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Archive for May, 2012

The Diva Dash

As I had mentioned last week, while completing my master’s thesis and not blogging, I signed up for 2 more races. I’ve already talked about my overwhelming excitement for The Color Run. Today, I’ll talk about the other run I signed up for: Shape Magazine‘s Diva Dash in September! This is actually an obstacle course… which I’m completely scared of.

Now let me explain, I’m not really afraid of the obstacles… I’m afraid of looking like a fool. I’m not a good little runner who also cross trains… If it’s not a muscle used for running, it has NO strength!

Side note, I never thought I would run an obstacle course. So how did I end up signed up for one?

Peer pressure!

Source: for sale on ūüôā

My thesis project was a play with 9 women (and 5 men) in the cast. A few of the people in my cast were also in a fundraiser for a local group that happened to be a staged murder mystery. One of the women in both plays invited the women from the two plays to participate in this event with her. And a bunch of people got excited and joined. There was a lot of hype! I didn’t want to be left out! Plus, I figure if I’m ever going to do an obstacle course, an all women one sounds ideal…¬†and having 10 other friends with me should make it easier more fun. Granted, I don’t know all of the women yet… but I know most of them. The ones I don’t know seem funny so I think it’s going to be a blast.

The obstacles don’t look terrible either, from what I’ve seen in YouTube videos, there are some balance beams, some climbing nets, climbing over walls, and army crawls. There should only be 6 (they occur every 1/2 mile). I think I can survive. There is only one obstacle so far that makes me nervous. There is a photo of an obstacle from another city where the women had to walk through water (looks like a lake) up to the mid-thigh, around some stuff. “Why is this so terrible”¬†you ask?¬†Because I’m not looking forward to soggy shoes. I wouldn’t mind crawling through some mud, but wading through water in my beloved running shoes, uh-uh, doesn’t sound like a good time! After that obstacle, I know I’m going to be running with the following sound effects: squish (“yuck!”) squish (“gross”) squish (“ew” “Jen, suck it up and get over it!!!”). I may need to purchase some fast-draining, running shoes. Suggestions?

For all my silly complaining, I KNOW this is one run that I will be very proud of myself¬†once it’s over. And I’m SURE I can handle the obstacles! (I just might make some funny faces while completing them… and I might need to lift some weights this summer)

And to make it better, the group will be occasionally training together to become better runners and to strengthen other muscles. (Shape even has a training suggestion we could follow.) Added fun! I never get to run with other people, so I’m really looking forward to this. But on that note… what’s the etiquette? I know we have a variety of skill levels (ranging from someone who just ran her second half marathon to someone who hasn’t run in 15 years – since her freshman year of high school – but is starting the Couch to 5k). What’s polite? Do we all run together at the slowest person’s speed? Do we just run by ourselves? Do we naturally break into similar skill levels?

For our first training session, there will only be 5 (maybe 6) of us so the small group thing probably won’t work super well. Please, please, please send your suggestions! I don’t know what’s polite and I don’t want to come off as a jerk just because I always run alone.


Saturday Morning Motivation – Painting

Yay! I’m finally back to these! My weekends were very motivated, but too busy to share for about 2 months. I’m psyched to get happy thoughts out into the world on weekends again! This one is in honor of the run I recently signed up for: the Color Run. Thanks to the quote from actor Danny Kaye. (and if you like this quote, it’s actually a magnet for sale on Etsy)

What are you going to do this weekend to “all paint to your canvas?”


The Color Run!

While I was busy with my thesis paper and therefore not updating my blog, I signed up for 2 more runs! I’ll talk about each of them in their own post. The first one I signed up for is the Color Run – Boston on July 28th! It looks like a ton of fun! In fact it calls itself the “happiest run on earth!”

The concept of this 5k is that at every kilometer, there is a “color zone” where volunteers throw colored cornstarch at the runners. Each kilometer has a different color: for example, at the first one, they throw pink at you; at the second, blue; then green, yellow, and purple. So by the end you’re covered in color (they ask that you run in a white shirt to make it more fun). And every 15 minutes at the finish line, they have a color party and invite everyone to throw a bag full of color up (that they supply with your bib). Awesome!

visual description from

I also went out and bought white shorts for this and I’m thinking about getting a pair of white knee socks to add to my “canvas.”

Besides it sounding like a ton of fun, there are 3 other reasons that I’m super excited:

1) I have a teensy¬†love of Indian culture and this reminds me of the holiday Holi. Holi is the “festival of colors,” it celebrates the beginning of spring and also the triumph of good over evil.¬†The celebration¬†includes people covering one another in colored power or water. Check out some pictures here. Doesn’t it look like a ton of fun? And with the Color Run, I can experience some of that fun without the expense of an airplane ticket! ūüôā

Three girls celebrate Holi. Image from the Boston Globe’s “Big Picture”.

2) I’m actually getting to run with other people! I always run alone so I’m really excited to be a part of team!

3) My team members are T’s sister and his soon to be sister-in-law (a fun chick who is marrying his brother in a few months). Collectively, I call them my sister-out-laws (since T and¬†I aren’t married). I really like the two of them. They are very different, but can both be really cool. The soon to be in-law, Sarah, has been a runner for over a decade. T’s sister, Jen (that’s right, we have the same name), has just started running (I imagine we have a similar skill set). It should be fun. Plus, Jen’s 10-year-old¬†daughter might be running with us and T’s aunt (married¬†into the family and only 2 years older than Jen) might do it with us as well! I’m hoping that it will be a super fun bonding experience for us. Plus, we’ll have a bunch of spectators: T, his brother, and most likely his 6-year-old nephew (we promised him that he could throw our bags of color at us) – plus possibly more (Jen’s husband, T’s uncle, and maybe more family members)

I’m SUPER excited! I wish I had posted this back in April when we signed up. I was so jazzed that I felt like I was jumping out of my skin! It looks like a fun race and I won’t be alone during the run! It’s not timed either, so I’m perfectly happy running slowly to stick with the group.

Oh! And the registration fee includes a donation to a charity and the Boston charity is Homes For Our Troops! And you know I love a good charity for vets!

Have you/would you ever do this type of run?

Run to Home Base – Recap

It’s over! Yay!

I meant to write a post about my expectations for the race, but since I ran out of time, let me start there.

I didn’t have high expectations, that’s for CERTAIN!

Reason #1: I had to wake up at 5:45 in order to make it to Fenway¬†in time. I am not a morning person, I am the antithesis of a morning person, in fact. I wouldn’t mind if I never saw a sunrise for the rest of my life. Sunsets are fine by me!¬†My wonderful boyfriend¬†and I may have gotten into a little¬†quarrel¬†on Sunday morning for no reason other than I’m a total grouch in the morning (and he is not – he was checking his e-mail on his phone when my alarm went off). Luckily for my relationship, both¬†he and I are really great at admitting when we are wrong/cranky/being annoying – we both quickly apologized and all was well again.

Reason #2: I was working a charity event the night before and knew I wouldn’t be home until about midnight. (I don’t pay attention to dates well)

Reason #3: I didn’t eat dinner because I was focused on the event mentioned above.

Reason #4: My training was extremely weak to say the least. I’m pretty sure I’ve only run about 4 times so far this May (not counting Sunday), and I don’t even remember running in April (then again, I don’t remember much about April thanks to finishing my Master’s thesis…)

Based on that, I wasn’t really expecting to have a great run. I was¬†semi-planning to run 2 miles, walk a mile, run 1.5 miles, walk .5 mile, run the rest (almost a mile). I was also expecting to cry the entire time! “Why?” you ask. Because¬†I was told that lots of our active duty soldiers at the race run in their full uniforms (complete with boots and packs). I know this sounds nutty, but active duty soldiers make me sad. I couldn’t quite explain it to T before the race, but after the race, I think I can try. I’ll explain at the bottom, I promise.

So, low expectations for the race. How did it actually go?

Better than expected. Although, as expected, I didn’t get home until midnight and didn’t fall asleep¬†until after 2¬†am. Oh,¬†and I completely skipped dinner. I had a yogurt at midnight, does that count?

However, I only walked about¬†1/2 mile! Not too bad! (all things considered…) I ran the slowest I’ve ever run during a race and my right foot cramped for about the first 3 miles, but at least I ran most of it!

Me and Wally (the mascot)

Race highlights:

  • The second song on my race playlist is “Shipping Up¬†To Boston” by the Dropkick Murphies. It came¬†on just as¬†I rounded a corner to a beautiful view of the Prudential Center (which is¬†quite a Boston landmark)¬†– it seemed so fitting!
  • Another song that seemed appropriate came on just as I started to cross a bridge to run back across the Charles River and into Boston. In front of me was this gorgeous view of this city I love, and on comes This is Our House by Bon Jovi – perfection!
  • I thought there would be more of a breeze as we were going to be running up the Charles River, across the river, up the river, down the river, back up, back over, back down. Unfortunately, the breeze didn’t kick in until mile 4, it was so appreciated though!
  • I got to high 5 a man running in a kilt (um… awesome!) Now T wants to get a sport kilt so he can run in one too (especially interesting because T had back surgery four years ago and isn’t supposed to run on pavement…)

I didn’t cry while running!

Very few people ran in full uniform because it was already 80 degrees when we started. But I totally cried during the opening ceremonies. First, the speeches from the vets who use the Home Base services¬†were really touching. Secondly, I was sitting behind a girl wearing a¬†shirt that said “I’m running to home base [Marine Corps logo] He’s deploying to Afghanistan.”¬†¬†A¬†few rows in front of her were was a girl wearing a shirt that said “I run because he serves.”¬†I couldn’t look at¬†either without tearing up.

Lessons learned from this race:

  • Sunblock needs to be part of my running gear. Just because I run at twilight under a canopy of trees, doesn’t mean I race there.
  • Cross training is important! I never cross train… but my arms and shoulders still hurt where as my legs didn’t hurt at all.

Oh, and we raised a total of 7 million dollars for the Home Base Program!! AWESOME!

After the finish line and on the way to home plate, the Home Base Program had a bunch of signs with horrific facts that I think help explain why thoughts of the military make me cry. Here are some of the ones I can remember:

  • Unlike in wars of the past, Iraq and Afghanistan soldiers fight all day, every day: 24/7.
  • Unlike in wars of the part, there are no clear front lines and agreed upon battle times. Our soldiers cannot retreat to a safe place for rest and respite.
  • More veterans have taken their own lives than soldiers have been killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.
  • A veteran attempts suicide every 80 minutes. An active duty soldier attempts suicide every 36 hours

That’s what makes me so upset when I think of soldiers and veterans. They cannot unsee¬†so many horrific things. Of course, I’m grateful to them for what they do and what they are willing to risk, but I feel overwhelmed when I think of those risks. It’s so easy to feel sorry for those who die in combat, but what about those who survive? They have endured trauma that so many of us can’t even fathom and yet they go so unsupported by this country that they love. We expect them to eternally be strong heroes, but sometimes I think of the internal damage they must have and it makes me want to cry and I wish I could help them. Plus, what about their families? Besides being left behind to worry about the soldiers’ safety, the loved ones also have to assimilate the changes in their loved ones personality and demeanor. They deal with the horrific traumas without even fully knowing what they are.

It’s terrible and my heart genuinely goes out to them. I’m really glad I could be a part of this. Plus, T wants to be a part of it next year, which is pretty awesome!

Final race stats:

Place 1300 (out of 1485 finishers – 87.5% – this seems really low considering I was number 1544 and somewhere in the middle of the numbers… there were¬†3 start waves (and a walking wave), I wonder if this was only against my wave)
Age/gender group: 204 (out of 250)
Net time: 1:07:21
Pace: 12:03 (slowest I’ve ever run in a race!)


Where Do You Put It?

Hello wonderful readers! I need your help!

The Run to Home Base is this Sunday and I’m already starting to worry a bit. My first concern when I signed up for the run was that iPods aren’t allowed! I love listening to music while running: it keeps my pace up and my negative voices at bay. Luckily, the wife of one of T’s friends ran this race last year (and will be running it again this year) and she told me that actually tons of people run this with ear phones, they are just discrete about it. She told me to run with the headphone wires under my shirt and I should be fine. Yay!

Here’s a snag in that though, I always run with my iPod¬†in my hand, it just makes sense to me to hold it. But, knowing that I can’t do that for this race, I experimented with placement during last night’s run. I run with a 4-year-old¬†Nano (oh, yeah, I’m hip…) and it lives inside an Otterbox Armor¬†case (because I’m desperately afraid¬†of destroying the fragile iPod).

This is what the back of the case looks like

I started off by clipping it to my shorts pocket (with the iPod basically inside my pocket). That was crazy uncomfortable (and super¬†unstable)¬†and I was afraid it would fall out and smash on the ground. So I clipped it to my waistband. That worked really nicely… or so I thought. While it was stable, it also gave me a friction burn. This stupid burn is 3 inches long on my right hip and totally hurts! ūüė¶

So I won’t be trying that again.

I also own an armband that a friend gave me.¬†Unfortunately the arm band is 1) enormous and 2) made for an iPhone. I’ve used it before, but had to tuck tissues in around the nano so it wouldn’t bounce around. Because it doesn’t fit, it randomly changes songs (which drives me CRAZY!). So it’s an option, but not the ideal option…

When I showed T the burn this morning, he asked if I want to buy an iPod shuffle that I can just clip to my collar and go. It took me FOREVER to buy the nano (I am such a SLOW adopter of technology… and I work at a publishing company that produces tech magazines! I’m so lame). So it seems a little crazy to me that I should own 2 iPods…

What do you think? Where do you clip yours? Instead of working with what I have, should I buy a new arm band or a Shuffle? What do you recommend?

On a sidenote, I would like to thank Nicole M. for her donation! I’m guessing that she’s a reader because I don’t know her in real life. But she actually lives in a town¬†where¬†I run!¬†(on longer¬†runs, I technically run through 3 towns because I live on the border with 2 other towns) Small world! Nicole, who is a stranger as far as I know, made the largest single donation and suffers from my brand of crazy, so I’d like to thank her on two fronts! What’s the crazy, you ask? I had raised $795, she donated $105, thus rounding it up to an even $900! I’m like that as well, I love making things even numbers. So thank you, Nicole! I don’t know how you found me, but I’m glad you did!

Saturday Morning Motivation – Free High Fives!

Today, I’m stealing a motivational sign from Jill. Jill runs (which you all know I love!). Jill also now runs a blog called Best Race Signs! It’s so fabulous!

This is one of my favorites! Although really, the whole site is terrific and you should go enjoy all of the signs on that blog.

So good luck today with whatever you’re attempting to do!

Also, I want to throw out a huge high-five to Jill! Besides running 3 awesome blogs (that keep me laughing), she seems like a really awesome person! Even though we’re only virtual friends through our blogs, in reality she donated to my 9k run that’s happening next week in support of wounded veterans! The Run to Home Base!

How cool is she?! I hope it’s not over-stepping a virtual friend boundary, but she will be getting a thank you card in reality.

If you would also like a shout-out on my blog and a thank you card in your mailbox: Just put in the name of your blog where it asks your company name. Thank you!

Have a great weekend!

What’s Your Top 10?

Before we went down to Philadelphia, one of T’s coworkers (who recently lived in Philly) gave us 4 pages of recommendations for things to do while there. Granted, most of them were food suggestions (organized by category: coffee, breakfast, lunch, dinner, BYOB, and Cheese steak). But it really got me thinking… would I be able to come up with that kind of list for my own city? I didn’t think so…

On the way home (the 7 hour drive), T and I tried to come up with a Top 10 list of things we would recommend a tourist to see in Boston. We kicked food off the list because really, you’re most likely going to eat at a place that is near where you are…

However, there is one food recommendation I would make: Finale! Finale is a dessert restaurant (they also make some sandwiches and stuff… but really, the attraction is their desserts, which are heavenly!)

From their website, but the food actually looks that good in person too!

It’s near Boston Common… so there is a good chance you’d be in the area…

Ok, so the Top 10 List of things to see in Boston according to me (and T):

1) Quincy Market/Faneuil¬†Hall – I read somewhere¬†once that Quincy Market is the second most popular tourist destination in the county (behind Disney… I don’t know which one or if that includes both… and therefore Quincy Market is really 3rd… I’m not sure). Because I can’t remember the source, I don’t know how true that is, but I can imagine that it’s pretty close because not only do tons of tourists go there, but tons of locals go there on a daily basis as well. Quincy Market is a great place to go for lunch (they have tons of quick, little places) – I would personally recommend MmmmMac and Cheese’s stand¬†(best mac and cheese in the city, and it only costs $4 for the original!). You can really find any kind of food there! Then, you could come back at night for a fancy, sit down dinner at the variety of actual restaurants. And there are some general shops there as well (like souvenir places or run of the mill clothing stores that you could find at any mall)

2) Fenway Park! Not only is it our ball park, but they also celebrated their 100th year this April and are on National Register for Historic Places. You can read more about that aspect on one of my friends’ blogs.

3) Boston Common! You might want to ride the “swan boats” or just wander around. If it’s cold out, you can go ice skating on the “frog pond;” or if it’s warm, you can wade around in it. (Note, the frog pond is just a 3 inch deep, chlorinated pool… there are no actual frogs). You can also find the “Make Way for Ducklings” statue.

And it’s not uncommon to find weirdos taking pictures with the ducks… ūüėČ

4) If you’re a runner, running along the Charles River is lovely! Despite there being a song about our “dirty water” (‘Dirty Water” is a song by the Standells about Boston and the Charles River), the Charles River is now the cleanest urban river in the country! (side note, if you’re a runner and want to run the Boston marathon’s Heartbreak Hill, you’ll have to drive about 15 minutes west of the city… but you’ll be right by my library… so I would run it with you if you want a temporary running buddy… provided I like your blog) ūüôā

5) If you’re into shopping, check out Newbury Street (that’s where all the expensive shops are).

6) Take a day trip up to Salem (about 30 minutes north) and check out all of the witch/witch trial stuff (museums, tours, etc). Especially fun around October.

7) Take a Duck Tour. They are totally silly… and you will probably find yourself “quacking” around the city, but you’ll also learn a bunch of fun facts and see some lovely sides of Boston.

They travel on land and in the water

8) Check out “The North End” if you’re looking for some awesome Italian food (go to Mike’s if you want the best cannoli in town… but expect to wait in line).

9) Columbus Park has a really great view of the city.

10) Find Mother Goose’s gravestone (in a cemetery¬†near the Common). She’s also near some other cool people like Paul Revere and John Hancock… or John Adams… let’s be honest, I think Mother Goose is the coolest in that cemetery! I stopped paying attention after I found her. But you should know that there are some other really important, long-dead, people near her.

11) Bonus from T: visit Rowe’s Wharf, also some nice views (and I think shopping… but I can’t remember the last time I was there). Or the Prudential Center.

Museums! If you’re into museums, I would recommend:

  • The Institute of Contemporary Art (aka the ICA)
  • Museum of Fine Art (aka MFA)
  • The New England Aquarium
  • The Science Museum (with the planetarium and the IMAX movie screen with fun, nerdy, science movies… or action packed ones that make me a little dizzy) *this one is my favorite
  • The Children’s Museum (really only fun if you have children…)

So yeah, I think that’s my list… but I feel like I’m missing something really important… Oh! I forgot walking the Freedom trail! (do that with a tour guide though… otherwise you’re just walking along a red line…) One another attraction could be Harvard… but that’s not really a Bostonian thing… it’s not like we all get to go there, we all just get to enjoy the traffic congestion around there.

Where do you live and what would you recommend seeing there? Have you been to Boston or live in/near Boston and think I missed something?

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