Double Race Week!

That’s right, I have two races this week–crazy! While I’m technically “back” after my hiatus, I still haven’t been running that much, maybe twice a week, and the longest I’ve done since November is 4 miles. That’s ok, though, because I’m not really looking for PRs, and the only races I have on the docket are 5ks.

Tomorrow is the VT Corporate Cup Challenge 5k.  This will now be my 4th year running this race (see recaps from 2014, 2015 and 2016). It’s not the most organized of races (not enough potties, terrible parking and traffic, no corrals, no race etiquette), but I get free registration through work, and get to leave work early to get to Montpelier. We also usually do some sort of dinner and drinks thing after, so it’s a nice time in spite of not being the best race ever.

The good news is, the weather is actually looking like it won’t be god-awful hot like it has been the last three years. Right now, temps are forecast to be in the mid-50’s. As long as there’s no rain, it should be a much more comfortable race than in past years.

Then Saturday is the VT Respite House Jiggety Jog 5k, my annual fundraiser race. It’s also my fourth year running this race, and it’s always been my favorite. I’m a little nervous because it’s a new course this year, so I honestly have no idea what to expect. The last two years in a row, this was a PR race for me. With the lack of training on my part, it’s highly unlikely I will PR, but I hope to put in a strong performance nonetheless.

Because these are my first two races this year, and because training hasn’t been strong, my only goal is to finish both races healthy and uninjured. I would be THRILLED if I could pull off sub-30 finishes, but considering my “training” thus far, I’m not holding my breath. Healthy and uninjured is good enough for me.

Have you ever run two (or more) races within a couple of days?

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 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?

Goals for 2016 Jiggety Jog

Before I tweaked my quad and foot, I had planned to set some goals for the Jiggety Jog 5k on Saturday. Then, the 20-miler happened, and I was feeling discouraged and not sure how badly I might be hurt, so I put this post off. After a few days of rest and recovery and a positively transformative hot yoga class yesterday, I’m feeling about 90% today, which brought this post back to the forefront.

Last year, this race fell on my actual birthday, and I set my current 5k PR of 28:55, which was the best possible birthday present I could have gotten. It’s been almost exactly a year since I set that PR, and I must confess, I’m hungry for another. I haven’t really been training to run a fast 5k, but I’ve been running more and longer than I ever have before, so it’s not out of the question.

HOWEVER–I need to remember that my goal race for the year is the Vermont City Marathon. My first, and likely only marathon. So I need to get there healthy and uninjured. Based on these last couple of weeks of training, my shoe issues, and the fact that my foot still isn’t 100%, now is not the time to go gunning for a 5k PR. I plan to start conservatively and see how I’m feeling, but if the stars are aligned and I’m feeling good, I don’t plan to hold myself back either.

So really, my main goal is to enjoy myself. This is my favorite race–good course, amazing volunteers, and awesome post-race food. It’s all about the fundraising (click here if you’d like to contribute–I’m almost to my goal!) and remembering my Gramma Pat.

Are you racing this weekend? Do you have any goals?


Running for a Cause

Hi friends! If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that every year in May, right around my birthday, I participate in the Vermont Respite House Jiggety Jog 5k, raising funds to support the Vermont Respite House and the Visiting Nurse Association of Chittenden and Grande Isle Counties (woof, that’s a mouthful, no?). You can read recaps of the last two years here and here.

Well, it’s that time again! Time for me to put on my fundraising hat and ask any of you who might feel moved to support my fundraising efforts to click this link. It’s fast and secure, and your money will go directly to supporting end-of-life care for terminally ill Vermonters.

Each year since I first started participating in 2014, I have managed to raise over $1000, which earns me a spot in the “Jiggety Jog Club.” Of course, it’s my goal to do so again this year. This is an excellent, well run event, a fun course, and it’s all about raising money for an organization that helps SO MANY PEOPLE year in and year out. It’s very important to me and my family to continue to support the Respite House.

Things are a bit crazy right now, but I’m hoping to maybe organize some incentives for donating, like perhaps a raffle for some fun gear? I’m not sure. Stay tuned. I’ll be pestering you pretty regularly for donations 😉

Race Recap: Vermont Respite House Jiggety Jog 5k

This is a review of my personal experience–if you’re looking for just the nitty gritty details, check out my review by clicking here. Don’t forget to review your races on BibRave!

What:  Vermont Respite House Jiggety Jog 5k

Where:  Williston, Vermont

When:  Saturday May 9, 2015 at 9 am


I woke up, made myself some scrambled eggs and toast, and pounded 32 ounces of water as soon as I got up, because the weather was supposed to be very hot. I slathered on some sunscreen and Body Glide and pulled my bag together. I was flying solo because Ben needed to do some work on our cars, so I needed to make sure I had everything.

I got there later than I would have liked, and unlike last year, parking was kind of crazy. There were several sporting events going on at the elementary school in addition to the race, so I had to sort of create a parking spot along the side somewhere. Inside the school gym, things were just as festive as last year–Top Hat entertainment was playing music and making periodic announcements, runners had access to real toilets, there was face painting for the kids, and someone in a dog costume giving high fives and taking pictures. The event includes a timed 5k race, as well as a “fun run,” which allows strollers, dogs, bikes, hula-hooping, and whatever else one might want to do. The timed runners started first, and everyone else started about 5 minutes later.

Walking to the starting line

Walking to the starting line

During the Race:

We lined up right on time, and the weather was sunny but not too hot. We had a moment of silence in memory of loved ones who’d passed away at the Respite House, and we were off. The course was exactly the same as last year–winding through a field behind the school and looping through local neighborhoods. It was mostly flat, and very well marked.  There were volunteers with water at almost every intersection, pointing the way to go and offering drinks and encouragement. There seemed to be less community spectators this year, but that didn’t affect me much.

On the whole, I ran a really strong race. I kept looking at my Garmin and going “slow down, slow down, don’t burn out,” but I never really did. There was a glorious long, gentle downhill in mile three that I really took advantage of, and then a slight uphill to get back toward the school. At the 3 mile marker, I was starting to be pretty spent, but I was able to kick it up quite a bit when I approached the finish line and saw 58:xx on the race clock. I knew I was going to PR, and wanted to finish as quickly as possible, so I gunned it in for an official time of 28:55, which is a 22 second PR!

After the Race:

Photo May 09, 9 54 38 AMI was kind of shaky, and very hot, so I grabbed a bottle of water from the bucket conveniently located right past the starting line, and walked a few circles around the area. Once my heart rate came back down, I went into the gym for some snacks. Like last year, the spread was generous and varied–bagels, bananas, apples, coffee, cookies, granola bars and donut holes. Each runner also got an awesome fold up water bottle and a cotton t-shirt. Members of the Jiggety Jog Club (those who’d raised $1000 or more, like me) got a nice periwinkle blue t-shirt, while everyone else got yellow.

Shoes off after a race is the BEST

Shoes off after a race is the BEST

I went back outside to stretch and eat and enjoy the sunshine while the rest of the runners, walkers and bikers finished. At 10:15, they posted the official results and started the awards ceremony. I was 4th in my age group, just like last year! They gave medals to the top overall male and female winners, as well as to 1st and 2nd place in each 10 year age group. They also recognized members of the Jiggety Jog Club with certificates.


I said it last year and I’ll say it again–this is an awesome race. The volunteers are incredible–so encouraging, helpful, and honestly grateful for your participation. The amenities (other than parking this year) are awesome–real toilets, music, activities for families, and great post-race food. I also really liked getting a water bottle this year, and the t-shirts for Jiggety Jog Club members were a gorgeous color; the yellow for everyone else, not so nice. I wish it had been a tech t-shirt rather than cotton, but I know that for a fundraising event, I can’t expect that. Also, the medals for AG winners were quite nice. All of this for a registration fee of only $20 is pretty amazing, and I love that it supports an organization that does such great work. Definitely a race to run over and over again.

My goals for this race were:

  • PR (under 29:17)–Check!
  • Get an AG award–nope, maybe next year!
  • Course PR (under 30:21)–Check!

What makes a race a “repeat race” to you–swag? Course? Volunteers?

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?

VRH Jiggety Jog 5k and Fun Run

Those of you who’ve been reading this blog for a while probably remember me writing about this race last year. The Jiggety Jog is an annual fundraiser for the Vermont Respite House, which is a cause that is incredibly important to myself and my family. You can read my original post about why this race is so important to me here. You can also read the race recap here.

photo 4

I will be running the race and raising money again this year, and I would appreciate any and all donations that you feel so moved to make. Click here to go to the secure website and make an online donation. I’ll continue to post regularly about how fundraising is going, training etc. I’m hoping for a course PR, and to raise even more money than last year. What’s fun is this year, the race is actually on my birthday!

Have you ever raced and raised money for a charity?

Race Recap: VT Respite House Jiggety Jog 5k

All photos courtesy of my Dad 🙂

This is an annual fundraiser held by the Visiting Nurse’s Association of Chittenden and Grande Isle Counties.  It’s their second-largest fundraiser, and I have to say, they’ve really got their stuff together.

Before the Race:

When I woke up at 7am, it was POURING rain.  I was less than thrilled.  I ate a banana and some PB toast, and drank a few glasses of Nuun.  We arrived at the Allen Brook School at about 8:15 am.  Even though there was a lacrosse tournament happening, there was plenty of parking.  Registration/pick-up/donation drop off was inside the school gymnasium, and everything was very clearly marked.  As a bonus, there were real restrooms instead of porta-potties!  Since I raised $1000, I was part of the exclusive “Jiggety Jog Club” and got a special blue t-shirt (everyone else got orange).

Me, Dad and Mom

Me, Dad and Mom

It was really a lovely atmosphere–my mom introduced me to several of the race organizers, and I felt a little bit like a celebrity–everyone knew my mom from when she had done the race in the past, and they were all so excited to meet me and so happy I was there.  Top Hat Entertainment was there providing music and keeping everyone up-to-date on information, and Champ, the mascot for the Vermont Lake Monsters, was there giving high fives and taking pictures.  Just before the race started, we had a moment of silence for those who have had family members pass away at the Respite House.  And as we were lining up to start, the skies cleared and the sun came out–it was amazing!

During the Race:

There was a timed 5k as well as a “fun run,” so they started the runners first.  There were only 96 runners, so I started out in the middle of the pack (there were no corrals or pacers).  The course wound out behind the school through some lovely fields, and then went through some local neighborhoods.  The course was mostly flat or downhill for the first mile, which was great!  There were volunteers at every intersection making sure we knew which way to go, and there was water at every other intersection, which was great because it ended up being very warm.  This was my first time running in summer-ish weather, and it was tough.

And they're off!

And they’re off!

There was one big uphill at the beginning of mile 2, but thankfully, after my hill run on Tuesday, I was able to push through and it didn’t slow me down too much.  All of the volunteers were incredibly positive and cheered us on.  In the neighborhoods, there were a few groups of kids banging pots and pans, singing, cheering, and playing musical instruments.  I spent a lot of time thinking about Gramma Pat–her smile, her laugh, how she started every letter to me with “Darlin’ Rae” (hence the blog name)…  It made me smile and it made me a little sad that there’s so much about her I’ll never know.  Take it from me, friends–get to know your grandparents.  Ask them questions.  They are fascinating people, and you don’t get to have them for long.

Eventually the course looped back on itself and through the field back to the school.  I was starting to really need to pee, so I kicked it up a notch at the 3 mile marker and brought it home.  It was amazing to have Ben, my mom, my dad, and our family dog, Harley, cheering me across the finish line.  As I crossed the line, one of the volunteers said, “You know that dog didn’t bark for anybody else,” and I said, “Well of course, she’s my dog!” 😀

Crossing the finish line

Crossing the finish line

After the Race and Results:

My official time was 30:26 30:21 (updated 5/14), and I was 48 out of 96 runners–a strong middle-of-the-pack finish.  According to my GPS, the course was actually 3.3 miles, so I’ll take it.   I was also 4th in my age group of 20-29, so that’s pretty cool!<–updated 5/14

Mile 1:  9:00

Mile 2:  9:29

Mile 3:  9:24

Mile 4 (0.3):  8:24

The post-race food was sponsored by Hannaford supermarket, and it was great–bagels with cream cheese, bananas, apples, oranges, granola bars, donut holes, mini cabot cheese squares, coffee and orange juice.  I grabbed a few munchies and some water and went back outside to enjoy the day and cheer everyone on–one woman hula-hooped the entire 3.1 miles–can you imagine?!

Me with Sharon Keegan, one of the race organizers

Me with Sharon Keegan, one of the race organizers

The awards ceremony was awesome.  There were medals for the 1st and 2nd place overall finishers, with 1st and 2nd in each age category.  The medals got a little mixed up, but nobody seemed to mind too much.  They also recognized the top fundraisers in the individual and team categories with special plaques, and all of the Jiggety Jog Club members (only 10 of us) were recognized with certificates.  The best part was, the event surpassed their overall fundraising goal, and everyone gave a big cheer!

Overall, this race experience was one of the best I’ve ever had.  The event organizers were so positive and so happy to have people participating–I was thanked over and over again for my participation and fundraising efforts.  The course was pretty and well-marked, the volunteers were awesome, and the food and music were a really nice touch.  I plan to make this an annual race.

Friday Free-For-All

I think I’m going to start a new Friday series called “Friday Free-For-All.”  It feels like at least once a week I have a bunch of random tidbits to share that aren’t quite enough for a post all on their own.  I know a lot of you participate in “Friday Five,” but that’s a little too restrictive for me.  What if I only have 4 things to write about?  What if I have 9??  Having a Free-For-All means I can write about as many or as few things as I need to.  And so, without further ado…


My first present of the day--Chemex pour-over coffee system.

My first present of the day–Chemex pour-over coffee system. Beautiful and functional.

1.  It’s my birthday!  Woo!  That’s right–today is the day we celebrate my birth.  I love celebrating my birthday, and this year is going to be a good one.  Already this week I’ve gotten engaged and hit my fundraising goal for Saturday’s 5k.  Still to come are dinner with Ben tonight at Vermont Tap House (wood-fired pizza and awesome beer selection), the Vermont Respite House 5k tomorrow morning (which my parents are going to come watch), and my Cinco de Mayo-themed birthday party tomorrow night.  There will be tacos and we’re getting a keg and Ben has promised to wear a sombrero.  Lots of birthday win 😀

2.  Speaking of the Vermont Respite House 5k...  I’m still really excited for this race, but not so excited about the weather.  It’s looking like 70ish degrees with a 70% chance of rain.  Booo.  Oh well.  I guess a warm rain is better than a cold, yucky rain.

3.  I share my birthday with Billy Joel.  Billy Joel has been one of my favorite musicians since I was very small.  My family used to listen to his music all the time on car trips, and any time one of his songs come on the radio, I crank it and sing along.  “The Entertainer” was on while I was driving in to work this morning and it put a huge smile on my face.

4.  I got an awesome tech shirt for free!  I’m running the Vermont Corporate Cup Challenge and State Agency Race with some of my coworkers next week, and the company got everyone in the office awesome shirts.  It’s super comfy and really light-weight.  I wore it for my run on Tuesday afternoon and I already know it’s going to be one of my favorites–it’s a really awesome blue color!

5.  Ugly Race Pics.  I had already found this Tumblr on Wednesday afternoon, and then one of my fave bloggers, Salt, posted about how her race pics from her most recent race were actually decent (which is apparently not the norm for her, which I can’t really imagine since she’s gorgeous), and I decided I had to share.  Do yourself a favor, and head on over to Ugly Race Pics.  You’re sure to spend a few minutes chuckling, while fervently praying that you never see your own face.

Click for source

Click for source

6.  My friend is applying to work for my company.  Rebecca and I met as temps a few months ago and she’s awesome, and now there’s a chance that we’ll get to work together again.  She shares my love of Mexican food, cats, and musical theater, plus she’s an extremely competent candidate for the position, so needless to say, I’m super stoked!

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!  I know I’m going to 😀

How do you celebrate your birthday?



I’m am so thrilled to announce that I have reached my fundraising goal of $1000 for the Vermont Respite House Jiggety Jog 5k!


Photo May 06, 10 03 49 AM

I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the donations pouring in from friends, family, coworkers and bloggers.  The Respite House is a truly special place, and this money is well-deserved.

Now that I’ve reached my fundraising goal, I feel like I can really relax and enjoy this race.  Unfortunately, the weather for Saturday isn’t looking so great right now–70s and rainy.  Booo.  I’m still excited, though.  My parents will be coming and this is the first time they’ve ever seen me race.  It’s also my birthday weekend (!!) so my energy is bound to be really positive.

This is turning out to be a really awesome week here on Darlin’ Rae!

Are you racing this weekend?  

Do your parents/family ever come watch you race?