Sunday, November 30, 2014


In approximately six weeks, I, along with my daughters and husband, will be headed down to sunny Orlando, Florida. We will spend a week at one of the many Disney Resorts. I think I am way more excited than anyone else to see Cinderella's castle. Or, better yet, run through it. Not once but twice! Sure, it's a family vacation but with a bit of a twist; I am going to run the Dopey Challenge. The inaugural Dopey Challenge took place earlier this year. It consisted of running a 5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon, and finishing off with the Disney Marathon. A total of 48.6 miles in four straight days of running! And, of course we can't forget the potential 6 medals I will earn.

 The Disney Marathon is one of the many destination races on my very long marathon list. But, when I saw the Dopey Challenge, I said "why not?" It's like killing 4 birds with one stone. I would never go down to Florida to run any of the shorter races individually. It's just not cost effective. But, 4 races, 6 race shirts and 6 pieces of bling in four days through the Disney parks... I was sold! Did I say 6 medals? Yes, 6! One for each race, the Goofy challenge medal for completing the half and full marathon, and the Dopey Challenge medal for completing the four races. I also purchased 3 day passes. Yup, I will probably need a vacation after my vacation, but the memories will be worth it. Especially, the looks on the girls faces when we enter Magic Kingdom for the first time. This trip is simply going to be magical.

My training is going well despite a nagging tight left hamstring. I make sure I warm up prior to actually doing my workout and I stretch afterward. I am following the Crossfit Endurance training program for a second cycle. The first time it netted me a Boston-qualifying time. This time around, I just want to finish.

I've gone through my running day plans over and over again in my head. As of now, I plan on racing the 5k and the 10k and taking it easy for the half and full marathon. I've even toyed around with the idea to run/walk the full marathon. But, I'm sure I will adjust my plans as I see fit on race morning. We will visit the parks on the first three days of my races. I am hoping that walking the parks will keep me loose for the next day race. I've learned that it is best to keep moving after a race. This is especially going to be true after the half marathon. Or, it can all back fire on me and I'll be tired as hell and unable to function. But, I still think it will all be worth it. I can't wait to run the magic of Disney.

Thanks for taking the time,


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Post Mohawk Hudson Marathon Report

October 12, 2014... what a glorious day for a marathon. The weather was perfect. A bit chilly to start but by finish it would be in the low 60's. I woke up at 5am to start my marathon day ritual. To my surprise, I felt ok. I had been battling a cold the week before the marathon and right up until the night before, I was very congested.

Marathon Maniacs
Strong Running Mamas

I had finally gotten my nutrition for marathon morning and day down to the tee. Well, I guess I should have it down. This was my 5th marathon this year and my 10th overall. No 20 mile wall for this gal. I got dressed and I was out the door by 6:15am. I boarded the bus from hell. The driver had no clue where he was going. Great. But, nonetheless, we arrived to Central Park in Schenectady. First stop was the bathroom. Then I took some pictures with a fellow Marathon Maniac and some Strong Running Mamas (SRM).

I had just enough time to hit the bathroom again then line up to start my race. I had goals and so did  fellow SRM, Felice. We planned on Boston Qualifying with the 3:55 pace group. The race started at 8:30am on the dot. Our pacer, Mike, had plans to keep the group at an even pace. He also told us that he planned to walk through the water stations. The first 5 miles where a breeze. So were miles 6-10. 10 miles just happened to be the highest mileage that I trained at, for my long run. I used an unconventional crossfit marathon training program for this marathon. I was super nervous. What was I thinking? 10 miles as my longest run? Not only to run a marathon, but Boston qualify?! I had my doubts. I would be happy with just finishing. I was confident that I could do at least that much. BQ, not so much. Soon enough, we were at the half-way point. I slapped Felice a high five. Half-way to the finish. My breathing was good. Actually, it didn't feel like I was breathing!

I kept making a systems check of my body. If I felt tense, I would take a deep, long breath to relax my mind and body. It was working. Mike was keeping the group right on pace. It was easy to stay with him and I liked that he walked through the water stations. He was very engaging and kept giving the group positive reinforcement.  Felice was right with me. I knew it because I listened for the sound of her jelly beans. As we reached mile 20 through 21, I could remember telling myself to take it easy on the downhill. The last time I ran MH, I trashed my hamstrings at those particular mile markers. This time, I got through the downhill... but developed a cramp on the right side of my stomach. Lucky, I was able to take a couple of deep breaths and guess what? It was time to walk through the water station. Walking helped me deal with the cramp. As we continued to forge ahead, I could tell that I lost Felice. I was sad when I could no longer hear the music of her jelly beans. I looked back once just to make sure, but she wasn't there.

Soon I would enter the tunnel that led to the final stretch of the bike path. From that point on, I had less than five miles. I started remembering how I lost pace at the 24 mile marker a few years ago. I kept telling myself "it's not going to happen this time." The group grew thin. At mile 24 I was the only runner with the pacer. There were a few runners that forged ahead and others that faded away. I, on the other hand, was holding on for dear life. I lost control of my breathing but Mike was great. He helped me regain control of my breathing and told me to relax. I had to get through mile 24. It was haunting me like a demon. I get to mile 25 with the pacer and then it happened. I got to the beginning of the bridge that led to the boat launch and started losing pace, losing sight of Mike, and my BQ. All I could do then was NOT STOP! I knew if I stopped, the pain would come and it would take forever to start running again. It was time to dig deep into my soul and run with my heart. So, I did. And finish with a time of 3:54:57. With 3 seconds to spare I managed to squeaked out a Boston qualifying time for 2016! WOW, I did it!

Almost finished

There were many times during the race that I doubted my abilities. Only because of the very low miles I ran over the weekends in prepping for this marathon. But, I focused and kept telling myself that I could do it. I tuned out a lot of little annoying pains that I felt. The toughest part of the marathon was when I found myself alone at the end again. I fought that voice in my head that kept telling me to stop running. Mentally and physically, I won. There is something special about this particular marathon. I'm not sure what it was. But, I've gotten my best marathon time on this course (3:45:45) and now it has given me the chance to go back and run the Boston Marathon in 2016. I feel totally awesome and can't wait to do it again.

Thank you for stopping by,


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Summer Recap

On June 8th, I ran the Lake Placid Marathon. Making it my forth marathon of the year and my 9th overall. I also qualified and became a Marathon Maniac. MM # 9469, to be exact. Lake Placid had breath taking views. The course was challenging with plenty of hills. The horse flies were terrible. My calves were chewed up from all of the bites. Still, overall, I had a great time.

I took a few weeks off before I had to begin yet another 16 weeks of marathon training. After taking two weeks off, I was forced to take another two weeks because of tendonitis in my right ankle. Frankly, I wasn't feeling up to training 16 weeks for yet another marathon. 16 weeks is a long time. So, I looked for an alternative. I came across a 12 week Crossfit Endurance marathon training program. One of my biggest complaints when it comes to marathon training is that I always end up with some sort of injury and I lose a lot of strength. At the end of July, I began the 12 week program.

By August, I was in full swing with the crossfit endurance program. Through out the week, I ran a lot of 200's, 400's, 800's and even some 1000 meter runs. The weekend runs consisted of anything between a 5k and 10 miles. In addition to the crossfit endurance program, I was also adding additional crossfit workouts and helping out with the physical training at the police academy, three times a week. There were days where I was putting in three workouts in a day and I wasn't taking any rest days. I was like a work horse. At first I felt great! I was doing what I love to do - work out all day. Now add the stresses of taking care kids, house, and a full time job. I'll give you one guess as to what happened by the end of August?... I was over-trained. My legs felt like lead on my weekend runs, a common sign of over-training.  I was in desperate need of a time out. I took a week off from the endurance plan, slept a bunch. And that week off felt great. I went out for a 10 mile run with a running friend and my legs felt refreshed. Boy was I glad that the week off seemed to be what I needed.

Now we're into September. School for the girls has started. With very little adjustments, I am into a pretty good routine. Mid-week I take a day off from training, no matter what. I've also learned that my Boston qualifying time for 2016 is now 3:55 because of my age. I love being in the masters division. On Sunday, 09/21/14, I set out for a 6 mile run at marathon pace. I ran 6 miles in 52:28, 8:44 overall pace. A bit too fast, but I felt great. I'm thinking that I will go with a pace setter so that I don't gas myself out during the marathon. Yup, I have all intentions to try and BQ in three weeks at the Mohawk Hudson Marathon, on a 10 mile for my longest training run. Seems a little crazy, but I will give it my best shot.

Thanks for stopping by,


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Post Memorial Day Marathon

On Sunday, May 25th, I headed out to Lenox, Ma for the Memorial Day Marathon. The race started and ended at Tanglewood. A handful of my running friends ran this marathon the past two years. They described the course as challenging but beautiful. I was a bit nervous but ready for the challenge.  


The race started at 8am sharp. I took a deep breath and told myself to relax and start out slow. My first two miles were just under 10 minutes each. I thought that was a perfect start. The first miles were downhill, followed by some rolling hills. The views were breath-taking. I felt as if I was running in the forest. The trees towered over me. The flowing water of the creek was so soothing. From the start of the race, my bladder felt full. I held off stopping until the 8 mile mark. I was able to get in and out of the porta-potty quickly, losing very little time.

So far, I felt very relaxed. After the first 5k, I picked up my pace. At the start of 9 miles, I began picking people off. I continued to pass other runners up until mile 18. About a quarter mile from the 19 mile marker, I started walking. The hills were brutal. I ran as much as I could and walked when I had to. I had no real expectations of finishing under 4:30. I was so happy to reach the 20 mile marker. I reached 20 miles in about 3:08! That was perfect! But, I knew the race had just begun.

The last 10k was going to be the true challenge of this marathon. It took me over an hour to run the last 10k. I walked mile 24 and so did everyone else. I also walked about a quarter of a mile of mile 25. At about 25.5 miles, the road flattened out and I lengthened my stride and  picked up my pace in a last attempt to pass another runner. I passed him and ran right through the finish line with a time of 4:16:11. I had completed my 3rd marathon of the year and my 8th overall. I felt absolutely amazing. Throughout the race, I had no major problems. My fueling was on point and I never felt tired nor did I experience the wall. 

Dog Tags for Bling

The next day, Monday, I joined my Crossfit family at Crossfit Beyond and completed the "Murph."


At mid week, I still felt fabulous. Crossfit is making me stronger and a much stronger marathoner. Can't wait to tackle Lake Pacid Marathon in less than two weeks! Yikes!!!

Thanks for taking the time to read,


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Post Boston Marathon

Where do I begin? I waited a whole year for the 118th running of the Boston Marathon. In that year of waiting, I had to deal with the demons of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. I am very fortunate because on April 15, 2013, an angel put her wings around me and shielded me from the second bombing on Boylston Street. Thankfully, on that day, my family and friends where no where near the finish. I will never forget that day. A day that started out prefect ended in such tragedy. My heart goes out to each and every person affected by the events of that day. But, our day would come. We (the runners and spectators) would take back our Boston Marathon finish line.

Wow, I had been waiting so long for marathon weekend in Boston. And it had finally arrived. How could I feel so excited and sad at the same time? There was no turning back. I was there to finish what I had started over a year ago. Not just for me, but for so many others. Nothing was going to get in my way. Everyone that knows me knows that I will physically and mentally fight to the end. 

My husband and girls were with me on that special weekend. We headed out to the expo and, to my surprise, I felt calm. I picked up my bib and did a little shoping. Then we headed out to Boylston St. My husband wanted me to point out where I had been last year. As we neared the site of the second bombing, my heart sank. But I didn't lose my composure. There was something about seeing all those people on Boylston St. There was life on that street. It gave me some inner strength. I was back in Boston with a whole new purpose. I was going to be a part of the healing process... not only for myself, but for others and the city of Boston.
At the Expo
Reading a note left @ 2nd bomb site

Marathon Monday began at 6am. I awoke and stuck with my marathon morning ritual of two hard boiled eggs, oatmeal and a cup of coffee. Before 8am, I was on a shuttle from the hotel in Natick to the State Park in Hopkinton. From the state park, all the runners were searched with a metal wand before boarding an official B.A.A bus to the marathoners village. I arrived at the village at about 8:30am. My start time wasn't until 11am. Let the waiting game begin. I did manage to kill one hour waiting in line to use the porta-potty. By that time, it was 10am and I was getting anxious. In the sea of runners, I bumped into a running friend, Kim. The chances were slim to none that I would bump into anyone I knew. So, it was a nice treat to see a familiar face.

Waiting to start
Finally, at about 1035am, my wave and corral were announced to begin walking to the starting line. The people of Hopkinton were all out cheering, clapping and holding up signs. The race had not even started yet. It was a little after 11am when I began my journey. 

The day I had been waiting for was finally here. I wasn't half way into my first mile when I heard someone yell SHEILA! I looked over my left shoulder and to my surprise it was Anastasia - one of the girls I had meet last year at the marathon who was also running for Dana Farber. We hugged and chatted for a bit. Then I took off. At about the 5k mark, another runner approached me and asked, "are you from Albany?" "Yes," I said. Her name was Audrey and she began telling me how she remembered me from the Mohawk Hudson Marathon a few years ago. She recognized me by the tattoo on my arm. We got to chatting and realized that we were soul sisters in so many ways.

At 6 miles, I began to look for my husband and girls. There was nothing better than seeing familiar faces along the way. I found them, we exchanged kisses and took pictures then I was off again with my soul sister. We ran together for a while, but then I lost Audrey sometime before the half-way mark. 

At mile 6 w/ my soul sista

Running into mile 13, I got ready to experience the screaming tunnel. The girls of Wellesley College were off the charts with the screaming. I was still feeling pretty good, but I also knew what was up ahead. The Newton hills were coming. Miles 18, 19, and 20 (heartbreak hill) were going to be torture. But, before I got to the Newton Hills, I had another running friend to look for. 

At about mile 17, I found my friend Judy. What excitement and joy I felt to see another familiar face along the way. I stopped, gave her a big hug and continued on my journey. At that point, I felt my left gluteus and hamstring start to nag me. So, I decided I would start walking through the water stations. I would be able to take in the full amount of water in the cup and second to be able to stretch my hamstrings. The stretching helped; the tightness never shortened my stride. As I went through the Newton hills, there was something a bit different from last year. The college kids were out cheering for us, but they were no longer running out on the course along side the runners. There were metal barricades preventing them from spilling out onto the course. Just another reminder of how tight security was that day. Throughout the course, police presence was high. There were local police, military police, ATF agents, MA State Police and I'm pretty sure I saw some plain clothes police officers roaming around, as well. I felt safe. Finally, I made it to the top of heartbreak hill. Which also meant I was just about to complete 20 miles. 

With just 6.2 miles to go, I broke the race down mile by mile. I expected to see my husband and girls at the 25 mile marker. Knowing that I would see their faces again kept me moving forward. I fueled for the last time at mile 22 and I made sure to stretch the hamstring again. Once I saw my family at mile 25, I had no intentions of stopping until I reached the finish line. As I approached the 25 mile marker, I began to walk. The crowd was so thick... I didn't want to miss my family. I walked the length of the the bridge but could not find them. For some strange reason, I gravitated to the left side of the road and... to my surprise... my friends Amy and Deb were waiting for me. Wow!!! They went all that way to cheer me on. How lucky was I to see family and friends on the course cheering for me? And, l can't forget all those spectators. What a big time boost that was. And I was off again to finish the race. 

I took a right turned onto Hereford St and I could feel the energy from the crowd steadily grow. My heart was pounding out of my chest. I knew once I turned on to Boylston St., the crowds would be the deepest. And, I also didn't know how I was going to react. Would I be scared or have flash backs? I wasn't sure. And, there it was... the last turn. Left on Boylston St, and the crowd's roar was unlike anything I've ever heard. YES, there it was, the finish line. "Go get it, it's your's" my inner self told me. So with excitement in my heart and for the whole world to hear, I raced to the finish line. I did it!!! I finished the Boston Marathon. I crossed that finish line happy and with beautiful memories of that day and weekend. A week later, I am still smiling about my experience. The feeling of crossing the Boston Marathon finish line was like no other marathon I have ran.

Hugs and kisses after my finish

Thank you for stopping by,


Monday, March 24, 2014

Under a Month Until The Boston Marathon

In less then a month, I will be in the town of Hopkinton awaiting the start of the 118th running of the Boston Marathon. Wow! Did I just say in less then a MONTH?! I can't believe it is just around the corner. I am so excited for the physical and mental challenge of 26.2 miles. I know I can handle the challenges of completing a marathon. But, this year's mental challenge will be different. 

As April 21st quickly approaches, I've been playing over and over in my head how am I going to manage my emotions. I still have no clue. I get all choked up when I talk about it to people. Hell, the images of what I witnessed last year are still so vivid. Like it was yesterday. I know I will finish the .1 mile that was taken from me last year. How I'm going to hold myself together is a totally different story. 

On another note, my training is going well. I will soon be tapering my runs. I've been nursing a tight left gluteus/ hamstring muscle. Sometimes it feels great and other times, well, it just a big pain in the ass! 

I have set some pretty big goals for this year and Boston is at the top of my list. I'm looking forward to checking it off as done. 

Thanks for taking the time,


Friday, February 14, 2014


Miami was like a dream come true for me. I had been daydreaming of running Miami for about a year now. And on February 2nd, I did just that. I flew out on Friday evening, arriving late to the warmth of Miami. Despite not falling asleep until after 1am, I woke up bright and early Saturday morning. I was eager to meet up with my Strong Running Mama friends Elisa and Gail. We went to the expo together to pick up our packets and do a little shopping.

Elisa, Gail, Me

While at the expo, I decided to sign up for the 3:55 pace group. Signing up with this particular pace group wasn't about finishing the race in the given time. It was more about pacing myself at what I felt would be a comfortable pace and making adjustments along the way. Every marathon is different. You just don't know what's you're going to get along the way.

After spending a few hours at the expo, we headed out to the 11th St Diner to have lunch. We spent most of the afternoon walking around South Beach. It was an absolutely beautiful day. But I was done and ready to call it a day by 5:30pm. I was in bed by 8:30pm and set my alarm for 3am.

To my surprise, I slept pretty well. At 3am, I sprung out of bed to the sound of the alarm. I ate some raisin bread, a banana, and drank some water. I put on my running gear and was out the door by 4:45am.  I met up with Elisa and Gail. We were all excited for the race. It was going to be a warm cloudy morning. GREAT! We took some pre-race pictures and headed to our individual corrals.


As I was waiting in the corral, something felt terribly wrong with my stomach. I didn't have time to run back out of the corral to use the port-a-potty, so I decided to start the race and stop along the way. The race began at 6:15am and I crossed the starting line at about 6:24am. The first few miles of the course took us across the MacArthur Causeway bridge. As I crossed the bridge, in the distance I could see the mammoth cruise ships that were docked at the port of Miami. What a breath taking site. At mile 3, I had to stop and take care of business. Well that really sucked! There was no way I would catch up with 3:55 pace group... but I was ok with it. I continued on my journey through the streets of beautiful Miami.

I was at about 3.5 miles when I failed to see a dip in the road. I lost my footing and slid across the pavement. Shit, really, I can't believe I fell. Two runners came to my aid. Luckily, it was nothing more than scrapes to my right knee, thigh, elbow and hands. There is no whining in running. So, I dusted myself off and continued forward.

As I forged ahead, I took in the sites. Miami is simply beautiful, and humid. Boilermaker 15k humid. Thankfully, it was partly sunny. So the sun wasn't constantly beating on me. 

At about mile 6, I started doubting my ability to finish. "This can't be happening," I thought to myself. Thoughts like these usually don't come around until about mile 16 or 17. I starting seeing people to the side of the road receiving medical attention. Oh no, please don't let that be me. 

At about the half way mark, my left gluteus muscle started to tighten up. At this point I was walking through the water stations and stretching periodically. I continued forward. 

At about mile 15, the tightening in my gluteus muscles subsided. I got a little boost and my pace became a bit quicker. 

I was completely soaked in sweat. Between mile 18-20, I could see the dark rain cloud and then I felt the cool breeze. Yes! A little relief was coming my way. And then the rain came down. Thank you, Lord.

I had never been so happy to see that 20 mile marker. EVER.

With a 10k left, I broke down the rest of the race 1 mile at a time. As I got closer to the finish line, I felt stronger. In the last 3 miles, the crowds were thicker. Everyone was cheering for me. "GO SHEILA!" "You're almost there!" "Looking strong!" I was on my way to finishing my 6th marathon. "The finish line is around that last turn," yelled a spectator. I made my last left turn and there it was, waiting for me. Also waiting for me at the finish line were Elisa and Gail. Boy was I thankful to see their faces. I crossed the finish line and my 6th marathon was in the history books. 

Finish line

Every marathon has it's own distinct challenges. At first, I feared 26.2 miles. I guess I feared the unknown. But, on the flip side of being fearful, I am your typical Alpha bitch. I don't give up easily. Now I know to always expect the unexpected. When I run a marathon, it's about overcoming the different challenges that present themselves to me. Marathoning is about getting from point A to point B and being able to adjust to any situation. In so many ways, life is like a marathon. We are always adjusting to different situations in life. It's how we handle and overcome those challenges that allow us to accomplish our goals.

THANK YOU for stoping by,

Sheila AKA #MiamiFamous