Monday, November 30, 2015


As I mentioned in my last post, our family had grand plans to run a turkey trot together down on Cape Cod this past Thanksgiving.  The race started at 8:00am and as of 7:20 my girls were still sound asleep.  My husband and I debated waking them up but opted out and drank coffee instead.  Mmmmm.  Coffee.  They finally rolled downstairs in their pajamas around 7:40 and we still could have pulled it off, but Rosie, who never admits to being tired and is always up for anything, looked at us and told us she just didn't have it in her.  So, we bailed.  And we gave thanks for the ability to be lazy and hang out together, which was lovely.  I considered being lazy all week-end from a running standpoint, but I didn't have that in me either.  Shocker.  Thus, on Friday morning, I got up in the dark (5:30am) and beelined it back to Winchester so I could grab my stuff and bust a move over to the LHS Alumni Race which was being held in Lexington on our home XC course.  I did have extra incentive to get over there beyond the race itself.  The event is a fundraiser for our team, so we can go to big meets like Nike Cross Regionals (NXN), which the boys were headed to after the race.  It also brings back runners who have graduated from LHS, both to run and to spectate.  I've been coaching for 5 years now, so I am always excited to catch up with the kids that used to be on the team.  And, finally, the race was being timed by 2L Race Services, which happens to be the company that my own coach, Lowell Ladd, owns and operates; coaching being a side gig for him along with parenting, cooking, cleaning and many other things.  I've been training with Lowell for over 2 years now and I've never met him in person, so I was psyched to finally put a face to the name.  When I arrived, Lowell and his brother Aaron, a friend and fellow LHS coach, were setting up for the race.  I introduced myself and gave Lowell a hug, which was a risky move as not everyone is up for that.  But, he's done so much for me since we started working together that I felt like it kind of had to be done.

Pre-race w/ Coach Ladd

Thankfully, he was totally fine with it.  Of course, I had to get the obligatory photo, too.  After we chatted a bit, I stashed my stuff and headed off for a few miles before the race was set to begin.  I needed to cobble together a 10 miler, so I was planning to get 5 in beforehand, run the 5K, and then cool down with an easy 2 afterwards.  When I got back, I checked in with Lowell about my race strategy, a luxury I don't usually have because he lives in PA and we have to work via phone and email.  That was a bonus.  I'd just done an interval workout (800 repeats) on Tuesday and I was still pretty beat up from that.  In addition, my energy level was low in general due to a long Thanksgiving day and my early wake up.  (I know...excuses, excuses).  Lowell told me to push the flats and to stay anaerobic on the hills.  Oh, yes....the hills.  Our course has 2 of them (Baskin & Loring) and they are nasty.  And we do Baskin twice.  So, based on Lowell's suggestion, I'd be taking it "relatively" easy for a good portion of the course, which I was totally fine with.


For the record, the above image doesn't do it justice.  It's brutal.  And, after running it, I now have even more respect for all the athletes that have to tackle this course at any point in their lives.  I did have a lot of fun, though, seeing several people (runners, friends, parents & coaches) along the course who cheered for me, which is always nice.  I rolled across the finish line in a respectable 21:12 (6:50 avg), a time that I was more than pleased with given the degree of difficulty and my overall energy level.

Aaron, who had worked the race so that Lowell could run, was sitting at the finish and when I crossed the line I gave him a quick "How YOU Doin?" hand gesture because, well, why not?  Then I headed back out for my final 2 miles of the morning.  No cheating on the workout when your coach is there, right?  I would never.  When I got back, I learned that I'd won a gift certificate Greater Boston Running Co., the local running store, for being the first woman, which I was more than thrilled about.  I also got to spend a little more time with everyone who had come to spectate....Sevana, Katherine, Maya B-T, Alex, Sophie, Lucy, many great ladies to catch up with.  And then, finally, it was time for me to head back home.  I said goodbye to the LHS crew and to Lowell and Aaron, wished Coach Babcock and the boys who were running NXN good luck, and headed to town for a coffee before going back home.  People ask me all the time why I race.  I tend to give standard answers like...because I like to challenge myself or because it gives me a runner's high.  But, in the end, the best part of racing, regardless of how I approach it, is the love and camaraderie that goes along with it.  Because in the running world, it doesn't matter what kind of athlete you are...young, old, fast, or slow; we are all one big happy family and everyone is welcome.  #RUNLOVE

Listen to this:
Air Traffic Controller - People Watching

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


“Thankfulness is the quickest path to joy.” 
~ Jefferson Bethke

So, despite being seeded 9th as they headed off to the MIAA All-State finals this past Saturday, the LHS XC ladies ended up finishing an impressive 4th.  That's right baby, fourth place in the state of MA in their division.  I was and continue to be stupidly ecstatic.  They ran together, they ran for each other and they ran their hearts out.  It was such a perfect ending to an incredible season.  And while I would have been proud of them no matter what, to see all their hard work come to fruition was truly the icing on the cake.  They are an amazing crew, I'm so thankful for my time with them and I will miss them terribly.

While I'm sad that our XC season is over, I'm incredibly fortunate to have several other things on the calendar to look forward to.  Never a dull moment.  Thank goodness.  Here's what's coming up.

1. Thanksgiving - 11/26  I love this holiday.  We typically spend it with my side of the family.  And while, I'm a little bummed that I won't be with them this year (we all just met in Florida for a family wedding and couldn't swing both), I'm really looking forward to switching it up and hanging with Jeff's side of the family on Cape Cod.  Should be a nice, quiet, relaxing couple of days with lots of laughs, a few naps, and a boat load of good food.

2. Chatham Turkey Trot - 11/26 - This one is new for us since we aren't usually on the Cape for turkey day.  My girls have just gotten into running and Rosie, in particular, is always up for a 5K. Our whole family is planning to run this one together which is always a blast.  The cool thing about this race is that they don't keep track of times or places.  It's just a fun event where you can get out and spend time with friends and family.  So cool.  Added bonus?  Calorie deficit in preparation for the big meal.

3. Rosie's Birthday - 11/29 - Little Rosie is turning 11.  Wait...what??  We'll be celebrating with friends and family both on the Cape and in NH.  And while my heart breaks a little every year that she gets older, I am so proud of the girl she has become.  Sniff, sniff.

4. Cambridge Winter Classic 5K - 12/6  Really fired up for this one.  I'm meeting up with a bunch of my Oiselle teammates to race together and then to grab brunch and catch up.  These ladies are coming from all over MA/RI/NH/VT area and I haven't seen many of them in a long time, so I'm almost giddy.  The race itself is awesome, too.  Great crowd, great swag, great costumes...more like a party than a race.  Highly recommend it if you are in the area.

All of these events are focused around family, friends, food, and fun.  I love that.  And I am so insanely thankful.  For all that has happened and all that lies ahead.

Listen to this:
We Can Glow - Royal Teeth or listen w/

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


This coming Saturday, my Lexington High School XC ladies will be competing at the MIAA All-State Finals out at Stanley Park in Westfield, MA.  It is a meet that they had to qualify for, which they did last Saturday at the EMASS Divisional Meet by taking 2nd place in their division (top 4 teams moved on).  It's both the culmination and the pinnacle of their season.  These girls have worked unbelievably hard to get to this point and, regardless of how this meet plays out, I'm so insanely proud of them.  Though it goes by fast, the XC season is actually pretty long.  We start training in late August and we're ending now, in mid-November.  It can be tough for the girls to stay fit, motivated and healthy for 3+ months.  But, somehow, they always manage to pull through.  A lot of that has to do with the strength of their team.  They love each other, support each other, train with each other, cheer for each other, lean on each other, laugh with each other, cry with each other, and at the end of the day, there is no way they would get to this stage of the season each year without each other.  It's a loud, crazy, driven bunch of awesome girls and I wouldn't want it any other way.  To give you a sense of what it's all about, here's a look at how it all breaks down in numbers.


1 season
13 weeks
56 runners

2 coaches
68 practices

7 League meets
7-0 League meet record

Ocean State Invitational

3 Invitationals (Clipper, Ocean State, Bay State)
1 EMASS Divisional Meet
1 MIAA All-State Meet

110 pairs of sneakers (minimum)
500 sports bras (give or take)
50ish pairs of compressions socks/sleeves

thousands of gallons of water and gatorade
hundreds of pre-meet bagels
an insane amounts of bananas

3 banana costumes
4 pies (nice work, Lucy)
0 jars of homemade jam (still waiting, Lucy)

 lots of pep talks
3 fundraisers

1 ALS ice bucket challenge
1 car wash

30ish bus rides
13 team dinners

w/ Hayley, Paige, Emelyn & Ashley

4 awesome captains
thousands of high-fives
millions of push-ups (ok, maybe not, but it felt like it)
countless hard workouts

40-50 shakeout runs
a shit ton of strides
a whole lot of foam rolling

10 long runs
thousands of spikes
too many Baskins

1 scavenger hunt
1 banquet
a little blood
buckets of sweat
a few tears
a boatload of laughter

and a whole lotta #RUNLOVE

Listen to this:
Light Me Up - Bronze Radio Return or listen w/    

Friday, November 13, 2015


Recently, I was asked to give the Milestone Pod a try.  I'd never heard of this product and I do love a good running gadget so, naturally, I was intrigued.  That said, I already track my mileage in a training log and thus initially didn't think I would get much use out of it.  Not so.  In my training, I rotate about 3-4 different pairs of shoes depending on the workout.  As a result, I find it tricky to keep track of how many miles I specifically put on each individual pair of shoes.  Knowing that we are supposed to replace our shoes every 300-500 miles (depending on terrain, intensity, and body type), I realized that the Milestone Pod was the perfect solution.  In a nutshell, you simply download the MilestoneApp on your phone, synch it up to the pod, lace the pod up to your shoe and hit the road.  Here's how they break it down on their site in case you need or want a bit more info:

The pod automatically tracks every mile without having to push a button or worrying about leaving home without it.  No need to be a tech savvy to use this product!  Download our free MilestoneApp for detailed activity data including footstrike (heel, mid, toe), rate of impact, leg angle, distance, pace, duration, cadence, stride length, stance times, calories, and overall shoe mileage.  With the MilestonePod, you will know the moment you need new shoes.

Pretty cool, right?  Clearly, it's good to use the pod with a new pair of kicks as you'll get the most out of both the pod and the shoes by starting fresh.  Since I did not have a new pair when the pod arrived, I passed it on to the next most trusted tester I could think of, one of my high school XC athletes named Cecelia.  Along with her teammates, Cecelia logs tons of miles of all kinds (long runs, warm ups, track work) throughout the season.  Fortunately, she had a brand new pair of shoes and she was fired up to give it a go.  After lacing up and synching up, she was off.  Here's her review.

MILESTONE POD: Mileage and shoe tracking.  Smart and simple.


The Device Details:
The Milestone Pod has a large variety of uses. It automatically keeps track of all the mileage a shoe has run or walked.  The pod acts as almost a permanent fixture on the shoe, and only has to be replaced once your shoes do.  The Milestone Pod also turns your run into a series of numbers, including footstrike, cadence, stance time, rate of impact, stride length, and leg swing, and generates a total “runficiency” score based on all of these metrics.  Runs can be synced to an app available for apple as well as android products, which only takes a few seconds. The pod is also rain, and more importantly, puddle proof.

As someone who is constantly looking at my watch, it can be hard to relax and just run based on how I feel.   Milestone pod gave me the tradeoff of being able to run without a watch, while at the same time being able to record how far I ran. It also gave me a better idea on how I ran, and things that I could improve on. The app is very straightforward and easy to use.

Something to note:
For walkers this wouldn’t be an issue, but as I was primarily using this for running, one issue I had with this was it didn’t differentiate when I walked from when I ran.  It also didn’t save my warm up, run and cool down as separate runs, but one long run. For this reason, it was not accurate in timing races and keeping track of my pace for workouts.  You need to wear a watch in order to keep track of timing and pace.

The Milestone Pod is super cool, user friendly device.  If you want to track the mileage on a specific pair of shoes, it's perfect.  You won't be able to track the different types of mileage you do (walks, warm ups, track work, etc.) in a single pod.  But, if you're simply looking to know your mileage on a day to day basis, regardless of what you're doing (running, jumping, cutting a rug, whatever), than this is gadget is for you.  And, the best part, in my opinion, is knowing when it's time to buy a new pair of shoes.  Because we can never have enough, right?

Want to give one of these puppies a try?  The good folks over at Milestone Sports have offered to send one out in the color of your choice.  Details on how to enter are below.  Winner will be picked via on Tuesday, 11/17.  Many thanks to Milestone Sports for both reaching out and for providing the cool gadget.  Happy tracking!

1. Comment below.  What's the longest you've gone without replacing your shoes?  Or just say "I want the Pod".  Your call.
2. Comment on Twitter with I want to track my miles with @MilestonePod and @runningwmusic.
3. Send me an email with "Give me the Pod" as the subject.

Listen to this:
Off the Ground - Bit Funk (ft. Shae Jacobs)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


 (pronounced wa-zell) alludes to the feeling of weightlessness that most runners know and love.  
That sense of flight - when your legs go fast and your heart goes free.”
~ Sally Bergesen

Back in the summer of 2012, I was grabbing a coffee at Starbucks after having just gone for a long run.  As I waited, a woman looked over and noticed either my sporty get up or the sweat dripping down my face (more likely this) and asked me how my run went.  We got into a conversation about running and all things running related and eventually landed on apparel.  We both agreed that there was a major shortage of companies that made quality running clothes for women that both fit well and looked good.  She then asked me if I'd heard of a brand called Oiselle.  Someone had recently turned her on to them, she told me, and they made the best running shorts she'd ever worn.  And she'd tried them all.  So, naturally, I went home, got online and ordered the shorts.  They were called the Distance shorts, they came in 2 colors (orange and black) and they had 3, yes THREE pockets, which was huge as I used to have to stuff several different items into my bra straps and socks when I ran (ie. GU, key, money, & ipod).  After one run, I was hooked.  They fit perfectly, they didn't ride up in front (a common issue for me that I despise), they looked badass and they felt amazing.  I started wearing them as often as I could wash them and daily laundry was becoming a bit of a drag.  So, as you can guess, I went back online and ordered a second pair.  And that's all she wrote.  I instantly became and still remain a die hard fan.  And I am not alone.  Sally Bergesen, creator and CEO of Oiselle, saw a void and filled it by creating her own line of both feminine AND fierce women's running apparel.  She designs with all women in mind; from the elite athlete to the recreational runner and for women of all shapes, sizes and ages.  I've had the pleasure of hanging with this amazing woman and the love and pride that she has for her work is almost palpable.  Her energy is so positive...electric, really....and when you're with her, it's contagious.  And, the best part?  She's just getting started.  I could go on for hours but none of us have that kind of time.  Instead, I'll pass it off to her.  Let's meet Sally, a runner who rocks.


Name: Sally Bergesen, aka Chief Bird
Where you're from: A crazy town called Berkeley, CA
Where you reside now: A slightly less crazy town called Seattle, WA
Age (if you're ok sharing): 47 and loving it
Occupation: CEO of Oiselle, Designer of Apparel, Questioner of Authority, Run BFF to Dr. Lesko, Mother of two girls (16 and 13), wife to rad HS English Teacher and soccer coach, proud sponsor and friend of world class pro athletes.
personal blog:

 Sally(in pink) hanging w/ some of her RUNFAMILY

What do you love most about running?
Connection - to myself and to others.
What do you love most about music?

Band (current, all time or both): I don't have a favorite. Too much good music in the world!
**funny sidebar - the first time she read my questions, Sally thought it was favorite BRAND.  Might as well share her answer to this one, too.
Brand: Patagonia for apparel/gear. Apple for technology. Numerous very niche, very expensive lingerie brands.
Album (current, all time or both): Hard to choose.  All Prince, the White Album (Beatles), Songs in the Key of Life (Stevie Wonder)
Race venue: No place like NYC
Music venue: The Greek Theater, Berkeley, CA
Race distance: Half Marathon
Show you've seen live: Just saw Alt-J. Best mood music ever... for creativity or making out.
Ice cream flavor: Haagen Daz Chocolate/Peanut Butter

Sweet or salty? Salty
Live or recorded? Recorded live
Coffee or tea? What's tea?
Summer or winter? Summer forever

w/ Sarah Lesko & Lauren Fleshman
Which band or artist would you go see tonight if you could?
Which band or artist (wait...but no longer alive or playing together) would you go see tonight if you could?
The English Beat
Which band or artist would you like to have dinner with tonight if you could? The Talking Heads
Which band or artist would you like to be playing alongside you during your next race (or long run)? Prince or Alabama Shakes

LAST ONE: (complete the sentence)
Today, I feel like…. an explorer headed back to the mother country. Been on the road for a week, and happy to be going home.

Top 5 Songs for running, dancing or both?
I don't listen to music when I run as I enjoy being away from technology and just hearing my thoughts, breathing. For dancing, 80's hits. Or good R&B. My teenage girls have a steady stream of music going, from JayZ to James Taylor.

Last 5 Songs you listened to today?
No music today sadly! NYC's honking horns...

Friday, November 6, 2015


"There's nothing better than live music. It's raw energy, and raw energy feeds the soul."
~ Dhani Jones

This past Wednesday night, four of us headed into Boston for a much needed dose of live music at the Royale, easily one of my favorite venues in the area.  I was particularly excited about this show for a couple reasons. First, one of the four bands that would be playing was Pink Feathers, lead by my friend and fellow Oiselle teammate, Liz Anjos.  And second, it's live music.  Enough said.  My good friend Laura, scooped me up around 6:00pm and we made our way across town to grab Wendy and Mary Ellen, who I can always count on to be my music wingladies.  You may remember Laura, who joined me for the Cayucas show over the summer.  In case you didn't read that one, Laura and her family moved back to MA from CA in July and while she's settling in nicely, it's clear from our ride on Wednesday evening that she still doesn't know her way around the city very well.  Not that I don't appreciate her driving.  I do.  We just may have run a red light or two and missed a few turns.  Regardless, we somehow managed to find our way to downtown Boston and pulled into the first available parking garage to get off the streets.  Little did we know that the parking garage would be an adventure in and of itself.  No need to go into detail here, it just took us a long, long time to both find a spot and then to fit into it.  Kudos to Laura who held it together from start to finish.  About 2 hours after leaving Winchester, we were finally on foot in the city.  We grabbed a quick bite at Abby Lane, a funky, chic joint conveniently located a couple doors down from the Royale.  The restaurant had a casual atmosphere, good food, and was affordable which was exactly what we were looking for.  Before we knew it, it was 8:00pm so we quickly paid and then hurried over to the theatre which is strangely hard to find as it's kind of set back off the street; almost like a speakeasy.  Weird but cool.  After showing our tickets and IDs, we zipped upstairs and planted ourselves up front to hear Pink Feathers, who had already taken the stage.

Liz Anjos of Pink Feathers

Pink Feathers has a retro pop, 50s era thing going and Liz plays the part perfectly.  Her voice is sugary sweet and she uses it like another instrument that adds color and depth to each song.  Her pitch is high and her range insanely big.  It all comes together beautifully with her band and she looks ridiculously chic as she works her magic.  We got to hear a few of her own songs off her new EP, Invisible Lines, as well as a cover of Lesley Gore's 'You Don't Own Me' which she told us was for "ALL THE WOMEN".  Those of you who run for Oiselle and are familiar with owner, Sally Bergesen, will appreciate this.  When Liz's set was done I went to find her so I could tell her how cool she was and how fabulous she'd sounded.

hanging with Liz

We chatted for a while about band-related things like how long they were going to be in town, (they were leaving that night) where they were headed next, (NYC) and her specific style, (50s with an 80s edge).  We also chatted about running.  We're both doing the Los Angeles Marathon in February and we have similar agendas for the week-end which will include watching the Olympic marathon trials on Saturday, catching up with our Oiselle teammates who are racing and cheering, hanging with the crew of Runner's World Loopsters who will be also be out there, and then racing on Sunday.  After a while I realized I was having to shout so Liz could hear me over Filous, the second act of the night who'd already taken the stage and jumped right into his set.  So, Liz and took a quick photo and promised to catch up on LA at a later time.


Filous is an 18 year old Austrian music producer.  Prior to this show, I'd never heard of him, but as it turns out, I have his version of How Hard I Try (feat. James Hersey) on my running playlist.  Who knew?  With his own instruments and a computer, he presented us with a variety of "pop-leaning, guitar-laden remixes" (note: I borrowed this description to ensure that I got the lingo right) and had all four of us totally mesmerized.  When he finished we kind of stood there, speechless for a few minutes, digesting what we'd just heard.  I can't wait to hear more from this guy who's talent is both deep and endless.

Mary Ellen, Laura, Wendy and your's truly

We had a pretty big break until the next show, so we hung out, grabbed some water and took a group photo.  Next on the lineup would be Big Data, an electronic music project lead by producer Alan Wilkis who hails from Brooklyn.  I'd heard of this group and listened to a few of their popular songs including the well-known cut, 'Dangerous', but I really had no idea what they were all about.  The drummer and two guitarists got set up first and then the room went dark.  We then got a very loud, vocal intro on the screens behind the stage by Wilkis who seemed to be manually booting up his set.  After that, he came out on stage wit singer Lizy Ryan and the two of them got right down to business, taking both the volume and the energy in the room to a whole new level.

Alan Wilkis

Big Data has an 80s alternative electro/pop/dance sound with a sharp edge to it (think Robert Palmer or Talking Heads).  Wilkis and Ryan had these synchronized dance moves going, and they were hitting each one perfectly together.  It was incredible.  After a few of their own songs, they did an incendiary version of Hall & Oates' 'Private Eyes'.  For the record, Hall & Oates was my first concert.  So, I got a huge kick out of this one.  Wilkis was sporting a suit and dark glasses and had this badass/corporate look going and Ryan was this tall, beautiful, long-haired siren who I couldn't really stop gawking at.  And her voice, oh my Lordy, her voice.  It was so insanely loud and piercing and gorgeous all at the same time.  If this doesn't make sense, I'm sorry, it's really hard to put this one into words.  The two of them together were on fire and the set completely blew my mind.  You need to go see this band.

Lizy Ryan doing her thing.

I'm embarrassed to tell you that the four of us could not hold out to see RAC, the final artist that would be playing that night.  By the time Big Data was done it was 10:30 and all of us were beyond wiped, which was a major bummer.  RAC (Remix Artist Collective) is a solo indie electronic project lead by Liz's husband, André Allen Anjos, and I had really wanted to see him live.  I have a ton of RAC's music on my running playlist and based on what I've read, his live act does not disappoint.  Hopefully, he will come back to Boston and maybe (Liz, can you please pass this on) go on a little earlier for us 40+ moms who have to get up at the crack of dawn the next day.  All in all, it was an incredible night out.  I am always moved beyond words when I get to see the artists I love in person.  If you can swing it, get out and see live music.  There is truly nothing like it.

Leaving incognito in our Big Data masks. 

Listen to these:
Ghosts - Pink Feathers

How Hard I Try - Filous

Dangerous - Big Data

Monday, November 2, 2015


Back in the summer, my good bud and Oiselle teammate, Jess C., was looking to put a late fall marathon on her calendar.  I was already scheduled to run the Mohawk Hudson on 10/11, but I told her if she found one that was local, I'd be more than willing to jump in as her wingman and join her for the half while she ran the full.  She dug around and landed on the Black Goose Marathon organized by Ocean State Multisport and taking place down in Seekonk, MA on 11/1.  Done and done.  Because I get stupidly excited about racing, I went ahead and signed up for the half.  Jess was much smarter than me and decided to give it a few more weeks to make sure her IT band, which had been nagging her all summer, was healing quickly enough to start her training.  No dice.  By September, Jess knew she was out.  The good news is that she's now training and racing again, which is awesome.  Since I'd already signed up, and I'm not one to bail on a race or throw away the registration fees, I decided I would go ahead and run it anyway.  But first, I had to get through my marathon and that was my focus for the time being.  In the meantime, my husband, who does not consider himself a "runner" was kind of getting into running.  Jeff, who usually provides the answer "only when chased" when people ask him if he runs, does actually get out for about 3 miles, 2-3 times a week when the weather is decent.  Yet, one day in early October, he found himself tacking on an extra loop instead of turning left to head home and running 6 miles instead of his usual 3.  When he was done and he walked in the door, he was clearly tired but he was smiling.  If you're a runner of any kind, you know 'that' feeling.  Not surprisingly, he started getting out for these longish runs on a regular basis.  Then, after finishing a run one night he asked me whether I thought he could run a half marathon.  "Maybe I could join you for the half that you're running in November"  he said.  I tried to curb my enthusiasm and just play it cool, telling him he could definitely pull it off if he got a few longer runs in over the weeks leading up to the race.  Mind you, inside I was jumping for joy.  I couldn't believe Jeff wanted to step up his game and potentially run a half.  And I was beyond thrilled that he wanted to do it with me.  Knowing that we runners tend to be a bit overbearing when we start talking about racing, I did my best to hold back and stay chill which is way more Jeff's style.  The next day he went out, bought himself some new kicks and a few new pairs of socks, and within no time, he was running 10-11 mile runs like he'd been doing it his whole life.  What??  So, he signed up for the race.  Fast forward to November 1st.  Race day.  We'd planned to get up at 5:30am and head out by 6:00.  Instead, we both woke up around 4:45, which was really 5:45 because of daylight savings.  One bonus of racing when you turn the clocks back, there's no chance in hell you're going to be late.  We made coffee, gathered our gear, and hit the road around 5:45 figuring we might as well just get there early and hang out.  Though it took us about an hour to get to Seekonk, the ride was smooth and relatively painless.  When we arrived, the race volunteers were just setting up their tables and there were about 3 other runners milling around who'd probably woken up as early as we had.  We grabbed our numbers and shirts, went to the bathroom, and then headed back to the car to wait.


And wait some more.  We turned on Sirius XM's First Wave and rocked out to some solid 80s alternative gems from the likes of Police, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Devo and the oft-underrated Midnight Oil.  Confession....there might have been some robot dance moves involved.

I went to the bathroom about 12 more times just because I could and then finally it was 7:30.  We decided we should probably hop out and do a little stretching since we'd been sitting for almost 2 hours.  Fortunately, it was cloudy and relatively mild outside, so we could ditch our stuff and head to the start without freezing.

Race Director, Gary, organizing his volunteers.

Right around 8:00, Gary, the race director, hopped up on the roof of his van and yelled out to get our attention.  He thanked us for coming, told us how thrilled he was to see this race, which he'd been working on for three long years, come to life and then took a few minutes to explain some last minute details.  You could tell how excited and nervous he was about everything.  Finally, he said, "I don't give a sh** who comes in first, and I don't care who comes in last.  All I care about is that you all make it safely across this finish line."  We all laughed and clapped for him.  Such a cool and humble guy.  We shuffled over to the start and then Jeff and I wished each other good luck as we had planned to run on our own for this one.  I found a myself a spot in the crowd, turned on my music and got into the zone.  Gary gave us an official wave from his van and we were off.  I honestly wasn't sure what to expect from myself for this race.  I'd just run a marathon three weeks before and while I had been easing back into my training, I was still bouncing back.  That said, I was amped up and excited to race again.  So, it really could have gone either way.

At mile 1, pacing with a marathoner who would 
veer off at mile 5 and leave me to fend for myself.

Miles 1-3 went by pretty quickly.  I didn't feel terrible but I wasn't feeling great either.  My breathing was a bit labored and my legs were quick to remind me that they could still feel the marathon.  I was a little worried, but was hoping that after I loosened up and settled down, things would ease up.  I tried to find a pace group and focus on my music without staring at my watch.  The one major bonus of running a half so soon after a full is how insanely short 13.1 miles seems both mentally and physically.  Miles 4-7 came and went. I was holding on at a decent clip, but I was getting tired.  I ate a GU mile 7 and did my best not to focus on how wiped I was feeling.  At mile 9, a very large, brown dog jumped out at us and I had to sort of stop and stutter step around him.  That was a first.  I reset after that and told myself to buck up.  I only had to get through 4 more miles.  That was nothing compared to the 26.2 I'd done three weeks before.  A couple more tough miles went by and I was having to dig in.  By the time I got to mile 11 I knew I'd be okay.  I hadn't checked my watch in a while, but I'd been running behind a couple guys pretty steadily since mile 8, so I tried to shift gears and pick up the pace for the finish.  When I turned the corner at mile 13, I looked down at my watch and saw 1:26 and change.  Holy SHITE.  I had .1 miles to go and I was on pace for a PR.  I booked it as fast as I could to get myself across the finish line.

Official time: 1:27:30
First female, 3rd overall

One of the volunteers put a race medal around my neck and then another handed me a trophy about half the size of my body.  "Congrats" they said, "you're our first woman."  I was smiling and nodding and awkwardly trying to drink some water while holding on to the insanely large trophy they'd just given me.  This must have looked pretty funny.  I took a moment to gather myself and just take in the moment and then I headed to the car to grab my clothes so I could get warm while I waited for Jeff to finish.  Jeff's goal had been to come in under 2 hours, which I had thought was very realistic based on his training runs.   I was going back and forth from the food tables to the finish line to check on the time and ensure that I didn't miss him.  As the clock got closer to 2 hours, I planted myself at the line and waited while hoping/praying that he would have a successful race and maybe want to do it again.

Official time: 1:59:58

Then, at 1:59 and change, I could see him coming around the corner.  "Come on, Jeff", I yelled.  "You're gonna do it!!!"  Talk about CLOSE.  He rolled across with 2 seconds to spare.  I couldn't believe it.  No watch, very little training, and not much of a runner up until about 4 weeks ago, and he still managed a sub 2 hour half marathon.  I was so proud, excited, happy...all of it.

Once Jeff had a chance to cool down and stretch, we hopped in the car and bee-lined it for the nearest Starbucks.  Two large mochas later, we were headed home.  I did ask (er...force) him to take one selfie with me.  He's not into it, but it had to be done.  This one was going down in the books.  My first big race with Jeff.  A PR for me.  An incredible finish for him.  All of it was just so amazing and I was reeling for hours afterwards.  I don't know whether Jeff is hooked or not or if racing together will become a regular thing for us, but it doesn't matter.  Just sharing this one adventure was enough.  And if I had to put money on it, I'd bet he isn't done.  To be continued...

Listen to this:
Marathon - Jamie N Commons or listen w/