Friday, April 17, 2015

MARATHON WEEKEND


This morning I was bright eyed and bushy tailed at 5:00am.  As most of you know, Monday is the Boston marathon.  As it always is, the week-end is going to be crazy.  Good crazy, but crazy. Hence the reason why my wheels were spinning like mad at the crack of dawn.  Whether you're a runner or not, if you are in the Boston area over this particular week-end, you're going to experience the marathon in some way, shape or form.  For me, a 4 time Boston finisher, it's a little bittersweet not to be running this year.  But, I have done my best to get involved in as many other ways as possible so I can still feel a little of the Boston magic that always accompanies the race itself.  This includes several coffee and dinner dates with friends, training runs with my Oiselle teammates, and a quick (and hopefully not too painful) 3 mile spin through the Boston common on Saturday morning via the BAA 5K.  As I always am around this time, whether I'm racing or not, I am completely giddy.  The Boston marathon represents all that is good and right about this city and the "love thy neighbor" feel that emanates throughout the running community and beyond all week-end is almost tangible.  It's pretty spectacular.  So, back to my week-end.  Here's a few items on my agenda:

FRIDAY:
~ 5 mile shakeout run in the rain with my running buddy, KH. (already done)


~ Marathon blog post.
~ Quick sports massage with Kara P. Hallelujah!!
~ Finish packing up these two jokers for their solo trip down to FL to visit my in-laws.


~ Head over to LHS for practice.  A little speed work on the track today. #LEX
~ Go back home to hang with my family, put my feet up and be stupidly nervous about the 5K I'll be doing tomorrow.  (as an admitted marathon junkie, I am now officially scared of this race distance)

SATURDAY:
~ Head into Boston with my bird wingman, Jess C., who will be running the 5K with me. (not sure how I let her talk me into this)


~ Meet and warmup with a few more birds including but not limited to Erin D., Beth P., & Sheri D.
~ Run the BAA 5K.  Gulp.


~ Enjoy a coffee (or 2) while several of my teammates continue running because they are in training and need to get more miles in.
~ Walk around Boston and just soak it all up for a while.
~ Head home for some QT with the kids before they head out the next morning.

SUNDAY:
~ Get up at 5:00am to get the girls off to the airport for their 6:50 flight.  Oof.
~ Head into Boston to meet up with a few Boston Loopsters for breakfast. #loopfest


2014 Bird Dinner

~ Run around like a chicken with my head cut off for the rest of the day in preparation for the Oiselle team dinner that I'm having at my house.
~ Eat, drink and be merry with over 40 Oiselle birds along with their family and friends.

MARATHON MONDAY:
~ Meet up my Oiselle teammate Holly (aka @fashionablemile) for a long run along the Charles.
~ Drop her off and continue running solo. (she has to run 11, I have to do 20)
~ Zip home for a quick shower and some food.
~ Head back out to watch the marathon.
~ Crawl home for a nap.
~ Go out to a rare and well-earned dinner with my husband since we will be sans kids for a few days.

TUESDAY:
~ Be sad that it's all over.

But for now, it's just beginning.  And I am beyond excited.  Giddy up.

Listen to this:
RUN - Delta Rae

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

BEST DAY YET

I want only positive thoughts today.
I want only positive talk today.
Focus on your race and your teammates.
And make today your best day yet.
~ Bill Babcock

Yesterday we had our first outdoor track meet.  Before the girls began their warmup, our head coach sat them down and said the above statement.  It is something he says before every meet.  Some listened.  Others, not so much.  Some didn't hear it yesterday, but will catch it at the next one.  For me, it resonates every single time.  Each day I'm with these athletes, and on meet days in particular, I need to be positive - to think positively, to act positively and to speak positively.  I need to focus on both my individual runners and on the team as a whole.  And I need to try to make every day the best.  It's a tall order to fill.  But, I'm more than happy, honored even, to do it.  It's why I love my job.

A quiet moment with one of my 2 milers before her race yesterday.
(though it looks like a slap on the face, it was a soft pat of encouragement)
I'm realizing, however, that I need to be doing this 'positive' thing in my personal life a hell of a lot more than I have been.  Lately, I've been bitching and moaning a lot.  Particularly, as you know, about this past winter.  Partly because it has been brutal up until about 24 hours ago, partly because I find it's easier to get through tough times when you're commiserating with others, and partly because I often found it almost stupidly funny.  But, regarding the weather, and so many other things that are similarly trite, I need be done.  To shut and be positive.  So what if it's going to rain today.  There also happens to be a shit ton of amazing stuff going on and I should be grateful.  Before I went to sleep last night I made a point to list out all the things that made my day spectacular.  Below is a sampling:

~ The sun was out, it was warm and it felt incredible.  All.  Day.  Long.
~ The flowers were blooming, the birds were singing and the honeysuckle on Bacon street smelled delightful.
~ My daughter was actually psyched to go to school because she's been working on a stand up comedy routine with her teacher.
~ I ran 18 miles and I enjoyed single every one of them.  No, for real.  (even those last few, KH)
~ I ran 15 of those 18 miles with my running bud, who is ramping up her mileage after having been injured for a very long time.  It is so damn nice to have her back.
~ My high school track team had their first meet and they rocked it.
~ My monthly RUNNERBOX arrived and it was (as always) filled with awesomeness.
~ Did I mention the sun was out and it was warm?  That was awesome.


Needless to say, it was a great freakin' day.  Today is a new day.  As Coach Babcock would say, let's make it the best day yet.  I think he might be on to something.

Listen to this:
Painted - MSMR

Thursday, April 9, 2015

NOT SPRING: A TOP 10 LIST

O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley


So it's spring.  But, not really.  We haven't seen much of the sun these days and I'm pretty sure we haven't gotten above 40 yet here in the Boston area.  A couple days ago, the track coaches and I were chatting while the kids warmed up.   Inside.  Because we still can't run on our outdoor track yet.  The head men's coach mentioned that he'd seen the 'S' word on the forecast for the week-end.  We all laughed because we knew exactly what he was talking about - the 'S' word being snow, of course.  I have been trying really, really hard to stay positive over the past couple weeks.  And this morning...well, this morning I kind of lost it.  It was 32 degrees outside and sleeting.  I believe the weatherman called it a "wintry mix."  Seriously??  Spring is nowhere to be seen.  Want to know how I can tell?

TOP 10 SIGNS THAT SPRING HAS NOT YET SPRUNG

1. The heat is still on in my house and basically everywhere else that I go.
2. I hate the treadmill and yet I'm still using it.
3. My neighbors' Christmas lights are still up and I don't find this the least bit weird.


4. I am still  wearing my hat, gloves and jacket.  Every. Single. Day.
5. There is still snow on the ground.


6. My kids don't want to play outside.  Ever.
7. I stare longingly at the flip flops in my closet every time I look inside.
8. There is not a single flower in sight.
9. The weather forecast says 60 and sunny for this week-end and I don't believe it.
10. It's 35 degrees out, dark and sleeting.  And it's been like this for days/weeks.  That about sums it up.

Listen to this:
Monkey Safari - Cranes

Monday, April 6, 2015

RWR:MEET ROBIN & JULIE


Today I'm excited to give you our first ever RUNNERSWHOROCK double feature.  These two amazing women are working together on a new race series that will undoubtedly create some big waves in the racing community.  Robin and Julie met on a cold, dark winter morning in a parking lot in Arlington, MA.  Weeks passed before they saw each other without winter hats and reflective gear on.  During these runs, no conversation topics were off limits.  Kids.  Work.  Spouses.  Stomach issues.  World peace.  Sometimes, with the help of their best running pals, they would hatch some crazy ideas.  Once, they were going to start a blog.  This other time, they decided to run a marathon.  Once that was over, they were afraid they would be bored. So they decided to start a race of their own. A really, freaking awesome one.

In their own words:
We heard about Cause + Event through one of our favorite podcasts, Another Mother Runner.  Julie contacted the race founder in Portland, OR.  Fast forward through a bunch of emails and Skype calls and the founder was totally cool with us bringing her race to the East Coast.  So here we are.  Cause + Event Boston is a 5K run/walk race where each runner can choose a verified charity to receive half of their race registration fee. There is so much about this race to get excited over. Fabulous business sponsors, awesome race swag, kids race and activities, race expo, and most important, knowing that your registration money is going to some of the hardest working, most impactful charities in our local neighborhoods that are important to our runners.

So, there it is, folks.  You've run for so many causes in your life.  All of them good, I'm sure.  But have you ever picked the cause of your choice first and then raced for it?  Truly brilliant.  The first Boston race is coming up on May 17 in Arlington, MA.  Don't miss out on this fantastic opportunity to run for your cause.  In the meantime, here's a little more about Robin and Julie, two runners who rock.

RUNNERSWHOROCK:ROBIN & JULIE

Name: Robin Olinsky
Where you're from: Gloversville, NY
Where you reside now: Somerville, MA
Age: 35
Occupation: Higher Ed Administration, Co-Race Director of C + E Boston

Name: Julie Vakoc
Where you're from: I am a west coast girl! Grew up in Washington and lived in San Francisco in my 20s
Where you reside now: Arlington, MA - just outside Boston for 11 years, but only feel like a true New Englander now that my kids own face masks.
Age (if you're ok sharing):  The big 4-0 and okay with it on most days.
Occupation: Online Communications at a university and Co-Race Director for Cause+Event Boston

THE BOSS 
"WHAT'S NOT TO LOVE?" 
~ Robin
RUNNING & MUSIC: ROBIN
What do you love most about running? 
Spending time with my BRFs. Getting out of the house.  Keeping my pants buttoning. 

What do you love most about music?
Showtunes and ABBA and Bruce Springsteen and Rihanna. What’s not to love?

RUNNING & MUSIC: JULIE
What do you love most about running? 
Honestly, while running makes me feel better about myself because I am able to do things and run distances I never imagined I could and helps me be a positive role model for my kids, what I love most is that it gives me time to hang out with some of the best people I know.  Even if we have to do it at 5:45 am, in the dark and cold for half the year.

What do you love most about music? 
I love that music can do so many different things for me.  It can motivate me and make me run faster, it can bring me to tears and it can take me back to a place and time instantly!

ROBIN'S FAVORITES


Band (current, all time or both): I am having a hard time committing to this.
Album (current, all time or both): Bat Out of Hell - Meat Loaf
Race venue: Zooma Cape Cod
Music venue: SPAC
Race distance: Half, but if you ask my left hip, we should stick to 1 mile races
Show you've seen live: It’s a tie.  Neil Diamond at Fenway OR Simon and Garfunkel
Ice cream flavor: Mint Chocolate Chip



JULIE'S FAVORITES
Band (current, all time or both): Current Fav - The National,  All time - REM
Album (current, all time or both): Current - Trouble Will Find Me - The National, All time - Challengers - New Pornographers
Race venue: Zooma Cape Cod Half Marathon Course in Falmouth, but it may be because of the awesome girls weekend that goes with that race
Music venue: The Gorge in WA State - nothing better than a summer night outdoor show
Race distance: My favorite distance is always 90% of the distance I am racing.  So, for a 10K, I am DONE at 5.5 miles. For a half, I am spent by 12 miles.  You get the picture.
Show you've seen live?  REM at Red Rocks
Ice cream flavor My sister worked at Baskin Robbins when she was in high school and could bring ice cream home, so for about 30 years my favorite has been Gold Medal Ribbon.



THIS OR THAT:ROBIN
Sweet or salty? Salty
Live or recorded? Live
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Summer or winter? Winter


THIS OR THAT:JULIE
Sweet or salty? both; all of the above
Live or recorded? Recorded
Coffee or tea? Latte
Summer or winter? After this New England winter, it seems hard to say winter, but anything above 70 degrees it no fun, so winter...without snow please.



MORE MUSIC INFO:ROBIN
Which band or artist would you go see tonight if you could? If we can fast-forward to June 24, I would say NKOTB and Nelly.

Which band or artist (wait...but no longer alive or playing together) would you go see tonight if you could? Genesis

Which band or artist would you like to have dinner with tonight if you could? Whoever makes the music that plays at the spa during your massage. 

Which band or artist would you like to be playing alongside you during your next race (or long run)? Kelly Clarkson -- sometimes I already feel like she is right there with me.

DINNER W/ THE TALKING HEADS?

MORE MUSIC INFO:JULIE
Which band or artist would you go see tonight if you could? The National
Which band or artist (wait...but no longer alive or playing together) would you go see tonight if you could? Elliott Smith
Which band or artist would you like to have dinner with tonight if you could? Talking Heads
Which band or artist would you like to be playing alongside you during your next race (or long run)? I am not sure I want any band playing while I am running because then I will want to stop and watch. I don’t need any extra distractions, I have enough of those on my own.

THE MILES FOR MALARIA TEAM 
from the Portland race
Portland, OR 2014

FINAL STATEMENT:ROBIN
Today, I feel like….(ie. a rock star, I need more coffee, a million bucks) 
People should get out of my way.


FINAL STATEMENT:JULIE
Today, I feel like….(ie. a rock star, I need more coffee, a million bucks)
Let’s get s&!t done!

SONGS: ROBIN
Top 5 Songs for running, dancing or both? 
Why is this SO pre-teen?
Super Bass - Nicki Minaj
Shake It Off - Taylor Swift
Firework - Katy Perry
Don’t Stop the Party - Miley Cyrus
Party in the USA - Miley Cyrus

Last 5 Songs you listened to today? 
My shuffle has betrayed me.  I can’t believe I am revealing this.
Hook/Stronger from Finding Neverland (thanks, Abby) - Matthew Morrison & Kelsey Grammer
Dear Future Husband (this song is TERRIBLE) - Meghan Trainor
Izzo (H.O.V.A.) - Jay Z
Sister Christian - Night Ranger
Say Goodbye - this amazing live version with DMB, Phish and Guster

SONGS: JULIE
Top 5 Songs for running, dancing or both?
If an 11 year old girl likes it, it is probably one of my top songs for running or dancing. I am not proud always proud, but...
Baby Don’t Lie - Gwen Stefani
Girls Are Always Right - G.R.L
Shake it Out - Florence + the Machine
Bang My Head - David Guetta
The Champ - Nelly

Last 5 Songs you listened to today?
Today my music selections were brought to you by my two young girls.  I get the first choice and then they take over...
Broken Bells - The High Road
Taylor Swift - Blank Space
Meagan Trainor - Lips are Moving
Annie Soundtrack - Hard Knock Life
Wicked Soundtrack - For Good