Mile Dedications, my very first 26.2

It’s almost impossible to believe that my first marathon is in 26 days. The road of training to get here has been long and filled with so many triumphs and setbacks. Though I never gave up one thing I know for sure is I couldn’t have gotten here on my own. A good friend and coach of mine told me that at her first marathon she dedicated each mile to a person, or a time in her life and that helped her focus along the way. I have decided to do the same and am so thankful to these people both individually and as a whole.

The reason I start everything, the 3 people in this world that I want to make proud! Thank you so much for the sacrifices our family has made so I could be able to train.  Our family is where my life truly began.
4)Kathy Krzykowski, Soheila Yaddow  and Kelly O’Connor
Our foursome has gotten me through training and I’m so thankful we have shared our enthusiasm and fear. Plus monthly prizes and sticker charts were genius! I have reaped so much encouragement and advice from you 3 ladies and I’m so proud of all of us!
5)Jackie Congress
I don’t know if you remember, when I was playing with the idea of running a marathon you said to me “I think you could do it, you’re built for long distance”. When a lot of my runs got hard I remembered your voice in my head. Thank you for always encouraging me bestie!
6)Alex Haesler
7)Carrie Amaya
My beautiful running cousins who I love like sisters. I am so glad that we are able to share this connection despite our distance. Let’s plan another cousin weekend, in a few miles my schedule will be clear again.
8)Donald Trump
I saw a sign at Boilermaker that said “If Donald Trump can run so can you” this mile is normally where I hit “the wall” and I will try and remember that if Donald Trump can do something as ridiculous as run for POTUS I can run a marathon. “I have really great legs, they have run many miles so that’s not a problem”
9)Kevin Collins
More specifically I dedicate mile 9.6. I have been so lucky to have a Coach with endless advice and experience! In 1996 he “accidentally” was the first American in at Boston! So yea my coach is famous. Thanks Coach!
10)To the beautiful women in my life that have acted as mothers in the absence of my own. Mothers of friends, aunts, older sisters and foster parents. I am proud to say I belong to each of you.
11)The year 2011, to the people I knew and the person I was.
12)Russ Seager
My childhood best friend, we have been through SO much in the last 20 years and I’m so proud of the man you have become. I remember you taking me out for a run after Audrey, it was slow and painful and you looked at me and said “you’re still lapping everyone on the couch”. You always know how to make me smile and I’m lucky to have you.
13(.1)Amanda Aguilar
Thanks you for being my run wife! Calling me crazy a million times and always being down for a mid week run. Our friendship goes so far beyond running but it’s been the excuse to vent and reconnect when life gets busy. Thank you for dedicating your Wednesdays to my girls so I could train, you are irreplaceable!
14)Donna Ellithorpe
When I was 14 you passed away. In my life you inadvertently sent me on the path to the woman I wanted to be. And the one I wanted never to be. Thank you.
15)My Brothers
Some days you make me proud and other days I just shake my head and wonder what the heck you are doing. But every day I love you. Thank you for being my protectors and first friends.
I could not do this without you guys! The love and support this team offers is never ending and I have so much joy knowing I am a part of such a wonderful group! So many of you have personally ran with me, shared experience or just been around for a good laugh. It’s hard to remember how badass a marathon is when you are surrounded by so many badasses!
17)The children of Mozambique, and the wonderful people I met there.                       Kathy Cherry for adopting me during safari and Doug Gilchrist for giving me “Johnny’s Camaro”. Here I am on another uncomfortable adventure!
18)Deb Green
I’m giving you mile 18.12 specifically. This summer I saw you push through races that were sent straight from the depths of Hell. But you always finished. You perserverance and strength are just 2 of the many things I admire about you. I want to be Deb Green when I grow up!
19)Don Francey
I made you a promise and I never forgot.
20)Ella Quinn
Especially for her parents Julianne and Seamus. I love you guys a ridiculous amount and though nothing can make it right I will run with love in my heart for your beautiful girl.
21)Jenny Furgala                                                                                                                                 Thank you for your endless advice and support. You are the one person I can always call on about butt chafe, shin splints and so many other questionable running related ailments. You are my hero, my fairy godmother and an amazing friend.
22)Tim Buyck
This will be the longest distance I cover without you by my side. I have so enjoyed training together. Our laughs, long talks and friendship have been the highlight of training. I know we will run many more miles together and make many more memories. You are an amazing person, your joy and gratefulness of life is a blessing to those in your presence, I am so honored to know you.
23)My Shins
I just want to say I’m sorry. Which I should’ve said to my toenail before it left.
24)Ron Gravina and Thomas Maddison
The patriarchs of the Maddison and Gravina families, who have welcomed me like their own.
25)GOD not last but carrying me the entire way. Thank you for the blessings you have bestowed upon my life. Thank you for the moments of fear and doubt that have made me stronger. Please continue to guide and protect me.
As a mother and wife I am always last on a list longer than the day is long. Today I finish this for the woman I was, the woman I am and the woman I will become.



Montezuma- Round 2…FIGHT!

Back in June I ran the Montezuma Half Marathon for the second time. It was to be my 10th glorious Half Marathon and I was prepared… for it to be terrible.

In the interest of honesty, I finished the race last year with an insurmountable amount of pain, a 20 min addition to my WORST time and bug bites pretty much everywhere. So how much of that is bitterness? I can’t say.

What I can say was, THAT would not be my last round! So when the race director sent out an email saying that Montezuma would be back in 2016, with a discount code for previous runners being REVENGE, I was sold. NO Montezuma you will not make me cry…AGAIN.

There would be no PRincess skirt or sparkly running gear. There would only be me (in an adorable shirt!) and my wounded ego…Round 2, FIGHT!

pre race

Montezuma- The Beast to my beauty!


Packet Pickup

Hustle and Bustle here we go!

Cue the Crickets? This must have been one of the quietest packet pickups I have ever attended. I was literally the only person there. I cant say what the reason for that was, my only guesses were a long window to pick up, or a lot of people preferred to wait for race day?

Things seemed to be well organized in terms of picking up the bibs, but the “Swag” was not as advertised. The shirts changed from half zips previously shown, to long sleeve tech tees. When I registered, I obviously gave my gender as female which led me to a pink shirt. I was never asked what color I wanted, and though it’s safe to assume I’m pretty cool with all things pink, it’s a pretty bold assumption to make, that all women are.

original shirt

final shirt

The top are the shirts as they were advertised, the bottom reflects what we actually received.


There was also a cool added swag of “snoods”, headbands that can be worn a bunch of different ways to be both practical and fun! Again, false advertisement, they were shown in tons of patterns on the race page when in actuality then only pattern available was a brown and orange floral design, YUCK.

Packet Pickup – Though organized and quiet, I felt like I was having the ultimate “mommy brain” moment, “is this the swag I signed up for?”.

The Course

So a major mess up from last year started pretty much at the beginning. School buses shuttling runners out into a trailhead to begin the race, led to mass chaos and delayed start. It also set up the race for no spectator support in the Start/Finish Area. I was pleased when I arrived to see the Start/Finish had moved to the MAC Center and would now be setup for the first few miles to take place on roads, ultimately leading into the original trail. Much less confusion. Although the roads now included in the course were hilly, it was an appreciated change.

The course changes terrain pretty often from pavement onto rocks the size of large boulders (how my feet felt it!) through swampy grasslands and onto trail. It’s billed as a  challenging course this year, which is fair (last year it was billed as “scenic”).

I knew what I was getting into, this is not a PR course.

I was having some weird adjustment issues with the footing once it turned to gravelly rock and suffered through 2 miles with my right foot asleep. Admittedly this was my fault, I run in superlight weight shoes and should’ve prepared better with trail shoes.

As my foot began to “wake up” and the rockiness gave way to trial, I was able to cover some of the ground I lost, but heat made maintaining a pace very difficult. I did the thing I hate seeing runners do, the walk/run. Run a little bit at a decent pace, loose steam, walk to recover and repeat. This is not a training method I suggest, nor is it one I’m proud to say I executed, but it happened, and I wasn’t the only one!

This race is challenging, it tests your very limits and makes you work to earn the medal. Being my 10th Half and my redemption race led to multiple emotions along the way. Mostly I reflected on how much I have grown and changed as a runner in the last year, how much I’ve improved and how awesome I am. Somewhere during this pep talk to myself I looked down at my Garmin and noticed my 11:16/mi pace. What the F***? I told myself to just finish it with a better time than last year and NOT cry, so I DID.

Towards the end I ran into a good friend and fellow runner, we stopped for a quick hug and he jokingly offered to carry me the rest of the way. There is a very real part of me that wanted to take him up on that!

carry me

But really…

Course- It’s humbling, I think every runner has to run a race like this every now and then to truly appreciate the PRs when they come. It was properly billed for what it was and lived up to the challenge it promised to be. Ultimately I took 6 mins off of last year’s time and that’s all I really hoped for.

Race Support

Normally I would consider this, part of the Course description, but given the reputation of last year’s race, I’ll elaborate a bit.

Last year was horrendous; minimal volunteers at water stops, lack of water combined with dry heat and limited bathrooms. Anything would have been an improvement, but it was more than improved. I have to give credit where credit is due and say the race director and volunteers were phenomenal. There were plenty of water stops, nutrition and ice. The ice was magical and really well received, I stopped for all the ice I saw! Near mile 11-12 there was even a kind neighbor hosing down anyone who wanted it. We ALL wanted it!

Race Support- Not only improved, but even better than some veteran races I’ve run.

Post race/Finish

Oh sweet Jesus in heaven I’m done! I said it was hard, but this was my big TEN. Now where was that camera guy!? I struck an idiotic pose and attempted to show 10 sweaty fingers as I crossed over the mat, while avoiding looking at my time, but remembering to pause my Garmin. Geez the finish can be so dang complicated!


Nailed it-ish

The medal for this race was a small medallion with a bird that doubled as a wine stopper. It made absolutely no sense, except that maybe I saw somewhere a sponsor was Montezuma Winery? I would’ve preferred a cool bird medal on it’s own, as there is no way I would actually use it for my wine.


I’m still figuring this one out…

Post race food and beverage was a little random;

Utica  Tomato Pie, which is essentially French bread with sauce and a 21 day fix serving of cheese for the whole sheet pizza.  I cant decide if I liked it, but I ate it, because I was hungry.


After a quick google search I learned that Utica Tomato Pie is meant to be served cold. Much like revenge…

Pork rinds, this is not a standard post race snack but I love pork rinds and I ate ’em, no complaints. Fresh Squeezed Lemonade, so good! Perfect refreshing beverage after a hot race.

Post Race/Finish- Not too shabby. Food, though eclectic  was edible, and lemonade was yummy. The medal wasn’t great but maybe there’s some hidden symbolism I’m missing?

Overall, I’m really glad I gave this race a second chance. It’s still fairly new and there are things that could still be improved, but based on the changes I’ve seen already, I’m confident that it will continue to evolve. Not all races can be easy, flat, and fast. This one  won’t ever be any of that.

This will be the race that you walk (or crawl) away from, a little stronger for having finished it. Or finished it twice!

Until next time,

The Syracuse PRincess

Someone Else’s Race…

“I will honor your life in miles in lieu of tears”

My Uncle Don had been dying of COPD for about a year and the time we all knew, was coming close to saying goodbye. If ever there was a silver lining in a death sentence it’s the foresight to draft a farewell. He and I had been emailing on surface topics; where to take the kids for ice cream, the pine bridge at Labrador hollow and great music -according of course to him. (I still have the CD he made me to listen to, “When I’m gone. OK Brat?”). But I knew the time was coming to write something of meaning and thank him for the impact he left on my life. So I did, it was long and heartfelt, and in closing  I promised to not waste my tears, but, honor his life in miles. Honor my own body, it’s ability to breathe, to run and to carry on. In the year since he has been gone I’ve done just that.


The same week Uncle Don passed away I ran the hardest race of my life, the Race Director was kind enough to give me an extra medal in his honor.


I am not unique in the fact that I run with someone in mind. The otherwise solitary sport of running has become flooded with people forming teams, donating their miles, and giving purpose to their races.

The Syracuse Track Club, Fleet Feet, Y-Runners and the like. We have all seen them on any given race day, donning team shirts, toting flags, and posing for pre-race pictures. The camaraderie within a race, ultimately run alone. At the finish line there is a sense of belonging and during the run there are people out there that trained with you or under the same Coach. No one ever truly alone. Every member a built in cheering squad.

There is an increasingly popular app, Charity Miles, that logs your miles and matches your effort monetarily to the charity of your choice. Deb Green, a YMCA Run coach logs her miles this way. “I’m injured so it’s low mileage for me” she says humbly of her 202.98 miles this year. She chose to donate her miles to team RWB, they match her donation .25 cents per mile, making her contribution so far this year $50.75.

“I love that team RWB helps those veterans fill the gap in the community when they leave the military.It raises awarenness for our troops when they are still active. It’s like a bridge between civilian and military worlds, and when I run with the flag it makes me physically aware of why I am running” Deb Green says of donating her miles.


Deb Green and her Husband Ken. Ken is an Army Veteran, and their son Lincoln is currently serving in the Air Force. Deb’s father is also a Marine and Coast Guard Veteran.



Who I run for, took the phrase “you can run for me anytime” and ran with it (pun most certainly intended!). Runners are matched up with participants who can’t run due to disabilities and log the miles in their place. Kathy Krzykowski of Marcellus runs for a little girl named Jenna in Aurora, Colorado who has been diagnosed with Emmanuel Syndrome. In the past year Kathy has logged over 600 miles and 6 medals in her honor.

“She is my inspiration to keep going. While I’m out running a race that may be particularly hard, I ‘talk’ to Jenna and tell her that I need her to push me through. She is the one who gets me through every single race, especially the more difficult ones. I think about the struggles she faces every day and they are nothing compared to me running a few miles and being a little tired or sore.”


A Birthday collage to Kathy from Jenna’s mom Brooke

“Mine and Jenna’s motto is Believe. Believe you can do whatever you set your mind to do and you can accomplish your goals no matter what. It may take a little longer than you anticipated but you will accomplish them.” Kathy says she intends to log at least 640 miles this year, each one will belong to Jenna as well.

The last 2 races I ran did not belong to me. I suppose I donated my miles in a way.

Syracuse Half Marathon was a last minute curveball on a borrowed bib. At the start line I had a decsion to make, my very good friend Amanda Aguilar who I most affectionately call my “run wife”, was diagnosed with pink eye and as it was recovering, was forced to wear glasses. With what ended up being some of the craziest weather Syracuse had seen in weeks pending any minute, and this of course being the first race in said glasses, I tossed her my Ipod and nixed “racing”. We mustered through hail, snow, slush and all else as I became her “seeing eye wife” instead. We did it together, but it wasnt my race. As it turns out she was also on a borrowed bib, so perhaps it wasn’t her race either?

Two weeks later at The Earth Day Half marathon in Baldwinsville, the same friend had been training for a PR and was hoping I could pace her. We trained our runs around a sub 10:40 pace and were blessed with great weather at the start line. She set off ahead of her goal and had a few great miles as we settled in. I worked on helping her control her breathing and offered up words of encouragement. We passed the time by catching up on the week’s day to day minutae and laughing about how the weather could have changed so much in 2 weeks (frostbite to sunburn!). As the course grew hilly I reminded her why she ran, how lucky she was to have the ability and how proud her family was of her for doing so. We made it a few more miles but, I could tell she was hitting the wall hard. She had to cover the last 1.2 miles at a sub 10 min pace and she was convinced she had nothing left

.There are things no PRincess should say that I said. It was not one of my finer moments in offering gentle soothing love, and Walt Disney most certainly would’ve had to censor me. BUT for whatever screaming and swearing I dished out, she took it. I refused to cross the finish line with her, and insisited she push the last .10 alone. That was not my race, but she PRed, and I couldn’t have been prouder.


Her face says it all, she left it ALL out there!

** I’d like to apologize to anyone who did not sign up for Snow White to land in their pack, meditating, pacing and shouting obscenities…I hope you all PRed as you ran to get away from me.

There is one more race that deserves to be mentioned. It isn’t mine but I plan on running it. My husband and super dad to our girls has been diagnosed with Testicular Cancer. In the last few weeks he has undergone uncomfortable testing, scans and in the week to come will be undergoing a procedure to extract his testicle. He has handled it with courage and humor, immediately reaching out to the males in his life to do self examinations and spread awareness. He hasn’t stopped to wallow and he is moving forward proactively. He didn’t sign up for this one, it wasn’t a race he intended to run, but he won’t be doing it alone.


Please excuse my husband while he kicks cancer’s A**


One of the most well known running mantras is “my race,my pace” but I disagree.

Some miles are for running, some are for racing, and some we give to somone else altogether.

Until next time,

The Syracuse PRincess

Snowflake Medal and A race in Review

Just about 2 weeks ago I ran The Lake Effect Half Marathon. It was my first race on a very long list of races for 2016 and I was excited to run it as Elsa. I mean what better PRincess to run a potentially snowy race and receive a snowflake medal?! OK yes, post coronation Elsa is technically a Queen and no it didn’t snow BUT the snowflake medal was a thing! I have to say this is the first race I’ve ever “reviewed”,  I am obviously a pretty avid runner and know what to expect from a race. I know what mile marks I want my water stops at, how many bananas should be in the post race tent and the general ins and outs of “race weekend”.


So with the understanding that this is ammatuerish and sophmoric at best I present to you my Lake Effect Half Marathon Review-ish:







Packet Pickup


Check out the awesome custom Bib!

I believe most runners would agree that “race weekend” begins at packet pickup. The excitement of shuffling into the local running store and announcing proudly and with intent “I am here for my race bib”! Then from a magical, neatly organized pile a smiling face pulls out your bib, offers you a glimpse of the medal and presents you with a goody bag of swag whilst wishing you luck. It is unfailingly the moment that running on Sunday becomes that much more real. I have to say in all the races I’ve run I have never had a BAD packet pickup. But then again- I’ve always gone alone. Unfortunately due to whatever cosmic parenting reason, I had the kiddos in tow.  Now walking into Fleet Feet with my children may not sound THAT BAD, but anywhere there are things to touch and people to tell them they are cute is an unsafe place. I was breaking into a cold sweat just imagining the disaster that they were going to cause, so I resorted to what lots of parents do…Bribery. “Please girls if you behave I have pop-pops in my pocket and you can have them after we get back to the car”. We sailed right on in there, grabbed all of the swag to be had and raced out before anyone could compliment them into a performance.

Packet Pickup A++ Volunteers were friendly, quick and seemed genuinely excited abut the upcoming race. The race director even stood nearby and greeted runners he knew. The only con is I did not have pop-pops in my pocket after all!

Moose Mile

Otherwise known as the “fun run” or “kids run”. These types of runs are becoming increasingly popular and I could not be more excited for that. As both a mom and a runner I think it is important to expose the younger generations as early as possible to an active lifestyle. I reached out to Todd Robertson, the race director, to offer any assistance in the “Moose Mile” as a volunteer or just to cheer the kid’s on in  my sweet PRincess gear. He did me one better, he offered to let me run alongside the kids and offer support and words of encouragement. A mile is a LONG way for a kid and I was glad to be there to help.

Moose Mile A++ The race had its own official timer, blow horn start and ribbons at the finish. Plus a PRincess-who knew they were getting that much bang for their buck? Oh wait it was FREE! 

The Course-of course!

Ladies and gentlemen take your position! By that I mean squish in for a final start line selfie, find a buddy that looks like they might be your pace (you can’t actually gauge that, you’ll be wrong EVERY time) and choke down the GU. It’s race time baby. A very beautiful version of the national was played and the shuffle to the timing mats began!

race day

Now everything can’t be perfect, this was an incredible race for reasons I will happily recount BUT I only learned of the course the day before. This is entirely my fault, it was listed on the website and event page, I however was not aware. The course was along the Onondaga Lake Parkway, it was a double out and back. That means you go out a 1/4 of the way, loop back where you see the finish line and go out to do it again. I had about 37 seconds in running time to mentally digest this and accept it for what it was. Honestly, it unexpectedly (literally) made the race what it was. Because the course is set up this way you are able to see the super fast front runners as the speed past and more importantly cheer on and high five your fellow running buddies who may not be in your pace range.

I have never had to use a port-a-potty during a race, praise whatever deity you believe in because I would never get my behind running again. That being said, I always have my eyes peeled should I have to go. This course provided opportunities to stop if need be! Along the way there were hydration stations stocked with water, GU and peppy volunteers. A friend of mine was at one aid station and I kept missing her as I went by, the third time I passed her I yelled ” I’m coming for ya girl!” and she yelled back “I got you this time, you look great, you’re doing awesome, here’s water!” OK I may have paraphrased a bit, but not by much, the volunteers along the course looked truly happy to be out there shaking cowbells and holding silly signs!


I swear this is what I picture EVERY time!

I failed to mention before but this race benefits a wonderful cause. Ophelia’s Place is a wonderful non-profit that helps people who suffer from eating disorders and  body dissatisfaction. All along the course in addition to clear mile markers there were inspirational signs about loving yourself and the skin you’re in, plus statistics about eating disorders. These signs really reminded you as a runner what your registration paid for and who the benefactors were.

Before I knew it the race was practically over, minus one additional 1/4  mile loop to the finish chute.  A sweet group of girls sang “Let it Go” as I finished to an energetic emcee announcing names of racers as they crossed the finish line. The finish line volunteers hung my sweet snowflake medal around my neck as I folded in half and slowly found my non-running legs.


One more medal claimed by the little princesses

Unfortunately there was no water at the actual finish line and finishers had to make a walk over to the post race tent for a water bottle.

The Course A+ A fast, flat course with plenty of fuel stations and excellent if not inspiring signage. Great course to rely on your fellow racers to act as your cheering squad. 

Post Race and Swag

If there isn’t a swag bag, I’m not running it. I am only half kidding, I seriously run EVERY race for the goody bag of stuff I don’t need. I am a totally sucker for an $85 race with a $15 tech tee. This race especially, had a great assortment of cool freebies. The swag bag included, a 2016 Calendar poster, a Lake Effect 13.1 bumper sticker (I try and buy one at every race. Free? Sweet!), a car decal that said “Every body is beautiful” – a nod to Ophelia’s Place, the shirt was a tech tee with the Lake Effect logo – the tag line says ‘Run like there’s snow tomorrow’ (LOVE), the race bib was customized, and for $5 you could purchase a pre-race meal that included a beverage at Core (I opted for this and enjoyed every bite, it was easily a $10 value). Also and most surprisingly, race pictures were uploaded to shutterfly and offered for free! That is a pretty cool bonus for people who are running their first Half Marathon, love to scrap book, or photograph really well. I however photograph like this:


Post race tent was the only place in this event I could give a less than impressed review. Pros- plenty of water ,plus some assorted pastries and delicious bone broth to take the chill off. Cons- most of the food was eaten quickly, and I am a post race piggy.

Post Race and Swag B+ The stuff that normally isn’t free that was totally rocked but my inner carb loader needed MORE food. 

The Race Director

OK this is not a review, you can’t review a person that’s not cool dude. Typically you don’t even know who this Man (or woman) behind the curtain is. It wasn’t until recently that I began seeking out race directors and introducing myself as the crazy one running life like it’s RunDisney every day. I met Todd Robertson, through my running group and reached out to him to help, should he need it. I ran into Todd many times leading up to this race and was totally impressed with who he is as a person. He is an affable guy, always greets everyone who approaches him with a smile and truly cares about the running community and charity he is serving. Cafe 407 is home  base to The Lake Effect run group, a merry band of local runners. After the first year of this race needed a benefactor it seemed only fitting to assign the cause to Ophelia’s Place.

Leading up to the race Todd sold “Golden Tickets” to the local and coveted YMCA Marathon program (a $250 value). Once 20 tickets were sold, a winner was chosen and given free entry into the program. Tickets were $10 and 5 raffles were done, that’s a total of $1000. I know (because I purchased at least 8 tickets, and eventually won the LAST one) that the checks were written directly to Ophelia’s Place. That spoke to Todd’s character, he obviously wanted to raise as much money as possible for this cause!

Race Director- You can’t rate a person dude, BUT this rating would be off the charts anyhow. 

Overall this race was wonderful, I could go on all day, in fact I have! I asked Todd why this race and he summed it up perfectly,

“I created this race for those that wanted a measuring stick for performance for a Spring Marathon, Half, Iron or Tri. Also timing wise, a perfect “first” for a resolution runner from New Year’s Eve. There are no local races of this distance this time of year and a large distance population. We are all training thru the winter anyway, why not have a race to go with it!?”

Hope you enjoyed my first Review-ish, it’s hard to be unbiased in a community I love and territory I train on. Plus it really was that good!

Until next time!

The Syracuse PRincess




Kid moment of the week

The roads were bad today, my car has anti lock brakes and at one point the car got locked up on a slick patch and made that tell tale “grumbly noise”.

Princess #1
“Oh gee the car is eating the snow, the car is so hungry, it needs a snack. Momma, Daddy said you have to feed the car gas did you forget?”


And the car being hungry..


A coconut, Miss Piggy and the ramblings of a LONG run

Sometimes it’s a long run and other times it’s a real LONG run. I had a 12 miler on Sunday and since all of my training buddies and I had a few scheduling conflicts I was on my own. I was able to convince my “run wife” to tag along on the last 6 miles so it was just me and the road for 6. Not bad, except sometimes it is!
There are days I could go run and feel rejuvenated and recharged, the music on my playlist is playing Hakuna Matata at the right time (anyone surprised I run to Disney music?) and I’m all sorts of Zen. But then there are days when literally everything on the road is a distraction and you’re trying to figure out where the heck THAT came from. I cannot make up the things I’ve seen in the wee hours of Sunday morning runs, they are so bizarre that my mind it just couldn’t go there. BUT for the non-believers, there are pictures.

Have you ever been tripped up by a coconut? This is not a euphemism for life, it’s an actual coconut. I was running along and there it was. I don’t know. I just don’t know. Where did it come from? I live in upstate NY we don’t have coconut trees. Where do coconuts grow? Did someone eat in their car and toss it? Doesn’t opening a coconut require a hammer or something? Seriously where did that come from? I must have jogged at least 3 miles thinking only coconut thoughts. Posting imaginary FaceBook statuses in my head about all the things coconut related and rhyming words with coconut to the beat of my pace. When I turned around I thought, I wonder how far I could be from that coconut. So I started doing my infamously WRONG mileage math, where I always end up at my destination a half mile too early. Then I thought about common core math and if it was similar to running math. Another 100 or so thoughts later I arrived back to my coconut where I paused to reflect, eat some jellybeans and snap a picture.
I’m not going to go into a rant or story about this next picture, it speaks for itself. This is Miss Piggy and an elephant in lawn gnome form being protected by dated car seats on some person’s porch. I DON’T KNOW!

Some runs you’re in the zone, just nailing it. Others, you’re seeing Muppets and logging the wrong mileage so you’re left circling the block when you want to be done. The miles get done.
Only a few days left until Elsa runs The Lake Effect Half Marathon. I’m so glad to have the support of so many, but, I am especially grateful to my “Fairy Godmother”. She was dedicated to running as Anna and sadly will not be running due to injury. She has offered to come along anyway, and cheer on the start line, so thankful for her unwavering support.


Hope all of your miles are magical and your long runs not SO long!

The Syracuse PRincess



It Runs in the Family

cousin4There are a lot of runners in my family. They all came to running, but all came separately. And because family and running are such big parts of my life, it just made sense that I had to write about it.
I decided to send a few questions to my running family members. I know these guys are runners, but I wanted to peek into their minds. See what common threads we have, and how completely different we might also be as well.
  1. How you describe yourself in terms if running? Why do you run? 
  2. How do you feel about all the runners in our family? How do you picture us all if we were able to race together?

Me:  I’ve always run, I’m not coordinated and knew I’d never excel in a sport that
required me to catch, slide, kick or shoot anything. But running came naturally. Now as a mom I run to get away, I love my kids but this is the most athletic and fastest I’ve been because of them. It’s free therapy.  10.03.11 running therapy

All the runners in the family are incredible! We don’t get to see each other enough so it’s nice to have that common bond. We always know who’s training, follow each others race recaps in FB and support one another despite the distance. We are all from different climates, cousin D goes on hiatus during winter, meanwhile 21 degrees is my happy place. If we ALL raced together it would be like fun, competitive, and perhaps a little dysfunctional!

Cousin C – the cousin who has always been like my big sister (she taught me to do puzzles). “Running saved me. Until I was in my late 20s I hated running. I was always one of the last ones as a kid in gym.  I played sports that required minimum running or short bursts of running. After having a baby, I was 50lbs over weight and miserable and about to turn 30. My friend started running a little and we decided for our 30th birthday we would run a half marathon together. I started weight watchers and running became my exercise plan and well it wasn’t easy. As I lost weight running got easier and more enjoyable. I started to run with students from school and completed my first 5k with my students who encouraged me the whole way.  6891fe5b9fe1e0b4b4bdfb06285e0b8f

Training and running my first half marathon helped me lose 55lbs and made me realize how strong I was. I was hooked. I loved doing something that made me feel strong and empowered. I loved doing something that most people thought was impossible.  Running made me see that I was able to change what for 29 years I thought was impossible. I didn’t have to be overweight. I could be 30 and fabulous.”

Cousin L (married to Cousin C): “In 2007, I had an emergency surgery, with a much longer than normal recovery time. The medical staff said that many times overweight people take longer to recover. This opened my eyes to the very real possibility of not being here for my daughter (one at the time) for the long haul. C had already lost weight and had done it primarily by running. 

62ead42398363f326ebad6142bf4cfd6I didn’t want to join the gym because I was too intimidated to join a gym. I felt I needed to lose weight before starting a gym, silly right? Same thing I do now with getting car washed, I go to the gas station to clean and vacuum car before taking it to car wash because it’s too dirty (your cousin’s fault).  
Anyway, back to running, I started running and slowly picked up distance and pace. I recall starting at a 12:00 min/mile pace and thought I would never get faster. I’ve been running ever since and finished a half in 1:50, just about an 8:20 min/mile pace. I picked up some speed.” 
Cousin A (Married to Cousin D. 9cc2ac9aeea99faf64af849e6abd130fShe was the first runner of all of us but has been dealing with injury along the way). I am inspired by my family of runners. You of all the family is where I get my inspiration. And honestly is why I have tried to pick up running again post injury for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th time. There is this feeling of determination and strength, maybe it is your weight loss story with running or running in snow or cold or dark or with two tiny tots. I find it very real and very inspiring.
Cousin D: I love that we have so many runners in the family and I enjoy running races with family. (I was able to do the Portland Half with C and L in 2013 and I ran the Big Sur Half with A, I think the same year). If we all ran together? That would be fun. But I think you and A would kick our ‘butts’. And I’d probably be faster than C, which I would remind her about constantly. 
Cousin A (my best friend. We used to race cows. Yes, cows.): “I love to run because it allows me to see new places I would not have otherwise seen, make long lasting friends, gain confidence and be active in a fun and competitive way. The runner community is encouraging and makes the hard work worth it. I enjoy that our family has runners. It gives me hope that if I have a family, then they will be able to enjoy running with me as well.” 


3. Complete this sentence: Running makes me feel….

  • powerful.
  • Like I can accomplish anything.
  • Happy. Healthy. Sore. Exhausted. Cranky. Sore. Strong. Sore.
  • Running makes me feel like my own person, I’m a mom and a wife 100% of the time. I’ve given up career and time to attack parenthood with everything I have. I
    knew I wanted to be available ALWAYS. Unfortunately sometimes it’s easy to lose myself in the day to day family life. When I run it’s like “oh there I am!” My music, my pace, just me and the road. It’s like remembering I exist.
4. Marathons, hell yes or no freaking way! Why?
  • Why not!? There isn’t an uncompetitive bone in my body. Anything I can
    conquer I will attempt to, 26.2 miles sounds like a 4ish hour trip from home. Yes parenting makes marathons look fun…
  • I ran Chicago in 2011. I’ve never trained so hard for something. When you cross that finish line and you realize what you just accomplished, there is no greater feeling. Was I in pain – yes. Did I finish like I wanted – no. Were my nipples chaffed like crazy – yes. But I would do it again and plan to, in 2016 or 2017.
  • HELL NO! Keep it at half marathons only. Still a really big accomplishment but manageable training in a busy life and enjoyable.
  • No effing way! Half marathons are tough enough. Doubling that distance would be a disaster and lead my body to do many unfortunate things. Why put myself through that? What’s the point? I know my limits and that’s a half marathon. If I was younger and had the amount of free time necessary to properly train for such a race, I might think about it. But I’d probably talk myself out of it pretty quickly.
Peeking inside their running minds, and discovering who they are as athletes helped me know them better as family. I hope one day we can bring our Loud Irish family on the road and run together!
And for a little laughter, the polar opposite of The Syracuse PRincess, but 100% hilarious – here’s Cousin D’s blog!

Kid Moment of the Week

Recently, we have been watching Inside Out with our little princesses. And they love it.

Princess #1 has been referring to herself as Joy. Which makes sense – she’s so Joy.


But today, as on most days….we had stuff to do and had to leave the house.

Our Joy was not happy about it.


So Princess #1 told us: “I’m not Joy. I’m Sadness.” Of course.


And darling Princess #2 chimed in with…..