Tuesday, September 16, 2014


This past week-end, I had the good fortune of participating in the NH Reach the Beach Relay as a member of the amazing NH State Parks Team.  In the winter, I work up at Cannon Mountain, which is part of the beautiful Franconia Notch State Park, hence my connection to the team.  This was my second time running with this group and the experience was as good if not better than the first.  For the record, the first time was epic, so you now have a sense of what I mean.  In case you aren't familiar with the RTB Relay series, here is the low down.  The New Hampshire race begins in Franconia, up at the Cannon mountain ski area.  Each team has 12 runners (unless you are totally nuts and you're on an ultra team), who all complete 3 legs of various distances and degrees of difficulty within about 24 hours, finishing down in Hampton Beach, NH.  Back in 2012, I ran Leg #5, which put in me in Van #1.  I loved my legs and, by the end of the race, I also loved everyone in my van.  This year, I was assigned to Leg #7, which put me in Van #2 with a whole new cast of characters.  Prior to the race, I was a wee bit nervous about the switch.  But, that said, I was also fired up to see a new part of the course this time around and to hang with a new crew, so I did my best to embrace the change.  Without going in to too much detail, (okay, fine, it's a lot of detail), here's a few race highlights that I felt were worth sharing.

Trying on my team uniform with Mike W. You can't tell that his singlet is skin tight because it blends with his sweatshirt.  You can, however, see that I look like I'm wearing my dad's pants because I ordered the wrong size.  This provided much laughter for most of the race, particularly for Stacey.

Showing off our newly painted van as we were getting ready to head out.  Painting a car feels strange but is a LOT of fun.

Hanging in the playground near the Attitash pass zone with the crew from Van 1.  We were goofing off as we waited for Corey to run by so we could cheer for him.  It was fun to have the whole team together for a bit here....including the dead guy with the safety vest on who was an addition to our crew this year.

The night sky around 6:00pm, just before my first run.  The photo doesn't do it justice.  I could not wait to take off at this point.

Waiting in the pass zone to receive the slap bracelet from Michelle C.  Note that I'm wearing headphones.  In 2012, we were not allowed to listen to music.  When Ragnar took over the race, the rules were changed.  HALLELUJAH!

Drinking the nectar of the Gods (aka coffee) after having slept for one hour between my 2nd and 3rd run.  Trying to get myself ready to rock for my last 2.4 mile push.  I'd slept a total of 3 hours at this point since Friday morning.  It was the best coffee ever.  Thank you Circle K.

Just finished my last run.  Scott is thrilled for me.  Adam, he's not so sure.  I was over the moon and beyond giddy.  Plus I was hopped up on licorice and caffeine.  Not a good combo.  But, I can't say it didn't help.  Hopefully, my kids won't read this.

NH State Parks Team 2014
Place: 28th Overall, 4th in Mixed Open Division
Time: 25 hours 37 minutes (7:25 avg pace)

As you would expect, you learn a lot about the other people in your van when you spend 24 hours with them in stupidly tight quarters.  I can't say I didn't miss being with my old team members in Van #1 (especially you, Stacey), but it was a hell of a lot of fun to spend time with the Van  #2 crew this time around.  Here's a few things I learned about my Van 2 homies:

First row: Grant, Mary, Me, Cait
Second Row: Scott, Will, Adam

Grant never goes anywhere without a video camera in his hand.  I'm pretty sure he sleeps with his hand on the button.  He loves to rock out to reggae music and he's hell on wheels on the road despite running maybe 15 miles a week (damn him).

Mary, who is Gran't wife, drinks a ridiculous amount of water and has to pee every 10 minutes.  She must have a wooden leg because she's thin as a rail but she eat more than all of us.  She flies, literally, the minute her feet hit the pavement.

Cait is easily the most chill runner/person in the group.  Currently in grad school, she had very little time to train this summer.  But it was all good.  She just slid in and did her thing.  She pouts in many of her photos and yet she's one of the more positive people I know.  Hmmm.

Scott, a married dad of 3 in his 50s, runs like he's in his 30s.  Translation: he's lightening fast.  I was in awe of him the whole time.  He also knows EVERYBODY.  Literally.  Every stop, he'd run into someone that he knew.  People would flag him down from afar to say "hi" and catch up.  It was nuts.

Will, our trusty driver (also Cait's twin brother), is the master organizer.  He kept us all in line and knew exactly when the other runners would be coming and going right down to the second.  It was eerie.  He also doesn't eat bread because it makes him tired, so he had several lettuce and meat sandwiches throughout the day.  I'm pretty sure he doesn't sleep either, but I don't know because I do.

Adam has the best legs of the crew.  Not race legs, mind you.  His actual legs.  Even from afar, people would comment on how great his legs were.  He also has the neatest and most organized apartment of anyone I have ever met.  His mom taught him really, REALLY, well.  For the record, he prefers 2 ply toilet paper.

It doesn't matter what kind of runner you are.  If you want to have an adventure with a bunch of people who share the same goals (in this case having a freakin' blast), then you should put this race on your bucket list.  It's that good.

Rock on, team.  I love ya!

Listen to this:
YOUR HOUSE - Steel Pulse  

Thursday, September 11, 2014


At 6:15 this evening, I will be hopping on a bus and heading up to Franconia, NH for the Ragnar Reach the Beach Relay, as a member of the NH State Parks Team.  Twelve of us, along with hundreds of other RTB teams, will be covering 200 miles (3 legs each) in 24 hours, starting at Cannon Mountain and finishing in Hampton Beach, NH.  On Friday at 11:45am we'll be off and running.  Literally.

When we aren't running we will be eating, sleeping...basically living out of our vans, which are driven by our trusty drivers who run the entire logistical show.  In other words, we would be totally screwed without them.  Thank you drivers!

NH State Park Bloggers

I participated in this race for the first time back in 2012 with the crew you see in the photo above.  The experience was epic. (click here for the story) Last year, I wasn't able to participate due to a conflict with work.  I was totally crushed and vowed never to let that happen again.  Fortunately, my sweet, loving, understanding team (minus a few of the original members along with a couple of new ones) was kind enough to let me back on.  Bless them.  

Huge shout out to Oiselle, NUUN, 
Feetures, & Runnerbox

I am officially packed and ready to go with more gear than an average person would know what to do with.  I am giddy.  And I am incredibly grateful...to my husband for being so ridiculously understanding and willing to deal, to my kids for thinking mom is cool and not giving me a hard time about missing their soccer games this week-end, to the girls on the LEX XC squad who both support my athletic endeavors and, more importantly, don't give me the hairy eyeball when I'm not at practice, and to my RTB team for letting me rejoin this awesome madness that is Reach the Beach.


Listen to this:
All We Need - Odesza (feat. Shy Girls)  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


I've recently reconnected with an old high school classmate who is currently training for her first marathon.  No matter who you are, preparing for a marathon is rough.  Add the fact that you're a mom with two small children to the mix, and it can be (her words here) grueling.  She very kindly let me know that she is both inspired and entertained by this blog and that she appreciates my honesty about motherhood and running.  I wrote her back to thank her and to let her know that it does get easier, particularly as the kids get older.  This is, of course, assuming that she continues down the marathon road, which many of us tend to do once we've tasted the kool-aid.  No matter who you are or where you are in your life, marathon training is a wild and crazy process from the first run all the way up to the race itself.  But, I don't think any of us can really get through it unless we buckle up and enjoy the ride.  Yes, it's a struggle.  In many, MANY, ways.  But, the greater the struggle, the greater the reward, right?  Yesterday, I had to run 21 miles.  It was the 5th of my 6 long runs in preparation for my upcoming October marathon.  As I tackled this run, and the rest of my day, I thought of Sharon, who was likely going through the same motions.  I thought it would be worth sharing how my day unfolded, if only so she could relate and maybe get a good laugh in.  So, Sharon, this one is for you and to all the other marathon moms out there as well.  Run on, ladies!


3:30 Woke up with new puppy and took her out to pee.
6:00 Woke up again, this time for good.
6:01 Made and drank coffee.
6:03 Took puppy out for another quick pee. (puppies pee a lot)
6:15 Said good morning to Rosie and Grace, who are up an hour earlier than usual for no reason.
6:30 Made a bargain with my girls that if they got changed, ate breakfast, brushed their teeth, got their shoes on, packed up their lunches and were ready to go by the time I got back from walking the dog, they could watch a show.
7:00 Walked both dogs with a much needed second cup of coffee.
8:00 Dropped both girls off at school.
8:30 Mentally prepared myself to be out on the road for 3+ hours (I don't remember exactly what I did here, but it involved loud music and dancing)
8:15 Ran 21 miles with my good buddy and running partner Kirsten H.
12:30 Got home, chugged some chocolate milk, shoveled a Picky Bar in, grabbed my bags and hit the grocery store.  Not an easy turnaround.
12:40 Shuffled through the grocery store, likely talking to myself out loud while trying to keep my eyelids open.  Anyone who happened to see me was probably a bit worried.
1:30 Wolfed down half a sandwich in the check out line.
2:00 Said a quick "hi" to the mom of one of my Lex XC runners, who was also shopping, which then turned into a 15 conversation about the team.
2:15 Flew home (safely, of course) and realized that I needed to get my groceries unloaded and unpacked in 10 minutes tops in order to make it to XC practice on time.  No pressure.
2:30 Showered, stretched and iced.
Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.....that was a good one, right?  Who has time for that?
2:30 Splashed water on my face, grabbed a Kona NUUN and left for work in the same running clothes I'd been wearing since 7:00am.  Super cute.
3:00 Got to practice with 5 minutes to spare.
5:15 Finally made it back home.
5:17 Hopped in the shower. (OMG did I need that)
5:30 Threw on my super chic runner mom uniform of sweatpants, compression socks and a hoodie and saddled up for the rest of the evening.

Listen to this:
Middle of the Night* - Vinyl Thief  

* Note: this is currently a FREE DOWNLOAD on Soundcloud.

Friday, September 5, 2014


One of the reasons I run on a regular basis is to set a good example for my girls, Rosie (age 9) and Grace (age 7).  I won't pretend it's the main reason.  But, it's up there.  When they were really little, they often used to cry when I told them I was going out for a run.  There must have been a part of them that worried I wasn't coming back, or, more likely, they just wanted me stay home and continue to give them my undivided attention.  Which is why I needed to go.  It always used to break my heart a little to see them get upset, but once I hit the road, on my own, I would start to get the mental and physical release that I was craving and I was able to put my guilt aside, if only for a little while.  Over time, the girls began to understand that, regardless of what they wanted or needed, unless it was an emergency, I was going to go for a run.  As they got older, they began to accept it as just something that mom does.  And sometimes, they had their own fun with it, at my expense.

Waiting patiently for me to get back from a run...
...with water balloons

Ready. Aim. Fire!

When I first started running marathons, shortly after my second daughter was born, my husband used to bring them along to watch and cheer.  Depending on the size of the race, they would see me anywhere from 1-3 times.

Waiting.... (Rosie)

.... still waiting (Grace)

... and finally the dandelion pass off was successful.

They might see me for about 2 minutes, maybe give me a hug or pass off some weeds...er...flowers, and then they'd have to wait around for me to finish which would take hours.  The result?  They would get bored out of their minds, very tired and hungry.  (aka the triple threat)  Not fun for them and really painful for dad.  Today, when I head off to a race of any distance, they will give me a high five and tell me good luck but they no longer come and watch. They've got other stuff going on and, honestly, they don't really want to stand around waiting to see mom run by.  I get it.  And I'm okay with it.  But all that said, I do think my drive as a runner is a good influence on them.  Both of them play sports....soccer, gymnastics, skiing to name a few.  While my husband and I try not to put pressure on them, we do encourage them to do their best and have fun.  Funny, that is exactly what I encourage myself to do every time I head out for a race.  Go figure.  This week, I was sorting through Grace's school work from last year, most of it pretty standard stuff, ready to be recycled.  But, then I came across a poem that Grace had written.  A Haiku, to be exact.  It literally stopped me in my tracks.  I read it.  And then I read it again.  I couldn't help but smile.  Something, I thought, something is sinking in.  I don't know exactly what or how, but I know it's good.  So, I'm going to keep on running.  For me, sure.  But also, for them.


Listen to this:
From the Night - Stars