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

You know that Fall is approaching when the Racecancer Boston 5k Summer Series in winding down. I started this race series in May and can't believe that Race #5 has come and gone. May: Race #1 – 23:29 (7:34 min/mile pace) June: Race #2 - Did Not Start (Hamstring Injury) July: Race #3 - 24:19 (7:50 min/mile pace) August: Race #4 - 24:57 (8:03 min/mile pace) September (1): Race #5 - 22:39 (7:18 min/mile pace) September (2): Race #6 - September 18

My times are not what I have wanted, but I have given my all at those times, which is all I can ask of myself.

I had been disappointed in myself until Race #5, which took place on September 4. My original plan was to take the race super easy as I had my big big race just three days later.

But when the stars align on race day you need to take advantage.

The women's only 5k was set to start at 6pm. With the early race start many of the female racers were not in attendance - meaning a smaller field ... and many of the super speedy ladies wouldn't be racing.

Hmmm... my goal was to take advantage of that. ;)

So I lined up sort of near the front, but reminded myself to run my race.

The horn went off, I clicked on my Garmin and the game was on.

It was crazy being in the top 5 at the beginning of the race. As we took our first loop, I was in a small pack of runners (after 1 girl took off ahead of everyone) and I turned to the woman next to me and said "Wow! This is what the elite women at the Boston Marathon must experience!" Umm yeah not really a response or laugh. Ha. Oops. I guess not everyone likes to chat during a race. :)

It was exciting experience trying to keep up with the two girls just ahead of me.

When I saw the first water stop (thank you race for having 2 on the 5k course), I spotted the Mile 1 marker.

Mile 1: 6:55.

Ummm friends let's take a moment to reflect. The first mile buzzed with a pace with a 6 in the front. Holy crap! I almost teared up when I saw it. Yes I am that dorky. But how could I not? I remember when I started running in 2005 and could barely bust out a 14 min/mile pace. To see that kind of change over the years gives me chills.

Now I was feeling good, but I could tell my body was slowing down a little. Not sure if it was the heat or just tired legs. But I knew the last two miles wouldn't be as fast... and I was okay with that.

I just tried to keep the 2 girls within eye distance. I knew they were gaining ground, but I liked seeing them.

The second mile is pretty boring scenery wise - you have the Charles River on one side (yay) and a boulevard on the other (boring).

Mile 2 marker was met with another water stop ... and a girl flying by me! :P I was holding down 5th place until she came out of nowhere. But she was cooking it so I didn't get too huffy. ;)

Mile 2: 7:25

Off quite a drop. I tried to keep the big picture at the forefront.

The good thing about running the same course over and over again is familiarity. You know the ebbs and flows of the pavement and when you need to give the final kick!

It was kind of an odd experience basically running alone for the final mile. The few girls ahead of me were about a minute in front of me so I didn't see them through the twists and turns of the final mile. I also couldn't hear/see the girl behind me.

Just had to remind myself: One More Mile. You can do it.

So I tried my best to finish strong.

Mile 3: 7:31

When I passed the Mile 3 marker, I could see the Finish and hear folks cheering for someone else. I assumed she was right on my tail so I kicked in everything I had. I wasn't about to get passed in the final stretch of the race!

Final: 22:39 (7:18 min/mile)

I was ecstatic! It was 40 seconds slower than matching my 5k PR (21:59), but I felt proud of my overall performance. I thought I ran the best I could and had a great time being part of a small intimate race.

And holy crap! I finished 6th overall and 2nd in my division. Little 'ol me. I wanted to savor the experience since it will probably never happen again.

Now you may be wondering about the lack of mid-run selfie. Well I was wearing my glasses and I despise running/pics in glasses so there were no pics taken. Until...

I was given the great responsibility of sending off the co-ed 5k race with the bullhorn.

Hey-o! I am hitting the big times. ;)

I meant to head out to get home for dinner, but I ran into a friend Nacole. Nacole attends the Nike Run And Walk Club in Somerville on Wednesday nights. I took the time to catch up with her while she waited for her friends doing the co-ed 5k. She had already rocked the women's only 5k.

It was great to get to know her better and her friends.

While they all headed off to the post-race party, I ventured home for food. I promised that I would attend the post-race party for the final race on September 18.

If you haven't made it to a Racecancer Boston 5k Summer Series, you have one final chance - September 18 (women's only at 6pm and co-ed at 6:15). Feel free to register here.


Have you ever shocked yourself mid-race with an amazing split?

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

Boston Summer Nights are made for 5ks along the Charles River. Thankfully Racecancer is giving me six chances to take in the glorious views of the water during the Boston 5k Summer Series. August 14th marked the fourth installment of the race and the weather was perfect - 6:30pm start for Women's Only 5k and a 7pm start for the Co-Ed 5k.

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

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

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

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

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

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

My goal? Make it through pain free.

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

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

Mile 1: 8:09

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

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

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

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

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

Mile 2: 8:06

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

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

It is all about sharing the road path folks!!

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

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

(Read more at Mid-Run Selfie)

Mile 3: 8:04

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

Final: 24:57

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

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

But I did make sure to cheer them off.

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

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

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


Will I see you there?

Racecancer’s Boston 5k Summer Series: Race #3

I love a race series especially one that takes place along the gorgeous and historic Charles River in Boston.

How did I get so lucky to call this my running path?

Thursday July 17th marked the third installment of Racecancer's Boston Summer 5k Series.

I competed in Race 1 on May 29, but missed Race 2 on June 12 due to injury.

When I woke up on July 17, I wasn't feeling it. I was just having one of those days when I wasn't in the mood to race. I think it happens to all of us at one time or another.

But, I knew I would feel better if I went, saw friends and just hit the pavement.

I arrived early for the race since I misread my calendar as to what time it started. Oops! I took the extra time to get some pre-run walking and stretching in.

I was deciding whether I would run both 5ks offered - the women's only 5k was kicking off at 7 and the co-ed 5k would follow at 7:30. I was going to wait and decide after race #1.

The women lined up just before 7 for pre-race announcements.

Not sure why I look so tall compared to everyone else. Hmm... For the record I am 5-8.

Also for the record, I was NOT posing in this photo. It just looks that way. ;)

Do you guys like my Race Ragz blog shirt? It was only the second time I wore it in a race.

As the pre-race jitters sunk in (like they do for every single race I participate in), I tried to block them out and turn it into fuel.

I had no expectations for the race time-wise and was just going to get out there and enjoy the atmosphere.

The course is basically the same for every race so I wouldn't have any surprises during the 3.1 miles.

After a 10 second countdown, we were OFF!

Ladies zoomed past me and I was okay with that. I wasn't going to PR and I needed to stay in my own game.

We crossed over the Eliot St bridge just before Mile 1 and I had to snap a pic.

How beautiful is that?

Mile 1: 7:48

It was hot and humid. I don't normally run in sleeves so I had to keep tucking my sleeves back under the strap of my sports bra. Having wardrobe malfunctions or annoyances while running is never fun.

And of course a halfway point selfie for everyone's enjoyment. ;) This was actually the second attempt at the selfie as the first was horrendous. Yes my mid-run selfies are not always perfect on the first try. :P

I want to thank the race for having two water stops during the 5k loop. They were both needed and appreciated.

Mile 2: 7:59

Since I was once again running without music, I needed something to occupy my mind for the final mile so I took in the people around me. I was trying to remember if any were around me during the first race in the series. I also had a blast watching this young girl - maybe around 10 or so - running with her mom. She kept looking over her shoulder to see if any of us were about to pass her.

I loved her fire and tenacity. Part of me wanted to step it up a notch to see what she would do, but I really wanted her to have that moment with her mom. So I hung back.

I also want to thank the race for providing free race photos to participants. It is such a rare thing these days. This photo was about 1/2 a mile from the Finish.

I gave it all I could for the final 1/2 mile, but between heat and my overall tiredness it felt like I was moving in place or I was on a treadmill. Has anyone else felt that during a run? I looked down just to confirm I was in fact moving forward.

As I neared the Finish Line, I looked to my right and saw a couple having a picnic - on the ground - among the geese. Ummm not my idea of a romantic date - umm hi goose poop - but they looked like they were having a phenomenal time.

Mile 3: 7:56

I crossed the Finish Line and went directly to the water jugs.

Let me tell you how much I did NOT feel like I was running sub 8's. Prior to my watch buzzing at Mile 1, I really expected to see a 9:30-ish pace. I just felt heavy and hot the entire race.

So while I am excited to see the final time, I really felt off the entire run. I don't think I could've done anything different. I was properly hydrated. I had plenty of fuel prior to the race. I was stretched. I think the heat/humidity was just there. Hi Summer! ;)

Once the first race was over, I was chatting with my friend George and seriously considering running the second 5k slowly. A cool down if you will. But as the time passed prior to the second race, the achiness in my left hammy was increasing. So I listened to my body and headed home.

Start to Coed 5k

With my weekly weigh-in the next morning I opted out of the post-race party at Miller's Boston Ale House sponsored by Long Trail Brewing. But man I could've used a beer after that race.

That night I looked at the race results for the women's only race and I was nowhere to be found. Hmm... I know from my mid-run selfie that I was in fact in there. After a quick tweet to the race organizers, I was told some people were missing from the electronic results, but were still on the manual list. It didn't take them long to fix the mistake. Thanks!

My 24:19 (7:50 min/mile pace) placed me 33rd overall out of 108 and 11th out of 35 in my division.

I am looking forward to hopefully being a little healthier for Race #4 of the series on Thursday, August 14 sponsored by Clown Shoes. Want to join me? You can still register here.


Have you ever participated in a women's only 5k?

Win A Chance To Race To The Row With Me!

Annddddd the winner IS:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CONGRATS!!!! Thank you to everyone that participated and big thanks to our Sponsor!!!


I love to run.

I love to support my local community.

I love when a road race does both! :)

Last week I stumbled upon a new local road race that will be happening in Somerville, MA on Sunday August 18th at 9:30am. Of course my interest was piqued. I always get so angry when I miss races in my hometown. Anyone else? :P

The Race To The Row 5k is happening - literally - right across the street from my house.

Oh hell yeah! No way I can miss this one.

This is the first year of the 5k run OR walk and is being put on by the Somerville Road Runners, a great running club that loves to give back to the community.

SRR (as they are commonly known as) is hosting the inaugural race to benefit the East Somerville Main Streets (ESMS) program.

East Somerville Main Streets is a non-profit organization dedicated to rebuilding the East Broadway Business District as the heart of the East Somerville community and as a vibrant destination, and improving the quality of life of all those who live in or visit East Somerville.  This is accomplished through volunteer-driven events and initiatives which play off of the unique characteristics of the neighborhood in order to further develop that character.

The race is 100% family friendly and will even feature a Kid's Fun Run (9 and under), where each child gets a Finisher's medal!! (no pre-registration necessary for the Kid's run)

Again, I can't stress enough how this event is for all ages, athletic abilities, etc. You can participate in the 5k as a run or a walk - your choice!!

All participants will be welcome to the post-race party, which includes a free BBQ from Burger Dive, live music and FREE Harpoon Beer. Do I need to repeat that last part again - FREE BEER thanks to Harpoon Brewery!! :) :)

Assembly Row, where the race is held, is easily accessible by the T (Sullivan or Wellington stops on the orange line) or car.

I cannot wait to hit this race up PLUS I love being a part of inaugural races ... especially ones that benefit my neighborhood!!!

Want to check out the course before registering? Here is some info:

The course is a measured 5K that winds through and around Assembly Square in Somerville. You will start in the the tree-lined Grand Boulevard, catching a preview of the new downtown area going up. Almost the full route is on roads, with the final stretch coming down the paved path through the waterfront park. You can view the 5K course here. The exact starting and finishing lines may still be adjusted.


How would you like to win a FREE entry into the 1st Annual Race To The Row 5k?

I know everyone reading said: "YES!!! ME ME ME ME!"

So here's how to enter:


The giveaway will run from Wednesday August 7 (9am ET) through Wednesday August 14 (9am ET)!

The winner will be selected and announced on Wednesday!

Cambridge 5k Freedom Run - 5/26/13 - 24:57 (8:02 min/mile)

As we left Boston's Run To Remember, the wife & I had a game plan that we had figured out the day before. The route from Race #1 to Race #2 should've taken about 7-8 minutes. Plenty of time since we got to the car at 9:21. Welllll I then apparently forgot the route for the Run To Remember and our original game plan was completely ruined.

Thankfully I can think quickly on my feet ... okay usually not at all, but somehow I was going to get us from Storrow Drive to the Galleria Mall (where the start was) if it was the last thing I did. :O)

Apparently all of my Weight Watchers At Work meetings in Cambridge paid off because I was actually able to navigate us there in about 15-17 minutes.


We nabbed a spot on the street and quickly made it over to the Start area to meet up with Team Slumbrew, grab our beer wristbands and hit up the bathroom.

Yes, I made it through the whole Half Marathon, the post-race chaos and ride to Race #2 without going the bathroom. Thank you tiny bladder for coming through when I needed you most. :P

We made it to the Start Line with 5 minutes to spare and in enough time to take part in the 1-2-3 FREEDOM chant! :)

Such a powerful Start

The wife even got to wave one of the USA flags used in the previous day's #onerun to kick off the race.

As soon as I crossed the Start Line, I hit my Garmin and was wondering what the heck I was thinking. :P

How would my legs make it through another 3.1 miles?

But, I know they physically could as I have run farther distances in a day, but not all at the normal 5k or half speed.

So I just told myself to put one foot in front of the other and enjoy the amazing costumes at the race.

This race was also not about time, but about completing this challenge of back-to-back races and enjoy the day with my fellow Slumbassadors. :)

Eddie (race director) had told me the course was pretty flat - actually they said pancake flat - which I was with them until about Mile 2.5 where a gradual incline started forming.

Oh come on! I had made it this far.

Then I just dug deep and tried to catch up to my teammate Mark, who was JUST ahead of me on the right hand side.

I just kept telling my legs that we were that much closer to the beer.

As we rounded the final turn (which is also deceiving because they move the Finish Line back from where the Start Line was), I saw fellow Slumbrew teammate Eric cheering us on and he said "Dani, run it out."

So I did ... and as a result - this awesome photo was born! ;)

Photo Courtesy Cambridge 5k

Mark looks amazing and I look like well, I was finishing up my second race of the morning. :P

I came across the Finish Line and the wife was there to help me make it to water.

I somehow managed to run a 24:57 (8:02 min/mile) - which I will gladly take!!

The entire Slumbrew team rocked the race!

Aren't we one amazing group? ;)

I love catching up with my fellow Slumbassadors - we hadn't seen each other really since the last race and a quick Slumbrew launch party for Lobstah Killah!

It's amazing the people beer and running can bring into your life. :)

I finally got to meet fellow Fitfluential Ambassador, Kristen ... it fun meeting Social Media friends in real life!

Thanks for the pic Kristen

And after everything she went through in Race #1, Kim battled through and completed the Freedom Run 5k as well.

A couple of people asked us if we had won the Run To Remember and that is why we had medals. Of course my immediate response was "Oh no, they give them to everyone."

Ugh, next time I am going to say I won! I mean they don't know. ;)

I even got to see a handful of my Weight Watchers members and was so proud of all of them!

So overall, it was one amazing day where I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and had one amazing time!

Thank you to my wife for putting up with my crazy antics of running back-to-back races and getting up at 5:30 on a Sunday.

I also want to thank Caitlin and Jeff from Slumbrew for allowing me to be the Team Captain.

It is an honor for me!!


Did you race over Memorial Day Weekend? Would you ever do back-to-back races?

My First Relay Experience: 26.2 Challenge Team Relay

And I am a race pushover. What does that mean? Well, it seems when a friend brings up a race and I have the time/funds - I sign up.

Plain and simple.

It happened ... again!

Last Wednesday (April 24) while at The Dubliner in Cambridge with friends for the launch of the latest Slumbrew brew, I asked my friend George what he had coming up for races over the weekend.

George and some members of his running club - The Most Informal Running Club Ever or TMIRCE - was taking part in the 26.2 Challenge Team Relay on the Saturday (April 27) in Plymouth.

And they were looking for a 6th member for their team.

**Interest Peaked**

Over the next 24 hours, we got confirmation that they did indeed need a 6th runner ... and BAM! All of a sudden I am signed up for my first relay race.

The 26.2 Challenge Team Relay is set up a little different from other relays I've heard about.

The 26.2 Challenge is a team relay race for you and five of your friends. It's an out-and-back style course, one member is running their butt off while the other teammates party, dance and enjoy the entertainment provided at our transition area.

Each member of your team will run an equal portion of the 26.2 distance. As one runner heads out the next relay member waits for the exchange. The whole event is one big party; live DJ spinning tunes as the runners take off and come in. Vendors line the exchange area offering samples, goods for sale and sage advice.

I picked up two of my running mates for the day - George & Jen - at 7am and we were off to Plymouth. The website told us to be there at least an hour before the race started (which was 9am) so we cruised into the parking lot just before 8am. Perfect.

We claimed a part of the parking lot - like the other teams were doing - and waited for our teammates.

Everyone else on the team was a member of TMIRCE so I was the only newbie. But, it is always nice to meet new runners!

As the members of the group talked about the paces they hoped to attain that day, I just kept hoping I wouldn't be the person that would slow down their overall time. They were hoping to place and I didn't want to ruin the chances. I was 12 days out from the Boston Marathon so I wasn't sure what my legs would produce.

After getting acquainted, picking up bibs and having some pre-race snacks, it was time for our first runner Jen to hit the Starting Line. It was so odd to have the race begin and not be at the Start Line. I was slated to run the 4th out of our 6 legs on the morning.

Thankfully our teammate Erin had a stop watch so she kept it running throughout the race so that we could all be prepared in enough time for our legs of the run.

We were each set to run 1/6 of a marathon or 4.36 miles.

Jen (34:04), Christina (31:27) and George (33:38) all OWNED the course.

As I saw George turning the corner, I was in place at the Start Line - ready to FINALLY kick off my leg of the race. :)

2013-04-27 10.46.35

Photo Courtesy of RaceMenu

Quick hug from Alain at Racemenu and I was off.

I didn't know anything about the course except some quick snippets from the teammates that had already run.

I think my legs were just a TAD happy to be out running because I ran the first 3/4 of a mile at a 6:45 min/mile pace.

YEAH - those isn't my normal pace in the least so I immediately told my brain and my legs to sllloowww it on down!

This wasn't a 5k - this was 4+ miles so I couldn't get burnt out too quickly.

Oh I also almost went the wrong way about 1/4 of a mile into the race - yeah, I missed a sign, but thankfully righted my ship quickly.

We had to go around the first water stop twice - once at the beginning of the run and once at the end. There were plenty of volunteers out on the course, which made the odd transition a little easier.

So thank you volunteers!! :) :)

Once through the first mile of the race, it was a clear out and back along the water in Plymouth. The sun was shining and the water looked beautiful.



The sun was beaming down on us, but I tried to stay committed and focused on the goal of keeping a sub 8 min/mile pace. That was my only goal of the run.

I could feel my body starting to get tired around the 5k mark so I buckled down. And as my Tedy's Team Running Coach, John, would say "Just Run!"

So that's what I did.

I pushed through the final mile and can say taking my ENERGYBits before the run helped.

I crossed the finish line in 31:18 - HELL YEAH.

2013-04-27 14.04.08

I will gladly take the results.

I grabbed a water and rejoined my team to wait out our final two runners.

Our last two runners - Erin (29:57) and Nathan (24:31) - DOMINATED the course. Nathan ended up being the fastest person of the day. YES, his slip said 1/473 - hot DAMN.

So as a group we finished the 26.2 mile course in 3:04:57...

2013-04-27 13.01.42

... and headed inside to grab a beer while we waited for the official results to post.

2013-04-27 12.35.28

With the $25 entry fee, you had entry to the race, a 26.2 Challenge beer mug and one free Mayflower Brewing Company.

2013-04-27 13.42.57

Me, Alain (RaceMenu), Steven (26.2 Challenge Organizer)

I drank my beer, ate a yummy chicken caesar salad and had a great lunch with team as we celebrated...

2013-04-27 13.25.41

... our 3rd place finish in our division (running club).

In the end we were the fifth team overall out of 79 teams. Not. Too. Shabby!

I had a GREAT time participating in this relay. It was a change of pace from normal races.

And I will definitely look to do something like this again!


Have you participated in a relay race before? If so, what time? Did you love it?

EVERY runner should...

If there was ONE piece of advice I could give to fellow runners, it would simply be: volunteer at a road race! It gives a runner a new perspective on what goes in to putting a race on and may change some people's unappreciative attitudes.


It was finally my time to officially volunteer at yesterday's Super Sunday 5 race put on by RACE - Run Against Cancer Events.

Last Sunday (January 27), I met up with the Racemenu and RACE crews to help stuff bibs ... which I had never done before.

I liked getting into the rhythm of putting the chip, safety pins and twists ties (for the chips) in the envelopes. Plus, they supplied free pizza ... and I can never say no to free pizza. :)

The bibs were being personalized with each runner's name so we didn't actually have to stuff the bibs themselves that day.

The experience was great and it was cool to get to know the people running the race better.

On Saturday (February 2), I had free time after my 16-mile training run with Tedy's Team for The Boston Marathon so I signed up to help with bib pick-up from 12-4 at the New Balance Store on Boylston St.

new balance

It was cool to be the one handing out the bibs, chips and t-shirts to the runners and wishing them a good race. Plus, everyone loves finding out that with their bib they would get 15% off at the New Balance store all weekend long. :)

Keeping a smile on my face was easy during the 4-hour shift as I LOVE seeing other runners excited to race. Some were nervous about the impending snow and cold weather, but most were ready to get after it. Plus, there was free beer at the Finish ... how could that not get you pumped for a 5k or 5-mile run to kick off Superbowl Sunday??

I missed setting up the station, but made sure to stick around and help break down the bib pick-up location. The four of us worked quickly to make sure we got out of the store on time.

Plus, I ended up using my own bib to get 15% off the one New Balance shirt I had my eye on since seeing them at The Falmouth Road Race in August.

2013-02-02 14.10.12

Isn't it great?

2013-02-03 20.50.35

Then yesterday was Race Day (February 3)! I signed up to both volunteer and run the race ... why not, right? :)

I was told to be at the race by 8am to get my location. I met Kim at 8 and was assigned to set up baggage claim.

I was intrigued by this spot since I rarely use bag check myself and wanted to make sure I set it up the best way I could since there were over 1,500 runners signed up.

Thankfully we had a large space so we were able to set up 8 different rows designated by an orange cone where each row could hold 200 #s/bags if needed (1-200, 201-400, etc). Within each row, there was a second cone denoting the second 100 #s (100, 300, etc) to make the area as organized as possible.

Yes my math mind loved this activity.

By about 9:30, Kim said she needed more help at Registration as those volunteers needed to head to the course itself. So I happily headed to registration to help hand out bibs and t-shirts. It was sprinting back and forth between bib table and t-shirt table so it was a perfect warm-up for the race itself. Plus, I was able to see a couple people I knew pre-race. :)

Finally at about 10:15am, I headed to do my personal prep for the race itself (which started at 10:30am). The port-o-potty lines moved quickly, but thankfully the race director had to tow some cars on the course so the Start was slightly delayed giving me plenty of time to get in position. :)

I had NO idea what to expect from the run since I had done 16.2 the day before, but as soon as the gun went off I booked it ... and felt great.

I somehow had a sub 8 minute/mile pace the entire run, which I didn't expect, but happily accepted.

It was snowing while we ran through Cambridge, which set a lovely scene. ;)

I caught up with my friend George just before Mile Four and helped push him along the final hump/hill.

I just reminded him that "we had 1.08 miles til beer" and that "we eat 1 mile runs for breakfast." :)

Hey! Those things keep me moving too.

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I ended up clocking in at 38:34, which was a 7:43 min/mile pace ... WOW!! I really don't know how I did that.

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As soon as I finished the run, I headed to the beer tent to grab a celebratory drink (of course!) then headed to find Kim to see where I could help.

I ended up going back to bag check to help with the masses, who just wanted to get home and out of the cold. I tried to move as quickly as my tired legs would take me because I knew how cold the runners were. We ended up having about 6 of us on hand to knock out the long line of people waiting.

Once the bag check was under control, I actually was able to meet up with Tyler from Popchips, who has helped me with some giveaways here on the blog and at my 30th Birthday Charity 5k. It was great to finally put a face with the name. :)

After catching up with Tyler, I realized it was already Noon and time for me to hit the beer tent and pour beers. I have NEVER helped at post-race beer distribution before, but I wanted to make sure to be on my A-game since I DO know how important beer is to runners. ;)

Samuel Adams, Long Trail Brewing, Mayflower Brewing Company and Shipyard Brewing Company  donated bottles of beer, while Bantam Cider provided kegs. I was put on bottles so thankfully a co-volunteer let me borrow his iPhone that had a bottle opener attached to it - yes I need one of those too!

My hands were frozen, but it was necessary to be on the other side of the beer. Many runners can get testy when waiting for free beer - seeing/experiencing what the volunteers go through (frozen hands, delays in beer delivery, running out of cups, etc) makes you appreciate and understand the wait a little more. I am not a person that ever got "bitchy" at a post-race party, but I definitely wouldn't in the future after trying to open beer bottles with frozen hands. :P

Once we ran out of bottles of beer, I headed back to the post-race party tent to find Kim. They needed help breaking down the Finish Line so I headed that way. I wasn't very strong, but helped out however I could.

I did learn how to properly fold the American flag in the triangle pattern.

Following Finish Line breakdown, I headed back to the post-race party tent to help clean up the tables and empty cups that were strewn around as people danced to Bearfight.

As the party started to wind down, I headed out around 1:30 as the wife arrived to give me a lift home. :)


Overall it was one AMAZING experience.

I don't think many runners are aware of what truly goes in to putting a road race on.

To get a truly well-rounded understanding, I recommend that EVERY runner volunteers at a local road race at least once in their life.

And please remember to always thank every volunteer and police officer along the course ... they give a lot to be help secure your safety and that you have a kick ass race/party!

2012 Road Races

January 1 - New Year's Day 5k - 25:27 (8:13 min/mile) - RECAP

January 28 - F^3 Events Lake Half Marathon - 2:05.40 (9:36 min/mile) - RECAP

March 18 - Ras na hEireann U.S.A. 5k - 24:33 (7:54 min/mile) - RECAP

April 1 - Fight Forever 5k/10k - *Ended up running 10k, which ended up being 6.51 miles 59:00 (9:04 min/mile) - RECAP

April 15 - Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) 5k - 24:58 (8:03 min/mile) - RECAP

May 6 - Newburyport Spring Fever 5k - 24:42 (7:58 min/mile) - RECAP

May 13 - M.O.M.'s Run 5k - 24:06 (7:46 min/mile) - RECAP

May 17 - The Blues Run 5k - 22:23 (7:14 min/mile) - RECAP

May 20 - Harpoon 5-Miler - 38:23 (7:41 min/mile) - RECAP

May 27 - Boston's Run To Remember 5-Miler - PR 37:59 (7:36 min/mile) - RECAP

June 3 - PJK 5k - 23:10 (7:28 min/mile) - RECAP

June 24 - Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) 10k - 49:28 (7:59 min/mile) - RECAP

June 28 - Raggae Ramble 5k - 22:26 (7:15 min/mile) - RECAP

July 15 - VERT-Sasquatch Trail Race (2.35 miles) - 18:59 (8:05 min/mile) - RECAP

July 22 - Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon - 1:51:43 (8:32 min/mile) - RECAP

July 26 - Jerry Garcia Memorial River Run 5k - 23:00 (7:26 min/mile) - RECAP

August 12 - Falmouth Road Race (7.1 miles) - PR 58:10 (8:19 min/mile) - RECAP

August 19 - Rock 'n' Roll Providence Half Marathon - 1:52:58 (8:37 min/mile) - RECAP

August 30 - Twist & Shout on the Charles River 5k - 23:23 (7:33 min/mile) - RECAP

September 13 - Mardi Gras Festival Run 5k - 22:37 (7:18 min/mile) - RECAP

September 15 - Warrior Dash (Gilford, N.H.) - PR 1:06:56.05 - RECAP

September 16 - The Dani Ryan Holmes-Kirk 1st Annual 30th Birthday 5k Run-Walk Ramble - 25:23 - RECAP

October 7 - Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) Half Marathon - 1:48:16 (8:16 min/mile) - RECAP

October 8 - Tufts Health Plan 10k For Women - PR 47:31 (7:39 min/mile) - RECAP

November 3 - Rock 'n' Roll Savannah Full Marathon - PR 3:58:49 (9:07 min/mile) - RECAP

November 22 - Framingham Turkey Classic Road Race - 22:20.08 (7:12 min/mile) - RECAP

December 2 - Yulefest 5k - 22:58 (7:24 min/mile) - RECAP

December 9 - Walter's Run 5k - 25:21 (8:11 min/mile) - RECAP

Framingham Turkey Trot Classic 5k - 11/22/12 - PR 22:20 (7:12 min/mile)

Race Bling. Amenities. In-Race Entertainment. Snacks. T-shirt Design. Usually I pick a race and judge the success based solely on the above criteria. But there is ONE THING that above all of those ... ONE THING that can truly outshine all the glitz and glamour of the race bling. That ONE THING is...


You give me a truly compassionate, dedicated, honest and caring race director and I will run that race year in and year out.

Welcome to the Framingham Turkey Trot Classic 5k!

2012 marked the 18th annual Framingham Turkey Trot Classic and it was AWESOME.

Now, for perspective, I traveled a good 30-45 minutes (depending on traffic) to Framingham for the race. So yes there were plenty of Turkey Day races closer to my house, but I picked this one for the reason I mentioned above.

This race is put on by Tim Campion, a family friend of my uncle's, and he has done one amazing job.

The Turkey Trot began in the mid-90s with 60 runners and on Thursday he had over 1,000 people participating.

I remember the first few races as my dad used to participate back in the day and Thursday it was finally my time to run.


The alarm went off at 5:30am for the 8am race, which was a sacrifice we were willing to make. :P

We hit the road just after 6 since we had to get a parking spot and pick up our bibs as well.

We made great time and got to the race with plenty of time. Thankfully they had a hall for everyone to hang around inside instead of out in the chilly weather. :)

There was even a snack table (seen behind us), which had some munchkins on it ... mmm perfect pre-race fuel! Yes, I had two and they were DELISH!

We were able to run into my family - aunt, uncle & 3 cousins - before the run. It was great to see how excited they were to get out on the course too.

Before I knew it it was 7:45 and time to head to the Start Line.

As usual, I didn't bother looking at the course map ahead of time so I had no idea what to expect. But, I tried to put myself up nearer the front of the group, which was full of local high school and college runners and the Framingham Running Club. After seeing that crowd, I moved myself back a little further in the pack. :P

I waited for my Garmin Forerunner 110 to locate satellites and just hoped it would finish before the gun went off ... and it did with about 2 seconds to spare. :)

Then we were off...

My legs felt HEAVY and dead. This was my first race since the marathon and just my third run since the marathon so I really didn't know how the legs would hold up.

But, once we got pas the first mile they started to shake out a little.

It was great seeing the neighbors out in their driveways cheering on the runners and the high school cheerleaders out on the course.

But, I was MOST impressed when I saw Tim (the race director) sail by me - running the race. It's rare for me to see the person in charge of the run actually participating. But, it was AWESOME.

I have known Tim for years through my uncle, but had NO IDEA he was so fast. It looked effortless to him (I hate those people because I'm jealous of how easy it looks for them).

All the time Tim was running, he was smiling and waving to the volunteers along the course, giving special thanks to the photographers, cheering on other runners and showing his gratitude to the locals who were taking in the race.

As we worked our way through the hills of Framingham (when did Framingham get hills?), I noticed that my pace on my Garmin was hovering around the 7:15-7:30 range depending on whether I was on a hill or not. :P But, I thought just maybe I could get a PR.

I was so distracted by watching Tim run AND be race director that I hadn't once looked at my overall time for the run.

Just as we passed where I knew my dad had parked the car, I picked it up a notch and wanted to burst through the Finish Line.

I saw my dad just before the Finish Line cheering everyone on and being one awesome spectator.

I clicked my Garmin and stared in amazement ... 22:21 - an unofficial PR by 2 seconds.

I couldn't believe what I was seeing. But, I also didn't know which Finish Line I was supposed to stop the Garmin on so I just figured I stopped it early. I would just have to wait to check out the official results later in the day.

I found my dad and stood with him while we waited for the rest of our crew to finish and cheered on the rest of the runners.

Another awesome thing about Tim? As soon as he finished, he was right back in work mode: cheering on the racers, keeping the crowds back off the course/out of the runners way and giving out a ton of high-fives.

Simply awesome.

By the time we saw the rest of the crew finish, the results were already being posted along the wall of the hall, where people were warming back up.

I officially finished in 22:20.08 (7:12 min/mile pace) - a new SHINY PR ... I was 127th overall out of 1,029 and fourth out of 90 in my division! :) :)

Can you all believe that? Fourth in my division! Lil ol me!

Honestly the first thought was "DAMN No Award!" But then I reminded myself how far I have come and that when I started running I would NEVER have thought I would be fourth in any division.

Plus, my family is right there to take me down a peg when they think I am being ridiculous so they all had comments to make when I said the no award comment.

I just want to keep improving. That is my main goal with running. Because every run I do is another to be thankful for.

But, I digress.

I couldn't believe they already had tentative results up before we left the race. That was awesome.

The race is capped off by the awards ceremony then one impressive raffle.



So even though this race didn't have any race medals or big fancy bands along the way. It had the love, desire and compassion of one man, Tim Campion, that permeated throughout the entire race and all the participants.

THAT to be as a runner is more important than any of the other stuff.

But, the t-shirt was one sweet long-sleeved cotton tee that I will be honored to wear around.

So when you work on your racing schedule in 2013, be sure to check out some of those local races you just might find one gem like the Framingham Turkey Trot Classic!

Rock 'n' Roll Savannah Full Marathon - 11/3/12 - PR 3:58:49 (9:07 min/mile)

I rocked. I rolled. I ran. I marathoned ... all over Savannah! And it was...

A-freakin-MAZING!!!!!!!! :) :) :)

I'm actually not sure there are enough exclamation points or emoticons that could capture the delight in this marathon.

Let's see where I left you all on Day One in Savannah. ;)

Ah yes - the alarm clock was set


I actually was able to sleep through the night and NOT wake up every 20-30 minutes checking the alarm to make sure it was set. Maybe because I made Tori and Michelle set their alarms as well JUST to be on the safe side. I would've had a wake up call as well, but for some reason our hotel room phone was defective. I almost walked down to the front desk to ask for a wake up call then realized I needed to get a grip. 3 alarms set was enough. :)

As soon as my eyes opened on that morning, the nerves started to set in.

I actually sat in bed thinking "I can't do this! There is NO way I will survive this today."

Michelle and Tori could see the concern on my face and reminded me that I would in fact survive. I had trained for this day. I would OWN it.

Thank goodness they were there.

Thank goodness for the countless text messages, tweets, Facebook messages and good vibes sent by all of you.

Thank goodness we were meeting my dad downstairs so I had to go to the Start Line.

Once the nerves started to subside, the excitement started to set in.

As we walked to the Start Line, which was thankfully just 1/2 a mile from our hotel, we were surrounded by thousands of other runners.

I LOVE that feeling. When everyone is stretching, checking their garmins, polars and phones to make sure everything is ready for the run.

The excitement of a race is contagious - it's as simple as that.

We approached the Start and we had to grab a pre-race photo. Thank goodness my dad was there to serve as OFFICIAL group photographer.

And then we passed it - the Start. Isn't it pretty? ;)

After we walked past the start, it was time to get in line at the port-o-potties. Well, first I tried to use the bathroom at the Hyatt, but that line was out and around the front desk area so we made an attempt at the port-o-potties.


There were too few port-o-potties for all the runners coming from our side of the Start Line. PLUS, as people tried to get to their corrals, they cut into the bathroom line thus lengthening it or having people lose their spot or a new odd line being started. Also there was just a tiny sidewalk for a port-o-potty line, a path to the higher corrals and people spilling over from the first few corrals.

I know the port-o-potties always seem to be a cluster at the Start, but this was one of the worst.

(Note: as I was walking around the city after the run, I saw a TON of port-o-potties with plenty of room for lines much farther down past the first few corrals. I'm sure many people didn't know about them, but if better adertised some of the congestion may have lightened up.)

It was 7:55 - Race started at 8:00 - and we had made zero progress in the port-o-potty line so I decided to bite the bullet and just head to my corral.

(Note: I had moved from corral 15 to corral 6 at the Expo so my start time would be earlier than originally expected)

I figured that since I was running the full marathon I would be stopping to use the bathroom along the course anyway - might as well just make it earlier than expected.

This was the first Rock 'n' Roll race I've done that had a half marathon and a full marathon so it was cool seeing everyone mingling together in the corrals before the Start.

That 10 minutes before my corral headed to the Start Line passed in a blur.

I was READY once we walked up the Start Line and I heard the countdown begin ...

5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1! GO!!!!

And we were off.

Either way it was marathon time BABY!

The streets for the course were nice and wide. At no point in the run was there any sort of narrowing or bottlenecking - even when running through the neighborhoods/squares of the historic district of Savannah.

The race started at 8am, but the streets were lined with fans/cheerleaders/bands. Older women out in their bathrobes waving to the runners, old men not sure what was going on, but happily smiling to the races and people of all ages setting our chairs on their porches and lawns to settle in and watch the run.

The signs were creative. The bands were working it. The water stops were well stocked. The atmosphere amazing.

I was trying out my new Garmin GPS watch for the race and was wicked happy with it. I loved having the current pace right there without having to fumble with my phone in the armband.

I was shooting to finish in under 4 hours. My ultimate goal was to finish under 3:59:26, which would cut 2 full hours off my first full marathon time in 2006.

This goal meant I needed to keep around a 9:07 min/mile pace. Thank you pace calculator for being my new favorite website. ;)

So as I approached the Mile 3 and caught a glimpse of the 5k markers, I spotted the empty port-o-potty. I figured that was as good a time as any to finally use it. Plus, would I look back at the marathon and really be upset with my 5k split - okay maybe ;) - but at least I'd know why.

Since the full and half marathon runners were all running together until Mile 11, I had to stop myself from getting caught up in the moment and speed my pace up. I had to real myself in over and over again.

Thankfully I was getting awesome text and Twitter encouragement from everyone as I ran that was keeping me motivated and positive. It also helped keep me on pace since my running partner/coach/BFF Sarah kept telling me my pace was spot on!!

It wasn't til I saw this sign...

... that the fact that I was running the FULL marathon hit me again!

Decent pic considering I was trying to run while do this ... full disclosure: this was my 5th attempt at getting a shot while moving. :P

Around Mile 11, the full marathon headed to the left and the half marathon continued straight on to the Finish.

Boy did the crowd thin out at that point. I kinda missed the energy of the larger group, but I was focused on the run.

Here's what kind of stunk. After running through Savannah for most of the half, the full marathon headed to the highway for what felt like a lifetime until we were able to exit the highway and get back to the "neighborhood" run. In real life, it was probably about 3 miles. But the sun started to shine and the heat started to climb as we made the trek along the highway.

While on the highway we hit the half way mark - never thought I'd be so excited to see a 13.1 mile marker. ;) I crossed the line at 1:57:53 - YES! Under goal. At that point I reminded myself: well just need to do that one more time.

But on the other side of the stretch of asphalt was a GREAT run through Savannah State University. I owe one big 'ol THANK YOU to those students! Miles 16-18 were through the campus, including a stretch that went through the football stadium along the track.


The students brought their A-game to cheering. There were high fives, hand clapping, cheers, songs, marching bands, the football/softball/basketball teams and what I believe was the ROTC.

Their energy gave me the boost I needed. As I entered the campus, I thought to myself just 10 more miles remaining - as soon as I stepped past 16.1 - I said less than 10 miles to go/out of the double digits. :P When I stepped off the campus, I had just 8 miles to go. Doable.

Once we left the school, it was time to head back to the highway to get back to downtown for the Finish.

My dad may be the best spectator around. He was able to see me at 4 different spots along the marathon course, which was pretty laid out - so that means the man was hustling!

Once Mile 18 passed, I was really getting good at texting and tweeting while running. Maybe since my pace slowed a little it made it easier. Or I'm just that talented and gifted. See my above picture while moving shot. ;)

But, I needed the support and the encouragement from everyone everywhere to make it through those last 8 miles. I could feel it starting to set in.

The heat was picking up. The sun was shining bright. I was ready to be done.

The doubt once again started to set in at Mile 20. The mile that many say makes or breaks a marathon runner. I can understand why.

But, every time I wanted to stop. Every time I wanted to just give up. Every time those tears started welling up in my mind. I clasped my hand. Why you may ask? Because a wise friend of mine gave me some words of encouragement and I had them written on my hand. Clasping my hand shut made me feel secure. Every clasp made me feel his AWESOME hugs. Every clasp gave me the love I needed to go on.

Thank you Alan (aka Sweating_it_off)/Sweating Until Happy)! xoxo

So as I crossed that 20 Mile mark and I kept checking my pace with Sarah - texting convos are hard through sweat and tears :P - and she kept telling me I was on pace. I was going to do it. I would finish sub-4. So I had to believe...

20.3 on the watch and I realized - this is the farthest I had EVER run consecutively. Hell to the fuckin' YEAH! I was bad ass and ready to finish this thing.

Then I started playing the games with my own mind:

Mile 20 - just a 10k to go

Mile 21.2 - just 5 miles to go

Mile 23.1 - just a 5k to go

... and at Mile 22, I saw my dad - for what would end up being the last time before the Finish - and I got teary again. He was cheering and taking my video and I could tell how proud he was. I just lost it.

I started walking for a moment, settled my emotions and got back to running. I had a goal to beat.

So as we ended back up on the highway I saw the Mile 24 sign. Just 2.2 miles to go...

Once we met back up with the half marathoners that were still finishing, the crowds grew in numbers, the signs were amazing, and it was time to bring it home.

Then there came a hill. I remember turning to the guy running next to me and saying "Can you believe they put a hill this close to the Finish?" For some reason he didn't want to chat. :P

Mile 26 - in all its glory - there it was.

I looked down at my watch and realized I had less than 4 minutes to get to the Finish and accomplish what I set out to do.

Getting to the 0.2 mile shoot ... seeing the Finish Line ahead of me ... everything around me became a blur. I couldn't hear anyone (as noted by a fellow WW Leader who said she was cheering for me and I didn't respond - Sorry Tara!), but of course I noticed that the camera guy wasn't taking pictures as I came up to the "Smile" signs less than 0.1 from the Finish.

Then I mustered everything I could and moved my legs as fast as I could across the finish. I stopped my Garmin and realized - I DID IT!


I threw my arms up with such excitement I could've pulled a muscle.

It was over. Wow! All that led up to that moment.

But, I was too busy grabbing my medal, my chocolate milk, my water and my bars to focus on all of that at that moment. :0)

 Thanks Got Chocolate Milk for the Refuel!

Somehow out of all the people, I spotted Michelle and Tori (who were proudly showing off their Half medals) in the crowd. After meeting up with them, I realized I could not catch my breath. I just couldn't get a full breath.

We found a patch of grass, I laid down, took some deep breaths and started to cry. Tori asked me "are those happy tears?" And I assured her they were in fact tears of joy that I couldn't stop from flowing.

But above all there were SMILES

I did it. I officially finished in 3:58:49 - beating my honest goal by 37 seconds. Yup, I took 2 hours and 37 seconds off my marathon time. :)

I keep looking at this picture on my phone and bursting with PRIDE!

I still look at the race info - the pace, the finish places - and I can't believe they are really all mine! I finished within the top 25% in all of the categories  - wwhhaaa??? Amazing.

I signed up for this marathon the day I hit my goal weight with Weight Watchers in January 2012 as a way to celebrate. Little did I know how much the training and the experience would truly enrich my life...

I was so happy that Michelle and Tori were there by my side at the Finish...

... as well as my dad throughout the course and at the Finish. I am wicked lucky that he makes the trek to see so many of my important races.

And I also thank my mom who hangs back to watch the pups!

So once I caught my breath and we all located each other at the massive Finish area, we got my medal engraved - a must for me at any race that offers it.

Isn't it beautiful?!?!

So I'm sorry this post got lengthy and probably me rattling on at lots of different points. But for me, this race wasn't about my pace at each and every mile - even though I kept track of those numbers - it was about the experience and finishing what I set out to do. I accomplished yet another thing on my bucket list.

The race course and scenery wasn't everything I imagined. I thought we would be running through more of the 22 squares Savannah had and less time on a highway, but I understand logistics can be hard. The crowds made up for all of that and then some.

So I will leave you with this note in terms of the marathon:

We all rocked, rolled and marathoned through Savannah!


Next post will cover the rest of the day or "post marathon" Saturday!

P.S. If you made it through the whole post, congrats!! Now get a beer - you deserve it. :)