#GIVEAWAY: Free Entry To South Shore Half Marathon (11/2)

Picking the perfect Half Marathon race can be tricky! There are a ton of factors: date, course, course limit, # of water stops, number of participants, race swag and of course BLING!

Well folks the inaugural South Shore Half Marathon on November 2 in Norwell, MA is hitting the nose on the head in all aspects. About 45 minutes outside of Boston.

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Let’s break it down.

The South Shore Half is a scenic back-roads course, which is closed to traffic (BIG WIN THERE!) This course is sure to offer something for runners of all experience levels. The half marathon will start in the driveway of the Norwell High School, and finish at the Norwell Post Office.

How can you go wrong running through a beautiful New England town with the leaves changing all around?

The 13.1 mile course has 11 water stops and a medical tent, which serves both Mile 5 and 9 of the course. 

The course limit for the race will be 3 hours and 30 minutes. I like hearing that the course will be closed for that entire time. I hate when I hear races open up the streets after 3 hours or less. Everyone should be safe.

Getting to and from the parking lot? They got it covered.

Shuttle buses will be provided from parking at Hanover Mall to the start line at Norwell High School and from the finish line in Norwell center to the Hanover Mall. The shuttle buses will start running at 5:30 AM from the Hanover Mall and will continue running from the finish line until 3:00 PM.

Not only do I love being part of inaugural races, but I love races that offer sweet swag!!

  • Long sleeve tech t-shirt
  • Half Marathon Finisher Medals 
  • Event running hat (register before 8/15/14 at midnight)
  • Commemorative pint glasses (register before 10/10/2014 at midnight)

Ohhh yyeaahh! That sounds right up my alley.

(Sorry I am posting this late so those who register from here on out are out of luck on the hat)

In the FAQ portion of the website, they list:

Are walkers permitted?

Feel free to run, walk, or crawl just make sure you can complete the half marathon course in under our course time limit (3 hours 30 minutes).

I like the inclusion of crawling! There are definitely some races where I feel like that may be the only way I get myself across the line.

The race does allow strollers, but asks those using strollers to start in the back of the pack for safety reasons.

Oh oh and how did I forget the post-race party. Each participant will get a free beer (brewery not listed yet) at Tinkers Son Pub at the Finish Line. Mmmm beer! :)

All of this is adding up to one sweet race and I cannot wait for it… and for YOU to join me!

That’s right it is giveaway time!!

So here’s how to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will run from Sunday August 24 (2pm ET) through Friday August 29 (2pm ET)!

The winner will be selected and announced on Friday!

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RACE RECAP: 2nd Annual Race To The Row 5k

How many races do you participate in that take place across the street from your house?

Oh is that next to none?

Yeah I feel you on that…

… except when the Race To The Row 5k comes around!

That’s right. It takes the wife about 5 minutes (more if there is a stop at Dunkin’ Donuts for her) to get to the Start Area of the Race To The Row 5k, which is at the new Assembly Row area in Somerville, MA.

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When the inaugural race took part last year, the Assembly Row area was still under construction so the race course lacked a lot of visual beauty. But with Assembly Row in full effect this year, I was ready to enjoy the beautiful new buildings and shots of the Mystic River.

Since the race didn’t start until 9:30, I was 1) able to sleep in and 2) could do bib check day of. Woo!

We decided to leave the house just after 8:30 to stop at Dunkins and give us enough time to chat with friends before the Kids Race would start at 9:15.

There were a lot of great local businesses set up near bib pick-up and day of registration.

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Somerville’s own Runfellow gear

Runfellow also hosts a Tuesday night run club, which changes venues each week, but always takes place in the Somerville-Cambridge area.

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b Positive Project out of South Boston

After browsing the booths, we made sure to get a good spot for the Kids Race. It was just about a 1/4 mile and each participant received an adorable Finisher’s Medal. (Side Note: I really wish I had entered ;P)

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My favorite was this tiny tiny boy with a big Superman cape on. I really wanted to borrow it from him, but he seemed attached to it.

Once the kids and their parents cleared the Start Area, it was time to line up.

I had no idea what kind of time to expect. My body was tired from the workouts the day prior – 1.5 mile swim, 30 mile bike and 5k run – so I didn’t expect a PR.

I actually PRed at this race the previous year pulling a 21:59.2… yeah that wouldn’t happen again. But I was ready to give it all I had.

The Sun was out and ready to shine out on the pretty shadeless course.

Now the Somerville Road Runners, the group organizing the race, had changed the course from the year prior. We would now be doing 2 loops, which was intriguing.

As we lined up, I distracted myself by chatting with a fellow Nike Run & Walk Club and Somerville resident, Ben. He was coming off an injury so also unsure what sort of race he would have.

The goal as always was to enjoy the run … and hurry to the beer! ;)

The horn went off and it was a blaze of color in front of me. I tried to keep myself in my own groove and not worry about the folks around me. Which is always easier said than done at the beginning of a race for me.

Since I am working on racing without music in prep for the Half Ironman, I spent most of the race listening to my own breathing and the breathing of the folks around me. Ouch! Not the best soundtrack for a run.

BUT there was a slight out and back portion of the race so I could cheer for my friends after rounding the first turn. YES! I love being able to do that. Plus, I could marvel at the lead pack. Man those guys were flying!!

Mile 1: 7:29

I may or may not have picked a couple near me after that first mile and set a goal to get ahead of them at some point in the next mile. Sometimes it is a fun game to play and a way to push yourself in a race.

As we hit the end of the first loop, I waved to the wife, gave Jillian (creator of Runfellow) a high-five (pictured above) and checked in with the body. I was hot and I could tell the legs were slowing down.

I picked myself up by posting my halfway mark selfie to the interwebs before bearing down and finishing off the race.

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Not one of my finest mid-run selfies

At least with the double loop you know when the Finish is coming.

Mile 2: 7:38

Now I never actually saw the Mile 2 marker, but when my Garmin buzzed I tried to dig deep and give it everything I could for the final mile.

I was back-and-forth with a couple of girls during Mile 2 so I kept them in my sights during the final mile.

I can’t tell you how many times I repeated to myself Beer Beer Beer during that last stretch.

The volunteers did a great job directing and cheering on the runners.

I definitely won over the water stop with my Sparkle Skirt! ;)

Oddly enough not so many comments on the BEER socks, which surprised me.

Oh and yes these were thoughts during the final 1/2 mile of the run.

Mile 3: 7:40

Just get me to the BEER!

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Final Finish: 23:46

Sweet. I was definitely happy with that. The quads felt good and the left hamstring was a bearable dull pain. ;) Baby steps.

According to the results I finished 79th overall and 10th in my division. Yeah! I never end up in Top 10 of my division.

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After crossing the Finish Line, I headed right into the post-race party for some food and beer.

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Thanks to Harpoon Brewery and J.P. Licks

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I can’t pass on mint chocolate chip ice cream at 10am.

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Oh and Ernesto’s pizza – great crust!

The post-race party was treated to the musical stylings of the IT Band.

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It was a great vibe and always fun hanging out with my fellow Slumbrew Happy Soles.

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The Race To The Row 5k is such a great local race and I cannot wait to see the race flourish over the years.

I will see you at the 3rd Annual race in 2015.

***

Did you Race To The Row? What was your favorite part?

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Monday Musings: Weekend of Workouts & Wedding Wonder

Weekends this summer have been full of workouts, laughs, love, friends and family …but not a ton of rest! So you can imagine this past weekend was right along those same lines. ;)

My wife actually got up early on Sunday to get her 4 mile run in before we walked over to my 5k race and she quipped later that day: “Wow, I don’t know how you do this getting up early to workout thing all the time.”

It made me smile to myself. Now she appreciates the early mornings I put in so that we can have more time to spend together. :)

Sunday marked just two weeks until the Pumpkinman Half Ironman. Wow September 7 will be here before I know it. This weekend I needed to really buckle down and focus.

The workouts started bright and early Friday after a great weigh-in. Did you hear I am happily back in the 150s?

My goal on Friday was to get 4 hours in on the bike, but that didn’t happen. Between a Recycle Studio Spin workout and a bike tide out to Bedford from Somerville – I spent about 3 hours in the saddle.

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But I still haven’t gotten 56 miles in on the bike and I need to do that before the race just to show myself I can do it. So guess what is on the docket for this upcoming week?

The bike is so mental for me. My body knows it can do it, but the mind gets nervous and overwhelmed. Time to shut the brain down.

The rest of the Friday called for relaxation and blogging. Isn’t that what all the cool kids do on a Friday night? :)

I had an early morning on Saturday. I wanted to hit up the 8am Weight Watchers meeting and claim my Ace Your Summer Challenge bling for having attended 10 of the last 11 weeks of meetings. Woo!

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It is such a nice and welcoming group. I am happy to attend their meetings and occasionally sub before I return to long run Saturdays this Fall.

I was smiling from ear to ear as members of the group talked about the fun they had attending the Nike Run & Walk Club that I have been helping to host. They talked about feeling welcome without thought of pace or fitness level. Exactly the kind of group I have been trying to create. :)

Full of motivation and inspiration, I headed to the pool to get my 1.2 mile time trial swim done.

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During the entire swim I felt strong and like I could keep swimming for days. :) I guess that training is paying off. :P It was a great morning in the pool full of entertainment from the kids’ swim classes going on on the opposite side of the pool from me.

Once I was out of the pool, I had to race home, quickly change and head to my cousin’s wedding dress appointment. How cute are the cards our friend Lauren made to judge the dresses?

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They are so my cousin. :)

Since I never did the wedding dress shopping thing myself (maybe some day), it was a complete learning experience. It really is a live version of Say Yes To The Dress. My cousin found a style she liked, but didn’t say yes to a dress at the first location.

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My cousin & I working the duck lips

She inevitably found her dress at appointment #2 of the day, which I wasn’t able to make.

While my Saturday afternoons were canceled last minute, I wouldn’t waste the time by getting in my BRICK workout with my #1 supporter the wife by my side.

She humored me while I blabbered on about nothing for two hours on the bike trainer and then jumped on her bike while I knocked out a quick 5k (26:34) to shake the legs out.

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She also listened to me curse out the wind for blowing in my face for the entire run. Not sure I could’ve said: “Are you serious wind?” any more than I did. Haha.

We decided to cook in on Saturday night and enjoy a lovely meal outside in the backyard, while the pups played.

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Please note: it is the wife who is drinking Pumpkin beer in August. #TheShame 

The wife made Skinnytaste’s Weeknight Skillet Sazon Chicken Tenders and it was delicious!! We paired it with our once a month treat of yellow rice (yum) and steamed broccoli.

After a fantastic dinner outside, we finally watched Muppets Most Wanted. It was cute but not nearly as good as the Muppet Movie from 2011.

Now while the wife got up early on Sunday to run I slept in until 7:15am – woah! Late I know. ;) But it was great to lounge around and snuggle some pups until she came home.

The Race To The Row 5k I was running on Sunday didn’t start until 9:30am AND was located across the street from my house which meant a late departure time. Boy I wish all of my races were that close.

It was a fun morning with lots of friends. I will post a recap of that race shortly.

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I wasn’t sure how my body would handle the race since I had done a 1.5 mile swim, 30 mile bike and 5k run the day before.

But as you can see it was pretty speedy. I ended up 79th overall and 10th in my division. Woo! I never reach the top 10 in my division so that was exciting.

Following the race I had a couple of hours of downtime before we headed to a wedding celebration for my friend Nicole and her partner Melsen. It was a lovely afternoon in Brookline with friends.

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They had a great spread and a make your own burritos area, which totally was up the wife’s alley. I ate most of the large salad they had available. :P

Our crew has gotten older and maybe more mature? Okay not at all more mature, but it was fun to come together to celebrate love and friendship.

With a busy weekend in the books, it was great to come home and just vet out for the rest of the evening.

I went to bed Sunday night with a happy heart, a complete Weight Watchers food tracker and renewed energy for the week ahead.

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Since we know I am – for now – just enjoying adult beverages on the weekend, here are a couple of the local brews I tried:

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Berkshire Brewing Company

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Tap Brewing Company (Haverhill, MA)

Both were full of hoppy goodness…

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Two other notes for this week:

1) I have a $10 off discount code for the Max Performance Buzzards Bay Sprint Triathlon on September 14.

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Use code: WOMSBUZZ14 (code expires Friday, August 29)

2) I am holding a giveaway for a free entry into the inaugural South Shore Half Marathon in Norwell, MA on November 2.

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Feel free to enter here.

***

How did you stay active this weekend?

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Discount Codes For A Few Products/Races I Love

Who doesn’t love a good discount code? I know I do. But it HAS to be for a product I love and care about. So here are a few discount codes I have been granted thanks to products/races I love:

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Buzzards Bay Sprint Triathlon

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The Buzzards Bay Sprint Triathlon put on by Max Performance will take place September 14 (Westport, MA) at 9am. The triathlon features a 1/3 mile swim, 11.6 mile bike and a 3.1 mile run.

The 8th Annual Buzzards Bay Triathlon at Horseneck beach continues to highlight beautiful views of the bay and seaside landscape.  This season-ending race provides an incredible backdrop for multisport racing on Buzzards Bay with picturesque views.  The bike course is set in Westport, where you’’ll encounter farmhouses and cottages straight out of a Martha Stewart magazine.  The run course finishes on the beach path set along the Bay/Ocean…a truly great race experience!

To receive $10 off race entry at Buzzards use code:  WOMSBUZZ14 (expires Friday August 29)

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ENERGYBITS

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What are ENERGYbits you may ask?

Made from 100% organicallly grown spirulina algae and loaded with 40 nutrients, ENERGYbits® algae tabs have the highest concentration of protein in the world (64%) all for just one calorie per tab. Endorsed by the United Nations as the most nutritious food on earth, spirulina algae has been a favorite of Olympic gold medalists for decades and is a super food in every sense of the word, delivering instant and enduring energy to your brain and body.

ENERGYBits can be used for:

  • Increasing Energy
  • Increasing Endurance
  • Increasing Mental Vitality
  • High Protein Snack
  • Curbing Hunger
  • Balancing Blood Sugar
  • Lowering Blood Pressure
  • Reducing Fatigue

Use code WEIGHTOFFMYSHOULDERS to receive 25% off your order!

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Runner’s World Half & Festival

Hosted in Bethlehem, PA October 17-19, 2014.

What will the Festival/courses include?

The racecourses feature Bethlehem’s historic neighborhoods, including some of the town’s original 1741 settlement, two renowned colleges, Lehigh University and Moravian College, and the former Bethlehem Steel complex–where the backbone of the nation was literally forged.

The festival weekend next year will include:

  • Seminars
  • Live music
  • Running films
  • Prerace dinner with Runner’s World editors
  • Kids races and children’s programming (Saturday)
  • 5K and 10K races (Saturday)
  • Dog run (Saturday)
  • Half marathon (Sunday)

There are five different codes available – all good for 10% off your registration for:

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X-1 Audio

A good pair of headphones are HARD to find in my opinion.

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So what makes X-1 so special?

Inspired by the Bell X-1, the first aircraft to break the sound barrier, the team at X-1 set out to perfect a line of products that break down the barriers of sound, allowing athletes to harness the power of music regardless of sport or climate. Whether you’re a triathlete, swimmer, runner, kayaker, snowboarder, climber, weightlifter, or a gym goer, X-1 offers audio solutions that can withstand everything from trekking through the mud to running in the rain to diving 12 feet underwater.

They even have a special set of headphones designed for women.

You don’t train in the same clothes or shoes as male athletes – why should you settle for headphones made for men? X-1 For Women headphones were built specifically for female athletes. They were designed to fit smaller ears and are integrated with features that keep you safe, without sacrificing the performance you demand. The X-1 For Women line is the result of female athletes designing features and functions for the needs of female athletes, from smaller, ultra-light earbuds to ambient noise allowance that keeps you aware of your surroundings. You are strong and powerful – and now you can have a sports audio system that works as hard as you do.

I purchased the waterproof headphone system so I could listen to music while training in the pool and they ROCK.

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Use code DANIHOLMES-KIRK20 to receive 20% off your order!

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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

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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)

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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

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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

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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

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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)

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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)

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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

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September 4 - Boston 5k Summer Series Race #5 – Starts at 6 p.m. (Women’s Only 5k) & 6:30 p.m. (Co-ed 5k)

September 7 – Pumpkinman Half Ironman – Starts at 7 a.m. ET

September 13 – Big Bad Wolf 5 Mile Trail Race – Starts at Noon ET

September 14 – Buzzards Bay Sprint Triathlon – Starts at 9:00 a.m. ET

September 18 - Boston 5k Summer Series Race #6 – Starts at 6 p.m. (Women’s Only 5k) & 6:15 p.m. (Co-ed 5k)

September 27 – ZOOMA Women’s Half Marathon (Cape Cod) – Starts at 7:30 a.m. ET

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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

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

November 15 – Spartan Sprint Fenway Park – Starts TBD

***

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

 

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45 Hours On The Cape…

The Summer 2014 can NOT be described as the summer of getaways. Between local races and training for the Half Ironman, we have had very little free summer to take advantage of the awesome scenery New England has to offer.

I mean we put up with the dismal winter for this very Summer!

So when I received a race bib through New Balance to take part in the Falmouth Road Race on August 17, we thought we would make a weekend out of it.

Okay okay… 45 hours!

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That’s right. We did as much of summer on the Cape as we could in 45 hours … including sitting in New England traffic. :P

Why 45 hours? Well I led two Weight Watchers meeting on the Saturday morning, which delayed our departure to the Cape to closer to 11:30/almost Noon.

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So the dogs and I attempted a selfie while the wife got us much-needed Dunkins (aka Dunkin Donuts) for the traffic trip.

We were setting our for Sandwich, MA. My parents have had a camper there for two years and because of my race and training schedule I’ve never been there before. #DaughterFail Note this would be the pups third visit to the Cape. Yeah they have a rough life.

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I was surprised there wasn’t more traffic seeing as how probably half of Boston would be on the Cape for the race. But I guess most were heading down either Friday or morning of.

Now I am not really a Cape person. I feel most Bostonians are either Cape people or Maine/Vermont/NH folks. Any Bostonians agree or disagree? Well I tend to head to Maine when given the opportunity, but free housing on the Cape helps. :)

So we arrived in Sandwich just before 2 (stellar time even with my necessary bathroom break) and were excited to see my parents’ camper.

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How cute? My dad built the porch himself. :) It is SUPER spacious inside. I couldn’t believe it. We got a little tour of the campground and their camp friends before heading out to see Sandwich.

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And they are just six steps from this great pond.

Well, first the pups needed to see the water.

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Apparently the world revolved around them.

I lucked out and a Tedy’s Team-mate Allie was able to pick my bib up for me so we didn’t have to take over an hour out of our Saturday afternoon to go and pick it up. Thanks again Allie! :)

My parents took us on a tour of Sandwich starting with lunch at Cafe Chew (which was not a hit with me) then we took a walk along the Sandwich Boardwalk.

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How cool are the dedications on the planks along the Boardwalk? I tried to read every single one and I may have missed some, but I didn’t notice one “WIll You Marry Me?” plank. I was shocked.

After a lovely walk on the Boardwalk, we headed back to the campground to relax. Oh folks! It was the first afternoon in I don’t know how long that I just chilled. It was fan-freakin-tastic. It gave me A LOT to think about for next summer.

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Oh and Harpoon decided to join me for the occasion. ;)

I did this while the wife took my dad’s kayak out for a spin around the pond.

The dogs really have the handle on the “vacation” thing.

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Am I right?

Big thanks to my parents for dog proofing the porch.

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I am so thankful for this wife of mine who puts up with my crazy running adventures. She was the happiest with this trip – well excluding Disney of course. ;)

I am working on revamping my Fall once the Half Ironman is over to get us back down to the Cape at least a couple of times before their campground closes for the winter.

Now Sunday morning called for a 5am wake-up call for the Falmouth Road Race so Saturday Night we decided to grill in – steak tips, corn on the cob, veggies, potato salad, etc.

Mmm I love weekends.

My mom stayed back with the pups while my dad, the wife and I piled in the car to head to the race. Between the race and the after-party Tedy’s Team BBQ, we ended up back on site about 2pm.

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Thanks Tedy for a great party!

We could’ve headed right back to Boston then and there. Sit in lots of traffic. But we didn’t want to do that. So we decided to hang around for one more peaceful evening and get up at 5am on Monday to head home.

Best decision we could’ve made.

It was a lovely relaxing Sunday afternoon.

The rain started after we got back so the wife and pups went for a nap, while I checked out bad TV. Sometimes I miss having cable. :P

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Once the rain cleared, the wife was ready to get out and move.

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Tori was able to take a fellow camper’s Sunfish boat out on the pond, while I sat back on the porch and vegged. I really can’t put into words how awesome that felt. Again thinking about how I would shape my Summer in 2015 (hint: more relaxing).

Before we left the Cape, I wanted to make sure the wife got a Lobster roll so we headed to Sesuit Harbor Cafe.

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It was a bit nippy sitting outside, but a great atmosphere. I wish my mom had told us it was BYOB. I was jealous of the people around us with their solo cups and wine. ;)

My food wasn’t good, but the wife loved her Lobster roll so that is all that matters.

We had a low-key evening in the camper before calling it an early night.

5am came too soon.

But it was a great choice.

We had zero traffic heading home. A beautiful sunrise. And were both at work on time.

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I remember checking the car clock when we pulled into our driveway and it was before 8am… hence the 45 hours (or so) on the Cape.

Sometimes you never know how recharging 45 hours away can be on your soul.

***

Do you do mini-vacations during the Summer months?

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22
Aug 2014
AUTHOR Dani
COMMENTS 1 Comment

Face It Friday: Oh Hey 150s 8/22/14

Throughout my weight loss journey I have always wanted to banish certain numbers on the scale. Like once I got out of the 230s, I never wanted to see them again.

Once 199 popped up on the scale, I said OHHH HHELLLLO ONEDERLAND. We will never be breaking up.

Etc etc as the number on the scale went down to the goal decade … 150s.

I never thought I would be so happy to call that decade home. When I first got there, I checked my dcotors records and the last time I was at that weight was 7th grade. What up 1995! That’s right. At goal I weighed what I weighed when I was in junior high.

Isn’t that insane?

As someone overweight most of my life (even though it didn’t always look it thanks to my height – 5’8′), it was hard to adjust to being in such new terrain.

I swore to myself I would never leave that decade again.

Well life happened this year and that decade left me. I saw numbers I hadn’t see in years.

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I felt like a failure. How could I maintain goal for 2 years then let a new job and unhappiness take it all away?

Well as we know I reclaimed the journey on June 13 and have been so happy with the progress made thus far.

Not only is the number on the scale going back down to where it should be, but I am feeling more balanced.

When I hit goal, I was not doing the amount of exercise and endurance training I am doing now. THAT is a huge adjustment: fueling, hydrating, refueling, etc. It is a whole new ballgame.

Again one I thought I would never be in, but am happy with how my fitness journey has evolved over the last few years.

And today I am happy to report I am BACK in the 150s!!

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YAAAYYY!

It is NICE to be back.

But more than what that number says is how I feel. I feel leaner and more toned.

I know there shouldn’t be so much emphasis on the scale, BUT I would like to move less of me around during my races. I think of it more for my athletic dreams now than a certain number or a clothing size.

This past weekend wasn’t pretty. We were on the Cape and I had a blast. I indulged and enjoyed it. Mmmmm pizza!

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But as soon as we pulled back into our house at 7am on Monday morning, it turned right back to business.

I am proud of myself for estimating the best I could this weekend and NOT throwing my hands up in the air when I saw the negative number hit triple digits. I put my head down and did the best I could to chop it down.

I made sure to focus on the Good Health Guidelines as I do every day. It really shapes my day and I feel better overall when I check those off. Plus the smiley faces are awesome. ;)

Overall I am pleased with my last week. I felt good all week and tried three new Spin class (which I will review on the blog next week).

I wanted to emotionally eat yesterday due to tiredness, stress and overall crankiness. Knowing I had weigh in today I stuck to the snacks I brought in my backpack and avoided tripping a guy for his Kit Kat Bar. Ohh it looked so good though.

Thankfully today is Day One of my week so I start with a clean slate.

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The rude people at Weight Watchers penalized my success by docking me a Daily Point. How rude? ;)

But once again I will do my best, but roll with the punches.

***

Today, I registered for my friend Shannyn’s #virtualpugrun 5k! It has a sweet medal and you can check out the info here.

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She is offering a 1-miler, 5k and 10k.

***

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Do you have a goal decade?

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#Giveaway: 3 Free Entries to take on the Big Bad Wolf

Annddddd the winners ARE:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Because Eddie O is such an awesome race director he is letting me give away not 3 but 5 entries to the race! WOOHOO!!

Thank you to everyone that entered. You can still register for the race! I hope to see you all there.

***

Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

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Okay what if I say the Big Bad Wolf is ACTUALLY a 5-mile trail race in Ipswich, Mass?

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Don’t worry there aren’t any actual wolves or animals involved in the running of this race – just fun, trails, friends, laughs, and beer!! Well there might be a wolf or two on sight because…

The Second Annual Big Bad Wolf 5-Mile Trail Race will take place on Saturday, September 13 at Noon at the Wolf Hollow, a wolf sanctuary, in Ipswich, Mass.

Registration includes a great VERT shirt + free food & beer at the after-party (sponsored by NotchSlumbrewDowneast Cider & Ipswich Ale).

That’s right folks! Like all Cambridge 5k and VERT Races there will be an EPIC post-race party after the 5-mile trail race with a dance-off and great brews from four local breweries.

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Slumbrew Happy Soles love a good post-race party

Oh and there may be a costume contest too…

Run in your best wolf or wolf related running costume
and you could win a great prize in our post-race costume contest!

Now Ipswich may seem like a trek from Boston, but it really isn’t. With a Noon start for the race, you won’t have to wake up early to grab the commuter rail. Eddie O, race director extraordinaire, also has a free shuttle set up from the commuter rail to the race start.

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If you are nervous to check out your first 5-mile race or first trail run, the Big Bad Wolf is a great way to break into either! There is a great support system amongst runners, volunteers and spectators.

The course map is a loop so you never feel alone and see familiar faces all along the route.

Here’s a description of the course:

Fast & flat course over grass fields and dirt roads. The course starts & finishes @ Wolf Hollow and follows the Maplecroft Trail from Essex Road to Argilla Road and back. The course is well marked with signs and course marshalls. There is a water stop near the halfway point (polo field).

There are some slight inclines on the course, but nothing too strenuous like other trail runs might have. It truly is a course for all fitness levels.

I can’t wait to take on Big Bad Wolf for a second year with the Slumbrew Happy Soles.

So now that I have you psyched up for the trail race and party of 2014, it’s time to make it even better…

I am giving away not 1 but 3 entries!

Sayy wwhhaaa??? Raise the roof! Woo Woo!

I know.

So here’s how to enter.

The giveaway will run from Thursday August 14 (2pm ET) through Friday August 22 (10am ET)!

The winner will be selected and announced on Friday!

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*RACE RECAP* The 2014 New Balance Falmouth Road Race

It’s not every day you are invited to participate in one of the world’s most-recognized road races.

But luckily this year New Balance did just that for me inviting me to run in the 42nd Annual Falmouth Road Race (7 miles) on August 17th.

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As always all thoughts on the race are mine and of course honest … ain’t nobody got time for lyin’!

This would be my second time running Falmouth. After being selected in the lottery, I ran it in 2012 during the 40th anniversary when they offered a rare medal for Finishers because of the big anniversary.

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Following 2012 race

We opted to head down to the Cape the day before the race and hang out at my parents’ camper in Sandwich, MA – a short 30 min or so ride to the Shuttle Buses for the race. I was happy to NOT be one of those racers riding down from Boston on the morning of OR forking over an arm and a leg to pay for a place. :)

I want to thank my Tedy’s Team mate Allie for picking up my bib and special welcome gift from New Balance at the Expo for me while we made our way down to the Cape in traffic. Allie came through in the clutch.

Now normally the New Balance Falmouth Road Race starts at 10am, but this year it had a 9am Start Time. This meant a 5am wake-up call for my support team (dad and wife) and me.

You may ask for a 30 minute drive to the Shuttle Buses why would I be up so early?

Well the Falmouth Road Race is a point to point race, which means myself and 12,800 of my closest friends need to take those Shuttle Buses to the Start area in Woods Hole. Shuttle Buses run from 5:45-7:45am.

My Tedy’s Team mates would be meeting around 6:30/6:45 at the shuttle bus area so I wanted to hook up with the crew before we boarded the buses.

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What a fine looking crew!

Around 7:30am, we got in line with our friends to board the school buses.

It was a quick ride up to Woods Hole. The Falmouth Road Race volunteers are amazing and have the loading and unloading areas running like clock work.

We unloaded in Woods Hole and headed to find the port-o-potties. There were ample port-o-potty areas available to the runners.

Usually Falmouth offered strict corral placement and policing, but switched it up here in 2014 with pulse starting.

This year, the New Balance Falmouth Road Race is introducing the “Pulse Start” system as an improved plan to start large numbers of runners within a venue site of limited size. This system is possible due to use of chip timing, that allows for all runners to receive an accurate time based on their crossings of the official start and finish lines. The “Pulse Start” has received excellent industry-wide runner feedback.

Goal: to give every runner the best experience possible

  • This includes the ability now to run from the start with less congestion on the course
  • Pulse intervals within each pace group are set at time intervals [approx. 2 minutes between] thus allowing for less congestion at the Start and on the course
  • Each pace group will have multiple pace starts

My Tedy’s Teammate Meg and I would be running together and decided to line up between the 8 and 9 min pace signs. There was a great atmosphere on race morning with amazing weather and a bunch of talented elite runners on site (Oh Hey Meb!).

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MulletMarathon.com

After having the pleasure of meeting a couple of blog readers and the brains behind Somerville’s own Runfellow gear, the pulse starts began.

Coming off the quad injury in the previous week I didn’t set high expectations time wise for the race, but kept the main goal as Having Fun!

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With over 12,000 runners meant a lot of tight running at the beginning of the race. The first three miles of the course are the tightest and also feature a majority of the hills and shade.

The self-seeding is a tricky game to play as many participants line up incorrectly resulting in tripping, elbowing and generally unsafe running conditions. I always line up in the area closest to my actual pace in order to keep the course safe and you should too. Runners Safety Moment From Me To You

Meg and I were doing the best bobbing and weaving that we could to try and get into a groove where we could find a comfortable pace and run next to each other. It was Meg’s first time running Falmouth so I was playing guide the best I could.

Mile 1: 9:03
Mile 2: 8:49

I thought the race did a great job with the number of water stops available and trying to keep them balanced between the left and right sides of the road.

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Not many races can beat the breathtaking views of the ocean that Falmouth has. The Sun was shining and the water was glistening. My quads felt pretty darn good even as we battled through the ups and downs of the first few miles of the race. It was my pesky left quad that was being a stick in the mud. It isn’t a sharp or alarming pain just a constant reminder that the hamstring will require rest post Half Ironman (Sept 7).

Meg and I have done most of the long training runs for Boston Marathon together the past two years so we have a pretty good rhythm when we run together which I love and had missed. It can get pretty boring running alone without music. So we were able to use this time to catch up.

Mile 3: 8:39

Now the extra joy of this race was hitting the 3.5 mark and realizing we were already halfway done. Hey oh! Falmouth is definitely original with it’s 7-mile distance. The story behind it says that the race creator, Tommy Leonard, was at a bar in Falmouth and someone said to him that he couldn’t run home, which was about 7 miles away in Woods Hole. And that is how the race was born. Well that is what rumor says.

(Note: more on the history can be found here)

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Halfway there selfie

The spectators along the course cheer with the same enthusiasm and dedication as those at that drape the roads along the Boston Marathon route.

Residents offer up their own water stops and even put aside what it will due to their water bills by spraying water from garden hoses across the course. Ohhh it felt awesome each time I ran under one.

There are bar owners and locals playing music and holding up signs everywhere you turn.

Additionally, you can find cheering sections for each of the charities running in the race along the course as well.

I may or may not have gotten shafted by a little kid looking for high fives. Apparently mine wasn’t good enough for him. #Ouch

Mile 4: 8:21
Mile 5: 8:30

The crowds were really digging the Sparkle Athletic skirt and my Wonder Woman socks. I was getting a ton of cheers and loving the support. Falmouth puts your name on your bib if you sign up before a certain date, which is also a great motivator during the run as random strangers are calling out your name.

It seemed as soon as we hit Mile 5 the weather was taking its toll on some of the runners. Many were starting to walk or slow down. I was still feeling good. Thankfully Meg was willing to hang back with me and keep the pace where it was. I honestly didn’t even know what pace we were at because I was so focused on the action around me and keeping in tune with how my body was feeling.

I was pleasantly surprised when my Garmin buzzed at Mile 5 with an 8:30 pace. :)

Mile 6: 8:27

The crowds are thick and rowdy as you head into the final couple of miles, which really carries you to that final hill that you know is coming during the last mile.

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But once you crest that hill you KNOW it’s all downhill to the Finish Line. As you top the hill, you see the glorious sight of the huge American Flag that flies over the Finish.

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Yes I get teary when I see it thinking of the thousands of folks that have run this race before me: family, friends, Olympians.

Mile 7: 8:14

It was a truly beautiful day and the race was over before we knew it. I had a great run into the Finish and even saw my wife and dad just before crossing.

Final Time: 1:00:49 (8:42 min/mile pace)

Once I saw the Finish Time, I wished I had lined up earlier or pushed it harder to break one hour. I had finished the 2012 race in 58:10. But with injury, etc, I was happy with the results.

And I fulfilled my main goal: I had fun the entire time. :)

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My Garmin gave me 7.1 miles on the nose, but the official course description says 7 miles so we will go with that since I did do extra bobbing and weaving along the way.

Since it wasn’t an anniversary year there wasn’t a Finisher’s Medal – man I wish they did one – but I can’t be too picky I know.

Meg and I grabbed a water before heading to the Finish Area to find both of our families. The post-race grub included Cape Cod Chips, pretzels, peanuts, bananas and Yasso bars. Mmm I grabbed a Mint Chocolate Chip Yasso Bar (2 PPV) and it was delicious.

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But I was ready for a celebratory beer. We headed off to the post-race Tedy’s Team BBQ, which was being held at a house just a mile away from the Finish Area. A little post-race shakeout walk.

The hamstring was feeling a little tight, but the rest of me was feeling great! My dad and wife caught me up on their morning, their delicious breakfast and their race spectating highlights.

I will say a highlight for me was when a little boy that I was the real Wonder Woman because his dad led him to believe it. The excitement on his face was priceless and I wanted to take him home with me. :P

The BBQ had delicious Samuel Adams beer, Papa Ginos pizza, snacks, veggies and more. Thank you again Tedy’s Team for having my family and I.

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I think I even have Tedy’s kids participating in my birthday virtual 5k fundraiser. They understand the awesomeness of a Finisher’s medal. :)

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Tedy Bruschi and I

After an amazing morning, it was time to head back to Sandwich and relax the rest of the day … the Cape way.

***

Thank you again to New Balance and Tedy’s Team for a great Falmouth Road Race.

Have you run the Falmouth Road Race? What is your favorite part?

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Racecancer’s Boston 5k Summer Series: Race #4

Boston Summer Nights are made for 5ks along the Charles River. Thankfully Racecancer is giving me six chances to take in the glorious views of the water during the Boston 5k Summer Series.

August 14th marked the fourth installment of the race and the weather was perfect – 6:30pm start for Women’s Only 5k and a 7pm start for the Co-Ed 5k.

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I got there a tad early to walk around and take in the sponsor tents. Since I have the season pass for the race series, I use the same bib for all 6 races so I didn’t need to pick anything up.

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The week prior to the race I experienced a quad injury, which left me with 5 forced rest days. For those that read this blog, you know that is unheard of in my world recently. ;) So it was tough.

The 5k would mark my first run since the injury so my goal was to take it easy.

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But I am a horrible pacer when trying to take it easy during a race – I get swept up in the adrenaline of a race. I turned my Garmin over so I wouldn’t be tempted to quicken up my pace if I felt I was running “too slow.”

I was excited to be testing out my New Balance gear for the first time in a race – I had previously worn it for cross training and practice runs. Aren’t those Foam Fresh 980s sweet?

Just before 6:30 I moved myself over to the Start Area for the Women’s Only 5k.

My goal? Make it through pain free.

Race Director, Alain, spoke to the crowd briefly and shared a moment of silence for a member of the community’s family member who had passed away from cancer. After the moment and race instructions, we were off.

The good thing about a race series means you become very familiar with the course. Knowing the course means less focus on going the right way and more about taking in the views.

Mile 1: 8:09

Even when the Garmin buzzed at Mile One, I went against my instincts and didn’t sneak a peek. I was feeling good and wanted to focus on that.

Thankfully there wasn’t any quad pain during the race. Now the pesky left hamstring pain took the forefront. I guess it was masked the week before by the quad pain.

It is a lingering pain from May and I know with more rest it will heal … which I can do once the Half Ironman is over.

I want to commend the 5k for having two water stops on the course (Mile 1 and Mile 2). It is greatly appreciated by the runners.

Now I am doing this race alone and without music so it is all me and my thoughts during the run. ;) Which is a tough thing sometimes. The self-doubt and negative talk can come out in full effect. Trying to banish it is what I am working on.

Mile 2: 8:06

I passed on the water at the second water stop, but the volunteers were cheering everyone on loudly. Something I truly appreciated since this stretch of the race is a little light on the views/fan fare.

As I took the left onto the Arsenal St bridge, I smacked right into two guys standing with their bikes in the middle of the path. The race takes place on an open bike path, but I don’t think these guys were ready to share the road. I let them know that there were a bunch of runners behind me and to make sure they stay on one side of the road.

It is all about sharing the road path folks!!

Once over the Arsenal St bridge, you take a left and head straight back to the Start on the path. This is a shady area along the water, which is great for a selfie break.

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Now this is why I tell people to take multiple shots. Not every one will be a winner. ;)

(Read more at Mid-Run Selfie)

Mile 3: 8:04

I made sure just before Mile 3 to readjust the outfit before crossing the Finish Line. Gotta look good for those Finish Line photos. ;)

Final: 24:57

Very good for having come off rest and keeping it conservative.

After grabbing some water and stretching, I was debating taking part in the Co-Ed 5k as well (women’s entry gets them into both races), but decided to keep it smart. I had the Falmouth Road Race (7 miles) on the Sunday and didn’t want to risk any further injury.

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But I did make sure to cheer them off.

It was a great turnout and I know folks had a great after party at Miller’s Boston Ale House with Clown Shoes on tap.

I celebrated my 5k with my Chocolate Milk at home. At some point I will make it to an after party … well I have 2 chances left. :P

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Speaking of the next Boston 5k Summer Race is September 4 and you can register here (6pm for Women’s Only and 6:30 for Co-Ed).

***

Will I see you there?

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