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


Truth Tuesday: Can I Do It?

Monday night is Spin night. I attend the 7:30pm class at the BSC (Boston Sports Club) near my house (Wellington Circle location) with my friends Lindsey and Beth. I look forward to it each week. The instructor Kim is amazing and has become a friend. Plus, she plays Willow Smith's Whip My Hair Back And Forth whenever I request it. I love that song and make sure to wear the hair in a ponytail rather than a bun for those classes.

Yesterday was Monday, which means last night was Monday night ... and Spin.

I counted down the hours til Spin all day long.

I clipped into the bike at 7:30pm and was ready to rock. Class started and the legs felt dead. You know you have those days, right?

Well it got into my head. As we are pushing through some jumps on a hill (thanks Kim! :P), I sat down from a jump, cranked the resistance up, put my head down and just pushed my legs as steady as I could.

The mind was wondering so I needed to work through what was happening.

As the legs felt heavy, this question popped into my head:

Can I Do It?


You may be wondering: was it the royal it or something specific?

In that moment in time, it was that little Half Ironman in September I signed up for - The Pumpkinman Half Ironman on September 7.

If I was having trouble focusing and pushing through a Spin class, how could I expect myself to get through that athletic feat.

It sets off a domino effect of questions:

*Why did you sign up for it?

*Why did you think you were strong enough to even consider attempting it?

*How could you waste so much hard earned money?

*Why does it feel like your friends have such an easier time with the training than you?

*If you are having a hard time waking up for runs now, how will you feel when the workouts double?

*Do you really expect to complete the feat?

*Just... why?

So this inner turmoil/debate is happening in my head during Spin class, the sweat from the intense intervals is mixing with tears. Was I seriously crying in Spin class? Why yes yes I was.

Cool kid award can be sent right here!

Now I wish this inner turmoil could just go away! Clearly me writing about it is my way to try and work through it. Since hey it rears its ugly head every time I sign up for my next big fitness goal.

But I own the fact that I am working on this and that it won't go away over night. It has been around for as long as I can remember.

That bugger named


When this little voice creeps in I just wanna yell: you're wrong!


It is a liar. I know I am nervous and anxious about tackling something so outside my comfort zone, but here's the thing - my comfort zone keeps expanding! I HAVE to keep looking outward or I will get stuck and complacent.

It's like the "old me" mindset is battling the "new me" mindset.

My $$$ is on the latter.

But in the meantime, I have to recognize the voice, allow the self doubt, but not let it take down my spirit or my drive.

There must be something in my subconscious that knows I will tackle any hurdle since I hit the "submit" button on the entry. :P

It is the same little voice that:

*pushed me through the door at Weight Watchers in November 2009

*understand I was worth happiness

*told me I needed to start this little slice of the internet

*I needed to share my story

*I could poke through the balloon that was my original comfort zone and keep expanding it

*moved my hand to sign up for 4 marathons (almost 5), half marathons, Dopey Challenge and my first triathlon

The little voice is there and getting louder. I just need to recognize that it is a process and I will have times where the little voice freaks out and the tears flow in the middle of a Spin class.

But in the end, the little voice won't lead me astray. It will lead me to the Finish Line ... and beyond!


2013: Finish What You Started ... 2014: Consistency

2013 proved to be a year. The End.


Oh is that not how a "Year In Review" blog happens? Not gonna lie I haven't really done one of these before. :P I guess because big things happened at the end of the two years this little slice of the internet has been around.

2011 - deciding to move back to Boston from Chicago

2012 - Grampa unexpectedly passing away on December 27, 2012.

2013 rounded out without major issue so let's see what kind of review I can put together.

The year was truly defined in April. It gave me the mantra for the reminder of the year: Finish What You Started!

I can't believe how long ago the trip to Disney in January 2013 feels.



It may have been just 365 days ago, but it seems likes a world away.


Simply put.

April 15, 2013.

That date will forever be engrained in my mind ... and tattooed on my body.


On that day, I lined up for the Boston Marathon with Tedy's Team in honor of my Stroke Heroes - my grandparents.


For those that read the blog you know the ordeal and if you are new - 1st Hi! :) and 2nd feel free to read about my Boston Marathon Bombing experience here. I was lucky to cross the Finish Line 1 minute before the explosions happened and for all of my friends/family/teammates to make it out of the area unscathed.


But that one single event impacted the rest of the year. It never truly leaves you or your memory. Months later it is still hard to walk down Boylston St or to hear folks talk about the events on that day, but it made the city of Boston and the country come together.

It gave me a sense of purpose for the remainder of the year. Simply put: Do things those hurt/killed on that day can't!

So I set out starting in May to live in the moment with friends and family, find new fitness challenges to conquer and earning some amazing accolades.

Friends And Family

Friends, Family and Folks I have met through the interwebs became the backbone of 2013. I needed those faces, those hugs and those interactions to remind me how lucky I was to be living, to be breathing, to be walking.


One of my BFFs, Lindsey, & I enjoying wine! :)

In June I had the honor to attend Suzi Storm's wedding in update New York. We had not met in person before that day, but had formed just a tight friendship through social media that I happily jumped in a car for about 7 hours to witness the biggest day of her life.


This amazing meeting led into Fitbloggin. An amazing weekend for bloggers that I attended in 2012 for the first time. After encountering about 8 hours of delays on my way out from Boston to Portland, I finally made it. Fitbloggin has a special place in my heart. You can read why here.


Fitbloggin occurred at the perfect time. I needed to be surrounded by the love and in a judgment-free zone. Many of the people at that conference were the first to check on me after the Marathon Bombings. The hugs and love experienced that weekend are still felt today.

My other best friend, Sarah, and her family moved to Bar Harbor, Maine (over 5 hour drive from Boston) at the end of May so when her daughter - my Joanna - turned 1 in July. We took the long trek to see them. We spent over 12 hours in the car to spend 12 hours with them ... and it was worth every minute in the car.


Wouldn't you agree for that face?

But just a couple weeks after that, we faced a roadblock. My wife, Tori, underwent an ACL replacement the day after her birthday. It put a big hinge on our summer/fall plans, but seeing her have a healthy recovery was worth the sacrifice.


As a result of the surgery, Tori missed out on the adventures I had meeting new friends through racecations in September and October.



cape cod

Cape Cod






Los Angeles

I even hosted my first meetup/tweetup in Los Angeles. It was AMAZING to meet so many folks that I had only interacted with before online.


Check out the pics and recap here.

As I mentioned, the theme of this year was to hold on to the loved ones and it spawned meeting social media friends IRL (in real life) and it was magical. I loved seeing online relationships foster into real friendships.

Oh social media.

Fitness Challenges

In the beginning of 2013, I focused on the Walt Disney World Half Marathon and The Boston Marathon. But I knew I needed to keep signing up for races in order to push myself farther outside of my comfort zone.

During Memorial Day weekend, my friend Kim and I took on a special challenge. We were going to take on two races in one day: The Boston's Run To Remember Half at 7am-ish and the Cambridge 5k Freedom Run 5k at 9:30am.


And we made it!! Kim experienced a leg injury/cramp during the Half, but I refused to lead her side and she finished like a champ - leading to this amazing embrace being caught at the Finish Line.


But on that day we did, we conquered 16.2 miles! :)


Then came the obstacle races. These scare me more than a marathon. I have limited upper body strength so they freak me out. But in 2013, I conquered two obstacle races and even got to do the second with a team of Boston bloggers. :)




Urban Raid Boston

In September, I took on the challenge of completing two half marathon in two days in two different states - ZOOMA Cape Cod (9/28) and Rock 'n' ROll Providence (9/29). It was an amazing experience and went smoother than I thought. :)


Oh and I even dabbled in more intense trail running. Yup, that included one at night - thank you See Sharp Run for being my light - in more ways than one and one in the big mountains of Maine, which reminded me I am injury prone. :P


Haunted Trails of the Night 10k


FBC Autumn Trail Race

But the biggest fitness challenge of 2013 - the one I dreamed about for ages - was...

boston tri-aug

tackling my first Sprint triathlon!!! It was something I never imagined myself completing, but it was a blast. And yes, I was quickly hooked! Which may have led to one of the 2014 fitness goals. :)

Amazing Accolades

Weight Watchers bestowed a couple amazing honors on me in 2013. In our annual April celebration, I earned the Rookie Leader of the Year award and Diamond Leader status.


In October, I was contacted by WeightWatchers.com and told I would be featured on the website as a Success Story. While I can't show any of the photos from the photo shoot yet (it hits the web in March 2014), I can share a couple pics from the trip to NYC itself.

2013-11-07 19.50.17

Great dinner with fellow WW Sucess Stories - over 330 lbs lost in this pic


Little trip to Statue of Liberty with the wife

For the second year in a row, I won a spot on Got Chocolate Milk's Team Refuel. Thank you all again for taking the time to vote! :)


Out Of The Comfort Zone

This year I made two big leaps outside of my comfort zone.

At Fitbloggin in June, I was asked and accepted a spot in the new Fashion Show that took place during lunch one day. I was nervous, but knew if there was a place to make an attempt at walking in a Fashion Show it would have to be at Fitbloggin.


Look I even tried to strike a pose. :P

I even put myself out there with a goal of running 1,000 miles in 2013 ... and you know what? It happened!! :)


What was even cooler? I exceeded it. I ended up setting a 2nd (1,111) and finally a 3rd mileage (1,150) goal for the year.

got coco

It was one of my proudest moments. Seeing my body accomplish such a big goal that seemed so daunting when I set it in January 2013.

But even with injury and sickness, I pushed forward and used that goal guide me!


So to say 2013 was eventful is an understatment. It had it's lows, but with the help of friends and family they turned into highs. It was a trying, yet fulfilling year.

What could 2014 possibly bring?


My goal is to be more consistent in life. Have I fully defined that yet? No. It will be a work in progress as 2014 dictates. But I know I let some old emotional eating habits creep in in 2013 and I am ready for those to quietly fade away.

What about fitness wise?

The big goals of 2014 are: The Dopey Challenge January 9-12, The Boston Marathon April 21 and my very first Half Ironman September 7.

Wow! I would've never imagined myself signing up for these five years ago, but now is the time to learn, to love and to push my limits.

Bring it 2014!

I Said I'd Do What?

What did I get my big mouth into? Recently I seem to ask myself that question on a now routine basis.

What do I mean?

For me this really relates to my fitness journey. Let's take a look shall we?

August 2012 Feat: I decide I want to run The Boston Marathon in 2013 with a charity team close to my heart: Tedy's Team (which raises $$ and awareness for the fight against Strokes).

Result: I raise over $5,000 for the American Stroke Association, I complete the Boston Marathon in 4:04:08 and my family and I make it safely without being hit by the explosions.

(Note: I will be running the 2014 Boston Marathon with Tedy's Team and I am psyched. You can Donate Here!)

December 2012 Feat: I ponder becoming a certified Spin Instructor, somehow trip over the online sign up site and book a certification class for March 2013.

Result: I nervously drive to Manchester, NH, take an all-day class, take the online test the next day, pass and get my certification!

(Note: I haven't found a way to make this dream a reality yet, but I am still trying!)

March 2013 Feat: I'm surfing Facebook, an ad for the Boston Triathlon (Sprint) catches my eye, I click the link to their website, I continue to click through, my credit card shows up in my hand and I register for my first triathlon for August 2013.

Result: On August 4, 2013, I load up my gear and my spectators, meet friends at the event, step wwwaaayyy out of my comfort zone and enjoy every step of the ride while completing my first Sprint triathlon in 1:24:58.6.

April 2013 Feat: After running the Walt Disney World Half Marathon in January 2013, I knew I had wanted to tackle the Goofy Challenge (Half Marathon followed next day by Full Marathon) for its 10th anniversary in 2015. But then a new challenge caught my eye ... the Dopey Challenge. The Dopey Challenge is 4 races in 4 days totaling 48.6 miles (5k, 10k, Half Marathon & Full Marathon). Again my credit card showed up in my hand and I was registered.

Result: Time will tell as this comes to light January 9-12, 2014!!


So what else did I say I would do?

Oohhh this next fitness feat started in June 2013 while I was attending Fitbloggin in Portland, Oregon. During a session entitled "Stop Keeping up with the Joneses," 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. :P

Once the session was over, I turned to Sue and said: "Why did I say that? Now I actually have to do it." Fear. Immediate fear.

But also something deep down in my heart was excited at the possibility. I, Dani, the ex-230 lb wallflower could possibly tackle a Half Ironman.

Now at this time, I hadn't even done one triathlon let alone thinking about a Half Ironman, which is 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.2 mile run ... all in a row!

The seed has been planted.

Once the first sprint triathlon was completed, the water was planted on the seed.

After the second sprint triathlon where I somehow placed 3rd in my division, the plant started to grow!

While vying for another Got Chocolate Milk Team Refuel sponsorship, I said how I would use the $500 prize to sign up for my first Half Ironman.

Which brings us to the present - October 2013.

I had a friend as well as one of my Weight Watchers members take part in the Pumpkinman Triathlon Festival in September 2013. The Pumpkinman Triathlon Festival is a Sprint Triathlon on the Saturday and a Half Ironman on the Sunday. Some people even take part in both. Say whhaaa?? I know.

They did nothing, but RAVE about the race, the swag, the organization and the scenery. It takes place in Southern Maine in the Fall. Hello? How could that not be beautiful.


On a whim, I reached out to the Pumpkinman social media team about partnering up for my first Half Ironman ...

... and they were all for it! YAY!!

So on Halloween, October 31, I officially registered for the Pumpkinman Half Ironman on September 7, 2014!! Ahhhh!

2013-11-10 11.30.30-1

No going back now, right?


Especially since I have my official Got Chocolate Milk Team Refuel tri-kit to rock.


So now it is out there, official and will be my sole focus after finishing the 2014 Boston Marathon. Thankfully I now have a great triathlon training book recommended to me by NYCRunningMama so I will be starting to get a good base during the winter months.


It's never to early to start training, right?


Do you ever get yourself into a crazy commitment by opening your mouth? ;)