#13in2013 Flashback

When I first signed on for the #13in2013 challenge there was a big part of me that thought – “What are you thinking?!?” 13 races in one year? But I love a challenge – so why not?!

After my first race of the year was canceled due to a Nor’easter, I started my quest for 13 in February with the Frosty Virtual 5K. The run benefited the American Cancer Society and I ran in honor of both of my grandmothers.

Frosty 5K

BAA 5K CollageNext up was the B.A.A. 5K – the first race of the B.A.A. Distance Medley! The race was held the Sunday before the Boston Marathon and the course was set up so we would finish the final “right on Hereford, left on Boylston” stretch and across the Marathon’s famous finish line. Definitely a fun race!

Later that month, I ran the inaugural Newport 10 Miler.  Unfortunately this would be the first of a couple of races this year where my stomach totally turned on me 🙁  Stomach issues aside, there were lots of good things about this day including meet-ups, a beautiful course and hanging with my running buddy E. Newport group 4     With Kim at Newport 10  919029_647770745240367_1885810049_o

Race #4 was Boston’s Run to Remember Half Marathon. I love this race and running it shortly after the Marathon bombings, it took on special significance. The race honors fallen police officers and police officers lined many sections of the route. The level of emotion, the chants of “let’s go Boston!” and all of those officers cheering and high-fiving runners – it was an experience I will not soon forget.  picmonkey_image (3)

Race #5 was the B.A.A. 10K  — Have I mentioned how much I love a Boston Athletic Association race?! Despite the heat-fest, I managed a negative split on the back 5K but missed my PR goal.BAA 10K

Next up was Finish at the 50 10K — This race is part of a 4th of July celebration at Gillette Stadium with great activities for the whole family. My oldest son ran in the kids’ races and then I took on the 10K. Even with a start time of 6 PM, it was soul-sucking hot! All of the runners took a “we’re all in this together” approach and there was lots of cheering and encouragement. Post-race the family enjoyed a great picnic and awesome fireworks display! IMG_2160

Race #7 was definitely the best race of the year as I ran with my son for his first 5K at the Narragansett Running Festival!

picmonkey_image (5)

I finished off the summer with Race #8 – Jill & Jen’s Virtual Birthday Bash! We were on vacation in the Finger Lakes region so this was a beautiful run with the lake and mountains as my backdrop. Lake

Race #9 was my first trail race! I hadn’t planned on it being my first tail race – let’s just say the course description wasn’t very descriptive! It was challenging and quite the experience to say the least!

runchat Race #10 was the Wicked Half Marathon. The original plan was to treat this race as a test to make sure I’d finally put an end to my stomach troubles before taking on the B.A.A. Half, my fall goal race. Well let’s just say nothing went according to plan – I woke up not feeling so hot that morning and by mile 5, the wheels had come off the wagon. Some how I finished that  race, though there was a great deal of walking involved, and I was down and out for another week after!

A week before Race #11, I took a fall during my long run that left me with a seriously bruised and swollen knee and a very tender foot. I was determined not to miss the BAA Half – it was the last race of the Distance Medley! Also, it was my running buddy E’s first half – how could I not be there?! This is the race I’m probably the most proud of completing! BAA Bling

The rest of the fall became about healing both the knee and especially my foot. I had to take a pass on my favorite local race and my last half marathon planned for early December. As my foot healed I found I could tolerate some short runs so I finished my 13 races with two virtual races supporting two great causes:
hope4philippines bib   miles_for_melanoma_logo_website_v2 (1)-1

After such a great year in 2012, I had had much higher hopes for 2013.  I’m disappointed with the way this year played out, but I’m far from discouraged. I learned a lot about myself this year – I think I’m much more mentally tough and know that will serve me well in the future. I’m even more determined to reach my goals in 2014 and cannot wait for the #14in2014 Challenge!



One Last Race and #OneSmallChange

Happy Friday! Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! We had a great day in the RWA household – lots of food, drink and laughter – the perfect combination!

miles_for_melanoma_logo_website_v2 (1)-1On Christmas Eve morning I ran my final race of #13in2013 – the Miles for Melanoma 5K virtual run. The streets were quiet and it was a great way to steal a few peaceful minutes for myself before all the holiday festivities got underway. A lingering head cold made this a bit of a slug pace-wise; but, after not getting many runs in lately, I was just happy to out on the road and supporting a great cause.

smchange buttonIn other news – it’s week 12 of the #OneSmallChange Challenge! For the past 11 weeks I’ve been joining with others to make small changes each week. You can check out weeks 1 – 11 HERE. This has been a great challenge and I’m really happy with some of the habits that I’ve adopted. For the final week, I’m taking a page from Marcia, (creator of the Challenge), and focusing on some much needed self-care. I’m overdue to book a check-up, the dentist, a mammogram, haircut….you get the idea. So I’ll be taking some time to book a bunch of appointments and start 2014 off on the right foot. First up this afternoon – a massage!

Are you good about booking appointments for yourself or are you last on your to do list?


Slow and steady progress

Sitting here a little bleary-eyed thanks to staying up to the wee hours of this morning to watch my beloved Patriots pull off an amazing comeback against the Broncos…so with my second mug of coffee in hand, a little randomness to start this Monday…

  • While making the decision to not run my half in December wasn’t easy, I must admit that the lack of pressure to hit certain paces or log enough miles has been kind of refreshing. This has been a tough fall running-wise and only now am I starting to see that I needed a break mentally as much as physically.
  • This past week I logged more time strength training than running – that’s a first!
  • hope4philippines bibSaturday was my longest run in weeks – 5 miles, including 3.1 dedicated to the Hope for the Philippines 5K. It was great to participate in this virtual run to help provide some aid to those so hard hit in the Philippines.
  • Saturday was also my first run with my running buddy E, who’s also been nursing an injury. I’ve missed those Saturday morning runs! We keep reminding each other that slowly but surely, we’ll build those miles up again. I’m really grateful that I have her to rely on as I try to get back into the swing of things.
  • Of course I’ve been looking at 2014 races and I’m getting excited for the first half of the year – could be the year of the 10-miler! (More to come on the race calendar soon)
  • And because I cannot resist  1466305_10152037491977372_907871165_n


hanging shoesI’m hanging up my half marathon training shoes for the rest of this year. There will be no half for me on December 8.

As you can imagine that is not an easy thing for me to see in print – not an easy decision, but it’s the right choice. While my foot is making progress, my attempt at returning to half marathon training has proven to be one step forward, two steps back. I may be able to kill my track workouts, but maintaining race pace on the unforgiving surface of pavement and roads is proving to be a different story – I can get 4 miles at best…clearly a problem when the goal is 13.1! And as I said to Coach Bennett during our last call, the one thing I am clear about is that I do not want to have to will myself through another race that my body isn’t prepared to handle. I’ve done that and know I don’t have the mental energy, nor desire to do it again.

So I may eye a couple of 5Ks before the year is over – after all I’ve only got 2 races left to complete the #13in2013 Challenge – but there will be no long distance races for me until next year.

Time to start building my 2014 race calendar!


Thursday Thoughts

Small Changes — I’m a couple of days behind on my #OneSmallChange update. So I was on a roll with Week 1‘s daily planks and then Week 2‘s keeping my coffee table clutter free, but I hit a bump in the road with Week 3’s change to up my daily water intake. Don’t know why I have such a tough time with this one, but I’ve decided to re-commit to this change for week 4 and see if I have better luck.

Race Debate — I’ve done very little running in the past week and half – in fact I’ve run exactly 3 times. I’ve been trying to give my bum foot and knee as much TLC as possible.  And while the knee feels pretty good, my foot was sore after Tuesday’s run. I saw my massage therapist and she treated it and gave me the hairy eyeball when I floated the idea of running in this Sunday’s 5k. The Canton Fall Classic is one of my favorite races – it’s local so I get to see and catch up with a lot of friendly faces – I’d really hate to miss running it. I may hold off till Sunday morning to make the final call on this one.

And speaking of races... I did register for one more half for this year – it’s December 8. Yes I recognize that living in New England the first weekend of December can bring everything from freakishly mild temps to snow, but I’m going to cross my fingers and dig out my Yak-Traks just in case 🙂 My half marathon performance this year has left me underwhelmed to say the least and I’d like to take one last shot at putting together a good race before closing the book on 2013.

So tell me — what’s your best trick for making sure you get enough water? Would you run on Sunday?


BAA Distance Medley – Half Marathon Recap

The last race of the BAA Distance Medley is done! And it proved to be the hardest of the three races. I had originally hoped that this race would be a goal race – a chance to chase a PR. Then I took a tumble a week before the race and all bets were off. In the week leading into the race, the most my right foot and knee would tolerate was a 4-mile fartlek run.

When I checked in with Coach Bennett that Friday morning he actually asked me if there was another race I could do and take a pass on this one. But not completing the BAA Distance Medley that I started back in April was just not an option I wanted to entertain. I also really wanted to be out on the course with my running buddy E as she took on her first half. So in the end we agreed that I would run a very conservative race, taking walk breaks as needed and if necessary stopping if my foot or knee wouldn’t cooperate. So my race goals were simple  – to finish and to not do any further damage.

Es husband dropped us off so we just had a short walk to the start.  As soon as we picked up our race shirts, I got a text from Nicole and we caught up with her at the bag check. After missing each other at the first two Medley races this year it was great to finally see Nicole! With Nic

The three of us faced the crazy long lines for the port potties and then worked our way towards the front of our wave. Soon we were off. Within the first half mile, Nicole started to pull ahead and knowing that she was targeting 2:30 I had hoped to just keep her in my sights. E & I were moving well until about 3.5 miles in when my right foot made it clear it wanted to slow down. Around this point Amy & her husband had caught up with us – Amy was also injured and had planned to do a run/walk in hopes of finishing. I would end up leap-frogging back and forth with them throughout the course which really helped keep me going. I told E that I was going to need to slow down and she should keep going. I slowed and just as I started walking a guy passed me encouraging me to join him and keep going. I started again and just tried to focus on staying just off his right shoulder. It was funny for a while we didn’t talk at all – he would just check over his shoulder to see if I was still there. We ran that way for a bit and then I just needed to walk again so I let him go.

I kept plodding along, soaking in all of the encouragement from the volunteers (BAA Volunteers really are awesome!) I shuffled passed the water stop just after the 7 mile marker and heard someone call out to me – it was Jose who volunteering! Thank goodness for friendly faces! I soon came across the guy I’d been running with – this time we introduce ourselves (he was Charles) and started chatting as we ran. We picked up a woman named Rachel along the way and the three of us ran together for a bit. Having them to chat with and seeing Amy & her husband off and on were all great distractions from the growing soreness in my foot and now my right knee had joined the angry party!

Run, shuffle, walk is how I continued to make my way. E & I passed each other on the last out and back and high-fived. We were back in Franklin Park now and soon I spied my cheer squad! At this point I knew if I could just get through the last killer hill that was mile 11 it would be a fairly flat loop through the zoo and then into the stadium to the finish.

Walk, shuffle, run and finally the finish! E had finished about a minute before me and was waiting. I’m so proud of her!!

Eileen and I_BAA

Once I had completely stopped moving it really hit me just how much my right knee and foot were hurting. I couldn’t wait to get home, get a shower and become one with the couch 🙂 Race #11 for this year done!

BAA Bling (Awesome double bling – one for the half and the other for the Distance Medley!)

The BAA Distance Medley was a great series of races – as I’ve said before the BAA does not disappoint! If you’re looking for some great courses through Boston and crazy-well organized races I encourage you to check out the Distance Medley.


Wicked Half Marathon Recap

countdown_wickedHalfOn Saturday I headed up to Salem for the Wicked Half Marathon. This race was to be a training run for me – a chance to make sure that the stomach issues which have plagued me during races this year were behind me and a chance to test my race pace.

Well nothing about this day went as planned.

Given the fact that I’m still sick a couple of days later,  I can now say that I was battling some kind of bug during the race. The wheels came off the wagon at mile 5 – for the first time ever in a race I made a porta potty stop and struggled to keep running/walking through mile 10. Just after the 10 mile marker I was only walking. My stomach was a nightmare – I was really nauseous and had the continual feeling that I was going to be sick. I seriously thought about packing it in and taking a DNF but what kept me going was my kids out along the course.

Boys at wickedSince the course was open to traffic, J and the boys were able to leap-frog me along the course, so I saw them multiples times. They cheered their hearts out and it really kept me going – the boys even came and ran along with me a little bit. I wanted them to know that even when things don’t go well that you don’t give up! So when I just didn’t think I could manage a shuffle any more, I walked.

I ended up connecting with a woman named Dawn whose ITB had her walking since mile 4! We stuck together and encouraged each other and the other “walking wounded” we encountered along the way.  As we passed the 12 mile marker, we talked about trying to run it in. Dawn really didn’t think that she could but she knew I really wanted to try (I just couldn’t bring myself to walk across the finish line!) so she encouraged me to give it a shot. I did and ran/shuffled to the finish. I waited for Dawn to cross the finish and we gave each other a big hug! Isn’t it amazng how quickly you can bond with another runner over the course of just a few miles?!

Best moment – my son telling me he was proud of me! Doesn’t get better than that!

Every race experience teaches you something about yourself right? So I take this experience and dig in for the next couple of weeks and get ready for the BAA Half.


My Inadvertent Trail Race



On Saturday I set out to run race #9 of the year — the Race Wellesley First 10K.

Coach Bennett had suggested that I run a couple of “tune-up” races this month — the primary goal to see if my race stomach woes are hopefully behind me. The other goal – run a solid, consistently-paced race. Simple enough, right? Well that was until I got to the starting line.

There was both a 5K and a 10K race – starting together, which didn’t worry me much because this was a very small race. Just before the start, we gathered around to hear final instructions from the race director. The 10K course was a double loop of the 5K course so the director was explaining who should go where as we completed the first loop…and then he said the words that struck fear in my heart. “So just be careful on the trails, it could be a little slippery.” Wait…what? Trails?!? As I listened to the comments of some of my fellow runners I was clearly not alone in my surprise about the “trails.” But before complete panic could set in, we were off.

20 feet from the start we turned into the woods – hello trail. Did I mention that I have never run on trails…never!

The course was a mix of trail, fields, crushed gravel…and yes some pavement as we wound our way in and around the campus of Olin College. In truth it was a beautiful course…but it was hard people! Running the trails and across the fields took so much out of my legs that when I hit the pavement it was hard to pick up the pace – that and the fact that a good stretch of the pavement portion were hills. As I climbed the two hills towards the end of the first loop I may have been cursing between gasps as it was suddenly very clear to me why most people running this race were only doing the 5K!

The small crowd around the finish line was very encouraging as the handful of us made the turn back out for the 2nd loop. I heard someone call my name and spotted my friend Kathleen who had just finished the 5K. I had no idea she was running this race -turns out it was her first 5K!

The good thing about the double loop course was as least I knew what was coming and had a better sense of how to approach the trails. The second loop was harder though as we were all strung out along the course and so I was running some sections completely alone. As I hit mile 5, I was so happy to be done with the trails but knew the worst hills were coming – I was so ready to be done!

While I would encourage the race director to be a little more explicit in his course description in the future, there was really nothing to complain about this race. The course was well marked, there was good on-course support and indoor bathrooms at the start/finish line! For me, on the good side I had no stomach issues! And while I was a little too tentative to hold a solid pace on the varying terrain, I did get my first taste of trail running and came through it relatively unscathed – I may even try it again 🙂



September Goals

Happy September! I love Spetember – it signals so many new beginings…the start school, the begining of fall (my favorite season!) and cooler temps, and the fall race season!

My goals for this month:

  • 100 Miles — after cranking my mileage back up in August despite the heat, this should be doable.
  • Yoga — my favorite class was unfortunately canceled at the begining of the summer. I’ve quickly discovered that I’m not nearly as dedicated on my own so I’ll be checking out some new classes this month.
  • Racing — Races #8 and 9 on the road to #13in2013 are up next! I’ve got two tune-up races this month a 10K this Saturday and the Wicked Half in 3 weeks. These races will give me a chance to see where I am in my training and to see if I’ve finally got my recent racing stomach issues in check.
  • Hill Work —  Knowing the hills I’ll face at the B.A.A Half next month (not to mention some decent inclines at Wicked), it’s time to get back to hill repeats.
  • Healthier Eating — Things definitely got a little lax last month in the heathy eating department!  I blame it on the birthday celebrations at the begining of the month…kinda just kept celebrating 😉
  • Embrace a New Schedule — The start of school always means a change in schedule, but this year we have the added twist of my boys being on completely different schedules as my oldest heads off to middle school. Different start and end times, buses and carpooling, plus homework and sports schedules – yeah I can already feel the summer zen slipping away.

What have you got planned for this month?




So this has been my view for this past few days…ya I know, tough to get use to 🙂 As a last summer hurrah, we’ve made our annual trek to the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York. It’s been great to watch the boys run around with cousins, to laze by the water … to just move at a different pace. And with the exception of one or two quick things for work, I have for the most part remained largely unplugged from all electronic devices.

I did break out the Garmin long enough yesterday for my run. I was scheduled to do a tempo run with cruise intervals so it seemed like a good opportunity to also get my 10K done for Jen & Jill’s Virtual Birthday Bash Race.  BirthdayBashButton_WEB

Clearly, I had blocked from my memory just how hilly it is around here! The beautiful views as I ran along the lake did help to distract me – at least for the first 5K – then the hills began to take their toll, it proved to be hotter out there than I had expected and the decision to not carry water started to look like a really bad choice (that and the decision to have “just one more beer” the night before!)

But I pressed on – there was definitely some muttering, a little cursing and a couple of walk breaks, especially when I hit the hill at mile 5. At 1:08:49 I was definitely not breaking any land-speed records but race #8 for #13in2013 is done! lake 2

I’ll be back on those hills for Saturday’s long run, but for now my spot by the water is calling me and I’m returning to my semi-unplugged state 🙂