Sunday, July 27, 2014


On Sunday, I ran the Running on the Streets of Gold 5K in Somerville, MA with my Oiselle teammate, Jess C.  Jess recently moved to Winchester from NH and we've been hitting the local races together whenever possible.  I scooped her up around 7:00am so we could get there early enough to park, grab our bibs, warm up and do my hair.  Wait, what??  Yes, I am currently obsessed with the side french braid into the pony tail and I can't do it myself.  Jess, however, is a pro and was happy to style me up.  Simple pleasures, you know?  When we arrived at the race start we saw one port-o-potty on a truck, a couple of tables and nothing else.  Literally.  We wondered if we were in the wrong place, but after we confirmed the details on the web site we went ahead and parked.  This is the first time they have held this race, so we were guessing that might have been why the crowd was so thin.  That, and maybe that it's summer and people were either away or sleeping in rather than running a 5K in the heat and humidity on a Saturday morning.  Go figure.  We picked up our numbers, our race tees and some swag from City Sports along with our complimentary copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Runners.  Nothing like a little free inspiration.  We warmed up for about 15 minutes and when we got back there was finally a bit of a crowd forming around the tables.  That said, they were all lined up to register, so we were guessing that our race would not be starting right at 8:00.  No worries.  This gave us time to do my hair and have someone take our picture.

Bird twins w/ braids

As we strolled over to the race start, we noticed the line for the port-o-pottys was really long and given the size of this race we guessed that the race director would likely be waiting for everyone so we found a shady spot, stretched, and people watched.  Unbeknownst to us, this race seemed to have a super hero theme.  There were several people dressed up, both kids and grown ups, in costumes ranging from the "go-to" crime fighters (ie. Batman & Superman)

A young Batman and his Mom

to the lesser known but still incredibly important heroes like these guys:

Kragle, Emmet & UniKitty from the Lego movie
(Superman flew in for the shot, too)

For a brief moment Jess and I wished we'd gotten the memo so we could have thrown something together, but got over it pretty quickly when we thought about how hot they were.  I should also note that there was a guy lined up in front of us with bean bags which he was clearly about to juggle throughout the race.  I'm always in awe of people who choose to add this type of element to an already challenging event.  The race ended up starting at 8:25, just in time for the sun to poke through the clouds and the temp to rise about 5 degrees.  Not ideal.  Races are tough to manage, particularly if it's a first, so we threw the organizers a bone.  We were, however, totally soaked through before the start of the race.  Good times.  We high fived and then we were off.  One hill up, two hills up (brutal), one nice long hill down, one switchback (that was weird) and then we finished.  Neither Jess nor I had a killer race.  I'm pretty sure the juggler beat both of us.  The weather took us down as we kind of knew it would even though we'd secretly hoped it wouldn't.  Oh well, as Jess said afterwards, you can't PR them all.  Ain't that the truth.  After we caught our breath and cooled down, we switched our focus to the second most important part of our morning.... our well earned iced mochas.  

Ohhhhh yeah.

Racing is hard.  Racing in the summer time is harder.  Racing with a friend makes it easier and a hell of a lot more fun.  Racing with a new friend who shares your love for running and coffee makes it totally awesome.

Listen to this:
The Wyld - Odyssey  

Friday, July 25, 2014


"Every once in a while, I think I get that feeling that real runners talk about - where your body's wisdom takes over and it's just taking you along for a ride."
~ Karen Harris

Today's Friday 5 is brought to you by mom, rock star, teacher extraordinaire, Karen Harris.  Her whisp-like figure floats through our school's hallways as she picks up and drops off her son.  But on stage, she puts it down like nobody's business.  She runs, in her own, way, and music is her soul mate.  Thanks for sharing, Karen.  Rock on and happy Friday.

In her own words:
I don't run much.  I have bad knees from mountain bike craziness in my 20s and 30s.  In fact, the appropriate verb for what I do would be jogging, or loping.  Sometimes I jog and lope.  And on those rare occasions when this happens, these are some songs that distract me from the fact that I am really not cut out for jogging.  These songs, along with many others, carry me away in all the great ways that music can.  And every once in a while, I think I get that feeling that real runners talk about - where your body's wisdom takes over and it's just taking you along for a ride.  These songs aren't new, but they're some of my faves, ever.

I am a musician, and these songs inspire me musically - maybe in the same way that super duper runners inspire real runners, like all of you.

Robert Pollard - Big Dipper  
Part Past, Part Fiction - The Chills  
Buttermilk - Eugenius  
Christopher Street - Felt  
Don't Give It Up Now - Lyres  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Once in while a piece of gear comes along that I get really excited about.  Budsleeves happens to be one of them.  For this review, I'm going to mix it up a bit.  Rather than list out all of the product information, I've decided to break it down for you using a photo series.  Got to keep things interesting, right?  Here we go:

1. This is how my headphones usually look when I take them out of my bag in preparation for a run.

2. This is how I feel when I attempt to untangle them.  Translation: annoyed, frustrated, & impatient.

3. This is a Budsleeve.  How does it work, you ask?  Just shimmy your headphone chord through the sleeve and VOILÀ!  No more tangles.  Ever.

4. This is how I look and feel when I've pulled my headphones out of the bag with their Budsleeves on.  Booyah.

And if all of this doesn't make you want to try them, I don't know what will.  These babies come in for just under $11.  But, the folks over at Budsleeves really want you to give them a shot.  And I do, too.  Because they are awesome.  So, for the next week, if you purchase them through RWM they will give a 50% discount (around $5).  Just use the code RUNNINGWITHMUSIC at checkout and you're in.  Go get 'em.  And rock out, tangle free!

Listen to this:
All - Blackbird Blackbird  

Monday, July 21, 2014


“To be a runner is to learn continual life lessons. To be a coach is not just to teach these lessons but also to feel them in the core of your marrow."
~ Martin Dugard

Felix (behind MASCO shirt) w/ his LHS teammates
EMASS D1 Championships @ Wrentham 2012

Felix, one of our former LHS runners, is currently training for his first marathon which he'll tackle next month.  In my personal opinion, an August marathon sounds like hell, but he's young and spritely, so the heat and humidity don't seem to phase him.  Ever.  In high school he was crazy fast.  Though he no longer runs competitively in college, he is still crazy fast.  Early on in the summer, I suggested we try and get a run in as I, too, am training for a marathon.  "Yeah, for sure," he said.  Then, he let me know that he'd been doing most of his long runs at a 6:45 pace.  You can go ahead and laugh here.  I did.  So, we grabbed a cup of coffee and talked strategy instead.  He let me know his goals; listed here in order of priority....first, he'd like to beat his brother (hopefully his brother doesn't read this), second, he would like to qualify for Boston for which he needs a 3:05, and third, he'd like to run a sub 3:00.  All of them are both lofty and attainable.  We agreed to check in throughout the summer and maybe grab another coffee as I sure as hell wouldn't be running with him any time soon.  Sunday morning he texted me to let me know that he'd crushed (my word, not his) his 24 miler; easily completing the run at a comfortable 6:19 pace.  Just...really?  I am always motivated, inspired, and in awe of young runners.  Their drive, dedication and general enthusiasm towards both running and racing is almost tangible.  Just being near these young chickens makes me want to run more and be better.  And this is a great thing.  But, hearing how smooth and "fun" this training has been for him has also highlighted how much tougher and, well, not always fun, my own training has become as I've gotten older.  I'm not feeling sorry for myself.  I'm just being honest.  On Sunday,  I got a little dose of my own coaching medicine, so to speak.  Here's how our conversation rolled out:

FC: Hey Coach.  Check out my activity on Strava (clicked on the link to get the details of the previously discussed long run)
Me: Holy SHITE.  You smoked it.  I hate you.  No, I don't.  Just jealous.  You're going to crush this marathon.
FC: I felt really great.  Perfect conditions.  It was awesome.
Me: Fantastic!!  I got 16 in today.  50 miles total this week.  Not bad for an old person.
FC: That's great.  And you're not old.
Me: Thank you.  But, I still wish I was faster.
FC: Which is good.  Everything starts with a goal.  You've got the discipline!
Me: True. True.  Thanks Coach.
FC: Reciprocated coaching.  The best way.

I love being a coach.  And I am more than happy to take coaching advice from my fellow runners.  Particulary reciprocated advice.  Knock 'em dead, Felix.

Listen to this:
Left Hand Free - Alt-J