Monday, March 19, 2012

Half of Quincy

March 19 - Yesterday I ran half marathon #3 in Quincy, Massachusetts. This race wasn't on my schedule until last weekend. My Crazy Running Partner has a goal to do 12 half marathons this year. She told me she was running this one and since hubs is out of town, I thought I'd join her to be her cheering section or maybe do the 5K that they added this year. But when I went to the website to register, I found myself thinking...Why shouldn't I run the half? A 5K seems kind of short these days. I'm in the best running shape I've ever ben in. I still have plenty of time to recover before the next one on my schedule. So that's how I ended up running half #3.

The race was 90 minutes away from where we live, so it was an early morning. On the way to meet CRP I picked up my stepdaughter who was coming along so that she could catch the train in Boston back to school after the race. She also promised to be the "second best cheerleader" after her dad. So off we went to Quincy High School - the most beautiful high school I have ever seen! I have been teaching for a long time including in a brand new building in Ohio, but this was like visiting a college campus or fancy hospital. Gorgeous.

The weather was forecasted to be 45 degrees at the start but climb to over 55 about the time we expected to finish. We opted to dress for the warmth accepting that we would freeze a little waiting at the start. Small sacrifice. I think it was almost 70 when we crossed the finish line. Pre-race was super organized. The website said "convenient parking behind the school" and except for lack of signage, it was perfect parking for a pretty big race. Bib pick up in the gym was quick and easy and if you were one of the first 500 to register you also got a race shirt. That, of course, was not me. The only restroom we saw had a line (shocker) but it moved quickly and we had plenty of time to head back to the car before making our way to the starting line. A Quincy police officer sang the National Anthem and we were off.

The plan for this race was to treat it like a really big fun group run. We weren't going after PR's and had in fact practiced slowing down our pace on a couple of runs during the week. We brought our cameras so that we could stop and take pictures.

It was a beautiful course to run. At 1.5 miles we stopped to take some pictures of the incredible views of the Boston skyline across the Quincy Bay. We were lucky enough to have the assistance of a couple of Quincy police officers to snap one with us in it. After that we ran along Wollaston Beach, a two mile stretch of shoreline anchored by a continuous walkway and fine sand. We found more incredible views as we traversed four miles onto the Squantum Peninsula and through the Marina Bay Complex. Although the docks were mostly empty this time of year, the luxury residences that lined the boardwalk were beautiful and had me longing to win the lottery. The remainder of course led us back through the "forgiving" hills of the historic "City of Presidents" and to the finish lined with cheering crowds including the "second best cheerleader" who gave me a high-five as I passed by.

Official finish time: 2:01:19
At the finish line we were handed our Half of Quincy medals and a bottle of water. Two thumbs up to the race organizers for having the water right there and not making runners walk around searching for it. Also readily available outside were bananas, while inside runners could choose a turkey, tuna, or chicken wrap, along with warm soup. We already made plans to hang around Quincy for lunch so we declined the food but snagged some Vita Coco Coconut Waters. After a quick wardrobe change at the car we set out on foot to grab some lunch.

Three iPhone apps, a couple of blocks, and one closed restaurant later, we found ourselves at The Fat Cat and I believe we lucked out. This warm and easygoing establishment had a variety of appealing choices on the menu, was very affordable, and treated us to great customer service. CRP informed us that the restaurant had been featured on Phantom Gourmet and it was easy to see why. The food was delicious.

Have you ever run a race unexpectedly? How was it? 

Friday, March 16, 2012


March 16 -

I can't believe I have been blogging for a WHOLE year! 
Amazing things have happened since I wrote my very first post

My blog has experienced a huge transformation since then...

now I have pictures and Twitter and Facebook!

I did reach 211 miles in 2011 (on May 3rd)...

plus about 440 more!

 I became a New England runner...

facing snow storms, pouring rain, BIG hills and more!

I was also asked to be part of a little adventure and became a 2012 Blogging Ambassador for the Cox Rhode Races. Being one of the voices that runners hear as we train for our races has been an honor and I'm looking forward to race weekend in Providence. The fifth annual race series will be held May 5-6 and will feature a full marathon, half marathon, 5K, and kids fun run. You can hear from all Ambassadors on the Rhode Scholar Blog here

I joined an amazing community of fitness fanatics at FitFluential. This online community is supportive and spreads a positive healthy message. It is open to anyone who is passionate about fitness (not just bloggers either). By joining you will find yourself interacting with people who are sharing, talking, living, and breathing fitness. You will hear about great opportunities and get more support than you ever imagined possible. I'm now a FitFluential Ambassador which means I'll also be sharing information about great fitness products, events, and opportunities here on my blog.

My blog was nominated for a 2012 Fitterati Blog Award on! To think that someone out there considers my running blog a source of motivation and inspiration is the biggest compliment I could ever receive. It is pretty cool just to be nominated along with so many AMAZING blogs and know that someone likes reading about my adventures in running.  

Needless to say, there has been a lot of happy dancing this year. I am excited to continue blogging about my experiences and sharing my passion for running.

so much for reading about my escapades!

Monday, March 12, 2012

St. Paddy's 5 Miler

March 12 - Yesterday I ran my first five mile race at the St. Paddy's 5 Miler in Portsmouth, NH. I was lucky enough to have hubs running with me, but even better was that my home-from-college-on-spring-break stepdaughter came to cheer us on. I signed up for this race to use it as another run to maintain my current endurance and stay prepared for my upcoming half marathon.

To get into the spirit of the race, we sported the only green shirts we could find. Clearly hubs and I are not very festive when it comes to clothes. Needless to say, we did not win the best spirit awards for the day.

We arrived with plenty of time to pick up our bibs, grab our race t-shirts and use the restrooms. Even though it was a bright sunny morning, the temps were still pretty chilly and the wind was downright cold. We opted to wait in the car before heading over to the start where we were surrounded by people dressed in all kinds of crazy green costumes, bagpipe players, and cheering spectators.


The race started with the typical cluster-chaos of mixed up running paces. Since I run these things for fun I don't try to get to the front, but it does get somewhat frustrating when you are a half mile in and you are dodging people who are walking. I stayed with hubs for about a half mile, but then moved off on my own.


About two miles in I came up behind a group of women who were running a nice comfortable pace and decided to stalk trail them. They became my unofficial pacers for the day. For the next three miles I ran behind this group as they chatted about people they knew, trips they were taking, and long runs they had on schedule. The next thing I knew we were approaching the finish. At the corner I saw my stepdaughter waving which gave me a big burst of energy and I ended up passing my unofficial pacers.

Official finish time - 44:34 

After crossing the finish line, I was handed a cute green beaded necklace and a beer ticket. I quickly made my way to the post race fuel tent, grabbed two waters and then made my way over to my stepdaughter to watch for hubs.

There he is!

After grabbing some of the amazing post race refueling food (hot vegetable soup, subs, and chips) from the tent, we walked over to the beer garden at Paddy's American Grille to grab our post run beers and official Paddy's Five Miler race glasses.

We had a blast at this event. What made it even better was knowing that all proceeds from the race go to New Heights, a non-profit organization that promotes healthy lifestyles and activities through after school and summer programs for Seacoast youths age 11-18.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Black Cat 10 Miler

March 5 - Sunday morning I left my house at 5:30 to meet Daisy for a ride to The Black Cat 10 - 20 Miler in Salem, MA. This race offered runners the option of running 10 miles, 20 miles or participating in a 20 mile relay. The course, touted as mostly fast & flat, started at Salem Willows, wound through downtown Salem into Marblehead and turned-around at Devereux Beach. The race was created in 2010 to attract runners training for the Boston Marathon and others ready to lace up their sneakers from the winter. For me, it was a great distance for maintaining my endurance for my next half marathon.

Salem is a town most widely known for the witch trials of 1692. You may have read about them in The Crucible by Arthur Miller when you were in high school. It is also the birthplace of Nathaniel Hawthorne, another famous New England novelist you may have read who wrote The Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables. 

Salem is also rich in its maritime heritage, offers a splendid array of historic architecture, and is popular for its quirky Halloween themed attractions. Popular points of interest include the Friendship of Salem (a replica sailing vessel), Derby Wharf and Light Station, Custom House, House of Seven Gables, New England Pirate Museum, and Salem Witch Trial Museum.

The race route connected the town of Salem to Marblehead. What many people may not know about Marblehead, a small historic coastal town, is that it is the hometown to one of our very favorite runners, Shalane Flanagan. You may recognize her as the 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon winner. She will be representing the United States at the 2012 Olympics in London. It was pretty cool to run past the "Welcome to Marblehead, Hometown to Shalane Flanagan" sign. I wish I'd taken a picture...

The 10 mile race was challenging. The course was much hillier than I anticipated, but because Salem State is nearby many sororities and fraternities set up water and Gatorade stations as part of their community service projects. There were times when the runners and traffic were crowded together on the road, but in other places the local police and volunteers were present to give direction. At the finish line runners were handed finishers medals and directed to water, Gatorade, post race snacks, as well as stretching and massages in the school gym. This was a fun race and I would do it again.  

10 Miler - 1:29:13.8
This new and locally organized event was a success. The 10 Miler had 664 finishers, the 20 Miler had 327 finishers, and the Relay had 18 teams finish. And although we didn't attend, there was a post race party at FINZ Seafood & Waterfront Restaurant where for $10 runners were treated to a variety of post race food, cash bar, free samples of Barefoot Wines, raffles and entertainment.

This race also supported a worthy cause called the Allie Castner Scholarship Fund. Allie was hit by a car and killed in 2009 when she was only 15 years old. The scholarship in her memory provides other young high school students the opportunity to benefit. Take a moment to read her story and the many ways you can contribute to the fund.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

February Follow Up

March 3 - Already another month of running has elapsed and it is time to assess the progress of my running goals.

1. Keep running: I ran 80.82 miles this month! My 2012 total = 173.26. That's 72.91 more miles than this time last year.

2. Run a race every month: I ran TWO races. I'm really liking the half marathon distance and looking forward to my next one in May at the Cox Rhode Races in Providence, RI.

8 miles on February 11

Half at the Hamptons - February 19

3. Improve the blog: Running Escapades on Facebook now has 25 likes! 

4. Add another New England state to the places I have run: Nothing new this month. Still searching for something in VT, ME, or CT! Let me know if you have any recommendations, especially for the summer.


5.  Keep meeting new running friends: I was lucky enough to hang out with some other running bloggers, FitFluential Ambassadors, and a fellow Rhode Scholar after running the half marathon. (photo shared by Samantha)

6. Another impromptu workout challenge: I completed the FAB AB FEBRUARY challenge from Pinterest! Sit ups, push ups, and planks all month long. I highly recommend these workouts for anyone who is like me and not typically a fan of working out. 

What did your February look like?