Don't blink. Just run.

Where training meets fandom. And everything in between.

Friendship In The Ocean State

Social anxiety doesn’t make it easy to make friends. It’s not easy to go to group fitness classes. It’s not easy to go to races. I’ve written about it before, but this will be a different kind of post. This one will be about friendship.

Through my racing, I’ve become a tad bit more outgoing. I line up elbow to elbow with these strangers and you can’t help but talk to them sometimes. This always helps take your mind off the nerves, which I still get for every race.



When I started going to Unleashed, it was because a coworker and I were going to run Tough Mudder together and wanted to train properly for it. Group classes horrify me (and still do, to some extent) but I had this coworker to go with so I’d at least know someone. As time went on, things changed and she stopped coming, so it was either stop going or just suck it up and be brave to continue my training. I chose to keep training because I knew I needed the obstacle specific training they could offer me, unlike Planet Fitness.

As time went on, I got to know some of the “regulars” who I now consider my friends. I’ve been thinking about writing this update of sorts for a few weeks now, but two things happened in the last week that made me want to write it now.

Both of the cookouts we were invited to last weekend were by people from Unleashed. At the first cookout, we were all sitting around talking and I made some comment about not having family or friends in RI. I don’t remember what we were talking about, but it was something in the past that at the time I didn’t have people to do stuff with – not important. One of the women then said “well now you do” or something to that affect. It made me really happy, probably more than she realized at the time.



Yesterday, another friend made a Facebook status in the Unleashed Racing Teams group about how she’s never made so many new friends in her life (again, I’m paraphrasing). I totally agreed with her and told her as much – and I wasn’t the only one.

I’ve lived in RI for 10 years now. I’ve made more friends in the last 7 months than I had in that entire time living here. The anxiety hasn’t gotten much easier, but I’ve learned to deal with it better, and I have these new friends to thank for that.








Dirty Dash Race Recap

Saturday was the Dirty Dash at Amesbury Sports Park in Amesbury, MA. I had first heard about this race from a fellow blogger out west, before they ever had a location here scheduled and thought it sounded like a lot of fun (along the lines of a Foam Fest fun run). As soon as I heard it was coming to MA, I knew it would go on my list of races this year. I thoroughly enjoy the fun runs. A lot of hardcore OCR racers will say they’re not very challenging, but they’re not meant to be. That’s why they’re called “fun runs”. Everyone can do them, even grandmas – and I saw several of them out on that course having a blast with their children and grandchildren!

I got up to start getting ready around 5:30 since it would be about a two hour drive for us. We hit the road somewhere around 6:45 and arrived just before 9:00, so that worked pretty well. The ride up wasn’t bad because I think we were early enough, but when we left the traffic on that side was a nightmare.

Once we got up there, parking was a breeze and we headed towards the check-in. What we noticed, though, was a table with a few men that appeared to be searching bags. Now, when the race info was emailed it specifically mentioned that you should bring water to hydrate, so we had packed a couple of bottles of water. The signs as we approached said that NO food or drink could be brought in, so I had to take it out, drink some of it and then give it up to the people at the table. Tara then had her bag searched. This was really frustrating, considering the options they had for sale inside the festival area. I paid $3 for a Gatorade after the race which is ridiculous, but I digress.

After we got through the bag search, I waited for a moment in the proper alphabetical line to hand in my waiver and get my bib. This was really quick and easy the way they had it set up. I also was able to switch my time there. For some reason, when I chose the NE Spahtens team during registration, it wasn’t the right one. I had been registered for 11:00 but the team wave was apparently at 10:10. I told the guy at registration and he just shrugged and wrote down 10:10 on my bib so I was happy they didn’t give me a hard time about swapping. The festival area, once inside, was really tiny given the amount of the space available at the Amesbury Sports Park. I don’t really know why they set it up that way, but it wasn’t a huge issue. People were just extra close.

I met up with some fellow Spahtens that were running and met some more new faces. I ended up running with 3 of them for the whole race and had a BLAST. We took a team pic before our wave and then got ready to race. The race started on a very steep uphill and then after that you couldn’t see anything, so no pics from Tara this time, other than the start and finish.



The course was really fun, very well spread out and had a decent amount of obstacles. Some regular, challenging things like wall climbs and a cargo net climb and then some fun inflatable stuff. And lots and lots and lots of mud. The Dirty Dash definitely delivered on the mud. I did notice that the course map didn’t match up with what we actually ran though. They held a Dirty Girl mud race there the weekend before and apparently they took their sweet time getting their stuff broken down. The Dirty Dash people literally had like 1 day to set up their race, so it appears they left some stuff out, like the monkey bars. This wasn’t an issue for me since I can’t do those anyway because of my shoulder.


Big Mean Hill #1


As always, I can never remember the order or all the types of obstacles, but there was lot of mud pits, some tunnels to crawl through, a pit with pipes through it to do over/unders, cargo net climb, wall climb with 3 walls of varying heights, hay bale climb, another set of walls to climb with a rope, a big bouncy house, an inflatable balance beam on rollers (so it was like a see saw), a water slide, a log balance beam and a beer chug (with optional root beer chug for those under 21, or people like me who don’t drink beer).

The one negative about the course itself was the finish. This was the first race that I ever had to WAIT to cross the finish line. They had poorly planned to take the pictures right after you cross the finish, but the photographer was taking 3-4 different posed pictures of every group. This caused a back-up that was going back up the hill by the time we got there. We waited probably 30-45 minutes by our estimation just to take a picture. What they should have done is put it off to the side after the finish and you could opt to go in there if you wanted to take the pic or not.


Waiting in line to “finish”


One more thing I should make a note of is that there were no changing tents. There were some not-very-powerful hoses to rinse off, but nowhere to duck into and change into dry clothes. There was no way I was doing it standing in front of everybody, or doing it in a portapotty, so I opted to drive the two hours home in wet clothes.

I’d probably rate this a 3.5 out of 5 stars if I had to pick something like that. It doesn’t really matter though, because there has been talk that they are going under like many of the other fun runs that have gone bankrupt lately. Whether or not this is true is pure speculation to me, but I wouldn’t be surprised.








Face The Music Friday #44

Saturday – 4 hours standing at Samurai Sprint and then walking around Boston before the concert

Sunday – 7 miles

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – 4 miles

Wednesday – 30 min elliptical

Thursday – 4 miles

Friday – Rest


This week was pretty spot on with my training plan. The only change-up I made this week was making today a rest day instead of tomorrow since tomorrow I will be racing. The timing is actually pretty perfect because this week tapers back just a bit so that my long run on Sunday would have been 4 miles before it jumps up again. Since the Dirty Dash is probably going to be close to a 5K course (I would imagine, though I’ve never done it) I figure that will just be my weekend run. I haven’t decided if I’ll take Sunday off or not, I guess I’ll see how I feel.

I pushed myself a little on Tuesday and Thursday with my runs. The plan I’m following for the half marathon is a 4 min run/2 min walk plan, which I’m sure I mentioned before. I set my intervals on Runkeeper and just listen for the jingle telling me to switch. It’s been going great and I can feel my endurance starting to come back (finally!!!). I decided on mile 3 of 4 to run the whole last mile and I was able to do it on both days! Slowly but surely, I’m getting there.

We were invited to two BBQs this weekend, so it’ll be another busy weekend, but I can’t wait. We may splurge just a little bit, depending on the food available. I know one of them seems like it will be really healthy, so splurging for us might just be having some fruit. Speaking of splurging, I think tweaking the diet plan this week has made a little bit of a difference. My body could also be getting used to this crazy deficit of carbs. I didn’t stick strictly to the 20% or less carbs ratio every single day, but didn’t go crazy either (I think one day was 30%). I need to send him an email since it’s been two weeks now and see what we’re supposed to do next. He had only given us one day of a diet plan and said “follow this for two weeks”. I feel like I could have done that myself for $75. So we’ll see…I’ll continue to update on that.

Not much else to talk about this week, so let’s rock the 80s, shall we? I wanted to do a little throwback today and mix it up some. I love Annie Lennox’s voice so it was an easy choice to include The Eurythmics song Sweet Dreams. While I do love Marilyn Manson’s Sweet Dreams also, I’ve been digging the 80s lately on Spotify so that’s what I’m going with today.







Busy Awesome Weekend

As I mentioned before, I took last Friday off to spend a day with Tara while she was on vacation that week. We packed as much fun stuff into this weekend as we could. There’s so much, I’ll mostly let the pictures do the talking, but basically it went like this:

Thursday night – went for a run at City Park and Tara came along




Friday – went kayaking, mowed the lawn and then did some swimming before our grocery shopping





Saturday – helped at Unleashed tent at Samurai Sprint Mud Run for 4 hours, then drove up to MA to pick up Julie and head into Boston for Sarah McLachlan concert. We had dinner before the show at Jerry Remy’s and then walked around a bit. I practically had to drag Julie away once we found the tour buses.



Boston Strong!





Sunday – 7 mile run and lots of meal prep, plus we finally finished Orange Is The New Black season 2











Face The Music Friday #43

Saturday – 9+ hours on my feet at Unleashed Open House + mowed lawn

Sunday – 6 miles

Monday – Train Reaxion (description below)

Tuesday – 2.5 miles

Wednesday – 1 hr kettlebell workshop + messed around on obstacles a bit

Thursday – 4 miles

Friday – Kayaking + mowing the lawn planned for today


Busy, busy week! No real rest day to speak of because I decided to mix up my routine a bit and try some of another trainer’s classes at Unleashed. They were AMAZING! Monday was a regularly scheduled class, but Wednesday was a small group class that he put on just for a few ambassadors who had expressed interest in taking one of his classes at the open house, but we really didn’t have time. Totally worth the quad and glute pain I’ve had since Monday! It certainly made my runs on Tuesday and Thursday interesting, to say the least.

As for the runs, half marathon training is going right along by the plan. I was supposed to do 4 miles on Tuesday as well, but between my muscle soreness and the 88% humidity, my body wasn’t having it. I also had some stomach issues with these stupid protein drinks we’re on from the nutritionist. I did tell him we’re not going to be using the powder anymore once it’s gone. It’s just too nasty and too expensive.

So this class on Monday was a sweat fest! Below is a description of the class. The first 2 columns were done 4 times through, 30 seconds on, 12 seconds off. The last 2 columns were done I think 3 times through, 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. It was super intense and tough, but I thoroughly enjoyed it!



Before I can go on, I need to share this video. I know everyone and their mother has posted about her all over social media, but in case you missed it, Kacy Catanzaro became the first woman to ever finish an American Ninja Warrior qualifying round. She then put on this amazing performance and made it through the Finals! She’s going to Mt. Midoriyama!! It’s so exciting to watch! I love this show so much and now have a super chick to root for!



As for an update on the nutritionist plan, well, I hate it. I hated it on day one. I hate it on day 6. I feel like I’m always hungry unless I just literally put food in my mouth 5 minutes ago. I’m really tired in the morning without my coffee and then when it’s bedtime, I (and Tara) have to get up like 2-3 times to pee in the middle of the night, which never used to happen until this week. I also can’t sleep well past 2-4am and then I toss and turn quite a bit. As I mentioned before, when the protein powder is gone, we’ll resort to just eating real food again, which is kind of what I wanted in the first place. The one positive of the week is that I’ve lost 7.5 lb since Sunday. This is not that big of a deal because this has happened with me before when starting a new type of diet. It’s mostly just water weight that comes off in the very beginning. What will be interesting to see is how it progresses over the coming weeks when it levels out, and I introduce more actual food into my diet again. I’ll keep updating, at least weekly here, if not when something else arises.



Tara and I will be going kayaking today. She had all this week off so I took one day to hang out with her and I just happened to pick the right day! The weather should be gorgeous and I can’t wait to hit the water.

I went local with this week’s song pick. This is a Providence band and I just love their sound. This was the first song I ever heard of theirs played on the radio and I still love it to this day. At the time, they were simply “The Rice Cakes”, but now I guess they go by Roz and The Rice Cakes. Who knows. Anyway, enjoy Yellow Fields!









Unleashed Turned 1!

Saturday was the big Unleashed Open House to celebrate their 1-year anniversary. The event went from 7-2 and had free demo classes every ½ hour all day long. It was a great way for people to experience all the different classes the gym has to offer, without committing to anything up front.


Nothing cuter than kids doing burpees

Why climb the rope by itself? Why not add a ruck filled with bricks?

Even the mayor came by!


There was a great turnout and the gym was buzzing all day. It was so busy that most of the ambassadors opted not to take any classes so we could continue to help out where needed, so I didn’t get to try anything out.

I got there around 6:15 to help set up and then they asked us to split up the volunteer duties for the day, so I said I’d start out with parking duty. The gym is in kind of a tricky location with multiple businesses in the area, so we needed to direct people to the lots they were allowed to park in. It wasn’t so bad early in the morning, but as the sun continued to rise, I was baking! Luckily, one of my friends had sunscreen so I didn’t get super burned. I ended up doing one more “tour” of parking lot duty, but then most of the rest of my day was spent roaming around wherever I could help (front desk, merch tent, etc).



We had several vendors on hand for people to check out, including several local race series. We got to try out some tasty local almond/peanut butters and a new fruit bar coming to the market. There was supposed to be some water company there, but I never saw them. We also had a chance to win a free race registration to BoldrDash, but I ended up spinning the wheel and won a sticker. The NE Spahtens were also representing so it was nice to meet a couple of the Facebook admin in person. Plus, my old buddy Vin from Perform Better was there, so it was really great seeing an old coworker and friend.



It was a long day on my feet, which I’m so not used to, so I was pretty wiped out by the time I got home, but it was totally worth it. I love my Unleashed family!







Face The Music Friday #42

Saturday – Rest – spent most of the afternoon in the pool

Sunday – 5 miles

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – 4 miles

Wednesday – Rest – met with nutrionist & giving my blisters some healing time

Thursday – 4 miles

Friday – Most likely rest instead of tomorrow


Not the most productive week, workout-wise, but I’m pleased that I stuck to the half marathon training program that I’m following. I did the distance I was supposed to, when I was supposed to, and that’s my main focus right now. My issue is that I’ve now developed blisters, dead center, on the balls of both feet – probably about dime-sized. I’ve switched over to wearing only strictly hiking socks (either my Smartwool or Thorlo), plus I got some blister bandaids. Now, these suckers are supposed to be waterproof, sweat proof and last for days. I put them on Wednesday, went for my run Thursday after work, and they basically disintegrated in my socks. I’m actually kind of pissed because it’s almost like they melted INTO my sock – like seriously, there is a sticky residue all over my friggin’ expensive Thorlo socks and those bandaids weren’t cheap either. It was like $7 for a box of 6 bandaids! When I took the sock off, it was crumpled under my toes and had come off on it’s own probably halfway through my run because I could feel the blisters bothering me around that time but just kept going. It’s a good thing the Thorlos are padded because I think that helped me finish out my run. So yeah, I’m pretty pissed off and don’t know what to do next. Hence why I didn’t really do any cross training (which would have been elliptical).

In regards to that nutritionist appointment, I met with him after work to get more details on the plan he had worked up for us. He had emailed me two separate one-day meal plans, one for workout days, one for not, plus a list of food exchanges because I’m so picky and need alternatives for several things he has on the list (like fish, grapefruit, oatmeal, etc). I’m kind of bummed that’s all we got for $75 (discounted rate for Unleashed ambassadors), but we’ll see how it goes. We’re supposed to follow the one day plan he gave us for two weeks and keep him posted at the end of each of those weeks to see how we’ll progress. I guess at that point he’ll tweak it if necessary. We also will now be using protein powder so that should be interesting. He had given us a sample of a cookies and cream flavor (which is one of my fave ice cream flavors) and it’s not terrible so I think I can get used to it. I bought a jar of that and a couple of blender bottles as well. I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted as to how it’s going and what happens after two weeks in case anyone is interested in seeing a nutritionist. I’m not sure they’re all the same, but who knows. I may end up eating my arms and not be able to type an update. That’s what dictation software is for, am I right?



I’m really excited for tomorrow as it’s the day of the 1 year anniversary open house at Unleashed! I’ll be there bright and early around 6:30 to get the day rolling and it goes from 7-2 if anyone local wants to stop by and try out some FREE demo classes. And not just obstacle classes – they’ll be offering all the others, too, like kickboxing, kettlebells, TRX, etc. All the ambassadors will be there helping out with the main tent and spotting people, but we also get to have some of the fun, too. I can’t wait to try out some different classes that I could maybe add to my repertoire. I’m sure I’ll have a post about that after the fact.

This week’s song was just randomly picked off my running playlist. Not sure if I mentioned it, but I’ve been listening to only podcasts lately when I run and it’s fantastic. I just listen for my audio cues from Runkeeper to tell me when to switch from run to walk, but other than that I keep getting enthralled listening to Nerdist podcasts. If you have any others I should listen to, please tell me!!

So anyway – this week’s completely random song is Little Talks by Of Monsters And Men. Have a great weekend!







A Guide to Helping Your Runner

From my oh so funny (but very thoughtful) wife. Hardy har har.


Finish At The 50 – 10K Race Recap

On July 3rd, I ran the Finish At The 50 10K race at Gillette Stadium – home of my beloved New England Patriots! The event had a 5K option as well, plus there were supposed to be fireworks after the race. Unfortunately, they cancelled the fireworks the day before due to the weather forecast, which turned out to be a bad decision as it never rained. Some speculated it’s because the Boston fireworks were moved from Friday to Thursday due to weather and they are put on by the same event company, but who knows. It was a big bummer though!

First, let’s talk about that weather. Hurricane Arthur was moving in and we expected rain both Thursday and Friday. However, as of Thursday morning, no rain in the forecast – yay! Bad news – it was going to be hoooooot and humid. This is what it looked like just prior to the race kickoff:



It absolutely felt that hot, too.  The breeze was the only saving grace of any comfort whatsoever. It was a hot breeze, but at least it gave us some sensation of air movement. I have to say, the rock stars of the day were the people in the neighborhoods that we ran through. It seemed every couple tenths of a mile there was someone in their front yard spraying the runners with their hoses/sprinklers. I ran through It felt glorious!



I had the day off from work, but unfortunately Tara did not. We made our schedule work the best we could and thought we might end up having to each drive up there separately, but luckily she was done early enough that we could go together with a slight modification. We ended up arriving around 4:30 I think. Parking was really easy, right next to the stadium, and just a short walk to registration. That was also seamless with no wait. The only strange thing about it was that we had to go to one area for our bibs, then go to the opposite side of the courtyard to get our tshirt. Not a big deal, just strange.



After I got my stuff, I tried to meet up with some Unleashed teammates before they started. Two of them were doing the 5K race (which started at 5:30) and one of them was doing the 10K with me at 6:30. We were able to find each other just in time and get a quick pic before the race started.



After the ladies took off, Mike went to get some pics so Tara and I headed over to meet up with the NE Spahtens that were there at the race. I only know one of them personally from Unleashed, so I said hello to her and then just kind of stood there awkwardly for a few minutes because everyone else was already kind of chatting in their little cliques. I decided I’d rather go sit in the shade than be that random girl standing there, so we sat for a bit. Eventually, another Spahten came over and sat with us that I had never met before and we hung out basically until just before the start of the 10K. We did manage to get a team picture, but it was quite the ordeal trying to squeeze everyone in for the person taking the picture (who was at a really weird angle). This was the best one that Tara could get of all the attempts she made.



We went over to line up right around 6:15-6:20. They did the National Anthem and then shortly after we were off – sort of. They started the race, but it was a good 3 minutes before I crossed the start line. This is the only pic Tara could get of me for the entire race, right after the start. I had noticed Julie and Dan standing on the left, but never saw Tara, so this is the moment I yelled out to Julie who hadn’t even seen me run by. It was all quite comical.



I’m hoping I’ll get better official race photos, because they took a bunch of them towards the end in the stadium. We even got to run through the big blow-up helmet the team runs through before a game!! I was so giddy running on the field that my favorite team runs on. SO amazing!

After the race, we found another Unleashed teammate and managed to get a finisher shot of everyone. Even the kids are Unleashed kids!



Shortly after, we all split up and went our separate ways and I tackled the beast know as “A million stairs”. I forgot how many I would have to climb after I just ran over 6 miles and I was not a happy camper! Tara, Julie and Dan thought they were hysterical and Tara made this lovely little collage to show my disappointment in these stupid stairs.



See them all?? Do you see???


I did pretty well overall. I was aiming at finishing under 1:30 and just barely squeaked by with 1:29:18 by my Garmin (unofficial email said 1:29:14).



This is definitely a race I would do again, but I would hope the weather would be a little more gentle on us! My gang were troopers, even though they went in the restaurant and ate while I was out there melting!









Face The Music Friday #41

Saturday – Spartan Race

Sunday – Rest

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – 3 mile run

Wednesday – Yard work

Thursday – Finish At The 50 – 10K (recap this weekend)

Friday – Rest


Pretty mellow week this week. I’ve still got mega bruises from Saturday that I feel with basically every step I take, so Sunday and Monday I just chilled and recovered. I tested out the legs on Tuesday with my scheduled training run and did alright. Wednesday I did a mad dash of yard work in prep for the weekend, but also to beat the forecasted hurricane/downpours. Thursday was my 10K and it was HOT! I’ll put up a recap of that at some point over the weekend. Today, Tara and I are just chilling, enjoying our rainy day off together and probably getting errands done later.

The weather this week has been super hot and muggy, so we finally broke down and put the A/C in the bedroom on July 1. At least I can say we made it to July this year!



In honor of the July 4th holiday, I’m going with the National Anthem for my song this week. I’d like to send a shout out to all troops, past and present, to thank them. And an extra shout out to our special veteran, my brother-in-law, on his birthday today.