Becky Runs Boston

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


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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!

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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:

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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.

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

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

 

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.
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LET’S GO FOR A RUN!

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.

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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!

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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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One More Month

Today is March 20th. It’s the first day of spring. Eric and I have been dating for 4.5 years. And, of course, the Boston Marathon is just one month away. I can’t even handle my excitement. For those people who see me on a regular basis, the marathon is one of the few things I’m willing to talk about. Get ready, because for the next month, it will probably be the ONLY thing I’m capable of talking about.

One month. 31 days. 100 miles (yup, I did the math and based on my training schedule I will run 100 miles this final month before the marathon). This is all that stands between me and the start line in Hopkinton.

 

Besides having a weird stomach bug that kept me on my couch and out of my sneakers for a week, I’ve been feeling great. I’ve tackled 16.8 miles in 3 hours – my new longest distance – and next Saturday, 3/28 the TNT group and I will be doing our longest pre-marathon run – 20 miles! Team in Training will be busing us to Hopkinton so that we can experience the first 20 miles of the Boston Marathon route. Training with TNT has been amazing – the support of the staff, coaches, and volunteers who have stood around in freezing cold temperatures on their Saturday mornings to make sure we have the water, Gatorade, and snacks necessary to get through our runs has been unbelievable. I wouldn’t be able to do this if not for them. Last week, when I felt sick and didn’t know whether to attend the 18 mile run on Saturday, my coach emailed me the following:

 

No doubling up or trying to add in miles. That would hurt you more than help you. Rest is best right now. You’ll be ok! And truthfully you have the fitness to be able to run a marathon right now. All good.

 

Knowing that my coaches think that I have the fitness to get through a marathon at this point is an incredible confidence booster.

 

savin2015Tomorrow I’ll be in Connecticut running the Savin Rock Half Marathon with my friend Elizabeth. It’s supposed to snow today, and should be pretty foggy tomorrow, so I’m going to guess we’ll be taking things relatively slow and easy. BUT we will be wearing incredible outfits that feature shark hats and shark socks… and maybe fins? The Savin Rock Half Marathon is hosted by the Shoreline Sharks… so clearly that means we need to dress up like sharks. I will make sure to post pictures with my race report.

 

Fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is going great, too. I have less than $1,000 left to raise to get to my goal of $7,500, and on Tuesday, March 31st I’ll be hosting a fundraiser and raffle at Flatbread Pizza in Somerville. The restaurant will donate a couple dollars for each pizza sold to LLS, and I’m hoping to raise additional funds through my raffle, which features awesome prizes like a 4-night stay in Cancun, a basket of wine, and gift cards for a really nice date night around Davis Square. This fundraiser will be a special night – not only will it be the capstone to all of my fundraising efforts since October, but it is also the 5 year anniversary of my Granny’s leukemia diagnosis. I will definitely be raising a glass and toasting her that evening.

 

So what can I expect for this final month, besides a half-marathon, a 20 mile run, and an awesome fundraiser? This last month is going to be all about taking as good care of myself as possible, whether it’s training as seriously as possible, eating the right foods that fuel my body, and making sure my body is in top notch shape with acupuncture, sports massage, and a visit to my chiropractor.

 

I’ll be figuring out my gear these next few weeks, too. I usually run with a belt and a handheld water bottle, but for the Marathon I’m going to incorporate a second water bottle. I’ve purchased a water bottle belt that should be able to also hold my phone and my second bag of snacks. This last month/more I put together a really solid nutrition plan that hasn’t steered me wrong yet – I carry baggies of pretzels, peanut butter m&ms,and sour watermelon gummies. Every 30 minutes I eat a handful of the mix, making sure I get some carbohydrates, sodium, and fat on a regular basis, totaling about 100 calories per 30 minutes. Considering you burn approximately 100 calories for every 10 minutes of running, my tasty fuel should keep me going during those 4.5 hours I’ll be running the marathon!

The fact that I might not be able to carry all of my snacks is one of my major concerns for Marathon Monday.

The most important thing I will be doing this final month is gathering the names of friends, family, and acquaintances who have fought blood cancers. My running singlet will have Granny’s name centered on my back, but I would also like to write in some other names. One friend has already given me the name of her own grandmother, and it would be an honor to include others and run in their honor or memory as well. If you or someone you know has a loved one who has battled one of the blood cancers and would be willing to let me recognize that person, please let me know.


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Five Things Friday

It’s the 4th day of Hanukkah, it’s the last full week before a TWELVE day break from work, and I’m feeling pretty good about life. Here’s a Five Things Friday to discuss some of the great things going on right now.

1. Last weekend I was in California visiting my bffaeaetddup who is very pregnant to throw her a baby shower. I’m very excited about the upcoming birth of my newest niece (Note: My sister is not pregnant nor a mother, yet I already have several nieces. I have the greatest friends and I’m going to spoil their children rotten. You can’t stop me.) Beyond the whole “being pregnant” thing, she and her awesome hubby are also in the midst of a total home renovation, and it was so cool to see how far they’ve come in transforming this fixer-upper. And, their neighborhood smells like fresh tortillas.

2. After 48 hours in Northern California, I flew down to Los Angeles to see my Momma. After a quick dinner post-airport pick-up, we drove to Santa Monica to see “Not That Jewish” the inaugural performance of Jewish Womens Theater in their new performance and art space. Not only was it hilarious and personally touching, but my Momma made it all possible by commissioning the piece from comedian Monica Piper. It’s fantastic and you should see it if you’re in the Los Angeles area. Still not convinced? Here’s a review.

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3. It’s Hanukkah! The first night was Tuesday so I got to celebrate with my Momma in Los Angeles before getting on the red-eye flight back to Boston. Tomorrow night, we’re hosting a small Hanukkah party where my sister is making latkes from scratch, I’m making soufganiyot (jelly donuts) from scratch, and some friends are bringing their daughters (two of my aforementioned nieces) to learn about the holiday. Apparently the 5 year old has been prepping for the party all week and has some pink menorah decorations for us to hang up. There will probably be some dreidels and funny Hanukkah youtube videos to go with the food.

4. Gifts! I love giving gifts and everything is so nicely wrapped in preparation for tomorrow night (and Christmas with Eric’s family). Eric and I exchanged Hanukkah gifts last night and he surprised me with the MOST AMAZING AND BEAUTIFUL Garmin running watch. It has GPS. It has a heart monitor. It’s the fanciest thing in the world. Because everyone knows running is my only hobby/extracurricular interest, I’ve also received a new RoadID bracelet, I Believe in the Blerch socks, and The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances book.

BeckySanta5. Tomorrow is my first run with Team in Training! And, because it’s the holiday season, there’s a contest for the best running costume and the winner will get $100 towards their fundraising. I happen to know someone with a full body Santa outfit… beard and hat included… and I’m offering to run in this full body Santa outfit… for SIX MILES… if I can raise $100 between now and tomorrow morning at 8am. Who wouldn’t want to see this nice Jewish girl run around Wellesley in a too-big Santa costume? Donations can be made through my fundraising website or through Dobie Dash registrations. There’s only 18 hours (my favorite number!) to go!

What are you happy or excited about on this lovely Friday? Tell me in the comments!


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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.

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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.

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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!

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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 https://www.yankeecandlefundraising.com/ 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!