*Guest Post* Running: Is it your 2nd job ... By Pavement Runner

Runner. Instagrammer. Blogger Extraordinaire. Amazing Parent. Stud. Kind. Funny. Entertaining. Friend. Wise Ass. All of the above describe me... wait what? That doesn't make sense.

Oh nope. Read my notes wrong. All those great qualities describe the one and only Brian (aka Pavement Runner).

Side Note: do you know it took me a long time into our online friendship to learn Pavey's real name was NOT in fact Pavement Runner. Can you believe that? I thought it was on his birth certificate. ;) 


But my dear Pavey is a huge inspiration to me in life, running and in blogging. I'm sure he regrets giving me his cell # after the resulting odd questions and texts I inundate him with.

I was lucky enough to meet Brian live and in person at a little tweetup/meetup I organized before the Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon back in October ... and it was magic.

Photo Credit: Pavement Runner

During one of the many text/Twitter DM convos, I inquired if Pavey would be up for penning a guest post for my little slice of the internet. He is wildly busy so I was nervous to ask. Think of it as writing that first note to your crush and asking "Do you like me like me? Check yes or no." Scary right? I get that way when speaking with my Blogging Idols.

And in true Pavey fashion he ignored me. :P

NOT! He graciously accepted.

But what did I have in mind? I needed him to impart his wisdom. The dude is a running rockstar and I needed to hear about his mojo, especially during the long training season for a marathon. So I asked him:

How do you keep the love, happiness and spark going

during the grueling training session?

And the post was born...


I'm going to jump right into it. Training is hard. There is no sugar coating the amount of time that is invested into getting ready to run a marathon. You pretty much have to invest one day per week dedicated to a long run, factor in a recovery day and most likely 2-3 runs during the week and you've accounted for 5 of the 7 days. Add into the equation that your training calendar can range from 3-6 months and you're looking at some serious time commitment.

I run throughout the year, often racing frequently. At times, it can feel like a full-time job on top of my existing full-time job. But if it is something you love, then you usually find ways to incorporate it into your daily life. There are, of course, sacrifices that have to be made. For me, it sometimes means missing breakfast on Saturday morning with the family. The other option is getting up at 4 am to get in my run and be home in time for breakfast. I do both. Either way there has to be some give. It's just finding the proper balance of which will work on a given day.

But here are some ways to make the training season a little more fun, and less like a job.

Make it a party. Not everyone can join you for a 20 mile run... unless of course you are in the Bay Area because then you could just shoot me a message. But if you have a long run planned, try to see if friends can join you. If you have a friend that can run 5-10 miles with you, invite them for a run. It's always best to have them join you at the end of the run so that you can count on their upbeat energy when you begin to feel tired. I'll often ask friends to meet me at a central location several hours after I've started. For example if you had a 20 mile run planned, start at a local coffee shop or running store and do a 5 mile out-and-back before your friend arrives, then run the last 10 together. The more the merrier is true here as well. If you can get 2-3 friends to join you, open up the invite. It can also be a shorter distance, if your friends can run 5 miles, run 12 before... a good way to recruit people is to offer breakfast afterwards. "My treat" is usually key in that sentence. Trust me, knowing you have friends joining you can motivate you to get through some tough miles.

Photo Credit: Pavement Runner

This is actually how I get a lot of my longer runs done. I run with a group of friends that normally run between 7-12 miles and it is not uncommon for me to run for an hour before we plan to meet. When you break it up like that, it feels less like a 20 mile run and more like a 12 mile run, then an easy 8 miler you get to do with friends. It's funny how that second part of the run with company feels like you are fresh and starting over. Try it.

Bonus tip: change your shirt before your second run. Swing by the car real quick and put on a clean shirt. If you started in a long sleeve, switch to a short or a tank. It'll make you feel refreshed and your friends will be appreciative that you don't COMPLETELY stink like you just came from a run... even though you did.

Run a local race This one is something I also use quite often. It can be a little bit of an investment, but it can help add some excitement during the training season. Use shorter distance races to help you train. If you are incorporating speed work during your training, doing a 5k or 10k can help. Be sure to check your local running store around a holiday for a 5k or 10k race, they are usually smaller and hopefully less expensive.The same can be true for a half marathon. Although they are usually a bit more expensive, they can be great at teaching you to maintain your goal pace. If this is your first marathon, it can also give you a preview of what to expect on race day. From portapottys to water stops to pace groups. It can help remove some of the nerves from the unexpected.

Bonus for experienced runners: you can use a half marathon as part of a longer run. This one is tricky, but if you time it right you could run some miles before the half marathon. I've run 6-7 miles before a half to get my 20 miles in for a day. The only variable is how much down time you might have before the race starts. You'll want to keep it under 15 minutes as you won't want to tighten up before the half starts. Be very aware of your pace.

Make it social... on social. If you have a long run coming up and you are looking to pass the time, share your run on social media as it's happening. Create a hashtag, something like #Saturday20forfun. Take a picture of your feet at the start with the hash, then send out an update whenever you see something interesting. This works best with photos, but it could be a simple status update. Be sure to include the hash on each post so that if someone sees it 5 photos in, they can click on the hash and see where you have been... literally. Don't go crazy with the updates, you DO have to get in your miles. A good starting point would be a photo every 3-4 miles, and of course a selfie before and after.

Photo Credit: Pavement Runner


And now comes the tough part: There are going to be bad runs and days when you don't even want to start. But give the run a chance. Even if you don't feel like running, you have to give it a chance. Put on your shoes, throw on some gear and head out the door. Commit to running X miles or X minutes and reevaluate at that point. You might feel AMAZING and ready to take over the world. If it's not your day, then it's just not your day. We have to remember that at some point or another we fell in love with running and that is why we keep doing it. If you ever find yourself in doubt, send me a message on social or hit up Dani and we'll talk you off the ledge... chances are, we can offer some ways to mix it up or probably know someone in your area that will run some miles with you.

@PavementRunner on Twitter @PavementRunner on Instagram

Gotta love this running community!

"What's Your Goal Time For Boston?" - Said Everyone Always

Did you know I am running the Boston Marathon? I know I never mention it on here and couldn't be any less excited about it....

Allowing time for eye rolls from you the reader to take place

So back to reality!

The race is one month from TODAY! Say wha? I know. Time freakin' flies folks.

So soon you will be seeing Flat Dani make an appearance.


Flat Dani 2013

(Feel free to check out my 2013 recap here)

One of the first questions someone asks when finding out I am running the Boston Marathon is:

What is your goal time?


Now last year I had levels of goals laid out.


2013 Goals Were:

1) Finish. Seems like a simple request, but you really never know what can happen during a given race so I want to remain healthy enough to complete the 26.2 mile crusade.

2) Post a time sub 4 hours. This was my goal for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon in November 2012 (my 2nd marathon) and I accomplished it then (3:58:49) so I would like to do that again if I can.

3) PR – 3:55. This is a dream, but keeping it as a possibility based on my previous training runs. If I could keep a steady 9:00 min/mile pace, I would post a 3:55:48, which would be a 3 minute PR. I would take that for sure!!

4) PR – 3:51. I could obtain this if I kept an average pace of 8:50. Definitely a possibility if I find people with a similar pace to mine. I always run better when I have a partner who is faster they I am. Why? Well I always doubt my speed and having someone with me pushes me.

5) PR – 3:50 or less. A girl can Wish Upon A Star, ya know?


After posting a 4:04:08 in 2013, I was angry at myself. I had a foot pain start at Mile 17 and just not leave me alone the rest of the race. I stopped to stretch at every med tent, etc. Obviously, once everything happened at the Finish Line just after I crossed. The perspective changed. But, I still was upset with myself for only accomplishing 1 of the possible 5 I had set out.


I DID make sure to soak up every minute of the course and had a blast while out there. It was - at the time - a once in a lifetime experience for me.

Fast forward to the Tedy's Team post-marathon party the week after the marathon and I am given the opportunity to return to the team for 2014. Every one of my teammates, whether they finished or not, were coming back ... so I definitely was.

The level of emotions I have felt since April 15, 2013 and on every run since then run the gamut.

Having said all that, my goals haven't really changed from the ones set in 2013. I would LOVE to run a sub-4 at Boston and in 2013 I was soooo damn close.

But my #1 priority, is to again soak up every minute of that race. Like Tedy Bruschi said, the Start Line is the Finish and the race is the after party! So I am ready to have a freakin' blast on April 21.


I am worried that emotions will play a factor in pace, etc. So I am trying to have that inner conversation about knowing that is okay. This race and experience is not about time. Dear Dani, it is NOT about time.

Oh who am I kidding - I do care about the time. I am trying not to, but it is hard after being so close last year.

I did the Black Cat 20-miler two weeks ago in 2:57:59 (8:54 min/mile pace). If I could keep that up for 6.2 additional miles I am set. Heck, if I can keep a steady 9 min/mile pace I would PR.

But, I need to run a smart race. I have learned from last year and I hope to show up on race day a smarter runner ... the second time around.

One never knows what can happen on race day. The body may feel off. A twinge of pain can come out of nowhere (thanks 2013). So I am trying not to psyche myself out by putting a lofty goal in my head.

Whatever happens on April 21, I will be wearing a smile ear to ear - unless I am crying then well you know what to expect. :P

With you all by my side and in my head and heart, I will run the strongest race I can.

All I can ask of myself is to give it my all.

Now about that post-race beer?


2014 Goals Are:

1) Finish. I thought about Goal 1 being make it to the start line, but I figure even if I am crawling from second one - I would be at the Start.

2) Beat 4:04:08. Always fun to try and beat the time from the previous year's race.

3) Post a time sub 4 hours. This was my goal last year and for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon in November 2012 (my 2nd marathon) and I accomplished it then (3:58:49) so I would like to do that again if I can.

4) PR – 3:55. This is a dream, but keeping it as a possibility based on my previous training runs. If I could keep a steady 9:00 min/mile pace, I would post a 3:55:48, which would be a 3 minute PR. I would take that for sure!!

Tedy's Team Group Run - 10 Miles

The FINAL "Riverside Run" took place today and I had a special guest ...

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my friend Christina! She is running with the John Hancock team and couldn't make their long run on Sunday so she joined us. It was great. I was able to catch up with her to see how she faired at the Black Cat 20-miler last weekend! :)

We had a heat wave in Boston this morning with temps in the high 30s! Hollah! I really didn't know how to dress. I stood staring at my vast collection of running garb this morning debating what to wear and what not to wear. I opted for a headband rather than hat, Team Chocolate Milk jacket, short sleeve shirt underneath - which meant no Under Armour, capris and my Superman socks.

Now I know I said I would wear calf sleeves for all my runs after the 20-miler last week, but I felt with 10 I would be safe in my Superman socks. I needed the extra pep in my step of wearing them today. They make me so happy. Plus later on you will see why the choice paid off. ;)

We all stretched at Joint Ventures in Kenmore Square and at 8am we headed to the T (train). It was nice to catch up with Nancy, Cristina and Christina. I missed the first two last week - we run together every week.

It was bittersweet to get to the Riverside stop on the train. It would be our final training run here, which means the marathon is nearing!! :P

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I made my final venture to the dingy, but life-saving bathroom at the train stop ... and we were off!

It was awesome to be back with the crew and to have that crazy orb in the sky that many call - the Sun. It made it feel like it was 50 degrees out. I welcomed the warmth.

I really tried to take in the scenery of the run. The first mile or so is through a neighborhood before we are plopped out on to the marathon course.

Mile 1: 9:32 Mile 2: 9:04

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Every week the guys from the Newton Firehouse were out offering up water and snacks to the runners. Today I finally remembered to snap a pic. It was a great sight seeing them out clapping for us and manning their own aid station. Plus, this spot was at the start at Heartbreak Hill so it was a great little boost to the spirit.

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Like my drive-by/creeper pics as I ran? :P

Mile 3: 9:08 Mile 4: 8:52

I felt good on the rolling hills today. I kept thinking how the extra time on the bike trainer is really paying off. It is making my legs stronger without beating the body up like running does. I had to scale the running back this week because of those pesky blisters from the 20-miler so the bike trainer was my savior.

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I love seeing this sign plus the amazing water stop guru Margaret every week. After bidding farewell to our lovely volunteers, it was time to catch up with Nanci and Christina to see how he run was going. This was Christina's first experience with the rolling hills of Heartbreak so it was great to hear her thoughts.

Now as I continued on, I heard "Hey Dani" to my right. It was a blog reader Jamie. How did she recognize me?? By these awesome socks! :)

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Thanks Jamie for saying hi and good luck with your marathon training with Girls On The Run! Right after we parted ways I finally had my first gorilla sighting of the training season.


I love seeing Bill the Gorilla from the Heartbreak Hill Running Company. I always stop for a pic with him when on the course. A fun long-run tradition! :)

I saw Nanci and Cristina again after I stopped for my picture so we chatted before the final hump of Heartbreak. I was ready to "make it my B&^%ch" as usual so I tried to power over it.

Mile 5: 9:36 Mile 6: 9:05

And just like that the rolling hills were done. Another meeting with Heartbreak Hill was in the books. Still no matter how many times I train on it - it is way different on Race Day! The crowds and the 16-miles prior to it all play into the experience.

I did a check-in with myself and was feeling strong. My toes were slightly sore which can be expected with the blisters, etc. But with the hills over I was ready to release the legs for the final four miles. I wanted to see what I had left in the tank.

And you know what I had? Some sweet negative splits!! Don't they look pretty?

Mile 7: 8:47 Mile 8: 8:39 Mile 9: 8:26 Mile 10: 8:15

I opted to run music free. I was having fun chatting with teammates when they were near me and waving/saying hi to a ton of friends and blog readers along the course. I really love seeing familiar faces out training. Plus I had fun remembering which charities they were putting those miles in for and thinking about the thousands of dollars going to good causes one mile at a time today!!

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Technically today's run is 10.2 miles long so I stop at 10 and take the last 0.2 as a nice cool down walk. Stretch out the legs, etc. Once back at Joint Ventures, I made sure to use the foam rollers and stretch everything out.

After saying bye to everyone it was time to head home, shower, snuggle the pups, throw on my Zensah compression socks and work on my recap (hello recap!).

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But now I am heading to see some of my favorite folks in Maine. So until next week's 18-miler folks...


Week 13 Workouts:

Sunday, March 2: 30-minute bike trainer session

Monday, March 3: 1.1-mile run and Spin Class (56 minutes)

Tuesday, March 4: 30-minute bike trainer session

Wednesday, March 5REST DAY

Thursday, March 6: REST DAY

Friday, March 7: 45-minute bike trainer session

Saturday, March 8: 10 mile group run


Looking To Donate

Are you interested in helping to fight Stroke? Please feel free to click on the link HERE to share a donation. Wondering how much? How about $10 in honor of the 10 miles I ran today with Tedy’s Team?


Monday Musings: Black Cat 20-Miler, Blue Trailer & Ordinary Runner Holder Giveaway

Annddddd the winner IS:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats Laurel!


Do you need some motivation on this Monday????


BAM! The exact words I need to read/see regularly or just have tattooed on my body to remind me why I started my running/weightloss journey. I hope it gives you a little strength for whatever you have to do, conquer or face this week.


I needed these four words as I prepare to take on the Black Cat 20-Miler on Saturday.

black cat

On one hand, I am nervous to tackle my first 20-mile training run since March 2013. On the other, I remind myself that I completed the amazing Dopey Challenge in January (4 races, 4 days, 48.6 miles) so a 20-mile training run shouldn't be so nerve-wracking.

Additionally, I did run 17.4 miles last Saturday (February 15) with Tedy's Team and it was a pain-free experience.


No matter the rationalization that goes on in my head ... I still get a little anxious before such a big run. Especially when I will be taking on the challenge alone. No this isn't a road race for one :P but I mean I won't be surrounded by the members of Tedy's Team. In Disney, I was also distracted from the miles by the characters, parks and the general excitement of the Dopey Challenge.

But, on Saturday, I will battle the mental demons that haunt me during a solo long run. This WILL be a good test of my mental strength and how important my music playlist selection will be. ;)

How will I prepare in the days leading up to the 20-miler though? Strategically. I do NOT want to head into Saturday on tired legs, which means this week will be a combination of running, biking, swimming and yoga.

Since this is the first of two 20-mile training runs, I will use it as a test of my strategy. Everything is a learning experience and can only improve my training plans.

*Potential* Game Plan:

Sunday: 1.5 hour bike trainer session and 6 mile walk with my wife Monday: Run and Spin Tuesday: Swim and Run Wednesday: Yoga Thursday: Rest Friday: Bike

That is what I have for now so we will see how it goes, while I start a new job this week. Either way I think I will be rested, yet prepared for Saturday's 20-Miler. The biggest hurdle will be NOT getting swept up in the "race" atmosphere of the race. Thankfully many of my recent races have been used as training runs so I am getting better at blocking out the runners around me.

AND getting over the mental part of doing a 10-mile loop twice. There will be runners finishing while I head out on a second loop. Sometimes seeing the Finish Line during a race can take me out of my plan, but I won't let that happen Saturday!


Do you worry about keeping your belongings at bag check? How about in your car while you try to race? Or you bribe a friend, parent or relative to be your "pack mule" and hold everything you own?

I've answered "yes" to all three.

So I am looking forward to testing out the new locker system put on by Blue Trailer at the Black Cat race on Saturday.

blue trailer

Molly, the founder of Blue Trailer, provided me with some helpful information about locker rentals:

- $5 for a small locker (6"x6"x9), $10 for a large locker (12"x12"x12")
- Rent online in advance or in person with cash or credit
- The staff will give you a key to your locker, which you can access it anytime until the end of the event. When you're done, just lock up and drop your key in the key drop
- If you don't have a pocket, the staff will have elastics or safety pins for your keys. If you'd prefer, Blue Trailer can keep the key for you while you run.
- The trailer will be monitored at all times to make sure your stuff is kept safe!

If you will be running the Black Cat 10 or 20-miler on Saturday and want to try out the Blue Trailer lockers (you know I will be), please sign up online (here) and use code WEIGHTOFF to receive 20% off your order!! Go run ... Do it ... I'll wait!

<<groovin' to elevator muzak>>

All set?


I look forward to seeing you there!


Now, I need a place to show off the bling I will earn after Saturday's Black Cat 20-miler. You KNOW I can't leave my medals hidden in a drawer or piling up in a shoebox.

Interestingly enough, Ordinary Runner stepped in to fill my void. Becki, owner of Ordinary Runner, produces and sells race medal holders ($20-27) and bib holders ($20-23) on Etsy.com.

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She offered to produce this masterpiece for me (value $25). Isn't it pretty? I was able to choose the phrase (from a certain list she provided), the background color, as well as the finish of the knobs. I loved being able to personalize the wood rack. (haha rack)

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The wooden holder was easy to mount on the wall - just needed the two nails included. Simple enough even I could handle it... but I let the wife feel needed and had her hang it. ;)

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How awesome does it look? While waiting for my Black Cat medal, I decided to show off my Boston Athletic Association bling in the meantime. I can't handle leaving a medal holder empty.

Becki gave me the tip to fold the tops of the ribbons to help them better sit on the knobs. It was a helpful tip, which kept the medals from falling off during transport from couch to wall. :)

Now comes the fun part. Becki has graciously offered to give one lucky reader their very own medal holder!! Woo!!

So here’s how to enter:

The giveaway will run from Monday February 24 (8am ET) through Friday February 28 (5pm ET)!

The winner will be selected and announced on Friday!

Tedy’s Team Group Run – 10 Miles

And on February 22nd the weather gods shined down on Boston and said: "Thou shall enjoy a special Saturday with highs of 50 degrees." And the Boston Marathon runners REJOICED!

That's right folks. After battling snow, rain, sleet and  negative degree temps, we got some nice weather for a change.

And I freaked. What the heck am I supposed to wear?


I leaped out of bed as my alarm shrilled at 6:30am as I still hadn't planned on what to wear. I knew it would be a high of 50, but that didn't mean it would be 50 when our run began at 8am! :P


I settled on a fitting Today's Miles shirt. I mean if the training plan AND the shirt said I was supposed to run 10 then I would. Right? Plus, it was a nice lightweight long-sleeved wicking t-shirt so I thought it would be perfect time to test it out.


Egg Whites, Wheat Toast, Peanut Butter

I put together a quick, but satisfying breakfast before my ride got to my house. All for only 5 Weight Watchers Points to boot. Of course, I took my ENERGYBits as well. I needed the extra boost and it is the best vitamin I can find.

(Interested in purchasing ENERGYBits, use code WEIGHTOFFMYSHOULDERS for 25% off your order)

After a catch-up session in the car with my Tedy's Team running mates, we were at Joint Ventures in Kenmore Square stretching. On the "Riverside runs," which was taking place today, we take the train to the Riverside stop on the Green Line and run the 10 miles back to Kenmore Square. It is a long train ride or rather feels long while you are on there. But the run gives you yet another attempt at Heartbreak Hill.

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Thank goodness the Riverside train station has a bathroom. We know I have the bladder of a child so it comes in wicked handy. After a pit stop, Cristina, Nanci and I got this party started.

We got into our rhythm of running and chatting. You really get to know your teammates thanks to Facebook and countless hours pounding pavement together.

I was definitely recognizing that the first mile of this training run is always a warm-up. Reason being - besides the obvious - is the time between the stretching at Joint Venture and the actual time we start running. You can get a little cold while taking the train to the start of the run so the first mile is a time to wake the legs back up.

Oh and did I mention we kick that first mile off on a hill. Yay! :P

Mile 1: 9:39

But once that first mile is behind you, you are back in your groove. We complete about three miles before we show up at the beginning of Heartbreak Hill, which for those that don't remember is a series of rolling hills through Newton. The hills themselves aren't that bad it is the position they come in the Boston Marathon that takes the toll on your legs.

We have been greeted the past few weeks at the beginning of Heartbreak by the Newton Firefighters offering water and snacks outside their firehouse. I will be sure to snap a pic next time I see them. Such an amazing outpouring of support!

Mile 2: 9:03 Mile 3: 9:09 Mile 4: 9:07

The sun was certainly shining today, which made the course seem warmer than it actually was. We know on the 10-miler that we have two water stops to check out.

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Can you tell I get a little excited when I spot Margaret at the water stop?

Today was especially meaningful because I got to give her the Stop Stroke Shuffle 5k medal she earned last week. :)

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We took in the scene as a film crew drove past following a runner training for - I assume - Boston Marathon. After a little Gatorade and water, it was time to get back to the hills. I set out with Cristina (who is a Boston Qualifier) to pick her brain on how to attack the next week's worth of workouts as I prepare for March 1st's 20-miler. I love hearing the training methods of other folks - especially speedier runners - for possible ideas.

Mile 5: 9:45 Mile 6: 9:04

I always take an extra breathe as we look up at the final hill of Heartbreak. It is the most daunting. I uttered my normal: "I'm ready to make you my b^&*ch" statement and set to work. Something was different today, my legs felt strong and I barreled up the hill. Okay barreling might be an exaggeration, but I definitely made it up the hill faster than usual. Oh and I felt stronger. During the trek up, I was thinking how much stronger my legs felt and thinking all that biking I am now doing might just be paying off. :P

Few things can top the feeling you have getting to the top of the final hill of Heartbreak. You really know that the final 4-ish miles will be a true breeze.

Mile 7: 8:26 Mile 8: 8:27 Mile 9: 8:49

And by looking at my splits you can tell they are pretty darn flat. My legs felt nice and fresh today. I was talking to Cristina and Nanci today about my experience with the Runner's World Running Streak (#RWRunStreak) I participated in at the end of 2013. A Run Streak means you run at least 1 mile a day for x amount of days (set by you are the host depending). I loved doing it, but think it took a toll on my body. Not sure I am built for running every single day.

Now that I am back to running, biking, yoga and swimming, I feel more balanced and I think my legs are really benefitting.

At Mile 9.26, I spotted the familiar water stop hosted by the amazing folks at Blue Trailer (which I will talk more about on Monday). They always have great snacks and signs.

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Can you tell we ALL appreciated the weather?

Today their crew was triple the norm so it was like hitting the scream tunnel at Wellesley on Marathon Monday. There was high-fiving, cheering and of course kissing ... oh wait, scratch the last part. That is a Wellesley only thing! After chatting with Molly (owner of Blue Trailer) briefly, I finished up the final 1/4 of a mile.

Mile 10: 8:28

I was probably 0.2 miles from Joint Ventures, but decided to take that last stretch as a nice cooldown walk. I was okay skipping the last 0.2 miles today since I walked with someone instead.

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Back-to-back 9 min/mile pace long runs

Overall, the run felt amazing. At the beginning I was dreading it, I think I always feel that way after the extra train ride. However, once we got out on the course, the tune changed.

Plus, I was rocking my unicorn socks. Yes those are rainbows coming out of their bums.

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I honestly forget what I am wearing while running so I was wondering why I was getting so many quizzical looks today ... the socks! :)

We foam rolled, stretched and called it a day. I had to get home to refuel anyway: water, low-fat chocolate milk and Dunkin' Donuts Iced Coffee. In that order!

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Next week I will miss the Tedy's Team 16-18 mile group run since I will be running the Black Cat 20-miler in Salem. Will anyone else be there?


Week 11 Workouts:

Sunday, February 16: 30-minute bike trainer session

Monday, February 17Spin Class (47 minutes)

Tuesday, February 18: 5-mile run and 45-minute bike trainer session

Wednesday, February 19: Hill Repeats (2.6 miles), 30-minute Stairmaster and 62-minute Yoga

Thursday, February 20: REST DAY

Friday, February 21: 60-minute bike trainer session

Saturday, February 22: 10 mile group run


Looking To Donate

Are you interested in helping to fight Stroke? Please feel free to click on the link HERE to share a donation. Wondering how much? How about $10 in honor of the 10 miles I ran today with Tedy’s Team?

teddy-thanks (5)

Stop Stroke Shuffle 5k Registration CLOSED!

The Stop Stroke Shuffle 5k registration is HERE!! Some of you may be asking what the heck the Stop Stroke Shuffle 5k is. Well it is a virtual race.

This will be the third 5k I will be hosting!! The first two have combined to raise over $2,000.

Here are the details:

A virtual run-walk means you do the 5k (3.1 mile) "race" at your leisure between February 9 and February 16. 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).

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

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

Well, each participant will be making a $25 donation. The proceeds raised will be going towards my $5,000 fundraising goal to represent Tedy's Team in the 2014 Boston Marathon. That's right folks! I'm going back for more.


For those that don't know, I ran the Boston Marathon last year with Tedy's Team.

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

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

I ran in honor of my Stroke Heroes, my grandparents, and will be doing so again this year. Unfortunately last year, my grampa passed away during the training. But, I feel as if he was looking down on me on April 15, 2013 and he helped me cross that Finish line at the right time.

april 15


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

1) Please register here. (Thank you Racemenu for help with the site) --- Make sure you are providing an accurate mailing address because that is where I will send the medal.

2) You can complete the 3.1 mile-run walk whenever you like from February 9-February 16.

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



Finisher's Medal



Download Your Race Bib Here!



If you would like to make a donation to my fundraising goal and do NOT wish to participate in the run-walk (which is absolutely okay), please visit my fundraising page here.

Tedy's Team Group Run - 10 Miles

20 degrees with Real Feel 9 degrees. Checking out the weather last night I wasn't allll too excited to be running in the freezing temps. BUT after missing the group run last week since I was in New Orleans, I was happy to be running humidity-free. ;)

My Tedy's Team running partner Meg usually gives me a ride to the run, but she was sick this morning. Her husband, Joshua, who usually runs with us as well still came to give me a ride. I felt so bad. It wasn't necessary, but he had to get Meg coffee anyway. :P

I got dropped off about 7:40am which gave me plenty of time to stretch before we left to take the train at 8am. It was great to see all the familiar faces after missing the 16-miler the week before.

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It was a rainbow sock kind of day & yes I still have my RnR Timer thing on :)

Today was what we call a “Riverside” run which means we took the T from Kenmore Square to the Riverside stop and then we run the 10 miles back to Boston., including Heartbreak Hill.

While on the train there was a little incident with a stranger who seemed to be pretty homophobic. You can read about it here.

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We arrived at Riverside, hit up the much-appreciated bathroom and hit the course. I was going to try and take it easy today since I knew the sidewalks could be covered in black ice with the recent snow/rain.

It was great to be back with the group. Plus catching up on two weeks of life really helps to pass the time. I did come prepared today with headphones in case I ended up by myself again.

I was relishing in the weather. It was cold, but it was really the wind that was painful. There wasn't humidity though so I was happy.

Mile 1: 9:07 Mile 2: 8:50 Mile 3: 8:46

I felt like I was working harder than my pace was showing. I wasn't sure why, but made sure to continuously check in with my body since Heartbreak Hill was coming.

Mile 4: 8:51

Around 4ish we hit the water stop, which meant I got to see the always smiling Margaret. She is one kickass lady, who is out every week manning a water stop and encouraging all of the runners. She is part of Team Casey, which is a big big part of Tedy's Team.

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Oh and she was rocking the Boston Marathon colors in Gatorade.

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After a quick regroup, we headed back on to the course to Finish our date with Heartbreak Hill. Again for anyone that doesn't know, Heartbreak Hill isn't one hill it is a series of rolling hills.

Mile 5: 9:17 Mile 6: 9:05

I turned to Sara and Cristina as we approached the final hill of Heartbreak and said: "Okay ladies let's make this our b&#ch!"

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And that is exactly what we did. :)

Once we dominated Heartbreak, the run was all "down hill" from there. I usually say it is down hill from here once you hit the half way mark of a run, but not when we do the Riverside run.

Mile 7: 8:42 Mile 8: 8:47

We had our second and final water stop at Mile 7.9. It is great being able to run water belt free and having the opportunity to chat with our Coach mid-run.

I think I got a little extra pep in my step as I knew we had just two miles left. My legs started really waking up and were ready for a little speed to finish it out. Plus, I popped in my headphones and started rocking out to some sweet Disney tunes.

Mile 9: 8:27

At Mile 9.5 I saw the amazing folks of Blue Trailer were out at their usual post. I hadn't seen them in a couple weeks since I was out of town. It is always fun seeing familiar faces. I met Molly (owner) and her crew at one of the first Boston Marathon long runs.

She has a nice water stop, snacks and a fun sign.

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Since they were out of tequila, I opted for a munchkin. :)

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It was just the little extra I needed to finish out the run.

Mile 10: 8:31 Final 0.25: 2:00

The weather warmed up as we ran, which made the time out there more enjoyable. As a whole the run felt great. It did make me realize I need to get back to hill repeats and cross training. I have gotten lazy since the Dopey Challenge and this lit the fire under my booty to buckle back down.

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Now it is time to plan out the rest of the week's activities and prepare for next week's 16-18 miler!


Week 9 Workouts:

Sunday, February 2: Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans Half Marathon

Monday, February 3Walking Around New Orleans/Being A Tourist :)

Tuesday, February 4REST DAY

Wednesday, February 5REST DAY

Thursday, February 6: REST DAY

Friday, February 7: 5k run

Saturday, February 8: 10 mile group run


Looking To Donate

Are you interested in helping to fight Stroke? Please feel free to click on the link HERE to share a donation. Wondering how much? How about $10 in honor of the 10 miles I ran Saturday with Tedy's Team?

teddy-thanks (4)

Tedy's Team Group Run - 10 Miles

Sometimes you run the miles and sometimes the miles run you.

This will be the theme of today's run.

I woke up from an uneasy night of sleep feeling off. I had spent too much time eating pizza last night to lay out my clothes and get my stuff ready for today's run. So I woke up late (6:45am) and spent the first 30 minutes of my day running around the apartment locating my necessary cold-weather gear for the run.

I also still stuffed from the night before (darn you yummy Pizzeria Regina pizza - I had 3 slices - oops!) so I didn't want my normal pre-run food. I settled for 2 slices of toast with Better'n Peanut Butter on top. I chugged down 24oz of water and my toast in time for my ride (Meg and Joshua) to arrive at my house.

As we drove to Kenmore Square, I thought I would be happy if I could knock out the 10 miles in 1:30. We arrived to Joint Ventures in plenty of time to get in some extra stretching and foam rolling before we all headed to the T.

There was a woman there that turned to me and said: "I'm just going to show up each week to see what socks you are wearing!"

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I'll take that as a compliment. :)

Now, you may be wondering why were we heading to the T. Because today we had a Riverside run. Which means what you may be asking.

We take the T to the Riverside stop and run the 10 miles along the marathon course to take us back to Kenmore Square. The only tough part is the T ride out there, which plays on the legs a little since they are all warm from the stretching.

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I hadn't tackled this run before since I was out of town in Disney when the first one took place a couple of weeks ago. We unloaded off the T, hit up the bathroom (which was huge) and headed on to the course.

It only took about a mile or so to be back on the official Marathon Course. I hadn't been to that park since April 15, 2013 and I quickly realized I would be doing this run alone. I needed to use the surroundings as inspiration. So I thought back to the energy and excitement I was feeling on that day.

Mile 1: 9:02 Mile 2: 9:19 Mile 3: 9:16 Mile 4: 8:45

We were supposed to have a water stop around Mile 3.5, but I never saw it. I was nervous that I had somehow missed it, but I hadn't It instead was at Mile 4.4. Phew! I needed a hit of Gatorade and water. Plus, it is a joy seeing Margaret's smiling face each week. Especially as I told her I didn't want to do this anymore and she reminded me that next week I would be running in New Orleans. Yes ma'am I will be. It was the pick me up I needed as I turned to my left and realized we still had a good portion of the rolling hills of Newton - aka Heartbreak Hill - left to go.

I bid Margaret adieu and turned up the tunes. Thank goodness I put my iPod shuffle in my jacket pocket pre-run. It is still loaded with awesome Disney songs from Dopey Challenge. :)

Mile 5: 9:23 Mile 6: 9:29

Here is where we can tell I tackled the biggest of the Heartbreak Hill hills. I just kept repeating to myself "You are stronger than you think you are" and "Finish what you f#%*in' started." And it worked. I put one foot in front of the other and knew once I got to the top of the final hill, it was all down hill (no pun intended) after that!

Mile 7: 8:59

And Mile 7 returned to flat. :P We hit our second water stop at Mile 7.9 and again it came as a nice break. I had a little chat with our coach John about how I was feeling, which was needed and helpful.

Now he thought our run would be closer to 9.2 instead of 10, but we figured out his previous calculations were a little off. The run as you will see was 10-ish.

As soon as I ran off from John I caught one of my favorite magazine covers in the Marathon Sports window.

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Mile 8: 9:03

After the Garmin buzzed for Mile 8, I knew I was approaching the homestretch. Once again it came to a mental game. I always have the psych myself up for the final couple miles. But, I knew my legs were ready to let loose a little bit...

Mile 9: 8:49 Mile 10: 8:41

... and it showed. I love taking the final couple miles through Brookline, down Beacon St and towards the iconic Citgo sign.

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It really makes me appreciate the chance to run through such an amazing city like Boston.

I hit the 10-mile mark just before Kenmore Square and decided to walk the last 1/4 a mile or so to Joint Ventures.

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I enjoyed the cool down walk and was ready for some stretching. It is great having the resources we do at Joint Venture to stretch and foam roll before and after the run.

And if you remember I wanted to complete the 10 mile run in 1:30 or less and came pretty darn close to it. I hit up some stretching before catching my ride home. :)

Overall, I was happy to have completed the run and know that the tough runs are the ones that make me a stronger person and athlete. Did I just call myself an athlete? I think I did.

I will NOT be at the Tedy's Team Group Run next week as I will be in New Orleans taking part in the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon! :)


Week 6 Workouts:

Sunday, January 19Zumba class and walk/coffee date with a friend

Monday, January 2056 min Spin class

Tuesday, January 21REST DAY

Wednesday, January 22: REST DAY

Thursday, January 23: REST DAY

Friday, January 24: REST DAY

Saturday, January 25: 10 mile group run


Looking To Donate

Are you interested in helping to fight Stroke? Please feel free to click on the link HERE to share a donation. Wondering how much? How about $10 in honor of the 10 miles I ran Saturday with Tedy's Team?

teddy-thanks (3)

Disney Part 2: #WDWRaceTweetup

Have I told you racecations are an awesome time to meet up with friends both long-time and "just meeting for the first time, but been friends through social media for awhile" friends? Enter the birth of the #wdwracetweetup, which I had the honor to host with my friends Kat (of Katrina Elle) and Linzie (of See Sharp Run)!!


On Thursday, January 9th, after completing the Family Fun Run 5k and getting myself cleaned up, the wife & I made a pit stop at the Magic Kingdom (like folks do)...


... before heading to grab lunch and meet Kat and Linzie at Downtown Disney for the tweet-up. :)


Thanks for sharing this pic with me Linzie!

We had a little time to set up our amazing giveaway prizes before folks arrived. I want to thank our awesome sponsors again:

Zensah Compression

The swag was TIGHT!! I knew folks would be climbing over each other to win stuff. :)

As we sat eating and chatting, the rain started to fall. Eek! I got a tad nervous that folks wouldn't show, but I knew Run Disney runners were tougher than that.

As it approached 1, we set up camp near the Carousel. I may or may not have nudged us a little closer to the outside plug I had found the day before so I could charge my dying phone. ;)

Then all of a sudden folks started showing up! YAY!

It was wicked cool to meet folks in person that I had chatted with online for so long. I also met some folks I hadn't known before. That is the great thing about having 3 different bloggers inviting folks to meet-up.


We let Linzie handle the intros and as you can see he did a spectacular job.

It was a great enthusiastic crowd of about 20-25 runners. It was great to chat strategy with other folks that would be tackling the Dopey Challenge. I loved sharing why and how I use my ENERGYBits before and during races to fuel. I may have also shared how Showerpills shared me once or twice or more when I didn't have enough time to shower between a workout and a meeting. :) Plus, I get a great thrill giving away not 1 but 5 Sparkly Soul headbands!


Thank you again to everyone that came out, tweeted, shared, hugged and made some new friends with us! We really appreciated it.

A few folks showed up just as the tweet-up was coming to a close so we stopped at the nearby margarita bar to share an adult beverage with those new friends! :)

After rehydrating? - yeah sure - the wife & I headed over to Hollywood Studios to hit up some rides and meet my parents for dinner at Mama Melrose. Mmmmm carbs! :P

Where shall we meet next? The inaugural Minnie 10k of course!

Tedy's Team Group Run - 14.7 Miles

Reunited with Tedy's Team and it felt so good! :) I missed the week 4 run because I was in Disney so I was looking forward to seeing everyone again. Now I normally take 2 weeks off from running after a marathon, but with the Boston Marathon less than 100 days away I am taking my training a little differently this time. Plus, my legs actually felt AMAZING when I came back from Disney. I think all that walking around the parks really helped keep my legs fresh!

My teammate Meg picked me up like usual and we headed in to Kenmore Square to Joint Ventures to meet everyone else for the run. I made sure to take my ENERGYBits pre-run since I needed as much power as I could. Now the Weather app said it would be real feel of 18 degrees for the start of the run so I wore my Under Armour to be prepared.

Yeeahhh it was definitely warmer than 18 degrees so the beginning of the run was slightly warmer than I expected.

I was with the group at the Start and had no idea what to expect from my legs. I knew I wouldn't be running with Meg since my pace would definitely be slower than our normal pace and I wasn't sure how far I would be running. The schedule had 4 different options for the day: 10.5, 11.6, 12.8 or 14.7.

I had originally planned on 14, but when I started the legs felt heavy.

Mile 1: 9:09 Mile 2: 9:15 Mile 3: 9:07

My pace was faster than expected and faster for how I felt. I checked in with our coach John at the Mile 3 water stop. He told me to do a very slow 10 miles and take it easy. So I had that in my mind.

And then... just after the water stop I started chatting with a woman Michelle, who was running with Project Hope. We were having a great conversation. We realized we live less than 1 mile from each other and had a lot in common. We were in a great groove of chatting and running. It felt easy and the conversation was definitely distracting me from whatever I was thinking in my head: pace, weight of legs, distance, etc.

Mile 4: 9:44 Mile 5: 9:42

I was paying little to no attention to my Garmin as Michelle and I were running and all of a sudden looked down at the Mile 5 water stop to realize we had hit 5 miles and I felt great. The legs were waking up thanks to the slowed pace. Michelle asked if I would be turning around and I said no. I would go to the 11.6 mark and just turn on to the appropriate street to head back to base.

Mile 6: 9:21

It was around this time or so (I can't remember the exact break out), where we caught up with Dennis (Tedy's Team) and Holly (Team Brigham & Women's) and started getting in a conversation with them as well.

And before I knew it with some "bullying" by the three of them, I decided to do the 14.7 mile loop. Yes we all know it doesn't take much for me to be talked into running more. Plus, I was having a great time with these folks and that is what group long runs are about. Right?

So we soldiered on.

Mile 7: 9:30 Mile 8: 9:48

It is during Mile 7 that you come off Beacon Street, make a right onto Chestnut St then make a right on to Comm Ave. It is here where you start the trek back to Boston. :)

Oh and you encounter Heartbreak Hill.

Now Heartbreak and I haven't seen each other since April 15, 2013. I didn't know if he would welcome me with open arms or with a fight. But, I would conquer him for the first - of many - times in 2014.

Heartbreak Hill isn't a particularly large hill - it is actually a series of rolling hills for probably a good 2 miles. The reason it stinks is the placement of it in the Boston Marathon. You come to Heartbreak around Mile 17 with tired legs ... at least mine were.

But I was happy to meet him again.

Michelle had run Boston in 2013, but was unable to Finish. Dennis and Holly will each be taking Boston on for the first time in 2014. So being able to share with them some of what I experienced on Heartbreak during the 2013 Marathon was fun. Plus it was another distraction.

It was great to be back on the familiarity of the Boston course.

Mile 9: 9:49 Mile 10: 10:03

We had another water stop somewhere along Heartbreak and it was much-needed. A little Powerade, water, a pep talk from coach John and some swedish fish! Yes my favorite thing about marathon training are some swedish fish during a long run. A nice zap of energy and an excuse to eat swedish fish!

With a little extra power we soldiered on!

Mile 11: 9:37 Mile 12: 9:52

Our final water stop was Mile 12.5 near Marathon Sports and it was great to see the smiling face of Margaret. She is an amazing person who is the #1 Tedy's Team supporter. She is out there (wo)manning the water stops and cheering us on.

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Mile 13: 9:35

Neither Dennis nor Holly had run more than a half marathon before Saturday so it was exciting that with every step over 13.1 was a PR for them. I love watching folks push themselves to new levels. Awesome to be a part of for sure.

During the final miles back "home" there were a lot of encouraging words being thrown around and some expletives - c'mon they were to motivate. ;) But either way we just kept telling ourselves we were almost there. Just had to keep moving.

That is exactly what I had to do. After finishing Heartbreak my legs had started to feel sore. I think it hit around Mile 11. Had this been a flat 14 I'm sure I would've been fine, but with the added hills I was getting tired.

So I fed off these three people's energy and just kept putting one foot in front of the other.

Mile 14: 9:24

I was too excited to see the CITGO sign because that meant about 1/2 a mile to go!!

And like that it was over. High-fives all around and hustling inside. As we were out running the weather in Boston turned worse. Rain turned to wet snow turned to hail turned to heavy snow. The temperature dropped as we ran as well. So I was happy just to finally be indoors.

But the run was done.

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And I have these folks to thank!

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And on this day I matched my socks ... I felt like Wonder Woman!

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After the run we had a nice little Tedy's Team get together at UNO's. Unfortunately my salad never came, but it was nice to have a post-run drink with teammates before lunch with the wife.

Until next week's run...


Week 5 Workouts:

Sunday, January 12Disney Marathon

Monday, January 13Walking Around Disney Parks

Tuesday, January 14: Travel Day Home/REST DAY

Wednesday, January 15: 30 min elliptical and 30 min walking on treadmill

Thursday, January 16: REST DAY

Friday, January 17: REST DAY

Saturday, January 18: 14.7 mile group run


Looking To Donate

Are you interested in helping to fight Stroke? Please feel free to click on the link HERE to share a donation. Wondering how much? How about $14.70 in honor of the 14.7 miles I ran Saturday with Tedy's Team?

teddy-thanks (3)