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2014: A Look Ahead

I only have 2 goals (as of right now) for 2014: finish a half marathon and a Tough Mudder.

I’m trying to finalize my list of races I’d love to do in 2014. I went a little crazy in 2013 because it was my first year of running and I wanted to RUN ALL THE RACES!  I ended up doing 15 5K races, 2 of them being obstacle courses. I’m trying to be a little more controlled about what I do this year and paying more attention to dates and scheduling. Last year, I ended up having 5 races in 5 weeks and it was definitely overload, for myself and for Tara.

I’ve got my main list, but I also have months where I’m unsure of the dates of certain races because they haven’t been announced yet. I’ve got to decide in certain months what races I really “must” do and what can wait until next year. Some races I wanted to re-run, I may just need to skip doing them again, but we’ll see.

Here’s a breakdown by month:

January 1 – Frosty 5K – Seekonk, MA – I haven’t decided on this one yet because of how cold it will probably be. I’d like to do it, but I’m also not sure what our plans will be on New Year’s Eve and not sure I’ll want to get up early for a race on a holiday off. Tara’s not keen on the idea of that either, so that may be a deal breaker.

Nothing planned in February or March, although I may want to do the Tour de Patrick, which is 3 local St. Patrick’s Day races on two back to back weekends. Last year, I did the St. Patrick’s race in Providence only. It was sponsored by my work and was my first 5K ever. I wasn’t running yet at that point, so Tara and I walked it together. I thought it was a nice race and think it would be cool if I’m able to complete the “tour”.


St. Patrick’s 5K – March 2013


April 19 – BAA 5K (part of their Distance Medley) – Boston, MA – This distance medley for the BAA races is one of my must do things this year. I think it would be awesome if my first half marathon would be part of this distance medley. I grew up on the South Shore in MA, about 20 minutes south of Boston and would love to do something of this magnitude near my hometown. They haven’t announced the dates for the 10K or half yet, but those are in the summer and fall I believe.

April 27 – Newport 10 Miler – Newport, RI – This might be good practice for me to reach my half marathon goals, plus it’s in Newport and you can’t really go wrong there in terms of scenery.

May 3 – Cox Rhode Races – Providence, RI – I did the 5K last year and enjoyed it. This series also has a half marathon, so I don’t know if this should be my first half marathon goal or not. I don’t know if that’s enough time to train (with my miserable, injury-prone body) or not. If it’s not, the 5K could be a time I just try to beat from last year. I also don’t know if it would be pushing it if I did the half and then did the Tough Mudder at the end of the same month.


Cox Rhode Races/National Grid 5K – May 2013


May 31st – Tough Mudder – Mt. Snow, Vermont – I WILL do this. If it takes me 6 hours, I will FINISH a Tough Mudder. I’m working on getting people together to do it with me. So far, a couple of girls in my department were interested in doing it, but not sure if they’d actually follow through with it or not. I feel like one of them might and the other…well, I don’t have high hopes for her. I feel like it would be great to have some guys on the team to hoist me up over walls I can’t get over, but overall I’d like to be able to do everything myself. Whether or not that can happen, I’m not sure, but I’m going to do everything possible to see that it does.


Down & Dirty Mud Run – June 2013

Foam Fest 5K – July 2013

June – not much going on here. I’d like to do the Gaspee Days 5K in Warwick, RI again and see if I can beat my best ever 5K time. I don’t know when that race will be yet. The only other thing I noted was the Warrior Dash on 6/28 in Barre, MA. I fell in love with obstacle racing this year and would love to do more than just the Tough Mudder, but this one may be a wait and see.

July – I would LOVE to do the Finish At The 50 at Gillette Stadium on July 3rd, but unfortunately it starts prior to me being able to get there since it’s a night race and I work until 6pm, about 45 minutes away from the stadium. It will be difficult to get the time off, but I might see if I can anyway and if I do, then I’ll register.

August 9 – Spartan Race – Amesbury, MA – I’d love to do this and I feel like it’s got plenty of time in between Tough Mudder so I wouldn’t be all banged up too close together (LOL)!

August 17 – Falmouth Road Race – Falmouth, MA – I think this would be an awesome run with the history behind it and all the people that run it every year.

Two other possibilities in August could be the Bobby Doyle Races or the Pawsox race. I really want to do the race at Fenway, but it requires fundraising goals that I don’t believe I’d ever meet (based on past experience). The Pawsox race would still be running onto the diamond, just on a smaller scale.

September was my crazy month in 2013, but could also happen again in 2014. I would LOVE to do a repeat of 3 races I’ve already done (NK5K, Surftown 5K (or maybe half this year) and CVS 5K), but also want to add in the Zooma Cape Cod 10K or half. No dates on any of those yet so it’ll be played by ear.

October 5 – Ocean Road 10K – Narragansett, RI

Some other October things I’m considering are re-running the Halloween Monster Dash in Providence, the Wicked Half Marathon in Salem, MA (which may be in September) and/or the Run Wild Zoo Run at either the Stone Zoo or Franklin Park Zoo in MA.


Halloween Monster Dash – October 2013


The only November races I’m considering right now are doing the Turkey Trot again and/or the Pell Bridge Run. And December, I’m only considering the Jingle 5K again. I enjoyed doing the trifecta of Run Rhody holiday races and would probably do all 3 again…but we’ll see.


Downtown Jingle 5K – December 2013


I feel like I have the mentality that I can conquer my goals. Now, I just need my body to follow through.


Turkey Trot 5K Race Recap

On Thanksgiving morning, I had my first ever Turkey Trot 5K to run. Being my first year running, I signed up for a lot of races. I wanted to experience all sorts of different types, in different cities, so I could find out things I liked or didn’t like about a race or location. I decided as part of this inaugural year of running that I’d sign up for the local holiday races: the Monster Dash, Turkey Trot and Jingle Bell Run (coming up on 12/8).

All week I was watching the weather to see what we could expect on race day. We had a nasty storm coming at us on Wednesday so I was hoping it wouldn’t shift and change to Thursday. Luckily, it stayed on schedule and while the weather wasn’t any fun to deal with on Wednesday, at least I didn’t have to run in it! Instead, we had reallllly cold temps and gusty winds, making it feel even colder. Bright and sunny though…bright. and. sunny. See that “feels like” temp? Yep. It felt like 22*.



Being that this would be the coldest race I’ve ever run in, I was concerned about how much to layer (or not). I ended up wearing my capri pants with my compression sleeves, which kept my legs warm other than the tiny slit on my ankles. On top, I opted to go with a tshirt underneath a pullover. Prior to warming up a few minutes before the race, I also had a jacket over that (which was great until I took it off!). I made sure I brought gloves and also a warm headband that covered my ears. Boy, was I thankful for those last 2 things!



Turns out I had planned it perfectly! I was so, so cold at the beginning, even while I was warming up, but by the finish I was pretty warm, almost hot. Poor Tara was numb by the time I finished. Guess that’s the price of being a professional sherpa.



I didn’t realize it when I signed up, but this course would be exactly the same as the course I ran in May as part of the Navigant Running Festival. And then someone at my job, that was also running the Turkey Trot, reminded me of how hilly it was! Oh man! I went in dreading it, but figured I would just go slow and steady. They were really good about getting us started right at 10am so that everyone could get to their family gatherings, which I certainly appreciated.



At the beginning is a short downhill, but then we go around the corner and over the highway and there it is: the first gigantic hill! So rough starting out that way, but it was a good confidence booster for me. Being that I hadn’t run in about 3 weeks due to my IT band, I figured I’d be walking early on. Surprisingly, I made it up that first hill by just taking it slow. I’m not gonna lie, it felt pretty good passing people that started out fast and couldn’t handle the hill.

A big bummer about this course is that it’s very industrial. We go by Interstate 95 and then lots of industrial buildings. We barely go through any residential neighborhoods, which could also be boring, but are still better than staring at brick warehouses and semi trucks. I definitely don’t think I’ll be signing up for any races on this course again anytime soon. I like races with at least partial nice views!

Once I got up that huge first hill, I kept my pace steady. Once I saw that first mile marker, I knew I’d gotten through the toughest part (for me, anyway). I though, hey, maybe I could run the whole race. Around mile 2, I had a pretty stiff calf, but it wasn’t painful so I kept going. I didn’t feel very fast, but I felt solid which made me really happy. What made me even happier was the big downhill toward the end that I knew was coming up, our reward for going up it at the beginning! I let my legs move a little quicker going down that hill and felt awesome.

It was around this time that Frankenstein appeared. I’ve nicknamed him this because of the way he runs and because he’s a really tall, square-headed dude. This man drives me insane!! I’ve probably done 5 or 6 races that he’s run in also and we must go pretty close in pace because he’s always near me. What drives me nuts about him is the fact that he will sprint (kind of) for maybe 50 feet, then stop and walk. I have no issue with the method if that’s what works for me, but what makes me cuckoo bunnies is the fact that when he stops to walk, he’ll do it DIRECTLY in front of someone running and that person is usually me. Ugh!

What brought me great joy is that at the bottom of that hill, right around the last corner, I saw him just ahead of me again. At the end of every race I run, I give it all I have left in the tank for that last 100 yards or so. This race being no different, I stepped on the gas and passed him…along with about 4 or 5 other people.


Here I am, about to pass “Frankenstein”


I felt so awesome and couldn’t wait to see my time. I stopped my Garmin at 34:58!! I couldn’t believe it!! My official chip time is listed at 34:59 so it was pretty spot on. This is a course PR of 1:42 from the other time I ran it in May (36:41) and my second fastest official 5K time overall!



I’m definitely paying for it today with soreness, but I like to blame it on all the driving we did visiting family and friends right after the race all day. I feel like a beginner runner again but it was well worth it!



Overall, a good race, but a crappy location. A plus at the start was being able to use indoor plumbing and being able to hang out inside the Blackstone Valley Visitor Center to stay warm prior to the race. This was also a negative because that meant around only 6 bathroom stalls for all the women to use which meant a long line. There also seemed to be some disorganization at the finish line on where to get water or a banana. They weren’t together and it was just set up really awkwardly. Other than that, no real big complaints to be had!