Friday Five: Run to Remember Race Recap

Over Memorial Day Weekend I ran what has really become one of my favorite races – Boston’s Run to Remember!

RTR shirt

I’ve been trying all week to get around to writing a race recap but it kept slipping further and further down my to do list. So instead of my typical recap, it’s coming at you Friday Five style….

Oh the HumanityRTR crowd 1! – I think the first time I ran this race in 2011 there may have been 7,000 runners total running both the half marathon and the 5-miler. This year there were 12,000 of us hitting the streets! The race announcer said if you totaled all the human mileage we’d reach half way to the moon!


Public Garden

Sights and Sounds — Police cadet chants as they ran, “Boston Strong” cheers and cow bells, high-fiving police officers lining the route and super enthusiastic volunteers! Passing Faneuil Hall, Beacon Hill, the Public Garden and Boston’s waterfront.

Keep it Simple — My runs have been so schizophrentic lately that I really had no idea what to expect from this race. My goals were simply to have a solid run and enjoy the race. Coach Bennett suggested that I just run by effort and not worry about a specific pace. For half a second I considered not even wearing my Garmin, but I knew I’m just too Type A for that! I did manage to not really look at it until I hit the final mile.

New Distance — While it was my third time running RTR, this was my first time running the 5-miler. I like this distance – it’s not quite the all-out gut-wrencher that a 5K can be.  And I think it (or a 10K) makes a better pairing with a half marathon than a lot of the 5Ks I typically see (oh race directors are you listening?!)

Camaraderie and Community — From the expo the day before to volunteers throughout the course and at the finish line, I saw many friends and familiar faces — and I know there were so many more out there that day that I didn’t get to see! Despite the large crowd there’s something about this race that makes it feel very “local” if you know what I mean. I loved how encouraging runners were to each other and especially appreciated the older gentlemen who ran next to me in the final stretch. He must have sensed I was tiring – we chatted for a brief minute and then he urged me to get going and finish this thing…and I thanked him and I did!

RTR medal


This is race is really well done. If you ever plan to be in Boston on Memorial Day weekend, I highly encourage you to register for this one!


Do you have a favorite race you’ve run again and again?



Somebody’s been race shopping

I’ve been eyeing these races for a while and now I’ve finally pulled the trigger: loco_smuttyrock PM14_Banner BAA10K banner Two half marathons and a 10K! 

I think my credit card needs a rest!  burningcard

Have you ever gone on race buying binge?

Will you be at any of these races?


BAA 5K Recap

What a beautiful day! And, what an emotional day!

BAA5K 2014

On Saturday I ran the B.A.A. 5K with my husband J and our oldest son. It was a beautiful morning for a run – a little chilly, but picture-perfect clear blue skies. Because there were going to be so many more runners this year, we decided to park a few blocks from the start and walk over. Not only did it make a breeze to get in and out easily – but the parking garage also had a very nice lobby with clean bathrooms! (Always a score to avoid the porta-potties!)

As we made our way over I could tell my son was a little nervous but excited. This was going to be his second 5K and with a much bigger crowd than the local race we did last summer. And there were so many runners – in an effort to let more people participate in Marathon weekend, the BAA had increased the field of the 5K from 6500 to 10,000. (8,640 actually ran – but still an awful lot of people for a 5K on Boston’s narrow Back Bay streets!) Given the chilly temps and crowds, we decided to keep our extra layers on and skip the bag check. We snapped a couple of quick pics and then heeded the call to head to the corals.

BAA5k 2014 Collage

Yes someone was being goofy 🙂

The corals were jammed and it was a challenge to stay together and find anywhere to slide in.  As we stood waiting you could just feel the energy – I mean obviously runners are always pumped up at the beginning of a race, but this was different. We chatted with other runners and many joked that there were so many of us that the elites would be finishing before we crossed the start. Well in fact that almost did happen!

As we shuffled our way to the start, the announcement of the lead man’s first split was 4:3X. Yes they were flying…and we were soon going to be in the way! No sooner was the announcement made than volunteers started moving corral barriers to open up the street and get us moving faster to the start – so much for self-seeding! It was chaotic but we were finally off.

We tried our best to stay together while also trying to find some open space to run – at some point I ended up ahead of J and my son and pulled up to wait for them. They caught up but my son wanted to take a walk break so they urged me to just keep going so I ran on. I knew even before we started that this was not a day for chasing a sub-30 – this was a day for taking in the moment and I did.  I thanked volunteers, marveled at runners with prostetic legs gutting it out and enjoyed the spectators chanting “Boston Strong” along the course. When we reached the turn-around, runners were hooting and hollering and high-fiving – we were all just having so much fun! I came across J and my son – he was slapping hands with so many runners. It was great to see him see the running community at its best!

The route took us on the famous “right on Hereford, left on Boylston,” and as we reach the corner of Boylston there was an enormous American flag hanging over the course from a firetruck ladder. As I turned on to Boylston it hit me, I hadn’t been back here since the bombing…consciously or unconsciously I hadn’t been back here since I ran last year’s 5K – before everything that happened happened. I wasn’t prepared for the rush of emotions that only got stronger as I passed the Forum, site of the 2nd bombing. I’m not sure I can even put into words what I was feeling as I ran down Boylston and across that famous finish line – it was a lot to process. Soon came the final turn back onto Charles Street and the finish line. The finish area was more chaotic than the start so unfortunately I missed seeing my husband and son finish but heard the race announcer give them a nice shout out as they came across the line! We collected our medals and race shirts and, at my son’s urging, headed off to breakfast.

All-in-all a great morning – the B.A.A. does such an awesome job (though I do hope they return the field to its original size next year)! It was a great event to be a part of and I especially loved how in awe my son was of getting to cross the Marathon finish line.  He’s already talking about running it again next year – and that’s just fine with me 🙂


Changing race plans


At the beginning of March, I mentioned that I was working with Coach Bennett to revise my training to set me up for a stronger fall race season. After a fairly craptastic winter, I really needed to take a step back, re-access some goals and decide what I really want to achieve before 2014’s in the history books. Coach Bennett and I have agreed to shift the focus to shorter distances and work on building some speed, before going after some goal half marathons in the fall.

So, of course, this means some changes to my race plans:

  • While I’ll be running the Newport 10 Miler at the end of the month, this will just be a fun run – my goal of 10-mile PR will have to wait. I’m no where near ready to “race” this distance, but I do love the course and look forward to a fun blogger meet-up that’s in the works. Given how few 10-mile races there are in the area, it looks like I may have to let go of the goal of a new PR for this distance until next year.
  • This will also be the first spring in three years where I won’t be running a half marathon. Originally, I had planned to run the Runner’s World Heartbreak Half in June, but when the planets aligned for our family to book a much needed vacation during the same time, vacation & family-time won out over racing.
  • I’m now hunting for a couple of 10K races – like the 10-milers around here, they’ve become harder and harder to find.
  • And, as for the goal of 14 races in 2014 – for now I’m backing off. It could happen, but I’m not going to push it. Staying injury-free, getting stronger and going after the much-desired half marathon PR will be the priorities.

 Anyone else re-thinking goals for this year?


Friday Five – February Edition

21 days…


Just a mere 21 days until the first day of spring!

I am choosing to ignore the latest mention of snow heading our way for Monday (a lot can change between now and then!) and instead focus on the fact that we are inching closer and closer to spring running!

So with this last day of February being a rest day for me, I thought I’d dedicate this Friday Five to wrapping up February and looking ahead to March.

Race #1 completed — 13 to go! Ambitious but I still think it’s do-able

Strength training and more strength training — While I was disappointed to have to put plans to run both a 10K and tomorrow’s 10-miler on the back burner, I have no doubt it was the right choice and I will benefit from the extra attention to strength training.

Race schedule revised — With Coach Bennett’s help, I’ve made some changes to my race schedule that I think will give me the build-up time I need to have a really strong fall race season and I’m psyched about that!

More outdoor miles vs. indoor — Despite the polar death-grip we continue to be in I actually managed to up my miles out on the road — always a win!

Simple goals for March — Continue to build the mileage smartly, while strength training like it’s my job 🙂

How was your February? What are you planning for March?


First race and a Tweeked Knee

heart-medal1My quest for #14in2014 got underway this weekend. My training plan called for some race pace miles for Saturday’s long run so it seemed like a perfect time to put some of those miles towards the Stop Stroke Shuffle 5K. I had so wanted to do this run on the road but after taking a quick trip in my car to survey the roads there was just too much ice.

So I headed to the gym – not to self NEVER go to the gym on a Saturday at 9! I finally got a treadmill, did a quick warm up  and then got started. It was a fairly uneventful run until the final half mile or so – that was when I felt the first twinge in my left knee. It was soon followed by another that lasted longer than the first. Not good….and I knew by the time I finished my knee was really unhappy. I still had miles left to do but when I tried a cool down run it was pretty clear that I just needed to pack it in.

Since then there’s been a lot of ice, a compression knee sleeve and rest. I passed on Sunday’s recovery run in favor of more shoveling as cross training.

Race #2 is just two weeks away and at this moment I’m not feeling very confident about making it to the starting line – it’s a 10 miler and thanks to cutting Saturday’s run short, the longest run I’ve logged so far is just 6.5 miles. While it’s not a goal race, I’m not loving the idea of heading into a race under-trained….on the other hand, I’m not crazy about passing up the chance to run this 10-miler. I’ll be checking in with Coach Bennett this morning to get his take on it.

WWYD – Would you run or sit this one out?


January Rewind – Not!

January was not a pretty month – between one sick kid, being sick, a pulled pec muscle and the havoc wreaked on my running thanks to the Polar Vortex and the snow days and bitter cold that came with it – to say I was D-O-N-E with January would be an understatement!

So I’m skipping my usual monthly rewind and just saying Hello February!

Got the month off to a good start on Saturday with a 6+ mile run…wait for it…outdoors in 40 degree weather! (cue the choir!) You could not wipe the smile from my face and I swear every runner I passed seem to be grinning like a fool 🙂  Sunday was even warmer but we had a busy day planned and, as much as I wanted to, squeezing in another run just wasn’t possible.

So what’s up for this month?

— Finish base-building phase

— Weekly yoga classes

— First two races of the year (a 5K and a 10K)

— And yes, the #FFBurpee 1000 Burpee Challenge as part of my weekly strength training

It should be a very busy 28 days!

What do you have planned for February? How was your January?




Ready for 2014!

New Year goals

This quote really does sum up how I feel about the start of a new year. Yes, you can obviously set goals for yourself at any time…and I often do. But for me there is something about having a fresh new year laid out before you that just speaks of infinite possibilities!

I carved out some quite time for myself over the last couple of days to really hone in on what I’d like 2014 to look like. On the fitness front, here’s some of what I’ll be shooting for this year:

  • #14in2014 Challenge
  • Consistent strength training — key word being consistent!
  • Run a sub-2:20 half marathon
  • Run more races with my oldest son
  • Set a new PR for the 10-mile distance — (haven’t quite figured out the target time yet)
  • Run 1,000 miles
  • Continue to learn more about nutrition to find what works best for my training and overall health

I’m ready to write that new chapter!  Happy New Year!


2014 Race Calendar Taking Shape

While not complete yet, my 2014 race calendar is starting to take shape. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Super Sunday 5 Miler (2/2)

Winter Warlock 10K or Frozen Pilgrim 10K (2/16)

Black Cat 10 Miler (3/1)

B.A.A. 5K (4/19)

Newport 10 Miler (4/27)

Boston’s Run to Remember 5 Miler (5/25)

Runner’s World Heartbreak Half Marathon (6/8)

Boston 13.1 (9/14) or Newport Half Marathon (10/12)

Tufts 10K (10/13) – if I don’t run the Newport Half

Canton Fall Classic (10/26)

Richmond Half Marathon (11/15) or Philadelphia Half Marathon (11/23)

This would be potentially 11 races towards my #14in2014 goal. I think I’d like to add the BAA 10K again – it was warmer than I would have liked but there’s the possibility that they’re going to move this race from the end of June…the question is when?

I’m happy to have a couple of 10 milers planned, and I’ve never done a 5 mile race so it will be fun to do a new distance! Another big change for the upcoming year is no spring “goal” half marathon. While the Runner’s World Heartbreak Half in June should be a lot of fun, I know those Newton hills all too well – I will not be looking for a PR. Instead I’ll be looking to shave some time off my 10-mile time at Newport. The goal half marathon will wait until the fall – decision on which race to come later.

Have you picked your 2014 races?



Choosing Goal Races


I’ve been pouring over race options lately trying to figure out a plan for 2014. Thanks to GI issues and a tumble that left me seriously hobbled, I came up short in my goal races and there were no PRs this year. While I don’t have all my goals figured out for next year, I am clear on one thing, I’ll be gunning for some personal bests!

Obviously there are lots of factors that can play a role in whether you snag a shiny new PR on race day – some you can control and some you can’t. In talking with Coach Bennett, who I’ll be working with again for my goal race, he urged me to pay much more attention to the course when choosing the race. While that may sound obvious to some, I’ll admit the course map has rarely factored into my races choices before. And while yes my current half marathon PR was earned on the Newton hills, it does make me wonder what kind of time I could put down on a more forgiving course!

So many things to consider: the timing of races (especially in light of family commitments and a goal to go after #14in2014); local vs destination, and now the course map — decisions, decisions!

How do you pick your races?

Do you have your 2014 races figured out yet?