Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Back on February 22nd, I was supposed to run the Half at the Hamptons up in NH.  But, in January it started snowing.  And in February it kept on snowing.  For a while, we were on a one blizzard per week cycle here in New England.  So, not surprisingly, that late February race was canceled.  Stupidly, I went ahead and registered for the Hyannis Half that same week-end hoping that New Hampshire's weather issues would not be the same for Cape Cod.  No dice.  Hyannis was canceled, too.  The Hamptons race was then rescheduled for 3/15.  Also canceled.  Same reason.  So, as you can imagine, I have been both frustrated and itching to race over the past few weeks.  Fortunately, I stumbled on the Run for the Border Half Marathon which was set to take place on 3/29.  I decided it was worth the risk, signed up and then prayed to the weather Gods that I would both get to run and not lose my money yet again.  To spite me, it did snow all day this past Saturday, but when I woke up on Sunday at 5:30am it was sunny and beautiful out.  Sure it was 22 degrees, but I was more than happy to take the cold over the snow.

Winchester, MA

I dragged my 8 year old out of bed and walked her down to her buddy's house where she would be hanging for the day (bless you, Emily).  Then I hopped in my car and headed up to Hampton Beach, trying very hard to wake up by playing loud music and drinking a second cup of coffee.  After about an hour, I found the casino where we were supposed to park, used the facilities and got on a bus which would be taking us out to the start at Wallis Sands Beach in Rye.  The race was going off at 11:00am, but the director asked us to arrive early so there wouldn't be a back up with the shuttles.  The ride up was beautiful.  Since we had plenty of time, the driver took us the long route along the coast.  The sun was coming up over the ocean and surfers were out catching the first waves of the day.  Given the weather and what I knew was likely the temp of the water, I could not believe they were out there.  But, much like a runner, a surfer's gonna surf, no matter what. 

Hampton Beach, NH

Not knowing how long the whole process was going to take, I erred on the safe side and got there for the first shuttle.  In hindsight, this was not the wisest decision.  Live and learn.  When our bus arrived at the start it was just before 9:00am.  Wait...what?  We had a solid 2 hours to do nothing but sit and wait.  Thankfully,  the bus stayed so at least we were warm.  I honestly don't know what we'd have done with ourselves if the bus had taken off.  For the next 90 minutes or so, I debated whether to wear my hat and gloves for the race, went to the bathroom more times than I needed to, ate a small meal, chatted with the other runners, listened to music, and got exponentially more nervous that I should have.  Finally, we started to line up around 10:45.  This particular race is known to be pretty old school and it was clear that this was still the case.  There were no timing chips in our bibs, no mile markers, water stations were sporadic and the start was a good old fashioned "READY, SET, GO!" done by a guy on a cell phone who was coordinating with the timer on the other end.  Initially, I fell into a good rhythm with a small pack of other runners but within a few miles we were already starting to spread out and by mile four I was on my own.  I did my best to just zone out, listen to my music and hold steady at a 6:50 pace, which is what my coach and I had decided on.  The wind was definitely a factor working against us for most of the race; not terrible but noticeable.  The view, however, was stunning and the weather was monumentally better than it has been in months which was such a nice break.  I ate my GU at mile 7, and then decided to try and slowly pick it up.  The upside of running a half in the middle of marathon training is how insanely short 13 miles feels.  Once I got to mile 9 and knew I only had 4 and change to go, I was almost giddy.  Almost.  And then my watch stopped.  Stupid Garmin.  I wasn't really worried about my pace but I had no idea when the finish was coming because we didn't have any mile markers.  I didn't want to go nuts too soon and then crash and burn so I just held on to what I thought I was doing at mile 10 when my watch gave out and hoped for the best.  Finally, I could see a small group ahead of me which I assumed was the lead pack so I knew I was getting close to the end.  For the last 3 miles or so I followed a girl in orange shorts who I knew I wouldn't catch but hoped to just keep in sight.  She was incredibly helpful despite the fact that she was not aware of her supporting role.  In the end, the finish line was a lot closer than I was expecting.  Good because I was done sooner than I thought I would be, bad because I didn't really get a chance to go for it at the end.  Oh well.  All things considered, I felt like it was a solid race for me.

On the bus....again

Once I'd cooled down and grabbed some fluids I headed over to bus that would be taking us back to the finish line.  It felt so good to just sit and relax in the warm bus with my feet up.  Ahhh, more time on a bus.  Shortly after I settled in, the orange shorts girl got on.  I told her how I'd been following her through the last few miles and thanked her for being my guide.  She laughed and told me she was happy she could help.  The bus took us over to the Ashworth Hotel where the post-race goodies were waiting for us.  We were welcomed with warm soup, hot pizza, cold drinks and lots of other various treats including bowls of jellybeans and M&Ms on every table.  Just...wow.


Naturally, I dove right in.  As I ate, I decided I would wait for the race director to get back from the finish so I could see where I ended up.  He came in holding a couple pieces of crumpled white paper and started announcing the overall and age group winners over a microphone.  Again...old school.  I learned that my time...officially, unofficially, who's to know....was 1:28:10 which was good for 6th woman overall and first Master, which I was particularly fired up about given that it was my first race as a 40 year old.  I headed back to my car, tired and a little sore but very happy with the way things had turned out.  I must confess, however, that the word on the street was the timing was inaccurate and likely off by several seconds.  Back at the hotel, I'd asked around while I was enjoying my snacks, trying to get a sense of what people thought.  Some said yes, the timing was off by at least 10 seconds, others thought as much as a minute and several looked at me with a blank stare having no idea what I was talking about.  Thus, I can't with 100% certainty claim the PR.  But, I can claim the place and, more importantly, I can be proud of the effort.  So, I'll bask in that for now.  And then go for it again.  To be continued....

(b/c I'm pretty that there won't be any official race photos)

Listen to this:
Huarache Lights - Hot Chip  

Thursday, March 26, 2015


“It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want—oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!” 
~ Mark Twain

I wish I could say it feels like spring here in the Boston area.  It doesn't.  Last Friday, the first day of spring, it was a whopping 21 degrees out, windy as hell and there was not a bird in sight.  The next morning, it was snowing.  Not flurrying.  Steadily snowing and accumulating.  WTF??!!  True, it has gotten a bit warmer since then, but not much.  The upside?  When spring does arrive, none of us will be able to wipe the huge perma-grins off of our faces.  Talk about spring fever.  Despite the weather, a lot of big "spring" things are still happening.  The Boston Marathon is a mere four weeks away.  My kids' spring break is right after that (hello Florida).  And despite the fact that the ground is still covered in snow, our high school spring track season is officially underway.  We have 104 girls on our squad this year.  The boys have almost as many.  We do have an indoor facility, which is awesome, but throw 200+ kids into a field house for warmups and you have complete and utter chaos.  Space is ridiculously tight and you can barely hear yourself think let alone hear each other.  Needless to say, the first few days were a bit rough from a logistical standpoint.  For most of that week, temps didn't get above 30, so we were stuck indoors.  All of us.  On Friday, the distance squad (milers and 2 milers) headed out for some hill work.  Hill repeats are hard.  Hill repeats when you're cold are harder.  Not surprisingly, they rocked it.


Yesterday, it was 45 degrees and sunny which basically felt like summer.  All the girls were sporting shorts and tees and were beyond thrilled to be outside.  We headed over to the track, which has anywhere from 1-3 open lanes depending on where you are on the oval, and is soaking wet with puddles everywhere.  Not ideal for a group of 24 girls trying do a workout together.  But beggars can't be choosers.  Once again, they rocked it.


Mother Nature works in mysterious ways.  This winter she has tested our strength and patience like never before.  I'm still trying to figure out whether or not I passed.  But, rather than sit around and complain about it, these girls have simply upped their game.  For them, there is no question as to whether or not it can be done....just how.  And they are always up for the challenge.  Spring fever?  Yep.  Spring track?  It's on.  Spring weather?  Who cares?!  GO LEX!


Listen to this:
Forgive & Forget - The Kooks 

* Image at the top of the page was taken from the GOOGLE home page on the first day of spring.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


A guest post by friend & fellow runner/blogger, Garbanzo, over at ilikemargarine:

The half marathon has been going on for nearly four hours. That’s not unusual.

Nobody has left. That’s unusual.

Back in the old days, 4 hours was the cutoff time for a marathon. Many years later, the mass of participants has resulted in increasing times and waning interest for the later finishers. Until today.

The race team had a genius idea. They’re giving away prizes to 10 people in a raffle. There aren’t that many people in the race, so odds are pretty good. And it’s not a $10 gift certificate to Marlene’s Frangrances that you’ll never actually go to. It’s just a hundred dollars in cash. A HUNDRED BUCKS! 10 PEOPLE! SIGN ME UP! The catch? The raffle won’t start till the last runner finishes.

As I continue to get slower, I’m fascinated with the folks in the back of the pack. Bill Rodgers once said he couldn’t imagine how people could stay out there four hours running a marathon. What would he say about the peeps who take that much time for 13 miles and change?

If you’ve never run way in the back, you don’t know how hard these peeps are working. There’s just as much suffering here as in the lead pack with the gazelles. Maybe more. We’re just doing it in slow motion.

I’ve had the world’s crappiest run today, coming in a nudge under 3 hours, so I know exactly what they feel like as they wage war with the clock, which is quickly ticking down toward the cutoff. I’m alone on a sunny day with free beer and pizza, so I prop my feet up near the finish and watch the last guys come in. And I find myself cheering like crazy.

Finishing clearly is a huge thing for them. The fast guys quibble over seconds. These peeps just want to cross that line. They do it with arms raised, smiles extended, medals gratefully accepted. They’re celebrating in a way you forget about when you’re going to a lot of races. It’s a Big Deal.

A pair of women come across, hands locked and extended overhead. Another pair. What is it with women? Guys would be tripping each other. It takes a village to run a half, I suppose.

And then, the clock ticks past 4 hours. I snap a photo of the last guy, and the race director starts handing out the cash. I’ve got the number 969, so I figure in a pinch I can flip it and claim 696, doubling my odds. Or not.

It goes along at the same pace as every other running auction — 62,000 numbers called out with nobody claiming. Slowly but surely, they find a few winners.

And then.

A bike escort guy pulls up, waving his hands up and down like he’s an NFL linebacker revving up the fans on a fourth-down stand. And there she comes.

She’s shuffling along in pretty much the same fashion I was, except that she looks more determined and does not appear to want to kill herself. She’s got a huge smile and clearly couldn’t be more delighted to be here. She crosses the finish line triumphantly, high-fiving anyone with an outstretched hand.

She’s 10 minutes past the absolute cutoff, which suddenly becomes not absolute at all. The race official leads the applause and then asks someone to grab the lottery number from her bib so she’ll get in on the drawing. I’m suspicious.

She sits down on the raised curb, taking off her shoes after too many hours and basking in the congratulations from her family. The drawing goes on.

The closest I come is 959. I consider asking for 20 bucks and calling it even, but I’m not quick enough. “Not quick enough” is something I’m thinking a lot about these days.

And a few tries later, whose number do they call? Hers.

The race official, who has insisted that people come up to get their money, takes it over to her. An obvious fix? Nobody seems to care. She earned it.

As he’s leaving, I run over and ask if I can take their photo together. Her relay partner gets in the photo as well. They all beam. After a really depressing day of running, I’m happy.

I stop by on my way out to congratulate her. I shake her hand I tell her simply, “that was a great race.” Because it was.

I finish my beer, get my $200 Honda out of the valet parking of my $200 a night hotel, and head home.

I think about it all the way back. I still get so hung up on times. I’m too slow. I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m not a runner, just a pretender. Why bother.

Then I see someone finish an hour later, and I realize it’s not about time at all. It’s about winning. She won this race. Maybe I did too. Maybe we all do, every time we put on a number and face down the demons.

Maybe I sort of loved that race after all.

But would it have killed him to call 969 …

Thanks, Garbanzo.  I needed this.  We all did.

Listen to this:
First - Cold War Kids  

Saturday, March 21, 2015


"Don’t listen to music while I run? I respect your right not to, but I can’t hear your argument why. Music’s too loud.  Sorry." 
~ garbonzo a gogo

On Thursday, I was getting my teeth cleaned and the dentist noticed that I was sporting my running clothes.  She asked me if I had just gone for a run or if I was headed out after our appointment.  I told her I'd just gone, but I did not tell her that I basically wear my running clothes all the time.  Why go into detail?  She then proceeded to let me know that she prefers to work out at the gym versus running solo.  She told me that she likes to surround herself with others who are sweating like crazy and working their asses off because it makes her want to do the same thing.  It inspires her, if you will.  "I get that," I told her, "I just put music on when I run and it motivates me in the same way."  "No!" she said, as she shook her head back and forth adamantly.  "Music is not enough.  I like it, but it doesn't do the trick."  Ummmmm.  Okay.  I didn't really have anything else to add after that.  So, we moved on in our conversation, suction and all.  Ironically, the good folks of at FEETURES just asked me to write a post about running and music, including my best running playlist.  Oh man.  Where to begin?  And, is there really a "best" playlist for running?  My own taste in music changes often and the music I listen to while I'm running changes daily.  How can I possibly determine the best playlist and whether running with music is the right choice at all?  Turns out, I can't.  Basically, what it comes down to is this - we all do what works for us.  For some, it's necessary to be alone and silent with their thoughts as they run.  For others, it's better to be surrounded by their fellow gym goers, working out to the pulsing pop music that's blaring over the loud speakers.  For me, it's somewhere between these two scenarios.  I'm happy to run solo, enjoy it even, but I never head out without my iPod.  Ever.  Music has a multifaceted impact on my running; often enhancing my mood, increasing my motivation and providing a welcome distraction from the pain of a workout or the tedium of a long run.  As I laid it out in writing, I thought back on my conversation with my dentist.  If I had written this post before my appointment, I might have shared it with her.  Not to change her mind.  Just so she could get a better sense of why music works for me.  When I sent it over to FEETURES, I asked if I could also share it here.  Not to change your mind, of course.  Simply to provide my own perspective, which happens to be the basis for this blog.  So, here's what I had to say:

When I run, I run with music.  When I’m getting ready to head out, no matter what, the minute I start my music, I am ready to roll.  With each song that comes on, I am taken to a whole new level, both physically and mentally.  The faster the beat, the faster my pace.  On the flip side, when I run, I hear and appreciate the music I’m listening to in a whole new way.  For me, as a runner and a music lover, it’s a win-win.  I understand that running with music is not for everyone and I totally respect that.  But, there have been several studies done on the impact of music in running and research suggests that it truly does boost athletic performance.  I won’t go into the details, but this article, Can Music Make You a Better Runner? by Matt Fitzgerald sums it up nicely.

In a nutshell:
Because the brain essentially chooses to impose fatigue based on a prediction of where the body's true physiological limits lie, the brain has some flexibility in setting performance limits. When an athlete is highly motivated, the brain will risk a bit more and allow the body to come a little closer to the point of self-harm in pursuit of better performance. All kinds of factors may influence an athlete's level of motivation, and music appears to be one of them.

I don’t know about self harm. But, I do know that running is hard.  For many of us, music makes it more bearable.  And for some of us, music is a pleasant and much needed distraction.  For me, the music I listen to on the road enhances my overall experience like nothing else can.  Does it make me faster? The jury is still out on that.  Does it matter?  Nope.  Running and music make me happy.  These days, that’s about all I need.

Listen to this:
Let It Happen - Tame Impala

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


What if you had your very own Running Fairy Godmother who constantly flew around seeking out the latest running related products, tried them out herself (because, she's a runner, of course), selected the ones that you should know about, wrapped them all up in a shoebox and left them on your doorstep every month?  Too good to be true, right?  You're not going to believe this, but this particular fairy does exist and she's willing to fly around for ALL of us.  Her name is Staci and she created and co-owns the company RUNNERBOX.  She's a mother, a runner, and a Fairy Godrunner.  I have no idea how she does it.  All I know is that every other month, this neat little package of pre-tested and runner-approved goodies is waiting for me on my front porch when I get home from work.  It doesn't get much better than that.  When she's not running or doing something running-related, she's rocking out to the Cure, which is just so damn cool.  Here's a little bit about Staci, her family & her running in her own words:

I'm a mom of 2 boys.  My oldest is 22 and in the drumline and brass bands at MSU, so I probably should have named one of them my favorite band!  My youngest is 13, also a drummer and a runner- we ran his first half together last summer in Chicago.  I've run 12 Marathons and 21 halfs.  Aiming to finish up the Majors with London in April.  

Holy smokes!!  Want to know more?  Yea, you do.  Meet Staci a RUNNER WHO ROCKS.


Name: Staci Dietzel
Where you're from: Laingsburg, MI
Where you reside now: Dewitt, MI
Age (if you're ok sharing): 41
Occupation: Founder, Co-Owner of RunnerBox
Blog/website: www.therunnerbox.com

What do you love most about running?  The freedom
What do you love most about music?  The motivation, and that it can take me somewhere else.  Depends on what I'm doing.

Band (current, all time or both) Old favorite, The Cure
Album (current, all time or both):  Current favorite Damien Rice, 'My Favourite Faded Fantasy'
Race venue:  Big Sur & Charlevoix
Music venue: Somewhere small or outside
Race distance: 26.2
Show you've seen live? Johnny Lang
Ice cream flavor Blue Moon

Sweet or salty?  Sweet
Live or recorded?  Recorded
Coffee or tea? Tea
Summer or winter? Summer

Which band or artist would you go see tonight if you could? Damien Rice
Which band or artist (wait...but no longer alive or playing together) would you go see tonight if you could? Kurt Cobain
Which band or artist would you like to have dinner with tonight if you could? Tori Amos
Which band or artist would you like to be playing alongside you during your next race (or long run)? Pink

Top 5 Songs for running, dancing or both?
Born Free - Kid Rock
When You Were Young- The Killers
She Talks To Angels - The Black Crowes
Lonely Boy - The Black Keys
These Are Days - 10,000 Maniacs

Last 5 Songs you listened to today?
On my run:
Afraid - The Neighborhood, 
Dangerous - David Guetta 
Towards the Sun - Rihanna 
What Kind of Man - Florence and the Machine
Made in Gold - Nova Rockafeller

Friday, March 13, 2015


"The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, 
the human soul is apt to revive also."
~ Harriet Ann Jacobs

Wednesday, March 11th  
8:30AM  37℉ 
When I stepped outside, the sun was shining, the snow was melting, and the mud was flowing.  I didn't need a hat and gloves for the first time since November.  I might have shed a tear or two.  Sweet, sweet spring, I said out loud to no one in particular, never have I loved you more.  I am fully aware that spring isn't here to stay.  But, for that moment, I just wanted to pretend.  I threw on a pair of 3/4 length tights and a long sleeve shirt (wait, that's all??) and headed out for an 8 mile cruiser.  Turns out, my legs could have cared less about the weather.  They were heavy and stiff and within minutes they were tired.  I did my best to grin and bear it but I was hurting.  Cue the frustration.  This was the first nice day in months and I really wanted to feel awesome.  Instead I was shuffling my way through the miles and counting the seconds until it was over.  Dammit.  When I got home, defeated, I hopped in the shower and started thinking about the rest of my day.  First on my list, a much needed sports massage, which is always a combination of both torture and bliss.  After that, I had to hit the grocery store, the car wash, CVS and somewhere in there I needed to grab lunch.  I know, thrilling.

5 Hours later  
1:30PM 56℉
By the time I pulled in to the driveway the temp had climbed another 20 degrees.  What the....???!!!  It felt downright tropical outside.  I hopped out of the car, walked over to my front porch and just sat down.  For a solid 10 minutes I soaked up the sun, virtually drinking in the warmth.  It was incredible.  Screw this, I thought.  I'm going running....again.  I threw on a pair of shorts (yes, shorts) and a t-shirt, grabbed my iPod and flew out the door.  Don't think.  Just go.  I'd love to tell you that, unlike my first run, my legs were fresh and light and that I floated through the miles.  But that would be lying.  What I did experience, however, was a different kind of elation.  I was just so genuinely thrilled to be running outside in warm weather.  From start to finish I had a childlike skip in my step and an ear to ear grin plastered on my face.  I wasn't worried about mileage or pace.  Nothing mattered.  And everything was awesome.  I may not have felt physically fast and free but I sure as hell felt it mentally.  So, yea, it was a good run.

Thursday, March 12th
8:30AM  32℉ & windy
Back to winter.  The air was chilly and the wind was whipping.  The hat and gloves were on again.  The kids were a little slower and a bit quieter as they got into the car for school; the joy of the day before having worn off.  As I got ready to run, bundling up in multiple layers, I had to smile. Wednesday had made such a lasting impression on my brain.  I couldn't stop thinking about how good it felt and what an incredible mood it had put me in.  It was just a little dose of what's to come.  And it was all I needed.

Listen to this:
Baby Please - WE ARE TWIN 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


We all know that the long run is the cornerstone in marathon training.  I've run 10 marathons and my best race, the race where I felt most comfortable (if you can call it that) in those final miles, where I could successfully hold on and then dig in for that last 10K, was the race where I had done the most long runs in my training cycle.  I cursed them, complained to my husband about them, commiserated with my running partner during them, and in the end, they paid off in spades.  At the moment, I am smack in the middle of training for a May marathon.  I should have at least 4 to 5 long runs in the 15-17 range under my belt.  I have one - a 15 miler that I ran back on January 26th.  What happened, you ask?  Life got in the way.  First, mother nature got involved and made some decisions of her own. Then, my own personal health threw a couple curve balls at me.  So, here I am, 6 weeks later, and I'm down quite a few miles.  As my coach has said several times over the past few weeks...."well, Rebeca, there wasn't much you could have done about that."  Here's what happened:

Sunday, Feb 1 - Blizzard 1 - Scheduled workout: 14 miles w/ tempo
Actual workout: 12 miles inside.  Watched the Superbowl as I ran on the treadmill at the YMCA along with 2 other marathoners who were stuck inside with me.  Go Pats.

Sunday Feb 8 - Blizzard 2 - Scheduled workout: 16 miles
Actual workout: 12 miles inside.  Watched SNL re-runs.  This second longish run on the dreadmill was significantly harder than the first.  Like, borderline torture.

Monday Feb 16 - Polar Vortex hits New England (temp -40℉ w/ windchill) - Scheduled workout: 14 miles
Actual Workout: 10 miles inside.  No tv.  Switched to a different machine after 6 miles for both variety and sanity.

Sunday Feb 22 - Sick - Round 1 (sinus infection) - Scheduled workout: Half at the Hamptons 1/2 Marathon - race canceled due to weather and snow accumulation, not that I could have run it anyway.
Actual workout: 10 miles outside on Monday - ran this at a snail's pace.  I was recovering from the infection, but I had very little in the tank.

Monday March 2 Sick - Round 2 (stomach flu) Scheduled workout: 16 miles
Actual workout: NONE

Which brings us to yesterday.  I was finally healthy, temps were in the 40s, the sun was shining bright, and I was ready to rock.  Except that I couldn't.  My daughter, Grace, had fallen on Saturday while she was skiing and tweaked her knee.  It was swollen to the size of a grapefruit and hurt to touch.  Instead of hitting the road after drop-off as planned, Grace and I headed over to the doctor's office.  After some x-rays, a long visit with the doctor and a fitting for a knee brace (small fracture in the growth plate above her knee) we were headed back to school.  I gave Grace a high five for being a major trooper and headed home.  I had 2.5 hours before I had to be back at school for pick-up.  Damned if I wasn't going for a long run.  I headed out at 12:30.  Ran over to my running buddy's house while carrying a jacket that I had for her son.  Handed that off and ran 6 with her.  Ran 6 more solo.  And then ran home and grabbed my dog for the final four miles because I had to get her out before I picked up my kids.  Grand total: 16 miles.  It wasn't pretty, but I got it done.  And I checked a few 'to-do's off my list to boot.  I am a 40 year old working mom of two who likes to train for marathons.  And more often than not, life gets in the way.  As far as this upcoming marathon goes, who the hell knows.  Perhaps I can't do it the way I'd hoped to do it.  But, I'm going to do it anyway.  Life is too short.  Gotta run.

Listen to this:
We All Want the Same Thing - Rixton

Thursday, March 5, 2015


Post-race bliss.
My daughter, Rosie, is 10.  Last winter, she joined the local race team up at Cannon mountain.  Up until then, she'd been skiing with their Junior Development program, which is a ski school for kids who come up on a seasonal basis.  It's an incredible program and she learned a ton, but it's nowhere near as intense as the racing team.  Not by a long shot.  At FSC (Franconia Ski Club), not only were the physical demands significantly more intense, but she also had to navigate the new social scene, which is not always easy for a 9 year old.  In time, Rosie settled in and she seemed to be really enjoying her new environment.  Which, as a parent, is all you can ask for.  Right?  When she raced, however, she would take it nice and easy, making sure to hit every gate, gliding through the finish and finishing, how do I put this delicately, dead f***ing last every time.  Except once, when she finished second to last.  Regardless, she held her head up high and kept smiling, so my husband and I assumed it wasn't really bothering her which meant it shouldn't be bothering us.  Though, I do have to admit, when you're sitting there cheering on your kid who's getting up at the crack of dawn and working her tail off every single week-end and you're not seeing any progress, you do start to wonder.  Such a fine line there.  Anyway, we consistently gave her positive support and feedback and we just didn't worry about the scoreboard.  And, by the end of the season, we found ourselves saying, well, maybe she'll get more into it next year.  Or, maybe not.  And that's okay, too.  Fast forward to this winter.  Rosie turned 10 in November which bumped her up to the U12 race bracket, making her the youngest kid in her group.  Not ideal.  Some of these kids are over 2 years older than her and have been racing since they were 6 and Rosie is still a spring chicken and a young one at that.  After the first race, Rosie and I were chatting before bed about how it went.  She looked at me with a straight face and said, "Mom, those girls are really good and they are way faster than me."  Oh boy.  She was clearly very aware of this situation.  And she was right.  And she's 10, so I wasn't going to lie to her.  I think I said something like, "hang in there, Rosie.  You're one of the youngest members of your crew and they have a lot more experience under their belts.  Just keep working hard and staying positive and you'll get there when you're ready."  So she did just that.  She went to practice every day, ready to work and learn and, thankfully, continuning to have fun.  In her first race she finished around 60th place out of 90 skiers which might as well have been top 10.  She was thrilled and we were thrilled for her.  She was making progress and she could feel the difference.  Each race she did...pretty good.  Not last.  Usually the bottom third.  But not last.  And she was always pretty happy with that.  Though, I got the sense that she knew where she stood compared to her teammates and while she seemed to shrug it off, that it was maybe starting to bother her a little bit more.
Going for it.
Again, Jeff and I ignored the scoreboard and gave her positive feedback and encouragement whenever possible.  Last week-end was the NHARA finals for the U12 girls.  A last hoorah, if  you will.  Our whole family packed it up and headed over to Cranmore Mountain to cheer her on.  She had 4 runs to get through, 2 GS and 2 slalom.  She took her first run much like she always did, carefully hitting each gate and looking solid, but without much gusto.  I met her at the bottom and she excitedly asked me what place she was in.  I told her not to worry about it, that she did great and she should be really proud of herself.  But, she dug in.  "No mom, I want to know what place I'm in".  I tried to hold tight.  "Rosie, you don't need me to pull up the results online.  Just glance up at the scoreboard and you'll get a sense of where you stand."  Not good enough.  "Mom, just look up my place!"  So I did.  "Okay, Rosie, you're in 60th out of 70 girls."  She nodded and said she was going to head down and get something to eat.  And then she was off.  She was quiet all through lunch and I could tell her wheels were spinning.  As a coach, I wanted to get involved, to give her a pep talk, but as her mom, I wasn't 100% sure what she needed or what she wanted to hear.  Finally, right before her second run we had a chat, initiated by her, I should add:
Rosie: Mom, I really want to break 60 seconds this run.  (her first run was a 1:04)
Me: I really think you can do that, kiddo.
Rosie: It's weird.  I felt like I could do it all season and now I can't.
---> insert deep breath
Me: Rosie, you're a beautiful skier.  And you're an awesome athlete.  And you'll always do well.  But, if you want to get out there and be faster, you have to get a little hungrier and be willing to take some risks.  You don't have to to do that today.  But when you're ready, that's going to make the difference.  You have to want it just a little more.  You know what I mean?
Rosie: Yeah.  I think so.
---> the coaches called them out at this point
Me: Good luck, Rosie!  Go get 'em.  Have fun.
Rosie: See ya.
She didn't break 60 seconds her second run.  But she went for it.  She came down looking like a different skier.  A little less cautious.  A little more hungry.  She crossed the line in 1:02.  Which was awesome.  Because the second run, which is always slightly different from the first, was clearly a slower run for most of the racers, which meant that Rosie had improved on a harder course which bumped her up 20 places for that run and put her in 40th.  It was a big improvement for her.  And she knew it.  She felt it.  I could see it when I met her at the finish.  "Holy crap, kiddo.  What did you do?" I asked.  "I went faster", she said excitedly.  "No kidding", I laughed.  She then went on to tell me that she'd thought about it while she was at the top waiting to go and, while she'd been a little scared, she decided it was worth it to try to ski it differently, to see what she could do.  Hot damn, I thought.  She hugged me and skied of to who knows where, because it didn't matter.   The next day, she took that positive mojo and applied it to her slalom runs.  Again, she went for it.  And, again, she improved.  And, yes, again, she was thrilled.  She ended up in 34th out of about 70 racers, which might as well have been first place for her.  In the end, Rosie got two valuable lessons, while I got two important reminders.  First, if you want things to change, you've got to be willing to step outside your comfort zone and go for it, regardless of what the outcome might be and second, improvement, of any kind, is pretty damn awesome.  Thanks, Rosie.  I needed those as much as you did.

Proud mom, happy kid!

Listen to this:
Lean On - Major Lazer 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


They say March comes in like a lion.  I'm going to go ahead and agree with that given that we got 4 inches of fresh snow here in the Boston area on Monday.  On top of that, I got slapped with the flu.  Good, good times.  I haven't had the flu in so long that I'd forgotten how badly it takes you down.  It hurts to move, to touch, to be touched, basically to function, which is super inconvenient.  As I write, I'm in one of those Tylenol-induced states where the fever has subsided but I find myself talking to the dogs as if they can answer me and shuffling from room to room like a granny (no offense, Agnes). Okay, so enough of that.  It's March.  Hallelujah!!  For such a short month, February felt really freaking long.  Between the 100+ inches of snow, the relentless sub-zero temps and the 6 days off from school, I was getting very close to losing it.  And, I don't think I'm alone in this.  But, we made it through.  High fives all around.  Don't get me wrong, I realize we probably have several more weeks of winter-like conditions ahead of us, but there is now a light at the end of the tunnel, it is officially spring this month and warmer temps could be within reach.  I'm not talking 50s & 60s, I'm talking 30s and maybe some low 40s?  Maybe??  Anyway, it's a big month for me.  The LHS track season gets underway mid-month, I'll finally be running a half marathon (in lieu of the the 2 I'd signed up for in February that were both canceled because of the snow), and our ski season is winding down, which is always a little bittersweet.  Although, this year, more than most, I'm pretty ready to shift gears.  So, here's to March; to longer days, to seeing friends and neighbors whom we haven't seen in months, and to spring.  Bring.  It.  On.

~ Begin our LHS spring track track season on 3/16.  I do wonder when we'll be getting on the track but that is besides the point.
~ Race the Run for the Border Half in Portsmouth NH assuming I'm healthy and we don't get another blizzard.
~ Bake with Grace using the new (and improved) Easy Bake Oven that she got for her birthday.  Yep, just like the old one.  Thank you, Aunt Courtney.
~ Cheer Rosie on in her last ski race of the season.
~ Hang with my parents who are coming up from Florida for the first time to visit us in NH and watch the girls ski.  Yes, I did warn them of the cold temps.  Might be their last visit.
~ Register for the Mohawk Hudson Marathon which I'll be doing again this October.
~ Pray for warm(er) weather.
~ Get healthy and stay healthy.
~ Listen to good music.



*Note : you can download their entire 4 song EP on Soundcloud at the moment.  Hurry. Go.

OUR OWN HOUSE - MisterWives*
NOTE: This EP gives you a good taste of the full album which is available for purchase on iTunes.


** Congrats to John P. and Mary Z., winners of the Yurbuds headphones.  Enjoy!!