Sunday, December 18, 2016

Bill Rogers Jingle Bell 5k Run Recap

Today I participated in my final run of 2016, the Jingle Bell 5k. This was my first time doing this run. I had a friend running who I hadn't seen for a little while. The weather was good for running. It did rain, but mostly after I finished which was awesome. Plus being 50° in December was perfect.


Start Time:
11 am


Prior to the race date there was email communication to help with seeing where parking was available, the course, and what bars were part of the post-race party. I got my bib morning of the race. I found street parking fairly easily and had a short walk to the start/finish area and the bib pickup location. Bib pickup was in the Somerville Senior Center. The line was outside the building, but moved very quickly. (The line could be due to people exiting from the same door.) Once upstairs you picked up your bibs and shirts. The bibs were separated alphabetically. There was a person telling everyone that they were alphabetical, but you could not see what box you were in front of until you were up to it. After you picked up your bib you got your shirt. After finishing the race there was no clear direction on where to get your medal or water. I felt I had a longer walk than necessary to get my medal. There was a teenage boy handing out water, but everyone was grabbing their own medal. This could have been organized better.


I loved that this was a closed course. Each mile had someone holding up a sign showing each mile. There was one water stop along the course after mile 1. There was plenty of course support along the entire route. Even people standing in line for breakfast were waving and cheering people on. 


 T-shirt, finisher medal, jingle bell*, post race party
*I did not get a jingle bell. I would guess that they ran out prior to ending packet pickup.

Would I recommend this race?
I would do this run again next year. Overall everything went smoothly. There were families who ran, people dressed up in Christmas leggings, ugly sweaters, Santa hats, and more! (There was one group dressed up as Santa and reindeer and another group who were playing guitar and a drum singing Christmas carols.

Friday, December 16, 2016

I Entered a Lottery And...

I was accepted into the Chicago Marathon!

I entered to see what would happen. A few friends also applied so what was the worst that could happen. In the end all 5 people I know got accepted via the lottery and 1 friend is running for charity. This is the first run of 2017 that I've signed up for and I know I'll add more along the way. 

This is the best way to see a new place isn't it!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Ugly Sweater Run Recap

Yesterday I participated in The Ugly Sweater Run.

This run is put on in multiple cities in the month of December:
Seattle, WA
Hartford, CT
Atlanta, GA
Cleveland, OH
Dallas, TX
Chicago, IL
Boston, MA
Denver, CO
Philadelphia, PA
Baltimore, MD
Washington, DC

I attended the Boston, MA edition held at Suffolk Downs. The weather was really cold, but that is no one's fault. Everyone was in good spirits at the run, which was great. This year the run was put on by Kahlúa. So if you were over 21 you could get a free a Kahlúa drink. This was an all-ages event and a lot of people brought their children and even some dogs.


Start Time:
8:30 AM
There was a wave start so that everyone could get their bibs and get to the start line. This also allowed for there not to be too many people out on the course at the same time.

*There were discounts available for this race from the event holders, as well as on Groupon.

The organization of the race overall was good. There was bib pickup the night before the race at Suffolk Downs. If you could not make it the night before, there was bib pickup the morning of the race. They had the bib pickup outside (even though there was more than enough room inside). We all got into a line that seemed like it was the right one. After 30+ minutes we were told we could be in any line. It took almost an hour to get our bib and we actually missed the 8:30 start time. (Good thing there was multiple waves!) Besides the bib pickup everything else went smoothly. After you finished the race, it wasn't exactly clear where to get your medal. Everything else went really smoothly.


The course began in a parking lot and then went around before entering the old horse race track. The course was easy to follow and was marked perfectly. The miles were marked, but I only saw Mile 1. So I could have missed them There were 2 water stops along the course. 


Every registered runner got a knit hat and a medal. If you were under 21 your medal had a blue ribbon without the Kahlúa logo on it. I thought this was a great idea. After the run there was an after party where you could had tons of photo ops, could purchase some food, and redeem your free Kalhúa drink or hot chocolate.

Would I recommend this race?

I would recommend this race. This is a fun run to get into the holiday spirit with friends and family. Everyone was really nice and had some great Ugly Sweaters on. Even though we were cold we had a blast. Check out this race to see if they'll be running in near you!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Hanover Turkey Trot Recap

Thanksgiving is a time to spend eating and watching football and hanging out with family and friends.

Thanksgiving for me has involved running, seeing a movie, and eating. So this year I did just that!

I got up early and heading a little less than 2 miles from my house to participate in the Hanover Turkey Trot with Carrick. We ran. My knee hurt. We walked. We finished. Then we headed to Dunkin Donuts.

After I showered I went and saw Fantastic Beasts and How to Find Them for the second time. I LOVE this movie. The movie stands apart from Harry Potter without completely abandoning what we know all ready. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it.

This is a niffler. He's my favorite.

After the movie I went to my sister's house for a turkey dinner. I've always wondered why they call it dinner when you eat at like 2 pm.

Let's recap the run though.


Start Time:
7:30 am

$15 for 13 and younger

Registering for the event was really easy and smooth. You sign up through RaceWire so you're races will save all together if you sign up for an account. You can pick up your bib the Tuesday before the race at the high school if you want to or you can pick it up at the race on Thursday morning. This makes for a smooth process. I choose to pick up the bibs on Tuesday night on my way home. Parking is really easy on Thursday morning as you can park at the start or the finish. The race is early enough that a lot of people are not out driving around, but they do have cops to keep traffic down on the roads as needed. Each mile is clearly marked and whenever there are turns they are marked with orange arrows.


The course starts on the street outside of Hanover Middle School and ends at Hanover High School. As you can see there is not much elevation change which is nice. The course spends over a mile in a neighborhood. Some of the neighbors will come out and cheer on the runners. It's a good course that I could see myself running on any given day. There are no water stops along the course, but water and hot chocolate at the end of the run.

If you register before a certain date you will receive a long-sleeve shirt with the race logo on it. (This year was November 9th.) I signed up a couple days after this deadline so I did not receive a shirt. Sometimes they do have extra shirts, but this year they all sold out. A great perk is that the race is chip timed. The only downside of this is that there is no starting line you cross over to activate the chip. 

Would I recommend this race?
I think doing a run on Thanksgiving is a great way to spend time with family and friends. The runs are early enough to get done with before needing to get out to visit your loved ones. I think everyone will have a different a race they like to do. I do enjoy the Hanover Turkey Trot. It's nice to see how many families come out to do the races together. I would say if you live in Hanover or a surrounding town that does not host a turkey trot, this is a great run to do.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Forge Ponde Park 5k Recap

This is my second year running this race. They changed the name of the race this year. (Last year it was called the Harvest 5k. I don't have any pictures of this race, so let's just get into it.


Start Time:
9:30 AM

*Proceeds help the YMCA

This is a super organized family run. You can pick up your bibs at the YMCA the week before or at the park day of. It takes a minute for them to give you the bib and then you're ready to run. There are real bathrooms at the park as well which is always great! The volunteers were thankful to everyone who came out to run and made sure to tell you that. 

The course is an enclosed trail run. This is a great course through the woods at the park and then ends at the same spot that it begins. There are 2 water stops along the course as well.

Every runner gets a t-shirt. At the end of the race there are water, bagels, oranges, bananas, and this year there were frozen greek yogurt bars which were delicious!

Would I recommend this race?
 I would recommend this race. This is a great family run for the local YMCA. It's fun to see kids running and being so excited when they finish. 

Wine and Dine Half Marathon Recap

Sunday morning had another early morning. We took the bus instead of the car because the course began at Wide World of Sports and ended at Epcot. It made more sense than taking the car to Epcot and then a bus to WWoS.

13.1 miles

Start Time:
5:30 AM

$330 for the Lumiere's Two Course Challenge

Great organization like the previous two days. Bag check was still smooth at the beginning and the end.


The course started at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. 

Starting Line
From WWoS we headed toward Animal Kingdom.

 From Animal Kingdom, we headed to Epcot to finish the race.

The course wasn't my favorite. There are a lot of other ways to get 13.1 miles in at Disney World. I would have rather the half marathon route from Epcot to Magic Kingdom and back to Epcot. I can let it slide though.

Long-sleeve tech shirt and medal. Half marathon and Lumiere's Two Course Challenge participants also received a ticket into the after party Sunday night. (You could buy more tickets for family and friends for $79.)

Would I recommend this race?
If you're a Disney fan, any runDisney race is worth it. I didn't make it to the after party as I was getting sick, but I heard mixed reviews about it. I had a great time all weekend even though I was really tired by the end of the weekend.

Wine and Dine 10k Recap

The next day I was up silly early to get out for the 10k. I ended up spending the day after the 5k at Universal Studios and Halloween Horror Nights. I took the bus over to Epcot to do the 10k. I'm familiar with this course from Marathon Weekend and Princess Half Marathon Weekend. There were some photo ops with characters before and after the race, but I decided to wait until after the race to partake.


Start Time:
5:30 AM

$330 for Lumiere's Two Course Challenge

Organization was wonderful as expected. Bag check was really quick and easy before and after the run.


The course starts and ends in Epcot. This is the same course that is used for other 10ks here in Disney World.

Starting Line

After you start, you head out onto the highway before entering into the World Showcase. You exit and head to the boardwalk, running past the BoardWalk Inn, the Yacht Club, and the Beach Club.

You re-enter into Epcot and exit into the parking lot.

Finish Line
The course isn't the best in the first couple of miles. The rest of the course is great.

Every participant gets a long-sleeve tech shirt and a participant medal.

Would I recommend this race?
Like all other Disney races of course I would recommend this race.

Mickey's Holiday 5k Recap

The first race of the weekend was Mickey's Holiday 5k! This race was throughout the Animal Kingdom park. The race was great and it was fun to run through a park that you normally don't get to unless you're running the marathon.

There were a lot of photo ops before and after the race. We took them before the race to help pass the time.


Start Time:
6:30 AM


As always, the organization was perfect. We drove to the start with little hassle and had plenty of time to get to the starting area. There was water and coffee if you wanted it.


The course started and ended in the Animal Kingdom parking lot. You spent a lot of time in the park which was great. 

Starting line!

When you got inside the park they had the Tree of Life Comes Alive playing. I have not gotten a chance to see this any other time and it was cool to take it in.

Tree of Life Comes Alive!

Expedition Everest.

Finish line!

Every participant got a cotton t-shirt with the race logo on it. Participants also receive a medal.

Would I recommend this race?
This is a great race for everyone. You see a lot of families running together. There's so many great opportunities to take in parts of Disney that you normal can at these events. If you're a Disney fan these are great runs.

Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend Expo

A couple weeks ago I was in Disney for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend! After a couple days of non-race adventures, the first one occurs: THE EXPO! My cousin was also running her first 5k and half marathon, so we got there a little bit early. We started with getting our bibs. I ended up hitting up the race merch in the Field House. I was able to score a stemless wineglass and a wine bottle ornament with very little people.

After that we headed to the Jostens Center to get our shirts and look at the rest of the race merch. I ended up getting the race pins and an "I Did It!" shirt. Someone online had pointed out that when Disney released photos of the merch that inaugural was spelled wrong on a few items. Those items were not available to purchase at the Expo. (This was a big oversight that got a lot of attention. Especially because a lot of this merch was pre-ordered.) After scoring the rest of our goods, we headed to look at the rest of the expo.

Jeff Galloway

I took the time to meet Jeff Galloway, score a couple samples, and find my pacer for the half. (He has really large teeth!)

My pacer for the half!

On the way back to the car we took photos in front of the medal banners. On the 5k medal, Mickey and Minnie are sledding so I had some fun with that photo.

After the expo we were ready to take on a weekend full of running!

Cause 4 Paws 5k Recap

This is my 5th year running the Cause 4 Paws 5k.

This run benefits the Quincy Animal Shelter, which is a no kill shelter for dogs and cats. This was my first 5k and run after I ran the Disney World 5k in 2010. So this run holds a special place in my heart. I love animals, so I enjoy seeing everyone's dogs. They hold a doggie costume contest which is always fun! I was excited to learn that they have updated to chip-timed results this year.

5k run
1 mile dog walk

Start Time:
10 AM

Under 12-$20
*Upgrade packages available.
**Proceeds go to the Quincy Animal Shelter

This year the run felt more disorganized from previous years. In the past there was clear direction for people who were pre-registered and people who needed to register at the event. This year the tables were pushed together, but there were no direction to what line meant what. The volunteers did not seem to know what line meant what which led to more confusion. I had one women tell me and another girl that we needed to change lines after waiting in one for a while. Another volunteer did grab our bibs for us which was very nice. It seemed like there were more vendors there this year than in previous years. There were a lot of raffles that you could put tickets in. Once we started the run everything else moved smoothly. I did not see any mile markers along the route, but there were volunteers and police to direct you in the appropriate direction.

The run begins and ends at Squantum Point Park in Marina Bay. You then leave Marina Bay and head into Quincy before doing a loop back around towards Marina Bay. You end in the same parking lot that you started in.
Views of Boston from after mile 2

This year there was no swag for anyone who did not purchase an upgrade package for the run. If you did purchase the upgrade package you received a t-shirt, raffle tickets, and a few other items that I forget about. I did get to take home some treats for Thor that were available from some vendors. There were a lot of treats after the run for the runners. My favorite were the cupcakes from Dawn's Baked Goods!
Dog themed cupcakes! I had the "poop in grass" chocolate cupcake.

Would I recommend this race?
I would recommend this race. This year had some downfalls from previous years, but I know that my money is going to a great cause. If you are an animal lover you will enjoy the run. They bring dogs that need to be adopted and this year they brought some cats that also need to be adopted. I did give feedback when it was requested about this years run so I expect some changes next year.

Tufts Health Plan 10k For Women Review

(I slacked on writing recaps these days. Well there's no time to get caught up like right now!)

On Columbus Day, the 40th running of the Tufts Health Plan 10k for Women happened.
This race happens on a Monday, a rare occurrence. It also begins at noon! No getting up super early! This was the third time I have run this race. I enjoy running this race along with women of all ages and running abilities. It's great to get together and keep each other going. Joan Benoit Samuelson hosts the event, but was absent due to a family death during that week. I've had the honor of running a couple races in the past that she has also run. I've also heard her speak and she's a lovely lady. She was in everyone's thoughts that day.

5 miles
1k run for kids

Start Time:
12 PM

$45 until 4 PM the Sunday before the race
$60 on-site
*You can receive a discount for being part of Tufts Health Plan.

The organization of this race is great. There is a lot of information that is given on the website and they keep their Facebook page up-to-date. Once you arrive at Boston Common, there is plenty of space to warm up and hang out with your family and friends. There are sponsors set up along the common with samples of food, drinks, clothes, and giveaways. There are great volunteers throughout the Common area and the course.

The course takes over the Mass Ave bridge and along Memorial Drive. This gives you great views of the city and the Charles River. 

Along the course are 5 water stops. There are plenty of volunteers throughout the course to keep everyone on course and help if you get injured. 

Every runner gets a long sleeve shirt. When you finish the run you will go get water, a Powerade, and snacks. You will get a tote to carry all your newly acquired food and drink in.

Would I recommend this race?
I would absolutely recommend this race to any and every women out there. (Okay, men as well. Just be ready to be outnumbered!) The weather is usually great for running and you can enjoy the day in the city afterwards.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Bobby Doyle Summer Classic

Yesterday I ran the Bobby Doyle Summer Classic in Narragansett, RI.

I've run this race the past 2 years. I wasn't sure if I would go and run this one again, but after I completed a training run I signed up. I knew going into this run that I wasn't in the same shape I was last year. I also knew it was going to be hot and humid. I went into the run knowing I was going to take it as easy as I needed to and wasn't expecting anything special. I ended up finishing in 58:49! I was surprised and happy. It wasn't better than last year, but better than the first year I did it.

So what would I tell you about this race?

5 mile run
3k walk

Start Time:
9 am

Before June 1: $24
June 1-August 12: $28
Race Day Sign Ups: $34
*Proceeds support the Bobby Doyle Scholarships and Youth Running Fund

There is very little communication leading up to this race. The good thing though is that all the information is on their website. The race start time, the course, general info, etc. The race starts and ends at the Narragansett Pier Middle School. The school is open to get your bib or sign up for the race if you have not already. (This is also a great time to use a REAL bathroom! They also have porta potties if you prefer.) All registered runners get a tech t-shirt as well. They have music playing. There is parking at the middle school or the high school, which is directly behind the middle school. (I have never seen a problem with parking in the 3 years I have run this race.) When you finish the race you get a cold bottle of water and your medal. They also had a table with cups of water and gatorade if you needed it. They had a lot of pizza, fruit, doughnuts, and bagels for the runners right off to the side of the finish. They post finish times fairly quickly so you can see your official time before you leave.

The course starts and ends at the Narragansett Pier Middle School. You will take a right out of the school and take a run through a neighborhood before heading back towards the school. The 5-mile runners will go by the school and head to the end of the road. At the end of the road you will take a left before turning right to head to Ocean Drive. You will run along the water for this stretch of the race. You will soon be back in a neighborhood before heading back towards the school. There are some hills, but none that is too hard.

There are some areas that you will pass other runners. By the time I hit just after 2-miles, the pack leaders are coming through. They are fast! It's a great time to cheer on fellow runners. The course has volunteers directing you on which was to go. They also put green arrows on the ground, as well as big signage with arrows. I also noticed that the course map above was posted on telephones throughout the course.

Everyone who completes the 5-mile run will receive a medal. This years medal was a shamrock with a removable Bobby Doyle bottle opener. All runners receive a tech t-shirt. Plenty of water is available on the course. There is also plenty of water, gatorade, and food at the end of the race.

Would I recommend this race?
Absolutely! You will run with all different levels of runners which can be inspiring. The course is nice and there are great volunteers throughout. You don't have to worry about getting lost along the way. I love having the option to use a real bathroom before and after the race. If you are questioning doing this race, I would tell you that you should.

From California to Massachusetts

The day had come to travel home. With Carrick flying out we left early the next morning and headed up to Cupertino. I mean if we're going to be in California, we might as well go to corporate. I told Carrick that I was going to go slightly off the grid. I didn't want the world to know when I was going to be home. I just kind of wanted to show back up to work. 

Day One: California

California is huge. So day one we never left the state! We headed up to Cupertino. This was a time to stop in at corporate and take the typical picture outside of the sign.

Typical employee photo.

From Cupertino we headed over to San Jose. I wanted to tour the Winchester Mystery House. I've always wanted to go here and if I was that close I was going! We did the Grand Estate Tour. This is actually two tours: the Mansion Tour and the Behind-the-Scenes Tour. All together you will spend about 2 1/2 hours going through this home. I highly recommend seeing this home if you are in the San Jose area!

Winchester Mystery House
 Day Two: California-Wyoming

From our night in northern California, we headed out towards Nevada. We had to go through Tahoe National Forest. This place was incredible! We were above clouds and in tons of pine trees. (I was missing the trees!) It was about 34 degrees outside when I took this picture!
Tahoe National Forest
 One of the places I really wanted to see on the way home was the Bonneville Salt Flats. This place is wild! It is huge. There are mountains around the area (I promise there are some in the background of this picture) and you could see the rain up on them. You may not believe it, but behind me in the distance is I-80. There is a highway right in the middle! I probably could have just looked at this place for hours, but Massachusetts is pretty far from Utah!
Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah
 I always thought of Utah being full of snow and a place I never wanted to go. While driving through the state I only want to go back! The state is beautiful. You can just pull off the highway and be surrounded by mountains and lakes.
Echo Reservoir, Coalville, UT

We made it into Wyoming that day. We have GoPro videos to prove it. We drove towards a storm. Somehow we never made it into the storm though.

 Day Three: Wyoming-Iowa

After getting out of Wyoming we were in Nebraska. If you've never been to Nebraska, never fear! It's flat and full of cows. You don't need to go there. It's okay.
Nebraska. This is part of the Oregon Trail.
 I did see that you could go to a Pony Express Station and we stopped. It was a quite place, but it was cool to see where people would stop on their way out west.
Pony Express Station, Gothenburg, Nebraska

I pretty much said we were not stopping until we got to Iowa. We made it to Iowa and stayed the night.

Day Four: Iowa-New York

There wasn't much to report over the next few states. We didn't stop anywhere special except at a few rest areas. This photo is from a rest area explaining Iowa's part in the Underground Railroad. I had no idea that Iowa played such a role in the Underground Railroad.

From Iowa, we went into Illinois, Indiana (where the Indy 500 was happening), Ohio (where we saw the first real city in days: Cleveland), Pennsylvania, and into New York. We stopped just outside of Buffalo for our final rest before heading home.

Day Five: New York-Massachusetts 

We were almost home. We drove through a lot of trees. Saw some silly signs from the State Police in Massachusetts. I dropped Carrick off at his car with a promise we'd see each other in a couple weeks. (This was an easy promise. We had to work together again!) From there I had about an hour drive back home. It was weird to drive back through places I had been out of for so long. I noticed some signs changed. I pulled into my driveway and ran into the house to see Thor. I had missed him a ton. He was not too happy that I had been gone, but after a few days he warmed back up to me. 

I'm glad I took this opportunity to work in a different state and step out of my comfort zone. I'm glad I took this time to see the country. I'm glad Carrick drove back with me. I know I always have another home to go to with new friends to take adventures with. 

If you ever get the chance to take a road trip, long or short, you should. You never know what you may come across.