The Dani Ryan Holmes-Kirk 3rd Annual 30th Birthday 5k Run-Walk Ramble: September 2014

When I turned 30 in September 2012, I wanted to celebrate my birthday in a new and exciting way. I didn't want to go out to dinner with friends and family. I didn't want to host a Happy Hour. I wanted to celebrate my healthier lifestyle and the fact that I would be entering my 30s in the 150s! An amazing feat for a girl who at one point topped the scales in the 230s! With the help of my family, The Dani Ryan Holmes-Kirk 30th Birthday Run-Walk Ramble was born. It was an amazing day that featured folks running or walking the 5k in person AND virtually.



Oh that's right! There were printable race bibs and Finisher's Medals for all.

What did I ask in return? A $25 donation be made to Tedy's Team and the American Stroke Association.

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.

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Tedy & I mid-run selfie: Mile 1 of 2014 Boston Marathon

In the past two years I have been lucky enough to call Tedy's Team family. I have run two Boston Marathons (2013 and 2014), the Rock 'n' Roll Nashville marathon (2014) and Falmouth Road Race (2014) with an amazingly motivating and inspiring group of people. Along the way my friends, family, blog readers and online community have helped me raise


to help #FightStroke so far.


My 5 Virtual Race Finisher's Medals

I run in honor of my Stroke Heroes - my grandparents - but through this journey, this blog and Tedy's Team it has become so much more. I run, sweat, train and fundraise for all those affected by Stroke.

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Tedy and I after Falmouth

I will be applying for the 2015 Boston Marathon team with Tedy's Team and I have a goal in mind:

I want to hit $21k raised!


Here's the latest opportunity to help... register for The Dani Ryan Holmes-Kirk 3rd Annual 30th Birthday (Virtual) 5k Run-Walk Ramble!!!

A virtual run-walk means you do the 5k (3.1 mile) “race” at your leisure during the month of September (anytime during the month)!!

Map out your own route, get your own friends together or jump on the old trusty treadmill/bike. Your call.

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.

Also, everyone will be entered to receive some pretty sweet raffle prizes that I have available!! 

Did you catch that folks? Raffle Prizes. Let's see who has jumped on board so far:

^A #Runner Shirt from the AMAZINGLY AWESOME Pavement Runner


^ A 1BandID - great Boston-based company, which is an ID that attaches right to your GPS watch or shoe


^ ENERGYBITS Sample Pack


^ 3-Pack of Perform Pain Reliever products (Roll-On, Spray and On-The-Go Singles)


^ WYCWYC Keychain thanks to Carla and Roni


^ One pair of ZENSAH Compression Leg Sleeves


^A New Balance 3Axis Pedometer


Runfellow "I Like Your Pace" T-Shirt (value $30)

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^ A pair of Feetures Running socks (value $10.99)

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*Remember list is still growing!*

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, where all proceeds go to Tedy's Team. If I make the 2015 Boston Marathon team, the fundraising goal is $5,400.

But wait... there's more!!

I have an anonymous donor who will match up to $1,200 raised by the Birthday 5k! Say whaa?? Heck yeah!

So if you are ready to help me Fight Stroke then check out the directions to sign up below!


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

1) Please register. (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 or walk or bike whenever you like during the month of September.

3) Once you complete the race please send me a photo of yourself and your time to



Finisher’s Medal


Download Your Race Bib Here!



Are you interested in getting in to the amazing raffle prizes? A $20 donation to Tedy's Team gains you 5 entries into the raffle!!

You can donate here.


Thank you all for continuing to support me and help raise awareness for Stroke. Please be sure you know the warning signs of a Stroke (courtesy American Stroke Association):


F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke. When you can spot the signs, you’ll know that you need to call 9-1-1 for help right away. F.A.S.T. is:

F.A.S.T. Letter F Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
F.A.S.T. Letter A Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
F.A.S.T. Letter S Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
F.A.S.T. Letter T Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.

32 Sign Ups For The Birthday 5k/Raffle In Honor Of Turning 32?

The day is HERE ... I am now the big 3-2! I am actually pretty excited for it since my 30s have kicked serious booty. Now I cannot wait to see what happens next...

So how can you help me celebrate turning 32?

Donate to Tedy's Team and help me #FightStroke in honor of my #1 Stroke Hero - my gramma.

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I am trying to raise the bar as last year on my birthday I raised $463 for Tedy's Team. Today I would love to have 32 sign-ups in honor of my 32nd birthday.


There are two ways you can participate:

1) The Dani Ryan Holmes-Kirk 3rd Annual 30th Birthday 5k Run-Walk Ramble

A $25 to Tedy's Team gains you entry to the virtual race, a printable bib, a Finisher's Medal and 7 entries into the raffle.


Sign up here!

2) Make a $20 donation to Tedy's Team and gain 5 entries into the raffle.

Donate here!

I have an anonymous donor who will match up to $1,200 raised by the Birthday 5k/raffle! Say whaa?? Heck yeah!

What does the raffle feature????

^A #Runner Shirt from the AMAZINGLY AWESOME Pavement Runner (value $25)


^ A 1BandID - great Boston-based company, which is an ID that attaches right to your GPS watch or shoe (value $19.99)




^ 3-Pack of Perform Pain Reliever products (Roll-On, Spray and On-The-Go Singles)


WYCWYC Keychain thanks to Carla and Roni (value $16)


^ One pair of ZENSAH Compression Leg Sleeves (value $39.99)


^A New Balance 3Axis Pedometer (value $29.99)


^ Runfellow "I Like Your Pace" T-Shirt (value $30)

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^ A pair of Feetures Running socks (value $10.99)

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Will you be one of the 32? :)

Help Me Celebrate Turning 32 By Fighting Stroke

TOMORROW I will be turning the big 3-2! I am actually pretty excited for it since my 30s have kicked serious booty. Now I cannot wait to see what happens next...

So how can you help me celebrate turning 32?

Donate to Tedy's Team and help me #FightStroke in honor of my #1 Stroke Hero - my gramma.

2014-08-09 15.38.05

There are two ways you can participate:

1) The Dani Ryan Holmes-Kirk 3rd Annual 30th Birthday 5k Run-Walk Ramble

A $25 to Tedy's Team gains you entry to the virtual race, a printable bib, a Finisher's Medal and 7 entries into the raffle.


Sign up here!

2) Make a $20 donation to Tedy's Team and gain 5 entries into the raffle.

Donate here!

I have an anonymous donor who will match up to $1,200 raised by the Birthday 5k/raffle! Say whaa?? Heck yeah!

What does the raffle feature????

^A #Runner Shirt from the AMAZINGLY AWESOME Pavement Runner (value $25)


^ A 1BandID - great Boston-based company, which is an ID that attaches right to your GPS watch or shoe (value $19.99)




^ 3-Pack of Perform Pain Reliever products (Roll-On, Spray and On-The-Go Singles)


WYCWYC Keychain thanks to Carla and Roni (value $16)


^ One pair of ZENSAH Compression Leg Sleeves (value $39.99)


^A New Balance 3Axis Pedometer (value $29.99)


^ Runfellow "I Like Your Pace" T-Shirt (value $30)

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^ A pair of Feetures Running socks (value $10.99)

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*Remember list is still growing!*


Are you going to help me celebrate AND #FightStroke?

Three Things Thursday: Zensah Edition

I've done countless posts about Zensah compression socks and sleeves. (Read here if you missed one) Since everyone knows/hears about compression socks and sleeves, I thought I'd use Three Things Thursday to open your minds to other products Zensah has to offer in the world of compression.

(Please note: I loved Zensah so much I was honored to be chosen last year as a Zensah blogger! This does not however sway or impact my reviews of their products! Ain't nobody got time for fake reviews!!!)


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The three Zensah products I'm bringing to you today are: Sports Bra, Shorts and Arm Warmers.

Let's get this compression party started ...


1) Limitless Compression Arm Warmers (value $34.99)

The latest addition to the Zensah arsenal are arm warmers. I wasn't sure what to think when I first heard about them. I mean I have seen friends running in arm warmers before, but hadn't tried it myself.

The description on the website explained it clearly:

Whether using the Zensah Limitless Compression Arm Warmers during an early morning run, or while working out, the arm warmers provide athletes with improved circulation for faster muscle recovery.

And who doesn't want faster muscle recovery? I knew they were worth a shot.

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I was trying to find the perfect opportunity to test them out and Boston weather gods must've heard me. We had a gorgeous, yet slightly chilly day this past weekend where I could actually rock a tank top. Destiny!

So I took the arm warmers out for a spin and they were really great. I didn't feel any swelling in my arms or hands. The sleeves stayed in place thanks to the comfortable elastic at the top. No pinching, which is always appreciated.

And you know my love of thumb holes.

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Zensah didn't disappoint there.

The arm warmers even have a small mesh pocket where you can store fuel, a house key or even your phone.

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My ENERGYBits are nice and snug!

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Now many of you might be thinking that having a phone on your arm without a strap might bog you down. I didn't find it a problem at all. It stayed in place and didn't pull the arm warmer down at all while running.

I'm excited to test these out more over the next few months. As the weather gets a tad warmer my hands tend to heat up first so I tested it and the thumbholes can be rolled up to the wrist if needed without causing a ton of discomfort.

The arm warmers currently come in four different colors: black, white, neon pink and neon yellow.

Key Features:

  • Essential transition piece for cooler weather
  • Moisture wicking and antimicrobial proprietary fabric
  • Mesh side pocket ideal for carrying iPhone, gels, or keys
  • Thumbholes for added hand warmth
  • Silver ions for thermal regulation
  • Compression improves circulation for faster recovery
  • Sun Protection
  • Made of 87% Nylon, 13% Spandex


2) High Compression Shorts (value $63.99)

I think we all know that running and training is always a learning process. Am I right?

There are always techniques and products we learn about from our peers.

Well, I encountered IT band problems in 2011. I knew to foam roll and went to physical therapy to work on the problem. It would creep back at times as it does.

But one day I was running with friend when she told me about compression shorts. I had no idea. I knew about socks/sleeves and was already addicted to those. But knew nothing about these compression shorts.

So I took myself to the Zensah website to learn more:

Run, bike, and recover faster with the Zensah High Compression Shorts, The compression shorts provide support to the upper leg, while allowing for unrestricted mobility in the lower leg.

Huh? So these little shorts sound like they could help the nagging pain in my hip and IT area.

Can you guess what happened next?

I tried them ... and they worked!

Shocking I know.

I now wear compression shorts the night before a big run and the afternoon/evening after.

My hip and upper leg couldn't be happier. They are thin enough that I will in fact wear them under work pants or a dress. Take that business casual.


At first I thought it was just another fad or something folks bought just because they sound cool, but I see the light. These shorts are heaven to my legs especially after dealing with Heartbreak Hill on a weekly basis!

Key Features:

  • 3D compression for extra support in the quadriceps
  • Moisture wicking
  • Keeps upper legs warm and loose
  • Made of 85% Polyamide, 15% Elastane


3) Seamless Running Sports Bra (value $35.99)


Sports bras are one of the most integral pieces of clothing when it comes to exercise.

Fellas you agree? Mansiere? Bro?

The #1 annoyance can be chafing. Ain't nobody got time for that! (yes I used that reference twice in one blog post - sue me! No wait don't!)

With a seamless construction and Zensah fabric, the Zensah Sports Bra prevents chafing. This high-performance running sports bra offers superior comfort and support, as well as giving you the option to add color to your workout.

I like comfort. I like support. I like color.

Seems like a winning combo to me.

And they ARE super comfortable. My addiction has grown and I now own this bra in five different colors and waiting for pay day to increase the collection.

The Zensah Running Sports Bra features moisture wicking technology that keeps you dry, even after the toughest workouts. The racerback allows for free movement. Zensah has the best sports bra on the market for runners, athletes, and any active woman. The 15 different color choices make it the most colorful running sports bra.

The sports bra does fit all body types, but know it only goes up to a L/XL so you would have to refer to the sizing chart before purchasing. My lovely lady lumps have shrunk - thanks weight loss - so I usually wear the M/L.

Key Features:

  • Seamless design = no chafing
  • Anti-Bacterial
  • Superior Comfort from the proprietary Zensah fabric in each Running Bra
  • Thermal Regulating
  • Moisture Wicking to prevent the running bra from becoming heavy with perspiration
  • Made of 94% Nylon, 6% Spandex


Have you checked out any of these Zensah products?

My Recent Running Finds

New toys. New shiny things. New running clothes. I love finding new gadgets or clothing to improve my running/gym experiences.

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Here are a few things that I have found through the interwebs.

1) Cory Vines 

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Cory Vines is a clothing company out of Montreal, Canada. I had the honor of speaking with their founder Daniel over the phone a couple of weeks back. Their products are available online only, which helps with cost, and are all about the buyers' needs.

We aren’t trying to sell 10,000 items. We only make things we are really excited about. Our goal is to keep it simple by providing a seamless shopping experience. We produce everything you need and nothing that you don't.

I sampled the Essential Long Sleeve in Sunset (pictured above), which retails for $35 USD. The fabric is soft, light and extremely breathable. Not only did it serve as a great base layer for my run it also is soft enough to wear while lounging on the couch watching movies.

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Don't you love a versatile and functional piece of clothing?

2) KT Tape

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I have been using KT Tape on my knee for all of my big races, especially since many of the bigger races have KT Tape booths at the expo so you can try it for free.

But as my body took a beating during marathon training for The Boston Marathon in April 2013, I needed support more often. I finally got the courage to try applying KT Tape myself rather than letting the experts do it at a race expo. :)

KT Tape has instructional videos on their website that make it easy enough for someone like me to correctly apply the tape.

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I use it on my knee on almost a daily basis for stabilization during my runs/workouts. After injuring my wrist during an obstacle race this past summer, I needed something to help stabilize my wrist while strength training and KT Tape came to the rescue.

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After seeing my friend Heather post on Instagram about KT Tape helping her ball-of-foot pain, I had to give it a try. I was diagnosed with Metatarsalgia last month and the metatarsal pad wasn't helping my pain in the slightest so I turned to KT Tape to help relieve some of the pain. I was skeptical at first because how could tape help relieve the pressure, but it has really helped. More so than the metatarsal pad. Now the pain isn't 100% disappearing, but it is making running bearable. I've even been able to participate in the #RWRunStreak thanks to KT Tape.

3) Armpocket

I was contacted to test out Armpocket and I am so happy they reached out! I had never heard of this product before.

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The Armpocket (this model valued at $29.95) can hold your phone, ID, credit cards, train pass, money for a post-run low-fat chocolate milk or coffee ;) and more. And by more I mean I could fit my ENERGYBits, my natural running energy boost, in the armband so I wouldn't have to bring an extra bag to a race when traveling solo.

Traveling to races or long runs solo is always nerve-wracking to me. Where will I bag check or stash my stuff along the way. But Armpocket can actually hold all of my essentials in one place, while keeping them dry (it's water resistant), being lightweight on my arm and keeping me fueled throughout the run.

The Armpocket offers different colors and different models to match all smart phones!

4) Zensah Smart Running Gloves

How many times have you tried to change a song on your iPod during a run only to have your glove fail at "swiping" the smart phone screen?

Enter the Zensah Smart Running Gloves (retail $29.99).

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The gloves not only keep your hands warm, but they also allow you to finally change the songs on your iPod or text a friend without having to take your gloves off. Let me tell you as someone that runs in the unbearable cold temperatures of the Boston winter I am psyched for these beauties. They are going to come in pretty handy while training for the 2014 Boston Marathon.

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The gloves in action setting up my Runkeeper for my latest run. Look ma gloves on and I can still work my phone! :)

5) ACTIVE Accessories


Active Accessories’ On-The-Go Accessory Pouch is a versatile, sporty clutch designed for people of all ages who are always “on the go”. Designed to fill the reoccurring need of a “fun and athletic looking” accessory holder to put jewelry in when going from work to the gym or running outside. Never lose an earring again!

Since I usually head to the gym from home, I haven't had to use it to hold my jewelry accessories (as the owner of Active Accessories, Nancy, does) but instead as a way to bring my essentials on walk with a friend to get coffee or a trip to the gym. This cute clutch (value $9.99) can hold my ID, credit card, cash, keys and my iPhone while I am out and about. This is a HUGE help since I usually jam all of that stuff in my pockets, which isn't the most secure way to do it, or I leave everything on top of the piece of the exercise equipment I am using and inevitably fall of mid-workout. So now all of my valuables are in one safe spot.

Plus, I can rock this on a daily basis while running errands as well. Talk about getting your $10 worth.

But, I like where Nancy was going when inventing this product. When I had to go straight from work to the gym or vice versa, I would just shove my jewelry in the side pocket of my gym bag, which wasn't a safe way to hold my valuables or a way to keep my necklaces from tangling with my earrings.

6) 1BandID


I am one forgetful person when it comes to heading out for my run or leaving the house on the norm. So when I found 1BandID I got excited that I could now attach my information (which every runner should have on them whenever they are out hitting the pavement) to my Garmin. I never run/walk without my Garmin so having my info attached to the Garmin itself seems genius.

I was sold after reading their website:

What Makes 1BandID Different

  • It attaches to your watch, GPS or Heart Rate Monitor band, the one thing triathletes, runners and most cyclists wear most often. It simplifies safety and helps make ID unforgettable.
  • Patented design that minimizes bulk and weight. It's an identification tag that is so light and comfortable you won't even know it's there until you need it the most. So while you're checking your heart rate, distance or time, or clocking another lap at the track, 1BandID has your back. 
  • Neoprene instead of nylon so it doesn't absorb water. It's ID that is built to withstand countless hours in the pool or any weather mother nature throws at you on the road or trail.
  • Nearly indestructible stainless steel tag holds up to 6 lines of crystal clear contact and medical information. Because seconds count in an emergency, the most important information is plainly visible on the front of the tag.
  • Available in lots of colors so you can accessorize your race kit, show off your mood or just pick your favorite.
  • Made in the USA and proudly shared around the world.

All of that for $19.99. Seems like a no-brainer to me!


There are just a few of the new products that I've discovered and enjoyed using on my runs/trips to the gym recently!

I hope some of these can help you! :)

LA (Part 3): I rocked it & I rolled it!

Did I really run two 10ks the day before the Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon? Yes yes I did.

I woke up Sunday (October 27) morning with the realization that I was actually in LA to run that amazing Half Marathon. Ha!

I had such an amazing time between the Expo/Blogger Meetup and the Haunted Trails of the Night 10k that I couldn't wait for the Half.


I bound off the couch before the 5am wakeup call that morning. I was ready to go. I am always worried that if I hit snooze I will sleep through the race so I make sure to keep that little extra pep in my step in those moments. :)

Thankfully I always lay out flat Dani the night before so getting ready was easy. Ray, my teammate, wasn't running, but offered to drive me to my friend Andrea's place so she and I could drive to the race together.

Yay not having to take the Metro by myself.

It was great to catch up more with Andrea (a fellow Weight Watchers Leader) while driving to the race. We are both early birds and like to get to races with time to spare.

Since we left the place she was staying right on time and she found a "secret" parking garage for the race, we were there with plenty of time to spare. It was perfect really.

She ended up parking under the LA Convention Center (where the expo was) so I actually knew where we were. Yay! We exited the Convention Center and a block later we bumped into the Starting Line (on our right)

... and the post-party stage/party area (on our left)!

Talk about convenient.

Before Andrea and I parted ways, we ran into my Got Chocolate Milk #TeamRefuel running mate Jeremy.

Thanks for the pic Jeremy!

It was soooo nice to finally meet Jeremy after interacting together so much on social media!!

I bid Andrea and Jeremy adieu as I headed to find the Rock 'n' Roll VIP tent. I can't thank Got Chocolate Milk enough for the access to the VIP area before the races. Wicked nice to have special bag check and bathrooms.

Thank you to the Farms of Beverly Hills at LA Live for opening a portion of their website to this VIP area. I even got to take a pre-race selfie! Phew! :P

I was even able to charge my phone so I would be able to take it on the course with me.

Before I knew it it was creeping up on 7:30am (Start time) and I headed out to Corral 3. I was searching along the way for friends running, but didn't notice any of them. The course would be two different loops/out-and-backs so I hoped to run into everyone I knew along the way ... literally!

I made it to Corral 3 with minutes to spare.

I love taking in the atmosphere at races especially the pre-race vibes. You see some people that are totally calm, some that are nervous, some that are making last minute adjustments to their playlists and on this day people fixing their costumes. Yes, since this was October 27 many people we rocking some pretty sweet costumes out on the course.

I was too wrapped up in the people watching to realize it was our Corrals turn to hit the pavement.

Before the race started, I knew I wasn't going to PR so my goal was to have as much fun as possible and enjoy the race. Especially since I had run just under 13 miles the day before.

The first few miles felt effortless which made me think I was probably running at a pace slower than race pace. I was sticking with the 1:45 pace group for awhile and thought if I stuck with them great - if not, I'd be okay.

I promptly lost that group in the late Mile 2/early Mile 3 because I started taking pictures. What was I taking pictures of? The LA Coliseum. The. LA. Freakin'. Coliseum.

I was going to take FULL advantage of this experience.

Go ND! :P

Heelloooo fog!!

And there was no way I was making it out of the Coliseum without taking a pic of the Olympic rings.

Soooo freakin' cooooolll!!!

It was the happiest 10 min/mile pace I've ever had. :P

After leaving the Coliseum, I actually noticed Doctor Dribble out on the course. He dribbles two basketballs while running half marathons and marathons. A-freakin-mazing.

Can you tell I was enjoying the run? We weren't even four miles into the race yet and there was so much excitement.

Once we left the coliseum, folks were coming towards us for their loop around the stadium. I peered through the crowd looking for any familiar faces, but unfortunately didn't see any of my peeps. Darn! But there were a ton of amazing costumes out there so I was still entertained.

There was also a Mini-Marathon race going on alongside the half. Folks were running and walking 3.55 miles. It was great seeing those folks costumes, but I was slightly jealous as we passed the six-mile mark and those peeps were heading to the Finish and we had to keep going. ;)

But, I pulled up my big girl shorts and kept putting one foot in front of the other. My legs were feeling pretty good despite all the running and walking I'd done the day before.

There was a slight incline as we headed through the Financial District, which woke my legs up from the night before. You may remember those hills during the trail run - yikes! But, I channeled my Spinning training and powered up. As we approached the hilly bridge at Mile 9/10, we entered a tunnel first with a DJ and lights.

I took pictures and video in the tunnel of the wheelchair races and elite athletes zooming past us, but they came out a blurry mess. I should've stopped to shoot them rather than snap on the go. Next time.

But it was wicked cool to see those speedy guys zooming past and looking as if they hadn't even broken a sweat. The wheelchair athletes as well are such amazing inspirations. I couldn't stop cheering and yelling for all of them. Just one of the reasons I love out-and-back type courses.

The bridge - and it's subsequent incline - seemed to last from about Mile 9 through mid-part of Mile 10.

Can you see how foggy the whole race was?

There was a water station and band stationed at the top of the bridge and it was just what I needed as my legs were starting to feel the hill workout they had done the night before.

I hit Mile 10 and my legs felt like lead. I tried to remind them (and yes I talk to my body parts) and let them know that the inclines were over. As I enjoyed the downhill off the bridge, the friends I know and love started popping up all over the course. I was able to cheer for all the familiar faces I know and love. I threw up high-fives when possible, big arm waves in other instances and air kisses to anyone that wanted them.

My smile got bigger and bigger as I passed familiar faces. Have I mentioned I love the out-and-back course? ;)

Every time I saw a familiar face I got a little pep in my step.

I knew I had less than a 5k to go and I was ready to give it my all, while still trying to take pictures and tweet. Yes I was attempting to tweet and run at the same time.

We re-entered the bridge from before and I was met with a homeless person pushing a shopping cart. He was pushing the cart and trying to race the other runners. It was an enjoyable site for sure.

Sorry for the blurry pic, but again a result of running and snapping at the same time.

As I approached Mile 12, I thought it was the perfect chance to snap an in-race photo to share on Twitter and Facebook.

So on my phone screen this picture didn't look as frightening as it did on the computer. :P Can you tell how excited I was to be running ... and almost done? ;)

Once we passed that 12-Mile Mark, it was a straight shot to the Finish and I was ready. I love seeing the Finish Line in sight and giving everything you have to reach it as quickly as possible. Even if your mind is moving faster than your legs. ;)

See ya Mile 13, I'm Finish Line bound.

And there it was. Half Marathon #14 was in the books. I got my water, my medal and was off to stock up on my low-fat chocolate milk.

How cool is the Finisher's Medal?

If there's one thing RnR knows how to do, it's medals!!

I was proud to post a 1:53:19 - very respectable for me/the conditions. I never thought I would expect myself - even with stops, pictures, etc - to post a sub 2-hour Half. Oh how times change ... and I love it!

And as always, I pay the $20 to get my medal engraved on-site. I would never want to get all the way home to have someone engrave my medal only to mess up my name or time. If they mess up on-site, they have a box of medals to replace it! :0)

After chatting with social media friend/blog reader Curt from TherapyRunner at the medal engravement, it was time to head back to the VIP area and meet up with my Team Refuel running mates. :)

Gotta love a mimosa post-race, right?

I had a great time chatting with running mates post-race, especially Jeremy and Paul.

After soaking up some final minutes of free food, it was time to head out and meet up with my friend Dave for beer, brunch and Patriots football.

I wish the race had less fog, but I guess I should expect that in Cali, right? The race was well organized, had great cheerleaders and spectators along the course and was a blast overall.


Have you ever run Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Half?

I rocked & rolled through Providence...

Redemption. I was looking to redeem myself at this year's Rock 'n' Roll Providence Half Marathon.


Well last year I ran this race and narrowly missed a PR by a minute or so. But I was beat. I lost steam. I didn't know the course. I wasn't ready for the hills. I wasn't ready.

But, 2013 would be different.

I am a stronger now. I am wiser. I know the course.

So I was ready to enjoy the day.




Well, I was going to be running the ZOOMA Women's Half Marathon the day before on the Cape so I knew I wasn't going to PR in Providence.

But, I wanted to come out on the other end feeling STRONG since I felt the complete opposite at the end of last year's run.

On Saturday, September 28 after finishing the ZOOMA Half and grabbing a quick shower at Nancy's, it was time to hit the road ... after a quick stop at Dunkin' Donuts of course.

Mmmm caffeine!

The drive from Falmouth to Providence would take about 80 minutes. I cranked up the tunes and set off.

The weather was glorious and I got to Providence early enough to grab lunch before meeting up with my friend Samantha, who I was crashing with that night.

On hear advice, I dined at PJ's Pub which was close to her apartment. Funny thing was I asked them to recommend a local brew and they said: "Harpoon IPA." Sorry miss. That is local to where I live ... not you. I was looking for a RI beer, but they didn't have any on tap. Sam Octoberfest it was to celebrate my race earlier that morning.

After my GPS somehow sent me to the wrong address for Samantha's, I got myself squared away and finally found her place. She met me in the parking lot and we jetted off to the Expo to meet our friend Robin. Yay seeing blogging/Twitter friends turned real-life friends! :)

We picked up our bibs...

... must be a small crowd if this girl - yes me - somehow ended up in Corral 2.

Speaking of small crowds, the expo this year was TINY. It took us no time to do a loop - or rather a couple loops - around the Expo. I wanted to take advantage of the free KT Tape booth, but some girl was getting most of her body covered in KT Tape so I bagged it.

We then headed over to the Got Chocolate Milk booth so I could take a couple pics and meet the other Team Refuel runners.

It was awesome meeting Jill and John - two amazing athletes!

And of course we needed a pic with the chocolate mustaches!

I had missed this at the last RnR Expo so I wasn't missing my chance this time around. :P

Samantha, Robin and I headed back to Samantha's apartment to unwind, watch some youtube videos on her Apple TV and enjoy a couple glasses of wine. My kind of night.

We enjoyed a nice dinner at Chili's since both Samantha and Robin are Gluten-Free so it worked for all of us then called it an early night.

Hey Flat Dani

Why such an early night?

Because the alarm was going off at 4:30am. Again, damn these early race times.

Providence has been known to have massive crowds in the parking garage so our goal was to get there early to secure a spot ... and early we did.

Thankfully Samantha is a local and got us in and parked quickly.

This gave ample time to enjoy my pre-race KIND Bar, have multiple trips to mall bathroom so we didn't have to use port-o-potties, hit up bag check and hide in the warmth of the mall before the start.

Oh hello Finish, we would be seeing you in a few hours after this was taken.

Before I knew it it was time to head to our corrals. I made a last minute port-o-potty stop (damn small bladder) and Samantha and I went to Corral 2. Robin was already settled into Corral 1.

While standing in the Corral, I saw my Tedy's Team runningmate Jackie, who I had actually ran into earlier in the mall as well. Yay seeing familiar faces.

Before the race, the game plan was to run with Samantha, but she was feeling severly undertrained so we were going to play it by ear.

My foot was feeling sore so I had no idea what my body would bring for the run.

The Start was delayed, which was tough in the chilly air, but the announcer tried to keep it light.

It was finally time to begin. Robin and Corral 1 went off and a couple minutes later it was our turn.

From the get go something felt off in my right foot. I had been battling a pain in the ball of my right foot earlier in the week, but this was coming from the arch.

I tried to shake it off and keep running. Samantha and I hung together the first 1.8 miles or so before I needed another port-o-potty stop. I figured it I went around Mile 2 I would be golden the rest of the race. My nerves get to me at the beginning of races.

Hit up the port-o-potty, almost ran over some of the 3-mile racers (oops!) and I was back on the course just in time for the first hill of the day.

But this time I was prepared. I buckled down and pushed up. It was easier this year. The weather helped, but I just felt smarter.

I turned up the music on my X-1 Headphones, which I attach to my visor and tried to zone out.

As we approached Mile 4, I knew the big hill was coming. This is like a hill for what feels like forever, but is really around a Mile. But it just keeps climbing. I remembered it from last year.

After giving myself a fist pump for making it through that mile, the pain increased in my arch.

It actually got so bad that at Mile 5 - the transition point of the Half Marathon Relay - I thought about quitting. I was going to get my first DNF.

Oh hell no I wasn't.

The rest of my body felt AMAZING. I would keep soldiering on. I stopped at Mile 5 to stretch and started running again.

I had a huge debate with myself during the next 2 miles. I started crying. The pain was tough. I knew that if it became unbearable I would stop. I am not risking my Dopey Challenge training for one race or one medal.

As we came down a hill approaching the water, I looked up and saw this sight. I had to stop and take a picture.

The fog was so thick it looked like a horror movie. I expected something to come out at me. It was a cool sight though.

But the pain got worse. I actually took my phone out of my armband, clicked it off airplane mode and texted my wife through the tears. I had no idea why she wasn't responding until I realized it was 8am on a Sunday so she was probably sleeping.

I put my phone away and got back to focusing on putting one foot in front of the other.

As I approached Mile 9, I started feeling better. The foot started loosening up and the pain started to subside. Maybe it was the adrenaline. Maybe it was the tears. Maybe it was working itself out.

But I just focused on enjoying the race.

I hit the Mile 10 marker, I looked across the street (as this was the start of an out and back loop thing) and saw Robin. I totally looked like a fan girl yelling: "ROBIN! ROBIN! GO ROBIN!" She looked fast and strong.

So I pulled from the depths of my energy and gave it all I had. I pushed through and reminded myself I had just a 5k to go! I can do that in myself. (Ummm not really but it worked in the moment)

I kept ticking the miles off with each step. When I hit Mile 12, I realized I was going to get Sub 2 - even with a half the day before and a bum foot. I also knew there was the hill approaching the Finish - it got me last year - but not this.

I pushed even harder once I saw the Mile 12 marker, but made sure to keep a little in the tank for that final hill.

I took the turn towards the Finish, squated down a tad in my stance and pushed. I gave all I had on that final hill.

There was the Finish Line. There was the Capital. There was the Chocolate Milk.

I had done it.


Hell to the yeah.

With all that - half the day before and a sore foot - I finished just 1 minute and 24 seconds slower than last year. Are you serious? THAT just goes to show how much can change in a year.


Not sure the Chocolate Milk had ever tasted so good. ;)

Jill & I post-race

I chatted with the Got Chocolate Milk folks and headed off to get my medal engraved. I ALWAYS take advantage of the on-site medal engraving at the RnR races because if they mess up they have a whole box of medals right there to fix the mistake - not if I take it home. So it is worth the $20 to me.

Once the medal was set, I headed off to get my bag out of baggage claim and wait at the Letter X for my friends. It was so odd not having my wife there at the Finish and not seeing her out on the course. It took some wind out of my sails for sure.

Robin had OWNED the course and had delayed finding me because she needed a couple more cool-down miles. An inspiration to me on so many levels - she shed 90 lbs with Weight Watchers and completed her first Ironman in July.

Lucky to call her a friend!

Samantha finished. Her main goal. She did a great job too.

We didn't even plan to all be wearing Zensah compression sleeves. :P

It was great to spend the weekend with these two ladies. We had all done the race together last year as well, but staying together the night before made it special.

The Providence race is a great time. It is the right amount of challenge yet scenic enough to get you through it.

As always, the Rock 'n' Roll experience of having the bands along the course give you a bit of energy, the volunteers are always friendly and the spectators are encouraging.

We even hung out to watch the band for a little while. We were right up on the stage. I rarely go to concerts so that was just a cool experience.

Plus there are amazing places to grab a beer/food after the race. We had some misinformation on a couple places websites, but we ended up enjoying a great meal at Bar Louie.

But after a double race weekend it was time to head back home with happy memories in tow.


Do you enjoy the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series? Have you ever run in Providence?

I rocked & rolled through Philadelphia!!

Is there a better way to spend your birthday weekend than racing, exploring a new city, seeing an old friend, meeting online folks and setting a shiny PR?? NOPE!

Well not in my book. ;)

I arrived in Philadelphia on Friday, September 13th and had a great time walking around a bit with my friend Joann, who I've known since 7th grade (I'm 31). We hit a few local establishments before calling it an early night.

One of the best ways to explore a city - in my opinion - is on foot so I headed out bright and early Saturday morning (September 14th) for a little shakeout run before the following day's half marathon.

It was beautiful. Joann lives right by an entrance to the bike path so I hopped on and just let the legs lead me. I was planning on just running 2 miles, but I had something I wanted to see over a certain bend so I just kept running. I honestly wanted to keep going, but had to bring myself back to reality knowing I had a race the next day.

Thankfully Joann doesn't mind walking and Philly is a wonderfully walkable city so instead of driving or taking a bus or taking a train, we walked from her apartment to the Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Expo. It was a great way to hit some of the "must sees" of Philadelphia and the weather was beautiful!

Rocky and I conquering our dreams!!

I couldn't ask for a prettier day to explore a new city!

LOVE - wish my wife had been with me so we could've taken a cheesy photo together

We had such a great time walking and talking that before I knew it we had finally made it to the Expo.

After picking up my bib...

I made sure that one of my first stops was to the KT Tape booth to get my knee all taped up for the following day then it was time to see my favorite people: Got Chocolate Milk & Team Refuel.

Should I host my own radio show? ;)

Joann and I wandered around the Expo, trying out some free samples, running into familiar faces from Boston (yay Kelsey) and making sure I nabbed a sweet pic in front of the green screen.

I should wear these glasses all the time, right?

Following the Expo we hit up the famous Reading Market and continued our sightseeing/trek back to her apartment. We saw almost all historic landmarks Philadelphia had to offer as well as some of the most historic taverns. Balance, right? ;)

We had a lowkey/chill dinner before I called it an early night. I had an early wakeup call with the race.

Joann was gone, but thankfully she had a full length mirror so I could still do my pre-race selfie. Important or the race won't happen. :P

I got myself ready nice and early so I could hit up Dunkin Donuts first (hello coffee) and give myself plenty of time to get lost walking to the Start - just in case.

I did love the art on the walls of a certain bridge underpass as I walked to the Start.

It gave me something to think about as I ran later.

Thanks to Got Chocolate Milk & Team Refuel I was able to hang out in the VIP tent prior to the race and meet up with some of my teammates.

The wonderful Erika & Angela

The VIP tent was sah-weet. They had snacks, a special bag claim as well as Elite athletes all over the place. I felt extremely out of place, but had a great time sitting and chatting with my teammates. It was also nice to have a special area with bag claim and port-o-potties to use before heading to the Start Line.

Apparently I was too busy chatting, having my pre-race KIND Bar and Energybits and using the bathroom to realize I was cutting it close to the Start.

I had to hightail it over to Corral 4 and made it pretty much just in time.

Before the race started, I tried to tell myself to just take it easy. I was trying to use the race as a simple long training run. BUT I was also told that Philly was one of the flatest courses around and a great place to PR.

My mind and body were torn. Once the Start gun went off I said I would listen to my body. And no matter what enjoy the run.

And from the get go I had to pee again. I had to talk with myself of when to stop and use the port-o-potty or skip it. I also was sad to know I had zero people watching me along the course. I get sad when I don't have even one spectator I know personally.

But as I turned the corner (around Mile 2 I believe), there was a smiling face I was happy to see. The one and only Mission Meltdown (aka Dre). We know each other through blogging. He has one amazing infectious smile. I was BEYOND happy to see him. Plus he snapped this pretty sweet action shot.

I used his energy and love to push through the rest of the race.

I decided to hit a port-o-potty before the 5k mark and I was happy I did. Short line so the whole experience took under 45 seconds.

Once I left that spot, I was golden the rest of the race.

I just kept trying to enjoy the scenery around me and take in the experience. I actually was around the same few people the whole race so I made it my mission to try and stay with them or ahead of them for the rest of the race. Sometimes during long races you need to play games with yourself to distract yourself from the time.

I also was using a pacing bracelet for the first time ever. I picked the 1:45 bracelet out of the bin at the Expo. My previous PR was 1:44:30 so I thought having the bracelet might be a nice experiment to see how well I did.

It actually helped me make up time after the bathroom stop. :)

Philly is legit flat/downhill folks. We kept going down and down and I thought to myself at some point we HAVE to hit a large hill, yet we didn't.

I was making glorious time and my body felt awesome.

It was around Mile 7 that I realized. I might hit a PR if I play my cards right, but if I miss it - it will all be because of my darn bladder. :O)

I was cruising along listening to the convos of the folks around me when I came across a Rock 'n' Roll and Team Refuel legend - George (probably during Mile 8). We were online friends, but had never met in person. All of a sudden he came up next to me. It was great to have someone to chat with for a couple minutes - especially someone you have been wanting to meet in person for awhile now.

Every time I hit a Mile Marker, I checked my Garmin and checked my 1:45 pace bracelet. I was on my mark of trying to stay at least 30 seconds ahead of the pace band.

As we hit Mile 10, I just told myself "You just have a 5k to go - kick it up a notch." I tried to give it everything I had. I wanted a PR so bad I could taste it.

I tried to just focus on passing people - it takes my mind off the PR - and keep myself strong.

We were still on a slight decline, which confused the heck out of me. If you go down, at some point you have to come back up ... except in Philly. :P

As we passed the 12 mile mark, I ended up near someone running in jorts (jean shorts). I COULDN'T have this person beat me so I had to et in front of him.

I saw the Mile 13 mark and the road finally started to have an incline.

Of course!

Of course it would incline during the last tenth of a mile.

But I dug deep and gave it everything I had.

I crossed the line, grabbed my medal, took my post-race photo and finally looked at my Garmin. Unofficial time of 1:44:08 ... a freakin' PR!!! Ahhh!! Even with a 45 second port-o-potty stop.

I headed over to see my peeps at the Got Chocolate Milk tent ... I needed my sweet sweet After of chocolate milk.

I even got to snap a pic with George after he finished.

Love his hair! :)

After chatting with Lindsey from Got Chocolate Milk, it was time to head to the medal engraving tent and get my medal engraved. It is totally worth the $20 to me. I do it at each Rock 'n' Roll event. Why do it onsite? Well if they mess it up, they have a whole box of medals sitting next to them where they can redo it. You wouldn't get that if you waited til you got home.

The man told me I had an official finish time of 1:44:12. Still a PR by 18 seconds! :) Hell yeah! I jumped up and down!

Oh I'm sorry, does that say SUB 8 min/mile pace for a freakin' half. Yes it does. Whhaaa??? Me. Lil 'ol me. It is CRAZY what my body can do now. I am loving every moment of this adventure.

After my medal was all snazzy, it was time to head back to the VIP tent and wait for my Refuel teammates. The one thing I dislike about the RnR events is their post-race beer choice - Michelob Ultra. I just don't like wasting calories/Points on that beer. I have specific beer taste. ;)

BUT, when I went into the VIP tent, there were mimosas. Oh yes I will have one of those ... thanks!

I LOVED the medal and really needed to thank Team Refuel for the chance to run this race.

I added my own sparkle thanks to this Sparkle Athletic skirt.

As I was enjoying my mimosas and snacks (mmm bacon), other teammates starting trickling in. It is just such a treat to meet these online friends in real life.

What a great crew! Thanks Angela for the pics!!

This was a great great race. It really is one of the flatest courses I have ever run on. It was scenic. The bands along the way were rockin'! The volunteers were energetic. And the crowd - as always - was lively!!

Would I recommend this race? For sure!

After hanging with the crew for awhile, it was time to head back to Joann's house, grab a shower and hit up lunch with Joann. Sunday afternoon we finished up some touristy stuff, but called it a night early. Ordered in some sushi for a pre-birthday dinner and watched a movie at her place.

A lovely end to a lovely day as I had an early wakeup call the next day to head home. Yes I got to travel on my birthday. :P

Overall, it was one truly amazing weekend. I was surrounded by so much love, earned a shiny PR and just enjoyed the experience. I am one lucky lady for the opportunities I have received.

Until next time Philadelphia...

Argyle Zensah Compression Socks Giveaway

Annddddd the winners ARE:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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


What was life like before compression? How did I run for so long before welcoming compression into my life? Boy was I late to the party! Now I rock lots of compression ... arm sleeves, leg sleeves, socks and even shorts!!


And all from Zensah! About six weeks ago, Zensah gave me the opportunity to review a pair of Neon Yellow Compression Socks, which you can read here.

2013-04-13 11.57.47

While neon is fantastic (never thought I would say that outside of the 1980s), it doesn't go with all of my running outfits. Zensah to the rescue. Argyle Say whhaa?? You heard me ... argyle compression socks ($49.99 value)! Like the website states:

Zensah Argyle Compression Socks provide runners, triathletes, cyclists, and all athletes with increased circulation and decreased recovery time by utilizing advanced graduated compression in each pair of argyle compression socks - meaning the greatest amount of compression in the ankle and less in the calf area.



Of course I had to pick the white-grey-neon pink argyle socks since they go so well with my Asics running shoes. Don't you agree? We were a match made in Heaven. Many wonder when compression socks can be worn and Zensah puts it best:

The argyle compression socks are able to be worn prior to exercise to help runners warm up and prevent injury. Athletes are able to wear the compression socks during running and other exercises to help increase endurance through improved muscle oxygenation. Wear Zensah Argyle Compression Socks post-exercise provide runners, triathletes, cyclists, and athletes with a valuable recovery tool, helping to rebuild muscles faster.

Yup, that's exactly what I would say: before a workout, during a workout or after a workout!! Your choice! Personally, I am most apt to use the argyle compression socks for post workout recovery ... especially with some weakness in my left leg after a back injury/surgery/sciatica I suffered in 2011. The compression socks really help the blood to flow and to speed up the recovery process. I even go as far as wearing them at night while I sleep if I feel I really need the help! But, there are days when the legs are feeling sluggish or tired and I will break out the compression socks. The day I ran the Freedom Trail Run (June 8) was one of those mornings ... so my amazing neon pink-grey-white Zensah socks came with me. The day was overcast and some puddles remained from a heavy rain the night before, but the moisture wicking fibers kept my feet nice and dry. Additionally, the padded toe and heel offer extra shock absorption on the uneven Boston cobblestone streets. And you know how you hate when a seam gets in one of those uncomfortable positions in your sneaker and you have to stop running, pause your Garmin and adjust the sock ... not in the Zensah compression socks since they are seamless. Smart designers!


So, I may have chosen the neon pink-grey-white argyle pattern this time ... but Zensah has 6 patterns to choose from. Eek, which will I choose next? *Black-Electric Blue-Light Blue *Black-Grey-Light Pink *Black-Grey-Neon Pink *Black-Turquoise-Green Apple *White-Electric Blue-Light Blue *White-Grey-Light Pink *White-Grey-Neon Pink *** So, now we get to the exciting part ... do you want to do know what it is? Well, I guess the title of this post gave it away ... it's a GIVEAWAY!!! Zensah generously offered a giveaway with not 1, not 2, but 5 lucky readers will win their own pairs of Argyle compression socks! YAY!!!!! Here's how to enter: The giveaway will run from Monday June 17 (9am ET) through Friday June 21 (9am ET)!

The winner will be selected and announced on Friday!