And My Fall 2015 Marathon Will Be...

... drum roll please? C'mon folks! Someone give me a little National Lampoon Christmas Vacation drum roll action!


Ahhh I crack myself up.


I will be proudly representing Team Chocolate Milk while tackling my ninth full marathon in...

Are you getting excited?

On the edge of your seat?

Wondering what I will say next?

Well without further adieu the location is...



That's right! I am happily returning to the scene of my second full marathon (November 2012) and location where I set my current PR and recorded my (so far) only sub-4 marathon.


At this point, I will be shooting to PR once again in Savannah as I feel like I am a stronger runner three years later.


However I will say I was pretty proud of my decently even splits back in 2012. I know the end I lost steam, the weather turned hot (uncharacteristically warm that weekend) and I was in my own head.




NOW I am currently still in the lottery for NYC Marathon (November 1) so if I get in to that it may refocus my goals for Savannah, but for now I would like to focus on another sub-4 there.

The course is nice and flat!!


PLUS Savannah was an amazing city to explore.


My marathons update:

1. September 24, 2006 – Clarence De Mar – 5:59:27

2. November 3, 2012 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah – 3:58:49

3. April 15, 2013 – 117th Boston Marathon – 4:04:08

4. January 12, 2014 – Walt Disney World Marathon – 4:45:57

5. April 21, 2014 – 118th Boston Marathon – 5:31:18

6. April 26, 2014 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville – 4:42:12

7. April 20, 2015 – 119th Boston Marathon – TBD

8. May 31, 2015 – Rock 'n' Roll San Diego – TBD

9. November 7, 2015 – Rock 'n' Roll Savannah – TBD


Have you rocked and rolled your way through Savannah?


2014 Road Races

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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) - RECAP


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Terrific Tuesday: Contest Win, Got Chocolate Milk Delivery & A LÄRABAR Announcement

Whenever I come off a major race weekend - like I just did with the Runner's World Half & Festival - there is always a sad period. It can last a day, a few or even more than a week. So you can guess that yesterday was a blue Monday.

But it all changed today.

Today became one TERRIFIC TUESDAY!


Not one ... not two ... but three amazing things happened today.

Without further ado I need to share it!


1) I won...

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I will wait here until you watch the video!

Did you watch it?

Don't lie to me.

I will not write anything else until you do.







Hearing the excitement in my voice was worth the watch, right?

I am freakin' psyched. I cannot wait to pick out the treadmill and change the lives of my entire family.

Thanks again iFit and Runner's World!!!


2) My new Got Chocolate Milk gear and $500 sponsorship money arrived!


I am in love with the new gear! I chose the Triathlon option of the three I was offered. I guess that is really hooking me in to triathlons for the 2015 year, huh? :P

FullSizeRender (3)

I really did love the sprint triathlons I have done so far and would love to test out some Olympic distances, but I am not sure another Half Ironman will be on my radar. For now at least.

I think I let you all know that the $500 sponsorship money will be used to fund my first Ragnar Relay experience in 2015 - Cape Cod in May with Team Running Down A Dream. Our team is made up of 12 weight loss success stories, who have combined to lose 1300 pounds.


3) I am excited to be working on a new sponsored campaign with LÄRABAR!


But I am not the only one that is going to benefit. Be sure to tune back to the blog on Friday when my post goes live about my experience with LÄRABAR and the giveaway opens.


Did you catch that? I will be GIVING AWAY a bag complete with assorted LÄRABARs and RENOLA.

Are you getting excited? Well see if you can contain that excitement until Friday! ;)


Isn't this one sweet sweet way to turn around my post-race blues?

*RECAP* Buzzard's Bay Sprint Triathlon

FLAT and FAST run course. Oh hellz yeah - sign me up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But first we take a selfie.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Swim - 1/3 mile

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why can't wetsuits be a little more flattering?

Thanks to the wife for catching this beauty.

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


Mini Run

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

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

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


Transition 1

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

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

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

Total Time: 2:09.6


Bike - 14 miles

Well bike we meet again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I did.

Hello dismount.

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

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


Transition 2

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

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

Total Time: 1:30.6


Run - 3.1 miles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I dug deep and pushed forward.

And you know what - it worked!!

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

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

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


Official Time: 1:27:01.3

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


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

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

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

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

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

It was also a pleasure seeing friends at the race:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

Top 5 Fitness Wins During My 31st Year Of Life

My 30s have kicked freakin' booty! No seriously. I was wicked nervous about breaking into a new decade on September 16, 2012, but I have no idea why I have been so scared.

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

Even in the last 365 days.

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

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


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

That's right folks I ran 48.6 miles through the parks - and highways - of Disney ... and it was AMAZING!


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


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

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


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


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

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

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


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

Sub 2 hours for both? I was thrilled!!

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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 Tedy's Team logo

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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



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


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


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

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

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


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


Because you have celebrating of my birth to do.

How are we celebrating?

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

Check out the info HERE!


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

T-minus 19 hours until Pumpkinman Half Ironman...

The weekend I have been waiting for all year has finally arrived. The weekend that I really never thought would get here.

During a session entitled “Stop Keeping up with the Joneses” during Fitbloggin (June 2013), we were asked to introduce ourselves.

What I’d love to do as a way to get started, is to have everyone introduce yourself. We’re not a huge group, so just your name and your blog. I’d like you guys to say one weight loss or fitness goal that you’ve seen someone else do that you really wish you could do.

And in that room with my dear friend Sue (aka MrsFatAss) next to me I uttered:

Dani, Weight Off My Shoulders: There’s so many! I’d like to do a half ironman.

Yes thanks to live blogging at the session there is documented proof of what I said.


I signed up for this race back in November 2013. That was almost a year ago. It is so easy and carefree to sign up for something so far away.

As the days clicked past, the workouts were checked off ... the injuries were treated ... the nerves were hidden.

With each passing day, the discussion of the race was there, but it was surreal. Again it was all the way in September.

Then the reality struck down on August 7 - ONE MONTH. One small month to go until I took on a challenge I never thought I would accept.

And in a blur the race is tomorrow! Tomorrow. Less than 19 hours away to be exact. And I am a BUNDLE of emotions.


Thank you Suzi Storm for this! :) 

Today I have laughed, cried, freaked out (sorry to my wife) and have almost thrown up. While all of this is going on, I am reminding myself I chose to sign up for this. It was my choice. Haha. I wanted to do it and push my limits and my comfort zone. Oh and to have fun!


So much gear!

Now with my bags packed and the gear about to be loaded in to the car, I take a moment to reflect back. This training cycle has had its ups and downs - great runs, horrendous bike rides, splendid swims and a sidelining quad injuries (longest 5 days of rest) - but I am proud to say I gave it my all. I tried my hardest during my workouts and made a lot of sacrifices to get things done.

Are there workouts I missed? Yes.

Do I wish I could've done some things differently? Of course.

Am I happy with the time and energy I put into my training? Absolutely.

I couldn't ask any more from my efforts. Screw that - of course I could. There are shoulda, coulda, wouldas out there, but I can't dwell on them. Especially 19 hours before the race.

All I can do now is trust that I did enough and give it everything I can tomorrow.

No one has expectations for the race besides me. I am my own worst critic/enemy. I know that my friends, family and readers will love me no matter what happens. I am the one putting unnecessary pressure on myself, which I am trying to strike from my mind.

Doing my best to store as many positive mantras, thoughts and feelings in my mind between now and the race start so whenever I feel doubt tomorrow ... it can be banished away immediately.

So now that the crying fits happened, I am going to enjoy the ride.

The plan for today/tonight?

*Drive to the hotel in Dover, NH to unload gear/stuff/bike/etc

* Head to Expo (open 4-6)

* Drive the bike course

* Back to hotel

* Dinner

* Relax/Sleep/Foam Roll/Compression as best as possible

Here's hoping the mental ready catches up to the physical readiness!!!


If you would like to track me, you can download the All Sports Events app on iPhone or Android. (My swim wave kicks off at 7:11am.)

* Select Upcoming Events

* Select Pumpkinman Triathlon

* Select Results

* Select Athlete Search

* Search for me (my bib # is 365) and click on Dani Holmes-Kirk

* Click on the heart in the right-hand corner to add me as a Favorite

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Thank you all for your constant support and motivation!

How To Prep For A Triathlon Transition

Signing up for the triathlon and training for it seemed like the easy part once I started thinking about how much STUFF is needed for Race Day and the transition area.

Where to begin?

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Step One: Lay out everything I need for Race Day

I find it helpful to lay my gear out by category.

Category 1: Outfit.

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My Got Chocolate Milk Tri Kit, my Garmin watch and aSparkle Athletic Skirt.

Not pictured Zensah sports bra.

This will be my base for the day, except I will NOT be wearing the Sparkle Athletic skirt in the water. ;)

Now not everyone will have a tri kit and that is A-okay! I didn't have one for the first year of racing in triathlons and only have one now thanks to Team Chocolate Milk! ;)

Category 2: Transition Area.

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I love to use my Asics towel as my base. On top of that base goes all accessories, fuel and “just in case” stuff. I like to keep a water bottle, a handheld water bottle (if I want it for the run), a KIND bar, my ENERGYBits and sunglasses.

Category 3: The Swim.

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So apparently I cut off the most important part of the swim attire – goggles. Ha. So my swim gear includes goggles, swim cap (usually one issued by the race itself), wetsuit and a towel to clear off my feet to transition to the bike.

Do you like the sweet Nestle towel I have? I got it when the Nesquik Bunny visited me back in March. :)

Category 4: The Bike.

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Once I maneuver the wetsuit off – hopefully without falling :P – and the feet are dry, it is time to secure my Sparkly Soul headband before putting on my helmet. You can get penalized if you are moving with the bike and not having your helmet on so I make sure it is one of the first thing I put on for the bike.

With the helmet on, I will put on myZensah compression sleeves, attach my race belt which will already have my number on it and slip into the shoes.

NOW if you do not want to wear the race belt - again A-okay - you can also throw on a shirt or singlet during transition, which will already have the number pinned to it. This is your call and what you are more comfortable with.

I actually like to throw a singlet or tank on over my tri kit because well the tri kit isn't very flattering especially when went. :P

Category 5: The Run.

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The final transition should be the easiest. Bike shoes and helmet off … visor and sneakers on.

Once I give everything a once over – adding the race bib and bike number – it all goes into my big IKEA bag (yup classy) and it sits by the front door. This way I won’t forget anything. I put everything in the bag by category, which makes setting up transition on race day a breeze.

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I personally like bike gear closest to front of towel, food/energy/fuel in the middle and run farthest away. Play around with the set up of your transition area to see what works for you.

My bike helmet isn't in the transition picture since I keep it on the handlebars with my Garmin, which is already cued up to MultiSport. :)

It has taken me a few tries tris (see what I did there) to get it right, but now I have a good system. It is always up for tweaking, but I am getting into the groove.


I hope some of these tips can help you prep for your next triathlon.

T-minus 1 month 'til that little Half Ironman

Have I told you lately I am training for a Half Ironman? OOOOHHHH have I been too subtle with my postings? Man I thought that would happen. ;)

No really, I continue to say the words, see the workouts happen and tick the days off until the big day is here, but I am still living in a world where it doesn't seem real.

Does that even make sense?

Wow I am throwing a ton of questions at you guys RIGHT off the bat today. Sorry about that.

For those that are new to the blog - HEEYYYY!!!! welcome welcome - I am taking on my first Half Ironman at Pumpkinman on September 7 in Maine. Here were my thoughts from July 7 - 2 months 'til the big day.

Now we are just one month until Race Day.

Why am I freakin' out? 

This is sooo far out of my comfort zone that I am plain old scared.

The biggest fear? Being swept! Yup, I am paralyzed with fear that I will be swept off the course after all this work I put in. The course limit is 8 hours.

I am a worrier by nature so you can guess that most of my workouts are spent breaking down how slowly I can do each section in order to finish in time.

After talking with friends and looking at my own times during workouts, I don't really think a sweep will happen - but you NEVER know what can happen on race day. So the fear is still there.

All I can do on race day is try my hardest whatever happens will happen. Can you tell I have been reciting that over and over again?

Every time I start freakin' out I remind myself why I signed up for this crazy thing to begin with ... to 1) push myself our of my comfort zone and 2) have fun! Ohhhh this is all supposed to be fun? Right right. Sometimes I forget that.

I wish I had a coach to bounce my questions off of and to make sure the training I am doing is correct. Am I doing enough? Too much? Just right?

But for now I just trust the book I am using and reach out to my experienced friends for help.

How is training going?

The training itself is actually okay. It is trying to fit all the workouts in to the week that is the toughest. I have been tweaking my work day to fit in an afternoon workout then will finish work in the evening.

I do need to work on more BRICK workouts in this final month - making sure my legs are used to running after biking.

I also need to spend more time stretching. I had a scary shooting pain in my right quad today that left me paralyzed on the front steps of my house for a couple of minutes - scary!! So stretching, icing, heating, etc are all high priority down the stretch...


I love swimming so the swim workouts in the pool are actually enjoyable. Not sure I am doing the speed work fast enough, but I am giving my 100% every time I get into the pool.

I think down the stretch I will need to spend a little more time in the open water in my wetsuit to get used to swimming in it. I don't find it as enjoyable as swimming in the tri kit/bathing suit - which shocks me now.

I did successfully swim 96-consecutive lengths of the pool and lived to tell the tale.


The Half Ironman swim is 1.2 miles and I swam almost 1.5, which put me at ease. I kept the pace nice and moderate and felt strong the entire time. Now if only I had a bunch of other folks in the pool trying to kick and punch me while swimming in the same direction in order to experience race conditions. ;)

Big thanks to my parents for starting my swim lessons at age six months for my love of the water.


My weakest and most hated portion of the triathlon. :P I have so much fear on the bike - flipping over the handlebars, tipping over while trying to grab my water bottle, flying off the bike while sailing quickly down the downhill, etc.

You know the normal bike fears - ohhh I am the only one thinking I will crash and burn every time they get on the bike? Yeah I figured. It's okay.

I am proud of myself for getting out last week and doing my 3 hour training ride outside and solo.

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The bike portion of the Half Ironman is 56 miles.

I know this will be my slowest portion and one I pray to make it through.

I will say that thanks to training and Spin classes I am feeling slightly stronger on the bike, especially when facing the large hills.

But I really do not enjoy it. I want to badly, but the entire 3-hour ride I wished I was running. :P Maybe with more practice and less fear the love will appear, but for now I plug through the rides and am thankful for being healthy enough to bike.


If you read this blog you know that this is clearly my favorite section of the triathlon. :) Well it is my comfort zone. During Iron Girl Webster Sprint Tri in July, I celebrated lacing up my sneakers and heading out for the run.

Now I know this won't be a PR half at the end of the Half Ironman, but I hope that it will be easiest to push through since I love running.

My long runs haven't truly been happening during this training as I am nursing a left hamstring injury, but I am still trying to get out there and keep some miles on the legs. Hence why there haven't been as many BRICK workouts as there should be.

But, I do feel pretty conditioned on the running side from all of my racing so far in 2014.


So what will push me through the race besides a sense of accomplishment and badass-ery? A sweet sweet medal.


Thanks to my friend Lisa for sharing her medal from 2011

Hellooo bling!


So what will the last month of training bring?

More mental work. I am doing all I can physically, but I need to get the positive, confident, brainspace to push through a long race day. Plus I need to trust in the training.

Ramp up my low-fat chocolate milk intake of course! ;)


Oh and remember I need to give it all I can on that day ... and E-N-J-O-Y it!


How do you get mentally tough for a new fitness challenge?

How To Take The Perfect Mid-Run Selfie ... And Post It!

"How do you take selfies while running?" "Wait did you just post a selfie to Instagram during the race?"

"Don't you trip or fall while taking those mid-run selfies?"

Have you thought or actually asked me any of these question on social media or in real life?

Well, it's finally time for me to share my secrets...

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Get ready internet, you are about to be FULL of mid-run selfies!

Well well well where to start?? Do I need to define what a selfie is? I'm hoping I can gloss right over that part.

Let's start with...


Why did I start doing this? There were a few reasons.

I hated waiting for official race photos to come online to include in recaps/sharing on social media.

I was bored with pre and post race shots - it was getting boring. Plus, I can only pose so many ways before and after a race. ;)

I wanted something to compliment the twitter/Facebook updates I was doing mid-race.

I needed extra motivation during a run and posting a picture allowed my online friends to send in some encouragement!


Mile 5 of a very hot & humid Finish At The 50 10k (2014)

Or letting everyone know how much fun I am having mid-race :)


Mile 4 of the 2014 Boston Run To Remember Half

It is also a great way to showcase who I am running with...


Mark Remy from Runner's World at Heartbreak Hill Half 

Once I got the hang of it, it became really fun and now I just feel weird if I don't have some mid-run selfies happening.


This can vary from race to race and practice run to practice run.

I started by taking them at significant points in the race: 5k mark, 10k mark, halfway, new distance record, etc.


2014 Boston Athletic Association 10k

Or if you want to announce to your followers that you are actually running the marathon rather than the half marathon you said you were. :P


2014 Rock 'n' Roll Nashville Marathon

If you are also near a famous landmark either from your own life or for the city/race you are running in then you would want to capture those scenes with a selfie.


Speedway during 2014 WDW Marathon

If you happen to come across a famous person or a couple of friends and you want to document the experience, selfie it.


Patriots HOFer Tedy Bruschi & I during 2014 Boston Marathon


Ladies of We Run Disney during 2014 WDW Marathon


The real reason you are tuning into this post. Now there are action mid-run selfies and stationary mid-run selfies. I'll speak to both below.

Also, I take my photos with my phone. I have some talented friends out there (Fannetastic Food) who takes mid-race seflies with a real camera. I'm not there yet.

Step One: Look around at your surroundings

Safety first my friends for action selfies. Make sure you don't have any potholes in front of your or a group of runners that you could potentially bump into or trip over. Let's keep a clear area around us.

For example, a downhill may not be the best place to choose to selfie IF you are doing it on the move.

If taking a stationary mid-run selfie, be sure to get over to the side of the road and out of the way of other runners. Let's not piss off 20,000 of our friends because we caught a hilarious race sign we just needed a pic with. M'kay?

Step Two: Have the phone at the ready

I used to run with my phone in an arm band, but realized I was taking it out so much for texting/tweeting/Facebooking and pics that it was becoming a nuisance. So for the past few months, I have been running with my phone in my hand or tucked into my running shorts, which ever was more comfy at the time (and depending on length of race).

For shorter races I definitely say keep the phone in the hand as the opportunity for the mid-run selfie is less than a longer run. But if you absolutely cannot run with a phone in hand then armband or waistband it up folks.

Since REALLY the focus is on the race and not the picture ... or so I've been told.

Just make sure the phone is handy since photo ops can happen at any point in time.

Step Three: Take the password protection off the phone

This is something I have yet to remember to do. That's right folks. Every time I go to take a picture mid-race I have to enter in my stupid iPhone code. Please be smarter than me and dismantle pre-race.

Now I know you can take a picture without doing the code on the iPhone BUT if you want to post it right after taking it you would still have to enter the code. But more on posting the pic on the move later.

Step Four: Remember to switch the camera view to selfie

I can't stress the importance of having the camera actually looking at YOU for the selfie. Hey! Things can happen mid-race and the brain isn't thinking straight.

Step Five: Clue in your running partner

If you are taking an action photo with a friend or celebrity, be sure to give them the heads up so they to are looking at your phone.


Heather & I during Nike Run Club

My friends know the drill well enough that they suggest when we should snap them. :)


My BFF & I during 2014 Old Port Marathon

Step Six: Hold the phone just above your head and angle towards you slightly

Now I normally use just my right hand/arm while taking the pics, but if cold or having a hard time gripping my phone then I will use the double arm tactic. I find that if I do the two arms it does hinder my running. :P


Snack break during Black Cat 20-Miler (2014)

Step Seven: Snap 3-5 pictures

Rarely does a mid-run selfie come out on first take. Since you don't want to risk ending up with a dud while rocking the peace sign along the water, take some extras - moving the arm ever so slightly during the "photo shoot." ;)


Note: Fitsnap was added to this photo POST race

There have been some SERIOUS duds on my phone over the past year, but those thankfully don't see the light of day. ;)

And there you have it!! Seven quick steps to your own mid-run selfie.


PointOneMiles & I during 2014 Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans Half

Since you have the shots, you can go ahead and save those to enjoy post-run oorrr....

you can take it to the next level:

Posting While Running

Now that I have my great pic, I want to share with my friends and family, which can take a little more skill.

Step One: Get a handle on texting/tweeting/Facebooking while running

Typing while running is NOT an easy feat. The iPhone autocorrect feature can help or seriously hinder a post. :P Practice running around your apartment or neighborhood to get used to looking at the phone and at the ground. Again we are focusing on safety first friends.

Step Two: Use the hashtags BEFORE the race starts

If you are looking to tag a certain race or fitness group then you need to have the hashtags already stored in your Instagram!! As long as you have used the hashtag prior and Instagram has managed not to crash in the meantime, you will have an easier time pulling up a hashtag on the move.

Step Three: Make sure Instagram is connected to Twitter

If you like to add a nice filter/border before posting then uploading the photo right to Instagram will help with that.


2014 WDW Marathon

Next up will be posting it to Twitter and you can do that right from Instagram.

Now many folks will post a photo to Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr from Instagram. I use Instagram for Twitter and Tumblr.

So if you have your short message ready in Instagram, you are good to hit send and out it goes to Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook.

I do Facebook separately. I will select all then copy the message on Instagram then paste into my blog's Facebook page.

And there you have it!!!

You now have the main tips and tricks to taking and posting your own mid-run - action or stationary - selfies.

Please remember the number one rule: safety first!!


Have you dared to mid-run selfie before?