Thankful Thursday

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Ever have one of those days where it seems the universe is out to get you? Yup, that’s how I felt today. I’m turning this frown upside down stat. I have way too much to be thankful for.

I have a roof over my head and food in my belly. Every. single. day. I never have to worry about freezing, being uncomfortable, or going without proper nutrition.

I have an amazing support system. I cried and whined to my best friend today about the aforementioned attack from the universe. She did everything in her power to try to help me out. I love her. I also have my awesome boyfriend – who let me bitch, whine, and complain and promised me everything will be okay and he will help me in every way he possibly can (including coming to my house after work to cook dinner for me – he’s wonderful!). And of course I always have my parents, whenever I need them, whatever I need, they are there for me.

I have my health. This is huge to me. There are far too many people in this world suffering from far too many illnesses – I am grateful every day that I am not one of them and I will never take my health for granted.

Does anyone really need anything else? I don’t.

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I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday night! I am unplugging to spend time with my man eating wonderful food, enjoying some wine, and just relaxing.

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Five for Friday: Where I’ve Been

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Hi guys! Remember me? Sorry for being such a bad blogger lately but life has been crazy. Crazy good that is! So what have I been up to?

1) Running. Lots of running. BF Run #1BF Run #2First Speed Workout Since MarchNational Running Day Run

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2) Researching running stuff. I’m trying to keep my run workout routine as fresh as possible going into these next few races. That makes now the perfect time to go through all these issues of Running Time’s that I’ve never made the time to read!

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3) Supporting those who support me. My mom just got back into horseback riding after a 5 month hiatus due to shoulder surgery. Wanna know where I get my crazy from? She has been back to riding for 2 weeks, she had ridden this horse 4 total times, and she decided to do a horse show.

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Because my mommy is awesome she even got a blue ribbon on her first horse show in a year! She rode in 4 classes and placed: first, second, second, and third. Way to go mommy!

4) Spending time with friends and family.  Memorial Day party at my parents house. Wednesday night trivia with my bro and his girlfriend, and now the rents too. My best friend is coming over this afternoon for some shopping, girl chat, and I’m sure food and wine will be part of that. I’m having a housewarming party tomorrow with some of my closest friends. And, I’ve been spending a lot of time with this guy too:

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We met a couple of weeks ago and have been pretty much attached at the hip since. I’m surprised he’s not sick of me yet, after all I am a very special kind of crazy. Winking smile

5) Attempting to re-enter the professional world. As much as I love working as a personal trainer, it is a very difficult field to break into. Many of my clients have discontinued services due to the cost so I am find it increasingly difficult to keep full time hours. So I am going to continue to work with the clients I currently have, work on building up my Runcupcake Fitness business, but also go back to office work for the time being so that I don’t become poor. Winking smile I went on an interview yesterday that sounded like it had really great potential so keep your fingers crossed for me!

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That’s my – holy cow I’m not used to wearing clothes like this – look.

What have you guys been up to lately?!

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Cox Rhode Races: United Healthcare Half Marathon Recap

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This past Sunday I ran the Cox Rhode Races for the 4th year in a row! I can’t believe I’ve been running for 3 years already – where does the time go?

And is there a better way to spend your 3 year run-iversary than by running a half with one of your favorite people?! I’d say that there is not…

Kelly and I met around 7 a.m. to start getting ready for the race. I’m glad we got there early because the marathon started at 7:30 so the potty lines were already getting long! Once we got that out of the way we hid in the car until about 7:50 because it was a cool, rainy morning.

I could tell Kelly was nervous but we just chatted away the whole time, not about the race at all, so it kept us occupied. We made our way to a VERY crowded start line shortly before start time…or so we thought. For some reason (which may never be known to us) the race was delayed about 15 or so minutes.

And we were finally off! The rain had stopped but it was still super humid out. I’m so glad it was cloudy or it would’ve been brutally hot! I realized very shortly into the race that I had to pee again – whoops. I guess that coffee and Nuun was just a bit too much just before the race!

We were heading up toward Mile 4-ish – Kelly was struggling with breath thanks to the humidity and I really had to pee, so we stopped. One thing I really love about the Cox Rhode Races is that there are PLENTY of water stops and there’s potties at pretty much all of them. Unfortunately some people don’t care that we’re RACING and take their sweet time going to the bathroom! I swear it took 3 minutes or more just so I could pee quickly.

Then we were off again – Kelly used the opportunity to stop, catch her breath, fuel up and drink plenty of water while I was waiting for the potty. During that time it also started raining again, but it was just sprinkly and honestly it felt really good. We were both pretty grateful for it since the humidity was making it so gross and sticky out.

I was keeping Kelly posted on what to expect in the next couple of miles along the course (since I’ve run it twice, and used to live right down the street from the area we were in) when I heard someone say “Hey, I read your blog.” Well HOLY COW THAT WAS EXCITING! I’ve never met a blog reader in person (other than friends and family…) so that was such a cool experience for me! Huge shout out to Amanda for recognizing me and saying hi!

We kept chugging along – I was doing my best to keep Kelly occupied because I knew she was struggling. Between the humidity and her left leg screwing with her, she was having a rough time. Unfortunately this half is relatively hilly so that doesn’t help the legs when they’re already tired/sore.

I managed to only screw up on course information once – we were about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile from where I thought we were…whoops! We did get a good laugh out of it though, especially when I told her we were REALLY at the location I thought we were at 1/2 a mile ago… hehe

Unfortunately by Mile 8 the humidity/leg was really getting to Kelly and we had to slow to a walk. She said she was dizzy and thirsty which automatically turned me to “worried friend mode.” We slowed down, and were able to rehydrate properly about 1/2 mile from there at mile 9. We started running again, knowing it was a lot of downhill from where we were. I also gave her a few Pink Lemonade Honey Stinger chews to help regulate blood sugar, and threatened her by telling her I was going to sing Justin Timberlake to her. It helped, I swear Winking smile 

At that point I told her that we could still make the time she was looking for, but she didn’t want to push it. Having been in her exact shoes during a race, I completely understood and told her that I’d just continue to run with her from there, at her pace, and we’d cross that finish line together. She was like “Oh that’s so nice.” to which I replied, “Well, I told you I’d run with you. You’re not having a great race, so what am I going to do? Ditch you and say have a nice life?!” We had a pretty good laugh after that…

The rest of the race was pretty uneventful – we ran more than we walked, I talked and Kelly nodded – I told her, I’ll do all the talking, you just focus on what you’re doing.

At Mile 11 one of the water stop guys commented on how I was still smiling – I was having a good time. Running a race at a pace a couple minutes per mile slower than I’m used to is actually really fun, and I really enjoy pushing my friends to finish and get to where they want to be!

Once we could see the turn toward the finish line, and the huge crowd of spectators, I could sense a change in Kelly. I knew she was excited that we were about to finish and she cranked it into high gear! We finished that final 0.36 miles at a 9:20 pace! Woohoo! She also saw her mommy and sister as she finished. My mommy was there too, and caught a couple of great pics, but I didn’t see her til we finished.

All in all it was a great time, I really enjoy running and pacing others! Turns out that even though it wasn’t a half marathon PR for Kelly it WAS a course PR, and a huge one at that!

Here are some of the pics from the day:

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Thanks to my mommy for taking pics for us! And since it was Mother’s Day I took my mom out for lunch at one of our usual post-race venues, Union Station Brewery, but I was clearly too hungry to photo my food! I gave up gluten free for the afternoon (obviously) and enjoyed 2 more craft beers and buffalo chicken pizza. It was amazing!

Now the countdown is on – less than 48 hours til Reach the Beach!

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The Return of Monday Love (And Me!)

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Good morning and Happy Monday my friends! I am pleased to say that I am back and ready to regularly blog again. Phew, does life really get in the way of fun sometimes or what?! Winking smile

Lets get right to it, shall we?

1) Spring has sprung. We have been having some of THE BEST spring weather the past couple of weeks. It made my move way easier than it would’ve been if it was cold out, it made the Newport 10 Miler and post race festivities way more enjoyable, and I’ve been sleeping with the window open!

Side note: Race recap on the Newport 10 Miler to follow soon…

2) Spending time with good friends. I got to see both of my best friends this weekend. Friday  night I went to dinner with my friend Jen and my mom, then Jen and I spent a little time spring shopping and outfitting my apartment with things like fun hand soaps and candles. Yesterday my friend Sara and I went on a 3 mile walk to benefit the United Way Food Bank in Connecticut then spent a few hours together over lunch and a couple of drinks catching up. It’s always great when you get to spend so much time with your very good friends.

3) A fresh start. April was a crazy, crazy month for me. Sickness, having to move again, and so much other crazy nonsense in between. Now it’s May, I’m in my new place, I’m feeling healthy, and I’m ready for a fresh start. I couldn’t be more grateful for everyone that pushed me through April and helped me get through so that I could be here today, healthy and happy.

4) 2 years of blogging. You awesome readers have been supporting me in this little space in the internet for 2 years now! I totally missed my actually blogiversary (April 29th) because I was so caught up in my move. But I want you all to know how grateful I am that you are always here for me, reading, commenting, and supporting. I wouldn’t continue to do this if it wasn’t for you guys, so thank you!

I hope you guys have an amazing Monday! Mine is shaping up to be great – I’m blogging again, I have a client this afternoon then some time in between to get in a great workout before having to work again, and it’s gorgeous out. Enjoy the day!

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The Power of Self

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Do you ever stop to wonder “What would I do without myself?” Probably not, right. But without ourselves we are literally nothing.

Far too often I find that I am letting myself down. I allow negative thoughts to creep in, I allow negative people in my life. No one can stop this but me.

Friends and family tell me “You deserve better,” “You’re amazing, keep up the great work.” Yet I can’t seem to get past that and accept myself 100% for who I am.

Things have happened in my life recently that are far too private to post here (for the sake of my privacy and those involved), but they weren’t fun. They made me unhappy and they made me realize where I stand with myself and with others.

Then I realized that there is nothing that can be done about this situation unless I trust in myself – I am strong, I am a hard worker, I am resilient – I have picked myself up and risen from the ashes of a few very tough years in my late 20’s and I cannot let that progress slide away.

I am not going to let recent events, or past events for that matter, define who I am right now. They are part of my life and they have shaped me, but they won’t bring me down. Starting right this very moment it’s out with the negativity, out with the doubt, out with the low self esteem and letting others bring me down.

I am…

…a daughter

…a sister

…a marathon runner

…a personal trainer

…a writer

…a great friend

and most importantly

I AM ME

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Five for Friday: Stuff

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Happy Friday guys! I’ve got a bunch of random stuff on my mind for you this Friday!

1) I’m a nuun Ambassador! I don’t know what took me so long to announce this to you all! I applied a while back and got the email at the beginning of March telling me I had been accepted. You all know how much I love nuun, so I’m beyond excited! Remember, I take nuun with me everywhere, that’s how much I love it!

Nuun Gym BagNuun PurseNuun Kitchen Cabinet

2) I SERIOUSLY need to rearrange my training plan. Here’s how it stands right now:

Monday: Upper body strength/easy 30 minutes cardio

Tuesday: One hour of kettlebell

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Upper body strength/4 mile interval run

Friday: RPM

Saturday: Easy 4 mile run

Sunday: Long run

So, first of all I realize that I have 3 strength training days in there, and all 3 are going to hit my upper body pretty hard. No matter what you do with kettlebells there’s a lot of upper body involved, but I also use them as a good way to get a leg workout in without too much leg focus, because I don’t want my legs to be too sore for running. I learned this week that upper body day leaves me sore, a little too sore to do kettlebell the very next day. I also learned that my gym will no longer be offering RPM, and I’m skeptical of the new spin class, so I’m either going to have to create my own spins (which I’ve done in the past), or do something different for cardio for an hour that day. With all that being said, I think I’m going to try this with my workout routine:

Monday: Upper body/30 minutes easy cardio

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: One hour of kettlebell

Thursday: 4-5 Mile interval Run

Friday: Cardio Hour (I’m really going to try to make it spin)

Saturday: Long Run

Sunday: Recovery Run (and possibly some easy strength training – like body weight tabata)

I hope this works out better!

3) There is nothing better in this world than good friends. Last night Megan, Tania, and I stayed in, ate turkey chili, drank wine, and enjoyed some cupcakes from the Duck & Bunny (a local place known for their cupcakes – and yes, mine was gluten free!). We also watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which was such a cute movie. To me, that’s a perfect night. I get to do it all over again tomorrow night too when my best friend Jen comes over to see my new apartment. I can’t wait to make butternut squash soup and gluten free meatloaf for dinner!

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4) I’M GOING TO SEE THE DROPKICK MURPHY’S TONIGHT! They’re one of my favorite bands and oddly enough I’ve never seen them live. Megan won tickets from a local radio station so we get to ride up to Boston on the party bus! I can’t wait to get all decked out in Irish/St. Pats themed clothes and makeup and go to what is sure to be one of the best shows I’ve ever seen! I already did my nails for the occasion.

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5) Treadmill boycott (for real this time). After my less than desirable race results last weekend due to the cold air in my lungs, I’ve decided to really go on treadmill boycott. Even today, when it’s 25 degrees with a feels like temperature of 16, I will be headed outside for a run. The sun is shining, there’s no reason to coop myself up in the gym on the boring treadmill.

How’s that for a random post? What’s in store for you this weekend? Any exciting festivities planned to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

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Monday Love: Early December Edition

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Good afternoon everyone! Can you believe it’s DECEMBER already? Neither can I…and I’m feeling the love today, so here goes!

1) It’s currently 59 degrees outside. On December 3rd. In Rhode Island. That’s 17 degrees warmer than the average high. Thank you global warming for giving me a great day to run outside with my doggy!

2) Downtown Jingle Bell 5k. My mother and I ran the Downtown Jingle Bell 5k in Providence yesterday and it was so much fun (as usual – it’s my third year running this race!). We even got to meet Santa!

Downtown Jingle 5k FinishMe Mom Santa

I was 54 seconds away from a PR – given how little I’ve been running I’ll take it!

3) Christmas Decorating. My brother’s girlfriend and I got out all of my Christmas decorations and decorated the apartment yesterday. I even got some cool Energizer battery operated candles to put in my candle holders that use tea lights so I don’t burn the apartment down Winking smile It looks so pretty and festive in here now, the only thing missing is a tree!

4) Quality time with friends and family. Ever since my birthday/Thanksgiving I have spent time with so many of my friends and family, and that continues this week. Tonight I am going to Wing Night at a local pub with Jen and Paul, Wednesday night I’m going to trivia with my bro and his girlfriend, Thursday night I am going to a Christmas Walk/Pub Crawl in Providence with Claudia that lives downstairs from me, Friday I’m going to a Christmas Walk/Dinner with my mom, Grandma, Aunt, and Cousin, Saturday is my annual Christmas shopping trip with my stepdad, and Sunday is family tree decorating day at my parent’s house! Phew! So much to do, but so much fun and quality time.

5) Moving up and moving on. I’m currently in the process of looking for my own apartment, because I prefer to live without roommates. I am constantly getting more hours at work. I feel really good about me and my life in this moment. It’s a wonderful feeling to be me, and be happy. I also have ideas for two tattoos that I want to get symbolizing this – one symbolizes freedom to me, and the other symbolizes self-confidence/self-control. Now I just need some extra money… Winking smile 

What are you loving on this Monday? Do you have lots of fun friends and family holiday time planned like I do?

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Project 2013: Dream Big, Live Bigger

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That’s my motto for 2013. Well, hell, honestly I’m starting now. Right. freakin. now.

Or, really to keep myself distracted, I started last week. I realized something in the events that happened last week. I wasn’t living to my fullest potential. I am not going to let that happen again.

So far for 2013 I plan to:

  • (Re) Take up snowboarding
  • Run the Tour de Patrick (Hopefully with Jen and Paul, two of my very best/most favorite friends in the world)
  • Try the indoor rock gym with Jen on her guest pass. Join if I feel I’ll like it/commit to it at least once a week (ish). I’ve done a few rock climbing walls at amusement parks and the like, and always get scared when I get about 90% up. I need to turn that fear into determination and beat that wall!
  • Run the Cox Half for the 3rd year in a row (I love that race!)
  • Get financially healthy.
  • Continue building RunCupcake Fitness.
  • Make sure I am ALWAYS carving out time for both friends and family. I’ve done a lot of this in the past week – I’ve seen Jen and Paul twice (and will see them again next week and probably all the time now that they live HALF A MILE AWAY!!!!), Martha & Kevin (two more of my most favoritest people – Martha and I have been friends since we were 14), Alayna (Martha’s twin sister – also falls into favoritest people category), my brother and his girlfriend (twice – and hopefully every week for Wednesday trivia!), plus my extended family on my stepdad’s side for Thanksgiving. And of course my parents! Plus, I really connected and bonded with one of our downstairs neighbors – she’s a great girl, fun to chat with, fun to drink with, fun to watch football with (and this weekend watch Magic Mike with… I have to admit, I’m slightly scared, but slightly excited). Last night I went out to dinner with Juliana, one of my roommates. Sunday I went to brunch with my other two roommates – Marc & Sam. I am absolutely loving being surrounded by all of the people I care about so much, and who care so much about me. Tomorrow I am going to dinner with Sara, who I don’t get to see enough too. This is truly incredible, and I’m not going to slide back into habits of not seeing any of these amazing friends on a regular basis again. When it all comes down to it – friends and family that are always there for you are who matter the most.
  • Join Jen & Paul’s team for Seek the Peak and climb Mt. Washington for the 3rd year in a row – with some other inspirational and wicked fun peeps.
  • Backpacking trip through the White Mountains.
  • Fitness competition? Still unsure of this one. Being the cardio queen that I am, I may just attempt triathlon instead…
  • BE ME. No matter what. I will never change for anyone. Sure you have to bend a little, sure you have to compromise a little, but never change. Ever. I love me the way I am.

I KNOW there will be more. This is just a partial list. #1 on that list is being me, followed closely by remaining true to my friends and family.

Be Yourself - Dr Suess

Good Friends

Stay true to yourself, your family, and your friends. The rest will come with patience, hard work, and dedication.

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Thanksgiving Weekend Recap, #Elf4Health, & More

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Hey everyone! I hope you all survived the weekend. It was sure tough getting back into the swing of my crazy schedule, but I managed and even got a butt kicker workout in too! I’m going to start with a photographic recap of Thanksgiving weekend and we’ll go from there!

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Phew! These pics range from Thursday morning’s Turkey Trot 5k (Not a PR, but pretty damn good considering how little I’ve been running…) to food and treats (and a worn out pup) at my grandparents house, then of course my fave score from Black Friday shopping with mom, to food prep for a big birthday party I had at my apartment on Saturday night. What a weekend! Needless to say I was in bed playing Words With Friends by 8:30 on Sunday!

Moving on…

Yesterday was the official kick off of the Elf 4 Health Challenge. Elf 4 Health is an amazing 6 week challenge designed to keep people healthy and motivated throughout the holiday season. Each person is assigned a random partner to keep in contact with every 2 weeks – plus there are daily challenges! Yesterday’s challenge was to go meatless, which I did all day long, and so did my partner Helen from Hevil’s Special Delights.

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Breakfast was oatmeal with Peanut Butter & Co Cinnamon Raisin PB, dried cranberries, and banana; lunch was quinoa with garlic sautéed tomatoes and a wrap spread with hummus and filled with spring greens; dinner was homemade Spanish rice and beans. And I am going to share that recipe with you now! I also had an apple and some almonds for my morning and afternoon snacks.

Spanish Rice & Beans

Ingredients:

1 cup rice (your choice – I used organic jasmati)

2 cups water

1/2 yellow pepper & 1/2 red pepper, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

1 medium shallot, diced

25 grape tomatoes, halved

1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

2 cloves garlic, minced

Cumin, sea salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, cumin – all to taste

Directions:

Cook rice according to package directions. Season with the listed seasonings to your taste (I didn’t measure anything…).

While the rice is cooking, sauté the peppers, celery, shallot, and garlic in about a tablespoon of olive oil. When the veggies are almost to your desired doneness, season more (if desired) and add in tomatoes.

Once the rice is done, add to the pan with the veggies and also add in the beans. Heat until all ingredients are hot.

Makes about 6 servings.

There you have it – a simple, protein and veggie filled, #Meatlessmonday dinner for you!

Today’s challenge is to send a card or handwritten note to a friend. This was easy for me because one of my roommates truly deserved this the most. He’s been here for me all week long while I’ve been recovering from the breakup – making sure I’m eating and taking care of myself, through to guarding my phone for me so I didn’t text drunk during the birthday party (yes, I admit, I had a few too many), to helping me walk Lexi at 2 a.m., then hanging with me to chat and have brunch Sunday morning while recovering from the aforementioned party. I knew from the moment I saw today’s challenge that he’d be the recipient of my note – so I slipped a card under his door before leaving for work this morning. I love having friends that care so much surround me on a daily basis!

Phew, that was a lot of stuff for one post… How was your Thanksgiving/weekend?!

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Rock N Roll Providence Half Marathon Weekend Recap

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If you’re friends with me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or keep up with my training on Daily Mile then you already know how this story ends… for the rest of you, strap in and enjoy the ride.

This weekend was the second annual Rock N Roll Providence Half Marathon. It was much more special to me this year because I was sharing it with lots of local blogger friends – Janine (and her AWESOME mom, Kathi), Dani (and her wife, Tori), and Amy (and her hubby, Chris). I also, of course, had the BEST support team ever made up of Kevin and Lexi.

Okay Lexi didn’t do much, but she sure is cute. Winking smile

Sam Kevin Lexi

The Before…

Saturday afternoon I met up with Janine, Kathy, Dani, Tori, Amy, and Chris, at the expo. The girls had a little bit of fun with the photo booth section…

Girls RnR Prov Expo

The expo itself was, unfortunately, a bit sad. It was a lot smaller than last year, and the running joke of the weekend was that there were more headband booths than anything else. Nonetheless, it was a blast catching up with these ladies.

Later on in the evening we all met on Federal Hill here in Providence for dinner at Café Dolce Vita. Funniest thing ever (okay maybe not ever, maybe just for the day?) – Dani and Tori were staying at the hotel attached to Café Dolce Vita, and I did not know that when I chose the restaurant…great minds, I say.

Group Dinner

What a great crew!

We all got carbed up and proteined (that is so a word) up on bread, pasta, and adult beverages.

Post-dinner, Dani and Tori decided to be the grown ups of the group (teehee) and turn in for an early bed time. I can’t blame them – my 4:00 a.m. alarm was less than pleasant…

Janine, Kathi, Kevin, and I, decided one more drink would be fun. So we headed on over to Providence Oyster Bar. Lo and behold – Kathy and Janine have never had oysters from the raw bar. The hilarity ensued shortly thereafter – but not until Mom Kathi had a glass of wine, and the rest of us each had a pint of  Belfast Bay Brewing Co. Lobster Ale. This was a fantastic choice – perfectly hopped – not too strong, not too wimpy. Just delicious!

Lobster Ale

Janine Sam Lobster Ale

Cheers to good beer, good friends, and good running!

It took a bit of convincing to get Mom Kathi to try an oyster but she was a good sport and did it anyway!

Mom Kathi Oyster

We probably had a bit too much fun with these oysters…

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We bid Janine and Kathie adieu around 10:30 and headed home. They were meeting us at 5:15 the next morning and I had yet to get anything ready for the race – talk about procrastination…

We finally got to bed around 11ish, a tad too late for a 4 a.m. wake up call, but hey, I’ve run with less sleep… I slept like a rock thanks to the glass of prosecco and two beers I had… and yes, I hydrated a ton before bed.

Fast forward to 4 a.m. – then 4:10, 4:20, and 4:30 before I finally decided I had better get up if I wanted to be ready when Janine and Kathi showed up. Luckily all I had to do was shower, create some breakfast, and get dressed.

And we’re off – the 4 of us walked to the hotel to meet with Dani and Tori, then we headed downtown. I gotta say, I love being within walking distance of Downtown Providence.

Our crew of 7 looked a little silly roaming the streets of Providence at 5:30 a.m. until we got closer to downtown, but of course we had some great early morning laughs!

Once we got downtown we met up with Robin and Colleen. It was so nice to finally meet Colleen – I feel like I’ve known her for such a long time, yet we had never met!

Janine Kathi Pre RaceSam Colleen Dani

I love Janine and Kathi’s matching outfits! I think I’m going to have to ask Janine for her services for a tutu for Zooma in September!

Next thing you know we’re in the corrals and WE’RE OFF! I wanted to stay with Dani and Colleen but let me tell you – these girls are FAST. I knew if I tried to stay with them I was going to flame out, so I immediately pulled back and ran my own race.

The weather was perfect – it felt like an early fall day. Low humidity, cooler temps, and bright sunshine. Mile 1, Mile 2, Mile 3 – all sub 9. I started thinking that the sub 2 half was definitely within reach. Mile 4 threw me a bit – it dropped my pace from 8:45 to 9:25 with a bad ass hill – 65 feet in less than a quarter mile! Thankfully, I saw Erin at that point and I knew she had run the course, so I asked her if this was the worst hill and she assured me that it was. Phew. I recovered from that hill immediately and that’s when I KNEW. I knew this was going to be my race.

Mile 5 was the transition area for the relay so as I approached I started looking for Janine. I didn’t see her until it was almost too late but she still managed to get a pretty good action shot!

Me Mile 5

Then I saw Kevin! He didn’t see me at first – so all I could do was yell at him “I’m on target!” and keep going. I heard his shouts of support and enthusiasm and that fueled me up for the long straight shot down Blackstone Boulevard. I was so pumped up that it was 50 minutes before I even had fuel, I almost forgot!

Next thing I know it’s mile 10 – no joke. This race flew by and I think the only reason I remember mile 10 and the miles to follow is because my left hip started to hurt. My sciatic nerve on that side has been giving me a lot of trouble lately – I consider myself extremely lucky that it took 10 miles to start hurting. I stayed on target through mile 10, but had to slow. I could feel the hip wanting to give, and the last thing I wanted to do was blow my chances at my “A Goal”. I did some quick “running math” and knew exactly what pace I needed to keep in order to still reach that “A Goal.” So I slowed down. Mile 11 was my first mile over a 9 minute mile. And not by much – 9:08 to be exact.

Mile 12 was my slowest mile – and I knew it before I even checked my Garmin data. I was thirsty and really hoping for that one final water stop before the finish line – but it wasn’t there. And I’m now grateful for that…

Before I know it, I’m rounding the final turn toward the finish. I pulled my ear buds out, hoping for some crazy crowd noise to fuel me to the finish. I don’t know if the crowd noise was less than I expected, or if I was just in that much of a zone, because it didn’t seem like much. Then again – I really shouldn’t have missed Kevin waiting patiently for me so he could get some finish line pictures – but I did. I was in a mega zone, knowing that one misstep was going to screw up the chances of making the goal I have been wanting to reach so badly.

Next thing I know I’m crossing the finish line – and before I even hit the line, I knew I had done it.

I FINALLY BROKE TWO HOURS IN THE HALF MARATHON!

Official Time: 1:59:30. I just made it, but I freakin’ did it. This is the 4th half that I tried to break 2 in – and I finally did it! Now, this time is not only a PR for me – but I also had another personal record I was going for. I’ve never completed a half marathon without some walking. This race the only time I walked was through the water stops, and those were very brief. Woohoo!

I was overwhelmed with emotion when I crossed, I even cried a little – I grabbed my medal (which I had promised myself I would have engraved if I broke two, and I kept my promise to myself!), water, Gatorade, popsicles, and a cold wet towel. In a daze I dragged myself over to the designated meeting spot and plopped myself down in the grass. That race was hard, but honestly, not as hard as I had thought it was going to be. I’m crediting the fact that I’ve been running in disgusting heat and humidity, and yesterday was nothing short of perfect.

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Super happy, post-race, with the best supporter a girl could ask for!

A few minutes later, Janine and Kathi came my way, they were done with the relay. They finished in 2:03! Such an amazing relay time, they make a great team.

The post-race concert was Karmin. I only knew one song prior to yesterday by them, and although I like it, I wasn’t looking forward to the show. I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be a great show! And of course a race is never complete without post-race free beer. Even if it’s just okay beer.

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Post-race, Janine, Kathi, Kevin, and I went to Union Station Brewery for lunch. We were FAMISHED! More beer was consumed (of course), as well as some seriously awesome food.

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Kevin’s is the meatloaf, mine is the sandwich. And because I know he’ll hate that I’m posting this pic, I’m doing it anyway. The man cracks me up with silly antics like this all the time…never a dull moment Winking smile

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A couple of beers and a full belly and it was time to go home. We said goodbye to Janine and Kathi with promises that it would not be 6 months again before we saw each other!

Post Race Lunch Group

Without a doubt this was one of the best weekends of my summer. Time with my amazing boyfriend, great friends, great food, great running, and of course, an 11 minute and 33 second PR (But who’s counting?).

I hope your weekend was just as amazing as mine was!

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Disclaimer: All of the pics above were taken by Janine with the exception of the “Rock Star” pic from the expo (photo credit goes to Dani for that one), and all of the lunch pics (except for the group  shot). Thanks Janine for being on top of it with the camera!

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