Thursday, May 18, 2017


Yes, I'm racing on Sunday.  And, yes I'd like to do well.  I've worked hard.  I've given up lots of things.  I've put myself first when, perhaps I shouldn't have.  But, what it really comes down to is this, I live to run.  It is my drug of choice.  It keeps me happy, sane, motivated, grounded.  It makes me a better mom, wife, coach, friend, sister, person.  Running hundreds of miles on a regular basis doesn't make sense to a lot of people.  I'm not a professional athlete.  No one is paying me to run or telling me to do it.  It's my choice.  And every day that I wake up knowing that I get to run is a gift for me; one that I never, ever take it for granted.  The process of training for a marathon is long and arduous and I love it, as much, if not more so than the race itself.  When it's all behind me, it's not just the race I look back on, but the memories from the four months leading up to it....the 22 miler in the snow, the workout that hurt so much I cried when it was over,  the post-run coffee with my training partner when we couldn't talk and that was okay, the 10 miler with Clover when she looked as though she was smiling the whole way.  Yes, I hope it goes well on Sunday.  But, regardless of the outcome, it was worth it.  It always is.

"Always go for a run even if it's raining.  Enjoy the journey, never forget to play and feel the joy of life. Jump for joy when you're happy.  Surround yourself with the people you love.  Live in the moment, have boundless energy.  Listen more than you talk, but when you do talk speak from the heart.  It's never too late to learn.  Look for the best in everyone and be loyal.  Love unconditionally.  And shine with all of your light, all of the time." *

Listen to this:
Right Place Right Time - A Little Nothing

* Thanks to my good friend, Tim Carter, for sharing this amazing story and for sparking this post.

Friday, May 12, 2017


"Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets."
~ Leonardo DaVinci

In less than two weeks I'll be tackling my 17th marathon up at Sugarloaf Mountain in Carrabassett Valley, ME.  If you'd told me back in 2007 that 10 years later I'd still be at it, I would have laughed in your face.  Now I just laugh at myself.  As a runner, I'm always learning.  Way back when I started in on this madness, I learned never to say never and that has stuck with me through all of them.  After my 13th marathon, the Mohawk Hudson, where I ran my current PR of 3:04 at age 40, I learned that I had more in me than I ever thought possible.  At the same time, I wondered whether I had more to give.  And then I quickly learned that my coach, who I've been working with since 2013, had absolutely no doubt in his mind that this was the case.  So, I've kept at it.  Working as hard, if not harder every time.  For my next two marathons, I learned that shit happens and that I have to deal with whatever is thrown at me.  I learned that regardless of how well I train, I always have to expect the unexpected as there will undoubtedly be things out of my control (ie. metal doors and bad weather) every, single time.  I learned to reset, adjust the plan, stay positive and stick with it.  Which I did.  I also learned that I was still not satisfied and that I was ready and willing to do more to get what I wanted, which in this situation is a marathon PR.  During this particular training cycle, which began back in January, I learned to take the good days with the bad, to be realistic, to keep my head on, to be in the moment, to use humor whenever possible, to lean hard on my friends and teammates and, most importantly, to trust.  Trust myself, my body, my coach, the process; all of it.  And because of that, I've made it to this point.  Oh, and I've learned a few new and somewhat interesting things about both the training process and myself this time around that I hadn't realized until I shifted into this higher gear (see below).  I don't know what will happen next week, but I've learned to believe that anything is possible.


1. I'm capable of napping anywhere, any time.  During a hair cut, in the waiting room while my daughter is having her teeth cleaned, in the car at soccer pick up.  Literally....anywhere.
2. Compression is my friend.  I only used to wear compression socks and tights once in a while.  Today I wear them almost daily as the support they provide my tired muscles is invaluable.
3. A new song or playlist can make or break a workout.  Music always gets me going but sometimes the same old thing is not enough.  A handful of fresh tunes can make a notable impact on performance.  It can also help me motivate to get out the door.
4. I'm now capable of eating a pretty substantial meal at noon and then going for a run less than an hour later.  It's not ideal, but I've had weekly doubles during this cycle and I was often short on time so it had to be done on a regular basis.  Random?  Yes. But a really good skill to have.
5. An epsom salt bath can be a border-line religious experience.  This one is pretty self explanatory.
6. Even when I'm not up for it, my dog is always ready and willing to go.  Snowing, raining, windy, hot...doesn't matter.  She's in.  She's also not afraid to give me the stare down when I'm procrastinating before my departure.  Dog coach?  Sort of.
7. I'm now able to have a cup of coffee at 3:00pm and still easily fall asleep at 9:00, if not earlier.  I used to avoid caffeine after noon in fear that it would keep me up at night.  This time around I've needed it more than usual to get through my days.  Thankfully, it hasn't impacted my sleep routine in the slightest.  Good and bad, I suppose.
8. Even when I'm 99% sure that I can't do it....I can.  My running partner often reminds me that my coach wouldn't have given me the workout if he didn't think I could do it.  She's always right.
9. More mileage and harder workouts means absolutely nothing to my children.  My exhaustion has been higher than ever this time around.  Not only do they not get it but they could care less.  As far at they're concerned, I'm just doing more of what I love.  Which I suppose is true.  Fortunately for me (and, really, for them, too), I've mastered lesson #1.
10. All the runs, regardless of pace or distance, add up and make an impact on the big picture.  There have been days over the past few months when I could barely muster a shuffle.  They all count and the harder they are to get through, the stronger I am become.

Listen to this:
Ultralife by Oh Wonder

Thursday, May 4, 2017


Yes, it's yet another race review.  I apologize for the lack of creativity on post subjects lately.  But, as I continue on this quest for a marathon PR, the races are a big part of the story and I feel like it's important to share the details.  So, here we go.  I've done the Earth, Rock, Run half (ERR), part of the Greenstride series, for the last few years.  Eli Bailin, the race director, who has become a friend of mine, puts on an amazing event every time so I always look forward to it.  This year I was doing it as a final tuneup before the Sugarloaf Marathon, which I'll be running on May 21st and I was excited to test my fitness on this last long run in my training cycle.  If you recall, my running partner, Kirsten, and I ran the New Bedford half back in March, also as part of our training.  I won't re-hash that story but in a nutshell I'd felt like a rock star up until mile 10 and then I turned into the wind and felt like I was running in place for the final 3.1  Needless to say, it was not the time I'd hoped for but given how well I'd felt for the first two thirds of the race I was eager to run another half without the added battle with the wind so I could get a better sense of what I was truly capable of.  I knew the ERR fell right around the same time as my last long run for Sugarloaf so it worked out perfectly to give it another go at this particular race.  On Sunday night, the week before the race, I pulled up my training plan to see what my coach had in store for me for the days leading up to the race.  I've been putting in a lot of miles in preparation for the marathon, so I knew to expect that.  I didn't, however, anticipate seeing this:

Monday: 22 miles
Tuesday: 8 miles (AM)
               6 miles (PM)
Wednesday: 11 mile tempo run
Thursday: 10 miles (AM)
                  6 miles (PM)
Friday: 8 miles
Sunday: race
Total: 88 miles (w/ 71 of them before the race)

My knee-jerk reaction?  Holy. SHITE.  How the hell could I possibly run a solid race after churning out this much mileage?  So, I emailed the sensei himself and posed the question:
Hey Lowell,
Just you think it's possible to run 22 miles on Monday, do 2 doubles and do a tempo workout and then PR in the half?? I realize my eyes are on the prize (Sugarloaf), so I understand the logic.  But, I was hoping to bust out a good time for that race.  If it's not feasible, I want to set my expectations accordingly!

To which he responded:
If you take all the miles except the tempo slow and don't cross the line and run too hard in the tempo, you can run a solid half.  We can't have you 100% for both the half and the marathon, but a 95-98% you should be good enough to PR in the half.

So, that was that.  New goal...95-98%.  I guess we'll see what that is for me at the moment, I thought to myself.  Then I put my head down and cranked out the miles leading up to Sunday.  And I did my best to trust my training and my coach, as I hoped (prayed) that I still had enough in the tank for a decent time on race day.

Fast forward to Sunday morning.  I woke up to a beautiful, clear, crisp, sunny day; which was a huge relief because it had been humid and in the 80s the day before.  One of my race day rituals is to get up a little earlier than I need to, make a (large) cup of coffee and, weather permitting, chill out with Clover on the front porch.  I've come to look forward to this little window of time as I attempt to do a little visualization and relaxation while Clover sits next to me on squirrel patrol.  The race start was 9:00am and it was taking place up in Amesbury, MA so around 7:15 I drove over to grab Kirsten, who was racing with me again, and together we headed North.  Kirsten had a similar agenda to mine for this one.  She, too, has been training for Sugarloaf and was planning to use this race a final hard push before the marathon.  I'll go ahead and say how grateful I am to have a friend and training partner who shares my passion for running and racing and is always up for the next adventure.  To have a wingman to share stories with, freak out with, commiserate with and laugh my ass off with is invaluable.  She keeps me honest and helps me stay motivated, which lately has been no easy task.  Bottom line, I'm very, very lucky.

We arrived without incident around 8:00am.  One of Eli's goals as a race director is to create a fun, easygoing atmosphere for runners, while keeping the logistics quick and easy to navigate and with the added bonus of providing killer race swag.  To date, he has never let us down and this race was no different.  We picked up our numbers, grabbed our race shirts and hoodies (that's right, every runner gets a hoodie) and made our way back to the car to drop our stuff and shed some layers before taking off for our warm up.  We chatted strategy and goals as we ran and after a couple of miles we were ready to rock.

When we got back to the car we could hear the familiar raspy, surfer-drawl of Michael Bernier, the race announcer, calling us all over to the start so we knew it was time.  

The race was in a different location this year and the course was substantially more challenging with several rolling hills, none of them terribly steep but most of them notably long.  I did not know the extent of it when I lined up and that was probably a good thing.  I'd reached out to Lowell the night before to discuss pacing and he told me to aim for a range of 6:35-6:40.  He also reminded me that my legs would be tired from the marathon training and warned me not to dip under 6:30 as this wasn't my goal race and I need to stay relatively fresh if I could.  Whatever you say, Boss.  As you can see from the profile above, the first mile was uphill and from where we stood we couldn't see the top.  Awesome.  I tend to have a hard time adjusting to the pace I'm shooting for in the beginning and this didn't help. I see-sawed between goal pace for the first few miles (6:43, 6:29, 6:44) until I landed at 6:35 for mile 4.  Then I told myself to settle in, focus on my breathing and chill the hell out.  I ran with one other gentleman for a few miles as he seemed to be running my pace and it was nice to have someone doing the work with me.  Miles 5-7 went smoothly (6:36, 6:36, 6:37) and by the time I hit mile 8 I was solo again.  Not good.  It's always tough for me to hold on to my target pace when I have no one near me and my body wants to slow down.  I was pretty off for these next few miles (6:22, 6:45, 6:41, 6:43) likely due to this and to a section of rollers that I was now dealing with on tired legs.  But, my watch shows average pace and I was holding steady at 6:37, so I knew I was still within range.  With two miles to go, my time was 1:10.  Fortunately, I had the mental capacity to do the math and realized that if I ran 2 more miles at 6:30, I had a shot at a PR (sub 1:27:24).  So, I bucked up and went for it.  I gave it everything I had for miles 11-13.1 (6:43, 6:30, 6:22).  Unfortunately, we had a couple more hills to duke it out with, so everything I had wasn't that much faster at first.  But, once I was in the home stretch, I knew I had a shot.  I continuously looked at my watch, something I never do during most races at the end, but knowing how close I was, I was going to be ticked off if I didn't check and then came in a couple seconds after my best time.  The last .1 was on a downhill so I just opened up and flew.  I saw the clock and a sense of relief washed over me as I knew I'd finally broken through and snagged the PR.  Not by a lot.  And that's okay.  Because it was just enough to remind me that the work is paying off and that, despite my doubts, it is definitely still worth it.

I was the first female to cross the line.  And that was awesome.  I was also the first master (40+), and on top of that, of the 8 men who came in before me, only one of them was in his forties.  I was incredibly proud to have been competitive with those young chickens at age 42.  Just last year I'd reached out to my coach after my 3rd, unsuccessful attempt at a marathon PR and asked him if he thought I had peaked in my ability and whether I should change my goals because of this.  His response?  Absolutely not.  I won't deny the fact that I had to work a lot harder to see these results, but just knowing that I'm capable of it is enough to keep me going.  

Shortly after I came in, Kirsten followed, also with a fantastic time.  We found Eli, thanked him for another great race, and let him know that we'd undoubtedly be back again.  Then we headed out for our cool down followed by our hard-earned coffees.  Which, in the end, aside from the challenge, the adventure and the love of the sport, is really what we do it for.  Kidding.  Sort of.


Listen to this:
Ultralife by Oh Wonder

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Yeah runnin' down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin' on a mystery, goin' wherever it leads
Runnin' down a dream
~ Tom Petty

On Monday, April 17th, we woke up to a beautiful and, to our dismay, very warm day.  As usual I was up early, around 6:00am, but Joyce and I wouldn't be starting to run until 11:15, so I tried to pack enough food and hydration to last all morning.  Oh, and I threw in the sunscreen as well.  If you read my previous post, you know that the days leading up to this one were full of activities and insanely hectic for me.  But thankfully, I'd had a chance to reset on Sunday afternoon, followed by a really solid night's sleep, so I was ready and eager to get to Hopkinton and get things going on Monday morning.  For those of you reading this blog for the first time, a little back story here.  In 2016, I ran the marathon as a member of Team With A Vision (TWAV), an organization that raises funds and awareness to support individuals living in MA who are living with vision loss.  I had the great fortune of guiding Joyce Cron, a mom, athlete and superwoman who has big goals and absolutely no limits.  We successfully crossed the line in 4 hours and 30 minutes (read that story here) and once the dust settled, we agreed to put our heads together to determine whether we would do it again in 2017.  We stayed in touch through the summer and fall and then in January we decided it was time to get serious about our plan.  Not surprisingly, Joyce wanted to run Boston again, but she had two big obstacles that she was worried about.  First, she had wicked plantar fasciitis in her right foot, which had been plaguing her for weeks, and second, her vision had deteriorated a bit so she was no longer capable of training on her own at all, something she'd been able to do the year before.  She did not, however, see these as a reason to bail all together and was determined to figure out solutions for both so she could get to the starting line, which clearly, she did. (read that story here)  Come April, her injury was at bay and she'd gotten all of her key training runs in so she was ready to rock.  Which brings us back to marathon Monday.

Calm before the storm 

The one thing I noticed as I sat outside and caffeinated at 6:00am was the light breeze which happened to be on the cooler side.  This was definitely going to be our best friend for the day.  My friend and teammate, Kirsten, was also guiding for TWAV and her husband had offered to drive us out to Hopkinton so they came by to scoop me up around 8:30.  We made it to the State park without incident around 9:00am, said our goodbyes and then hopped on the shuttle that would take us over to the Hopkinton Vision Center where we'd be meeting up with the rest of our team and hanging out for the morning.  Given the typical chaos of this day along with the weeks leading up to it, it's almost ridiculous how easy this process was for us.

Andrea Croak...smiling, of course

This woman, the amazing Andrea Croak, has everything to do with this.  She is the mastermind behind our team, the chief organizer, main question answerer, key problem solver and holder of all TWAV knowledge. She also happens to be one the calmest people I know, a key trait given that the rest of us on the team are often borderline freaking out come race day, and she's always smiling.  I can not say enough good things about this gal.  So much of our TWAV marathon experience banks on her and all that she does for us and she has got it so dialed in that we never have to worry.  Not surprisingly, she was the first person who greeted us when we arrived at the Vision Center.  She let me know that Joyce had already arrived, that there were bags for our gear over in the corner and that hot coffee was already brewed and available for us up in the kitchen.  See?  Amazing.  I made my way in to find Joyce and put my stuff down.  As I did this, I happened to notice that Scott Jurek was hanging out in the parking lot with his wife and baby and a group of our runners.  I tried to act cool, but was totally starstruck because...well...because it was SCOTT JUREK, one of the greatest runners of all time.  Later I learned that Scott's mom had MS and at the end of her life she had some vision loss so he has always been a big TWAV supporter and was out with us for the day simply to cheer us on and thank us for all we do.  How cool is that?  I wanted to grab Joyce and tell her he was out there as I knew she'd read about him and would be as excited to meet him as I was.

w/ Joyce and Scott Jurek

Scott has got to be one of the warmest, friendliest and most humble guys I've ever met.  He applauded Joyce for all she does despite her vision loss and wished us well on our Boston journey.  After our conversation, Joyce and I went back inside to grab some food and chill out for a while as we had a few hours before we'd be leaving.  If Joyce was nervous, I couldn't tell.  She was calm and cool as a cucumber as we ate pretzels, drank water and chatted about stuff both running related and non.  Around 10:45 we headed back outside with our other guide, Bob, who would be running the first half with us, did some final stretching and took some photos before going over to the start.


As it was last year, the crowds in the beginning were tricky for us to navigate.  Bob and I wove our way down the street with Joyce, working to keep her from bumping into people or obstacles like the corral gates.  We found our section and planted ourselves in a shady spot to wait until we our wave took off.  Bob has run a ton of marathons so he told us stories of past races which was a welcome distraction.  Finally, at 11:15, they sent us on our way and we crossed the start as Tom Petty sang Runnin Down a Dream'.  Just...amazing.  

Miles 1-5
Joyce's plan was to run a 10-10:15 pace and it was my job to hold us there as she doesn't wear a watch.  By the time we took off it was already in the 70s so we decided we would get water at every stop to avoid dehydration issues.  Our plan was to have Bob get the water and bring it over to us rather than try to fight the crowds at the tables ourselves.  We did this last year and it worked well so we figured we just stick with it.  Our first few miles were relatively smooth.  We were right on target for pacing and Bob and I wove through the people and got vocal when we needed to pass them.  At mile 5, Bob ducked in to get us water and, as we had been doing, Joyce and I kept going.  After a few minutes, Bob hadn't come back, so I managed to get water for both of us and we plowed on assuming Bob would find us eventually.  I continued to look behind me to see if I could spot him but it was a bit of a distraction to do both this and to focus on Joyce.  After 10 minutes or so I told Joyce that we were on our own for the time being and that we'd be able to make it work between the two of us which she seemed good with.  It was right about here that I was thanking the stars above that this wasn't my first time guiding!!!

at Mile 6 w/ Joyce (and officially on our own)

Miles 5-12
Okay, so Bob was totally out of the picture and we'd decided that it was not likely that he was going to find us so we forged on and didn't stress about it.  It's worth noting here that the BAA gives every TWAV runner one registered guide.  The rest of us who guide have qualified for Boston and are basically donating our numbers to TWAV so that the athletes can have at least two to three guides with them at all times.  So, case in point here as to why this needs to happen.  Joyce and I laughed a bit as we wondered out loud what she would have done if she'd only had Bob to run with and lost him.  She claims that she would have just linked arms with someone else around her and hoped for the best which I'm pretty sure would have worked though I hate to think of her having to deal with that at all.  From this point on we made a new system for the water stops.  I'd bring us right over to the volunteer and Joyce would hold her hand out for the cup directly.  After doing it a few times, we found it worked well so this is how it went for the next few miles.  The heat was taking it's toll on us and we were both having to drink 2-3 cups of water per stop.  But, we made it to the transition area without incident and scooped up our second guide, Tony, who would be running the remainder of the race with us.

@ the half with Tony & Joyce

Miles 12-21
Getting into Wellesley is always a blast no matter what condition you're in and for Joyce it's even more intense because the volume rises ten-fold.  She smiled as she heard the crowds going wild and we both laughed as I read all the various "Kiss Me" signs out loud to her.  The next section to get through was the hills and they were really, really tough.  Tony and I talked Joyce through each one, letting her know when we could see the top and telling her how well she was doing.  She was struggling but she was also fighting like nobody's business.  Toward the end of this section we heard her son shout out so we turned back so she could give him a hug and they could take a quick photo.  That was a HUGE boost for her and put a new skip in her step for the next few miles.  The timing could not have been more perfect.

Joyce, smiling just after seeing her son

Miles 22-26.2
Finally we were in the home stretch.  Joyce was insanely tired and she'd slowed down but she was still okay.  We heard a group shouting "TEAM CRON" over and over and realized it was her husband and daughter.  They had riled up the crowd around them and everyone was yelling it which was awesome because I'm not sure we would have found them otherwise.  Again, we circled back so that Joyce could give both of them hugs and kisses.  It was another massive boost to her spirits and exactly what we all needed to get us through this final stretch.


The crowds through the last 10K of the marathon are insane.  People are 10 deep and all of them are cheering at the top of their lungs.  Tony and I did our best to get people to yell even louder, pointing at Joyce and lifting our arms up so they knew to raise the volume for this amazing woman.  When we turned onto Boylston, I turned to her and said "Do you hear that, Joyce? That's for YOU! They're cheering for you. We did it. YOU DID IT."  She wasn't smiling as she was laser focused on getting to the finish line.  I, however, was smiling from ear to ear and couldn't stop.

Official time:4:35
Place:5th Visually Impaired Female

We heard the announcer call out Joyce's name as she stepped over the line and then immediately turned to each other and hugged.  We both cried a little, too.  We'd done it.  Again.  And though she didn't PR, she was damn close in some really tough conditions.  Though Joyce was totally wiped, she was in great spirits and she, too, was now smiling ear to ear.  All three of us were floating as we made our way to the family meeting area.  And, of course, despite the fact that it was hot as hell for the entire race, it was now windy and cold.  Only in New England.  We hugged again and then said our goodbyes as we were all freezing and ready to put our feet up.  The next day I got an email from Joyce.  It was long and made me cry (again) but some of it is worth sharing. 

Dear Rebecca,
What a marathon journey!  I am thinking back to the challenges of training.  Would my foot injury cause me grief?  Could I get enough training totally depending on others to run with me?  How much time do I rest a piercing pain after a long run and keep with my training schedule?  And then the flu during tapering!

 Joyce had some serious hurdles to get over in order to make this dream a reality.  But it was never a question of 'if' for her, just 'how'.  How could she stay healthy, get the help she needed and get to Hopkinton?  And damned if she wasn't going to figure out.

I am just so excited to finish Boston and qualify to run it again. Next year's Boston?  To do this, I need to be able to get enough training in and this is very, very difficult as I now depend on a team of runners all the time.  (Thankfully) One of (the main) TWAV goals is awareness so that I and other low vision runners can run, not just races but training runs.  A team is so much fun with having company on runs, sharing run stories and developing a team strategy.  I hope to be back and I would love to run with you.

To which I responded

 Joyce, if you want to run Boston next year, I'm in.  For now, put your feet up and enjoy your hard-earned break.  When you're ready to get going again, I'll be ready, too.  

It's hard for me to put into words how much I love, respect and admiration I have for this woman.  But, after reading this, I'm guessing you get the gist.  Once again, I got so much out of this experience and regardless of whether we run again, I will be forever grateful.  Though, I'm pretty sure we'll see you back on Boylston Street in 2018.  Stay tuned....

Listen to this:
Runnin' Down A Dream by Tom Petty

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


The weekend of the Boston Marathon has always been an epic one for me and this one was no different.  Much like the last few years, I had a lot going on, including about 10 different team meetups and two races, but somehow I managed to squeeze it all in without losing it. Okay, I might have lost it a tad by Sunday, but thankfully for me and those around me it wasn't a complete unraveling.  On Friday morning, I zipped into the city to get a quick run in with Cheyne, a friend of mine who works at Skechers.  It was a beautiful day and I was psyched to get a little time in Boston before the chaos ensued.  I'm not going to lie and tell you I wasn't a little starstruck to see Deena Kastor running with friends as I made my way over to the Sheraton.  She's one of my biggest run-heroes, so that was super cool.  I met Cheyne in the hotel lobby and we took off toward the river.  Runners were out in full force, many of them getting their final miles in in preparation for Monday.  The buzz in the air was electric and my nerves, which had been at bay until this point, started to kick in.  My own level of excitement ramped up significantly with each mile.  Holy crap, I thought, it's marathon weekend.  It's all happening now.  Cheyne and I got about six miles in and then he had to head over to the expo so we said our goodbyes and I made my way back to Winchester.  Later that afternoon, I pulled out my gear for the both the 5K, which I'd be racing on Saturday and the marathon, which I'd be running as a guide for Team With A Vision and with Joyce Cron for the second year in a row.

Around 5:30pm, my friend and fellow RW Loopster, Brad Angle (aka Bangle) rolled in from CA.  He would also be running the marathon so he was staying with us for the weekend.  I had stayed at Brad's house in 2016 for the LA marathon so I was happy to repay the favor.  We caught up over dinner and then turned in pretty early, me because I was racing the next day and, well, because I always do, Brad because he was wiped out from traveling and needed to recharge.  I'm not sure if it was nerves, excitement or both but Saturday morning I was bright eyed and bushy tailed at 5:00am.  I rolled out of bed, made some coffee and sat outside for a bit as it was another gorgeous day.  The BAA5K would be starting at 9:30am, so our plan was to take off at 7:30 sharp.  Why so early, you ask?  Last year I did not leave enough time and forgot my bib which resulted in a disastrous race start so I was not going to be making this mistake again.  Brad opted to come with me as he wanted to watch the race, meet up with friends and hang in Boston and we also picked up Kirsten, my teammate and partner in crime, who would also be running.  We made it into the city easily, parked in a garage and headed over to the Boston Common to stretch and chill for a while.


Around 8:30, Kirsten and I left for our warmup.  By the time we got back, the crowd had quadrupled and the temp felt like it has increased by at least 10 degrees.  The whole scene was kind of nuts.  We shed all of our layers and checked our bags at the gear tent.  Each year there are about 10,000 runners who do this race so we made our way over to the start pretty early in order to find a good spot and do some final stretching.  Kirsten was recovering from walking pneumonia so her plan was just to relax and enjoy the scene.  I, on the other hand, was eager to bust a move and see what I could do and despite the fact that I'm in the middle of training for a May marathon, my coach told me to go for it and see what the marathon legs have in them.  So we said our goodbyes and made our way to our separate pace corrals.  

As you may know from past race reviews, I loathe the 5K simply because I'm not built for speed and thus the pain of sprinting 3.1 miles is borderline unbearable.  But, I do them anyway because they're great workouts for marathon training and it's always good to get outside of my comfort zone once in a while.  This particular course is super fast as it's simply down and back on the streets of Boston with one minor dip under a bridge and then back up.  The downside, however, is that with a crowd this big, it's tough to find a groove during the first mile with all the darting and dodging that has to be done.  Because of that you never really know what to expect but if things go well, a PR is definitely in the cards.  The gun went off and the elites were on their way but the rest of us slowly shuffled to the start as we were packed like sardines on Charles Street and would remain so until we crossed the line and spread out onto Boylston Street.


I immediately carved a spot out for myself on the left side of the road and tried to settle in as best I could.  My goal was to run somewhere between a 6:00-6:15 pace so I worked to get there and tried not to stress about all the people I was bumping into and knocking elbows with.  I crossed the first mile in 6:05, so right on target.  I was nervous as I could already feel the pain in my chest from working so hard but I told myself to chill out, that it was only 2 more miles and that I could suck it up for 2 miles if I ran 20+ on a regular basis.  I continued on, checking my watch once in a while and watching as the elite runners came at us in the other direction.  I laughed a little as I thought about the speed at which they were running.  Totally mind blowing.  Mile two was a 6:03.  I was pumped.  But also really, really hurting and a little panicked because I had another mile to go in this state.  


The above photo (taken by Brad) pretty much sums it all up.  I was on the pain train.  Big time.  The 3rd mile is on the actual marathon course, so that's pretty inspiring and as you head toward the final push the crowds increase tenfold so whatever doubt I was feeling was overshadowed by the fans who were pulling me along at this point.  I turned the corner for the final .1 and saw all of my Oiselle teammates, which was a huge boost.  You can't put a price on that kind of support.  I had stopped looking at my watch for this last stretch so I didn't know where I stood.  Based on how I felt, I figured I'd dropped my pace, but I didn't want to  know.  I just threw down all I had for the final push to the finish.  I kind of fumbled with my watch before I stopped it, but it said 19:08, so I was pleased.  It wasn't a PR, (sub 19:05) but it was pretty damn close and given that I'd logged two 80 mile weeks before this race, I was happy to take it.

I made my way over to the green to meet up with friends from the both the Loop and Oiselle.  Actually, I bee-lined it straight straight to coffee truck that was parked on the green (yes, coffee truck) which was offering up free vanilla iced coffee....what???  Over the next hour or so, tons of friends and teammates rolled in and we all caught up or, in some cases, met for the first time, and traded race and life stories.  This is the part of racing that I truly love the most.  Makes the pain all worthwhile in the end.

Top photo: w/ RW Loopsters Brad and Erin
Bottom photos: Left w/ Nicole and right w/ Pamela, both Oiselle birds

Group Photo #1

Group photo #2
(I told you there were a lot of us)

I am so blessed to have such an amazing run-family, if you will.  People from several groups, of all ages and from all walks of the earth who share my passion for running among other things.  It's undeniably one of the main reasons I continue to compete at this point in my life.  I get excited to connect with these folks whenever it's possible.  I get strength from it in so many ways.  It's just....well, it's hard to put it into words, but hopefully you get a sense of what I mean.  After goodbyes and a cool down, Kirsten and I made our way over to the expo to grab our bibs for the marathon.  She, too, would be running as a guide for Team With A Vision, so we had the same agenda.  After waiting in line for about an hour we finally got our race packets and then cruised through the expo to pick up some goodies and say hi to friends at a few different booths.  We didn't last long as our exhaustion was kicking in big time.  Around 3:00pm we finally headed home for some rest and a shower.  About 17 minutes of rest, actually, as I turned around at 4:00 and headed back into the city to work at the Skechers booth for a couple hours.  Oh well, life's short, I can rest when I'm old.  Quick side note here, in the short time that I was home I got a text from my friend Tim who asked if I was happy that I'd run a 19:02 or sad that I hadn't broken 19 minutes, something I've been trying to do for a while now.  I laughed as I'd had no idea that I'd been that close and while it was a bit of a bummer to have been 2 seconds off....could I have eeked it out if I'd just looked at my watch???... I was thrilled with both the final time and my place, 3rd Master (40+).  The news gave me an unexpected boost of energy, so that was nice, too.  Around 6:00pm I met up with friends, teammates and my sister-in-law, Locky, who was in town from NYC to run the marathon, at B. Good for dinner.  I was running on fumes at this point so after a quick bite, some more stories and laughs and, of course, yet another team photo, I took off with Locky who was staying with me for the night.

B. Good Team Dinner

I haven't hit the pillow that hard in a really long time.  Rack-out city.  I needed a full 8 hours to re-plenish and re-energize in time to do it all over again this next day.  Fortunately, I remembered to get up at 4:30am to make sure and get the Easter baskets taken care of before my kiddos woke up.  That would have been really bad.  My girls get up early so by the time the baskets were found and opened and our neighborhood egg hunt was underway I was off to the city again for a team shakeout run and breakfast meetup. Another big group of us met at the Thinking Cup, got an easy run in together and then grabbed some coffee and hung out for a bit.  It was easily 75 degrees outside by 11:00am, which was a bit daunting for those of us who would be running the next day.  But we just soaked up the sun and each other for the time being and tried not to think about it.

Sunday shakeout and coffee 
w/ Oiselle teammates & friends

If you're wondering why I made an effort to go to every single one of these events it's because being from the Boston area, I'm the one who organized them and I needed/wanted to be the point person at each one.  Not that I minded, I love hanging with this crew and that I get to see a variety of gals from all over the country at these big, local events.  It's a warm, loving, welcoming group so it's always a pleasure to motivate for them.  A couple hours after this meetup I headed back home to prep for a poster-making session.  We had over 150 women running the marathon from Oiselle and wanted to have signs for the cowbell corner that would be happening the next day.  I'm not artistic, so I made a sign with all 152 names on it.  I was pretty proud of that.  

Posters ready
w/ Lesko, Cecil, Feather & Clover

We crafted, ate, talked, ate more and finally finished around 5:00pm.  And that was it from my end.  The next day I'd be running the marathon so I was officially off duty.  I put my feet up, grabbed my book and chilled out for the rest of the afternoon.  I was in bed before 9:00 in preparation for game day.  I tried to calm my nerves and rest my bones but it wasn't easy as the craziness of the past few days was still stirring in me.  I also couldn't believe that I'd be running the marathon with Joyce in a matter of hours.  Holy. Moly.  I willed the sleep to come and eventually, finally, thankfully.... I was out.  

To be continued....

Listen to this:
Alright Now by Cash + David

Friday, April 14, 2017


"Boston is the cream of the crop of the marathon world. It has such history that you feel such honor just being a part of it."
~ Summer Sanders

One weekend, two races and a whole lot of awesomeness.  See you on Boylston Street.....twice.


Listen to this:
Brave by Freedom Fry

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Despite the fact that I'm 42 years old and that I've been running since I was about 10, I am always ready and willing to learn more and thus always on the hunt for new and/or updated running-related info.  So, when the folks from Pose Method reached out and suggested a post about common running form errors and ways to correct them I was all ears.  Fortunately for me, their timing was perfect as it fell right in line with the start of our high school spring track season.  In coaching, I'm constantly reminding my athletes to watch and, if necessary, to alter their form in hopes of helping them become more efficient and ultimately faster on the track.  I'm sure this info will help me with my own form, I know it will help my runners with theirs and I'm guessing it might help you, too.  Big thanks to Ben Reid, Dr. Romanov and the folks at Pose Method for keeping all of us informed.  Read on.


Running is an activity enjoyed by millions across the globe. But did you know that nearly 85% of recreational runners are injured every single year?! Can you think of any other sport or activity where that level of injury occurrence would be acceptable? Running injuries are a systemic problem that many acknowledge but few can seem to conquer.

In my work, I have found three common mistakes, which I call deviations, that runners often commit that lead to injuries. But first we need to clear a few philosophical hurdles so you understand my basis for categorizing something as an error or deviation.

For starters, we all have to agree on the leading fact at hand; runners suffer pain and injuries at a high rate. That is a conclusion I’ve found in the research and I welcome you to find the same conclusion yourself. Now, if a runner gets injured, we can likely assume that they must be committing some kind of error. Our bodies are designed to perform the task of movement, and it is completely reasonable to expect that we can move without suffering an injury. Finally, if you recognize that there must be the existence of an error or something being done wrong, then that means there must be a way of doing that is right.

To summarize: Injuries occur because of an error, which is a deviation from the correct execution. If there is a correct way to run, it will be based on identifying things that ALL RUNNERS do that is the same. This is where the Pose Method comes into play. First, take a minute to watch this quick video.

Now that you have a brief overview of our standard model for running, you can easily identify errors, which I call deviations from the standard. In other words, when you watch a runner, anything extra outside of Pose-Fall-Pull are unnecessary additions to your gait that will likely result in pain or injury. Here are the three most common errors along with a drill you can use to address the issue.


Error: Overstriding is the most common error committed by runners. It is when a runner is exhibiting an excessive range of motion with their lower body. I like to call this Running with the Legs. You can identify it by the leg reaching far out in front and lagging far behind the body on every step. Many times, this error generates from poor coaching cues that paint the wrong picture. Have you ever heard a coach say “open up your stride”? The truth is, your leg movement is a consequence of the speed you are running, not the other way around, so you do not need to put any extra effort into it.

Correction: To address this error, you want to work on improving your pulling action. Running with resistance bands are a framing exercise that will help you pull your foot up under the hip. To do this drill, strap resistance bands around each ankle and have a partner stand behind you with the bands pulled tightly. Begin to run in place for about 10 seconds. Then, fall-forward and run for about 10 seconds, then stop, unstrap the bands, and continue running for 10-15 seconds.


Error: As it is titled, many runners bend forward at the waist when running. This can happen for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, this can be a fatigue issue. When you are on the trail, and you begin to wear down, your gait pattern will deteriorate. Bending at the waist will be one of the first places your body breaks down. Additionally, bending forward happens as a counterbalance to the legs reaching out in front.

Correction: Once you can identify this error in your own running, you will no doubt be able to recognize it happening during a run. Without stopping, simply reach behind your body and clasp your hands, straightening your arms. Run with your hands clasped for about 10-12 steps, then release your hands and continue running, while focusing on keeping your upright body position.

3 – Landing Ahead of the Body

Error: First off, let me be clear, all three of these errors are related and one can easily contribute to another. You will rarely see an error in complete isolation. Landing ahead of the body is when, from the side perspective, your foot strike happens beyond your general center of mass. It does not matter if you are on the heel or any other part of the foot; if you are ahead of the body, then you are committing an error. Primarily, your legs will be out in front because you are late pulling your trail foot up off the ground.

Correction: The main focus for addressing this error is to change your perception during that moment of changing support from one foot to the next. Instead of seeking the ground with your airborne foot, you want to pay attention to when the support foot is no longer engaged with your body weight so you can pull it. To begin, stand with on foot pulled up under your hip. This position is called the Running Pose. Begin to fall-forward, holding this body position as long as possible, then pull up your foot on the ground, allowing the airborne foot to fall and land into the next Running Pose. Focus on pulling your foot up, your airborne foot will fall without any help or guidance from you. The runner’s responsibility is pulling the foot up, the other foot landing happens as a byproduct. Do this for several reps and then slowly transition into a run. 

If you want more help with improving your running form, including more unique drills and exercises, sign-up for the Beginner’s Guide to Pose Running program here.

Listen to this:
This Song by RAC feat. Rostam

NOTE: The information provided in this article is from the research and practice of Dr. Nicholas Romanov, PhD. More information about Dr. Romanov and the Pose Method can be found at

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Find your tribe.  Love them hard.  
~ unknown 

It's 9:00am on April 1st.  And it's snowing.  The kids make their way quietly, slowly into the field house.  They're in high school, so they're tired.  Always tired.  Today, a lot of them woke up, looked out the window and thought (hoped) they'd be able to sleep in.  Not a chance.  As far as the coaches are concerned, it's just another day and we need to train.  End of story.  The warm up begins and both teams, boys and girls, (about 150 athletes all together) start to show signs of life.  A little chatting here, a little laughter there as reality begins to set in.  Okay.  We're here.  This is what we signed up for.  We're doing this.  In the 20 minutes or so that we've been warming up, the weather has gotten worse.  The snow is coming down harder and the wind has picked up.  I confer with my fellow coaches as to whether it's safe enough to take my distance crew out for a run.  Weather aside, the streets are bad and the visibility is worse.  We decide it's okay if we stick together and run in the quieter neighborhoods.  If it's too much, we'll bail all together.  The warm up is done and the girls scatter to their various training groups.  Our distance squad huddles together.  Here's the deal I say.  It's clearly nasty out.  But there is not enough room in this field house for all of us to run.  So, you have two choices.  You can come out with me and give it a go.  Or you can head to the training room and hop on a machine.  It's totally up to you and I'm not the least bit upset if you opt to stay in.  The girls nod and start walking toward the door.  I say nothing as I start to shed some layers and prepare to go out.  The girls say nothing as they decide what to do.  It takes about 30 seconds.  Then they all grab jackets, hats, gloves, anything else worth throwing on and get ready to go out with me.  ALL of them.  Girls I ask you sure about this?  Yes, they all nod.  We're good.  Let's roll.

Runners are a unique breed.  Young, old, fast, slow, none of it matters.  When push comes to shove, we're all part of this one big, crazy family.  The desire...the run; it always makes sense to us.  I am the coach in this particular scenario.  But, even still, these are my people, my tribe.  We build each other up.  And we are stronger together.  The road is ours and we're more than happy to take it.  No matter what.

Listen to this:
Run For the Money by Salt Cathedral

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


"I cannot explain it; but when difficulties arise, I am not perplexed or doubtful.  I know how to meet them."
~ Anne Sullivan Macy

Last year I ran the Boston Marathon as a member of Team With A Vision.  I had the good fortune of guiding for Joyce Cron a mom, runner and all around amazing woman.  We successfully crossed the line in four hours and thirty minutes which, given the complexity of racing without sight along the with the challenge of running a marathon in general, is pretty mind-blowing.  Once the dust settled, I told Joyce that I would be honored to run for her the following year if she was going to go for it again.  At the time she laughed and said she just wanted to get home, get a cold drink and do some gardening.  But, I got the sense that she was thinking about it, even if she wasn't ready to say it out loud.  We kept in touch throughout the summer and fall, always asking about each other's families, upcoming vacations and other life stuff but without really bringing up the marathon.  I was operating under the assumption that she was going to run Boston again based simply on a hunch, but I wasn't saying anything as the ball was obviously in her court for this one.  And then, finally, in January she was ready to talk about it.

Jan 26th
Hi Rebecca,
How is your running season going?  I thought I would touch base.  Training has been a different challenge for me this year.  First, that darn plantar fasciitis.  I tried resting it, cortisone injections and PT.  It's still there.  Secondly, I am having troubles running on my own - seeing road versus grass or curb.  It was already in January and I hadn't gotten any runs in.

In distress, my friend contacted other running friends who suggested that I put together a calendar of runs.  They check the calendar and guide when they were available.  I was so touched.  So far, this has been going very well.

Joyce has been struggling with plantar fasciitis (PF) as long as I've known her.  Clearly, she doesn't let it stop her and does whatever she can to work around it so she can continue to train.  But, the second issue, her vision deteriorating, was a bigger one.  Joyce was able to run a one mile loop around her house on her own for her 2016 training.  So, while she did run with guides for a lot of her mileage, she wasn't totally dependent on them.  Counting on friends and teammates for every single run was definitely going to throw a wrench in her training plan and I knew it would be a big obstacle for her to get around.  I wrote her back and let her know first, that I was sorry it had gotten so difficult to manage her running.  Second, I told her as far a guiding went, I was 100% in, so she didn't have to worry about that piece of the puzzle and that if it didn't work out, that was okay, too.  And finally, I let her know that I'd do what I could to help from my end to help her out, just to say the word.  She thanked me and let me know she'd be in touch.  About a month and half later I sent her a note asking her how things were going.

March 6th
Hey Rebecca,
It's was all going so well and this weekend's 17 miler fell apart.  At 15 miles, my heel started piercing me.  I tried changing my gait but ended up stopping.  I stretched a bit then managed to run the last two miles at an easy pace. 

So what happened?  Maybe it was because it was a lot of miles.  Maybe it was because the route I ran was down and up non-stop, the entire 17 miles.  Or maybe it was because I ran 4 consecutive days including 9 miles the day before.  One runner noted it started hurting right on the downhill.  On a positive note, the energy and pace went well.

What I love about Joyce is how insanely upbeat she is.  Despite an incredibly painful and frustrating situation, she was still able to find and focus on the positive side of it.  I know this is a huge reason she is able to keep at it day in and day out; because she's able to see the good in every situation.  Okay, so at this point I knew her vision would not be the issue that would keep her from toeing the line in Boston this year.  But, this PF issue sounded bad.  And, having dealt with it many times on my end, I know that it can get to the point where you simply can't run through it anymore.  Not that I said this in my reply.  I just gave her all the tips I'd used for myself when I was getting through it and told her to keep me posted.  A couple weeks later she reached out and asked me if I would join her for a run.  She needed to get 14 miles in and had a friend guiding her for 7 of them so wanted to know if I could takeover for the second half.  I was more than happy to help out and we made plans to meet up on Monday morning.  I hadn't seen Joyce since the fall of the previous year so I was looking forward to spending some time with her in person.  Our run was fantastic.  We chatted the entire time, fully catching each other up on our lives, both running and non-running, enjoying the cool but sunny weather.  We also talked about her PF issue a bit.  It was still bothering her, but hadn't been as bad since her last long run, and she was doing everything on her end (icing, stretching, compression) to keep it at bay.  We said our goodbyes and as I pulled away from her house I knew there was no longer anything that would keep Joyce from running Boston.  This made me smile.  When I got home, I had an email from her in my inbox.

March 20th
Hi Guys,
Today was an excellent run.  7 miles at 9:46 pace and 7.5 miles at a 9:50 pace.  I was exhausted at the end however very happy.  Thanks all for your time and effort!  ~ Joyce

And this...well, this made me smile for the rest of the day.  I was so pumped that everything was unfolding in Joyce's favor.  All her own doing, of course.  Nothing stops this woman.  Literally.  I knew she was tackling her last long run the following week so I checked in after that to see how it went.

March 27
Awesome - good energy, no injuries, just a great, great run.  Now taper time and keep as is.  It's going to be a great marathon and my plan is to PR that course!  And you?

My run was stellar, I plan to PR, and how are you doing?  This is Joyce in a nutshell.  Upbeat, driven and totally selfless.  I am so lucky to know this woman let alone to get to run with her.  We'll see you in Boston in less than 3 weeks.  Stay tuned.

Listen to this:

Crowd Goes Wild by Bien