A Quick Five to Massachusetts

A quick five day vacation, that is. Over the past few years, it feels like that only trips I’ve been on lately have been RACEcations. This trip was solely to relax and spend time with semi-retired Chick, Bec, and her family.

People, I did not even bring a sports bra! There was nary a Garmin or Spibelt in sight. I’d be lying if I said I missed any of those things. We really didn’t have much on the agenda and that was a-okay with me.

It was so good to just kick back, watch Bad Moms, eat yummy food, and enjoy each other’s company. (And the air conditioning because holy crap, it was hot.) Sometimes you just need to be with your people to recharge your soul and that’s exactly what we did!

We visited Hornstra Farms where we played with the barn cats and cows. And ate delicious ice cream (twice!).

Purple Cow = Black Raspberry with chocolate and white chips

Purple Cow = Black Raspberry with chocolate and white chips

We shopped a lot and bought random things. (Not these though - we just liked that our initials were together.)

We shopped a lot and bought random things. (Not these though – we just liked that our initials were together.)

I got to see the town where she grew up. You know, on the beach. #nottooshabby

I got to see the town where she grew up. You know, on the beach. #nottooshabby

You can "adopt" the carousel horses and the one I was one was named "Merry". Kismet? I think so.

You can “adopt” the carousel horses and the one I was one was named “Merry”. Kismet? I think so.

Fun house mirror... but I really am that much shorter than Bec and her daughter. Whomp whomp!

Fun house mirror… but I really am that much shorter than Bec and her daughter. Whomp whomp!

On the hottest day ever, we decided to go to Boston. I think a part of me is still there, melted on the pavement.

On the hottest day ever, we decided to go to Boston. I think a part of me is still there, melted on the pavement.

Worth melting for!

Worth melting for!

After 3 days, the cats came out of hiding. Cleo even let me pet her!

After 3 days, the cats came out of hiding. Cleo even let me pet her! #judgingme

We took a goodbye picture with pouts and frizzy hair but this one is much cuter.

We took a goodbye picture with pouts and frizzy hair but this one is much cuter.

My traveling doesn’t stop there! Later this week, I’ll be heading off to Europe for 10 days with my husband. We’ll be doing fun things there, including visiting Blindekuh (that would be a restaurant where you eat in complete darkness) and potentially doing this…

Oh! One more thing. As per usual, I hang out with some awesome people. Here are a few that you might be interested in checking out!

  • Are you into gardening? Do you want to be? This is a hot off the presses blog from Sonya, the brilliant friend who helped us start our home garden. I adore her!
  • My dear friend, Bernadette, is a mom who is kicking cancer’s ass. She wrote a children’s book to help little ones that have a mom with breast cancer. Check it out here.
  • Jersey Girl in the South is an awesome home decorating blog from Tracy. If only she lived closer – my house could use her expertise!

Happy Wednesday and happy middle of August!

We Run as One – Boston Marathon love

katherineswitzer

#BostonStrong

bostonlove1We are with you because we are one.becbostonToday and everyday.

merboston

 

unnamed

“May the road rise up to meet you, May the wind always be at your back…” – Irish blessing

bostonkeychain

For those who aren’t running the Boston Marathon today, cheer with us by wearing your favorite race shirt.

Hail and color everywhere!

You never know what sort of weather to expect in upstate New York.

Friday was a spring day, with a high of 74 as the sun was shining. But by Saturday morning, we felt the chill as temps dropped to the upper 30s and hail pelted us between falling flakes.

We knew what we were getting into living in Rochester, so we headed to the Color Vibe 5K race bright and early, prepared not to let the wintry weather chill our day.

Our group, like many, donned the official race shirt for the mid-morning run. It was white and well, when else were we going to wear it? We lined up about 30 minutes before race time, huddling for warmth. Many in the corral grew bored, ripped open their color packets and started a color war.

I was technicolor before we even started moving.  What fun!

feet

Carnage of some impatient runners

Soon enough, the race was underway. Our group of seven split in half and I ran along with Charlotte, Lindsay and Deb. Less than a half-mile into the run, hail started pelting us as we ran. The whole crowd groaned.

But alas, a color station was ahead. Once we were coated in green, everything seemed more springlike!

green

Volunteers throw green corn starch powder on passing runners

Our race was on the local community college campus. Parking lots were aplenty, so we spent much of the run winding through lots and campus roads as we chatted. We were also pleased to see so many people out, despite the weather. We saw many kids running, some racers in costume (Batman and Superman passed us by) and several color infused strollers.

colorfun

Lindsay, Deb and Charlotte

Since no mile markers were posted and most of my group skipped wearing watches for the untimed 3.1-mile race, Deb kept track of our mileage. She also shared that info with other runners who were itching to know how much further to the finish.

As we ran, high winds carried the color powder high into the air. It was quite the sight.

Then the snow returned, followed by the hail. (Ouch)

after4

Snow. sigh.

After we were doused in yellow and blue, we rounded the last turn to the finish.

Because many people stopped at the finish to toss their remaining color powder packets, we had to stop and walk about 50 or so yards into the finish line. That was a bit disappointing, as my favorite part of any race is a feeling of accomplishment as you finish.

But that said, we pummeled each other with color powder at the finish!

after2

Here, the girls douse me in color!

after3

From left: Sara, Charlotte, Deb, me, Lindsay, Amanda and Thea

Amanda, one brilliant runner in our group, offered up an idea to protect her iPhone from the color powder. She put her phone inside a plastic ziploc bag. Genius! Unlike my phone, which was a technicolor horror and lost 2 months off it’s life, hers was well protected through the madness.

We also loved that Color Vibe partners with a local charity for the event. In Rochester, it raised awareness for the YMCA of Greater Rochester.

Entry into the Color Vibe included a white T-shirt, one color packet, sunglasses and of course our races bibs. We were also given Boston bracelets, a thoughtful gesture by race organizers as we ran several days after Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings.

boston

Have you ever taken part in an non-traditional race? Do you like untimed events? Please share your experiences  in the comments.

Runners giving back: Medals4Mettle

The running community is a strong and rowdy bunch. There’s a certain level of insanity the comes along with runners, people who choose to spend much of their free time running long distances for the love of the sport and achieving the impossible (with a side of bragging rights and medals sometimes thrown in for good measure).

After an event like the one at the Boston Marathon, there’s a certain sense of helplessness that hits us. We are doers, movers and shakers, so to do nothing is not an option.

Since Monday’s tragedy, we’ve participated in reflection runs; we’ve worn the Boston Marathon colors of blue and gold; we’ve donned race shirts from any and all events; we’ve prayed for the victims, first responders, runners and the city of Boston.

loveshirt

And we’re still left asking, What else is there? What more can we do to show support, solidity and love?

Well, friends, might I offer up Medals4Mettle?

met·tle  /ˈmetl/ Noun
A person’s ability to cope well with difficulties or to face a demanding situation in a spirited and resilient way.

In May 2005, Dr. Steven Isenberg gave his own Chicago Marathon medal to his patient, Les Taylor, who was battling prostate cancer. Before his death, Taylor told Dr. Isenberg just how much the medal meant to him.

From that seed Medals4Mettle blossomed. I first heard about Medals4Mettle, or M4M, last year when I began running races.

Currently M4M is collecting Boston Marathon medals from any year to give to Monday’s victims and first responders.

medals4mettle

For those who haven’t run the Boston Marathon, M4M will gratefully accept all donations of hard-earned half marathon, full marathon or triathlon medals to those battling life-threatening illnesses and severe disabilities.

“Think about when you are out on a course, and you have dozens to hundreds of people you don’t know who are cheering you on, and want to see you succeed and get to the finish line,” said Andrea Herrmann of M4M.  “This is our chance to return this encouragement to others, and to celebrate their strength in dealing with their health struggles, cheering them to their personal finish lines.”

m4m

Directors and chapter coordinators are all volunteers at M4M. I reached out to my local chapter coordinator, Reed Costello, who said that his responsibilities include local awareness and collecting/passing medals along to the area coordinator who then distributes them to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The children love receiving the medals and the runDisney medals are among the favorites; many wear the donated medals to chemo treatment or hang them from their IV pole.

A selfless way to lift someone’s spirits and give back, Medals4Mettle is a non-profit organization that assists runners and athletes in doing just that.

Have you ever given your race medal to someone else? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Reflection run

Some fought back tears. Others hugged. Everyone hit the pavement.

Several dozen runners gathered in suburban Rochester Tuesday evening and together ran in memory of the bombings that interrupted the Boston Marathon Monday afternoon, killing three and injuring more than 170 others.

“We are runners, we are strong,” said Ellen Brenner co-owner of Fleet Feet Sports in Brighton.

Before we hit the road, Brenner thanked the group for their love and support of  Rochester’s running community — and each other. One local Boston Marathoner, Malcolm Bugler of Henrietta, also spoke of Monday’s events.

“It’s only just sinking in now, the enormity of the thing that happened,” he said. “Running is a celebration of what you can achieve…to have that challenged is just unthinkable.”

Typically, we run hills on Tuesday evenings. Instead, we ran an altered “happy hour” loop of 4.09 miles, which was the time on the race clock when the first explosion went off.

We ran through a drizzle, many wearing Boston’s blue and yellow or race shirts or jackets. We were together. We were one. We were strong. We are runners.

Click here for a video of the memorial run by my colleague Kris Murante.

Our hearts are with you, Boston

It’s hard to find words for what happened at the finish line of the Boston Marathon yesterday. When unspeakable, senseless acts like this happen, most of us can think of only one word: why?

The truth is, even if and when the person or people responsible for this are apprehended, even after a motive is revealed and justice is served, there will be no good answer to that question. How do you even begin to process the reason behind the destruction brought down on what was supposed to be a joyful event, where people were injured and killed simply because they were there to run or to cheer on their loved one as they crossed the finish line?

There will never be an answer for that kind of blind hatred.

But what we’ve seen time and time again is that goodness will always blot out the bad. In all of the horrific footage, the awful news stories that seemed to flow out endlessly through various social media platforms, there were these stories: people running to help the injured, to hold hands and offer reassurance; a Google spreadsheet that popped up online, filled with names and numbers and addresses, temporary homes for those displaced by what happened; a couple that had run the marathon, only to get married hours later.

These are the moments that invariably always rise to the surface, because good will always counteract the bad. Love will always trump hate. It is so much bigger.

We love you, Boston, and our hearts are with you.

Couch to Pride

September 2012

Today, I did this.

Pat my fucking head, would you?

Shape Diva Dash was awesome. It was hard. It was torture in some places. It was fun. It was challenging. It was an experience that I’m glad to have had, and I got to have it with Heather, who rocked it.

On this hilly, sweaty, humid run, I had time to think. A lot of time. 1:17:56.94, to be exact. (That’s 25:59 per mile, my worst race pace ever, and I’m proud as fuck of it. And, I didn’t take the bail out on a single obstacle, not even the ones that scared the shit out of me.)

I kept something in my head all day.

“I know that slow and steady isn’t always as much fun but apparently it wins races. Or something.” – Meridith

I may not have finished first, but I finished, and that’s a win in my book. Thanks, Mer.

But, all this thinking, and walking (there was minimal running), helped me to remember some things I’d forgotten, things I desperately needed to remember.

Full post here.

Six Months Later…

It’s funny, I don’t remember feeling accomplished. I don’t remember feeling good about the fact that I finished. All I remember is feeling like that was my lowest, weakest point since I started running. I look back at that post and I know that was my attempt at a brave face.

There are things I didn’t write in that post. I didn’t mention that when I was in the woods (as much of this run was), I remember thinking “If I pass out in here, how the hell are they going to get me out?’ I didn’t mention that near the end, the paramedics pulled me aside and asked if I was okay.

I was not okay. I mean, I wasn’t going to have a heart attack like they seemed to think I might, but I was most definitely not okay.

And I didn’t mention that there was a moment on that course where I truly gave up. I finished the race because I had to get back to the parking lot, because there was no other option, but that race marked the end of my being a runner last year. After that, I wouldn’t run again when I restarted C25K this year. That day was a massive hit straight to my pride.

So, this week, I did something that I swore I wasn’t going to do until I’d completed the Couch to 5K training program.

I signed up for a race. Two races, actually.

One, I’m not nervous about. I signed up to run the Jog ‘n Hog with Team Scootadoot in July. Because the idea of running two miles, chugging some ice cream, and running back sounds… fun? FUN!

But, I also signed up for the Boston Diva Dash again.

Some part of me needs this. I need to recreate that experience as a positive. I need to train and be ready and race and know what THAT feels like. I need run by the paramedics and have them not even give me a passing glance.

I need to get my pride back.

And I can do it. I really can.

But… I’m scared, man. Really scared.

<3 Bec

P.S. If you don’t mention the fact that there is no mention of runs this week because there were no runs this week, I won’t either. Except that I just did. We’ll get back to that next week. Because I have a race to train for.