Weekend Recap: Cocktails, Cupcakes & Good Friends

Does anyone remember the Sound of Music? Aside from “Edelweiss”, “The Hills are Alive” I think of Julie Andrews belting out her version of Friday Faves : “These are a few of my favorite things” since this weekend was absolutely gorgeous & full of great times, I feel like if I was actually creative I could put my own spin on these. However, for the sake of everyone’s sanity, I’ll list it off…

On Friday night my bestie from High School was in town, Kaitlin, and played bartender and made absolutely sinful cucumber basil gin martinis. Seriously, I’m not sure if a single drink could encapsulate all of my favorite things in one fancy glass.

We spent the night chatting, joking, munching and laughing! I was so happy that she was able to squeeze in a quick visit before her family obligations.

This is a riff on her mom’s Facebook photos where she is always making a cute face & holding a fancy cocktail ūüôā Sorry Kay!


Saturday I woke up feeling a little out of it, but it was so gorgeous that I couldn’t resist heading out for a quick three mile run. Afterward I got ready & headed downtown to meet up with some fabulous blogger ladies! Emily, Lauren, Becky, Lizzy & Corey


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To Party or Not to Party?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

It’s hard to believe how quickly time flies…

Three years ago today I was celebrating St Patrick’s Day in Dublin, Ireland with one of my best friends, Hannah

Two Years ago I was at Hannah’s brother’s wedding in Washington D.C.

Last year: The Southie St Patrick’s Day Monsoon Parade

This weekend marks the St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Boston, and it guarantees to be a HUGE party weekend. We all know that I have a party girl side. If Boston is the promised land of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, then Southie is the grand messiah. South Boston is a predominately Irish Catholic Neighborhood, and the pride for Ireland runs extremely deep! The festivities kick off on Thursday, continue on into Friday, all day Saturday and then Sunday during the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Sigh. So many beers, so many calories, and yikes THAT HANGOVER!

Needless to say, this year I’m not looking forward to this year’s festivities with the usual vigor and excitement of past years. I’ve been feeling GREAT when it comes to my health, nutrition and running. The thought of completely falling off the wagon for a full weekend is less than appealing at this point. This weekend is so crazy that in my prime it took over 3 days to recover, at this stage, who really knows!

So here is my plan for this impossible to avoid partying weekend:

Friday – This is always a traditionally low key weekend since everyone is gearing up for two big days and recovering from a mid week St Pat’s imbibing (I will not be partaking in this) So I’ll be able to work out, chill out and catch up on sleep.

Saturday – I’m volunteering at the World Multisport Conference in Cambridge, MA at MIT for DetermiNation from 10am-12pm, then I’m planning on running around the Charles River (a hop, skip and a jump from MIT), head back home to good old Southie and figure out my strategy from there. Maybe it’s a couple pints of Guinness and an early bedtime?

Sunday– This is the real conundrum, I want to run the Southie St. Patrick’s Day 5k at 11am, but friends and fellow St. Pat’s enthusiasts are telling me that “it’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever had”. With the new development that my friend Lizzy is now running Boston in just over a month, she has offered me her number in this race. So why not?! Even if I end up over imbibing during the end all be all of St. Patrick’s day celebrations* I can still get out there and have a good time.

Moderation is key, and I think if I tackle this weekend with the right mindset I will still be able to get in the spirit, get my sweat (and hopefully race on),  have a couple libations and avoid a near death feeling come Monday.

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What would you do? Party all weekend and fall off the wagon? Or, stay in and be good? Is there a middle ground?

*Chicago Natives, I make this claim but I realize that your St. Patrick’s Day is a rockin’ good time as well. Someday I will have to experience it for myself!

Go Easy On Yourself…and Run Hard

A few weeks ago I was riding the bus on my way into work doing my daily routine: I was bundled up, sweating my butt off, and had my nose buried in twitter on my phone. As I scrolled through, I noticed my good friend Hannah from college had tweeted about a New York Times article called “Go Easy on Yourself“. Since I am always my own toughest critic, I decided to click the link and then wait the painfully long loading period for the article to pull up on my blackberry.

The article did a great job of speaking to how people, women in particular, put themselves through mental anguish, which doesn’t decrease a certain behavior, but rather increases. For instance, bad eating habits, those people that maybe eat a donut, enjoy it and move on are in a better place than people who eat a donut, beat themselves up over it, and then the stress of the mental battle leaves them reaching for another donut. Ahh the destructive cycle…

While I definitely do have a hard time resisting the urge to reach for another baked good, my issues don’t lie in food per se, but more beating myself up over mistakes at work, a misunderstanding with a friend, a snide remark someone could have meant in jest, you name it, I am usually over thinking it and making myself pay for it.

The office has never been a good place for my tendency for self loathing, but exercise has always been my chance to achieve equilibrium. It’s my time to feel free, work out my stress and feel satisfied and proud of myself for what I have accomplished. Certainly that is the complete opposite from mentally abusing oneself.

My journey back to an even keel really began when I started seriously swimming in 5th grade and in many ways it saved me from the stress of school, cliques in middle and high school, family issues, boy issues, you name it, the water was always my therapy. I find it so funny that in reality when I was the hardest on myself in the physical sense, it was always the most satisfying for me, mentally. Due to work schedules and lack of pools, I turned to running in 2006 to fill the swimming void and wasted no time signing up for a half marathon. I feel lucky that I have been able to find the same therapeutic, self help qualities in running as I did in swimming.

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The First DetermiNation Pub Run and I’m Running the SF Marathon!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m involved in the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation program.

I walked over from my office and met up with the crew at The Point in Faneuil Hall. I normally avoid bars in Faneuil Hall at all costs, but since this was a school night and we were heading out for a run, I made an exception. We all introduced one another and then set off for our 5 mile run!

Here is part of the crew in a cute, pre-sweaty picture (don’t mind the Bud Light Court Street sign)

We set out for a route running through downtown and doing a big loop into the Seaport District of Boston. I had a great time chatting with fellow committee members and other newbies that were joining us for the first time. We all started in a pack together, and then slowly clumped together in groups of 2-3 each. I ran with two girls from the North End Running Club, Amber and Monica. Amber was exceptionally speedy, so at times I felt like I was sprinting at max pace to keep up with her! One small downside was since this was our first run we missed a turn which ended up shaving .7 off of our run. No one really seemed to mind the shortened distance and everyone agreed they were fine with running 4.25 vs 5.0. We all finished and cheered, such a great first group run!

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Pub Run with DetermiNation New England

I always joke after a long day of skiing that other sports really should get follow the ¬†lead of the ski world and embrace the concept of “apres ___”. I definitely enjoy a beer after a road race, why not after a casual run with friends?

Apres Corporate Challenge

As I have mentioned before, I am involved in the American Cancer Society DetermiNation Program as a mentor and committee member. For those who aren’t familiar, DetermiNation is the American Cancer Society‚Äôs nation of athletes determined to end cancer. This powerful and inspiring movement saves lives by enabling athletes to dedicate their training and participation in marathons, triathlons, cycling races, and other endurance events to a lifesaving effort to fight a disease that has already taken too many lives.

DetermiNation has been very powerful in many communities and nationwide, but the New England chapter is relatively new and is working towards increasing it’s presence and footprint in New England. Katy Meagher, the Community Executive for DetermiNation NE (as well as one of my oldest friends), has organized a Pub Run series leaving from The Point in order to bring together runners from the Boston area and spread the word about DetermiNation New England!

The first run is happening on 2/24 at 6:30pm leaving from The Point Boston, 147 Hanover St Boston, MA (The corner of Hanover and Union Streets) and heading out for a 5 mile run throughout the city and enjoying some beers and good conversation afterwards. Runners of all abilities are welcome! RSVP on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/eL6lvV. I hope you see you!

Gym Rage

I apologize in advance for this being an extremely long, rambling post…If you’re not a fan of whining or self deprecating humor, I suggest you exit now…

My routine for getting to the gym this winter has been a bit interesting, but last night’s journey definitely takes the cake.

The actual mileage between my office and the gym isn’t far, roughly 1.2 miles

So, on nice days OR days when the buses are experiencing delays, I walk. Otherwise, I pay $1.25 for the bus to take me a few stops to avoid completely freezing to death, and then walk the remainder of the distance down Pappas way to my gym. A small price for warmth! For the most part, both of these options have been treating me well.

However, last night I decided that this winter had made me tough, and opted to walk the entire way to the gym rather than catch the bus. BAD IDEA. It started out chilly, and I just repeated positive thoughts to myself to keep me from going nuts. Then, when walking past the Boston Convention Center, the wind was so strong I seriously thought I was going to blow away. BOO WINTER! I tightened my hood on my sleeping bag coat, and trudged on.

This isn't my coat, but I really wish it was

Then, I reached a cross roads. There is a small section (probably 20-30 feet) RIGHT before the turn onto the road my gym is on that is one gigantic snow pile. Yup, no cross walk available. FML for walkers like myself who risk their life to oncoming traffic due to this major safety hazard.

So, do I risk my life walking in the road? OR, do I try to get crafty and find a quicker, non-life threatening route? Feeling crafty, I opted to blaze an urban trail and find a new route.

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Resisting the Urge to Register for a Marathon

Does anyone know how to resist the urge to run a marathon? I am all ears because I seriously need help…

I’m obviously beyond excited for everyone running Boston, but it’s hard to track everyone’s training and not wish that I was going through the same thing. Pangs of jealousy. Then, last Tuesday, registration opened for the 2011 Chicago Marathon and watching others excitedly sign up and talk with their friends came with even more emotions. Waves of disappointment and guilt for pulling out of this marathon in 2010 come over me every time I hear it mentioned. I know someday I will run this, but 2011 is not the year.¬† Even though I know I shouldn’t register for another marathon, it doesn’t mean the urge to do it isn’t there…No Kim, no! Don’t do it!

As more and more races open up for registration, I know the temptation and the urge to register is only going to snowball. So, my strategy? Keep Busy!

  1. Fill my schedule with shorter races and focus on speed and setting goals for each distance. Anywhere from a 5k-13.1 Miles
  2. Add in several more Triathlons to add some variety to my schedule
  3. Finally join the L Street Running Club
  4. Go on long runs with friends who are training for marathons and live vicariously through their experience

I’m hoping that if I accomplish everything above that it will make my next marathon a much more fulfilling experience. However, if I can’t fight the urge and become absolutely dead set on running a full marathon,¬† I will register for a smaller race that doesn’t require an expensive flight or hotel room, but rather one that is an easy day trip.

Any tips on how I can resist the urge to register for a marathon?! I need HELP!

Merry SNOWY Christmas and Cold Weather Running Tips

It’s hard to believe that Christmas has come and gone and 2010 is just days away from ending. Where has the past year gone?! It feels like it was just July and I was in the smack in the middle of wedding season! It’s been a great year, and I’m certainly looking forward to an even better 2011. The holidays are great, and this year’s was no exception. Rob and I spent Christmas Eve with his family and then went down to the cape to spend Christmas day with my family. We were treated to two beautiful days before being assaulted with snow, with “Snoloko” in Boston.

This Christmas my baking obsession (goes hand in hand with my running obsession!) took on a new level on intensity when I volunteered to bake a 3D Snowman cake for Rob’s niece’s Second Birthday. I spent all day baking and frosting, and there were multiple obstacles, but in the end it was completely worth it! Rob’s niece absolutely loved the cake and it was a huge hit with the rest of his family. Yay!

 

Rob’s Niece, Bea admiring her Snowman Birthday cake!

After Christmas Eve dinner and Mass, we piled into Rob’s car and made it to my mom’s house on the cape. After catching up with family and wrapping my gifts (major procrastination in the gift wrapping department this year…) I went straight to bed.

Unable to sleep on Christmas morning I woke up early and drank coffee and caught up with my brother and sister in law. Once everyone woke up we opened our stockings a couple gifts, and then took a break so my brother and sister in law could go to her father’s house for a few hours. Rob and I took advantage of the beautiful day, and the break in the action and went for a run on my favorite route. I took my camera along to capture the snowy coastal scenes, enjoy!

 

It was a little bright out there ūüôā

 

A cold, but Happy Foxy!

 

All business

 

Empty Parking lot, normally there is a line of cars waiting to get in!

Nothing like the quiet of the cape in the winter...

LOVE the starfish

Bass River

Someone wasn't terribly happy about the paparazzi...

One of my favorite houses on the river

Until the next visit!

The run went well, but the cold air and wind definitely posed some challenges. There were a few times we had to stop to catch our breathe because the cold air was knocking the wind out of our lungs, brrrr! Since several of my running friends are now starting to train for the Hyannis Half or Full Marathon, and a little race called the Boston Marathon, some cold weather running tips are necessary!

Cold Weather Running Tips

  1. Bundle up– This means keeping your hands, head and feet warm.
  2. Wear a high neck or choker– to help protect your lungs, if it’s really cold breathe through these and it should help ease the burning sensation
  3. Use an inhaler! This is a new problem of mine, but I now use an inhaler before running and keep it with me just in case I encounter any issues
  4. Breathe in and out of your nose– Less of a cold air shock to your lungs!
  5. Try to maintain an easy and relaxed breathing pattern
  6. When all else fails, slow your pace!

I’ve found that the shock of running outdoors is the worst, and your lungs and body adjust to the cold weather each time you head out for a run. Just be patient.

What are your cold running tips and tricks?

Running with Lizzy in Beautiful Boston

Since my nagging injury sidelined me from training for five weeks I haven’t been able to run with one of my favorite running buddies, Lizzy. I’ve mentioned Lizzy before in my blog, but for those who don’t know about her, she is my coworker and also the writer of Food to Run For, where she writes about her adventures in the kitchen and out on the pavement. Liz and I share a lot in common, and I thoroughly enjoy running with her whenever we can squeeze it into our hectic schedules.

Here is the link for the route that we ran, pretty self explanatory! Morning Charles River Route! Find more Runs in Boston, Massachusetts

This morning we decided to partake in a morning run instead of a lunch time run, so we didn’t feel the stress of work hanging over our heads. I brought my camera with me since it was such a picture perfect day, so check out the photos below and ENJOY!

capturing some moments pre run in our office before the day starts

And another where you can actually see our faces!

Lizzy running through Downtown Crossing

Park Street Church and Boston Common in the distance

Me running by the Massachusetts State House

Beacon Hill

Doesn't it look like a shot from Good Will Hunting?

Running around the Finger islands

Lizzy on the Harvard Bridge!

And of course me

Boston from the Cambridge side of the Charles

Beautiful Boston

Taking in the view of Downtown

Heading over the Salt & Pepper bridge back to Bean town

Almost there!

Back to 53 State and time to start our days!

Falmouth Road Race Recap

On August 15th I ventured back to the scene of my most painful race of 2008, the Falmouth Road Race. As I outlined earlier, this race is certainly not a friend, it is an evil enemy just lurking and teasing me to come back for more. My brother is a huge advocate of this race, so he usually breaks me down and gets me to sign up for the lottery every year. Since I got in this year, I decided, what the heck, I’ll give it a go.

Sunday Morning Pre Race

So the morning of the race I woke up around 6am and started gathering my things. Since Falmouth is on the way back to Boston, my boyfriend and I figured it would be smart to avoid additional traffic headaches and head back home directly from the race. So as I prepped everything, I was also packing up my excessive amount of bags for the weekend! My brother and sister in law were also awake and we all chatted over coffee and breakfast on our race strategy. My brother, who was in better shape than past years, wanted to break an hour and finish the race feeling strong. My sister in law and I both mentioned that we wanted to take it slow and enjoy the amazing scenery, whatever happened, would happen. My overly generous boyfriend and caravan driver, woke up and we quickly piled into his car and left for the race.

The drive to Falmouth from my mom’s house in Yarmouth is a long and tedious one, we had to take a road that is littered with stop signs and traffic lights–ick! As we approached the center of town, the traffic changed from steady movement to a complete standstill. After sitting in stop and go traffic for 20 minutes, my brother, sister in law and I all hopped out and decided to go the rest of the way on foot. Everywhere we looked there were runners sporting their numbers scrambling to make one of the shuttle buses to Woods Hole, which is the scenic start of the race. Luckily there were thousands of other people waiting behind us for buses so we were in great shape.

Fast forward to the runners village, and I quickly broke off from my brother and sister in law in order run to the bathroom. If you know me at all, you know this is a huge source of anxiety for me, and even if I don’t need to, I end up popping into a porto-potty multiple times before a race, just in case. Luckily, my impulsive¬†idiosyncratic ways paid off, because from the moment I got in line to when I entered the porto, was over 40 minutes–Yikes! I was in and out in a flash, and then proceeded to the start line, with roughly 7 minutes to spare.

On my way to my wave, I ran into a coworker and her husband, which was a fun treat and lightened my anxious mood. Once I made it to my area, I spread out and stretched quickly, then did my ritual jump up and down (residual habit¬†ingrained¬†in me from year and years of swim meets) as I was beginning to settle in, I looked to my left, and who was there but @petfxr! She didn’t even notice it was me at first, but just wanted to comment on my colorful race day shorts ūüôā We chatted briefly and it definitely helped lighten my mood even more since I had a running buddy in my wave. The weather was cloudy and a nice 70 degree¬†temperature, absolutely perfect road race weather. I was hopeful that this was going to be the year that turned my¬†animosity¬†towards the Falmouth Road Race around.

The Race

Before too long we were off, and as usual, the start was a complete disaster. Picture extremely narrow roads and over 10,000 people trying to squeeze through all at the same time, not fun. Luckily I felt good and just settled into a groove and tried to run at my own pace and avoid zig zagging around people. Things finally started to break up a bit around the first mile marker, which is at the picturesque sweeping view that Falmouth is most commonly known for. As soon as I came around the bend and saw the lighthouse I said to myself, now this is beautiful, enjoy this. As I said these words I realized that in 2008, I was already hating my life at this point, so the race was already going exponentially better in that regard.

I took the next few miles at my own pace, but holding roughly 9 minute mile pace, which is exactly where I wanted to be, not too fast, but not too slow. I made sure not to use up all the gas, as I knew the coming hills would potentially pose some problems for my knees. I continued to take in the scenery and just enjoy the fact that I was actually able to run. After not being able to run for nearly 5 weeks, I was so elated that I was back that it really helped bouy my mood throughout the race.

I felt good until about mile 5, when the hills ended and I hit the straight aways near the beach, owww, I thought, this hurts. I continued to focus and my pace slowed a bit, but I made a promise to myself “just make it through without walking!” I¬†soldiered¬†on, and the next mile was difficult, but I was treated to seeing my boyfriend just before the 10k mark, so that helped give me a little boost for the end of the race.

Thumbs up for Falmouth!

Then, I conquered the final hill, and what a battle it was. I dug deep and just kept telling myself, DON’T WALK, DON’T WALK, DON’T WALK, and that shortly after the hill ended, was the finish line.

The INTENSITY never stops!

When I reached the top I saw the gigantic American flag waving in all it’s glory over the finish line,¬†hallelujah!!! I made it! When I crossed the finish line I put my hands up in joy and thought to myself, now that wasn’t so bad! I made my way to the finish festival, found some ice for my knee and enjoyed some post race snacks and water. I was just so happy that I didn’t hate my life that I didn’t even care about my time, I was done!

Post Race Thoughts

Overall I thought I had a really solid race. I accomplished all of my goals

  1. Slow and SteadyРIn order to make sure that I don’t reinjure myself, I’m going to take things very slow and steady, particularly the brutal hills near the end of this course-CHECK!
  2. Take in the SceneryРThe last time I ran this race I went out so fast that I wasn’t able to take in the true beauty of the race. This time I’m planning on hanging out and enjoying the scenery and actually enjoying myself :)One BIG Check, this race is BEAUTIFUL!
  3. Use the spectators to fuel me through the raceРOne of my memories from FRR ’08 was the sheer number of spectators that come out to cheer on runners. It was similar in volume to the amount of people that come out to watch a marathon, which is very impressive!- Check! I loved the spectators!
  4. JUST FINISH– ‚ÄėNuff said!- CHECK! And, I didn’t walk!

And my time: 1:02:47, which is actually 30 seconds slower than my time in 2008, but considering my approach and overall outcome, I thought that 2010 was a great race and a good time, especially considering my come back.

I will certainly be entering into the lottery next year, and trying to better not only my time, but my overall experience. Thank you to all of the dedicated race organizers and volunteers for making this a fabulous event.

Oh, and afterwards my boyfriend and I were able to relax at my friend Sarah & Mike’s wonderful beachside house in Falmouth, cheers!

Enjoying beautiful Black Beach on Buzzards Bay