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. 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. We have always hopped on the shuttle bus without a hassle of parking or worrying about time. 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. 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 😉

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!

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

Race Recap: Mardi Gras Run to Great South Bay Brewery

Fact: We will run for beer 🍻

A few months ago, GLIRC sent out an email promoting their first run to the Great South Bay Brewery and being that Mardi Gras is right around the corner, it seemed very fitting to make it a themed race. B&B has done both of their other brewery runs on Long Island, to Blue Point and Port Jeff, so naturally we signed up for this one, too! Fun theme, great brews, and an indoor post-race party?! Sign me up!

Registration for the Mardi Gras Run to Great South Bay Brewery was very smooth and less stressful than races like Blue Point where you have to be fast. We picked our bibs up the morning of the race, although GSB was giving runners a free beer at Saturday pickup. Parking seemed to fill up faster than anticipated even though we arrived with plenty of time to get our numbers.

The race was a 7.1 mile course through the neighborhood streets by the brewery in Bayshore. Although the distance seems a bit random, that made it fun because everyone PR’ed for that mileage. The course was fast and flat with volunteers at each mile marker and turn cheering us on. I should note that these volunteers are some real troopers because it absolutely poured rain for most of the time. You can’t control the weather, so you just have to laugh. It was raining pretty good at the start of the race, but people stayed in the brewery or their cars until the 9:15am start time. We walked right up to the starting line and took off. At first runners were dodging puddles to avoid having soaked feet, until less than 30 minutes into the race when it became a downpour. Unfortunately parts of the course were flooded and there was no avoiding soggy shoes. At this point, I was confused why people were still running to avoid the puddles- I just powered through them 😂

About 1/4 mile before we crossed the finish line, there was a bead stop with volunteers handing out purple, green, and gold beaded necklaces. Heading into the finish line, I felt super soggy but strong. Despite the weather, there was a crowd coming in to the finish line chute. We received cool medals with a beaded chain that matched the race theme- very creative and festive!

There was a registration option to upgrade your post race party ticket to VIP. This private area didn’t have beer lines and there were tables to sit and enjoy your food. We did not upgrade, but had no trouble finding some real estate to put down our plates that we filled with heroes, donuts, and other treats! The live band was awesome and played some great sing-a-longs which got the party dancing. We stayed and enjoyed our unlimited drinks and ran into some friends who had also ran.

Even though there may have been a monsoon, it didn’t rain on our parade. Overall the inaugural race was successful! We all enjoyed the run and post race festivities. We can’t wait for the next one!

Xo, Louise & Pam

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. It’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 I️ 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. I️ 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 that’s fine by me because I had fun. Every year I’ve been able to run with family, friends, or both! It really is one of my favorite parts about Turkey Day! This year I️ 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 don’t throw me a pity party- I’m doing much better now. 

Unfortunately, I am not able to run again. In fact, I can’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 I’ve learned patience and I know my body will heal itself. I’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 👍

❤ Louise

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

 

Race Recap: Mini 10k 2017

The New York Road Runner’s Mini 10k was the first women’s only race and has been held annually since 1972. The race was originally intended to be a marathon, but it was decided that a “mini marathon” would be better suited. It’s crazy to think that not until the 1970s did women have their own race. It’s even more amazing now that not only does NYRR still host this 10k, but the Women’s Half Marathon each spring!

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This was my first time running the Mini 10k- many of my friends have done this race before (including Pam) and always enjoy it. Naturally I had to join in on the fun. Plus, it was part of girls’ weekend in NYC! Unlike some of the other road races, there is no crazy sign-up rush for this race which had over 8,000 finishers yesterday morning.

NYRR makes packet pick-up so easy for race morning or getting your bib ahead of time at the Run Center. The girl squad met up for race morning and headed to Columbus Circle for the starting line. Even before 8am, it was heating up to be a warm day. Summer is finally starting in New York! The corrals were organized, but separated by flimsy ribbon which ended up breaking and crowding the start. The first mile runs uptown on Central Park West- this part of the race was definitely crowded! I tried to weave through people, but also needed to gauge my speed. 1. It was hot! My body was telling me that I wasn’t going to be setting any records with this warm weather. 2. Don’t try and sprint out of the gate knowing that the steepest hill was coming up in Mile 2.

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So Central Park is no joke when it comes to the hills. There aren’t too many flat parts when you are running the big loop. I was mostly excited to run a race clockwise around the park after completing the Women’s Half which runs counter-clockwise. Those big uphills turn into downhills 🙂 By the 5k mark, I was sweaty and in need of some water. Thankfully there are 4 water/ Gatorade stops along the course. Winding around to the east side, the crowd started to grow with athletic supporters. My 5th mile was my fastest mile- probably due to the excitement from the crowd.

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Heading around the bottom of Central Park, the Mini 10k has the same finish as the New York City Marathon. With 800 meters to go, the hills keep coming and there is a nice uphill finish. I love to take off as soon as the finish line is in sight! Let’s go- you’re almost there! My personal favorite part of the finish line was receiving my medal from one of my friends who was volunteering! She was also at the finish line of the Brooklyn Half- the best cheerleader there is! Finishers also received beautiful carnations and pink post-race bagels.

Maybe the most important piece of all is the post-race party! The Mini 10k after party was held at the bandshell  where they had a huge backdrop for sweet finisher photos, raffle prizes, and a recovery zone- thanks, HSS! It gets better… the race shirt? It’s a lightweight New Balance tank top and is going to be perfect for hot summer runs while we are training for the Chicago Marathon. The whole race was a great experience and the perfect reason to get together with our girlfriends for a Saturday bRUNch.

Did anyone else run yesterday?! What’s your next race this summer?

❤ Louise

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Cardio or Strength Training: Which Comes First?

Starting an exercise program can be challenging and bring about a lot of questions. The internet provides a ton of information, some of which may be conflicting and lead to more questions. When starting an exercise program, many of my clients ask me if the order of their workout matters; meaning should you be performing cardio exercise (running, biking, swimming etc.) first or be starting with strength training exercises.

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Cardio then strength or strength then cardio?
Science says either way is fine!

Plenty of research has been done in this area, and while some online resources may tell you to do one before the other (maybe to maximize your calorie burn), the truth is it doesn’t matter. I always recommend that my clients start with whichever form of exercise they find to be most challenging because your body hasn’t used any of its energy stores yet. If running is going to be the hardest part of the workout, start there and finish with your strength training routine. Maybe you are trying to incorporate more resistance exercise into your weekly schedule, so starting there will make sure you complete it.

Ultimately, it comes down to what your goals are and how you want to structure your workout. If you are training for a race, then aerobic exercise will take priority. If the strength training circuit at the gym is your new challenge, start with a warm-up then focus on completing that circuit before riding the bike. This will allow your body to have the energy it needs for your main target. Take note that any sort of skilled lifts or long training runs should be done on their own days; trying to perform barbell snatches after a 30 minute run may not be the best plan.

It is also important that you are getting enough of both types of exercise each week! Below are the recommended exercise guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine:

Cardiorespiratory Exercise

  • Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
  • One continuous session and multiple shorter sessions (of at least 10 minutes) are both acceptable to accumulate desired amount of daily exercise.
  • Gradual progression of exercise time, frequency and intensity is recommended for best adherence and least injury risk.
  • People unable to meet these minimums can still benefit from some activity.

Strength Training Exercise

  • Adults should train each major muscle group two or three days each week using a variety of exercises and equipment.
  • Two to four sets of each exercise will help adults improve strength and power.
  • Adults should wait at least 48 hours between resistance training sessions of the same muscle group.

The full list of Physical Activity Guidelines can be found here! Including flexibility and neuromuscular activity guidelines.

The most important piece to this puzzle is to remember why you started- stay focused on your goals and trust the process. Have an exercise question? Ask us in the comments below or email us at burpeesandbordeaux@gmail.com 🙂

❤ Louise