Daylight Savings Time has arrived and it’s time to break out your reflective gear. I’m a morning running and use my reflective stuff for around 9ish months out of the year.

If it’s reflective- I pretty much *need*to have it.  I have a really large collection by now so I thought it would be helpful to put together a post on things I like & find worthwhile to spend the $$ on. Plus with Christmas coming up, you may want to add some of these things to your list!


My (Basic) Reflectivity Rule 101: Whether you’re running in the early morning with the sun about to come up or racing the sun as it sets- you need a basic outside reflective layer- even if it’s something super cheap that you can throw on top of your shirt so that you’re seen by headlights.



  • I used to have a vest similar to this one from Amazon- It’s really cheap ($10.99) and easy to thrown on top of whatever your wearing.1




  • If you’re looking for something more fancy, there is this option from Oiselle ($68). I asked for it for Christmas last year and absolutely love it & I want it in the Queen Flying Birds color. lightning_layer_queen_bird_print_f_1024x
  • Since it’s a vest I can throw it on over anything or just wear it solo in the summertime. I get tons of use out of it. And the fact that it has a pocket is excellent. I bought the s/m and it’s very loose on me. If you have sizing questions I would recommend reading the reviews for this vest because there are a lot of ladies who wrote helpful stuff. Vests are my #1 favorite since I can wear it over whatever else I’m wearing that day.


  • I also have this vest but it appears Oiselle doesn’t make it anymore. I love it but I have to say I love the other Oiselle one above more (the pocket does it for me!) I’m sure you could still find it online somewhere or on ebay. This one is a little weird because it doesn’t absorb any of your sweat so it can feel pretty wet when you take it off. I usually run it under cold water and allow it to air dry vs washing it because I don’t want to damage any of the reflectivity of it.



  • Nike Flash Vest: This vest is pricey. I wear my Oiselle one more. The zipper tends to jam on this one so it’s not my go to anymore. I do like the look of it though .. I’ve seen several links on ebay for it used and gently worn so if you have your heart set on this and don’t want to spend the $ this is the way to go! Click here for Link for newer model of vest:






Long Sleeve Tops: I have this firecracker top from Oiselle in hot pink and in black, I wear both a lot in the fall.


Jackets: Once the winter really hits full force I’ll grab one of my jackets. I have this jacket from Brooks and I really like it because it’s very light and I can layer underneath it. This also satisfies my rule of my top outside layer being reflective. This jacket is from Brooks and it’s a few years old. I’ve seen it deeply discounted on eBay. Just search “brooks reflective jacket” and it’ll pop up with a bunch of them- I think this jacket was unisex. It has lot. They do have a nice jacket out now that is comparable for men/women.



Light up accessories:

THESE SHOE LIGHTS ARE GAME CHANGING. They’re $59.95, and rechargeable. I love rechargeable things, don’t you? They truly light up the roads and are worth the investment. I have the older model and I think I’m going to ask for the newer model for Christmas. The battery life is starting to go in mine; I think I’ve had them for about 5-6 years now. img_9619

Light up vest: This vest doesn’t provide light for you to see (IMO) but it definitely helps me to BE SEEN which is extremely important. It’s on sale now for $39.95 for daylight savings time. I love this only complaint is that it takes batteries (three AAA’s) and isn’t rechargeable. You know the batteries are low when the vest doesn’t let you change colors and will only light up in red. The odd thing about this vest though is that I got one for my dog too..and his is rechargeable. But mine isn’t. I find that weird. (I checked the website before posting this in the event that they released a re-chargeable model. They didn’t. Come on, Nox Gear. Pls make a rechargeable vest. Thanks bye.



headband: I wouldn’t say this is a “necessity” but I wanted to add this here because I love this headband and wear it all the time. It’s something so simple but extremely reflective.



I have a pair of reflective pants from Nike and one from Saucony.  I can’t find links online for either.. But here is my latest favorite, from Brooks. I plan on asking for these for Christmas. I love Brooks leggings and have found every pair that I own to last a long time so I don’t expect anything different from this pair.


(Nike tights pictured here)


I have several reflective pairs of shorts. The main pair I wear is from Nike but they’re a couple of years old and I can’t find a similar link online for them.

I do have these shorts from Oiselle and I love them:




I know this entire blog post is mostly geared to women (sorry dudes but I’m a girl and only run in girl stuff haha) but I did notice that Brooks has a really great selection for men. If you’re looking to get the runner man in your life something reflective look here

I hope this is helpful for you. Let me know if you’ve found any products lately for running in the dark that you LOVE!



2018 C.I.M. RECAP

2018 C.I.M. RECAP: (better late than never)

I made this an Instagram post but decided to post it here too, on the blog I haven’t posted to in about 2 years! I’m posting here because I think it’s much easier to read a long ass recap via a blog post rather than a Instagram one with my 5 comments describing my race experience. It’s an easy way for myself to look back on the details from the day and it gives me an opportunity to phot dump the 84,000 pics I took that weekend.

I registered for this race back in March of 2018. I was still injured(2 pelvis fractures; one in front/one in back on min weight bearing areas) and starting to run a few miles (slowly) at a time. Looking forward to something that was so far away made me extremely excited and ready to work hard to get myself back into PR running shape after taking 6 months off.

December 2, 2018:

I had a great race; a Dream day. Almost every single thing went right, the stars aligned and those wonderful weather gods smiled down on me. But to back up:

Number pickup and leaving on a jet plane!

It was very early no judging pls


We stayed at the Sheraton Grand: it was the CIM host hotel & we wanted our stay to be as easy as possible. Kristina and I live in Massachusetts, north of Boston. This was a big trip for us; Leaving our kids and husbands and 🐶🐱was a HUGE deal.


I met with my coach on Friday for lunch (Esther was running it too) to discuss my race plan.

Me and my coach, Esther! (Who ran a friggen 2:36 on race day!)

Plan was to stop at every water stop for the 1st hour. Reason being that your body takes an hour to use the water that you’ve taken in: if I waited to take in water; i wouldn’t be using it efficiently and would become dehydrated. Water stops stress me out & I’ve never been skilled with stopping at them. She suggested I start with a bottle & eventually toss it.

As for fuel; Plan was to fuel at the start of 7; every 5 miles after that. I planned on taking 2 Maürten gels & 3 GU with me.


One thing that really helped us was that we purposely did not adjust to the time change. We went to bed/ woke up on east coast time-this helped a ton. The 7:00 am start felt like 10:00.

K before the race! We are very cheerful for people who are about to go through so much pain, haha!

What am i doing with my hands? I have no idea.

BUS to the start! VERY exciting, I know.

Race day came; K and I were up at 3:30ish. We knew that we wanted to be down at the buses for 4:30-4:45; we were told by a nice expo man that bus lines get long and to get there before the 5 am pickup. (We were also told that no one gets left behind 😍)


Breakfast was a plain bagel. And 30 min before the race, I drank Maurten 320 & half a serving of UCAN (K & I split one serving bc it was 😝🤮)


The bus ride was long but we just talked quietly about our plans & reassured one another that WE CAN DO HARD THINGS and that we didn’t come all the friggen way to Cali to run a crappy race.

We peed 30 min before the start; I got my fuel in order, we checked our bags and Then it was time to line up! The time before the race went by SO fast; i didn’t have time to be nervous.


got to hug my Mel too 💜

Jessie, Kristina & I

We walked to the corral and seeded ourselves accordingly. The corrals were FULL & somehow we would up outside of the barriers; trying not to start at the back. K got to the 3:20 mark, kissed me, pushed me forward; my bambi-like legs stumbled to the 3:10 pace group (there was no 3:14/3:15 pace group lol). some nice fellow figured that he could actually open the corral and we outsiders could slide in. Thank you, Mr Man!


National Anthem🇺🇸, hand over my ❤️…i welled up a bit; the National Anthem gives me the feels💙GO TIME.



I was amazed that i didn’t feel bottle-necked in this large race. I found my groove very quickly and didn’t weave at ALL. I started with a water bottle. It was way too heavy so I tossed it before mile 1. I stopped at every water stop & took in a sip of nuun and water until mile 15, then after that I just grabbed the cup and gulped. I was fine stopping-it was only a couple of seconds. I took Maürten gel at the start of miles 7 & 12 and then GU at 16 & 21. I wish I had brought along more Maürten; I think that worked much better for me than the gu. The annoying part of Maürten is that you’re basically eating it while running but i think i could’ve handled it! My stomach felt great this whole race and I think it was due largely to the fact that I followed the plan for water and nutrition exactly as my coach prescribed.

Something I need to put in this recap (so i don’t forget next year, ha) is that the one strange thing about this race course were the raised street dividers. I don’t have those near me; i was very afraid that I would trip on one (#clumsyaf) and in fact a friend of mine had it happen to her. So if you have run this race before, or plan to in the future: be aware of the raised dividers in the road!

I really tried to hold back the first half and not focus on the times on my watch; I only looked when it beeped. The miles clicked by and felt effortless. I saw my time at the half and it was 1:37:10..obviously it was not right since the clocks displayed the official start time. When I viewed my splits later, it was 1:35:47-it was actually a 1 second half PR, ha!

One of my girlfriends Mel came up beside me at mile 16ish, and we stayed together until 18. I felt great through then. It was almost too easy!

I love that a photographer caught Mel and I together! And Yup, I’m refusing to pay money but thank gosh for screenshots!

Around mile 18, My right quad started to hurt a lot. I was worried the muscle would seize up so I slowed 15-30 seconds per a mile with my paces for the remainder of the race. I let Mel go because I think staying with her may have done damage (she went on to finish in a fast 3:08!) When I finished the race, My husband told me that I had been on pace for a 3:11 through the 30k; that is really cool.

My quad hurt all the way to the finish but there was no way I was stopping to walking or stretch it out. I picked off people mile to mile and I knew I was looking at a huge PR & that i just had to hold on for a little longer. My confidence never wavered. I was so happy and proud of myself during this race. The marathon usually defeats me; not this time.

My last .35 mile was an 8:04 avg and that kills me bc that was the difference between 3:15 and 3:14! I didn’t smile while crossing the finish line (I regret this!); I think I was in shock.


but I was all smiles after the race! Photo cred to McKirdy

Photo below: Jessie, (she ran a 23 min PR to nab herself a 3:32!) her friend who also BQ’d, Kristina & I post race! We all BQ’d And PR’d! K got a shiny new 3:26 PR. I’m so proud of her, let me tell you that she worked her ass off for this, in between having two babies and breastfeeding she continued to work and it paid off with her smart training! I could write a whole (very long) post on how much I love her and respect her. She is my lucky penny!

Some of the food post race.. we got room service; best idea ever after a marathon!

Just a little photo dump here, don’t mind me!Kristina & I! We wanted to ring the PR bell but the line was SO LONG so this pic in front of the capital building will have to suffice!

Immediately after finishing I called my husband, (cried!!! He was so happy for me! He knows how hard i work, even though running drives him nuts) then my mom, then my BFF Joelynn who is my OG of running support (she has always been there for most of the marathon finish lines since the beginning of my crazy running days) I cried to all of them and thanked them, and then cried some more after hanging up. .

Finally hitting a goal you’ve trained for is HUGE. My heart was overflowing in the best way possible & this finish line moment will forever be a bright light in my mind.

Looking back: i don’t remember details of scenery except that it was pleasant. I was laser focused on running & fueling. The rolling hills were not as challenging as past runners had warned me that they would be. I personally found the most challenging section to be the last 6 ish miles because they had flattened out. I actually would’ve preferred more of the same thing we had just done! I’m sure the rolling hills caused my quad to start screaming; the flat miles didn’t help it though! If my quad hadn’t seized, I know i would’ve held onto my 7:20 pace and would’ve been able to push at the end instead of a flat pace.


This race meant a lot to me. It made me want to throw up with anxiety and also push myself as much as possible: I think that’s the best way to toe the line for a goal race: equal parts fear and excitement. I kept telling myself that i wasn’t going all the way across the country to run a sub par race: NOPE. This was the way I was going to fully close the door to the past. I’m no longer injured; running this race was the way that chapter finally ended for me.


During the last 6 miles when the pain was hitting my quad hard, I started doing MATH. When i hit the 20 mile mark i knew that even if I ran 8 min miles, I would still PR. That motivated me to start picking off people and pass them by.

I held on tightly to my PR desire and pushed myself to keep going-I knew i wanted that big PR & dammit I was going to get it! Crossed the finish line in 3:15:03. A 10 minute and 22 second PR & the absolute best way to cap off a wonderful year of running 🏃🏻‍♀️


It’s been 4 weeks & I’m still riding that PR high! I’m very happy with the day & I’m excited for what 2019 will bring 🏃🏻‍♀️🥇🏅

The 2016 Baystate Marathon

Hi friends!!!! On Sunday, October 16th-I ran the Baystate Marathon. It was my 6th Baystate. This is by far, my favorite course. I have so much to say about my PR race and thought it was time I did a recap☺️.

Sunday was SO MUCH FUN-I lived a lifetime of memories in one day and I’m going to do my best to sum it up here!

Packet pickup on Friday with my twin, Nicole. I LOVE HER. We have been one another’s support system lately: all training considerations and thoughts are bounced off each other. We are so much alike and say that we “share a brain”. So OF COURSE  we had to do packet pickup together!

I had #11…how cool is that? (I always register RIGHT when registration opens!)

Friday night dinner: Steak tips and sweet potato.

I try to stay really low key the day before a marathon. I do little things like laundry and clean my bathroom (aka boring chores that I’ve been putting off forever and ever) and try to sit on my butt as much as I can!

I mostly hung out with my new puppy…LOOK AT THIS FACE!!!!!!!! His name is Tucker and I’m totally in love with this pup 🙂

Saturday night dinner: PIZZA!!! This is always my go to food before a race. THis time, it was the Polynesian pizza (Hawaiian pizza with bacon too)

Sunday: RACE DAY!!!!
Up at 5, race started at 8. Breakfast- one egg, a piece of toast, and some juice. Nothing new on race day! I made the decision to bring my hydration pack with me: I’ve never done this during a marathon before, but I had done a lot of pace miles with it on before and I felt confident that it was going to help me during the race!

My dad picked me up at 7 to bring me to the start. After my sweet Dad dropped me off, I stopped at the porta potties…And who immediately spots me upon my exit but one of my FAVORITE runners Francine! I LOVE HER SO MUCH!!! It was SO AWESOME to have a little pre-race chat with her!!

I met up with my running partner, Kristina and my twin Nicole … Then we connected with Marissa and Nari and it was the PERFECT pre-race moment!

We had some laughs, took some pictures and before we knew it….

(Kristina, me, and Nicole at the start)

IT WAS GO TIME!!!!!! (I wish I could use the new Iphone 10 update here & have fireworks go off for you as you’re reading this!–> I was that FREAKING excited and it felt like a PARTY was about to happen!!!)

I was in line for the start, and all of a sudden I heard my (main) running partner behind me: my friend Shannon! So exciting to see her right before the gun went off!!!!! We weren’t sure if we were going to bump into one another at the start, and normally she doesn’t bring her phone with her while she is racing so I hadn’t bothered to text her beforehand to meet up-so it was FATE that we found each other!

There is something about this marathon that always gets me: I’ll be standing there in the cold, shivering uncontrollably (partly from my excitement AND partly because I’m usually frozen). I always feel like I’m standing on the edge and about to fall into something wonderful. It’s a pretty special feeling and it makes me well up when I think about it! The way I see it is that we don’t get too many REALLY SPECIAL moments in life and if you are able to recognize ahead of time that THIS MOMENT that you are in RIGHT NOW is pretty magical? Well you are pretty darn lucky. My brain took a million tiny pictures that day because I KNEW it was going to be a great one.

The gun started and I forgot to start my watch! I think I started it at 15-20 ish seconds in? I also still ended up running 26.50 miles, even with the shorter time!

Shannon and I ended up running together for about 15 miles. Somewhere along miles 2-3, we talked briefly & decided we wanted to pace & push one another for as long as we possibly could. I felt pretty great for those first 15 miles…. Our pace felt really smooth, and Shannon and I are used to running together and push each other naturally so it felt like just another long run.

At mile 12, My stomach started to hurt… I felt like a hard weight was in my belly:it felt like cramps and intense GI pain combined. It was AWFUL. At mile 15, the pain was  I slowed down and couldn’t match Shannon’s pace anymore.

By 16- I knew I wasn’t going to make my goal time. and, over the next 10 miles, I stopped several times and walked for a few seconds. It was awful and I felt SO defeated.

By 18: I had to stop taking GU. I had sipped on one, slowly, for miles 6-9, and another from 12-14. But my 3rd GU, I literally couldn’t swallow it and I choked it up. My stomach was in so much pain & it didn’t want any food in it. I could still take in water and I’m really grateful for that because otherwise I would’ve gotten severly dehydrated.

At 19.5- I saw one of my good friends Kaelagh!!! I ALMOST MISSED HER BEAUTIFUL FACE!!!!!!! She was pulled over in the most random spot and I’m SO GRATEFUL for her because seeing her made me get out of my pity party/waaaaaaaahmbance!!!!!

I had told myself that I couldn’t do the MATH for my finishing time until mile 20. I knew that I had slipped to an 8 min/mile pace.. but: I knew that if I kept that pace up-I WAS STILL GOING TO PR with a 3:21/3:22 time.

I saw my friend Marli at both 13 & 22 (Baystate is primarily a double loop marathon course and certain spots along the course are great because spectators can see the runners twice)….I just love her positivity!!! At 13-I knew she was cheering me on-but by 22: I *NEEDED* to see her and was looking for her face in the crowd: she yelled to me on her megaphone that I was looking so strong and that I was a BEAST! 😘😍

Marli took this of me! Side Note: I will never race in this shirt again because it is way too big on me and NOT flattering at all, LOL!

For those last miles, I had to dig deeper than I have EVER had to dig!!! I kept telling myself that YEAH, I had a bad second half of the marathon, but I DID NOT/WOULD NOT/REFUSED to give up: I didn’t run all those crazy hard, and FAST workouts JUST to give up: I came to this race to mother f*ing PR!!!!!

The fact that I was going to PR got me to the finish line. Even if I didn’t hit my “A” goal of 3:15- I knew KNEW, without a shadow of a doubt that I was going to PR!

At mile 22: I kept saying in my head “Aly, my family, Aly, My family”

I knew my family was only 4 miles away: I NEEDED to see my daughters cute little face!!!!

I tried to speed up as much as one with basically crippled-feeling legs CAN actually speed up. I just wanted to finish! ((SOMEBODY TELL ME WHY PHEIDIPPIDES RAN 26.2 AND NOT LIKE 20??THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER JUST SAYING))


From then on it was a battle of ONLY the mind. I knew that I would be able to finish because my body is TOUGH. But I needed to actually see my People before I could quit…

At mile 25, I saw the adorable Katie cheering me on..and she is just as cute in person as on her IG!!!!!! (Sidenote: She walked to mile 25 to cheer on the marathon runners after she finished her half-SO BADASS)

And then, in all it’s red glory, came the Aiken St bridge (Ouellette Bridge), there was mile 26…at exactly 26.2: I had a 3:23:02 time on my watch. (Screw you long course!!!!)

I saw my family at 26.10 and they were SOOOO FREAKING LOUD and I know that I am SO DAMN LUCKY!!!!!!!! My daughter and my niece were jumping up and down and cheering for me!!!!!! I SPRINTED to the finish with a 6:30 pace and got an “official” PR of 3:25:25!!!!!!!!!!


My SIL took this of me!

I set out to run a 3:15 marathon & It didn’t happen.

But what did happen:

I ran with my heart.

I dug so freaking deep into my soul to finish this run: it took everything out of me.

I learned how tough, physically & mentally that I really am.
First half:1:37
Second half: 1:48

Official finish time: 3:25:25

(again with the shirt-where did my shorts go????)

My watch -3:23:02 for 26.2, 3:25:02 for 26.50.
Don’t stop believing friends! 6:30 down to a 3:25. Sub 3:15… you will one day be MINE

Splits: 7:19, 7:01, 7:15, 7:15, 7:17, 7:28, 7:18, 7:24, 7:23, 7:23, 7:24, 7:25, 7:25, 7:43, 7:55, 8:15, 8:03, 7:58, 8:04, 8:00, 8:06, 7:57, 8:33, 9:15, 7:56, 8:01, 3:37 (.50)

My family and I at the finish!

One really amazing moment that I have to brag about: My twinnie, Nicole, GOT HER FIRST BQ!!!! Girlfriend got a 3:35 and we are BOTH going to the 2018 Boston Marathon! It was so special to see her after the marathon. My head is always a little foggy when I finish, and I wasn’t sure yet where exactly she was along the course. I was in the finisher’s chute, and all of a sudden-I looked up and THERE SHE WAS! I’m so PROUD of her for achieving her dream of a BQ. And you are only just beginning girlfriend! 🙂 🙂 🙂


After the race, we went to one of our favorite watering holes. I got a sandwich as big as my face….

My Niece and I have a tradition of her wearing my medal and us taking a picture with it 🙂

And some family pictures. Aly is pointing to me because she would like you to know that I am the champion!

More family pics 🙂


And I made my puppy wear my medal. How could I NOT????


And now you have the whole PR story. If you’ve made it this far- THANK YOU!!!!

Hollis Fast 5k

Hi! Remember me??? Don’t worry, I’m still alive and kicking! I’ve done a few races and 5ks lately (Boston to name one of them!) and I haven’t been motivated at all to write any sort of review- or post. I’m sorry. Please forgive me!

But Thursday night,  I raced the Hollis Fast 5k and I thought to myself:”I should really do a blog post on this one because it was really cool.”

Before I tell you about the race, I have to give you a small story: I didn’t run my first 5k until 2014. I have always been a distance runner, and I used to consider 5ks to be “beneath me”. HA. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA. Oh Nicole. So silly. My first 5k was the Hinkley Allen Manchester 5k in July of 2014. My goal was to break 21 minutes. And I did, with a 20:50. After that first 5k I said 3 things:

-I feel like i’m going to puke (I didnt’)
-i hated that
-I want to break 20 minutes.

5k’s are my “scariest” race distance. So how do you get over that “I’m freaking terrified right now” feeling? YOU DO MORE OF THEM. I have never been able to truly find my rhythm in this distance. It’s so short that you really don’t have time to make anything up, and if you’re looking to push it, you’ve got to do it from the very start. It’s truly 3.10 miles of riding the Pain Train. Sometimes I crash and burn, and sometimes I feel good the whole race only to realize later that the only reason that I felt good is because I didn’t push it enough.

In 2015, I set a new PR at the same 4th of July race that I did in 2014. New PR: 20:07. On my bday this year, (May 1st) I ran a 5k in town (because why NOT run a race on your birthday??). It wasn’t a chip timed race and I ran a 20:17. However, when I uploaded my Garmin later and reviewed the splits, my watch said a ran a 20:05. If I hadn’t run 16 miles the day before, I KNOW I would have PR’d by more than only 2 seconds!

So I was heading into the Hollis Fast 5k with the knowledge that I was GOING TO PR. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind. My mental game was STRONG.


The Pre Race Stuff Logistics:
The Hollis Fast 5k was one of the best races I’ve ever run in my life. There are so many good things to say about it that I’m afraid I’ll forget a few! It was extremely well organized and a closed course- I LOVE THE CLOSED COURSE.Runners had the option of picking up your bib at a local running store, or on site the day of. Since I like running stores, and since I like this particular running store (Fleet Feet), I opted to pick up my bib ahead of time. (bonus to Fleet Feet for including a 20% off coupon on the back of the runners’ bibs!) 


OH. I haven’t mentioned the course and elevation profile yet, have I? Well take a look at the elevation profile….



AMAZING. Now you can see why I was so excited, right??? The race drops 224 feet over the 3.1 miles and it is a point to point course. You are basically running on one road for the whole race-there is one turn. I loved that. Compared to some races (like the Good times race series) that are filled with a TON of twists -it was really refreshing to run this course!!!

A lot of runners commented on the IG post that I wrote about this elevation profile and how it looked like a race to blow your quads. It really wasnt though…The downhill is very slight, and I found it easy and not very steep. So instead of feeling like you could be falling down the hills because your pace feels out of control, it is more of a manageable decline.

The Race email suggested that runners arrive early: to the 6:30 start: This is a 5k that 1400 people registered for…holy smokes that’s a lot of peeps for a 5k! I knew it would be busy, so I listened and got to my parking lot by 5:15. Runners were bussed to the starting line (that is something new-to-me for a 5k!)

The weather was PERFECTION for race day: I was in a skirt and tank, and wore a sweatshirt to the start because I was a little chilly. There was a slight breeze and for the first time EVER, I didn’t actually mind the wind because it was a freaking TAILWIND that blew us down the course!!!!! I have done so many races where I’ve been too hot, too cold, it was too windy, etc…All The Stars aligned and the Running Gods were smiling down on me!!!!


Once I arrived at the race start, I hit the porta potty, took my GU, and just waited around a little bit. I didn’t run into any trouble with lines, and I saw several porta potties-and still never really noticed a line at any of them. So either people used their own bathrooms at home, or lines moved fairly quickly! It suddenly occurred to me about 15 minutes from go time that I forgot to:

a.) warmup
b.) make a playlist.

Are you kidding me??? I’m chalking this up to the fact that my brain was centered around a new 19:xx PR!


Stuck this penny made by one of my besties in my little zippered pocket. It can’t hurt to have luck on your side, right???

After a 3/4 minute jog around the school lot, I checked my sweatshirt with the gear bus, and went to line up out front. I spotted the lovely Run Far Girl and went into total fangirl mode. I had to say hi to her because I love her IG, her merchandise, and her positive attitude that she always displays! Plus I love reading all of her mom posts! It was so nice to meet her!


Before I knew it, I was off! I didn’t want to look at my watch unless I felt my pace was slipping. I always go out too fast in 5ks and I didn’t want to make that mistake this time. I also wanted to go by perceived effort. I kept the pace pretty even and I reminded myself that this was MY RACE. For once, I didn’t care about placing or winning or any other crap like that. I didn’t care if anyone passed me or passing people: I was solely focused on A NEW PR.

The first mile felt good, a little painful as most 5ks feel to me. I got out of my own head and beat the Negative Nancy’s way down. I had no idea of the pace I was keeping, I focused on even effort, breathing, and letting Rihanna and Calvin Harris sing to me. First mile clicked in 6:18!

2nd mile: I knew that, in order get a PR of 19:50-19:55, I would need to keep the pace under 6:30. I kept saying to myself “just keep it under 6:30, you can do this.” I felt really good and snuck a peek at my watch…6:11! YOWZA. I tried to just keep this pace which made me realllly happy! I started to pass people, mentally high fiving them in my head. I don’t know about you, but I can’t get out a single word when I’m running a 5k!!! I tried to focus on the race report that I read and remembered that the writer said when there were flat areas, he would tell himself to just keep this pace for a little while longer and it would start to go downhill again. The 2nd mile was by far my favorite mile: there was a really pretty field, and this was the mile that I felt the best in. My watch clicked in 6:06—> I actually couldn’t tell this because there was an instagram notification blocking half of my screen. (Note to self to turn off notifications when I’m in a race!)

3rd mile: I shall refer to this mile as the death march mile. Gahhhhhh. It was terrible. I wanted to cry. Everything hurt! Where I was able to speed up considerably in the 2nd mile, by the 3rd my whole body was like “Betch please, we’ve had ENOUGH!” The best part of the 3rd mile is that there are signs when you have 1 mile to go, .75, .50, .25…that was a freaking godsend!!!!!!! I kept saying to myself “JUST MAKE IT TO THE NEXT SIGN.” I saw my pace slip from 6:12 alll the way up to 6:25. I ended up running the 3rd mile in 6:32. (I know, i know, it’s not a bad pace, but it wasn’t the great paces I held in the first 2 miles!) 

I spied the finish line and I was sooooo happy!!! I went through under the clock reading that it was 19:47!!!!!!!! I was so happy and crossed with the BIGGEST SMILE on my face! I stopped, crouched on the ground, and kissed the asphalt (YUP, I was that crazy girl…) because I couldn’t believe the new PR that I had wanted for SO LONG was all MINE!!!!!!!

Official Gun Time: 19:45 🙂 🙂 :). I was the 23rd female. To place in the top 25 for this race is really darn good!


Here I am crossing the finish line with a big fat smile. And as you can see, I really did kneel down and say a little prayer of thanks!

So lets talk about some of the things that went right:
-Number pickup the day before was really quick and easy, and so was the parking day of. I was pretty close to the finish line, so I was able to jog the mile-ish back to my car post race.

-The weather. OMG I loved it.

-My attitude. Going into a race with an attitude that you are going to PR is HUGE. The power of positivity is a real thing. The only way I can describe how I felt all day is to say this: I felt like I was standing on the ledge of a cliff and about to fall into something GREAT. The nerves were excitement, not stress nerves. It was a really great thing to feel.

-I was my own cheerleader. I backed, no PUSHED myself out of the dark corners of my mind, and I was yelling at myself that I knew I could do it, and I knew I could be better than what I was.

-The Course. While I did certainly love that it was a downhill course, I feel that I have learned how to really push myself towards new PR’s. I think the course was just a minor thing and that me giving it my best was the real winner.

What went wrong….
Too often runners (myself INCLUDED!!) focus on what went wrong during a race. The only thing that I think slowed me down was the fact that I’ve been doing a lot of BBG lately and even though I skipped leg day for the week, there are still plenty of burpees and squats in the other days that left my legs sore. But, I really love BBG and wasn’t willing to skip the whole week!!!

This race showed me that I should be shooting for a sub 19:30 time: If I had stayed at my average combined pace for my first 2 miles, I would have wound up with a 19:15 -19:20 5k time. Now I know what to shoot for next!!! I loved this course, and I love running downhill. I think the downhill course helped me get the PR, but I also think that my positive attitude made me kill this race and I feel very good about duplicating this effort on a regular course!

Thanks for reading!

Ever had a race day where EVERYTHING went right for you?? (it is MAGICAL when this happens!)

LOCAL RUNNERS: Race Entry giveaway

  I’m so excited to be telling you that I’m hosting a race entry giveaway for all of my local runners!
The Edna K 5k in Lowell, MA will take place on Saturday, April 2nd. This is formerly known as the “Jig and Jog”. The race is a part of the Irish Cultural week and it was pushed back from a March so that we will (hopefully) have a gorgeous day in April! This means you get to wear your green stuff again—that rocks! The first 100 entrants are guaranteed to get a free shirt.

Number pickup starts and registration will begin at Dudley’s at 8:30am, and the runners will take off at 10am from the Ayotte Parking Garage (beside the Tsongas Center). If you have run the “Good Times Course” before, than you are already familiar with the route. (Click here for a description)

Here is the good part: I’M GIVING AWAY A RACE ENTRY! One lucky winner will get a FREEEEEE entry into this awesome 5k!
Winner will be chosen at random on Tuesday, March 29th. To enter: Leave a comment below! For an extra entry, follow me on Instagram and leave a separate comment telling me you did so!

Can’t wait to see if you win?  Use code “TGWRE” for a sweet discount!!
(Edited to add winner)And the winner is Jason Demers! I will be contacting you soon with instructions. Congratulations! 


A few of my favorite things!

Happy weekend everybody!!! Lately I have been using a few things ALL the time and I wanted to share their awesome-ness with you!!

BUT FIRST. This popped up in my memories -It’s from 2011. My husband built my little a snow fort in the backyard. She was only 4 in this picture and a tenny little thing! I just love this memory and I’m SO THANKFUL that it hasn’t been a bad winter!!!

1.) I would normally NEVER post pictures of underwear BUT I had to tell my runderwear loving friends about these. They are Under Armour and I love them! They’re one size fits all and I love how cozy the material is!

2.) I am OBSESSSSSSED with my Nike Vapor Flash Vest and Nike reflective running tights. They are REALLY expensive, but, in my opinion-totally worth the money (I got them for Christmas!). I will have them for years to come and I try to take really good care of them. This is the only pair of pants that I wear at night/during the morning for outside runs. They are very flattering and I am HIGHLY visible. I’ve been described as looking like I’m wearing “flashlights” while I’m out running!

The vest is fitted but I have found that I can still put a base layer on, comfortably, underneath it and not feel squished or like I’m suffocating. 🙂

I’ve read a lot of reviews on the pants and I was a little skeptical about getting them-A lot of people said that the reflective parts come off in the wash. I wash them inside out on gentle cycle, and I haven’t had any problems!

  Lights on!

Lights off! This is what a car sees when they drive by me. SO MANY LEVELS OF AWESOME!


3.) Nathan Firecatcher Hydration Vest. I bought this as an alternative to my Camelbak. I LOVE my camelback but I often get chafed by it in the summertime so I wanted to find an alternative. This vest came with two front bottles and I bought the bladder for the back of it. I’ve used the bottles before but I prefer the bladder. I think if I was an ultra runner, I would use the bottles too since it would be a piece of cake to refill them at stops.

I still love my camelback a lot, but this vest has yet to chafe me so it’s been the first thing I grab for all of my long runs this winter. I do like the way the Camelbak sits on my back slightly better than the Nathan vest, though.


The vest also has pockets on both sides of the front straps: a pocket and a zippered which is pretty cool!


4.) The Night Runner 270’s. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE these. This was another purchase that I was extremely skeptical about. I didn’t know if they were worth the $60, plus there was no store that I could go and check them out at. I don’t like to spend money on a product that I’m not absolutely sure about! I thought the concept of them was really cool and my headlight was uncomfortable & not that bright. I was looking for a better solution for running in the dark and a runner I follow on IG had posted about these.

Whenever I post a picture of them, I get a LOT of questions.  I think the company needs to market themselves a little more & put more info out about their product by way of more videos. (I’ve posted videos on my Instagram before but I don’t have a YouTube channel so I didn’t post it here) Their website is nice, but I think it needs a bit more info about their rockin product because it seems that people are just as skeptical as I am.

But I bought them anyway and hoped for the best. I use them ALL the time. ..morning, night: it doesn’t matter. They are rechargeable (love that) and you plug them into a USB to do so. I’ve gone up to 3 weeks without charging them and typically use them 2/3 times a week.

The range of visibility is incredible. You can read more about it on their website but here is how I like to describe it: They are really bright flashlights for my feet that make me feel safe & well seen. I also don’t bring my headlight along anymore-but if I’m out running in the dark, there are also street lights that are on. So this means that the roads are not TOTALLY dark to begin with.

I HIGHLY recommend them to all my night and morning runner friends. I’ve even taken them along with me to the dark track in the wee hours and I love being able to see my feet!


Happy Weekend, Friends! Have you tried any of these things, or tried any excellent running products lately??


Since the weather has been so delightful lately and spring is on its way-I thought I would give a shout out to my very favorite running skirt: The Lioness!!

It’s no secret that I love Skirt Sports and their Lioness Skirt. I’ve been an ambassador for this incredible company since the fall of 2014. I love everything about the company: the people who run it, their constant devotion to empowering women, and their products. 

I discovered Skirt Sports and the Lioness skirt by accident during a weekend away back in August 2014. My husband and I had taken an anniversary vacation to the gorgeous Wentworth by the Sea. 

Now, let me tell you, before I found Skirt Sports, I did not like running skirts and couldn’t picture myself in one. I thought it would make me less girly and like I was trying too hard to show that I’m a girl who is out there running.

I had been searching for a while for an awesome pair of shorts with a bunch of pockets. I wanted something to stuff my GUs in for long runs so I didn’t have to wear a wrist pocket or my flip belt. Less is more!!! On our travels, we stopped at Runners Alley in downtown Portsmouth Nh. I saw this cute little skirt, and I was floored when I lifted up the ‘skirt’ part and saw the two deep side pockets that looked like I could easily fit my phone and a couple GU in there. PLUS— the skirt had a zippered back pocket which i knew I would use to put my housekey/money/debit card. I should’ve just bought the skirt on the spot because zippered pockets actually make me a little too excited…but I didn’t. In my head I kept saying “You don’t like running skirts.”

BUT….After a delicious lunch…I made my husband turn around and buy the skirt that I could not get off of my mind!! I even tried it on back at our hotel in FULL running gear because I was way, way too excited to wear it on a run!


Me in my first skirt!


I test drove the skirt the very next day. It was love at first run, and now I am eating all the words I ever said about running skirts being lame because the Lioness skirt freaking rocks.

Some of my favorite features:

-Comfort. This is very important to me. I love the material-It’s so soft and cozy. It does not chafe me at all. Being that I spend a ton of time in my running clothes, I need them to cause zero pain!! It also doesn’t ride up or need any adjusting. Once I pull the skirt on, it stays exactly where I put it.

-Style. I don’t like longer shorts or longer skirts. I’m a peanut and I like my bottoms to be short and sassy just like me. This skirt is irresistibly flirty. I never worry about it blowing up in the wind and showing my undies, because it has built in shorties underneath. BAM.

-POCKETS. This is my very favorite feature, by FAR. the shorties have two deep side pockets, and the skirt has a back zippered pocket.

This means THREE pockets to put ALL of your stuff in!!!!  Another thing I absolutely love about the pockets is that you can’t tell by looking at me HOW much stuff I actually have crammed inside of them:During the 2015 Boston Marathon, I stuffed 4 GU, my cell phone, portable cell phone charger, phone cord, a key, money, my debit card and some Imodium. (Because you never know). The skirt part is so sassy and bouncy that when you run, it kind of “flutters” around you and you don’t notice the bulging pockets.


I race almost exclusively in this skirt, and do all of my long runs in it. It has every single thing I need during a race/long runs: pockets to hold my endless amounts of stuff, cuteness, and functionality. I also have it in every single color. See below…


For the spring line-Skirt Sports has release 3 amazing new colors..I’ve bought 2/3 so far!

Free Love and Marine/Razz Stardust. I had to own them IMMEDIATELY…

To own your race-perfect skirt, RUN (haha) to the Skirt Sports website! Use code GWR20 for a 20% off discount!


Run Free, Run Strong….And race in Skirt Sports!!!!

xo I’ll be back for an update real soon! 


The Good Stuff.

I’m sitting down to write this and it’s 9:06 PM on Friday night. My family is out for the evening and the house is insanely quiet. I had to take advantage of this momentary lull to actually FINALLY do some writing.

Over the past month, I’ve started at least 6 posts, only to leave them in my draft inbox. I can’t even sum up motivation to write lately, it’s so weird! If I had published a post, it would go something like this:

Monday- I ran today. It was a good run

Tuesday- I ran today. Bad run.

Wednesday- Guess what? I ran.

Thursday- I’m going to blow your mind right now-I ran today!

Friday-A day off from running.

Saturday- I ran!

Sunday-Wouldn’t you know it, I ran today, and it was longer than all of my other runs!

Mileage total: Lots of running and tons of some whining along the way.

I couldn’t bring myself to post those obnoxiously boring details and figured that no one would want to read that drivel anyway. I can chalk my lack of motivation and inspiration up to the fact that I am TIRED. The kind of tired that starts in your brain and works its way down to your toes. This kind of tired is the stealer most of my time and all of my energy.

This has been a year of learning and of good changes for me and my family. You may remember that I became a full time mom to my stepdaughter this past summer. I’ve never been so tired, happy, worried, proud, run-down, laughed so hard, cried so much, or been as confused and concerned as I have been over the past few months. I can’t describe it any better than that. If I had to use a word to describe 2015, I would go with “LEARNING”  or “NEW”. HAHA…and maybe “TIRED”.

I don’t have any kids of my own, so obviously, this was a giant life change. When it happened, we were still on summer break–this made it an ever BIGGER life change- My summertime life was pretty much me, on my own, doing whatever I want all day for 3 months. But into my life entered a sassy 8 year old.

I’ve been in her life since she was just 2 years old and since she was so little, she doesn’t remember a time that I wasn’t. We would have our visits with her on weekends and try to cram family stuff/friend stuff into those 2 quick days. It still never felt like enough time with her, though.

This past summer, I never expected to become a full time mom, and I didn’t expect to learn all the things that go along with it.  I know that I thought that when I eventually became a mom- it would come naturally to me and I wouldn’t have so many NEW things to learn. HA. HAHAHAHAHA. 

There have been mom fails.. like the fact that I didn’t know I couldn’t send my daughter’s medicine to school with her and I didn’t know she needed a note for every new person who picked her up. And there have been struggles that keep me up all night, like the struggle to get my little one to sleep in her own bedroom. And the struggle to establish routines with little things like showering and lunches and homework. So many new things. (Homework-I’m looking at you!)

There is exasperation…I find my myself at a loss for words sometimes because I literally do not KNOW what to do in some situations because I’ve never dealt with certain things before. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the time I’ve gone to my SIL, Mom and MIL for parenting advice. This is all brand new and I might as well have gotten a baby instead of an 8 (now 9!) year old.

Through all the confusion and exasperation, I have found that I’m adjusting.  I’m even adjusting my running! I used to do every single long run on Saturdays and I’ve been consistently stubborn with this for YEARS..Seriously, I can’t remember otherwise. I truly never thought anything in the world would change my routine of long run Saturday. Now I have a little buddy with me on Saturdays (my husband works) so my long runs are always Sundays. Things change, and you have to adapt to those changes and roll with the punches.

Most people don’t like change. I’ve always been a fan of it.  I like new things because it shakes things up and helps me grow. Without a doubt-this has been the biggest year of change for me. My best friend is fond of saying “Everything happens for a reason”. And as much as I used to hate when she would tell me that (it mostly came on the heels of a breakup), it is actually a 100% true statement. I know this little one needs me. So all the change and growth and learning and sleepless nights is to help her.To see her is like my heart is walking around outside of me. Its so weird and awesome and awful all at once.  

And I’m learning. I’m learning that some of my favorite times come when I least expect it. Aly and I have fallen into a Saturday morning routine and we make a whole day of having fun and I LOVE IT. We are beginning to develop routines and have learned that showers work best with the music playing on her IPAD, and all meals are to be accompanied with milk..not juice. Warm cozy clothes are the fave and jeans have got to GO. Homework is best done RIGHT when we get home, and when listening to music, we are in agreement that it should always be blared LOUDLY (preferably Tay Tay Swifty)

Little things mean so much more now too. Like when she gets out of bed and immediately gives me that big bear hug. Or when she spontaneously tells me she loves me. And when she falls dead asleep in my arms and I have to carry that little beauty to bed. Man I love that. These little details trump all the confusion and the worry and make every single struggle worth it.

And along with that you learn that a new chapter in your life has begun: It’s making sacrifices and thinking about the future All. The. Time. Its giving up sleep and nights out and learning to deal with the parent swap off of responsibilities. In short: It’s a lot. (Kudos to you single parent families out there!)I have so many questions! Does it ever get easier? (I don’t think it does) Will I ever have all of the answers? As much as I would LOVE to ask Santa Claus for THAT for Christmas…I don’t think that I could ever actually get all the answers. I’m learning that parenting is kind of a learn-as-you-go thing. 

I once heard a quote somewhere that went like this: 

To adopt a child means that my child grew in my heart instead of my belly.

I love this message and it rings true for a stepparent too. Since I’m a step-mom: There is always going to be a struggle. I can’t imagine that ever going away. We stepparents have different challenges. And with those challenges come different rewards. I’m learning that I’m probably Aly’s stepmom for a reason because that kid is turning into my little mini me and I love it. I’m never goingto be her “real mom” and that is ok. I’m her “other mother” and that is in its very own class of amazing-ness.

I sat down to write about how un-motivated I was to write about running . I started typing and this is what ended up coming out! I guess I just wanted to get all this out and it  ended up being pretty therapeutic. I know that I’m blessed to lead this little bitty life of mine and everything that is happening now makes me a very lucky individual. This is all “The Good Stuff” in life and not everyone is as lucky as me! So thanks for reading and I hope I didn’t bore you with my non running babbling! Next time, I promise it will be running stuff! Sometimes, that little thing called LIFE gets in the way and changes us. And if you are luck enough, your own life will be filled with the good stuff, too!


Pro’s & Cons of racing a lot

Happy Monday my friends!

One thing that you might have noticed is that I really like to run races. During the fall, it feels like I’m running one every weekend. There are sooooo many good ones! I would race every Saturday and every Sunday if I could afford it, and, if I knew that it didn’t drive my family nuts!

Because I like to save the best for last, I”m going to give you my cons first. I like to give you the good stuff at the end…That’s just how I roll!

1.) Racing a lot gets expensive. I sat down to do the math for 2015. I haven’t finished making the list yet but it is long so I’m a bit afraid… Between registration fees and potential traveling, you can spend a ton of dough!

2.) Racing “all out” on a consistent basis will indeed burn you out. I try to pick and choose when my racing efforts will be at my highest level of awesomeness. It doesn’t always go my way, but I do know there will always be a “next time.”

1.) Races help you run your goal pace. Something about the race environment makes you ready to push yourself harder than you would on your normal Saturday/Sunday run. There is nowhere better than at a race for you to practice goal paces!

2.) Races are FUN. Whether it’s a themed race or a race in memory of someone: THEY ARE FUN!!! Last weekend was the “Stache Half” and it kicked off “Movember”. This silly theme cracked me up and the runners had fake stache’s in their goodie bags. Prizes were also awarded for Best Stache! Little touches like that go a long way!

3.) Racing is a great social activity! Most longer races that I run have shorter options, too. It’s very easy to get a friend to sign up for the shorter distance! And, a bonus to running the short races like 5k’s/10k’s-I can pretty much always convince someone to run it with me!

4.) You get to see new places and check out new areas that you normally wouldn’t go to if it weren’t for a race. I don’t do much traveling for races, BUT I think that is going to change for 2016. I have my eye on a few key races for next year and I’m really looking forward to it!

5.) Even a bad race teaches you something: No runner can have the perfect race every time. I feel like the stars need to align, my stomach has to be perfect, itunes playlist must be on point, and if I’m really lucky?? I ((ahem)) have used the bathroom before the race. I’ve had just as many bad races as I have good. From every race, I learn something new that I get to take with me and apply to my next race. From my last race, I learned that when there are hills at the end of the course and you aren’t a lover of hills: you may want to rethink registering for that particular race. Or just don’t set a time goal. Just saying, Nicole, just saying…

6.) Racing a lot teaches you where your strengths and your weaknesses lie. During every 5k, I’m challenging myself on so many levels. 5k’s are a weakness for me. The marathon distance shows me all kinds of crazy strengths: That I am highly motivated during distance runs, that I love the long course that is the marathon, that I’m really good at visualizing the finish line. It’s also taught me that I need to keep putting emphasis on fast finish long runs and pushing my speedwork. Do a few races and you will learn your own strengths and weaknesses, I will promise you that!

7.) I GET to race. I never, ever take that fact for granted. I get to run and that is a precious gift that I’ve been given. I’m fast, but not the fastest, but I am damn good at what I do. I GET to RACE. How lucky am I??

Do you like to race? Do you do it a lot?

2015 Baystate Marathon Recap 

Congrats to all of my fellow Baystate Marathoners who completed the half or full this past weekend! It was a very cold and windy day and we DID IT!! I’m sorry for the delay in the recap, but today was really the first day that the fog has lifted from my brain because I have been so very sick.

Before I launch into my recap, I want to say THANK YOU to the Baystate Marathon race director, Glenn Stewart and the Baystate staff. This is the second year that I have been their official race blogger and its an honor to represent this amazing race. It’s run by the Greater Lowell Road Runner’s (which I just proudly joined!) and they put on a terrific day for runners. Their tagline is “for runners/ by runners” and it really is. The expo is run by its members and always feels very home-y to me. I say it all the time-The Baystate Marathon is my favorite marathon. It’s well organized, staffed, and I always feel completely safe when I’m running it. The course itself is terrific and usually there are some gorgeous trees to help get your mind off the 26.2 miles. This past Sunday did not disappoint. If I wasn’t running a race, I would have stopped a whole bunch of times to take pics because the trees were STUNNING!! (Sidenote: I had the honor of being #10 this year because I was the very first person to register. This is how much I love this race:))

Let’s back up to taper week: Wednesday, I began to develop a slight cough but didn’t think much of it. Thursday, the cough progressed and I could feel it taking root in my lungs and couldn’t stop coughing. I asked my IG running community for help and was BLOWN away by their quick responses: Since last Thursday, I’ve been drinking Emergen-C and special teas, swallowing Zinc, downing Apple Cider Vinegar shots, making homemade concoctions, and sleeping/hydrating a TON. These things helped the congestion in my lungs a little bit but the cold still worsened. By Saturday, it was in my head, and by Sunday, I couldn’t even pop my ears due to massive head congestion.

I really weighed my options because lets face it– doing a marathon when you’re sick isn’t very fun. There are a few other full marathons that I’ve always been interested in so I thought about signing up for one of those with the hope that my cold would be gone by then. But my brain kept going back to these thoughts:
-I’m perfectly tapered for Baystate. What would happen if I pushed the race out 1,2, even 3 weeks??
-My family was ready to come to the race
-I trained all summer along the course

So I told myself that even though I didn’t know if I could meet my goal for the race, I would still go out and try my very best. If I ended up feeling worse, I knew I could call my husband or my dad to come and pick me up. (I didn’t have a fever, and if I did? I definitely wouldn’t have done the race.)

The weather dawned bright and sunny…but COLD. I didn’t want to wear a lot of layers during the race, so I figured I’d just try to keep on the bulky layers until I got warm. I thought that I would be warm by the 2nd mile (that’s my typical mile that I throw my clothes away) I wore my original Lionness skirt, this sports bra, black arm warmers, black compression socks, pink tank top, cute new Chica bands headband I bought at the expo. 

It was a whole lot colder than what I’ve been used to lately. Before Sunday, the coldest run that I had done so far was 50 degrees. My Garmin says that it was 28 degrees and I think that feels right! I got to the start at 7:30. My dad got as close to the starting line as he possibly could and dropped me off. He told me to call him if I needed a pickup. I didn’t have long to stand and wait around and for THAT, I am so grateful!

I saw a few friends before the start, dropped off my bag, and lined up with the 3:15 pace group. My plan was to stay with them through the half and if I felt good, I could branch out on my own. If I wasn’t feeling like I could go any faster-I would try to stay with them, or, as close to them as possible. BUT… This was my plan pre-illness. I definitely felt that it was doable, but with a head/chest cold,  I had no idea what would happen.

I could barely even hear the National Anthem being sung because my ears were blocked. And I don’t remember a whole lot about standing in the starting corral-I think i was a little surprised that I was running a marathon and it felt a little surreal. I blame that on the cold meds…. BLAAA. I had a thick fleece on over my cute outfit, and underneath that-a throw away sweatshirt and gloves. I disposed of the fleece right as the anthem was finished being sung..seriously…it was SO DAMN COLD that I could hardly bear to part with it. I didn’t even realize until I sat down to write this post that I took no pictures of my race outfit, and no pictures of me at the starting line.. It really didn’t even occur to me. I was way too nervous about racing while being sick since it’s something I’ve never done before.

The gun went off promptly at 8 (I love that) and we were off!

  I tried to snap a good picture of my pace group leaders shirt but it was tough!

Miles 1-9.
I learned from my mistakes of running in a large group from last year: The orange cones lining the course  tripped me up…a lot. I didn’t want it to happen again, so I stayed at the back of the pace group. It was primarily men and just 2 other girls… If I fell….I would have gotten stomped on by really tall men!

I didn’t shed my gloves until mile 7…and even then I was really hesitant to do it. I was a little sweaty and it was either toss the gloves-or toss the sweatshirt. I didn’t want to get to a situation where I was suddenly walking and freezing and wishing I hadn’t thrown it away so the gloves were tossed. As soon as I tossed them, I immediately cooled. I’m now wondering if I should’ve kept the gloves and tossed the sweatshirt because I never warmed up again and kept that damn ugly, old sweathshirt on for 26.2 miles. (and it was an old zip up shirt that I think I got from high school!)) 

I stayed with the pace group this whole time. Everything still felt good, and I figured I had a good chance to hit the goal I wanted to hit.

Mile 10.
My cute running partner Kristina told me to look for her family  at mile 10 and I ALMOST MISSED HER and the GIANT AMAZING sign she made me!! I asked her how I was doing and she said GREAT and that the 3:15 pace group was right ahead of me and that my goal was going to happen. She told me she’d be there for the second loop and I’d see her at Mile 20.

Mile 11.
Tra la la la la! I get to see my friend again at mile 20! Yay!

Mile 12.
Rourke Bridge- See my friend Marli and I’m SO thriled that I face planted into her to give her a hug. She tells me to keep going and that I’m doing GREAT!

Mile 13.
I’m tired.

Mile 14.
I think the pity party started right around then. I didn’t want to be there, I wanted to go back to bed, I wanted to be warm…I wanted a lot of things. I think this was also when I realized the 3:15 pace group was a little farther ahead of me than what I’d planned. I thought to myself “It’s ok! The 3:25 group hasn’t passed me yet! I’m good.”

Mile 15/16/17.
My breathing started to feel really laborious (that’s what happens when you run IN the cold WITH a cold, duh), and I saw the 3:25 pacer’s shadow over my shoulder as they slowly passed from behind me.(((SIGH))) #Sadness. It’s really hard to remember a lot of details from around that time besides hitting the WALL. I WANTED to go home with Kristina when I saw her. Or call my Dad. I just didn’t want to be there anymore and marathons are dumb, and running when you’re sick is dumb and I probably was even thinking that running itself is dumb. Sniffle sniffle, cough cough, and cue the Waaaahhmbulance!!

I hit the 30k in 2:24 and I remembered that when I did Stu’s 30k back in March, I ran that in 2:45. I realized things might not be that bad after all.

Mile 19.

Mile 20/21
I see my beautiful friend, running towards me! I tell her how sad I am about the 3:25 group passing, and she lets me continue to cry and moan to her. Then she tells me she’s going to run with me for a little while. (company is amazing during a marathon, FYI) She starts telling me funny stories of her day of spectating. She gets me out of my own head. Along mile 20, I also saw my beautiful running partner S! I almost missed her TOO because I was looking down at the road! She brought her kids to cheer me on and it was amazing! I only wish I could’ve stopped to hug her, but I’m not sure I would have finished if I did that!!!

Kristina and I hit mile 21 and she told me that she has to turn around and get back to her husband and cute little baby. She said that she KNEW I was going to finish and at that moment? I knew it too. I am 100% positive that I would’ve given up if it weren’t for her words of encouragement. She was really sore from her tempo workout the day before, but she still pushed me to get my pace faster because she knew exactly what I needed at that exact moment. I’m forever grateful for what she did for me! Never underestimate the healing power of friendship!!

Mile 22
4 miles left? I can do 4 miles in my sleep! I picked up the pace a little because I was almost done!

Mile 23.
I felt so strong mile 23! I started to pass people and dream of a martini and French fries!

I haven’t mentioned this yet, but my stepdaughter was going to be at the finish line with my SIL, my MIL, and my niece. I said “my family is at the finish line” over and over in my head and it became my mantra. I was so excited to see my little’s face!!

Mile 24
This was my slowest mile, and I don’t know why. My legs felt like they were moving fast but my split ended up being an 8:58.

Mile 25…almost there…Mile 26…yay! I happened to look down at my watch at exactly 26.2 miles and it read 3:25:50. I guess it’s a PR from my 3:28:07… But it’s not official so I have a hard time considering it an actual PR.

I crossed the finish line, officially, with a 3:28:33. 26 seconds off of my “official PR”, and pretty far away from the time goal I had set.

Over the first few days of being sick, I think I went through the denial stages and I definitely struggled the most with “anger.” Of all the times to get sick (and I’m NEVER sick): its the week of my big race. What dumb bad luck. But you can’t plan everything, and I definitely trained like a bad-ass for 4 months and did the hard work. “It is what it is” and I DO know that I had a terrific time-whether I was sick or not. A 3:28 is fantastic: It’s a BQ with lots of cushion . I didn’t enjoy myself as much as I usually do during a race. I just love this course and to be sick while running it…well. It just wasn’t as fun as it normally is for me!

Some fun pictures from the day…

This is right where my family is standing. I’m waving both hands because they were on BOTH sides of the street, haha.

I was immediately a popsicle after the finish and I regretted not packing a blanket in my bag. SO freaking COLD outside!!

  This is one of my favorite pictures of all time. You can’t really tell, but that’s my little one bundled up in this coat. SHe was hugging me for so long telling me she was proud of me. It meant the world to me that SIL captured it 🙂

This is my girlfriend Kaey who volunteered that day. She had a bunch of friends who were running and thought it would be fun to volunteer. I LOVE her. Anyway, someone snapped this pic of us and I know for a fact that I was feeling like I was going to pass out right here and Kaey walked with me for a while until I got my feet back! Thanks girlfriend!

  Kaey made us some signs 🙂

Family hugs 🙂

After the race, it was off to our local watering hole! (We go to the same place every year.) Every year-> my niece and I take a picture together. I love that she comes to all my finish lines, too because she’s the funniest/sweetest thing!

Being silly with the hubs 🙂

The SILS and our photo bombers!

Me with my little ladies 🙂


And some of the professional pictures:


See?? I told you I kept the sweatshirt on ALL DAY!


This pic above?? THIS is my very favorite racing photo of ALL TIME. And I run a whole lot of races so THAT is saying something my friends!

This years medal were STUNNING. They are red to signify the LAST of the bridges that the runners cross (it’s red :))


I didn’t get the time I wanted, but you know what? It was still a very good day. I ran my favorite race and was blown away by all the support I received. I felt the love all around me! That’s the most important thing. I had my family there for me, my friends, and all of YOU in my THANK YOU.

I have to say that running is a lifetime sport for me. That’s always in the back of my mind. And, I’m learning that PR’s and official times don’t define me. You are great even without the “great” times. That being said… I will get my goal someday and I’m not worried about it 🙂

And oooone more picture:


This is a “throwback” to my very first Baystate Marathon. You can see how little Aly is! She was only 5 here 🙂 I will never forget this race, as long as I live: This was the first time I was ever able to break the 5 hour mark with a time of 4:17-I think it was a PR of about 45 minutes for me. Knowing that I could do something so amazing gave me a LOT of hope. I’ve kind of taken that hope and run with it over the years. I will never ever give up on my dreams, and neither should you. It’s ok to miss a time goal you set for yourself because it just gives us more inspiration to go out and knock it out of the park next time.


Thank you for reading this really obnoxiously long post 🙂 And as always, Run Free, Run Strong my friends!