Discount Codes For A Few Products/Races I Love

Who doesn't love a good discount code? I know I do. But it HAS to be for a product I love and care about. So here are a few discount codes I have been granted thanks to products/races I love: ***

ENERGYBITS

energy
energy

What are ENERGYbits you may ask?

Made from 100% organicallly grown spirulina algae and loaded with 40 nutrients, ENERGYbits® algae tabs have the highest concentration of protein in the world (64%) all for just one calorie per tab. Endorsed by the United Nations as the most nutritious food on earth, spirulina algae has been a favorite of Olympic gold medalists for decades and is a super food in every sense of the word, delivering instant and enduring energy to your brain and body.

ENERGYBits can be used for:

  • Increasing Energy
  • Increasing Endurance
  • Increasing Mental Vitality
  • High Protein Snack
  • Curbing Hunger
  • Balancing Blood Sugar
  • Lowering Blood Pressure
  • Reducing Fatigue

Use code WEIGHTOFFMYSHOULDERS to receive 25% off your order!

***

X-1 Audio

A good pair of headphones are HARD to find in my opinion.

x-1a
x-1a

So what makes X-1 so special?

Inspired by the Bell X-1, the first aircraft to break the sound barrier, the team at X-1 set out to perfect a line of products that break down the barriers of sound, allowing athletes to harness the power of music regardless of sport or climate. Whether you’re a triathlete, swimmer, runner, kayaker, snowboarder, climber, weightlifter, or a gym goer, X-1 offers audio solutions that can withstand everything from trekking through the mud to running in the rain to diving 12 feet underwater.

They even have a special set of headphones designed for women.

You don’t train in the same clothes or shoes as male athletes – why should you settle for headphones made for men? X-1 For Women headphones were built specifically for female athletes. They were designed to fit smaller ears and are integrated with features that keep you safe, without sacrificing the performance you demand. The X-1 For Women line is the result of female athletes designing features and functions for the needs of female athletes, from smaller, ultra-light earbuds to ambient noise allowance that keeps you aware of your surroundings. You are strong and powerful – and now you can have a sports audio system that works as hard as you do.

I purchased the waterproof headphone system so I could listen to music while training in the pool and they ROCK.

x-1
x-1

Use code DANIHOLMES-KIRK20 to receive 20% off your order!

*RECAP* VERT Big Bad Wolf 5-Mile Trail Race

It's not often you get to run or party with a wolf...

Okay okay so at Saturday's Big Bad Wolf 5-Mile Trail Race we didn't actually party or run WITH the wolves. BUT we looked at them. ;)

We made the 45-minute trek to Ipswich to rock the Wolf Hollow with my fellow Slumbrew Happy Soles. I love meeting new people and seeing familiar faces when the Happy Soles get together at a Cambridge 5k/VERT Race Series race.

After lots of hugs and laughs before the race even started, it was all of a sudden the 1 minute warning that the race was starting. Ohhh I am with all my friends to actually race THEN drink beer. Oops I sort of forgot about the running part. ;)

I finagled myself up to the Start Line and we were off. I had no expectations for the race. I was hoping to beat last year's time (40:38), but with the sore hamstring I didn't have my hopes up.

I started the race chatting with fellow Happy Sole Kate, who was also experiencing some pain in her hamstring area. So we swapped treatment ideas.

The first 1/4 of a mile or so is on the sidewalk as we head from the Start/party area to the field/trail portion of the race. The race is tight at the beginning, but really opens up once you enter the field.

Since I did this race last year, I knew the terrain. The race consists of two 2+ mile loops.

The Big Bad Wolf is a great into to trail running. The race is in a huge open field with some small inclines. It also features that uneven terrain that basically all trail races have. The kind of uneven footing that you feel in your ankles the next day.

But thankfully there aren't any huge inclines/hills that you will have to face.

I really would recommend it to all fitness levels/paces. There were runners, run/walkers and walkers on the course.

Mile 1: 8:02 Mile 2: 8:01

I was really shocked at the pace for the first two miles. I think I was excited to see so many fun folks out on the course. Also there were some STELLAR costumes out there. Folks who take part in this race series take the costume contest very seriously. ;)

Mid-run selfie

I made sure to slow it down this mile while doing the mid-run selfie and posting due to the uneven footing. I had a sprint tri the next day and REALLY didn't need to twist an ankle.

Mile 3: 8:17

On the second loop, I felt some pain in my right hamstring. NOOOO not both of them. Oh yes folks both of them. I tried to keep focused on being over halfway done. I promised myself I would stretch extra when the race ended.

The final loop was a little tough. Knowing how long you have left in a race can be pretty tough mentally. Anyone agree?

I really need to hand it to VERT for offering free race photos. Yay!

I was trying to give the photographer a "Hey there" hand gesture, but he caught me mid gesture so I just look awkward.

Mile 4: 8:14

Man was I happy when the Garmin buzzed for Mile 4. One mile to go. I wanted to stretch and enjoy a beer. :)

As we hit the pavement again, I knew I was in the home stretch. My Garmin buzzed before we hit the Finish Line for 5 miles.

Mile 5: 8:13

So my paces may be slightly off since the Garmin gave me 5.13 miles.

But either way the final time was 41:41. I was happy with the results even though I was almost a minute slower than the previous year. I finished 94th overall and 25th among females.

The Flagraiser IPA hit the spot post-race. I love seeing all my teammates come together after the race, checking in on each other and cheersing with a Slumbrew.

Once everyone had crossed, it was time for a group photo. Proud that our teammate Kristina said: "Now we chug ... 1 -2 -3" and this picture was born. :)

After our photo it was awards time.

Now our group never really has a shot at the team prizes ... except on this day.

Kate and Kat had brought two friends with them and welcomed them with open arms to the Slumbrew Happy Soles family. They just happened to be uber speedy. George (second from left) finished the race 3rd overall, while Craig (left) took the #1 spot overall.

These two speedsters helped land the Slumbrew Happy Soles in second place among the 12 teams.

Can you tell we were a TAD excited???

It was awesome seeing how excited the whole team was. We all took turns drinking out of the trophy.

Now we wait for the Slumbrew Taproom open so we can proudly display our trophy! :)

Once awards were handed out, it was time for the costume party and dance off. That's right this race has the complete package.

The wife and I had to duck out at this time as she had a hockey game. But it is always a joy racing with the Happy Soles.

So if you are in the Boston area and interested in trying trail racing? Use the Big Bad Wolf race as a jumping off point. If you don't want to drive to Ipswich, you can always use the commuter rail to catch the free race shuttle.

***

Have you ever thought about trail racing?

RACE RECAP: 2nd Annual Race To The Row 5k

How many races do you participate in that take place across the street from your house? Oh is that next to none?

Yeah I feel you on that...

... except when the Race To The Row 5k comes around!

That's right. It takes the wife about 5 minutes (more if there is a stop at Dunkin' Donuts for her) to get to the Start Area of the Race To The Row 5k, which is at the new Assembly Row area in Somerville, MA.

When the inaugural race took part last year, the Assembly Row area was still under construction so the race course lacked a lot of visual beauty. But with Assembly Row in full effect this year, I was ready to enjoy the beautiful new buildings and shots of the Mystic River.

Since the race didn't start until 9:30, I was 1) able to sleep in and 2) could do bib check day of. Woo!

We decided to leave the house just after 8:30 to stop at Dunkins and give us enough time to chat with friends before the Kids Race would start at 9:15.

There were a lot of great local businesses set up near bib pick-up and day of registration.

Somerville's own Runfellow gear

Runfellow also hosts a Tuesday night run club, which changes venues each week, but always takes place in the Somerville-Cambridge area.

b Positive Project out of South Boston

After browsing the booths, we made sure to get a good spot for the Kids Race. It was just about a 1/4 mile and each participant received an adorable Finisher's Medal. (Side Note: I really wish I had entered ;P)

My favorite was this tiny tiny boy with a big Superman cape on. I really wanted to borrow it from him, but he seemed attached to it.

Once the kids and their parents cleared the Start Area, it was time to line up.

I had no idea what kind of time to expect. My body was tired from the workouts the day prior - 1.5 mile swim, 30 mile bike and 5k run - so I didn't expect a PR.

I actually PRed at this race the previous year pulling a 21:59.2... yeah that wouldn't happen again. But I was ready to give it all I had.

The Sun was out and ready to shine out on the pretty shadeless course.

Now the Somerville Road Runners, the group organizing the race, had changed the course from the year prior. We would now be doing 2 loops, which was intriguing.

As we lined up, I distracted myself by chatting with a fellow Nike Run & Walk Club and Somerville resident, Ben. He was coming off an injury so also unsure what sort of race he would have.

The goal as always was to enjoy the run ... and hurry to the beer! ;)

The horn went off and it was a blaze of color in front of me. I tried to keep myself in my own groove and not worry about the folks around me. Which is always easier said than done at the beginning of a race for me.

Since I am working on racing without music in prep for the Half Ironman, I spent most of the race listening to my own breathing and the breathing of the folks around me. Ouch! Not the best soundtrack for a run.

BUT there was a slight out and back portion of the race so I could cheer for my friends after rounding the first turn. YES! I love being able to do that. Plus, I could marvel at the lead pack. Man those guys were flying!!

Mile 1: 7:29

I may or may not have picked a couple near me after that first mile and set a goal to get ahead of them at some point in the next mile. Sometimes it is a fun game to play and a way to push yourself in a race.

As we hit the end of the first loop, I waved to the wife, gave Jillian (creator of Runfellow) a high-five (pictured above) and checked in with the body. I was hot and I could tell the legs were slowing down.

I picked myself up by posting my halfway mark selfie to the interwebs before bearing down and finishing off the race.

Not one of my finest mid-run selfies

At least with the double loop you know when the Finish is coming.

Mile 2: 7:38

Now I never actually saw the Mile 2 marker, but when my Garmin buzzed I tried to dig deep and give it everything I could for the final mile.

I was back-and-forth with a couple of girls during Mile 2 so I kept them in my sights during the final mile.

I can't tell you how many times I repeated to myself Beer Beer Beer during that last stretch.

The volunteers did a great job directing and cheering on the runners.

I definitely won over the water stop with my Sparkle Skirt! ;)

Oddly enough not so many comments on the BEER socks, which surprised me.

Oh and yes these were thoughts during the final 1/2 mile of the run.

Mile 3: 7:40

Just get me to the BEER!

Final Finish: 23:46

Sweet. I was definitely happy with that. The quads felt good and the left hamstring was a bearable dull pain. ;) Baby steps.

According to the results I finished 79th overall and 10th in my division. Yeah! I never end up in Top 10 of my division.

After crossing the Finish Line, I headed right into the post-race party for some food and beer.

I can't pass on mint chocolate chip ice cream at 10am.

Oh and Ernesto's pizza - great crust!

The post-race party was treated to the musical stylings of the IT Band.

It was a great vibe and always fun hanging out with my fellow Slumbrew Happy Soles.

The Race To The Row 5k is such a great local race and I cannot wait to see the race flourish over the years.

I will see you at the 3rd Annual race in 2015.

***

Did you Race To The Row? What was your favorite part?

Monday Musings: Weekend of Workouts & Wedding Wonder

Weekends this summer have been full of workouts, laughs, love, friends and family ...but not a ton of rest! So you can imagine this past weekend was right along those same lines. ;) My wife actually got up early on Sunday to get her 4 mile run in before we walked over to my 5k race and she quipped later that day: "Wow, I don't know how you do this getting up early to workout thing all the time."

It made me smile to myself. Now she appreciates the early mornings I put in so that we can have more time to spend together. :)

Sunday marked just two weeks until the Pumpkinman Half Ironman. Wow September 7 will be here before I know it. This weekend I needed to really buckle down and focus.

The workouts started bright and early Friday after a great weigh-in. Did you hear I am happily back in the 150s?

My goal on Friday was to get 4 hours in on the bike, but that didn't happen. Between a Recycle Studio Spin workout and a bike tide out to Bedford from Somerville - I spent about 3 hours in the saddle.

weekend

weekend2

But I still haven't gotten 56 miles in on the bike and I need to do that before the race just to show myself I can do it. So guess what is on the docket for this upcoming week?

The bike is so mental for me. My body knows it can do it, but the mind gets nervous and overwhelmed. Time to shut the brain down.

The rest of the Friday called for relaxation and blogging. Isn't that what all the cool kids do on a Friday night? :)

I had an early morning on Saturday. I wanted to hit up the 8am Weight Watchers meeting and claim my Ace Your Summer Challenge bling for having attended 10 of the last 11 weeks of meetings. Woo!

photo 3 (93)

It is such a nice and welcoming group. I am happy to attend their meetings and occasionally sub before I return to long run Saturdays this Fall.

I was smiling from ear to ear as members of the group talked about the fun they had attending the Nike Run & Walk Club that I have been helping to host. They talked about feeling welcome without thought of pace or fitness level. Exactly the kind of group I have been trying to create. :)

Full of motivation and inspiration, I headed to the pool to get my 1.2 mile time trial swim done.

photo 4 (78)

During the entire swim I felt strong and like I could keep swimming for days. :) I guess that training is paying off. :P It was a great morning in the pool full of entertainment from the kids' swim classes going on on the opposite side of the pool from me.

Once I was out of the pool, I had to race home, quickly change and head to my cousin's wedding dress appointment. How cute are the cards our friend Lauren made to judge the dresses?

photo 5 (57)

They are so my cousin. :)

Since I never did the wedding dress shopping thing myself (maybe some day), it was a complete learning experience. It really is a live version of Say Yes To The Dress. My cousin found a style she liked, but didn't say yes to a dress at the first location.

photo 4 (79)

My cousin & I working the duck lips

She inevitably found her dress at appointment #2 of the day, which I wasn't able to make.

While my Saturday afternoons were canceled last minute, I wouldn't waste the time by getting in my BRICK workout with my #1 supporter the wife by my side.

She humored me while I blabbered on about nothing for two hours on the bike trainer and then jumped on her bike while I knocked out a quick 5k (26:34) to shake the legs out.

weekend7

weekend6

She also listened to me curse out the wind for blowing in my face for the entire run. Not sure I could've said: "Are you serious wind?" any more than I did. Haha.

We decided to cook in on Saturday night and enjoy a lovely meal outside in the backyard, while the pups played.

photo (78)

Please note: it is the wife who is drinking Pumpkin beer in August. #TheShame 

The wife made Skinnytaste's Weeknight Skillet Sazon Chicken Tenders and it was delicious!! We paired it with our once a month treat of yellow rice (yum) and steamed broccoli.

After a fantastic dinner outside, we finally watched Muppets Most Wanted. It was cute but not nearly as good as the Muppet Movie from 2011.

Now while the wife got up early on Sunday to run I slept in until 7:15am - woah! Late I know. ;) But it was great to lounge around and snuggle some pups until she came home.

The Race To The Row 5k I was running on Sunday didn't start until 9:30am AND was located across the street from my house which meant a late departure time. Boy I wish all of my races were that close.

It was a fun morning with lots of friends. I will post a recap of that race shortly.

5k

I wasn't sure how my body would handle the race since I had done a 1.5 mile swim, 30 mile bike and 5k run the day before.

But as you can see it was pretty speedy. I ended up 79th overall and 10th in my division. Woo! I never reach the top 10 in my division so that was exciting.

Following the race I had a couple of hours of downtime before we headed to a wedding celebration for my friend Nicole and her partner Melsen. It was a lovely afternoon in Brookline with friends.

photo (79)

They had a great spread and a make your own burritos area, which totally was up the wife's alley. I ate most of the large salad they had available. :P

Our crew has gotten older and maybe more mature? Okay not at all more mature, but it was fun to come together to celebrate love and friendship.

With a busy weekend in the books, it was great to come home and just vet out for the rest of the evening.

I went to bed Sunday night with a happy heart, a complete Weight Watchers food tracker and renewed energy for the week ahead.

***

Since we know I am - for now - just enjoying adult beverages on the weekend, here are a couple of the local brews I tried:

photo 5 (58)

Berkshire Brewing Company

photo 3 (94)

Tap Brewing Company (Haverhill, MA)

Both were full of hoppy goodness...

***

Two other notes for this week:

1) I have a $10 off discount code for the Max Performance Buzzards Bay Sprint Triathlon on September 14.

bb

Use code: WOMSBUZZ14 (code expires Friday, August 29)

2) I am holding a giveaway for a free entry into the inaugural South Shore Half Marathon in Norwell, MA on November 2.

south shore

Feel free to enter here.

***

How did you stay active this weekend?

45 Hours On The Cape...

The Summer 2014 can NOT be described as the summer of getaways. Between local races and training for the Half Ironman, we have had very little free summer to take advantage of the awesome scenery New England has to offer. I mean we put up with the dismal winter for this very Summer!

So when I received a race bib through New Balance to take part in the Falmouth Road Race on August 17, we thought we would make a weekend out of it.

Okay okay... 45 hours!

photo 3 (92)

That's right. We did as much of summer on the Cape as we could in 45 hours ... including sitting in New England traffic. :P

Why 45 hours? Well I led two Weight Watchers meeting on the Saturday morning, which delayed our departure to the Cape to closer to 11:30/almost Noon.

cape9

So the dogs and I attempted a selfie while the wife got us much-needed Dunkins (aka Dunkin Donuts) for the traffic trip.

We were setting our for Sandwich, MA. My parents have had a camper there for two years and because of my race and training schedule I've never been there before. #DaughterFail Note this would be the pups third visit to the Cape. Yeah they have a rough life.

photo 1

I was surprised there wasn't more traffic seeing as how probably half of Boston would be on the Cape for the race. But I guess most were heading down either Friday or morning of.

Now I am not really a Cape person. I feel most Bostonians are either Cape people or Maine/Vermont/NH folks. Any Bostonians agree or disagree? Well I tend to head to Maine when given the opportunity, but free housing on the Cape helps. :)

So we arrived in Sandwich just before 2 (stellar time even with my necessary bathroom break) and were excited to see my parents' camper.

cape

How cute? My dad built the porch himself. :) It is SUPER spacious inside. I couldn't believe it. We got a little tour of the campground and their camp friends before heading out to see Sandwich.

photo 3 (90)

And they are just six steps from this great pond.

Well, first the pups needed to see the water.

cape10

Apparently the world revolved around them.

I lucked out and a Tedy's Team-mate Allie was able to pick my bib up for me so we didn't have to take over an hour out of our Saturday afternoon to go and pick it up. Thanks again Allie! :)

My parents took us on a tour of Sandwich starting with lunch at Cafe Chew (which was not a hit with me) then we took a walk along the Sandwich Boardwalk.

photo 4 (76)

cape3

photo 5 (55)

How cool are the dedications on the planks along the Boardwalk? I tried to read every single one and I may have missed some, but I didn't notice one "WIll You Marry Me?" plank. I was shocked.

After a lovely walk on the Boardwalk, we headed back to the campground to relax. Oh folks! It was the first afternoon in I don't know how long that I just chilled. It was fan-freakin-tastic. It gave me A LOT to think about for next summer.

cape4

Oh and Harpoon decided to join me for the occasion. ;)

I did this while the wife took my dad's kayak out for a spin around the pond.

The dogs really have the handle on the "vacation" thing.

photo 4 (77)

photo 3 (91)

Am I right?

Big thanks to my parents for dog proofing the porch.

photo 5 (56)

I am so thankful for this wife of mine who puts up with my crazy running adventures. She was the happiest with this trip - well excluding Disney of course. ;)

I am working on revamping my Fall once the Half Ironman is over to get us back down to the Cape at least a couple of times before their campground closes for the winter.

Now Sunday morning called for a 5am wake-up call for the Falmouth Road Race so Saturday Night we decided to grill in - steak tips, corn on the cob, veggies, potato salad, etc.

Mmm I love weekends.

My mom stayed back with the pups while my dad, the wife and I piled in the car to head to the race. Between the race and the after-party Tedy's Team BBQ, we ended up back on site about 2pm.

photo 4 (72)

Thanks Tedy for a great party!

We could've headed right back to Boston then and there. Sit in lots of traffic. But we didn't want to do that. So we decided to hang around for one more peaceful evening and get up at 5am on Monday to head home.

Best decision we could've made.

It was a lovely relaxing Sunday afternoon.

The rain started after we got back so the wife and pups went for a nap, while I checked out bad TV. Sometimes I miss having cable. :P

cape5

Once the rain cleared, the wife was ready to get out and move.

cape6

Tori was able to take a fellow camper's Sunfish boat out on the pond, while I sat back on the porch and vegged. I really can't put into words how awesome that felt. Again thinking about how I would shape my Summer in 2015 (hint: more relaxing).

Before we left the Cape, I wanted to make sure the wife got a Lobster roll so we headed to Sesuit Harbor Cafe.

cape7

It was a bit nippy sitting outside, but a great atmosphere. I wish my mom had told us it was BYOB. I was jealous of the people around us with their solo cups and wine. ;)

My food wasn't good, but the wife loved her Lobster roll so that is all that matters.

We had a low-key evening in the camper before calling it an early night.

5am came too soon.

But it was a great choice.

We had zero traffic heading home. A beautiful sunrise. And were both at work on time.

cape8

I remember checking the car clock when we pulled into our driveway and it was before 8am... hence the 45 hours (or so) on the Cape.

Sometimes you never know how recharging 45 hours away can be on your soul.

***

Do you do mini-vacations during the Summer months?

#Giveaway: 3 Free Entries to take on the Big Bad Wolf

Annddddd the winners ARE:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Because Eddie O is such an awesome race director he is letting me give away not 3 but 5 entries to the race! WOOHOO!!

Thank you to everyone that entered. You can still register for the race! I hope to see you all there.

***

Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

Okay what if I say the Big Bad Wolf is ACTUALLY a 5-mile trail race in Ipswich, Mass?

Don't worry there aren't any actual wolves or animals involved in the running of this race - just fun, trails, friends, laughs, and beer!! Well there might be a wolf or two on sight because...

The Second Annual Big Bad Wolf 5-Mile Trail Race will take place on Saturday, September 13 at Noon at the Wolf Hollow, a wolf sanctuary, in Ipswich, Mass.

Registration includes a great VERT shirt + free food & beer at the after-party (sponsored by NotchSlumbrewDowneast Cider & Ipswich Ale).

That's right folks! Like all Cambridge 5k and VERT Races there will be an EPIC post-race party after the 5-mile trail race with a dance-off and great brews from four local breweries.

Slumbrew Happy Soles love a good post-race party

Oh and there may be a costume contest too...

Run in your best wolf or wolf related running costume and you could win a great prize in our post-race costume contest!

Now Ipswich may seem like a trek from Boston, but it really isn't. With a Noon start for the race, you won't have to wake up early to grab the commuter rail. Eddie O, race director extraordinaire, also has a free shuttle set up from the commuter rail to the race start.

If you are nervous to check out your first 5-mile race or first trail run, the Big Bad Wolf is a great way to break into either! There is a great support system amongst runners, volunteers and spectators.

The course map is a loop so you never feel alone and see familiar faces all along the route.

Here's a description of the course:

Fast & flat course over grass fields and dirt roads. The course starts & finishes @ Wolf Hollow and follows the Maplecroft Trail from Essex Road to Argilla Road and back. The course is well marked with signs and course marshalls. There is a water stop near the halfway point (polo field).

There are some slight inclines on the course, but nothing too strenuous like other trail runs might have. It truly is a course for all fitness levels.

I can't wait to take on Big Bad Wolf for a second year with the Slumbrew Happy Soles.

So now that I have you psyched up for the trail race and party of 2014, it's time to make it even better...

I am giving away not 1 but 3 entries!

Sayy wwhhaaa??? Raise the roof! Woo Woo!

I know.

So here's how to enter.

The giveaway will run from Thursday August 14 (2pm ET) through Friday August 22 (10am ET)!

The winner will be selected and announced on Friday!

Monday Musings: Forced Rest, #IceBucketChallenge, A Wedding & Beer

Mondays can be seen in one of two ways: the start to a week of endless possibilities or the worst thing in the world as the opening to the work week.

2014-08-11 08.19.37

Let's make this Monday our b&%ch! ;)

I love using Monday as a time to reassess the previous week and come up with a game plan for the next seven days. But also to celebrate the good times. :)

photo 2

This past week was full of ups and downs.

Let's get the downs out of the way ... quad injury! :(

On Thursday morning I received a shooting pain through my right quad. It was scary and was paralyzing (mainly from fear). The pain happened while I was stepping out of my house on the front steps. I am very lucky that the wife was there to calm me down and help me get past that first step.

After talking with my doctor/PT friends, it was dictated to take rest days. Eek! No I didn't want to especially with a sprint tri on Sunday. Well I listened to their advice.

rest

Do you want your own Run All Day shirt from PavementRunner - order here!

Since then it has been a steady stream of icing, foam rolling, Zensah compression shorts, stretching and adhering to doctor's orders. It has been tough. Taking a DNS (Did Not Start) at the tri was frustrating, upsetting and difficult, but I know I need to be 100% for the Half Ironman on September 7 and a race now isn't worth risking that.

photo (73)

Ace Bandages + Compression Shorts = One Sexy Look

Thankfully each day the quads seem a little better and I am hoping I am on the upswing.

Now while I am having a hard time with the rest, I think the pups are really enjoying it.

2014-08-07 20.37.48

Once again my nurse Laney sleeping on the job.

***

Now it was a tough eating weekend wise. I let some emotional eating in after the unexpected gain on the scale Friday. But really I had some cravings and I filled them. But my stomach let me know that I filled too many at one time. It was a little gut check that I needed. I was right back on track today and feeling good and more in control.

Go me!

***

On Friday, I was challenged by my cousin Jen to take part in the #IceBucketChallenge to raise awareness for ALS. Luckily I had an ice bath on the agenda any way so it was a good segway. :P

[embedplusvideo height="367" width="450" editlink="http://bit.ly/1sQIhZx" standard="http://www.youtube.com/v/ywVNIK-WeoM?fs=1" vars="ytid=ywVNIK-WeoM&width=450&height=367&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=¬es=" id="ep8243" /]

***

As we know I have been keeping my craft beer drinking to the weekends the past couple of months so let me share the finds from this past weekend...

2014-08-11 11.17.48

Lefty's Brewing Company out of Greenfield, MA

The wife and I obviously love Slumbrew, which is out of my hometown, so I couldn't wait to get my hands on the latest brew... and it was worth the wait! Delicious and how could you not enjoy it with the description:

Fresh air and the aromatic essence of Calypso, Ella and Pacific Jade hops fill the air  and lighten our hearts while this golden ale lightens our mood.

2014-08-08 19.01.53

Somerville's own Slumbrew Island Day

***

The highlight of the week was my uncle's wedding in Western Mass. I even got to show the wife some of my favorite spots in Hampden, MA, including this lunch spot from my childhood. Mmmm french fries!

2014-08-11 11.19.42

It was a gorgeous day Saturday for a beautiful wedding.

photo 1

I was also able to spend the day with my Gramma, my Stroke Hero. She is the reason I am part of Tedy's Team and raise the money to #FightStroke! :)

2014-08-09 15.38.05

It was a great day with family ... and I don't think anyone figured out that I was wearing compression shorts and ACE bandages under my dress. ;)

***

I would LOOOOVVEEE your daily vote in the following two Got Chocolate Milk contests… each ends on August 15!

photo 4 (65)

Chocolate Milk Contest

^I have finally broken in to the Top Three!!! 1st prize is valued just over $5k, 2nd prize just under $1,900 and 3rd prize around $775. Holy cow they are sweet.

and

Team Chocolate Milk

^The prize? $500 in sponsorship money, which I will use to fund my first Ragnar Relay experience, new training gear and free race entries. Each time you vote $1 is donated to the Challenged Athletes Foundation. How awesome is that?

Thank you all so much!!!

***

What did you learn from this past week?

Craicfest 5k: Cambridge, Costumes and Craft Beer

Giving me a holiday race = giving me the opportunity to not be the ONLY person dressed up! Ha! It is true that I rock a Sparkle Athletic skirt and fun knee-high socks for any run or race, but there is something about a holiday or Disney race that makes me step my game up.

Well the Craicfest 5k on March 16th provided the opportunity for me to turn up the flair ... and break out as much green as possible! ;)

Cambridge-Craicfest

The inaugural Craicfest 5k was put on by Cambridge 5k and Race Director Eddie O.

photo 5

Selfie with the Race Director Eddie

It was the first in a six-race series for 2014.

c5k7

If there is one thing that sets Cambridge 5k races away from the rest (besides amazing local craft beer at the Finish - the obvious), it would be the uber comfortable race t-shirts. I LIVE in my Cambridge 5k series tees.

Now as many of you know I am training for an April marathon, which mean the day before Craicfest would be a long run ... 17.2 miles to be exact. So on the day of the race I had NO idea what my legs would have left in the tank.

c5k8

As always, I was ready to have a fun time with my Team Slumbrew Happy Soles running mates and watch some great dancing at the post-race dance-off. (Oh yeah, Cambridge 5k races always feature a pretty entertaining post-race dance off!)

photo 1 (1)

I was hoping for a pretty March morning in Boston, but instead got a bone-chilling windy mess of a morning. I can say it was rain and snow free. Ummm silver lining?

So on went the layers!

c5k10

Kim is also training for Boston and had run 18 miles the day before

I tend to travel light to races (read as: skip bag check) - especially ones that are just a 10 minute drive from my house - so I was actually able to sleep in a little for the 9:30am start. Plus, I wanted to limit my "standing around" time as much as possible pre-race.

c5k4

Nice to finally meet Danielle - a fellow Boston area blogger & Weight Watchers friend

Team Slumbrew met near where the post-race pouring station would be and caught up. It is crazy to think I have known some of these folks for almost two years - all thanks to our favorite Somerville brewery and running! :)

Just before 9:30 we all headed into the starting area to get the party started. The Start area was a little sunnier - aka about 2 degrees warmer - so I soaked it in.

With so much flair on, I wasn't sure how conducive to running it would really be. I couldn't pass up the extra boa from Amy pre-race.

After chatting it up with familiar faces around me - yes one of my favorite part of local races - the horn went off.

photo 3

George & I couldn't contain our excitement

Since I was too distracted talking - shocker :P - I wasn't totally ready to run. But I quickly hit Start on the Garmin and I was off.

I immediately had to have a discussion with myself.

"Self, it is OKAY to be passed. You are not here to PR. You are here to have fun. You cannot PR every race. Are you listening to me? Hello! Oh shiny thing. FOCUS! Just run your race. Then you can have a beer. Okay? Okay!"

And yes that is how it really happened. Your welcome for a glimpse of the crazy that goes on in my head during a run ... and this was only in the first 0.1 mile. Imagine what happened during the Dopey Challenge. ;)

But I digress...

The sun was shining which put Cambridge and Boston in a gorgeous light as we were running. The course ran along the Cambridge Side Galleria Mall and over the Gilmore Bridge. Now this Bridge is really the continuation of Memorial Drive (aka a highway type road that I am using to driving on not running on). I geek out over things like that. As we took a right on the off ramp, I could see the Paul Revere Park in our future. I have never actually run in the park so it was great to see a new part of Cambridge. The paths were clean, windy and wide enough that I didn't feel smooshed by other runners (this may be because I wasn't in the heavy traffic pace of the run).

As we ran through the park, we approached the gorgeous Zakim Bridge. I had to stop and snap a couple photos.

photo 2 (1)

photo 1 (2)

Beautiful

Well enough of the scenery, time for an in-race selfie.

photo (1)

Never attractive, but always fun!

I was wicked happy to be seeing about a 7:35-7:50 min/mile pace. As I said, my legs had gone quite a distance the day before.

Just after the photos were taken, we headed up and over the Northpoint Pedestrian Bridge ... which is where this gem of a photo was snapped.

c5k3

It really does embody my run that day!

Once over the bridge, we did some more weaving and winding through the Northpoint Park. It was nice to be away from the traffic. Many times during local races you are dodging cars, etc - not during this one! Thanks Eddie.

I was starting to get a little tired with about 0.5 mile to go so I started targeting folks in front of me and try picking them off. Now I didn't know if I would actually do it or not, but I needed something to focus on.

And you know what it worked! I passed about 4-5 folks coming down the stretch.

c5k12

The Finish Line photo definitely isn't pretty, but it was how I was feeling. happy to be clicking Stop on the Garmin.

I immediately turned around to start cheering on my teammates and any other familiar faces I saw. Really I was cheering for everyone with special shouts for folks I recognized.

You know not everyone has someone at the Finish Line, but everyone deserves the cheers!! I'm happy to provide them!

Once the cold stated setting in, it was time to mosey on over to the post-race party and collect a much-needed Slumbrew.

c5k9

How about that? I will take it. I got 3.2 miles on my Garmin for a 7:35 min/mile pace. But hey, no reason to battle over actual distance... unless he had added an extra 0.5 mile! :P

The wind on the course was BRUTAL! At times I thought I was running in place. (Read: like I was stuck on a treadmill)

With the work done, it was celebration time...

photo 2

c5k6

Slumbrew Ladies

It would've been nice to have warmer temps, but what can you do. We all huddled in the sun as much as possible.

c5k

Part of the Slumbrew Happy Soles

As Slumbrew Team Captain, I had the honor to hand out the fun beer gift from our fearless leaders - the Slumbrew founders Caitlin and Jeff.

c5k11

How cute?

 Now Team Slumbrew Happy Soles tagline is "First to the Finish Beer Line" because we are there for fun, memories and good beer. That being said - we have always wanted to place in the Team category.

And you know what ... we finally did! 3rd place in the Team division! Woo!

c5k5

Drinking out of the trophy with Caitlin

Despite the chill, it was a fun morning. Eddie does a great job of creating a fun race atmosphere where all are welcome. Plus, the post-race festivites are like no other - 4 local breweries pouring delicious beer, laughs, pictures and a dance off.

What more can you ask for on a Sunday morning?

***

Did you participate in a St. Patrick's Day race?

Gone For A Run Makes Drinking Beer And Wine A Little More Runtastic + Giveaway!

Annddddd the winner IS:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

***

On most Friday nights, you can find me sitting in bed, catching up on blogging and asleep by 8pm. Does this sound familiar? Are you getting flashes of your own Friday or Saturday nights.

If you don't want to admit it, that's fine. I won't out you. :P But I understand. For most of my Saturday mornings are taken up by long runs or races around the country.

Again, sound familiar?

<<insert silent nod with fit bump>>

On those Friday nights, I like to relax the nerves of the long run or race with a little extra carbo-loading ... aka BEER!

gone4

My Friday night before the Black Cat 20-Miler :)

That's right. I rarely go the night before a long run or race without a beer or glass of wine ... or two! It depends if it is a race-cation or not.  ;)

One Friday night as I was wasting some time on the interwebs, I stumbled upon a section of Gone For A Run's website that I hadn't seen before.

Drinkware!

I KNOW! I had no idea either. I buy all of my bib holders from Gone For A Run, but I haven't spent serious time exploring their website.

gone5

So after perusing the site and connecting with Gone For A Run on social media, I was given the opportunity to test out some of their amazing drinkware.

Then came the hard part ... choosing which glasses to try. Ahh I wanted ALL of them. But I finally decided one one of each.

gone3

Beer Glass

gone

Wine Glass

I should've filled the wine glass all the way to the top for the pic, but it is against my religion to pour wine back in a bottle. ;) It says 5k, 10k, Half and Full.

If you want to check out more of the beer glasses/steins and wine glasses, head on over here. The possibilities seem endless.

These glasses have really perked up my pre or post race adult beverage. I have drank wine the night before my last half marathon (1:44:30) and my last marathon (3:58:49) PRs. So I think I will stick with it. ;)

Now you may be wondering, Dani how can I get my own amazing glassware.

Well, here's how to enter YOUR chance to win a $20 gift card to Gone For A Run so you can pick your own:

The giveaway will run from Monday March 3 (7am ET) through Monday March 10 (7am ET)!

The winner will be selected and announced on Monday!

4th Annual Local Craft Brewfest

Beer. Local Beer. Drinking In A Courthouse. Free. Well if that doesn't sum up a perfect event for me I don't know what is. ;)

On a whim I retweeted Eventbrite Boston's tweet about winning a free pair of tickets (value $85) to a local brewfest...

...and I won! Woo!

lcb

I invited my dad to join me and he happily accepted. I don't think he could pass up spending a night out with me ... or it was the free beer. Either way he was excited.

We scored a free ride from my mom - can we pretend it was a stretch limo? Does that sound better?

We arrived at the Moakley Courthouse, which I hadn't actually been inside before, just after 6:30 (fashionably late) and headed through security. Nothing like going through some medal detectors to set the tone for the night. :P

We received a pamphlet, a golf pencil and a plastic cup at the entrance. The pamphlet listed all of the breweries, distilleries, cider/meads, artisan beverages and local foods that would be at the Fest.

I am not a huge distillery, cider or mead fan so I knew I would be sticking with just the breweries, which was okay with 16 breweries in attendance. I would be a-ok! :) My goal was to have at least one sample from each brewery.

Thankfully I used my Untappd app and the pamphlet to record which beers I tried and whether we liked them or not. I take my beer tasting seriously. ;)

We walked into the main area of the Courthouse/event and it was packed. It was a great crowd in attendance.

photo 3 (2)

Then the big decision had to be made: where to start?????

We headed to the Blue Hills Brewery (Canton, MA) table and sampled the OktoBrau - their Oktoberfest brew.

okto-brau

As we sipped the OktoBrau we headed over to score some of the American Flatbread pizza. I could smell the Tomato Sauce & Three Cheese Pizza and I needed some ASAP. Thankfully they had one coming out of the oven right as we walked over. Thanks perfect timing.

photo 1 (4)

This natural frozen pizza was pretty tasty and I will definitely be looking for it in my grocery store.

As I was enjoying my pizza, I saw some people sporting pretzel necklaces which I thought was genius and I had to have one.

Yelp Boston was giving away the necklaces to anyone that checked into the event on Yelp. So I obviously went ahead and checked in - I was going to do it anyway.

photo 2 (3)

This was a HUGE help and will now be bringing my own pretzel necklace to any future Fests I attend.

Since each brewery brought 2-4 different brews there were plenty of options to choose from, which was great.

Here are some of the other beers I tried:

*Battle Road Brewing Company - 1775 Tavern Ale (Pale Ale) - Ipswich, MA

photo 2 (4)

*Baxter Brewing Co. - Stowaway IPA (West Coast Style India Pale Ale) - Lewiston, ME ... It got an extra :) in my rating system - a high tech system of emoticons.

stowaway

*Clown Shoes Beer - Genghis Pecan (Porter) - Ipswich, ME ... I am starting to like Porters more and more & the pecan gave it a nice kick.

ClownShoes-Genghis-Pecan-2-e1348748015578-200x200

*Down The Road Brewery - Patchwork Kilt (80 Schilling Scottish Ale) and Protean Torpedo (American Pale Ale) - Newton, MA ... I have never had a Scottish Ale before, but it was rich and deep and I will definitely be trying it again. Plus the two guys working the booth were a riot!

down-the-road-brewery-logo

*Harpoon Brewery - Harpoon IPA (Indian Pale Ale) and Winter Warmer (Spiced Ale) - Boston, MA ... Harpoon's IPA is one of my staple IPAs so that was a given to have, but I learned I am not a Spiced Ale type beer drinker. I did not like the spice flavor at all.

harpoon-ipa_01b

*Mayflower Brewing Company - Mayflower Porter (Porter) - Plymouth, MA ... Delicious. I wish I had had time to try their Oatmeal Stout.

mayflower-brewing-company-porter-beer-massachusetts-usa-10420534

*Narragansett Brewing Company - Narragansett Lager (American Style Lager) - Providence, RI ... Light and fresh taste that would be good on a summer afternoon.

narragansett

*Peak Organic Brewing Company - Winter Session (Winter Wheat Ale) and Pale Ale (American Pale Ale) - Portland, ME ... The Winter Session will be added in to my winter rotation.

peak

*Portico Brewing - Sett Seven (Scottish Ale) - Cambridge, MA ... As I said earlier this was my first sampling of a scottish ale and I enjoyed this one as well. It would be perfect with some nice BBQ. Mmmmm!

portico-2

*Rapscallion - Porter (Porter) - Sturbridge, MA ... I had no idea Sturbridge had a brewery, but now I can't wait to head out that way (Western Mass) and check out their brewery tour.

rapscallion

*Samuel Adams - Black Lager (Lager) - Boston, MA ... I've never met a Sam Adams brew I didn't like and Black Lager wasn't any different.

black lager

We even scored that little Sam Adams tasting glass on the way out! :)

*Smuttynose Brewing Co. - Finestkind IPA (Dry-hopped India Pale Ale) and Old Brown Dog (Brown Ale) - Portsmouth, NH ... I had a great time chatting with the Smuttynose guys about their yearly marathon/half marathon. I would take the drive to NH to run a half or full marathon to enjoy their IPA at the end.

smutty

*Watch City Brewing Company - Black Walnut Nut Brown Ale (Ale) - Waltham, MA ... For me, the walnut overpowered the beer and I am not a walnut fan. If I was a walnut eater, it would've been a different experience for sure.

Watch-City-Brewing-Co.

All of the local brewers were a joy to talk to and answered any questions you had. Many offered mailing lists and have tasting rooms on site at their breweries. I am seeing a road trip in my future.

As we made our rounds through the different brewers, we made sure to stop a the local food booths as well. There were actually two Somerville shops there.

*Q's Nuts - 349 Highland Ave - We tried the Sweet and Sassy Almonds and the Rosemary Sea Salted Almonds ... Ohhh they were ah-may-zing!

photo 1 (5)

*Taza Chocolate - 561 Windsor St - I've actually met the founder Alex Whitmore before and he was such a joy to talk to. Taza Chocolate crafts stone ground chocolate from bean to bar and uses many Mexican chocolate traditions. It is a unique taste that you don't find anywhere else in the States (in my opinion).

photo 4

Overall, it was an amazing event that I was so happy we were able to attend. I tried so many beers that I hadn't heard of before, but will definitely have again.

photo 3 (3)

Make sure you...

photo 4 (1)

***

Have you attended a beer fest before? Do you love to drink local?