Monday, April 29, 2013

Newport 10 Miler Recap

I have lived in Rhode Island almost ten years.  I knew it was a beautiful state but it wasn't until I was a runner that I truly appreciated that fact.  To say to you that the Inaugural Newport 10 Miler was the most beautiful race I have ever run, is just not enough, but I will do my best to describe it to you.

First, lets start with shirt and number pick-up.  I got lost.  As many times as I have been to Newport, I have never been to Fort Adams.  Now I will never forget how to get there. Once there, I got my number, 1110, and shirt.  I really liked the color of the shirt and will actually wear it out.  

While making a new playlist for Sunday's race, I thought it might be fun to drive together with Beth and Jenn.  I sent them a message and within 20 minutes our plan to meet in the morning was set and I was thrilled to not have to drive!  Thank you Beth!

I did not sleep well, and was up before the alarm. I felt pretty good though and was feeling excited.  The last thing I did before walking out the door was put on my Garmin.  I noticed that it read, 9:47 pm April 27.  Well, that is clearly wrong as it is 6:25 am on April 28th.  I started to hit every button I could but nothing happened. I plugged it in and unplugged it, nothing.  What is a gadget challenged girl to do?  Mr. RWM would not be happy if I woke him up, but this is kind of an emergency, right?

I decided to suck it up and figure it out myself.  I opened the computer and typed in "Garmin 405 frozen" and got my answer in 5 seconds.  Nice, internet.  And just so you know, hit both side buttons at the same time and it will reset. 

I got to our meeting spot with 5 minutes to spare and Beth and Jenn were already there. Nice!  We got to Fort Adams and parked without any problems.  The morning was beautiful.  A bright sunny day and it was warming up every minute.  I had made arm warmers out of knee socks which I didn't really need.
Ready to go!

We stretched, walked around a bit and I got to meet a fellow Tough Chik, who was there to run this race from Florida with a good friend of hers.  We only got to talk for a minute but I did get this great pic of us.  
Fellow TC Angela and I

There were hundreds of Boston Strong shirts and people just wearing blue and yellow. The race had given each of us a black ribbon to wear also.  It was all very heart warming.
Beautiful day!
Starting to line up!

We lined up, sang the National Anthem, had a moment of silence for Boston, and then instead of a gun going off, it was a cannon!  How cool is that!

My goal was 1:45 which is a 10:30 pace.  Beth and Jenn were both aiming to PR also.  I knew we would separate quickly, so I just told them to have a good race.  

The first mile was basically leaving Fort Adams and it stayed pretty thick with people.  I lost Jenn but still had my eye on Beth.  I looked at my watch and it read 10:13.  I was going out too fast but felt good and thought I could do it.  By the end of mile one, my arm warmers were off.
Check out this pic from Newport Daily News.  Can you find me?

Mile two started the stretch along Ocean Drive.   The race web site describes it as "unparalleled scenic oceanfront racing."  It was a spectacular view and would of been a good spot for a picture, but I didn't want to give up my PR.  

I still had Beth in my sights.  Mile three and four were good.  10:25 and 10:35, right on target but I was unsure I would be able to keep it up.  I slowed down just a bit for mile 5, 10:50 pace.  

The end of Ocean Drive was a water stop with gatorade and bananas.  I grab water and gatorade and was sorry I didn't bring my own fuel.  A banana seemed to much and I thought eating it would slow me down.  

At mile six we turned left onto Bellevue Ave and my running tour of the Newport Mansions began.  If you don't know what I mean, google it.  There is nothing like it.   This race did not disappoint in scenery.  Every street we ran on had something nice to see. No construction or commercial areas, just beautiful homes, ocean front and of course, Fort Adams.  Despite that, I started to hit a wall at 6.5 miles.

I can't say for sure why.  I was feeling a little tired but good.  I had lost sight of Beth and we started to hit a few hills.  I was beginning to think my PR was gone.  I kept looking at my Garmin, but found out that I can't do math and run at the same time.   Oh, who am I kidding.  Math is not my strong point when sitting perfectly still with a calculator.

Mile 7 had the biggest hill of the race.  It reminded me of the dreaded hill that I live at the bottom of, but a little longer.  I made it up but my legs were jelly.  Mile eight was my slowest, 11:28.  Seeing that number fueled me.  I was not going to lose that PR.  I knew with my fast miles in the beginning I could make this all even out and sill come in at 1:45 or so I hoped.

It was here I also turned off my music.  Everything around me was so nice, I wanted to take in the sounds and smells that went along with it.  I was happy I did that.  I heard laughter and cheering.  I heard people encouraging each other and just having a good time.  My spirits were lifted and I ran.

I ran steady and I was calm.  I was smiling because I felt so lucky to be able to run where I do.  There were Boston shirts all around me and I felt honored to be in there presence.  I had trained for this race for 10 weeks and here I was one mile from the finish.  However, this mile felt like the longest even though it was my fastest.  

It was the kind of finish you couldn't see.  I knew it was coming up but I was running and running.  I looped around and ran into the walls of Fort Adams and then still had to run a bit.  It was here that I saw Beth, yay! And then the clock.  I ran my heart out through the finish chute.  When I stopped I held back tears I was so happy!  Jenn came up to me first and soon Beth joined us.  We stretched a bit, talked about the race, got some snacks and water and then headed over to the truck with our official times posted on it.

I did it everyone!  My official time was 1:45:58.  I am still coming down from the high!  And a huge congrats goes out to Beth and Jenn who also PR'er at this fabulous race.
We did it!

I would say the toughest part of the course was the last 4 miles.  I definitely would of slowed my pace in the beginning if I knew that.  But if I am honest with myself, I should of slowed down when I realized how fast my first mile was and saved some of my energy for the end whether the course was tough or not.  I enjoyed every minute and think this will have to be a yearly event for me.  

From the race, Beth, Jenn and I headed to breakfast and it was the perfect way to end such a wonderful morning.  

When I got home, Mr. RWM, George and Gracie were waiting for me with hugs and congrats.  However, when I told George how far I had run, he said he wasn't that impressed. Huh, why I asked.  His response, "Well, you ran 13 miles before so 10 isn't so hard."  Out of the mouths of babes, too funny!

Over the next 4 to 5 weeks, I am going to run for fun but hold an 8-10 mile long run while I figure out my plan for Philly.  I am looking forward to running just because I want to but I am sure I will be ready for new plan of action in a couple weeks.  Funny how our running minds work.

Thanks goes to the organizers of the Newport 10 Miler and all the wonderful volunteers and sponsors.  You put on a great show and I will see you next year!

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Training Done, Now Let's Race

Well, this is it!  Ten weeks of training and now all that is left is to race on Sunday.  I am psyched!

This week did not go as planned.  Partly because I had family staying with us for 10 days and it was a little crazy.  I ran twice for a total of 8 miles and I also had PT.  I walked just a little and stretched a lot!

On Thursday, I ran with the Narragansett Running Association again.  Or should I say, I said hello to them and then Beth and I ran together.  This group is fast!  If Beth wasn't there, I doubt I would go back.  They are all really nice and I do enjoy talking with them before and after the run.  They said as it gets warmer, the group gets bigger.  I am hoping to be joined by one or two more "slower" runners.

I love running with Beth.  She is good for me.  I ran the whole five miles even though there were a couple times I wanted to walk.  We were about a minute and half slower than last week, and that was my fault.  I had a bit of trouble getting my breathing under control for the first two miles.  I had a weird tightness in my chest that I usually feel in really cold weather.  It was in the low 60's and I can't really explain why it happened.  I suggested she go on ahead, but she stayed with me, probably to make sure I didn't have a heart attack.  Just kidding!  Sort of.

The conversation was great and we talked the whole time.  So happy to have met her. She will be at the race on Sunday.  Her goal is about 10 minutes faster than mine.  More on that later.

Now, when I was leaving to go run, George got mad at me for not taking him.  I tried to tell him that we were running to far for him and there would be no walking if he got tired. He was not buying it.  I promised him that I would be in my running clothes when he got home form school and we would run.

It was a beautiful day and just before his bus arrived I went up to get changed.  I saw a running skirt that was really cute and I bought three of them in different colors.  I put one one to test it out.  It was an impulse buy and I wanted to make sure I liked it.  It seemed short but cute.

As soon as George got off the bus, he said he didn't want to go.  What, I waited all day for you!  I don't want to make him run, I have always just taken his lead.  I want him to like it and not feel like he has to do it.  So I just said, OK, and headed out on my own.

I told Mr. RWM, I was just going to try out this skirt and do about 2 miles.  Quick but easy.  I felt good right away and was happy to be out in the sun and enjoying my run.  As for the skirt, it is cute but the shorts did not stay in place.  They didn't really bother me on the short run but I think they would on a long one.  I think I may keep them and just use them for short races.  Or not.  We will see.

As I was approaching my house to end my run, my Garmin read 2.71.  Well you just can't stop there especially feeling so good, so I finished at 3 miles in 30:53.

Ok, so my goals for Sunday.  Well, I have an A, B, and C goal.

A. Based on my really good training runs, I should be able to finish in 1:45.  That is what I am aiming for.

B.  Based on my not so good runs, I should be able to finish in 1:50.  This would still give me a PR and I think I would still be happy with that.

C.  Just come in under 1:58 which is the time to beat based on my last 10 mile race.  That race I struggled with stomach issues for the first 4 miles, so I think that no matter what happens, I will beat this time and leave with a PR.

I had a few local people ask if they can meet me at the race.  I would love to meet some of my readers in person so if you will be there, I will be wearing a running skirt with pink and orange flowers and an orange shirt that reads Finishing = Winning.

In other news, I picked up Run Less, Run Faster and am pretty sure this will be my training plan for the Philadelphia Marathon.  I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Week Nine and A Couple Fast MIles

Week nine done!

Monday, I had PT and biked with the kids.  Yes, I am calling that cross training.

On Tuesday, my plan called for 5 miles.  I was fueled by what happened on Monday and I ran 6 very emotional miles.  They were what I needed.  It was good for my mind and spirit.

Wednesday, nothing.

Thursday I ran 5 miles and I did that with the local running group.  Beth of Beth Runs RI, asked if I wanted to check them out. I have wanted to for quite some time, but never had the guts.  I have been told they are fast runners.

Their Thursday night runs are classified as fun runs.  All levels welcome and they run anywhere from 5 to 8 miles.

As I was driving down 1A to meet them, I saw a group of runners all wearing Boston Marathon shirts.   I was pretty sure this was the group I was meeting.  (those shirts were not intimidating at all, LOL)  I parked and Beth was parking behind me when I was getting out.

Soon after that, the group arrived.  Introductions were made and everyone was very nice. Beth and I were even offered Boston shirts.  The shirts were from one of the runners who has run Boston a number of times.  She brought the shirts with her to share and I thought that was really cool.  I also was pretty amazed that she had that many shirts for everyone to wear!

Beth and I decided on five miles and everyone else was going further.  We all started together but that did not last long.  I was soon trailing behind with a man named Jim, who I am sure was just being polite. He was only going out for two as he had just run the earlier miles.  He was very nice and it was nice to have him with me for a mile.

When he turned to go back, I was able to see Beth running with a man named Dave. The rest of the group was not in sight.  I ran just a bit on my own before they saw me and waited for me to catch up.  Dave showed us where to turn for 5 miles and he went on to do 6.

Beth and I had a really nice run. It was great to get to know her better and I am happy to add her to my running buddy list.

I knew we were running at a pretty good pace, or at least a good pace for me.  We finished in 52:27 and I was really happy about that.  Running with Beth, sped me up but I sadly slowed her down a bit.  She told me she enjoyed the run though and I think we will both do it again this week.

Friday, nothing.

Saturday, nothing.

Sunday, 8 miles.

Now, first I need to tell you that I am still learning all the in's and out's of my Garmin.  If you know me, you are not surprised.  After my Thursday night run, I asked Mr. RWM to see if he can change my screens so that I can see how long I am running.  He did what he did and I thought I was all set.

I headed out today and half way up the hill, I looked at my watch and it was tracking my time but nothing else.  Where it said pace and distance it read 0.  I messed with it a bit but I could not get it to work.  Back down the hill...

Mr. RWM was laying mulch in our yard but looked at it and told me my GPS was not on. I turned it on but then every time I hit a button it turned the GPS off.  Is it me?  Probably. Since he wasn't really able to help, I threw my Garmin on the table and pulled up my Endomondo app.  Finally, I was on my way.

Heading up the hill and out of my neighborhood, I was a little mad at the wasted time.  I was dwelling on it when I hit my first mile, 10:25.  Nice, I instantly felt better.

Today was beautiful and for me, the perfect running weather.  It was one of those days that I felt like I could run forever.  And when I hit the three mile mark at 30:43, I couldn't believe it!  Mile four, 40:01! I was cruising, well cruising for me anyway.  I ran six miles in 59:41. Honestly, I was in shock.  All I could think about at that moment is how big a PR I may have at Newport on Sunday.  The time I am trying to beat is 1:58 and a few seconds.

It wasn't long after that, that the wind picked up.  And I mean, crazy wind!  I did the best I could for the next two miles but sadly, they were 11:16 and 11:36.  I finished eight miles in 1:22:53.  Obviously, not an official PR but it is to date, my fastest 8 miles.

To make it just a little better, my back and hips feel great!  I am more ready for next Sunday than I have ever been for a race and I can't wait to walk up to that start line.

I am not happy with my lack of cross training this week and I will step it up as my miles decrease this week according to my training plan.

I hope you all had a great weekend.  I loved seeing all the pictures of you in your race shirts and reading about your miles for Boston.   I think with every mile we heal just a little.  Keep it up my friends.

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Friday, April 19, 2013

American Strong

When the first plane struck the Towers on September 11th, I was sleeping.  I was staying at a friends house and was scheduled to fly out of Boston at 4 pm that day.  I was a flight attendant.

It didn't take long before her phone rang with my mother in a panic asking if I was there. That was just the first of many phone calls that day and not just to me.  My parents friends were frantically calling them to see where I was.  My sisters friends did the same. In fact, she had people stop into where she was working just to find out about me. People I didn't even know.  That day our country changed forever.  I wrote sympathy cards for 33 people.  Not only did my country get hit, but my livelihood.  I had a job I loved with a company I was proud of and thought I would fly forever.  That did not happen.

On Monday, I woke up excited to watch the Boston Marathon.  I was excited to see Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan race.  It was also the first time I actually knew someone running in the race.  I also knew people who were going to the race just to watch.  I actually considered going myself.

I turned on the live stream and sat with my coffee enjoying every minute.  I watched the elites finish and then had to get ready for an appointment at 1 pm.

I had been tracking my friend Michelle and was getting text messages automatically sent to my phone once she passed different points.  I was so happy to see she had finished and hit her goal.

Once I was home and turned on my computer, everything changed.  I saw the first post. It was someone saying that they couldn't believe this has happened.  I did not understand right away.  Then I got my first message.  "Where are you?"

We turned on the news.  I sat in shock for quite some time.  I cried, I was sad.  The first phone call was, of course, my mom and she basically told me to forget about Philly.

I was so humbled by the many messages I got from people who were worried, once again, about me.  I was not kidding in my last post when I wrote that I would have to be 70 before I qualified for Boston.  I really wasn't.  I was not running Boston, but I could have been spectating and I knew people there.

I knew Michelle was finished, but where was she? Was she with her friends and family? Maybe she wanted to go back and cheer on some of the other runners?  My heart sank.

Deb, a great friend of Michelle's and new friend to me was there with her 9 year old daughter.  Were they OK?

I sent messages via FB to both of them and after some time, I found out they were all ok. Shaken but safe.

Then I thought about the Patch article I read earlier that day with all the names of the local RI runners who were there.  The editor of Patch sent out an update asking if anyone had any info on the local runners.  I knew Michelle was good, so I sent an email to him right away.

Before the night was over, I sent a message to Michelle that read: "Michelle, Congrats on such a great race! It may be easier said but do not let what happened today diminish your hard work and accomplishment! Let's continue to run on and not let them win! You are an inspiration to us all and I am so happy for you today!"

I went to bed sad but woke up ready to run.  I got dressed in the closest I could get to the colors of the Boston Marathon and headed out for 6 miles.  They were emotional miles but so very good for me.  I know we all have ran for Boston the last couple days and we will continue to do so.  It's what we do, we run.

I had a hard time thinking about the families that lost loved ones and those who lost limbs.  The hurt and scared children who were just there to see their mom or dad cross the finish line.  Children just like my George and Gracie who would have been there with signs and cow bells.  This fueled me though and my anger really kicked in.

I was not planning on writing about this day but the more I see, the angrier I get.  I am still angry over 9/11 and I am sure I will continue to be angry over this terrorist attack also.  I want the people who did this found and I want them to pay.  That is where I fail at being a Christian.  I don't want them to rot in prison, I want them gone.

So what do we do?  Well, we are runners.  We are tough and we are determined.  We will run.  I will continue to race and I hope that my son will continue to run with me.  I will train and run Philly, my hometown, our country's birthplace.  I picked this race because I grew up in Philadelphia and I love the city.  Now it has even more meaning.  We are American's and I will run where the Liberty Bell lives, where our flag was sewn by Betsy Ross, and where the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution were signed.  The City of Brotherly Love.

Because I worked and flew out of Boston, I lived just outside the city and now, from Rhode Island, I can be in Boston in an hour and a half.  It is a city that I also love.  I will run every mile with Boston and the victims in my heart.  I will run to honor them because I know they would not have given up.  And someday I will run the Boston Marathon.  I cannot say for sure that I will ever qualify, but I do know that I can raise money, so if that is what will get me to the starting line in Hopkinton, then so be it.

So let's run!  They did not stop us from flying our planes and they will not stop us from running.  We are Boston Strong, Philadelphia Strong and where ever it is you call home Strong.  Together we are American Strong.

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Monday, April 15, 2013

Training Week Eight

Week eight of training is done!

17.67 miles plus yoga, strength and core work. Much better with the cross training this week.  

One more long run to go and then I will be ready, or at least I hope so, for the Newport 10 Miler on April 28th.  Although I have had a few races this year, this will be my first big one and I am pretty excited about it.

Other than that, not too much to report.  You already read about my exciting week here. One of the things I left that party with was a fuel belt.  Now, I have not had luck with my fuel belt in the past and for the last year, I have been using a handheld but after so many miles, I hate holding it.  I am happy to report that I tried out the new belt yesterday and I was very pleased.  It did not move or bother me.  Yay!

Not too much else going on.  The kids are on spring break this week, which is really nice. We have a few fun things planned and Mr. RWM's parents are here for a visit.  The kids and I are just so happy to have them here.

Today, I will watch the Boston Marathon and cheer on the couple people that I know. Based on my time now, I will qualify when I am 70, LOL.  Maybe next year I will head to Boston to watch. We will see...

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Friday, April 12, 2013

Another Mother Runner House Party

Wednesday was the AMR House Party in New Canaan, CT.  I was lucky to be able to go and it was fabulous.  I am still coming down from the high.

First, if you don't know who Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea are, then please go here.  If you have been reading RWM for a while then you know who I am talking about.  I was honored to be highlighted on their Follow this Mother in March.

Now, New Canaan, CT is not close.  It is about 2 hours away.  I didn't care.  I was going.  Once I knew Mr. RWM was going to have the night off, I began to plan.  It turns out that Michelle and Deb, fellow RIer's were going.  I shot them an email to see if they wanted to drive together.  Soon after that a plan was made.

I was out of the house by 4 and we were on our way.  We made pretty good time, so we stopped to get a bite to eat just a few miles from the party.  It was a lovely dinner at Basso's Cafe.  I don't really know Michelle and Deb that well, but our conversation was really nice.  We mostly talked about running and it was very cool to get to know them a little better.  Deb and I will both be training for our first full marathons this year.   Deb will be running MCM and me Philly.  I hope we can get a few runs in together.

As we started to get into the neighborhood, the houses became more and more elegant. Once we reached the house we were going to, there was a policeman to help with parking.  BTW, it was also raining.  We had to park a little ways down the street and then not only walk to the house but up a very long driveway.   This would not of been a big deal, except for the fact that I had on my big girl shoes.

When we walked in, there was a table to the right with AMR and co-host Iliana checking us in.  Immediately, I saw Sarah, but she was surrounded by ladies and I did not want to interrupt.  Right after that we were greeted by Rebecca.  She was our gracious host and I was thrilled to meet her.

Once in the house, I went over to the table with all the merchandise.  I knew what shirt I wanted and grabbed it, but then saw this one and had to have it.  I also grabbed both Sweaty Bands that they had there.  Headbands are new to me.  In the past they have always bothered me and have given me a headache, plus my hair is a little out of control.  The Sweaty Bands are the first to not bother me at all.  They stay in all day without causing my head to hurt.  Win!

We walked around a bit, said hello, checked out the wonderful snacks and grabbed some wine.  I was on the lookout for Kim, who let me know she would be there on my FB page.

After about 25 minutes, Sarah and Dimity did a reading from Train Like a Mother and drew the winners for the raffle.  They had some awesome giveaways.  Three gift cards for Saucony, Knuckle Lights and a Garmin, just to name a few.

After that, we mingled some more and finally I got to meet and talk to Sarah and Dimity. They did not disappoint.  They were friendly and genuinely interested in what you had going on.  When I told Dimity that I had just signed up for Philly, she truly was excited for me.  And I was really excited to hear how her Ironman training was going.  That distance just amazes me and I know she will have an incredible race!
Me, Sarah, Deb and Michelle
Me, Deb, Dimity and Michelle

I continued to look for Kim and finally we found each other.  She was so cute and full of energy.  I loved talking to her!  She is training and raising money for TNT and will be running Nike in DC this month.  She will also be doing the Newport RI, Amica Half in October.  That race is not too far from where I live and I will probably run it.  It will be cool to see her again.
Kim and I

On the way out we got one of the most awesome bags of goodies that I ever saw.  I just smiled the whole time looking through it.
Awesome, right?  The shirts were not in it, but I wanted to show you everything.

I have to say that this was just a fantastic night!  The party was beautiful, the friends were wonderful and meeting the other AMR's and Sarah and Dimity was exactly how I pictured it.  I felt like I already knew them, mostly because their voices are in my head at least once a week, but they were exactly how I imagined them to be.

I so hope I can do this again or at the very least, see them at a future race/expo.  If you have a chance to get to one of their house parties, then I say do it!  You won't be disappointed.

It was a late night for us as you can imagine with a two plus hour drive.  It was a pleasant surprise this morning when Mr. RWM got George up and ready for school.  Thanks babe, I love you!

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Crazy Coyote Chase Recap

Ok, first, I have a winner for the 26.2 Shubeez!!!  And the winner in...
                                          KATY McPHERSON ALDERTON

Katy, please email me at with your address and I will get it to you ASAP.  Thanks!

If you did not win, but would like one, they are running a buy one, get one for the month of April.  I hope you check them out.  If you buy, please click on Running While Mommy when you get to the affiliate drop down box.  Thanks!

Saturday, we ran in the BRMS Crazy Coyote Chase 5k and 1 mile fun run.  George and I were signed up for the 5k and Gracie for the 1 mile.

Packet pickup was at the school and we got there a few minutes early and everyone was still setting up. After about 10 minutes we had our numbers and t-shirts.

When I looked at the first number, George's, it was the number 7.  I said, look George, it's how old your are.  He thought that was cool and then I looked at my number, 41.  What, that is how old I am.  I immediately looked at Gracie's but it was 1066.  Not even close to 4, but funny none the less.

Right before bed, the kids and I laid out our race outfits.  This race encouraged you to dress crazy, so we decided to go as the Super Family.  Honestly, we went with that because Superman shirts were the one thing we all had that matched and I am not very creative.

My family got up without any trouble and seemed excited to put on there super shirts. We all had a nice breakfast and then headed to the race.

We were a little early because we weren't sure about parking.  That turned out to not be a problem.

When we headed into the school, we saw Elaine and Little Elaine.  Together, we headed over to the Kids Corner to drop off the girls.

Now if you read my interview with the race director, Karen Binniker, then you know what I am talking about.  The kids Corner was in the gymnasium and it was staffed by YMCA employees.  They played games with kids and kept them happy while we raced.  This is one of the best ideas I have ever seen for a race.

We signed them in, they got bracelets that matched our numbers and then we headed to the start line.

It was way colder than I had thought it would be and I had short sleeves on.  I really didn't want to wear my jacket because I knew it would be too much, plus it would of covered my Superman shirt.  I couldn't have that, LOL. Lucky for me, Elaine had on a little jacket that she was not going to wear and it fit perfect under my shirt.  Whoohoo, I won't freeze!

At the start line, we saw KB and her hubs.  We snapped a few pics and the then we heard the horn.
Me with KB.
Ready to go!
Elaine is wearing the best pants ever!

This was not a big race, less than 200 people.  George really wanted to be in the front of the pack, but I held him back a bit.   This race, it seemed, was mostly families and people just out for a good time, but even still, there were some really serious racers in the front and I did not want to get in the way.

George took off when the horn blew and started weaving in and out of people.  I knew he was going to fast, but he would not listen to me.  He really wanted to win.  As a mother, you don't want to discourage your kids but I knew winning was not going to happen.  Even so, I could not stop him so I let him go with me staying close behind.

Right before we hit a mile, he stopped and told me he was going to be sick.  We walked and he calmed down.  I was explaining to him about not going out to fast, finding a pace that is good for us and that whoever was gonna win this race, is already close to the finish line.  No point in trying to catch up this time.

Still, when he felt better, he took off on me again!  This time for not as long and then when he burnt out, we walked.

When we got the water stop, it was manned by mostly kids.  A bunch a boys loved that George was dressed as Superman and they handed him water and said how great he looked, and way to go!  This charged George and once again, off he went!

Not for long though and from here on out he stayed with me and we ran/walked for the rest of the race.

The course was on the road and we stayed on the sidewalk for most of it.  There were some rolling hills but nothing that was really challenging.  They did a great job with the traffic and I felt safe the whole time, even for George who spent the first half of the race in front of me.

This was a loop course that started and ended at the school.  Once we saw that the school was in sight, we found a nice pace and ran into the finish together.  It was great having Elaine, KB and hubs, and Mr. RWM there to cheer us in.  We finished in 36:56.

We headed over for water and food which was a really nice spread provided by Panera Bread.  George took a minute to recoup and then we sprung the girls from the kids corner and headed to the 1 mile fun run.

I was really looking forward to running with Gracie.  I did not get to do that at the kids run at the Ocean's Run in March.

At the start, they had a women who led us in a warm up and Gracie loved all the jumping up and down.  It was cute.

It was fun to see the Crazy Coyote and we got to take a pic with him.  He was leading the race.

It was here that we lined up and George got in line with us. What, you are running again? I was really surprised because it seemed that he was having trouble recovering from the 5k.

I was fine with it, but I explained that I was really going to focus on Gracie and that he should just stay with the crowd and the Coyote.

The horn blew and off we went.  Gracie was holding my hand and did not let go for almost a half mile.  It was so cute and she was smiling so big!  George took off and we found him about .4 mile into it. He had once again tried to "win" and crashed and burned.  He stayed with us the rest of the way.

At .6 miles, I told Gracie that she could walk if she wanted to.  She said ok and we walked for a short bit.  Then a little girl, came flying past us about the same age as Gracie and that fueled her and she started running again.  I guess she has a little competitiveness in her.  Cool!

When we turned into the school, the wind hit us and it was killer.  I kept looking down at her thinking she would be upset, but she kept on running, although, she no longer was smiling.  The look of determination on her face was priceless!  We saw the finish and our cheerleaders and into the finish shoot she went.  It was so very cool for me to see her do this!  I picked her up and hugged her with tears in my eyes.  She finished her mile in 12:41.
My most favorite picture. Gracie running into the finish with George and I cheering from behind.
Look at my baby go!

We went over to the food table and got her water and a snack and I am pretty sure she ate most of the oranges that were on the table.

One of the sponsors was Rock Spot which is a favorite of George's.  They had brought a portable rock wall and that was our next stop.  George got suited up and up he went.  He loved it!

After that we went inside.  They had a raffle and silent auction going on, plus, they had a contest for craziest costume.  They called up to the stage, everyone who wanted to be judged.  The Super Family headed up and we won a $10 gift card to Crazy Burger, woohoo!!!

Gracie and I also won t-shirts as our race numbers were picked out of a hat.  Yay, us!

The sponsors were really amazing.  There we so many great prizes.  I got to talk with Karen before we left and I told her how much fun we had.  She did a fabulous job and you could tell she was feeling pretty good about the morning.  To pull this off, she surrounded herself with hard working and dedicated people who I thank for making our morning so much fun!  I regret not getting a picture with Karen.  Bad blogger!

This race was fun and I loved how it was geared toward families.  I will absolutely do this one next year.  Maybe we can even get Mr. RWM to join us.

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Sunday, April 7, 2013

It's Awesome to Be a Volunteer!

First I want to tell you about my training week.

Sixteen miles! All of my runs were great, especially my long run on Thursday.  I ran well, and picked it up at the end and hit a 9:41 mile.  I am pretty sure this is my fastest mile to date.  Can't say for sure as I have only started running with a Garmin, but whatever, I will take it.

I did get some stretching and strengthening in, but not much.  I need to get my bike out on the road now that the weather is warming up.

Now, the Jamestown Bridge 10k was today.  This is the race I singed up for last year and was not able to run because of my back.  My first, and hopefully, my only, DNS.  This race looks fun but hard as you go over the bridge twice which means up a big hill twice.

It is put on my TRIMOM Productions who are the same people who operate the Ocean's Run, my favorite race.  I thought it would be fun to be on the other side and volunteer instead of run. I really went back and forth with this because I really wanted to run this race.  In the end I chose to volunteer and I am completely happy with that decision.

I had a choice of positions to choose from when I went onto their site to sign up.  When I saw that no one had signed up for the last chance water stop, I jumped on it.

My first half marathon was the Ocean's Run in 2012.  When I hit the last water stop at mile 12, I had gotten teary and when the women handed me my cup of water, I couldn't even speak the words, Thank You.  She just smiled and said that I was doing great.  I could tell she knew how I felt and I was so grateful for her smile and kind words.  I wanted to do the same for someone else. Volunteering is a great way to give back to a community of runners who have been there for me.

I checked in a little before 8, and then headed to my spot.  I was the first one there so I just got to work. I put up the tables and then started filling the cups.  After about 5 minutes a man drove up and asked if I wanted help.  He was one of the flaggers but had some time before having to go to his spot.  I was happy to have the help but really happy to have the company.
My table!

Soon after that, kids got dropped off to help.  This stop was mostly manned by kids and their excitement was intoxicating.  Shortly after that, a van pulled up with more kids with bunny ears and the van played music.  It was awesome!  The mom driving that van was another flagger who was just going to be down the road a bit.  It turned out that she was my sons Spanish teacher and it was really cool to meet her.

The race started at 9 and the first runner came by at 9:18, he was flying!

The kids did a great job of handing out water and gels.  They cracked me up because they actually fought over who was going to be the "gel guy" and who would be the "water guy".  Kids are the same everywhere.  They want what the other has no matter what it is. Funny!
Me in front of the water table.

As I was waiting for my friends to start passing by, I saw my neighbor and handed him some water.  I said, "Hi, John!", and I think he was surprised to hear his name.

The first of my friends to pass was Jenn.  She looked great and was running at a pretty good pace.

After a few more runners, I heard,  "I'm coming to you Lady" and I looked up and saw Elaine heading towards me.  She was smiling and I could tell she was having a really good time.  She looked fabulous and at that moment, I really wanted to be running.

Shortly after that, I saw Beth and again, I really wanted to take off and run with her.  I didn't of course, and I was really having a good time handing out water and gels and cheering everyone on.

It stayed steady with runners for awhile.  I saw some great skirts and fun tutu's.  It started to slow down a bit at 9:45.  About 9:55 a cop showed up and said that everyone had to be past us at 10 or he would have to give them a lift back to the finish.  The reason for this was that the bridge was closed and scheduled to open at a certain time.

I got really nervous when he showed up because I really wanted everyone to make it.  Sadly, that was not the case.

The first two were a father and daughter who really were surprised that they were told that they would not finish.  My watch said 10:01, the cops watch said 10:02 and the fathers watch said 9:58.  Who was right, I really don't know but I was really hoping the cop would say just go on. He didn't.  He did what he was supposed to do and I can't complain about that.  My heart just broke for them though.

The third and last guy, came a few minutes later.  This guy looked like a linebacker!  And honestly, he looked great but he was not going to get to finish.  You could tell he was sad about that and he immediately called his wife.  I just wanted to hug him but when he was done with his call, he went right into the car to head to the finish.

We cleaned up the cups and tables and headed home.  Done, that was it.

Once I got on the bridge to go home, I saw that there were still runners and walkers heading to the finish.  My heart sank for the last 3 who had to pass them as they were being escorted to the finish.  All I can say to you is this - You did a great job and to keep it up!  You will get there!

All in all, it was a wonderful experience.  I loved meeting new people and seeing my friends run past.  I was thrilled to be able to cheer them on and all the runners who were out there.  We got so many thank you's from the runners and that just made me smile.  I hope that some found encouragement from our cheers.  TRIMOM does a fantastic job organizing races and this is one happy volunteer and runner.

I will definitely volunteer again and I highly recommend it to all of you.

Have you ever volunteered?  How did you like it?

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Different Side of Running

On Saturday,  George and I will be running in the BRMS Crazy Coyote Chase 5k and Gracie will be doing the kids one mile fun run.  I have been looking forward to this for a few reasons.  My kids will be running, you can dress up, and there is a kids tent so I will not have to worry about Gracie, while George and I run.  That's a win, win for everyone!

It turns out that the race director, Karen Binniker, attends the same church as I do.  Karen and her family are only in Rhode Island a short time, as her husband is in the Coast Guard.  It has been nice getting to know her a little and I was thrilled that she agreed to answer a few questions about the Coyote Chase and race directing.  So here goes...

Most of my readers are running mommies.  Do you have a family?  How do you balance work and family? 

I am the proud mother of two awesome boys.  Being a Coast Guard family, we move quite a bit and since we’re only in Rhode Island for a year, I figured the best job I could take on was being available for my family in our new home.  Just trying to balance home has been a unique challenge, but one that I strive to accomplish each new day… keeps me from getting bored, I suppose!  Nothing boring about staying home with the kids!  It can be challenging but I would never give it up.  
Karen and her very handsome family!

Are you a runner?  How long? If so, tell us about your best run or favorite distance?

I don’t know if I would define myself as a runner, per se.  My best friend suckered me into doing a 5K at our college alma mater [Christopher Newport University] for my 35th birthday.  Since then, we have participated in several charity events involving running, walking and other such fitness minded, good-for-the-soul activities. 

It is hard to choose a “favorite” since they each involved doing something good for me while also benefitting others.  If I’m hard pressed, I’d have to say the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Washington, D.C. – a 39.3 mile walk to bring awareness and support to the plight of breast cancer patients, survivors and warriors.  Three years in a row, we ventured out on the streets of D.C. among thousands of other participants, some breast cancer survivors, some families honoring a lost loved one and still others who were adamant about the cause of defeating breast cancer. The event is held over the course of two days and involves a marathon distance on Day One and a half-marathon distance on Day Two.  It was an adventure of the mind, the body and certainly the spirit!  That is just awesome! What a great experience.  And I am sure a lot of us can relate to that one friend who suckered us into that first 5k, LOL.

Beyond that, I would have to say my next favorite run was the Shamrock Half Marathon in VA Beach, VA.  I never, ever thought I would be capable of completing such a running distance.  It may not have been pretty, but we finished and had a great time doing so!  Congrats on finishing the half.  The Shamrock Half is on my bucket list and I hope to cross it off next year.
Karen and her best friend at the Avon Walk.
How did you get involved with race planning? Is this your first time planning a race?

The first time I got involved with race planning was back in 2008.  We lived in Northern VA and the school our kids attended was working on a 5K & 1-mile fun run that was in its third or fourth year. I served as the Sponsorship Chair for the race that year.  The following year came around and I ended up serving as the race director.  When we moved to Alabama, we were members of the Bounds Family YMCA.  I served on the Board of Directors and as we were brainstorming ways to benefit their then Strong Kids Campaign, the Superhero 5K was born.  While I’ve participated in several, this is about the fourth time I’ve been involved in race planning.

How many people are involved in putting this together?

Planning a 5K involves a number of dedicated volunteers over at least a 9-month period.  For the CrAzY CoYoTe ChAsE, we have been extremely blessed with a group of 10-15 parent volunteers who have been extremely helpful in a number of ways.  In this case, our planning committee consists of a Race Director, Sponsorship Chair, Marketing Chair, T-shirt Chair, Race Packet Chair, Road Safety Chair, Kids’ Korner Chair and a Volunteer Coordinator.  We have a group of people who are working very well together towards a common goal… benefitting the students and community of Broad Rock Middle School.  With shrinking educational budgets, school PTO’s are taking on more and more financial fundraising efforts to continue to provide for our students. 

Tell us a little about the BRMS Crazy Coyote Chase.  What can runners expect?  How would you describe the course?  Will we be chased by a Coyote?

The CrAzY CoYoTe ChAsE came about at a brainstorming session during a PTO meeting.  “CrAzY” because is makes it more interesting and “CoYoTe” because that is the school mascot for Broad Rock Middle School.

We are using a race course that has been used in the past by SK C.A.R.E.S.. Actually, they were very generous to share in the cost of having the course USATF certified with us this year.  It is a looped course that starts and finishes at Broad Rock Middle School.  There is still speculation that a rogue coyote might make an appearance on race day, but it has not yet been confirmed… J

One of the things I am excited about is the Kids Corner.  Something I have never seen or heard of before at a race.  How did you come up with this idea?  Who will be supervising the kids?  What will the kids be doing while we race? 

The Kids’ Corner was born of an idea that I had several years ago.  We lived in a neighborhood where many of the families were military and quite often, one of the spouses was deployed. We thought it would be nice to provide free, on-site child care for those who might not otherwise do the race due to conflicts in finding babysitters for their children.  In addition, it was nice to give parents the opportunity to bring their kids along to a family-friendly, fitness focused event and expose them to the value and importance of being in good health and doing something for others in the community.

Our Kids’ Corner will be supervised by several of the YMCA staff.  The beauty of having them as volunteers is that everyone is CPR certified and background safety checked as well.  The kids will have their pick of what they would like to do while mom or dad are on the race course.  Various activities will be available to them such as basketball, hula hoops, tattoos, drawing and perhaps an organized craft as well.

This race looks fun and I love that you are encouraging everyone to dress up.  Will you be dressed up too?  Will your family be participating?

Thank you so much!  We thought the CrAzY would be fun in that so many people seem to be drawn towards sporting tutus and silly costumes at runs these days.  We thought it might make our race stand out and be memorable among so many other similar events in the area.  I’m not sure if my kids are up for wearing tutus, but I might be seen in one on race day!  Very fun!

Looks like you have some pretty great sponsors.  What's the secret to getting companies to get involved?

We have seen outstanding support from our community.  I believe that business owners in the area want to support families and youth as much as possible.  I think the key to getting people on board is being able to offer a win-win for everyone.  Quite often, it seems that if we can provide a venue wherein they can highlight their company among a captive audience, it’s an easier sell.  We provide several incentives to our sponsors such as exposure on our website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, Race t-shirts and the finish line banner.  There are several more ways we try to provide for our sponsors while they are supporting our efforts.  More information is available at our race website at

Please share here anything you think I missed either about you, race directing and/or the race itself.

Thanks so much for the opportunity to highlight some of the “behind-the-scenes” about our race.  We are looking forward to a great day of fun among our participants, sponsors and runners alike!  Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any other questions, concerns, comments or suggestions!

Thank you Karen, that was very insightful and now I am even more excited!  I look forward to seeing you on Saturday. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.  I know the Crazy Coyote Chase will be a huge success!

Run Strong, Think Big!  Beep, Beep! ~ Nicole

Monday, April 1, 2013

Big News!

Another week of training done.  However, I pretty much just ran.  I only had one day of cross training and that I am not happy with.

My runs were fantastic though and my long run, which I did on Thursday, was 6 miles.  So very happy about that.

I am having some issues with tightness in my calves and hamstrings.  Possibly the lack of cross training?  And to top that off, I don't think my new shoes, that I love, are working for me.  After my 5 miler last week, my shins hurt and also around my ankles.  It did not improve with my 6 miler.

I was wearing Asics 2160's and switched to Asics Nimbus 14's.  The noticeable difference is that the 14's are softer.  I am thinking that I need to switch back.  After all, I did get fitted for the 2160's and the man spent almost an hour with me and came to that conclusion.  I trust him and I am not sure why I was trying something different, so today, I will look for 2160's.  The newest model, the 2170's, are out now.  Anyone wearing them?  How do you like them and is there much of a difference from the 60's?

And now for the really big news!

I am officially signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon!!!!

I stayed up late, as registration opened at midnight.  I was a little worried since there was such chaos for the people who registered for Chicago and MCM.  I did not have a problem.

I was able to log on to Active at 12:05 and that is that.  It is done and now I am going to run 26.2 miles November 17th.

Honestly, after it was done, I got teary and my hands were shaking.  It is a strange feeling to want to jump and and down with excitement and shout your news to the world and at the same time, want to crawl up in a little ball thinking, "what the hell did I just do?"

It's all good though, there is way more excitement than fear and the messages that you all left me on my FB pages just made my morning!

To celebrate me taking on the marathon, I have a Shubeez 26.2 to give away.  Use the rafflecoper form below and good luck!

Hope everyone enjoyed their Easter!

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

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