Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bye Bye, Bia

I am guessing most of you know by now, that Bia Sport is going out of business.  As of April 1, my watch will no longer work.

I have been with them from the beginning. Backing them on Kickstarter and then patiently waiting for the watch to be delivered to me. Since the day it has arrived, I have used it for every single run.  My Garmin, has not even been charged since it's arrival.

My heart is broken. It was easy to use and tracked my runs, bike rides and open water swims.  It never died on me or froze up. The main reason why I chose a Bia was for the SOS feature.  Thankfully, I never had to use it but felt comfort knowing it was there.

I was worried about the GPS being right, but it was always right on with the girls I ran with who use a Garmin or other product.

And the customer service! These women were wonderful. I had two small issues and they fixed them right away. And lets not forget the messages that would appear on the screen to celebrate each and every workout.

Reading their email made me so sad. I know how hard they worked to get this product up and running. Plenty of hours, sweat and tears. This was their baby.  Just trying to keep it going, people have worked without a pay check. Now that is dedication!

Who really knows what the further holds for Bia? Maybe a bigger company will pick them up.  Either way, I wish nothing but the best for Cheryl Kellond and her team.  And maybe, just maybe, this isn't goodbye.

So, tell me, what is your go to watch?  I plan to take my time so that I get the watch that is right for me. I will mostly be running but there are more tri's in my future, including a second half iron man.  What would you recommend?

Thanks everyone!

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

In Black and White

When I started running in 2011,  I was clueless.  As we all know now, there is a little bit more to it then just putting on the sneakers that have been sitting in your closet.  I started reading everything I could on the internet and then discovered people actually wrote books about the sport.

The first one I picked up was about a women who went from her couch to a full marathon. It was good but a little too much for me.  I was not even finished with the Couch to 5K plan yet. Plus, she was  a little too serious for me.

Then I found a pretty little yellow book called, Run Like a Mother.  The title alone got my attention but when I stared to read it, I was hooked. This book made me laugh and cry and realize everything I was experiencing was normal.

The authors, Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea made me feel like I was their friend and running buddy with every word.  I started every morning by first, looking at their FaceBook page.  I started to get friendly with some of the other mother runners that posted there. I found a community and a home all about running.

Book number two, Train Like a Mother, came out and it did not disappoint.  Training plans galore and advice with the same witty dialogue that hooked me in the first book.

Along the way, I continued to post on their page and talk with the other women.  After my first ten mile run, they made my comment their status update to start their Pile Of Miles for that weekend.  Some time after that, I was invited to fill out a quick questionnaire and became one of their, Follow This Mother posts.  Man, that just thrilled me.

When they announced their house party tour for 2013,  I immediately signed up to join them in Connecticut.  

This past summer, I joined Michelle and our friend Erica in Cape Cod to help man their booth at the Zooma Expo.

When they announced that a third book was in the works and posted an online survey to fill out, I jumped on it.  It took some time to really put my thoughts together, but I was proud of the finished product that I sent them.  Tales From Another Mother Runner was in the works and along with thousands of other mother runners, I patiently waited.

Well friends, Tales From Another Mother Runner is here and SBS and Dimity are currently on a book tour.  I was able to go to their party in Boston and what a good time it was.

BRF#1 and Connie joined me.  The party was at the Greater Boston Running Company, about two hours away.  Once inside, we found Michelle, Deb, Erica and Jessica.  There was wine and cookies.  The place was packed!  Dimity, SBS and Adrienne Martini all read from the book and in between readings they gave some pretty awesome stuff away.  I did not win anything.

After the readings, I purchased a book and a shirt and then got in line to talk and have them sign my book.  In line I perused the book looking to see if they used anything from the survey I filled out.  There were so many great stories in the book, but I didn't see my name.

I was chatting with Connie and BRF#1 was reading from the book when all of a sudden she says, "Nicole, this is you!  5:23. I know that number."  And there it was, in black and white, page 139 in the, "What's The Hardest You Pushed Yourself in a Race" section.  My words.

Shocked, I opened my book, read it and tears formed in my eyes.  I texted Mr. RWM who wrote back,  "Your 15 minutes."  Ha, whatever, I will take it!

Connie got to Dimity first and then it was my turn. I thanked her for putting me in the book and we talked about tackling Philly again this year. She signed my page!  Yes, my page.  We talked a little about bike training for tri's and she generally was interested in my questions and what I had to say.

When I got to SBS, we also chatted about Philly and how great a race it is. She signed my book and told me she loved my boots.  Then we snapped a few pictures.  My heart was full and my smile was wide.

We were all pretty excited getting in the car for our two hour trek home.  But it was worth it!

The girls checked out the swag bag which included socks, GU and NUUN among other things.

It was a great night!  Thank you SBS and Dimity for leading this tribe of BAMR's!

Have you picked up Tales From Another Mother Runner yet?  Are you getting to one of their party/book signings?  I highly recommend both!

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Friday, March 6, 2015

Finally! A Plan!

I think, after much back and forth, I finally have my plan for the year.

The last two years, I tackled two big races and while doing that, I planned my training around races.  Nineteen races in 2013 and seventeen in 2014.  I still want to run, but run less races this year.  There are so many good ones, especially local, so organizing this calendar was not easy.  Keeping myself and my family sane was the number one goal.  Not sure how sane this is but it is better than the last two years.

To kick the year off, I am volunteering at The Ocean's Run.  I have run this race the last three years but did not feel as ready this year, even with all the running I have been doing.  I have friends running it, so this gives me an opportunity to cheer them on and still be involved with this cool race.  It also gives me a free entry to any one of TriMom's races. I will most likely use it for one of her triathlons.

Road Races

The Middletown Half Marathon on April 12, will be my first race of the year.  This race is part of the HMF Triple Challenge.  I chose this series for a couple reasons. First, it mixes things up a bit. I have not run in Connecticut yet. That is a new state to cross off my list.  I have only heard good things about HMF and their races.  But secondly, and most important, this race is run in the home town of Sarah, aka, Professor Badass.  I will get to run with her, meet her friends and enjoy some time at her home after.  I am going into this race with a have fun attitude and just enjoy the day. (registered)

The Philadelphia Broad Street Run on May 3. This race just looks like a fantastic time!  I have signed up to run it with The American Cancer Society and Team DetermiNation.  I have worked hard to raise money to secure my spot.  My team is made up of fifty amazing people with all different skill levels.  Some I have met and some I will meet that weekend.  I go back and forth with a goal for this race. Not sure if I will shoot for a PR or not. Either way, it will be a hell of a good time! (registered)

Narrow River 5k, May 9.  I love this race and have had a course PR every year.  This year I am shooting not only for a course PR but an all time 5K PR.  (not registered)

The Mystic Half Marathon, May 31.  This is the second race in the HMF series. We love Mystic and I am hoping we can make this a family weekend so we can enjoy the seaport and the aquarium, as well as the race.  This is the first year for this race and I know nothing about the course.  Not sure what my plan will be for this one, but think I will be in good shape and can come close to my PR. (registered)

The Blessing, July 24.  This is a fantastic ten mile race in my hometown.  I get to run this with all my running buddies and our families are there to cheer us on.  This race tends to be hot and humid but lots of fun.  I will have a goal for this one but want to see how my summer running is going before I put it in writing. (not registered)

Hartford Half Marathon, October 10.  Last race in the HMF series.  I will be training for my "big" race of the year so not sure what my goals for this race will be. Might need to just use it as a training run and add a couple miles. Either way, I should be in pretty good shape leading up to this race and will enjoy it. (registered)

Citizens Bank Pell Bridge Run, October 25. I have run this race since it's first year and plan to be there this year for the fifth time.  This has always been a fun run for me and each year I have improved on that uphill.  Maybe I might even try for a PR this year.  We will see...  (not registered)

The Philadelphia Marathon, November 22. This is my big race of the year.  My finishing time never sat well with me in 2013 and I feel like I can do better.  Like, 24 minutes better.  Still working out the details on how to get that PR and I will share them with you when they are finalized.  (not registered)

Maybe Mr. RWM can help with my training?


This year I am looking at The Crabman and maybe one other triathlon.  Still working that out.  Not registerd for any yet.

Virtual Races

The Kiss My Shamrocks Virtual Race, anytime between March 14-17.  This is one of Andy's races and it will help with our fundraising for Broad Street. There is still time to sign up and you can do so here.  This race has a great medal and some fantastic prizes.  (not registered, but just reminded myself to do so)

Skirt Sports has three virtual races this year that coincide with their IRL races. All fun, all with great swag.  I will be doing all three.

261 Fearless, April 18.  (not registered)
The 13er, June 14. (registered)
The Boobie Run, September 12 (not registered)

You can find info for the Skirt Sport race series here.

As we all know, anything can change, but with smart training I think I can make this happen without any crazy race burnout.

One thing I didn't mention yet.  I may be able to work the Skirt Sport booth at the Boston Marathon. I really want to do this but have to wait and see what Mr. RWM's flight schedule brings for April.  I may have to bring mom in to stay with the kids if he can't be here. I missed it last year and really want to try and make it work for me this year.

So there you have it! Nine to ten real life races which is really all I count. The virutals will be fun or used as training.  I am pretty sure this is doable and look forward to many happy miles.

Is your year planned? What is your "big" race for the year?  Will I see you at any of these races?

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Winter, It's Not Me, It's You

It finally hit me.



I have been fine. I have been bundling up, wearing my Yaktrak, smiling and taking pictures and averaging fourteen miles a week.

That is, until this week.

I don't know what happened.  Kids are on vacation from school this week and Mr. RWM is home. We have no real plans and I have no excuse for not running.  I did have a run planned on Monday with BRF#1 but Gracie got sick and wanted me.  That will always come first, but that was MONDAY!  And on Wednesday, it hit 30 degrees. A freaking heat wave here in Rhode Island and I still didn't run!

I have been rethinking my racing schedule for the year too. Mostly, because I just don't feel like I will ever be able to run over ten miles again.  Yeah, I know that isn't true, but that is where I am.  The only race that I am actually registered for is the Philadelphia Broad Street Run on May 3. Luckily, it only goes up to 10.

I have be eyeing a half marathon in April, but if I don't get some decent long runs in, it just won't happen.  Maybe I should just pull the plug and register?

I am sure this rut will be short lived and I know I will come out of it.  I think I am just over, -10 wind chill runs.  Maybe a few good ones on the treadmill will help. Oh wait, is that such a thing? You're right, I still would rather run outside.

What are you giving up?

Ok, lets do this! Lets finish out the winter strong. Who's with me?!

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Champagne Saturday

Mr. RWM and I don't really celebrate Valentine's Day. I think before kids, we went out to dinner if we weren't flying somewhere. No cards, no flowers, sometimes chocolate but not really as a gift.  It is just who we are.

We certainly love each other and when he is not on a trip, we are usually together.  We like to be with each other.  All. The. Time.

This brings me to New Year's Eve. We have a get together every year and people usually come with food, and champagne.  We get enough champagne that we have some left over after the New Year is rung in.

This year we decided to drink some on the first weekend after New Year's Eve.  Then we decided to do it again the weekend after that.

And then, a third weekend.

I had said that I loved that we did this the last several weeks and that we should keep it going.  Mr. RWM agreed.  We decided to call it Champagne Saturday.  Although, depending on the weekend, we have had it on a Friday and a Sunday and once on a Monday, thank you snow day.  Sometimes we have snacks, sometimes we don't.  Sometimes we watch a movie and sometimes we don't.  You get the picture.

On a run with BRF#1 I told her about Champagne Saturday. I told her how much I loved it but I guess it is silly since we aren't really celebrating anything.  BRF#1 was quick to say that we were celebrating.  We were celebrating the life that we have made together. The beautiful children we have. Our wonderful family and friends.  The love and support that we give each other.

Bam! Those words hit me hard. Yes, we have a lot to celebrate so why not do it every week.

So our plan, 52 weeks of Champagne Saturday.  And this year, Valentines Day happens to fall on a Saturday. So I guess we will celebrate Valentines Day after all.

Tell me, do you celebrate Valentine's Day?  Any traditions that you want to share with us?  

On the running front, man is it cold! I am still getting out there and have had some pretty decent runs.  The eight miles on Tuesday was tough.  BRF#1 was with me and I was very thankful for that.  My four miles yesterday made my face hurt.  And more snow is coming!  It's all good though, I do prefer running in the colder temps which is something I never imagined me saying.
After a cold, tough 8 miler. Maybe we are smiling.  Maybe.

Ice queen pants by Skirt Sports! My new favorite.  Warm and cozy! 

The Downhill in my neighborhood.  I thought I would die going up.  It was very slow but I will admit, this run made me really feel like a BAMR!

What are your favorite running conditions? Are you still getting snow and running outside?  Or have you been hitting the treadmill?

Happy Valentine's Day!

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Thursday, January 29, 2015

My First Yaktrax Run

Last year, was the first year that I can truly say I ran outside all year round.  When it was hot, when it was cold, rain, wind, snow, you name it.  Now don't get me wrong, there were a few treadmill runs, but very few compared to years past.

A few of the runs last year, BRF#1 used Yaktrax.  A couple times I wished I had them. This year, I am prepared, and today was the first run using them.

After figuring out how to put them on, we were on our way.  It was cold but no wind today.  The lot we parked in was full of snow and ice and we got out of there with no problems.  My first thought was that they felt a little weird but knew I would get used to them.

We ran along 1A, and I have to say, the town did a great job of plowing.  The shoulder was cleared for just about every step of the way.  The need for the Yaktrax wasn't really necessary, but I was thinking, "Better safe, than sorry."  The times when I did run on the snow/ice, I was thankful.  It felt good and I liked the crunch under my feet.  However, on the road, I felt weird and never really got used to the feeling of having them on my shoes.

As far as the run goes, I struggled a bit.  I was more quiet than usual and I was worried about getting to an 11 am appointment that I had today.  My first thought was just go from my run. But it was cold and I knew I would be miserably uncomfortable if I did not get a shower in first.  BRF#1 was running six, but I had to cut it short at 4.4.

I have to say, I was really happy to be finished running.  I didn't feel great and my steps felt like slow motion.  According to my splits on Strava, I ran at my normal pace.  10:20, 9:59, 10:18, 10:05 and for the final .4, 11:03.  I was really surprised to see that.

All in all, now that it is finished, I guess it wasn't as bad as it seemed at the time. BRF#1 said her last couple miles were good and I am hoping to meet up with her tomorrow for another four.

As far as the Yaktrax go, I liked them. I knew it would feel different and they will take a little time to get used to. I found them easy to use and liked the piece of mind that they gave me.  Not that I would purposely look for ice to run on.

And just FYI, Yaktrax did not ask me to write this review or give me anything. In fact, I am pretty sure that the people at Yaktrax don't even know I exist.  I just have a new toy and I wanted to share my thoughts with you.  

In other news, Monday is my birthday. I love my birthday. Monday is also my mother's birthday. Pretty cool right?  Her and my Dad will be coming for a few days so that we can celebrate together.  I can't wait to have cake and blow out 43 candles.  I am not big on gifts but just love being around my family and friends.  That is what makes me happiest.  I will run 4.3 miles on Monday.  Care to join me?

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Penguin and a Blizzard

The aquarium called.

Here is the last post in case you missed it.

The woman I spoke to couldn't apologize enough.  She said it should of never happened but there have been some changes and shifting of people in the office.

First mistake, they never give out names. The fact that they wrote Blue-Pink on the adoption papers was never supposed to happen.

She said they do sometimes send penguins to other aquariums for breeding purposes and that is why they do not give out names.

Also, Blue-Pink had passed away before we even adopted him.  She had no real explanation for that. I know she was finding it hard to believe that it even happened in the first place.

I was nice about everything and the only thing I asked for was new adoption papers. I am still waiting for those.

She did tell me to call before we come the next time. Her words, "We will make George feel like a king."  I have to admit, I feel funny about calling but Mr. RWM has no issue with that.  We totally balance each other out.

The good thing is we know who Blue-Pink's parents are. Since they are partners and have been together for quite some time, they will most likely not be leaving Mystic Aquarium.  That makes George happy and we plan to seek them out every time we visit.

As sad as this all was, George is fine.  He hasn't really mentioned it, but did asked when will we go back. I am planning a visit for February vacation. Hoping it is not bitter cold that day!

On the running front.  I am just running. The one and only race I am registered for so far is the Philadelphia Broad Street Run on May 3.  I am still trying to reach my fundraising goal, but don't have any worries.

I am trying to work out some other races but still on the fence about which ones.  I have never had any trouble picking races before but now that I am being a little more picky, I want them all to be good ones. That's not to much to ask, is it?

BRF#1 and #2 were brave enough to join me for our Monday run knowing a blizzard was on it's way.  It was cold when we headed out and about a mile in, it started to flurry.  By the time we were in the fifth mile, the wind was killer and it was more than a flurry.  Conversations stopped and we just ran.  My neck and checks were killing me as I forgot my Balaclava.  BRF#2 stopped when we hit our cars, but BRF#1 and I wanted to make it six so we forged on.  The way back had less wind and I was very relieved when we were finished.

I don't really think what we got here was "Blizzard" worthy, but we did get a foot of snow and two days off from school for the kids.  Too much panic if you ask me.

I did recently buy Yaktrax and tomorrow I will be taking them out on their first run.  Looking forward to trying out my new running toy.

How did you brave the Blizzard of 2015? Do you still run outside or did you hit the treadmill?  How do you pick your races?

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole