Navigant Blackstone Valley Half Marathon Race Recap 5/5/13

If you ever ask me what my worst half marathon was, this was it. It wasn’t the first time I had knee pain in a race, but it was the first time that it was so bad for months afterward that I didn’t think I would be able to do another half marathon.

But let’s start at the beginning . . .

Packet Pickup
I actually don’t remember packet pickup at all. I don’t remember there being any problems with it, though.

My Race Plan
Seriously? I think I was hoping to just not be in pain, which obviously didn’t happen.

  1. 12:12
  2. 12:02
  3. 12:03
  4. 12:20
  5. 13:12
  6. 13:39
  7. 12:59
  8. 13:11
  9. 14:10
  10. 15:37
  11. 16:36
  12. 18:45
  13. 17:09
  14. 13.27 (.16 mile)

3:05:43 –Official Time
14:08 Average Pace

You can pretty much see exactly where the pain really got to me.

Blackstone Valley
Blackstone Valley – well, the start was good

The weather & dressing
It may just have been the most beautiful weather I ever had for a half marathon — just perfect. And for a change, I actually feel that I dressed pretty appropriately.

Was the race well run?
Very well run, extremely enthusiastic volunteers — even at the finish line, where I was actually pretty close to DFL. They were still partying and had plenty of everything.

Not a whole lot of spectator support, but the ones that were there were enthusiastic. I especially remember some guy sitting on a porch not to far from the start — and he was still there cheering on what few runners were heading back as I came back towards the finish.

So here’s what I wrote later in the day after the race:

Run as if you stole something

What a beautiful day to run . . . sunny, 40s to 50s, a slight wind. A small, mostly well organized HM.

Unfortunately it did not go well for me. I am not over my runner’s knee – but I did finish, painful as it was. Nowhere near a PR or the time I thought I’d finish in . . . but still just a tad faster than my very first HM; 3:05:44; 526 out of 551.

Well, I met 2 of my running criteria: I finished & I wasn’t last. Unfortunately not only was I in pain, for the first time in my short running career I had to walk the end.

But let’s back up a bit. The race started off well – I didn’t go out too fast, mostly a 12:00 mm, which was about where I wanted to be. The first few miles went great. Around mile 4 I felt my left knee begin to tighten up. In retrospect I probably should have walked up the really big hill at mile 4 1/2 but I didn’t.

I stop to sip one water or Nuun & take a walk break every mile & I did some knee raises & some butt kicks every time I stopped to walk, but they simply weren’t helping. I slowed down: a bit at first, pretty significantly as the pain set in. By mile 10 1/2 I simply could not run anymore; I’ve never had that happen before (or since, thankfully) – not in training, not in a race. So I walked it in til that last tenth of a mile.

It was disappointing, to say the least, but I did finish. And I wasn’t last.

DH actually came with me to the start, which he rarely does (actually, he’s come to the start of all but two halfs), as he’s rarely up at that time in the morning. Pawtucket seemed kind of iffy, so I think that’s why, but it was nice to have him there. And it was chilly, so I was able to hand him my sweatshirt rather than throwing it away.

It was my first small HM, but as the previous year’s reviews indicated, it’s well run & has great volunteers. It’s not real scenic overall, altho certain parts are & quite frankly most of the second half passed in a pain filled blur for me (I kept telling myself it was just another 5k but it was tough).

There aren’t many spectators except at the start & finish, so if you need crowd support this isn’t the HM for you. If you need friendly, encouraging volunteers, this could be the HM for you.

I liked the one tshirt that said “run as if you stole something”.

We stopped in Fall River at Pattis Pierogis & I got sweet potato pierogis & 1 peanut butter cup & 1 chocolate chip cookie dough pierogi. Yum-mo. I still have a few of the sweet potato pierogi left over & there were only 6, but as sometimes happens with a long run (& I did run hard for most of it, even with that sucky time), my appetite is a bit suppressed.

Well, 47 (states, that is) to go (39 as of 8/16) .

What I learned
I can’t stop running due to an injury a couple of weeks before a race and expect the race to go well. In fact, now I would definitely seek out the help of a chiropractor or physical therapist (or both) if I “ran” into something like this.

Sometimes DNF is better than gutting it out.

Final Thoughts
This race was the flattest race I have run in New England. Training went so well — or so I thought.The weather was so perfect. If I knew then what I know now, this race definitely should have been a PR.

The knee pain started out of the blue during the taper. To this day, I am not sure why. Did I push my pace too much during training?  Did I run too many hilly routes? Was I simply running at a pace that my tendons were not ready for yet?

I don’t know. I’ll never know. In many ways I wish I’d saved this race for later, so I could have potentially met my FB friend Connie.

One thing I definitely still remember? Those dessert pierogis. They were awesome.

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

Tuesdays on the Run

The heat is on: 8/22-28 Weekly Wrap

A few cool mornings in the beginning of the week, but then the heat and humidity returned. Friday was really unbearable; luckily my first double digit run of this training cycle was Saturday. Find out how it all went down below.

I think maybe things are looking up, even so, and I’m wrapping it up with the Weekly Wrap from Holly @ Hohoruns and Tricia @ Misssipppiddlin because you just never know who you might inspire.


Workouts update

  • Monday: 3 mile tempo, Pahla B 10 Minute Core, YFR Hamstrings & Foundation
  • Tuesday: 2 miles easy, Shapeshifter Yogaflow
  • Wednesday: Dogwalk, Pahla B Kettlebell
  • Thursday:  Dogwalk, 2 miles easy on the Treadmill, 15 minutes stationary bike
  • Friday: Dogwalk, Pahla B Kettlebell, YFPR Knees
  • Saturday: 10 mile LSD
  • Sunday: Walking around hospital 

Mileage: 17 (+3)

TIU = Tone it Up
TM = Treadmill
YFR = Yoga for Runners*
WU = warmup
YFPR = Yoga for Pain Relief
YTU = Yoga Tune Up Lower Body*

*Disclaimer: Amazon affiliate links; I will make a small amount of money if you buy through these links

Running update

Thank God I wore a tank top


What a gorgeous day to run! I met up with Darlene for the first 3 miles of her 10 mile run. So it was slow and easy for her and a tempo run for me. Thankfully Bandit’s diarrhea from the weekend had ended, so while I was sleep deprived, I didn’t have to come home and do any cleaning.

I did tape my IT because of the twinges I’d had Saturday; I think that was a good decision. Surprisingly my ankle felt fine afterwards.


Sweaty, not radiant


It was so nice and cool when I got up, but I waited until about 9 am to run. It wasn’t nearly as cool then, and not a cloud in sight. Unfortunately I’d chosen capris, which would have been fine had I run around 7, but thankfully I wore a light tank top on top.

Since I’m still rebuilding mileage, it was just an easy 2 miles. I concentrated on cadence, though, and so it was a decent pace for me. No taping, no problems.

Beating the heat on the treadmill (aka Old Faithful)


I could have got out early in the morning to run. It wasn’t too bad then. But soooooo tired. And a busy day ahead of me.

So nope, I opted for an afternoon treadmill run. It was only  miles, after all (rebuilding after being sick). I bumped up the pace just a little bit, considering how short the run was and I have nothing else really to say about that run.

Scenes from Saturday’s run


10 mostly lonely miles. I tackled Blatnick hill (the locals know what I’m talking about), while many of the group wimped out and avoided it. Pacing sort of all over the place — partly because of that hill. 

I tried to do 2 miles at race pace towards the end, but the body just wasn’t having it, even though it was a really nice day to run. But they were faster, just not as fast as I was aiming for.

Happy to be finished with my first double digit run since my last half and still feeling good.

The trick is to count it down for the photographer
Favorites of the week
Getting those 10 miles in. I wasn’t quite sure how they’d go down but it was good. Happy with my overall pace. Happy with how my body felt afterwards.
Unfortunately not quite sure when I’ll run again; my mom has being doing okay during the days, not so great at night, and there’s been some falling. I’ll be headed that way as you read this (or already there).

In fact, my mom was readmitted to the hospital early Sunday morning and I drove down even earlier. There’s a lot going on, not life threatening, but the bottom line is she was severely dehydrated and getting her to eat and drink is still a struggle. 

And that’s a wrap 😔

No questions today. I’ll have time to read comments while in the hospital later today, probably. 

Doubling down . . . : Runfessions August 2016

. . . in more ways than one!

My runfessions might have to do with multiple pairs of running shoes, multiple races, and leaving/forgetting dogs.

Today I’m joining up with Marcia @ Marcia’s Healthy Slice to share my runfessions; come join us and get your runfessions off your chest.


I runfess . . .
I am considering running 2 5ks in one week. Both involve friends. One is on Labor Day, the other I’m already signed up for; it’s the following Saturday.

Not quite in the league of you multi-event runners, but it would be my first time running two races in one week. I’d also have to run more miles after the race on Saturday — or do a long run during the week, which isn’t happening, because I’m not doing a long run the day after a 5k and I don’t have time for it on Thursday, which is pretty much my only other day to run that week.

I runfess . . .
completely fell off the meditation bandwagon, right at the time I needed it the most.

But I finally got back on it recently.

I runfess . . .
It crossed my mind to leave Bandit at the kennel and never come back.

Obviously I didn’t do it, don’t plan to do it, but the thought did cross my mind.

I runfess . . .
That while I don’t mind taking care of my mom after her surgery, the thought of spending 4-5 days taking care of my Dad, too, is not a welcome one. He is not an easy person.

I runfess . . .
I made a double batch of the fluffy coconut pancakes. I meant to freeze half, only I never got around to it. And by the time I did get around to it, some of them were getting moldy.

I really hate waste. I threw out the worst ones, and scraped off the mold from the ones that had just one small spot of mold. And ate them (and froze the rest).

I runfess . . .
I almost forgot to feed Lola one day when Mr. Judy was taking her to a new daycare place to try out. I was so busy getting stuff ready while he was out walking her, it never even crossed my mind that she hadn’t eaten yet.

I runfess . . .
I got a good deal on Brooks Ghost 8 (finally — a new version is out, but I rarely see them on sale). I bought 2 pairs.

And when Mr. Judy found an even better deal on them? I had him buy me 2 more pairs.

I runfess . . .
I was trying to schedule a blog post the other day and couldn’t figure out why publish was the only option available. Well, d’oh, cause I was picking a date from the past, rather than the future.

It’s not the first time that’s happened to me!

I runfess . . .
I talked about missing all things Olympics in this week’s TOLT, but that’s not completely true; because I’m actually still watching them.

They’re over, you say? Not in this house. No, I’m not stuck in some odd time warp. Our Tivo allowed us to set up what events we wanted to tape. So in addition to the main evening program, there were lots of daily stuff, too.

I wasn’t able to watch it all, even being sick and resting so much!

So I’m still watching some of the not as popular stuff — things like synchronized swimming, rhythmic gymnastics, equestrian. I’m almost through it, though, so I guess I’ll have to wait two years for the Winter Olympics (ice skating!).

Runfession is good for the soul! Come join us


A Tale of 5 Mugs

I try to collect a mug from every state I visit — I started this tradition before I became a runner, but it has become even more important to me since I started to try to run a half in each state. I’ve talked about this a few times on the blog, including another Friday Five about how I choose my mugs

These mugs remind me of the good races, the bad races, the weather, the training, and how hard I fought to finish a race.

So for this free Friday with the Friday Five  from Cynthia from You Signed Up for What?, Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, and Mar from Mar on the Run,  I’m talking about five races, their mugs, and what they mean to me.

I am working on recapping all my half marathons to date, and you can look for the next one on Tuesday. I’m still not even halfway through my halfs!

“Glowing” with happiness to finish my first half

Vegas, Baby!
Your first half probably will always have a special place in your heart. It was also the first (but not last) time I met my friend Natalie in real life.

I probably should have tried to photograph it somehow to show off the fact that the medal glows in the dark. I already owned this mug, by the way, having visited Vegas many times.

A PR along the ocean

Another half that will always have a special place in my heart: because it was my comeback from an awful half, because you come in running along the ocean, and because of the lobster roll at the end.

This mug reminds me that we can overcome our challenges.

One of my favorite mugs & medals

Heartbreak Hill
Much like Lola, I felt called to do the one and only Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half. I’d always assumed my MA half would be on the Cape, but when this race was announced, I knew it was my only chance to run up the infamous Heartbreak Hill, because I’m not fast enough to qualify for Boston.

Not to mention there’s the whole pesky I’ve never run a full marathon thing.

Like so many of my spring halfs, unfortunately it was an unusual heatwave. In fact, until I did ZOOMA Annapolis, this was my hottest half. So my finish time wasn’t what I wanted it to be, and I ended up walking up Heartbreak Hill after training so hard for it.

It was the first time I tried taping my knees, and I have never felt better after a race (except for some horrible cramps due to the heat and not getting in salt immediately after finishing).

I love this mug because it was made in Hopkinton (where the Boston Marathon starts). We also visited the Boston Marathon finish line after the race.

Love the mug; the medal is meh, but the race was good

Green Mountain Half
It’s a simple mug, just like it was a simple, no thrills race. Unless you call that wind thrilling (not)!

But notice the paw print.

It was a hard fought PR for me and I use this mug on days when I know I have tough workouts ahead of me.

Too bad I don’t drink beer, eh?

Shipyard Maine Half Marathon
Another spring race, another heatwave, another race where they ran out of water 3/4 of the way through the race at one of the aid stations.

So yes, this was a disappointing half marathon. Again! But I use this mug on days that I need to remind myself that the most important thing is to just keep running.

Talk to me. Leave a comment or answer a question:

What do you use to motivate yourself to train?

Do you collect anything race related? What is it?

Do you keep reminders of the bad races?

* Disclaimer: this is an affiliate link. I make a very small commission if you buy this product from Amazon after clicking through my link.

Life after the Olympics: TOLT

This week I’m Thinking Out Loud about the Olympics — still! — the weather (always), running (pretty much always), and of course Bandit. Because it wouldn’t be a TOLT without an animal update.

I’m digging this weather
I’m not so sorry that I missed that week of running — the weather was hot and humid and miserable that week. This week is so much nicer.

It’s going to get warmer again, but at least the early mornings are nice and cool now. I even have to throw on a jacket to take Bandit out around 5 am.

I may be going into Olympics withdrawal
Well, seriously, normally I don’t lay around on the couch all day. And while I didn’t enjoy being sick, it was nice to have something to entertain me while I was getting some much needed rest.

When will I get it through my thick skull?
That it’s okay to miss runs? If you’re sick, or feeling an ache, that is. When you’re sick, your body is telling you loud and clear what it wants — in my case, it was a lot of rest, a lot of tea, and a lot of soup.

So why do I have such a hard time with not running every run on my plan?

I am not one of those people who can just go out there and run 13.1 miles without training for it. My IT band let me know that loud and clear at the end of last week’s long run.

It said you want to run 8 miles with a previous week of 4.5 miles total? Then I’m going to make sure that the last little bit isn’t pleasant. And I’m going to continue to protest once you’re done.

I threw some tape on it this week to shut it up. It worked.

Missing out
Missing my group running buddy, who meets with the surgeon today.

Missing swimming, since the pool is closed until September.

But looking forward to a long weekend away at the end of September. Finally!

My mom’s surgery is today, by the way, so any good vibes/prayers are appreciated.

Adapting from cool to hot weather?
My next half is in Phoenix in October. Looking at the averages for that time of year, at the start it might be about mid to high 60s. Basically about 20 degrees above the average for what the weather will be like back home.

A big difference will be humidity, of course. Phoenix is much dryer.

While I would love to PR this race, as it’s probably my only chance to PR a half this year, I am not really holding out great hopes for that. Still, I’m wondering if there’s anything different I have to consider to accommodate running in a much less humid area? Other than making sure I hydrate well, of course.

Enjoying the dog days of summer with the cat

Relaxing with Gizmo in the kennel. Because we wanted to, not because we had to! Gizmo now has complete freedom in the house; he has had for several weeks. Bandit, of course, does not, although he has more freedom than he had.

Bandit update
Bandit clearly made Lola nervous at first, to the point that she was throwing up a little. I don’t know if it was just the changes in her routine, or Bandit’s behavior — probably a bit of both.

One reason we wanted a second dog was that while Lola didn’t seem to miss Chester initially, she eventually seemed kind of depressed.

She seems to be much more calm around him now — maybe a bit too calm. She loves to play, and she practically rolls on top of him in an effort to get him to play, which I admit makes me nervous.

So far so good. Bandit doesn’t always play with her when she works her feminine wiles on him, but he does sometimes and they both seem to enjoy it. He is no longer on a long lead as he was in the video above, by the way (and I was talking to my mom, by the way), so when he does decide to play, they run around the entire yard.

Unfortunately he had a terrible case of diarrhea (with no other abnormal symptoms) over the weekend, and we had to take him out every couple of hours for a couple of days — day and night. And once it seemed to pass, he still needed to go out in the middle of the night for a couple of days. We are both so tired. And it’s a busy week.The next little bit might be TMI for some.

The poop department has not been good from the day we got him, and I’ve yet to get to the bottom of it. It had finally seemed normal, until we boarded him and he had his first class, and it wasn’t long after that that he had the diarrhea (which is not that unusual after being boarded, but not, I think, to this degree).

It’s looking better again, but we’ll be boarding him again next week. I’m really hoping we don’t have to go through that again!

* Disclaimer: this is an affiliate link. I make a very small commission if you buy this product from Amazon after clicking through my link.

Talk to me. Tell me in the comments:

Any tricks for racing in a warmer area than you train in?

Do all female dogs act as slutty as Lola?

What savory snacks do you enjoy?

I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for her:

Thursdays are for thinking out loud

A sweaty mess or just radiant?

I could write about how lovely and radiant the sunrises and sunsets we see on the run are.

I could write about how radiant running makes me feel.

But no, I’m going to write about how running makes me look radiant. I’m not talking about glowing, either: I’m talking sweat!

Radiant: shining or glowing brightly

You know the old saying? I don’t sweat, I glow. Well, I sweat. I sweat a lot. I am not glowing; I am definitely radiant with sweat — even after a winter’s run!


There does seem to be some science that fitter people do sweat more (see this article from Runner’s World). There also seems to be some science that sweating is good for you (see this article).

Then there’s always the question of whether or not you’re sweating more than a “normal” runner — I found this thread on that very subject on a forum on

And then I came across this interesting article that shows you how to sweat more! Well, most of the time I do hydrate very well. Interestingly, my mother, who doesn’t sweat, doesn’t drink much either. How she even functions is beyond me. I get very crabby when I’m dehydrated (and tired, too).

But sleep? I dunno about that one. The last couple of months there hasn’t been a single week that I didn’t have my sleep disrupted by one thing or another at the very least one night a week (and often more). Yet I continue to be radiant with sweat.

Then there is the other side of the radiant spectrum: people who don’t sweat enough during exercise — not something I can fathom, but hey, you’re out there, I know, and I’ll bet you’re wondering if you’re doing something wrong or not working out hard enough if you’re not radiant with sweat.

It could be as simple as you have fewer sweat glands, according to this article. Or did you know that women tend to sweat less than men and less as they get older (outside of hot flashes, apparently), according to this article?

Now that is interesting. I remember long ago, when we lived in TX, we had gone to a memorial service. It was late summer, I believe. We were sitting in the car for a while; I don’t remember why; and the sweat was just rolling down my face while Mr. Judy was quite comfortable.

On the other hand, I’ve had some mild hot flashes, but not many and not that often. Which actually, I believe, is due to exercise and a good diet (for the most part), but who knows, because my mom never had hot flashes at all and she didn’t exercise much and her diet wasn’t that great either.

And finally, did you know that there’s actually an optimal temperature for working out indoors? According to this article, it’s between 68-72F. Who knew?

One thing I know for sure
As corny as it sounds, Solange is absolutely right: beauty comes from within, whether we’re sweaty, glowing, or radiant, as long as we are happy and comfortable with who we are, we are beautiful.

My beauty ethos? Well, I’d love to tell you it’s something like ‘less is more,’ but honestly, it all starts with happiness. If only someone could bottle that up – when I’m happy, I’m at my most radiant and glowing. It does me better than any product ever could. And I stand by how cheesy and cliched that sounds.
–Solange Knowles

Deb Runs

Tell me in the comments:

How do you work on your mental game?

Are you stronger physically or mentally?

Was there a time when your brain/heart got you through when your body wanted to quit?

Am I an athlete?


People tell me all the time that I’m an athlete. I run half marathons, after all. Go drive 13.1 miles in your car — even to me, suddenly it seems like a long distance.

But am I really an athlete? Let’s take a look at the definition:

a person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise

And now let’s look at the definition of proficient:

competent or skilled in doing or using something

It seems I am left with a catch-22 here. Am I proficient in sports? I’ve never won a race or an age group award. In fact for most races I am solidly BOTP (back of the pack). Everyone thinks they’re slow — even the elites, I’d wager — and yet I posted that photo of my view of my group run in my Weekly Wrap: the pack getting ever further and further away from me until they disappear altogether.

There’s the pack, way ahead of me (while I could still actually see them)

Doesn’t sound (or look) particularly competent or skilled to me!

Is finishing proficient?

I want to say that simply finishing a race requires some skill. And it does; it definitely does. Yet what percentage of runners who enter a race DNF (did not finish)? I don’t actually know, but my guess is that it’s a very small percentage.

The same with DNS (did not start). More people sign up for races than actually race. Life happens: illness, injury, family affairs. I’d still wager that if you combine DNSs and DNFs it’s only a small percentage of the number of racers.

But how about all the people that never start running at all?

And there are plenty. Or the people who try and give up — there are plenty of those, too.

Just continuing to do something doesn’t mean that you’re competent or skilled at it — it simply means you’re stubborn. Guilty as charged.

My Conclusion . . .

No, I don’t think you’re an athlete just because you run. Or swim. Or bike; well, you get the idea.

If you sing, and do it all the time, but can’t carry a tune — I’m sorry, you’re not a singer. You’re simply someone who enjoys singing and isn’t very good at it.

At what point could I call myself an athlete?

I’m a fitness enthusiast. I’m a runner, a swimmer, a yoga lover. I lift weights. None of those things makes me an athlete; I am just not gifted that way.

I don’t know that I could ever call myself an athlete. I doubt it.

So let me know in the comments:

Would you call yourself an athlete?

Why or why not?

What do you enjoy doing but are not very good at?

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

Tuesdays on the Run