Tuesday, July 31, 2018


"Honestly, I don’t know if we’re even trying to spread any ‘message.’  We just hope that people enjoy what we think is cool, and to maybe inspire other musicians to make the music THEY want.."
~ Kenny Carkeet, from ALLACCESS

Carkeet (left) & Collins
Photo credit: ALLACCESS
Back when I started this blog I'd just discovered a band called AWOLNATION.  I saw them live, on my own, (a first for me), in a really small venue and the experience kind of blew my mind.  The drummer for the band was a guy named Kenny Carkeet, who I met briefly the second time I saw them play.  After the show, I made an effort to thank him and, yes, to have him sign a t-shirt for me, which he did willingly and for which some day my girls will thank me...maybe?  Fast forward to 2016.  I happened to see a post on Instagram about Carkeet's departure from AWOLNATION, so I reached out directly to see what he was up to.  Turns out, after an incredible run with AWOL (they're huge now), Carkeet decided to go out on his own with his friend Max Collins, formerly of EVE6, and together they formed the band FITNESS.  Why FITNESS? I asked.  Just tried to think of the worst marketable name he told me.  Well played.  I spent some time listening to the album and not surprisingly I liked what I heard.  A few weeks later I reached back out to see if they were touring and as luck would have it they were coming to Somerville in July.  Done and done.  I roped a few other gals in (Sunday night motivation can be minimal on my own) and bought the tickets.  Which brings us to last Sunday evening.  Oh my, what a night.  The band was on fire.  The company was amazing.  The venue was...um....interesting?  Here's how it all unfolded.

pre-dinner w/ Laura

Around 6pm I scooped Laura and Dina up in Winchester as we were planning to grab a bite in Somerville before the show.  Laura, who lives in Winchester with me, is often my wingman for these shows, bless her.  And Dina, an old and dear friend, was in town from CA for the weekend which was an unexpected bonus.  She's got the whole Cali/punk thing going for sure.  And for the record, yes, Dina is wearing a fanny pack.  Supposedly they're back in style.  Jury's out as far as I'm concerned.

Dina w/ fanny pack

We met up with Dina's friend, Amy, also from CA and in town visiting family, for dinner at the Five Horses Tavern.  Great restaurant, great service.  Although, oddly, they were out of seltzer water.  Fitness wasn't going to be playing until 8:45 so we enjoyed a leisurely meal and spent some time catching each other up on our lives.  As you may know, I don't get out a ton, so just the dinner part of this evening was a treat in and of itself.


Around 8:15 we finished up and headed over to the Once Ballroom, a venue so small that if you sneezed when you were walking by you wouldn't notice it.  Which we were more than happy about as a more intimate show is always preferred over a sold out stadium these days.  We walked in and showed our IDs, (he asked) and then made our way into the main event.  Okay, so this was different.  The space was more like a living room with a few tables and chairs and a small area in the middle, complete with lamp and oriental rug, where the bands played.  When we walked in, there were about 20 people already enjoying the first band.  And no one was saying a word.  Nothing.  We were laughing about something as we walked in and everyone immediately stared at us and gave us the stink eye.  So, we shut up pretty quickly so as not to annoy those around us.  That was a first for me at a live show.

Please Don't Touch The Curtains
(yes, that means you)

We settled in to a small high top table and turned our attention to the the opening act, a super mellow female duo wearing matching pink wigs.  Again, the "crowd" was very focused and basically silent so we did our best to both listen and talk without disrupting the vibe.  Not easy.

Max Collins

Right at 8:45, Fitness took the stage.  Lead singer, Collins, came on and greeted us with Thank you for coming out early tonight.  Little did he know that it was fifteen minutes before bedtime for me.  Yep, I'm a winner.  The minute they started playing there was an immediate shift in the atmosphere as Collins has a very big presence as well as a very loud voice and he threw both right at us in full force.  His head was inches below the ceiling and as he jumped around I couldn't help but feel that he was on the verge of knocking himself out.  His energy was amazing and he poured it into his singing; his passion for each song almost tangible.  The band has a fresh, hard-angled sound; very intense but also digestible.

Carkeet plays guitar, keyboards and "basically everything else", Collins' words when he introduced us to his bandmate.  He is the melodic springboard, if you will.  Up until this point, I've only see him in his role as a drummer with AWOL.  So, it was really cool to watch him display his talent in a different way.  One of the main reasons he left AWOL is so he could do his own writing and producing without all the limitations that have been placed on him in the past.  You can tell he's thrilled about this new role and the direction they're going on the whole.  Sadly, we only got to hear about 5 or 6 songs before the next band took the stage.  No encores at the Once Ballroom.  But I heard enough in that hour to know that this band is at the start of something big and they are undoubtedly destined for acclaim, both critical and beyond.  Personally, I am really fired up to follow their journey.

post show w/ CARKEET

After their set, I made my way over to the merch table to re-introduce myself.  Fortunately, he remembered our conversation on Instagram and me as RWM so it didn't look too weird that I was standing there waiting to say "hi" and get a picture.  Or maybe it did and he's just a super nice guy.  Either way, I let him know that I'd loved what I'd heard and that I'm really looking forward to seeing them in a bigger venue where it doesn't look strange for me to talk to those around me, stand up or maybe even dance a bit.  We both laughed at that.  He told me they were really just getting their project underway, trying new things out and experimenting with the songs they picked and the show in general.  I could tell how excited it he is about the whole thing as we talked.  That was also really cool.

After the show, we took some time to explore the Once Ballroom a bit more.  I mean, this place was...I'm struggling to put it into words.  Apparently, according to Alex the bouncer, it used to be a mob hangout.  Not a shocker.  We spent some time in the back half of the room soaking it all in.  Pink walls, gold chairs, skull and feather headdress on the side table.  So much to take in.  We also discovered big piles of things like books and games....

Connect 4 anyone?

...and this thing which looks like a shrine of some sort.  Or maybe a torture device.  Hard to say.

I won't even get into what we saw in the basement.  Yes, Alex took us down there to check it out.  Very bizarre, all of it.  Don't ask why we went down there.  I have no idea.

Post-show with Alex, the bouncer

Getting out to see live music is not as easy as it used to be when I started this blog.  Life is busier, both for myself and for my kids, my training is more intense and, well, let's just say I'm not quite as motivated to get out on a week night as I used to be.  Tranlastion...I'm older.  But, that said, I'm still managing to find the time and hope I always do even if the shows are few and far between.  And a live experience, even a small and rather bizarre one like this, is always work the trek.  You just never know what you'll hear and see but you'll undoubtedly never forget it.

Listen to this:
Karate by Fitness

Monday, July 23, 2018


Today I am really excited to introduce you to my dear friend and fellow coach, Dave Ames.  Back in 2015 I joined the Skechers Performance team and at the time, Dave was our New England team manager.  He and his (now) wife, Gregoria, lived in Brookline, MA and through our running and coaching connections we became fast friends.  When we first met, Dave was knee-deep in marathon training and using the same coach as I was so we'd often meet up for long runs or workouts as well as various races throughout the year.  He was also doing some personal coaching for family and friends on the side but his main gig was working at Skechers.  Over the next few years, however, he started to take on more and more athletes and without really realizing it, his coaching business began to grow both rapidly and exponentially.  Finally, in 2017 he left Skechers to focus full time on his true passion which he now calls Ame For It Run Coaching.  'Ame For It' is a worldwide run coaching service in which Dave helps runners of all abilities achieve their goals and dreams from the 5K to marathon.  It's pretty clear that Dave also happens to be a running junky himself.  He maintains his love for the sport by continuing to race and train for the marathon.  This fall, he will be shifting his focus onto racing his first 50K and 50 Mile ultra distances in CA and TX, respectively.  Sadly for me, Dave and Gregoria left the Boston area and moved across the country t0 Long Beach, CA this past winter.  Which means no more training runs or general heckling from his end on a regular basis.  We do, obviously, stay in touch and I know we'll always maintain our strong connection through running and coaching.  Dave also happens to be a huge music fan, which in addition to telling you about Ame For It, was one of the main reasons I reached out to him for this series.  Okay, so enough from me.  Let's meet Dave, a super cool cat and a RUNNER WHO ROCKS.


Name: Dave Ames
Where you From: Central, NY
Where you reside now: Long Beach, Cali
Age: 36
Occupation: Owner & Founder of Ame For It Run Coaching
Website:  www.amefortiruncoaching.com


What do you love most about running:  
Running is my “me” time.  Rarely do I run with others.  I enjoy training alone.  We live in a world full of expectations, social media infatuation (I am addicted, I’ll admit it) and trying to compare ourselves to others.  Running is my time to challenge and push myself.  No one is there to judge, compare or critique.  It’s just me and the roads, or preferably trails.  I’ve been in a lot of dark places in my life in my younger years.  I mean rock bottom, man.  Running saved my life.  It will always be my way to let go.  To feel alive.  There is no better “high.”

What do you love most about music:  
They say people who get the chills when listening to music have something special inside them.  I don’t know what it is, but I get that.  I connect really well.  Like now, I’m currently listening to a song called “Alone in the Dark” by Flaer Smin.  It’s lounge/chill music and written just beautifully.  It takes me places.  Music is a journey and when you listen to it, you can be anywhere you want to be inside your head, or in this world on the outside.  I’m a huge fan of Jazz.  It’s hands down the most complex form of music out there.  It speaks from the soul.

w/ some of his Ame For it Athletes

Band:  Pink Floyd, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Radiohead, The Doors.  There’s just too much.
Album:  Wildflowers by Tom Petty
Race Venue:  Utica Boilermaker 15K (Utica, NY) - - It’s where I learned to be a warrior.  I learned how to compete.
Music Venue:  Man, I’ve been a ton of places.  Honestly, I just saw Moby on Sunset Blvd, in West Hollywood at the Echo.  One of the best concerts I’ve seen in my life!  I was literally in front of him.  The place didn’t hold more than 200 people.  I’ve been going to shows since I was 14.  I gotta say, that place rocks.
Race Distance:  10 Miles.  A dying breed in the road running world now a days.  I want to tell you after I complete my first few ultra’s that I will love that, but I have a good feeling I’m gonna hop all aboard the pain train!
Show you’ve seen live:  The Beastie Boys (Madison Square Garden)
Ice Cream Flavor:  Strawberry (soft serve from Upstate NY only!)

Sweet or Salty:  Sweet
Live or Recorded:  Live.  No other way.
Coffee or Tea:  Trax is gonna hate me here, but I haven’t had a cup of Joe in over 4 years.  Tea.  
Summer or Winter:  I live in SoCal now.  It’s killer every day!  But nothing beats training in the snow.  I learned to get tough on the roads in the snow.  As the great Bill Bowerman once said, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just soft people.”

Which band or artist would you go see tonight if you could:  I just saw Nine Inch Nails in Vegas a few weeks ago with my wife.  It was one of the best shows I’ve been to in my life.  We are huge Nails fans.  We were just talking about our next show for them earlier!  I need more NIN in my life right now!
Which band or Artist (wait...but no longer alive or playing together) would you go see tonight:  Can I have 2?  Jim Morrison and The Doors.  Layne Staley and Alice in Chains.
Which band or Artist would you like to have dinner with tonight:  Dave Gahan from Depeche Mode.  I absolutely idolize the man.
Which band or artist would you like playing along side you in your next race: New Order


Today, I feel like….(fill in the blank):
I’m grateful.  I wake up each and everyday with the ability to do what I love to do.  Coach runners.  I hope that I can be the small change in someone’s life daily.

Top 5 Songs for Running:
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Runnin Down a Dream (call it tacky, it makes you step on the gas!)
Filter – Hey Man Nice Shot
Don Henley – The Boys of Summer
EMF – Unbelievable
Lo Fidelity Allstars – Battleflag

Last 5 songs you listened to today:
New Order – Age of Consent
Flaer Smin – Alone in the Dark
Morrissey – Everyday is like Sunday
The Cure – Friday I’m in Love
The Cult – She sells Sanctuary

Monday, July 9, 2018


For the past ten years or so my husband and I have run the Murdicks Run the Chop Challenge over on Martha's Vineyard.  It's one of the few races we do together and despite the fact that it's usually hot as blazes out and the course is pretty challenging, I always look forward to running it, if only because it has become a fun tradition for us.  Back in 2011, I was the first female across the line.  That was pretty exciting; both the win and the fact that I brought home a gift certificate for a pound of Murdicks fudge, which my kids and their cousins were thrilled about.  After that, the pressure has been on to go back each year and reclaim my title, not for the glory of the win, which no one cares about, but solely for the fudge prize which everyone seems to love.  I get it.  It's free chocolate.  What's not to love?  Fortunately for them, over the past few years I've been marathon training in the summer and while I always have to fight hard for the win or an age-group place, I've managed to keep myself in the game for a while now.

Tuesday night I laid out my race getup; obviously going for the red, white and blue theme, though my red attire is somewhat limited.  Fortunately, my mom had made a stop at the Dollar Store before she came up to MV and grabbed a bunch of goodies for the kids to wear on July 4th, so I snagged some beads and a pair of light-up glasses which I would not be racing in but figured I'd bring in case I wanted to throw them on afterwards.  Go big or go home, right?

When we woke up at 6:30 on Wednesday morning the temp was already in the low 80s and the humidity was at 91%.  Good, good times.  Side note, we were not allowed to bring Clover to MV this summer because the owner of our rental gave us a hard 'no' on the dog.  This was slightly devastating for us and totally devastating for Clover, who has major FOMO.  The point being I couldn't have my normal pre-race chill out session with her, a ritual I have come to love.  Instead, I sat on the porch with coffee and did my best to visualize, breath and relax despite not having my girl by my side to keep me calm.  Sufficiently caffeinated, Jeff and I took off around 7:30, got over to the start around 7:45, signed up, grabbed shirts and then I headed off for a warmup and Jeff went down to get an iced coffee.  Just two or three steps in to my run it was already hard to breathe.  The humidity was beyond brutal, like being surrounded by an invisible blanket of hot air.  As I shuffled along, I made the conscious decision not to use my watch for the race as pace was going to be irrelevant in these conditions.

After three very slow miles I was totally soaked through.  I remember thinking damn, this is going to be interesting and likely very, very ugly.  I found Jeff and we waited in the shade until just before we had to get over to the line.  At one point it got so hot that we decided we needed to take a walk, if only so we weren't thinking about it.  I mean, it's usually hot, but this year was something special.

You have to love these smaller races.  The official start time was 9:00am and we were all lined up at 9:00am but alas, 9:00 came and went and we were not going anywhere.  At a couple minutes after 9:00, Mike, the race director and owner of Murdicks, let us know that runners were still in the process of signing up and that we'd have to hold tight for another ten minutes or so which resulted in both widespread laughter and groaning.  Not that there was anything we could do about it other than continue to sweat.  Finally, around ten after nine, Mike sent us off with a 'Ready, Set, Go'.  As I mentioned, I've done this race several times so I know the course really well.  The first mile is a gentle down and then flat.  The problem with this being that you feel like you should fly and many people do.  What I've learned, however, is that if it's 90 degrees and humid, it's wise to reign it in for the beginning so that you have a little to pull from at the end.  Almost every year I get passed by multiple people during this mile and I just let them go and wish them the best.  I wasn't looking at my watch but after the fact I checked my splits and learned that my first mile was a 6:37.  This is relatively slow given the downhill and the fact that it was mile 1 but I didn't know it at the time and didn't care as I was going by what felt right.  The second mile is flat and I was able to get into cruise control and zone out in preparation for mile 3 which has a couple hills in it.  My second mile was a 6:24.  Evidently, I felt good enough to pick it up a little without overdoing it.  Thankfully, they had water at every mile and I took a cup each time, first sipping and then pouring the rest down my back.  Mile 3 is the worst because it's totally exposed to the sun and, as I mentioned, pretty hilly, which is tough to deal with when you're fighting the weather, too.  I took my time, slowing it down a bit so I could get up and over without depleting all that I had left.  This was my slowest mile at 7:00pace.  Again, I didn't know and didn't care.  I did know that I had the lead and my one and only goal was to hold onto it if I could.  After mile 3, I knew I was in the clear as the final 2 miles were both in the shade and flat.  Having not gone out too fast, I had enough in the tank to pick up the pace for the rest of the race.  As I made the last turn to the finish I saw the clock was still at 32 minutes.  I gave it all I had to try and come in under 33, successfully rolling across the line in 32:52 (6:34 pace).  I was the first woman across the line so I could breathe easy as I was bringing home the fudge for yet another year.  I grabbed a photo with Mike, who I should give a shout out to here as he does a ton of work to support the Martha's Vineyard Boys and Girls Club and most of the proceeds of this race go toward benefitting the kids on the island who use the club.  

Then I grabbed a popsicle from the cooler and even though it was melted and in multiple pieces, it was just about the best thing I've ever tasted.  There were medics at the finish giving out cold towels, too.  Bless them.  After a few minutes, I made my way out for a cool down.  My coach had me doing 2-3 miles.  I did 1 and a half.  It was just so freaking hot I couldn't stand it anymore.  I needed iced coffee.  Stat.  I found Jeff at the finish and we walked into town to grab coffees.  My shoes were so filled with sweat that they were squeaking.  No joke.  We shuffled back to the car with our drinks, dried off a bit (yes, we brought towels), and then headed home.  First question when I walked into the house: DID YOU GET THE FUDGE??!!  Some things never change.  

I won't deny the fact that I love taking the win at this race, or at any race, for that matter.  For me, however, the real reward has been going back each year and seeing how I do compared to years past.  Fun fact, the first time I did this race I was 32, had just had my second daughter and was easing back into running.  That year I finished with a time of 37:26 (7:29 pace) which, at the time, I was ecstatic about.  Since then, I've ramped up my mileage and training tenfold and as a result I'm now running times that my 32 year old self wouldn't have dreamed about....at age 43.  To see all my work come to fruition year after year has been pretty cool and a constant reminder that age is just a number in the grand scheme of things.  The nice thing about this race, though, is that I don't have to take it too seriously since the whole scene is pretty mellow and really meant to be more fun than anything else.  And it's on July 4th, so once the excitement has worn off and the sweat has dried it's time for the parade, where the girls get even more candy and the race is quickly forgotten about, as it should be. 

Listen to this:
War Face - Lowell

Monday, July 2, 2018


“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” 
~ Henry James

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that winter is a bit of struggle for me.  Primarily because I loathe being cold for long periods of time.  So...yeah.  I do my best not to complain about it.  But, if I'm being honest, I probably do a C+/B- job when all is said and done.  Summer, however.  Summer is what I live for.  I love the freedom of being outside all day, leaving shoes off and doors open, late nights and early mornings and a lack of agenda but no shortage of things to do.  I love it all.  And summer training?  I'll take hot and humid over snow and ice any day.  Sure, battling the heat is still tough, but it's a different kind of fight and one that I usually don't mind taking on.  Our family's summers are pretty similar each year.  My girls and I get a few weeks with my side of the family in June and early July.  Then a few weeks with Jeff's side of the family in July and August.  Jeff will go back and forth on the weekends for theses stretches.  Stupid work.  Then we get one blissful week on Lake Winnipesaukee with just the four of us.  And finally, a few weeks of camp for the girls and a staycation for me towards the end before my works starts up again in late August.  All of it is awesome and we are ridiculously lucky.  I suppose it's also worth noting that summer wouldn't be nearly as good if it was like this all the time, so I do appreciate the winter for that alone.  Every summer we move around a lot, driving from place to place and living out of suitcases.  But every year I notice the same patterns; signs that summer is in full swing and life is good.  Really good.  Below are a few of my favorites.  May they never change.  Happy summer!

Shoes out all the time.  All sizes and styles.  Pick whatever fits.  Just make sure to leave a pair for the next person.

Wet towels drying on the porch rail.  Constantly damp as we're often using them again before they ever really get a chance to dry out.

Bikes out all the time.  Same rules as the shoes.  Take what fits and leave one for the next guy.

Watermelon.  Enough said.

Open books scattered throughout the house.  Signs of a better offer when the books are left open and face down.  A librarian's worst nightmare.

Games out and in play all the time.  Our favorite is Yahtzee (not shown here) but Tenzi is a close second.

American flags and red, white and blue bunting everywhere you go.

Drying clothes on the line.  Saving energy and water for the win.

And last, but certainly not least, ICE CREAM every day.

Listen to this:
Shades by The Knocks