Run Find Your Happy Pace

finding my happy pace in running and life

Manchester Road Race – A Connecticut Turkey Day Tradition

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In preparation to Gobble till you Wobble!
This was my second time running the Manchester Road Race. I grew up in CT but have lived out-of-state for the last 8 years. My family still lives up there and my brother has run the race for years so when I get a chance to join him I do.

The race draws a HUGE crowd for such a short race. This year there were over 12,000 (the cap is 15,000) yes that’s 12,000 NOT 1,200. With a untraditional distance of 4.748 miles ?? (yea I have no idea either?)  The course is lined with people from start to finish. Its like the fun of a well run half marathon all rolled into less than 5 miles. As far as I know none of the entertainment is set up by the race itself, the town of Manchester has just embraced this race as it has grown from year to year. From free shots at mile 2 ish, to bands, to the ever classic theme from “Rocky” blasted over loud speakers, this race is just plain fun. Costumes aren’t necessary but are plentiful on the course. For those who are familiar with the race keep an eye out for “Safety Man” I don’t know the story behind it but everyone knows him 🙂 He is a “the” race day celebrity. Walkers are also encouraged to participate but asked to place themselves in the back of the race.

Note to those who want to know about the course. There is a loooong steady hill so if  you’re not used to that you might have to train for it or plan to walk some of it. There is also prize money for the queen and king of the hill. The bright side is there is also a nice downhill right after.

If you do want to take the race seriously you must submit a qualifying time to be seeded in a corral. The frontrunners do compete for cash prizes so if that’s your thing you just have to plan accordingly.

FYI: There is NO expo, NO medals and NO aid stations. At the end of the race they do hand out bottles of water and a commemorative program.

There are t-shirts but you must BUY them on-line prior to the race. That is the reason for the one star for swag. They are nice technical shirts but not included in your race fee.

If your nearby and looking to “Earn your turkey” this is a really fun race to kick off the day!

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Running and Hiking and Just Getting Out There!

Getting through our first “winter” in California hasn’t been too challenging.  Lets just say now I totally get why they say the average temp is 66 year round here.  There were just a few weeks of 30-40’s back in December and now we seem to be staying in the range of mid 40’s for a low and into the 60’s on a regular basis.  The only things keeping me from running outside regularly are family schedules and the fact it still gets dark early.  Otherwise I can totally see why runner’s, and people in general, love this area so much.

I have really buckled down on following a strict heart rate training plan for the last 4 weeks. (I had veered off being quite so strict in Oct-Dec due to my November half)  Most of these recent miles have been spent on the treadmill at night.  In all honesty it hasn’t been too bad.  In fact HRT running done on a treadmill makes it much easier to stay where I need to be.

Here’s a quick snapshot from one of my recent runs.  Not too shabby

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In the meantime the family and I have also continued to enjoy hiking with The Treadmill Trail Head group hikes whenever our schedule allows.  A few weeks ago we were able to visit an extremely popular running and hiking spot out at Garland Ranch Regional Park (click on the name to learn more)  in the Carmel Valley.  These beautiful 4,000+ acres of dog, horse, hiker and runner friendly trails do not disappoint.  Myself, my husband and our boys hiked just a small portion of what this beautiful park has to offer.  When I say small I’m talking 3 hours and that is nothing compared to all the trails offered out there.  Starting off with the main group we later broke off with a smaller group and hiked up to Snively’s Ridge.   I hate to admit it but there may have been a bit of whining on my part because some of the hiking was steep and at times and it seemed the steep would never end.  Note to self: request hiking poles for my birthday.  But as usually the view was totally worth the climb.  Check it out some views from the day.


The much flatter part of our day. The Mesa trail



Loved this moss covered tree.

View from the top. #worthit

View from the top. #worthit


Breathtaking in a totally different way than our hike a few weeks earlier at Brazil Ranch out in Big Sur.   Hiking in this part of the country is so widely assessable that I am grateful for The Treadmill putting all these great adventures together.  I much prefer hiking with a group over solo hiking.  I’m looking forward to my next adventure out here is California.  Stay tuned!




Run, Hike, and Find Your Happy Pace!

How did you welcome 2016?  We had a pretty quiet night at home with family.  I worked early New Year’s morning but the place was hopping with runners from a local Resolution Run.  It was a busy morning but also great fun.  The energy of a new year and exciting new adventures were definitely in the air.

On Saturday the 2nd my husband, two of my kiddos along with a great group of local peeps headed out on a “New Year, New Adventure Run/Hike” with The Treadmill.   We headed out to Brazil Ranch 1,255 acres of rocky shoreline and rolling hillsides off Rt 1 just past the famous Bixby Bridge in Big Sur.

According to my GPS the hike was just over 5 miles up and back.  After a fairly good climb up the mostly dirt path (described as “moderate” in the trail book we own) we were rewarded with rolling trails, dotted with roaming cows and this…


Absolutely gorgeous views of Big Sur.  Worth every single step.  I mean how often are you rewarded with a view like that?!?  And as if that wasn’t spectacular enough we were able to view whales spouting just off the coast.  Simply amazing!  God is quite the artist isn’t he!



Like what you see?  Come Join us!  

The Treadmill is launching a new Trailhead Run/Hike initiative for 2016 and this was just the first hike of the year.

“Trailhead was born out of the desire to promote physical well-being and friendships through running & hiking while encouraging and participating in Environmental Advocacy. A family of runners, hikers, parents, children and friends of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds who cherish friendship, adventure, laughing, running & hiking while being surrounded by breathtaking beauty. We are of all speeds, abilities, ages, goals and experience.”

“Trailhead’s ultimate mission is to celebrate the area we live in, participating in what we love, with the ones we love.” ~ The Treadmill.

My family and I hope to participate in as many hikes as possible and take full advantage of the area while we are in California.  If you are local or will be out in the Big Sur/Carmel/Monterey area and would like more info click here for The Treadmill to be directed to their website for information on hikes and more (coming soon)

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It’s a Sweet Motivational Monday!

Short and sweet!


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2014 Elf on the Shelf Photo Contest Winners!

For a third year successful year I have headed up our annual Elf on the Shelf Photo Contest.  Thanks to all who participated in 2014.  Each year just gets better and better!  Thanks for the laughs, great ideas and good old-fashioned fun!

I want to offer HUGE thanks once again to this years co-sponsors

Mandi from Mandi Sewell Fitness

Kim from Barking Mad about Running 


Michelle from Miles to Go

Without their help this I would not be able to continue to offer prizes year after year.

Ladies its been a blast!

And without further ado here are the 2014 winners!

Grand Prize of a $20 iTunes gift card is………..

grand prize


Runners Up winning a $10 iTunes gift card each are……..




We would love to have your join us next year!



Elf on the Shelf 2014 Photo Contest Starts Nov 28

Hello all my fellow Elf on the Shelf lovers!  I love, love, love this time of year.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, good food, family and oh yes Elf on the Shelf!  That sneaky, mischievous yet adorable elf that comes to visit and bring fun to our house every year.  Our Elf is named Kayla.  Here she is.

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Isn’t she jus the cutest!!!

And when OUR Elf returns that means something else exciting returns too!

I am so excited to announce the:

Third Annual Elf on the Shelf Photo Contest on my Facebook page!

Its going to be a blast!  

If you haven’t already joined the event page on Facebook

here is the link:


***2014 Elf on the Shelf Photo Contest Event Page***


Fun, great ideas and prizes too!

All the fun from the last two years plus new sponsors!  

Please visit their pages and say hi!

Kim – Barking Mad About Running (a returning sponsor)

Mandi – Mandi Sewell Fitness

Kelly – Miles to Go

Hope to see you there for all the fun!

So hurry contest starts November 28 and runs through Dec 24th.

Prizes include gift cards from iTunes so you can update all your jams for the 2015 new year.


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Coast to Coast Part 1 – A Most Awesome Running Adventure!

As some of you may or may not know my family was blessed with being able to take a month-long vacation (aka: most awesome adventure) in an RV across the US to the west coast and back.  Lol, and no we are not crazy and yes everyone made it back alive 😉  Thanks to a lot of planning (Mostly on my hubby’s part because he rocks) we made the trek from Virginia all the way to Cali and back.  I had never been further west than Nashville, TN so this was a huge adventure for me.  This is “Part 1” of my adventures  and covers our stops from Virginia out to the California coast.

Prior to our departure I had promised myself and my Irun4 buddy Logan (what you don’t know what Irun4 is?  click here…its fantastic!) that I would attempt to run, walk or hike at least 1 mile in every state in which we spent the night.  I mean when was I ever going to get a chance to do that again?  I thought it would be a great motivator to keep me running on vacation and an excellent way to keep in contact with Logan over the month-long trip.  OK, ok  I also wanted to be able to eat whatever I wanted (read “cupcakes”) and really enjoy myself without totally tipping the scale when we returned.   Win/win 🙂

BTW: I have tons (and tons) of non-running related pictures of the beautiful places we were blessed to see across America and if you have about 3 hours I would love to share them with you.  Or you can check out more pics on my Instagram account at:

Runfindyourhappypace or search #runfyhp summer

Let me start with one of the biggest highlights of my trip.  A day I will always remember.

 Check out this handsome young man!!!

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Meet LOGAN!  My Irun4 buddy.  Thanks to my wonderful husband and Logan’s awesome Mom. My family and I were able to swing by Logan’s part of the country and meet face to face, hug to hug and heart to heart.  He is 1000 times sweeter in person than online.  Logan has brought joy back to my running and I was honored to meet he, his Mom, and little bro in person even if only for a short while.  He showered me with hugs and presents!

Thanks Logan!!!!!

And we're off!

And we’re off!

So back to the running part of my adventure.

First Stop  Knoxville, TN

2 miles was all I had time for this day but hey I was already ahead of my 1 mile per stop goal!

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Little Rock, AK

Our next overnight stop was Little Rock, AK.  The hubby and I got up early the next morning and got in 4 sweaty miles.  About 3 miles in we found a local Christian High School and were able to run on their beautiful track around the football field.  We also passed a pretty field of wildflowers so I borrowed one 🙂

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Amarillo, TX

Next stop…Texas.  One of only two nights of rain the entire trip!  Actually it was hail, and lightning and a tad scary but lucky for us it passed quickly and we never got the full brunt of it.  We did however find out the back window of the RV (right by my head leaked…ughh)  The next morning the weather was great and the hubby and I ran 3.25 miles together.

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KOA Grand Canyon/ Williams, AZ

I got in a short run of a mile and then walked miles and miles at the Grand Canyon!  Breathtaking.

One of the views from the campground just outside the Grand Canyon

One of the views from the campground just outside the Grand Canyon

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The Grand Canyon just off the trail

Bryce Canyon, UT (my favorite!!)

Ok I didn’t get an actual run in here but I hiked…a lot.  I also went on and ATV tour and my very first horseback ride! For me Utah was a hidden gem of the trip.  I loved every bit of it!  Before we left Virginia I had asked my husband why were were stopping in Utah?  Duh…now I would go back in a heartbeat!

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Family ATV tour

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The view of Bryce Canyon from my horse “Sarge”

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One of the many stops in Bryce Canyon, UT

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Mossey Cave Trail. A very beautiful hike to a waterfall!

San Diego, CA (KOA San Diego)

We made it to California!  First stop was San Diego.  I was able to get a few miles in and man was the weather nice!  I also got to put my toes in the Pacific!  Coast to Coast, Ocean to Ocean baby!

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A very beautiful day in San Diego!


Toes in the Pacific!

Toes in the Pacific!

Anaheim, CA (Anaheim RV Park and Disneyland)

Did someone say Disney?!?  Why yes I did.  My pick of the trip…Disney!  We were able to camp at an RV park that was close enough to WALK to Disneyland!  How cool was that?  So between the 15-20 walk to the park and all the walking at Disneyland and California Adventure I would say 1000 miles easy 😉  and who doesn’t love Disney!

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Family Shot from Disneyland. We had looked for an Olaf all day!


Mariposa, CA  (Yosemite West, KOA)

I was able to get in a one mile hilly run/walk here.  This girl is used to flat!  Well there wasn’t much flat going on at this KOA, but I got up early and got it done.  We also did a good amount of hiking at Yosemite that day too.

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Manchester, CA  (Manchester Beach / Mendocino Coast KOA) 

The adventures getting to this KOA were enough to fill a whole other blog post.  Let’s just say don’t trust your GPS at all times.  But man was it worth it!  Our favorite KOA and wonderful running and hiking adventures.  I got in an early morning run with the bonus of deer, jackrabbits and a bunny.  Later in the day we hiked a trail to the coast.  The weather was chilly but a nice reprieve from the heat of AZ, UT and Southern Cali.  And the view from the beach (accessible only by the 20 minute hike each way) was simply stunning.

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A nice cool run with my animal friends

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This hike was just so peaceful and beautiful.

Thanks for joining me on part 1 of my Coast to Coast Adventure.  Pretty cool huh!  Believe me I know how blessed I was to do this.  We prayed everyday and thanked God for our adventure!

Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon!






Let the Runfyhp Summer Adventures Begin! #runfyhpsummer

Well hello summer my friend, we meet again.  🙂

What’s on your summertime agenda this year?  Travel, camping, beach weekends, hiking in the mountains?

My family and I will be having what we hope to be an epic adventure.  We will be traveling cross-country in an RV!  2 adults 3 kids what could possibly go wrong?!  Wait, don’t answer that.  Hey it can’t be worse than our Disney Pukefest 2014 can it?  (In case you missed that let me give you the quick lowdown.  7 people, the stomach bug and a new person down every day for the ENTIRE vacation.  Ewww)

Anywho….if we can last the constant togetherness

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I believe it will be one of the best family experiences we will ever have.  I know how blessed we are to have this opportunity.  Believe me only God could have orchestrated it.  Although we cannot stop in every state we will see many that we have never been to before.  I’m so excited!!!

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As a challenge to myself (and as a great way to share my trip with my IRun4 buddy Logan) I am also going to attempt to run, walk or hike at least 1 mile in every state we spend time in.  I mean who can say they did that?  I will be both blogging and posting about my adventures.  However most daily posts will be done via Instagram with the hashtag #runfyhpsummer 


As a second “challenge” I will also be attempting to hit and critique the best cupcake stops we find while traveling across the country.  (Hey I’m a giver and I am totally willing to take one for the team.)  I mean I wouldn’t want you to have a bad cupcake?

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  So also keep an eye out for #runfyhpcupcaketour on Instagram.


What you don’t follow me on instagram yet?!?

No worries…

You can find me by searching Instagram for Runfindyourhappypace or just CLICK HERE.  

side bar: I know it’s a long tag name but I set it up years ago before I knew better.

Haha, oh and I follow back too!

I would love for you to join me as I travel across this beautiful land of ours!  Maybe you can give me some “must see” things as we travel thru each state.

Wish us luck!






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Runfyhp and Friends Best Races of 2013 in Pics

Over the past few weeks I asked my Facebook followers to send in pics of their best / most memorable running moments of 2013.  I received a vast array of pics.  Everything from Mud Runs and Spartan Races to kids and families.  I really enjoyed looking at all the pics and why they were so special to each of you.

I have been so blessed in 2013 with a fantastic year of running, including being healthy, having great weather for my races and a wonderful travel buddy and friend in Cara from Running In Sanity.

Congrats again to everyone on all your accomplishments over the past year and thanks for sharing your time, kind words and pictures with me.

Enjoy the holidays and here is to a wonderful 2014!!

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Fun FREE Christmas Ideas for Families

I LOVE Christmas!  At our house we love baking cookies, decorating, having our Elf on the Shelf visit (our’s is named Kayla) and letters from Santa.  I have been searching the web for fun ideas for my family, and thought I would share some of the great ones I have come across.

Here is a list of fun FREE ideas I found to add some holiday memories to your Christmas this year.  Enjoy!

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

My little guy was big into writing Santa a letter this year.  Last night our elf Kayla left an adorable North Pole mailbox (psst. I got it at the Dollar Tree) for him so she can do the delivery personally.   In the meantime I have found a wonderful site which allows me to personalize and print a return letter from Santa to him.


Letters from Santa

Letter from Santa Personalized Letter for your child!   (I used the FREE option)

Free Video Message from Santa

PNP (Portable North Pole) (this is awesome and we have done it several years now)

Elf on the shelf ideas!  Great simple ideas for your elf.  

I found some really great blog ideas this year, check them out:

  1. Genius Elf on the Shelf Ideas – from
  2. Top 75 Elf on the Shelf Ideas – from Life Skills Blog
  3. Join my Runfyhp Elf on the Shelf Photo contest here  – get great idea from fellow followers 🙂
  4. Elf on the Shelf 2013 Calendar from – A Little More Blog 

Your kids can keep a live eye on Santa this Christmas Eve!

This is so cute NORAD tracks Santa all Christmas Eve and give updates of where he is, has been etc.  Prior to Christmas you can explore the north pole and play games, listen to holiday music, and learn about Santa and his magic sleigh!

Official Norad Santa Tracker! –


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