Monday, September 28, 2015


Edgehill Running Club
Last year I started a running club for the girls in my neighborhood and their friends.  We meet down at the middle school track every Sunday during the fall and do a quick and easy workout together.  The girls range in age from 8 to 12, so their levels of ability and stamina are all over the map.  And this is totally fine.  Ultimately, what I'm trying to do is teach them to love the sport and all it has to offer physically, socially and emotionally.  I don't want them worried about their pace or what place they are in.  The goal is to build their strength over time while boosting their confidence along the way.  And, of course, to do it while having as much fun as possible.  As these girls start to enter into the middle and high school years, I know from experience that life starts to get significantly more intense and often overwhelming.  Running can be such a positive outlet for them during this time.  It definitely was for me and it's a big reason behind why I wanted to start the club.  My daughter, Grace, who is 8, is one of the younger girls in the group.  Last year, she kind of giggled and shuffled her way through practice each week, not really caring or paying attention.  Unless she was causing a distraction, I just let her do her own thing.  The fact that she was down there with us was enough.  This year is a bit different.  She's a little older, a little more into sports and a little more aware of her ability as an athlete.  She's still silly, often asking to do things like run her final lap karaoke style, but she's finishing the workouts and doing them right, even focusing a little, which is really nice to see.  But, while I know she loves being there with her friends, I can safely say she's not very into the whole running thing.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I signed the whole family up for the Glen Doherty Memorial 5K.  Doherty grew up in Winchester and, among many other things, served in the military as Navy SEAL.  Sadly, he was one of four Americans killed in a terror attack in Benghazi, Libya.  The charity was created to aid in providing current and former special operations professionals, from all branches of the government, the means necessary to transition and succeed in civilian life.  We explained it to our girls and told them it was something we felt good about being a part and that we wanted to do the race together as a family.  Grace grumbled and mumbled about it, telling us she didn't want to do it, that she couldn't run more than a mile, that she didn't even like running.  We nodded and told her we understood and that she was going to do it anyway.  True to our word, Sunday morning, we all headed downtown to the race....together.  Originally, the plan had been for me to run with Rosie and Jeff to walk/run with Grace.  When we got down there and started putting on our bibs, Grace decided she was going to run with me instead.  Really Grace?  You sure you want to do that?  Because if you're going with me, we're going to do the whole thing, no complaining.  Are you game for that?  Yeah, yeah. I'm sure, she claimed.  I didn't believe her, but I decided to roll with it, at least for the beginning.  We lined up at the start, listened to announcements and a very endearing version of the national anthem and then we took off.  Grace grabbed my hand, overwhelmed by the crowd, and started running.  It's definitely a bit tricky to hold hands and run, but shortly after the start, she let go and cruised ahead.  And then she kept cruising.  I didn't have my watch on, but I knew she was going too fast.  She was trying to keep up with Rosie and her friend Carly and they, too, had started off pretty fast.  Girls, I yelled, do you think you can hold this pace for the whole thing?  You might want to ease back a bit.  Not surprisingly, they ignored me and kept running.  Grace started to ask me when we would get to the first water stop.  She probably asked me about 10 times and I continuously told her it was "just up ahead".  I had a feeling that once we stopped for water, we'd be walking.  I was quietly hoping the complaining wouldn't start up at that point, too.   Just after mile 1, she grabbed some water, had a sip and poured the rest on her head and then she raced off again.  I was floored.  Wow, Grace.  You are rocking this.  I think you can run the whole thing.  Maybe you can even place in your age group.  I told her.  Now, I know this goes against what I said above about learning to simply love the sport and not focusing on whether you win or lose.  But this is a kid who admittedly doesn't like running and didn't want to race, so I thought it might be just the motivator she needed to push on to the finish.  She looked up at me with big eyes REALLY?? And then we had the following conversation for the next half mile or so:
Grace: Wait, Mom, have you seen a lot of other 8 yr olds running?
Me: I really haven't, Grace.  You are definitely one of the younger ones in the group.  You might even get a prize.  
Grace: If I win my AG will you buy me a toy giraffe?  
Me: No.  
Grace: Why not?  
Me: Because that is ridiculous.  
But a kid is a kid and I didn't want to completely burst her bubble so I offered her ice cream instead and she was happy with the compromise.  At this point we're almost to mile 2.  We grabbed more water, she took a sip and poured more on her head and then we were off again.  Meanwhile, I was thinking, holy crap, Grace has run 2 miles without stopping except for water.  And I'm trying very hard not to show how stupidly excited I am for her.  This is the home stretch, Grace.  We just have to run around the green and back to the town hall and we're golden.  You ready to finish strong?  To which she replied.  I can't be stronger.  My legs are too tired.  I chuckled.  Ok, Grace.  Let's just finish.  We can do it.  Finally, we rounded the corner and we could see the glittery pom poms of the Winchestser cheerleaders at the finish line.  Grace picked it up and bee lined it in, crossing the line in just under 30 minutes.  It was amazing.  I hugged her and told her, again, how fantastic she'd done and how proud I was of her.  She was tired, but she was smiling and I could tell she was really excited.   Rosie and her friend Carly rolled in shortly after Grace and me and we all grabbed snacks and drinks and then sat and relaxed in the shade, the post-race bagels and granola bars being almost as good as the race itself.  The girls were talking all about the race, how hot it had been and how their feet "felt like they were burning at the end".  My favorite line of the day came from Carly who claimed,  It was so cool.  At the end  of the race I felt like I was flying.  That gave me chills.  We eventually learned that Grace took 2nd in her age group which she was very pleased about.  We stayed until the end so she could grab her award which happened to be a pint glass.  It's a bit of an odd choice for a kid's prize but she didn't care.  She'd earned it.  Later that evening, during dinner, I asked her whether she was psyched to try racing again.  Her response?  No, mom.  It's way too tiring.  That made me smile.  But, as she drank her water from her prize winning pint glass, touching it every once in a while just because, I couldn't help but think that this was just the beginning.

Grace, age 8
Final time: 29:25

Listen to this:
Up Up Up - Waters or listen w/ 

Monday, September 21, 2015


“Teamwork is the secret that make common people achieve uncommon result.”
~ Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha 

Ok, so, assuming you're a regular reader, you've got a sense of what goes into preparing for the Reach the Beach Relay.  If not, you can check it out here.  Now, I will now do my best to explain how this outrageous event unfolds; at least, from my perspective.  If you are just tuning in, the New Hampshire New Balance Reach The Beach (RTB) Relay is a 200 mile race, typically done in teams of 12 runners (though, there are some ultra teams) that starts in the beautiful White mountains and ends at Hampton Beach and takes places over 24 hours.  In the winter, I work up at Cannon Mountain, a ski area located in Franconia Notch State Park, which is how I connected with the New Hampshire State Parks team.  This is my 3rd (and their 4th) year running together.  Since I live down in MA and most of my teammates live up in NH, this event actually starts a day earlier for me as I have to get myself up to NH with enough time to check in with the team at the race start on Friday morning.  It's not a big deal, it just means spending the night with friends on Thursday night to avoid potential issues.  Fortunately, everyone on my team welcomes me with open arms, so it's never an issue to find a bed.  This year, I stayed with the Klenes who live in Manchester.  Grant has run with the team each year and Mary has either run with us (while pregnant) or skipped out on account of her babies being born, so she's made 2 out of the 4.  We'll see what happens next year.  Not only was it fun to catch up with Grant and Mary, but I also had the good fortune of getting to chill with her two little ones, McKenna (age 2) and Jack (age 5 mos) which I was thrilled about.  McKenna and I got into a serious game with Polly Pockets and I may have kept her up a little later than usual because I just love Pollys.

Ok, that's a lie.  In truth I couldn't get enough of McKenna, who is so damn cute and hilarious.  I loved that she continuously reminded me to brush my teeth throughout the entire evening.  I think we ended up going to bed at the same time, around 9:00pm, though I'm pretty sure neither of us wanted the party to shut down.  The next morning, Grant and I got going at 6:00am sharp.  Along with eating breakfast, we had some final packing to do and wanted to make sure we weren't rushed.  Plus, I needed time to stop for coffee so that was also factored in.  Around 7:00, we headed off to Concord where we were going to meet up with part of our team in one of the vans and drive up to the race start together.

In Concord, Grant (hands up) and I met up with Mike (red shirt), Michele (big smile), our driver, RJ (reindeer costume), Ben (green sunnies) and Adam (white tee).   From this alone, you can get a sense how seriously we take this race.  We then headed out to grab Stacey, who is not in the photo above and was not happy about it.  For the record, I thought we should wait and Grant told me to just post it because there would be so many more.  So, it's Grant's fault.  To make up for it, I'm throwing in this very bizarre shot of Stacey and me feeding a banana to Adam who happens to be wearing a horse mask.  Again, you see how things are unfolding here.  We haven't even made it to the start of the race yet.

We arrived at the Bretton Woods ski area around 9:30am and met up with the rest of our crew.  We all went to the required information session given by one of the race directors, then re-grouped and gathered up all of our team gear (blinky lights, headlamps, reflective vests, etc.), decorated our vans (paint, magnets, posters, stickers), 

passed out bib numbers, packed up all our gear, got into our uniforms or, in RJ's case, the yeti costume,

and finally headed back up to see Mike, our first runner, off at the start.  The RTB crew has official photographers and kindly took multiple shots of our team.  I'm sure they are all lovely.  We then proceeded to take our own team photo which is a bit more reflective of our team's mindset and energy level at the time.

At 11:15am, Mike took off with all the other first runners from the groups who were seeded around our pace.  We watched him run up a mountain, literally, and then got ready to hit the road.  Since my group was in Van 2, we wouldn't be running for a few hours, so we just cruised along, making stops during various legs to cheer on our runners in Van 1 and take pictures.  Our team represents all of the NH State Parks so we made an effort to get pics at each one that happened to be along the route.  Like this one at Crawford Notch State Park.  

10:30AM, 7.3 miles, HARD
Finally, it was time for my first leg.  I was runner 7, the first in the Van 2, so I would be doing legs 7, 19 and 31.  It was now about 85 degrees out; a perfect temp to bust out a 7+ miler on mountain roads.  Or not.  Actually, after seeing all my teammates from Van 1 run their legs, I was more than fired up to get started at this point.  Our first year we were not allowed to listen to music but this year it was just strongly discouraged.  Translation, if you want to listen to music, go for it.  If I had to guess, I'd say about 80% of the thousands of runners on the course were rocking out.  

I grabbed the bracelet from Michele, pumped up the jams, and took off.  Despite the heat, I felt awesome.  My van stopped twice along the way to give me cheers and high fives which lifted my spirits and kept me rolling.  I flew into the next transition area and made a smooth pass to Grant, who would be running the next leg.  Not to brag or anything, but we nailed it.

The logistics were too tricky for Van 2 to get to me by my finish, so my friends in Van 1 scooped me up after this one.  One of the few drawbacks to this race, other than the lack of sleep, is not being able to spend time in both Vans along the way, so I was pumped to get to hang with my peeps from the other van, aka Tan Van.  They also had AC and Van 2 didn't, so that was an added bonus.  Once Grant was done with his first run, I switched back to Van 2.  Now, I would get to sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery as I waited for my next run which wouldn't be until the middle of the night.  One of the best things about running this race is all of the incredible places we get to stop along the way.  The White Mountains and its surrounding areas are stunning and getting to take that all in is such a treat.

Around 9:00pm, we made a quick pit stop at Scott's condo in Moultonborough which is conveniently located right off the course.  This was a chance for us to shower, eat some food (though most of us didn't eat a full dinner because we'd be running again in 4 hours) and grab a few hours of sleep, which was really just a mean tease.  About 7 seconds after I started to drift into dreamland, Will, our driver, knocked on my door and told me to get a move on because I would be running in less than an hour.  OMG.  Thankfully, Scott has a Keurig and Grant brewed me up a cup of Folgers Vanilla, which was one of the best cups of coffee I have ever had.  Despite the caffeine jolt, this was how I felt post-nap.

Did I feel like I could run 7-9 miles up a mountain at this point?  Nope.  Did I have a choice?  Again, no.  Off we went to catch up with our teammates from Van 1 who would be passing off the bracelet and then doing exactly what we had done.  Was I jealous that they were about to get a few hours of rest and we were just starting?  You have no idea.  From 6:30pm until the next morning, all the runners were required to wear reflective vests, flashing lights on the front and the back, and a headlamp.  It feels a little weird, but at the same time, it's really cool to look out and see a sea of lights everywhere.

Taking directions from Will about my next leg.

12:30AM, 7-9 miles, VERY DIFFICULT
My second leg was the hardest for several reasons.  First, I would be running it after midnight.  Second, I had slept for only 2 hours since I had woken up at 6:00 that morning.  Third, it was pitch black out.  And last, it was up a mountain.  I decided I wouldn't blast my music for this one because I wanted to just take it all in and enjoy the serenity.  But, as I got closer to my start, I decided I needed a little distraction to get me through the climb, so I put on Regina Spektor very softly and then headed out into the night.  At about 5 miles in, I hooked up with a gentleman named Tim.  We started chatting and realized that we had a friend, my teammate Scott, in common.  So, we cruised along together for a while, trading bits of information, such as where we were from and how many kids we had.  Around mile 6.5, Tim asked me if I was familiar with the route.  Even though I'd run it the year before, I told him that I didn't really remember the specifics.  Then he proceeded to let me know that a sharp turn would be coming up and after that I would facing a brutal climb to the finish.  So nice of him to keep me informed, right?  In truth, it was really nice to have him alongside me for a while as it made the run go much faster.  True to his word, I took the turn and headed up a steep slope.  Slow and steady.  Grant was finally in sight and I passed off the bracelet as he continued to head up the mountain.  Once I finished, I tucked into the back of the van for a few hours of shuteye.  We did make a few more stops along the way to cheer on our crew and take some pics such as this one at Bear Brook State Park.

But, aside from some conversations with Jewels and Grant about our Gatorade chews and candy and how freaking awesome they tasted, I honestly don't remember most of what happened between the hours of 1:30am and 5:30am.  With everyone's second leg compete, we now headed over to Adam's house for another reset session.  Again, we showered, we ate, and some of us slept or, in my case, passed out.  And again, 7 seconds or 2 short hours later, I was woken up by Will who told me I need to put wings on it because we needed to stop for coffee.  Well, I couldn't argue with that.  I got it all together as best as I could, threw some food in a tupperware and jumped in the van.  We stopped at a gas station where I proceeded to purchase and then consume the second best cup of coffee I have ever had.  I can safely say I was not alone in this.  

The combination of caffeine, the fact that we were almost done and the fact that I was beyond tired and thus a bit loco had me amped up and ready to bust out my last run which was going to be short and sweet.  

10:30AM, 2.4 miles, EASY
Much to our dismay, it was already hot as blazes at 10:30 in the morning.  But, most of us had a short and relatively easy final leg so we weren't sweating it too much.  I say relatively because regardless of the shorter distances and lower levels of difficulty, all of these final legs were tough as none of us had slept and all of us had tired and sore legs.  Despite this, we were all ready to get to the beach and celebrate so the energy in the van was high.  I grabbed the bracelet from Michele and took off.  With only 2.5 flat miles to tackle, I went for it.  I had nothing to lose and I was so ready to be finished.  I passed off the bracelet to Grant with a huge smile spread across my face.  Hallelujah.  My work was done.  Now we just needed to drive to the beach to wait for Jewels who would be running our anchor leg.

I have to give Jewels, who's coming in to the finish shoot in the photo above, a huge shout out because she was the only one in our group who had to run her last few miles on sand.  Not hard packed sand.  Soft, mushy, hot sand.  BAD.  ASS.  We scooped her up and shuffled across the line together as a team.  Then we headed over to the ocean to get some final photos.  It's not typically this warm in late September, so we are not usually dodging beach goers at the finish.  It must have been really strange (annoying? hilarious?)  to see all these teams taking over, particularly ours with RJ in full Yeti costume.  Not that we cared.  We had successfully made it to the beach and we had survived.  It had been a wild and crazy ride and now our adventure was complete.  Another RTB Relay officially in the books.  There are no words to describe the feelings that were passing through me at the end of this road.  Elation, exhaustion, a little bit of sadness, and a sprinkling of madness all mixed together and lifting me up on a high that can be compared to very few others I've experienced in my life.  There is a reason we only do this once a year.  And while I'm still dog tired and incredibly sore, I'm already excited about our next one.  #GOPARKSGO

23rd place overall (out of 499)
4th place in the Mixed Open Division

Many thanks to the official RTB race crew, the volunteers, the police force and all the other people who put on this incredible event.  Huge props to our drivers, RJ and Will, who kept us on task and dealt with total chaos for 24 hours.  With gratitude to those at NH State Parks headquarters who support our team every year.  We couldn't do it without them.  And finally, to my teammates - Corey, Mike, Adam, Scott, Ben, Grant, Jewels, Kate, Stacey, Michele & Lily - you guys are f***ing amazing.  I love you all.  There are 75 state parks in NH.  I highly recommend that you get out and explore!  

Listen to this:
Here for You - Kygo, Ella Henderson or listen w/  

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Tomorrow, for the 3rd time, I'll be running the Ragnar Reach the Beach Relay with my NH State Parks team.  Twelve of us will be running 200 miles (3 legs each) over 24 hours.  Our first runner will start at the Bretton Woods ski area and our last runner will end at Hampton Beach.  It's always a wild and crazy adventure and I plan to tell you all about it when we're done.  In the meantime, I thought you might like to know what one packs for at event such as this one.  The amount of thought and preparation, both on an individual basis and as a team, is borderline insane.  You have to plan for every scenario including clothes for all weather conditions and food for all meals and make sure that you organize it in such a way that you can squeeze it into the back of van along with the gear that belongs to all your other teammates.  It's not easy.  It has, however, gotten a bit more systematic through the years.  Here's what I tend to end up with on race day.


3 tanks
3 pairs of shorts
1 pair of sweats
1 pair of tights
4 pairs of socks
2 pairs of running shoes
1 pair of flops
1-2 hoodies (depending on current temps)
2 towels (one big, one small)
3 gallon size Ziplocks (for sweaty clothes after each leg)
1 trash bag
1 reflective vest
3 blinking lights (for night leg, typically around 2AM
1 visor
1 pair of sunnies
1 pair of arm warmers (in case it's cold during night leg)
2 tubes of NUUN
1 loaf of bread
1 jar of peanut butter
3 oranges
2 bananas
1 bag of pretzels
1 cooler (for water and chocolate milk)
1 box of cereal
1 roll of deodorant (this is critical)
1 toothbrush
1 bag of sweet treats (M&Ms and jellybeans)
1 power outlet for car (for phone and computer)
1 iPod (not to run with...GASP...bc we're not allowed.  But to listen to music in between legs)

And I think that just about covers it.  At least, to start.  GO TEAM! (stay tuned....)

Listen to this:
Cut Me Loose - Royal Tongues or listen w/

Monday, September 14, 2015


"No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it."
~ Halford E. Luccock

As many of you know, I coach girls cross country over at Lexington High School.  This is my 5th year with the team and I more excited than ever, which I admittedly say every year.  Our fall season began a few weeks ago, in late August.  I have 60 girls on the squad of various ages, grades and levels of ability.  Every day is an adventure, to say the least.  I suppose that's one of the main reasons I love my job as much as I do.  This past Saturday we had our first meet out in Newburyport, MA at the beautiful Maudslay State Park.  This particular meet, the Clipper Relays, is a bit atypical because rather than one huge race with everyone, the girls compete in teams of three as a relay.  So, rather than having all the runners toe the line together to run the traditional 3.1 mile loop, each school has several small teams and each runner does a 2 mile loop for a total of 6 miles per team.  It's an awesome meet to start off the seasons for several reasons.  First, and foremost, it builds team unity, which, in the beginning of the season, is critical.  Cross country is so often perceived as an individual sport and while there is definitely a solo element to it, in the end, it is the team that these girls are ultimately running for.  They get a real sense of this concept at this meet.  Second, a relay seems a bit less daunting than a solo race, particularly for a freshmen who has never run a high school XC race before.  And last, because when the meet is over, the entire team, both boys and girls (about 120 kids) get to head over to the nearby pond for a post-race swim, which is as fun if not more so than the race itself.   It's been ridiculously hot and humid in the Boston area over the past few weeks, so we were beyond lucky to wake up to a crisp and cool morning on Saturday.  We headed off around 7:00am and arrived in Newburyport about and hour later.  The girls race was set to take off at 9:15, so we didn't have a lot of time to dilly dally, which was good, because too much time often works against a squad of our size.  After a quick bathroom break, we headed off to run the course.  The day was heating up but the 2 mile loop was mostly through the woods and thus heavily shaded so we weren't going to have much to battle in regards to weather.  The girls spent some time doing their dynamics and getting in the zone before we all headed over to the start.

Music? Check. Spikes? Check.

Being a runner myself, the warmup and pre-race prep is a process that I both know and appreciate.  I love to watch the girls do whatever it takes to get them ready or calm their nerves.  A few will do some extra stretching on their own.  Others will zone out and listen to music.  And some will gather with a friend or two and provide some words of encouragement or a few laughs if needed.  Though I am 40 and these girls are teenagers, our desire to run hard and race well is ultimately the same.  That brings me closer to them in a way that they might not even realize.  I love that.  Just before we headed over to the start, I grabbed my assistant coach, Lance, for a quick photo.  Lance is over 6 feet tall and I am not, so this was a bit tricky, but we made it work.  Thankfully, he has really long arms.

Pre-race w/ Lance

At this point the excitement was building and the energy throughout the group almost tangible.  We made our way to the line to do some strides and our team cheer.  In our huddle, I reminded them, as always do, of the following:

~ You are totally ready for this.
~ All I ask is that you give it your best.
~ And don't forget to have fun.

The last being the most important as it's truly what running should be about for them.  I watched as each girl passed the baton off to her teammate, watched them cheer for each other, watched them high five and hug each other when they finished their legs.  It was one of those magical experiences where everything was happening so fast and clicking beautifully.  By now, it was at least 80 degrees out yet I had chills throughout the entire race.  Being a part of this event reminded me, yet again, why I coach.  Running can do so much for us in so many ways.  I saw that in spades on Saturday.  Through running, these girls are fitter, stronger, happier, more confident, more proud, even more humble, all at once.  They will become such amazing women and their high school running experience will have so much to do with that.  And that is just so damn cool.  Here's to another amazing season for all of us.  GO LEX!

Post-race.  All smiles.
(w/ 2 random guys in the background)

Listen to this:
As Time Goes - Jr. Jr.  or listen w/ 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Life in the fast lane
Surely make you lose your mind
~ Eagles

Lately, I've been feeling like my long run days, actually, all my days, really, have been so crammed with stuff to do, stuff to remember, stuff in general, that I can barely keep up with myself.  Summer, winter, kids in school, kids not in school, working, not working, doesn't matter.  I find that I'm making task lists within my task lists.  I'm dealing with some form of organized chaos every single day.  Some days it's brutal.  Some days I thrive on it.  And some days it drives me totally nuts.  But, it's all part of the package.  I'm a working mom w/ really busy kids and I like to train for marathons in my free time.  That pretty much sums it up.  Take Sunday, for example.  In addition to the 20 miler I needed to get done, my daughter wanted to go to the beach; a sort of last hurrah before starting school this week.  Ok, cool.  Yeah, I think we can make that work, I said out loud and hoped to myself.  Fortunately, I have in-laws who live by the water and who are incredibly understanding and helpful when it comes to my marathon training.  So, off we went.  Here's how the morning unfolded....

Shoes in ready position
~ Wake up
~ Brush teeth
~ Check email (translation - procrastinate)
~ Make coffee
~ Feed dogs
~ Walk dogs (while drinking coffee)
~ Eat breakfast

---> notice Clover (the younger dog) staring longingly at me and consider the fact that she probably won't get out again for a few hours. (translation - dog torture)
~ Grab leash and run the first 4.5 miles of my long run with Clover (yes, I'm a sucker)
~ Drop the dog back home
---> insert feelings of both relief (because I no longer have to run with her) and envy (because she's done and I'm not)
~ Grab water (unexpected bonus)
~ Run additional 15.5 miles of my long run doing my damndest to use the time on the road (2 hrs, 50 mins) to my advantage by:
1. composing an important email to a friend
2. putting this blog post together
3. planning out my next week of XC practices
4. making a list of items I need to deal with for my girls when I get home including things like school supplies, lunch stuff, sports equipment, and fall clothes.
---> all of these done in my head, of course

Done and done

10:20 AM
~ Finish run
~ Grab water & car keys
~ Drive to Monomy Coffee
~ Order Frozen Cappuccino

w/ Rachel at Monomy Coffee

~ Hug the owner, Rachel, because she has just made me the most delicious drink I've ever tasted.
~ Sit down and enjoy the fruits of my labor


~ Head back home
~ Throw on bathing suit and get ready to head to beach with Rosie.
~ Make lunch
~ Load car
~ Clean up dog vomit (because she's a puppy and she ate an entire apple the day before, including the core)
~ Throw in a load of laundry (because dog vomit ended up on towels and blankets)
~ Make another cup of coffee (clearly, I'm going to need it)
~ Head to beach

And now it's Wednesday.  I meant to post this on Sunday.  I did.  But, stuff, dogs, running, kids, in the way.  So, yes, things are crazy and moving really damn fast.  It's just the way things are rolling right now.  And I'm trying really hard to make it all work.  Sometimes I rock it.  Sometimes I don't.  But, at the end of the day, even the longest and hardest of them, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Listen to this:
Mountain At My Gates - Foals or listen w/

Friday, September 4, 2015


this was the house where everybody hanged
ask all my friends they'll tell you the same
was it the house or was it the gang
or a phenomenon no one can explain
~ Air Traffic Controller, 'The House'

I've been a music fan of some kind since I was pretty young.  When I was around 5 or 6 years old, I had several 45s; yes, those really small records with an A and B side, that I used to play over and over and over again on my Fischer Price record player.  (SO sorry, Mom).  I might as well go ahead and date myself here as I recall some of my favorites at the time, including, but not limited to, Dirty Laundry by Don Henley and Oh Mickey You're So Fine by the one and only Toni Basil (whatever happened to her??).  My best friend, Frances, and I used to dance around my room with Toni singing at full volume.  There may have been pom poms involved.  Those were good times.

In grade school I continued to explore and sharpen, if you can call it that, my taste in music.  I was the awkward new kid in 5th grade and music was a medium that I used to relate to others.  We were mesmerized, as only tweens could be, by the likes of Genesis' Invisible Touch among so many other quality 80s rockers.  U2, Paul Simon, Janet Jackson, Peter Gabriel, Madonna, the list goes on and on.  And we loved them all.  Back then we shared music through our mixtapes, which we would spend countless hours on.  They were a form of communication, if you will.  Each song had a meaning behind it and the tape itself typically had a theme/message that you wanted to get across to the person you were giving it to. (ie. Best Summer Ever or Broken Hearted).  Tragic, I know.  But, also kind of cool.

My taste in music evolved and changed even more so as a teenager.  My friends and I were into everything from Phish to Blues Traveler to Guns N' Roses.  That's right, Laurie (my high school partner in crime) and I went to see Axl Rose in his prime not once but twice in one week in NYC during the Use Your Illusions Tour.  How did we do that??  Oh, right.  We were 16.  Seriously, though, different groups of us went and saw concerts all the time; Ziggy Marley, the Rolling Stones and Peter Gabriel, to name a few.  And, while we might not have realized it then, there is no doubt that each one of those shows brought us closer.  I know this, because I can remember specific details about every one of them and the people I was with when I think back on them today.  I love that.

The point I'm trying to make here is that music has been a constant in my life for as long as I can remember.  What I realize now, though, is that the impact music has made on my life has had as much to do with the company in which I've shared it with as it did the music itself.  Still today, 35 years after rocking out to Toni Basil, I am connecting and relating to others through music.  I will hear a song or band on the radio or during a run that will literally stop me in my tracks because it's something I know someone in my life will appreciate.  And then I'll pass it on.  And, regardless of whether that person lives close to me or has moved to the other side of the world, the music brings us together, if only for a brief moment.  And that's pretty powerful stuff.

The playlist below has a few of the songs that have inspired me this week - to run, to dance with my kids, to get out of bed; for whatever reason.  But each time I listen, I find myself wanting to share them.  If they're motivating me, perhaps they'll move you as well.  And while I may not know how or why, I know the connections are there.  I can feel it when I'm listening.  Maybe you will, too.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Most of you already know this, but in case you are just tuning in, I am currently in the process of training for my 12th marathon which, barring any major issues, I'm planning to run in October.  And, this time around, I'm doing my damndest not to complain about summer weather as I train.  I like to...okay coach advises me to run a minimum of four 20+ milers during each marathon training cycle and today was my second of 4.  I woke up to a beautiful morning.  A little warm, but not too humid.  My dear, sweet husband agreed to drop our kids off at camp so I could get going early, bless him.  I had plenty of fuel both pre-run and in my pockets for mid-run.  I even thought to put $5 in my shorts in case I needed anything extra.  I had absolutely nothing to groan about except the fact that I would be on the road, solo, for over 3 hours.  But, given that I choose to run marathons, I no longer allow myself to complain about any element of the training, at least out loud or to others, as I know absolutely everything that I am getting myself into each time I do it.  So, off I went, trying to be positive and just enjoy the ride.  But then, you have to do something on your long runs to keep from dying of boredom, right?  So, I started to play the game Wouldn't it be awesome if...?  But, here's the thing.  I couldn't just say something like, Wouldn't it be awesome if there was water available for me at every mile?  Don't get me wrong.  That would be amazing.  But, that is way too easy to dream up and gets a zero for creativity.  My game.  My rules.  No, I was going to have to come up with something that was a bit more farfetched than easy access to water.  For example, one of the first ones I thought of today was Wouldn't it be awesome if AWOLNATION was riding along side me on a flatbed truck and rocking out for the entire 3 hours that I was running?  Now that would be insane.  Just thinking about it as I write this makes me smile, so imagine what it did for me at mile 4 when I had 18 more miles to go.  We do what we have to do to get through these challenging elements of training.  After having done 11 marathons, I've decided bitching and moaning is overrated and a complete waste of time and energy.  Having fun is truly what it's all about it.  How you do that is up to you.  Here's a few of the gems that I dreamed up while I was on the road this morning.  Fair warning, they are pretty out there.


~ My 10 year old could drive and this was legal.  Oh, the possibilities.  First, and foremost, she could get her and her sister home from camp today.  Maybe they could stop by the grocery store on their way to get a few items that I'd forgotten yesterday.  They could even grab me an iced mocha from Starbucks.  Of course, they could treat themselves, too.  I buy. They fly.

~ My dogs could walk themselves.  In Lucy's case (age 14), she'd just need to do a few laps around the block when she felt like it.  In Clover's case (age 1), she could head out for a 3-5 mile run a couple times a day.  This way, neither of them would need anything from me beyond food and a few belly rubs.  

~ There was a beautiful, cold river, like the Deschutes in OR, that flowed from Winchester to Lexington and I could float over to XC practice on an innertube.  Yes, this one is kind of weird.  I was pretty parched when I drummed it up.

~ Wilco was playing down at the Blackhorse Tavern tonight.  But, they'd start early, like 7:00pm, so I could jam out for a few hours and then still get to bed at a reasonable hour.  Jeff Tweedy can't be that busy, right?  

~ I had superpowers just for one day.  Oh man, this one killed at least 3 miles as I debated with myself over which one to be invisible, to be able to fly, or to have elasticity.  I ended up picking flight.  Then I could go visit my friends Molly and Dina who I haven't seen in way too long.

~ All of my favorite bands released new albums this week.  After giving it some thought, I decided this was totally off the wall and narrowed it down to just three.  Because that seemed so much more reasonable.  Then, I spent a couple miles choosing who I'd pick.  I ended up with Sleigh Bells, Santigold and Robyn.

~ I could string up a hammock between the gazebo and a tree at XC practice and nap while the girls went on their recovery run today.  This one actually seemed doable at mile 18.  Not so much anymore.

Clearly, none of these things will ever happen.  But my run went a hell of a lot quicker just in thinking about them.  That was awesome.

Listen to this:
Stars - The Suits or listen w/