Weekend Wrap-Up: #FaceItFriday, Tedy's Team 11-Miler & More Snow

Gah!! I was so busy having fun this weekend that I TOTALLY forgot to post about both #FaceItFriday and my Tedy's Team group run. Soooo using today's snow in Boston as an excuse to settle in and catch you all up. Ya know if case you haven't also been following my adventures of Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Well let's start at the beginning.

On a September afternoon in 1982, I was born...

Oh oops not THAT beginning. My bad all. My bad.


On Friday I woke early to get myself ready for my weekly weigh-in. I had a great week and hoped the scale reflected that, but I know the scale can be a fickle beast. I stepped on cautiously.


Woah! Down 2 lbs and under goal for the first time in ages. It was my lowest weight on the scale since August 2013. Hollah!

I righted the ship after 2 weeks of small gains. With marathon training tracking keeps me fueled, focused & not giving in to the Rungry Horrors that can attack after a long run or intense cross-training workout!

Also didn't give in to emotional eating this week. I'm asked all the time if I eat my APs (activity points) & you can see I use WPs & APs.

The morning continued with a special delivery: My 2nd Annual Stop Stroke Shuffle 5k medals.


How awesome did they turn out???? They even glow in the dark. Oh snap they do!

After leading my final Weight Watchers meeting of the week and finishing up the WW paperwork, I headed out for my #FridayFive run. I headed to Assembly Row (Somerville) to test out alternative routes for our Happy Soles 5k Run/Walk on the Sunday.

With over 60 inches of snow in the Boston area over the last 30 days, we've had to get creative when it comes to running routes.


Splits: 8:12, 8:10, 8:25, 7:59, 7:55

I slipped and slided my way around the Assembly Row area until I had four possible routes. I celebrated with a delicious Slumbrew Porter Square Porter and some arts and crafts. I had to dress up my koozie.


Further confirmation why the wife is in charge of my running costumes. Oof.

The wife and I had a nice relaxing Friday night watching some Big Bang Theory with my parents. We had some bad news delivered that one of our pups, Laney, will have to go in for surgery March 6 to remove four tumors from her knees. :/ Poor pup.

Saturday means Tedy's Team long run day. On the schedule this week? Another Riverside run. This means we take the T (train) from Kenmore Square to the Riverside stop in Newton and run our butts back to Kenmore. It comes out to just over 10 miles and you get to tackle the entire 3+ mile span that is Heartbreak Hill.

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It happened to be a balmy 20 degrees (real feel 12) and the hill was a buzz with runners also training. I love the feeling when out there with hundreds of other folks putting in the work for the Big Show. Plus most of the folks are also charity runners.

I also love seeing the Newton Firehouse, which marks the start of Heartbreak. On this day, two firefighters were out cheering on runners and offering up some much-needed water, Gatorade and snacks! :)

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While the true reason for the long runs is to train and prep for the race, I love seeing familiar faces especially when they are my Tedy's Team crew. It is truly the highlight of my week.


Lisa - my triathlon training guru


Margaret - the best cheerleader and water stop volunteer ever!

My thoughts on my 11-miler (I extended it so I could end right in front of Dunkin Donuts): Best run EVER on Heartbreak Hill in the three years of training for the Boston Marathon!! Woo hoo!


After a shower and a foam rolling session, the wife and I opted to go out to lunch. PF Changs won since we had a $50 gift card. We both chose the lunch portion, which really helped with portion control.


I ate my peppers for the first time. Yes yes I am a picky eater who is trying to branch out little by little.


But that fortune?!?! LOVE!

We had a pretty low-key evening as I did some work from home and tried to snuggle the pups as much as possible. Snuggling pups is good for the soul!

Sunday morning called for more puppy snuggling before embarking on a pre-Slumbrew run. With additional snowfall, I needed to get out to make sure at least 1 of my 4 alternative routes would be safe enough for our participants. Thankfully the main roads around the outlets were decent enough that we could do loops around. I let folks choose 1, 2 or 3 loops since each loop was roughly 1 mile.


I was so proud to see 12 folks - half new - brave the weather for a fun morning run. Oh and belgian waffles and beer! Mmm...

While I wanted to stay and play with everyone all day, adult duties were calling. We had to head to the grocery store to make sure we had enough healthy food in the house for the impending 10-24 inches of snow. Ummm yay?

After tackling the grocery store, putting food away, cleaning the house, starting some laundry and knocking out 1.5 mile walk on the treadmill, it was time to call it a night... but not before I shared this awesome news!


Ahhh all official! Yay! Wicked pumped to be running my 3rd Boston Marathon with Tedy's Team in 2015.

My three-year fundraising total has combined to raise $21,528 to #FightStroke! Absolutely amazing and inspiring!! :)


Wow! I look back at that weekend and saw DAMN I am one lucky person to have such motivating people in my life.

What was the highlight of your weekend?

*RECAP* The "Moderately Challenging" Boston Prep 16-Miler

You know a race is going to kick your butt when it is humorously called "moderately challenging."


The Great Derry Track Club (New Hampshire) has put on the Boston Prep 16-Miler for the past 20 years.

My friend and Tedy's Team teammate Page brought the race up to me late in 2014 as a great "confidence boosting run" in prep for Boston.

Read as: It is wicked hilly. You will hate me while it is happening, but will feel better about yourself and Heartbreak Hill afterwards.

Spoiler Alert: She was 100% right!

Since I am a race pusher ;) I convinced my friend Lori to also sign up for the race. Lori is running her first Boston Marathon so I thought this would be a great race for her too. It would be her longest distance to date. Might as well go big, right? :P

I made sure to get the knees ready for a tough run with my trusty KT Tape!


Page, Lori and I took the drive from Boston to Derry, NH to tackle the hills. It was great to have some built-in support.


We easily parked at a local school and took the quick 2-minute walk to race HQ - aka West Running Brook Middle School.

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The gym was a buzz with excitement, while my stomach was a buzz with nerves.

Now I know that I can stop running and walk at any point in a race, but for some reason I was freakin' out on this particular morning. I think I had built the challenge up in my head that I was psyching myself out.

I tried to distract myself by chatting with Lynn the race director and meeting some new friends. Okay "meeting new friends" isn't the right term. I basically went over and talked to two people that I had recognized from a handful of previous races I had done in the NH/Maine area over the last few months. Not sure where my confidence came from to go introduce myself, but I had to do it. I had seen them so many times I felt like I knew them. Sooo thanks Beth for at least not calling me a creeper to my face. ;)

We opted to toss our sweet swag - long-sleeved tech t-shirt and fleece neck warmer - in the car before heading to the Start. The Start was actually around the corner from the school on Humphrey Street. You could totally tell the folks that drove up from Boston since we all oohhed and ahhhed over the horse next to the Start. Oh city folk.


The field had 350 runners, which seemed to be smaller than year's past, but we did have poor weather that weekend so a lower turnout was expected.


Lori, Page and I were as ready as we could be for the run. There was a group of runners near us proclaiming loudly about how charity runners don't believe in Boston. As three charity runners, we scowled at him, but didn't let him steal our thunder.

The race had a small horn to signify the Start and we were off. We wished Lori a good run and Page and I headed off. I love finding someone that I can easily run with. Page is exactly that way. We fall into an easy rhythm and don't have to worry about pace. Especially on this day. It wasn't a race, but a really hilly training run. ;)

If you are going to have a tough training run, it's awesome when it is scenic... and New Hampshire does NOT disappoint.

Mile 1: 9:47 Mile 2: 8:32


While enjoying a few rolling hills in New Hampshire, we ran into our friend Julia!


She is prepping for the LA Marathon, which goes down March 15.


Mile 3: 8:35 Mile 4: 8:32

The roads were open to the traffic and with a recent snowfall the roads were tight. I can tell you there were quite a few cars taking the turns waaayyy too fast for the conditions and the amount of runners on the road. You would think with this being the 20th time this race was put on that the residents would be used to it. I guess not everyone was.

At least the hills were always visible so you could mentally prep for the next while coming off the current one. ;)



As much as I mention how almost every race in New England is compiled of "rolling hills," they create some glorious views.


Mile 5: 9:06 Mile 6: 8:39

I was really encouraged with how strong I was feeling on the run. The hills weren't putting up as much of a fight as I expected. Well I was being cautious since the rumor was the worst hill was near the end.

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Prior to the race, my goal was to not walk up any of the hills. I didn't care how slow I jogged/ran up the hill I wanted to keep running/jogging. It was a much-needed pact with myself since many folks around us started walking. When I see others walking there is something in my brain saying that it's okay for me to do that too - even if I don't want to or feel amazing.


So this picture captures how awesome I felt after each hill was conquered. Grrrrr-eat!!


Mile 7: 9:48 Mile 8: 8:42


After we reached the halfway mark, I wanted to tell myself it was all downhill from there... but I'd be lying to myself. Oh I crack me up. :P

I couldn't believe we were halfway through the race already. It hadn't felt like 8 miles had come and gone. That is a good thing, right? It must mean all this training is paying off.

Mile 9: 8:46

Just after the Mile 9 water stop, we took a second to stretch, re-tie the shoes and have snack break (GU for Page and KIND bar for me). It was a nice little break before the rougher part of the course started.

Mile 10: 10:26

During the run, we started chatting with a local woman, who kindly let me know the worst inclines would be during Miles 10 and 12-13. Oh joy! I kind of liked living in the world of the unknowing and just waiting to see when the worst would hit.

But I was mentally prepped.

Page opted to listen to music during this stretch as her way to "get pumped." I opted to quietly curse while plugging along. I thought of good things like beer and my amazing Stroke Heroes to try and make the hill a little less daunting.

In reality? It was tough. I kept repeating: "Just F&*#kin' Move Forward." I am not one to wax poetically during a run so I kept it simple. :P

Plus the sun was shining and I was healthy. I really couldn't complain.

Mile 11: 8:55

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Mile 12: 10:36 Mile 13: 10:25

Hellz yeah!! I did it! I was wicked proud of myself for tackling and owning Warner Hill Road. I may or may not have done a fist pump when I finally reached the top. :)

My left hamstring was sore, but no sorer than any other run I have done since injuring it in May. I do believe the strength training is finally working it's magic.

I'm not going to lie when we hit the half marathon mark I wanted to be done. Haha. I was ready to be in post-race mode. But Page and I agreed it was a good chance to get in a nice 3-mile recovery run. ;)

Page was having some side stitch and hamstring issues of her own so we opted for a little run/walk during the next 2 miles to stretch it out. She told me to go ahead. Ummm gurl I wasn't winning the race NOR would I leave her after rocking 14 miles together. I don't play that way. She was stuck with me.

Mile 14: 9:07 Mile 15: 9:27

I started talking about my possible Run Disney Princess weekend costumes to try and distract her from the pain. And you know what? It worked for almost 3/4 of a mile before she realized I was distracting her. Go me!


She was ready to finish strong and we did. We hustled our way up that final incline to the Finish!

Mile 16: 8:39

There wasn't a huge crowd at the Finish, but the announcer did announce our names and where we were from when we crossed. Yay! I liked the personal touch.


The official time would be slower than my Garmin as the race was a GUN time not a Chip time.


In my mind I am taking the Garmin time as official since it did take us at least 30+ seconds to actually cross the Start line.

Once over the Finish Line, we shot right in to the School cafeteria to get food. The race offered Domino's Pizza, sandwich wraps, Dunkin Donuts munchkins, bananas, chili and soup. Lots of food. Sadly no beer, but I didn't expect it in a middle school. The only thing that looked mildly appealing was the pizza and we both went for that before taking some laps around the cafeteria to keep the legs moving.

We decided to walk to the car to get Lori's clothes so she could change before the ride back. Man the little incline back from the parking lot felt a lot worse post-run. :P

Lori did an awesome job coming in right around 2 hours and 51 minutes. I was so proud of her.

We watched a little of the awards ceremony before making our way back home to get a celebratory beer at Slumbrew! :)



Overall, the race had a great fun local feel and it was cool to chat with a bunch of other runners training for the same race. Many around us were also charity runners so it was great swapping fundraising ideas and tips.

I was also happy to hear race proceeds benefited the Greater Derry Track Club Kids Summer Fun Run Program.

I do wish the roads were a little more closed or additional precautions were taken to ensure runner safety. I know it is par for the course in smaller local races, but there were some occasions where the cars were a little too close for comfort. Thankfully cops and volunteers were stationed at major intersections and turns.

I was surprised to not see any EMTs on bikes. Now I don't know if they were in any of the cars passing us or not, but I didn't notice any medical personnel along the course.

There were four water stops and 2 GU spots during the 16-mile course, which felt like enough on that day.


So the big question is: would I recommend this race to someone else running Boston? AB-so-lutely!! It really was the confidence booster that Page claimed it would be. So yes if you are ever training for Boston, I highly recommend signing up for this run AND supporting a local running club. Just be sure to bring your phone with you!!

Dani Dishes: Life Update Plus Disneyland Fun

On this episode of #DaniDishes, it is time to catch up on the last two weeks of life including a black eye, weight management milestone and running at Disneyland! Also looking to sign up for the virtual OR in person 5k to benefit Tedy's Team and the American Stroke Association? Do so here!!

The 2nd Annual Stop Stroke Shuffle 5k Finisher's Medal Reveal!

The 2nd Annual Stop Stroke Shuffle In Person and Virtual 5k registration is OPEN!!!


For those that don't know, I am running the 2015 Boston Marathon with Tedy's Team to raise awareness and fight Stroke! This will be my third-consecutive Boston Marathon with Tedy's Team and I run in honor of my grandparents, my father-in-law and all those affected by Stroke.

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If you are in the Boston area, please think about coming down to run/walk/bike the 5k with me in person on February 15 at Noon.

We will be hosting the event out of Slumbrew's American Fresh Brewhouse at Assembly Row (in Somerville). American Fresh is a heated tent with ample free parking and access to the Assembly Stop on the Orange line.

We will have bibs, medals and water on hand. There will be beer available for purchase!

^^ Strollers welcome, but unfortunately pups need to stay home this time.

**PLEASE NOTE: this will not be a chip-timed race**

Register HERE for in person OR virtual option!


If you are NOT in the Boston or unable to join us on February 15, please consider running/walking/biking the charity 5k virtually.

A virtual run-walk means you do the 5k (3.1 mile) “race” at your leisure anytime in the month of February! Map out your own route, get your own friends together or jump on the old trusty treadmill. Your call.

This “race” is one to anyone all over the world.

I will provide a race bib that you can print out and fix to your shirt (if you want)!!

Register HERE for in person OR virtual option!


The Finisher's Medal is going to GLOW IN THE DARK this year!! Yay! Well okay the outer ring of the medal plus the 2015 portion will glow. But still awesome. I love it.


The $26.20 registration fee is a donation to Tedy's Team!

Register HERE for in person OR virtual option!

The 2nd Annual Stop Stroke Shuffle 5k - In Person & Virtual

The 2nd Annual Stop Stroke Shuffle In Person and Virtual 5k registration is OPEN!!!


For those that don't know, I am running the 2015 Boston Marathon with Tedy's Team to raise awareness and fight Stroke! This will be my third-consecutive Boston Marathon with Tedy's Team and I run in honor of my grandparents, my father-in-law and all those affected by Stroke.

26 -

If you are in the Boston area, please think about coming down to run/walk/bike the 5k with me in person on February 15 at Noon.

We will be hosting the event out of Slumbrew's American Fresh Brewhouse at Assembly Row (in Somerville). American Fresh is a heated tent with ample free parking and access to the Assembly Stop on the Orange line.

We will have bibs, medals and water on hand. There will be beer available for purchase!

^^ Strollers welcome, but unfortunately pups need to stay home this time.

**PLEASE NOTE: this will not be a chip-timed race**

Register HERE for in person OR virtual option!


If you are NOT in the Boston or unable to join us on February 15, please consider running/walking/biking the charity 5k virtually.

A virtual run-walk means you do the 5k (3.1 mile) “race” at your leisure anytime in the month of February! Map out your own route, get your own friends together or jump on the old trusty treadmill. Your call.

This “race” is one to anyone all over the world.

I will provide a race bib that you can print out and fix to your shirt (if you want)!!

Register HERE for in person OR virtual option!


The $26.20 registration fee is a donation to Tedy's Team!

^^ Race bib and Finisher's Medal are still be designed. Thank you for your patience on that.

Register HERE for in person OR virtual option!

1st Run 5k To Ring In 2015

Happy New Year... now bundle up it will be a chilly one!

Not sure it is smart to look at the weather before a run when winter hits New England. It just chills me to the core and makes me want to roll over and stay in bed.

THEN I remember that I must train in any weather conditions AND I had convinced folks to register for the 1st Run 5k so I had to show up! Plus, it was a real feel of 6 degrees... down right balmy in my opinion! Did that sound convincing?

Well it worked enough for me.

The wife and I bundled into the car around 9:30am to make the 35 minute ride north to Lowell. The 1st Run 5k starts at 11am, which is nice for spectators and runners alike. Really for those that actually celebrate New Year's Eve. We did not so it didn't matter to us what time it started.

This was the third-consecutive year I'd be running the 1st Run 5k so we have directions, parking and packet pick-up down!

On the way to the VFW (race HQ), we bumped into Leah.

I met Leah through social media and she is an awesomely inspiring mom and runner. She would be taking on the 10k - two rounds of the windy 5k loop - and looked ready to crush the PR she was after. We snapped a quick pic before she went off to meet her friends and I went to find my bib.

I love the swag - winter knit hat and running clothes. :)

I took my time putting my bib on and having my pre-race snack while we were in the warmth of the VFW. With about 20 minutes to go before the race, I dragged my feet and finally headed back into the cold to hit up the port-o-potty.

It was awesome seeing some familiar faces before the run and meeting some of the wife's hockey teammates who were also taking on the 10k.

The announcer let us know there were 10 minutes til go time so I gave the wife a kiss and headed to the Start corral to get some stretching in. The 5k and 10k start together so I tried to get closer to the front since I know it can bottleneck when the gun goes off.

Look at that dynamic stretching in action. ;) I saw a race photog snapping pics when I was in the corral, but didn't notice this one until a friend pointed it out. :P

The corral starting filling up and it was time to go. I didn't know what the legs would do - I had run 6 the day before - but I was hoping for a course PR if nothing else.

The National Anthem was played by a local resident on the trumpet, the countdown counted and off went the gun - it was Go time!

We headed down the chute, which takes you out of the VFW parking lot, and took our first right on to Old Ferry Road. It is a brief stint on Old Ferry Road before a right on to Varnum Avenue.

I knew there was an incline at the turn, but forgot it continued to climb during the first mile. Apparently I blocked it from my memory. ;0)

Being in a neighborhood did shield us from the wind that would inevitably meet us later in the race.

I once again opted to run without music as I am slowly but surely getting used to training/racing without it (for the most part). However, listening to the breathing of the folks around me and the heavy steps were throwing me off mentally on this day in particular. So I made the decision to speed up a tad to get away from the distractions.

Mile 1: 7:17

Alright faster pace than I expected, but I felt strong through the first mile or so. I even felt up to a mid-run selfie.

I have been slacking in the mid-run selfie department of late so trying to step my game back up.

Plus it wasn't as icy and slippery as the previous year so there was that to celebrate!!

Just past the halfway point in the 5k, you take the downhill out of the neighborhood and a right on to Pawtucket Boulevard. Now you take Pawtucket Boulevard straight back to the Start Area. Pawtucket Boulevard however is where the wind decides to join the party. I tried to prep my friends for it. The wind just all of a sudden hits you and it's like you are running in place for the remainder of the race. Fun right?

As we made our way down Pawtucket Boulevard, we stay in the breakdown lane. Thankfully it is wide enough that you can avoid a single file line and stay in your own rhythm.

Just before Mile 2, there is a DJ blasting some tunes and calling out names of runners. Pretty sweet set-up.

There you also find the one water stop of the race.

Mile 2: 7:10

To distract from the wind, I focus on the beautiful Merrimack River across the way. It truly is a wonderful sight while running.

The wind picked up as if to say I needed more of a challenge on this run. FYI I didn't. :P

I saw the race photog, but wasn't in a good position to get a good shot - as you can see above. At least my Sparkle Athletic skirt (teal) looked good. ;)

As the tenths of miles clicked by, I felt for the 10kers who would have to do this twice. Good for them - I was happy with the 5k! :) Especially since the 10 folks have to run past the Finish chute for their second loop - no thanks.

Just before the Mile 3 marker, we take a right back on to Old Ferry Road to re-enter the VFW parking lot. The start chute doubles as the finishing chute. Make sense?

Mile 3: 7:28

How about that wind for killing my Mile 3 pace. Can I blame the wind?

I happily moved to the right of the 5k/10k sign and tried to give it everything I had into the Finish. I was wicked close to a course PR.

The wife took this awesome shot as I was about to cross the Finish Line.


Yes 6 second course PR. Still 1 minute and 2 seconds slower than my 5k PR, but I was happy with how it went on such a windy course.

I grabbed my medal and went over to meet the wife.

The timing company - Yankee Timing - offers on-site results. You wave your race bib in front of a sensor and the info is displayed on a large TV. It's such a cool concept. Now placement results - at least for me - can change as more folks finish, but the time itself was confirmed. Woo!

We headed to a sunny spot to wait for friends to finish. It is so awesome going to a race and seeing so many friends start the New Year kicking some asphalt.

Antonette, Melissa (my WW member) and I

Heather (friend and fellow WW leader) and I

Susan (friend and fellow WW leader) and I

Plus I have the pleasure of meeting some amazing online friends and readers.

Instagram friend Michelle and I

Big thanks to readers Kathy and Becky for saying Hi post-race! It made my morning...

Since I was able to say Hi to everyone I knew that was going to be there, we headed inside to see what the race was offering post-race for runners: soup and Bud Light. Yeah I opted to pass on the Bud Light and have a good celebration beer at home!

Once safely warm at home, I checked my email and saw the official results were in.

It was funny that the results had 23:01, but the rankings had 23:02. I opted to take 23:01. :)

Second place in my division? Say whhaa?? I doubted that 100%. And here's why.

Two of the three top females overall actually belonged in my division too. It looks like the officials keep the Top 3 overall females separately from the division placements.

Really I was fourth in my division not second - but I will pretend along with second if that is what Yankee Timing wants to give me. ;)


Overall it was a great morning and a great race. I will continue to take part in the 1st Run 5k as long as I am able to and it is offered.


So my New Year’s Day races are:

1/1/11 – I had a herniated disc and had to walk the New Year’s Day 5k in Chicago so it took the wife and I finished in 48:37 (15:41 min/mile)

1/1/12 – I was healthy, besides a small knee injury and was able to run the New Year’s Day 5k in Chicago in 25:27 (8:13 min/mile)

1/1/13 – I ran in honor of my Grampa and hopefully made him proud in the 1st Run 5k finishing in 23:07 (7:27 min/mile)

1/1/14 - I had such a fun time at the 1st Run 5k in 2013 I came back for more finishing in 23:43.1 (7:39 min/mile)

1/1/15 - I went for a New Year's Day PR at 1st Run 5k and it happened in 23:01.2 (7:25 min/mile)


Did you run into the New Year?

Merry Christmas To Me...

I can admit I am not a huge Holiday person. I don't know why, but they usually give me a lot of anxiety. So this year I was wicked excited to learn we would be staying home. Well my parents and I would be. The wife would once again be heading home to Chicago to see her family. :/ The pups and I miss her.


I was happy to be staying home since my alarm is set for 6:15am on Friday morning so I can get to work by 7am. Woo... not! :P No I am happy to be subbing for a friend since I need the money. The problem will Thursday holidays is I miss out on 4 meetings worth of pay, which stinks.

After my Wednesday Noon meeting in Newton, I took to the highway to get home... and sat in traffic. Oh the holidays. ;) I was a little jealous of the people in the other cars heading out of town for a long weekend, but the traffic wore the jealousy off quickly. Haha.

Once I did some last-minute errands, I was ready to be home and away from the masses. I had planned to get in a second workout (had run 4 miles before work), but after surviving traffic and people - I opted for a beer. ;) Smart choice, right?

Around 6pm the pups and I headed upstairs to my parents' place to start our Christmas Eve tradition: Chinese food, wine and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Oh oh and PJs. Thank you comfort.

It was great to just kick back and relax for an evening. I am not good at putting away work (both for Weight Watchers and the blog) and just be. It is a sweet treat.

I was wicked excited about my parents' gifts that I made them open them Christmas Eve so I could set them up.


Yup I got them Fitbit Ones! I'm ready to compete against them already. Feel free to friend me on Fitbit if you want (email above on the pic).

Oh and my dad made these little devil cookies!


I am waiting for him to give me the recipe so I can actually calculate the Weight Watchers PPV.

Since I would be waking up early for a couple of run dates, I headed downstairs around 10pm. Not that I would go right to sleep, but I was ready to be laying down in bed. Thanks wine. :P

I bounded out of bed at 7am so I could get the pups ready for the day and myself clothed for my run. The game plan was a 5k run with my dad biking with me at 7:30 and another 5k with my friend Lori at 8am. Great way to get 6.2 miles in before 9am.


It was downpouring the entire time, but we felt badass for getting out there and getting it done.

Yes that is Lori and I drinking a Slumbrew (Porter Sq Porter for me and Happy Sol for her) at 9am. It was part of the main reason why she agreed to run with me. Lori and I went to high school together and are both part of the Slumbrew Happy Soles.


Lori is training to run her first marathon - Boston Marathon 2015 for charity. Amazing and so great to chat with someone training for their first marathon.

After Lori headed home to spend the holiday with her family, I was on my way to find an open Dunkin' Donuts. Yes priorities folks.



It took two stops, but I found an open Dunkins and was ready for the day to continue.

We did a small gift exchange. Well the parents had already opened the gift from me the night before and they just went to Universal Studios for a few days as their gift to each other. Sooo it was really me opening gifts.


Oh it was a great haul.

I received:

* Dunkin gift card AND two pack of French Vanilla K-Cups

* $75 in gift cards to Disney, which paired with the ones Tori and I received means we have $275 for our trip to Disneyland in January (YYYAAAYYY!!!!)

* Some minions - plush and plastic - from their trip to Universal


* Two sweet new Alex and Ani bracelets. I have a runner one so now I just need them to create a swimmer


* A sweet picture frames from the pups


* A Visa Gift Card (also will use at Disney)

* Replacement pair of sparkly black TOMS since I wore mine so much they have a hole in both soles

* Some great office supplies for my new standing desk

All in all a great and practical haul. I am big on practical gifts. ;)

Once I was finished with gifts it was the pups turn.


Yes they had identical stockings.


Inside they sniffed out: a stuffie, 3 tennis balls and two snacks. Molly immediately devoured her two snacks. She is not one for portion control.

After hugs, thanks and puppy kisses, we turned on Madagascar 2. I somehow had seen 1 and 3, but missed 2. So it was great to finally see it. Super cute.

As the morning went on, the weather improved. At 1pm the weather was sunny and warm so I had to get back out there and take advantage of it. Yes I went out and did a third run.


I squeaked out 2.8 miles to round my daily total to 9 and hit 1,075 miles for the year.


It was a great way to spend some time while my parents and the pups were all napping.

After I got back, it was really time to relax: Zensah compression shorts and socks, Harpoon beer and Puss In Boots on TV.


I could really get used to this "relaxing" thing. I should make it more of a routine.

My dad was experiencing some grill issues so dinner was delayed from 2:30 to 4:30. Fine by me since I was perfectly content on the couch.


We were able to have a low-key dinner: steak tips (delicious Hawaiian Cowboys from Dom's), green beans, carrots (with honey, brown sugar and orange juice) and mashed potatoes.

This is the first time I've had real mashed potatoes since probably last Christmas so it was an awesome treat.

Mmm mmmm mmmm! It hit the spot and was the perfect way to cap off a relaxing day with the family.

So now I will tuck myself in on the couch, finish tracking all of my Weight Watchers PPVs and watch How To Train A Dragon before calling it an early night.


I want to remind everyone how thankful I am for your support on this journey. I love every like, comment, email, tweet, Facebook message and hello at a race. It truly means the world to me.


What was your top gift from Santa this year?

Weekend Wrap-Up: Wine, Early Christmas & Hockey

I live for the weekends. I know I am the only person out there that does that so you should all catch up on this train. Mmmmkay? ;)


Friday kicked off with a very happy weigh-in! Finally back in free Lifetime range. Yay! :)


I was wicked stoked to see a number 22 lbs lighter than that on June 11. Back to a good weight.

With a big smile on my face, I met Page for our Friday Five - our weekly 5-mile run.


It is a great way to start the weekend and it is always fun catching up. Page and I are on Tedy's Team together.

After my final Weight Watchers meeting of the week, it appeared to be present time for this girl. The WW meeting I lead on Fridays surprised me with a Dunkin' Donuts gift card. It's like they know me! ;)


And Kohl's surprised me with a sweet little relaxation present.


I am in LOVE with the running headband. What an awesome color!

Final delivery came in from Special K. Time to taste test the new snack bars that will hit the shelves in January 2015. Each bar is 3PPV.


My triplet cousins - 12-year-old girls - were staying over with my parents so we all went out to dinner before tucking in with some wine to watch Muppet Family Christmas. My absolutely favorite Christmas movie.


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The girls picked out the snacks so I had the opportunity to try 3 of these chips for 4PPV. In my opinion, too chocolately (like thick chocolate and thin chip) and not worth the Weight Watchers Points. I like sweet and salty combined, but would rather chocolate with pretzel combo.


I had to call it an early night since I had a long run the next morning. But before I hit the sheets, I found out I was selected as a #RockNBlog RnR blogger for the second-straight year. Woo!!


I cannot wait to meet up with my fellow bloggers at some races in 2015.

On a runner's high, I bound of bed on Saturday morning to meet up with the Tedy's Team crew for 8-sunny miles through Boston.

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With the wife heading out on Monday for home, I wanted to soak up as much time with her as possible. So while she ran errands including a haircut, I hopped on the old bike trainer to get some extra activity points.


Gotta love multi-tasking.

With two pups and two people in bed, we all snuggled in to enjoy some Twin Peaks on Netflix. Boy that show is odd, but we are sucked in to watch the entire series (just 30 episodes total). Have you watched this show? It was a night-time soap opera in the early 90s. So the cheese factor is high. ;)


I put the Kohl's mug to use right away with my hot cocoa (2PPV).

Sunday morning started out with an awesome 6-mile run with my friend and fellow WW leader Heather.


She is also training for the Run Disney Princess weekend so it is great to run together. Plus I love running with folks - whatever the pace.

After the run, I needed a good post-race beverage (following my water, coffee and chocolate milk of course) so the wife and I headed over to Slumbrew's American Fresh at Assembly for a beer and some christmas carols.




Oh and we even ran into our friend Kim! :) Slumbrew Porter Square Porter for me and Attic & Eaves for Kim.

It was the last afternoon with the wife for six days, so we got in a little extra snuggling.


Do you think she is tired of my selfies yet? I was trying to capture her new haircut, but it didn't work. You can take my word that it is cute.

Since the wife would be away over Christmas, my parents wanted to do an early Christmas with her. She got some sweet gift and one of the awesome joint gifts we got were $100 gift card for Disney for each of us. Yes! These will come in handy in Disneyland next month.


Do they know us or what?

With holly and jolly in our hearts, it was time to make the trek to the wife's hockey game. Look at me attending two games in a row. Go me. :P


I tested out my first Special K bar for a snack and it was nice and chocolately. It also wasn't as tough as some other snack bars can be. Does that make sense?


It was a tough 3-1 loss for the Sharks, but the wife did great in goal.

I successfully used the time during the game to pace around the rink to 1) keep warm and 2) get in extra activity. ;)

I also got to experience a role reversal and play Sherpa for her.


Like my stick? :P

The smelly lady and I hit up a late dinner before heading home to snuggle with some pups.

Overall it was one sweet weekend. It was weird not to race, but I think I still did enough activity. What do you think?


Did you enter my $100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway? It ends December 24 at 5pm EST! Enter here.


How do you get active on the weekends?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh hey Amy!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mile 1: 7:19

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

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

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

Mile 2: 7:18

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

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

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

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

Mile 3: 7:20

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

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

Official Time: 23:08

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

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

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

Folks had some amazing costumes.

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

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

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

And that is when it got crowded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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