Category Archives: Running

On Running: My First 5k

Together in Gold | My first 5k

I ran my first 5k! I never thought I’d ever have the interest or motivation to do that. But it’s a fact. I did it! And it was pretty cool! So I wanted to share my story with you.

If you’ve been following my podcast or blog, you’ll know that I began training for this over the summer. Not specifically so I could run a 5k but as a way to fit in some exercise on my own schedule. I kept up with it even when it was hard and it proved to be a nice addition to my routine. Again, I had no real desire to run in a race or other event, but when my best friend asked me to join her Together in Gold Team at the 2014 Four Seasons Run of Hope, my interest was piqued. While walking a 2k with my family sounded fun, I was drawn to the 5k run option. My interest in running was starting wane just a little and I knew it would be good motivation for me (and it was). Plus, raising money to benefit Pediatric Cancer Research at Mass General Hospital was a nice added bonus. Sign me up!

The Week of the Race

I wasn’t feeling well the week leading up to the run. I ran on Monday and then wasn’t feeling well enough to do any more workouts that week so when I woke up that Sunday morning I felt a bit nervous. I got up and ate an english muffin with peanut butter and did some stretching to wake me up. Then it was time to head into Boston.

Checking In

I checked in when I arrived and got my first ever race number! That in and of itself was more exciting than I anticipated!

My first number!

We had some time to kill so we let the kids play at the playground and took a team photo in our t-shirts. Before we knew it, it was time to line up. Because I was running and the rest of our team was walking, it was time to make my own way over to the runners. The kids asked why I was leaving and my friend explained that I was running my first ever 5k! The kids yelled and cheered for me! What an amazing send off. I’m so lucky to have them in my life.

Lining Upimage

As I’m sure is typical, they lined up the runners by time with the fastest runners first. I found my spot in the 10+ minute group and listened while a local TV personality pumped us up. I found myself getting exciting and just wanting to GO! And soon enough we were off. It was a little frustrating at the beginning being in such a big clump of people and not being able to actually go anywhere. Secretly I was wondering if they were counting this barely-walking movement as part of my time and the injustice of that… but before I could put too much thought into it, it was time to move.


I was surprised how much fun it was to run in a group. I could feel the energy and was really moved by that. I was also pleasantly surprised at how many people I was able to pass. I wasn’t the fastest runner by any stretch of the imagination, but I certainly wasn’t the slowest either. It helped that it was a reasonably cool morning and even as it got hotter, there was a nice breeze from the Charles River. The scenery was beautiful, and I tried to just take it all in, breathe and push myself when I could.


Maybe because I’ve been spoiled by the uber high energy level at the Susan G Komen 3 Day for the Cure (with cheerleaders at every single crosswalk and street corner), but I was surprised at how low key it all was. Could have been specific to this event, but I know for sure at certain points I’d have appreciated a “way to go” instead of a quick point to the left to make sure I stayed on track. Not a complaint. I just assumed that those working the event would be a little more peppy.

I was also a little surprised by own performance. I’ve never run with anyone before and so I was surprised by how many people I passed and how strong I felt. It was hard, don’t get me wrong. But I just kept breathing and pushing through it and mostly it felt good.

Not so surprising

I usually run in a tank top (sometimes cotton, sometimes a wicking-material) but always a tank top. So i wasn’t surprised to find that I hated running in a t-shirt. Our team all had the same shirts and I was so happy to wear my team colors but it wasn’t ideal. If I do this again, I may cut it up a little to get some more airflow.

The other great thing about this course, which I knew from running it after work once or twice (just for convenience and proximity) is that it’s all flat ground. It’s a luxury I appreciate. Enough said.

My times

So how did I do? As you can see, the first minute was good. My fastest mile yet. I guess I was passing some people. I tailed off a little after that. I think on mile 3 I could have gotten my time up a little if I understood the course slightly better. I sprinted across the finish line feeling good, but got a little mixed up before that and slowed down a lot to stay on course.

My 5K StatsI’m really happy with my time and with the event as a whole. I’m so thankful that my best friend asked me to join the team and for all of their support!

We stayed and enjoyed some of the festivities after the walk/run. The kids played. My 10 year old niece explained to the younger kids why were there and how cancer affects a lot of kids. My 7 year old nephew Will said “I’m so glad I don’t have cancer!” I replied, “Me too, buddy! Me too.” We have a lot to be grateful for.

If you’re interested in donating money to help fund pediatric cancer research click here for the link to our team’s page.


4 Reasons Why Getting Back to the Gym Can Really Kick Start Your Workouts

I’ve been running this summer.  A lot. Well, a lot for someone who has never run before. Down Cellar Studio | 4 Reasons Why Getting Back to the Gym Can Really Kick Start Your Workouts

My summer was really busy with work and other activities so I began running because I knew it was something I could do when I could find the time. No class schedule, no commitment. It’s been great to have that flexibility.

But, it can’t be the only thing I’m doing. Now that work has calmed down, and fall is approaching, it’s time to get back into a routine. I say this, like this was a plan. However, my realization about the need to mix up my workouts was anything but thoughtful.  4 Reasons Why Getting Back to the Gym Can Really Kick Start Your Workouts

On Tuesday night it was still in the 90’s after work and I declared it to be too hot to run outside. I drove to the gym with the intention of running on the treadmill. In fact that would be changing it up, because I’ve only been running outside… but I digress. While in the locker room I ran into my friend Kim who asked me to come to Zumba class instead. The timing was right and there was a good instructor teaching. I figured “why not?”

It didn’t end up being my favorite class [mostly I’m just being a brat, because I miss my “regular” instructor who is fantastic] but I spent most of the hour realizing that there are so many benefits to being in the gym and in a class setting in particular that I’ve been missing out on.

Benefits of Classroom/Group Workouts:

  1. Looking at yourself in the mirror. Yes, we all do this daily when getting ready for work, picking out outfits etc. I’m not talking about that kind of looking in the mirror. I’m talking about the kind where you’re looking at yourself from all different angles, moving around, dare I say jiggling around… It’s different. Trust me.  I know I’ve gotten a little fluffy this summer. I’m not thrilled with it. I know I can work it off, but it’s very eye-opening to really be forced to see yourself. For me, that’s great motivation.
  2. Talking with others. Even if you’re not all that outgoing, if you attend group classes on a regular basis, you’ll inevitably end up talking to people. Gym-goers, especially women, are chatty. For me that has perks- things like accountability, incentive to come to see and catch up with friends, and also the sharing about what other classes folks are taking, new things they are trying… what’s working and what’s not? We gain so much by sharing with each other. Just last night I heard two ladies talking about how sore they were and how great some class was. I inquired about what it was and we had a great conversation that gave me an idea about other classes to try.
  3. Seeing each other’s progress. Whether you talk with other folks at the gym or not, you’ll likely see the same people who are in a similar routine as you. That means you can see their progress. I find that to be really motivating. If someone has lost a lot of weight and maintained it, or looks like they’re really toned up or slimmed down in the month since I’ve seen them that’s a great wake-up call for me. If they can do, I can do it. Stop making excuses. I’m sure their life is busy and they love ice cream too. Stop the madness :)
  4. Making otherwise boring workouts interesting. I hate lifting weights. Hate it. It’s so boring. But I really enjoy a class at my gym called “Lengthen & Lift.” It’s a 45 minute class that combines strength training, stretching, a bit of mediation and sometimes a quick massage at the end. It’s hard and I always wake up sore the next day, but really each of the exercises themselves aren’t difficult; they’re things I could easily do at home with free weights. But I don’t. I can’t/won’t/don’t force myself to do it. So if I can just convince myself to walk in that door for class it a) forces me to stay for 45 minutes and  b) makes it enjoyable with good music and a delightful teacher.

So these past two days back at the gym have been a good wake-up call for me, and I’m even more motivated to go back on a regular basis.

That said, I’m not nixing the running. In fact, I’ll be running my first 5k (at a charity event with friends) in just a little over a week! If you want to see more about my running check out:


On Running: The Gear

On Running: The GearI don’t really have any super fancy running gear but what I have works well for me, so I wanted to share that with you as I know we have a lot of runners or soon-to-be-runners in our community.

Clothing & Sneakers

          • Bottoms: I typically wear Old Navy Active Compression Capris. I love that they stay in place and are just no fuss. Plus they’re reasonably priced and easy to find!
          • Tops: On days when its not really hot, I typically just wear a ribbed cotton tank from Old Navy. I do have some better, athletic-wear tank tops with moisture wicking qualities, but none I like so much I can honestly recommend them to you. Stretching
          • Sneakers:  I wear ASICS Women’s Gel-Kayano 19 and have worn the Kayano’s since I started for the Breast Cancer 3 Day back in 2008. They have never failed me. That said, I highly recommend getting fitted for sneakers to see what works best for you.
          • Socks: It took me a long time to find socks that worked for me. When I was training to walk 60 miles in 3 days, I needed socks that would prevent blisters. After many failed attempts, I finally found the Feetures! Light No Show Socks. They aren’t the cheapest socks, but I’ve had most of the ones still in my rotation for 6 years now, so I’d say I’ve gotten my money’s worth. They fit snugly to my feet which means there’s no movement or rubbing. They are nice and light and especially for shorter walks and runs I don’t have to worry about sweat. I wash and dry these normally and they’ve held up really well [affiliate link].


    • App: I use the c25kfree app for iPhone. I can’t recommend this highly enough. I have literally gone from zero running to 28 minutes of running at a time in 8 weeks. To me, that’s the stuff of miracles!
    • Armband: I bought the Mediabridge Sport Armband for iPhone 5/iPhone 5S from Amazon and while I was skeptical that I could like an armband, it’s worked really well for me. On days when it’s brutally hot, I switch arms half way through the run, but mostly it doesn’t bother me at all. It’s easily adjustable and could easily fit an arm much smaller or larger than mine [affiliate link].

Post Workout Tools

  • Tiger Tail Rolling Muscle Massager: I bought the 22″ size a few months back after my mother’s personal trainer recommended it to her. I tried it during a weekend away, and when I got home, I logged on to Amazon and purchased it. I try to roll out my calves and quads before and after every run to lengthen the muscles and give them some overall love. When I do it consistently, in combination with traditional stretching, my body recovers much more quickly than when I skip these important steps [affiliate link].

  • Then, a couple weeks later a package arrived from Amazon (courtesy of my awesome Mom) containing a Massage Mitt- Palm Shaped Massager w/ Rotating Rollers. This tool costs less than $7 and while I don’t believe a word of description regarding removing cellulite, it’s the most amazing massage tool I’ve ever tried. I rub this against my calves, particularly when I have some stubborn knots and those rotating ball bearing really get in and do the job! And if you can get someone to use this on you while you totally relax, the experience is even better [affiliate link].

I hope some of these will work for you! If they, do please come back and leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you. Or if you have recommendations for me- please share! I’m always looking for things to better my experience.

A note about Affiliate Links: if you choose to try out any of the products listed here and you click through my site, I get a small percentage from Amazon at no extra cost to you.