Becky Runs Boston

My adventures running in Boston, searching for that runner's chai.

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3 Halfs, 3 States, 1 Week

This week has been one of my favorites. A lot of people thought I was crazy for signing up for multiple half marathons with the Mainly Marathons New England Series but it was honestly one of the most fun running experiences I’ve had to date! For some background – Mainly Marathons organizes multiple series throughout the country where runners run back-to-back half or full marathons every day for a set number of days in different states. So, the New England series featured half marathons in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York over a 7 day period. I joined for Days 1, 3 and 5 in Maine, Vermont, and Rhode Island. To add to the fun, I also used the series as a way to fundraise for Sweet Paws Rescue, the organization from which we adopted Annabelle in October. My goal was $3000 (to add to the theme of 3’s that I took on for my 30th birthday – 3 half marathons, 3 states, $3000 for Sweet Paws!) and to date, I’m about $500 away from my goal! Click here if you’d like to donate!

Leading up to the series, I didn’t really know what to expect – how does someone train for back-to-back half marathons? how would my body feel on days 3 and 5?? As part of my training, I began running to work on Wednesdays – typically a 7.5 mile run that I expanded to as many as 10 miles – in order to get an additional long training run during the week. (Running to work is so much better than commuting via T and I plan on continuing to do this even when not training for 39.3 miles). My highest mileage during training was 30 miles.

My amazing friend Sarah flew up to Boston on Friday night to join me for the first two races. On Saturday, after an awesome birthday brunch at my most favorite Rosebud, we drove north to Sanford, Maine. Packet pick-up was held at the start of the race at the Sanford-Springvale YMCA. Walking towards the crowd, we met Greg, a runner from Massachusetts, who would go on to pace me for a couple under 9-minute miles during my second half marathon this past week (Thanks Greg!).

All the races began at 6am, so Sarah and I woke up bright and early at 5am to eat some breakfast, get ready, and drive to the race. Luckily, because the race was so small, parking was a non-issue and we were easily able to get to the start by around 5:40am. Clint, the Race Director, made announcements at 5:50am – including announcements about Sweet Paws Rescue! He had set up donation bins AND was auctioning off a shirt through a silent-auction. Clint and the Mainly Marathons team are seriously THE BEST.

The race was an out-and-back along a paved trail. The unusual aspect though is that runners do MULTIPLE out-and-backs and collect rubber-bands along the way to show (prove?) how many laps you’d completed. The first race was a 6 lap course, and I’ve got to admit, I kind of love this style of race. After a lap or two, you begin to recognize people and since we all had our names printed on our bibs, it was easy to cheer each other on as we passed each other. Even better – it’s hard to get into your own head and think about how much pain you might be experiencing when you’re constantly being cheered or cheering on others.


Running and Smiling (Sanford, ME) – Picture taken by Trisha

Sarah and I ran the first 4 miles (two loops) together and then she let me keep on running while she walked (poor thing had dealt with foot, knee, and back problems while training!). Together, we had maintained about a 9:45 pace. After leaving her, I (unconsciously) sped up to about a 9:15 pace. All went great until about mile 10 when my own knee started to hurt. It was a hilly course, and my knees just did not love the uphills. I kept running though, and at the last turnaround I started running with one of the marathon runners, Justin, who grew up in Malden (where I live) and now lives in the neighboring town of Everett – such a small world! Thanks to our chit-chatting, I stayed focused on running and managed to complete the first half marathon of the series in 2:11:37 – 2nd female and 6th overall! I stretched and ate some snacks while I waited for Sarah to finish walking the rest of her half marathon – she was power-walking incredibly fast and I had trouble keeping up with her when I tried to join her! She ended up finishing at 3:08 – not too shabby for WALKING nine of the 13 miles!


We ran in Sweet Paws Rescue tank tops! (Sanford, ME)

While most of the other runners in the series did true back-to-back runs, I took a rest day every other day. What’s amazing is that even though I had the benefit of rest and they didn’t, they still kicked my butt and pushed me to run so hard. Tuesday’s race was in Springfield, Vermont. It is a VERY good thing Sarah was with me because I had ZERO cell service in Chester, Vermont where we were staying and I would have been VERY screwed if she hadn’t been there with her 1 bar of service. For example, I was able to get directions to a restaurant with gluten-free pizza but had not realized it was CLOSED on Mondays. If Sarah hadn’t been there, I would’ve just sat in that parking lot wondering what to do – there were no restaurants within sight and I had no idea how to get back to the AirBNB. Luckily, she was able to find a Scottish pub (in middle-of-nowhere-Vermont) where I had some delicious bangers and mash.

Sarah was *very* sore after her amazing power-walking victory so she understandably opted to stay at the AirBNB while I went to the race. The Vermont race took place on the Toonerville Trail – a really lovely walking/running/biking path along a river with small waterfalls (and a highway on the other side, but I tried to focus on the really lovely nature). From the start, I was running at around a 9-minute pace with two of the marathoners – Lai and Rob. Lai – ALSO originally from Malden but now lives in Connecticut – had been our neighbor at the first hotel and informed me that Norman Greenbaum, who wrote the song “Spirit in the Sky” was also from Malden- these are the things runners discuss on long runs, haha.


Running with Lai and Rob (Springfield, VT) – Picture taken by the Howder Family


Running with Dallas (Springfield, VT) – Picture taken by the Howder Family

Eventually, Dallas, a runner from Texas, caught up to us and she and I ran together for a bit. Her goal was to get 2:0something, so I figured running with her would keep me at a good pace. At one of the rubber-band turnarounds, I ran into Greg and ran with him for a bit – he is SPEEDY and I was running sub-9 minute miles to keep up with him. That didn’t last too long, and eventually I slowed back down. Rob, a marathoner, caught up to me, and he paced me to my sub-2 hour victory. I had forgotten my watch and my phone died at mile 12, but Rob was patient enough to keep me updated on our pace and distance, and informed me that I hit 13.1 miles on his watch at 1:58:47. NEW PR! With just a little bit left to go, he encouraged me to speed up and I was able to get to the finish line at 1:59:46 – 2nd female and 3rd overall! Greg finished 1st overall, Dallas finished shortly after me, and she was followed by Leah, who had finished right behind me in Maine. Who PRs on their second half marathon in 3 days? Apparently I do!


Leah, (someone I don’t know), Greg, Dallas, and me! (Springfield, VT) – Picture from Leah

Sarah flew home Tuesday night, and Eric decided to take Wednesday – Friday off from work to hang out with me! We assumed he would have to stay home with Annabelle, but apparently the La Quinta Inn allows dogs – FOR FREE! So Wednesday afternoon we packed up the car and took a family trip down to Rhode Island for my final race. Eric and Annabelle woke up bright and early with me and we headed to the race start in Coventry. In previous races, the parking lot had been separate from the running route, and I assumed that Eric would be able to leave to get some coffee/breakfast while he waited for me… but no such luck. The Coventry route looped AROUND the parking lot, so Eric and Annabelle were trapped! I had planned on taking it a little easier in my third race, but with them waiting for me, I figured I’d push myself a little harder and finish as fast as I could – for them!

Dallas and I started out together, but we eventually split up – the race in Massachusetts the day before had been a tough one! I ran most of the race on my own, cheering on all my new friends and waving frantically at Eric and Annabelle whenever I passed them (at about every mile or so). The route felt uphill in both directions, but luckily not too steep. It was also the biggest number of loops – 10 out-and-backs! I started out really strong at 9:05 minute miles or so, and eventually slowed down to 9:25. The course was long (again) and I hit 13.1 miles at 2:00:something – my SECOND fasted time! However, by the time I got to the actual finish line, it was more like 2:07:something. Still, not too shabby. And I still managed to finish as 3rd female and 6th overall!


Some of Day 5’s Fastest Runners (Coventry, RI) – Photo taken from Leah


Norm, the Mainly Marathons chef and cheerleader, posing with a garter full of cash for Sweet Paws Rescue (Coventry, RI) – Photo taken by the Howder Family

This was an AMAZING experience and SO MUCH FUN! You’d think that after 3 half marathons in a week, I’d want to maybe take a break, but I’m already trying to figure out what race I should do next! My body feels pretty good, it’s only a little tired, and my knees are doing great! Luckily, I won’t have to wait too long until my next race – tomorrow I’ll be running the Playworks 5K!

Thank you Mainly Marathons for an amazing experience and helping me to raise money for Sweet Paws Rescue! I can’t wait to run with you again soon!

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Week 1 and a Race Recap

More than $1,000 raised towards our $3,000 goal for Sweet Paws Rescue. With 70 days between now and the start of my 3 half-marathon challenge, we’re doing great! Check out the Sweet Paws Rescue Facebook to read the amazing stories of the dogs they’re saving. I hope you will consider a gift to support them! Please visit my fundraising page!

Also, for the runners out there, I highly recommend checking out the United Relay of America. Starting in Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, runners will be running across the country. They’ll be in almost every state, so there’s a chance they’ll be running near YOU! If you’re in the Boston area, join me for an 8-mile run from Watertown to Boston. Or, you can always make a gift to support my fundraising minimum for Boston Children’s Hospital!


This morning I ran the Half at the Hamptons in Hampton, New Hampshire and it was GREAT! I’ve been dealing with knee pain on my long runs and have been going to physical therapy for the last few weeks to work on it. My PT says that it stems from a muscle imbalance in my glutes/hips/core and he says he’s already seeing some improvement. Last week I was able to get to 11.5 miles before my knee crapped out, so I was hopeful that I’d do ok this morning.

Welllllllll instead my knee started to hurt at around mile 4. However, I realized that it felt better while running, not walking. If I went from running to walking, my knee would freak out and stop bending. BUT if I kept running, the pain would decrease and just hurt a little, and more importantly, keep bending and allow me to run. So I kept running. And I figured that at some point my knee would give up, so I might as well run at a faster pace to make up for any time I would lose when I would eventually be stuck walking. Except… that didn’t really happen. My knee held out and I finished in just over 2:12. YES! One of my best times!


I’ve been on the Elimination Diet for a week and it actually hasn’t been that bad! The no caffeine and alcohol are a bit annoying (says the girl who went to the Phantom Gourmet Food and Wine Festival yesterday and drank all the wine samples…. whoops? at least I didn’t eat any of the food samples?). Here’s some pics of what I’ve been eating:


Week 1 Lunch and Snacks – Salads were based off of this Big Vegan Bowl from Oh She Glows and snacks were a super easy chia seed pudding with almond milk, chia seeds, and berries.


Dinner for a few days was Roasted Chicken with Fall Vegetables based of this recipe from Damn Delicious.


Another Dinner: Based off a Curried Sweet Potato Roti recipe from my friend Jen. Added shrimp… and way too much cayenne pepper. Still delicious!



Coconut crusted cod with curried cauliflower and kale. I ate almost a full head of cauliflower. And Eric politely asked me to maybe not cook curry several nights in a row. I suppose that’s a fair request. He DID rave about the Coconut Aminos that I cooked the kale in, so that’s a pretty good win.


Korean Beef Noodle Bowls from Against All Grains, an awesome cooking book from my friend Ash. I LOVE zucchini noodles, and I successfully cooked beef… I think?


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Another Challenge: The Elimination Diet

We’re more than 30% of the way towards our $3,000 goal for Sweet Paws Rescue. With approximately 80 days between now and the start of my 3 half-marathon challenge, we’re doing great! Check out the Sweet Paws Rescue Facebook to read the amazing stories of the dogs they’re saving. I hope you will consider a gift to support them! Please visit my fundraising page!

Also, for the runners out there, I highly recommend checking out the United Relay of America. Starting in Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, runners will be running across the country. They’ll be in almost every state, so there’s a chance they’ll be running near YOU! If you’re in the Boston area, join me for an 8-mile run from Watertown to Boston. Or, you can always make a gift to support my fundraising minimum for Boston Children’s Hospital!


As anyone who reads this blog knows, I love a good challenge. Whether it’s running the Boston Marathon, running a half marathon every month for a year, or running a mile outside every day in the middle of winter, I can’t get enough. My doctors apparently know this too, and have recommended I challenge myself to an Elimination Diet.

Except Barney has WAY better hair than me.

Here’s the back story – I’ve had thinnish hair most of my life. However, in recent years, it has gotten progressively worse. I’m not talking bald spots, per se. Just an overall thin head of hair that feels pretty unattractive, affectionately called Androgenic Alopecia by my Dermatologist. I’d been ignoring it, chalking it up to genetics, but it recently got to the point that other people were noticing — and telling me. So, I made some Doctor appointments, got some blood tests done, and started taking all the vitamins.

My primary Doctor suggested I make an appointment with the holistic Doctor at the office. After talking about my symptoms, diet, and lifestyle, and some poking/prodding, the holistic Doctor decided that either my digestive system is a little messed up and doesn’t allow me to absorb vitamins efficiently OR I have a food allergy that is messing up my digestive system, which in turn doesn’t allow me to absorb vitamins efficiently. While my vitamin levels are all within the technically normal range, they’re fairly low within the normal range, which is weird since I’ve been consistently taking assorted vitamins for months/years. He even asked if I limit my sodium intake because my levels suggested I do – and I explained that I actually enjoy putting salt on most foods because it helps me retain water/not faint. Go figure.

Yesterday I met with a Nutritionist who gave me the lowdown on what an Elimination Diet Challenge entails. The holistic Doctor had already hinted that it would involve no gluten, no dairy, no eggs, no caffeine. The Nutritionist lengthened that list to the following:

  • No Gluten
  • No Dairy
  • No Yeast
  • No Soy
  • No Eggs
  • No Caffeine
  • No Alcohol
  • No Corn
  • No Tomatoes
  • No Citrus Fruits
  • No Additives/Sugars/Coloring/etc.

Are we having fun yet?

From the official @Whole30® Instagram feed. Julie Andrews is obviously not subscribed to the #Whole30 Daily, or she'd be feeling a LOT more positive about the program.

It’s a long list of NOs, but there are PLENTY of YES foods that I can eat – vegetables, most fruits, meats, beans, and nuts (and nut butters!). While the next month might not be the most fun — it’ll definitely be harder to go out to eat! — I’m not actually that worried. The hardest part will be cutting out caffeine (I’ve already started weaning myself off of it) and the most annoying part is that I already did a Dry January, and now have to cut out alcohol again!

Once I’ve cut everything out for four weeks, I’ll slowly add each thing back in, one by one, to see which – if any – cause a reaction or are accompanied by some kind of symptom. Based on that list of NOs, I’m thinking this is a multi-month process. It’s unclear how the diet will affect my running – I’ll be doing two races during the course of the challenge.

Overall, I’m feeling pretty positive about this whole situation. Let’s be completely honest – this isn’t that big of a deal and I know people who have to deal with much worse things related to their health. This is nothing compared to what they have to go through. Hopefully it helps, and if it doesn’t, I’ll just have to try something else. I plan on giving myself the upcoming weekend to prep, so the fun will start first thing on Monday. I’ll make sure to keep you all posted!

Have you completed an Elimination Diet Challenge at the suggestion of a Doctor? How did it go? Have any tips?

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My (kinda) first Spinning Class

Before I get into my post, I’m thrilled to announce we’re more than 10% of the way towards our $3,000 goal for Sweet Paws Rescue. With 13 weeks between now and the start of my 3 half-marathon challenge, we’ll need to keep this pace up! Check out the Sweet Paws Rescue Facebook to read the amazing stories of the dogs they’re saving. I hope you will consider a gift to support them! Please visit my fundraising page! TODAY ONLY, gifts of $20 will be matched with $5 – aka, $20 = $25, $40 = $50, $60 = $75. Don’t pass up this opportunity to make an even bigger difference!

Also, for the runners out there, I highly recommend checking out the United Relay of America. Starting in Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, runners will be running across the country. They’ll be in almost every state, so there’s a chance they’ll be running near YOU! If you’re in the Boston area, join me for an 8-mile run from Watertown to Boston. Or, you can always make a gift to support my fundraising minimum for Boston Children’s Hospital!


Ok, why haven’t I been going to spinning classes? They are AMAZING! A few years ago when I was living in Watertown, I belonged to a gym that offered spinning classes. I was pretty obsessed with running, but decided to take an early morning spin class just to try it. And it was awful. I hated it. I was bored and it wasn’t fun. So I actively avoided spinning for years.

After hearing two friends separately rave about Velo-City, I decided to give spinning another chance, and I am SO happy that I did. Their classes have a variety of musical themes that are designed to really pump up the riders and get them excited. It’s a lot of dance music and Top 40 hits and then some great throwbacks. Last night we went to the Top 40 Remix, which was mostly just a lot of Justin Bieber, but it got everyone’s energy up and moving! Some other themes they offer include: Bieber vs. Timberlake, Songs of Summer, Britney vs. NSync vs. Christina, etc.

The studio is located in a hidden basement off of Newbury Street in Back Bay, and the classes are taught in a dark room where neon colors shine. They provide special bike shoes (man, those are silly looking), and one of the staff members took a few minutes to explain how to adjust the bike for my height and preferences. Within minutes, I was pouring sweat. The class was constantly moving and changing – speed work, hills, ‘jumping’, push-ups, and there were even hand weights! It was one of the best workouts I’ve had in a while, and suffice it to say, I will be back asap!

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Support Sweet Paws Rescue!


Best Friends.

I’ve been placing hints on my last few posts that I was up to something. I’m finally ready to make the announcement. In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’m raising money to support an important cause.

Sweet Paws Rescue is an organization that rescues dogs from across the South and finds them loving homes in New England. This is the organization that brought Annabelle into our lives, and we couldn’t be more grateful.

Sweet Paws Rescue is a Massachusetts registered non-profit 501(c)(3) “shelter less” dog rescue that was founded by Cynthia Sweet in 2011. The rescue is run by Cynthia and a team of amazing fosters & volunteers all across New England. SPR also teams up with a close network of seasoned and reputable rescue women in Alabama & Mississippi to help provide aid due to an overpopulation problem in the South. In return, this network of women works diligently to create awareness, educate the next generation & reform legislation. If you were to follow them on Facebook, you’d read about their amazing, life-saving efforts. Every week, their good works inspires me. Every day, I’m thankful they exist and that they saved Annabelle’s life.


How do I plan to raise money for Sweet Paws? Through running, of course! My original goal was to complete an ultra-marathon before I turned 30. That isn’t happening. As I get ready for my first PT appointment to get my knees checked, I know that my body just doesn’t love the marathon distance, let alone the ultra-marathon distance. I’m hopeful that one day my body will learn to love it, but for right now, I have to work with what I’ve got.


Recognizing this, but still wanting to do something that challenged me, I reached out to my new friends at Mainly Marathons. This group puts on awesome sounding multi-day marathon/half-marathon/5K races that encourage individuals to race everyday for a 5 or 7 day period in a different state. The New England Series is conveniently the week after my 30th birthday. If you look at their website, they’re offering everyone a FREE race this year, so I asked if I could have the first race of the New England Series. They said Yes! I then asked if they would partner with me by providing a discount on any other races in the series, so long as I was fundraising for a cause. Again, they said Yes!

So here’s the plan:


On Sunday May 15, I’ll be running a half marathon in Maine.


I’ll run another half marathon on Tuesday May 17 in Vermont.


And on Thursday May 19, I’ll run a third half marathon in Rhode Island.


That’s right. 3 half marathons. 3 states. 1 week. While I not-so-secretly wish I was telling you that I was running the entire series, that would be way too much stress on my body and my wallet, as I would have to travel from state to state, stay in hotels, eat out, etc. This way, my body gets some much needed rest and I get to sleep in my own bed. And, these are three new states, helping me towards a life goal of racing a half marathon in every state.


Did I mention that this is also 100 days away? I have a LOT of mileage to start adding in to my schedule! Luckily, thanks to Sweet Paws Rescue, I have Annabelle as my training partner on most of my runs. $1,000 per half marathon seems like a reasonable goal, don’t you? Please help me raise $3,000 for Sweet Paws Rescue through this half marathon challenge!


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Dry January / Winter Warrior

January 2016 came and went, and I’m not sure how that could possibly have been 31 days. The first month of the year included two challenges: Dry January and the Winter Warrior Challenge.

Dry January was surprisingly easy. I even started a day early on New Years Eve. We spent the evening with some pregnant friends, so there was very little pressure on me to drink. The month also saw several nights out for dinner with friends, a Baby Shower (with a decent number of alcoholic beverage options – and non-alcoholic lemonade), a trip to California (where I celebrated the purchase of my wedding dress with ice cream instead of a drink), and a party at a bar where the bartender made sure my glass of soda water was always full.

I celebrated the start of February with dinner out with a friend followed by Oh, Hello at the Wilbur Theater… and a cocktail. And you know what? Shmeh. Not that exciting. While I’ve never been a heavy drinker, I’ve also never gone a month without drinking before – and I like knowing that it was pretty easy and that all of those social experiences didn’t feel awkward without a drink in hand. And, what’s more interesting, making the concerted effort to not drink also inspired me to eat healthier overall. It’s February 2nd, and I’m beginning to think I should keep the dry challenge going.

The Winter Warrior Challenge was definitely the harder of the two challenges. The premise of the challenge was to walk/run a mile OUTSIDE every day for the month. While I tried my best to run those miles, I ended up walking a fair amount. Annabelle joined me for many of the miles – she enjoyed the early morning runs and walks a lot. And, with our surprisingly warm weather this month, I even ended the month with a 12-mile run in a t-shirt.


January 31 in New England. And people say global warming isn’t real.

Overall, I logged just over 78 miles over the month of January, which I’m also able to count towards another challenge – the Aloha Challenge – a virtual 100-mile run that I have until February 29 to complete. I think I’ll get those last 22 miles without a problem!


When Annabelle wakes you up at 4:45AM, you get in some extra miles.

Don’t worry, readers. I have a lot more challenges to complete these next few months. Get ready for an announcement on Friday!

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Welcome to 2016!

I know that next week is February, and my introduction to 2016 is a tad late, but…

1. I haven’t had much to say related to the blog, and

2. I’ve been too busy and the blog has unfortunately taken a backseat to everything else.

But, the last 24 hours have proven pretty interesting and, fingers crossed, if all things go as I hope, I’ll have some fun and exciting news related to reaching a running goal for my 30th birthday while doing some good, too. One of my faults is that any small thing can send me into a tailspin of excitement and planning, setting me up for disappointment if it doesn’t work out. There’s a good chance that this could be one of those instances. Send good thoughts my way that I can make this work!

In other news, I’m almost done with the Marathon Sports Winter Warrior Challenge – a month of running/walking at least a mile outside every day. I’ve done almost 60 miles this month, but some of those were collected by walking Annabelle around the neighborhood. (Have I mentioned Annabelle? Our awesome dog? That we adopted in mid-October? Follow me on Instagram to get access to a bunch of pictures of her!)


Annabelle, the best dog ever.

I’m still strength training at 0600 Conditioning and doing personal training sessions with Staci and still totally loving it. I’ve started researching equipment to get a sense of how much it might cost to buy some of the key pieces to create a home gym in our basement. I no longer feel like a newbie in my bootcamp classes, and still can’t believe that I’m capable of doing real push-ups. Next up? I’d love to do some pull-ups. Recently, 0600 has been hosting Mobility Clinics that should really be called “Super Painful Stretching Clinic.” I know that these moves and positions are SUPER beneficial in the long run (haha, get it? I made a joke), so I’m going to try and keep it up on my own. (Note to self: Buy a lacrosse ball to sit on.)

The next month is dedicated to getting ready for the half marathon in early March and 20-miler at the end of March. Over the weekend I went out for a 10 mile run. While everyone else on the East Coast seemed to get dumped with snow Saturday, we only got a few inches, so Sunday ended up having decent conditions. Some of the sidewalks still had some snow, but the sun was shining and I only had to wear a long-sleeve half-zip over a t-shirt. Basically naked compared to the amount of clothing I usually have to wear this time of year! I wasn’t feeling super inspired, so I figured I’d do a few 5K laps on a flatter part of the neighborhood. At around mile 6, my phone died (cold weather kills my phone, and my Garmin watch was at home charging. Note to self: Better prepare for long runs!). I had a decent sense of how far I had gone and how far I still needed to go, so I kept running, without technology (I also don’t run with music, so it was just me and the roads).

At mile 9, my left knee gave up. My knees have been bothering me on long runs lately – but are totally fine the rest of the time. I’m not quite sure what the issue is, and I’ve been stretching/rolling to try and figure it out, but no such luck yet. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, I’d love to hear them! I walked back to the house and calculated that I ended up doing about 9.6 miles – close enough to 10! Hopefully next weekend will go better and my 13 miles will go smoothly and pain free 🙂