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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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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December 18th and a Dobie Dash

December 18th –  Boston Marathon Update

This is my third update, which means I’ve already been at this for 3 months. Time flies! And I still have 4 months to go (yup, 4 months and 2 days until the Boston Marathon!). Things are going great!

Kickoff was this past weekend and the official start to marathon training and fundraising. Unfortunately, I had to miss Kickoff because I was celebrating my pregnant bffaeaetddup at her baby shower. Pretty good excuse, I think 🙂 However, the Saturday prior we had a mini launch with our first official get-together to talk about fundraising and proper running gear. I had the pleasure of meeting a few of my teammates, my coaches, and go to Marathon Sports as a group. Marathon Sports is a close friend of Team in Training and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, so they give everyone on the team a nice discount on gear and shoes. I had one of the knowledgeable staff members check out my current favorite shoes, my Brooks Ghosts, and she confirmed that they’re the right kind of shoe for me – win!

Training itself is going well, too! Even though I was away in California, I made sure to go for a run every day I was there (although I missed yesterday because of my red-eye flight and after-work holiday party… and missed today from the sleeping in). I checked out the Tufts outdoor track for the first time last week during a disgusting rainy/snowy/sleety morning with the goal of 1. finding the track and 2. running at a slow pace around the track. Luckily, I was able to succeed in those goals. I am excited to go back for my first real track workout next week. I’ve also started cross-training, by riding my indoor bike a few days a week. I still need to look into joining Harvard’s gym to get access to their weight room for strength-training… and one of these weeks I will make my triumphant return to yoga!

As for my fundraising, I’m continuously astounded by the generosity of my friends and family. To date, I have raised $4,499.20. This doesn’t count the additional $258.80 that I’m expecting from Yankee Candles or the close to $100 that was raised at the CPK dinner last week. If you do the math, I’m less than $200 away from my $5,000 minimum!

The Dobie Dash 5K for LLS

Dobie Dash Medal Proof

This could be yours! You know you want it!

While I have to raise at least $5,000 to run for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, my personal goal is $7,500. With this in mind, I’ve decided to put on a virtual Dobie Dash 5K Run/Walk to support LLS! If 100 people sign up, I’ll order  awesome custom-designed medals as a thank you to everyone who participates. Best part? ALL PROCEEDS WILL GO TOWARDS LLS! If fewer than 100 people sign up, participants will still receive an awesome thank you in the mail (it will just be a little less exciting than a CUSTOM FINISHER’S MEDAL!)

How does it work? It’s EASY. Register here and then run/walk 3.1 miles between now and March 20th. You can do it outside, inside, on a track, on a treadmill, on the open road (safely), with a friend, with a group, or all alone – it’s up to you! And, for registering, you’ll get a custom finisher’s medal like the one pictured, a REAL race bib (if you’re one of the first 50 to register), and a chance to win a $15 gift card to Road ID (there will be multiple chances to win!).

Tell your family, tell your friends, LET’S DO THIS!

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November 18th

This is the second in my series of monthly updates on my Boston Marathon training and fundraising. I started writing this on 11/18, but due to distractions I’m only finishing it up today. Oh well. Read here why I choose to write on the 18th of the month!

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week. Thanksgiving was my Granny’s FAVORITE holiday. For most of my life, we would head to Granny and Poppies’ house where there was always a ridiculous amount of delicious food, a turkey that never cooked just to Granny’s liking (even though we all thought it was perfect), and post-Thanksgiving dinner walks around the neighborhood. Thanksgiving was *her* holiday.


We would all sit in the formal dining room – something saved for special occasions – and would serve ourselves buffet-style from the numerous dishes around the kitchen table and counters. I always sat to my Granny’s left, and usually her faithful doberman sat between us or under the table. It was through these special family meals that I learned to love cooking for family and friends and hosting big meals. If we weren’t so busy, I would’ve planned one of those Friendsgivings for our friends.

These days I spend Thanksgiving with Eric’s family and I think Granny would approve of the tasty food, fantastic family time, and the Boston Terrier begging for scraps. Last year I participated in the MS Society’s Thanksgiving 5K Thanksgiving morning and even though it was SO cold, it remains my best 5k time. This year, since I’m still recuperating from my ankle sprain, I’ll be going for a *much* slower run.


Thanksgiving 2013. SO COLD.

Speaking of runs, this morning I went for my first run in over a month! I did a nice and slow 1 mile around the neighborhood and my ankle feels pretty good! Tomorrow I’m going to ride my Sunny bike and I’ll try going for another short run on Saturday. Boston Marathon training starts December 1 and while I’m nervous about how my ankle will hold up, I’m feeling a little more confident that while I won’t be in half-marathon shape, I’ll at least be able to keep up with the slow and steady training plan.

But back to the theme of the post – this year, I am so incredibly thankful for the love and support of my family, friends, and colleagues who are helping me reach my fundraising goal of $7,500 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I’m officially more than half way there with $4,247 raised – and still have 5 months to go. While personal solicitations have been my primary method for raising funds, I’ve also held a Halloween-themed Bar Crawl that raised $200, I’m selling Yankee Candles online (group number 990071104) and have raised $300+ and on Wednesday, December 10th I’m hosting a fundraising event at the Prudential Center’s California Pizza Kitchen. I’m thrilled with the progress I’ve made so far, and excited for what I’ll be announcing next month!

What are you most excited for this Thanksgiving? Any suggestions for what I should bake for dessert? Tell me in the comments!


Tumbling Tuesday: Part IV

It’s been 2 weeks since I had the most tumble-ful day ever. After 2 solid weeks of boot-ing around Harvard Square, Davis Square, and S&E’s wedding in North Carolina (with some epic boot-y dancing), my ankle has been feeling pretty good. It’s occasionally been sore (like, after a full day of wedding prep and venue set-up), but for the most part, it’s just felt… confused… as if it’s forgotten how to be a real foot. This morning, I had my 2 week follow-up appointment. I wore my usual black boot on my left foot and brought its right-footed friend. And, because I’m smart, I also brought a pair of sneakers, just in cases. The doctor was pleased with my recovery. However, I did not get the go-ahead to resume running. Or the go ahead to put on that other boot.

#TrueStory #StupidAnkle

#TrueStory #StupidAnkle

For the next 2 weeks, I’ll be sneak-ing it up! As in, I get to wear sneakers everywhere I go! AND I have a super sexy compression sock that I’ll wear on my ankle to make sure it doesn’t swell up. I also have some awesome ankle exercises that I get to do 3x a day. (Have I yet done them today? Only once.) For the next week, I get to continue taking it easy, i.e. sleeping in and staying up late. Starting next Tuesday, I can start… walking more. And maybe riding a bike, slowly. And after that 4th week, I can FINALLY start to run again. THAT MEANS A WHOLE MONTH OFF FROM RUNNING.


Could my ankle be any cuter? No, I don’t think it could.

So, what does that mean for me? Well, I’ve sold my bib for the Chilly Half Marathon to another TNT LLS Boston Marathon runner. I had hoped to do a Thanksgiving 5K, but I’m not sure it’s going to happen. HOWEVER, the best news is that I should be totally ok by the time marathon training actually begins in December. Phew. THIS COULD BE SO MUCH WORSE.


Accurate depiction of how I am feeling about my October-November injury. This would be SO MUCH WORSE if it happened December-April.

I might finally look into purchasing a bike trainer so that I can start doing some cross-training. Do you have a bike trainer that you think is great but not too expensive? Tell me about it in the comments!


In the meantime, I’m working on my fundraising. I don’t know if you’ve noticed (perhaps you live under a rock or don’t watch tv, listen to the radio, or leave the house), but the holidays are officially here. If you hate shopping in public or want to support a good cause while you shop, you can order Yankee Candles online and 40% of your purchase will go towards LLS! That’s right – you buy a $25 candle, and $10 goes to LLS. Feel good about your holiday shopping! Go to and enter 990071104 in the Group number (It should say L and L Society Becky Solo in the Welcome Page).

Haven’t had a chance to donate to my LLS Boston Marathon fundraising efforts yet? Don’t worry, you have PLENTY of time!