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

 

Studio Review: FLEX Studios

Nestled in the rolling hills on the North Shore Long Island, you can find a new pilates based studio, FLEX. The studio has been open for a few weeks and recently celebrated their Grand Opening with 4 days of free classes! Naturally I adventured from Long Beach to Woodbury (even in a snow storm- thanks to my Jeep!) to check out some classes.

All you need to bring Is your own water bottle, skid-less towel, & sticky socks- the rest is provided for you (mats, sweat towels, and showers).

First up was FlexIR, a mat pilates class in a hot room which is warmed by infrared panels (we’ll get to that). Taught by Kara, the class targeted total body and utilized a pilates ring, small squishy ball, and a set of 3# dumbbells. As a typical mat pilates class would be formatted, we moved through upper and lower body working one side at a time then finished off with plenty of core – planks, teasers, and crunches – oh my!

About 10 minutes into class, the heat of the infrared panels really started to kick in. The infrared panels warm objects in the room instead of just heating the air. Since the panels heat you up directly, you don’t need time to warm up the room. The FlexIR definitely left me very sweaty!

My second class was a Flex 30/30 class with my friend Dianna 🤗 This total body class combines two workouts in one and is done half with a TRX suspension trainer and the other half on a pilates reformer. We started the first half of class in the TRX studioDianna gave the class a quick intro on adjusting the TRX straps then we got to work. The class was broken up into 3 blocks (upper body, lower, and core) with a burst of cardio in between each round. After we finished our core round, we quickly scooped up our things and headed to the other room in the studio for our pilates session. Fast change into your grippy socks, crash course in reformer anatomy, and we were ready to go! Starting with core this time, then working in a combo of upper and lower body. This studio, more dimly lit, was the perfect atmosphere to cool it all down. The class in total was about 50 minutes long, the same as my previous class, the FlexIR.

This class squeezes a lot of workout into a short period. It’s great if you’re looking to try out both TRX and the Flexformer. I’d love to try a full class of each (which they also offer- FlexTRX and FlexFormer) to get more out of each piece of equipment 💪🏼

Have you tried Flex Studios yet? Share in the comments!! They also have 2 locations in the city (NoHo & Union Square). Check them out here!

Xo, Louise

Recipe: Savory Egg Muffins

Hard boiled eggs again?! Meal prepped breakfast doesn’t have to be boring. Flavor up those eggs by turning them into little egg muffins that you can take on the go. Packed with sautéed spinach and savory chicken sausage, these eggs pack a punch!

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chicken sausage
  • 3 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese
  • Salt & pepper or Everything But the Bagel seasoning

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. In a medium pan, heat olive oil then add spinach and garlic. Sauté until wilted.
  2. In a separate pan, cook chicken sausage until browned on all sides. Chop into small pieces.
  3. Spray 6 muffin cups with non-stick spray. *There may be more or less depending on how full your cups are. You can also use more eggs to make more muffins.
  4. Evenly distribute spinach, sausage, and feta into muffin cups.
  5. Whisk eggs in a separate bowl, mix in S&P then pour evenly into muffin pan.
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes then remove from oven and let cool for 3-5 minutes before removing from pan.

This recipe can even be used as a guideline to make your own creations – maybe try egg whites or switch up the veggies. Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Enjoy!!

Xo, Louise

RSVP for lululemon Winter Bootcamp!

B&B is back for another heart pounding, glute burning, sweaty workout class! Our friends at lululemon Roosevelt Field will be hosting us for our February Bootcamp and we can’t wait to sweat with you on Saturday, February 9!

Follow the link below to reserve your spot! The event is free but limited to 25 participants so grab your friends and get your tickets 🎉

Get your B&B February Bootcamp tickets here!

Xo, Louise & Pam

Workout: Burpees & Brews Bootcamp

Burpees & Bordeaux partnered with our friends at Small Craft Brewing Company to bring you Burpees & Brews!! Last weekend we got to sweat with an amazing crew then followed it up with flights of beer- talk about Sunday Funday 🎉

How-to: This workout is classic B&B style! There are 6 rounds with 3 exercises in each round. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds- repeat each round 3 times before moving onto the next.

All you need is a mat and a timer!

Round 1

  1. Step back lunge left
  2. Step back lunge right
  3. Squat Jumps

Round 2

  1. Low Plank
  2. Ankle Reaches
  3. Thrusters

Round 3

  1. Lateral lunge right
  2. Lateral lunge left
  3. Touchdown jacks

Round 4

  1. Inchworm to Push-up
  2. Inchworm to Shoulder Taps
  3. Hi-Lo Plank

Round 5

  1. Squats
  2. Squat Pulses
  3. Burpees

Round 6

  1. Side plank dips right
  2. Side plank dips left
  3. Hi knees/Mtn Climbers (alternate 10 reps each)

Thank you again to our friends at Small Craft for having us! We can’t wait to come back for another bootcamp 💪🏼

Xo, Louise & Pam

PS: Save the date for February 9th… we will be back at lululemon Roosevelt Field!

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

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 😜 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 😉

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 🎉 You can book your bikes here!

Xo, Louise

 

 

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