Thursday, May 12, 2016

Rock the Ridge 50 mile challenge- Why I'm happy with my DNF

Rock the Ridge 50 Mile Endurance Challenge 
New Paltz, NY
April 30, 2016



Winning Time:


Free Photos: 

Why I'm happy with my DNF

   Simply put if you don't push your limits you will never know how far you can go. It's often said in the Ultra world that if you have never DNF'd you've never pushed yourself hard enough. I wanted to see how far I could go. Maybe I just wanted to be completely broken down so I can rebuild stronger. 

I'll share a little back story for those who haven't followed my journey. Since I started running in 2010 my passion for it grew stronger with every race I completed. It was the one time in my day that I felt completely myself and happy. I couldn't get enough of it and quickly went for racing 5k's every Saturday and Sunday to running a half marathon every weekend. When that wasn't enough I doubled up on the half marathons completing 55 in one year plus some longer distances. In that same year I ran my first ultra a 53k in Italy for my 40th Birthday.  I was on a mission and had something to prove. Darn it if I couldn't be fast I'd either run a ridiculous amount of races or go farther.   

We all know every runner has a reason. I've met runners over coming addiction, eating disorders, abuse, and several different medical conditions from Lyme disease to cancer.  I began running to fill my time with something positive and continued running to fill a void and emptiness in my heart.   

After completing my 100th half marathon the desire to prove anything was swept away.  I had about 400 races under my belt. I'd traveled to many new places facing fears and challenges I never envisioned looking dead in the eye or even cared to prior to this journey. However I still had this one last big race on the calendar, Rock the Ridge 50 miler. Everything I had learned from running had me mentally prepared but my training was lacking. It was virtually non existent except for the half marathons I was still running IF I felt like going. Mental toughness isn't having what it takes to try it's being okay if you fail. It's embracing doubt and giving it your all anyway. 

Leading up the event life had begun to change for me. I became President of the 100 Half Marathons Club. Running had finally come full circle now that I have an outlet to pay it forward. My time that I had so much of  became very valuable as others changes occurred in my life. 

So April 30th would come with things looking very different then they did when I registered. I set out that day to go as far as I could. I set out to let that trail take everything out of me while looking forward to the rebuild. 

What I found was for the first time in running I was at peace with saying, "This is far enough, I've done enough and I no longer have anything to prove". It was freeing and joyous. Running gave me everything I needed and I know longer wanted anything from it. The old me would have run through the excruciating knee pain I encountered.  I've been known to run a marathon with a stress fracture simply because I DO NOT MISS RACES EVER. At mile 32 I stopped.  Then I smiled. Yes I smiled both outwardly and inwardly. I reached my limit and I was happy about it. Relieved that the pressure was off to find the next big challenge. I could now change my focus to other areas of my life that need my attention. 

I will still run. I love it too much to ever turn away form it. I've enjoyed every race and have no regrets for the time I dedicated to it. But now if I feel like sleeping in, I will. If my body is broken or hurting I will rest it. 

  A quick review of Rock the Ridge

Logistics were fairly easy. The event did a great job of informing participants and getting them to the starting line.  The aide stations were nicely stocked however some were way to far apart. With attendees of all abilities including walkers 10 miles is a very far way to go to reach the next stop.  While there are a few stunning views I thought the course to be very dull.  In the ultra distance I prefer changes of scenery like being in a small town for a few miles then some trails and maybe some open fields or a large city.  I found running the Sweltering Summer Ultra which consisted of countless laps on a dirt and cinder track to be more engaging because of the interactions with all the other runners and spectators. Also course markings were lacking. There was more then one spot myself and other runners guessed and hoped we headed in the correct direction. I can only image in the dark it would have been very tough.  We did partake in a nice pre-race dinner. I can't speak for the finish line food as I was taken back to one of the major aide stations where my friend Alicia then picked me up. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Asbury Park Half Marathon Review

Asbury Park Runapalooza Half Marathon
Asbury Park, NJ
April 16,2016

  Half Marathon 1592

Winning Time:


Free photos:

Take a tour of stunning homes and the beautiful shore

  Runners know there is no better way to see a new place then by foot during a race. If not for the 108 half marathons I've run the world would be a much smaller place. The Asbury Park Half Marathon let's us daydream as we look at the gorgeous homes strategically placed along the shore with their large windows and balconies offering ocean views for their occupants. This flat course takes you through the residential areas then leads you onto the boardwalk. The sites of the crashing waves with people strolling along enjoying the day is a welcome get away.

Arriving more then an hour before race time I was able to park very close tot he start. All parking lots are free on race day, paid for by the event. Packet pickup is located at a venue inside with an expo that morning. However they do require a donation for race day pick up. Although it is a small donation this is the one of the two things that keeps this race from scoring 5 gold sneakers.  As an avid half marathon runner who travels upwards of three hours on race morning the last thing I want to do is worry about bringing a check to get my BIB. Fortunately a friend was willing to grab my BIB the day before otherwise I wouldn't have registered at all. I ran this race last year and found the forced check donation to really leave me with a negative feeling.   

On a very positive note there is something this race does that I think is brilliant. Your race shirt is available for pick up after you finish. This completely avoids the need to grab your BIB and walk back to the car to place that shirt, to later be added to the insane collection you have, safely inside. Very smart idea! At a race like this its nice to leave your car and take a walk on the boardwalk, chat with other runners and yes... snap all those selfies. There is no gear check so having that shirt after the race can be very handy. Besides I'm sure some of us find it very gratifying to combine the shirt with the medal as a post race outfit. Go ahead you earned it.     

The Half Marathon starts on the street directly outside the PPU. Porta-potties are close however the line was very long. I'm sure the people behind me either started the race late or dealt with this in some other manner.  I do think this event could've used a few more. 

Announcements were made regularly with time checks and directions to line up. Spectators eagerly waited to cheer the crowd on as it was sent on it's way.   

It is often that one volunteer saying, "water water water" that makes you smile. Maybe it's the runner who starts a conversation with you and says, "you are an inspiration" that unknowingly is the inspiration you need.  It could also be the spectator holding a sign or the one beating a drum. I love when sometimes tells me it is their first half marathon.  

This race had water and Gatorade often enough. All intersections were marked and controlled with a volunteer. I found myself at the back of the back this time and it was nice to see no one had left their post, nor did they run out of anything. 

Back inside after crossing the finish line we were treated to a delicious nice cold pasta salad by the happiest volunteers ever. The expo was still open because why not treat yourself to something after running 13.1. 

Asbury Park does an overall great job with this event. Bring the family to make a nice day of it on the boardwalk and beach. 

Thank you to the Race Director who offered members of the  100 Half Marathons Club an exclsuive  discount. 
You can visit our website here:

Monday, April 11, 2016

Caesar Rodney Half Marathon Review

Caesar Rodney Half Marathon
April 3, 2016
Wilmington, DE  

 Half marathon 613

Winning time: 
  1:12: 33


Like the changing seasons 

 I will state immediately that is one of my favorite races. I ran it for the first time in 2015 and returned for the 2016 event. This year proved to be a challenge with high winds and cooler then normal temps. I was hearing many runners decided not to run it due to the conditions. This however didn't stop me from running one of the races I was looking most forward to.   

There are many approaches to running a half marathon. If you scour the internet there is evidence to refute or validate each and every one. "Break the race down into manageable parts" is a very common suggestion. The Caesar Rodney Half marathon will help you utilize this approach. Why? .. you ask. Well because like the changing seasons this course offers changing scenery. 

Taking you on tour of Wilmington Delaware the race starts in the city and passes through a wildlife refuge. After a quick few blocks back through the city you make way to Rockford Park running around the Tower. Then we are treated to a nice residential area before reentering the city towards the finish line. Each part of the course promotes a feeling of renewed energy. 

There is a mix of both open roads and paths along the rivers. Cones on the open roads keep drivers  at a nice distance while police officers and volunteers do a great job at controlling the traffic.  Water was available often enough. 

The finish line was welcoming with a race announcer announcer calling out your name. She even new it was my 105th half marathon. Thank you to the runner who asked me and told her. The Caesar Rodney race offers 100 Half Marathons Club members an exclusive discount.  

Let's talk about the post race refreshments. Hot soup, pizza, bagels, all kinds of fruit, chips and energy bars were plentiful. Well done! Thank you to the Race Director and all the volunteers. 

Fighting Seabees Half Marathon Review

Fighting Seabees Half Marathon
April 30, 2016
North Kingston, RI

  Half Marathon 273

Winning Time:


"I don't give a crap about who wins this race, I care about one thing, everybody making it to that finish line..." RD- Gary

  If you have never run an Ocean State Multisport event I highly encourage you to do so. These are no fuss low key half marathons with a race director that truly cares about the runners. Have you ever had the RD himself pull up to you on the course to see if you need anything? You will see Gary on the course checking on runners. 

This course run at Quonset Point is flat with only one hill, an overpass around mile 9.5. There was virtually no traffic to deal with, just wide open roads. All intersections were manned with a highly visible volunteer. It is a pleasure to be able to just run your race feeling safe. Aid stations were fully stocked about every two miles. 

With an option to buy multiple races at a discounted price and/or taking advantage of the discount this race provides to 100 Half Marathons Club members it is a steal worth every penny. I admit I questioned myself for leaving my house at 3:30am to drive the three hours, run this race and turnaround to make the trip back home. When I was finished I was so happy I resisted the urge to skip it.    

Even with the low entry fee every runner received a tech shirt and finishers medal. There were plenty of snacks at the finish line. Let me not forget to mention there is a very generous cut-off time. 

Thank you Gary and all the volunteers for making this a smooth enjoyable event.  

Monday, April 4, 2016

RunnerBox Product Review


  After contacting RunnerBox  on behalf of the 100 Half Marathons Club  they offered to send me a complimentary box to see what it's all about. In addition RunnerBox has offered club members an exclusive discount. My opinions in this review are my own. I was not paid for a review nor was the club discount contingent upon providing a review. 

RunnerBox is a bi-monthly subscription to receive really cool goodies. They also offer one time gift boxes and limited edition specialty boxes. I highly recommend you go buy one for a friend right now.. GIFT A BOX!!!    They will be thrilled to receive their box filled with a variety of high quality products.  

Now let me explain that I've seen and heard of most every product out there for runners. With over 400 races of varying distance under my belt which includes many expos it is rare to come across something new. Oh and I should mention a large part of my job with the 100 Half Marathons Club is working with vendors.  Why is this important to this review you ask?  Well because RunnerBox got me. There were SIX things in the box that I either never heard of or never considered looking into as a runner product.  You're off to a good start RunnerBox, great job! 

Let's take a look at what I received from RunnerBox

The box  measures 7 3/4 X 3 1/4 X 5 1/4. I did get one item on the side that didn't fit in the box. 

Some literature was nicely wrapped in their tissue paper that I intentionally tossed off to the side to excited to see what was underneath. Surprises are always fun. 

All this is what I found inside the box. It is a nice mix or products.

Remember that literature I tossed to the side, well it had my favorite thing of the entire box in it. This super awesome 13.1 coloring page.   It's a page from the book "COLOR MY RUN"

Also included is a very detailed list of each item inside the box. That's going above and beyond and I'm sure takes plenty of time to put together.  

Now that we've looked inside the box the real question everyone wants answered.


Well that depends on you. Are you willing to be experimental?  Do you like finding out about new products? In this particular box I would use or try about 3/4 of the contents. In order to really make a better assessment I'd probably need to receive a few more boxes. A great idea would be to swap the items you won't use with your running bodies.  Then you'd really be getting some great value from it. 

I really enjoyed receiving RunnerBox and think it makes an awesome gift for any athlete. 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Run With Heart Half Marathon Review

Run with Heart Half Marathon 
January 30, 2016 
Mansfield, TX 

  Half marathon 212

Winning Time: 


Well done Texas!

    What was I to do when the half marathon I had scheduled as #99 was canceled? There really weren't many options. My 100th was already planned and I was intent on having it be close to home with a Race Director I've run with many times. I'm a big fan of Trimara Sports !  My biggest supporters planned to be there and I couldn't fathom letting them down. So this idea of jumping on a plane to Texas was developed. I mulled over the idea while consulting with the friends who know me best and soon I was on my way. 

Thank you to everyone who gave me that little nudge. Sometimes you need that voice of reason to stop you from crazy ideas and other times you need those same people to tell you it's okay to MAKE IT HAPPEN. 

While the field of runners may have been small there was nothing small about this race. If only all races were so easy. Arriving early as always there was ample parking for more then triple the amount of runners.  I just love parking feet away from the start/finish. Porta potties where in decent shape and stocked with no lines even minutes before the race. Pre-race music got everyone pumped while race day packet pickup was underway. Vendors and volunteers were busy setting up there tables of goodies while runners met and chatted with one another. The vibe was friendly and welcoming. 

After a quick briefing, race blessing and the singing of the National Anthem we were sent off to embark on 13.1 miles....on time.  


This race offered a nice course with enough aid stations. At my pace I found myself alone at times which I don't mind. The nice change of scenery into the park was very welcomed. There is always something special a race that treats each and every runner the same. No matter if there are thousands of us or a couple hundred, if you are in the front of the pack or the back we all like the support a race offers. This race did a stand out job of that. From the law enforcement to the volunteers they held nothing back.   

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Celebrate Life Half Marathon Review

Celebrate Life Half Marathon 
March 13, 2016
Rock Hill, NY

  Half Marathon 921

Winning time:


Free race photos:

A Feel Good Race

    What sets this race apart is its willingness to accommodate participants of all abilities. There are three starts times available. One for walkers, one for those over 2:30, and the regular start. Why would a race Director offer this you ask? Well why would that same RC also donate 100% off the proceeds to patients in treatment for cancer? Passion! The answer is passion and  believing that what they do can and does make a deference. 
     These staggered start times allows anyone an opportunity to support their loved ones who have battled cancer.  Maybe even they themselves have overcome it. This is a race full of inspiration! 

     Is there anything better then having a race start and finish right outside the door of your hotel?  The Sullivan Hotel ( now know as the Ramada)  hosts the race. Everything from packet pick up to the post race buffet is done inside the hotel's banquet room. That buffet, may I add, is catered by the Outback Steak House . I mean you are getting a real meal here folks, not just a piece of fruit or bagel.  

     Having run this race the year before I was well aware of the "rolling hills" and opted for the early start knowing I wouldn't finish before 2:30.  Now I know that elevation chart looks pretty flat and even the numbers don't say much but do not fool yourself  this course is somewhat challenging. It is also beautiful with nice views of the lake.       

100 Half  Marathons Club Members 

100 Half  Marathons Club Members  

100 Half Marathons Club Members 

  There was plenty of aid stations with water and Gatorade, even one with Gu. I will keep the secret of the aid station under the bridge just as you are getting close to the finish. The volunteers were very helpful and friendly. Emergency vehicles and police were present and visible. 
   The finish area did have some congestion with vehicles trying to leave the race while runners were coming through the shoot. Even though there were volunteers in place to help direct these cars I found it tough to navigate around the cars while flying down the hill at full throttle.

Click below to view my GoPro video from the race 

  Race director Myriam does a fantastic job with this event. It is one I will continue to return to.   

Finishers medal 

Zip up race giveaway ( way better then any T-shirt)

The Celebrate Life Half  Marathon was voted one of the best half marathons in NY for 2015 by the 100 Half Marathons Club. As a service to the running community each year our members fill out an annual survey to recognize their favorite half marathons by state, theme, price, overall value, and other categories

You can find the results here: 
To learn more about the club visit us at