PMC Training and Gardening with Drunk Otis. 

It’s raining cats and dogs. Like, pouring out. Sheets of rain. Drunk Otis, who spent the entire weekend either swimming in streams, belly flopping in puddles or lounging in his kiddie pool “helping” me weed, apparently is afraid to go outside to pee in the rain. So instead, he just lifted his leg on the porch. About an inch from his sister, Evil Beagle. Girl was not amused. She responded by biting him on the face. I can’t say I blame her. 

Hey, Lady. You gonna clean my pool or what?

In addition to Gardening with Drunk Otis, which ended with me sprinting around the yard swearing at him while a gallon container of delphiniums dangled from his mouth, I got in a nice long bike ride.  Which I really need to do more of, considering I will be riding in my 12th Pan Massachusetts Challenge in a few months. Funny how it sneaks up on me every year. I usually ride with my Other Half, which is on par with riding the Giro D’Italia or any other European Classic. Saturday, I rode alone.

Prior to my Other Half, in what I like to refer to as Colby’s Life Part One, I did all of my training alone. Much like my running. In Colby’s Life Part Deux in 3-D, we ride together. And I love it. There are some days though, I adore a solo ride. I just kicked off fundraising for the PMC, a two day almost 200 mile ride across Massachusetts, aimed at funding life-saving cancer research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Kicking off fundraising means I wrote my annual appeal which means I get very contemplative. I always do when I think about why I ride. Especially when I put words to my feelings. It chokes me up. Cancer always does. 

Both Tina and I have written several posts on the Pan Mass Challenge. In fact, they are some of our most read. Take a minute and give them a read. 

And you’ll understand when I say that being a part of the PMC Family means the absolute world to me.  We are all riding together, unified by our common goal- our desire to put an end to cancer. There is such amazing, selfless energy that weekend. Such passion. Such emotion. For that one weekend, we are a part of something great.  It’s so very palpable. We are making a difference in the cancer research landscape one pedal stroke at a time. I feel that. I believe that. And I am honored to be a part of it. 

Riding #StirlingStrong!


Do you have a cause near and dear to your heart? Ride 100 miles or run a marathon? GO! 

 Hate cancer? Me too. To donate to my ride: Click HERE

Don’t forget to enter our Skratch Labs Hydration Pack Giveaway! Click HERE for link to ENTER! 

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Skratch Labs. We’ve Got a Giveaway Up in Here!



Skratch LabsIn celebration of Global Running Day, which also happens to dovetail sweatingly with The Hottest Half Marathon I Have Ever Survived, we here at It’s a Marathon AND a Sprint thought it appropriate to do a Skratch Labs Hydration Pack Give Away!!! Skratch Labs  has been my go-to for all things hydration for the past 6 years. Girlfriend is brand loyal. Because when you find good stuff, you stick with it.

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Skratch Labs Giveaway Hydration Pack! All this can be yours!

Back in the day, I knew it as Secret Drink Mix. How badass was that? I felt like a hydrated spy on my whip.  It was big among cyclists who wanted an alternative to what was on the market. It was known as a hydration mix that was easy on the belly and made from “skratch”- no coloring agents, artificial sweeteners, synthetic flavoring agents or excess chemicals. In short, real stuff. Good stuff. For that reason, I tried it.

What followed was a borderline obsession with all things Skratch Labs. These hydration mixes, and since last year, their fruit chews, have fueled me through centuries, half-marathons, marathons, snow shoe races, an ultra marathon and all the way to a BQ. I found a unicorn whilst hydrating with Skratch Labs. #truestory. I chug the Exercise Hydration Mix before, during and after exercise. I’m partial to raspberry, but all of the flavors are delicious- pineapple especially.  The matcha + lemons hydration mix is the only one that contains natural caffeine. Zing! They also make an apples and cinnamon hydration mix which is sipped hot. It’s a hug in a cup. Actually, it’s a hug in a non-GMO + gluten free + dairy free + vegan + kosher + delicious cup.

Skratch Labs for days!

And if you enter this give away?

You’ll get a taste of all of them!

With hydration requirements reaching a fever pitch, HELLO SUMMER!, we thought it was time to put together a Skratch Labs Hydration pack. We care about you. Stay hydrated, Poodles. So go on, enter away.  Giveaway ends June 8th at 11:59pm! We’re linking up with the lovely Erica and Smitha to #WinAllThePrizes in their #Giveaway Roundup! Check them out. Tons o’ giveaways! Click on the Rafflecopter link below to enter! And good luck!

Skratch Labs Rafflecopter giveaway!

Some rules. Otherwise, I’d just toss the stuff around like pixie dust. Or better yet, glitter.

Giveaway ends June 8th at 11:59 PM EST. Open to Residents of the US only.  Prizes cannot be shipped to PO Boxes. Winner will be selected by Random.org and be notified by email. The product provided for the review was free of charge from Skratch Labs.  Colby is a Skratch Labs Taste Agent, however, her opinions, of which she has many, are her own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. We do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner. 

 

 

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We could be heroes

David Bowie Helen Green

Credit: Helen Green

I heard the news of David Bowie’s death this morning. David Bowie was nothing if not an Original. A True Original. In today’s world of Imposters and Copy Cats, he was a Glam Unicorn. I’m not sure that we’ll ever see one quite like him again. I almost think that’s a good thing.  I am happy to have shared time on earth with him. To have existed in the same space. There was no one like David Bowie. He was an androgynous innovator. A figurehead in the pop cultural landscape for decades. It made me so sad this morning to read the news of his passing. I really liked him. And then I read he died of cancer. Not of AIDS. Not of an overdose. Of cancer. He died of cancer 2 days after his 69th birthday. Ziggy Stardust got cancer, just like many ordinary, everyday people do.

 

We could be heroes

Just for one day

-David Bowie

Several days ago, Tina and I registered for the Pan Mass Challenge. This will be Tina’s 4th, and my 12th PMC, a 2-day almost 200 mile cycling event clear across Massachusetts, benefitting cancer research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Somehow hearing that David Bowie died of cancer this morning really got me thinking about why I have spent the past 12 years riding and raising money for cancer research. And it made me angry.

Cancer doesn’t discriminate. Cancer knows no bounds. Cancer is a thief. A vicious, ruthless thief. It steals our loved ones and people we quietly admire from afar. No one is immune to its reach. Not Steve Jobs. Not Gilda Radner. Not David Bowie. Neither the rich, nor famous are exempt. In that regard, David Bowie was like everybody else. That is so very upsetting to me. Not just because cancer claimed an Original, but because cancer steals so many extraordinary human beings. Every. Single. Day. Today was just another reminder. It’s maddening. And it’s unacceptable. Which is why for 2 days, we ride. For those we have loved and for those we have lost. We ride along with those who are survivors and with those who are fighting so hard to be.

I like to think for that one weekend, we are all heroes.  

Rest peacefully, Ziggy Stardust. You will be missed.

David Blaine Ain’t Got Nothing on the Magic of the PMC

Pan Mass Challenge. For Colby and me, it is The Best Weekend of the Year. And while I didn’t poll every person I met about where the weekend ranked for them, I definitely didn’t meet anyone who would choose to be anywhere else.

But when you write out what the PMC weekend entails, it’s pretty incredible that it is The Best Weekend of the Year for anyone. It involves little sleep, lots of exertion, soreness and discomfort. Sweat, dehydration, communal bathrooms and not much relief from the elements. And that’s where the PMC magic comes in. None of the discomforts can hold a candle to the greatness that is the PMC.

Here’s a glimpse of what The Best Weekend of the Year looks like:

Friday: Revisit 6th Grade math and solve the problem of how to get yourself and your bike (plus 3 friends and their bikes) to the starting line in Sturbridge, MA without leaving a car there. This is a pass/fail test and you have to pass. {Thankfully, Colby’s Other Half Saint Tim, drove us the 2+ hours from her house, dropped us off and turned around to get back to work. Thanks Tim!}

NOTE: If you are PMC Bestie Ivy, and live in NYC, this means you will get on a subway at 6 AM with your bike and weekend bag, take it to a jam-packed Grand Central Station, where you will navigate the crowds to get on a 7 AM commuter train (still with bike and bag) to my Connecticut town, where you will once again unload your bike and bag, load them again into my car, and take Leg 3 to Colby’s house, where you will once again unload your bike and bag and load them into another car, only to unload again in Sturbridge. Ivy, you are a champ. I’m exhausted just typing this out. It is probably a 7-hour trip just for Ms. Ivy to get to Sturbridge.

Once in Sturbridge, it is a breeze. You just hang out and soak up the good PMC juju. Rack your bikes, register, check into hotel, see PMC friends, cry a little, laugh a lot. They have opening ceremonies, plenty of food and a Harpoon tent. It’s all very upbeat and chill. Which is important, since the next day is Day 1 and you need to rest while you can.

Saturday: Depending on where you are staying (i.e., how close to the start line), you will get up somewhere between 3:15-4:15. We stayed across the street this year (Thank You Meghan, aka Miss PMC!) so got to sleep in until 4:15 AM. Since hotel rooms are at a premium, you will either have slept 2 to a bed or possibly on the floor. Maybe even in a tent outside. While getting ready, you will take a moment to appreciate using a semi-private bathroom and shower (only shared among 4 people!), because it will be the last time you do so until you get to your Cape Cod rental on Sunday. You floss carefully. You enjoy the mirror. You wash your hands twice with soap and dry them with a hand towel. ‘Cause you can.

4:45 AM: you drop your bag off at a massive truck with the PMC Angels who will drive it to the Mass Maritime Academy campus (finish line of Day 1 and your host for the evening – you will be sleeping in a 12-man cabin on the USS Kennedy). Find your bike and line it up for the start. Head inside for breakfast, coffee and entertainment provided by local cheerleaders. Fuel up and soak in the good vibes. Notice that everyone is acting like it is 10:45 AM, not 4:45 AM. Not a yawn or crabby morning face to be seen. It’s the magic of the PMC.

5:15 AM: Line up and prepare for the start. Take pics. Talk to the people around you and get their stories. It’s one of my favorite parts – everyone you meet on the ride has a story of why they are there. Some people wear their stories on their backs, like us. Others on their helmets or their bikes. Others just share verbally. But every last person has a story of why they are there. And I never tire of hearing them.

Not everyone wears their stories on their backs, like us. But everyone has them.

Not everyone wears their stories on their backs, like us. But everyone has them.

5:30: And we’re off. Only 110 somewhat-hilly miles to Bourne. Along the way, we will get hot, we will get tired, we will get sore, and we probably will suffer at least one bike malfunction (this time Colby snapped a spoke. Last year, I got a flat tire and lost a brake cable). But we also will meet countless people – fellow riders, volunteers, spectators – who will affect us in ways we never thought a stranger could. We will see the best- the absolute best – that humanity has to offer. And we will feel very, very hopeful. Not just about finding a cure for cancer, but also for the future of humanity as a whole.

Late Afternoon: You made it to Bourne. You’ve showered on the ship. Maybe “rinsed off” is a better description, but whatever. You no longer smell. You get to enjoy a party with 5000+ of your best PMC friends. Food, drink, bands and a grassy quad on the shore of Buzzards Bay. You enjoy every second – even the teary ones. You’ve earned it. This is also when the PMC takes its annual “Living proof” picture of survivor volunteers and riders. The reason we ride.

The Reason(s) We Ride.

The Reason(s) We Ride.

Sunday: After sleeping on a ship in a triple bunk (I’ll let everyone decide for themselves whether top, middle or bottom is best: Discuss.) in a 12-person cabin with one bathroom for very-few restless hours, you’re up. Somewhere between 3:30-4:30, but you know the later it is, the less likely you are to get one of the kick-ass egg sandwiches at breakfast, so it’s up and at ‘em as soon as your eyes open. You navigate a teeny space with 11 other people while you kit up, brush your teeth and pack up your bag, which seems much heavier than it did on Friday. And yet, everyone is smiling and happy. ‘Cause it’s the PMC.

Breakfast, Porta Potty and as soon as it is light enough (5:30?), you’re off. The sooner you make it over the Bourne Bridge, the better. It is one of the most nerve-wracking parts of the PMC – up a bridge, single file, slooooowly, with plenty of traffic to your left. Yes, even at 5:30 AM. You have to manage going slowly and occasionally stopping, without tipping over and taking the whole peleton with you. And thanks to the PMC magic, you make it over the bridge without incident.

You’re inevitably sore when you hop on your bike. Your butt hurts so much that you can’t imagine that you will be able to ride 82 more miles. But you will. ‘Cause it’s the PMC.

Somewhere in the last 10 miles of the ride, a car comes up slowly on your left. You turn and see a woman with a bald head leaning out the passenger window as her driver drives slowly enough for her to thank each rider as she passes. And for the 1000th time this weekend, you burst into tears. Tears for the challenges that this woman faces, tears for the fact that she and so many others are still fighting, tears for those who are gone and tears of gratitude for your health and your ability to participate in this ride.

82 miles and 3 water stops after the start of Day 2, you arrive at the finish. Provincetown Inn and the Atlantic Ocean are there to greet you at the end of the line, along with other happy riders and so many amazing volunteers. And as you do every year, you burst into tears. For so many reasons. You’re tired, hot, depleted, sore and oh, so very grateful that you can do this. You hop off. Take a few pictures, rack your bike and start counting the days until PMC 2016.

It’s Magic.

Running, Resting and Pan Mass Challenging

freakout

In the interest of being open and honest, this post is hideously LATE. Why? Because I’m just back from a fantastic, booze soaked week in Cape Cod following the Pan Mass Challenge. And it was glorious.  What a week! Did I run? Yes. Did I follow Hansons Marathon Method to a “T”?  Ummmm. Not quite. More on last week’s shenanigans on Monday. We’ve got lots of lost goddamn miles to cover. Here’s what happened in the week leading up to PMC number 11 for me!!! For those keeping track (Hi, Ma!), I’m talking about Week 7 of Hansons Training, the week of July 27th. Ready? GO! 

Monday: 6 miles. Easy. Thank god it was “Easy.” Monday kicked off PMC Week, otherwise known as My Favorite Week of The Year. I was in a panic. All this running and riding juggle fest had me tuckered. Do I stick to the plan? Or do I save my legs for the 192 mile ride from Sturbridge to Provincetown, MA? I was in a PMC Pickle.

Tuesday:  Intervals. Ugly, ugly intervals. 400-800-1200-1600-1200-800-400, with 400 recovery.  With warm up and cool down: over 7 miles total. They were supposed to be at Ass O’Clock in the morning but alas, I overslept. Instead, I did them after work.  Joy. The (second) original plan was to do them at the track. But then this happened. 

Hot-cha-cha

 And it wasn’t happening on the surface of the sun track. Off to the gym I went. And ran those damn things LIKE A BOSS. A sweaty, crabby boss. But a boss no less.

Wednesday: Rest Day. I needed it. I debated flip flopping easy runs and tempo runs and bike rides and then I just said: NO. And Rest Day it was.

enough

Thursday:  Here’s where things turn into a flip floppy mess. Do I do a Tempo Run or the Long Run I will be missing on Sunday? And if I do my long run, I need to do it before a long day at work. I won’t even elaborate on work, other than to say I stood in one goddamn place at my lab bench for HOURS. Oh. And I need to get my shit together and pack for my epic bike ride & week in the Cape. And make my ribbons to wear honoring those whom I am riding for. Holy Frazzled. My decision: 

BOOM. Long run. 14 miles. Nailed the pace. I’m proud of that one. 

Friday: Very quick spin on My Whip then off to the PMC!!! 0 miles 

Bikes at the ready!

 Saturday:  PMC Day 1. 110 miles on the bike. I have no words. The PMC is an experience like no other. If you want to be a part of something wonderful, please, ride. For one weekend a year, I am a part of something truly great. I am surrounded by kind, selfless, passionate individuals, united by a shared goal. It is never lost on me. The PMC still moves me. I am as moved as I was during my first ride, 11 years ago. It is something. It’s something and everything all at once. I’ll post a real recap in a bit. Sit tight, Poodles.   
Sunday: PMC Day 2. 82 miles on the bike. Riding through the dunes in Provincetown after 192 miles with your 2 best girls, cheering, laughing and welling up while kicking cancer’s ASS is the best way to end a week. The. Best. To all those who have lost their battle with cancer, and to all those who continue to live strong- This was for you!  

The Finish!

 
Total miles run: 27 miles. Sorry, Hansons. That’s all I had. 

Total miles on the bike: 192 miles. For that? I am so not sorry. 

Total number of bottles of Prosecco consumed during PMC Weekend:  1 bottle.  *hiccup*  

Prosecco down!

  How do you deal with changes to you training schedule: Rock in the corner or simply shrug it off?  What’s your favorite week/day of the year?

The Art of Racing in the Rain…

A rainy mile at the 2015 Boston Marathon

A rainy mile at the 2015 Boston Marathon

…is a really good book, but that isn’t what this post is about.

Nope. Today I’m talking about what to do when you train for a race – maybe even a really big race, say, maybe even The Boston Marathon, and wake up on race day to find that Mother Nature has decided to rain on your parade.

Kurt Cobain said it best – Nature is a whore.

I have run in the rain plenty of times, but it is totally different when you are racing in the rain –especially a distance race, like a half or a marathon. Or a 110 mile bike ride like Day 1 of the Pan Mass Challenge (that would be PMC 2014).

You can’t just change plans. Wait for it to stop. Immediately schedule a rest day.

Nope, you have to put on your big girl (waterproof) underwear and suck it up. For 2, 3, 4, 5, maybe more hours. Ugh. Fortunately, before the torrent that was the Boston Marathon 2015, I googled every tip I could on racing in the rain, tried most out during that wet and windy race, and now I’m gonna share them with you.

1. Don’t Panic. This should be Rule #1 for everything that doesn’t involve locusts or a mushroom cloud. Seriously, don’t panic. It’s rain. It probably will not improve your performance, but neither will freaking out. So take a deep breath, reassess and move forward.

2. Train in the rain. If you do a fair bit of racing, you will eventually have to run in the rain. And if you take your run indoors on a treadmill every time it rains, you will be even more freaked out if you have ugly conditions on raceday. Training in all kinds of weather will train you to race in all kinds of weather. It’s worth a little discomfort during the training cycle to be prepared. I can’t tell you how many of us in Boston’s Athlete’s Village consoled each other pre-race with “Don’t worry – you certainly trained in worse!” (for those outside of the northeast, it was a cold, snowy, icy, endless winter. And yes, we did indeed train in worse.)

3. Dress appropriately. Cannot be stressed enough. Cotton is not your friend. I repeat: Do Not Wear Cotton. Or anything that absorbs. Wear something with wicking properties. If it is cool and you need layers, make sure they are light and close-fitting – loose layers will only weigh you down once they get wet. Wear a hat or a visor with a brim to keep the rain off your face. If it is cold, wear tech gloves. If you have friends or family rooting you on somewhere on the course and it is cold, give them an extra hat, jacket and pair of gloves to switch into when you see them. If you have room in your pockets, at least put an extra pair of gloves in a ziploc and switch to the dry ones halfway through. Had I been able to swap out for dry gloves, jacket, etc. during Boston, I would have been a lot more comfortable and am pretty sure that I would have been able to finish with a faster time. Numb extremeties and a shivering body will not enhance your performance. Trust me.

4. Stay dry as long as you can. You really do not want to start the race wet. Wear something waterproof with a hood over your clothes to the start and ditch them at the last possible second. You can get a disposable rain poncho at most drug stores – pick one up at the first sign that race day could be rainy. Or pick up a garbage bag and shower cap – will work just as well. Bring an extra pair of shoes and socks to change into for the start, or if you can’t manage that, wear plastic bags over your sneakers until the start. You may also want to wear a garbage bag with armholes for the first part of the race. I did not do that for Boston because I thought I would feel claustrophobic. If I could do it over, I would start with a garbage bag over my clothes and just rip it off once I got hot. The longer you can stay dry, the better. Trust me.

5. Grease up like a pig at a county fair. You already know to use Glide for races to avoid chafing – goes double for rainy races. In addition to putting Glide on so-called “problem areas,” cover your feet with glide or aquaphor before putting on socks. I did this for Boston and despite running with soaking wet feet for almost the entire marathon, I emerged without one blister. Seriously – it was a Christmas miracle in April. If it is cold, cover all exposed skin (legs, arms) with aquaphor. It will repel the water and help keep you warm.

6. Adjust your expectations. Especially if it is windy. Rain won’t always slow you down, but a headwind will. You can try to draft with a group to help with the effects of the wind. Didn’t really work for me in Boston, because the wind was coming from multiple directions, but if it is just a headwind, drafting could help. Rain might slow you down and make things slippery. Be careful. A wipe out is never fun. You may be in PR shape but not have PR weather. It’s OK. Run the best you can run safely and keep a reasonable goal in mind.

7. But don’t give up. Many people had PR’s at Boston this year. Depending on the timing of their start, lots of people missed the worst of the wind, and the cool temps counteracted the slippery rain conditions, leading them to super fast PR times. I didn’t PR, but I also lost close to 10 minutes when my hands were so numb that I couldn’t get my gloves off to reach my Gu Chompers and a lovely volunteer had to help me deglove, rip open my Chompers, watch me eat them and then re-glove me. (God Bless Him – I’m not sure that was covered in the volunteer handbook.) Had I not lost the 10 minutes, I would have PR’d by around 5 minutes. No reason to give up on a PR just because it is raining. Go out and try your hardest despite what the meteorologists say. Just don’t beat yourself up if the conditions lead to a less than stellar race. You can’t control everything.

8. Hydrate. Just because you are wet on the outside doesn’t mean you are hydrated on the inside. Make sure to drink enough water regardless of how hard it is raining.

9. Pack dry clothes for the finish. Get out of your wet clothes and into dry ones as fast as you can. Including socks and sneakers. Even in relatively mild weather, you will feel very uncomfortable if you are still wet after cooling down after the race. And in cold weather, it can be downright dangerous. Once you stop, you need to get dry and warm as soon as possible. Once you are warm and dry, you can fully appreciate what a badass you are for running the distance in the rain.

10. Thank the volunteers. They likely were out there in the elements before you got there and stayed long after you passed them. Amazing. Make sure you let them know how much they are appreciated.

Any good racing in the rain stories? My toughest rainy day adventures were Pan Mass Challenge 2014 and Boston Marathon 2015. Here’s to hoping for better weather for PMC 2015 and Boston 2016…

Running, Riding, Racing. And a Cookie.

anchormanhoorayAnother week in the books! Before I launch into Colby’s Week In Review, I’d like to take a quick second to say Happy Father’s Day to all of the Daddio’s out there! Dads are special folks. Especially My Other Half. Who is a kind man, a hard worker and a wonderful, loving father.  Muaaahhhh! Love fest complete.

On to Colby’s 3rd Week of Marathon Training! Note: I’m trying to be all peppy and shit about this, so as to keep my proverbial ‘marathon-ball’ rolling. These posts are purely self-serving. They are keeping my ass on track. They are holding me accountable. And they are keeping my honest. Please humor me and read them. Cheer or heckle, if you’d like. I’ve just gotta put them out there.  I’ve got a goal, dammit. And if I don’t achieve it, at least I can’t say I DIDN’T FREAKING TRY. It’s that damn Hanson Method. It’s got me all really running. Who am I?

Monday: 5.5 miles at the prescribed pace in the pouring rain. It was supposed to be 6 miles. But it started thundering and I screamed and ran straight home. I hate running in thunder and lightning. Snow? Sleet? Hail? Pouring rain? All fine. But Thunder and it’s nasty sister, Lightning? Game. Over.

Tuesday: 7 miles. INTERVALS. They’re not getting easier, but I am- dare I say- starting to enjoy them?? 12 x 400, 400 recovery. For what seemed like an eternity. But I did them. YES. And I have the sweaty mean mug to prove it. 

Game face.

Wednesday: Rest. Sweet Baby Jesus. Rest. And rest I did. I firmly planted my tired ass on the couch and binged on documentaries on Netflix. One of which was The Queen of Versailles. Totally engaging. I started watching it thinking it was merely going to be an extension of the Real Housewives Franchise,  but it quickly took a turn going from ‘Reality Series’ to ‘Shit Just Got Real.’ I couldn’t look away. Watch it if you haven’t. Sadly, one of the daughters in the documentary was recently found deceased which is what prompted me to watch it in the first place. The whole story is totally tragic yet, totally worth your time. 

Thursday: 6 pleasant miles. At the prescribed pace. I could have run all night. It was actually cool out. The storms broke that awful humidity, and my legs were feeling moderately “fresh.” Go figure.

Friday: 6 trail miles with My Other Half AND DRUNK OTIS!  This was our first foray together into the woods, as a little trail running family. And? Drunk Otis ain’t so drunk on the trails. He’s Sober Otis, Cover Dog for Field and Stream magazine. I couldn’t believe it. He’s a natural. He’s also quite big on the No Man Left Behind concept. He waited patiently for his sweaty human, showing her which way to go with the biggest, slobberiest smile. Such a good dog. He was made for this.  And when we busted around the corner, startling a deer? He stood like a statue and POINTED. He didn’t chase. He didn’t go off of the trail. He didn’t leave our sides. He freaking POINTED. We couldn’t believe it. Of course he swam in every puddle, stream and thimble full of water he could find, but that was AOK with us. So proud of our New Boy. Great kick off to the weekend. 

Drunk Otis, Cover Dog.

Saturday: I was supposed to run 6, but instead rode 47 miles with my girl, Carly! Such a great day. One that ended at a delicious new cookie shop in town, Red Rooster Gourmet Cookies. Fresh and Delicious.   

Cookie Monsters.

 I may or may not have yelled: COME ON! GET OUT OF THE SADDLE, CARLY. WE’RE GETTING COOOOOOOKIES!!!!!!! During our last climb. On the top of my lungs. Like a Crazy Person. Christ, we could almost smell the cookies from there. Talk about incentive. Those cookies tasted like heaven. If heaven was made out of buttery goodness. After the cookie stop, we headed back, picked up The Boys, who had been out shreddin’ the gnar, and refueled properly. That is, with beer and lobstah rolls. Such a perfect day with friends. 

Stony Creek Brewery. Cheers!

Sunday: I was supposed to run 8 miles, but instead raced 5. In the rain. On very tired legs. I woke up. Listened to the thunder, then promptly fell back asleep. I’m so not racing in this weather. (See Monday.)  Woke up again. Texted Tina. She agreed. Bullshit. Listened to rain drops. Drank coffee. Reassessed my legs. Meh. They’re moving. Gun goes off in 35 minutes. COME ON! YOU’RE DROPPING ME OFF.   

Super Janji!

I throw on brand new Janji singlet, grab a banana and a bottle of Skratch Labs and jump in Other Half’s car. Make it to the start area with 4 minutes to spare. Hear announcer. Run wildly. Score an open porta-potty. 3 minutes. Dash to the start. Wind up next to my friend whom I was supposed to meet an hour ago. What are the odds? We hug. I’m off. It sounds frenzied, but honestly, it was the calmest start EVER. I should always be running late. I didn’t even THINK about running. Or having to pee. Or not drinking enough. I JUST RAN. And considering that I felt like a broken down barnacle barge? I had a decent race. YAHOO! 

Miles Run: Just shy of 30.

Miles Ridden: 47.

Cookies Consumed: 1.5

Have you ever dashed to a starting line, and made it in the nick of time?Do you draw the line at thunder and lightning? If you were granted one day of Netfix Binge, what would you watch? 

Because I’m Happy! The Friday Five!

happyWhat makes me happy? My Other Half. Negative splits. That Perfect Run. An ice cold beer at the end of a long bike ride. And so much more. There are so very many things that make me happy, it’s hard to pin it down to just FIVE.  But alas, it’s the Friday Five. Not the Friday Five Thousand.  So for the sake of our fabulous hosts, Courtney @ Eat, Pray, Run DC, Mar @ Mar On the Run, and Cynthia @ You Signed Up for What?!? I’ll keep it on track.

  1. The 3 Amigos. Leon James. Evil Beagle. And Drunk Otis. I couldn’t possibly write a ‘What makes me Happy’ List and leave these silly fool off. No matter what the theme. Look up “Happy” in the dictionary and I bet you’ll find their slobbery mugs. They are so special. They bring My Other Half and I such joy.
    Leon James.

    Leon James.


    Evil Beagle.

    Evil Beagle.


    Drunk Otis.

    Drunk Otis.

  2. My Bike.  Henrietta Pussycat. Why? Because that’s who she is. And because all bikes should have names. I love my whip. She fits me to a T.  And fights cancer. Pretty badass for a bike right?
    Henrietta Pussycat.

    Henrietta Pussycat.

  3. The Pan Mass Challenge.  This will be my 11th year riding in the PMC– and Tina’s 3rd! There is nothing that makes me happier than riding with several thousand of my closest friends in our untied fight against cancer. I can’t put it into words. Other than to say that the riding in the PMC, a 2 day, ~200 mile cycling odyssey across the state of Massachusetts, in the name of fighting cancer, has become part of the fabric of my life. It will always be. Nothing makes me happier than doing something I am so passionate about. Nothin’.
    The Finish!

    The Finish!


    Why I ride...

    Why I ride…

  4. Beer. Especially the first beer after riding in the PMC. That’s the one beer I look forward to most. It’s after riding 110 miles. And it is shared with friends. There is nothing I look forward to more, than toasting with my friends, on that Saturday afternoon in Bourne, Massachusetts. To the PMC. To Life. To Health. To Friendship. To Those For Whom We Ride. Cheers.
    Cheers!

    Cheers!

  5. Wellfleet. Each year after finishing the PMC, My Other Half and I spend some time in Wellfleet. Reflecting on the weekend. Unwinding. Decompressing. Relaxing. Drinking. Eating. And simply enjoying one another. It is by far, our favorite time of the year. We have fallen in love with Wellfeet. It’s so special to us. It’s such a beautiful little, artsy town on the Cape. No summer is complete without a stay.
    Wellfleet.

    Wellfleet.


    Sunset in Wellfleet.

    Sunset in Wellfleet.


    Happiness in Wellfleet.

    Happiness in Wellfleet.

 What makes you happy? Do you have dogs as RIDICULOUS as ours?

Fever, Frenzy and Hometown Pride

America has crowned the next American Idol.  

Nick Fradiani. WINNER!

 AND HE’S FROM MY FREAKING HOMETOWN! 

Can you even stand it?!?! 

*beams with pride*   

Big Pimpin’ American Idol Style!

I don’t even like American Idol. But seriously, how could I not watch and root for Guilford, Connecticut’s Own Hometown Hero, Nick Fradiani?!?! I’m so stinkin’ proud of him. The best part?  Handsome Italian dude can sing. Guilford has been in a full-on Fradiani Frenzy for Weeks and it’s been so exciting to be a part of.  They even filmed a concert on the green which aired a week ago on the show. It was AWESOME. We took our old Schwinn Cruisers down to the Town Green to hear him. The town went ALL FREAKING OUT. It was fantastic.  

Waiting for Nick!

  

The closest I will ever get to being on American Idol.

  

Eeeeeeeee!!!

Everywhere I run and ride around town there are signs rooting for him. The local businesses have been so supportive. Such excitement. Such a wonderful community.  Especially among the kids. You couldn’t go a day without seeing a kid in a “Team Fradiani” shirt.

Nick Fradiani LIVE!

The kids really seem inspired. And that’s wonderful. Why shouldn’t they be? Here’s a talented local guy who can sing and play guitar and has strong sense of family.  He’s smiley, appears humble and while he’s an ‘Italian Guy from Connecticut’, he embodies ZERO of the Italian-American stereotypes that lately exist everywhere. (Note: I am an ‘Italian Girl from Connecticut’ who might embody some of the Italian-American stereotypes portrayed on TV. Either way? I’m qualified to make that statement. Capisce?) Around town, people are smiling! They wave! Hi! The kids are inspired! They chit chat! GO NICK! 

The Guilford Green Pre-Frenzy.

There’s been this palpable energy around town that has really brought out the best in Guilfordians. Wellllll actually…Maybe not all Guilfordians. The Exception being some broad who laid on the horn, screamed obscenities and scared the snot out of me while I was riding my bike through down town last night.  

Post-Road Rage Frenzy in my new Betty Designs Kit. LOVE!

She doesn’t have The Fever. She has The Irrational Road Rage and needs an intervention. Or maybe a Fradiani Frenzy ice cream cone. That’ll take the edge off of her. 

Congratulations Nick! May you be 10,000 times more famous than Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken and Fantasia Barrino combined!!!! You’ve made us so damn proud!!!  🙂

Bishop’s Orchards, Fradiani Frenzy! Yum! (Photo: foxct.com)

The Big Reveal!

Skratch LabsReady for this?!?! A few months back I applied on a total whim to be a Taste Agent for Skratch Labs. I have been a fan of Skratch Labs for the past several years, having been introduced to it by my cyclist Other Half when it was known as “Secret Drink Mix” and came in cool silver tins. We felt so fly. Like we were in on some big badass super performance secret. {Note: We were.} We trained hard, sweated buckets, chugged what would become Skratch Labs Hydration Mix, and performed our hearts out.  As athlete demand increased, Skratch Labs, created by Dr. Allen Lim, was born in 2012. Voilà. Just like that. The secret was out. And now so is this one….Skratch Labs!

As of today, I’m a Skratch Labs Taste Agent for 2015!! 

{Faints.}

So. Stoked. And after 2015? My guess is that I’ll be a Skratch Labs Lifer. Simply put, their products are excellent. And my endorsement of them, pre-dates Today’s Big News. It’s got all of what you need in a sports drink- real, natural ingredients, electrolytes, sodium- and nothing you don’t.

My personal draw?

  • It’s easy on the gut.
  • It’s super tasty.
  • It does it’s job. And does it well.

{Drops Mic.}

In exchange for mentioning their product here and on social media (which I’ve done before without the cool Taste Agent title), giving them product feedback, attending events and spreading the good word that is Skratch Labs, I will get their products at a discount. Which is great because I’m dangerously low on Hydration Mix. Phew!  I believed in what Skratch was doing before becoming affiliated with them. I feel like this is the continuation of a beautiful friendship, if you will. How could you not love the company with a promo video like this? Totally, my kind of company. 🙂