Thursday, August 27, 2015

that one bird camp

I had the incredible opportunity to attend bird camp this year in Leavenworth, WA with about 100 other wonderful Oiselle teammates. There aren't enough adjectives to describe this amazing experience and what it meant to me. So, rather than try to put all my thoughts in to writing, I'll use my pictures to tell the story.

Day 1 
Woke up bright and early to catch a flight out of Boston to Seattle. Rebecca and I got through security and headed to the gate, only to find out 2 minutes too late they had changed the gate. We watched our plane take off and spent some extra time in Logan waiting for the next flight.

see ya later Boston

We made it to Seattle in just enough time to take a cab to the new Oiselle store, speed shop, grab some food, and jump on a bus for a 2+ hour ride to Leavenworth.

scoping out the track through the bus window

I call the loft!

Sleeping Lady resort is beautiful

Day 1 ended with listening to the Haute Volee racing team, talking about goals, and what makes us feel powerful. My heart was full.

Day 2 

PT with Jay Dicharry

Goal setting with Lauren Fleshman and Adrienne Langelier

Jasyoga <3 

Sitting on a rock enjoying the most beautiful scenery. Trying to soak it all in.

birds take over the woods pre 5k

THIS girl <3 thanks for being a fabulous roommate and friend


I love these women

This 5k would be the first and only time I actually got to run at camp. I had a very cranky IT band that only got worse during the race. Total bummer. 

Also important to note, I had a close encounter with a black bear and her cub about half way through the race. Terrifying but also kind of cool. Welcome to the woods.

Listening to Sally, Kristin and Heather talk about the team vision
and plans for the future. I'm so grateful to be a part of something so special. 

Day 3 (probably my favorite)
If you can't!

will stop for cows

this bike ride was one of the highlights for me

don't get views like this in the city

That afternoon we had the option of shopping, SUP, kayak, or float down the Wenatchee River in a tube. I chose to float. It was perfect. Post river float we went to Der Hinterhof for happy hour and apps. 

take me back

When we got back to the resort we gathered to listen to the hilariously funny Erin Ward AKA Jungle Chicken, Kayla from Girls Gotta Run Foundation, and Kristin Kirkland from Every Mother Counts. It was a fabulous day. 

Day 4
Most of the group went off to hike to Lake Colchuck. Given the state of my IT band, I chose to stay back and relax. I packed up my suitcase, went to fitness center, enjoyed nature's ice bath, spent many hours sitting by the pool, and listened to Lauren Fleshman serenade us with her guitar and beautiful voice. Did it all have to end? 

nature's ice bath

had to go back to this spot one last was my favorite

the river was freezing, but oh so nice

Lauren and Erin rocking out

Later that night we were treated to a fashion show (no pictures allowed), some giveaways, and a gear swap. Many of us headed over to the grotto bar to share stories, have drinks, and reminisce about the days prior. 

Definitely wasn't quite ready for that one.

I stayed up way too late (with too many drinks) considering my early departure, but I didn't care. I was prolonging the inevitable end to one of the best experiences of my life. 

Not a day has gone by that I haven't thought about bird camp. It feels like just yesterday yet so long ago at the same time. When asked about what makes me feel powerful, the first thing that came to mind was the Oiselle team. In a world where women are constantly tearing each other apart and trying to bring others down, these women build us all up, offer support, and never ending encouragement. I can't thank each and every one of them enough. 

Bird camp 2015, you far exceeded my expectations. 


Thursday, July 9, 2015


Earlier this week I posted this picture on Instagram:

Underneath it I wrote, "as I look at this picture from a 5k a few weeks ago, I see someone who is 'too big.' I focus on all the parts I wish looked different. I'm trying so hard to accept my body as it is based on the daily decisions I make...because I am happy. Perfection doesn't equal happiness. But some days it's just so difficult to see past the flaws. #keepingitreal

Throughout the day I received notification after notification of people leaving the most encouraging comments about that photo and about me specifically. My heart expanded with gratitude and while I didn't respond to them individually, I read each and every one and thought a lot about the words being said. Strength, beauty, determination, and inspiring were common words in many of the comments. Many also shared similar thoughts and criticism of their own bodies...all of whom I see in the same words they used to describe my body. Why is it that we can see others as strong, beautiful, determined, inspiring...and maybe even wish our own bodies looked more like theirs. Yet, those same people have a hard time seeing that in themselves. Just as I have a hard time seeing those qualities when I look at that picture. I am fairly certain if the face on that body was someone else's, I would see the picture very differently. I certainly would not be critical of it and instead I would also celebrate its beauty, strength, and determination. 

That's f*cked up.

When I say I am trying hard to accept my body as it is based on the daily decisions I make, it's because I am well aware if I change the way I eat, count calories, and worked out even more, I could shed a few unwanted pounds. But I enjoy eating healthy 90% of time, and I enjoy relaxing with a glass of wine or staying up late on the weekends having a few drinks followed by a late night snack of whatever I can find in the apartment... unless I fall asleep on the couch first. I'm not sorry or ashamed to admit that. Going out to my favorite restaurant and enjoying wings at the bar with some cider makes me happy. Running 5 days a week so I don't feel guilty having said wings and cider makes me happy. Counting calories and overthinking every thing I eat or drink does not make me happy. I spent too many days of my life in the past doing those things and being a slave to the scale, to know it would not change my opinion of myself. Even at my thinnest, weighing 30lbs less then I do now, I never felt thin enough, and I most definitely was not happy. I was a slave to scale and the voices in my head telling me what I could and could not eat. It's not a path I ever want to find myself going down again.

So where does all this leave me? I'd say it leaves me on a much better path of continuing to work towards and find acceptance in myself for who I am, what my body looks like, and the things that make me happy. I really believe being open and transparent about my thoughts and this journey is important not only for myself but for all women who may be on a similar path. It's not an easy one to navigate, but it gets a hell of a lot easier knowing you have support and believing you're not alone.


**Keeping it real was started by total badass, sister hero and amazing Oiselle teammate, Lauren Fleshman. You can read more about it here It's worth it, I promise.** 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

mind body and heart's been a while. I kept telling myself I would sit down and write something, but I never felt like I had much to say. I'm not sure that has really changed, but here I am anyways. This spring was a challenge for me. Even though my mind and my body was saying go, my heart was saying no. I thought I was heading in a good direction when I PR'd the 10 miler in April. That was fun. But when it came time to run the half marathon I had put in months of training for, I just couldn't find the fire.

May 24th I ran Boston's Run to Remember Half Marathon. It's one of my favorite races and was my goal race this spring. I had some ups and downs in the months leading up to the race, but I felt like I was on an upswing just at the right time to go for a PR. However, the morning of the race I woke up feeling very differently. I felt anxious and sad. Getting ready that morning was a struggle. I cried. More then once. I wasn't even sure if I wanted to run. I continued to get ready, got in my car with Ryan and sat there deciding what to do. Ultimately, I made the decision sitting in the parking lot of our apartment to go and run....with no pressure. I let go of the goal to PR, and instead focused on just having fun.

By the time we made our way through the lines of traffic, they had closed the road where the race started. I had to jump out of the car and quickly grab anything I could think of that I may need. I took my phone with me so I could hopefully find Ryan, but realized seconds too late that I had forgot to grab my chews. Oh well. There wasn't anything I could do about it so I made my way down to the starting area. I worked my way to the back of the crowd to find the porta-potties. Announcements and the American Anthem had started so I knew there was no way I would be able to make my way back through the crowd to start with others running my pace. So I stood and waited.

so many people in front of me

I got a message from Ryan saying he grabbed my chews (he's the best) and let me know where he was standing so I could get them. I was so far back in the crowd that when it was finally time for us to start running, all I could do was walk. Even if I wanted to weave my way around people, it just wasn't possible. I found Ryan, made a plan of where to meet after, grabbed my chews, and was on my way. Finally I was able to start running.

beautiful view to start the race

When my watch beeped after the first mile I looked down and saw a number close to 10:00. I had to laugh. Honestly, I just didn't care. I made it through another half mile or so and then decided to shut my watch off completely. The time didn't matter. It was a beautiful day and I was running around my favorite city. That was good enough for me.

Since I started so far back, I spent the entire race swerving around other runners. It was hot and I don't do well running in the heat. Since I wasn't running for time, I made sure to make my way to the side at all the water stops. Every few stops I was forced to come to a complete stop waiting for the volunteers to fill up the cups. Again, I just didn't care. While I was running, I actually felt great. I probably had more fun running a race that day then I ever have. I'm so thankful I decided to start that morning without the pressure of trying to run a PR, and for the sheer joy of running.

high on endorphins

After that race I took a week off to let my mind and my heart have the break it was clearly telling me I needed. Then I started easing back in with some lower mileage. The fire was being reignited and I was excited for a summer filled with shorter races and faster paces. However, I'm learning that the mind and body don't always cooperate. A week ago my hamstring started acting up. It tightened up after a hilly run on Wednesday and hasn't wanted to loosen back up. I tried to run a few times since when it started feeling better, only to make it worse again. Today is a better day, but I didn't run. I'm waving the white flag and taking the rest of the week off and I'll officially DNS my first race this weekend. It stings, but I know it's necessary. I made an appointment this weekend to see a sports massage therapist to hopefully get this straightened out. Unfortunately injuries come with the territory and there's not a whole lot else I can do beside rest, ice, stretch, and recover.

I'm very much looking forward to the day when my heart, mind, and body are once again in sync.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

getting my groove back

I'm sure any runner who lives in New England would agree...this winter sucked. On top of the feet of snow and the freezing cold temps, I had a few weeks of random injuries and set backs. I was discouraged and feeling the winter blues. Then I took a trip to NY and then on to Philly to run the Love Run half marathon with only one goal. To have fun. Mission accomplished.

pre race hotel meet up

finishing feeling happy

Since the half in Philly running has started to click again. This week I've been hitting my paces and feeling strong once again. Here's a recap:

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 5 easy miles 9:15 average pace

Wednesday: 1.6 mile warm up, 3 x 1200 (7:42, 7:40, 7:36 pace) w/ 3:00 jog in between, 1.77 mile cool down for 6 miles total. This run was a FINALLY moment for me where everything seemed to click once again. 

Thursday: 6 easy miles 9:08 average pace

Friday: Rest 

Saturday: 4 easy miles in NH 9:04 average pace. Holy hills! I'm not used to running in NH anymore so this run kicked my butt but felt amazing at the same time. 

when you're not used to running many hills, this feels like a mountain

Sunday: 8 miles total... 3 easy, 1 @ 8:04, 3 easy, 1 @ 8:01. Spring has finally sprung in Boston, and this run felt amazing in the warm sun. I spent a lot of time during this run thinking of the struggles throughout the winter and feeling very thankful I am once again feeling strong. Serious runner's high. 

What's next? Saturday I'll be racing the BAA 5k in Boston. I can't wait to run this race for the first time and am so excited Boston Marathon weekend is almost here! I think I can confidently say this horrible winter is finally a past memory. Feels good to be getting my groove back.   

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

returning to Philly

This weekend I'm heading back to Philadelphia. I'll be running the Philadelphia Love Run Half Marathon with my wonderful coach, teammate and friend, Abby. Last time I ran a race in Philly, it didn't exactly go as hoped. Not even close. This weekend I am going with only one goal in have fun. In reality, that's the most important thing you can hope for.

This winter has been filled with a lot of set backs including a strange back and knee injury, along with the highest snow totals ever in one winter, which kept me off the streets and on the treadmill, elliptical, or the couch. Not great for building speed, endurance or confidence. While I had hoped to be in a better place going in to this weekend, I need to remember the longer term goal. My goal race this spring is Boston's Run to Remember in May. I still have 2 months to get myself where I want to be. With Abby's help, I'm sure I can get there.

I'm really looking forward to erasing the tough memories of the Philadelphia Marathon and replacing them with happier memories this weekend!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

catching up

Where did January go? I feel like I ask myself that question at the end (or beginning) of every month these days. It's been almost a month since I've posted anything, so here's a little recap of the year so far. 

January started off well. I was getting through most of my workouts and hitting the planned paces. I was feeling stronger and ready to race a 10k on the 25th. We had gotten some snow in the days leading up to the race, so the plan was to see what the conditions were like and if it was safe I was gunning for that PR. I got to the race early enough to get my bib and run a 1-2 mile warm up. The roads were a little slushy, but didn't seem icy. My legs and mind were in the right place and I was ready to go. 

go time

The plan was to go out for the first couple miles around 7:50-8. Then to work my way down from there. I felt strong from the start and miles were flying by. 

Mile 1: 7:50
Miles 2: 8:01
Mile 3: 7:52

When I approached the mile marker for mile 3 I noticed it said mile 4. Obviously I was confused. I assumed there must have just been some mistake and I tried not to focus on it too much. But then when I got to mile 4, the marker said 5. Now I was really unsure of what was going on. There had been no indication that the course had been changed. I knew I hadn't made a wrong turn so I had no idea what to think or what to do. So I kept running. 

Mile 4: 7:54
Mile 5: 7:40

A woman was standing near the mile marker at mile 5, which actually said mile 6. She yelled to me that I was almost to the finish. I asked her if they had changed the course and she put her hands up and said no, the finish is right up there. At this point I was frustrated, but still really confused. As I turned the last corner a guy who had finished was walking towards me and said something like you can give it all you got, the finish is right there. I could tell there was some frustration in his voice and expression as well. 

the finish line in sight...a mile sooner than expected

Final 0.2: 1:13 (7:11 pace) 
Finish time: 40:30 for 5.2 miles

When I crossed the finish line I could hear others who had finished before me questioning what happened.  The volunteers seemed clueless as well. I honestly thought there had somehow been an error when measuring the course and somehow an entire mile was missed. I couldn't think of any other explanation since no one had said anything about a change, and no once seemed to have any insight. I left feeling extremely annoyed because based on my time I was well within reach of a big 10k PR (current PR is 49:08). I was also frustrated because had I known I would only have been running 5.2 miles that day I would have changed my race plan accordingly and probably could have had a much better result. 

clearly annoyed

I emailed the race director when I got home, which I never do but I wanted her to be aware of what happened if she didn't know, and also wanted to know what the hell happened if she did! She informed me that apparently the police had changed the course at the very last minute due to icy conditions. I understand safety is number one, but it's really unfortunate that no one bothered to tell the runners at any point. It's still a bit of a sore spot for me. I'll definitely be looking for another 10k this spring so I can get my redemption. 

Since that race I've had a few setbacks that include something funky happening to my back after getting off the couch during the first of many snow storms we've been pummeled with in Boston. The other fun setback has been the snow. After taking a few extra days off to let my back get its shit together I spent a couple days running in the snow before breaking down and getting a gym membership so I could have access to a treadmill. 

had to put the snow tires on my Hokas

the first snow storm was fun...
every foot of snow since then, not so much

So I guess that about sums up the past few weeks. It looks like Boston will be under a blanket of snow for months to come at this point, so I'm trying to enjoy get through the treadmill runs until it's safe enough to return to the roads. 

Is it spring yet? 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

this is the year I

I can't believe we're already half way through January! I've had a few important goals for 2015 floating around in my head but have yet to put them all on paper the internet. Following the lead of Oiselle and many great athletes who have already declared "this is the year I....." I too would like to voice my goals and aspirations for 2015.

First and foremost...

This is the year I stop speaking negatively about myself. 
This, most important goal, is a hard one for me to admit and talk about. The sad reality is that this is going to be a very difficult one for me. We are all creatures of habit and for too many years I have developed the terrible habit of thinking negatively about myself and my appearance daily. More specifically, the appearance and size of my body. It's not ok. It's going to take some work to turn these thoughts around to a positive direction, but it's so important and I owe it to myself. If I continue to think and say negative thoughts, I will continue to believe them. My body and my mind deserve better than that. 

This is the year I make peace with the marathon.
I've ran three two and a half marathons in the past year and a half, and all left me confused and defeated. I am not running a spring marathon this year to give my body and my mind a break. I do plan to run one in the fall, and with the help of my new coach, I believe good things are going to happen.

This is the year I PR the half marathon...5k...10k...
Since I am not running a spring marathon, I can shift my focus once again to the distance that made me fall in love with running, the half marathon. I've been so focused on the marathon that I almost forgot how much I loved running the half. I haven't specifically trained for a half marathon since running Boston's Run to Remember in May of 2013. I'm super excited to see what I can do with this distance, as I know I have more to give. I'll be returning to Boston't Run to remember in May with the goal of finishing under 1:45. I've always been stronger with the shorter distances, and know I am capable of some faster times this year.

This is the year I eat less processed foods.
I consider myself a generally healthy eater. I understand what it means to eat healthy (I think), and I try to load my plate with veggies, whole grains, healthy fats, and fruits. However, I do have an incredible soft spot for crunchy chips and sugary candy. When extreme hunger strikes I reach for something easy and quick, which is most likely something highly processed. What this means is I'll need to be more prepared with easy to grab healthy snacks to keep my hunger at bay. Preparation and planning will be so important.

This is the year I become more adventurous.
By this I mean take the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone. I want to try new things, and see new places. I want to travel at any opportunity. I started doing this last year when I traveled to South Korea, participated in my first Ragnar Relay, went to NY to spectate the marathon, and Philly to attempt to run my 2nd marathon of the year. This is something I want to continue this year and beyond. I already have a couple fun adventures on the calendar and I'm looking forward to adding more.

adventures for the win.

I'm sure this list will continue to evolve, change, and grown over the year, but I think it's important for me to start somewhere. Setting goals helps me achieve them. I do better when I have something to focus on and work towards. 

I have a feeling 2015 is going to be a great year.