Run the Beach to Beacon Like a Pro

Last week, I adventured up to Portland, Maine for my 5th year in a row to celebrate Beach to Beacon weekend! Runner’s World Magazine has previously named Beach2Beacon on their Top 20 bucket list races [that aren’t marathons]. This is only my 4th year running the race (I am practically a legacy runner at this point- HA!) because my first registration was not fast enough. It sells out immediately so be sure to make your calendars for that important Friday morning in mid March.ย The registration process changed this year from a first come, first serve basis to one where you were put into a virtual “line” which in my opinion sucked a lot. Mostly because nothing was loading on my computer or phone and I ended up in the lottery. If you can’t type your credit card number fast enough, you don’t want to get in that bad! I digress…

Okay so step one you got in the race! Now, it’s cold outside in New England in March so it seems like a good idea… remember that when race day rolls around on the first Saturday in August… remember all the snow on the ground when you registered- it will help cool you off. They offer two days of race bib pick up helps with the volume of runners cramming into Cape Elizabeth High School (over 7,000 runners and then some). Fun fact: you will always get an L.L. Bean gift card. It’s the most coveted swag bag prize for any New England runner lol. The race shirts have also been blue (not white- Alleluia!) for the last two years- after talking with several other runners we are so hopeful that this stays the trend. Bib number, shirt, car magnet, L.L. Bean, check!! Okay, time to head home or to your hotel, eat some pasta and get some sleep! You have to be on those shuttle buses bright and early!

Race morning comes along and you basically have two options: runner parking at the start or hopping on the shuttle bus from Cape Eizabeth HS.ย We have always hopped on the shuttle bus without a hassle of parking or worrying about time.ย Maybe try to use the restroom before leaving the house to decrease the chances of having to pee in the woods. There are a ton of porta-potties, but there are way more runners than stalls. Enjoy the time in the start corral knowing you’re about the conquer the same course as many great, professional runners: Joan Benoit-Samuelson, MEB, Molly Huddle, Ben True, and the list goes on.

Course strategy: Do not send it in Mile 1 even though it’s flat. Save a little for the end because Miles 4.5-6 are very up and down. Smile for the cameraman on the left at Mile 4.6. And do not miss the bacon at Mile 5.

Post race knowledge is a bit limited… I have no idea how people get shuttled back to their cars. Since this is a point to point race (not a loop), the start and finish lines are 6.2 miles apart.ย I have been fortunate enough to run with my bestie whose parents house stares directly at the Portland Head Light aka the finish line. We can literally walk from the finish line back to their house where donuts, snacks, and a cold showers await our crew of hungry runners. If you run with us, it’s like being VIP ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have you run the Beach to Beacon 10k? How many times? Share your best race advice in the comments below!

Xo, Louise

 

For more information on this race, you can read my 2016 Race Recap here!

Studio Review: CycleBar Garden City

Brand new to Long Island is CYCLEBAR, an indoor cycling studio, located in the heart of Garden City. CYCLEBAR celebrated its Grand Opening this past Saturday, however, the party is going on for 2 weeks! On Monday I popped in to take my first class… and I’ve already been back twice since then.

When you walk into the studio located on Franklin Ave, it is bright and full of energy. The staff is ready to help get you set up and answer any questions- which is important since everyone is new to the studio. Self check-in at the main desk area is done on an iPad and complimentary shoes are ready for you. Simply add your shoe size to your online profile and voila! they will be ready in the cubby assigned to your bike number. Heads up: the pedals are compatible with SPD clips if you bring your own shoes. Find a locker to store your things, fill up your reusable bottle from the water station, and you are ready to go. The studio is dimly lit, but the bikes are numbered in order so they’re easy to find. If you have any issues adjusting your bike, the staff is on hand to get you set up for your first ride.

These classes have been nothing short of high energy, sweaty fun! Okay, I’ll be honest, cycling sucks in the moment because it’s challenging, but when you finish and have conquered that class- it’s fun! The instructor gives a few quick pointers about what you need to know for the class. Most important being that there is a screen on your bike with a few important numbers- power output, RPMs (revolutions per minute), and your gear (resistance level). Throughout the class, you generally ride to the beat of the music but the CycleStars aka instructors will give you ranges for both your RPMs and gear.

During the first Grand Opening week, I was able to take two classes with Gabby and one with Melissa- both of these ladies are strong, badass instructors! My first two classes were with Gabby who was incredibly bubbly and ready to ride. She helped with setup before class and explained the leader board (more on this later). The playlist was filled with old and new songs, both fast and slow. Her powerful words encouraged you to push your pace even when you thought you couldn’t. Melissa taught an incredibly upbeat class that took you out of your comfort zone. She also threw in a few country songs which added a fresh change from the usual dance beats. All three classes focused on pushing yourself to try your hardest while adding in small “dance moves” such as crunches, tap backs, and hitting the corners. I was more focused on my CycleStats so my push-ups and crunches were there half the time. About two-thirds of the way through the class they do an arm series for one song. (Personal opinion: I’m not a fan of arms in a cycling class, I like to focus on riding whereas this almost feels like a 3 minute rest. It’s not a deal breaker for me though.) Using either a 4lb, 6lb bar or both, we performed a series of basically biceps curls and shoulder presses. We get back into the ride and take a song to really zone in while our sweat towels cover up the stats screen. Verdict on the classes? I loved all of them!

The music, instructors, and the vibe is awesome, but my favorite part has been the CycleStats. You can see how hard you’re working right in front of you! And not only can you compete with yourself every time, but there is a class leader board. It shows your class rank based on your power output and you can see which bike number is in which place. Remember that your bike is assigned to you and your profile so it takes into account things such as your weight. Your place can obviously fluctuate and the instructor only flashed the board twice during the class- once about halfway through and again at the end when Gabby had us racing. Side note: I’m not super competitive- just like moderately competitive ๐Ÿ˜œ and mostly with myself. But when I saw myself in the top 3, I pushed harder. I dug a little bit deeper. And then I saw that myself and the girl next to me were neck and neck for 1st and 2nd. Game on!

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After each class, you receive an email with your CycleStats. It gives you a breakdown of your performance.

Other amenities at the studio include free shoes, lockers, and water fountains. There are also two showers with everything you’d need in case you have to head straight to work or a hot date ๐Ÿ˜‰

CYCLEBAR is currently running a Grand Opening special and all their classes are FREE until April 7th!! Book a bike (or 2)! If you enjoy the classes as much as I have, there are also early bird deals on class packages- including the Founder’s membership which is unlimited riding!

Wanna join me for a ride?! I’m already signed up for Monday 4/2 at 9:45am and Thursday 4/5 at 11am! Come sweat with me ๐ŸŽ‰ You can book your bikes here!

Xo, Louise

 

 

*This post is not sponsored by CYCLEBAR. All opinions are my own*

Class Review: SLT Roslyn

Strengthen. Lengthen. Tone.

SLT is a pilates based class which works to strengthen your whole body. This low impact workout uses a pilates reformer for all of the moves including planks, lunges, and upper body work. Even if youโ€™ve never used one, you would recognize this large machine with the sliding carriage rigged up with bars, straps, and tension springs. Because it is a pilates-based class, the foundation of these movements comes from core strength. Even as youโ€™re working upper body muscles, your abdominal muscles are engaged. The same occurs standing in a lunge position where your balance and coordination are also being tested. The great thing about utilizing a reformer is the benefit you get from the pulleys and spring system which creates more resistance (compared to just your body weight) as you move through a full range of motion.

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This was my first experience taking an SLT class, let alone using a pilates reformer. More than anything, I was intrigued about how this machine works. Our friend Dianna, aka @falztasic, led myself, some of our lululemon RF crew, and new friends through a 50 minute class. I was happy to know I wasnโ€™t the only newbie to SLT and there were also a few veterans in class that I could follow, as well. With my sticky socks on my feet, I was ready to go.

We started the warm-up with some plank work which consisted of planking, pikes, and body saws. The class moved through the whole right side of the body including legs, glutes, and abs. Each movement is slow and controlled as you focus on the push and pull from the machine. The emphasis was definitely on the quality of each movement, not the quantity of exercises. Dianna was fabulous and made sure everyone was maintaining proper form- especially us newbies! We transitioned into some upper body strengthening, including shoulder and chest moves, before sliding over to the left side. Every part of me was getting a challenging workout, including my brain, as I learned how to adjust my machine and move my body to each count. The SLT class transitioned smoothly from each muscle group, but never as quickly as you would want #FeelTheBurn. Our class finished with some strict core moves at the end that really just finished my abs off.

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Ready for my honest opinion? About two minutes into our class I thought my abs were just gonna pop off. But would I take this class again? Hell yeah! We were constantly moving for the whole class and performing each movement long enough that it definitely took you out of your comfort zone. As with any new exercise routine, practice, through repetition, will not only help you grow stronger, but become more confident in what you are doing.

Do any of you guys go to SLT regularly? Or any pilates reformer class? I need to know if my abs will ever stop hurting ๐Ÿ˜œ

โค Louise

Race Recap: 2018 10 Mile Run to Blue Point Brewery

My favorite race of the year! B&B kicked off our 2018 racing season with Sayville Running Company’s 10 Mile Run to Blue Point Brewery. Run all the miles, drink all the beer. This race has become my January tradition 4 years running. Every year I pretend that I’m training for it through the holidays, then forget to train for it, and run it anyway because it’s such a good time.

This year was especially important for me because I have declared 2018 to be my comeback year. After cracking myself in half in my Thanksgiving car accident, I was sidelined for too long. At first it was because I physically couldn’t do anything, then it became more of a fear of doing anything. Slowly I’ve been working back up with running and some strength training, but all of my #gainz are lost. Honestly, I’m a little wimpy. But no more, because I have set out to become the strongest version of myself. My goal was to run the whole thing- no walk breaks- just suck it up. I did it and I did it under my time goal!

As I was saying, this is my favorite race but it always has the worst weather. Every year it has either rained on me or been freezing. This year, we had mild weather for the run then the temperatures dropped during the post-race party. No worries though, the beer stayed nice and cold!ย This race starts by the Blue Point Brewery in Patchogue then winds through the neighborhoods towards the ocean and back to the brewery. The course is a flat loop with a few quick turns. Since I have run this race before, I’ve learned the course and have a few favorite parts. Mile 4 is always a party with a few people handing out water, beers, and shots! It’s a little early in the race for these shenanigans, but that doesn’t stop the party. Just before you reach Mile 7, the course takes a turn that runs right on the Great South Bay. Smile! This is the best photo spot on the course ๐Ÿ™‚

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The last turn of the race is a right turn and then a straight shot to the finish. Every year I find my boyfriend standing here #CheerSquad, then I bolt to the finish. The post race party is right around the corner (literally!) so it’s time to hustle. Post-race festivities include a huge heated tent with live music, catered food (sandwiches, pasta, bagels, and donuts), and of course, unlimited Blue Point beer! We didn’t have any luck with the raffles this year, but the giveaways were top notch. Last year was the first time they had finisher’s medals and this year’s were also perfect. A 2-in-1 medal and bottle opener- clutch. Another awesome upgrade this year were the women’s fit race shirts! Long sleeve race shirts are also very clutch.

Looking ahead on the race calendar, we are planning to run GLIRC’s new brewery race next month! It’s a Mardi Gras Run to Great South Bay! Registration is still open if you want to come run and party with us ๐Ÿ™‚

โค Louise

When Running Gets Taken Away

Running is my outlet- it has been my stress relief for years. My time to myself to think- or not- and get those endorphins flowing. Itโ€™s been especially important in recent months while dealing with family drama and moving apartments. Yet I have a love/hate relationship with running. Sometimes in the moment it is great and everything feels good; other times I๏ธ feel like death. Twice this year running has been taken away from me. In the first month of marathon training, I ran myself into the ground to a point of injury. I๏ธ had to learn to rest, know my limitations, and work my way back up to it.

Thanksgiving morning, I ran the Garden City Turkey Trot. This is one of my favorite local races- 5 miles through the streets I ran so frequently while in grad school. This year was not my fastest, but thatโ€™s fine by me because I had fun. Every year Iโ€™ve been able to run with family, friends, or both! It really is one of my favorite parts about Turkey Day! This year I๏ธ ended up with a different memory. Thanksgiving night I was in a bad car accident where the airbags went off. I went to the ER where they determined I have a possible buckle fracture in my sternum. It hurt to breathe deeply, laugh, or even cry. The rest of me is fine, my car not so much. But please donโ€™t throw me a pity party- Iโ€™m doing much better now.ย 

Unfortunately, I am not able to run again. In fact, I canโ€™t lift anything. Sometimes I move the wrong way and end up with sharp pain- and I so badly want to run, jump, lift, and snowboard. But Iโ€™ve learned patience and I know my body will heal itself. Iโ€™ve learned not to be afraid to ask for help while I let myself recover. Until then, I will enjoy my low impact cardio and physical therapy exercises ๐Ÿ‘

โค Louise

An Ode to Marathon Training

The last 18 weeks have been quite a whirlwind! Marathon weekend is finally here and in 2 days, we will be hitting the streets of Chicago. In honor or the (literal) blood, sweat, and tears, B&B presents…

“An Ode to Marathon Training”

Shout out to donuts. You motivate me to finish my workout, knowing I can replenish my glycogen stores.


Shout out to my old Garmin watch which threatened to auto save my runs when my water breaks were too long.


Shout out to the sports bra tan. I spent more hours crisping this racerback line on my back than getting to lay on my back and tan.


Shout out to my Massapequa HS swim cap that helped me swim like a mermaid on cross training days.


Shout out to my crappy French braids that keep my mermaid hair/blonde hair out of my sweaty face.


Shout out to post race beverages that fueled my rest days. Specifically Montauk Watermelons- run all the miles, drink all the beer.


Shout out to body Glide which lubed up these thighs for hundreds of miles all summer. Without it, I’d be dead on the side of the road.


See you at the finish line!

Xo, Louise

Avoiding a Taper Tantrum

Tapering during the last few weeks leading up to a marathon is important for an athleteโ€™s body. During this time your miles are cut down while maintaining a little intensity in order to allow time to rest and recover from weeks of training. After pounding the pavement for hours each week, the body needs to heal and you need to find time to focus and be ready to run on race day. Maybe tapering sounds delightful, but often it brings out the craziness. Here we have a few solutions to calm your nerves in the last weeks before the big race!

  1. Stop checking the weather. We are still 9 days out from the Chicago Marathon and so many things can change before then. If youโ€™re worrying about what to wear, then pick out a second option in case the weather changes again (it will). Take the time to pack your other clothes for pre-race activities and travel days.
  2. Give yourself a fabulous manicure. Whether you do it yourself or get pampered at the salon, it will be a special treat! We got excited and got these awesome Chicago themed nail wraps from Sarah Marie Design Studio.
  3. Create an awesome playlist. If you enjoy listening to music while you run, then begin adding your favorite songs! What is going to get you excited on race day? Favorite songs? New songs on the radio? Add them all! And if youโ€™re like me, youโ€™ll be running for over 4 hours and need plenty of entertainment
  4. Feeling Phantom Pains? Go sit down or use your foam roller. Embrace the fact that you get to rest a little bit more. Know that your body is recovering on a cellular level and itโ€™s okay if you have heavy legs or tired muscles. Know that a little TLC is just what your body needs.
  5. Focus on your positive mantras. One of my clients said it best in a comment on our Facebook page, โ€œYou’ve put in the work. So, no need to get all worked up. Trust your training. Speak positive mantras! Tell yourself all the wonderful things you want to be on race day and your actions will follow your words. See yourself crossing that finish line. What you are about to succeed in is an awesome achievement. Enjoy your taper time!!โ€

 

 

See you at the finish line!
โค Louise


The Longest Run of My Life

Fall marathons = summer training. Long sweaty runs in the August heat. As the days have been getting hotter, the runs just keep getting longer. Both Pam and I have been tackling double digit runs every weekend. As some of you know, the Chicago Marathon will be my first marathon (AHHHHH!!) and a few weekends ago, we joined up with the New York Flyers to log our miles for one of their long training runs.

The NY Flyers running club hosts a long training run called the โ€œ3 Bridges Runโ€ which is held twice annually. The first time was August 27, and the next long run is on October 14. This training run winds throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens before heading back into the city. For those of you running the NYC Marathon this November, it is great because you hit the Pulaski and 59th Street bridges at the same mile markers during both this run and the marathon. Personally, I found that the best part is that you donโ€™t have to run alone!21083374_1018493478287790_2657366879007573187_o

Honestly, the hardest part of my training so far is that I have been heading out on my long runs alone. A close second is waking up at strange hours of the morning to “beat the heat,” while sacrificing late summer nights with my friends has been pretty tough. Every weekend as I tally up miles, it keeps becoming my longest run ever. While my Garmin is pretty proud of me, that has been my silent success.

Running with the Flyers, however, gave me people to talk to; I ran into old friends and sometimes I just listened to others tell stories while we ran. We talked about what races they were training for, who had done Chicago, New York, Berlin, or never ran a marathon. We were cheered on by the volunteers who graciously gave up their Sunday morning to hand out Gatorade and watch my slather myself in Body Glide.ย You guys are the real MVPs! And as we continued on, encouraging each other and simply enjoying the mile we were running, I celebrated my longest run ever ๐Ÿ™‚

We are 5 weeks out from Chicago, people. Five. Weeks.
โค Louise