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Where training meets fandom. And everything in between.

Face The Music Friday #54


Saturday – RI Run for the Fallen

Later Saturday into Sunday – New England Fitness Challenge

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – 3 rounds of this circuit, 10 reps each:  4-count flutter kicks, push-ups, squats, bear crawls and 30 second plank

Wednesday – Rest – spent the night fighting with electronics

Thursday – Rest

Friday – Rest


I had made a last minute appointment to have my foot worked on again at the chiro last Friday for this past Monday night. I got a call around noonish that the doc wasn’t feeling well and would be canceling her appointments – HUGE bummer. I’ve been doing everything possible to get my foot better faster and that would have helped a great deal. As of this morning, I’m glad to say I’m not in 100% pain with every step – probably only 80% at this point, and I’ve even taken a few steps in the last two days that were pain free!

Wednesday I finally got around to backing up our phones and iPads so that I could install the new iOS. I even did a full back-up of the Mac through our G-Drive and then finally upgraded our iPhoto. It. Took. FOREVER. I feel better now that it’s done though.

Not much going on this week. This weekend will be all about resting from activities. Last weekend was a blur and next weekend will be, too, so this weekend will hopefully be yard work, organizing some rooms in the house and hanging out with some friends on Sunday. I hope the weather plays along.

Throwing it back just a “few” years this time. Enjoy the song of the week and have a great weekend!

Social Distortion – Story Of My Life








NEFC Recap


This weekend, I tagged along as “team manager” to the Metro Swat New England Fitness Challenge, held at Gillette Stadium. My friends and teammates from Unleashed (as well as some I didn’t know) were competing and I wanted to be there to lend support and help them in any way I could in what I knew would be a difficult challenge. This post will be pretty long, full of pictures, so grab a blanket and curl up.



The event would start at 10pm Saturday night and end at 9am Sunday morning. We all agreed to meet up at Unleashed at 4:30 for the hour long drive up to Foxboro so we could carpool together. Tara helped me pack anything and everything we could possibly need, including some freshly baked banana muffins she made. I brought any first aid you could possibly think of, extra TP, paper towel, tons of different snacks, cases of water, foam rollers, stretching strap, extra blankets, chairs, sleeping bags, etc. If you could think of it, chances are I had it! This didn’t leave much room in my car, so I only had Chrystal with me on the way up there and she already had a ride home planned.



We met up, moved stuff around, got people packed up and took off. The traffic flowed well and we made good time. We found a primo spot in the parking lot to set up our tent and unpacked our creature comforts. Then it was tailgating time! People went all out. There was someone down the row from us with a full-on trash can fire, people brought RVs, a person had a crock pot hooked up to their car battery. You name it, people thought of it. Our spot was even super close to the portapotties, but even early on in the evening they were already gross. Luckily, they had the stadium restrooms open for us with a short walk – score!



At 9 pm they started the opening ceremonies. They had the flag presented and National Anthem and then they had the team captains all meet in the middle of the field for a briefing. Our team captain Joey got all the info we would need for the night and a printed schedule. There were 40 teams competing, broken into groups of 4 teams. At each event, you would compete against 3 other teams – the same teams for the entire night. Our group ended up not having 4 teams though, and we never found out what happened to the 4th team. We were given the order that our teams would go to the events so we could plan ahead. Each team had 15 members and, in all but 2 events, only 10 members would compete.


Love this one! Amy, Chrystal, Stephanie, Christine, Corrine


The order of events was as follows with whatever pics I had of it:

Keg Relay – for this event, each team member had to line up on a 10 yard line (10, 20, 30, etc). Starting at the goal line, they would sprint out to the next team member with an empty keg, pass it off, run back, grab another one, repeat until all were passed to the other end. They then had to pass them all back to where they started.



Sandbag run – each team member had to either carry a Wreck Bag (sand bag) or push a wheelbarrow full of sand bags around the inside of the stadium and back.


Photo credit: Stephanie Santucci

Photo credit: Stephanie Santucci

Photo credit: Stephanie Santucci


Sand pile migration – each team had a huge pile of sand they had to move from one end of a parking lot to another, using only 5 gallon buckets, shovels and brooms.



Puzzle – each team was given a map to a location with a bag of puzzle pieces within the stadium. They had to get all the pieces and return to the start and assemble the puzzle.



Log carry – each team had to carry a log together to a check point. At each check point, the team would kneel down and another team member would cross the log. They would then return to start, team member would cross the log and they would move to next farthest check point. At the end, they all had to lift the log up and down until each member had crossed the log.



Super tag – all teams were given flag football style belts with 2 flags a piece. On go, they all basically just chased each other in a free-for-all and the last team standing with any flags was the winner.


Photo credit: Stephanie Santucci

Photo credit: Stephanie Santucci

Photo credit: Stephanie Santucci


Operation – each team had a station with a truck tire, 3 sledgehammers, a Wreck Bag and the board game Operation. While 3 team members hammered the tire at any given time, one other team member would run with the Wreck Bag up the stadium steps, across, down and back. They then had to take a piece out of the Operation game board and then jump into the rotation of hammering until all pieces had been removed.



Dolly – each team had a dolly they had to push up one of the stadium ramps with another team member sitting on it. Whoever was pushed up last would then run back down with it and pick up the next team member. This was repeated up a few flights and then they had to run back down.

Truck pull/Tire flip – each team had to pull a cement truck 50 yards, then run back and flip a truck tire to meet up with the truck. This was repeated 4 times. This was one of the two full team events where everyone was to compete.

Stretcher – each team had a medical stretcher. One teammate was strapped into it and the rest had to carry them up several flights of stairs and then back down before un-strapping them and running to the finish.


Photo credit: Stephanie Santucci


Final Run – an approximately mile and a half run around the perimeter of the outside of the stadium (approximately mileage based off of a teammate’s pedometer). This was the other of the full team events.

My team knocked it out of the park every time, but unfortunately it wasn’t our night to win anything. I think the big win was working together as a team and becoming closer in the process. In addition to managing who was doing what and making sure everyone was as comfortable and fed as possible, I took tons of pictures throughout the night. I was also official coat hanger, water bottle/phone holder and overall goofball, trying to keep things as light as possible. This was definitely crucial in the wee hours when we all had the ability to get a teensy bit cranky.



Once the events were over, our friend Keisha arrived just in time for the end and brought everyone coffee and bagels! Everyone got changed into some clean clothes and headed over to CBS Scene for the after party, not realizing it was only 9am and they weren’t letting anyone in until 10! Everyone was severely bummed after that. Half the team left, but a few of us stuck around. While we were milling about outside, a reporter came over to ask me some questions and I begged Christine and Stephanie to come over and do it with me because I was nervous! They both ended up getting quoted in the story here.



We ended up getting let in to CBS Scene a tad bit early and found some comfy couches in the corner to crash on. We really just wanted the food they told us we would get after the event but all that was out at the time was a MOUNTAIN of cheese (not really an exaggeration), crackers and grapes. We hung out until 10:30, some drinking coffee, others their free beers, and the real food never came and awards were never announced. I went back and re-read the website and it appears that was supposed to be at 11am. I have no idea why they would possibly make us wait 2 extra hours after we’d already been there since 6 pm the night before. Out of the extraordinary organization they showed throughout the event, this was a really poor ending to it and the one really big negative I have about the whole thing. Other than that it was completely awesome. The only other suggestion anyone had was to compete against different teams in each event, instead of the same teams all night.

All in all, even despite the exhaustion, it was a fantastic night and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I can’t wait to join the team and do it next year!







Face The Music Friday #53

Saturday – Rest/anniversary party

Sunday – Rest/birthday party

Monday – 30 min yoga

Tuesday – 30 min elliptical w/ ruck

Wednesday – 30 min yoga

Thursday – Rest

Friday – Rest/errands


You will notice a lot of rest this week and I’m not a big fan. I want to run. I want to run now. Boo hoo, waaaah.

OK, pity party over, let’s talk about the week.

We had a great time on Saturday at my aunt and uncle’s surprise 30th anniversary dinner that my cousin put together. She did a really great job getting it all set up, inviting lots of people (most of whom I didn’t know) and keeping it all a secret. It was up in MA, where they live, near where I grew up at a restaurant called The Fours. It’s a sports themed place with awesome food. I had my steak and cheese egg rolls I’ve craved since the first time we ever went there with them over a year ago. They’re that good. They also had a cake made with a picture drawn on it of them at their wedding. It came out really good! Every time we have a gathering, the cake is always from Veronica’s Sweetcakes because my cousin’s best friend’s family owns the bakery. They’re amazing!!

Sunday was the birthday party for the twin boys that Tara nannies. It was held at a place called Teamworks. They have indoor soccer, bouncy houses, arcade games, etc so it was a madhouse. It was also VERY muggy on Sunday so we were sweating just standing around inside for 5 minutes. We hung out for just over an hour but I couldn’t stand on my foot anymore so we took off and came home to watch a VERY scary Patriots game that I had DVR’d while we were gone.

So. The foot. Let’s talk about it, shall we? It was feeling better throughout the week last week. By the weekend, I could almost walk without a limp. I decided if I was taking it easy, now would be the perfect time to start back up doing yoga, so I threw that in a couple of days this week. My foot felt pretty good by Tuesday, so I said I’d try a more weight bearing activity like the elliptical (so not completely pounding on it) and if I was going to do that I might as well throw my ruck on for training. I think I’ve been paying for that decision ever since. My foot started hurting more again – not enough to limp, but enough to bother me all day. Back to the drawing board I guess.

In other news, I have a HUGE challenge coming in November that I will share more about in it’s own post soon. For now, I have the RI Run For The Fallen in the morning (which I will be rucking and Tara walking with me) and then I will head home, shower, try to maybe take a nap and then meet my team for the New England Fitness Challenge Saturday night into Sunday. I’m not competing but will be the team manager and just cheer them on and do what I can throughout the night to keep them moving.

This week I don’t have a particular reason for picking this song, but I just really like it. Tara had me making her some playlists last weekend and I came across it again in the process. It’s great on a run. Have a great weekend everybody!


A Silent Film – Harbour Lights








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!







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!









Electric Run (More Like Electric FUN!) Recap

I can’t even describe how much fun we had last night at the Electric Run! I had originally signed up for this by myself as just another race to do, but it was so much more than that. I was supposed to do this with 3 women I went to high school with so I created a team the day that registration opened (because you could save $5 per person that way). Not a single one of them signed up – NOT ONE.

When I realized they weren’t going to about a week or two before the race, I asked Tara if she’d be interested in just walking the race with me. Technically, I wouldn’t even consider it a race because it wasn’t timed. She can’t run due to a partial muscle tear in her calf a while back, and since I’m injured as well, walking seemed perfect for us so we signed her up at the ridiculously high last minute registration price. It was totally worth it.

I switched shifts at work so we could get on the road sooner because traffic at the stadium is a nightmare to begin with. There is a huge shopping plaza right next to it called Patriot Place so between regular shoppers and racers, there were TONS of people going. We later found out the race had sold out and there were 15,000 people there. Tara met me at work at 4:00 and we ended up getting to Foxboro around 5:00 – not bad for a Friday!



Once we got into the parking lot, we decided what we wanted to carry in our pockets because the site had said there would be no bags or backpacks allowed. This didn’t turn out to be true because we saw tons of people running with bags or backpacks. Oh well. We then walked all the way over to registration to pick up our packets and when we saw they only came in a giant ziploc baggy, we decided to walk back to the car to dismantle them and repack ourselves. We did end up carrying all of our light up stuff we were planning on wearing in a grocery bag, but we were planning on tossing that with the rest of the garbage once we got dressed up, so we didn’t worry about it.



After we walked back it was now only around 5:45 or so (with a 7:15 start), so we decided to start putting on our glow gear. We had gone to iParty and Five Below to pick up some cheap neon stuff. We ended up wearing necklaces, bracelets, anklets (which were bracelets but were so huge they fell off our hands), rings and hanging sticks around our neck. We were given glasses too, but Tara’s broke as soon as she opened the package and mine looked really awkward on my face so we ended up getting rid of them.



After we got all of our stuff on and glowing, we took some pics with the cool backdrop they had set up and the scandalously underdressed SoCo guy. Woo woo! Then we had a little time to kill so we wandered and I kept trying to get my picture with the “bug mobiles”. I don’t know what they were, but they were like golf carts that were all decked out to look like insects or something. They drove around all over the stadium grounds, blasting music from speakers on the back of the cart. So fun!



We got kind of bored, so we decided to head over to the start chute and found out they were throwing tons of glow stuff into the crowd, so we tried to work our way up closer to get some more stuff. We definitely should have put some more thought into our attire because some people there had awesome costumes! Next time, we’ll definitely be doing that! We ended up getting a foam light up stick that they were throwing that I carried throughout the race but nothing else. The guy at the start line was definitely great at pumping up the crowd and the DJ was good too.


This is just the people I could get in the picture – it went MUCH farther back!


Once the race got started, it was REALLY hard to see. We were running on the pavement/parking lot/sidewalks around the outside of the stadium so it was nice and flat, but not well lit at the start. Once we started going through each of the “lands”, the decorations lit things up nicely without being too bright. Each “land” had a different style of music playing that suited the atmosphere that the decorations provided. It was really well thought out and I can’t imagine the planning that goes into an event of this size!



It ended up taking us around 1 hour to walk the whole thing, stopping to take tons of pictures and video along the way. We never knew how far we were because we never saw any mile markers. Tara was SO excited when she saw the finish sign! The whole thing went around the stadium, then it came inside and went up, up, up to the nosebleed seats via the ramps and then we came down the ramps on the other side.



They had 2 DJs playing sets after the race, along with beer and food, but we were exhausted and the lines for food were huge, so we decided to avoid the crowds leaving later (remember: 15,000 people!!!) and head home. I think we got on the road by 9:00 and, after picking my car up from work, were home by 10:00.

I would highly recommend this for FUN. If you are trying to be a serious runner and actually race, I wish you luck because it was too packed to get any speed unless you started at the very front. Tons of fun and I would recommend definitely doing it with friends. I kind of liked that I ended up doing it with just Tara. It was like another one of our “adventure dates”.