2019 Boston Marathon: Spectator’s Edition

Let me start this by giving a shout out to the city of Boston- you are wild. Thank you.

As a New Yorker, we get excited about the NYC marathon each fall. However, you can go about your life without even knowing there is a marathon passing through 5 boroughs. When I arrived in Boston the Saturday before the race, you knew something was up. The hype leading up to Marathon Monday was all over the city! This was both mine and Pam’s first experience spectating the Boston Marathon and it won’t be our last. From starting line weather to finish line photos, the whole weekend was a blast.

We also need to take a step back to appreciate how amazing it is to qualify for Boston. One does not simply run the Boston Marathon, first you must run another marathon fast enough to be eligible to sign up. After marathon number one, it becomes a rolling entry based on your age and race time… and this year you had to be about 5 minutes faster than the BQ time for our age group to even get in. CRAZY. Another quick reminder: I did not run the Boston Marathon and a BQ is not on my to-do list… maybe it’s on Pam’s lol.

Boston is a point-to-point course which can make it challenging to spectate. The NYC course loops through the boroughs and makes it easy to hit our #PamPoints; however, Boston starts 26.2 miles outside of the city in Hopkinton and heads straight back in. After reading other blog posts, perusing the official race website, and seeking advice of friends who have spectated in previous years, we set out to do what some called impossible… see our girl, Kim, at 3 different points along the course. Three #KimPoints?! Seems wild… here are my best tips to see your athletes along the race course!

How to Spectate the Sh!t out of the Boston Marathon.

1. Grab a course map. Know what your runner’s pace is going to be & which wave they are starting in. Match each mile with the time of day they are expected to pass that mile marker.

2. Download the following apps to your phone:

  • Boston MBTA train time- find out when the commuter rail is leaving South Bay station in the morning & also what times it heads back to the city.
  • MBTA ticket app- purchase a $15 Marathon Monday all day pass. Not only will this save you a few bucks, but you won’t lose your ticket.
  • Official Boston Marathon app- track all your runners in one place! You can also see your current location to know when they are getting close to you.
  • Uber AND Lyft – because you may want to compare prices.

3. Here was our plan of attack:

  • Commuter rail pretty much follows the marathon course all the way out. Depending on what time your train is scheduled to arrive/ your stop, you can see the elite men & women cruise past you. We took it out to Ashland which is the 5k mark. The train station is about 1 mile from the race course so plan your walk time in! We had plenty of time to see the elites and ring that cowbell before Kim came cruising through.
  • That morning, we scheduled an Uber to drive us from #KimPoint1 to #KimPoint2 because the trains are fairly infrequent heading back to the city. Basically, these athletes are cruising so you just need to be faster than them. We decided on Wellesley Square (mile 13) based on when the train could pick us up again & get us to Mile 24 before Kim.
  • Take the commuter rail to Landsdowne (right by Fenway Park) then walk back along the course route towards Mile 24 to see our girl! *Disclaimer: the train was delayed and packed at Wellesley Square & we ended up on an extra train which was about 20 minutes behind.

4. Plan your meeting spot. The family reunion area can be a hot mess. Plan with your runner ahead of time where you guys can meet outside of that area to avoid the congestion. Also, make reservations for post race beers and food- you’re going to be hungry after all that cheering!

5. More cowbell. Be prepared, races are BYOC.

 

I want to recap all the details and amazing moments we had over the weekend, but it’s something you just have to experience. Take the time to soak it all in! We went to a baseball game, had pasta dinners, did a shake out run, and met Instagram friends IRL lol! Instead of detailing 3 days of adventures, I will leave you with a slew of pictures which speak for themselves.

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If the Red Sox are in town, catch a game at Fenway Park!

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Go to the Marathon Expo!

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Visit all the fun pop-up shops along Newbury Street

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If @runnerbraids is doing a pop-up, get your hair did, gurrrlll!

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Drink a Sam Adam’s 26.2 … then make your runner a sign!

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Assemble your cheer squad & pack for all 4 seasons in one day!

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Plan a meeting spot away from the chaos!

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Along with empathy carbs pre-race, be sure to enjoy post-race beers together!!

 

Do you have any tips for cheering on your friends in Boston?! Share them below!!

Xo, Louise

 

Listening to Your Body During Summer Runs

What comes to mind when you think of summer running? Sweat, awkward tan lines, early wake up calls? Agreed. Summer runs can be brutal between finding a cool time to go for a run and trying not to chafe in shorts. While it seems silly to talk about, there comes a point where listening to your body is of the utmost importance!

Heat safety is a huge factor for summer sports- your body has cooling mechanisms, such as sweating, to help dissipate heat. With summer runs, it may seem inevitable that you’ll end up having to head outside on a day with high humidity or when the sun is strongest. Especially when that day is race day.

Twice in the last year I can recall having some degree of heat exhaustion- it’s not pretty. The most recent being this past week at Beach 2 Beacon where the 100% humidity forced me to pull back my pace and save my goal time for the next race. I listened to my body, chugged waters mid and post race, and even still woke up that night with chills and nausea. Water. Rest Repeat.

Chicago Finish Line 2017

The worse case was last year at the Chicago Marathon (and I know I have never talked about that heartbreak on here- so this is a piece of my story). Unfavorable running weather for October- high 70s, 80 something percent humidity, and not a cloud in the sky- a runner’s nightmare. It was all going well up to mile 17 until I got tunnel vision and an unquenchable thirst. Mile 20.5 was when my friend found me from the sideline, hugged me, and said I felt cold despite how sweaty I was. Um what??? I kept moving… barely forward and still in my “tunnel.” This should have been a “listen to your body” moment, but the thought of not crossing the finish line broke my heart.

My point here is that heat exhaustion and heat stroke are very real and very scary. Be sure to take precautions to keep yourself safe during these last hot weeks of summer.

  • Try running early before the sun is too strong
  • Avoid days with high humidity or heat index
  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after- recover with electrolytes
  • Know the signs/symptoms of both heat exhaustion and stroke.
  • Listen to your body!!

Xo, Louise

Aka the girl who breaks her own rules

Rainy Race Day Tips

AHH! The beauty of road races in the great outdoors! Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… we run outside all year round. Some days there is sunshine, clouds, a cool breeze, rain, snow, sleet, humidity… okay so it’s not always going to be a simple jog in the park. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do about the forecast, but you can be prepared for race day and have a smart race!

The weather for the 2018 Brooklyn Half is looking to be a wet one! Besides dodging puddles along the course, there are a few things you can do to make sure you have a good race.

 

Rainy Race Day Tips:

  1. Wear a trash bag to the start line. Simple enough to keep you dry until it’s go-time. Since you are going to ditch it anyway, save money on the plastic poncho and opt for a stylish Hefty bag. All you have to do is cut holes for your head and arms. Not only will it keep you dry, but you’ll stay warmer in the rain (especially on a cool morning).
  2. Wear a hat for the race. Face it- you will get wet. This is probably our best advice ever. Wearing a hat will keep the rain out of your eyes. An old baseball cap works just fine, but keep in mind that with longer distances your body will heat up. Opt for a hat made of breathable, tech material to keep the rain off your face but let some heat escape out of the top!img_4022
  3. Check a bag. Unless you are going from the finish line straight to your car, you’re going to want to check a bag with dry clothes, socks, shoes- everything! Standing around cold & soggy is probably the worst feeling.  If you have room, sneak a tiny umbrella in there to keep you dry as you cheer everyone on who finishes after you 🙂

Make sure you have everything you need the night before! Check the weather, drink some water, and get some rest. Here’s the link to our complete race day packing list!

See you at the finish line!

Louise & Pam

Recovering from a Chicago Heartbreak

Hi B&B fam – it’s been too long (don’t worry I have a catch up post coming at you this week)! One thing in particular that’s had it’s highs and lows the last two months is my running.


As you know – Louise and I ran the Chicago marathon – and it broke my heart in a way that a race hasn’t before. I think for the first time I really believed in myself in the marathon distance – started off running the race I was meant to – and then due to a few different circumstances I got sick at mile 17. Those next 9 miles were full of tears and I was in full on survival mode. I didn’t realize what an impact it would have on me until I arrived home. I didn’t want to run – in fact I wanted to do anything but run. I had the NYC marathon in 4 short weeks so I squeezed in a couple runs thanks to my Run Club peeps but my heart wasn’t there. I still ran the NYC marathon – honored to pace my dear friend Michele through the first half and then having fun the second half while hugging my friends, high-fiving the crowd, and setting a surprising course PR.


However, I knew it was time for a reset. I gave myself two full weeks “in retirement”. I didn’t workout at all – I focused purely on my personal life and I began my move to NYC (surprise if you didn’t know!! I now live on the UES!!!!!!!). My heart just wasn’t there and I needed some time. This is one of the reasons we took a holiday hiatus from Run Club. I needed a break from running.

Once I settled in, I was able to turn my attention back to my fitness and one thing I knew is that I had to find the fun in running again. My biggest step to achieving that – I ditched my Garmin. I couldn’t run for miles, or splits, or PRs, or speed – I needed to run for ME. I needed to run to feel my heart beat, to allow my feet to carry me over the pavement without expectation, and to take in the sights and sounds of my new life.


It’s been a month since the NYC marathon and I’m getting the itch again. I’ve explored new places with friends, I’ve found solitude along the East River at night, and I’ve enjoyed miles with my fiancé. My point – never be afraid to take a step back. As they always say distance makes the heart grow fonder – and I have to say – I’m falling in love all over again.

Xo, Pam

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 “3 Bridges Run” 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 don’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. 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 🙂

We are 5 weeks out from Chicago, people. Five. Weeks.
❤ Louise

Running Sucks, but only for 5 Minutes

IMG_0565Okay, your shoes are tied and new playlist is lit, it’s time to go for a run… you can do this. *Insert some mantras about being strong* Music starts and you’re getting yourself warmed up. Let’s go- one foot in front of the other. Your heart rate starts to pick up and you begin breathing a little bit faster. Keep moving those legs… heart rate is still climbing as you’re trying to catch your breath. OMG. Why am I running? It’s only been one minute?! Keep going, keep moving. As you continue running it doesn’t seem to be getting any better… Only 2 minutes?! How can I keep moving *I am strong* How does anyone do this for miles and miles?! You approach the three minute mark and start to fall into a rhythm. Your heart rate is up but you don’t quite feel out of breath anymore. What is this magic?!

Your cardiovascular system is especially crucial during exercise as oxygen demand and waste production in your active muscles increase. The initial responses of your cardiovascular system allow your body to meet the increased demands placed on it with exercise. The average resting heart rate is about 60-80 beats per minute. At the onset of exercise, your heart rate and breathing rate begin to pick up to meet the increased demand for oxygen by your body. Your heart rate is proportional to the intensity of the exercise- as intensity increases, so will your heart rate. Going from walking to a high intensity activity such as running will quickly increase your heart rate.

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Side note… is anyone else running the Beach2Beacon on August 5th??

As you settle into a rhythm and maintain your pace, your heart rate will even out at a certain number of beats per minute. Your breathing rate will follow suit while both remain elevated above resting levels. This plateau is referred to as “steady state” and is the optimal heart rate for your body to meet the demands of the work (running) which you are doing. Steady state takes a few minutes to achieve and is not the same for everyone. For elite athletes, their bodies may be able to adapt to these physical demands quickly and reach steady state under 3 minutes. For those who may not be as physically fit, it could take upwards of 4-5 minutes to reach this plateau. Those who are not as conditioned may also have a higher heart rate at the same exercise intensity (in this case, running pace).

Let’s be honest, those first few minutes of running might suck. As you continue to run for a little bit longer with each week, you will continue to build your endurance. Increased cardiorespiratory endurance (heart and lungs) relates to the body’s ability to sustain prolonged, dynamic exercise using large muscle groups. In this case, we are talking about running longer distances and being able to deliver oxygen rich blood to those working muscles. Being able to maintain this level for longer periods of time shows improvements in aerobic fitness.

Anyone out there new to running? Any of our experienced runners have a story to share? Maybe something about your fitness or training journey! Share it in the comments below!

❤ Louise

 

5 Rules for Strength Training

Running, swimming, and biking are all great forms of aerobic exercise. But what about anaerobic exercise? How do you incorporate strength training into your workout regimen or marathon training? As much as we love going out for a long run, strength training is such a critical part of our routines and has helped us become better runners! From body weight exercises to Olympic lifts, we have tried it all! But what is best for someone may not be appropriate for another person.

Let’s take it back to the basics: here are my 5 Simple Rules for Strength Trainingimg_4190

1. Strength training is for everyone. It is so important for your exercise routine because increasing your lean muscle mass helps increase your metabolism a.k.a turning you into a “metabolic machine.” In addition, lifting weights gives you increased bone strength, better posture, and decreased back pain. The same workout routine of a bodybuilder, however,  is not appropriate for everyone; it is specifically formulated with heavy weights and long duration. Make sure your workout is appropriate for you and your goals!

2. Challenge Yourself. Toning and building muscle are the same thing, it’s just the degree to which you stress your muscles. Lots of people want toned muscles, but fear becoming bulky. Rest assured, this is not the case! While men have a greater hormone availability and lean muscle mass, everyone’s muscles can only do one of two things: either get bigger or get smaller. When you lift weights that challenge your muscles, you actually create small tears in the muscle fiber. This is why you may feel sore the next day! Your muscles repair themselves, allowing them to grow stronger and a little bit bigger.

3. Rest for 48 hours in between. You know that soreness you feel the day after lifting? Lifting weights breaks down muscle fibers then they rebuild themselves a little bit stronger. Not everyone needs to have a “shoulder/leg/back day” but it’s important to let your body rest between strength training sessions of the same muscle group. If you are lifting back to back days, then start by dividing your workouts into upper and lower body days followed by rest.

4. Abs are the same as every other muscle group. Meaning that the same way your legs become sore and need rest after a day of squats and leg press, your abdominal muscles are no different. Choose quality ab exercises instead of performing “all of the crunches.” Just like your other muscle groups, make sure they get a break before completing another abdominal workout. Remember that increasing the total lean muscle mass in your body- not just abdominal muscles-  will help you burn more calories throughout the day, shed the layer of fat over your muscles, and achieve the look you want- “toned.”

5. Form is important! This is probably the most important rule of all because you don’t want to end up hurting yourself. Properly executing exercises will help to avoid injury and ensure you get the most out of your workout. When you’re getting to the end of a set, don’t sacrifice your form just to finish out the repetitions. Many people worry about starting a strength training routine because they are unsure of how to lift free weights or use the machines at their gym. Start by doing a little research or join a friend for their workout!

Bottom line: whether your goal is to lose weight, become stronger, or add muscle mass, strength training needs to be a part of your exercise routine.

❤ Louise

How Not to Run a Half Marathon… or any race

Spring race season is in full effect! Today alone I have friends running the Long Island Marathon, Broad Street 10 Miler, and Pittsburgh Marathon. It’s hard to avoid getting swept up in all the excitement of race day and the post-race parties! So since I am sure you’ve already been inspired to sign up for your next half marathon, here are a few rules for race day and how not to run a half marathon… or any race. *Disclaimer: I’ve broken all of my rules*

FullSizeRender (9)1. Nothing New on Race Day

In my opinion, this is the cardinal rule for runners. Your long runs have been weeks of practicing for the big day. What foods you’re going to have that morning, what socks you’ll wear, and what to drink the day before (more on this later). We can divide this into two main rules: No new foods & no new clothes. Let’s address the food; unless you have an iron stomach, sticking to what you know can save you from stomach issues popping up at mile 5. If a bagel with peanut butter is your go-to, you should probably stick with that. This also applies to dinner the night before a race because that new Thai restaurant will still be there for post-race celebrations. #DontRiskIt.

Second are your race day clothes (and everyone who is wearing their race t-shirt is breaking this rule). Something new could rub your skin the wrong way and the last thing you want is to be bleeding from a new sports bra when you’re hoping for a PR. I actually broke this rule last week… (but thankfully I don’t regret it) when I wore my new lululemon Fast & Free crops. This Nulux fabric is probably made of magic, but not only did they feel light and comfortable for all 13.1 miles, these pants have more pockets than you would need #Bonus.

2. Don’t Try to Run with a Hangover

This should be a given… but here’s a little story for you… Last year, Pam convinced me the day before to run the Women’s Half. However, when the Rangers are in the playoffs my priorities shift a little bit and perhaps the words “open bar” should not have been on my agenda. A good rule of thumb is to skip the drinks and opt for water; not just the day before a big race, but a few days leading up to it. Especially with spring races, the weather can get a little warmer than the ideal race temperature so it is key that you keep your body hydrated. You’ll feel much better on race day and your performance will reflect your good life choices.

IMG_57833. Always Have a Race Plan B

“I’m going to go run” might be a bit vague in terms of your plan. Whether you are shooting for a PR or simply looking to complete your first big race, a game plan will help you get there. Last year for Brooklyn, I only had plan A which was to break 2 hours. Unfortunately when I saw that goal time slipping away, I didn’t have a plan B. So I mentally/physically dragged my body the last 3 miles of that race to cross the finish line. Think about your long training runs and your goals, look at the course map/ elevation chart, then decide on a race plan. And a back up plan. For the Women’s Half this year, I decided on my plan based off of my Brooklyn 2017 training so far. I set a goal time for running before needing to walk, then running from one water stop to the next. I also promised myself I would run up both Cat and Harlem Hills on the second lap. You want to create a race plan to help you finish and feel confident. Talk about your plan with your coach or running buddy ahead of time, too!

What are your rules for running a race? Do you adhere to them or regretfully break your own rules? Share with us in the comments below 🙂

Happy Sunday Runday!
Louise