I’m Ready for a Comeback

As I teased on Friday, I’ve registered for my first postpartum race: the Zack’s Place Turkey Trot 5k on Thanksgiving.

I ran this race in 2012 (pre-blog days) and loved it. I was registered to run it again in 2014 but DNS’d due to a foot injury. The race is in Woodstock, VT, which is just a few minutes from my parents’ house. We’ll be with them for Thanksgiving this year, so I’m excited to do this race again. The registration fee is only $30, and the pre/post-race perks are great.

Needless to say, I’m feeling both excited and nervous. As of Thanksgiving, I won’t have run a race in over a year, and I haven’t yet started running postpartum. At this point, I don’t have any goals, other than to get to the starting line healthy. I’m sure some goals will become clear over the course of training. In the meantime, I just can’t wait to start running again!

Who else will be running a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving?

Race Recap: VT Respite House Jiggety Jog 5k 2017

Finally, right? I ran the race on SATURDAY and didn’t give you a recap until THURSDAY. I’m sorry. I just needed to get yesterday’s post off my chest. Now, onto the thing!

Date/Time: May 13, 2017, 9 am

Weather: Cool and Sunny

Because the Respite House moved from Williston to Colchester, it was a completely new location and course this year. The race started and ended at Mallet’s Bay School, so they maintained the nice indoor pre/post race location and real bathrooms–score!

As usual, registration and packet pick up were a breeze. Plenty of volunteers, music and announcements by Top Hat entertainment, plus a Jazzercise warm up. Also nice this year is that I got a hat rather than a cotton t-shirt. I love me a good hat, and have WAY too many t-shirts I never even wear. I also saw some of my CrossFit friends right before the start, which was really nice, and Jamie ended up winning the whole race–he’s SUPER fast.

On the Course:
I set out with the intention of just running a strong race. It’s been a while since I pushed myself to run fast, and I wanted to see what I was capable of. The new course was a bit trickier than the old one, but here were volunteers at every intersection, plus chalk arrows drawn on the road, so I was never unsure about where to go.

I used a LOT of positive self-talk during this race, and I think it paid off. I started out at a fast-for-me pace and just kept going. I reminded myself that the discomfort of running hard was only temporary, that I’ve done this many times before, that I was strong and capable.

As I came into the finish area, I saw my friend Jamie, and yelled “Did you win?” and he said “Oh yeah!” and it gave me such a big smile and a boost coming into the finish.

My splits were great–9:03, 9:07, 8:46, and the final .1 at 8:36. My Garmin time was 27:47, which is only 17 seconds slower than my PR, so I was delighted. I never bothered to look at my official results, but I started near the front of the pack, so I have to assume they’re pretty similar. I walked around a bit to bring my heart rate down, then grabbed a bottle of water and some snacks, and stretched out a bit.

The awards ceremony started right at 10, and it was so much fun to cheer for my speedy CrossFit friends, and have them cheer for me when I got my fundraising recognition. We snapped some pictures, and then I headed home.

You might think that I felt some regret at having finished only 17 seconds away from a PR, but that is not the case at all. I was and am just SO EXCITED to have been able to push myself for the whole race. I struggle a lot with being uncomfortable, and tend to hold myself back in race situations for fear of blowing up. It’s nice to know that I can be uncomfortable but still successful, and finish without injury or puking. I just had complete confidence in my ability to run hard and finish. I hope I can continue with this feeling for future races, because it was pretty damn great.

Photo May 13, 10 30 28 AM

A Very Race-tastic May

I know I haven’t been running much lately, but in spite of that, the month of May is chock full of races. I haven’t got many races that I’m planning on beyond May because I just don’t know right now what this year is going to bring, but let’s take a look at what I’ll be up to in the oh-so-full month of May.

Vermont Corporate Cup Challenge 5k – May 11
This is a race that you all probably recognize by now. In spite of the fact that it’s one of the oldest road races in Vermont, organization continues to be lacking. Parking and potties are a cluster, and race etiquette is non-existent. You may ask, “If it’s so bad, why bother?” I keep coming back because a) I get free registration through work, and b) it’s a team-building exercise that usually ends with dinner and drinks on the company. Who could say no to that?

Vermont Respite House Jiggety Jog 5k – May 13
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I run this race every year. It’s a fundraiser for the Vermont Respite House, which provides end-of-life care for terminally ill Vermonters. My grandmother passed away there, so it’s a cause that’s near and dear to my heart. It’s also super well organized, with great post-race food and prizes. I’ve also gotten a birthday-week PR the last two years running, so it’s safe to say that I love this race and am excited for it.

Craft Brew Race 5k – May 20
My friend Hannah really wants to do her first 5k this year, and she asked if I would run the Craft Brew Race with her. Of course I said yes! I did this one a couple of years ago, and while the noon start time made for a stupid hot race, I enjoyed both the race and the brew fest immensely. Plus, Hannah is one of my favorites, so it will be fun to hang out with her for the day.

Vermont City Marathon Relay – May 28
This one is a little iffy because I know my friends Jaska and Penelope are getting married that day. I think depending on the start time of the race and the start time and location of the wedding, I can make it work. I want to make it work. My office got a relay team spot, so I’d only be running one leg of the marathon, and I think it would be really nice to have a positive experience on the course after my disastrous marathon attempt last year.

I’m glad that these are all short races, because it means I can train for them relatively easily, without having to commit to a full-on training schedule or lots of long runs. I’m also optimistic that all of the CrossFit will have helped make me stronger by then, so who knows what I might be capable of?

Do you have any races planned for May? Do any of your months look like my May as far as number of races?

Race Recap: VT Respite House Jiggety Jog 2016

This is a recap of my personal experience at the VT Respite House Jiggety Jog 5k. If you’d like just the nitty-gritty race details, check out my review on BibRave.com here.

Where/When: Williston, VT | May 7, 2016, 9 am
Weather: Sunny, mid-60’s, breezy

This is the 3rd year in a row I’ve run this race, and just as in years past, it’s a well-oiled machine. The race starts and ends at the Allen Brook school, so there’s plenty of parking as long as you get there about 8:30. Runners/walkers have access to real bathrooms and running water, which is always a plus. There’s a DJ, music, face painting and kids’ activities, and registration is a breeze, either online or on site.

Just before 9 am, we were told to head out to the start line. Sharon Keegan, the Administrator of Vermont Respite House, said a few words, and we had a moment of silence to remember our loved ones. Runners started first at 9, and walkers/bikers etc started just after.

On the Course:
I woke up feeling really good that morning, and ready to make a PR attempt, with the understanding that if my quad or foot started acting up, I’d back off immediately. I’m very familiar with the course, having run it two times previously, so I felt pretty comfortable setting out at a 9ish minute mile pace. The course has a couple of decently-sized hills, but also several really nice long downhills, which I definitely used to my advantage. I just LOVE to fly down hills.

My first mile beeped in the low 9s and I was still feeling good, so I just focused on keeping a comfortably hard pace and trying not to over-do it. I have a tendency to let my fear of blowing up keep me from pushing in races, so I was trying to find the balance. Every time I looked at my watch, I was surprised by how fast I was going, and still feeling pretty good. Just before mile 3, I got a rush of adrenaline, which made me feel kind of sick, but also helped me push through with a fast finish. As I crested the final small hill toward the downhill finish, I saw 27:xx on the race clock, and knew I was in for a PR, so I kicked it as much as I could, and finished with 27:32 on my Garmin.

27:32–that’s over a minute off last year’s 5k PR at the same race! And when I checked my splits, the were perfect–9:01, 8:56, 8:43, last .11 at 7:23 pace. I was delighted, but also still feeling kind of sick, so I grabbed a bottle of water and walked around for a bit. I went to my car and changed into sandals, and then went inside for some food. The spread continues to impress–bagels, cider donuts, coffee, water, juice, granola bars, apples, bananas, and cookies.

I sat at a picnic table, watching the finish line, eating my snacks, and basking in the glory of my shiny new birthday PR. When they posted the official race results, it was even more awesome–27:30! Fourth in my age group, just like the last two years. They did the awards ceremony with medals for 1st and 2nd in each 10 year age group, plus medals for overall male and female winners, and then presented certificates to the top fundraisers.

Even without the PR, this is still my favorite race, and I will be back every year. The sense of community is incredible, and the Respite House staff and volunteers are truly so grateful for support and participation. They remember people from year to year. The Respite House Administrator, Sharon Keegan, gave me a huge hug, asked about my family, and took a picture with me to send to my mom. That’s about as good as it gets 🙂

Photo May 07, 10 40 49 AM

When racing, how do you know when to rein it in and when to push?

I’m a Color Run Ambassador!


After seeing how much fun Lauren (aka Salt) had as an ambassador for the Color Run in Baltimore, I knew I had to get in on that action. After emailing the company and filling out an application, I was asked to be an “elite” ambassador (I have no idea if there are different levels of ambassador, but hooray for being elite!)

This is exciting for multiple reasons. First of all, I get a discount code to share with all of you cool cats (although it’s only for the Burlington, VT event…COME VISIT ME!). Second, this is an event that I LOVE and love to promote. The Color Run Boston in 2012 was my first race ever, and it’s what really lit a fire under my butt for running and racing. It’s fun, low-pressure, and accessible for EVERYONE regardless of age or ability. Wanna run it? Great. Wanna walk it? Awesome. Wanna skip or hula hoop the whole thing? Rock on with ya bad self!

Before becoming an ambassador, I had already convinced 5 or so ladies from my office to form a team and register–one of whom has never done a 5k before ever. I’m so excited that her first experience will be the Color Run, and even more excited that all participants receive medals this year. What better way to commemorate her first race than with some bling?

The Burlington Vermont Color Run 5k event takes place on September 26. If you’d like to join me there, use the code BUR5 for $5 off your registration!

Have you ever participated in The Color Run?

Race Recap: Craft Brew Races Stowe 5k

This is a recap of my personal experience. If you’re looking for more nitty gritty race details, check out my BibRave review here. Don’t forget to review all your races on BibRave.com!

What:  Craft Brew Races 5k

Where/When:  Saturday May 30, 2015; 12 noon; Stowe, VT

Conditions:  Sunny, hot and humid


Ben and I had a leisurely morning hanging around the house, then left at about 10:45 for the 40ish minute drive over the mountain to Stowe. I wish we’d left a bit earlier, because traffic was pretty bad. We parked at about 11:50 and hightailed it to the registration area. There was a big clump of people waiting for bib pickup, and a lady screaming that in order to get our bibs, we’d need to go to a separate area to figure out our bib numbers. I was immediately pissed that they hadn’t emailed this information out beforehand. Add to that the fact that there were 6 “lines” for different number ranges crammed into about 10 feet worth of tent and it was kind of a disaster.

Eventually we got sorted, got our bibs pinned on and ran over to the plentiful port-a-potties. I came out and Ben wasn’t where I thought he was going to be, and I didn’t see him anywhere, so I just made my way to the start, and got there in the nick of time–the crowd was already moving by the time I got to the start area!

Photo May 30, 12 05 33 PM


I started out at an easy pace, feeling good and excited to run. Within the first 5 minutes Ben passed me from behind, and I didn’t see him again until after the race. The first mile was great-sunny and warm but not awful, and a family set up a beer station right at the one mile marker. I didn’t stop because I was on the opposite side of the road.

During mile 2, I started to get very hot and uncomfortable. There wasn’t a lot of shade. There was a water station at about the 1.5 mile mark, but it was SUPER congested, because it was right where the route turned from a road onto a narrow bike bath, and there was actually a line forming up for water. I didn’t want to stop, which, in retrospect, was a mistake.

The bike path was a nice change, because there was actually a little bit of shade, but even so, the afternoon was really hot and humid. During mile 3, I had to take a couple of walk breaks, just to re-set my mind a bit. As I came into the final 0.1 mile, I saw Ben near the finish line. He gave me a high five and I sprinted in for the finish.


I was feeling pretty gross, and I got a little pissy because I was standing next to a volunteer who was handing out medals and water. I was waiting for her to finish untangling a medal, and when she was done, she literally looked right at me, huffing and puffing, and turned away from me to hand a medal and water bottle to someone else. I was about to say something not very nice when another volunteer did an amazing stealth pass and slipped a water bottle and medal into my hands. It was pretty awesome.

Photo May 30, 12 53 28 PM

I met up with Ben and we went to change out of our running shoes and into flip flops. Pro-tip–always bring a change of shoes for after a race. Your sweaty, swollen feet will thank you. After that, the afternoon was spent blissfully chowing down on food truck tacos and sampling tasty brews. We ran into our friends Hannah and Jayden (Elle and Emmett in my recent production of Legally Blonde), and had a great time hanging out.

NBD, just me and Elle Woods :)

NBD, just me and Elle Woods 🙂



We didn’t bother checking our results until we left. I clocked in at 32:01, and Ben came in at 30:12, which is pretty amazing considering his training for this event was non-existent! On the way home, we stopped at Bingham Falls for a swim with all our clothes on. It was SUPER cold and refreshing–almost like an ice bath! When we got home I showered, wolfed down two hot dogs, took a two hour nap, woke up, watched a movie, and went to bed 🙂

My goals for this race were:

  • Beat Ben–nope
  • Sub-30 finish–nope
  • Don’t get wasted–CHECK! I had a nice little buzz but didn’t get too drunk and had zero hangover on Sunday

I’m not even mad that I didn’t achieve my two running related goals. I had a feeling Ben was going to sneak attack a win (what a butthead), and it was WAY too hot to worry about my pace. I should have thought about that whole noon start time thing before setting any time goals.

Have you ever had a volunteer snub you when you were desperate for water?

Have you ever done a Craft Brew Race?

Goals for the Craft Brew Races 5k

This will be my fourth 5k race this month. I’ve already PR’d once, so I’m not really gunning for a top time going into this race. I’m planning for it to just be fun, especially because Ben will be running with me! This will be the first race we’ve run together since 2012, and I’m very excited.

HOWEVER, I know my competitive side will rear its ugly head once I cross the starting line, so I’m going to do my best to be well hydrated and fueled on Saturday, because right now, my main goal is:


Theoretically, this is a distinct possibility. Ben hasn’t done any distance running to speak of in years. His broom ball season ended months ago and he hasn’t been doing any kind of cardio since then. I, on the other hand, have been running regularly and am in pretty good form. But he’s sneakily fit, and has amazing powers of mind over matter. He can just decide he’s going to do something and do it. I’m nervous.

Other, lesser goals include:

  • Sub-30 time
  • Don’t get wasted at the finish line Brew Fest

There are going to be over 40 breweries present, and we get unlimited samples. This could be dangerous. I need to remember to drink a ton of water and eat something, because we may be moving before and after the race and Brew Fest, and the last thing I’ll need is to be drunk and/or hungover and moving heavy things to a third floor walk up apartment.

Have you ever done a Craft Brew Race?

What’s your favorite beer/brewery?

Friday Free-For-All – 05/08/15

FFFA (1)

I officially registered the domain “darlinrae.com.” I love my little blog, and I felt like it was the right time to make things a little more official. I’ve never intended to make this a “serious” blog or make money from it, but it just feels nice to remove the “wordpress” from the name, and I plan to spiff a few things up to have a more cohesive theme going on.

Tomorrow is my birthday! And it should be another good one. I have the VT Respite House Jiggety Jog 5k in the morning (it’s not too late to make a last-minute donation here!), and then we’ll be having my 4th annual Cinco de Mayo-themed birthday party.

And last but not least… we got an apartment! It’s small, but very clean and cool. It’s in a converted elementary school building, so it’s got huge windows and vaulted ceilings! It’s also a 10 minute walk from my office, and very close to the bike path, the lake, the beach, and great shops and restaurants. We sign our lease on Monday, and move in June first! We are so excited to have our own place again after almost two years of having room mates or living with our parents.

Who’s got some tips for apartment decorating on a budget?

Goals for the VRH Jiggety Jog 5k

The number one goal for this race, as it was last year, is to have fun. This race is not competitive. It’s about the Respite House and raising money. I plan to enjoy every minute, and stay to cheer on every last runner, and watch the awards ceremony.

That being said, I do have some specific goals, mostly because this is a repeat race. I know the course, and I have an idea of what I’m capable of compared to where I was at in my training at this time last year. Last year, I was still something of a noob, and this race was only my 4th 5k race ever. Now, I’ve got several more 5ks and 2 half marathons under my belt, and I’ve had some pretty strong training runs since coming back from my Legally Blonde-induced hiatus, so I feel like a PR is within my reach.

  • A Goal: PR (under 29:17). Looking at my runs and paces from the last few weeks, this is TOTALLY doable. As long as I stay healthy, and nail my hydration and fueling, I should be able to PR.
  • B Goal: Age Group Award. I was 4th in my age group last year, and they give medals to the 1st and 2nd place in each age group. I want a medal, dammit! (Note, this is HIGHLY unlikely, but something to strive for anyway)
  • C Goal: Course PR (under 30:21). Last year, the course was totally new to me. I didn’t know what to expect, and ran a pretty conservative race. I also had to pee for the latter half, it was the hottest day of the year so far, and I was wearing shorts that chafed the crap out of my thighs. Knowing what I know now, I should be able to at least get a course PR.

Barring some crazy mishap, I see this as being a really strong race. I just hope that the weather cooperates. Last year was hot and humid, and it looks like this year might be the same, with a high of 86* and 40% chance of rain in the forecast.

Also, a last-minute plea for donations–I’m only $35 away from my goal of raising $1000. This amount provides care for a Respite House patient for three whole days, and grants me membership in the exclusive “Jiggety Jog Club.” I hit $1000 last year and I’m determined to get there again. If you’d like to help, click here to make a secure online donation.  Every little bit helps!

Who else is racing this weekend? What distance?

Tentative 2015 Race Schedule

Time for the obligatory 2015 racing schedule post.  I feel like everyone and their mother has been posting these of late, but what’s one more, right?

One of my goals this year is to run 15 races in 2015, so I feel like I need to be much more organized this year than last year, when my only big goal was to complete my first half marathon.  I live in northern Vermont, and unfortunately, there just aren’t that many races to choose from that don’t require a long drive and/or an overnight trip somewhere.  This means that I have to scour the interwebs to find races that are a) affordable, b) close by, and c) fit my training schedule/goal distances.

This schedule is incredibly tentative at the moment, mostly because I’m a commitment-phobe, but also because I’m broke, so I can’t afford to register for races and then not run them.

February 14:  Race Vermont Cupid 5k.  This sounds silly and fun–everyone gets a different colored headband depending on whether they’re single, in a relationship, or not interested, with the idea that maybe some singles can find a love match with a fellow runner.  Obviously this wouldn’t apply to me, but it’s still a fun little shtick, and this race organization doesn’t usually do swag for shorter races, so that’s a nice change.

March 21:  Race Vermont Spring Fling 10k.  This race would fulfill my goal of running an actual 10k race.

March 22:  GMAA Pump it Up 5 miler.  This would be a brand new race distance for me, and therefore an automatic PR, but I’m not sure running a 5 miler the day after a 10k race would be smart.

Early May (not yet scheduled):  Vermont Respite House Jiggety Jog 5k.  I ran this race last year, and it was hands down my favorite race experience of all time.  I raised $1000 for a very deserving charity, and plan to try to beat my amount this year.

Early May (not yet scheduled):  Vermont Corporate Cup Challenge.  I ran this race last year with a bunch of my coworkers, and as long as my company participates again, I will run the race again.  Hooray free race registration!

May 16:  Mt. Tom Run to the Pogue.  I need to pull the trigger on this one soon, because it sells out every year.  This is a scenic, 6.1 mile, semi-trail race that happens down near my parents, so I could make a nice weekend of it without spending a lot.

May 30:  Craft Brew Race.  This is one I REALLY wanted to do last year, but it was scheduled on the weekend of a friend’s wedding, so I had to pass.

June 6:  Girls on the Run 5k.  This is a race that I’d like to volunteer for, which would cross my “volunteer at a race” goal off. I may also see if I can run AND volunteer.

July 12:  Stowe 8 Miler.  This is another one I wanted to race last year, but something prevented me, I can’t remember what.  This would be a new race distance and an automatic PR.

August 1:  GMAA Women’s Round Church 10k.  This seems like a pretty no-frills race, but it would give me a chance to either a) beat my 10k time from the Spring Fling 10k, or b) complete a 10k race if the Spring Fling doesn’t work out.

September 6:  GMAA Labor Day 15k.  This would be a brand new race distance for me, and an automatic PR.

September 20:  Spartan Sprint.  Yeah, we’ve already talked about this.  AAAAAHHH!

September 26:  The Color Run 5k.  I’ve run this a few times.  A nice, easy, non-competitive 5k.

November 6:  runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon.  This is my big race for the year.  My first runDisney event.  My first “racecation.”  I’ll get to meet my accountabilibuddies.  And right now it’s the only half marathon on my schedule.

Thanksgiving Turkey Trot:  I’m not sure where we’ll be for Thanksgiving this year, but I’m determined to find a Turkey Trot to run after my injury-induced DNS this year.

December 7:  Ri-Ra Santa 5k.  This will be a redemption race after my DNS this year.

So that’s exactly 15 races.  Obviously, some of these may not work out due to scheduling stuff that will come up as the year goes on, so I plan to supplement with virtual races as needed.  There are a few other races I’m keeping an eye on as well, so I’m fairly confident that as long as I stay on top of things, I’ll reach my 15 races in 2015 goal.

How is your 2015 race schedule shaping up?

Do you have any new distances that you’re running?

Are you planning to repeat any races you’ve run before?