*RECAP* ZOOMA…ing along the Cape!

Would you like to run a Half or 10k that ends on the beach with wine, massages, snacks and foam rollers?

Okay okay I know that not everyone has a love relationship with the foam roller, but still foam rolling while looking out to the ocean makes it less painful. Sort of. ;)

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Well ZOOMA Women’s Half on Cape Cod offered all of the above plus some pretty gorgeous views along the course.

2014 marked my second-straight year as an ambassador for the ZOOMA Cape Cod race. I ran it in 2013 before completing the Rock ‘n’ Roll Providence Half the following day to qualify for the Half Fanatics! :)

What brought me back besides the things mentioned above? The great atmosphere at the race. With a 3.5 hour cutoff for the 10k and Half, it is a great race for all fitness levels and paces. Seeing groups of women out on the course walking, walk-running and running is so inspiring to me.

And of course … The other amazing ambassadors. It is a group of amazing female bloggers, who I am lucky to call my friends.

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At the Honest Tea mocktail party at the Sea Crest Hotel on Friday night, I was finally able to meet some of my online friends in real life.

Plus I got to take fun Expo pictures with my friends Amy from RunningEscapades and Nancy from LilFancyNancy.

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Amy & I – photo courtesy of Amy

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Me, Amy, Nancy – photo courtesy of Nancy

The Expo is pretty tiny so we were able to breeze through it easily on Friday. After the Expo and the mocktail, we had a quick little dinner (mmm pizza and wine) before calling it a night.

I owe a big thank you to Ms. Nancy who lets me crash on her guest bed so I don’t have to pay for a hotel. Woo! This year she even hung up photos in the guest room. Fancy.

The alarm was set for 5am on race day, but I didn’t manage much sleep. I was in bed by 10 and immediately had a dream about sleeping through the race. This resulted in me waking up at 2am, 3am, 4am and just before my 5am alarm was set to go off. Ummm yay!!

After a night of on and off sleep I was pretty happy with my decision not to race the half. I really wanted to run with people on Saturday so I took Nancy up on her offer to run with her and Jess from 30SomethingMotherRunner. Nancy was hoping for a PR, which mean beating 1:52:24 and I was happy to try and help the best I could.

We headed out from Nancy’s house just after 6 so I snacked on my banana in the car and saving my LUNA Bar to enjoy onsite. Neither of us could remember if the race was at 7am or 7:30am. Pretty good bloggers, right? Ha.

Amy graciously opened up her room to the blogger crew to hang out in pre-race. Thank goodness because it was chilly out there.

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Plus we could avoid some port-o-potties for awhile. It is really the little things in a racer’s life. :P

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Thanks to Amy’s husband Chris for being our photog

Before the race it was all about mingling with the fellow bloggers and racers. You all know I love meeting new folks – especially social media friends/blog readers – at races so this was another great opportunity.

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Big thanks to Kim for coming over and saying hi! Kim blogs at BarkingMadAboutRunning!!

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Plus I drooled over the medals before the start of the race. It would be mine in just a couple of hours.

We snapped one last ambassador photo before sending the 10kers off. About 5 minutes later, it would be our turn.

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Photo Courtesy of Nancy

The countdown began and BAM we were off for 13.1 glorious miles.

It is wicked cool seeing a sea of women run down the street with a few boyfriends/husbands in the mix.

The morning air was nice and crisp giving the perfect temps for a Fall race in New England. The beginning of the course is pretty flat, which I did not complain about. :) Having run the race last year I knew there would be some hills to battle within the last 3 miles so I tried to keep that in mind while we were running. I wanted to help Nancy have a nice consistent run.

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And make sure I was taking in the sights around us.

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I mean how lucky were we to be running along this.

Mile 1: 8:33
Mile 2: 8:13
Mile 3: 8:09

Let Nancy know that the 8:09 mile was great, but we needed to pull it back a little. I think the excitement of seeing her film crew from Feetures put a little pep in her step during that mile… or maybe the Sparkle Athletic skirt she borrowed from me. :)

I love the 2-3 mile area since there is an out and back so you can actually wave to other friends or cheer on the other runners. This is where I saw a few of my Tedy’s Team running mates who were taking in the race as well. Yay!

Mile 4: 8:27

During Mile 4 I decided it was selfie time. But with a bad internet connection I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to actually upload the photo. FYI It took until just before Mile 7.

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Mile 5: 8:30
Mile 6: 8:32
10k Split: 52:32 (8:28 min/mile pace)

The middle miles take place along the gradually inclining rail trail. I really appreciated the path being nice and shady.

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Mile 7: 8:33
Mile 8: 8:31

And it was the perfect time for a group selfie.

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Hi From Mile 8!

Action shot baby. You can see a 4th girl behind us. That was Courtney. We met her while on the path and had a great time chatting with her for awhile. She is turning 26 on Wednesday (October 1) and will be running her first marathon (26.2 miles) on October 26. How about working the 26 on that one? Courtney, if you are reading, it was our pleasure meeting you and running with you for awhile. Good luck!! :)

Mile 9: 8:36
Mile 10: 8:38

It was great chatting with Jess and Nancy about life, blogging and running.

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We were cruising along, but I knew the hills would be coming as would the sun and heat. It was definitely getting warmer while we were out there and the shade would be decreasing.

Nancy was testing out new fuel on the day of the race and it started to backfire causing some stomach pain. Jess and I reminded Nancy that we were there for her race and whatever she needed. If she needed to walk, we could. She called the shots.

I could tell the stomach pain wasn’t fun and was hurting the PR chances, which was upsetting to Nancy. Jess and I tried to keep the mood light and spirited. No matter what she would be finish and under 2 hours. Since I love being someone’s cheerleader, it was a blast trying to keep the spirits of the troops up.

Mile 11: 9:05
Mile 12: 9:11

The final mile included the biggest of the inclines of the course. This is where my Garmin came in handy. Letting Nancy know we had 0.6 miles to go and Jess translating it into repeats: “just two repeats left.” Doing whatever we could to keep the three of us moving forward.

Mile 13: 9:19

Right after passing the Mile 13 sign, we went to turn into the Sea Crest hotel parking lot towards the Finish before the volunteers yelled at us that we needed to “continue straight.” Ahh we were about to go the wrong way. Oops! Thanks volunteers. :)

We had decided during the last mile that we would all raise our hands over the Finish. I mean you gotta get a group on the same page for a good Finish Line shot.

Final Time: 1:54:17 (8:43 min/mile pace)

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YYAAYYY!! While we missed Nancy’s PR goal by 2 minutes, we still had a blast out on the course and made some memories. :)

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Pretty pretty bling for my 21st Half Marathon.

I want to thank ZOOMA for improving the signage, volunteer presence and number of safety cones on the road when we were crossing. Last year I had some close calls with some cars that almost hit me whereas this year was a breeze.

Additional thanks to the Falmouth Fire & Rescue for patrolling the course keeping the ladies safe. We did have to see them go into action for a woman that fell and I hope she was okay. Her knees were all scraped and bruised.

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Even though the run was done, the fun was going to continue with the post-race party on the beach.

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Yes the foam rolling was less painful with my toes in the sand. :) Thanks Muscle Milk for laying out at least half a dozen yoga mats with foam rollers.

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There were a ton of tables set up along the beach for ladies to enjoy their post-race snacks (hummus wrap or chicken salad wrap) and wine.

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Don’t worry folks I made sure to test them all and they were all delicious! :)

Of course post-race was additional chances to see some of my favorite people.

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Nancy & I snapped another photo together

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Jen & I – make sure to read Jen’s weight loss story on the blog she has with her twin sister
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Some of the amazing ladies of Tedy’s Team :)

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Angela, Nancy, Amy and I

After a bunch of hugs and celebratory high fives, it was time to head out and enjoy the rest of my weekend on the Cape.

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Until next year ZOOMA…

***

Did you run the ZOOMA Cape Cod 10k or Half? What was your favorite part?

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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 – Starts at 9:30 a.m. ET

October 12 – BAA Half Marathon – Starts at 8:30 a.m. ET

October 18 – Runner’s World 5k – Starts at 8:00 a.m. ET

October 18- Runner’s World 10k – Starts at 9:30 a.m. ET

October 19 – Runner’s World Half Marathon – Starts at 8:00 a.m. ET

***

November 2 – South Shore Half Marathon – Starts at 7:30 a.m. ET

November 9 – Boston River Run 5k – Starts at 9:00 a.m. ET

November 15 – Spartan Sprint Fenway Park – Starts TBD

November 27 – Gobble Gobble Gobble 4-Miler – Starts at 9:00 a.m. ET

***

December 14 – Yulefest 5k – Starts at 9:30 a.m. ET

 

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Half Marathon & Marathon Results

Half Marathons x 21

February 26, 2006 – Hyannis Half Marathon – 2:20:18 (10:43 min/mile pace)

August 14, 2011 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago – 2:12:15 (10:06 min/mile pace)

January 28, 2012 – F^3 Lake Half – 2:05:40 (9:36 min/mile pace)

July 22, 2012 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago – 1:51:43 (8:32 min/mile pace)

August 19, 2012 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Providence – 1:52:58 (8:37 min/mile pace)

October 7, 2012 – B.A.A. Half – 1:48:16 (8:16 min/mile pace)

January 12, 2013 – Walt Disney World Half – 1:48:09 (8:15 min/mile pace)

February 24, 2013 - *Virtual* Half At The Hamptons – 1:58:04 (9:01 min/mile pace)

May 5, 2013 – The Half Of Quincy – 1:44:30 (7:59 min/mile pace)

May 26, 2013 – Boston’s Run To Remember – 1:53:00 (8:38 min/mile pace)

September 15, 2013 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia – 1:44:12 (7:57 min/mile pace) —> PR

September 28, 2103 – ZOOMA Cape Cod Half – 1:47:35 (8:13 min/mile pace)

September 29, 2013 – Rock ‘n’ Rock Providence – 1:54:22 (8:44 min/mile pace)

October 27, 2013 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles – 1:53:19 (8:39 min/mile pace)

January 11, 2014 – Walt Disney World Half Marathon – 2:22:31 (10:53 min/mile pace)

February 2, 2014 – Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon – 1:55:43 (8:50 min/mile pace)

May 25, 2014 - Boston’s Run To Remember Half – 1:50:58 (8:28 min/mile pace)

June 8, 2014 – Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon – 2:08:52 (9:50 min/mile pace)

July 13, 2014 – Old Port Half Marathon – 1:57:44 (8:59 min/mile pace)

September 7, 2014 – Pumpkinman Half Ironman (Half Marathon Portion) – 1:59:22 (9:03 min/mile pace)

September 27, 2014 – ZOOMA Cape Cod Half – 1:54:17 (8:43 min/mile pace)

 

Marathons x 6

September 24, 2006 – Clarence De Mar Marathon – 5:59:27 (13:43 min/mile pace)

November 3, 2012 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon – 3:58:49 (9:07 min/mile pace) —> PR

April 15, 2013 – The 117th Boston Marathon – 4:04:08 (9:18 min/mile pace)

January 12, 2014 – Walt Disney World Marathon – 4:45:57 (10:55 min/mile pace)

April 21, 2014 – 118th Boston Marathon – 5:31:18 (12:39 min/mile pace)

April 26, 2014 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon – 4:42:12 (10:46 min/mile pace)

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Have You Heard Of The Boston River Run 5k?

The 3rd Annual Boston River Run 5k is taking place on Sunday, November 9th… and you will WANT to be there!

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The Boston River Run 5K is a spirited, patriotic run that takes place Veterans Day weekend. The run offers a family-friendly course that welcomes runners and walkers of all ability levels. From first time 5k’ers to competitive running club enthusiasts, all are welcome.

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The Boston River Run 5K was created to honor Sudbury’s own Corporal Andrew Narcus and is represented by all branches of US service men and women.

Whether Andy was being a loving son, loving older brother, a friend, a teammate or being a Marine he carried himself with the highest honor and respect. Sadly on December 19, 2002, Andy was killed by vehicular homicide during his travel home for the holidays. Andy was 21 years old. The person who killed Andy was never found and the case was never solved.

The race takes you along the gorgeous and iconic Charles River – one of my favorite places to run in Boston – and doesn’t require crossing any streets. Score!

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With a 9am start time, the air should be crisp and one can only hope for a perfect New England morning. <<knocks on wood>>

If you sign up by November 1, your $30 entry fee includes:

  • Chip timing
  • Digital time display at finish line
  • USATF certified distance
  • Long-sleeve technical race shirts for all registered participants
  • Trophies for top 3 men and top 3 women
  • Awards for top finishers in each age group
  • Raffle prizes
  • Free bag check

Okay okay they had me at long-sleeve TECH race shirt. That is a huge score for race swag lovers like me. Register before November 1 to guarantee yourself one of those sweet shirts.

Registration increases to $35 after November 1 and is $40 on race day itself … but why wait so long to sign up?

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All proceeds benefit the Andrew Graham Semper Fi Fund Helping Students Succeed, which gives a scholarship annually to a Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School student annually.

Oh did you miss the part where I mentioned raffle prizes? As of 9/22/14, the organizers had over $12,202 in prizes donated from local sports teams (hint hint: Bruins) and other businesses. How about ten “try scuba diving” lessons (value $1,000) or a US rafting trip to Kennebunk, Maine (value $2,528)? I will definitely be buying some raffle tickets for those. Tickets will be available for purchase at the race via cash, check or credit card.

So before you lace up your sneakers to head out on your next training run or you are getting the iPad hooked up to your treadmill to do your walk, register for this sweet 5k for a good cause.

Hey if you are lucky maybe we will snap a mid-run selfie together at the race! ;)

***

Who is going to join me Sunday, November 9th at the Charles to support a great cause? You know you want to! Register today! Make sure to join Team Weight Off My Shoulders… :) :)

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26
Sep 2014
AUTHOR Dani
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2015 Race Schedule

With 2014 still in full swing, I can’t believe I am already looking at my 2015 race schedule. Here’s what I have thus far:

Run Disney Rebel Challenge

January 16 – Star Wars 5k – Starts at 5:30 a.m. PT

January 17 – Star Wars 10k – Starts at 5:30 a.m. PT

January 18 – Star Wars Half Marathon – Starts at 5:30 a.m. PT

***

Run Disney Glass Slipper Challenge

February 20 – Princess 5k – Starts at 6:15 a.m. ET

February 21 – Enchanted 10k – Starts at 5:30 a.m. ET

February 22 – Princess Half Marathon – Starts at 5:30 a.m. ET

***

May 8-9 – Ragnar Relay Cape Cod

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*RECAP* Buzzard’s Bay Sprint Triathlon

FLAT and FAST run course.

Oh hellz yeah – sign me up.

That may or may not have been a tipping factor in squeezing in just one more sprint triathlon in my 2014 race calendar. ;)

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The Max Performance Triathlon Buzzard’s Bay Sprint Triathlon on September 14 was a late add to the race calendar and I am glad I did.

I was supposed to have my first Max Performance Triathlon race experience in August at The Sharon Sprint Triathlon, but had to back out due to injury. Boo!

Race director Tim then offered me a complimentary spot at Buzzard’s Bay Tri and I jumped at the chance.

(Note: While I did receive free entry in to the race, all thoughts are my own. Ain’t nobody got time for lyin’!)

With the race occurring one week following my first half ironman (Pumpkinman), I was nervous about signing up for the Sprint Tri (since I wasn’t sure I would survive the half), but decided to bite the bullet anyway.

The wife and I were able to sleep in until 5am since the race started at 9am. ;) Woo extra hour of sleep compared to the prior Sunday. :P

We loaded up the car and were on the road by 6 since the directions said it would take about 75 minutes to drive to the race.

Since it was 6am on a Sunday, we missed any sort of traffic and had an easy trip towards the Cape. :)

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The beach was windy when we arrived. Sunny, but windy. All I could think about was the upcoming battle: the wind vs. me on my bike. I was sending out “tailwind” vibes … hint: it didn’t work. ;)

After checking out the beach, we headed to packet pick-up.

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Since I am usually a slacker when it comes to checking out a race course in advance (I know! I know! Must change that), I took the time to check out the swim, bike and run courses on the large board inside the packet pick-up tent. Nothing as nerve-wracking as the previous week so I was happy about that.

The Buzzard’s Bay Sprint Tri consisted of a 1/3 mile ocean swim, 14-mile bike and 5k run.

Once we got my packet (Go Bib #81), it was time to make our way over to transition. As we walked, I quipped to the wife how shocked I was that this was my 3rd triathlon of the year and 5th overall. I never thought I would do one let alone more than one. Pretty proud moment for me.

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Until I was in transition listening to the athletes around me rattle off their Ironman totals and their times at the previous week’s Pumpkinman Half Ironman. Oy! I didn’t belong there. I wanted to run away and just drive home. But I quickly gave myself a mental slap to the face. Time and pace didn’t matter. I belonged there because I wanted to be there.

With transition ready and plenty of time before the 9am kickoff, the wife and I headed back to the beach. I also wanted to get into the water and feel it out. I hadn’t done an ocean swim in ages.

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But first we take a selfie.

As we walked towards the water, we saw all of these rocks aka ouch on the poor feetsies.

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I knew it would be a painful walk in and out of the swim course. I had a little chat with my feet and told them to DIG DEEP and not feel the pain. Umm not sure if my feet heard me or not, but I was going with it.

Right before the race meeting I put my pair of Oofos sandals down by the swim finish as there was a 1/4 mile run from there to the transition area (again found out about that morning of). Had I known earlier I would’ve brought a second pair of sneakers.

Note to self: always bring two pairs of sneakers to a tri. Just. In. Case.

The Max Performance group did a great job organizing the swimming waves. Volunteers each held up a cap color on a sign and we group together in a big 2-by-2 line. It really made it organized at the Start. The first group went off at 9 and my wave would be following at 9:04am.

We walked into the starting area 2-by-2 so the timing company could keep count of the number of athletes that entered the water.

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The race started with us in the water edge up to our ankles. The countdown commenced and we were off.

***

Swim – 1/3 mile

The director, Tim, had changed the swim course (reversed it) so that we were swimming with the current (thanks Tim!). It was GREAT being back in the water. Swimming is one of my favorite parts so I was sad that it was only 1/3 mile. ;)

We made two right turns while out in the water. I made sure to hug towards the buoys, which kept me out of the way of many of the other swimmers.

I learned during Pumpkinman that I need to keep the top of my wetsuit un-velcroed. So instead of dealing with wetsuit/breathing issues this race, I got into my groove faster and felt stronger.

I took the second and final right, sighted the shore and gave it everything I had as there was another yellow capped swimmer right on my tail. Hello competitive side.

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Once I could touch the bottom with my fingers, I stood up and started running towards the timing mat. The timing mat was up on the beach a ways, which meant running over some of the rocks. Thankfully there was some mesh covering a little of the path, but overall it still slowed me down coming out of the water.

There was a small kiddie pool where the beach met the asphalt so I made sure to wash my feet off before slipping on my sandals.

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Why can’t wetsuits be a little more flattering?

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Thanks to the wife for catching this beauty.

Total Time: 10:16
Pace: 1:45/100 yds
Overall Place: 62/294
Division: 3/21

***

Mini Run

I would call this more of a shuffle than a run. I did my best to just keep jogging forward, while not slipping in my sandals. I am so thankful I had them with me otherwise the 1/4 stretch would’ve been MUCH more painful.

I did my best to wiggle my wetsuit down and remove swim cap/goggles while on the move. Hello multi-tasking.

Total Time: 3:05.5
Overall Place: 138/425
Division: 7/27

***

Transition 1

I had a little problem getting my wetsuit off and wasn’t sure if it was nerves or just my brain moving two steps ahead of my body. Either way I took a breath and worked on completing one step at a time.

Wetsuit off. Feet dried. Socks/bike shoes on. Shirt changed. Bike helmet on. Race belt attached. Portion of KIND Bar eaten.

I was sad to realize I left my Sparkle Athletic skirt at home. I felt naked without it.

Total Time: 2:09.6

***

Bike – 14 miles

Well bike we meet again.

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I knew I wouldn’t have sparkle skirt compliments on this race to entertain me while people passed me. Instead I focused on thanking every single volunteer I would encounter the rest of the race.

It was a great way to pass the time and put a smile on someone else’s face.

I wish I was the type of person to post PROOF photos in a recap because my official race photos from the bike are hilarious. I am smiling like I have loved biking my entire life. Haha. Okay it entertains me more than anyone else.

The bike course was really beautiful. It was another instance where I wished triathlons allowed you to have your phone on you because I wanted to snap pics left and right. It was a picturesque New England day/scene and I wanted to capture it to share with all of you. Oh well. Luckily I still have them locked in my memory.

I can certainly tell you 14 miles on the bike passes quicker than 56. :P The final couple miles were directly into the wind. I felt like I was biking in place. I was wondering if I would actually make it back to transition. It wasn’t something I had really practiced.

I just kept trying to keep the legs moving as best I could.

Seeing runners coming towards me gave me hope that I would make it back to transition.

And I did.

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Hello dismount.

I really tried to focus on shifting during the ride. I am still learning when to use low gear, what to do while climbing, etc. At least I can take every ride as a learning experience. Like don’t forget your fuel in transition. I was supposed to take the rest of the KIND bar on the bike with me, but left it on my towel.

Total Time: 45:51
Pace: 18.3 mph
Overall Place: 164/294
Division: 6/21

***

Transition 2

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Since I needed more fuel, I took another piece of the KIND bar and a swig of water before heading out on the run.

Having everything already on from the ride meant I simply had to switch out bike shoes for running shoes.

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Total Time: 1:30.6

***

Run – 3.1 miles

Hello my love. My legs were feeling a little shaky coming out of transition. I had done a 5-mile trail run the prior day and tweaked my right hamstring so this race I would be battling two sore hamstrings. Umm yay!

But I knew I could push through for a 5k … especially a flat one!

The wind I experienced on the bike was still there on the run. Thanks for sticking around wind.

I wasn’t sure what my legs would have in them, but decided to give it all I had since I would have some rest days coming up. :)

The course was beautiful as you weaved around the quant beach town by the water. There weren’t too many spectators around so all I could focus on was my breathing and the breathing of the folks around me.

I am still getting used to the multi sport feature on my watch so I spent some time trying to figure out what my pace was. At least I like math. (multi sport – something I need to work on in BRICK workouts in the future)

But we passed Mile 1 and I saw a sub 8-min/mile pace and was ecstatic. There are some days I can in tune with my body and can feel my pace and other days where I can’t. This was the latter. So I trusted the Garmin and pushed on.

I briefly slowed at the halfway point to take in some Gatorade. The run on the asphalt along the beach offered no shade and the sun was out in full force. Just after the water stop you headed out on an out-and-back portion of the run, which allowed for some smiles and head nods to other runners.

I also like seeing what triathlon teams people are part of because it is all new to me. I wished I had more friends on the course as I witnessed the guy in front of my high-fiving and cheering on all of these folks he knew.

We did the turn around on the out-and-back portion and I may have told the volunteers, who were both glued to their cell phones, to liven up for the runners. I know I needed some extra encouragement. I made sure to say it as nicely as possible. :)

Home stretch time. A time again when I wish I had my phone out so I could selfie or chat with you all.

But I pushed on to the final mile. It was a straight shot to the Finish Line. We passed through a wind tunnel with mobile homes on either side. Folks were sitting out and cheering for us. I loved that.

I decided it was time to start focusing on the people around me and try to pick some of them off. Yes mental games I play with myself when I just want to sit down and have a beer with the spectators.

There were a couple of girls in my sight that I really wanted to pass.

I dug deep and pushed forward.

And you know what – it worked!!

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I managed to pass two of them and caught up to another girl right at the Finish Line. More on THAT girl in a moment.

I was wicked happy to pass the Finish of my 5th triathlon and collect my Buzzard’s Bay water bottle full of water!

Total Time: 24:10
Pace: 7:48 min/mile
Overall Place: 100/294
Division: 3/21

***

Official Time: 1:27:01.3

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Awesome experience! I had a great time and was really happy with my results.

Until…

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I found out I missed out on 3rd place in my division by 0:0:0.1. Yes a fraction of a second away from the podium.

3rd in division: 1:27:01.2
Me: 1:27:01.3

OUCH! And the girl who came in 3rd in the division was the one I caught on the run at the Finish Line. It was like a real life photo finish. :P

Since I am never usually close to placing, it was a tough defeat. But I am still happy with my time.

Big thanks to my wife for taking all these photos and keeping everyone up to speed on the race through her #wifetweets.

It was also a pleasure seeing friends at the race:

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Christine from Tedy’s Team, who took 2nd female overall

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John, who might be one of the most inspiring people I know

Before heading home, I cashed in my ticket for free BBQ.

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I chose to split a pulled pork sandwich with the wife. Aren’t I nice? ;)

I wish we could’ve stayed for awards and raffle, but I had to get home to pick my parents up from the airport.

***

Overall Tim and the crew at Max Performance Triathlon put on a great race. Lots of volunteers along the course. I do wish there were additional folks at the water stop since it ended up being used by the runners twice during the course and extra hands would’ve been helpful.

The swag was a tech shirt, little towel that could be used in transition and a water bottle. I do wish there was a pint glass or a medal involved. The screen printing on the tech shirt didn’t seem to be done too well.

Also no beer or low-fat chocolate milk at the end. You know I like both at the end of a race. :P

But I would definitely sign up for one of these races again and recommend them to fellow Boston area friends.

***

What is a deal breaker for you between signing up for a race or not?

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Dani Dishes 9-19-14

After a two month hiatus Dani Dishes is BACK!! Let’s get caught up on weight loss success, work life, balance and what is to come on Dani Dishes … I need your input!

 

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The Dani Ryan Holmes-Kirk 3rd Annual 30th Birthday 5k Run-Walk Ramble: September 2014

When I turned 30 in September 2012, I wanted to celebrate my birthday in a new and exciting way. I didn’t want to go out to dinner with friends and family. I didn’t want to host a Happy Hour. I wanted to celebrate my healthier lifestyle and the fact that I would be entering my 30s in the 150s! An amazing feat for a girl who at one point topped the scales in the 230s!

With the help of my family, The Dani Ryan Holmes-Kirk 30th Birthday Run-Walk Ramble was born. It was an amazing day that featured folks running or walking the 5k in person AND virtually.

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Oh that’s right! There were printable race bibs and Finisher’s Medals for all.

What did I ask in return? A $25 donation be made to Tedy’s Team and the American Stroke Association.

Tedy asked the American Stroke Association to work with him to create “Tedy’s Team,” a group of runners raising money for the American Stroke Association and training to complete the Boston Marathon® and the Falmouth Road Race.  Their participation supports Tedy Bruschi’s fight against stroke and honors both the survivors and the loved ones lost to America’s No. 4 leading cause of death.

In addition to the dollars being raised, an equally important issue for Tedy’s Team is the increase in awareness of stroke and recognition of its warning signs. Tedy’s Team is striving to reach as many people as possible in its message of recognizing the warning signs and acting appropriate when seeing them — calling 9-1-1 immediately.

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Tedy & I mid-run selfie: Mile 1 of 2014 Boston Marathon

In the past two years I have been lucky enough to call Tedy’s Team family. I have run two Boston Marathons (2013 and 2014), the Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville marathon (2014) and Falmouth Road Race (2014) with an amazingly motivating and inspiring group of people. Along the way my friends, family, blog readers and online community have helped me raise

$15,575

to help #FightStroke so far.

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My 5 Virtual Race Finisher’s Medals

I run in honor of my Stroke Heroes – my grandparents – but through this journey, this blog and Tedy’s Team it has become so much more. I run, sweat, train and fundraise for all those affected by Stroke.

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Tedy and I after Falmouth

I will be applying for the 2015 Boston Marathon team with Tedy’s Team and I have a goal in mind:

I want to hit $21k raised!

***

Here’s the latest opportunity to help… register for The Dani Ryan Holmes-Kirk 3rd Annual 30th Birthday (Virtual) 5k Run-Walk Ramble!!!

A virtual run-walk means you do the 5k (3.1 mile) “race” at your leisure during the month of September (anytime during the month)!!

Map out your own route, get your own friends together or jump on the old trusty treadmill/bike. Your call.

EVERYONE that completes the “race” will receive a Finisher’s Medal in the mail from me. YAY! How cool is that? I know one of my favorite parts.

Also, everyone will be entered to receive some pretty sweet raffle prizes that I have available!! 

Did you catch that folks? Raffle Prizes. Let’s see who has jumped on board so far:

^A #Runner Shirt from the AMAZINGLY AWESOME Pavement Runner

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^ A 1BandID – great Boston-based company, which is an ID that attaches right to your GPS watch or shoe

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^ ENERGYBITS Sample Pack

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^ 3-Pack of Perform Pain Reliever products (Roll-On, Spray and On-The-Go Singles)

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^ WYCWYC Keychain thanks to Carla and Roni

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^ One pair of ZENSAH Compression Leg Sleeves

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^A New Balance 3Axis Pedometer

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Runfellow “I Like Your Pace” T-Shirt (value $30)

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^ A pair of Feetures Running socks (value $10.99)

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*Remember list is still growing!*

But you may be asking: “Dani How much will this fun cost me?” or “What is my entry fee going to?”

Well, each participant will be making a $25 donation, where all proceeds go to Tedy’s Team. If I make the 2015 Boston Marathon team, the fundraising goal is $5,400.

But wait… there’s more!!

I have an anonymous donor who will match up to $1,200 raised by the Birthday 5k! Say whaa?? Heck yeah!

So if you are ready to help me Fight Stroke then check out the directions to sign up below!

***

If you would like to take part in the run or walk:

1) Please register. (Make sure you are providing an accurate mailing address because that is where I will send the medal.)

2) You can complete the 3.1 mile or walk or bike whenever you like during the month of September.

3) Once you complete the race please send me a photo of yourself and your time to dani@weightoffmyshoulders.com

4) HAVE FUN!!

***

Finisher’s Medal

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Download Your Race Bib Here!

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***

Are you interested in getting in to the amazing raffle prizes? A $20 donation to Tedy’s Team gains you 5 entries into the raffle!!

You can donate here.

***

Thank you all for continuing to support me and help raise awareness for Stroke. Please be sure you know the warning signs of a Stroke (courtesy American Stroke Association):

THINK YOU ARE HAVING A STROKE? CALL 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY!

F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke. When you can spot the signs, you’ll know that you need to call 9-1-1 for help right away. F.A.S.T. is:

F.A.S.T. Letter F Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
F.A.S.T. Letter A Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
F.A.S.T. Letter S Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
F.A.S.T. Letter T Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.
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Top 5 Fitness Wins During My 31st Year Of Life

My 30s have kicked freakin’ booty! No seriously.

I was wicked nervous about breaking into a new decade on September 16, 2012, but I have no idea why I have been so scared.

During my looooong bike ride last week, I started ticking off the amazing accomplishments I’ve had since turning 30.

Even in the last 365 days.

I thought I would share with you all my Top Five Fitness Wins as a celebration of my 32nd birthday today (listed in no particular order).

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1) Dopey Challenge: This was one of the most life-changing events of my life!

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For those that don’t know the inaugural Dopey Challenge took place in January 2014 in Disney World and consisted of 4 races in 4 days covering 48.6 magical miles – 5k, 10k, Half Marathon and Full Marathon.

That’s right folks I ran 48.6 miles through the parks – and highways – of Disney … and it was AMAZING!

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My main goals were 1) Finish, 2) Have Fun and 3) Take a picture with EVERY character along the way.

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All 3 were accomplished. If the challenge wasn’t $530, I would do it again in a heartbeat. :) Well not sure I could handle 4-straight mornings of getting up before 3:30am again … there is no training for that!

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2) 2 Half Marathons In 24-Hour Span: Annnddd this solidified my membership as a Half Fanatic (HR #5043)

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On September 28-29, 2013, I had a whirlwind weekend. Friday (Sept 27) I took the drive down to the Cape to stay with my friend and fellow blogger Nancy. Nancy and I were both ambassadors for the ZOOMA Women’s Series Half, which was happening the next day.

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The course was beautiful and really captured the Cape (excited to head back there later this month) and I was really happy with my race (recap).

But after a quick hangout with Nancy and her girls, it was time to hit the road and travel from the Cape to Providence, Rhode Island. Thankfully it was a painless drive.

When I arrived in Providence, I grabbed a celebratory beer and met up with Samantha and Robin. My two good friends and fellow racers. Special thanks to Samantha for letting Robin and I crash at her place for the night.

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I had no idea how my legs would handle another 13 miles, but I took any time pressure off myself and just enjoyed the course and the friends along the way. (Recap)

Sub 2 hours for both? I was thrilled!!

I felt so accomplished when the weekend was over, but man the final drive home seemed to take forever. I really missed having my wife there.

I owe a big thank you to Zensah compression sleeves for helping my body stay strong during the training and the races themselves.

3) Half Ironman: Never in a thousand years would I think this would be on my list of fitness accomplishments.

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On September 7 this dream became a reality. A Half Ironman is a 1.2 mile swim, a 56-mile bike and a 13.1-mile run. All in a row. Without a time to nap in between. ;)

The training for the half ironman became more of a mental game than a physical one. I ticked the workouts off my training plan (which I put together through a book another blogger recommended), but the mental worry over being able to complete the race within the time limit (8 hours) wreaked havoc on my sleep and my confidence.

The biggest worry? The bike. I learned through the training that 1) the bike is my weakest leg and 2) I don’t really enjoy biking. Now that may be because I was doing most of my training alone or it’s just not my thing.

My lovely wife and friends kept reminding me that I was the one that signed up for it. Thanks family. I did remember that. ;)

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It was supposed to be enjoyable and in the end the race was. One of the toughest parts was lack of headphones. I have been training without them for awhile in preparation, but the race turned out to be 6 hours of just me and my thoughts. Oy! Which became another mental exercise rather than a physical one.

But in the end crossing that Finish Line was exhilarating… and the post-race beer tasted amazing! :)

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And I surprised myself finishing in 6 hours and 6 minutes. Originally I thought the race would take me well over 7 hours.

Big thanks to my wife, my dad , my BFF and my niece for making the drive to come cheer me on.

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4) 2 Marathons In A Six-Day Span: Sometimes I sign up for crazy adventures in the name of raising money and awareness to Fight Stroke with Tedy’s Team.

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 Tedy's Team logo

So on April 21st, 2014, I tackled my second running of the Boston Marathon (with a lot of complications along the way).

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Because I have amazing friends and family I had a surge of donations before the race, which got me thinking about joining my teammates for a second race that week at Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville. Two teammates had committed to doing the full … and I was tempted.

My goal would be to hit $9,500 raised in order to complete both races with Tedy’s Team … and I was up for the challenge.

When I hit the plane for Nashville, I was at $9k. Thank you friends for fueling my craziness.

After health problems at Boston, I told everyone I would drop to the half in Nashville…

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… but I had other ideas since I was feeling okay! ;)

I even completed the Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville marathon on April 26 45 minutes faster than Boston.

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I even qualified for the Marathon Maniacs (MM #9142) with this awesome feat.

And thanks to you all I raised $10k in honor of all those affected by Stroke after completing 52.4 miles of running.

5) Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Hat Trick: “Hey Dani do you want to run a 5k and 10k on a Saturday then follow that up with a Half Marathon on the Sunday”

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HELLZ YEAH!

Ummm when did that become my response? Before 2005 I would’ve laughed in your face at running even 1/4 of a mile. But when Runner’s World invited me to come hang out with some amazing bloggers and run a bunch of miles – I jumped at the opportunity.

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It was a crazy experience Heartbreak Hill outside of the Boston Marathon/training for the marathon.

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Plus I love being part of an inaugural event… and hanging out with my BFF Shalane Flanagan. She may not know we are actually BFFs.

Similar to the Dopey Challenge, these races were not being run for time, but for fun! I had such a cool experience getting to know bloggers while out on the course. I was one of the few local folks so I was able to share about the history of the town and Heartbreak itself. Those poor Florida bloggers didn’t know what they were in for. ;)

I thought it was a once in a lifetime experience, but I am honored to be doing another Hat Trick with Runner’s World in PA in October. :) Bring on the bling!

***

There are so many other amazing things that happened in the past year, but I don’t want to keep you here all day.

Why?

Because you have celebrating of my birth to do.

How are we celebrating?

By registering for my Birthday Virtual 5k run/walk/bike and/or raffle. I am hoping to have 32 people sign up today in honor of my 32nd birthday.

Check out the info HERE!

***

What is your proudest fitness accomplishment of your last 365 days?

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32 Sign Ups For The Birthday 5k/Raffle In Honor Of Turning 32?

The day is HERE … I am now the big 3-2! I am actually pretty excited for it since my 30s have kicked serious booty.

Now I cannot wait to see what happens next…

So how can you help me celebrate turning 32?

Donate to Tedy’s Team and help me #FightStroke in honor of my #1 Stroke Hero – my gramma.

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I am trying to raise the bar as last year on my birthday I raised $463 for Tedy’s Team. Today I would love to have 32 sign-ups in honor of my 32nd birthday.

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There are two ways you can participate:

1) The Dani Ryan Holmes-Kirk 3rd Annual 30th Birthday 5k Run-Walk Ramble

A $25 to Tedy’s Team gains you entry to the virtual race, a printable bib, a Finisher’s Medal and 7 entries into the raffle.

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Sign up here!

2) Make a $20 donation to Tedy’s Team and gain 5 entries into the raffle.

Donate here!

I have an anonymous donor who will match up to $1,200 raised by the Birthday 5k/raffle! Say whaa?? Heck yeah!

What does the raffle feature????

^A #Runner Shirt from the AMAZINGLY AWESOME Pavement Runner (value $25)

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^ A 1BandID – great Boston-based company, which is an ID that attaches right to your GPS watch or shoe (value $19.99)

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ENERGYBITS Sample Pack

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^ 3-Pack of Perform Pain Reliever products (Roll-On, Spray and On-The-Go Singles)

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WYCWYC Keychain thanks to Carla and Roni (value $16)

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^ One pair of ZENSAH Compression Leg Sleeves (value $39.99)

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^A New Balance 3Axis Pedometer (value $29.99)

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^ Runfellow “I Like Your Pace” T-Shirt (value $30)

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^ A pair of Feetures Running socks (value $10.99)

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***

Will you be one of the 32? :)

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