10 Running Goals Unrelated to a PR

Last weekend I ran my first trail marathon, and it was the most fun I’ve had running in a long time. Since trail running is a new and exciting territory for me, my goal was to simply finish this race feeling strong and confident (and as muddy as possible). 

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I am happy to report that I met this goal more or less, but beyond this- I think I found one of my new passions. Combining my love for hiking and running into one event was more thrilling than I had anticipated. I think you should try a trail race too if you haven’t already! Stay tuned for another post with a full recap.

FullSizeRender (13).jpgA view of Lake Huron from the race course; photo credit: North Face Endurance Challenge

Typically my road races are time-focused, so not having a goal finish time for the race this weekend felt rather freeing. Setting running goals that are attainable and measurable can help push you to your potential and keep you motivated. While having running aspirations is important, these goals don’t necessarily have to involve a time record or setting a new personal record. In fact, while I think it’s important to run for a purpose, I also believe that mixing up your goals will expand your running experience overall and help you to avoid being stuck in a frustrating time-goal rut.

Here are 10 running goals that have nothing to do with a PR:

1. During a race, drinking water from cups without stopping (hint: pinching the top of the cup makes it easier to pour!)

2. Providing support and motivation to a friend while pacing them in their race.

3.  Running a negative split during a race or training run.

4. Exploring new local running routes each week.

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5. Enjoying every moment during a race by high-fiving as many people as possible, reading all of the spectator signs, and listening to the cheers (or your own thoughts, if the race is remote) instead of listening to music. 

6. Getting as many friends as possible to sign up for a local race.

7. Nailing down the perfect hydration and fueling regimen in a race or training run by trying various products throughout the run. The end result is feeling strong and sans any GI-issues or cramps.

8. Running a certain distance for the first time in a training run or race.

9. Finishing a race feeling strong and confident instead of drained or injured.

10. Joining a running club, including the half marathon “fanatic” or marathon “maniac” groups. Note that the minimal criterion for half fanatics is running two half marathons within 16 days or three within 90 days (more info here). Minimal criterion for marathon maniacs is two marathons within 16 days or three marathons within 90 days (for more info, check out their website here). There are also 50 states half and full marathon clubs, a 7 continents club, and many more clubs- all interesting, exciting challenges!  Of course, if you’re going to attempt something like this, make sure to consult a running coach to help make sure you do so safely and stay healthy!

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What are some of your running goals or aspirations that you’d like to attempt? Any readers members of the half-fanatics or marathon manics clubs?

Have you run a trail race and have had a really good experience? A really bad experience?

PS-Congrats to Carrie for winning the SPIbelt! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the new belt! :)

Note: this post was originally written by me for Run Farther and Faster blog. Check out the  site for more posts & RFF coaching information!

A Getaway and a GIVEAWAY

I am back in Boston after being in one of my favorite places in the world over the past few days: Cape Cod. I was there with my family and was able to have a mix of work and play down there.

I’ll describe the play in photos:

Taking my sister and her husband’s dog Rio on walks. Really, he went on strike and laid down on the grass whenever he got tired.



Spending time on the water.




Attempting to catch dinner. No bites, but a lot of laughs and delicious salty air!

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Enjoying some beautiful sunsets.


I even managed to go on a couple of runs, although I am finding it challenging to stick to my training schedule in this summer heat! Anyone else agree? I also cut back on my runs this week (lower mileage and no speed work) given my upcoming trail race on Saturday, the North Face Endurance Challenge just north of Toronto. This will be my first trail race and, to be honest, I haven’t sufficiently trained on trails but am looking forward to the experience. Stay tuned for another post on the outcome!


I will be carrying my fuel (GU and Honeystingers) and salt tablets with me on Saturday with a SPIbelt. Carrying gear can be a hassle, but I’ve found it to be easy when using a SPIbelt. The belt can be used for runs, walks, and hikes too! I love the way the near-weightless belt fits around my waist; the adjustable strap can fit all sizes but never seems to ride up or down. I like to wear the pouch on the small of my back, but this requires some adjusting when you need to grab something mid-run- this hasn’t been an issue so far! The original SPIbelt comes in many different colors and patterns; I have used the stars and stripes belt a lot this summer. Also note that the SPIbelt is not waterproof, so if you carry electronics I would recommend putting them in a plastic bag.

SPIbelt with an iphone

Sometimes going beltless is the best option- but when you do need to carry fuel/phone/keys with you, I haven’t tried a better product than SPIbelt.

I have teamed up with SPIbelt to give away one original belt to a lucky reader- color of your choice!

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment letting me know one of the following: 1) your favorite fuel choice during a race/long run, 2) your favorite local getaway, 3) one thing you are looking forward to this weekend, OR 4) anything else you want to say!

Giveaway ends Friday! Good luck :)

Benefits of Being Outside

Happy Monday! Hope you all had a great weekend.

Mondays can be tough, and beyond this fact there are many life situations which cause stress to enter into our lives. Studies have suggested that proximity to greenspace and exposure to natural environments can be associated with many mental health benefits including mood and self-esteem boosts, lower levels of stress, and reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety. It’s even been shown that spending time being immersed in the outdoors has resulted in feelings of awe and inspiration. Personally, I often feel more relaxed, recharged, optimistic, and often inspired when I surround myself in nature while running, hiking, or walking.

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For city-dwellers like me, it can be difficult to get out of the city and be exposed to wilderness. But Mark and I are going to head to the great outdoors as much as possible over the next few months. I challenge you to do the same! Our greenspace mission started with a memorable hike in the New Hampshire White Mountains last weekend. I found that during the hike, being completely immersed in nature enabled me to feel the sense of escape from the typical demands and stressors of daily life. Having a connectedness with the outdoors helped promote the experience of “being away”, which resulted in a significant positive mental shift! 

Some hikes last fall:2015-09-treetops-day-2-5C29E4B6C-4B5D-4726-8E69-27F3AC10E963

While we are fortunate to live within a couple of hours of some beautiful mountains and hiking trails, you don’t have to travel too far from your home towns to be in greenspace. Do a quick search for recommended trails and parks that are closer to home and begin your adventure there! I do what I can during the week and set aside some time each day to spend time in Boston’s greenspace areas during my runs or cross-training. On the weekends, it is easier to plan for outdoor excursions away from the city.

Last weekend’s hike in NH:IMG_1734IMG_1735

Remember: every day is a new opportunity to start again! Get outside when you can, immerse yourself in nature, and you will feel the benefits of the experience.

How do you feel after spending time in the great outdoors?

Where is one place you’d love to hike? I would love to hike in Nepal one day! But, there’s nothing like the NH Whites :)

Any exciting plans for the week? I am spending a few days with the fam before heading to Ontario for my first trail marathon on Saturday! More on that in another post :)

The Best Podcasts to Get You through a Run

Runners, listen up! Even the best playlists can get boring after a lot of miles, so I suggest you start tuning in to podcasts as an alternative to your top-40 playlists. Whether you are in need of some extra running or fitness motivation, lifestyle tips and hacks, or general entertainment, there is a podcast that will fit your mood.  Here are some podcasts that I am currently obsessed with now, that will get you THIS pumped to run:

26615102614_51da2ba0b1_oPhoto credit: Meredith Ruth, Seattle 108 Wanderlust Festival

  • Rich Roll: My new favorite podcast! Episodes cover a wide range of topics, but tend to focus on health, wellness, and nutrition, a balanced lifestyle, and incredible feats of athletic achievement. Rich Roll has a relaxed tone and his lengthy interviews dive deep into the lives and minds of his inspirational guests. I get very excited every time I see a new episode on my iTunes queue! Some favorite Rich Roll episodes: Stephen & David Flynn Are the Happy Pear, How Jasmin Singer Lost 100 Pounds by Finding Peace With Herself, and Robin Arzon Wants You to Shut Up and Run.
  • Real Talk Radio with Nicole Antoinette: Upon finishing every one of these podcasts, I immediately want to tackle something new and adventurous. Nicole has a gift for keeping conversations interesting and provides listeners with some passionate, unfiltered, honest conversations. Some favorite Real Talk episodes: Alaistar Humphry’s on Cycling Around the World, Chelsea Fagan Why We Need to be Honest About Money, Matt Frazier on Running, Compassionate Eating, and the Messy Reality of Setting Big Goals.
  • Running on Om: A delightful podcast. As one reviewer commented, “If you are into wellness, optimal health, being active, or just need a little positive inspiration in your life, podcast host Julia Hanlon interviews runners, yogis, hikers, marathoners, ultra-marathoners, triathletes, and gets a beautiful glimpse into the lives of some seriously inspiring, motivated people doing really cool things”. I couldn’t agree more! Julia’s genuine interviews are often running and yoga focused, and are definitely worth a listen. Some favorite ROO episodes (hard to narrow the list down!): Ask Lauren Fleshman series, Real Talk Reflections series, Sally Bergesen on the Inspiration Behind Oiselle and Sports Activism, Amanda Nurse on Finding Joy in Improvement.
  • Marathon Training Academy: Hosts Trevor and Angie Spencer have a great knack for keeping listeners informed and entertained in their running-focused podcasts. They are a cohesive pair that provide straightforward marathon and ultra-marathon reviews, running tips and lessons learned. Some favorite MTA episodes: How Running Changes Your Brain, Interview with Tom Foreman, How to Beat a Motivational Slump in Your Running, and Race Recap of the Boston Marathon.
  • Ultramarathon News: Also known as ultra-runner podcast, this ultra-distance focused podcast is perfect for long runs where you need extra inspiration to keep going. The guests and host Eric Schranz are interesting, entertaining, and informative. Nothing like an interview with an ultra-marathon runner to get you motivated! Some favorite URT episodes: Caroline Boller Interview, Michele Yates Interview, Ethan Newberry Ginger Runner Interview.

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What are YOUR favorite podcasts? Do you also listen to any of the above?

Do you prefer listening to podcasts, music, or neither while running?

What are YOU up to this weekend? Anyone running a race, long run, or have any other fun plans? Enjoy the outdoors but stay cool whatever you do! I have a wedding on tap this weekend and then some beach time for a few days on Cape Cod. Can’t wait! Have a great weekend and let me know what you’re up to!

Note: this post was originally written by me for Run Farther and Faster blog.

Back to Blogging on a Tuesday

Hope you enjoyed celebrating America’s birthday and the associated food and drink, time spent with family and friends, fireworks, and all things red, white, and blue. My long weekend was the basic New England “fit in as much as possible during these summer days off” situation.

Before I talk about my weekend, I wanted to share that I am excited to be back in the blog world! A couple of months ago, I decided to take a break from blogging about my life. In reality, what I needed was a mental shift away from running (and subsequently writing about my little obsession with the sport) after my last big race. It has been a restful recess, but I have now started to train for my fall marathon (Wineglass in NY), and am eager to return to my writing routine! My next chapter of posts will focus on everything from marathon training to the adventures and “micro-adventures” (as Alastair Humphreys would say) ahead in Boston, New England, and beyond. I encourage you to: 1) follow along 2) stay in touch and 3) after you read my posts, get outside and enjoy the short-lived summer weather. Looking forward to catching up and hearing how YOU are doing!

Back to the long weekend. Here’s a recap:

Saturday: Started off with a long training run in my home town, followed by a family party with lots of hydrating and non-hydrating beverages. This was followed by more food, drink, and games with friends later that night. No photos to capture these moments unfortunately!

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Sunday:  Mark and I rose early to spend the day hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Despite the early wakeup call, this was a treasured day spent in nature with beautiful views at the summit of Mt. Garfield.

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We are starting a contest to see who can hike the 48 4,000+ footer mountains in New Hampshire the fastest.

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What a day. Stay tuned for more posts involving my mission to encourage everyone to spend more time in the outdoors :)

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Monday: Hello Independence Day! It was beautiful weather in Boston. We relaxed with some friends on Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor, and then some fireworks. The quintessential 4th of July, what more could a girl want?

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Some drone action. Thanks @imnotquitejack!

Happy Tuesday everyone! Back to reality for some of us; more vacation for others. Enjoy the week wherever you are!

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Where is your favorite place to hike? I love the White Mountains in NH, but some other favorite one-time hikes were out in the PNW.

What was the highlight of your 4th of July? Anyone run a spirited road race?

Anyone currently training for a race?

 

 

Updates & A New Writing Gig!

Hello blog world! It’s been awhile. Hope your summer has been off to a great start! I am excited to let you know that I have partnered with my running coaches Lisa Reichmann and Julie Sapper of Run Farther and Faster as a featured blogger on their site.

Check out the first post here. Let me know your thoughts!

Up here in Boston, my summer has started with a bang! Here are the highlights:

*Wanderlust Festival and trip to Seattle:

IMG_1215Photo credit: Meredith Ruth

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Farewell, for now!

After a lot of thought, I have decided to take a break from blogging.

I started JaneRunsWild to narrate my marathon training, fitness goals, travels, and log my race reviews. These races have defined much of my post-college life, even if they were run “for fun” and without much training, and I have loved recalling each transformative experience. It has been so interesting dipping my toes into the blogging community- you guys are full of creativity, motivation and inspiration, and gave me the momentum to keep writing.



When I initially did not make the 2016 Boston Marathon cutoff, even after qualifying, this blog was my outlet. JaneRunsWild was a platform for me to defend my passion for the sport, and ultimately helped me reach my goal of running Boston after I had received a bib from Clif Bar. I am more optimistic that I will make the cutoff for Boston 2017 after qualifying at Phoenix in February, but I may have to re-live this journey again if not. JaneRunsWild my partner, once more!

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Rainy Week and Ultra Advice

This morning was met with cloudy skies, the first reprieve from the rain that we’ve seen this entire week! I’m looking forward to the hovering English weather to make way for normal New England spring weather next week. If only marathon Monday could have had cooler temperatures as this week!

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The Thrill of the Boston Marathon

On Monday, I ran my first Boston marathon. This hometown race has been a lifelong goal of mine, and as I toed the line on the warm mid-morning day, I felt nothing but grateful for being there at that moment.

An announcer called over the loud speaker, “This is not the start of a long run in the middle of February. This is what you’ve been training for, your prize!” I quickly reflected on the Sunday when I ran 16 miles inside on a track because it was -9 degrees without wind-chill in Boston. I also visualized the months of training that were now behind me, predominantly focused on training for my goal race of Phoenix in February. I smiled at the experience of training for these races, and acknowledged that regardless of Boston’s outcome, the last few months had surprisingly been fun. I also developed an acceptance of being uncomfortable, which is an essential element of marathon training. Over time, I even started to treasure the discomfort; it continued to inspire and push me through each workout and this adaptability carried over in other areas of life.

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Boston Marathon Weekend is HERE!!!

Happy Friday! What a week it’s been back home, seeing friends and family, starting to think about wedding plans and the marathon of course! Life is so unpredictable, full of highs and lows- and I am just going to ride this high for as long as I can. I am so thankful for the loved ones in my life and for the opportunity to run this Monday. It will be a humbling experience to be running alongside so many incredible runners. Thank you again Clif Bar for making Boston a reality for me!! You can read about the #NoHeartbreakHere contest and about the other winners here.

Photo source: @ohiammartFullSizeRender

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Back in Boston after an Exciting Week!

We made it back to Boston yesterday and cannot stop reflecting on the wonderful week spent in Paris and the French countryside! There is so much to write about the trip, but instead of spilling out all of the details, I’ll give you the main highlights/thoughts of our France adventure:

-The biggest news is that Mark and I got engaged! And to top it off, our friends who came with us to France- Ann and Jon- also got engaged! So much celebrating and happiness this week :)

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Continue reading “Back in Boston after an Exciting Week!”

Heading from Boston to Paris

Hope your week is going well so far. Mark and I are eager to finish off our work days before flying to Paris tonight!

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t put on some Sex and the City Season 6: “An American Girl in Paris” as I packed last night. While the Paris scenes got me very excited for our trip overseas, I decided to leave my Carrie Bradshaw outfits out of the suitcase. :)

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Training to Recover and Recovering to Train

What a difference a day makes! We were met with sunny, spring-like weather over the weekend which quickly turned to wintry rainy weather yesterday. At least it wasn’t the reverse!

IMG_0018Sign of spring in Boston: Duck Boats are back on the streets!IMG_0017

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Making Peace on a Friday

Happy Friday to all! Hope you’ve had a great week and are staying positive, as the weekend is near! It’s darkest before dawn, so hope you are gearing up for a mix of fun plans/workouts/runs/family time/friend time/alone time over the next couple of days.

This week commenced with sadness in the wake of the terrorist attack in Brussels. My heart breaks for those touched by this tragedy. In my seemingly powerless little corner in Boston, something I can control is the persistent feeling of empathy for those around me, and a promotion of kindness. Spreading peace and compassion to neighbors won’t curb violent attacks around the world, but helping others on an individual level might be the right amount of influence to deter those considering violence.

A photo I took when I visited Brussels a few years ago:IMG_2966

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Hill Drills & Weekend Recap

Good morning! As we are in New England, we woke up to a blanket of snow this morning following a couple of weeks of warm spring-like weather. As they say, if you don’t like the weather in New England, wait five minutes, so hopefully that means the snow will melt soon!

The weekend started off with some happy hour drinks after a long week including a nice Friday morning run (I’ve cut back on alcohol and sweets over the last 6 months or so, but am a true believer in moderation and enjoying life as well!).

Photos from Friday morning run:IMG_2952IMG_2932

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Happy St. Patty’s Day & Boston Marathon Advice

Happy St. Patrick’s Day friends!! Hope you’re having a great week so far. Are you doing anything to celebrate the holiday? I’m going to hold off until the weekend to observe the splendor of my heritage. :)

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Speaking of celebrations, I am so excited that Boston marathon is just over one month away (one month and one day to be exact!). On that Patriot’s Day weekend, Boston will be swarming with excited and eager runners and their patient family members and friends. It’s always such a special time to be in the city, bustle and all! Stay tuned for an upcoming post on must-see’s and do’s in Boston over marathon weekend (or any other time!).

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Five Updates from this Week!

Happy Friday! Hope you all have had a great week! 

This first full week of March has been a great one! It’s felt like spring over here in Boston, a huge contrast to last winter where we had about five feet of snow still blanketing our city at this time. I will take it!

Five highlights from this week:

1.I signed up for my next race, which is tomorrow morning! It’s called the Black Cat 10 and 20 mile road race and is located in Salem, MA, about 20 minutes north of Boston. The race is held during the Boston marathon training cycle for those training for that race, but is for all levels of runners. Mark and I are signed up for the 20 mile race, although I am going to run about 15 because I am still recovering from Phoenix. My sister is running the 10 miler as well. It will be so great to run together again! I ran this race a few years ago and felt that it was very well supported and had great scenery. There is no better way to run 10-20 miles than with others! Race recap to come.

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