Wednesday, December 26, 2018

2018 YEAR IN REVIEW


Dear RWM Readers,
It has been yet another year full of awesome, crazy, intense, good, bad, ugly, beautiful and everything in between.  In terms of running, I ran....well, I started four marathons and completed three.  I had my first DNF down in Virginia Beach.  That was rough.  I guided for William Greer at Boston, hands down the hardest race of my life.  That was insane.  And I finally, FINALLY, after nine attempts, three of them within just seconds, broke three hours in the marathon this past fall at Baystate.  I also ran my fastest half marathon time this past spring, so both my half and full PRs have been at the spritely age of 43.  That's right, my friends.  I hate to sound cliché, but I am still working hard to prove that age is just a number and I think I'm doing a pretty good job if I don't say so myself.  In life beyond running, both my girls had an amazing year as well.  Grace had a huge breakthrough this past winter up in NH on her ski team, finally finding her groove after a few years of frustration.  On the flip side, literally, Rosie had a tough spring, not hitting her goals in the gym and has come back this fall guns blazing and crushing it, earning her highest score on floor (9.725) this past December down in the Bahamas.  Man, was that fun to watch.  Grace also stepped it up a notch with soccer this fall and, despite her very small size, we saw a new, aggressive, feisty player out there on the field.  That was really fun to watch, too.  I am so ridiculously proud of them and all they have accomplished.  And last, but not least, my LHS track and XC teams completely blew it out of the water.  In the spring, I coached both the girls and boys distance teams.  I had about 40 athletes in my crew and every single one of them improved; several of them by quite a bit.  Many of the ladies broke 6 minutes in the mile and quite a few of the guys broke the 5 minute barrier.  Huge accomplishments for both groups.  Not that I would know anything about time barriers and breakthroughs.  In XC this past fall, the ladies took the Middlesex League Championship title back from their rivals, won the EMASS Divisional Championship and came in 6th in at the MA State Meet.  They were a force to be reckoned with all season and such a joy to coach.  So, yeah, all in, a pretty unbelievable year.  If next year is anything like this one, I'm doing something right.  Thanks again to all of you for following along on this crazy journey of mine.  I love writing about my experiences and hearing your thoughts and feedback along the way.  I hope that you, too, had a year worth talking about and/or celebrating and that you are as exited as I am for what's to come.  Enjoy the rest of your holiday season and I'll see you in 2019!
All the best,



RUNNING WITH MUSIC 2018

JANUARY
ALBUM:HOLLY - SLEIGH BELLS
SONG:OUT OF MY HEAD - LOUD FOREST

FEBRUARY
Grace takes it to the next level up in NH
ALBUM:CRITICAL EQUATION - DR. DOG
SONG:RUN - PRONOUN

MARCH
The Cheap Marathon, my 8th (unsuccessful) sub-3 attempt
ALBUM:HERE COME THE RUNTS - AWOLNATION
SONG:LOST SONG - NONONO

APRIL
ALBUM:NATURAL RATTLE - LAYUP
SONG:FOLLOW YOUR FIRE - KODALINE

MAY
LHS Spring Track Season #DSQUAD
ALBUM:DIRTY COMPUTER - JANELLE MONAE
SONG:MATINEE - REYNA

JUNE
ALBUM:WHOLE NEW LEVEL - LAYUP
SONG:NEW COMPASSION-HAERTS

JULY
Lake Winnepesaukee
ALBUM:MOVIN' ON - GIVERS
SONG:SHADES - THE KNOCKS

AUGUST
ALBUM:KARATE - FITNESS
SONG:HIYA - ELEPHANT HEART

SEPTEMBER
Fall XC Season (Clipper Relays)
ALBUM:I DON'T WANT - SANTIGOLD
SONG:EGO - NONONO

OCTOBER
ALBUM:YUYI - ERIN MCCARLEY
SONG:IT'S JUST THE START - ROYAL TEETH

NOVEMBER
Jewett family on Thanksgiving
ALBUM:ART OF DOUBT - METRIC
SONG:MOUNTAINS - SIA

DECEMBER
WGA Gold Team - 1st Place All Around
ALBUM:SOMEONE OUT THERE - RAE MORRIS
SONG:EVERYTHING GOES (WOW)-BROODS

Listen to this:
RWM DAILY SONGS 2018

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

2018 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE & EPIC GIVEAWAY

🎶 It's the hap-happiest season of all 🎶


Well, it's December.  Mid-December, actually.  Man, that was fast.  Do I say that often?  It's easily one of my favorite times of the year.  Regardless of what, when or how you celebrate during the holiday season, it's typically a time of giving and receiving for most of us.  Love?  Yes.  Good tidings, comfort and cheer?  Of course.  But also, gifts.  As I do each year, I have gone out and done the research so that all you have to do is read through this post and then pick your favorites either to give or to put on your own wish list.  These products are ideal for runners or athletes of any kind.  That said, they will also appeal to the chocolate lover who listens to music and drinks coffee but has never run a day in his or her life.  Seriously, there is something on here for everyone.  Give any one of these items to family or friends and earn 'best gift giver' status instantly.  You're welcome.  Happy shopping.  And MERRY EVERYTHING!

RWM 2018 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE


Jaybird Sport #poweryourpassion

Jaybird's X4 Wireless Sport headphones are the perfect gift for anyone who leads an active lifestyle and takes their music on the go.  Impeccable sound and quality.  Custom fit.  Fully weatherproof.  And 8 hours of battery life.  I really can't say enough good things about these headphones.  Worth every penny.  
Retail price $129.99 on jaybirdsport.com.


Oiselle #headupwingsout

Oiselle's Festive Mile One Pullover meets everyone's needs for winter.  Run in it.  Sit by the fire in it.  Layer it on top for running or underneath for extra warmth at your kid's hockey game.  Made with 100% merino and one of the few fabrics that is soft, warm and lightweight.  In one word....delicious.  Retail price $98 on Oiselle.com.

Books by Kara Goucher & Deena Kastor

'Let Your Mind Run' by Deena Kastor & 'Strong' by Kara Goucher  Who doesn't love a good book to curl up with during the holiday break?  Both of the books above were total game changers for me both in terms of my running and in my life in general.  These women are two of the most inspirational in their sport.  Yes, they are both Olympic athletes and professional runners but their stories and the lessons within them can be truly applied to all areas of life, for both runners and non-runners alike.  Increasing mental strength and gaining confidence to be the best version of myself?  Please and thank you.  
Retail price for Kara Goucher's "Strong' $13.36 in Paperback & Retail price for Deena Kastor's 'Let Your Mind Run' $17.79 in Hard cover, both on Amazon.com.

Zensah #withoutlimitz

I am a huge fan of the Zensah Mini-crew for winter.  Their cupcake pattern is my current favorite.  I won't tell you how many pairs I have.  But I will tell you that I have lots of pairs in many different colors and patterns to choose from, several of them in the food category.  The design alone is reason enough to want these socks.  Then add to it the fact that they are graduated compression, anti-blister, have seamless toes, and are made with moisture-wicking and anti-odor fabric and we're done here.  You're ankles will thank you and your friends will think you're really cool.  Done and done.  Retail price $19.99 on Zensah.com.

Runangel #runloud

This device has changed my life.  No joke.  I do a lot of solo running and I'm often out in some remote areas on my long runs.  Wearing the RUNANGEL bracelet gives me peace of mind.  Hopefully, I never need to use it.  But if I do, it sets off an ear-piercing alarm and sends a signal to my husband with my location.  Runners, hikers, bikers, kids who walk home alone, I really can't think of anyone who couldn't benefit from having one of these bracelets.  
Retail price $90.00 on runangel.com 
*Note: Use code TRAX15 at checkout to save 15% off get an additional free strap

Stacks espresso

Rich, creamy, delicious coffee crafted by Stacks Espresso bar which is owned by my dear friend and Oiselle teammate Erin Wrightson.  Enough said.  Retail price $14.99 on stacksespresso.com

STOCKING STUFFERS


NUUN IMMUNITY - a quick, easy and tasty way to supercharge your immune system. Perfect for winter training and survival in general.
HONEYSTINGER - a chocolate cracker n' nut butter explosion of awesome in your mouth.  So good it's ridiculous.  
KOALA CLIP - the hands free solution to running with your phone.  Works very well with the wireless Jaybirds, I might add.
CLEMENTINES - the healthy snack that also happens to perfectly fill out the hole of the stocking.

********** THE RWM EPIC GIVEAWAY **********


Here it is, my friends.  This is my biggest and best giveaway in the history of RWM.  Several of the companies and individuals from the above gift guide have donated goodies as well as their time to this epic stash of loot that one of you lucky readers will win.  To enter, comment below.  Since the holidays are a time of giving and receiving, tell us who you will share this bundle with.  Because you're gonna share, right?  You can also jump over to RWM on Instagram and enter there.  Winner will be chose via random.org on 12/18.  Huge thanks to all of those who contributed to this package of love.  Good luck.  *US Residents only

Giveaway Includes:
A pair of Jaybird Sport X4 Wireless Headphones (Freedoms pictured here)
A signed copy of STRONG by Kara Goucher
A signed copy of Let Your Mind Run Deena Kastor
Oiselle Trucker Hat & Power On Mittens
4 Tubes of NUUN (2 Immunity & 2 Electrolytes) & Water bottle
$50 gift card for use on koalaclip.com
2 Lbs (Espresso & House blends) of coffee and a ceramic mug from Stacks Espresso
One pair of Zensah Cupcake mini-crew socks
Box of Honeystinger Dark Chocolate Cracker N' Nut Bars

Listen to this:
How You Feeling - Superfruit

Thursday, December 6, 2018

BE THE AVOCADO

"Mom, I left your daily note by your bed.  It didn't fit in your motivation box.  But I think you'll like it."
~ Grace, age 11


It's 8:15 am.  I've had coffee but my body doesn't seem to remember that I drank it.  Happens a lot lately.  I've got a tempo workout to tackle this morning; 10.5 miles total including a three mile warmup, four and a half miles at 6:35-6:40 pace and a three mile cool down.  It's a common one for me and yet I'm dreading it.  The temperature outside is in the twenties.  Sweet, sweet winter.  I decide to run inside.  If I'm being honest, and I might as well be since I'm sharing the inner demons today, I really want to go on the treadmill so I don't have to think about hitting pace.  I want to let the machine do it for me.  There, I said it.  Though, I really do hate doing workouts in the cold.  So, off to the gym I roll.  I park and walk slowly....shuffle, shuffle...to the front door of the Y.  I see my friend Pam.  She's running across the parking lot, clearly in a rush and maybe even excited to start her workout.  She does a double take as she sees me heading towards her.  "I'm kind of struggling",  I say.  "Not super motivated today."  She laughs.  I smile.  But I'm not laughing.  I'm wishing I could tap into her energy reserves because mine are depleted.  I don't tell her this.  No need to make things weird.  I throw my stuff in a locker and make sure I have everything I need.  Headphones, water bottles, phone, towel and two pairs of shoes. I'm a walking garage sale.  I grab a treadmill, set myself up and start my warmup.  My legs are heavy, but I knew they would be.  It's fine.  I set the pace slow and ease in.  After a few minutes, the running feels good, natural.  So, I relax and enjoy.  I finish the warmup and change my shoes because I want a something lighter for this work.  I start back up again at goal pace, the high end.  After one minute I stop.  It's not happening.  I change back into my trainers and decide to try one more time.  "Come on, Rebecca.  Be the avocado."  I smile.  Sweet Grace.  I increase the pace back up to 6:40 and try to find a groove.  To say it's hard doesn't even begin to describe it.  I can't get there.  I mean, I'm there, I'm doing it, but it's abnormally difficult.  How did I run 13.1 miles faster than this just three months ago, I wonder.  How am I going to run four and a half miles as this pace today?  I cover the screen with my towel and decide to do as much as I can without looking.  I know that this pace usually equals about 2 songs per mile, give or take.  I tell myself I am not allowed to check my mileage until I've heard six songs.  Instead, I stare out the window at the naked trees and the dead grass.  Sweet, sweet winter.  I sing, I dance, I air-box, (is that a thing?) I shake my hands out, I roll my arms in big circles.  Whatever I can do to move things along, I do it.  Six songs.  Finally.  I've run 3.3 miles.  I sigh with relief.  I'm hurting.  But I can power through 1.2 miles.  I know this.  Two more songs.  I tell myself not to look.  I look.  4.2 miles.  Sweet Lord above.  Make it end.  Finally I finish.  I slow to a walk.   I'm so happy to be done my sweat mixes with tears of joy.  Not really.  But maybe a little.  I putter on for another three miles.  It's a GD miracle that I was able to pull that off.  The struggle is so painfully real lately.  My head and my heart are not in it.  But there is beauty in the struggle.  I know this.  It's one of the reasons I started running in the first place.   It's a big part of what keeps me coming back.  Moving forward, I will take Grace's message to heart.  I will be strong on the outside.  And I will be loving on the inside.  Especially of myself.  Something I don't do often enough.  My heart....my pit, as some might say,....is so full.  Thank you, Grace.

Listen to this:
Dignity - Erin McCarley