Friday, June 28, 2013

As We Run


"As we run, we become." 
~ Amby Burfoot

Yesterday, I dug up the above quote on  Picture, if you will, the heavens opening, the bright light shining down from above and the boom of the 'Hallelujah' chorus playing in the background.  That was the kind of moment I had.  This quote really sums it all up for me.  It's so simple.  So true.  So perfect.  It made me want to high-five someone...anyone.  I was by myself, so there was no high-five.  Okay, I might have put a fist in the air and thrown out a "YES".   Who better than Amby Burfoot; someone who has lived it, seen it, and talked about it (and continues to do all of those things), to put into words something that often feels difficult to explain but at the same time makes total sense.  And really, you don't have to be a runner to appreciate this quote.  Because whatever it is that you do, that you love, that is what you become.  For me, it's running.  As I run, I become...

in touch
out of touch
a rock star
a warrior

As we run, we become. Period.  Many thanks to Mr. Burfoot for wrapping it up so nicely.  


Listen to this:
Silver Lining - Guards  Silver Lining - In Guards We Trust (Deluxe Edition)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Replay Wednesday

What's Replay Wednesday, you ask?  It's a day dedicated to music, so to speak.  It's a day where you take your album of choice and play it all the way through.  And then you play it again.  Okay in truth, I was trying to think of a clever twist on "hump day" that was related to music.  This was the best I could do.  But seriously, why not?  Take an album that you have recently purchased or that you haven't listened to in a really long time or an album that you 'like' but don't 'love' (because this one deserves another shot) and listen to each song…in order…no skipping.  Then listen again.  I realize we're all busy and we likely can't take the time to sit down and listen to an entire album start to finish twice.  But that's the beauty of this particular exercise.  Perhaps you start by playing it in the car and then listen again while you are out on a run.  Personally, I believe that our appreciation for music/songs/artists varies based on where and when we hear them, who we are with, what mood we are in, etc.  I'll venture to guess that the album you pick is going to sound totally different if you're listening in your car then it will when you listen to it while you run.  Let me break it down for you.  Let's say you're driving your kids to camp and you're running late and your youngest one is telling you she doesn't want to go (sweet), so you're a wee bit stressed out.  True, it's hard to focus on the music in this scenario, but it's a nice distraction so you've still got it on.  Then you play the same music while you are out running, which you are doing to help you unwind from the stress you were just dealing with.  That music is going to have a whole new sound and meaning for you in this second scenario, right?  My good friend CJZ recently discovered Lord Huron's album "Lonesome Dreams".  At the moment, every day is Replay Wednesday for her.  Okay, she's slightly obsessed.  But, she told me, each time she listens to the album she hears something new and different and then likes it even more, which makes her want to listen to it again.  I get it.  It's the sign of a good album.  Of an album that tells a story.  Of an album that inspires you.  Of an album that's worth replaying.  So go listen.  Then listen again.  

My Replay Wednesday albums: 

Crystal Fighters - Cave Rave
Cave Rave - Crystal Fighters


Rolling Stones - Tattoo You
Tattoo You - The Rolling Stones

What's yours?  

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Place to Love to Run: A Top 10 List

Miles 1-3: Sheep grazing in Katama

My family gets together sporadically throughout the year, mainly for holidays; and we often meet at my parents house on Martha's Vineyard in MA.  Every summer, we have the good fortune of spending a couple weeks or so at the house with everyone; grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, dogs, etc; which is, as my 8 year old tells me, "the best ever".  Yes, we are insanely lucky.  I love running in all of the local races that the various towns across the island offer throughout the year.  There are a ton of them, they're always fun and they are usually held to support a local cause or organization.  It's a win-win.  Back in November, I provided some of the many reasons that it is so great to race on the island of Martha's Vineyard.  In so many words, there is a magical, carefree, 'love thy neighbor' quality to the island that everyone, locals and tourists alike, seems to both understand and respect.  Today, I ran my first long run on the island since last summer.  Once again, I was reminded why I love, not only racing, but simply running here.  The scenery alone is reason enough to head out.  But there are a lot of other good reasons.  Here's what I cam up with:


1. Vehicles of any size and/or type including landscaping & construction trucks, buses and tractors, will move to the complete opposite side of the street when they drive by, giving you more space then you could possibly need to stay on the road and feel safe.

2. Anyone who passes you on the road (other runners, bikers, walkers, etc.) will: 
(a) smile (b) wave (c) say "hello" or (d) do all of the above.  It's usually (d).

3. If you run anything over 4 miles, you will likely run through multiple climates including, but not limited to, chilly, foggy, misty, breezy, sunny or hot.  Strange but oddly cool.

4. There is at least a 1:3 farm to mile ratio; meaning 1 farm for every 3 miles you run.  The animals, the produce and the pure awesomeness of the farms themselves are such fantastic distractions.

Miles 4 & 5: The Farm Institute, Edgartown, MA
5. The air smells like salt, manure and/or fried food at any given point along the route.  This may sound disgusting to some, but I love it.  It reminds me that I'm here.

6. It is not the least bit odd to stop and chat with a family that has small kids because they look nice and their kids might want to hang out with your own kids at some point.  
7. No matter what you are wearing (or not wearing), how slow you are going or what you look like; it doesn't matter because no one cares; which is incredibly refreshing.

8. Cars that pass you and honk are doing so because they know you or they're being friendly and simply want to say "hi"...not because you are in their way.

9. The island, as a whole, is slightly askew.  Everything is a bit off; a little crooked...perfectly imperfect.  You're never 100% sure where you're going or where you might end up and it doesn't matter because you'll figure it out eventually.

10. When you get home, you're tired and you're typically coated in dirt, salt or maybe even some animal crap, and still, you can't wait to lace up and head out again the next day.

Mile 13: Katama General Store
(Also, the end of my run. Note the iced coffee on the porch)
I realize it's not possible for everyone to hop on a ferry and head out to Martha's Vineyard to go for a run.  That said, I hope you all have a place that gives you as many reasons, if not more, to hit the road.  A place where you truly love to run.  Running can be  hard. A place like this makes it easier.  I love that.


Listen to this:
You & I - Crystal Fighters  You & I - Cave Rave

Friday, June 21, 2013



As the summer heats up, I find myself reflecting on my love/hate relationship with 'summer running'.  To be fair, I do the same thing when winter rolls around.  Given that I run outside 95% of the year, I have come to appreciate both seasons and all they have to offer.  And then, if I'm being honest here, I tend to curse them both when they begin to drive me bananas.  After four months of battling the cold and ice that winter throws at me, I find myself craving the warm temps of summer.  And then, after four months of fighting the heat and humidity of summer, I can't wait to bundle up in layers and see my breath again in the frigid winter air.   Sure, spring and fall are in there, too.  And, truth be told, those are the best seasons for a runner.  Not too hot, not too cold.  Not to wet, not too dry.  But, realistically, within those two seasons, there might be a dozen 'perfect' running days.  And the rest, well, they kind of fall on the winter or summer spectrum somewhere.  As far as weather goes, runners are typically braving some sort of element every time they head out the door.  It's part of the challenge.  It keeps things interesting.  And no matter what the weather, we continue head out, day in and day out and face the cards that have been dealt.  We seem to miss "winter running" in the summer and miss "summer running" in the winter.  Grass is always greener.  At the moment, though, I'm loving summer.  Ask me again in a month or so.  

Post-summer run.
~ You get to shed your winter layers…all 10 of them.
~ You're no longer fighting with the snow, sleet, wind and freezing temperatures.
~ You can finally feel your fingers and toes again.
~ You get more daylight to squeeze your run in.
~ The roads are clear and no longer a safety hazard.
~ Post-run iced coffee…tastes….so…good.
~ When you're done, you feel amazing.

Post-winter run.
(I know, I use this photo a lot)
~ You aren't dripping with sweat within the first 5 minutes of every run.
~ You're not fighting the heat and humidity, struggling to breath and dying of thirst.
~ You often feel lighter and faster in the cooler temperatures.
~ The pollen is FINALLY gone and the air is clear and crisp.
~ Post-run hot coffee….tastes…so…good.
~ When you're done, you feel amazing.

Okay, so after reading this, I do realize that most of the pros of summer are related to the fact that you are no longer dealing with the cons of winter and vice versa.  But, no matter what the pros and cons are, the outcome is the usually the same.  After a run, regardless of the season, you're probably going to feel pretty damn good.


Listen to this:
Body of Work - The Mynabirds  Body of Work - Generals

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

You Never Know

Rocky, the moon-walking raccoon.
This past Monday, I was cruising along in the first mile of my run; totally zoned out, and relying heavily on my music to wake me up.  I caught something out of the corner of my eye that looked like a cat, which I opted to ignore.  As I got closer, though, I realized it was a raccoon and he was definitely not well. It looked kind of like he was doing the moon walk in slow motion.  I panicked and crossed the street, praying that he wasn't going to lash out and start chasing me.  Let's just say my pace quickened nicely after that.  About a half mile down the road, I noticed a policeman sitting in a playground parking lot.  I decided it might be worth letting him know that crazy Rocky was behind me and that he didn't look like he would be friendly if a kid walked up and tried to pet him.  Here's how our conversation went:

Officer: Morning, mam.  Can I help you with something?
Me: Well, I just saw a rabid-looking raccoon on the bridge back there. It kind of looked like he might be dying.
Officer: Yea? Was he walking like he was drunk?
Me: Yes. Exactly.  At first I thought it was a cat and then as I got closer I realized what it was.  He looked right at me so I kind of freaked out and bee-lined it across the street.
Officer: (with a completely deadpan expression on his face) Yea? Did he make you run faster?  
Me: Um, yes. I guess he did.  I suppose if there was a rabid raccoon at every mile I'd run a pretty fast race.
Officer: (small smirk, but not much more than that) I bet you would, mam.
Me: Well, ok then. Just thought I should let you know.
Officer.  I'll go check it out.  Thanks for the heads up.  Have a good run.
Me: Thanks officer.

I then took off at a relatively swift clip and laughed as I replayed the conversation in my head.  I came up with several conclusions as I thought it through.  First, wild and crazy things (ie. moon walking animals) will definitely jump start your run and get you moving faster.  Do what you will what that.  Second, this policeman was either totally serious and perhaps a runner himself, or he was totally f'ing with me the whole time.  I'm going to go with the former, but it was more likely that latter.  I honestly couldn't tell.  And finally, you truly never know what you're gonna get every time you step out your door to go running.  It's worth it for that alone, right?


Listen to this:
Own It - Sojourn Society

Monday, June 17, 2013

Rise & Shine


Over the week-end, a group of us met up in Maine for a little reunion of sorts.  There were four families with a total of 8 kids (ages 6-10).  We had a complete blast.  Sadly, however, I came to the realization that my own kids, particularly my 8 year old, are willing and able to stay up as late, if not later, than I am.  What?? Needless to say, I was a wee bit tired this morning.  Totally my own doing, so no complaints.  As I drank my coffee and checked email (translation: procrastinated), I poked around in my music library and tried to find some upbeat ditties to get me motivated for the 12 miler that I was about to tackle.  Turns out, at 7:00am, I don't need Flo Rida to find that 'good feeling' or Nicki Minaj to 'pound the alarm' for me.  I love those guys, but there is a time and a place for them, and in my case, it's when I'm out on the road or at a dance party.  Right, no, so I haven't been to a dance party in while.  I do love a good dance party, though.  I digress.  Early on a Monday morning before a long run, I just needed to dig up some solid, upbeat, to get my internal gears to start shifting into 'move' mode.  Here's what I came up with.  Happy Monday.



A Million Years - Alexander  A Million Years - Alexander
Orpheo Looks Back - Andrew Bird  Orpheo Looks Back - Break It Yourself
So Lucky - Dana Buoy  So Lucky - Summer Bodies
I Want You Back - Discovery  I Want You Back - LP (Bonus Track Version)
Going Under - The Dodos  Going Under - No Color
Fiya Wata - Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros  Fiya Wata - Here
You're Too Weird - Fruit Bats  You're Too Weird - Tripper (Bonus Track Version)
Noche Nada - The Givers  Noche Nada - In Light
Front Row - Metric  Front Row - Fantasies
No Starry World - Miike Snow  No Starry World - Happy to You (Deluxe Version)
Into Giants - Patrick Waston  Into Giants - Adventures in Your Own Backyard
Share With Me the Sun - Portugal. The Man  Share With Me the Sun - In the Mountain In the Cloud
Heavy Metal Drummer - Wilco  Heavy Metal Drummer - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Kick Drum Heart - The Avett Brothers  Kick Drum Heart - I and Love and You
Losing Streak - The Eels  Losing Streak - Blinking Lights and Other Revelations

So, what do you think?  Like?  Don't like?  Got something better?  Would love to hear your thoughts on these puppies.  Listen.  Share.  Discuss.  Repeat.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Definition of RUN


Ever looked up the definition of RUN?  Until yesterday, I hadn't.  There are over 50 different definitions for RUN; used as a verb, adjective or noun.  Here are some of my favorites:

~ To move swiftly on foot so that both feet leave the ground during each stride.  This is the first definition. Makes the most sense.  And applies to all of us who run.

The "swift" runner, leaving the ground
with each stride.

~ To move at a fast gallop. Used of a horse.  This is how I like to picture myself in my mind....galloping toward the finish line.

"Oh, yea. I am strong and powerful,
galloping like nobody's business."

~ To move or go quickly; hurry  This one is just a given.  If you're running, you're likely moving quickly and typically in a hurry...if you're racing, you're in a hurry to finish and if you're late to pick up your kids, you're in a hurry because you're a bad mom. (cough, cough)

~ To move freely, on or as if on wheels  I love this one.  I have always felt that when I am running, I am free.  

~ To flow, especially in a steady stream  Flowing, well, it can be good and bad for us runners.  If you are flowing in the air, weightlessly and effortlessly, you're having a banner day.  If the sweat is flowing or your nose is flowing or even worse....I won't say it.  But, sometimes too much flowing is a bad thing.  All in all, though, it is all part of the running package.  We flow.

~ To travel over on foot at a pace faster than a walk  I like this one because when it comes down to it, if you're running, you're pushing yourself, even if it's just a little bit faster than a walk, to travel.  And wherever your final destination may be, you're gonna get their faster because of your desire to run.

Melting: before
Melting: after

~ To melt, fuse, or smelt  This one made me laugh to myself as I am often melting (as in, melting down) as I head toward the finish line or have successfully melted once I am through it.  If I have pushed hard, I tend to fuse into the ground and become one with the road.  Not sure about the smelt part.  But the other two make perfect sense.

I won't keep going, but I could.  So many ways to define the word RUN.  So many ways to see yourself as a runner.  And so many ways to interpret what you do.  You run, sure.  But, you're also flying, gliding, traveling, melting, and so on and so on.  Choose your own definition and run with it!


Listen to these:

Take Your Time - Lydia  Take Your Time - Devil


Keep Moving - Boxer Rebellion  Keep Moving - Promises

...AND to my parents, who are in it for the long run...married 45 years today.  That's quite and impressive run.  Happy anniversary, mom and dad!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I Run Because....(& Oiselle Giveaway Winner)


Last Wednesday was National Runner's Day.  Every year I love to call out this day and to celebrate it with my fellow runners.  This year I asked you to tell us 'why you run'.  More people responded to this question than to any other question I've posed since I started this blog over two years ago.  Turns out, A LOT of people run in some way, shape or form and those who do are very happy to tell us why.  I did offer up a Oiselle goody bag to sweeten the deal, so that might have increased the response rate a bit.  It's all good.  I, myself, would have answered for that reason alone.  But, I like to think the main reason people wrote in is because, like me, they are so ridiculously enamored with the sport and all that it does for them that they want to shout it out to anyone who will listen.  I wish I could have shared every single response with you but that would have taken up a boat load of time - both yours and mine.  So, instead, I attempted to sum it all up by throwing out a few (okay, more than a few) that I related to, or laughed about, or cried over, or had never heard before but totally appreciated get the idea.  Beth at @RxBethOnTheRun wrote, "...I can't imagine my life without running. Running has forever changed my life."  Wow.  That pretty much sums it all up for me, too.  Many thanks to everyone who wrote in for this one.  Here's to another great year of running for all of us.

I run because...
~ I love it.
~ It's part of me.
~ It makes me happy. 
~ I like to challenge/push myself. 
~ It's awesome.  
~ It makes my body feel good.
~ It makes me feel strong and confident.
~ It reminds me that I'm stronger than I think.  
~ I'm setting a good example for my son and daughter.
~ It's a great stress reliever.
~ I can justify my need for more pizza. 
~ It's freeing.
~ It's beautiful.
~ If I didn't, I would lose my sanity.
~ I love the way I feel when I'm done.
~ I can.

I run for....
~ the joy it brings to my life.
~ the memories of people that I've lost.
~ the connection - to myself, through social media, and with nature.
~ a break.
~ that feeling of shared excitement when everyone is lined up at the start of a race.
~ my health.
~ the competition.
~ peace.

I run to...
~ fit into my jeans.
~ listen to great tunes.
~ explore the city.
~ be with friends.
~ live forever.
~ wake up in the morning. 
~ celebrate my daughter.
~ tell the universe my story.

** Congrats to Maureen Polson, the winner of the Oiselle giveaway.  Her answer:
"I run for my health, to challenge myself and now also to make a difference as a Miles For Miracles runner for Children's Hospital Boston."  Awesome reasons, Maureen.  Enjoy your Oiselle goodies!


Listen to this:
Where I'm Going - Cut Copy  Where I'm Going - Zonoscope

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Race Recap: Samantha's Harvest 5k

Samantha & her dad.
Over the past few weeks I have been battling plantar fasciitis.  About 3 weeks ago, I raced a 5K and I completey crashed and burned; both physically and mentally.  If my foot could have talked that day, it would have said, "guess what, this freakin' hurts and I don't want to do this anymore until it feels better."  But then who listens to their foot?  Certainly not a runner.  I powered through the pain and, as you can expect, I had a sub-par performance.  I was bummed but not surprised.  The next day I gave my coach the low down and we agreed that we would put speed work on hold and focus on distance running since the short stuff (track work, tempo runs, 5Ks, etc) was aggravating my foot.  While I was totally on board with his plan and ready to shift gears, I had this nagging feeling in the back of my head that I needed to get one more short race in sooner rather than later to remind myself why I do it and what I am capable of.  I truly didn't feel the need to PR or put any added pressure on myself....I just needed to do it.  To my good fortune, I found the Samantha's Harvest 5K which was happening in nearby Reading, MA this past Sunday.  Perfect!  Samantha's Harvest is an organization that, in their own words, "works to raise awareness by providing funding for programs and organizations that directly enhance the lives of individuals with Down syndrome."  It is run by Samantha's parents and the 5K is one of the many events they put on to support their cause.  Samantha, who's 11 years old and has 2 older brothers, was at the race greeting runners and hanging out with a bright smile on her face.

Samantha, before the start of the race.
From the moment I got there, I felt different about this race, in a good way.  I decided I would forego my usual warm-up routine where I tend to hang solo, listen to music and stretch and jumped right into a conversation with a lovely woman named Kim who, like me, had been able to sneak away from her husband and kids that morning to get the race in.  We chatted for twenty minutes, hid our car keys together (not as if we really needed to), walked to the starting line together and then wished each other the best.  Getting in the zone before a race is great and often necessary for me, but just soaking in the kindness and good vibes of my fellow runners got me pretty fired up, too.  The weather was hot and the course was fairly challenging but the scenery was gorgeous and the many twists and turns kept it interesting.  As I headed down the final stretch, which happened to be on the Reading High School track, I could see little Samantha clapping and cheering for all of the finishers.  Really, there are no words to describe how cool this was.  In that one moment, my exhaustion was totally outweighed by the wave of emotion that came over me.  Talk about perspective.  Plantar what??  Once I had cooled down and had a chance to re-group, I stumbled over to a gentleman who was waving on the runners as they stepped onto the track to finish.  We started talking and he gave me a little more information about the Samantha's Harvest organization and all that it does for those involved.  Then he said something that kind of took my breath away.  "We try and do so much, and there is so much more out there we can do, but we also get pretty tired so we have to be conscious of that.  All of it can be pretty overwhelming but, clearly, it's worth it."  Right then I realized that I was talking to Samantha's father who was just laying it out there and being totally honest and open.  I have two kids of my own and I am overwhelmed on a daily basis.  I can't even begin to imagine what his days are like.  I told him I was thrilled to have found his race, that I would be making it an annual tradition, and that next time, I would try and bring a bunch of friends along with me.  He smiled and thanked me for coming.

Me & Samantha's mother, Lisa, at the end of the race.
When I left the race, I felt different and really good.  Not because I had run a time that I was pleased with, which I had.  But because the overall experience had been incredibly moving and totally invaluable for me.  Each race has a purpose.  Many of them are fundraisers.  That is not often the reason I sign up.  But, moving forward, you can bet I'll be thinking about it when I click to pay.  Many thanks to Samantha and her parents for helping me see the bigger picture.


Listen to this:
Champion Sound - Crystal Fighters  Champion Sound - Star of Love

Friday, June 7, 2013

You Know You're A Runner If....

My bathroom, post-wash.
On Wednesday, in honor of National Runner's Day, I wrote about why I run.  Today, I'm going to take it one step farther and talk about how you know whether or not you are a 'runner'.  Recently, I was doing my laundry and I realized two things....first, very few of my clothes go in the dryer (see pic).  And second, almost all of my clothes (ie. shorts, tech tees, sports bras) can be balled up and thrown into a basket.  Basically, I have a lot of freakin' running clothes and very little else.  I am both a runner and a high school running coach, so I am typically sporting these duds on a daily basis for most of the year.  But still; wow.  I think I officially have more running clothes than non-running clothes at this point.  This is one of the many ways I know that I am a 'runner'.  Below I have listed out a few more of the tell-tale signs.

You Know You're  A Runner If...

1. At least 75% of your wardrobe consists of running and/or workout clothes.
2. When you're walking and you have to wait at a red light to cross the street, you reach to stop your watch; even if you're not running (or wearing a watch at all).
3. When you check your calendar, it's not to see if you are free for the evening, but to see if you are racing the next day (which will determine whether or not you can go out the night before).
4. When you purchase running clothes, you try to find items that will work for running, school pick-up and maybe even dinner with friends.  Oh yes, these clothes do exist.

Oiselle Mio Mesh Tank
5. You're overly picky about the color of your running shoes.
6. When you're in your car and you start driving up a hill you think to yourself:
 ~ Thank goodness I am in my car and I don't have to run up this puppy.
 ~ BUT this IS a really good hill and I should come back and run it some time.
 ~ I really need to get more hills in lately.
 ~ I hate hills.
7. When you're planning your day, it is broken up into pre-run and post-run.
8. The weather determines your mood, not because of the weather itself, but because of how your run will likely go in that particular weather.
9. You hear a random song on the radio that would be perfect to run with and you pull over to write it down; even if you have to get off a major highway.
10. You do all of these things (& more) day in and day out.  And you don't think twice about any of them.

So...what's the verdict?


Listen to this:
Drum in Your Chest - BIGkids  Drum in Your Chest - Drum in Your Chest - Single

*AND DON'T FORGET* to enter the OISELLE giveaway.  Tell us why you run.  Win a bag of Oiselle goodies.  Done and done.  Contest ends next week.  Hurry!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

National Runner's Day & Oiselle Givaway


I also run because....

~ It makes me happy.
~ It pushes me out of my comfort zone.
~ It makes me feel like a badass.
~ It sets a good example for my girls.
~ It makes me feel young.
~ It gives me an excuse to buy running shoes & clothes...lots of them.
~ It is part of my job as a coach.
~ It gets me outside.
~ It justifies my coffee addiction (sort of?)
~ It gives me a reason to listen to, purchase and share music.
~ It gives me something to talk/write/learn about on a daily basis.
~ It makes me a better wife, mom, friend, & person.
~ It takes me somewhere new (mentally & physically) every time I do it.
~ It's freakin' awesome.

Why do YOU run?

WANT TO WIN A OISELLE GOODIE BAG? The lovely ladies of Oiselle have donated this sweet orange spike bag that they will send directly to you filled with some mystery Oiselle goodies.  Not even I know what's inside.  But, if it's from them, it's gonna be good.  To enter, comment below.  Tell us WHY YOU RUN.  That's it.  Then if, you haven't already done it, go outside and run.  See you on the road.

*Contest is for US and Canada residents only.  It will run thru Wednesday, June 12th.  Winner will be chosen via  Many thanks to Oiselle for this awesome contribution. Good luck!


Listen to this:
I Love You - Said the Whale  I Love You - I Love You EP