"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?


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)

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?

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Tedy's Team Group Run - 12 Miles

You may be double checking your calendar and wondering to yourself: "Hmmm, I thought today was Sunday?" Well you are correct.

Normally Tedy's Team runs take place on Saturday mornings, but with the cold temperatures set to be -5 with wind chill some of my teammates and I decided to postpone the run to Sunday.

Amazing decision!

My teammate Nanci organized a small group of folks from three different Boston Marathon charity teams to meet at the end of the Minuteman Bikeway in Bedford, MA.

The path has been cleared by a dedicated group of volunteers and the weather was a balmy 25 degrees. ;) It felt like a heat wave for recent Boston standards. :P

Shortly after 10am the 8 of us headed out for a fun 12-miler. I really love running a group. It helps pass the time and it is the pick-me-up you need when you are deep into a run and your mind wants to quit!!

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I was happy I brought my phone with me so that I could capture a couple in run photos for the post.

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I am getting better at remembering to document my runs. It is a wonderful thing to look back at.

Mile 1: 9:25 Mile 2: 9:28 Mile 3: 9:35 Mile 4: 9:27

Just after hitting Mile 4, we took a much-needed pit stop at the local Starbucks. It is located in Lexington Center and right along the path, which was perfect for all of us to either stretch, grab water or take a trip to the bathroom. It is like they knew we would be missing our Tedy's Team water stop. :)

It was great listening to Cristina talk about going from a 14 min/mile runner to a sub 3:40 marathoner. She started running 7 years ago when she came to America and decided to give up smoking. She used running as an outlet and is one amazing inspiration!

Once the group was set, we headed back out on the path. It was nice meeting a couple new people who I hadn't chatted with before. I love getting lost in conversation because it helps the miles pass.

Mile 5: 8:57 Mile 6: 9:03

We had decided on an out-and-back loop so at Mile 6 we hit the turnaround and headed back to our cars. Why yes we talked about how telling ourselves: "Let's run six miles then back to the car" makes the 12 miles seem shorter. Anyone else? Hello mind games to get a long run done. :P

Mile 7: 8:57 Mile 8: 9:07 Mile 9: 9:04

The Minuteman Bike Path offers such gradual inclines that you don't really recognize it is happening until you are on the decline. :P Thankfully most of us knew that going in as many of us have used the Minuteman path for training runs before. But it was a nice surprise for the newbies. ;) I'm sure their legs appreciated it.

The path had a constant flow of runners and bikers, which is such a great motivator. I love waving and giving the "runner's nod" to folks passing by.  And of course I forget I am wearing Superman socks and that is why folks are giving me a second glance as I run by. Yes folks those are capes attached to my socks! Be jealous!

Mile 10: 8:50 Mile 11: 9:02 Mile 12: 9:18

The last three miles were only tough because of my shoulders. Since getting rear-ended due to snow on Thursday, my neck and shoulders have been super sore. I took 3 rest days (Thurs, Fri, Sat) to try to recoup, but the neck/shoulders started to feel heavy by the end of the run. I think it was from holding my arms in the usual 90 degree angles that may have put a little extra pressure on the shoulders. I know I will be okay for next week's Dopey Challenge, but it was something to note.

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Additionally, my foot felt pretty strong the whole run until a little nagging soreness came in at the end. I think some of that could be on account of the slipping from the snowy ground. But, it wasn't anything more than I have been dealing with since September. I am still waiting to hear the results on last week's MRI.

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As we finished up the final mile, we ended back at the parking lot. The parking lot in Bedford is known as Depot Park and features the Rail Diesel Car 6211 (pictured above), which is a vintage passenger car which formerly ran on the Boston-Bedford rail line.

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I really want to thank Meghan and Julia for really great conversation out of the path. It was great to talk about running, weight loss, addicting behaviors and other things. Yeah sometimes convos on runs turn into cheap therapy! :)

But, this week I cannot say "until next week's run" as I leave for Disney on Tuesday. Soooo I will rejoin the Tedy's Team group runs on January 18th...


Week 3 Workouts:

Sunday, December 29: 10 mile run

Monday, December 30: 4 mile run and 50 min Spin class

Tuesday, December 31: 2 separate 5 mile runs for a total of 10 miles

Wednesday, January 1: 1st Run 5k

Thursday, January 2: REST DAY after getting rear-ended in the snow

Friday, January 3: REST DAY after car accident

Saturday, January 4: REST DAY after car accident

Sunday, January 5: 12 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 $12 in honor of the 12 miles I ran today with Tedy's Team?

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Tedy’s Team Group Run – 10 Miles

I knew today I needed the group for this to be a successful 10 mile run. This would mark my longest run since the Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Half on October 27. Exactly. :P My teammate and ride, Meg, wouldn't be making it today so thankfully my dad swept in and was able to drop me off at Joint Ventures in Kenmore Square to meet the team. I was one of the first to arrive, which gave me ample time to use the foam rollers pre run.

Now if you remember from last week, I ended up behind the rest of the group because my Garmin was having trouble finding satellites. So this week I tried something new. I actually located satellites before I went into the building and kept my Garmin by the window while I stretched and chatted pre run. When I walked out the door with the group I was ready to rock and roll immediately. Yay!

I set out with Nanci, Cristina and Sara and as usual we fell right into conversation. The three of them actually ride to the runs together so we were talking about how having that accountability is so helpful to get to the training runs. It was also nice to talk with other runners about checking the ego at the door and knowing that these long runs aren't about pace, but putting in the miles.

Somewhere between Mile 1 and 2, I heard my name from someone behind me. It ended up being Erin, a girl who I met on the bus to Hopkinton/Start Line the morning of the Boston Marathon. How crazy is that? We met in line waiting for the buses and ended up sitting next to each other on the trek up there. Erin and I had a great conversation before heading to our separate charity houses. After the bombings, I always wondered what happened to Erin and her family (especially her dad who also ran as a qualified runner). It was GREAT to see her.

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Erin didn't finish that year and is running in 2014 with the Melanoma Foundation. She let me know that from here on out she would be joining us for the Saturday long runs. Yay!

Mile 1: 9:29 Mile 2: 9:24 Mile 3: 9:15

Just after hitting Mile 3, we had our water stop. They always seem to come juuust at the right moment.

Thankfully I was so wrapped up in conversation with the crew that I wasn't even thinking about pace or my foot pain. Yet another reason why I like running with a group.

Mile 4: 9:15 -- a nice hill at BC. I use the term "nice" loosely. ;) We got to avoid it last week since it was the turnaround point for our 8-miler, but since we were doing the 10-miler this week - no such luck. :P I know hill training is necessary, especially for Boston, but that doesn't mean I have to enjoy it.

Nanci and I were booking up the hill together swapping Fundraising ideas, which is wicked helpful.

As we approached the Mile 5 turnaround, we were able to enjoy a downhill, but of course you have to turnaround at that point and the hill is there to welcome you back.

Mile 5: 9:10

After the turnaround, I ended up back next to Erin so it was a great time to learn more about each other.

Mile 6: 9:10

The water stop ended up at 6.92 miles. It was nice to know we had just 3 miles left to the Finish. I think the paces can show that we were in a good groove together.

Mile 7: 8:46 Mile 8: 8:46 Mile 9: 8:37 Mile 10: 8:39

I felt great after the 10-mile run. My foot pain was dull and constant, but it has been that way for months so it wasn't anything new. Otherwise the body felt great, especially with it being Day 31 of the #RWRunStreak.

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John, our running coach, let us know that this route is actually hillier than last year because we are starting in a different spot. I just keep telling myself that it is worth it and I know it will be.

Before today's run I made egg whites and toast an hour before the run would start and I felt great. I think it was the perfect mix of protein and carbs. With every run, I tweak the pre-run fuel to find the perfect mix and I think this will definitely go into the rotation from here on out. Fueling is different for everyone and takes some trial and error for sure.

After chatting with the rest of the group and doing a little extra foam rolling, it was time to get a ride home from my mom and of course make a stop at Dunkins. I love a good post-long run iced coffee and hash browns ... worth every Point! ;)

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Until next week's run...


Week 3 Workouts:

Sunday, December 22: 15 min walk to gym, 55 min Zumba class and 6 mile run

Monday, December 23: 4 mile run and 47 min Spin class

Tuesday, December 24: 30 min stairmaster, 30 min elliptical and 5 mile run

Wednesday, December 25: 3 mile run

Thursday, December 26: 3 mile run

Friday, December 27: 6 mile run

Saturday, December 28: 10 mile group run and a 1 hour gym/coffee date with a friend


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?

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Tedy’s Team Group Run – 8 Miles

Layers - check Under Armour all tucked in - check

Garmin secure - check

Gloves on - check

Realizing at that moment that you have to pee ... UGH!!

Yes! That once again was my morning. Gotta love cold-weather running. :P

I took my ENERGYBits and stretched in my living room. Best all-natural pre-workout fuel in my opinion!

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My teammate Meg, her husband Joshua and her brother Justin (also a member of Tedy's Team) picked me up this morning around 7:15am to head to our second team run of the season - a nice 8-miler on the docket.

When we met last week it was a balmy 12 degrees! :O) Today we were looking at high 30s/low 40s for the run. Oh New England!

The group - which is actually compiled of about 10 different charities - set out from Joint Ventures at 8am. I headed outside to have my Garmin "locate satellites" with everyone else and it just wouldn't connect. Everyone else's were working without problem. Since I am tracking all of my mileage this year for the goal of set, I needed my Garmin working. So I told my usual running group to go on ahead without me and I would catch up.

Ugh! Not how I wanted to start the run. I really wanted to run with people. It ended up taking my Garmin an extra 5 minutes to locate a satellite. I was finally off at 8:13am.

My headspace just wasn't right. I was trying to change it to think of how awesome the weather was and how excited I was to rock my Christmas socks again! :)

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With the uncharacteristically warm weather today I had also put on too many layers so I was getting hot within the first mile. I was wearing my knit Patriots hat - as I do on almost every winter run - and I was sweating. So I tucked the hat into the back of my pants and make sure my shirt and vest would keep it secure.

Since I was thinking about so much, the first mile (9:04) passed quickly. I was at least 5 minutes behind the rest of the group so I wasn't sure if I would actually catch up to anyone or if I would just see everyone as we run an out-and-back route for our training runs.

Mile 2 (9:30) and Mile 3 (9:08) weren't anything special as I continued to try to get my head into a better space. I didn't want to be dwelling on things or miserable the entire run.

Thankfully I caught up to my teammate Jackie just after Mile 3 and invited myself to run with her for 4 miles. It was great to chat with her. Jackie has completed 13 marathons (PR of 3:55) and is currently training for her first Ironman (Lake Placid in July 2014). So it was great to chat with her about that, her past races and fundraising tips (she is a fundraising superstar!)

Having someone to chat with really turned my run around. We also ran with our teammate Cat for portions of Mile 3-7 too. I love picking these ladies' brains about triathlons since they are both season vets in that field. They were both there this summer when I did my first outdoor swim in the wetsuit days before my first triathlon. So thank you ladies for answering all those Facebook messages! ;)

Since Jackie was starting Ironman training she was on orders to scale back her usually speedy pace. I was loving it since I needed to work on keeping a consistently slow pace, which is needed for Dopey Challenge in a couple weeks.

We averaged about 10 minutes over those for miles:

Mile 4: 10:008 Mile 5: 9:58 Mile 6: 10:01 Mile 7: 9:59

I didn't realize until thinking about it now that I didn't once look at my pace while we were running together. I was so caught up in the conversation that I let that part of the run go. It was freeing. :)

Another bonus of running the same course week in and week out is becoming so familiar with your surroundings that you aren't worrying at all about make the right turn or getting lost. HUGE help!

I parted ways with Jackie for the last mile as she needed a pit stop. I decided to let the training wheels come off so to speak on the last mile and just go. I knew that Meg and crew would be waiting for me to finish and I didn't want to hold up their day any longer.

But, I had to stop and take a pic of a great sign I had seen at a random water stop earlier in the run.

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Awesome, right? It had me thinking about cookies for quite some time.

This water stop was run by Molly, the President and Founder of Blue Trailer. Blue Trailer is a new local company that will be renting mobile lockers at road races. Brilliant idea in my opinion. It was so nice to meet Molly and can't wait to check out the mobile lockers at an upcoming race.

After saying bye to Molly, it was time to head back into Kenmore Square. As I ran over the final little incline/bridge into Kenmore, I looked to my right, there was Fenway Park and I remembered how lucky I am to train in such a special town. I turned back in front of me and there was the iconic CITGO sign.

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Oh Boston you will always have my heart!

Right after snapping this photo, I hit the 8-mile mark. Mile 8 came in at an 8:10 min/mile pace. I guess the legs felt great.

This 8-mile run marked my longest run since completing the Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon on October 27.

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With the Dopey Challenge just two weeks away, it felt great to have a nice long run done and on Day 25 of the Runner's World Run Streak as well. Yes I would've liked it to be a pain-free 20-miler, but I am working with what I can right now.

Overall, this run was a tad trying at the beginning, but ended on a great note. Plus, it was pretty sweet to see my year-to-date mileage hit 1,089 after the run.

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I love reconvening with the group post-run to stretch and hear how everyone else's runs went. It is a such a great community. As I've said I do most of my runs alone so it is great to find a group that I gel with and am happy to run with. Plus, you can always find someone who is running at your pace.

Plus, we are all crazy enough to take this undertaking on while raising money for a great cause - whichever charity it is that they are from. :)

Unfortunately it was also at that point that I realized I lost my knit Patriots hat somewhere along the course. :( At some point, it fell out of the back of my pants and was gone. I was almost in tears since I had an emotional connection with that hat. Now I will try and find a new hat for 2014.

Until next week's run...


Week 2 Workouts:

Sunday, December 15: 55 min Zumba class and 5k run

Monday, December 16: 3.9 mile run and 50 min Spin class

Tuesday, December 17: 3 mile run

Wednesday, December 18: 4 mile run, 17 min walk on treadmill and 55 min yoga class

Thursday, December 19: 3 mile run

Friday, December 20: 3 mile run and 2 hour coffee/walk date with a friend

Saturday, December 21: 8 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 $8 in honor of the 8 miles I ran today with Tedy's Team?

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