Has it seriously been 3 months since I last posted? Oh dear. The more things change, the more they stay the same, eh?

My blogging never really got back on the rails after the Bairn arrived and I got sucked into the world of parenthood, where priorities take on whole new shapes. Or maybe shapes take on whole new priorities? 

Anyway, in addition to wandering through the new adventure of parenthood, I also started a new job a few months ago. After 12(!) years at my last job, it was time to move on. I landed a part time gig at a public library and it’s been great! I have a few days home with the Bairn and a few days working with awesome people at a beautiful library and getting the nerdy high I get from helping people find books and information all day. 

It’s also way more frenetic than my last job, which was chill and predictable for the most part. I’m on my feet almost constantly and I never know what spanners will get thrown into my day, which keeps things interesting. It also means I spend my lunch breaks generally sitting and reading, or going for walks in the sunshine, to clear my head and recover a bit, leaving no blogging time like I used to have. And when I get home, well, I’ve got a Bairn to wrangle before collapsing on the couch with a cider. 

So, all that to say, I’ve been neglecting the ol’ blog once again, but now as I’m settling into new routines, I hope to start posting again here and there. I have 2 race recaps that are overdue (including one that featured the debut of the Jogging Stroller!), so look for those soon(ish)!

In the meantime, here’s a not-great action shot of the Jogging Stroller in action several weeks ago:

Til next time, turn and face those ch-ch-changes!


More Naptime Rambles

I’ve been delinquent with blog posts lately. I think I’m going through one of those phases where I don’t think I have anything interesting to write about, and not enough energy to make myself write regardless. And so the radio silence. 

My half marathon training has been all over the place. I dialed it way back and intended to do a repeat week or two but really I’m just off the training wagon. Two weeks ago I managed 2 runs – a weekday 2-miler on a random gorgeous spring-like day, and a weekend 4-miler. Then last week I got a 5-miler in. But that’s it. No cross training (other than lots of walking at work). The road to Fort Hill Brewery is paved with good intentions. 

I did make my glorious return to the Sunday Morning Shammies last weekend, and it was glorious indeed… at least to see people! I set out for some solo miles and then met up at Shammies HQ, because I wasn’t sure if I’d actually run with anyone (I’m very self conscious right now about my speed and my need to take walk breaks as often as I do… I don’t want to slow anyone else down). I got to chat with my peeps, pet a doggo, and someone took pics and caught me getting some welcome-back hugs:

Feeling the love!


I ran about a mile with K before I was totally winded and had to split off to finish my run alone. But those Shammies warm fuzzies carried me for a few more miles, and I hit the distance I wanted without wanting to die too much. Yay!

So at this point, my half marathon that I signed up for to force me back into training will now likely just be an excuse to take a family trip to Western Mass. And you know what? I’m okay with that. My boss told me about a park near the race that has a train you can ride, and a museum that has dinosaur fossils, so we can have some fun with the Bairn and hopefully I won’t fail at running too badly. I figure if I can survive a really hot, hilly half while pregnant with no training, I should be able to survive this one. 

We had a nor’easter this week that dropped a bunch of snow and now the sidewalks are impassable again. It’s depressing. Especially after we had a few 60-degree days in February. Mother Nature is a cruel lady. 

I’m stuck in a book rut right now. The last book I finished was Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, which I read for the social justice book club at my local library. It was a hard read, one that made me angry and broke my heart over and over again and made me feel helpless. The next book for the book club is pretty long so I feel like I should get a jump-start, but I really need something light and/or funny before I dive in. Nothing I try is really fitting that bill, or if it does I’m finding I just can’t get into it. I took Readers Advisory in library school- why can’t I work that magic on myself??

And the Bairn is stirring… until next time!

How is the weather where you are?

What are you reading? Any nice light books you’d recommend?

2017 in Review

Hello and Happy New Year!

I know I’ve been writing a lot lately about how fast time is going by, but I had a “get off my lawn!” moment this morning when I realized it’s freaking 2018. U wot m8? How is it this far into the future already? I can still clearly remember having trouble writing “1996” at the top of my papers in middle school when a new year started. This year will be 20 years since I started high school. How did I get so old??

Let’s look back at last year before I start screaming into the void, yeah?

2017 Goals Recap

I listed five goals/things to focus on in my post from last year. They weren’t all the sorts of things I could just do and check off, but let’s see how things went:

1) Get this baby out safely and make his little world as cozy, safe, and full of love as possible.

Okay, get the baby out safely – check! He took us by surprise, arriving 3 weeks early and only 4 days after I learned he was breech. That didn’t leave much time for me to try all the old wives’ tales, so my efforts to flip him the right way ’round were unsuccessful:


Two days before the Bairn arrived, I was hanging upside-down(ish) off the couch (pictured), putting ice packs on his head, and playing his favorite songs down lower, where I wanted his head to be. No dice.

His stubborn breechiness meant a c-section after I realized I was in labor. Even though his arrival wasn’t at all how I’d imagined it, he got here safely, and I like to think we’ve made his life cozy and full of love since that day.

2) As soon as I get the OK from my midwife, jump back on the running wagon. I’ve been missing running like crazy, and the new jogging stroller is all assembled and ready to go!

Hmm, yes. The running wagon. I’ve hopped on a few times this year, but couldn’t manage to stay on for too long. More on that below. Also, it’s fun to look back and smile fondly at pre-baby Dana who was so excited to run with the jogging stroller, not knowing that the bairn’s little neck muscles wouldn’t be strong enough for that kind of malarky until much later! (Once his neck could actually support his head, he was still such a little peanut that he never really looked fully comfortable in the jogger. I’m now hoping to take him on an inaugural run once the snow melts and it warms up a bit.)

3) Related to above, I’m hoping to be fit enough to run the Worcester Firefighters race in June. I’d like to keep that streak going!

Hehehehe, oh pre-baby me. Such optimism! To be fair, it seemed like a perfectly reasonable goal. What I didn’t know is how tricky it can be to plan things like this when there are bairns involved (see this post), or that it would be unreasonably hot that particular day. My streak got cut shorter than I would have liked, but that’s okay. I can always start another one!

4) Read. Read for fun, read to learn, read fiction, read non-fiction, read newspapers. Try to balance staying informed with staying sane.

I read more post-bairn than I thought I would! Actual, physical books didn’t happen too often, but my mother-in-law gave me a Kindle, and that bad boy saw me through SO many naptimes back when the bairn would only sleep on me. (Ahh, the good old days when he would take multiple 3-hour naps a day and I could sit and relax and plow through books like no one’s business.) I read fiction, I read non-fiction, I read (online) newspapers. I read for fun, I read to learn, I read to get woke. I even joined a social justice book club at my local library, which is pretty awesome. I hope I can keep this all up in 2018!

As for balancing staying informed with staying sane… that one was a little tougher. I quit Twitter, which helped a little, but that just turned down the flow of the hose a little. I’m still working on figuring this one out.

5) Do good, no matter how small, whenever and wherever I can.

This one is hard to quantify, but I can say that I did my best. I fell short sometimes, but it’s still a constant desire to do good.

My 2016 in Numbers (Running)

Total miles: 15.84 (down from ~106.84 in 2016… hey, 15 miles is better than no miles!)

Races completed: 0 (down from 8 in 2016)

States raced in: 0 (down from 3 in 2016)

MA towns raced in: 0 (down from 3 in 2016)

Countries raced in: 0 (down from 2 in 2016)

PRs beaten: none

DNSs: 1 (Kick in 4 Kids, read about it here)

Firsts and Milestones (Running)

Not much to report this year, as you probably figured out from the stats up there. However, I did enter my running club’s marathon lottery for the first time, and thankfully I was unsuccessful!

Firsts and Milestones (Personal)

  • I had a baby! That was probably the biggest first and milestone this year.
  • I traveled to Florida for the first time, if you don’t count the time I had a layover in the Miami airport.
  • …I’m sure there were more, but honestly the mombrain has taken over and I can barely remember things these days. I could tell you all about the Bairn’s milestones, but mine? 🤔

Last year I ended my post a bit bleakly, as I was feeling bleak about the state of the world I was about to bring a child into. I still feel pretty bleak, to be honest, but the constant tiredness and mombrain allow me to switch my brain off sometimes and just focus on the task at hand. So that’s handy. It all also makes me determined to do my best to raise a good man, and a good human.

In terms of short-term goals, here are mine for 2018:

  1. Get the Bairn registered at the gym so he can hang at their daycare while I work out. 
  2. I’m registered for a half marathon in April; while I ran a half in 2016 without properly training, I’d like to NOT make that a habit. So, I’d like to train for this race. 
  3. Continue reading. Read more books by People of Color and from backgrounds not like mine. Continue reading to the Bairn as often as he’ll let me. 
  4. Actually use the jogging stroller for jogging!
  5. Get out and about with the Bairn more. I was scared to drive with him for quite a while, and also scared to mess with his fragile nap schedule. But Drew and I realized we didn’t do a whole lot with him in his first year. His grandparents got him memberships to the aquarium and Children’s Museum, so putting those to good use will be a start!

How was your 2017?

What are you looking forward to in 2018?

Naptime Rambles

Um, since when is it the last day of November? Where did this year go?? How will I have a one year old in a mere matter of weeks?!

I honestly feel like I was still pregnant a few weeks ago. It’s totally cliche to say it, but I feel like I blinked and the Wee Bairn is practically grown up. (Cliche and hyperbole for the price of one!) That’s a bit of an exaggeration but still. He’s crawling, cruising, walking while holding onto us… he’ll be off running in no time!

Speaking of time flying, I recently hit my Larry Bird year:

Source: Wikimedia

Say what, now?! The world needs to slow its spin, dude. Two minutes ago I was in my early 20s. What the heck. 

I had “planned” on running a race on my birthday (“planned” because, well, read my post-baby running posts for context), one that my run club was going to have a massive presence at. And I think it was that run club connection that kept me from running it in the end. It was a 5k, and I still haven’t run more than a mile post-Bairn. Even though my club is full of supportive, wonderful people, I couldn’t get over the thought that it would take me forever to complete those miles, long after everyone else would be enjoying post-race beers. I’m just not ready for racing yet, as much as I’m dying to get back to the fun race-day atmosphere. It’ll happen one of these days. 

So instead of running, I opted for a family walk at the pond. It was surprisingly chilly, so it was s quick walk, but it was nice to get out and back down the pond again. 

Going against my better judgement, I bit the bullet and signed up for a spring half marathon (!). I need a goal to work toward and a reason to get out the door running again, and this one will also provide a reason for a family jaunt to western Mass. We’ve got a little cottage booked via Airbnb and I’m looking forward to an adventure with the Bairn!

Speaking of, I hear him waking up, so it’s time to cut these rambles off! Til next time, whenever that may be…

What have you been up to? Tell me something rambly!

Review: LEGEND Compression Performance Socks

Well, hello again! I will spare you from my now traditional opening paragraph of blogger shame – it would say basically the same as my last post, so if you feel the urge, you can read that one – in the interest of just getting on with it. Shall we?

Disclaimer: I received a free pair of LEGEND compression socks as part of being a LEGEND Ambassador. This review was not solicited, and opinions are my own.

I’ve been dabbling with compression socks/sleeves for a while, ever since my first major attack of the shin splints a few summers ago. I didn’t have a lot of luck with the sleeves – they didn’t really seem to help much – but the socks seemed to do the trick. Thanks to a few grab bag clearance sales at ProCompression, I was able to get a few pairs for much cheaper than the usual going rate ($50 per pair), and rocked them at various races:


Marvel at my MS Paint skillz!

While I enjoyed the funky designs (especially the shamrock ones!) and the fact that wearing them helped my shins feel like they weren’t about to eject themselves painfully from my calves, I found that I couldn’t wear the socks for very long, as the elastic band at the top would start squeezing me uncomfortably. Then, the one time I tried to wear them for recovery, I had to pull them off in a slight panic (no easy feat, as compression socks are no joke to get on and off!) after an hour or so, as my legs started feeling a bit tingly like the circulation was getting cut off.

I didn’t bother to experiment with other compression brands, given the steep price tag of all the products, and just assumed that if I wanted to rock compression socks, I’d have to make sure I didn’t wear them for too long.

When LEGEND contacted me about becoming an ambassador this past summer, I was intrigued. For one, it meant a free pair of socks, which meant I could give compression socks a go again without breaking the bank (hooray!). For another, their slogan of “Right not Tight” made me think that perhaps I could get the benefits of compression without the loss-of-circulation feeling and squeezy sensation under my knee. I opted to try out a pair of their Performance Socks, and eagerly awaited mail day.


Mail day! I love this color.

When the socks arrived, I tried them on right away and wandered around my house in them for a while. They were slower than your average socks to pull on – just like other compression socks I’ve tried – but once they were on, they were so comfortable. I didn’t feel squeezy at all. But, to be fair, this was just a trial run in my house… the real test would come later!

Okay, quick break from my personal tale to share the deets of these socks from the LEGEND site:

LEGEND® Compression Performance socks are designed for all sporting activities to enhance power and endurance while supporting the shin, ankle, achilles, calf and arch of the foot. The product design and manufacturing process of our sports compression socks make them among the best performing socks on the planet. These sports compression socks were developed through extensive research in the compression industry. These socks are unique because they implement design aspects that our LEGEND® team pulled from its years of experience with medical grade compression products. By applying those medical learnings to our Compression Performance Socks, we were able to create a graduated compression product that we believe is the best on the market. Featuring 15-20 mmHg of graduated compression it provides everything you need to perform at your best.


  • 15-20 mmHg Graduated Compression for improved athletic performance
  • Compression Performance socks for all sports
  • Greater power output
  • Enhanced Endurance
  • Faster Muscle Warm Up Pre-exercise
  • Increase oxygen levels and blood circulation
  • Faster recovery time
  • Seamless toe and terry sole construction
  • Promotes circulation for muscle performance
  • Reduction of lactic acid
  • Improve muscle support and injury prevention
  • UV protection
  • Moisture wicking
  • Achilles and arch support
  • Open ventilation and breathable design for comfort

(There’s a whole bunch more information on the website that I won’t copy here, but if you’re curious, check it out!)

Test #1:

So, with promises of these socks providing “greater power output,” “increased endurance,” “decreased shin splints and calf cramps,” and “improved recovery time,” I put them to their first real test at the Beach 2 Beacon 10K. I hadn’t run a lot before that race, and I didn’t really warm up at all due to my desire to be social rather than a responsible runner, and these things are usually a recipe for shin splints, sore calves, and DOMS in my legs for a few days after the fact.


How were they? Well, I’ll refrain from calling them miracle socks for fear of hyperbole, but, reader, they were awesome. I put them on around 5am, stood around in them for quite a while before the race, ran in them for an hour and 20 minutes, sat around in them for at least an hour, then walked another 2 miles in them before taking them off. All told, I’d had them on for probably 7 hours. And there was absolutely no squeezy or loss-of-circulation feelings. My legs felt totally fine. I had no blisters (full disclosure: I did Body Glide my toes before the race). My legs weren’t even that sweaty, considering the socks are long.

But maybe the best part? Remember how I said I hadn’t warmed up at all before the race? When I neglect to warm up, I usually spend the first mile of a race battling shin splints before they calm down. I had zero shin splints at B2B. My calves felt fine. And I had absolutely no residual soreness in my legs at all afterward… not that afternoon, not the next day, etc. It was weird (for me), and I liked it.

Test #2:


In case B2B had been a fluke, I figured I should test the socks in another race before reviewing them. Fast forward a month to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park 10K. Once again, I donned the socks early, wearing them for a while before running for an hour and a quarter, then stood around/rode the Tube in them. And again, no discomfort or squeeziness. And, once again, despite my not having run in the month between races as well as doing a paltry warm-up, my legs felt fresh after the race and didn’t get sore at all. (I had been a little worried about DOMS given that I had two flights home the day after the race, but my legs felt totally fine!)

Test #3:

(This was a bonus test, since I got lazy with blogging and didn’t get around to writing a review until now.)

So, I’m pregnant. One of the common side effects of pregnancy is swollen legs/feet/ankles as all the extra blood in your body has a tendency to pool at the bottom if you’re not moving around too much. At an appointment a few months back, my midwife suggested compression socks for the days when I knew I would be mostly stationary. At the time, I was being pretty good about taking lunchtime walks – plus all the nearest ladies’ rooms are small epic quests away from my cubicle – so I didn’t really have a need to try them out.

That is, until the day of the Massachusetts Speaks Out Against Hate rally in Boston. Figuring that I’d be standing around for a while without a place to sit, I thought I’d give my socks a non-running go. And you know what? They didn’t let me down. I wore them all day, standing mostly still in them for an hour or two midday, and once again they were nothing but comfortable. And my preggo feet and ankles were happily not swollen when I took them off that night – huzzah!


Can you see my socks under my massive belly?

The Verdict:

I love these socks. I love that they’re compression socks without the squeezy feeling. I love that they don’t make my legs all sweaty and gross, even when worn under long trousers. I love that they’re comfortable to run in, and that they seem to magically rescue my legs from post-run soreness.

But wait, you may be asking… what about the promises of increased endurance and power output? Good question, reader. In all honesty, I can’t really answer that. To give a fair review of those aspects, I feel like I’d have to try them out when I’m at least a little bit fit. Since I ran in them in races I didn’t train for, when my fitness was diminishing thanks to the growing presence of my new running buddy, it wasn’t easy to compare my power or endurance to previous non-sock experiences. Once the wee bairn arrives and I get out there running again, I’m going to take them on more test runs to see what effect they have (or might not have) because I’m curious too. Watch this space!

Want to give LEGEND Compression Performance Socks (or maybe one of their other products, like sleeves or recovery socks?) a go? If it’s your first time buying LEGEND gear, follow this link to get $15 off!

Not your first purchase but want more gear? Use the code AmbFriend2016 to get 15% off any LEGEND purchase!

Beach to Beacon 10K, 6 August 2016

What: 10K

Where: Cape Elizabeth, Maine (course map)

Who: Me and a bunch of Shammies, with moral support from Drew

Time: 1:22:40

Splits: (according to Simon)
-Mile 1: 11:13
-Mile 2: 15:49*
-Mile 3: 15:24*
-Mile 4: 12:06
-Mile 5: 11:36
-Mile 6: 13:13
-Mile 6.2: 3:22

*These two mile splits include porta-potty stops:


Two giant canyons in the first half represent long, long porta-potty stops. The other dips are walks up hills.

Check out my race review on BibRave!

Running in the footsteps of giants:

Two quick points about this race, to set the stage:

  1. It’s Joan Benoit Samuelson‘s race, and the course apparently follows her training route. That’s pretty stinkin’ cool.
  2. History was made this year, as native Mainer Ben True became the first American to win the race in its 19-year history. (Note: his winning time, 28:17, is faster than my best 5K time. Mind = blown.)

The background:

Beach to Beacon has been on my radar ever since I joined the Shammies. A contingent of the club heads north every year to run, and I’ve heard so many stories about what a great race it is, how fun it is, how you get to run with elites and sometimes even see Joanie, etc.

The more I heard, the more I wanted to run. The only problem is that it’s a notorious race in terms of getting in; this year, general registration sold out in less than 4 minutes! Most Shammies end up getting in by entering the team lottery, but it’s not always a given that they’ll get to run.

Well, luckily for me, general registration opens at 7am, exactly when I’m usually standing at my bus stop killing time on my phone. On that fateful day in March, I was stood on the sidewalk with my phone poised, and I somehow squeaked in within that 3:43 window. It was the second time the magical race gods were smiling upon me, and I was pretty smiley myself!

The expo:

Drew and I left work early on Friday to attempt to beat weekend traffic, but still wound up sitting on the highway for 4+ hours (it usually takes about 2). We still managed to arrive in Cape Elizabeth in time to hit the expo, which I was pumped about. With the exception of the Boston Marathon expo I sneaked into during a volunteer stint, I’d never experienced a race expo before.


Inside the expo at Cape Elizabeth High School

Granted, it wasn’t very big, but I was still nerdily excited to be at my first expo! Bib pickup was well organized and quick (other Shammies said it took forever earlier in the day), and my bib came with a nice Nike Dri-Fit t-shirt and a car magnet. More goodies came in the expo, too: gift cards to LL Bean, Olympia Sports, and Dunkin Donuts, as well as free reusable grocery bags and snacks provided by Clif Bar and a local pasta place. Not too shabby! There were vendors and run clubs there too, but by that point Drew and I were hungry and wanted to eat an actual meal.

After a tasty, tasty dish of homemade gnocchi at Enio’s (go there if you’re ever in South Portland!), we returned to our Airbnb and settled in for an early night’s sleep.


We were up with the sun, literally, on race morning:


Sunrise over SoPo

I’ve never run a race big enough to need shuttle buses and such, so I’m not used to crazy-early wake-ups. 5:20 felt way too early! I stumbled around, donned my kit, shoved some mini stroopwafel (thank you, Kennebunk Service Plaza for surprising me with those treats!) and water down my throat, and then Drew was driving me to a shuttle point.

Another first for me – a point-to-point course. I’ve always run loops or out-and-backs, or point-to-points where the start and finish are so close that they’re not even considered point-to-points. So this made logistics interesting in terms of getting to the start, finding Drew at the finish, and the like.

Anyway, I squeezed onto the 6:20 shuttle (a good, old-fashioned yellow school bus) and we trundled down lovely wooded back roads for 5-10 minutes before arriving at the start area. And what a start area it was! I’ve never seen so many porta-potties – with every 4 alternating which way they were facing so all the lines weren’t on one side – plus there were so many volunteers! Some were staffing water and snack tables, which also had Gatorade and coffee, and some were loading up gear bag buses. I felt like I was in the big-time!

I was supposed to meet up with the rest of the Shammies at 6:45, so I had some time to kill. I ate the Clif Bar I’d gotten at the expo, wandered back to the tables to get some Gatorade, and pretty much just people-watched until I saw a bunch of green singlets coming my way.


I love these ladies!

I also shoved a Honey Stinger waffle in my face (which is why I look so goofy in the above photo – I was chewing), not because I wanted to eat it, but because I didn’t want to carry it and no one else seemed to want it. Oh well, one can never have too many pre-race waffles… right?

We chatted and killed time until we heard the national anthem, then we walked over to take our various places at the starting line. Shammies E and K hung out with me near the back of the pack; it was going to be a hot day (“sneaky heat,” as one article called it later, due to high humidity and dew point) and we wanted to enjoy the day and each other’s company without needing a trip to the medical tent.


View from the back(ish) of the pack… you can just make out the balloon arch where the starting line was

The race:

The wheelchair athletes had started around 7:30 (I think), and the elite women took off at 8 on the dot. Elite men and the rest of us (who were a respectable distance behind the elite corral) got our start at 8:12. It took us about 8 minutes to cross the start from when the race actually started.

The first mile was nice and chill. E, K, and I were going fast enough that my conversation was broken up with lots of breathing pauses, but not so fast that it was uncomfortable. All of a sudden, we saw balloons up ahead signalling the first mile – huh? E and I were both having some race nerves and decided to pull over at the porta-potty, and K ran off with a fellow runner who she had started chatting with about his t-shirt. We stood in line for about 5 minutes, realized we didn’t really have to go after all, and carried on.


Looking relatively fresh and happy when the first photographer appeared

Mile 2 flew by as quickly as the first and, again, I made the decision to pull over at the aid stop’s porta-potty. E was being a trooper and running my race with me, so she grabbed us some waters and waited. It was another long wait, and my nerves were still playing tricks on me, so we set off once again.

Honestly, the rest of the race is a blur. Thanks to those epic porta-potty stops, I ran my personal worst time-wise… though it’s heartening to know that if I shaved those ~10 minutes off, I would have ran about my usual time in spite of the heat. So that’s cool! But despite the slow time, it was seriously the fastest race ever. The mile markers were flying at us, and E and I kept saying how quickly the race was going. It must have been the great company! We chatted up a storm the entire way.


There were at least 4 photographers at Mile 5, where there’s a gorgeous ocean view behind the runners, but unfortunately we’re in focus, not the view!

The awesome crowds and scenery helped, too! I’ve never run a race with so many spectators, and they went all out to cheer for us. Though my name has been on bibs before, this was the first race where people actually cheered for me by name (such a cool feeling!), and people were ringing cowbells, holding witty signs, blasting motivational music (I remember E and I singing along to the Rolling Stones as we crested a hill), and even passing out bacon (Beach to Bacon, get it?). I truly felt like a rock star… a very red, tired one with a sheen of sweat, but a rock star nonetheless.

The course ends with a few steep hills, one of which is in Fort Williams Park. That part of the race was a little disheartening… you run into the park and up the “final hill,” and I sort of expected the race to end there. But no. We wound through a section of the park, curve after curve, with the end nowhere in sight. It was such a relief to finally see the balloon arch in the distance, and I zeroed in on it. Little did I know Drew was practically right next to me, shouting my name! E spotted him and posed for a silly picture as I stared off at the finish:


At last we victoriously crossed the finish line. The Shammies had warned me that it would be a while before I could get my hands on some water (seriously, one of my biggest race pet peeves), so as soon as I crossed the line I had my eyes peeled for the far-off land of water tables. I was so focused that I jumped a little when E said “Thanks, Joanie!” and when I looked in front of me, there she was! Less than an arm’s length away – Joan Benoit Samuelson! I managed to say “Thanks, Joanie!” and she looked at me and smiled as I lurched past, wondering if it would be improper to take a picture with her. (I decided not to, even though I kind of regret it now!)


Here we come -the finish at last!


E and I kept walking down the finishing chute, up a steep grassy knoll, and at last reached the far-off water tables. Drew found us, and together we all walked through the park to find the chocolate milk – our designated Shammies meeting point. We found the chocolate milk stand (unlimited free, ice cold, local chocolate milk!) and the rest of the Shammies, and I collapsed into a heap on the grass. There was a massive food tent with crackers, cheese, yogurt, blueberries, granola bars, trail mix, etc. etc. etc. as well as vendor tables, but I was so tired I couldn’t bring myself to traipse around anymore. And anyway, Drew was carrying a paper sack full of goodies from Scratch bakery, so we tucked into a raspberry coffeecake.

Despite my lethargy, Fort Williams Park was a really cool place to end a race, with a huge expanse of grass to splay out on, bits of old forts to climb on, a little beach with some Atlantic Ocean to cool off in, and Portland Head Light, the beacon we ran to:


Photo credit: Drew

We sat around, chatting and eating snacks and comparing our race experiences (which ranged from our fastest getting 7th in his age group – in a race with 6,600 runners – to E and I hitting personal worsts) for just under and hour, and then set off for some much-needed showers. The Shammies did what Shammies do and hit downtown Portland for some well earned beers, while I attacked one of Scratch’s famous Super Duper Cinnamon Rolls:


Freshly showered with a cinnamon bun the size of my head


Now that’s what I call recovery!

Overall thoughts:

I absolutely adored this race. Despite my personal worst, despite my pet peeve water situation, despite lack of bling, this is a race I want to run every year for the foreseeable future! The course, the scenery, the crowds, Joanie!, and all the little details made it a fantastic race to run. It’s clear that it was a race created by a runner, and it’s also run by the same race director who runs the Boston Marathon. These people know what they’re doing, and know how to put on a good race! The registration fee is a little steep at $50, but for what you get, I think it’s worth it. I mean, the gift cards from the expo make up half that cost, plus there are plenty of 5Ks around Boston that cost $35-$40 and all you get is a pint glass. B2B is the race for me!


My dodgy gait and I love this race!

One final thought:

Drew and I opted to walk the 2 miles back to our Airbnb from the finish line, since traffic was ridonk. However, after all my failed pit stops during the race – and no thanks at all to the most disgusting porta-potties I’ve ever seen after the race – it was an uncomfortable walk back, to say the least. Enter The Cookie Jar, a lovely little bakery on our route. They let me use their gloriously clean real bathroom, and we returned the next morning for breakfast as a thank you. People rave about Holy Donut in Portland, but seriously – if you’re ever in South Portland and like donuts, you must stop at Cookie Jar! Maple glazed donut + Maine blueberry coffee = excellent way to cap off an excellent race weekend.

You Take the Good, You Take the Bad…

…and there you have the facts of (running) life. Am I right?

I know I owe a race recap from the Worcester Firefighters 6k (spoiler alert: I PRd by 5:30!!), but this post has been bouncing around my brain since last night’s suboptimal track workout, so it gets to go first.

Right. Track workouts. Speedwork. It’s terrible and it’s awesome and and I hate it and I love it all at the same time. Coach Steve is great at putting together tough workouts and people always give him a joking hard time because everyone hates them, but they’re also so good. Even before I was working on changing my gait, the speed workouts I was doing with the Shammies were definitely making me a little faster. 

Anyway. Last week’s workout was one of the “you take the good” kind. It was 12x 200s with 200 recoveries between, and I killed it. It was hot and humid but I was ready and hydrated and I killed those 200s (for me, at least!)! I felt awesome during (I’m running fast! I’m running pain-free! This is awesome!!) and I felt awesome and accomplished after. I couldn’t wait to do it again the following week. 

And then last night’s workout happened. It was rough. It started with a 10-minute tempo run at 10k pace, then went to ladders on the track at mile pace – 3x 200, 2x 300, 1x 400, 2x 300, 3x 200. 

I attempted the tempo and made it barely 5 minutes in before I got all kinds of side-stitches. Since I had already warmed up, I cut the tempo short and took a water break while I waited for everyone else to finish. 

Then the 200s. I was so excited for these, after nailing them last week. But, silly me, I wasn’t only doing 200s this time around, so I should have paced myself, right? Heh.

I took off on the 200s (mile pace? pshh) and, once again, killed them. Then I ran the first 300 and promptly died (metaphorically, of course). Seriously though, why do 300s feel so much longer than 200s??

I had a crazy cramp in my side and an attack of shin splints, which I haven’t had in almost 2 years. What the heck? I was miserable and barely made the last 100m. I limped off to my bottle of Nuun and sat out the next 300, then promptly realized there was no way I could do a 400 without something going wrong. 

Maybe I was just being paranoid, but I am so scared of injuring myself now before my horrifying half marathon on Sunday, and so I used that as an excuse and I stopped the workout. I stretched and sipped my Nuun while I watched everyone else zip around the track. And I felt anything but accomplished on my way home, a much different scenario than the previous week when I was practically throwing myself a mental victory parade. 

But that happens, right? How many bad runs have I had over the past few years that I’ve bounced back from? Quite a few. But even knowing that, I really let last night’s run get to me. I felt like a facsimile of a sham of a runner and that was a bit of a bummer. I’ve never had to quit a speed workout that fast before, and I’m still bummed out about it today. 

But, trying to think on the bright side, what better time to learn from a crappy run than now? What went wrong that made the run so crappy? Let’s see…

  1. I probably wasn’t hydrated enough (anyone surprised?). That could explain the side stitches. 
  2. I wore different shoes than I’ve been wearing for track. Maybe this is why my shins freaked out?
  3. I completely ignored any kind of pacing, let alone my goal pace. Steve has a chat that lists goal paces for each distance based on your most recent 5k result. My 200s were way faster than my goal pace, which is probably why I crapped out so quickly. 

So, yeah. I wrote this rambly post mostly to hammer into my brain what can happen when I don’t do anything I’m supposed to do, like drinking water and following Steve’s instructions, and, you know, using proper footwear. You think I’d know these things by now, but… alas. 

I’d say I’m hoping for a better workout next week, but that will be 2 days post-half so I probably won’t be doing any speedwork yet! But hopefully the week after or so will be better. 

When do you stick a fork in a workout that’s not going so well? 

How do you move on after a run or a workout totally bums you out?