhance the performance of runners and other athletes.

Feetures offers a variety of sock styles, but my favorite are the high performance – their original sock design!

Here’s why I like them so much:

^ High Performance sock has power bands of Lycra, so the sock hugs the entire foot in a comfortable and supportive way

^ iWick Fibers do a superior job of wicking moisture to keep feet cool and dry

^ The mesh construction on top of the sock provides ventilation for added breathability


And if this pair is any proof after running through the muddy trails last week, you can bet they can stand up to fun runs, marathons, triathlons and beyond.

I really didn’t know the difference in how a good sock plays in to your workout until I tried Feetures out this summer… and now I’m hooked! :)


3) Sparkly Soul Headbands (Value $15-17)


How two sisters took the reigns and created Sparkly Soul:

The company was created by a marathoner and triathlete for all the women who find their strength and soul while pushing themselves to their athletic limits.

We needed to keep our hair out of our face while exercising.  Now there is a fabulous headband that won’t slip, won’t cause your pretty little head to get a headache or cause hair breakage.  It is the comfortable solution for all you athletic fashionistas.

Whether you are a runner, walker, dancer, triathlete, yogi, pilates buff, cyclist, cheerleader, or ballplayer  – we believe in all you sparkly gals out there!

With years of activity between organized sports, dancing and now running/triathlons, I have tried every headband out there. I can say with 100% that Sparkly Soul is the only one to remain on my head in tact through any activity I do.


But wait Sparkly Soul does more! They can even cover up those gray hairs when you are putting off that hair appointment. ;)


Oh is that just me? :P

Yes it is true I wear Sparkly Soul headbands every day to work, the gym, to workouts, around the house…

Plus even Santa knows where it’s at!



You’re welcome in advance for lots of hugs from a happy camper on Christmas morning! ;)


Race #52 of 2014: Cambridge 5k Yulefest 5k Recap

52 races in 2014. It began with 1st Run on New Year’s Day and ended with December 14’s Cambridge 5k‘s Yulefest 5k with the Slumbrew Happy Soles!


Yulefest 5k takes place in Harvard Square and is my favorite of the Cambridge 5k series.


Since I signed up early enough I received the sweet winter hat plus the t-shirt. But everyone who registered received the warm hat.

With MBTA Red Line service switching to shuttle busses for the weekend, the wife and I opted to attempt to find parking in Harvard Square for the race. It ended up being shockingly easy to accomplish. Since meters are free on Sundays, we got free parking to boot! Hollah! I was hoping this would be setting the tone for a good day.

We waited in the car til just after 8:30 before braving the winter morning to head to the Start Area.


Thankfully it was a bright and sunny morning, but a tad chilly – low 30s according to the weather app. The party area/pre-race Slumbrew meet up spot had moved this year. It was slated as being a larger space than in previous years so I had high hopes it would be able to manage the large crowds.

The wife and I made our way to the Slumbrew tent to say hi to the rest of the Happy Soles and stash our bag before making our way to another part of Harvard Square to get our IDs checked and our bibs stamped to prove we were 21.

Around 9:15am we made our way over to the Start Line.


Instead of just passing the time by shivering, I was able to bust a move to the Start Line live DJ! Thanks for playing Jump Around sir – I needed the warmth. ;)


Being in line early gave me plenty of time to say hi to all my friends making their way to the Start Line.


Oh hey Amy!!

With the countdown on from Race Director, Eddie, I reminded myself to give it my all today, but to be okay with whatever the results would be. I was going on some tired legs – 6 mile run & 1 hour Spin class the day prior – and didn’t want to walk away from the final race disappointed.

I love the Yulefest 5k course and since this was my third time running the race I was familiar with it.

The horn went off and we shot out of the Start shoot.


I love that this hot makes it look like I am the lead runner in the race. :P Thanks for the free photos Cambridge 5k! :)

As soon as I passed that start mat, I felt tired. I made the decision to not look at my Garmin unless it was at a Mile marker. I didn’t want to get caught up in pace this race.

So I focused on the fun costumes around me and the Cambridge scenery.

Mile 1: 7:19

The race is flat for the most part, which was a treat for my legs.

I was proud to see a pace faster than say 9:00 min/mile on that first mile since that is what it felt like to my body. I didn’t think I was moving as fast as I was. Anyone else ever experience that?

The streets were quiet for the most part when it came to spectators, but the volunteers were doing their best to keep the streets safe and the atmosphere lively.

Mile 2: 7:18

The final mile became a mental game. I wanted to just stop. My legs were feeling tired. I had to dig deep and shut down the voices in my head. I drummed up all the motivation I could. I thought about how I feel near the end of a marathon or how I kept going in the final miles of my Half Ironman this year. I could complete the final mile of a 5k. I had to give myself some perspective.

I also knew the final mile included the only hill of the race.

As I made my way up the final push, I could see a guy using the hill for hill repeats. Show off. ;) Ha! Okay I thought that in the moment because I was tired, but it gave me a little umph to push through up the incline. I knew I would be sailing down to the finish.

I wanted the Finish to be just over the crest of the hill, but alas there was .3 to go. I just kept my eye on the Finish Line. I may or may not have also picked a person in front of me and focused on finishing ahead of them for inspiration.

Mile 3: 7:20

Yeah I lost some steam on that hill. But worked my butt off to Finish strong.


I had the course a little long and apparently started my watch late or stopped it early.

Official Time: 23:08


Good for 316 out of 2,024 overall and 74 out of 1,048 females.

I am definitely proud of how I did relative to how I felt.

As soon as I crossed the Finish, I grabbed a water and turned right around to cheer folks into the Finish.

Folks had some amazing costumes.



I love cheering on runners and dishing out high-fives… especially when those high-fives go to fellow Slumbrew Happy Soles!



Unfortunately I don’t have a shot of the wife crossing (40:12) because I was too busy jumping up and down. Ha. Oops. But I am so proud of how she did. It was her first race since the half in July!

After we saw the final racers cross the Finish, we headed back to JFK street for the post-race party.

And that is when it got crowded.

We had our bib stamped already to show we were 21 (in lieu of wristbands) so we headed in the corraled post-race party to a mass of folks. We needed to get from the front of the party to the back where the Slumbrew tent was. But the crowd was thick and wasn’t moving. I’m not sure if people didn’t know where to go or they just grabbed a beer and stopped in their tracks. But it was wicked hard to move from one end of the party to the other. I am claustrophobic so you can only imagine how my anxiety level was rising during this pushing fest.

The wife and I picked up other Happy Soles along the way and finally squeezed our way to the Slumbrew tent. I made the decision then and there to not move from the tent until I had to leave. So we had to cancel our team picture in front of the stage (which was at the front of the party) and opt for one near the tent. We squeezed as many of the 121 Happy Soles into one picture/video as we could.

I felt the post-race party was more cramped than in previous years. I was thankful to have the area behind the Slumbrew pouring station to hang out with the team and have some breathing room. The anxiety level definitely went down to normal once I was in that space.

I would love to hear what others at the post-race party thought of the congestion.

I want to give a big thanks to Slumbrew owners, Caitlin & Jeff, for being so generous with the Happy Soles by sending each team member home with a 4-pack of Happy Sol. Amazing, right?

It was great hanging out with Slumbrew friends and meeting new Happy Soles post-race.

But with the wife having a hockey game we had to call it early. We gave hugs to all and headed out. Thankfully the back of the party where we were had an exit we could leave to avoid going back through the massive crowd.

On the way out, I had the pleasure of meeting blog reader Christine! Thanks so much for recognizing me and saying hi! :)


Overall, Eddie puts on a great race with good swag, free race photos, lots of tasty local beer and good tunes. I was a little disappointed in massive back-up getting through the post-race party, which I didn’t experience the previous years. I know when you move a party area there will be some growing pains and I think they were felt. At least by me.

I was proud that a teammate noticed and appreciated that I thanked every volunteer/cop on the course. Made me smile.

Will I be back next year? Of course. I know Eddie always tweaks the races to give the participants the best experience!!


Were you at Yulefest this year? What did you think of the post-race party area?


2014 Road Races

Here is how the 2014 race schedule is shaping up so far:

January 1 – 1st Run 5k – 23:43 (7:39 min/mile pace) – RECAP

January 9 – Disney Family Fun Run 5k – 32:05 (10:21 min/mile pace) – RECAP

January 10 – Walt Disney World 10k – 1:05:40 (10:35 min/mile pace) – RECAP

January 11 – Walt Disney World Half Marathon – 2:22:31 (10:53 min/mile pace) – RECAP

January 12 – Walt Disney World Marathon – 4:45:57 (10:55 min/mile pace) – RECAP


February 2 – Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon – 1:55:43 (8:50 min/mile pace) – RECAP

February 14 – Stop Stroke Shuffle 5k *Virtual* – 26:18 (8:29 min/mile pace)


March 1 – Black Cat 20-Miler – 2:57:59 (8:54 min/mile pace) – RECAP

March 16 – Craicfest 5k – 24:17 (7:49 min/mile pace) – RECAP


April 19 – BAA 5k – 25:08 (8:06 min/mile pace) – RECAP

April 21 – 118th Boston Marathon – 5:31:18 (12:39 min/mile pace) – RECAP

April 26 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon – 4:42:12 (10:46 min/mile pace) – RECAP


May 11 – M.O.M.’s Run 5k – 24:14 (7:48 min/mile pace) – RECAP

May 13 – Strides Against Stroke 5k *Virtual* – 26:16 (8:28 min/mile pace)

May 18 – 18th Annual Mystic River Herring Run & Paddle 5k – 24:39 (7:57 min/mile pace) – RECAP

May 25 – Boston’s Run To Remember Half Marathon – 1:50:58 (8:28 min/mile pace) – RECAP

May 29 – Boston 5k Summer Series Race #1 – 23:29 (7:34 min/mile pace) – RECAP


June 1 – Freedom Run 5k – 23:55 (7:43 min/mile pace) – RECAP

June 7 – Runner’s World 5k – 28:28 (9:11 min/mile pace) – RECAP

June 7 – Runner’s World 10k – 58:49 (9:29 min/mile pace) – RECAP

June 8 – Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon – 2:08:52 (9:50 min/mile pace) – RECAP

June 21 – Rock and Run Boston (Obstacle 5k) – 45:32 (14:38 min/mile pace) – RECAP

June 22 – BAA 10k – 51:37 (8:19 min/mile pace) – RECAP

June 30 – Summer Sizzler *Virtual* 5k – 25:21 (8:10 min/mile pace)


July 3 – Finish At The 50 (10k for me) – 53:01 (8:32 min/mile pace) – RECAP

July 13 – Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon – 1:57:44 (8:59 min/mile pace) – RECAP

July 17 – Boston 5k Summer Series Race #3 – 24:19 (7:50 min/mile pace) – RECAP

July 20 – Iron GirlWebster Sprint Triathlon – 1:26:54 – RECAP

July 30 – F.A.S.T. (Fighting Against Stroke Together) *Virtual* 5k -27:44 (8:57 min/mile pace)


August 14 – Boston 5k Summer Series Race #4 – 24:57 (8:03 min/mile pace) – RECAP

August 17 – Falmouth Road Race (7 miles) -1:00:49 (8:41 min/mile pace) – RECAP

August 24 – Race To The Row 5k – 23:46 (7:39 min/mile pace) – RECAP


September 4 – Boston 5k Summer Series Race #5 – 22:39 (7:18 min/mile) – RECAP

September 7 – Pumpkinman Half Ironman – 6:06:03 – RECAP

September 13 – Big Bad Wolf 5 Mile Trail Race – 41:41 (8:21 min/mile pace) – RECAP

September 14 – Buzzards Bay Sprint Triathlon – 1:27:01.3 – RECAP

September 17 – The Dani Ryan Holmes-Kirk 3rd Annual 30th Birthday 5k Run-Walk Ramble *VIRTUAL* – 26:03 (8:24 min/mile pace)

September 27 – ZOOMA Women’s Half Marathon (Cape Cod) – 1:54:17 (8:43 min/mile pace) – RECAP


October 5 – Oktoberfest 5k – 24:16 (7:49 min/mile pace) – RECAP

October 12 – BAA Half Marathon – 1:52:58 (8:37 min/mile pace) – RECAP

October 18 – Runner’s World 5k – 30:29 (9:50 min/mile pace) – RECAP

October 18- Runner’s World 10k – 1:01:11 (9:52 min/mile pace) – RECAP

October 19 – Runner’s World Half Marathon – 2:10:35 (9:58 min/mile pace) – RECAP

October 25 – *Virtual* Pug Run 5k – 25:29 (8:13 min/mile pace)


November 9 – Boston River Run 5k – 24:12 (7:47 min/mile pace) – RECAP

November 15 – Spartan Sprint Fenway Park – 58:54 – RECAP

November 16 – South Shore Half Marathon – 1:54:00 (8:42 min/mile pace) – RECAP

November 23 – Santa Hustle New England Half Marathon – 1:52:28 (8:36 min/mile pace) – RECAP

November 27 – Gobble Gobble Gobble 4-Miler – Garmin Time: 42:24 & Mass Start Time: 43:09 – RECAP

November 29 – The Ugly Sweater Run (2.5 miles) – *NOT TIMED* – Garmin: 20:43 (8:16 min/mile pace) – RECAP


December 6 – Jingle Bell Half Marathon – 1:51:37.2 (8:32 min/mile pace) – RECAP

December 14 – Yulefest 5k – 23:08 (7:27 min/mile pace) – RECAP




Dani Dishes: 52 Races In 2014 – Check! 12/15/14

On this episode of #DaniDishes, it’s time to celebrate completing 52 races in 2014! :)


Aannddd the winner of the iFit Tracker giveaway is…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats Kayla! :)

Thank you to all that entered!!

Dec 2014
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Yay! There’s additional ways to enter my iFit giveaway…

Oh hey hey! Who doesn’t love additional ways to enter a sweet giveaway!


If you missed the original post, you can get caught up here!

I’ll wait…

Are you good?



Now time to get your extra entries on!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends Noon EST Monday, December 15!


Tedy’s Team Group Run – 6 Miles (12/13/14)

The 2015 Boston Marathon training has officially kicked off today! Woo!


Let me tell you how much warmer it was THIS year compared to last year’s first team run! I was jumping up and down when I saw the weather for today was calling for a temp in the low 30s. If that let’s you know how raw the first run was in 2013! :P

Here’s hoping this is going to set the tone for a warmer training season. <<Runs off to knock on wood>>


Tedy’s Team has an amazing coach, John Furey, who helps with the long group runs on Saturday morning and also offers any running advice we need. Let me tell you this guy was a HUGE help to me when I saw him at Mile 20 of the Boston Marathon in 2013 and experiencing immense right heel pain. If I didn’t see him at Mile 20, get a pep talk and some swedish fish, I’m not sure how the last 10k of the race would have gone. And in 2014 he tried to calm me down during my Mile 20 breakdown over the med tent visits, etc.

For the second-straight year our group runs will start at Joint Ventures Physical Therapy and Fitness in Kenmore Square. It is a great deal since they have an area for us to store gear, a place to stretch, foam rollers to borrow and a place to call base camp after the run.

Big thanks to my teammate Meg and her husband Joshua for giving me a ride to the run this morning. It was in the car about 2 minutes from the run that I realized I left my Garmin at home. Ugh!! I even had everything laid out the night before, but forgot to leave a post-it note to remember to take the Garmin off the charger. Thankfully the run was 6 miles so I figured my phone/Runkeeper app would hold up for that distance.

It was great seeing familiar faces as we stretched before the run. I was looking forward to meeting the new Tedy’s Team mates, as well as the folks from the other nine charities that also run out of Joint Ventures on Saturday mornings.

Since this is my third-year with Tedy’s Team I am finally familiar with our run courses. I am slow on the uptake. ;)

I took advantage of the foam rollers, stretched everything out, stashed my vest in the locker room and headed back out into the cold.

I started running with Meg and another teammate Carly, but wanted to take my pace back today since I had some heavy legs still. So I let those ladies take off and I found some different folks to chat with. It is so cool seeing so many folks out on a Saturday morning putting in the miles to help others in need – whatever the cause is.

Mile 1: 8:37

I was chatting with a gentleman Adam about how this would be his first marathon and swapping fundraising ideas. Which I always appreciate.

It was comfortable being back on Beacon St, seeing the familiar stores and sights.

Mile 2: 9:00

Since I was chatting with whoever was near me, the pace was not even close to consistent. Haha. Oops.

Plus using the Runkeeper app over my Garmin meant the pace wasn’t as easily accessible as usual. Which was A-ok in my book.

John and Margaret were just past Mile 2.3 with a water stop.


It was awesome to stop and chat with them and sip some water before heading out to Finish the run. Okay to go to the turnaround point at Mile 3 then come back and chat with them again. ;)

Mile 3: 8:18

I won’t lie I was pretty psyched the run was set at 6 miles today. I had contemplated upping it to 8, which was also an option, but wanted to play it safe. The left hamstring is still sore so no reason to tack on two miles for no real reason. Know what I mean?

It was today’s run, where I felt my weight loss finally kicking in. Not everyone might understand, but I am feeling back in a place where I don’t feel so jiggly.

Mile 4: 8:50


Margaret and I 

I stopped at the water stop again to chat with John. He is going to give me some strength training stretches to help the hamstring. But I really wanted to chat with him about my weight.

I know the less weight on my back is helpful for the surgically-repaired spine, but it can also help my speed. My lowest weight with Weight Watchers was 153.4. I am currently at 158.2. He suggested trying to shed 10 pounds if possible. I am not sure if I can do that due to my love of french fries and beer. ;) But I am willing to try. A number in the 140s is still in my healthy weight range and a possible goal with WW. So for now I am going to continue to focus on losing weight, fueling properly and see how the body reacts. It is really up to the body what weight it likes. :)

But I have a goal for Boston 2015 and I want to do whatever I can to get there. All I can do is try! Right?

After a good convo with John, I was ready to finish the run. I spotted my teammate Christine just ahead of me so I sped up to catch up with her. She is a huge inspiration to me. She is a 3:2x marathoner and an amazing triathlete. Plus she is a sweet person.


Christine and I

She is working on heart rate training, which is causing her to run slower than usual so I opted to finish the run with her.

Mile 5: 9:21

I love picking the brains of the outstanding athletes I have the honor of calling teammates and friends. Christine is at the top of that list. So it was a great chat about weight, triathlons, cross training and healthy snacking in general. She is a nurse so she is always on the go so it was nice being able to share some of my tips with her.

As we hit the final incline back into Kenmore, you see one of my favorite sights. You see Fenway Park and the Prudential building in the distance, while the CITGO sign is right in front of you. Hello motivation.

We made a quick detour to check Christine’s meter before finishing up the run.

Mile 6: 9:41

Yes first team run officially in the books.


I headed upstairs to get a final stretch in before catching a ride home.


I need to give a special thanks to my legs for taking me through Day 50 of my running streak (#WOMSStreak). With today’s 6-mile run, I hit 1,011 for the year! Woo! It may be behind last year’s mileage pace, but I am proud of the progress I have made in the last 50 days. :)

Next week: 8 miles of fun!


Week 1 Workouts:

Sunday, December 7: 5-mile run
Monday, December 8: 3.9-mile run and 45-min cycling
Tuesday, December 9: 5-mile run & 45-min walk
Wednesday, December 10: 4-mile run
Thursday, December 11: 2.9-mile run
Friday, December 12: 5-mile run
Saturday, December 13: 6-mile run, 60-minute Spin class & 2.5-mile walk

Goal for next week? Adding in strength training and additional cross training. This week was lacking in both!


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Face It Friday: Feelin’ It 12/12/14

I’ve been at this weight loss game since birth. I was born over 10 lbs. Yes destined to be a Weight Watchers member from day one.

It’s been over 5 years since I walked into my first WW meeting and almost 3 since I moved to the other side of the scale as a Leader.

So why hasn’t it gotten any easier?

Oh I know!

Because for me this whole weight loss and healthy living journey is more emotional/mental than physical. It is more than eating the right foods and portioning out my snacks. It is about dealing with the WHY I turn to food when happy/sad/angry/bored/you name it! And that is why for me this will be a life-long journey to take control of those inner demons.

But I continue to win as long as I keep trying.

After a little gain last week, I was determined to right the ship this week. I went into my week wicked motivated by my amazing Weight Watchers members. I let that motivation and inspiration pour over and be ever present in the front of my mind.


And for maybe the second time this year, I came out of the week in the positive. That is right folks. You read it here. I had points left over.

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Now that the shock is wearing off. I can tell you it was an proud feeling. I merely wanted to prove to myself that it could be done.


There were some realizations this week:

^ Cut alcohol down to 3 drinks this week and only on one specified day (following the Santa Hustle half marathon) That was tough. So I replaced with a nightly hot cocoa from the Keurig (2PPV). Now quite the same, but still a way for me to sit back, reflect and end the evening.

^ Earned 90+ Activity Points for the first time in almost two months. PLUS I hit 1,000 miles for 2014 last night (12/11)!! <<Raise the roof>>


^ Weighed, measured, tracked and OWNED a 17-point snack attack that occurred Monday Night. Accepting what happened allowed me to more easily get right back on track the next morning instead of letting the guilt hang over me. Which would’ve led to further bad choices.

^ Shared my slip-ups with my members and readers allowing me to again release the guilt.

^ Did my weekly walk with my friend and fellow WW Leader Susan. Now this is a weekly occurrence but on Tuesday it was downpouring so instead of canceling we came up with a plan B. We walked the floors of Macy’s (leaving our CCs behind) for almost an hour. So we got our weekly check-in, which I so desperately rely on now!

^ Asking myself “How am I feeling right now?” before I eat something. Most of the time for me my choices are driven by emotions rather than actual hunger. This pause to check in with myself and my emotions can catch a slip before it happens.

^ I do make a difference in my members lives. I received a sweet gift from a member on Wednesday and it totally touched my heart and has left a huge smile on my face all week long.


^ Overall feeling better, more in control and happier. I felt so blah the past couple months and I am happy to report slowly, but surely that is starting to turn around. :)


Tomorrow marks the beginning of Boston Marathon training with Tedy’s Team (donate here). I wanted to go into the training feeling good about myself and my weight … as I did for the Half Ironman back in September. I am proud to report that I am. I still have work to do. 1.2 to lose to be back in Lifetime range and 3.2 to go to be back at goal. But I am closer than I was back in June and have more resolve now.

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I cannot believe I am beginning training for my 7th marathon. When did that happen? I never thought I would run 1/4 of a mile let alone set out to CHOOSE to run 26.2… for fun!! :P


Do you stop to check in with your emotions before making a food choice?