Race Recap (+Playlist): Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women

tufts-health-plan-10k-women-recapYesterday I ran the Tufts Health Plan 10K celebrating women, and hot damn was it a better way to spend October 12th than by honoring that a**hole Columbus!

Jokes aside, I had so much fun and crossing the finish line just reaffirmed for me that I did the right thing in applying to run the Boston Marathon for a charity team. I’ll keep you guys posted on that, but I just found out that my application got through to the second round, so I’m once step closer to getting accepted! But back to yesterday’s race …

My (Lack of) Preparedness for the Race

My original plan was to prepare by running three times a week—a shorter run, a longer run and some speed work in the form of a Barry’s Bootcamp class. For a while that was going well and I was really enjoying regularly running again! Welp. That changed.

Three weeks ago, I tweaked my knee, and although it was nothing serious, I had to stay off it for a week. Right when I was ready to resume running, a family emergency took Joe and I to New Jersey where working out was honestly the last thing on my mind. So yesterday’s race was the first time I’ve ran in three weeks.

Let’s make the situation worse. Against my better judgment, when I got back to Boston on Saturday, I was CRAVING a good workout, and did Btone classes both days leading up to the race. As anyone who’s taken a couple weeks off the megaformer and then returned will know, I was SO SORE on race day morning. Whoopsies. If you follow me on Snapchat (nicoleperr), you probably got the hint that I was unprepared (ha!) … snapchat-tufts-health-plank-10k

I contemplated backing out of the race at least ten times, but ultimately knew that I could finish (even if it was super slow), and am so happy I went through with it in the end!

Race Day


Post-race with Sarah & Rachel

The race started and ended by the Boston Common so there were a bunch of tents and a stage area set up in the park. With a later start time of noon, there was ample time for runners and their families to walk around the park and Public Garden and hang out beforehand. The weather was gorgeous, but a little too hot for running. The majority of the course wasn’t in the shade and oh man–the sun killed me. With my circulation issues though, I would take the heat over the cold ANY day.

Tufts Health Plan graciously gave me and a few other local bloggers a free bib to run the race, and with that came access to their employee tent. After the race, I headed there to hang out and munch on a veggie wrap and a BOMB chocolate chip cookie. I always do the squeeze test before committing to a cookie (if you’re not soft, get the f outta here), and these were the perfect consistency. I’m not sure why I feel this a necessary detail to include in a race recap, but let’s just go with it.IMG_3648

The Race Course + Results

tufts-10k-recapThe course was basically a tour of my neighborhood, which was so convenient! I walked to the start line and walked home afterwards. The home stretch even took us right by my apartment. Another great thing given my lack of training was how flat the course was. There was one hill, but it was such a gradual incline that I barely noticed it. thp10kthp10k-recap

This was actually the first time I wore a watch during a race (I know, I know–welcome to 2015, Nicole), and it made the experience so much better! I used the Timex One GPS+ that I reviewed last month, and it helped so much with pacing and motivation. The watch also syncs to RunKeeper (which I just started using–I used to use the Nike Running app) so you can send your stats directly to the app. I forgot to stop the watch when I crossed the finish line (whoops) so the numbers are a little different from my official results, but here are my unofficial split times if you’re interested:


I felt awesome the first four miles. The fifth mile started to feel tough, and then the last mile+ was a big struggle for me. Those split times don’t exactly reflect that, but I really had to tap into my mental game to will myself through mile 6.

Official Results: Finished in 54:30 with an average 8:47 pace.

I went into it telling myself I just wanted to finish the race, but secretly hoped to come in under an hour. I know I could have run faster if I’d prepared, but I am pumped with 54:30.

My 10k Playlist for the Race

The morning of the race, I threw some of my current favorite songs into a playlist. I’m obsessed with Young Love (feat. Koko LaRoo) – Felix Cartal so that jam got repeated a few times. :) I’ve included the original playlist I made on Spotify as well as the same songs (with the exception of a few I couldn’t find) in an iTune playlist if that’s what you use.

sale-alert-shopbopThis has nothing to do with the THP 10K, but I had to share the news that the Shopbop friends & family sale just started. You can take 25% off your order with code INTHEFAM25. Their activewear boutique is amazing but pricey, so this is the perfect occasion to actually buy something instead of admiring from afar (at least that’s what I’m telling myself …). Happy shopping!

Have you ran the THP 10k for Women before?

What’s your fastest 10k time?

Have you ever gone into a race without preparing?


Am I on the Fast Track to Marriage??

pretty-views-boston-1I’m picturing Joe seeing the title of this blog post in his newsfeed and choking on his coffee while beads of sweat drip from his forehead and he clutches his chest LOLLOLLOL. It’s not what you think, but I DO have a really exciting announcement …

When I reflect on my relationship with running, I can’t help but notice how similar it is to, well, a relationship. We started dating in high school when I joined the cross country team, but I was immature and didn’t take the relationship seriously. My girlfriends and I would hide in the woods during practice if the run that day involved a loop and then conveniently jump back into the pack on the final lap (true story). I wasn’t that into it, I just ran because all my friends ran and I wanted something to do after school. I mean, my gawd this metaphor practically writes itself …

At the start of college, I took a break from running because I just wanted to party and see other guys named 2AM Pizza and Chipotle. That was fun for a while, but then I started to see how good other girls looked with Running and I started to get jealous. I wanted him back. pretty-views-boston-6

We got back together, but it was an unhealthy relationship—as all relationships are when you don’t feel good about yourself. I relied on running for my self worth and abused it. It wasn’t fun or enjoyable, it was a crutch. And I was only hurting myself by staying with it (crippling Achilles tendonitis flare-ups that I’d force myself to run through).

My relationship with running got better after college as my relationship with myself got better, and it became fun for me again. I listened to my body and took weeks off if my tendonitis was aggravated, and then I eventually decided to run my first half marathon. We were in a good place, committed and comfortable. Some weeks of training were terrible, but the feeling of accomplishment I had when I crossed the finish line made it all worth it.

Because we’d been together so long and the sailing was so smooth, I started to become complacent. It became easier to prioritize other things in my life over running because I knew it’d always be there for me. I stopped putting in the work, and the spark in the relationship faded.

I focused on other things—Lagree Fitness, HIIT workouts, yoga—and honestly didn’t think about running much at all. It was a healthy thing to do, as there’s no need to settle for complacency in a relationship. pretty-views-boston-2

Just like two lovers who’ve gone their separate ways, matured and grown as individuals, and then had their paths cross later in life, I feel like I’m back together with running and we’re ready to tie the knot and start cranking out kids. In fact, I kinda can’t believe what I did earlier this week …

I applied to run this year’s Boston Marathon on a charity team. Um, hello, shotgun wedding! There’s no guarantee I’ll be accepted to the team, but I’m still all sorts of excited/nervous/panicked. What have I done?!

For those of you unfamiliar with how the Boston Marathon works, you essentially have two options for getting a bib number: 1. Qualify by running an insanely fast marathon elsewhere 2. Commit to raise at least $5k for one of that year’s charity teams. Some people feel that running via charity team means you’re not a “real” runner, but honestly I don’t feel that way at all or care. Running a marathon just so that I can run ANOTHER marathon?! No. That sounds absolutely miserable.

Even though I really have fallen back in love with running, the super long distance stuff is still rough on my tendonitis, and running a marathon is truly a one-and-done bucket list item for me. And if I’m only going to do it once, it HAS to be Boston. I should know by the end of October if I was accepted to the team, and of course you guys will be the first to know!

The Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women

pretty-views-boston-4In the meantime, I’ve got another (definite) race coming up that I’m super excited about. I’m going to run the Tufts Health Plank 10K on October 12 with a couple other Boston bloggers, and it should be a great time! The race celebrates women and healthy living and if you’re in the area that weekend (it’s on Columbus Day), there’s still time to register HERE.

I haven’t been using a specific training plan, but instead just make sure to run at least three times a week: a short run (3-4 miles), a longer run (5-7 miles) and then some sort of speed training, which has been in the form of Barry’s Bootcamp these past few weeks (that counts, right??).

I feel like this time around, I’m MUCH better about prioritizing stretching and foam rolling after I run (I used to ignore this all too often), and it’s made this whole rekindled relationship all the better for my body.

Do you have any upcoming races you’re looking forward to?

How many of you were extremely disappointed this blog post was about running and not about marriage (ha!)?

Pictures in this post were all taken on recent runs around Boston. I <3 this pretty city!


The Weird Way I Use Music to Get through Difficult Runs

how-to-use-music-to-make-running-fun-3You know those runs. Four steps into it and you know it’s going to be brutal. In the past year, I haven’t done any races, so I honestly haven’t had much reason to push through these “off” runs. If it feels like torture and my legs are like lead, I’ll just do a different workout instead. I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with that—I mean with so many ways to exercise and countless fitness class options in Boston, why not just do something I’m actually in the mood for? But that being said, there really is nothing like that feeling of accomplishment when you push yourself through something tough. It makes you stronger physically, but more noticeably, mentally.

In October, I’m running the Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women, and am excited to have a goal to work towards again with running. I know that without additional training, I can finish a 10K distance without much trouble right now, but I don’t just want to finish it, I want to be fast. And that means running regularly, challenging myself with speed, and increasing my distances. how-to-use-music-to-make-running-fun-2

I can’t run without music period, but on those “off” days, I’ll go a step further and turn my playlist into somewhat of a game in order to get me through it. I’ve used this method all my life when I don’t want to do something. Mountain of homework? Turn it into a game of steps and rewards. Works for running, too! You might think I’m a total weirdo (I am, so … you’re right), but I wanted to share my little playlist game. The Kohl’s #MakeYourMove campaign is all about enjoying activities, and this is how I make even the most brutal of runs a bit more fun. J

How I Use Music to Get through “Off” Running Days

I start by putting together a playlist that’s roughly as long as I need my run to be. If the goal is to run for a set amount of time, it’s easy. If the goal is to run a certain distance, I just make the playlist within a few minutes of what I’d like to run that distance in or typically do. Then I make up the rules for my playlist “game.” Here are some examples:

  • Pick certain songs that are “fast” songs, and certain songs that are like rewards and allow you to jog. For example: When a Steve Aoki song comes on, increase your speed. When a Kygo song comes on, recover. During everything else, maintain your pace. Hit shuffle and pray you don’t get back-to-back Aoki jams.
  • (For when I’m really not feeling up for running) Alternate between pushing my pace for the entire duration of a song and then jogging during the next song.
  • Increase speed every two songs.

Sound silly? It totally is. But I swear it makes the run feel manageable and even kind of fun. Kind of. 😉  how-to-use-music-to-make-running-fun-1

WEARING: Nike leggings, Nike muscle tank sold out, but this one is cute!, Nike sports bra & Nike sneakers all c/o Kohl’s

What tricks and mental games do you use to push yourself through “off” running days?


This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Kohl’s.