Friday, December 30, 2011

Fitness Friday - HBBC Week #6

OK so it seems like I just recapped HBBC Week #5, oh wait, I did...well anyways - as I mentioned yesterday, working remote for me is like zero motivation to do anything else...but I have been trying to read all of your blogs, so I guess I have been somewhat productive.  Oh, and I got out and ran yesterday, 6.4 miles in not a total waste of a week :) I did some decent workouts for the week as well, which was comforting.

Thank you again Amanda!

Saturday (Christmas Eve):
Sunday (Christmas):
  • Rest Day
  • F&V = 1 pt
  • Rest Day
  • 3.11 miles run (3.11 pts)
  • 20 minutes stretching (1 pt)
  • 50-minute boot-camp (5 pts)
  • F & V = 1 pt
  • 90 minutes yoga (4.5 pts)
  • 1.06 miles walked (1.06 pts)
  • 20 minutes stretching (1 pt)
  • F & V = 1 pt.
  • 6.4 miles (6.4 pts)
  • 10 minutes stretching (0.5 pt)
  • F & V= 1 pt.
  • 1.53 miles walked (to and from T) (1.53 pts)
  • 10 minutes stretching (0.5 pt)
Week Total:  36 pts.

All in all a decent holiday week of workouts - I wish I had done some more than I did today, but honestly, my knees were sore and I want to run 8 miles tomorrow - so I rested today.  The thing I am most proud of is my F & V intake! With the holiday meals I still got in 7 F&V servings both Saturday AND Sunday - which is the first weekend since HBBC started that I have succeeded at that.  It was also a full holiday weekend, and I didn't go crazy with the sugar and drinks - I definitely had more sugar than usually, but I didn't go overboard at all.  Also, my mileage is getting back to normal (which is why the knees are sore) which feels great - and I am excited for my half marathon in February.

I am not a big planner for races, so I have yet to look at 2012 in the race numbers, but I plan on mapping out some sort of strategy for the year in January.  I do know I have the half marathon and a relay in May - but that is all right now.  

Do you map out your race plan for the year before the New Year starts? Or do you wing it?

Definitely wing it - I love to race, but stink at training (hence the overdoing it during marathon training)

Did you do better than you thought with the holiday foods/drinks, or did you go a little overboard?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Monday....I mean Thursday Motivations?

I need to get my mileage back up for a Half Marathon in February - but I - at.all

I told myself I would go to yoga yesterday and the gym today to run, but I seem to have lost my ambition....I have been working remote this week - which means sitting at the laptop with no interpersonal interaction all day, and serious lack of motivation!  This was the perfect quote, and now I am going to get my booty up, get dressed in workout clothes  and get to the gym!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

HBBC Week #5 Round-Up

First off, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays! I have been home all weekend, spending time with family, eating way too much, savoring a few good drinks and opening some awesome gifts!

I did move around a little - I got in the Home for the Holidays 10k, running 6.2 miles through my hometown in 47:46, dressed as a holiday lump of coal.  It was a difficult run to do alone, as it was the first time I have run in temps below 30. I tweeted and blogged to kill time and wait for some more sun to shine through the window, before I finally sucked it up (w/ a slight guilt trip via Nancy and Steph on Twitter). It was nicer than expected though because the sun was shining down, and almost made me forget about the chilling headwinds on my way back.
I ended up ditching the neckwarmer before the run when I realized it was warm in the sun!
 My Garmin was out of commission, so I used my little sister's stopwatch to time the total run.  My miles averaged out to a 7:42 pace, and I believe that the all of the 6.2 miles were just under 8:00 minutes.  Not too shabby for a cold, solo run.
Post - 6.2 lump of coal
In other news, I can't believe we are already onto Week #6 of the HBBC!! So without further ado, here are my week #5 stats!
Thank you Amanda for keeping me honest and active!

  • 100 min. yoga/stretching (6 pts)
  • Rest Day
  • 4.26 mile run (4.26 pts)
  • F & V = 1 pt
  • 0.53 miles walked (0.53 pts)
  • 2.03 miles ran (2.03 pts)
  • 55-minute bootcamp (5.5 pts)
  • F & V = 1 pt

  • Rest Day (4 1/2 hours baking)
  • F & V = 1 pt.

  • 6.59 miles (6.59 pts)
  • F & V= 1 pt.

  • 2 hours yoga/stretching (6 pts.)
  • F & V = 1 pt.
Week Total:  35.91 pts.

I still need to work on F&V, but I am more than ecstatic that there are not one, but two, yoga sessions on that list! It was so great to stretch out the hips and test my balance out a little bit.  I also had one of the higher mileage weeks I have done in a little while, and I am not having too much pain (just a little achiness on the 2 hour drive home Friday).

After the glutinous weekend and double rest days, I am more than ready to up the fitness levels tomorrow and the rest of the week, as well as continue my 7 F & Vs a day! 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday Motivations - Holiday edition

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Exercise RX for holiday cheer....

While everyone is either hungover from sugar, champagne or love - the motivation levels are low - the tensions of too much go-go-going.....

Repeat phrase above x 3

Hope everyone had a very merry and happy holiday in whichever form you do :)


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Three Things Thursday - Holiday 10k, Bia, and Graston

It is two days before Christmas Eve, and I must admit, I am not completely done with shopping/wrapping/etc...but I am also not freaking out too much.  I know I will get it all done, it is just a matter of buckling down and getting to it, right?  I did however, spend 4 1/2 hours baking gifts last night, so I might call it day with that :)

Well anyways, I have a few things to mention on this wonderful, warm (wtf?!) Thursday here it goes!

1. Home for the Holidays 10K: virtual 10k to be exact.  I am signed up and ready to participate in this inaugural virtual race (also will be my first ever virtual race) over the weekend - not only is it put on by a few new blogger/runner buddies I met at the Winter Classic, but it also is a chance to run 6.2 miles through my home old stomping grounds! I hope to complete this race on Saturday morning, before we head to Grammy's to help set up for our annual Christmas Eve party (family and family friends, dress up, eat lots of food, drink lots of wine), and this is for a few reasons: it will help jump-start my busy, probably glutinous day, it is on familiar terrain, it is also the only day this weekend that looks like it won't see rain or snow..

2. Bia: Have you guys heard/seen this around the online world? I first saw it on a blog yesterday, then Twitter, and FB!  I guess it is a fitness site still in the works, that is for women by women....a place to journal about work-outs-runs-food, a place for community support, and to top it off, they are working on developing a fitness watch that is specifically for women athletes...pretty cool stuff!

I am still a little tentative, as it is such a struggle to keep up with Blogworld, DailyMile, Twitter, FB, HBBC (see even all the links make me tired!), but I am also excited that this could be a great reference point for fitness tips tailored to women, a journal to keep track of workouts and goals.  Who knows...I am definitely one to try out new things and give them a chance...check it out for yourself if you would like - Bia  (who apparently was the Greek goddess of force and power. She was also Nike's younger sister....dun, dun, dunnn) 

3. Graston:  This is a technique I believe I first heard about on the blogworld back in Spring, but didn't pay too  much attention to, besides thinking it was painful and horrific and I am glad I don't need it....until now :(  My PT finally mentioned (after several months) that I should go and see a sports chiropractor and explore the need for ART (active release technique) and Graston Technique.  

(source) The Graston Technique® incorporates a patented form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to effectively detect and treat scar tissue and restrictions that affect normal function.
The Technique:
  • Separates and breaks down collagen cross-links, and splays and stretches connective tissue and muscle fibers
  • Increases skin temperature
  • Facilitates reflex changes in the chronic muscle holding pattern
  • Increases the rate and amount of blood flow to and from the area
  • Increases cellular activity in the region, including fibroblasts and mast cells
  • Increases histamine response secondary to mast cell activity

As my lingering knee and Achilles pain ached on...I called the Chiro

He made me feel very comfortable and confident in his work, gave me a great assessment ("your body is just all messed up - I blame it on those 12 years of gymnastics - I know my children will never do gymnastics"), and then got straight to work on my Achilles.  At first he was doing just ART (which is essentially them applying pressure to the bottom of a joint/ligament/muscle and slowly moving the pressure upwards, while you flex and extend that joint).  This part wasn't too painful, more like a deep tissue - and my Achilles has so much scare tissue built up around it, I could barely feel much.  Apparently scar tissue limits the range of motion, causing pain and preventing normal functionality in the affect area...sounds about right!

But wait, there is more...he then grabs this metal stick (flat on each side, with beveled edges - so he doesn't cut me) and lubes it up (TWSS?).  I am a little  nervous at this point, but hey, I have been through A LOT with these legs, so I was prepared...kind wasn't too, too bad, but he said he needed to stop, so he didn't aggravate it too much - next up...knee/ITB/TFL
Anyone else think this looks like Dexter is about to work on me? Source

Again, he started with the ART - ok, I can do this, I have had a lot of deep tissue on this leg, bring it on! Then he brought it on....I didn't expect him to use the Graston on my ITB! He knew this was a tender spot and thought he would be able to work on it without the stick....nope....
yeah, that used to be my ITB
Yeah, after a few minutes of that, I was not feeling so awesome anymore - he had me walk on the TM and see how it felt - honestly, the achiness wasn't too bad, but I attribute that to the fact that I could feel the bruises already forming and didn't have enough pain capacity to think about the achiness...

Now that it has been almost a full week, the bruising has gone down (which I later found out is normal after this procedure) and I am just anxiously awaiting my next appointment on January 3rd, kind of like waiting for Santa on Saturday night...or not....

Have you ever had to receive ART or Graston work?

Ouch, I hope you never have to if you haven't yet!

Are you participating in any holiday race/event this weekend?

What is your favorite holiday treat (cookie, truffle, candy, you name it!)?

Did you do gymnastics? 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What I Love Wednesday - JŎCALAT Review

So a little while ago (ok, too long ago if I must be honest), I contacted Larabar and spoke with a wonderful woman, Erica.  Now I am a huge Larabar fan (the coconut cream pie rocks my world.), and as I see around the blogosphere, and in the healthy living community, that many of you guys like the stuff too!  So you would assume I contacted Erica to check in on the newest flavors of the classic Larabars, but you would also be slightly incorrect...the reason I reached out to the company, was to inquire about their JŎCALAT line of bars.

JŎCALAT?! What the heck?! That is the exact thought process that I went through when I first spotted these on their site.  I have heard countless times (and experienced first hand) the deliciousness that is Larabars, but I had yet to hear about these JŎCALAT bars!  Erica was too sweet when I asked about the bars, and if it would be OK to review and introduce my readers to them - and she sent me one of each flavor....each, chocolately, goodness flavor.
Chocolate Coffee, Chocolate Mint, Chocolate, and Chocolate Hazelnut
You might be wondering....What is so unique about JŎCALAT bars....aren't they just Larabars, but in brown packaging?

JŎCALAT is an organic chocolate food bar made from fruits, nuts and Fair Trade Certified™ chocolate. Each flavor contains no more than seven simple, organic ingredients that are deliciously rich, without added sugars, and  free of dairy, soy, and gluten. With JŎCALAT, we're committed to the use of Fair Trade Certified™ chocolate and organic ingredients, doing our part to sustain the planet. (from their site)
So in short, unlike the classic Larabars, these each have a good dose of daily chocolate in them :) I was especially excited for the Chocolate Hazelnut I thought it would be the perfect flavor for an after lunch treat!

Only 5 ingredients!!
So, now to the good are they?! Well, I will admit, and I am a little embarrassed to admit this (as I understand the ingredients and I know these are not your typical chocolate bar) but I expected my first bite to be a little sweeter.  They have a very rich, yet raw, chocolate flavor - there is no added sweetener (just the dates), but there is two kinds of chocolate in each bar (organic cocoa powder and organic unsweetened chocolate). Overall, I really enjoyed these bars as an after lunch or dinner treat, but I only ate about 1/3 or 1/2 at a time - as they are very rich (think flour-less chocolate cake rich), so I enjoyed them savored over two or three sittings.


  • amazing for you, real, whole, easy to read ingredients
  • gluten, dairy, soy free - also vegan and kosher (Hanukkah gift?)
  • healthy alternative to that chocolate cheesecake you want to grab post-dinner
    • natural source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber :)
  • similar texture and shape of the classic Larabar
  • each bar boasts a very rich chocolatey flavor, as well as a slightly nutty aftertaste
  • although they have a similar texture to the classic Larabar, these are a little bit dryer - definitely have a glass of water or milk around while enjoying
  • pricing - I haven't seen them in the stores near me, but online they are $31.95 for a 16-count box, so about $2 a piece - not horrible, but it could add up (in comparison, Larabars are typically $25.45 a 16-ct. = $1.60 a piece).
I honestly didn't have many cons (as you can see), they were a pleasant change from the classic Larabar that we have grown to love and cherish.  I did in deed enjoy the Chocolate Hazelnut the best, and then Chocolate Mint came in a close second!  

If you haven't tried these yet, I would recommend giving them a taste - as long you like chocolate and that nutty/bitter/rich/raw flavor of raw cocoa - and if you don't like chocolate, well...sorry to bore you with this review :)

* I was sent these bars free of cost form the Larabar company, but the opinions expressed are 100% my own!

**Also, I must note - I am really sorry that I did not take a picture of a cute bar cut in half picture like Elle does so wonderfully (they are so classy and yummy looking), but Larabar was nice enough to send me one of their new flavors to try, so I will do better this time around!!
Have you heard of/tried JŎCALAT  bars?

If you could have any flavor mixed with one of these bars, what would you choose?

I would try orange - I loved a rich chocolate with a sweet orange accent!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sweat it out...yay or nay?

So I know this might not be a comfortable topic, or one that you consider healthy living or a balanced lifestyle; however, as a 24-year old, living with roommates and enjoying life in the city (Boston, that is), this is a topic I run into time to time, and that I am personally split on.

With all of the holiday parties, friends and family from out of town and time off of work (for some), we sometimes tend to over-indulge in the holiday egg-nog, fruity rum punch, vino...and we can end up with a not so pleasant morning after, and in some cases, whole next day!  So what is an active, usually energetic girl (or guy!) to do? Should you hit the gym or the pavement and try to sweat it out, or do you stay home and lay low for the day?
I encountered this very problem this weekend - I had a poor choice of dinner (snacking at the holiday party) and I drank rum and vodka with caffeine.  I woke up with a pretty bad headache, a sore/scratchy throat, and a shaky body (most likely from the dehydration).  Not a prime state to get up and be coordinated, so I filled a big water bottle, made some banana oatmeal, and went back into bed with a couple (4 or 5) episodes of Gossip Girl....right or wrong?

Well I got to thinking that very question about halfway through the day, after too many episodes of GG, and when Tripp walked in and just laughed at my pathetic situation.  I made the choice to stay home Sunday, instead of working out, because I didn't trust my hydration levels, I didn't trust my coordination, and my body needed to rest and nourish a little.
Not this kind of hangover...there were no tigers or babies involved 
I did start looking up what the greater population thought about working out while hungover - as I have in the past gotten up and gone for a run, gone to spin class or boot camp, and even have showed up to races not in prime form.  It isn't that I am a lush, but I am 24 and when you like to go out, it happens sometimes...I would obviously like to avoid the hungover feeling altogether, but I also enjoy nights out with Tripp or my friends.

So what did I deduce....Exercising When You're Hungover

  • Drink plenty of water before heading out for exercise, and have water on hand during
  • Fuel with healthy fuels when you wake up and before your workout
  • If you need to exercise, try to stick to light cardio sessions 
  • You are probably very dehydrated, so avoid strenuous activities
  • Make sure to evaluate your coordination (are you shaky, blurry eyed, slow reflexes), being hungover can make you more clumsy and can be dangerous in the weight room or on the road
  • Stick to stretching workouts, like yoga or pilates
  •  Sweating can in fact make you feel better, as it helps to release some of the toxins, while boosting endorphins
So next time you wake up groggy, but functional, hit up the gym, the pavement, or the yoga mat for some fog-lifting endorphins.  Remember: if you can't do something to improve your fitness, stay home - there is no point in half-assing the workout, only to injure yourself.

What is your take on this topic? Sweat it out, lay low, or hit up rehab (this last option was a joke)?

I am going to try to sweat it out, unless I am in a situation like Sunday, where I knew I was too dehydrated to do anything productive, and I didn't want to hurt myself any further than I am already

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday Motivations - Will You?

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Feeling tired and run-down today...but I am going to motivate and get to the gym after work for at least 3 miles.  I have a Christmas party at 6, so I have to make it quick...but I will make it....and I will be happy I did :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

HBBC Week #4 Round-Up

I am not dead or sick or flaky, I have been around this weekend - reading blogs, holiday parties, massages, and (spoiler alert) yoga...but I just haven't had energy to turn on my computer and stare at the screen.  I never did my HBBC round up on Friday (but I did get my presents wrapped!), so here it goes!

So this week started off really strong, with a fitness packed weekend (that included bootcamp, a race, and field hockey - I did not, however, get in a yoga session like intended).
Thank you again, Amanda!

  • 2.76 miles jogged/ran (2.76 pts)
  • 90-min. boot camp (9 pts)

  • 4.35 miles ran (3.1 = 5K PR Race :) ) (4.35 pts.)
  • Field Hockey - 50 minutes (5 pts)

  • F & V = 1 pt

  • 1.25 milwa ran (1.25 pts)
  • Boot camp - 50 min. (5 pts.)
  • F & V = 1 pt.

  • 5.16 miles ran (5.16 pts.)
  • Stretching: 20 min. (1 pt)
  • F & V = 1 pt.

  • Spin class - 50 min (5 pts)
  • F & V= 1 pt.

  • 3.04 miles walked (3.04 pts.)
  • F & V = 1 pt.
Week Total:  46.56 pts.

In regards to my F&V intake, I need to concentrate more on the veggies during the weekend - I just don't eat as often, or as normal of meals on weekends, so I have to work on that.  On the workout front, I think I did pretty well! I had a 5k PR, I fit in a strength and a spin class, I even ran 5 miles on TM (which was difficult, hot and not fun).

This week I am going to work on less impact workouts, and let my legs heel up some before the holidays.  I had ART (active release therapy) and Graston on Friday, followed by a deep tissue massage on Saturday, so needless to say - my legs are a bit tender/sore today.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas in the City Needs Your Help!

Hey guys, today's post is going to be a little different, as I am welcoming a guest blogger for the day, to post a little something something on the site.  I don't normally do guest blog-spots (hence the reason I didn't have posts my entire vacation), but when Stephanie reached out to me with this cause, it really hit me hard.  I have worked to raise funds, clothing and food in the past in order to offer the homeless or low income families in the Boston area, and see it as a worthy, rewarding, and humbling cause.  

I will say now, the following post is going to explain a little bit about the Christmas in the City charity, and the pertinent need for support this week, as they head into their holiday party short many of the gifts meant for delivery to needy children.  If you do not wish to read, I will understand, but if you have the time, please take a moment to scroll through and read what Stephanie has to say (heck many of you stick around for some the novels I write :) ).
Hi all,

My name is Stephanie and I blog at
Run for Fun.   Danielle has been nice enough to let me reach out to you on her blog and I really appreciate it because I have a very important cause to talk about.

I am not one to solicit or try and take up the blog world annoying people.  We all have our own charities during the holidays and our own lists of presents right now.  But if you have a moment, I could really use your help.

I am reaching out to you all because I volunteer with an organization that works miracles.  This organization, called Christmas in the City, is a nonprofit that provides thousands of children who fight poverty and domestic violence with the Christmas experience.  For one day, these kids shine and understand the miracles of Christmas.  They make memories. At the end of the day, each child receives a personalized gift from their very own wish list right off of Santa’s sleigh. 

This year, due to a technical glitch, we are SHORT on presents, VERY SHORT, which means we have less than a week to collect thousands of presents for 8,000 children.  Without your help, we will not have enough gifts come the big day!

Ok, so hopefully you are still with me and I can tell you a little bit more about Christmas in the City. 

In 2010, more than 3,000 people attended CITC.  The children entered the event on red carpets into a large room decorated for Christmas.  Snow filled the air as volunteers,  cartoon characters, and a choir singing Christmas carols  welcomed the children.  The day was a dream come true.  It included a 7-course meal, kid friendly exhibits (e.g., a petting zoo and the Children’s Museum)and a Winter Wonderland – an area full of carnival rides, games, food and performances by dance troops and performers.  The day concluded with Santa bringing each child a personalized present off their very own Wish List as well as a gift bag with age appropriate presents such as stuffed animals, hats, gloves, and t-shirts.  The mothers also received a gift bag with gift cards, books and more! For those children who could not attend, CITC still provided them with a personalized gift, giving out an additional 3,000 presents in the last year alone! 

I can describe it but you really need to see it – check out this ABC video to really see the magic - CITC Video  (I am serious this video makes me cry every time).

So where are we?  We are days away from Christmas in the City and we are at a real push time.  Every year it is a struggle to get present but this year we have more children than ever!!! We are looking to provide presents to 8,000 children and their mothers.  Usually at this point in the year we are well on our way to making that happy.

Unfortunately, there was a computer glitch and the presents that usually appear have not come!!  Here is where you come in!  It does not matter where you are you can help!! And we really, really need your help. 

You can donate to Christmas in the City by going to  

You can also Tweet, Facebook, and blog about it to get others involved.  Feel free to shamelessly link or take this post.  Also you can use the following:
@CITCBoston is in trouble! We are days away from the party without enough presents for our 8,000 kids! Please help us!
Email me:

Last year, CITC was saved through the power of social networking.  I know bloggers and readers can do it again and show them what we are made of. 

Yes this is a Christmas tree on a treadmill, but hey that’s what happens when an amazing Physical Therapist thinks up a great organization.
- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thank you Stephanie - and I wish you luck with all of the donations! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

CLICK Espresso Protein Review

So a few weeks ago, I was sent this wonderful package from Kelli at CLICK (Espresso Protein Drink).  I had spoke with Kelli about my interest in trying this protein drink, after hearing so many positive reviews around the blogworld and twitter.  I am a coffee drinker (I prefer iced), and I used to be obsessed with Starbuck's frappacinos and Dunking coolatas, so I thought this would be a great way to entice me to take more protein post workouts.

After my 90-minute boot-camp this past weekend, I was not ready yet for real food, but knew I needed to replenish my exhausted muscles - and the fact that I hadn't had any coffee (or caffeine in general) that morning, sealed the deal.  I reached into the cabinet and picked out the Vanilla Latte flavored CLICK powder, and the nifty little shaker Kelli sent along too!

Seriously, drinking this is as easy as 1, 2, 3....

1. Shake:
2. Pour over ice
3. Enjoy
Sooo, I may have taken one of the steps a little too serious....I mean they made pour over ice sounds so luxurious, that I had to class it up myself!
I really did enjoy this did not have the tinny flavor of some protein powders, it was not too sweet, and it really hit the spot for some energy and post-work-out fuel!  Speaking about not too sweet, there is very little sugar in this drink compared to some other "coffee" flavored drinks and the nutrition facts aren't too shabby really...look...15 grams of Protein, only 6 grams of sugar - I'll take it!
Although this is easy to throw in the gym bag, add water - shake and drink, there is one thing that I want to note.  In regards to the mix, although shaken quite vigorously, the powder still does not totally dissolve - there were some flakes floating on the top of my glass, but texture wise in the mouth, i couldn't tell there were flakes, so I was Ok with it.

Other serving suggestions (that I personally think would be divine)

  • blended with ice and almond milk (or milk of choice), for a creamy "frappe"
  • shaken with 1/2 water and 1/2 almond milk (or milk of choice) - the instructions say just water, but I think the creamy makes this better!
  • mixed with baileys & chocolate vodka and poured into martini glass (espresso martini anyone?!)

I will be packing my Mocha flavor in my gym bag this week (sans vodka ;) )....

**I was provided this product free of charge, but the ideas and opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own.
Have you ever tried CLICK? What is your favorite kind?

What is your favorite mode of protein post-workout?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Winter Classic 5K - race report

So I know I threw a little surprise out on Friday, that I was going to be running a 5k this weekend, my first race in almost 2 months post-marathon! I didn't even  realize there was a 5k around the city this weekend, because in all honesty, I stopped looking for races because my knee was bugging me again and my Achilles was a pain in the neck, and I was, well, in a rut of sorts.

That is until I (virtually) met Stephanie, who is local to the greater Boston area, and who also told me to go sign up for a 5k in Cambridge, the Winter Classic.  She said there would be a few other local bloggers and it would be a fun race and good meet up, so I shelled out the $30 and registered.  Once registered, I realized my friends Julia and Dutch would be running as well, so I was even more pumped to show up in <30 degree weather, in holiday gear, to try out racing once again.

Since, I had not been racing in a while, I was kind of out of the flow of pre-race prep, race plans (OK, if I can be honest here, I don't normally have a race plan - but that is for another post), hydration and nutrition.  I actually went out Friday night (harder than intended), woke up hurting on Saturday, but told myself I still had to go to my 90-minute boot-camp, since it has become a sign-up only, exclusive event, and the instructor sends out threatening messages if you don't show up and wasted the spot.  I would have to suffer through the headache and grogginess, since I only brought it upon myself.  So mistake #1 poor hydration, mistake #2 90-minute boot-camp the day before a race (race suicide you might be thinking?).  I salvaged the day of race prep by cooking up a nice, healthy carbo-loaded meal for dinner, and then hit the hay....only to have not one, but two, dreams that I missed the start of the race because I forgot things at home....
woopsie! How did more booze get in there?! Maybe that is why I had bad dreams  ;) (chicken & apple sausage, butternut squash, spinach, brocollie, dice tomatoes, toasted pignoli nuts, whole wheat rigatoni, and white wine sauce I made up)
So on Sunday morning, I woke up, had some oatmeal, checked the chill factor (still hovering around or below 30) and promptly put on top/bottom layers of Under Armor, knee high red/green striped socks (with faux fur!), christmasy boxers, fleece pants (for the commute) a long sleeve red T, and a Santa hat and I was off to meet up with the bloggers and get my race on...sort of...

I got in the car and tried to park near the T, but there were no spots, so as I sat at a red light (already 10-15 minutes behind mind you, because I suck at being on time) I remembered that my bib was still in my purse from picking it up on Saturday! I texted Steph telling her I was an epic fail and that I would be like 20+ minutes late, and to just do what she needed to and hopefully I would make it! I rushed home and grabbed my bib, but instead of risking more time trying to park, I decided to hoof I sprinted the 0.5 miles to the T, and jumped on perfect timing.  I got to Central Square just about 10:08 (the race started at 10:30 - phew!) and as I was running to find somewhere to drop my bag (and pray no one stole it, because they didn't have bag drops) I ran right into Steph, Robyn and Meghan! I joined in step with them and finished up their warm up jog, before promptly freaking out that I needed to strip and drop my bag - so they bio-breaked at McDonald's and I ran to the start/finish line tent. Mistake #3 = stressed beyond belief morning of race

When I got to the tent area I ran into Julia and Dutch, thank you to the Team Sparkle purple gear Julia was rocking :) and dumped my bag and warm-ups and got in line.  I quickly found Steph and posse (who were wearing team sparkle attire as well:) ) and was listening to the convo going on "I am aiming for 6:50s...I am aiming for 7:30s - what's your race plan Danielle?" to which I replied "I am going for somewhere in between you and you (insert inflection point)?" and blushed at the surprised faces that I had no plan...woopsie...mistake #4 = no race pace plan/strategy
Notice how Dutch and I are Kinvara twins - seriously LOVED racing in these shoes - first race ever in them, and I can see many more in the future!
As we were still chatting away, we were interrupted by the bullhorn signalling the race start, and we all dashed away to run our own races...I, of course, started out in a full out sprint around low 6's and promptly freaked out (mistake #5 = going out too fast)....The course was an out and back through a pretty section of Cambridge, MA, it was super flat, with only two slight hills, so I found a pace that felt semi-comfortable/semi-pushing and stuck with it...

This is where I hate 5ks, they are short enough, where you feel like you are sprinting for 3 full miles, and feel like death by mile 1.5 (a distance that for endurance runners should feel like a dinky warm-up), and then continue to feel like death, or worse, the next 1.6 miles....I ran this race with my headphones in, my Santa hat bobbing, and completely alone - seriously....there was no one running next to me on either side (I mean people passed me and I passed some people), but everywhere I looked, there were groups of runners, and then it was like me, carefully placed solo in the gap between the groups...just a surreal feeling I felt like sharing.

By mile 2, I knew I burned myself out, there was no way I could have done 2 miles in 13:50, I wasn't going to make it to the finish! I slowed slightly and saw the group behind me pass by me...crap...then I saw a few stranglers pass by me, but I decided to keep them close and realized I only had about 0.75 to go, so I decided to swing my arms and turn on the jets, w/e was left.  I did a gradual speed increase to the point of a full out sprint about 0.25 from the finish, I passed the stragglers and even a good chunk of the group in front of me - one sweet girl even mustered a "great push" as I passed her, and I was so breathless, it took me 5 whole seconds to puff out a "thanks!"

I saw the finish and I saw the time, I was going to get a PR, even if I walked, so I sped up some more :) I crossed in 21:22, a whole 00:01:03 PR, and promptly stumbled to the sidelines, where I immediately found Dutch, and tried to get out the words "PR'd", but it came out "psllurrr" and I realized then that I had really pushed myself to my limits - which felt AWESOME.  I smiled, OK I lie, I beamed the rest of the morning (and even when I made myself a congratulatory ice cream sundae for dessert).  Despite the many mistakes I made, I pushed hard throughout the race, and beat a two-yr old PR :)

haha the blackberry pic Julia sent me definitely looks like I am morfing into an actual elf! I had to ditch the boxeers because I fell over after the finish onto muddy grass (my legs were seriously exhausted) and it looked like I had a small accident, so I stripped those off! 
Post-race, I met back up with Julia and Dutch and could not locate Steph or Robyn or Meghan anywhere, so we decided to head out to our brunch date with Jessie, at the Friendly Toast (seriously, if you ever come visit Cambridge  go HERE) We stuffed our faces, talked racing, talked work and technology (we are cool, don't be jealous) and then departed.

I got in a good hour of downtime before I got up, got dressed again in clean work-out clothes, and headed over to field hockey (we have a 3 week bye, for the holidays, so I didn't want to miss this!).  I scored a goal, gave some fist pumps, and went home and crashed (but only after my leftovers of pasta and ginormous celebratory sundae - that I did not photograph, because my phone died and I didn't want it to melt while I ran to get my camera).  Today I hurt...a lot...but I am still pretty stoked about a successful, awesome weekend :)

Winter Classic 5K 2011
21:22 - 6:52 pace

166/1115 - overall  14th in age group 19-29

Do you typically have a race plan (i.e. pace strategy) for all your races?

hmm...not so much...

How do you reward yourself after an accomplishment of note?

In the past I have had dessert, drinks, new running gear, massages - but no set reward :)