Monday, April 30, 2018

April Books

I am stoked that even with our MoviePass membership, I am still getting in a decent amount of books. Let's be real, not having cable TV to keep me "entertained" gives me more free time to dive into a great book or seven ;)

There were TWENTY books in the first three months of the year, so when I add April's FOUR that brings the total for 2018 to TWENTY-FOUR! If you're interested in what I read (and how I'd rate them) or need suggestions on a book to grab, make sure to give my previous write-ups a peruse! {January's Books / February Books / March Books}

  • Let Your Mind Run by Deena Kastor - A friend of mine let me borrow this book of hers and it couldn't have come at a better time. I started it when I was going through a little Boston Marathon freak out and finished it while on the plane to the race. I loved it! It not only was about her journey and career as a runner, but also how a positive attitude can have a HUGE impact on your running (and life). Let's just say I LOVED this book! I had to give it back to my friend because she wanted her sister to be able to read it, but I've already added it to my Amazon Wish List so I can grab my own copy. I was sucked in because of her story, but feel like I walked away with a ton of action steps to incorporate into my own life. You know I try my best to be a positive person, but know there is always room for improvement. PS Although I love it from a runner perspective, I totally think non-runners would enjoy it as well! I would give it a 10 out of 10.

  • North by Scott Jurek - When I was looking at the Boston Marathon Expo events I saw that Scott Jurek was going to be at the Clif booth giving out autographed copies of his new book. I followed his journey to break the speed record on the Appalachian Trail and the hubby really does love following ultra running, so I was stoked to pick up a copy of the book. We were able to grab one at the Expo and I flew through it on the flight home from Boston. If you don't know, Scott Jurek is an AMAZING ultra runner with a ton of victories and records under his belt. This book is laid out in a diary format (with him writing a bit, followed by his wife {who crewed him during the entire journey} writing a bit). With our upcoming Rim2Rim2Rim adventure coming soon (although I know that 44ish miles is NO WHERE NEAR 2,189 miles), I loved getting the opportunity to read about the good, bad and ugly of this run/hike-thru attempt. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • What Made Maddy Run by Kate Fagan - I don't know how, but I had never heard of this book before (and I don't even really remembering hearing about the story when it happened). After I got back from Boston I thought I'd reach for a few running books and this one appeared on a lot of the "Must Read" lists in the running realm. After reading it I can see why. Maddy was an all-American student athlete (playing soccer and running track in high school) who killed herself during her second semester of college. If you know me, you know suicide prevention has a HUGE piece of my heart (I have helped to fundraise for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for multiple years), so this story rocked me to my core. I am thankful Kate, an ESPNW columnist, along with Maddy's family had the strength to share this story. We need to change the narrative, talk about mental health and break the stigma surrounding anxiety, depression and other forms of mental illness. Suicide is not a black and white topic, so this book does not attempt to wrap this story up in a bow or try to make sense of everything, it is simply trying to get the conversation started so fewer people get caught up in the fierce swirl that can lead people to contemplate this permanent decision. I would give it a 9 out of 10. 

  • Perfect Strangers by Roseann Sdoia - While we were in Boston for the marathon we also went to a game at Fenway. Before the game started there was a ceremony for some of the survivors and family members of the 2013 bombing. Roseann and her three "perfect strangers" were welcomed onto the field and I heard briefly about her book. I knew when I got home I would grab it from the library. Although I've read a few books surrounding the events that took place on April 15th, 2013, I loved that this one took a slightly different approach. It definitely talked about the bombing, but it also focused on the friendship, strength and recovery afterward. I think what stood out most to me was Shores part. He was a twenty year old college kid who didn't run away from the bombs, but ran TOWARDS them, trying to help others. I pray I am never put in a situation like this, but if so, I hope that I would have the courage to help those around me! I would give it a 10 out of 10. 

With that, April has come to a close. My reading may have slowed (especially since we were on the road for the first half of the month and then in Boston for another week), but I definitely hope it never completely stops. If you have any suggestions, please let me know! I'm always willing to add them to my queue if our library offers them!

What was the best book you read this month?

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Movies of the Month {April}

Even though we were gone on our road trip for the first week of the month and in Boston for another week, we did our darnedest to take advantage of our MoviePass membership. Call me frugal (or even cheap... hey, ain't no shame - I own that title), but if we are paying $9.95 a person a month, I want to make sure we are getting our moneys worth! {FYI - On Tuesdays, our local theater movie tickets are discounted for $7 a piece, but otherwise the cheapest you can find is $10.70 for a matinee... which means if you go to more than one movie a month you are technically saving money!}

So, let's get into it already, shall we?! I mean, that's why you are visiting the blog today, right?! You all are sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to get our thoughts on the movies we saw... I guess you can call us the new Siskel and Ebert!


The hubby and I saw the preview for this one a couple weeks ago and both chuckled a few times so figured it was worth heading to the theater to check out. With all of the van issues we had (in case you missed it, while on our three week road trip we ended up having to get it towed three times and at the end of the trip we actually had to rent a Uhaul and tow the van back down to Oceanside from the San Francisco area to get back home in time before leaving for Boston), we figured we needed some laughs. I was slightly worried that this would be a movie that "wasted" all of its good laughs and showed them all during the previews, but the hubby and I were both pleasantly surprised. We both laughed quite a bit (and what was even more amazing was there were two white-haired grandmas in the row in front of us who were busting a gut the entire time, which made us laugh even harder). Comedies are normally not the genre of movie I "have to" see in the theater, so I might be bias, but I'd say this is more of a rental. Don't get me wrong, we both enjoyed it, but there wasn't anything that required it to be seen on the BIG screen (like crazy awesome special effects or anything like that).


The Miracle Season

I saw this was one on my own. It was the last day it was showing near us so I figured I'd hit it up while the hubby was working. In case you didn't hear about this movie (it didn't get a ton of press around here so it's very possible you didn't), it's an inspiring story about a volleyball team that rallies to the state championship after their star player is tragically killed. I was expecting your typical underdog type movie (which it sort of was), but the fact that it's based on a true story (and that at the end they showed pictures and videos from the real people involved) made it that much better. I don't know if it was due to the fact that I was overly tired from our last month of travel or was extra emotional from the Boston Marathon or if it was because the story somewhat reminded me of a friend who was killed in 2004, but whatever the case it had me feeling ALL THE FEELS... I wouldn't say it is an amazing film, but it tugs on the heart strings and leaves you with smile. I don't think it's a must-see (especially in the theater), but for YA drama it has a lot of heart and decent sports action.


Isle of Dogs

The hubby LOVES Wes Anderson (like legitimacy loves him!), so when I saw the preview for this one a few months back I was stoked to tell him about it. It hit the theaters while we were out of town, but once we got back it was the first movie he wanted to see. We didn't realize beforehand, but this film is all done with stop-motion, which, in my mind, makes it that much more impressive (can you even imagine how long it takes to film a snippet of the movie?!)! It is crazy, but after a few minutes you sort of forget that the characters are talking dogs. The voices are from the standard Wes Anderson crew (Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, etc), but they really do seem to fit each pup and its personality. I'll be honest, I haven't looked at the reviews so I'm not 100% sure how the Japanese feels about the movie. I wouldn't say it's racist, but there were some parts that seemed to play into cultural stereotypes. Even still, both the hubby and I really enjoyed this one and I'm sure the DVD will end up in our collection once it comes out (just like all of the other Wes Anderson films)!


I Feel Pretty

Let me preface this by saying I love Amy Schumer! I went in wanting to LOVE this movie. I thought it could be all about body positivity, learning to love yourself, etc. And although there were glimmers of that throughout the movie (and there were definitely some funny parts), I was left feeling a little sad. At times I felt like her weight/ body was truly being laughed at instead of being celebrated. In the end, as I'm sure you can guess, she realizes that she had the confidence within herself the whole time (and that she can still love herself while working to become a better version of herself), but there were parts here and there that made me cringe. Amy's character was way too shallow for me to really root for and I was left feeling like the movie just missed the mark. I wouldn't say I hated it, but I had high expectations of what it could be and I walked out of the theater feeling disappointed that it was a misfire for me (and maybe that was my fault for expecting more than a typical rom-com filled with cliches and some humor sprinkled throughout, but I was really puling for it!).


Ready Player One

I had actually heard about this one a few months back when I was asking for book recommendations and a few folks mentioned the title. When they explained what it was, I decided Sci-Fi wasn't really my thing so opted against grabbing it from the library. The hubby and I saw the trailer for this one a couple months back, and although I passed on the book, I figured I could spend a couple hours watching the movie (especially since Steven Spielberg was the director and he normally puts out some legit films). Like I said, Sci-Fi isn't really my jam, but surprisingly I really enjoyed this one. I'm not much of a gamer, so I wasn't sure if I would be able to follow everything (and some stuff may have went over my head), but for the most part it was entertaining even if you aren't normally a part of that world. I really enjoyed all of the retro nostalgia throughout the film too. It's pretty crazy how much CG was used (and how fast paced everything was), but I was still engaged and drawn into the Oasis world. Now I think I might need to go back and read the book (because, if I'm being honest, I think books are 99.95% of the time better than the movies so I bet the book is worth the read).


A Quiet Place

The hubby wanted to see this one and promised (after hearing feedback from others) that it wasn't scary... just suspenseful (because I do NOT do scary movies). I had seen some previews for it, so sort of knew the premise (creatures attacked when they heard sound). I have to say, I went in with fairly high expectations because a lot of folks I had talked to said they really liked it. And although I did enjoy it (I felt like it was an original idea, the lack of dialog was interesting while still keeping you engaged, etc), I had a HUGE issue with the movie... I felt as though the previews I had seen gave away too much of the movie. For example, there were a couple suspenseful parts where it seems like one of the characters may have been attacked, but yet I remember seeing a preview with said character in a different scene, which tells me they didn't die... With those unintentional spoilers I was left slightly disappointed because I couldn't fully buy in to the suspense.


And with that our April movies have come to an end. This month was definitely fewer films than the previous couple but that's because the first week of the month we were still on our road trip and then we were in Boston for a long weekend as well. I was able to see 6 movies while the hubby saw 4. Even still, with our MoviePass membership, my movies cost approximately $1.66 a viewing and the hubby's were $2.49 - still a MAJOR savings compared to actual box office prices!

What was the last movie you saw in the theater?

Thursday, April 26, 2018

GUEST POST: Giving on the Run by Jenn

I love finding ways to give back and make a difference. It can be anything from donating to charities or volunteering at a soup kitchen to helping a friend move or picking up trash on a local trail. I truly believe we are blessed to be able to bless others, so want to do my best to share the wealth (not only money, but my time and talents). With that said, when Jenn mentioned she wanted to do a guest post about giving back to the running community I was STOKED! If you haven't considered volunteering at a local race before, hopefully her thoughts and experiences will change your mind!

Someone once told me there are two types of people in the world — lifters and leaners. I always strive to be a lifter and in running, there are several ways you can do that. One such way is to volunteer at a running event. As a runner who has participated in several races, I’ve always been aware of the volunteers. I always try to thank them for being out there, but I will admit, I’ve taken them for granted. I never put much thought into it till last year when I had the opportunity to volunteer.


My first race volunteer experience was at the San Diego Half Marathon Expo, handing out race bibs to 5K participants. I registered to volunteer for the event in the same way one signs up for a race. Once you pick the day you can volunteer, you were given time frames to choose from and different tasks you could volunteer for. Everything I needed to know was communicated via pre-volunteer day e-mails. I showed up about fifteen minutes before my shift, checked in, received my volunteer t-shirt and waited with other volunteers for directions. They were very thorough in explaining what we needed to do and prepared us for any questions that might arise (race day shuttle, start time, finish line logistics, etc).


I signed up for a four hour shift and it flew by! I had so much fun meeting all the runners, from those running their 100th 5K to those running their first. One of my favorite things about running has always been the community and this was one way to engage with fellow runners. I loved hearing all the stories and even saw some friends who were running the event.

Source@jmangilit's Instagram Feed

My second volunteer experience was on race day for the ERS Black Mountain Half Marathon. Like the San Diego Half experience, the pre-volunteer information was communicated via e-mail. This race was smaller, so we selected volunteer shift times, but not specific tasks. I showed up on race morning, ready for anything. After helping set up a couple booths, I was given the task of check-in/bib distribution. I like this station because you get to interact with almost all the runners.

Once the race started, I helped wherever extra hands were needed — from handing out medals to helping at the food table or picking up trash. One of my favorite parts about this volunteer experience was getting to see the first runners cross the finish line — I have never seen this during an event because I’m always running. It was great to be able to see the first and the last finishers come through. I loved that every runner was celebrated with such an amazing energy.


People often question why someone would volunteer when they’re not getting anything out of it, but I got so much out of my volunteering experiences. Some races offer registration discounts, race entries or other perks but what I got out of it was so much more than that. When you see what happens behind the scenes of races, you understand and have a greater appreciation for race events and how much work it truly can be. I also loved getting to meet all the people, from the other volunteers to the runners — everyone has a story to tell and you can learn so much from one another. 


Volunteering also made my love for running grow. It helped remind me how truly amazing our community is! Running has given me so much and I am grateful for the opportunity to give back, even if just for a few hours. 

I LOVE IT! If you've run with me at a race before then you've probably heard me thank my fair share of volunteers. But, like Jenn mentioned, often times we take them for granted and just assume they'll always be there. Well, one way to make sure volunteers will be on the course is to GET OUT THERE AND BECOME ONE! I've volunteered at a few events in the past, but this is just the kick in the pants I needed to find a local race, volunteer for a shift or two and give back NOW!

Have you every volunteered at a race?

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Walt Wednesday

Some people do a "Wordless Wednesday" post, where they simply share a photo or image, but I thought I'd make a little series out of my Wednesdays. And since I love alliteration so much, why not go with Walt Wednesdays (obviously everyone can use a little break from the seriousness, scariness and sassiness of life - and what better way to help put a smile on your face than with a cute wiener dog picture, am I right?!)... So, without further ado...


When life gets overwhelming, how do you de-stress?

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Exploring Boston

Although the MAIN focus of our trip to Boston was so I could see one of my BIGGEST goals come to fruition by crossing the finish line of the Boston Marathon, neither the hubby nor I had been there before and wanted to explore the city.

Boston Bound!

Since the Boston Marathon wasn't a goal race for me (meaning I wasn't chasing a specific time - but it definitely was the culmination of recent running goals), I wasn't concerned about 'saving my legs' for Marathon Monday. If you didn't read my "Plans for the Boston Marathon", the gist was I wanted to enjoy every step (no matter what the clock said when I crossed the famed finish line on Boylston Street). With that said, if extra mileage isn't something you'd like to do prior to the race, I'd recommend adding an extra day or two to the end of your trip so you can get in the sites and sounds of Boston!

In case some of you have never been to Boston and wanted to know some of the things we saw while we were in town, I figured I'd put together a little list of what we did, what we would recommend you do and what we might suggest you skip.


Uh... DUH! Obviously running in Boston is AMAZING (and the main reason we came to Beantown), but it is also an AWESOME way to see the city! We stayed in Dorchester so got in some miles along the Old Harbor and Castle Island, but also took the train (the public transit in Boston gets two thumbs up from me - we literally used it every time we wanted to go anywhere) and ran along the Charles River. Even though city running can be difficult (especially due to the traffic lights, crowded sidewalks, etc), there are tons of areas around town where you can get in FAN-FREAKIN'-TASTIC miles!

I always heard Boston ran on Dunkin'... but I was disappointed with the donut holes I "refueled" with after one of my runs

The Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile, red-lined route that leads you to 16 historically significant sites. Although the Freedom Trail Foundation offers daily walking tours, we decided to do a self-guided tour (this way we could go at our own pace and decide which sites we wanted to spend more time at). And, actually, we split the trail into two days - starting at the Paul Revere House and heading north on the first day and then starting at Faneuil Hall and heading south on the second day.

The hubby was stoked to give Paul Revere a big high five!

I'll be honest, I am not a history buff so I didn't remember the significance for all of the sites prior to checking them out, but it was so cool to see all of that history so accessible. Everything in SoCal is so new (and cookie-cutter) so to see all of the rich history around Boston was incredible. PS The fact that there's a brick trail to follow makes it easy to stay on course!

Some of our favorite stops along the trail were the King's Chapel Burial Ground (which had graves from as early as 1661!), the Old North Church (where the lanterns to alert the Patriots the British were coming were hung), the Bunker Hill Monument (which you can actually climb to the top of) and the USS Constitution (along with the museum steps away from the boat). Had the weather been nicer, we could've spent more time maxin' and relaxin' in the Boston Common (America's oldest public park) and the Public Gardens. We didn't go anywhere you had to pay admission, but that's because I felt like we were getting so much "free" history that we didn't need to (it might also be because I'm what some call "frugal").

The 191 foot steeple is the tallest in Boston, making it the perfect place to signal to the Patriots about the advancing British troops

I may have been STOKED to know that I could get stamps for my National Park Passport in Boston!

It is 294 steps to the top and you are rewarded with some pretty awesome views when you arrive.

Fenway Park

If you have followed me for a while, you know that the Padot crew loves their sports. They have an affinity to Michigan and Detroit teams, but can be swayed to cheer for the hometown team as long as their team isn't involved ;) My mom grabbed us tickets for the Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles game on Friday night. The Red Sox have been on fire, so it was fun to watch them crush on their opponent (and get in on a few of the traditions around the park - like singing "Sweet Caroline" or chanting "Yankees Suck"). Prior to the game there was a ceremony to honor some of the victims from the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Let's just say it was amazing to witness and definitely set the tone for the weekend!

The hubby asked my mom and I what team we would be rooting for. At the same time we both replied, "THE TIGERS!"

Black Heritage Trail

Similar to the Freedom Trail, the Black Heritage Trail is a path in Boston, Massachusetts, winding through the Beacon Hill neighborhood and includes fourteen sites important in American black history. During the 19th and 20th centuries, Boston’s free African American community led the nation in the movement to end slavery and to achieve equal rights. These remarkable patriots established businesses, founded organizations and created schools. Their houses of worship, homes, schools and Underground Railroad sites make up Boston’s Black Heritage Trail. (There is a similar trail in Nantucket which features ten sites.) Having the opportunity to walk amongst such history was truly awe-inspiring.

The streets were amazing to see but I was glad we didn't have to run them during the Boston Marathon

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things you can do and see while in Boston. I feel like we definitely got in our fair share of history and sightseeing but left a few places on the table for the next time we visit (although I only plan on running the Boston Marathon once, that doesn't mean we will never come back to this city). Some of the things on our list that we didn't get to (or opted out of) were: Duck Boat Tours ($42 per person), Boston Tea Party Museum ($30 per person), Samuel Adams Brewery Tour (free but can be very busy so need to arrive early), Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum ($15 per person), JFK Presidential Library ($14 per person) and New England Aquarium ($28 per person).

Have you been to Boston before?

Monday, April 23, 2018

Workout Recap - Week 16

Sunday, April 15th – Rest day, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Monday, April 16th – Boston Marathon, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Tuesday, April 17th – 4 mile run with the hubby (my daddy-o joined us for the first mile!)

Wednesday, April 18th – Rest day, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, April 19th – 6 mile run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Friday, April 20th – 4.2 mile trail run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Saturday, April 21st – 10 mile run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

It's finally time to TAPER for our Grand Canyon adventure! I was able to get in a little over 50 miles this week (including the Boston Marathon) and my body's feeling great! I'd assume the colder, wetter weather helped my recovery (since I took it easier than I may have if the conditions were better). Now it's time to rest up and get ready for our next epic journey!

How were your workouts this past week?

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Wild Keepers Impact Day {April}

I know Sundays are normally reserved for my Workout Recaps, but today is a special day... It's April 22nd - EARTH DAY! 


And because it's Earth Day it is also a Wild Keepers Impact Day! Hopefully by now (since this is the third Impact Day post) you are well accustomed to the idea. If not, or if you are new to these parts, let me give you a brief heads up.

  • I was accepted as a Wild Keeper by the brand Keep It Wild
  • It's an ambassadorship of sorts, but instead of pimping product, we are making a difference in our community
  • One requirement of the relationship is to get out on a monthly basis to help make this world a better place
  • Hopefully in the process it inspires others to do the same thing

What better day than EARTH DAY to try to leave this place better than we found it?! It's pretty perfect if you ask me!


So, just like in February and March, the hubby and I went out to lend a hand and do our best to clean up Mother Earth. In February we went to a local bouldering area (the hubby is a rock climber), and in March we went to the beach, so I thought it would be great to hit up the trails for April. As always, there was unfortunately a ton of trash for us to gather.


We went over to the San Luis Rey River Trail (which I normally bike or run on a few times a month) and spent a little over an hour picking up garbage. I think we covered MAYBE a half mile and ended up with over 26 POUNDS of trash (yes, in case you were wondering, we do bring it all home with us so we can weigh it before throwing it in the dumpsters).

The theme of our clean-up was "all about the B". We picked up a ton of broken bottles, (cigarette) butts, buttons, bags (a ton of poop bags and grocery bags), books, bottle caps and batteries. It's crazy (and sad) how much we grabbed.

We couldn't decide if the previous owner of the book got rid of it
because it didn't work or because it did and they found "their love"

I even fished out a pair of undies from the bushes... Unfortunately we hadn't found the fishing pole at that point so I had to use a stick - but the fishing pole was definitely the most useful piece of trash we found! We used it a ton to reach trash that was on the other side of the fence or so that we would not have to touch the really gross stuff with our hands.

The hubby joked that Keep It Wild made out like bandits this semester because they got two ambassadors for the "price" of one ;) What can I say?! I have the bestest hubby in the world (and one that loves the environment just as much as me)!

The hubby was a ROCKSTAR and even did a little fence jumping to grab more of the garbage!

PS If you want to be a Wild Keeper, the applications for the summer semester are open till May 4th so APPLY NOW!

And if you aren't able to get outside and help clean up a bit, there are other great ways to help the Earth (today and every day). Please don't let anyone ever tell you that your effort doesn't make a difference... EVERY LITTLE BIT MATTERS!


How did you celebrate Earth Day?

Friday, April 20, 2018

Boston Marathon Race Recap

I AM A FREAKIN' BOSTON MARATHONER! On Monday, which is considered Marathon Monday in the running world and Patriots' Day in the New England area, I ran the 122nd Boston Marathon! It was a dream (and goal) come true!


But let's not get ahead of ourselves... There is obviously so much that happened before I crossed the finish line on the infamous Boylston Street, so let's start at the beginning (and I promise to try not to make this the length of a novel ;)).

The hubby and I flew to Boston on Thursday (if you follow me on social media, you know we were on a three week road trip that we returned from only three days earlier - so to say it was hectic to get everything ready would definitely be an understatement). We met up with my parents (who flew in from Detroit) and were able to grab an Uber by about 9pm EST.

Boston Bound!

Friday, after the hubby and I got in a 10 mile run, we spent the day exploring the city (I plan to do a separate post about our Boston adventures so keep your eyes peeled) before going to Fenway to watch the Red Sox beat up on the Orioles.

Saturday was our EXPO day! I'll be honest, I'm normally not a huge expo fan (for most races I am in and out in a matter of minutes), but I was excited to check this one out. I had my Runner Passport in hand and was raring to go!

In my mind, I was expecting the majority of the vendors to have Boston Marathon specific gear. You see, I normally don't buy things at race expos, but had given myself permission to splurge and buy ALL THE GEAR since I was only planning on running the Boston Marathon once (this was such a huge goal for me that I figured I earned it and should live it up!).

You know I've gotta #KeepItReal, so let me tell you - I was a bit disappointed. The expo was similar to what you would find at most large races (think LA Marathon, Rock 'N' Roll San Diego, runDisney races). Don't get me wrong, there were tons of booths, but I wouldn't say that they had a ton of Boston specific gear. I would have LOVED to have walked away with a hoodie, maybe a jacket, etc, but instead I ended up with a $3 sticker and an autographed book from Scott Jurek.

At least my wallet was happy about the lack of goodies I bought at the expo

Sunday I met up with the #TeamSparkle #Boston4Rett ladies for breakfast. We made reservations a few days prior at a restaurant near the finish line (Brownstone) so we could snap some pictures together afterward. (Since we weren't all planning to run together we wanted to at least get a few team photos.) It was great getting to hang out with everyone for a bit, talk strategy and focus on the bigger purpose of our race - to raise money and awareness for Rett Syndrome.

This team... these ladies... 
If you've been following me for long, you know I am always the one who screws up the jumping photos (especially when it comes to our
#Ragner4Rett photos) so I was pretty proud of myself for nailing this one with everyone else!

And, of course, one of the main topics of conversation was also WEATHER... You see, although the date on the calendar said SPRING, Mother Nature had other ideas... She was planning to send cold (the temps at the start were expected to be in the 30s, but the real feel was supposed to be in the 20s), wind (they were predicting 25-35 mph winds with gusts upward of 50 mph) and rain (the weatherman said to expect 2-3 INCHES). The BAA did their best with sending out updates via email, but obviously the weather is one of the factors we have ABSOLUTELY ZERO control over on race day.

I've gotta say, I think the runs that the hubby and I did while on our road trip definitely helped prepare me (at least mentally) for the Boston weather. Don't get me wrong, I would have MUCH preferred 45-50* and sunny, but at least our recent PNW runs made me feel like I knew what to expect with the wrench Mother Nature was throwing into our plans.

During this trail run it was raining so hard that puddles turned to
streams and we tried not to float away!

I was pretty surprised I wasn't getting more nervous the closer we got to race day. But, like I had been telling everyone that week, this race was my victory lap! I wasn't planning on setting any records on the course - I just wanted to try my best to enjoy every moment. I guess that mindset really did help because I was feeling pretty cool, calm and collected.

Although you may never see any of my base layer, the #Boston4Rett team will all have a similar uniform for the race! Boston Inspired
PRO Compression socks
, yellow Handful bra, yellow Sparkle Athletic skirt, #Boston4Rett tank, #WeRunSocial thingamajigwhite
and blue QALO silicone wedding bands
, blue and yellow Momentum Jewelry wraps, MudLOVE bandblack RoadID, Nathan handheld,
PROBAR BOLT chews, "Carlee" hat (I made), my Garmin Fenix 5S, and Brooks Ghost 10 (with blue Shwings).

No matter what Mother Nature threw at us, I wanted to be ready. Thankfully there were stores like Target and Home Depot near where we were staying (we did an AirBnB in Dorchester that worked perfectly for us and we didn't have to sell any organs on the black market to afford it) so I was able to grab a couple last minute items to keep me warmer and drier.

I know, I know, everyone laughed at my dish washing gloves, but they were a LIFESAVER at keeping my hands dry during the race!

As you probably know, I'm a morning runner. I love getting my workouts done first thing in the morning. The Boston Marathon has a late start (or at least later than I am used to), but the nice thing about that is you can sleep a little later.


Okay, so technically the later start times SHOULD allow you to sleep in longer than your average race, but since runners are required to drop their check bags at the finish (you are only allowed a gallon sized clear plastic bag onto the buses to Hopkinton) and take a bus to the start, it is still a rather early morning when you work in all of the logistics.

Surprisingly I actually slept till my first alarm went off on race morning (probably due to the time change {our bodies still felt like it was three hours earlier} and the fact that we had been walking all over the city for the previous three days, putting in an average of 15 miles a day including our runs). I got up, checked social media and started to get ready.

Left: Without my rain gear / Right: With my rain gear

Since we were staying near a T station, getting to the finish line area was easy-peasy. Well, that was until I realized two stops in I forgot my gear check bag. I frantically called my mom, asked her to wake up Ryan and had him meet me where I would be changing trains. Thankfully I had added in a buffer and still got to gear check with plenty of time to spare. {FYI: I love public transportation, so I may be a little bias, but I thought getting to the race was extremely easy on the trains.}

Waiting at the station for the hubby to bring the gear I forgot...

I chatted with some of the #Boston4Rett ladies and we said it might be nice to have others to "suffer" with during the race conditions since we weren't running for time, so five of us decided to meet up and potentially run together. The game plan was to meet at gear check by 8:20am, but Elise also forgot her gear check bag and had to have their Uber turn around. Allison, Kristen and I got on the buses together and planned to meet Elise and Carrie when they got to Athlete's Village.

Kristen and I trying to stay dry on our way to the buses

Maybe it's just me, but for point-to-point races where you have to take transportation to the start, it always seems like the ride takes FOR-EV-ER and has me seriously contemplating how we RUN that distance (I usually tell myself they're taking the "long way" to make myself feel better). Even still, I was totally fine being out of the elements for the extra time.

Bus selfies are a must, right?!

I'm not sure what I was expecting when we arrived at the Athletes' Village (wouldn't it have been nice if the weather had cleared up by the time we got there and it was overcast and dry when we walked off the school bus?!), but what we were greeted with was the harsh reality of the day... It was soggy (like the fields were covered in pond sized puddles and caked in three to five inches of mud), windy (some of the banners and signs were getting torn off the scaffolding) and cold (it seemed like every one's teeth were chattering moments after stepping off of the buses).

Thanks to Allison for capturing some of the harsh realities around us!

We did our best to try and stay as dry and warm as possible (although this was a harder feat than we had originally anticipated). Avoiding puddles and mud-pits was near impossible, but thankfully we made it to some port-o-potties without slipping and sliding too much (and my eagle eyes even found some behind one of the tents with ZERO line - SCORE!).

Whenever I pictured myself snapping a photo here I never expected to be covered in so much plastic...

Since the walk from Athletes' Village to the starting line is almost a mile, they call the different waves at different times, have them wait in a holding area (based on the corrals within the waves) and then send the runners to the start. At races with strict corral placements, you can move backwards to a "slower" corral, but you aren't able to move up to a "faster" one (this is for safety purposes so everyone is running similar paces and there aren't a ton of runners you are having to bob and weave around). This means if all of us wanted to run together we would need to move back to the corral the last one of us was in (which happened to be Wave 3, Corral 5). Carrie and Elise still hadn't arrived to Athletes' Village by the time they called Wave 3 so we decided we'd head to the start and wait for them in the CVS bathroom near the corrals.


It's kind of crazy that the starting line of this HUGE race feels like it's just on some random neighborhood street. I love the hometown feel, even with having 30,000 runners taking over the area! (I've heard that normally the walk to the start is lined with spectators and community members, but the weather seemed to be keeping the majority of them away.)

FYI: This is a photo from 2016 hence why there aren't torrential downpours ;)

While we were waiting for Elise and Carrie to meet us, we did our best to get ready for the race. You know, by doing things like tearing off the plastic bags we had tied around our shoes, putting hand-warmers in our gloves, hiding our phones in waterproof plastic bags, etc. PS Although it's sort of strange they don't have a gear check of sorts at the starting line, I love that they do their best to donate everything to local charities (whether it's clothing or external phone chargers).

Thankfully around the time Kristen, Allison and I were deciding if we needed to head to the start Carrie and Elise arrived! It was great having these ladies by my side as I started the victory lap for the biggest goal I've ever tackled/ accomplished!

These ladies are AMAZING! Allison, Carrie, Elise and I qualified at the same race in 2016 to get us here!

I'll be honest, with the crazy weather conditions and being on the look out for the rest of our #Boston4Rett crew, I didn't really take in the moment at the start. It wasn't like the usual start I'm used to where you sing the national anthem, wait around in your corral, move up closer to the starting line periodically, get psyched up, etc. We sort of just started walking to the start and then started running. I think the lack of pomp and circumstance helped remind me that it wasn't necessarily about the destination of getting to the Boston Marathon that was so special, but the entire journey!

So, literally, before I knew it I had started my victory lap towards becoming a BOSTON MARATHONER! 


Now, let me warn you right here, between the starting line and the finish line I didn't take my phone out a single time due to the weather (my old iPhone is NOT waterproof and is only hanging on by a thread). Also, between the start and about Mile 25 I was wearing rain gear that covered my bib, so I don't even have any "official" photos to share for the majority of the race. With that said, there will be very limited pictures, but hopefully you still read about my experience. #BloggerFail

Although the five of us (Allison, Kristen, Carrie, Elise and I) started the race together, Allison soon sped off and left us in her dust. (She's speedy with a capital "S" so we didn't expect her to stay with us long and since she wanted to get out of the elements ASAP she decided to head towards the finish line at a faster clip.) The remaining four of us were able to stay together for a good chunk of the race. Around Mile 13 I noticed Kristen started falling behind us, so Carrie dropped back to run with her, which left Elise and I steaming ahead. Around Mile 16 I looked around and could no longer find Elise - oops! I don't know if I was charging a hill and didn't notice her slowing down or if we got split up in the shuffle of an aid station, but after that I was on my own. Even still, the five of us still were able to finish within 16 minutes of each other.

But again, I'm getting ahead of myself, so back to the race itself!

We knew that our mindset and perspective would have a HUGE effect on our race (go in thinking it is going to be miserable and it will be miserable). We decided that we were going to celebrate each and every mile, so whenever we passed a mile marker (and even some of the kilometer markers) we let out a hoot and a holler! Not every step was going to be sunshine and butterflies, but you better believe we wanted to enjoy as much of the experience as possible.


Like I said earlier, my runs while out on the road during March and the beginning part of April really prepared me for these circumstances. (The hubby and I did a 17 mile run along the Tillamook Peninsula where it was 35* and sleeting with crazy winds the entire time and a 26 mile run in Point Reyes National Seashore with sideways rain that had us running in full-flowing streams!) I absolutely believe that had I come to Boston after only running in SoCal "winter" I wouldn't have been able to take the conditions in stride as easily as I was. I have quickly learned that A) if you wait for perfect conditions you will miss out on a ton, B) you need to learn how to dance in the rain and C) the proper gear can make all the difference!

Can we all agree that this is LESS THAN IDEAL conditions?! 

As far as gear, on the top half of my body I was wearing a tank top and sleeves (which were actually knee-high socks that I cut the toes off of), a thin long sleeve tee, a rain jacket (that I was totally fine "donating" along the course) and a poncho. I also had a crocheted hat under my trucker hat, a "non-buff" around my neck and my dish washing gloves (with hand warmers inside). On the bottom half of my body I had on compression socks and capris, with my sparkle skirt over top. I also had toe warmers in my shoes that I forgot to take out before starting, but thankfully didn't cause any blisters. I'd say that the only thing that was ever cold were my hands when I was taking my gloves on and off to get my fuel out. And actually, I would say I was probably a little too warm but didn't feel like dealing with the hassle of trying to disrobe.

While we were chatting, Elise and Carrie (who had run the race before but not the same year) both said their only regret from their previous Boston was not kissing the girls of Wellesley College (which is a Boston Marathon tradition). Well, I wasn't going to make that mistake ;) In fact, I stopped to kiss FOUR! The signs of the ladies I gave smooches to said "Kiss Me - I'm from sunny California", "Kiss Me - My thesis is due tomorrow", "Kiss Me - I'm graduating" and "Kiss Me - I'm wet".


But in all honesty, whether the spectators were giving out kisses, licorice, high fives, orange slices, beer or "just" encouragement - it was ALL greatly appreciated! At least the runners were able to warm up a bit because we were running, but the spectators (and volunteers) had the hard part because they were standing still in the elements.

And around Mile 18 I saw some spectators I knew - HECK TO THE YES! In the hoard of November Project tribe members I found Kelly! I gave her a HUGE hug, thanked her for being there and stopped to chat for a bit. Then Kristen ran over and surprised me! I hung out for a few minutes before heading out to finish the race. Spectators have a hard (and often thankless) job and I wanted to make sure they knew how much I appreciated them, their energy and their encouragement!

Source: @peanutruns' Instagram 

Despite the rain (it'd go from a drizzle to full downpour on a moment's notice), wind (I'd say it was a headwind for 99% of the run) and cold (I think by the time we finished it had hit 40*, but the real feel outside was still in the low 30s), I couldn't stop smiling. I splashed in puddles, cheered on fellow runners, gave out all the high fives and continually praised God for the opportunity and ability to be running the Boston Marathon! If there was ever a low point, I would draw strength from the 27 girls with Rett Syndrome I was running for. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, running in less than ideal weather for four hours is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in comparison to what they (and their families) battle on a daily basis. It's all about perspective and I believe keeping that in mind helped me not only survive the race, but enjoy every step!

Source: Girl Power 2 Cure's Facebook Page
The 27 girls that each of my 27 miles were dedicated to! 

A few days before the race I put a call out on my social media channels to find the best place for my parents and hubby to spectate. I had a ton of great suggestions, but finally decided that the corner of Commonwealth and Hereford (just before you take the legendary right onto Hereford and then left onto Boylston) would be perfect. This area wasn't as packed with spectators as the finish line, but was still close enough so they could meet me afterward without either them or I having to wait too long. Another benefit was they could walk down Commonwealth Ave and miss the chaos on Boylston. Although they weren't going to be able to see me physically cross the finish line, they would have a better shot at actually seeing me on the course. (They'd totally recommend this location if you or your spectators are looking for a place to go!)


When I finally saw Ryan (he's the tallest one in the group so I spotted him first) I gave out a scream! I was so excited to see them out on the course. With my parents living in Michigan, they aren't able to make it to very many of my races (in fact, they've only been able to come to the Dopey Challenge) so it was awesome to have them out there to experience the amazingness that is Boston! I was able to stop and chat for a few seconds, snap a couple pictures and remove some of the layers (one of the nice ladies nearby even helped pull off my poncho for me). I gave kisses, waved goodbye and told them that I'd see them right after I officially became a Boston Marathoner!

Like I said, you couldn't get that smile off my face for any reason!

So stoked to see my family! 

Stripped down and ready to head down the home stretch! 

I knew those last two turns would be awesome, but they were even better than I had expected. I got chills and couldn't stop myself from hooting and hollering! I mean, I was living my dream right then and there and it was AMAZEBALLS!

This is a picture the hubby snapped just after I took my right onto Hereford

As I was heading to the finish line I heard people cheering for me and I was STOKED! (Although I had my name on my hat, my rain jacket hood was covering it for the majority of the time so most spectators couldn't see it.) I actually had a couple friends who were near the finish and snapped some photos of me which was super nice of them!

BIG PROPS to Kristen for snapping this shot!

Thankful to have Jen (from Run Ink) at the finish line to cheer me in and snag a picture!

As luck would have it, as I made my way to the finish line the rain started falling harder and faster. But instead of bumming me out, it just made me smile that much more! The weather was tough, but you better believe that I AM TOUGHER! 

And just like with the start of the race, the end of the race came before I was fully ready. Don't get me wrong, I was soaked to the core (and once I stopped running the cold factor definitely came into play), but I think I could have stayed out there all day! I put in so much time and effort to make this moment happen that I legit didn't want the race to end!

I snagged this screenshot from the NBC Sports App. If you go back and watch the replay I cross the finish line around 3:49:59 of the stream.
PS If you want to re-watch the broadcast, you can see it on YouTube HERE

Shortly after crossing the finish line I heard a familiar voice screaming my name... it was Dorothy! She was in a bus stop shelter watching folks finish. I gave her a big hug, chatted about the race and then had to make my way to get dry clothes!

The finisher shoot for the race is rather long (you pick up a bottle of water, then a cup of Gatorade, followed by your medal, a hooded Mylar blanket, a bag of refreshments {thank you, BAA, for putting everything in a bag so I didn't have my arms full of treats!} and then it was off to gear check to grab my warm, dry clothes). Unfortunately the line for the changing tents was way too long so I decided to head to meet up with my family and opted to change once I got back to our place.

A pile of all my soggy gear after I got back home

I've said it before, but I'm TERRIBLE at running tangents! If I see a little kid on one side handing out high-fives, I will run out of my way to go give him one. I'm sure some of the "extra distance" may have been due to loss of signal because of the buildings or the amount of GPS watches in the area, but I clocked over a mile more than the regulation distance ;)

I am #BostonStrong!

Although my teeth may have been chattering, you couldn't wipe the smile off my face! I DID IT! I went from runner to marathoner to Boston Qualifier to BOSTON MARATHONER! I realize some non-runners may not understand why this is such a big deal, but the Boston Marathon is like the Super Bowl of running. Some people train their entire running careers to be able to qualify and run this race. This race, this medal, this moment solidifies the fact that I can do hard things!

And besides the hot shower and dry clothes that I was craving, I was so excited to chow down on the donut my hubby grabbed for me the previous day (it was from Kane's Donuts and even though it wasn't fresh, it was DELISH!).


Now, I know what you may be thinking... I had shared in my "Plans for Boston" that this race would be a one and done for me. Now that I've tasted the sweetness that is the Boston Marathon you wanna know if I'll be back. Obviously I reserve the right to change my mind in the future, but for now this will be my one and only Boston Marathon. I want to give other runners the opportunity to experience the magic that is Boston. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with someone who runs the marathon more than once (and I definitely see why runners do), but for me, I don't want to take that spot away from another runner who worked their tail off if I've already been able to do it. Sure I would have loved to have better weather, sure I would have loved to have taken pictures on the course, sure I would have loved to really "seen" my surroundings, but you know what?! I wouldn't have changed a single moment. It may not have been what I was imagining when I pictured myself becoming a Boston Marathoner, but it was PURE PERFECTION - every cold, rainy, windy second!

Thinking a new tattoo that is unicorn inspired is in my near future ;) 

If you've stuck it out this long, THANK YOU! I know this recap was lengthy, but I guess it's fitting since my journey to this moment has been a long one as well. To all of you would have followed the roller coaster to this finish line - YOU ROCK MY SOCKS! Literally, I don't have the words to say that will can truly articulate my gratitude for you and your support. It means more than you will ever know and I am forever grateful! To the families who allowed me to run for their girls - it was an absolute honor! Please know I will do everything in my power to raise funds and awareness so that one day we won't only be running for your girls, but WITH your girls! I will continue running #UntilSheCan! To everyone - THANK YOU!