Don't blink. Just run.

Where training meets fandom. And everything in between.

Thoughts On 2014 And 2015


With how low I’ve been feeling lately, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting. People keep pointing out what an amazing year I’ve had, but it’s hard for me to feel accomplished when all I focus on are my failures. I decided to put it into writing so I can look back at it when I need a boost.

2014 was a year of firsts. In order of this year, I did: my first trail race, first 10K, first 10 Miler, first Tough Mudder, first (and second and third) Spartan Race, first half marathon and first GORUCK. This was among other road races and OCRs for a total of 20 races on the year (click tabs to the right to see all races).

Normally, at this time, I’d already be scheduling my 2015 events. I’d like to do less this year. My first two years of racing have seen me do 15 races in 2013 and 20 in 2014. It’s very busy and very costly and I think I need to cut down for both of those reasons. I need more focus. I can’t just register for every race I have the desire to run.

On my radar for this year is the Marine Corps Marathon. That’s it. There are a few others I would like to do, but I need to see how my weeks are going to line up. I’d like to do the Ragnar Trail Relay with my team, plus I have a free entry to Battlefrog OCR that I’d like to use. Other than that, I need to develop a take it or leave it attitude. I’ll be spending much more time supporting friends at races and events instead of running them. I’d like to keep rucking with Carry The Fallen, as well as become a shadow for GORUCK events that include my teammates and friends.

I have high hopes for 2015.






Surftown Half Marathon Recap

The short recap: I did it! I ran my first half marathon and finished with (a tiny amount of) time to spare!

Want more details? Well, read on!

Sunday started super early with my normal race routine. I usually wake up about an hour before I want to be up and out of bed (in this case, 2:30am) and chug a glass of water. I go back to sleep for another hour until my second alarm goes off. Who really gets up at 3:30am? I’m insane. The weather forecast was looking absolutely beautiful and it definitely did not disappoint.



It was chilly at the start. We got there just after 6am and right before the sunrise. It was just as beautiful as last year. It’s hard to beat a sunrise on the beach, no matter how cold. For the race, I was wearing my Unleashed Team t-shirt and compression shorts and calf sleeves. My legs were fine, but I was glad I brought a hoodie to wear prior to the start. I kept it on as long as I possibly could and gave it to Tara right before I went to the start and that worked out perfectly. Once I took it off I was freezing, but warmed up quickly when we started running.



Now, the day didn’t start out as I’d hoped. I woke up with a super tight right hamstring (which is not the bad one!). I tried rolling it out before we left the house, but it did nothing more than hurt me instead of feeling better. I decided I’d hit up the free massage tent the race was offering before the start to see if they could loosen me up. It helped a bit, but not in the way I hoped, so I just figured I’d hope for the best.



My friend Amy from Unleashed was also running this race. She got there a bit late, but it was right after I got my massage. I wanted to hit the portapotty one more time, so Julie and Tara told me she had gotten there and gotten in line. I found her and waited with her and tried to warm up a bit, then we thought they were starting the race! Turns out we had about 5 minutes, but basically by the time the line finished, I had come out of the stall and they WERE started! I saw tons of people running by. I quickly tried to get my stuff sorted, phone on and ready to set off Runkeeper and got my Garmin looking for a satellite while I hurried over to the start. We managed to get right in at the end (which is where I would have been anyway). I was able to start my Garmin right at the line, but we were running directly into the sun and I was having trouble seeing my phone screen, so I spent the first 1/10th of a mile or so fighting with it – hence why I never saw Tara and Julie (or heard them since I had turned my headphones on).



At the last minute (meaning race day), I made the decision to change my intervals on Runkeeper. The whole time I trained, I did 4 min run/2 min walk. Doing it this way, I was sometimes well under the 13:30 pace cut-off I would need to finish on time, but then others not so much. I decided I would need to run longer than I was (which I would do during training, but not consistently). I ended up setting the intervals for 6 min run/2 min walk and if I could do more towards the beginning, I would.

After the fiasco getting my phone set up, I just told myself to calm down and find a good rhythm. I tend to get caught up in the speed of a race start, but the good thing was that all the speedy people were long gone by the time I got over to the start line. This left the people who were mostly around my pace anyway, so that was a good thing about getting to the line late. I saw these two women in front of me who looked like flags (red tshirt, blue tutu with white stars), so I decided I would try to keep them in front of me as long as possible. After a few miles though, I ended up passing them and then stayed in front of them. I lost them for the remainder of the race by mile 3 or 4 and never saw them again. Then there was red shirt man. We slingshotted each other almost the entire race and he told me towards the end that he kept me in front of him as his lead to follow. He ended up beating me though, because towards the end I made two pits stops to pee. I was glad I’d built up some spare time!



I was able to maintain my 6/2 for probably 8 or 9 miles. It was around this point I started to hit a wall, and hit it hard. We were away from the gorgeous beach views on pretty well-traveled roads and there was no pack to look at ahead or anything. It was very mental from that point on. My pit stops came around 11.5 and maybe 12.5 miles? Or a little sooner? I’m not sure, but towards the end. Oddly enough, I almost didn’t fuel at all and still felt strong for the most part. I had brought a sleeve of Shot Bloks with me, but never even opened them. They were offering Gu on the course, but I don’t like gels. The only thing I ingested along the way was water and two small half-full cups of Gatorade. I was surprised, but I had fueled well before the race (banana, bagel with peanut butter, coffee) so I figured I just had good stores built up!



Like I said, I built up a nice little cushion for myself and it was very much needed towards the end. Between the pits stops and not being able to maintain a run for very long, I was getting very nervous about beating the 3 hour course limit. Once I passed 12 and looked at my watch, I figured I had it in the bag (I think it showed 20 minutes?), however I walked way more than I planned. I just couldn’t find enough oomph to switch back to the run and when I did, it was for very short bursts. When I rounded that last corner, I told myself I was going to walk to a hotel sign I could see in the distance, and then said I NEEDED to run to the finish because I was cutting it very close.

Shortly after the sign, I picked it up and then I noticed my friend Amy running towards me to run me in. I can’t even tell you what a welcome sight she was. And then I saw Julie and Tara off to the side who had been waiting with her. I got a high five from Julie on the way by and managed to pick up the pace the tiniest little bit to get across that finish line. I also got my first ever shout out at a race! The guy at the end said something about me finishing and “for the Unleashed Team” which I thought was fun to throw in there. So cool to hear!



I grabbed a water from the people at the end of the finisher chute, proudly took my medal and put it over my head. I couldn’t wait to get out of there to find Tara and my friends and get some hugs! It felt so good to be done! My body was very angry so I just kept moving to get to the beach and go stand in the cold water. It felt so awesome after that!



After my quick trip in the water, we said our goodbyes to Amy and I shuffled my way over to look for food. The bananas didn’t look great, I didn’t like the bars they had and the only other option was clam chowder (yuck!). I got a clam chowder and gave it to Julie and then we went to check out the merch tent. I got a cute bumper sticker and a finisher tshirt for $5 on clearance! It doesn’t have the year on it, but that’s OK. It was only $5, so you can’t really complain. I was hopeful to get another massage, but they were already broken down and done for the day so that was a huge bummer. After we made our purchase, we headed over to the car so I could stretch before driving home, where I would promptly foam roll and lay in my recliner for the remainder of the day watching the Patriots and our DVR (hey, I earned it!).


Course map from race website

My Garmin data


Overall, I thought it was a great race. They DEFINITELY made an improvement over last year that I noticed. Each time they have this race, it falls during Fall Fest and there is a carnival set up in one of the beach parking lots. Last year, it was in the lot closest to the start, so we had to park farther down the beach and walk up. The registration was also set up in a parking lot across the street from that. This year, they had the volunteer lot where the registration was last year, plus the carnival was farther down the beach. This meant the parking was right next to the registration area and all the tents and portapotties were all in the one lot. One complaint though – they still need more portapotties. It was set up MUCH better than last year (in clear groupings with signs showing where to form lines), however there just aren’t enough. This is why there were still long lines again right before the start this year and I missed the actual start of the race.

I think the improvements were great this year, but the volunteers were even more awesome. They were all cheering us on and stayed there until the very end and that’s very much appreciated! There were even still multiple photographers still on the course as us back-of-the-packers came in for the finish. I tried to smile through the pain to get some good race photos, so we’ll see what I get!

I’m really proud of myself for not only finishing, but actually meeting my goal of being an “official” finisher by beating the 3 hour time limit. My official time from race website: 2:59:10! I also didn’t finish last, which is a nice bonus.

Thanks for all the well wishes and support along the way! It’s meant the world to me.






Face The Music Friday #50

Saturday – 7 miles

Sunday – 3 mile ruck

Monday – Rest (kind of)

Tuesday – 3 miles

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – 3 miles

Friday – Rest


Ohhh this week! It’s been interesting. Training runs done, that’s all I can really ask for.

I did my long run this weekend on Saturday to get it out of the way for a planned ruck with friends on Sunday. Originally, we thought Julie and Dan were coming down to hang out Friday night/Saturday, but they changed their mind. This freed me up to make that change with the run. I got home from it around 1pm and then found out they were coming down after all and just staying Saturday night instead. Woo hoo! We had a fun time! We watched the premiere Doctor Who episode again since Dan hadn’t seen it yet, checked out a new restaurant for dinner and had our first scorpion bowl (well, for me and Tara anyway) and then played Pictionary outside on the deck in the dark. It wasn’t as hard as it sounds because we have a patio umbrella light, plus candles. Very fun day!


Check out that carrot flower!


Sunday we just kind of lazed around with them and they took off around 10:30. We had plans to meet with friends for a hike at 4pm so we just kind of hung out until then. We picked one of them up around 3:30 and met the other one there, at Parker Woodland. I packed my full ruck (4 bricks, 100 oz water bladder) for training, as did the other women. Parker Woodland is the first place Tara and I had started hiking last year so it was nice to go back. It’s a nice little hike, but lots of rolling hills made rucking interesting. Afterwards, we booked it home, split up so we could get showered and changed and we all went to see Guardians of the Galaxy (finally!!!!). I loved the movie and had a great time, but one woman fell asleep and Tara said she didn’t like it. Oh well!



I had wanted Monday to be a relaxing day since it was the end of a busy long weekend, but nooooo. We ended up taking down the pool finally (it takes a few days to drain) and putting that away. I also re-caulked the shower/tub. Let’s not forget that summer decided to show up finally and it was near 90 with about 1000% humidity Sunday and Monday (and during this week). That wasn’t a great choice for doing manual labor.

I had a pretty nasty run Tuesday night. I headed out for 3 miles (can I get a woo hoo for tapering?!) and about 3/4 mile in I noticed my left thigh felt like it was chafing. Well, when I ran at 5pm it was still like 86* and ridiculous humidity so just thought maybe it finally caught up with me. I always wear compression shorts to avoid the chub rub, but you never know. I spent the next 2.25 miles fiddling with my shorts legs to see if I could situate them just right. By the time I got home I was in agony and knew I was going to have a mark of some sort. Turns out, the seam had finally given out (they were nowhere near new shorts) and there was a hole a little bigger than a quarter. So essentially, my left thigh had been rubbing the seam of my right thigh almost the whole run. I’ll spare you the picture, but I’ve got a mark about 6 inches long that is just pure, raw skin. I immediately went on Amazon and ordered a new pair that I had before my 3 miles last night, so all was right with the world again. Didn’t even notice the chafing while I had them on!

One more thing I just HAVE to talk about is Chik-fil-a. They opened their first store in RI and it just so happens to be about 5-10 minutes from my house, between home and work. I heard on Wednesday that people were already lining up for the grand opening on Thursday, so I took a detour on my way home to see these chuckleheads. I guess the first 100 people in line would all get 1 meal free per week for a year, so they were camping out. It was ridiculous. So here is a picture of their tent city.



This weekend I’ll be doing my first 5K with all 3 of my compadres – Tara, Julie and Dan. I’m really excited to do a race with them, even though we’ll likely be walking it. But hey, the race is in a zoo, so wouldn’t you want to walk anyway???

For this week’s song, I chose one that I’ve always found beautiful when I’ve heard it on Spotify, but never really paid much attention to it. I watched The Great Gatsby remake over the weekend and it made it even more haunting.

Lana Del Ray – Young And Beautiful








Face The Music Friday #38

Fitness this week:

Saturday – 1 hr OCF class @ Unleashed, yard work, 1 mile hike

Sunday – Rest and rolled from Saturday. Felt like I was hit by a truck!

Monday – 27 min run

Tuesday – 30 min elliptical + 10 min challenge* + random stuff at work between calls (10 lunges, 20 desk push-ups, 30 squats)

Wednesday – Mowed lawn, Off Road Conditioning class

Thursday – 35 min walk with Tara

Friday – rest

*For this week’s challenge, my reps were as follows (click here to see the challenge origin):
Lunges – 50
Push-ups – 40
KB swings – 71 (w/ 4K kettlebell)
Burpees – 16
Planks – 36 sec, 20 sec


I had a much better week this time around. I felt like my body was ready to go after recovering from the Tough Mudder. I pushed it a little hard on Saturday and paid for it Sunday, but then was OK the rest of the week.

Tomorrow I have a race – the Gaspee Days 5K. This race is also where I hold my current 5K PR of 34:26. I VERY sincerely doubt I’ll be getting a new one there since I’m really just getting up to speed again with my running, but it’s a great race. There is a parade afterwards so the streets are jam packed with people waiting for it. It starts 15 minutes after the race. It’s a nice easy out and back and if I remember correctly it’s uphill going out, downhill coming back. Who doesn’t love a downhill finish?

Speaking of racing, a fellow blogger (and fellow Spahten!) that I’ve been following since last year wrote an amazing article about what it’s like to be a fast runner, but finish a race at the back of the pack. I love the way she writes and the fact that she documented what so many of us go through is awesome. The comments are amazing also, so you should give them a read, too.

On Wednesday, we had some drama with my little bitsy squish, Delilah. On Tuesday night, Tara had noticed blood in her urine in the litter box. She left a voicemail for our vet and we were able to get an appt for Wednesday morning. Tara took her in since her schedule is more flexible as a nanny. They weren’t able to get a sample from her there, so they gave her fluid under the skin to hydrate her, plus an anti inflammatory and antibiotic. They said she had a slight fever, but that could be anxiety related from having to come to the vet.




They sent us home with this kit for collecting a sample. Basically, it was this sort of teflon like sand that doesn’t absorb the urine, it pools off it. Then we use a little bulb syringe and suck it up, put it in a vial, then a baggie and bring it to the vet. Tara could only stay until around 2:00, so I left work early to take the afternoon shift with her. Luckily, she went about an hour before the vet closed so we could let her out of isolation in the bathroom. The cats were breaking our hearts being separated. Tara said when she came home to take her to the vet that Flynn had pressed himself against the outside of the bathroom door and both of them had their paws underneath the door!

Our vet is so awesome, they did the testing in house and called me just over an hour later with the results. They saw the blood, plus she had crystals AND bacteria in the urine. Hopefully, they said, the antibiotic shot they gave her would clear that up, but if not we’ll need to look into changing her diet. Poor baby girl!

In slightly happier news, I have a really fun announcement coming soon hopefully, so stay tuned. I can’t wait until I’m able to share it. Are you on the edge of your seat now? Good. Don’t fall off.



This week’s song is a newer one for me. I totally need to add it to my running playlist. I can see myself moving faster if I were to hear it at the right time.


Sleeper Agent – Waves