2017 Race Calendar

As I mentioned over coffee the other day, I’ve been going round in circles on my race calendar. And, while the fall still pretty fuzzy, I’ve got the first half of the year pinned down.

Super Sunday 5 Miler — This race is being billed in part as a celebration of completing the Winter Challenge. There will be live music, food and beer post-race, with all proceeds going to the Race Cancer Foundation. Plus many of my BGR teammates will be there – sounds like a good way to kick off Super Bowl Sunday!

The Old Fashioned 10 Miler — This is a great local race that I’ve missed the past couple of years. I love 10 milers and this is a challenging course.

NYC Half Marathon — Running through Central Park, Times Square and finishing in Battery Park – what’s not to love?!

Boston’s Run to Remember Half Marathon — I opted for the 5 miler at last year’s race because I was far from “half marathon” shape. This is one of my favorite Boston races and will be my goal race for the spring!

Finish at the 50 5K/10K — While I’m not a fan of summer racing, this race has such a fun vibe, with a finish at the 50 yard line at Gillette Stadium, followed by 4th of July fireworks. Added bonus, this will a family affair with both my sons and husband all running!

As for the fall….

I know I’d like to run at least one half marathon…maybe two…the wish list is all over the place, including:

B.A.A. Half  — Boston Athletic Association always does a great race and this half sells out in record time. The year I “ran” it I was injured and was out there to be moral support for a friend who was running her first.

RnR Montreal and/or RnR Savannah — Both cities are on my “must see” city list.

Newport Half — Such a pretty course!

And, given my goal to mix-up the distances, there are also a bunch of great 10Ks within driving distances to consider.

Decisions, decisions…guess I’ll see how the spring goes and then figure it out from there.

Have you run any of these races? Got a suggestion for me for the fall?

I’m linking up with Erika, Marcia and Patty for this week’s Tuesday on the Run, where the topic is weekend warrior vs racecation – which do you prefer? Be sure to stop by and see what others are planning.


2016 Finish at the 50 Recap

screenshot-www.finishatthe50.com 2016-03-07 19-45-53

Last weekend the family and I headed down to Gillette Stadium to take part in the Harvard Pilgrim Finish at the 50. I love when the whole family gets in on the act, and this one was extra special because it was my youngest’s first ever 5K! He rocked it! 🙂

Family race

He was so proud of his medal!

The 5K was scheduled to start at 6 p.m. and the 10K at 7 p.m., so we decided to head to the race around 3:30. Parking was a breeze and we found a great spot where we could watch the fireworks later. There were no lines for either the bibs or t-shirts, so we were done in no time leaving a bit of a wait until the start of the race. We milled around Patriots Place, seeking shade and trying to stay hydrated and cool. As we inched closer to 6 p.m. and the temps were still hovering around 78, I was once again cursing myself for signing up for the 10K.

Side Note:  OK, so I just have to put this right here and say that I really have a love-hate relationshp with this race! I love how well-organized it is and that it has really turned into a great family-friendly event. But the combination of the heat and the late start are just uber challenging for me.  Earlier in the week I had, in fact, thought seriously about switching to the 5K and joining my son and husband – actually who am I kidding, that thought went through my head right up until the moment I got my bib! But, the RC coaches and I agreed that the 10K fit better with where I am in my training plan, and that I should just treat it as a hard training run.

Soon the 5K was off! I had positioned myself where I could easily catch my husband and son in two spots along the first part of the course. I cheered them on and then headed back to the main plaza to listen to the music and wait from the 10K to be called to the start. My husband J sent me texts and selfies so I knew how they were making out. No sooner did I head the start area then I spoted them on the ramps of the stadium closing in on the finish.

Now it was my turn. There were significantly fewer of us running the 10K, and several of us joked that all of the 5Kers knew something we didn’t. Just after 7, we were off. We followed the same loop around the first parking lot the 5K did, but then turned away from the stadium heading for Rte 1. I was thankful we were not on Rte 1 sharing the road with cars for long, as the route quickly took us off into the residential neighborhoods behind the stadium. And, this is where the rolling hills began. A downside of this race (for me at least) is the general lack of spectators – some residents were out in their driveways and front yards and did their best to cheer. The kids were the best and I high-fived as many as I could. The burst of energy I felt during the first mile was short-lived and by the time I reached the long, slow climb that was mile 4, I had hit my heat wall – there was some walking involved. I locked in on a woman in a t-shirt with a fireworks burst on it and promised myself I needed to keep her in my sights. “Follow the fireworks” became my mantra.

As we returned to the stadium, we could hear the music and the announcer, but it was a cruel tease, because instead of heading into the stadium loop, the course veered away again for an out and back across the parking lot. I did not love this part of the race course at all – seriously, who wants to run through people tailgaiting?! Miss Fireworks and I leap-frogged each other and I passed a couple of runners I hadn’t seen since mile 2. Finally, I was back within the stadium, and heading for the final tunnel and on to the field. There were lots of people in the stands and on the field, and I love that the announcer calls out each runner by name and the finish line is shown on the jumbotron – so fun!

50 bling

With our races done, we headed back to our car for well-deserved picnic and to wait for the fireworks – always a good show!

This race is really well done and a fun way to spend part of a 4th of July weekend. The volunteers were really friendly and encouraging, and all of the water stops were well staffed and stocked, (though some Gatorade would have been a welcome addition). I really was not a fan of the out and back thrown in at the end – I think it would have been better to add that extra mile to the neighborhood section of the course. I’d also encourage the race organizers to offer a better selection of post-race food – while I love KIND bars, KIND bars and water was not much of a post-race selection.

I’m sure my family will be back again next year, and I’m most certain that I’ll be sticking to the 5K 😉

Did you run a 4th of July race? Do you avoid summer racing or embrace it?


Ultimate Coffee Date – July 4th Weekend Edition

Hello July!

Can you believe it’s the 4th of July weekend?! Grab your favorite beverage settle in for another edition of the Ultimate Coffee Date. I’m joining Coco, Lynda and Deborah for this fun link-up! When you’re done here, be sure to check out what the other ladies are dishing about.

icedcoffee july
If we were having coffee together, I’d tell you we are finally slipping into summer mode around the RWA household. Both boys have started their camps, dinners on the deck have commenced, the grill is in steady use, and in general the pace of things has s-lo-w-e-d down. Thank goodness 🙂

If we were having coffee together, I’d tell you that I’m loving the fact that my oldest, who’s away again at overnight camp, decided to send his first letter home to his younger brother! Just made my heart smile!

If we were having coffee together, I’d tell you that that, while the humidity has been oppresive, summer running is off to a good start. After some consultation with my friend Tina, I signed on to train with RunnersConnect. I’ve been working with them since the begining of June and so far have really been enjoying both the community and the coaching.

If we were having coffee together, I’d tell you that my husband, youngest son and I will all be running the Finish at the 50 at Gillette Stadium tomorrow – they will be running the 5K (my son’s first!), while I’m doing the 10K. With the expected heat, I’ll be treating this as a training run. The race is always fun and there’s a great fireworks display afterwards.


So what would you tell me over coffee?  What have you got planned for this long weekend?


#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!



Finish at the 50 10K Recap

Finish at 50 logo

On Wednesday,  the whole family once again ventured out to Gillette Stadium to take part in the Harvard Pilgrim Finish at the 50. This was our second year doing this event – my oldest participated in the kids’ races and I ran the 10K. J and my youngest son played chief cheerleaders – which quiet honestly may have been the smarter choice!

OK so how to write this recap without it being a complete whine-fest about the heat?! Let me start by saying it was 88 degrees with a dewpoint of 70 – translation the heat and humidity combination was downright oppressive! Combined with the late day start time (6:30 p.m.), this morning runner was way out of my comfort zone!

The Good Stuff

  • The kids races were a lot of fun and my oldest son did great!

    getting a "Congrats!" from Pat the Patriot

    getting a “Congrats!” from Pat the Patriot

  • They changed the location of the 10K starting line so we started in the shade this year
  • The 5K race started an hour before the 10K to help elevate the crowded start
  • Several wonderful residents of Foxborough took pity on us runners and broke out their hoses for some impromptu misting stations – bless them!
  • Enthusiastic volunteers did a great job at the water stops and generally just being really encouraging
  • Challenging course with the first 4.5 miles on a rolling out and back through residential neighborhoods before coming back into the stadium for 1.5 miles of ramps before the final tunnel run to finish at the 50-yard line

The Ugly Stuff

  • It was HOT people – just ugly, soul-sucking hot!
  • ramps-smallRunning those ramps — surprisingly, going up the ramps wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. It was running down them that proved a lot more challenging, especially when you threw in the hairpin turns at each level. By this point my quads were just screaming to be done!

IMG_2160Post race was like one big tailgate party as runners and their families hang out and wait for the fireworks. We enjoyed a great picnic dinner and the fireworks display did not disappoint!

Overall this is a really well-run family event and a fun way to kick-off our 4th of July celebration! I did say to J shortly after finishing that I just don’t see myself running this again next year – at least not the 10K. J said he may try it and I think I’ll be happy to swap roles as chief cheerleader 🙂

Do you run a 4th of July race?





Thursday Thoughts

It’s not the Heat it’s the Humidity….we’ve been in the midst of a heat wave since the weekend so that means the return to early morning runs! Making the shift is always a little tough the first few days, but I do love the feeling of being home and done long before the kids have to be out the door for school.

And speaking of school….we have finally hit the home stretch! Tomorrow is the last day 🙂 Hard to believe that I will soon be mom to a 2nd grader and a middle-schooler! As we’ve been inching closer to the last day of school, the boys have been steadily adding to our Summer Bucket List – they’ve got big plans for the next 9 1/2 weeks. Let the fun begin!

ramps-smallIn the “What is she thinking category?“…I’ve been debating between the 5K and 10K for next week’s Finish at the 50 and then I got an email with this picture. Those are ramps inside Gillette Stadium – they’re also the final 2.2 miles of the 10K course! We all know how much I hate don’t love hills, especially at the end of a run, but believe it or not I’ve decided I’m going to do the 10K. If this crazy heat continues I may be cursing this decision…stay tuned 😉

Don’t forget….my Designer Whey Sustained Energy giveaway  ends tonight at 11:00 p.m. EST


B.A.A. Distance Medley – 10K Recap



Sunday I ran the second race in the B.A.A.’s Distance Medley – the B.A.A. 10K!

Since my cheer squad was a little tired from a full day Saturday capped off by watching the Bruins’ game, I headed into town solo for this race 🙂 Parking was easy and I was just steps away from the start/finish line.

I had tweeted with Nicole & Amy the day before and our plan was to meet near the bag check – well best laid plans….there were so many runners and I couldn’t find them. Luckily as I was heading to the corrals, Amy’s husband spotted me! Amy and I got a chance for a quick hello and her hubs snapped a pic before I left them to head to the 4th wave group.

It was so hot waiting in that sun for the race to start! We had a moment of silence in honor of those lost in the Marathon bombings and then the runners were encouraged to join in the singing of the National Anthem – it was a very special moment to have all of us singing!  I chatted with a couple of the other runners as we started to shuffle our way up to the start and tried not to think about how hot it was going to be on the course. And then finally we were off!

As expected finding space to settle into a comfortable pace at the start was hard – truthfully things never really opened up, I ran in a crowd for most of the race.  I had a really nice surprise as I made my way up Comm Ave – my dad had come out to cheer me on! He knew J and the boys might not make it and he wanted to me to have someone on the course 🙂

The route took us out through Boston’s Back Bay to Boston University where we made a hairpin turn and then headed straight back. I like out-and-back courses as it gives you a chance to see and cheer the lead runners. The heat was really draining – I am clearly not acclimated yet! But the runners and volunteers were great and made the whole experience a good one. I won’t lie though, by the time I spotted my dad again and he yelled out “One more!” I was so ready to get that last mile done! In fact my last mile was my best split on the back 5k – I was so happy to cross to cross that finish line! I had a quick cool down, jumped in my car and headed home in time for a late breakfast.

So race #5 in my quest for 13 in 2013 is done. Next up is the Finish at the 50 at Gillette Stadium – I was planning to run the 10K but after yesterday’s heat I may aim for the 5K instead 🙂



Finish at the 50 Race Report

On Tuesday the whole family headed down to Gillette Stadium (home of my beloved Patriots) for the Finish at the 50! We arrived in plenty of time to score a prime parking space for the fireworks later, and headed over to the entrance to the stadium for the kids races. All of the event emails had said that the kids races started at 3 – well at 3:05 we along with 700+ kids and their families were still waiting outside the gates, melting in the sun. We finally got in and seated according to age-group heats only to hear our master of ceremonies announce that the races would kick-off at 3:30 — more waiting in the sun and heat! Uggh!

Finally the first group of kids were called down to the field to get started. There were kids as young as 2 participating – they were so cute! And with some many kids there were multiple age group heats, plus each age-group was split by gender. Watching the kids all give it their best was a lot of fun and parents did there best to whoop it up and make a lot of noise for them. Each kids race crossed the same finish line the 5k & 10k would use later and they could see themselves on the jumbo-tron as they finished!

with the Patriot’s mascot!

Once my son’s race was done we made a beeline for the covered part of the stadium and the concession stands! Despite doing my best to keep downing Nuun throughout the kids races I could feel my energy level draining. There was still an hour and a half until my race so we decided to avoid the very crowded expo/mall and headed back to the car to hang out. I grab a banana and Luna bar and more water. Soon it was time to head over to the start. It was approaching 6 PM and unfortunately wasn’t cooling off (my phone showed a temp of 85).

Pre-race with my favorite cheer squad!

I waited as long as I could before heading down into the corrals. Unfortunately, the race didn’t start right at 6 and waiting in that heat with 7000 of my closest friends was a little tough! I chatted with a couple of people and tried not to think about how hot it was. Finally the crowd started to shift forward and everybody let out a cheer -We were off!

My only plan for this race was to run on feel so I just tried to settle into among the crowd and find a pace that felt comfortable. I was holding up pretty well for the first 3+ miles but as I neared the 4 mile marker I could tell the heat was starting to take a toll. I walked the water station drinking some water and dumping the rest over my head. The 5th mile became a run/walk death march – I was ready to be done! We were running through residential neighborhoods and people had brought out hoses and set up makeshift water stations to help. There weren’t many spectators but the ones that were along the course were really enthusiastic! I was so happy to see the 5 mile marker! We were looping back towards the stadium now and I started to hear the music and race announcer. For the last stretch of the race, we came through the same tunnel that the NE Patriot players use to come on to the field, and then down the center of the field to the 50 yard line finish! Truly a cool way to finish a race, especially with the announcer calling your name and your finish up on the giant screens both above and outside the stadium!

Happy the race is over!

J and the kids were right where they said they were going to be in the stands so we had no problem finding each other. There were pre-packaged goodie bags for all the runners – I grab a bag, some water and a greek yougurt  and was ready to head out. We made our way back to the car and set up the picnic blanket and chairs to wait for the fireworks. It was a great fireworks display!

All in all despite the heat it was a fun day! The course itself was a nice route and I kept thinking I would have love to have run it first thing in the morning (or as one runner and joked during the race – in October!) I didn’t love running late in the day – and it showed in my slowest 10k time ever. I think if I run another summer race that I’ll stick to the early morning starts! But it was a fun event for the whole family to participate in and a great way to kick off the 4th of July celebrations!


Monday Motivation – Let Training Begin!

Training for my two fall half marathons kicks off this week! Yeah I’m just a little excited!

I’m running the Harvard Pilgrim Finish at the 50 10k tomorrow evening – should be a ton of fun! I’m not going into this race with any big goals. Given the heat ( mid to upper 80s projected), the start time (I am exclusively a morning runner) and the fact that I haven’t run a 10k race since last October, my main goals are to put in a solid run and have fun. In June, my speedwork went well, but overall I didn’t get in as many miles as I’d hoped (recovering from my May malaise lasted a bit longer than I wanted). So the bottom line, as I told Coach Bennett the other day is that I just have no idea what to expect for this race. I’m going to run by feel and see what happens.

So Week 1 training looks like this:

Monday — Yoga, rest and hydrate!
Tuesday — Race
Wednesday — Rest
Thursday — Tempo run (5)
Friday — Yoga
Saturday — LSD (7)
Sunday — Rest**

** I may through a light shake out run of just a couple of miles cause I’m dying to try out my new Merrell Dash Gloves!

What have you got planned for the week? Any 4th of July racing?

Hello June

After losing about half the month to being sick, I am very happy to be putting May in the rearview mirror. I’m ready to set some new goals for June and the summer ahead!

June Goals:

  • Hit all of my training runs – total miles: 90
  • Commit to not walking a hill on any of my runs
  • Complete the Another Mother Runner Challenge
  • Complete the June 100x Challenge
  • Weekly yoga
  • Core work 3x’s/week
  • Strength training at least 2x/week
  • Set myself up for a strong 10k on July 3rd

With a strong June, I should be in great shape to start training for the ZOOMA Half Marathon in September!

What are your June goals? Do you have a big fall race planned?