Race Report: 2015 Paris Marathon

25645445Paris in Spring!


One of the most beautiful cities in the world…why not run there. It would be exhilarating and beautiful. So, when I entered the lottery for an entry and got accepted, I HAD to go! Coming off a neuroma in my left foot and a bike crash, I knew I needed help to get me to the finish line. Of course, I signed up for another season of coaching with RipIt Coaching and a plan was formed.


Being a tad OCD, I read the Schneider Electric Paris Marathon Rules inside and out. This is all I had to work with: “Participants will have a maximum time of 6 hours to complete the course to the finish line. After passing the limit vehicle, competitors must comply with traffic rules - rules of the road.”


I told my coach the time limit and Duzy put me through the paces to complete the race somewhere between 5:30/5:45. Through one of the coldest winters, I pushed through 10 milers in 10 degrees – BRRRRRRR – , speed work, intervals and 16 mile treadmill runs to meet the goal.


Despite all that, It wasn't meant to be for me. The race book/rules said you had 6 hours to finish before the race closed. I was under or hit every pace mark set...until the half. Why? What the race rules didn't tell you was it really was only for people who would finish in 4:30hrs or less - every one else was I their own. At mile 8 (from pictures below looks like it was really at the 10k), they started tearing down everything including the timing strips and opened the course to traffic. By mile 10, we all had to get up on the sidewalk. After 3 miles of dodging traffic, pedestrians and bikes and stopping for lights to cross the street, I knew I would not make the cutoff. I called it at mile 14, when it was just way too much to navigate traffic and the only way to know where to go was follow the trash.


This is the only picture I have that kinda shows what I was talking about. I didn’t really even notice that this water station was empty and they were folding up the tables. I was just happy I was hitting my paces and was feeling good. Hind sight…there was nobody there, just trash and people packing up. I snapped this picture and ran on as I had on me all the nutrition I needed – push on.


I was so disappointed, but I had a great Half. I ran one of my best half marathons in years…in fact, I PR’d every single mark along the way (fastest mile, 5K, 10K, 15K) and I had a BLAST in Paris.


What were my thoughts when I got to Mile 14 where my Mom, daughter and BFF were? I was crying. I was demoralized. I spent from mile 11-13.1 sprinting from block to block hoping I would have the lights in my favor but more often than not, I had to wait for the light to cross traffic. I kept losing time. I have never felt more alone – even with other runners struggling along with me – we were all silent in our thoughts. You could see it on our faces – the frustration, the mental juggling, the fighting off tears that would surly fall if we spoke out loud about this debacle.


                                   Team USA at the 5k Breakfast Run


My BFF, Val, was the first to call it for me with, “You said you do all this because you love it and it’s fun, right?”


“Yes”, I wail, slipping into hysteria.


“Nothing that you love and is fun should make you cry. We are done. Let’s find the metro and get some wine!”


Erin pulls out her iPad and gets the FireMarshall on FaceTime. She pans the area showing the traffic and debris and the man who made this journey possible was like “OH HELL NO! We are not running in a foreign country in traffic. You are done, now go and enjoy the rest of the trip.”


As we walked to the Metro, I was not the only one who called it, as there were many others on the platform and on the train. Alas…



If I had known that the course would shut down like that, I would have finagled my way into an earlier corral, like a few others did (and finished in 6:30) so I would have a closed course to run on and still make the finish.


Would I do it again? Probably not. Would I recommend the race? Yes. It’s beautiful, relatively fast/flat course – long gradual up hill, but it is a long gradual down hill too. However, take heed of what happened to me. If you are in the hare class – have at it. If you are in the turtle class, get yourself into an earlier corral (which means you have to “fudge” what time you plan on finishing or play dumb when you get there and sneak into an earlier corral – SIGH).


IMG_6790                  Champagne at the summit with the best support team ever!


What did I learn from this experience?

- This journey is MINE! As long as I’m having fun and achieving MY goals, I’ll keep on keeping on.

- Stop comparing myself to everyone else, their achievements and their milestones. It’s THEIRS. Mine are just as awesome!

- Do the things, distances, races that I want & love. Get better at those, move the goal post, PR & master those events before setting my sights on that sparkly bigger event just cause everyone around me is doing it. DO ME! FOR ME!


What’s up next…

Sunday – Columbia Half Marathon! (Race Ambassador in DA HOUSE!)

May 17 – Columbia Traithlon


Disney Glass Slipper Challenge 2015

770667_1014_0024First up on The TravelDiva’s race schedule was the Disney Glass Slipper Challenge – February 21-23.


WE HAD A BLAST! 19.3 leisurely miles over 2 days! Anytime MsPattey and I get together it is a raging, gut busting, hilarious, grown women gone wild adventure and this weekend was no exception.


Can’t you tell? Who else would dress up looking like a highlighter with a tiara on top when you were supposed to look like Princess Tiana, run half marathon after running a 10k the day before and still be all grins and giggles. Well, me and about 24 THOUSAND of my bestest friends.


This is the second year in a row that MsPattey and I have done this race. Last year we only did the Princess Half, but when we saw the people with 3 medals from the Glass Slipper challenge we HAD to do it! It’s all about the BLING! Nothing like looking for your car after the race clicking and clanging with all that BLINGAGE!





As for the races…Well, If you want to be all competitive, run for a time, PR or BQ then you best get in the 1st couple of corrals and not stop to take narry one pic or it ain’t gonna happen for you. NERP, NOPE, NOT A CHANCE. For the 10k, I tried to pause my watch every time I stopped to get an “accurate” running time. I did my best and may have been off only 2-3min. 10K was 1:29. I was happy with that. I wasn’t trying to do anything major and was enjoying the scenery, talking to people and having a good time. As for the half-marathon, I forgot to pause my watch ever. Just let it run because I was fixated with playing with my new GO PRO HERO 4 (which I accidently deleted all the video doing a software update – Live & Learn). I estimated, based on looking at the splits that we killed 30 min piddling around, taking pictures and having a great time. Watch 3:40, 3:10 is what I was expecting. GO ME!

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So, what’s next for the dynamic duo…well, Disney announced that there will be the Inaugural Disney Paris Half Marathon and perhaps a Continent to Continent Medal in 2016. Sounds like just one of many MUST DO’s/MUST HAVE ALL THE BLING kinda thing to do for my 50th Birthday Year.


I put together another video slide show of the weekend. Enjoy.


REGISTRATION OPEN! Columbia Half Marathon & 5K










Rip It Events, LLC, a sports event management company, announces the launch of the 2015 Columbia Half Marathon & 5K. This race will be staged in Columbia, MD and will replace the void left from the cancellation of the spring IronGirl Columbia Half Marathon. The official charity for this event is Athletes Serving Athletes.


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The inaugural Columbia Half Marathon will be on Sunday, April 26, 2015 and will use the same race route as the 2014 IronGirl Columbia Half Marathon. This race will be open to both men and women. A 5K race will follow after the start of the half marathon. Online registration for this race will open on Monday, February 2, 2015. A special low registration fee will be available for 48 hours.


Half Marathon Registration Fee - MedalIMage

$55.00 2/2 - 2/4 only

$70.00 2/5 through 3/31

$80.00 through 4/22

participants receive shirt & medal

5K Registration Fee -

$25.00 2/2 - 2/4 only

$30.00 2/5 through 3/31

$35.00 4/1 through 4/22

participants receive a shirt



"We are excited to offer this race continuing the tradition of a Howard County spring half marathon event. By adding a men's division, we hope to provide a racing opportunity for all endurance runners in the Howard County region."

- Danny Serpico, Rip It Events Owner


For more information about this event AND to register, visit: 



I plan on being there and getting in on that awesome low registration fee ~ how about you! Look for the victory arm raise. Who will be there with me?!!


GIVEAWAY: Reebok Spartan Race 2015

THIS IS…SPARTAN!!! Spartan Race is on a mission to get you active, healthy, excited about change, and return to our ancient roots where running through woods, getting dirty, and facing adversity was part of everyday life. Their events are all about challenging today’s perception of normal. Their events challenge the familiar, today’s perception of normal living and getting you out of your comfort zone!
Spartan Race now introduces a level for everyone beginning with the entry level Spartan Sprint, intermediate level Super Spartan, the advanced Spartan Beast, and the ‘99.9% need not apply’ extreme level Death Race. Whatever your level, Spartan Race will test your strength, stamina, and sense of humor.

Sound interesting. Looking for a new challenge? WAIT…THERE IS MORE!!!

The 2015 Season Pass is now ready for you to join! ANY RACE. ANYWHERE. ANY TIME. True Spartans don’t have limits. Join now for unlimited racing, special travel discounts and more. A no-brainer for those training for a TRIFECTA in 2015.

The 2015 World Championship Spartan Race will take place in Lake Tahoe, California in October 2015 with over $500,000 in cash and prizes to be awarded.

You can Cruise to the Course in March 2015. Sand, surf and obstacles await you on this one of a kind Spartan adventure. Join fellow Spartans March 6-9, 2015 when you'll be taken on a cruise liner from the Port of Miami to Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas for a first of it's kind Spartan Sprint! Can you say, "Best. Vacation. EVER!?" Don't Miss the Boat - Cabins are SellingFast!

SOOOOO!! Are you ready? Looking for that new challenge? How about a Spartan Race?
To learn more, check out http://www.spartan.com/ and #CHALLENGEACCEPTED
a Rafflecopter giveaway


ADDITIONALLYJoe’s podcast, “Spartan Up!” went live a few days ago and there is a launch contest running with tons of prizes  - http://www.spartanuppodcast.com/launch-contest/ 
They also just released a 50% off code for the Spartan cruise if you use the code Cruise50 
 And just for checking out the Spartan Races, I am giving away one free entry to ANY open heat in any 2015 Spartan Race in the continental US.

TravelDiva’s Swim Bike Run 2015 Schedule

Well, it’s waaaaay overdue for the 2015 Diva Adventure’s Schedule to answer the question(‘s) – What’s on your schedule this year? What do you have big going on?

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So, here is what the TravelDiva is up to for 2015!

Glass Slipper Challenge  inscription-MIP15-4060859

Disney Glass Slipper Challenge – Feb                  Paris Marathon – April 12, 2015


  Columbia-Triathlon-logo  ETC-2014

    Columbia Tri (OLY) – May 17, 2015             Escape the Cape Tri (OLY) – June 14


RipItDu   IG-Columbia-tri-10th

RipItEvents Olympic Du – July 12th                IG (cause it’s the 10th anniversary)

                                                                               August 16th, 2015


ChicagoTri  Waterman_Half_No-Date

BTA BABY!!! – August 30th 2015               Waterman’s 70.3 – October 3, 2015


I think that’s plenty to keep me out of serious trouble. Besides, I’m broke now until I find me a sugar daddy sponsor that goes above The FireMarshall – SPECTATHLETE contributions to my addiction. So, stay tuned for the occasional picture update from all the suffering training and adventures. Really, this is actually what I consider fun. REALLY! SERIOUSLY!!


…and as you can expect, I will be keeping it cute and sparkly – lipstick and all.



And She’s Baaaack! Across the Bay 10k


I’ve been pretty quiet since IM 70.3 Princeton. There was the heel stress fracture, the neuroma in my left foot and just as I was “taking a rest” to heal up (YEAH RIGHT), I crashed my bike with a front tire blow out, the perfect off the bike PLF (parachute landing fall) that resulted in a perfectly healthy bike yet a damaged, pain ridden shoulder joint.




So, I keep going to Hard Bodies Boot Camp – see, I told you my goal was to improve function strength – but every class I was silently crying, FRUSTRATED, at another setback. I couldn’t lift laterally my right arm. My arm felt so weak that even push ups were a challenge. I modified, asked my coaches for an alternative and pushed through. I was doing laps one morning of no weights Thursday when Suzy caught me crying (I was fo sure that she couldn’t see in the dark, but that woman right der…SEE’S ALL). She reminded me that 2015 is GOING TO BE MY YEAR and that, right now, I needed to slow down, get checked out, heal…to speed up.


So I have been. I feel like a tree sloth but I’m doing what the doctor ordered. I’ve been doing some “fun” running…short distances, techno nekkid, just run and enjoy the moment. And then I got the opportunity to run in the Inaugural Across the Bay 10k. I couldn’t resist.

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…and that was the look on my face the whole way. I did a 2:1 interval uphill to the apex of the bridge (approx. 3 miles) and then I ran – okay – jogged the rest of the way to the finish. Happy. Smiling. Pain Free.



The Diva is getting her MOJO back!



Diva Review: Old Wives Tail Organic Oil Treatments


When I decided to go natural  2 years ago – and for me that just meant not putting anymore heat (curling/flat irons) in my hair as I hadn’t had a relaxer in 5 years previously –  it took a long while of trial and error to find products that worked best on my hair to get it to do what I wanted it to do and look the way I wanted.


Through trial and error, signing up for about 6 month of those sample kit box of the month things, and asking what worked for others, I came to realize that the hair product game is a very individualized thing and what works for me AND my budget won’t necessarily work for anybody else. Just because it is expensive or brand name popular don’t necessarily make it awesome. I am notorious for mixing and matching products/brands to achieve my desired effect.


N.E.WAY…I was asked to give Old Wives Tail Organic Oil Treatment a try. Old Wives Tail is:

100% Organic Hair Care

Old Wives Tail is a small hair care company selling handmade organic hair care products – absolutely no additives or chemicals. They aim to nourish your hair back to life the Latino way with their unique blend of oils. Their main lifetime goal is to eradicate animal testing in the beauty industry and 10% of their profits go to charities that save animals from being tested upon. Love your pets, love the environment and love your hair naturally with OWT!


I read their history, liked that it was truly 100% Organic and handmade and agreed to give it a try. I received the Melado Organic Hair Growth Oil Treatment


A unique blend of 100% organic oils that will give the kiss of life to even the most dry and damaged hair. Rich in natural vitamins, antioxidants and proteins just one sacred drop of Melado will do wonders for your hair and scalp.

The natural vitamins and omegas in Melado restores shine and deeply moisturises the hair back to health. When massaged into the scalp this oil will stimulate and encourage healthy hair growth by penetrating deep into the roots and strengthening each hair follicle.

Directions for use: Massage into damp hair weekly to stimulate long, healthy, nourished hair growth. Leave on for an hour. Rinse with fresh water and shampoo. Repeat this process until your hair feels clean and product free. After shampooing you can use conditioner on the ends of your hair only. Rinse out thoroughly and style as normal.

If your locks are in a really bad way then use twice a week leaving the oil on overnight wrapped in a warm towel. 

Melado can also be used to tame fly-a-ways, frizz and split ends. After blow drying rub a tiny drop into the palms of your hands and smooth through the mid-lengths and ends of your hair

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When I got the jar, I was kinda indifferent as it appeared to be just another jar of oil. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed. I massaged in into my scalp and roots as well as throughout the length of my hair, waited about 30 min (ain’t nobody got time for an hour – I don’t) and washed it out. I used conditioner on my ends only as directed and then two strand twisted as I usually do.


My hair was VERY soft, smelled great and when I did a twist-out the next day, the curls held for an entire week of workouts and daily living. I loved it. I tried it on Princess Cara’s hair next and she has the driest hair on the planet. Her hair absorbs moisture like nobodies business! It is unreal. After a treatment with the oil, Princess Cara’s hair was soft – that dry & brittle feel was gone…for about 2 days and then I had to reapply.


Would you like to give it a try? Enter the giveaway by leaving a comment on what products/system/tips you do for your hair to keep it look fierce.


If you would rather just go check it out for yourself, visit www.oldwivestail.com to place an order. Free Worldwide Delivery on Any Order.


a Rafflecopter giveaway I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.


Frustrated, Fed up & Failing Forward Race Report: IM 70.3 Princeton


That smile right there…yeah, it hides a whole lot of frustration, embarrassment and just plain “I should just give up & quit this shit” attitude.


I crossed that finish line sobbing, in pain and DEAD ASS LAST….FUGGING AGAIN!! I was just so sick and GAWD DANG TIRED of (in my mind) failing, putting  in so much damn work and choking at game time, of letting all the people that support me/believe in me down. I felt like a big fat ass embarrassment to my friends/family and to the whole damn sport.


I was so sick and GAWD DANG TIRED of watching all my tri-friends, MMTC friends, RipIt Teammates crush it and I just bring up the MFn rear with a cheer and a smile. FUG THAT!


I was so sick and GAWD DANG TIRED of watching and hearing about people learning to swim and/or ride a bike and then in 9 month bust out a full IM and in 3 years I have a medical DNF and 2 barely finish at a 70.3. SON OF A BEYOTCH!!!


Why is this thing – triathlon – so damn hard for me? That type A, borderline OCD/perfectionist in me cried for 2 days, railing at the heavens, wanting to quit – and I have NEVER QUIT at ANYTHING – EVER! I have done well at pretty much everything I have put my mind to doing, so WHY, OH WHY, can’t I seem to put this triathlon thing together.


The FireMarshall did his best with giving me space to sob and wallow in my own misery and self-pity for a hot second, but forced me to not make any rash decisions (like sell my bike) until I talk to some people that I respect and have more “perspective” that I could possibly have while swimming in my own misery pool.


By Tuesday after the race, I got sufficiently sick and tired of reapplying my makeup every time I burst into the self-pity tears, that I contacted my soul sister, Ovetta, and she helped get me get out of that nasty pool I was swimming in. Funny thing…most of what she said, I already knew :

  • This journey is MY journey and no one else.
  • STOP looking at, comparing myself to other people. I don’t know their journey. Worry about me and mine – WORRY BOUT YOURSELF!!! YOU DRIVE!
  • Set some very specific BHAG’s (BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOALS). No more of those nebulous,non-specific goals like “Finish”.

She also told me I needed to share this story. I needed to be transparent AND accountable. I wasn’t even going to write anything. I was still embarrassed. Who would want to hear about the “Finisher” race report. What lessons about the race could I possible share that would be of any help. She said someone is always watching and someone is out there with similar struggles that needs to know that it ain’t always sunshine, roses and instant success. OH and BTW – define YOUR success. I set the “goal” of finishing and I did. Moving the goal in the middle of the race and then getting all caught up in my feelings is kinda ridiculous, huh.


At the end of my “coming to Jesus” talk with Ovetta, she said, “I knew when you called that you had had enough of the just finish attitude. Now you are ready and are going to be a force to reckon with.”


I then met up with my RipIt Coaches and they already had some suggestions for attacking 2015 and I laid out my goals. Together we outlined a game plan. So, what are my goals you ask – Here are the 3 MBO’s (Major Business Objectives)


  • Lose 40lbs – yep, its true. I’m waay over weight. It is a lot easier to haul a small bootie up and down hills on the bike and to have less strain & pain on these old lady knees, ankles and feet. No more wide load flags on the back of the bike.
  • Build Strength – I’m a weakling…but not for long. I have the endurance & cardiovascular strength to go on forever like that energizer bunny, but I don’t have the upper body strength or leg strength to sustain those efforts. The upper body and legs muscles just give out to quickly. I knew it at the Rebel Race pulling, climbing and what not on that obstacle course that I felt weak and didn’t have the strength to climb a damn rope…but I ignored it or was in denial. NOT AGAIN!
  •  7 1/2 hour 70.3 PERIOD. END OF CONVERSATION

Of course there are Swim/Bike/Run specific goals underlying the three MBO’s, but you get the idea. It is time to GET DOWN TO BUSINESS.


As for the race…



I swam. It was uneventful. A lot slower that I had set for myself, but I got out of the water feeling good about it. There was the usual touching, grabbing, hitting that happens in every OWS race. I didn’t like the approx. 200m swim to the start AT ALL. I loved the wetsuit strippers.


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I biked. A beautiful, scenic course but the road conditions were HORRIBLE. They did mark the big ass potholes and hazards, but the numerous small holes in the pavement and then the resulting debris (bottles, CO2 cartridges, chain pieces) made the course rather scary (for me). I stopped counting at around 15 flats and crashes combined. As a result, I believe I choked on the course and reduced my speed as I didn’t want to deal with a flat or a crash. I let fear get the best of me.



I ran. THAT DAMN FOOT! This time it wasn’t my neuroma that flared up. I found out later that I probably have a stress fracture in my heel and that was what the pain was from. GTFOOHWTBS. I have decided to let go of the Army 10miler and MCM to heal…Doing them and making the stress facture worse would not advance my goals. My feelings are hurt, but mission first.


As most of you know. I live my life out loud. I will be keeping you posted of my progress and I look forward to you guys keeping me accountable.



I will let no setback, obstacle or challenge get in the way of achieving a noteworthy goal.