Michael’s Run 5k: Hopkinton, MA Precap!

What’s a Precap you say? Well, I finally have some free time and I’m in the mood to blog, so here’s my chance to say “Hey, ya’ll, I’m runnin’ one of them 5k thing-a-ma-jigs this weekend!”

My work has this program that allows employees to create teams to participate in local races, and if enough people sign up, they will pay the registration fees. After nearly a year of working here, this is the first one I’ve signed up to be a part of. They didn’t really sponsor any races in the winter, and then most of the others have either been too far or didn’t fit with my schedule, so when this one came up that is located just 10 minutes from my house on an open weekend I figured I didn’t have anything to lose.

Plus…I get a t-shirt from work in addition to the race shirt. Score!

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I was feeling fat the day I signed up, so opted for medium instead of my usual small…not my best decision.

So, this Saturday after I take my work photo at 9:45 AM, I’ll be lining up near the start of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, MA for Michael’s Run 5k. I have been slacking pretty hard in my running lately, but I’m not too worried for this race. It’s the half marathon I’m doing next weekend that has me a little concerned. ūüėČ

How not to worry about being undertrained for a 5k? Easy! Be even more undertrained for a half the following weekend!! Haha. Running tips by Amy.

Now, off to bed…I’m going to attempt to get up early for a run tomorrow.


2015 Wicked Frosty Four – Race Recap

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

This morning I ran the 9th annual (I think) Wicked Frosty Four in Salem, MA. It was my first run and first race of 2015 as well as my last race of the “season” and my last run of the 2014 Holiday Running Streak. And, spoiler alert, it was a good one!

After partying hard w/ burritos and buffy the vampire slayer, I hit the hay around 11:50pm last night. (I know, I know, super lame, who goes to bed at 11:50 on New Year’s Eve?) I set my alarm for 8ish, and then read in bed for a while before having breakfast. Eventually, Jeff asked why I wasn’t getting ready for the race, so I hopped up and got my butt ready to go.

2014-12-21 08.27.14Can I wear my bag to the race?

Because I’m a baby who doesn’t like to drive myself places, Jeff offered to come to the race and cheer me on. I told him he didn’t have to, but I think it was pretty clear that I was overjoyed by this suggestion.

I’ve been excited about the race all week, but about halfway there, I started wondering why I had even signed up. I can’t really explain it, I love running except for the 15 to 20 mins before I go running. In that period of time, I hate it and don’t know why I do it. My less than excited mood lasted all the way until we got there. Then I took off my coat and got out of the car. ¬†Guess what…..that didn’t help! On the walk over to the start line and then waiting for the race to begin, I kept thinking that I just had to get it over with. ¬†A+ for attitude over here!

2015-01-01 09.53.32Hey, at least I smiled for the picture.

And then the race started. I fell into a rhythm pretty much immediately upon crossing the start mat, and my love of running returned.

My plan was to run at a relaxed, but brisk¬†pace. One that felt sustainable, but not easy. The first mile went by fairly quickly. I warmed up within the first quarter mile, and I saw a celebrity! (Did you read the runner’s world article about John Young, who ran the Boston Marathon?….He was in my race!) Before I knew, it my watch buzzed for the first mile. It read 8:28/mile, which I assumed was pretty unlikely, but I was pleasantly surprised when I passed the mile marker not long after (at 8:44 by my watch).

Prior to this point, I assumed that there was no way that I was going to PR today, but after hitting mile one so quickly I started to wonder. I kept up my comfortably hard but relaxed pace and continued on with a “we’ll see what happens” attitude. Much like mile 1, the second mile passed fairly quickly. I did start noticing some hills at this point, but I was still feeling good when I hit the second mile marker at 17:28 min (in case you were wondering, this is exactly 8:44 for the second mile, too..sweet!)

Heading into mile 3, I had officially decided to shoot¬†for a personal best. I continued along with my relaxed but brisk running strategy, but “brisk” was¬†becoming increasingly closer to “hard” as this mile ticked by. We tackled a steep hill in mile three that I run fairly often in my usual runs. (Parts of this course overlap some of my regular routes, but not very much.) It was tough, but it helped that I was familiar with it. Shortly after climbing the hill, I passed the mile 3 marker. This mile was a bit slower at 8:52, but at 26:20, if I could run the last mile in less than 9:38, I would make it.

2014-04-03 18.21.41Most of my runs and races have beautiful ocean views…I’m such a lucky duck.

I took a couple deep breaths, and started mile 4 at a pace that I would call “I think I can run one more mile at this pace” pace. We ran along the ocean, with an icy headwind, and up one more slight hill before coming into the finish. It was tough. “I think I can run one more mile at this pace” pace is slightly painful. Eventually, I turned the last corner and the finish line was in sight. I saw Jeff hanging out on the sidelines, but he wasn’t paying much attention. This made me smile because I knew that what happened was that he wasn’t expecting me so soon. ¬†Honestly, I wasn’t expecting me so soon either!

And then, I was done! I crossed the finish line with an official time of 34:55! My last mile was 8:35, and I had a shiny new PR of over a minute!

Hip Hip Hooray!

Nothing like a surprise personal best to kick off 2015!

Did you run today? Did you race? Have you ever watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Don’t tell me what happens, I’m watching it for the first time and I LOVE IT!¬†

Race Recap: Solstice Sprint 5k Virtual Race

I’m a little behind on the race recaps. I want to get one up for the Turkey Trot I ran on Thanksgiving and also the Reindeer Run I did the week after that, but I ran a Virtual 5k TODAY, so I’m more inclined to write about that one right now. Chronological order isn’t really that important, is it?¬†

My plan for today was to run a hanukkah race that I ran last year called the Run-a-Latke 5k. The race was fun and had the best post race food I had ever eaten, and I was looking forward to running it again this year. But, at the last minute I decided not to sign up. I had hoped to run the race with Jeff and his sisters, but he’s been sitting out due to a knee problem, and with all the craziness of this time of year his sisters were both busy. While I originally planned to just run it alone, I opted not to because it’s a very family oriented race and I thought I’d feel weird being a loner. Plus after several busy weeks, not having any plans was sounding real nice. Luckily, as I was reading through my favorite running blogs last night, I was reminded that Kristen over at Run Away With Me was hosting a Virtual 5k the very next day! (today!) It couldn’t have been more perfect timing. ūüôā

I got up this morning around 7 to celebrate Amy Christmas with Jeff. We always celebrate early because we travel for the holiday. I get to open presents early, I love it! (note: I give Jeff hanukkah gifts and one christmas gift, he gives me christmas gifts and one hanukkah gifts). He really outdid himself this year…I got a selk’bag! So, after opening gifts I sat around on the couch in my bag, reading blogs.

2014-12-21 07.48.53

Its a miracle I ever got up!



After printing my race bib and having a nutritious breakfast of a banana and some cherry coke zero, I was eventually able to get out of my bag and into some running clothes. I dug out the hole punch and some safety pins and attached my bib before heading out the door. I felt a little silly wearing a bib out on a solo run around the neighborhood, but in all honesty, I’m sure it’s not the strangest thing I’ve worn running.

2014-12-21 09.36.29

Race ready!



On my way out the door, Jeff asked if I was going to try and PR and I immediately said no. I was expecting a virtual race to be fun, but not really “race-y”, so I had no real intentions to treat it like a real race. But by the time I was standing outside waiting for a GPS signal, I had completely changed my mind. Even though I wasn’t going for a PR (I’m not really in shape for that), I decided to push just as hard as I would in a normal race.

When I had a signal on my watch, I quickly crossed the street, pressed the button and was off! ¬†In typical racing fashion, I took off like a bat outta hell, and was struggling before I even hit the quarter mile mark…right on! The slight climb at the beginning of the run ended up being a blessing because it forced me to slow down and not be a crazy person before I’d done any damage.

The first mile flew by pretty quickly, with only a short stop at one intersection to wait for a light. Unfortunately, my watch lost it’s signal at some point and I hit the one mile mark (on my watch) before the actual one mile mark (that I know from landmarks). I took note of my actual one mile time: 8:34/mile, so I could add on a little extra for my official time.

Mile two was quite a bit more difficult than mile 1 as it included several hills. The first hill ends at a stoplight and I was really looking forward to taking a quick breather while waiting to cross. Unfortunately Lucky for me there were no cars around to force me to stop.

2014-08-30 09.47.52

Summer photo…same hills.

Why on earth I’d chosen a hilly route when I get to pick the course is beyond me, but that’s what I did, at least for mile 2. At least I got to enjoy some downhills along with all the up, and my mile time, while slower than the first mile, was still under 9 min/mile (8:59/mile to be exact!)

Going into mile 3, I was really feeling it. My “winter running streak” legs were probably wondering what I’d gotten them into. They haven’t felt fresh and bouncy in at least a week, and now I was asking them to sprint it out to the finish! In a a race with no one else around, no less.

I slowed a bit early in the mile due to some walkers taking up the entire sidewalk, and then had a short downhill. Although, I was initially annoyed that these people were taking up the whole sidewalk as I thundered toward them gasping for breath, it was probably a good little break before starting the final climb – a gentle incline about half a mile long. If I had been doing a regular run, I would have absolutely, no question about it, stopped on that last hill. But, by golly, this was the Solstice Sprint 5k, and even though I couldn’t see them I knew there were other people racing. So I thought about that to distract myself, and kept running until I hit 3.1 miles!

2014-12-21 10.12.37

The pole on the left there ended up being my finish line. Where’s the party?

My 3rd mile rang in under 9 min/mile, too although I don’t remember exactly what it was, I’d have to check my watch. And my finishing time clocked in at 26:29. Because my first mile was off, I’m recalculating that to add in the extra time it took to hit the one mile marker, leaving me with a finishing time of 27:07!¬†

2014-12-21 10.13.07

The best picture I’ve taken of my watch, ever.


Not bad! I was very pleased with my time, and really enjoyed my first experience at a virtual race. It was cool watching twitter all day and seeing some other people finishing the race as well, and I was pleasently surprised how race-like the run felt even though it was just a solo jaunt through the neighborhood. Thanks Kristen for putting it on!

2014-12-21 10.13.30

Happy Racer!

Have you ever done a virtual race Рwhat did you think? Are you going to run out and buy a person shaped bag to lounge around in? I highly recommend it. 




Nifty Fifty!

Turns out the Cape Cod Marathon was my 50th race!

I haven’t really been keeping track of this sort of thing on purpose, but I noticed it because I use an excel document to keep track of all my races and the rows are numbered automatically. Once I noticed, I thought it was¬†pretty cool that a “milestone” race was a special one; one I’d trained for for months and months.

In celebration of my 50th race, I’d like to share some fun facts from my first 50 races!

FIRST RACE: May 27th, 2007 ::: The Run to Remember ::: Boston, MA ::: 5 miles ::: 55:50 minutes Recap

LONGEST DISTANCE RACED: Marathon ::: 26.2 miles ::: 3 races

MOST RUN RACE: Delaware Avenue YMCA Turkey Trot 8k ::: 6 times ::: I Love this race! I can’t wait to line up for it again this year.¬†

2012-11-22 08.31.29

And I’ve run with my sis all 6 times!

MOST RACES PER YEAR: 2010 ::: 9 races ::: I don’t really shoot for a particular number of races per year, and I don’t think I’ll ever get up past this number. I don’t run to race, so I’ve become more particular about the races I sign up for.¬†

MOST POPULAR MONTH: October ::: 10 races ::: Best time of year to race, no one can convince me otherwise.

DISTANCE MOST RACED: 5k :::13 races ::: This is funny to me because it’s my least favorite distance. A lot of holiday races are 5k, though, and those are some of my favorites, so that probably has something to do with it.

2010-12-19 12.05.43

Did you say “Jingle Bell 5k”? Sign me up!


TIME SPENT RACING: 63 hours, 48 minutes, 30 seconds

BEST POST RACE FOOD: Run-A-Latke 5k ::: Swampscott, MA ::: December 1st, 2013 ::: Latkes and Doughnuts ::: We had plans to go out to breakfast after the run, but the food was so delicious that we filled up after the race and didn’t even bother.

2013-12-01 10.35.53

Jeff always makes sure to capture the important moments. ūüôā


Do you keep track of¬†how many races you’ve completed? What are some of your favorites?

***Also, I just finished up editing a new Races page, where I’ve listed all my races and times and linked to all the recaps I have written. So, if you want to check out my 1st fifty races, take a look.***

Twin Lights Half Marathon – {04.27.2014}

On Sunday morning I finally got to put my training to the test by running the Twin Lights Half Marathon. Going into the race I had 5 main goals, but breaking 2 hours was THE BIG ONE, the one I have been working towards for 12 weeks. I knew I had trained well, but it was far from a sure thing, especially because I chose to make my attempt on such a hilly course.

Prior to race day, I was tempted to abandon my goal, but with the help of some confidence boosting blog comments, I decided not to sell myself short. I refused to let myself focus on my doubts, and I showed up on Sunday morning ready to jump in with both feet.

Race Morning

I woke up at¬†6:10 AM in order to give myself an hour to slowly get ready. I like to have plenty of time to fart around in the morning, and I’m usually an early riser so this wasn’t a problem.¬†I had plenty of time to eat¬†breakfast, dress in my race day duds, pack up my things, and do some light stretching and foam rolling.

2014-04-27 06.36.53

Breakfast of Champions. (Not pictured: Glass of Water)

By 7:10, Jeff (aka: my personal support staff) and I were out the door.¬†The race wasn’t set to start until 9 AM but packet pick-up started at 7 AM. I¬†wanted to get there early¬†so I could¬†get¬†a t-shirt that fit and we could get a parking spot in the more convenient lot, so we had over an hour to kill after packet pick up. It was cold (40F) and rainy, so we spent most of this time in the car, but with 20 minutes to go, we ventured out to check out the¬†scenery.


“I’m running a race today! And we’re at the beach!”

Before heading over to the start line, I did some warm up running. Usually, it takes me about a¬†1/2 mile to get moving and¬†I didn’t want to waste any¬†time during the race for warm up. Of course, I’ve never done this before and ended up standing around for 15 min afterwards, so I’m not sure if it really made even a little bit of difference.

Finally, it was time to line up. I gave Jeff my gloves and jacket, he wished me luck, took one last picture, and I found a spot between the 9 and 10 min/mile signs. They had played the national anthem when the walkers started, so there wasn’t a lot of standing around at the start line. Before long, we were off!


Mabye I should have left my gloves on.

Early Miles

My goal for the first three miles was to ease into race pace. I did not want to go out too fast, and I focused HARD on staying calm for the first mile. I found a place in the pack (near the middle of the road) and stayed where I was. I purposely avoided zig zagging around people, and I allowed myself to get passed without freaking out. This was difficult, but I knew that keeping up with everyone around me would be a mistake, so I spent the majority of the first couple miles being passed and convincing myself that this was no big deal.


I’m on the far right in the middle of the road.

I knew from the elevation map that the first three miles were a climb. What hadn’t sunk in when studying the profile was that in addition to the big hills the course was really just one small hill after another after another (rolling hills sounds deceptively pleasant). I guess the 3 large hills masked this fact. Having¬†run in Gloucester and Rockport before this didn’t exactly come as a shock; I just kind of thought to myself “Oh, okay, so this is how it’s going to be.”


I was tricking myself when I thought this was “only 3 big ones”.

With this realization, I made a decision that I think really affected my entire race. I decided not to hold back on downhills. I’ve never been good at running uphill, (with a lot of hard work and practice I have gone from being abysmal to only slightly below¬†average), but down hills are a different story. I can go pretty fast¬†without feeling out of control and it’s much more comfortable to do this¬†than it is to hold back. For some reason though, I usually force myself to slow down and¬†keep an even pace. I’m not sure why I do¬†this (another question for another time?), and I don’t know what the¬†smart choice is, but in the early miles on Sunday I decided that I was¬†going to let myself fly down those hills, focusing on effort and not worrying¬†about pace.


I came out of the first 3 miles having run 44 seconds faster than planned. This was pretty perfect. It gave me a little confidence boost going into the middle of the race, but it wasn’t unwisely fast.

Middle Miles

Mile 4 started just as I had finished climbing the first “Big” Hill. At this point, it was time to start pushing the pace a little. My¬†plan was to run¬†“comfortably hard” through mile ten, aiming for 9 minutes per mile. Because mile 3 had come¬†pretty close to this pace I tried not to speed up too much right away, but with a huge downhill mile 4 flew by.


Rockin’ a downhill.

Despite (or because of?) some decent climbs after this initial downhill mile, the next few miles passed in a blur. These two big hills, one right after another, slowed me down, but there were several distractions that helped take my mind of how hard everything felt. We ran along the coast and through downtown Rockport. The view was amazing and then running through town was fun, as it was the most spectator-ed section along the course.

2014-04-27 07.47.11

Not bad to look at.

As¬†we ran out of town, I ate my first gel (I took an entire mile to finish it) and the fast runners started passing us in the opposite direction. I counted them for a while –¬†20 men before I saw the first woman – as I climbed one of the hills.


When my watch beeped at the 7 mile mark, it snapped me back to the moment. I was done with the gel, and we had been out of town for a while. Distractions are great for running up hills, but I needed to stay focused on running. My last few miles had been slower than what I was aiming for, so I needed to get moving.

I started running faster, and it didn’t actually feel that bad. I think the caffeine had kicked in from the energy gel, and then¬†I hit another bunch of downhill sections. We had looped back through town again, which was just as fun as the first time. There were more people out this time, despite the bad weather, and their cheers helped keep me moving.¬† It was just what I needed¬†to get myself back on track.


Leaving town for the second time.

As I left the town and spectators behind, my watched beeped for the end of mile 9. I was¬†glad to see another good split time; I had one more mile before my final push. My legs were starting to get tired from all the hills, and¬†the wind and rain had picked up. I was cold – my hands freezing, and it was hard to see the nice¬†views while squinting against the wind and rain, but I was riding high from two speedy downhill miles and cheering strangers. Even though I knew there were a few more hills coming up, I wasn’t afraid. The last two miles had given me a boost, and I’d already climbed the worst hill, so I was feeling confident.¬† Imagine my surprise when I looked up and saw:


I can’t even understand how that’s possible, I’d already climbed a bigger hill that day and I barely even remember it. ¬†But that one I was coming to…that one was the thing nightmares are made of. I started to laugh. As I passed the last few spectators, one shouted “Don’t worry, there’s no hill there!” And I laughed even harder. It doesn’t sound very funny now, but at the time I thought the whole thing was hilarious. So, in good spirits (delusional), I started to climb.


You’re kidding, right?

The steep hill lasted for about a half mile before I got some relief (ha!) in the form of small rolling hills. I wasn’t looking at my pace at the time (probably the only reason I didn’t completely give up), but checking after, I found I was over 13 min/mile at some points. There weren’t many people around, but of the ones that were, a few were walking. At the time I thought they were geniuses, and I seriously contemplated walking, too. But I had no plan for walk breaks. Hope was not yet completely lost, and I knew that if I started walking without a plan I would allow myself to walk longer than I should and I would continue to take walk breaks after the hill was over. I have nothing against walk breaks, but I had serious qualms about deviating from THE PLAN. ¬†So I kept running, and after what felt like 20 minutes later, I reached the top of the hill.


Although my split times weren’t a consistent 9 min/mile pace for these seven middle miles (thanks to the hills), they averaged out pretty perfectly. I finished this section only 1 second slower than planned.

Final Miles

Going into the final miles, I was losing¬†confidence that I would make my goal. I knew that I still had a cushion (~45 seconds) from running a little fast in the early miles, but I also knew that the last three miles needed to be my fastest. (8:50, 8:40, and 8:30, what was I thinking?) The mountain I climbed in mile 10 had really taken it’s toll, and my legs were zapped, but I had promised myself that I would keep pushing, even if I needed to shoot for sub 2:05 instead of sub 2.

The conversation I had in my head when my watch beeped at mile 10 went something like this:

Me: Ugh, 9:28, that was slow.

Smarter Me: So what?! Go faster!

Me: I don’t think I can do this.

Smarter Me: That doesn’t matter. Go faster!

Because I’m so smart, I listened to my inner speedster and tried to find another gear. I knew the worst of the hills were over, and it was time for my second gel. Besides, mile 11 was only supposed to be¬†a little faster than mile 10, I could worry about the last two miles later.


“The hill is over. Run faster! You’re having fun!”

As I ran over the final miles of rolling hills, I chanted my wish list paces in my head and just did the best I could. My legs were fading from the constant hills, but I was not giving up and I was running as fast as I could. I had switched the display on my watch so I could now see distance, pace, and overall time, (I had been viewing only distance and my split times until this point), and being able to see the clock ticking was good motivation for the end of the race.

In the last 3 miles, I did not hit a single one of my goal times. I finished miles 11 through 13 over a minute slower than I had planned.


Lucky for me, a half marathon doesn’t end at mile 13.

When creating my pace wish list, I gave myself 2 and half minutes to run the last tenth of a mile. I built in this extra time in case my Garmin distance didn’t match the course or just in case I was close and I needed a little extra time.

When my¬†watch beeped for mile 13, I saw that I had been 30 seconds slower than I wanted, but that didn’t matter.¬†I could see the finish line, and I knew I had plenty of time to reach it.¬†I sprinted the last tenth of a mile and crossed the finish line – exhausted, thrilled, and¬†with a final time of 1:58:29!!!!


Just like Meb.

I did it! It certainly wasn’t easy, but I pulled it out – and with time to spare! I had my doubts during training, and I certainly had doubts during the race (basically every time I ran up a hill), but I made the decision not to listen to them, and everything worked out just fine!


Who doesn’t want a picture on the beach with their finisher’s pint glass?






Race Week – Race Goals

I’m all ready for the race tomorrow and have my game plan all figured out, so let’s talk a little about my goals for race day.¬†One of the reasons I’ve been obsessing over this race so much (and writing about it non-stop) is because I have a time goal.

A¬†lot of times I sign up for a distance race simply because it makes me stick to a set training plan, and the race ends up feeling like¬†the the grand finale to the training, a kind of celebration for making it through all the hard work. I usually have time goals in mind for these races, and will try to PR if I’ve been running well through training. This time is different though, I have trained with a specific time goal in mind, and that has made¬†the race feel more like a test than a party. (Note: This isn’t a bad thing. I like tests.)

The time goal isn’t the only goal I have, though. Turns out I have five goals for race day:

¬†1. Time Goals (I’ve given myself back-up times so that I don’t just throw in the towel and walk to the finish line if my A goal becomes impossible.)

A. The BIG ONE: 1:59:59 (or less)
B. At or under 2:05:00*
C. At or under 2:10:00**

2. Run negative splits/Follow my race plan – If I follow my pace wish list, this should happen.

3. Run a strong race – meaning don’t give up if I realize I will not break 2 hours, keep running hard and doing my best.

4. Have Fun and Smile¬†Even if I don’t finish under 2 hours.

5. Do not slow down or make a mess while eating energy gel.  

*My current half marathon PR is 2 hours and 55 seconds. If I can’t run under 2 hours, it’s also pretty likely that I will not be able to PR. My B goal is to finish under 2:05; I have only done this once (the PR).

** If I’m not making my goal, and 2:05 also slips away, I’ll shoot for under 2:10. I have done this one other time (my PR). If I can run at least as fast as my last 13 mile training run, I should be able to do this.

So, there you have it folks. I don’t think I’m being overly ambitious. (Except maybe the negative splits).

There are a few other things I’m hoping will happen but I don’t have control over:

* I get a race shirt that fits. I get serious rage when they do not have something that fits me

* It won’t rain. Weather is 40F and 40% chance of rain. Lame. Also something like 9 or 10 mph winds (is that a lot of wind? I hope not…sounds cold.)

* I don’t drop and shatter my race pint glass. We’re getting glasses, not medals. I’m going to be sweaty (well, maybe) and exhausted and trying to load up on bananas and water and pizza. I hope I don’t drop the glass.

* My support crew isn’t miserable – ¬†doesn’t get too cold or bored or otherwise uncomfortable or annoyed.

* Meb Keflezighi, Joan Samuelson, and Shalane Flanagan show up to pace me. (Shalane for the first 1/3, then Joan joins us for the second 1/3, and then Meb hops on board for the finish.)

Not too much to ask. ūüôā





Thoughts on Racing – My 2014 Race Plans

Continuing on with my thoughts about¬†running races…

My 2014 race schedule

My yearly race schedule tends to reflect the reasons I sign up for races. I will generally have a long race (>=10 miles) in the Spring, to keep me running through the Winter, and another long race in the Fall, to push myself in either distance or speed. ¬†I’ll usually have a few shorter¬†races sprinkled in that sound like fun, and then I sign up for whatever holiday races I can convince family and friends to do with me.


Who wants to run the turkey trot with me?

I don’t consider myself to be a race nut, and luckily my husband keeps me in check on the rare semi-regular occasions that I decide I want to do every race I hear about. I don’t think I’d be very happy if I raced a lot more than I do now (potential future post on this?) – not to mention the impact on my bank account.

This year, I have run one race so far:¬†Frosty Four on New Year’s Day, and I am currently¬†signed up for one other race: The Twin Lights Half Marathon at the end of this month. When I first started writing this entry, I had also registered for the Reach the Beach Relay in September, but that has since¬†fallen through. While this is disappointing, it has made me¬†100% sure that I want to choose a marathon as my fall goal. I am really looking forward to training for another marathon!


I would like to do this again, please. Where do I sign up?

I chose a Spring half so that I would have the opportunity to attempt a sub 2 hour half more than once. However, I’m not sure this will be the case because my desire for a sub 2 hour time is wavering somewhat. I do really like the distance though, so that might be enough to get me signed up for more than one¬†half this year.

Another thing to think about is that I have a friend training for her first half marathon this fall, (she let me make¬†her a training plan – how fun!), and she’s¬†also running a 5k in June and a 10k in August. Both of these races sound fun, and I’d love to join her. Also, Jeff has expressed some interest in trying to beat his 5k and 10k PRs this¬†fall, which is something I wouldn’t want to miss either.

If you add in the holiday races I’m hoping to run, that brings us to 13 races! That’s too many for me. I’ll need to start scaling this back a bit. Perhaps I can volunteer at some of these instead of running them? I’ve never done that before, and it’s one of my 2014 resolutions.

Here is my rough 2014 race list¬†(yes, I know it’s April):

  • January 1st – Frozen Four
  • April 27th – Twin Lights Half Marathon
  • May – Buffalo Half Marathon (This is an EXTREMELY REMOTE possibility)
  • June – PRONE 5k
  • August – Bridge and Back 10k
  • Fall – 5k with Jeff
  • Fall – 10k with Jeff
  • Fall – Another Half Marathon
  • Fall – Marathon
  • October – Devil’s Chase 6.66 miles
  • November – Turkey Trot 8k
  • December – Reindeer Run 5k
  • December – Run-a-Latke 5k
  • And OMG, I just read about a Festivus Race in Salem!

How many races is too many races? How do I not get carried away?

Thoughts on Racing – Why I Run Races

It must be that time of year where people start waking up from their running hibernation and start getting out to races, because almost all of the running blogs I read have had a race re-cap sometime in the last week or two. Am I the only one who isn’t out running races?


See? No races here.

¬†This has prompted me to think about my race schedule for the year, look back on all the races I’ve run, and think about my motivation for signing up for them. All this is too much for me for one post, so I’ll start with….


There are three main reasons I sign up for races:

1. It’s Fun*

2.¬†It’s a holiday

3. To push myself

*The second two aren’t reason enough without the first. I think races should be fun, and I don’t think I should sign up for them otherwise. In the past, there have been occasions when I’ve signed up for a race that I did not think would be fun, but I don’t want to do that anymore. It’s silly. This isn’t to say that every race IS fun; I have certainly done races that turned out not to be fun, but sometimes that just happens. One of my main goals with running is to have fun, so signing up for a race I don’t think is going to be fun, well, that’s just dumb.

Black Cat

“This race is going to be so much fun!”

Sometimes I have different ideas of what’s fun. Sometimes, I think it’s fun to push myself in a race and shoot for a PR. Other times my goal is to go slow enough to¬†chat with my sister and cousin during the Turkey Trot or wear something crazy in the Devil’s Chase. On rare occasions, different goals can overlap, like in last year’s Reindeer Run – where I was able to push myself for a 5k PR while running w/ my husband and wearing a ridiculous Reindeer hat.

However, getting a PR in a holiday race is usually the exception, not the rule. Despite this fact I really do think that holiday races are the most fun races.¬†I’ve come to think that holidays need to be celebrated with road races, and at¬†this point, Thanksgiving would be incomplete without a Turkey Trot. I really find holiday races irresistible. Probably¬†because I get to dress up, and I’m able to convince family members to join me…

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Devil’s Chase 6.66 miles…obviously we will dress as devils.

Thanksgiving Weekend 2009 032

Just a couple of 90’s Bills fans ready for the Turkey Trot

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If cousin Jeremy can’t run this year, the least we can do is put a funny picture of him on our shirts!

With that said, as much fun as holiday races are, I rarely use them as a reason to push myself. However, challenging myself is an awesome part of running, and racing has a role here too. Most of the time, when I sign up for a race “to push myself”, the pushing isn’t the primary goal on race day. If I’m trying to PR, that can be the exception, but mostly my motivation in signing up for longer races is to get myself out and running long distances on a regular basis. I love long runs, but I seem to forget that fact in the 30 min or so before I’m supposed to actually do one. Silly, brain. Once race day comes, I usually have a time goal in mind, but first and foremost, I try to enjoy myself.

When the “push myself” goal relates to a new PR or tough time goal, I need to be careful. Getting a new PR is awesome, and can quickly make a difficult race feel worth it. However, the flip side is that if I’m shooting for a PR and I miss it, the whole race might feel terrible. I want to be better about that as I shoot for my sub-two hour half marathon this year. Last time I tried this, I ended up with a 9 minute PR, but because I didn’t finish in under 2 hours, I was miserable. I thought the whole race was stupid and was disappointed and mad at myself. After that, I took a nice long break from time goals. And, hopefully, I’m better for it. I should never forget that my main motivation is to HAVE FUN.

 What about you? Why do you run races? Are you capable of celebrating a holiday without a race? Do you pressure yourself to PR at every race?


The Friday 5 – 3rd Edition

We’ve made it, it’s Friday! And, it’s SPRING! Here are five things I decided to write about, have fun reading them:

1. It’s TEST day. Yup, today’s the big day. I’m posting this nice and early before I head out for my test, so hopefully I’m doing well, send me some good vibes! I’ve already got some coming my way, but the more, the better. Next time I post, I could be an aspiring actuary who’s passed the first test! UPDATE: I passed my test!!! Thanks for sending your good vibes my way!

2. I’ve been thinking about racing a lot lately. Reading a lot of race ads and race re-caps will do that to a person. And, all this thinking is going to be turning into blog posts. ¬†The first will probably be out before the next Friday Five. Hooray!

3. This is my mini figurine of Dr. Teeth. He’s the lead singer of the band “Dr. Teeth & The Electric Mayhem”. ¬†I wonder if he’ll be in the new Muppet movie? (That comes out TODAY, by the way) I think the band’s most famous song is “Can You Picture That?”

"Everybody's lover, everybody's brother, I wanna be your lifetime friend."

“Everybody’s lover, everybody’s brother, I wanna be your lifetime friend.”

Fact is there’s nothin’ out there you can’t do
Yeah, even Santa Claus believes in you.
Beat down the walls, begin, believe, behold, begat.
Be a better drummer, be an up and comer.  


4. They are building this monstrosity next to our condo. It’s a garage. I don’t love it. But, on the bright side, construction is on schedule to finish this June! ¬†They started last February, so yeah, I’m ready for it to be over. I don’t want to live in a construction zone. Construction kinda makes me want to puke.¬†

Monstrosity, or garage, whatever.

Monstrosity, or garage, whatever.

5. I ran outside yesterday! It was the first day of Spring and was nearly 50F, and all the snow and puddles are gone. How nice. I don’t mind running outside in the winter (but don’t love it), and I also don’t mind the treadmill (of course, there are also drawbacks). What I have a problem with is change. Switching between the two is not my favorite. Once I get in a routine, I’m fine with either and don’t want to switch back. Today’s run was good, though. Hopefully, the warm weather sticks this time.

Also, it's 6:30PM and it's light out!

Also, it’s 6:30PM and it’s light out!

Have a good weekend! I hope you run long, eat delicious food, and see the Muppet movie – or whatever you do for fun! ūüôā

Top 5 Friday: Spring Races

It’s time for Top 5 Friday! Remember when I came up with that 3 weeks ago? You didn’t think I meant to do it EVERY Friday, did you? oops!

As you know, I JUST signed up for a spring half marathon, so it seemed like an opportune time to bring you…

The Top 5 Reasons Signing up for a Spring Race is an Awesome Idea:

1. ¬†To get out there!¬†After that first magical snowfall and all the holly jolly holiday runs are over, winter running starts to be kind of a drag. It’s icy, cold, dark, cold…and this year, it’s been especially COLD. So when you really want to curl up with a book under the electric blanket, that race entry will get you out there. And let’s face it, the hot chocolate tastes at least 20% better after a run. (Yeah, 20% isn’t a lot better, but hot cocoa is already pretty fantastic.

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Remember when, “Oh It’s snowing! yay! And it’s Christmas, and I’m running!!!”

Well, now: "Ugh..what is this disgusting mess...oh, and it's -85 out? super."  Photo from www.theguardian,com

Well, now: “Ugh..what is this disgusting mess…
oh, and it’s -85 out? super.”
Photo from http://www.theguardian,com

2. ¬†Hold yourself accountable – Remember back in January, when you made a bagillion New Year’s resolutions, specifically about running? ¬†Racing probably factored in there somehow. ¬†At this point of the year, you haven’t quite forgotten about all the resolutions, so signing up for a spring race sounds like a terrific idea. And hey, it’ll keep you on track.

3. ¬†To get out there!¬†– This sounds a lot like the first reason, doesn’t it? Well, it’s different, I promise. Not unlike winter, the magic of running in the spring fades pretty quickly for me. And again, having a race on the calendar will get me out the door when it’s 40 degrees and pouring rain for the 8th day in a row.


Running in the spring is great, because this is what spring looks like, right?



¬†4. ¬†Because winter race options are limited – Sure, you’ve got your new year’s day 5k, and of course the frosty knuckle or freezer five, or whatever else unpleasant sounding race, but really there aren’t many longer distance runs in the winter. ¬†At least not in New England. I tried to find a January 1/2 marathon near me and came up empty. There was nothing within a reasonable distance of my home. It’s probably for the best though, I would not have been a happy camper racing on one of these polar vortex days.

5. Because fall is like a million years away – Fall races are my favorite, but if I wait to run all my races in the fall, then I end up with a pretty skimpy race calendar! Not to mention all the long runs on 90 degree days to prepare for fall races. To me, spring is kind of like fall’s cousin. ¬†Not too hot, not too cold. ¬†And it reminds you that “hey, being outside isn’t terrible!”

Disclaimer – I don’t actually HATE the weather as much as this post makes it seem. It’s not running in the cold or rain or heat that are the problem, it’s that I can’t ever remember that doing so isn’t that bad. ¬†Having a race on the calendar helps me overcome that issue.

So, what spring race are you going to do?