Happy Halloween, Runner Friends!

Happy Halloween, dear runner friends! What will you be doing tonight?

Disney’s Haunted Mansion ghost bride, a.k.a. the Angry Toddler, wishes you the spookiest of Halloweens.

I gave myself a treat by ordering a new pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17s that should arrive on November 2. (Thank YOU, Amazon Prime!) My current Brooks Adrenaline GTS 16s have close to 450 miles on them, and I could tell they were wearing out by some shin and foot pain I’ve been experiencing. (That’s usually my cue that it’s time to find some new Brooks!) I can’t wait to test them out and see how they feel compared to the 16s.



Race Recap: Monster Mash Half Marathon 10/21/17

I’m going to sum up this half marathon race recap in three phrases—ears of corn, exasperation, and end in sight. I’ve seen a slight trend in signing up for full marathons and then dropping down to the half distance before race day due to lack of training. I’m placing ZERO judgment here—it’s no surprise that I did the same thing for the Monster Mash race in Dover, DE on October 21, 2017.

I trained fairly consistently throughout the weeks, since I ran during my lunch breaks, but it was nearly impossible for awhile there to get in my long runs on weekends due to scheduling conflicts (work, Angry Toddler’s soccer, and so on) and plain lack of motivation. My heart wasn’t truly into a full, and quite frankly, I was A-OK with that. There was a little pang of regret as I emailed the amazing race director, Kent Buckson, to drop to the half, but it was an extremely seamless process that did not cost any extra.

The day before the race, I went to packet pick-up, which was at a simple white tent set up next to Miles the Monster (see pictures below). The race began at the Dover International Speedway, so to get to the packet pick-up area, you had to drive around the perimeter of the Speedway. I frankly had no idea if I was going the right way, as I couldn’t see any other cars around, but I figured I’d take my chances. I finally found it; luckily the line wasn’t too long, since I took my lunch break that day to pick up my bib. I kind of wish they had a small expo set up with items to purchase, but they didn’t have anything at all to offer.

The goody bags themselves (not the contents) were from the Rehoboth Beach Running Company, which I found odd, since the race wasn’t put on by the RBRC. Nevertheless, the bags contained a full-size Snickers bar, an awesome car magnet, some cute gummy Halloween candy (which I saved for the Angry Toddler), and a few flyers. When I shuffled over to grab my race t-shirt, they didn’t have my size listed on my race bib, so I asked for a medium. The volunteer held up a shirt that looked just about the Angry Toddler’s size. I laughed sheepishly, turned a nice shade of maroon, and asked what an extra large looked like. It looked humongous, so I grabbed a large and ran back to my car.

Side note: I’ve been feeling that “I’m-not-a-real-runner” feeling lately—whether it’s because I dropped from the full to the half, or I feel like I need to lose weight, or I haven’t been running as much as I should—so I stupidly compared myself to other runners picking up their bibs, and I was nervous that the large t-shirt wouldn’t fit nicely. (It does fit, thankfully!)

My mom was in town from New Hampshire that weekend, so she stayed home with the Angry Toddler on race morning while hubs brought me to the starting line. We got up at 5:45 a.m., and we left the house to go to the Speedway around 6:15 a.m. The race was supposed to start promptly at 7 a.m., and we live less than ten minutes from the Dover International Speedway. It was pitch dark and around 50 degrees or so at that point. Here I am before the race posing in front of Miles the Monster.

BeforeOh, did I mention that we danced the night away the night before at our annual Freebery family Halloween party?! I wore black heels, and of course one gave me a blister on my right heel. It hurt a little (even with a Band-Aid), so that was in the back of my mind on race morning for sure.

I used the porta-potty once before the race start, we listened to the opening ceremonies, and then I left hubs so that I could walk to the race starting line inside the Speedway. Hubs went home to go wake up the Angry Toddler and my mom to make sure that they were ready to meet me at the finish line. Here’s a picture of the race track as we walked inside the Speedway.


I saw a few pacers around and lined up a little bit behind the 2:15 pacer. My goal was to beat my last half PR of 2:15-and change, but I also knew that I hadn’t been running as much, so I just wanted to enjoy the race, since I’ve never run on this course before and it’s in my home city.

We started promptly at 7 a.m., and we ran the first mile on the track. I didn’t start my Nike+ Run Club app, since I’m still trying to do Tina Muir’s #NoWatchMe while racing. I quickly found the 2:15 pacer about half a mile in and tried to keep up with him and a few others following him. We ran out of the Speedway, down near where I live, around the center of the city, and then out toward what I’ll lovingly refer to as the “corn field area”. The entire course was flat (for the most part, but I’ll get into that later), and we were running into the sun, so I really wish I owned a pair of running sunglasses or had thought to wear a visor!

I kept up with Greg (the 2:15 pacer) for about five miles or so. Come to find out, he’s part of the Smyrna Clayton Running Club! Our president, Sarah, was positioned along the course in a few spots to cheer us on and take pictures, so that was an awesome surprise. Thank you, Sarah! I’d love to see any pictures that you took!

Around Mile 4, we chatted for a bit, but I’m so not skilled in talking and running, so I tried to make my responses short and sweet. I’m so sorry, Greg! In my mind, I really wanted to talk more, learn about how you became a pacer, what races you’ve run, etc. but I was too afraid that would require me to respond back—hah! I really hope you didn’t think I was rude! I knew I needed to take my first Gu around that time too, so I used that as an excuse to slow down at a nearby water stop and take my fabulous S’mores Gu gel.

Around Mile 5, I just couldn’t keep up with the 2:15 group anymore. Only two or three people were around Greg at that point, and one woman dropped back with me, so I didn’t feel so bad. I knew that in my mind that was the definitive moment when I wouldn’t be able to get a PR, but there was so much race left that I couldn’t worry about it too much. I say that, but at the same time, I know I walked way more than I should have after that point. I wasn’t in pain (although my left hip was getting tight), I wasn’t completely winded . . . I was just well, lazy?

I’m beating myself up now thinking about this race, because I had so much more in me that I didn’t use. I didn’t push myself at all, and I didn’t run to my full potential. I have zero excuses for that, too.

Around Mile 8 I took my second Gu. I have no idea why, but I thought that chocolate mint flavor would be tasty. It was not. I actually felt nauseous, and it was way too sweet/sticky. The S’mores Gu before that was delicious, so I’m not sure why this one was absolutely revolting. I barely gagged it down, and I felt like I walked all the more to recover from it.

I was definitely playing mind games with myself at this point. Five more miles to go?! Why did it seem like such a long distance at that point? C’mon, Becky, you’ve run a full marathon before and used to do the half distance while training like it was no big deal!

Needless to say, I texted hubs around Mile 10 to make sure they had left the house to get to the finish line on time. I tried texting him before that in the land o’ corn, but I had no cell service! I—like many runners do—starting doing the math to see how fast I’d have to run to make up some time and possibly get close to a 2:15 race. I would’ve had to run sub-10-minute miles, which I knew wasn’t about to happen. Around Mile 12, I saw the woman who had dropped back with me what felt like eons ago, and we did the walk/run/I pass you/you pass me game for the rest of the race. Just before Mile 13, there was a bridge and the only hill/incline of the race. Of course I was flinging expletives in my head at the point, because all I wanted was a fast, downhill finish! I can’t complain though, because the rest of the course was nearly pancake flat. (Thank you, Delaware.)

At Mile 13, I finally gave it my all. I ran like my life depended on it, and I crossed the finish line in 2:21:45. Not my best half time, but not my worst either! My average is around 2:22, and I was 26 out of 43 women in my age group. Here I am with hubs and the Angry Toddler after the race.


The race medal was in the shape of a bat and absolutely huge! I love it! We couldn’t find any post-race food aside from water and bananas, but I didn’t feel like eating anything anyway, which is unusual for me. I sort of felt sick to my stomach still, and all I wanted was to chug some water. We walked around for a few minutes so that I could shake out my legs, and then we went home to eat breakfast. (Thanks, Mom!)

Overall, although I cursed the course (boring, too much corn, not enough spectators), I really do think I’d like to do this race again, perhaps as a redemption race. If I do it again, I’ll take my own hydration with me, bring different Gus, wear a visor or sunglasses, and play some music instead of podcasts. I’m not sure why I didn’t think to listen to music during my slumps, but it just didn’t dawn on me. Hey, lessons learned, right?!


Thanks to my awesome mother-in-law, I’ll be the new owner of her old bicycle at some point in the near future. I rode a bike when I was a kid of course, but I haven’t ridden one probably since our honeymoon in Key West in 2014!

Since hubs’ work schedule includes weekends now, it will be nice to have a different mode of transportation for the Angry Toddler if I get an attachment like this. That way, we can ride around together without feeling unsafe. Granted, I’ll stick to side streets that are less populated because I’m a nervous Nelly, but I think she’ll love it!

We tried out our old jogging stroller last weekend, and man I forgot how grueling running with a toddler is. We literally ran less than a mile to the park, and my arms were tired. Of course that means I just have to build up my strength, but I’m a wimp and don’t like difficult things. (Not to mention the fact that the Angry Toddler kept asking if we were running or walking—like she couldn’t tell the difference in speeds. Psshttt.)

I digress . . . I also want to look into investing in a bike stand that turns your road bike into a stationary version! That way I can cross train on bad-weather days or for days when I don’t want to deal with fighting cars on the road.

Do you bike often? Do you use a stationary stand? I’d love to hear your experience with biking and any tips/tricks that I need to know!

Goodbye, Social Media

I’m surely not the only soul who’s wishing that summer would end, right? While I have loved our trips to the beach, I’m ready for cooler temperatures and more clothing coverage. I’ve run 99.9% of my runs on the treadmill this summer, although I did finally rejoin the Smyrna Clayton Running Club a few weeks ago, so that gets me out bright and early on Saturday mornings. I’m actually A-OK with treadmill running, but it would be nice to get in some runs outside so that there’s something to look at.

I’m following a modification of a very simple marathon training plan for this go-around (similar to this), where I run four times during the work week (between 2–5 miles, since I’m just running during my lunch break), and I’ve yet to get in a long run, which will happen this Saturday 8/25/17. I’m at that point in my training plan where I’m supposed to do 15 miles then, but if I get in 13.1, I’ll be happy with that.

I also recently stopped checking Facebook and Instagram, and I have to say that I’m loving the freedom! As much as I love spreading a good “runfie” around the interwebs, I feel like not needing to post to ten different running groups gives me more time for other, more important things. I’ve stopped posting my runs to Strava, and I just keep track via the Nike+ Run Club app and my Believe Training Journal (in purple).

I’m still sending Facebook messages to my IRUN4 buddies after my runs, my mom, etc., but I don’t feel as tethered to my phone like I once did. (Admission: I haven’t given up Pinterest quite yet.)

My only concern is where to store pictures, but I know I have the Apple cloud or Shutterfly as backups.

My first marathon this year is the Monster Mash on October 21, 2017 in Dover, DE, where I live, so I’m excited that A) I won’t have to travel B) Hubs and the Angry Toddler can easily find spots to watch me C) I feel like I’m not putting any pressure on myself since it’s a local race. I feel like the word of the day for this post is FREEDOM. 

As always, if you’d like to donate to the Team Miles for Smiles Snowdrop Foundation group, please go here. We’re so close to our $1K goal! I recently donated $26.20 myself. For more information about the Snowdrop Foundation, please go here.


Race Recap: Delaware Running Festival Half Marathon 5/14/17

I ran the Discover Bank Delaware Marathon Running Festival half marathon on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 14, 2017. Oh, where to begin? Let’s sum this weekend up in three words: HILLS, BLOOD, LOVE.

I wasn’t one of the lucky 200 participants to sign up for packet pickup the day of the race, so my family and I made a separate trip from Dover, DE to Wilmington, DE (about an hour away) the day before the race to pick up my packet and meet my PlowOn Gum family in person finally! (For those who haven’t tried Plow, I highly suggest reading my product review.) The weather was horrendous—complete with downpours and wind—and I was surprised to see so many people at the expo on Saturday, May 13.

PlowOn Gum’s Chuan, Matt, and Brady were so welcoming, supportive, and all-around fun to chat with despite the wind and rain. I can’t thank PlowOn Gum enough for sponsoring my race and for the extra kick to help me PR!

It was a little odd that the area where you picked up your race bib was separate from the area where you picked up your Under Armour long-sleeve shirt. Conveniently, the Plow tent was situated on the side of the shirt pick-up area, so that worked out very well in terms of not having to slog across creation in the rain.

18446788_10212298555759572_5451481191901397872_nThe night before the race, I made sure that I packed everything and set up my supplies, since we had to leave so early in the morning the next day.  Superstitiously, I planned to wear the same sports bra that I wore for my first full marathon. I also typically wear my “lucky” orange Feetures socks. I safety pinned three Espresso Love Gu gels to my Tuvizo pack, grabbed a pack of Plow, and pinned my race bib to my pants.

I want to give a HUGE shout out to my husband Tom for quickly getting ready the morning of the race. He’s not a morning person (love ya, sweetie!), so I truly appreciate him doing this on Mother’s Day for me. I threw my running clothes on, got the Angry Toddler dressed (who was surprisingly in a chipper mood), and poured our coffee into travel mugs. I don’t typically eat or drink anything before a race, but I figured coffee would be OK as long as I found a porta-potty before the race started. We left the house just around 5:30 a.m. The Angry Toddler didn’t complain at all about being tired or woken up early. She happily munched on some mini donuts and sang songs. She did, however, turn into a hilarious back-seat driver while we tried to find parking. She gets very concerned when we seem to get lost (which we weren’t) or when we can’t find parking (which we could). We fairly easily found a parking garage two to three blocks away from the starting line.

I immediately pushed us toward the porta-potty line, because there were what looked like twenty people ahead of us, and I knew I needed to pee before the race. The line went quickly, and we even saw my friend Amanda from the Smyrna Clayton Running Club! With less than five minutes to go time, I said goodbye to my little family and made my way to the starting line.

18447087_10212298555799573_1469091982841028089_nThe half and full marathons started at the same time, and the race had no pace groups, so I tried to line up as close to the front as I could. I didn’t see any pace signs at all like I’m used to, but I didn’t think it was a huge deal. (I’m sure I just missed them in my excitement.)

As with my last race, I ran without turning on my Nike+ Run Club app (#NoWatchMe). I listened to an Another Mother Runner podcast episode, A Run, Selfie, Repeat podcast episode, and finally part of the Hamilton soundtrack. It was quite crowded at the beginning, and I nearly missed the second timing mat because I was following the person in front of me. I literally had to turn around and double back to make sure I went over the mat. Since I had no idea how fast I was running, I simply tried to run at a comfortable pace and keep up with the pack with which I started.  I quickly spotted my running buddy, Ryan, who was carrying the flag below, and said hello. He runs with the RWB group and always runs a strong race.

I k18424265_10212298556199583_2627017612051732888_nnew almost immediately that I had overdressed. Thankfully, I had my Wonder Woman tank top underneath my The Running Lifestyle Show half-zip. I’ve never run with a shirt tied around my waist before, so I tried to hold off as long as I could before taking off my first layer. Around Mile 4, I tried to unpin my first Gu and promptly stuck myself with the pin. Ouch! So there I was, running along with blood dripping from my right thumb. Great. What a brilliant idea that was, Becky.

I say around Mile 4, because A) I had no idea what my mileage was without the Nike+ Run Club app and B) I kept seeing mile markers that were confusing. I knew that obviously the higher mile markers were for the full marathoners, but I saw duplicates for Miles 4 and 5. (Again, I guess these must have been for half and full participants, but I’ve never seen markers so close together like that.) There was a time clock at what I thought was Mile 5 that read somewhere in the range of 48 minutes, so I figured I was doing OK, despite the fact that the course was challenging for me.

I had reviewed the elevation map beforehand, but for whatever reason, I had it in my mind that the only hill existed around Mile 6. Wrong-o! Take a gander at the map below.


Just after Mile 6, I took off my first layer and wondered whether I would go faster walking or running up the next hill. For most people, they wouldn’t even consider these to be hills, but since I run in southern Delaware, where there are zero hills, it was a shock to my system. At times I took walk breaks, but it was fun to run through the different areas of Wilmington, such as Brandywine Park. As we entered the park, we ran on this very wobbly, shaky bridge that the course map calls the “Swinging Foot Bridge.” I’m surprised I didn’t go down for the count!

At one point, we ran next to the Brandywine Zoo, which was very neat. (I said hi to the animals, of course.) We didn’t spend a lot of time in Brandywine Park though, as the course exited the park and went back to a more residential area.  Some of the houses were gorgeous, and most of the trees were green and blooming. Good thing, because spectator numbers in spots were very low. I don’t typically care too much about that, but since this was a challenging race, it would’ve been nice to get more crowd support. I did have one volunteer yell out, “Go, Wonder Woman!” when I passed her a second time (after a turn around), which was very encouraging. During races, I always try to yell words of encouragement to others, whether they look like they’re struggling or they’re at the front of the pack.

Finally, just after Mile 12—you guessed it—we hit yet another hill. Who puts hills at the course end?! Time to pop a Plow! (Hey, can that be a new catch phrase?!) I think this is the steepest hill on the course, and I unabashedly walked up that sucker. Again, I had no clue what my time was at that point, but I wanted to save my energy for the last race to the finish line. Overall, though, I really felt good. My left hip hurt a tiny bit, but I know that’s simply because I hadn’t trained for this half; my left hip usually gives me a bit of trouble when I increase my mileage, so I have to make sure to do some extra foam rolling.

18449465_10212298653682020_8414570604362166840_oAs I approached the finish chute, I sprinted toward the finish line and beamed with pride when I saw the clock display 2:15 and change. My last two official half marathons were around 2:22, so my goal was to simply beat 2:20! I finished in 2:15:28 with a pace of 10:20. Surprisingly, I completed the first five miles in 48:52 with a 9:47 pace, which is wicked fast for me. I guess running more miles and running without a watch really does increase your speed! #plowon



Fat Mommy

Oh, hi. Did I grab your attention? That phrase hit me figuratively and literally as the Angry Toddler (our four-year-old daughter, Delaney) said it to me the other night during our nighttime book/songs/potty/songs/potty/drink/POTTY (sheesh) routine. I cuddled up close to her, with my husband on the other side, as we sang “Delaney Talks to Statues” by Jimmy Buffett. She hugged and prodded my arm as that phrase flew out from the mouth of babes. Can you hear the tires in my head screeching like a banshee yet?

Now, I know I’ve talked a bit about this before, but I’m an eating disorder survivor (because it really was hell, and it still is at times) of over a decade. My self-esteem isn’t where it should be, despite my amazing husband telling me that he loves me every day and that I’m beautiful or despite my mom and sister telling me that I rock (thanks, guys!). I don’t know how to describe it except to say you know how it feels if you’ve had an eating disorder. (I pray you’re never part of THAT cool kids club.) There’s always going to be that voice inside your head that rejects the positives about yourself. It spews hateful words to counteract your PMA (positive mental attitude) no matter how chipper you may be on any given day.

Tom and I have been trying to teach the Angry Toddler not to use the F-A-T word toward people. We try to gently and wisely explain that it can be a descriptive word for, y’know, cute, cuddly puppies or the like. I don’t know. But just not people, OK? And I think she truly does understand that for the most part. But in that moment, all she felt was literal fat on my arm. I get that. It is nice and pillowy. I really can’t fault her for it, but those words were like a tiny cocktail dagger in my heart for a split second. I quickly explained (as did Tom) that all people have that on their arms, as I slipped in, “And Mommy’s working on it, right?”

Slow down, killer. Hold the phone. Why did I feel the need to add that last bit? It wasn’t necessary. She doesn’t really understand why I lift our little five-pound weights while watching Doctor Who or The Leftovers. Why isn’t it enough that I just, well, am what I am?!

That was a huge mind bender for me as I thought about it later that night. As she grows and matures, I’m not always going to be able to side step my real reactions around her without her noticing. I need to come to grips with my body and realize that I’m so much stronger than I think I am.

All I can do is fuel my body with real foods, keep my running game alive, and show her how to properly take care of her body. I hope I’ve done a fairly decent job of that so far, but I know it’s only going to get harder as she grows up.


Race Recap: Inaugural Blue Earl 5K Shuffle Run/Walk & 1-Mile Fun Walk

bMy running club—the Smyrna Clayton Running Club—hosted the Inaugural Blue Earl 5K Shuffle Run/Walk & 1-Mile Fun Walk on Sunday, April 9, 2017. The weather was gorgeous that day—sunny and in the upper 60s if I remember correctly. I hadn’t been to this particular race location before, but I immediately knew where we were, because it started in an industrial complex next to a kids’ jump/bounce place called Leaping Lizards.

Thankfully, as moms of toddlers know, the race started at 10 a.m., which wasn’t too phenomenally early like other races. It’s hard to get out the door with the Angry Toddler sometimes. My amazing husband Tom got us to the race location with about 15 minutes to spare, which was perfect timing.

delI grabbed my bib, said hi to a few SCRC members, and we also got a balloon unicorn from Snippy Doodles the clown!

The race started just about on time, and I tried to line up closer to the front of the pack. I’m not a fast runner, but I wanted to try and get a sub-30 5K, so I thought I should move up toward the front to bypass the walkers or strollers.

As the race began, I fumbled with my Nike+ Run Club app. For some reason it wasn’t working correctly, so I shut it off and focused on getting the Amazon Prime Music app to start so that I could listen to the Hamilton soundtrack. After Kelly Roberts (Run, Selfie, Repeat) talked about it in one of her podcast episodes, I’ve been hooked and obsessed! It’s intellectually stimulating and has just the right beat.

The course itself wasn’t all that interesting, because it started and ended in the industrial park. I was hoping that we would be running in downtown Smyrna, which has a lot of local flavor, but I didn’t mind all that much. I love racing for the comradery and cheering fellow runners on.  I’m the crazy runner who cheers on the race leaders as they’re heading back to the starting line while I haven’t even hit the half-way point yet. I’m the runner who cheers on people who look like they’re struggling and thanks police officers for blocking traffic for racers.

At some point during a 5K race, I inevitably think, “This is silly. I feel like I’m dying. Maybe I should just start to walk. I can’t do this.” But then I look around at everyone else, become a psychic vampire, and pull energy from the crowd. I visualize the next sign post or runner that I want to catch up to, and I just keep going.

I didn’t feel like I was giving 100%, but I was close to it. I knew I was pushing myself, but I also felt more energized than I have at previous 5Ks, which was a new feeling for me.

I hit the 3-mile marker and rounded the corner to the final stretch. I was sucking in air like nobody’s business, but I also felt strong. Strong?! That’s new. I looked at the time clock to see 28-something minutes.

“Hmm…well, that’s just the gun time,” I thought. That can’t be my actual chip time.

Lo and behold, I ended up pulling off a 28:36 total time with a 9:14 average pace. There’s something to be said for “running naked” without a watch or app to tell you your pace.

I’m very proud of myself for this new 5K PR. What’s next?

I’ll be running the Discover Bank Delaware Marathon Running Festival for the half marathon distance thanks to my sponsor, PlowOn Gum. I’m so overjoyed and humbled to be able to run in Plow’s honor. It would be amazing if I could attain a new half marathon PR there, but I know it’ll be a hot day, and the course is not flat. I don’t challenge myself as a runner like I should do with hill repeats or tempo runs, so this will be interesting. I ran the relay option a few years ago, so I am somewhat used to the course.

I’ll also be running in honor of Joh’Nya Lewis, a nine-year-old girl who has a synovial sarcoma (tumor) on her wrist. Her mom, Juaniece, and I talked on the phone late last week, and she and her entire family are so strong and inspiring. This started out in early March as just a bump on Joh’Nya’s wrist from what they thought was jumping on a trampoline with her siblings. No one in Joh’Nya’s family had ever had cancer before or really any major illness to speak of. She’s receiving radiation until May 31, and her doctors will see what the status of the tumor is then. I’m raising funds via the Snowdrop Foundation at my Team Miles for Smiles fundraising page here for Joh’Nya and pediatric patients nationwide.

Please consider taking a minute to look at our team page and potentially donate. It would mean the word to me and my entire Team Miles for Smiles group!