My Triathlon at sea .... and a winner!

I am back from my amazing vacation!

We were lucky to avoid Hurricane Irene, and have absolutely gorgeous weather for 95% of the trip, which resulted in some beautiful beach days, shopping, and relaxing days at sea. We made some new friends, and enjoyed the time relaxing together.

My plan to workout religiously did not go as planned. While days at sea are perfect for getting a workout in, the days at port, we wanted to get out & explore the islands, which left little time (or desire) for the gym. I did manage to getting a little triathlon & running work in....

I had a killer treadmill long run last Sunday in San Juan at our hotel

I did a little recumbent biking since the spin bikes were full. And lastly, I even practiced some open water swimming!

Ok, it may have involved a life vest & a snorkel, but I was out there in the open water. I even did a few good strokes for practice.

I attempted another run on the outdoor track our last day at sea, but the heat & heavy winds (practically blowing me over), had me head inside after 2 miles, then at 3 I was bored to death and stopped.

I was very disappointed in the fitness offerings on the ship.  All the equipment was very "old school." They didn't even have any foam rollers, bosu balls, resistance bands, or (my favorite) the TRX. The classes offered were few, and boring. They did offer a bootcamp for $30/class (ridiculous!), but the moves looked not very intense. I had to make up my own strength training circuits with some handweights and other things I found since I HATE using machines for my strength training.

As far as my nutrition goes, I tried to stay smart most of the time, but lost resolve toward the end of the trip.

I promise to do a whole vacation recap soon!

While I was away, did you check out my amazing guest bloggers??
In case you missed them...
Thursday was my post on Endurance Racing & Body Image
Friday was 13.1 reasons to Run a Half Marathon

A HUGE thank you to all my amazing guest bloggers!!

And my Multivites gummy Vitamin & b12 giveaway winner??
How have I not found her blog before today? Its fabulous, make sure to check it out!
Jen email me at sgrigely at hotmail dot com to claim your prize!

Why a Coach?

Today's guest post is from Lesley @ Racing it Off! Lesley is an amazing blogger, runner & new coach! Every time I read her blog, she is doing another half marathon or completing an amazing marathon training run, and has kicked butt picking up the pace, and losing weight along the way. She is so inspirational, and I'm so happy to share her blog with you! Check out Lesley's blog HERE!

Lesley on the right

Do You Need a Coach?

If you’ve been reading blogs for awhile, you often hear people speak of their coaches.  If you’re like me, your first reaction was “uh, yeah, I’m not winning any awards, no need for a coach.”  And yes, I know many competitive runners and triathletes employ top-notch coaches to help them train smart.  But what about the average Joe and Jane?  I mean 99% of us fall into the category of “we like to see improvement, but have no dreams of winning anything”. 

So why consider a coach?

1.       Personalized Plan – Sure you can find a million training plans out there online that are perfectly suitable for you.  But what about that interim race you want to run that doesn’t fit in with the plan?  Oh and that day you missed due to being sick?  If you schedule vacation and need a work around?  It’s nice to have someone who can schedule with your personal life in mind.  It’s also great to have someone who knows the purpose of each workout and whether one can be skipped or which ones it’s ok to move back-to-back.  Can you get to your goal with a textbook training plan – absolutely… but a personalized plan might suit you better.
2.       Accountability – Let’s face it… the piece of paper with the printed plan from your favorite website isn’t going to call or e-mail or text you to see how your workouts are going.  But no one wants to e-mail coach to say “I didn’t do my workouts.”  There is a great accountability factor to having someone personally concerned with whether or not you’re on track to meet your goals.
3.       Motivation - The paper plan can’t share in your excitement when you’ve had a breakthrough, and it can’t encourage you when you’ve had a particularly rough workout.  A personal coach wants you to succeed!  He/She can be a great motivator and remind you why you started your journey and keep your mind on the goals you set. 

But who needs a coach?

If you have a goal, then you could benefit from a coach. Maybe you want to run your first 5k and just can’t seem to stick to the plan.  Perhaps you’re wanting to make the jump from half marathon to a full marathon and have concerns that you want personally addressed.  Maybe you just want to get faster or improve your endurance.  A coach can be for anyone…  and I think you might be surprised all the wonderful benefits you will receive by having your personal cheerleader to your goals.

How to choose a coach?

There are a lot of coaches out there.  The price ranges are pretty big.  I hate to give hard and fast rules for choosing a coach because there are always people that don’t fit the rules.  You want to find a price that is affordable to you, obviously.  So you may or may not be able to afford the coach with 40 years of experience and degrees in every form of kinesiology, nutrition, etc.  You might look for certifications – RRCA is one (this is what I have), USATF is another.  If the coach is a blogger or active on facebook, follow them for awhile, see if his/her personality jives with yours.  If they already coach someone, you can ask for a reference.  If you like to incorporate other fields – like swimming and cycling – you might consider someone qualified in multiple areas.  But most important is coaching style – some are a little more regimented and structured, and that might work for you.  Others, slightly looser and more flexible.  How often are they willing to update your schedule and communicate with you?  Does this work with your lifestyle?  Do they have more of an authoritarian approach?  Or more of a teamwork approach?  Some of this you might not find out until after you’ve worked with them for a month or two… so you cannot be afraid to tell the coach if they aren’t right for you.  It’s almost as complex as choosing your mate. 

For me, I’m fairly relaxed, in constant communication, but definitely try to push my girls to set high, yet realistic goals.  Sometimes they ask for a 10k and get a half marathon (never without their approval, but if I think they have enough time to train, I want them to reset their expectations of themselves).  And yes, I also have a coach.  His purpose for me is mostly to keep me on track with speedwork – something I really struggle with.  I tend to underestimate my own capabilities, and I also dread speedwork.  With his help, I get it done and complete workouts that I was sure I couldn’t.  Even a coach needs a coach sometimes.  I cannot tell you how invaluable that accountability is.  It’s almost silly how hard I’ll push to not disappoint my coach.  And I love hearing similar stories from my girls.  It’s really interesting getting to see from both perspectives.  Whatever your goals are, if you occasionally struggle with them, a coach might be just what you need.


Don't forget to enter my Gummy Multivites giveaway HERE
Ask me more Questions HERE!

13.1 Reasons to Run a Half Marathon

Today's guest post is from Kristin @ Bigger Girls Can Run Too!
Kristin and I live fairly close to each other and I got to meet up with her & Kristin from Hollywood Runs at the Red Dress 5K in West Hartford (check out our meetup HERE)! This Kristin is training for her first half marathon, the Hartford ING Half Marathon (which I'm doing too, yay!). Make sure to check out her blog HERE!
out guest blogger, me, & Hollywood Runs!

HELLOOOOOOO Readers! I’m SO excited to be doing my first Guest Blog post!
Let me intro myself a bit: My name is Kristin and I am a runner. Actually, I’m a newbie runner and I’m training for my first half marathon this coming October. I started running about last September when I decided to do my first 5k. Since then, I’ve become rather addicted to my run/walk lifestyle and have completed 4 5ks so far this year. Running is more than just about the bling for me though, it’s also about losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 

Anyway, Stephanie asked me if I would be willing to do a post for her while she is out of town. My reply, “ABSOLUTELY!”. Then, I had to figure out what I was going to write about. The other day I came across an article on entitled ‘13.1 Reasons to Run a Half Marathon’ and I decided that would be a fantastic topic to discuss. 

For those of you have or will soon be running a half marathon, why do/will you do it?
Let’s see what says:

1. It's a challenging, but manageable distance. I think this a relatively true theory. Lately 3 miles doesn’t seem to be too much effort for me anymore. And granted, the next logical step would be to run a 10k, but I’m an overachiever and I went straight to half-marathon. 

2. You're not ready for a full marathon. Amen! I don’t know if I will ever be ready to do a full marathon. 

3. There are countless races to choose from. Also true- Rock and Roll Half, ING Half, Diva Half , Disney Half… and that’s just to name a few that I want to do in the next year or so haha

4. You have a thing for bling. Umm… what runner doesn’t? Sometimes I need something shiny to distract me from the pain of my run.

5. You're contemplating ramping up for a full marathon. Nope. Actually I’m not. But some of you might be.

6. You want to recover quickly. Yes, yes I do. I’m not really a fan of pain. I don’t mind that sore feeling you get when you’ve pushed yourself, but I’m not into crippling myself for a few days. I’m a wuss.

7. There is less injury risk with a half marathon versus a full marathon. That’s a super awesome plus for me. I come from a long line of accident-prone people, I need all the help I can get.

8. You like to party. Again, what runner doesn’t like to party every now and again? Although I’ve never been to a half marathon function yet, I’ve heard and read stories. I’m excited to go to the booths and dinners before and after the race. 

9. You want to take your running fitness to the next level. I very much would like to take my running fitness to the next level. And considering I’m only on level 1, the only place I can go is up, right? Sweet.

10. You want to burn some extra calories. I’m all about burning as many calories as possible, within reason of course. That’s why sometimes I do a few hours of Wii Just Dance as my cross-training. Fun and one heck of a caloric burn!

11. You want new kicks. I’ve already bought my second pair of running shoes and am currently searching for my third pair that I can wear for the Disney Princess Half in Feb. (If anyone spots some neutral based teal shoes, let me know please!)

12. Your wardrobe needs upgrading. I have to admit, running and workout clothes have started to take over my drawers and closet. And I’m okay with it. 

13. You like to travel. I love to travel and that’s part of why I want to do the Rock and Roll Half, the Disney Half and the Diva Dash- because I get to go to so many fun places!

13.1. It's there. Basically, once I’ve completed a race, I want to do another. I find most runners are the same way. We are constantly training with multiple races in mind. As soon as we reach and complete one goal, we are off on another. I love it.

So, those are the reasons provided (with some of my own insights). What do you think? Do your reasons match up? Are there other reasons you have for running or wanting to run 13.1 miles that they didn’t think of? One that I have is that it’s something I’ve always wanted to do for myself- something I am able to cross off my bucket list. I want to prove to myself that I am able to commit to a lifestyle change and finish what I’ve started. (No pressure, right?)

No matter what your reasons, always remember that you are part of an amazing group of people! I mean seriously, how many people do you know that would willingly go out and run 13.1 miles just because they want to? Not many. Most people I know would rather sit on the sidelines and cheer (with a beer in their hands, of course). So, when you get down and out because maybe you’re having a rough day or you’re not progressing as fast as you hoped you had, remember the reasons you are running in the first place. I guarantee it will give that much needed motivational boost!

Cheers Darlings!


Do you have any reasons to add to the list?

Don't forget to enter my Gummy Multivites giveaway HERE
Ask me more Questions HERE!

Endurance Racing and Body Image

This is a repost of guest blog I did back in March, and thought you would enjoy...

I admit that a major part of my start with running was because of my weight. I was desperate to lose weight, and heard running helped melt the pounds off quickly. Couple that with my yearning desire to earn a Mickey Mouse medal at the Disney Marathon, and that was it. I had decided to learn to be a runner.

I started running a little bit at a time, increasing it as I could. You may have thought that body image issues disappear after middle & high school, but for some of us, they linger on. Seeing thin women at the gym sprinting on the treadmills at times inspired me to do more, and other times made me depressed to think I’d never get there.  Even though running and using weight watchers helped me lose about 30 pounds, I have yet to make it to my goal. Even then, my goal weight is 150. 150, which sounds like heaven to me, is the Athena category for racing, and nowhere near what most endurance athletes are.

Advertisements for clothing, and endurance gear features slim, fit women. As inspiring as it is to see these muscular, toned, bodies wearing the gear I lust over, I feel sometimes like I don’t belong in this sport. Trying on triathlon suits & wetsuits was an eye opener, as even the XL was tight enough to make me feel like an overstuffed sausage. Horribly unflattering, and destroying to my self-confidence. Looking at pictures from my first triathlon, I am ashamed at what my body looks like.

Yet, I love my body. Those large thighs are what power me up the steepest hills on the bike and trek through the end of a tough run when I just don’t want to go any further.  Those curves allow me to look shapelier in my swimsuit. The thick arms help propel me through the water. I love my body but long for the discipline to fine-tune it to make myself more efficient. I’ve heard it estimated that you are about 2 seconds slower per pound of fat for each mile run. If that is the case, I could have ran yesterdays 10K , 7.23 minutes faster, since I have 35 pounds that I would love to lose.

I’ve tried hard to change my attitude on my body image since embracing a healthier lifestyle of running and multisports about 5 years ago. I try to see my goal as getting healthier, improving my body to improve performance, losing weight to feel better, rather than working to be thinner to fit a certain mold. It’s a hard attitude adjustment to make, but a necessary one in order to repair our relationship with our bodies. After all, “Your body is a gift and you’re fully responsible for its upkeep. Try to accept it for what it is, and reward it on a daily basis with proper food, exercise, and gratitude.”

What are your thoughts on body image and endurance sports?
Have you ever felt out of place in this endurance world?

Don't forget to enter my Gummy Multivites giveaway HERE
Ask me more Questions HERE!

Running With Aches, Pains, and Injuries

Today's guest post is from Wells L @ My Story... Chapter 2!
She is constantly battling every running injury I could imagine, but pushes through each one to continue racing 5Ks & Half Marathons. I asked her to share a little about her injuries with you. Be sure to check her blog out HERE!

Running with Aches, Pains, and Injuries:  How to stay in the game!
Hi, I’m Wells L from   Stephanie asked me to write this guest post about running with injuries something I know a little a lot about.  In the past several years, I have had:

-Sartorius (quad) pain
-Shin Splints (these were the worst)
-Knee Pain
-Patellar Tendonitis (back in 2000)
-Intermittent Piriformis pain
-Blisters, blisters and more blisters!!!!

My running mentor, who is a physical therapist, says that perhaps the universe is SCREAMING at me to STOP running!  That’s one possibility and more often than not, I agree that what I’m doing does seem to come at an incredibly high price; however, giving up because of an ache or pain is not in my nature-besides, I have a BLING addiction. Besides testing my own limits, I love the social aspect of running not to mention the health benefits it provides. 

Here is what has kept me “in the game”:

1.      R.I.C.E.  is my BEST FRIEND!

2.     The internet is my 2nd BEST FRIEND! (I have learned a LOT about how to tape, how to stretch, and how to “fix” aches and pains)

3.     Chiropractor, Massage Therapist, and Physical Therapist are my 3rd BEST FRIENDS!  These 3 people have gotten me through EVERY ache/pain/injury!!  My massage therapist has been able to pinpoint several issues that the orthopedic surgeon couldn’t even diagnose.   I’ve learned that Chiropractors aren’t just about your back- they can adjust lower leg bones to improve shin splints or foot bones to improve foot pain for example.  I’ve also learned that MANY pains are a result of/made worse by a muscle tension that can be improved by a massage, strengthening, and stretching.

4.     The local running store has been an invaluable partner in helping me to address my pain by finding socks and shoes to “fix” many of the issues listed above.  Finding the right combo takes a lot of patience!

5.     Blogging has truly been invaluable to me.  Between insightful comments about the origin of my butt pain (Piriformis), to learning training tips, to the supportive followers – the emotional “boost” I need to get me over the painful hump has come from blogging. 

6.     As an injury prone person, a sensible training plan that increases weekly mileage very slowly over many weeks and is conservative in adding higher intensity sessions is an absolute must!

7.     Know when a pain is just a pain (such as with PF – it just hurts REALLY badly but the actual PF is not going to get worse by running) or when a pain is coming from something that can get worse (i.e.  a stress fracture or a tear will get worse with running).  If there’s any question about the nature of your pain, I encourage you to consult a healthcare professional.

How about you – had a running injury that has challenged your commitment to running?
What did you learn as a result of going through the injury?

Don't forget to enter my Gummy Multivites giveaway HERE
Ask me more Questions HERE!

Feeding a Meat Eater... Vegetarian Style

Today's guest post is from Kari @ Running Ricig!
Not only is Kari a runner, amazing fundraiser, and lover of food, she is a vegetarian. Be sure to check out her fabulous blog HERE for plenty of laughs, pics of her cute dog, and delicious recipes (her famous Banana bread.. YUM!)

Hi, I’m Kari and I’m a vegetarian…who is married to a meat LOVER.
People always ask me if Mike (my husband) is a vegetarian too. When I say no, the response is always, “how does he survive since you don’t cook meat?”

Mike and I are both runners and hearty eaters. I can understand that on the surface, vegetarianism can look like a lettuce and tofu extravaganza. That is not the case in our house.
While Mike still gets deli meat in his lunches and ALWAYS orders meat when out to eat, we’ve developed a rotation of meatless meals that are crazy hearty, satisfying, and chock full of protein and other runner-friendly nutrients for meals at home.

One of the easiest and most delicious is Quesadilla Casserole. There are really only five ingredients, but you can jazz it up to your preference too.
3 Whole Wheat Tortillas
1 can Black Beans drained, rinsed
1 can corn drained
Shredded Mexican cheese
Cayenne pepper
Chili Powder

1.     Preheat your oven to 350.
2.     On the stove, heat black beans with cayenne pepper, cumin, and chili powder (I usually spice heavily 'cause we like it hot, hot, hot) until hot.
3.     In a greased pie pan, place 1 tortilla. Cover tortilla in half of the beans.
4.     Top the beans with corn and cheese, covering the cheese with another tortilla.
5.     Repeat steps 2 and 3.
6.     Top tortilla with cheese.
7.     Bake for 20 minutes and serve topped with salsa.


Don't forget to enter my Gummy Multivites giveaway HERE
Ask me more Questions HERE!


As you read this, I've piled all my luggage onto the airplane, and am heading to lovely San Juan, Puerto Rico! Unfortunately, the weather is looking like this...

I am praying that the showers are few & scattered, and we have mostly sunshine. There is a tropical storm potential on Sunday/Monday in Puerto Rico, but hopefully we will be sailing right out of it.

Sunday we are heading out on a Royal Caribbean Cruise to St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Curacao, & Aruba for 7 nights & 8 days of relaxation, and fun times. 
After the cruise docks back in Puerto Rico, we stay over 1 more night before heading home! I am really looking forward to this time for Kevin & I to relax, reconnect, and get some good workouts in. I'm excited to see what workout classes they'll have available, and plan on doing some running on the track on top of the ship and on the treadmills if I have to. I also plan on tackling the Runner's World Run Less, Run Faster book to get ready for Marathon training, which starts September 26.

While I'm gone, I'll try my best to keep you entertained! There will be guest posts from some of my favorite bloggers, and I have an awesome gummy vitamin giveaway going on until I get back HERE.

Have you ever cruised before? What's your favorite part?
What do you look forward to the most on vacation?

And.... She's Out!

I re-set the alarm this morning. twice. 4:30 became 5, then 5 became 6:30.

I skipped my run, and I feel guilty especially since I'm not sure of how many outdoor running opportunities I will have on vacation. However my legs are sore from yesterday's bootcamp, and that was without me pushing 100%. Why? well.... I almost passed out after the warmup.

What? Who passes out at bootcamp?

Thankfully I didn't. I was able to recognize my symptoms and get to a lying down position in time to prevent a black out. I've had this problem many times before, just never coupled with working out. I've passed out getting blood work and IVs and shots, putting contacts in & getting my yearly eye exam, at the lady doctors in stirrups, from back pain in my bed, and more. Vasovagal syncope is what it is.

Vasovagal syncope is pretty much when your body overreacts to a trigger like the sight of blood, or extreme emotional distress. In my case, anxiety about needles, and pain are my biggest triggers, not sure what the problem was at bootcamp though. There is usually a short loss of consciousness caused by a sudden drop in heart rate or blood pressure, which reduces blood flow to the brain.

I've taught myself to avoid passing out for the most part. I recognize the light-headedness, the tunnel vision, the cold clammy sweat, and know I need to lay down and do some deep breathing. Sometimes it hits too quickly to prevent anything, but I'm usually able to warn whoever I'm with, "I'm gonna pass out now!"

Does your body ever revolt against you?
Have you ever passed out during exercise?

I'm heading to vacation soon (3 days to go!), but have a few favors to ask of you before then. 
Please visit my Q & A post HERE & ask me a question!! So far I don't have many to answer & would like to have a whole bunch!
Also, don't forget to enter my yummy gummy vitamin giveaway HERE!

Gummy Multivites Review & Giveaway!

Recently I was given the opportunity to review some great products from

Northwest natural products is a company started over 25 years ago, starting with children's gummy vitamins after the founder wanted to find a better way for her kids to swallow supplements. They introduced the first adult gummy vitamin, and now carry a line of over 142 different products. They perform high tech lab tests for efficiency, and they're passionate about being green and taking care of the environment. Love it!

Lucky me, I got to try...

VitaFusion Multivites gummy vitamins

Berry, Peach & Orange flavors
Gluten, Soy, Peanut, & Dairy Free
Specially formulated for Adults

And Energy B12 gummy vitamins

Raspberry flavor
Gluten, Soy, Peanut, & Dairy Free
500mg of B12 per serving
B12 helps with normal growth and development of red blood cells, skin, and hair.

I've always had trouble sticking to taking a multivitamin. I hate swallowing pills. I know how important a multivitamin is to get in all the important vitamins and minerals. Especially since I'm not a big meat eater, I know I need to have some additions to my diet to round things out. Most of the time I would buy a bottle of multi vitamins, only to have them sit on the counter untouched. I came across the idea of gummy multivitamins and thought, "smart! Something that tastes like candy. I'll definitely eat that!"

My verdict. Loved it. And so did Kevin! They sit on the counter, and we pop them every morning before work. Super easy way to get my vitamins in. They're tasty, and have a good consistency like gummy bears. My only complaint? That they're made with glucose syrup and sucrose as the first 2 ingredients. I try to omit most sugars from my diet, but i figure the little that there is here, won't kill me.

Want to win some gummy vitamins & B12 gummies?

Northwest Natural Products has offered up a bottle of their gummy Multivites & B12 gummies to one lucky winner!

How To Win
1. Mandatory - Be or become a follower of my blog
2. Mandatory- Visit the Northwest Natural Products Page HERE and tell me which of their many products you like.
3. Follow Vitafusion on facebook HERE & let them know Running to Health sent you! They're giving away tons of products on their facebook page too!
 4. Follow Running to Health on facebook HERE
5. Follow Vitafusion on Twitter HERE
6. Share this on your blog, facebook or twitter (1 for each)

open to U.S. residents only
Enter until August 30 (when I'm back from Vacay!)
good luck!

Rain rain go away!!

This week's workouts have been a washout! Yesterday, I wasn't able to ride, since I had to work. Today Shelley  I had an 8 miler scheduled but due to pouring rain we cancelled. We didn't feel like getting poured on 2 weekends in a row.

My bootcamp, the major motivator to my recent weight loss success is winding down this coming week. So sad! Good news is, I have decided to commit to another 8 weeks of fabulous bootcamp workouts with Bia Fitness.

Another great way to stay in shape?
The Everyday Health

A great challenge that isn't measuring you up against others, but instead rewards you with prizes for achieving goals such as tracking calories, working out, eating veggies, and cutting out soda. You can win prizes like free Jillian Michaels & Joy Bauer books & a session with a nutritionist.

Enter the Challenge HERE!

Tonight we're heading to the Blink 182 concert, but praying the rain isn't too bad! We have lawn seats, and its been raining all day, and is supposed to storm tonight. I'm crossing my fingers that its not too bad outside. I also thankfully have the day off tomorrow, so  my plan is to swim, clean the entire house, and start packing for vacay!

Congrats to everyone who finished Chicago RnR today!

It's Britney!

After the high from my Half Marathon PR...

I have not worked out in 3 days.
I have lost 2.8 pounds at weigh in tuesday
I hit 10 pounds & 5% weight loss
I skipped my first bootcamp due to sorenesss

Tomorrow is back to Bootcamp! Even though I was definitely sore from this race, it was significantly less than usual. I was able to do stairs, and sit on the toilet without wanting to cry. Today's missed workout was not due to soreness, but instead being out late at the Britney Spears concert last night!
DJ Pauly D from Jersey Shore was there!
Caitlin & I waiting for the show to start!
Shelley, Caitlin & I
My little sister was there with friends too!
Britney was fab!

After getting to bed 3 hours past my bedtime, I am hitting it early tonight after watching monday's Bachelor pad. 

Good Night!

Rock N Roll Providence Race Report

After a late night at the Sox game, we got a late start heading toward Providence. We made a quick shopping trip to the Wrentham outlets (helloooo vacation clothes!), we headed to Providence. We settled into the Marriott downtown, then Shelley, her mom and I head to the Expo!

We picked up our bibs, then headed for merchandise and vendors. Unfortunately after picking out some official race gear, we heard the expo was closing at 5. Whoops!! We thought it closed at 6, so we had to rush to finish and get through all the booths. It certainly didn't stop me from spending, yikes! I spent a ton!

Official race gear- Rock Providence Hoodie & Rock N Roll black tank, the NEW Moving comfort Rebound Racer, a new pink sweaty band, a bracelet from Gone for a Run, Race hat (not pictured here) from Gone for a Run, Running Skirts Mums Pinkalicious running skirt, Raw Threads Rock Star Half Marathon shirt (not pictured).

We were in such a rush, we didn't even have time to take silly pictures. I felt rushed through all the booths, which maybe was a good thing to keep me from buying more, or a bad thing to keep me from thinking rationally as my credit card racked it up. 

New outfit! <3
After the expo, we walked back to the hotel, making sure to scope out the race start setup. Corrals, bathrooms, stage, beer tent. We hit Fire & Ice for dinner. It reminded me of my college stir-fry station where you picked anything you want and had them grill it up in front of you. Bonus? I got to be picky, and my meal was a million times better than the Crazy Lobster in New Orleans.

Early to bed with the race gear all laid out. The forecast was rain, rain, rain for race day. I crossed my fingers that they rain would hold off until afternoon. Oh by the way, Shelley told me Saturday instead of 2:20, she wanted to try for 2:15. What??!! Unbelievable! "We only have to hit a 10:30 pace, let's try." What the hell, I agreed!

Running Skirts Pink Princess Skirt, Under Armour Tank, Pink CEP socks, Gone for a Run hat.

Race Day
After waking up, I peeked my head out the window to see rain. LOTS of rain. YUCK. I got dressed and had my pre-race bread with peanut butter & banana. I txt'd Shelley to make sure she was up and to hear about the rain. Filled my Nuun and water bottles, got my Honey Stinger chews & stashed a waffle in my pouch. Shelley and I went to the hotel lobby, and instantly I thought "DAMN, I forgot the trash bags!" Luckily the front desk had a couple extra.

We walked down to the race start, and waited, and waited. I wish we had stayed in a little longer at the hotel, but I always get nervous about not being to a race on time. We waited, and waited, hiding under a tree, until heading to our corrals.

wet, but ready to go!
The race got started a little late, but soon we were on our way, aiming for 10:30 miles, dreading the hills we knew were ahead of us, and focusing on our breathing, and keeping our energy up. We started with a decent hill, which was thankfully followed by a nice downhill. 
Mile 1 10:10
A little fast, but we were feeling good. Mile 2-5 were killer hills. We met a girl from Groton, CT who was aiming for a 2:15 as well, and asked if she could tag along. We talked about races and slogged up the hills, and killed the downhills to try to keep our paces up. We were feeling strong and calm. Our pace felt easy to us, crazy for how slowly we've been doing our long runs. At one really big hill we saw one of the wheelchair racers taking on the hill using his legs to push up the hill backwards, since he didn't have use of his arms. So amazing and inspiring.
mile 2 10:35
mile 3 10:20
mile 4 10:28
mile 5 10:41
The rain got heavier at times, but felt great to keep cool. Every now and then, we got a tease of a cool breeze which helped us feel refreshed to stay on track. At the water stop a little after mile 5, there was a sign that read "Next hill at 7.8 miles." That was heaven to hear! Especially with the downhills that followed. There were tons of HUGE puddles, and water logged streets. We had to be careful not to slip on the downhills. We stayed consistent and pretty much on target, feeling good the entire time.
mile 6 10:25
mile 7 10:26
mile 8 10:36
Problem was, that at mile 7.8, the hills were ROUGH.
mile 9 11:00
mile 10 10:41
Our pace slowed a little, they were starting to get to me. I was looking forward to seeing Kevin, my mom, sister & Shelley's mom at the 11 mile marker. They were no where to be found. I started losing steam at this point. Not seeing family threw me for a loop, I was counting on their positive energy! We finally caught them at mile 12.
mile 11 10:37
mile 12  10:41
Kevin caught one shot of me!
At that point, Shelley started sprinting to her mom and I couldn't keep up. I started to really feel it. My arms were sore, my quads were killing me, and my breathing felt rough. I tried to focus my breathing and stay in tune for a strong finish.
mile 13 10:28
An uphill finish, how cruel!! I had to stop for a minute until a guy yelled at me that alls I had was a 100 yard dash left, I picked it up, then glanced at my watch. YIKES! My 2:20 goal was almost passing, 2:19 on the Garmin, I sprinted as fast as I could, and just barely squeaked in!

Overall Stats
Pace 10:40
5K 32:22
10K 1:05:13
10 mile 1:46:17
12 mile 2:07:58
overall 3454/5756
Division 483/803
Gender 1848/3579

OH YES! PR by over 5 minutes from Rock N Roll Mardi Gras!!

After crossing the finish, Shelley was waiting for me, she finished 42 seconds ahead of me. We got our soggy, post race pics taken, grabbed some food and went to find our families. I hit the med tent to get some ice for my knee which was a little sore, but overall I was feeling good.

I grabbed my free beer, and shortly after everyone but Kevin and I left because of the rain. I was soaked already, I didn't care! Kevin and I listened to a little Sugar Ray...

Then hit Panera for my post race breakfast. I wasn't hungry at all following the race, but an hour or so later, I was craving my Panera!

After that, we headed back to the hotel in the rain. The only downside was the weather for the post-party!

Overall it was a fun race! Very organized, LOTS of post race food, fabulous medal, and a PR on a challenging course doesn't hurt either! I'm feeling sore, but nothing like my previous half marathons. Could it be that I'm finally getting used to this distance?

Next half.... Divas Half Marathon in Long Island, NY!

Quick teaser!!

Quick teaser! New half marathon PR by over 5 min! 2:19:44, take that hilly Providence!

Providence is coming!

This morning I went for my last run before the inaugural Rock N Roll Providence! It's cooled off dramatically here in New England, and I was blessed with a nice breeze. The most wonderful running weather there is. What a change from our heat wave 2 weeks ago! I'm so thankful it cooled down just in time for the race. By the way, have you seen this awesome medal?

So awesome, it may be a new favorite (although I do LOVE my Mardi Gras one)

Shelley and I never really discuss time goals with each other. My goal? A new PR, I set my plan out to aim for a 2:23 finish, but then Shelley told me a few weeks ago she'd like to hit 2:20. I think it may be doable, so I think we'll go for it & see what happens!
Ultimate Goal - 2:20
Still awesome goal 2:23
You did good goal 2:25

Tonight Kevin & I are heading to Fenway with my mom and sister to see the Sox take on the Yankees!
You know we LOVE our Red Sox!

I'm hoping to leave early Saturday morning from home to hit up the Wrentham outlets on the way to Providence. We'll hit up the Expo and have a delicious dinner at Fire & Ice before getting everything together for the big day Sunday. Wish me luck!