Wednesday, August 28, 2019


“Think about it, there must be higher love
Down in the heart or hidden in the stars above
Without it, life is wasted time
Look inside your heart, I'll look inside mine”
~ Steve Winwood, Higher Love

I used to feel a little weird telling people I was going to an all women's running camp.  Because maybe it seems a little odd to pay a lot of money and travel really far to, well, to run and do all things running related.  But, if you've been to camp before, any camp, you know there is so much more to it than that.  In general, camp is a place where people - kids, athletes, and yes, even adults - go to surround themselves with other people who share a similar passion with the main goal being to have fun doing it for a short and intense period of time.  Maybe it's soccer.  Maybe it's music.  Maybe it's robotics.  Who knows.  There seems to be a camp for everyone these days.  Which is awesome.  When you go to camp, and I'll speak for myself here, but I'd imagine it's pretty similar for everyone, you have drop your ego at the door.  Maybe your inhibitions, too.  If not right away, most likely pretty soon afterwards.  If you want to do it right, which in my case I do because of all the time and effort I've spent to make it work with my own and my kids' schedules, then you dive in wholeheartedly.  The way I see it, you really have to get as much out of it as you can.  You learn, you grow, you think, you don't think, you laugh, you cry, you check in, you check out, you let go and, assuming you've signed up for the right camp, you do what you love every day with the people who love doing it, too.  In this case, running.  I've been on the Oiselle team since 2012.  This was my 6th time going to Birdcamp.  They've all been amazing experiences for me.  And they truly have gotten better each year, but not only because of the camps themselves but because of the relationships I have formed with my teammates over the years; bonds that are strengthened every time I reconnect with these women and which, if I'm being honest, are really like nothing else I've had before in my life.  So, yes, over 300 women gathered together to run, talk about running and all things running related, eat, play, sleep and then do it all over again for four days straight may sound crazy to some.  To me?  It's total bliss.  A gift to myself.  Something I look forward to year after year because when it's over I am a changed and better person for having gone.  Still not sure?  I'm going to do my best to tell you how things played out with the photos below.  There were a lot of "you had to be there" moments in here.  But I think you'll get the gist.  And who knows, perhaps it will make you want to find your own camp or, at the very least, make sure your kids are having this much fun at the camps they are attending in the summer.  Because, if they're not, something might be wrong as this is undoubtedly how it should be for all of us.


Day one with my wingladies, Ashley, Erin (aka Chicken) and Jackie.  I've known these gals the longest, so I'm super close to them.  They're a big reason I keep making an effort to fly to far away places and run crazy long mileage "for the fun of it".  You'll see them a lot in my photos.  Can't help it.  I'm obsessed. 

This was the typical coffee lineup before our morning run.  Ok, truth. Three of these cups are mine.  Jackie doesn't drink coffee.  Courtney drinks tea.  And Chicken lives on Redbull.  Whatever gets you going, right?

First run of the weekend with Megan, Chicken & Jackie.  Easy 8.  So we weren't really complaining about the hills, which were huge and NEVER ENDING.  That happened the next day

Chilling on the green.  We did this a lot over the weekend.  It was a place to meet between activities, meet new people and reset in prep for whatever was next.  Our command central, if you will.  

Post run with the ladies.  Steph, wearing the glasses, was the ringleader of this circus.  She wins the "trooper of the year" award for dealing with us.  We owe her.  Big time.  

The MASS/RI Oiselle team lineup.  It was a small group of us this year.  We did our best to represent.     We crushed it.  

End of the day, hanging with Lesko and Sally, our lead birds.  The dream team.  Like, none of it would be possible without them.  Especially Sally, because she started the company.

Sunday morning, pre-long run with Collier Lawrence.  This is not us dreading the long run.  Nope.  I was super fired up for 23 miles.  We were sad because her sister, Mel, wasn't with us and we missed her.  But, she was off being a pro-runner, so, I guess she had a valid excuse.

This was Courtney warming up for the long run.  She likes to throw some dance moves down before she gets started.  Meg, behind her, looks like she's doing a slow dance with herself for a warmup.  I never got a chance to ask her about that method.

Here we were about 10 miles into the 23 miles that Jackie and I would finish.  Sally was "supposed" to do 13 and ended up doing 17.  So, we must have been fun company.  Or she just lost track of time.  I don't know, Jackie and I are pretty fun to hang out with, so I'd like to think it was the former.

From about mile 18 on, Jackie and I couldn't stop talking, thinking or dreaming about chocolate milk.  Jackie was only supposed to run 20 but she did all 23 with my so I wasn't alone.  She rocks.  And, she was REALLY thirsty when we finished.  So she just took it upon herself to walk right into the kitchen and ask for chocolate milk.  Later we learned that it was the camp director himself who made it for us.  Bless him.

Hanging out at the beach after our long run.  This picture says it all.  It was completely normal to see mermaids, flamingos and bananas throughout the weekend.  I'll leave it at that.

Later that day we went up the track to do a team relay.  Yes, we're holding drinks.  Because it was very hot.  Kendra, too my left, happens to be a pro-athlete for Oiselle.  She beat me but it was really close.  I mean, I could feel her tailwind.  So, you know, we basically were neck and neck.

Not for nothing, but this was our team, all of us over 40.  And we won.  Like, handily.  Just saying.

Chicken, Ashley and I in our Birdbeats tanks at the late night dance party.  That's right.  We cut a rug into the wee hours of the night.  It. Was. Awesome.  Oh, and the Birdbeats playlist is here.  Lots of gems on this one.

And finally, Chicken, Jackie and I on our way back to the cabin.  This was our last day.  The weekend went WAY too fast.  Happens every time.  It's so hard to digest it all and not feel like you're missing something or wanting more.  But, I've learned you just have to soak it up in the moment and let it spill over you all weekend.  Just feel all the feels.  It was super intense in all the right ways. Every year, I find that when I head back home, I'm sad but totally rejuvenated and changed for the better because of the time I've spent with these amazing women.  Until next time, my friends.  See you in the sky.  #headupwingsout

Listen to this
Higher Love - Kygo & Whitney Houston

Tuesday, August 6, 2019


It has taken me a while to get to this post.  For one thing, I've been marathon training like a mad woman; 360 miles in July alone.  So, that's part of it.  On top of that, I've been doing some contract work for my friend Kristina, who owns a killer small business (Koala Clip) and doing some coaching for another 2L athlete.  So, that's also part of it.  I've also been driving my 14 year old from the camp where she works to town to her various friends' houses to gymnastics; in no particular order and at a moment's notice.  Because that's how she's rolling this summer.  Whatever.  And then, if I'm being totally honest, I just haven't been motivated to write lately.  Which is probably the biggest reason.  I don't know if it's because I'm physically tired, mentally fried or just not into it, but the desire to sit down and and focus on a story has not been hitting these days as it usually does.  I tend to have stretches when I'm overflowing with information that I want to share.  Lately, however, my focus has shifted and even though, like today, I do have small windows of time where I can take a moment and put a hypothetical pen to paper, more often than not, I find myself choosing to do other things during these windows.  Like taking a walk.  Or a nap.  Or sitting down and eating a whole meal rather than eating a PB & J and drinking a juice box in my car.  I guess what I'm saying is that my urge to blog has receded a bit and because I'm happily into all the other stuff I have going on, I'm okay with it.  Which was a very longwinded way of telling you that I'm not shutting RWM down, but perhaps just slowing things down here and picking up momentum in other areas of my life; at least for now.  Okay, but still, I did race the Yankee Homecoming 10 miler on July 30th with my Whirlaway teammates.  And it was one of the crazier races I've done this year, primarily due to the fact that it was on one of the hottest days of the summer.  No joke.  It really was a great race, for reasons that had nothing to do with performance, and, in my humble opinion, it's a pretty good story.  So, here we go.

Current obsession:Landgrove Coffee

I woke up on race morning at my usual 5:45am and did what I always do - made coffee, walked the dogs, ate breakfast, etc.  It was no surprise when I checked my weather app and saw that the temp was already in the 80s and the humidity was stupidly high.  Think swimming.  I'd already known this heatwave was coming.  The kicker here, though, was that the race, which was still on despite these insane conditions which came with a very intense warning from the race director the night before about adjusting pace and expectations, was not starting until 6:00PM, so I had all day to stress and sweat about it.  Literally.  SO.  MUCH.  TIME.  I made more coffee, walked the dogs again, did some work, did some laundry, stretched, rolled, read; you name it, I did it.  After the second walk, I got the sense that my dogs didn't want walk anymore.  Just a hunch.

Enzo: Please, Mom, no more walks.

Around 2:00, I got in the car and left for Newburyport, which was 120 miles from my in-laws house on the Cape where I've been living for the month of July.  Yes, it still sounds as crazy now as it did when I was starting my trip.  But, I'm a team player and I'd already committed to this one for the Whirlaway women, so I wasn't going to be the one to bow out.  Three hours later, (that's right 3 hours), I was parking in a residential area of Newburyport.

It was a balmy 97 degrees outside.  I mean, I could only laugh.  I walked to the high school, got my bib, picked up a t-shirt and stood in shock for a moment, not really knowing what else to do with myself.  I'd seen my dear friend, Liz, on my way to get my number so I texted her and asked her where she'd gone, letting her know that I wanted to say 'hi'.  I found her as she was throwing her stuff into her car and she jokingly asked me if I was headed out for a warm-up.  The joke was funny because all you needed to do was stand outside.  Bam.  All warmed up.

Pre-race with Liz

We caught up a little, wished each other good luck and said goodbye.  Then I headed back to my own car to ditch my stuff and grab my headphones.  After that,  I figured I'd just walk back to the registration area and try and look for my Whirlaway teammates.  Honestly, if I hadn't had any luck tracking them down, I was ready to just shuffle jog the race to get a run in.  But, there they were.  It was wishful thinking, I know.  We all nervous laughed as we said our hellos and then Amy, Lauren and I headed off for a legitimate warmup.  As we cruised along, I asked Amy, who'd done this race before, if it was usually this hot.  She told me it was often sticky, but that it had never been like this in years past.   Awesome.  When we got back, I took a minute to stand in the area where fans were shooting cold water out, soaking myself from head to toe and hoping to cool off before the start.  Whoever set those up is brilliant.  Finally, we all walked over to the street and lined up, waiting for the death march...I mean the race to begin.


I had talked to my coach earlier in the day and told him about the weather.  He lives in PA and was dealing with the same crap, so he got it.  I asked him how I should approach this thing.  His response? "Forget any time goal and focus on effort and making sure you don't get heat stroke."  Well, all righty then.  Before I set off, I decided that anything under 7 minute pace would be a minor miracle and set that as my goal.  I also told myself to run smart, that there would be no PRs and that place was what mattered.  That and that I needed to put in some solid work for the marathon training that I've been doing anyway, so this was just part of the bigger package.  Truthfully, I really had absolutely no idea what to expect or what my body was capable in these conditions.  So, off we went.  I hit my first mile in 6:42.  I felt okay but was breathing heavier than usual.  Next mile, same pace.  At the third mile, I saw my friend, Kal ahead of me and picked it up to catch him.  He was pushing his daughter in a jog stroller.  Pause to give him a shout out for his badassery.

Post-race with Kalliman

Kal and I met back in March at the Cheap half and we've kept in touch and raced together a few times since then.  I figured I'd try and run with him for a while and see how I felt.  Turns out, he was cruising a little faster than I could handle and after a mile or so at his pace I knew I needed to pull it back or that shit would be hitting the fan sooner rather than later.  Did I mention he was pushing a jog stroller?  So, I dropped off and ran solo for a few miles at a much more manageable pace.  The fans on the course were beyond incredible.  Not the race volunteers, mind you.  They were awesome, too.  But, I'm talking about the people who lived along the course and were out watching and cheering.  There was someone outside with a hose at some point during every single mile.  That was a complete game changer.  Just when you thought you were overheating to a point where you might have to walk or stop, you'd get drenched by a cheering fan.  People offered oranges, water, popsicles, cold sponges, all of it.  It was like we were running the freaking Boston Marathon.  Seriously.  Once I got to the 7th mile, I knew I could likely grunt it out to the finish.  By this point my shoes were wet, my socks were sloshing, blisters were forming; it was really kind of touch and go.  But we were all in it together and I felt that sense of camaraderie among the runners more than I ever have in another race.  Finally, I was making the turn, uphill no less, to the finish.   PRAISE BE!!!

Finish time 1:08:50 (6:53 avg)
9th woman, 2nd Master (behind my teammate, Amy!)

Holy shite.  I stopped, put my hands on my knees and gasped for air.  I might have cried tears of joy.  Too hard to know with all the sweat.  My teammate, Amy, had finished before me and we gave each other a sweaty hug, because, well, why not.  I couldn't say anything for a while, just walked around and caught my breath.  Shortly afterwards, our team congregated in a corner and discussed the madness that had just unfolded.   The race volunteers were handing out ice pops and I grabbed a bunch and passed them out, all of us sucking up the sweet, icy deliciousness.

Post race w/ Amy, Lauren & Kassandra

I'll never forget those popsicles.  I have to say, that even though this event crew was thrown such a shit sandwich with the weather, they handled it beautifully and the race itself, though brutal for the runners, went off without a hitch.  I was really impressed.  Later I found out that all three of our womens teams (Open, Masters & Seniors) had come in first.  And that, my friends, is what this race and the day itself, was all about.  As I said earlier, this one was for the team.  The goal was to run hard and place high.  I found it incredibly refreshing to have a goal that didn't center around time for a change.  The weather, as bad as it was, gave me the freedom to just go out and do what I love.  There was so much joy in the whole experience which was not what I expected at all.  And as tough as it was, I left feeling elated and completely fulfilled.  Also unexpected.  Some of the goals I set for myself are lofty and just out of reach.  Who knows, maybe I'll never get there.  And that's okay.  I love aiming high.  But, I truly believe you have to have some goals that are realistic and can be achieved.  That it's essential to have both types of goals.  And that all of them, the big and the small, will help us get to where we want to be.  

Listen to this:
Yellowjackets - Fitness