Sunday, December 25, 2016


"Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us."
~ Hal Borland

Dear RWM Readers,
Once again, I can't thank you enough for joining me for yet another crazy year.  My first post in this blog was on September 11, 2011.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd still be sharing my stories with you five years later.  It's such a treat for me to connect with you through this medium; something I look forward to day in and day out.  I can only hope that you get as much out of it on your end as I do on mine.  I have to say that wrapping up another year is very bittersweet for me.  I love looking back on all the memories; the moments that made me laugh, helped me grow, freaked me out (both in good ways and bad), inspired me and ultimately kept me going and got me through.  But, at the same time I'm a little sad.  Sad that Rosie and Grace are another year older.  Sad that my high school XC season is over and that my athletes are moving on to their next adventure.  Essentially, just sad that time is literally flying and that I can't do anything to slow it down.  I had some pretty incredible experiences over the past twelve months.  Three marathons, two summer camps (one as a camper, one a counselor) and a State Championship, to name a few.  I also had my fair share of challenges.  Some that I managed to overcome.  Others that I'm still dealing with on a daily basis.  But that's what it's all about, right?  These are the things that make it all worthwhile.  The things that shape us and make us who we are.  And in the end, all that matters is this....that 2016 was a fulfilling, exciting and insanely rewarding year for me as a mom, a coach and an athlete.  Which it was.  Lucky me.  Happy New Year to all of you.  See you on the flip side.

Rock on,

RWM 2016
Rosie (11) & Grace (9) in FSC race mode













Tuesday, December 13, 2016


"Be unrelenting.  If you don't believe, then who will."
~ Kara Goucher

In just three shorts weeks we'll be wrapping up another year.  Totally nuts.  Here on RWM I wanted to go big and close things out with one last RUNNERSWHOROCK interview.  As you can imagine, I'm ridiculously excited that I get to do it with none other than the fierce and fabulous Kara Goucher.  It took multiple attempts to write this introduction because, as far as I'm concerned, it's virtually impossible to summarize this woman's achievements in a paragraph or two.  If you're a runner or you're interested in running in any way, you probably know of her and all that she's done on the track, the road and beyond.  Back in 2000, Kara began to blaze the trail, if you will, as a collegiate athlete at University of Colorado where both as an individual and along with her team, she took the NCAA title in cross country.  From there she became and continues to be one of the greatest American long distance runners of our time.  I won't give you all of her stats as there are just too many to list out, but I will highlight a few things that are worth sharing on the off chance you don't already know them.  In 2007 she represented the United States at the IAAF World Championships in Japan and took the bronze medal in the 10,000m, the first and only time an American (man or woman) has taken the podium in this distance at this specific event.  The following year she ran her first marathon in New York City taking third place with a smokin' time of two hours and twenty five minutes.  It was the fastest-ever American women's marathon debut and an American course record.  She then came right back the next spring and took the podium again in Boston.  Her third place finish marked the first time an American woman had been top three at the Boston Marathon in twenty five years.  Within this five year window she also competed for the United States at both the 2008 Beijing Olympics on the track and again in the 2012 Olympics in London in the marathon.  The list goes on and on and she's nowhere near finished.  But, personally, what I love about her the most is that despite her superstar status as a runner, she's a loving mom and a very down to earth gal.  I don't know her well, but I do know her enough to tell you that she's just a super cool person all around.  I had the pleasure of meeting her when she was in town for Boston back in 2014.  She lit up the room with her smile and while I was totally starstruck she was insanely kind and humble, pulling up a chair next to a group of us that she'd never met and joining us for dinner like it was just another day.  I've always known she was a big music fan, favoring pop tunes to get her motivated, but the fact that ABBA is one of her all time favorites is just the icing on the cake.  This woman rocks in so many ways and I'm thrilled to give you another small peak into her amazing life.  So, let's do this.  Meet Kara, a RUNNER WHO ROCKS.


Where you're from: Duluth, MN
Where you reside now: Boulder, CO
Age: 38
Occupation: Mom/professional athlete 

Racing (flying) at the 2016 Olympic trials in Los Angeles

What do you love most about running? 
I love pushing my body to limits and finding out what I’m capable of.  But I also love the meditation and calmness it has brought to my often frazzled brain.
What do you love most about music? 
Music is a great outlet for me.  So many strong memories are tied to music for me, listening to my mom’s 45s as a kid.  I love the way it can give me such a strong emotion - sadness, happiness and everything in between.

Post race w/ son Colt & husband Adam Goucher

Band: (current, all time or both) REM
Album: (current, all time or both) Currently Twenty One Pilots Blurryface 
Race venue: The streets of any city
Music venue: Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Race distance: Marathon
Show you've seen live: Dave Matthews Band
Ice cream flavor: Mint Chocolate Chip

Sweet or salty? Sweet
Live or recorded? Live
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Summer or winter?  Both-equally

Which band or artist would you go see tonight if you could? Aerosmith
Which band or artist (wait...but no longer alive or playing together) would you go see tonight if you could? ABBA
Which band or artist would you like to have dinner with tonight if you could? Madonna
Which band or artist would you like to be playing alongside you during your next race (or long run)? Twenty One Pilots


Today, I feel like….(fill in the blank)
Crazy hopeful.  I’m coming back from an injury and I’m seeing real progress.

Top 5 Songs for running, dancing or both?
Dancing Queen - ABBA
Crazy in Love - Beyonce
Cheap Thrills - Sia
Paper Planes - M.I.A.
I Love It - Icona Pop

Last 5 Songs you listened to today?
24K Magic - Bruno Mars
So Baby Pull Me Closer - Dj Suparii
Starving - Hailee Steinfeld
Heathens - Twenty One Pilots
All I want for Christmas is you - Mariah Carey (this one maybe 20 times!)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


Well, we've made it to December which, to be honest, kind of blows my mind.  I have been so wrapped up in my kids' sports schedules, my LHS teams' fall XC season and my own marathon training that the days have literally just come and gone and now were here.  Boom.  The nice thing is that I actually have a little more time now to focus on the holidays and all the prep that goes along with it.  According to my kids, the Christmas season is by far the best.  Not just the day itself but the whole joyful (crazy) month!  Though little Grace will tell you that Halloween is a very close second.  Both of them have made their lists.  Not a shocker.  Rosie, age 12, only has two main things that she would like this year - cooking classes (love it) and a phone (not as thrilled about this one, but also not surprised).  Grace's list is, yet again, totally off the wall.  In fairness, she's only 9 and she still believes.  But, she's also a total nutball which we love because it always keeps us guessing (and laughing).  Here's just a few of the items that Grace would like this year:

~ A spy watch  A real one.  So... yeah.
~ Flannel sheets with giraffes on them  Passed this off to my mother-in-law.  She loves a good challenge.
~ Giraffe footed pajamas  Thank you Amazon Prime.
~ Giraffe earrings, preferably dangly  See above.
~ Gotcha gadget gag set  Think whoopie cushion, fake gum that snaps, handshake buzzer, etc)
~ Giant inflatable ball  Yes.  It's exactly what it sounds like.  But it's human size and she can get inside it and roll around the house.  Because that makes sense.)

Clearly we have a giraffe thing going this year.  We've also shifted from last year's magician theme to a spy/prank motif.  And the ball?  I have no idea where that came from.  Let's just say it's a very good thing I do have a little extra time at the moment.  On a separate but somewhat related note, I've taken some of that time to put together a list of goodies for the runner in your life or to add to your own wish list this year.  These products are from the many awesome companies that I've connected with since I started this blog; some new and some tried and true.  Whether they look like good picks or not, at the very least they will hopefully spark some ideas.  Though, in my humble opinion, they are all stellar and you are pretty much guaranteed to get "best gift giver" award if you go with any of them.  Just saying.  Regardless of what and when you celebrate, I hope you all have a fabulous holiday season.  Merry everything.


Price: $108
*Currently on sale for 25% off at

Being cold sucks, this jacket makes it better.  Think wearable blanket.  I have sported this gem every day since it arrived at my door back in November and I've no doubt I will continue to do so throughout the entire winter.  Fair warning, when you wear it people often reach out to feel and/or pet it.  It's pretty irresistible.  And worth every penny.

Price: $65

We all have our own shoe preferences, particularly when it comes to running, and I'm definitely not going to tell you what to wear.  However, if you're ready for a change or you're in the market for a new and different or dare I say, better, racing flat then look no further.  With its snug fit, mesh upper and seamless interior, the GOMEB SPEED 3 is my go-to race shoe for everything from the 5K to the half marathon.  It's light and airy with just enough support to go the distance.  Plus, the price is totally on point.  And, of course, Meb wears it, which just makes me feel faster when I have it on.  Maybe it will do the same for you.  They're worth adding to your list for that alone, right?

 *janjicorpsfriends for 15% off 

When you give someone a gift from Janji, you're giving in more ways than one.  Janji designs high performance running apparel that, when purchased, helps make a difference in the lives of others.  So, for example, if you buy your running bud this super cool hoodie, 10% of the sale will go toward toward supporting clean water projects in areas that need it the most.  It's a no brainer.  And hoodies rule.  (Note: Janji is offering RWM readers a 15% discount on this baby. See above)


I am a big believer in compression and you will often finding me sporting calf sleeves or socks before, during and/or after a race or hard workout.  Supposedly, they increase blood flow and help with muscle recovery.  More importantly, they keep me warm.  People often ask, "do they really work?"  To which I respond, "if they feel good and help you run better, does it matter?"  Grab these insanely cool calf sleeves from Zensah for the runner in your life or for anyone who happens to be active, really.  Compression is everyone's friend.

Price: $29
(note: use promo code RWMRB13 for 10% off all web store items incl. subscriptions)

The holiday edition RUNNERBOX is always on my list.  The folks at RUNNERBOX make your life easier by hand picking a unique mix of running related goodies and wrapping them up in this neat little package.  No guess work.  No way you can go wrong.  Done and done.

The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty
Run the World by Becky Wade
Racing the Rain by John L. Parker

Everyone loves a good book.  These three really moved me and, in my humble opinion, whether you are a runner or not, they are all worth a read.  The Memory of Running and Racing the Rain are novels; both beautiful stories.  Run the World tells pro-runner Becky Wade's story as she journeyed around the world to learn about running in other cultures; an incredible look into the meaning of running for ourselves and beyond.  There's always more time to cozy up with a book over the holidays and throughout the rest of the long, dark, cold winter.


Picky Bars - delicious little squares of nutritional awesomeness

NUUN - a healthy hydration solution in a tiny little tube

Momentum Jewelry - chic, wearable inspiration

Hank Orange Headbands - Run hard, tame the mane, look cute

FOMO Eyewear - Polarised, UV protected, durable, cool

Listen to this:
The Fire - French Horn Rebellion & Savoir Adore

Friday, November 25, 2016


"Believing in others is easy.  It's believing in yourself that's the real challenge."
~ Giuseppe Bianco

Fair warning, this is a lengthy one.  You might want to grab another cup of coffee before you sit down with it.  I'll start by reminding you that I had intended to run the Wineglass Marathon on October 2nd.  I won't rehash the story but, as you may already know, I was not able to race due to a freak accident involving my foot and a metal door.  I cried a lot and felt sorry for myself for a day or two afterwords and then I moved on because that's what we do.  A few days after that, I assessed my situation, re-set my goal and started over.  Because, that's also what we do, especially runners.  Six weeks later, I was gearing up for the Philadelphia Marathon.  I was not as ready as I'd been for Wineglass but, given that I wasn't even sure a fall marathon would be happening after my injury, I was fine with it.  I just wanted to race.  First and foremost, however, I would be focusing on my high school girls XC team as they would be running at the MA State Championship meet the day before Philly.  Do I realize how ridiculous it seems to work a marathon in around the biggest meet of the season for my team?  Yes, yes I do.  I was going to have to get creative to make it work.  Instead of riding the bus, I would need to drive to the meet, which would be starting at 12:30pm.  The girls would race, we'd wait for the results and then instead of sticking around for the boys' race and the awards, I'd have to head straight to the airport to catch my flight to Philly which was at 4:20pm.  It was not ideal.  But, the girls were totally on board with my plan as they knew how important this race was to me after having gone through the whole Wineglass debacle.  I'm a very lucky coach.  The LHS girls team hadn't won a State title since 2001.  This particular crew, however, had been running incredibly strong all season, especially during the weeks leading up to this meet and we had a very good shot and placing somewhere at the top.  It would take me a totally separate post to describe the race but basically the girls threw it all down, ran their hearts out and took the win (watch the post-race interview here).  It was beyond awesome and I can't even attempt to put into words how proud I was of them.  Not surprisingly, we went totally nuts when we found out, celebrating for a solid thirty minutes afterwords - screaming, jumping, hugging, crying, laughing, dancing - all of it.  When it was time, it was really hard for me to pull myself away from the celebration and say goodbye but I had a plane to catch and my own goals to chase the next day.


I made it back to Winchester easily and scooped up my good bud/running partner Kirsten who would be coming to Philly with me and running the marathon "for fun".  Yes, that sounds weird.  But it's true.  She wanted to get another marathon after Wineglass, which she'd raced while I cheered, and was ready and willing to be my wingman again.  Go TEAM BACON!  After a relatively painless flight, we landed in Philly and grabbed a cab to our hotel.  As we'd been doing regularly for the past few days, we checked the forecast to see what we'd be dealing with the next morning.  To our dismay, though not to our surprise, the forecast for Sunday had not changed and it was looking grim.  No rain, which was good.  But wind starting early and picking up throughout the day.  For the race start at 7:00am, the winds would be steady at about 15-20 mph.  Then around 9:00am, conditions were predicted to get much worse with gusts between 40-50 mph.  Maybe they'd be wrong, Kirsten and I hoped.  They weren't wrong.  When we got out of the cab, as if on cue, the wind picked up and hit us dead on.  Note Kirsten's hair below.  The wind machine effect is great for a photo.  For a marathon?  Not so much.

Super model wind hair

We were trying hard to stay positive but it wasn't going well.  We went to two different restaurants before we finally found a place to eat.  Everyone around us was talking about the weather to anyone who would listen.  Are you worried?  How bad do you think it's going to be?  Are you as nervous as I am?  I'd been almost stupidly excited to come do this race after all that I'd been through.  I was not as excited anymore.  After dinner, we made our way back to the hotel to get ready for bed.  We'd arrived so late that we hadn't had time to get our bibs from the expo.  Fortunately, my dear friend and Oiselle teammate, Sue, had picked them up for us the day before and dropped them off at the hotel.  She rules.  We laid out our gear for the morning, taking a minute every once in a while to glance out the window and see the flags whipping madly.  We couldn't help it.  We went to bed nervous and full of dread, not the ideal mindset for the night before a big race but kind of unavoidable.  Our alarm was set for 5:30am and I popped out of bed a little early because the guy at the front desk had told us there would be coffee ready at 5:00 sharp.  I crept out of the room and beelined it for the breakfast buffet.  I'm sure you can imagine my devastation when I learned that the coffee was not, in fact, ready as they had promised. 

My conversation with hotel the staff member who was standing by the breakfast table:
Me: Good morning, Sir.  Where's the coffee?
Him: Oh, let me check on that for you.
Me: But, wait...I....they told us.....(my confused mumbling continued as he walked away)
Him: Ma'am, the kitchen said it would be ready at 6:00am
Me: No, no.  That won't work.  The race is at 7:00 and we need to leave by then.
(for the record, I was not the only one stressing and crying out in disbelief over the situation)
Him: (smiling) I'm sorry.  It's just what they told me.  I wish I could help you.

I didn't cry, but I came close.  Back up to the room I went.  Kirsten was in the process of waking up and I asked if I could turn the light on so I could use the Keurig.  We made some weak, nutty flavored coffee and sucked it down as we got ready to leave.  At 6:00, I let her know that I was going to go back downstairs for coffee and she could just meet me there when she was all set.  When I got to the lobby the coffee was set up and I ran over and and poured myself a cup, finally able to sit and relax a bit.  For like five minutes, actually.  Because, as I sipped, I noticed that there was only one bus out in front of the hotel which I thought was odd because there had been a long line of them only minutes before.  I went outside and asked the driver when the next bus was coming.  His response?  There are no more buses, Ma'am.  This is it.  And we have to go.  WHAT??!!  I told him I needed to grab my friend and my stuff and I'd be right back.  He was shaking his head NO as I spoke to him.  Sorry.  We can't wait for you.  Then we'd have to wait for everyone.  We've gotta leave now.  OH SHIT.  I called Kirsten and told her she needed to book it down or we wouldn't be getting a ride to the start which was over a mile away.  Just as she made her way through the lobby, I watched as the bus pulled out.  We bolted through the doors and made a run for it, hoping to catch it at the light.  I sprinted with my coffee in hand, which was spilling all over me though I refused to ditch it.  It was a ridiculous scene which we laughed about only minutes later.  I wish I had a photo for you though if Kirsten had taken one at the time I probably would have killed her.  We didn't get the bus, so we hopped in a cab and told him to follow it and we finally caught it at the next hotel.  Again, the bus driver told us to hurry up; that he wouldn't wait for us.  Good grief! I was searching madly in my bag for money to pay for the cab and was coming up dry.  Finally, I just looked at him in desperation and said something like  I'm sorry.  I can't find my cash.  PLEASE!!  We have to go or we're going to miss our race.  He rolled his eyes and said Ok, JUST GO!  We jumped on the bus and sat, both of us in utter disbelief about the events that had just unfolded.  I guess we got our warm up, I said to Kirsten.  Funny, kind of.


Minutes later we arrived at the start.  Sadly, the meteorologists had nailed it with the forecast.  It was windy and cold.  It was also dark and spooky out.  Kirsten and I agreed it felt a lot like doomsday in Gotham city and decided it was worth pausing for a photo before we moved on.  I had an elite bib for this race, which was a treat as they gave us a special tent with a heater in it so we could wait comfortably.  Not that I really needed it as by the time Kirsten and I hugged and said goodbye it was about 6:45 and already time to head to the start.  I found Sue when I lined up and reached over the rope for a hug which was an instant lift to my spirits.  She wished me luck and told me to get after it.  Okay, I thought, it's now or never.  Let's do this.

(photo by Sue)
Miles 1-6 (6:47, 6:41, 6:38, 6:49, 6:54, 6:38)
I was so eager to get going that when they finally sent us off I was almost giddy.  I was also nervous about the wind so I made a conscious decision to bank some faster miles up front while it wasn't as bad as it was predicted to get.  It's a huge marathon, about 30,000 runners.  We ran through the city for the first couple miles and the crowd was thick so the wind wasn't a major factor yet.  I was cautiously optimistic that things might go okay so I tried to settle in at my goal pace (6:50) or a little faster and just glide along.  After all the stress of the travel and the crazy morning that we'd had, it was nice to just zone out and run.  My body was happy.  I was happy.  I felt good.  I enjoyed these miles a lot.

The hills

Miles 7-14 (6:36, 6:53, 6:34, 7:00, 6:53, 6:47, 6:54, 7:00)
Mile 6 was uphill but Sue and some other Oiselle gals were at the top and their cheers and smiles got me super fired up.  Mile 8 was up again and this one was long and steady but I was still riding high and feeling good so I just dug in and kept at it.  Somewhere in this section I had linked up with a gentleman who was running a similar pace to mine.  We ran step by step and hit a steady groove for a while so I just stopped looking at my watch.  Bad idea.  He was a really cool dude, offering me water after he got his own, checking in on how I was feeling, even looking to make sure I was still with him if I was out of his line of sight.  After a couple miles, I asked my new partner what his pace goal time was.  I'm going for a 2:55, he told me.  Uh oh.  This isn't good, I thought.  I truly believed I had a shot at a decent time, maybe even a PR, but given the weather, I was 100% sure that a sub-3 hour marathon was not in the cards for me and that I should definitely not be running with this guy anymore.  So, I backed off and let him go.  I told myself three things at this point: run your own race, reset your head and try not to panic.  My average pace was still hovering around 6:50 but the damage was done and I would pay for it later.

Cool running guy

Miles 15 - 19 (6:56, 6:57, 6:56, 7:05, 7:25)
Miles 15-19 were along Main Street and as I headed toward the hairpin turn at mile 20 I watched as the elite athletes passed us on the other side of the street.  I was both inspired and envious and really, really tired.  The wind, which had been steady but bearable, was now a much bigger factor.  It had picked up and was coming at us from all directions.  Each big gust was a major mental and physical blow.  

Pain train in the wind

Miles 20-22 (7:45, 7:38, 7:33)
My legs were now feeling heavy and my energy starting to deplete rapidly.  At mile 20 my battle to the finish began.  I was giving myself lots of pep talks now.  Come ON, Rebecca.  You've run on tired legs.  You've got to stay strong.  You want this.  Let's GO!!!  And while I still had some fight left in me, my legs were making some other, very different, decisions of their own.  At mile 22 I saw Kirsten.  At this point I knew my PR goal (sub 3:04) was long gone.  I was struggling big time.  And everything hurt.  But, still, I smiled because I thought it would help.  And between her encouragement and the change in my mental state, I managed to power on.

Mile 23-26.2 (7:36, 8:11, 8:09, 7:55)
The wind was at full force now.  As I ran, I specifically thought of my daughter when she was learning to ice skate at age 2.  She was using a crate for support and while her little legs were moving as fast as they could go she wasn't actually getting anywhere.  This is exactly how I felt when the wind bore down on me.  I had used up almost all my energy during the first 2 hours and had run several miles at a pace that was just too fast for me to hold so I had absolutely nothing in reserve.  This was it.  But, as I shuffled along, I knew, at the very least, that I would be able to finish.  All my training, getting through my injury and then ramping back up again; all the mental and physical hurdles that I'd gotten myself over to get to this day.  Those were pulling me through.  I was able to cross the line with a smile on my face.  And while I wasn't thrilled with my time I was really proud of my effort.

Final time: 3:08:29

I headed straight for the tent to grab my bag.  It was so cold that my teeth were chattering and all my limbs were shaking.  I found my bus and settled into a seat happily soaking up the warmth.  Kirsten texted to let me know she was about to cross the line and that she'd meet me at the hotel.  For the record, she rocked her 9th marathon and truly enjoyed herself from start to finish.  So awesome.  I sent a note to my coach with my results, letting him know that I had been worried about the wind and taken a risk early on and that it hadn't played out as well as I'd hoped.  I told him that I was bummed with my time but happy that I had been able to fight it out until the end.  His response was this:

"You went for it and if the wind was down early, I don't have any issue with you going for it as long as you could.  I don't think you had a realistic chance of a PR let alone sub 3 in that weather.  You should feel good about the effort and that you had the courage to go for it."

As I'd told my own athletes to do just the day before, I, too, had stepped up to the line with no fear.  I'd trusted my training, as broken and weird as it had been after Wineglass, and I truly believed in myself.  And because of that, I finished.  The marathon throws out all kinds of challenges beyond the race itself.  We can do everything perfectly leading up to race day but we can never be 100% prepared.  It's the nature of the beast and why, as my coach always reminds me, more people don't do marathons.  It's also why, I'm now fully convinced, I keep coming back for more.  In the end, the challenge is the reward.  No matter how it plays out, good or bad, there will always be another battle waiting to be fought.  And I'm nowhere near ready to put down my sword.  EN GARDE.

Listen to this:
Escape - Tongues.

Friday, November 18, 2016


About three weeks ago, my high school XC team had their Middlesex League Meet, one of the last and most important races of the season.  We were coming off of a tough loss to Woburn, our biggest rival, and we were eager to prove to ourselves and to everyone else that we were still strong, if not stronger, and ready and willing to fight.  Before the race, I told the girls that it was okay to be nervous.  Nervous was good, even.  But fear?  There was no room for fear.  I let them know that they'd worked all season to prepare for these final three races and because of that they were ready.  I told them to trust their training, have faith in their teammates and believe in themselves.  And, finally, and most importantly, I encouraged them to go out there and run with their hearts.  I was 100% confident that each one of them had what it took to have a killer race, both as individuals and as a team.  And, that they did.  They completely blew it out of the water.  They gave it their all.  And then they gave it some more.  They took the win, which was amazing.  But the true joy for me was seeing all their hard work come to fruition, sitting back and watching (or running around and screaming, but you get my point) as they dug deep and tapped into that next level, the one they'd all been working so hard to find.  Needless to say, it was an epic day for all of us.

Middlesex League Meet Champs

Two weeks later, our team headed out to Wrentham to race at the EMASS Divisional Meet, another biggie.  This time, we were coming off the high of our league meet, still nervous, but really, really excited.  The girls needed to place top four in their division in order to earn a ticket the State meet the following weekend.  And they wanted it.  We all did.  We made our way to the line and once again I told them that it was okay to be nervous but there was no room for fear.  I reminded them, as I had at the league meet, that they'd been working their tails off since August to get to this point in the season.  I don't want to hear "what ifs" or "maybes", I said, it's time to execute and you are more than ready.  And, finally, I asked them, just as they had done two weeks before, to let go and run with their hearts.  And that they did.  They pushed harder mentally and physically then they had all season.  They put it all on the line.  And it paid off.  And because of this, it was yet another unbelievable day for our team.

EMASS Division 1 Champs

Tomorrow, we will head to Wrentham for our MA State meet.  It will be our final race of the season and by far the most intense.  They will be running against the best of the best.  They'll need to work harder than they've worked all season, if not ever, at least from a running standpoint.  If they want to win, and I know they do, they're going to have to take a risk, to go outside their comfort zone and it's going to hurt.  But it's going to be worth it.  It always is.  And they've heard it now several times, but I will tell them again....they have to trust their training, have faith in their teammates, believe in themselves, and leave their fear at the door.  If they can do this, as they have so successfully done for the last few weeks, than anything is possible.

One of the benefits of being a runner myself is that I can relate to my athletes on every level.  Each day I feel the same exhaustion, the same doubt, the same elation, and the same fear.  And, despite the fact that I'm significantly older than them, my own experiences with racing are no different from theirs.  On Sunday morning, (yes, the day after our State Meet) barring any issues (funny, but not really), I will be lining up at the start of the Philadelphia Marathon.  Six weeks ago, I wasn't sure if this would be possible.  I had 11 stitches in my heel and it hurt to walk.  I took it one day at a time, focusing on what I could do for just that day, a strategy I tell my runners to use all the time.  It was a painful, frustrating and scarily short training cycle.  But somehow I managed to get through it.  Now, it's time to practice what I preach.  On my race day I will leave my fear behind and channel my nerves into positive energy.  I will trust the process, have faith in my coach and believe in myself.  I will run with my heart.  Because what I ask of my athletes should be no different than what I ask of myself.  Let's do this.

Listen to this:

Friday, November 11, 2016


"(With Janji) we're all about exploring new places--which is exactly what music allows us to do."
~ Dave Spandorfor

Today I am really psyched to introduce you to Dave Spandorfer, owner of Janji, fellow runner and avid music fan.  I stumbled on Janji back in 2013, shortly after I started this blog.  Dave and his co-founder, Mike, design high performance running apparel that, when purchased, helps make a difference in the lives of others.  Specifically, 10% of the sale of each piece goes toward helping clean water projects in areas that need it the most.  Back then, I wanted to work with them in any way that I could so I reached out and asked if I could profile the company on RWM.  They got right back to me and we put something together - they're really cool like that. (see post)  I kept in touch with them through the years, regularly seeing one or both of them at race expos and chatting with them via email; particularly Dave and often about music.

w/ Kirsten & Dave at the Mohawk Hudson race expo

Fast forward to last week.  On Halloween, a representative from a gym down in Pennsylvania reached out to see if we could work together.  A bit strange, I know, but I was intrigued.  After doing a little research, I learned that XShadyside 24 Hour Gyms Pittsburgh is a one of the leading fitness centers in their area and they are dedicated to providing the best equipment and overall experience for their customers as well as promoting a healthy lifestyle in general.  In a nutshell, they asked if we could do a giveaway on RWM together.  They would provide a gift card for the retailer of my choice and in return I would promote both the gym and their message.  Given his passion for both running and music, I've been wanting to profile Dave from Janji in my RUNNERS WHO ROCK series for a while now.  XShadyside Gym's timing was perfect as I could couple Dave's story with the added bonus of a Janji gift card giveaway for you, the RWM readers.  I'm all about promoting fitness and a healthy lifestyle so I was more than willing to give a shout out to XShadyside for the awesome contribution.  The way I see it, everybody wins here - we now know more about Dave, we also know about an fabulous gym down in PA that we should check out if we're in the area, and we're giving back to those in need with the Janji gift card.  It's a grand slam, really.  All right, so first, let's meet Dave, a runner who rocks.  Then, go ahead and enter to win a $50 Janji gift card courtesy of XShadyside Gyms.  Woo hoo!


Name: David Spandorfer
Where you're from: Philadelphia, PA
Where you reside now: Somerville, MA (right outside Boston)
Age: 28
Occupation: Co-founder, Janji

What do you love most about running? 
It’s an outlet, a stress reliever, and something that you strive for daily.  If life can sometimes feel stuck on a treadmill, running (yes—even on a treadmill) propels you forward.  It gives you clarity to questions, big and small.

What do you love most about music?
I’ll quote Mark Ruffalo’s character in Begin Again on this one: “One of the most banal scenes is suddenly invested with so much meaning.  All these banalities—they’re suddenly turned into these… these beautiful, effervescent pearls.  From music.”

Band: (current, all time or both) Been true since 7th grade—Radiohead.  But, since 22, A Million came out, I’ve been on a Bon Iver kick.
Album: (current, all time or both) All time is Kid A, by Radiohead.  Recently it’s been 22, A Million.
Race venue: Loved racing at the Armory, an indoor track in New York.
Music venue: Hands down, Cambridge’s Sinclair.  It’s a great, small venue that attracts wonderful bands.
Race distance: Half Marathon. Not too fast, not too slow, and not too painful after.
Show you've seen live: Top 3 have been 1) Radiohead’s In Rainbows tour 2) Bon Iver’s post-Bon Iver album release tour 3) The National’s post-High Violet Tour.
Ice cream flavor: Coffee cookie dough

Sweet or salty? Easy. Salty.
Live or recorded? Live if it’s truly live. But can’t say I like recorded live shows.
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Summer or winter? Summer. Who picks winter?

Which band or artist would you go see tonight if you could?
Beck. One of the most talented artists ever… and still have never seen him live.

Which band or artist (wait...but no longer alive or playing together) would you go see tonight if you could? Beatles, of course. I don’t think I’m bucking some opinion by calling them the most talented band ever.

Which band or artist would you like to have dinner with tonight if you could?
Tough question.  There’s a lot of weird artists who are interesting, but probably challenging to connect with.  I’d love to have dinner with Bruce Springsteen.  Seems like a relatively normal guy who has some seriously incredible stories to tell.

Fitz and the Tantrums

Which band or artist would you like to be playing alongside you during your next race (or long run)? Probably Fitz and the Tantrums.  I’ve had the pleasure of running with the drummer of Fitz and the Tantrums, and when a band member (especially a percussionist) gets running, you want them to be playing off your emotions during the run.  Start off slow, and keep me energized as my own energy fades.

Today, I feel like….(complete the sentene): A rock star. Love the fall.

Top 5 Songs for running, dancing or both?
These categories often overlap, so here are some of my top energetic running songs from the past year:

Huarache Lights by Hot Chip
Humbug Mountain Song by Fruit Bats
Anna by Will Butler
Johnny by Basement Revolver
Cold Light by Operators

Last 5 Songs you listened to today?
Every month I make a monthly playlist and have now done this every month for the past 6 years. (follow me on Spotify to see—I’m the only David Spandorfer out there).  Here’s what’s starting off November 2016’s playlist:

Birth by Rari
Some Sunsick Day by Morgan Delt
Lump in Your Throat, Andrea Bignasca
Chemicals by The Notwist
Wonderful by Francobollo

Enter to win a $50 JANJI GIFT CARD courtesy of XShadyside 24 Hours Gyms Pittsburgh.  To enter comment below.  Tell us what you'd buy with your Janji Gift card (so many good choices for women and men).  Or, tell us your current go-to pump up song.  Or, tell us what and when your next big race is.  That's it.  Winner will be picked via on Friday, November 18th.  Many thanks to Janji and XShadyside for helping me put this together.  Good luck!

Listen to this:
Some Sunsick Day - Morgan Delt