Posts Tagged ‘Running’

Reebok? Reebok. Time to Floatride.

March 30, 2017

Listen, I won’t beat around the bush, I’ve long used Reebok as the butt of many a running shoe joke. Yes, I make a lot of running shoe jokes. Yes, that is not a particularly compelling source of comedy for the greater population, but I stick to what I know for my humor. Mostly, I’ve focused on the brand’s constant reversion to gimmicks to sell sneakers, rather than just making a good pair of running shoes, think DMX cushioning. I say all this not to rag on Reebok, but to say to you that I came to the Reebok Floatride as an extreme skeptic, prepared to add it to the heap of previous efforts, notably the “all-terrain” shoe.

OGPVlqL

So, with that introduction, we come to the new Reebok Floatride shoe. The shoe is built around Reebok’s new Floatride cushioning. According to Reebok, the cell structure of the midsole foam, which delivers “the optimal mix of cushioning and responsiveness so you can float through your run.” It is supposed to be lighter than traditional EVA foam as well. This foam took Reebok 6 years to develop and, based on my experience so far, it was time well spent.

reebok-floatride

Here you can see some of the other features that set the Floatride apart from the competition, in particular the lace cage (the black plastic diamonds), the stretchy knit upper, and the heel cup. According to Reebok, the heel cup is made in a bra factory, which seems to be a trend in the shoe industry these days. I don’t have a weight to report, but I can say that this shoe feels light. I’d put it in the same category as the Brooks Launch. Drop is 8 mm.

The combination of the heel cup and knit upper that extends fairly far up the foot can make putting on this shoe a little bit of a challenge, particularly because the upper can get bunched if you aren’t careful. For this reason, I can’t recommend it as a triathlon option, even though I do think it would be comfortable barefoot. That said, once you get it on, the “socklike” fit is comfortable, with the heel cup feeling soft but supportive enough, and seamless knit upper wrapping your foot.

When it comes to the lacing, I was worried about how the cage system would work, particularly with only three eyelets.

IMG_7745

As it turns out, I didn’t need to worry. You can’t tie the shoes up like you normally would with your other shoes, but it is definitely possible to tie them up to the point where you feel like your foot is locked in. Personally, I leave the top knot a little looser on these shoes than I might with a different shoe, otherwise I get a painful spot on the top of my foot.

Traction comes via a sort of conveyor belt/waffle looking tread that seems to get the job done.

IMG_7747

Once you get the shoe on, you immediately can feel the difference in the Floatride cushioning, much the same way you can feel the bounce in a pair of adidas Boosts. It’s the kind of bounce that makes you go “ooooh, I want to run in these.” Sure, it sounds hyperbolic, but put a pair on and you’ll see what I mean.

IMG_7744

I’ve now put in two treadmill runs with these shoes, and can comfortably say that I really do like this shoe a lot. There is most definitely a springiness to the ride that doesn’t veer off into the bouncy softness of early Hokas. It’s just there enough to provide a unique run experience that makes a run fun, and this is from a guy who generally likes a fairly firm shoe. As a “Barney Rubble” footed individuals (narrow heel, wide forefoot) I can report no blister issues.

Now, during my first run I had some pain along the outside of my feet where the lace cage met the midsole. That pain disappeared after about 20 minutes and I didn’t have it the second run.

IMG_7753

A second caveat is that if you believe you need a shoe to prevent overpronation, this is not the shoe for you. I overpronate. I used to wear motion control shoes to prevent overpronation, but no longer do and have been much happier in neutral shoes. But, again if you are looking for a shoe you will not overpronate in, this is not that shoe.

IMG_7759

So, my final verdict? The Reebok Floatride should absolutely be on your list to consider if you are looking for a lightweight, neutral, “responsive” cushioned trainer. I consider myself a convert to the Reebok brand and look forward to what they come out with featuring their Floatride cushioning in the future.

IMG_7743

Disclaimer: I received these shoes free of charge from Reebok as part of their Reebok Elite program, but all opinions expressed are mine, and mine alone.

Wave Rider 20 Review

November 1, 2016

Fact: Getting new shoes is always fun. Double Fact: Getting new is especially fun when they come in shiny boxes.

img_2737

It even came with a note!

img_2739

The shoes inside the shiny box did not disappoint in terms of commensurate shininess.

img_2740

All about the platinum.

 

IMG_2742.JPG

And the outsole.

Some basic facts about the Rider, according to Running Warehouse at least, the heel stack height is 30 mm, and the forefront is 18 mm, resulting in a 12 mm drop. RW lists the weight at 10.4 oz., but Mizuno’s own site says 9.6 oz. soooooo, who knows. But you get the general idea. This is a traditional, neutral running shoe.

Like most Mizunos I’ve run in, the Rider 20 offers a firm, responsive ride well-suited to both tempo runs and longer training runs. I haven’t yet tried them for pure speed work, as I prefer a more low-slung, lighter shoe, for that purpose, but I do think that they would be firm enough for the track. The uppers of the Rider feel like they will be great in warm weather, but I do have my concerns about the airy mesh as the temperature dips. But, hey, nothing a thicker pair of socks can’t fix.

If you’ve never run in Mizunos before, you’re probably wondering where the cushioning comes from. While other brands, rely on air, blown foam, or gel, Mizuno uses a Wave plate, which you can see as the wavy black thing in the heel. The Rider uses Mizuno’s Parallel Wave, which is for their neutral shoes. The Wave works by dispersing force through the plate, rather than absorbing it vertically like other cushioning systems.

So far my only concern to report is a hot spot on my forefoot about 8 miles into an uptempo treadmill run. I’ll report back on whether that continues as well as durability of the outsole and upper as I put in more miles. Until then, I’m happy to have another shoe in the rotation!

 

Hannukah Gifts/Stocking Stuffers For Your Triathlete

November 20, 2015

With the weather in Boston in the 50s today, it seems crazy to think that the holiday season is nearly upon us.  I’m not even sure how I’m supposed to know it’s the holiday season when Starbucks cups are just plain red in color, devoid of any symbolism.  Still, Hannukah is a scant couple of weeks away, which I did not even realize until beginning this post, starting the night of Sunday, December 6, and Christmas is, the 25th?  It’s hard to keep track of it with it changing dates year to year!

Last year, R and I switched things up and did a gift each night of Hannukah, rather than one big gift.  I think we kept the price range under $10, allowing for some bigger gifts balanced by some smaller ones.  It made us think a bit more about what we’d get for each other and was pretty fun.  I figure the same guidelines work for stocking stuffers, but I’ll admit I’ve only ever received a stocking from my in-laws, and have never stuffed one myself.  There is truly no shortage of holiday gift guides out there for runners, cyclists, running cyclists, swimmers, triathletes, etc., but I honestly never find them all that useful, and most don’t focus on smaller gifts.  So, here’s hoping this list of gift ideas for the triathlete in your life, any of which I’d want to receive myself (hint hint R if you’re reading this) proves helpful!

1. Bike Tubes

Any cyclist will tell you that you can never have too many spare tubes around.  I’ve ended rides thinking that I was coming home on a perfectly good tube only to find the next time I went to go out that I’d somehow gotten a puncture at a late point in the ride and was in need of a tube.  Road tubes will generally be 700 (diameter) x __ (width).  Do some digging in your triathlete’s stash to see if you can get the size they use.  Otherwise, something in the low 20s will be just fine.

It’s tough to go wrong with a Continental tube.

2. CO2 Inflator and Cartridges

So, you’ve got a flat, you take out your brand new spare tube, and what do you use to inflate it?  While some roadies keep a frame pump or mini-pump on them, those pumps often can’t get a high enough PSI for a road tube, are bulky and heavy to carry (heavy in a roadie sense) and don’t work with tri bikes.  Maybe it’s not the sexiest of gifts, but it’ll help keep your triathlete rolling!

To actually use the cartridge, you need a chuck.  The chuck screws on to the cartridge and lets you actually get air out.

If you want to splurge a little, I use the Portland Design Works Shiny Object CO2 Inflator with 16G Cartridge set, which is $27.76 on Amazon.  What I like about this set is the chuck lets you regulate the flow of air into the tube, which is quite helpful when changing a tube, and the leather sleeve protects your hand from the cartridge, which gets very cold in use.

3. Socks

Good socks are the best.  Like, seriously, the best.  Some prefer short socks, some prefer long socks.  Me?  I like long socks when it comes to training, short for racing, mostly for ease of use with an ankle chip strap.  Socks have special significant, for some reason, in the cycling world, earning multiple references in the Velominati rules, and are a source of expression for riders.  Plus the good ones are super comfortable.  Personally, I prefer socks from The Athletic, based out of Portland.

4. Casquettes de Cyclisme/Cycling Caps

I first fell in love with the cycling cap from an unlikely source…

That’s right, White Men Can’t Jump.  Now, I’ll admit, these hats are rather controversial, with some very strong opinions on both sides.  I happen to love them, both on the bike and off, and have a fairly good collection going right now.  Some hats are made from technical fibers and go well under a helmet to help keep sweat out of your eyes.  They are also great for sweaty trainer rides.

There is a large variety of hats out there, some are vintage cool.

Some are groovy.

And some are just wicked awesome.

5. Fuel

Having the right fuel for training and racing is vitally important.  Especially during peak training periods, this means going through a lot of gels, chews, powders, waffles and bars.  You really cannot have enough of your favorite source of energy and these items make great small gifts.

For drink mix, I like Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix, which is sold both in 1 lb bags and singles.  The singles are great for their portability, which is especially handy for traveling for races and for taking on long rides to refuel with.

For chewy fuel, I dig Skratch Labs Fruit Drops, as documented in my review.

6. Tools

Is your triathlete a tinkerer?  Does he or she like to do maintenance on his or her own bike rather than take it into the shop every time it needs an adjustment?  If so, your triathlete might enjoy some new additions to the toolbox!  This might be the kind of thing where you might have to do some inquiry into what tools are already in hand, and what may be needed.  Your triathlete may also have a brand preference for tools.  Personally, I love the look and performance of Park Tools.  Some options to consider include:

A pedal wrench.

Three-way hex wrench.

Mini Chain Brute Chain Tool.

7. Lube

Get your mind out of the gutter.  A properly lubed bike drivetrain is a happy drivetrain.  Give your triathlete the gift of a well-lubed machine.

 

8. Custom Name Stickers

This gift was absolutely my favorite one from last Hannukah.  Most pro riders have custom name decals for their bikes, and now your triathlete can have the same.  Name stickers help set your bike apart from the rest of the field, make you feel like a pro, and give you a chance to add some self-expression to your steed.

Sticker Name

9. Swim Gear

Finally, swimming involves a surprising amount of training tools, many of which your triathlete may not have bought for him/herself, instead relying on the grody stuff at the pool.  To upgrade their gear, consider:

TYR Pull Float

Speedo Mesh Equipment Bag

TYR Kickboard

 

Should I happen upon some other neat-looking gift ideas, I’ll be sure to update this post.  Until then, happy holidays to all!

 

 

Vineyard Sprint Triathlon

October 28, 2015

Sometimes it takes a while to get up a race recap because things are busy at work, or in life in general.  Sometimes I’m just super lazy.  We may never know which of the two resulted in the delay in getting up this recap of the 2015 Vineyard Triathlon.  For the first time, the race included a sprint distance, which is what I opted for, not wanting to tack on another 1/2 Ironman at the end of the season.  The sprint distances were 1/3 mile swim, 13 mile bike, and then a 5K run, pretty standard fare for sprints.

Races on Martha’s Vineyard, as a general rule, are low-key affairs.  If you go into any race, with the possible exception of the Vineyard 20 Miler, expecting the same experience and logistics as a “mainland” race you’ll wind up stressing yourself out and will have a less positive experience as a result.  For example, that same week I ran a 5K in Edgartown that failed to mention on its website that 2 miles would be on singletrack trail and required roughly 5 round-trip shuttle trips to get everyone from the “start” aka finish of the race to the actual location the race started.  Chalk it up to Vineyard racing.  What this meant as it relates to the Vineyard Tri is that we were getting emails from the RDs up until a couple nights before the race with logistics info on packet pickup, transition info, etc. instead of the 30 page Athlete Guide you might get from a WTC race.  While this might be a little scattershot of an approach for some, the RDs replied quickly to follow up emails to address any missing info.  While the emails certainly conveyed the needed info, I think a comprehensive guide on the website might help centralize information and avoid any confusion for next year.

So, on to race day.  It being off-season on MV, parking was the easiest I’ve ever had for a triathlon, maybe for any race ever.  After body marking, I headed into transition to set up my area.  One nice thing about the race was that the transition area didn’t close, like ever.  This avoided the rush and stress that can come when trying to make sure everything is set up before it closes.  At the same time, be prepared to make your own spot without much guidance on where to go as the only real direction was for the half Iron distance racers to rack in one spot and the sprint racers in another section.  Again, different from a larger race, but not an issue unless you get stressed out by that sort of thing.

Speaking of getting stressed out…the state of the ocean on race day was most definitely my biggest source of stress.  It was a grey day and the swells were strong.  The sea was, indeed, angry that day, my friends, so much so that it caused a friend to bag on the sprint race.  Still, the water temp was pretty perfect at least.

IMG_6168 IMG_6182 IMG_6183

I didn’t attempt any warm-up in the ocean, partly because I didn’t want to wig myself out, partly because I allowed absolutely no time for it.  When the race started on the beach of Oak Bluffs I took my normal position towards the back of the pack, knowing it’d be especially necessary on a day like that to find my own space and not worry about other racers among the waves and in my first ocean race.

IMG_6169

Almost immediately I knew this was going to be a slog of a 1/3 of a mile, not because of my swim shape (at least not any more than usual) but because of the conditions.  Heading out to the first buoy meant swimming into the waves, which meant it was nearly impossible to sight.  I also was not a fan of the constant up and down movement in the water, which served to really throw off my rhythm.  There’s simply no way around the fact that this was a brutal, somewhat demoralizing swim for me, but it did not end the race.  Eventually I made my way out of the water, up the beach, across a street, over about a foot tall stone wall, and into transition to move on to my strengths.

IMG_6196

[A note for the RDs, should they be reading this, on the swim: While the green color of the first buoy likely wouldn’t be a problem on a sunny day, it was difficult to sight on a gray day combined with the water color.  Similarly, the orange t-shirts of the in-water volunteers nicely matched the orange swim buoys, making it tough to tell quickly where one was supposed to be swimming to!]

I most definitely could have made up some time in T1 if I hadn’t let my swim time get to me.  I don’t think I was hustling through it quite as quickly as I could have but, that’s how it goes!

IMG_6205

You can’t tell from this picture, but I’m rocking my new Black Dog socks in this picture.  And, what’s that you say?  New bike?  Why, yes!  That is a new bike!  Right before the race I took the plunge and got a 2014 Cannondale Slice TT bike from Cannondale Sports Cambridge.  I digress here slightly to, once again, praise my friends at this great shop and, in particular, Craig The Manager.  They did both the fitting AND cutting down of necessary components, i.e. the seatpost and aerobars, all in the course of a day, allowing me to take the bike down to Martha’s Vineyard with me and race on it.  I’d also like to thank Greg at Edgartown Bicycle for doing a fit check and adjustment, and bailing me out with a quick pedal installation (along with quick ordering of a rear hydration system).

I set out on the ride hoping for a fast result on the new machine.  With only 131 ft. of elevation gain over 13 miles, it promised to be a fast course, with a tailwind on the final stretch along the water.  Despite a summer of riding on the island, I had spent very little, if any, time on the first half of the course, which made it a little more mentally engaging.  Combined with having a fair number of people to chase down after the swim, I had plenty of motivation to keep my legs pumping, particularly after being chased down by Chilmark Coffee Company proprietor Todd Christy on his roughly 84 year old bike.  Now, one thing I did not plan for was the effect the salt water would have on my respiratory system, or nasal system, or something.  Basically my nose was leaking the entire ride, which was not especially comfortable.  Next time I’ll know to grab some tissues in T1 and stuff them in my pocket.

The highlight of the leg was definitely the stretch from Edgartown back to Oak Bluffs along the beach, which is really the highlight of most rides on MV for me.

Bike Leg

Even though I’d been riding my CAAD8 with aerobars, the Slice is an entirely different animal and I was still getting used to the position during the race, which meant being up on the horns more than I would have liked at the end of the race when I could have really taken advantage of the aero position.  Still, I came in with an official time of 36:27, roughly a 21 mph average, and good for the second fastest bike split on the day.

IMG_6222

As I ran my bike into transition, Rebecca excitedly told me I was in fifth place overall, an unexpected development.  This gave me an extra incentive to try to have a quick transition, and soon I was off to see if I could hunt any of my fellow competitors down.

IMG_6226

IMG_6239

I felt pretty good heading out on the run and figured I had little to lose by just going for broke on it.  The only real hill on the course came a little under a mile into the leg.  I’m sure it felt a lot steeper than it actually was, but it definitely hurt at the time.

Run Elevation

Soon after the crest of the hill I caught up with Todd, who not only updated me on placing, but really encouraged me to keep pushing on and finish strong.  It really was the boost I needed to keep driving towards the finish.  The next two miles were fairly uneventful, and I ended up with splits of 7:11, 7:12, and 7:07.  It felt great to close with my fastest mile, not something I usually do in either road races or triathlons.

I came into the finish line feeling fairly triumphant and pleased with how the race went as a whole.

IMG_6245

I ended up coming in 4th place overall and taking my first Age Group win for a triathlon, pretty neat I’d say!  Rebecca and I celebrated with an amazing lobster roll from the Net Result, but not before enjoying some amazing espresso drinks from Chilmark Coffee.  With what may be the absolute coolest perk ever for a race, Chilmark Coffee donated free coffee (including lattes etc.) to the race via a mobile coffee bar.  Immediately after racing, Todd got right to work pulling shots.

IMG_6156

Good guy Todd is a good guy.

IMG_6158

With the race only being in its second year, there were bound to be some growing pains with it.  Some constructive suggestions I’d make for next year would be:

  • Clearer directions from the water to transition
  • Block out the transition area by race number
  • Designating mounting and dismounting zones for the bike leg
  • More clear markings for the turn to the finish line on the run

Before signing off, I’d add this note: Be nice to RDs.  I haven’t always followed my own advice here, but ever since my tantrum at the Marblehead JCC Tri, I’ve really worked on that aspect of my racing.  RDs work tremendously hard to put on any event, let alone a triathlon, and do their best to put on a great event for the athletes.  If you think the race could be improved in some way, take the time to talk about it with the RD, who wants you to come back and have a great race the next year.  Alight, off my soapbox.

This was a fantastic, fun, unique experience of a race.  This is literally the one chance you get to do a triathlon on Martha’s Vineyard and I’m really looking forward to coming back and defending my age group next summer!

Thank you as always to Rebecca for cheering and taking all the great pictures you see here!

Happy racing all!

 

 

 

2016 Boston Marathon Charities

September 17, 2015

Greetings readers! I’ve tried to make a habit of putting each year’s Boston Marathon charity information all in one place to make it easier to find information on each one, particularly where to go to apply as the BAA site’s given web addresses aren’t always the best place to go.  I’ll keep updating this list with more charities and information as it becomes available.  Good luck in applying!

American Liver Foundation

Since 1989, the Run For Research program has made a dramatic impact on the American Liver Foundation’s mission – to facilitate, advocate, and promote education, support, and research for the prevention, treatment and cure of liver disease.  Last year’s team raised over $1.1 million and had team members from across the United States, Canada, and the Philippines. Team members receive a comprehensive training program presented by our seasoned team coaches for runners of all levels, informative team meetings and fun social events, weekly group runs, two long runs on the Boston Marathon® course, race day gear, and complimentary massages, showers, and snacks post-race. To help runners excel in raising funds, the American Liver Foundation also provides fundraising tips, resources and supplies.  Join us this season as we run to fight the over 100 types of liver disease!

Program Benefits

Our longstanding Run for Research program has been revered as one of the most supportive, energizing, and fun charity teams.  Team benefits include:

  • Access to our seasoned coaches
  • Training plans catered to specific ability levels
  • Saturday team runs
  • Two long runs on the Boston Marathon® course
  • Team meetings & social events
  • Patient Runner Connection Program
  • Personalized fundraising webpage and fundraising assistance
  • Discounted Marathon Weekend hotel rooms at the Westin Copley Place Hotel
  • Marathon Weekend Events: Team Brunch Celebration, Post Marathon Party with complementary showers, massages, food & more!
  • Race day shirt or singlet

Daria Zavarelli
Campaign Manager
dzavarelli@liverfoundation.org
617-527-5600 ext. 2032

American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts

The American Red Cross of Massachusetts, through its networks of volunteers, donors and partners, enables ordinary people to act in extraordinary circumstances by providing hope and care, and by preparing communities to face the unexpected. The American Red Cross of Massachusetts serves 351 cities and towns across the Commonwealth with a population of over 6.6 million people.  Funds raised by Team Red Cross help support our vital programs and services across our service areas: Disaster Relief, Service to the Armed Forces, Health and Safety Training, Biomedical Services, Food and Nutrition Programs, and International Services.

Nicole Marcotte
teamredcrossboston@redcross.org
617-274-5243

American Stroke Association – Tedy’s Team

“Tedy’s Team,” is a group of runners raising money for the American Stroke Association through their training for the Boston Marathon® and many other major road races. Their participation supports Tedy Bruschi’s fight against stroke and honors both the survivors and the loved ones lost to America’s No. 4 leading cause of death. Tedy’s Team is striving to reach as many people as possible in its message of recognizing the warning signs and acting appropriate when seeing them – calling 9-1-1 immediately.

Elizabeth A. Perry
Vice President, Athletics
Elizabeth.Perry@heart.org
781.373.4515

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) is one of the nation’s preeminent academic medical centers. We are committed to excellence in clinical care, biomedical research, and education, and to the health and wellness of our patients and our communities.

At BIDMC, our goal is to serve our patients compassionately and effectively and to create a healthy future for them and their families. BIDMC is home to a world-renowned academic research program where scientific discoveries are helping to transform medical care. A major teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, BIDMC has raised medical education to a higher level, with a strong program that enhances our ability to attract top faculty and residents. Our nurses have a longstanding reputation of leadership in patient care and compassion, and our focus on safety and quality patient care has helped establish us as a national leader in health care quality, safety, and transparency.

Team BIDMC Boston Marathon runners support these efforts to effectively provide outstanding personalized care for all of our patients.

Amy Fisher
ajfisher@bidmc.harvard.edu
617-667-7341

Minimum Fundraising Requirement: $6,000

Boston Bruins Foundation

The Boston Bruins Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation whose mission is to assist charitable organizations that demonstrate a strong commitment to enhancing the quality of life for children throughout New England. Since its inception in July 2003 by the Jacobs Family, the Foundation has raised more than $19 million dollars through a series of fundraising events. The Foundation, which provides grants to organizations that meet the standards of its mission, concentrates on athletics, academics, health, and community outreach programs that assist in helping enrich the lives of children throughout New England.

Join our team on Marathon Monday and proudly wear the BLACK and GOLD to help raise awareness and funds to support those in need from our community.

The Boston Bruins Foundation is now accepting applications for our 2016 Boston Marathon Team. For the 2016 race, all runners must commit to raising a minimum of $5,500.00 for the Boston Bruins Foundation. In return, runners will receive some Boston Bruins race day swag, race day amenities, and viewing parties to help with your fundraising.

Applications are due prior to Wednesday, October 14, 2015. All submissions require a $50.00, non-refundable donation to the Boston Bruins Foundation.

Runners will be notified by Friday, November 13, 2015, if they were or were not selected to run the 2016 Boston Marathon on behalf of the Boston Bruins Foundation.

For any questions please contact foundationintern@bostonbruins.com or call 617-624-1981.

Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation

The mission of the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation is to extend the reach of the Celtics championship legacy into our community through programs that directly benefit children in need. To do this, the Foundation applies a team mentality much like that of the 17-time world champion Celtics – and relies on key partnerships with New England-based non-profit organizations who provide vital services to youth and to whom we offer funding and resources to help increase our collective impact in the community.

Cynthia Brennan
cbrennan@celtics.com
617-784-4342

Boston Children’s Hospital

Founded in 1869 as a 20-bed hospital for children, Boston Children’s Hospital has been ranked as one of the nation’s best pediatric hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for the past 21 years. Boston Children’s is the primary pediatric teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School and the largest provider of health care to Massachusetts children. In addition to 395 pediatric and adolescent inpatient beds and 228 outpatient programs, Boston Children’s houses the world’s largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries benefit both children and adults. Funds raised through the B.A.A Boston Marathon Charity Program help keep Boston Children’s Hospital in the forefront of pediatric care, research, training and community service, ensuring the best care available to all children.

Ali Felcher
run@chtrust.org
857-218-3568

Brigham and Women’s Hospital

One hospital. Two extraordinary marathon teams. Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) is excited to assemble two outstanding Boston Marathon teams: the Life.Giving.Breakthroughs. team, dedicated to raising funds across all disciplines and disease areas at BWH, and the Stepping Strong team, inspired by a Boston Marathon bombing survivor, and dedicated to fueling innovative research and clinical programs to advance trauma healing. A proud partner with the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.), our two teams are united in a powerful mission: transforming the future of medicine for patients and families here in Boston and around the world.

Caroline Duncan
bwhmarathonprogram@partners.org
617-424-4263

Minimum Fundraising Requirement: $5,000

Camp Shriver at UMass Boston

For the past decade, Camp Shriver at the University of Massachusetts Boston has welcomed over 1,000 children, half with and half without intellectual and developmental disabilities, ages 8-12, from low income families in the Boston area to a free inclusive summer sports camp.

Attending a day camp in the summer is a typical life experience for most children, but many barriers can impede the participation of children disadvantaged by socio-economic or disability status. For example, many camps in the Boston area are expensive or are unprepared to meet the needs of children with disabilities.

Camp Shriver is unique in that it fully addresses both these potential barriers. While other summer programs may accept some children with disabilities or offer scholarships to lessen the cost to families, Camp Shriver provides the summer camp experience to an equal number of children with and without disabilities and does so at no cost to their families, who come from low-income neighborhoods or are otherwise disadvantaged.

At Camp Shriver, all children have the chance to learn and play – as equals.

Applications for our 2016 Marathon Team are now open and are due by October 31.

Members will receive access to:

  • a comprehensive marathon training program with the support of a professional running coach in partnership with several other Boston Marathon charities – the Boston Marathon Coalition,
  • sponsored weekly training runs, including water stops and a 21-mile long run from Hopkinton into Boston,
  • kick-off event in November at the Museum of Science and Marathon Day amenities including a meeting room at the Westin Copely hotel near the finish line,
  • fundraising support, including one-on-one phone calls / meetings with a development professional,
  • Camp Shriver running gear, and
  • additional team meetings and events to be announced!

Barbara Gildea
barbara.gildea@umb.edu
617-287-7247

Cops for Kids With Cancer

Cops For Kids With Cancer is a charity that gives money directly to families who are dealing with the challenge of having a child sick with cancer. The volunteer charity board consists primarily of Police Officers and/or retired Police Officers who want each family to feel the positive reinforcement that someone else cares. These families are each awarded $5000 to help relieve the stress of financial burdens and hopefully put a small smile on their face. If you can imagine, you can understand. Cops For Kids With Cancer does not have salaries or expense accounts, all monies are returned to the families in need.

William Coulter
ironman82@comcast.net
781-843-3904

CYCLE Kids, Inc.

CYCLE Kids is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission of strengthening the emotional and physical health of kids by inspiring them to lead active and nutritious lifestyles through a supportive, in-school biking and nutrition program. Through teamwork and goal-setting exercises, kids gain confidence, learn important knowledge and skills, and become more comfortable socially with peers and mentors. They begin to bike to school and engage in this fun activity with their family and friends outside of school hours, getting them active every day.

Thanks to the strong curriculum and the support systems that the program fosters, CYCLE Kids has seen 52% improvement in physical activity of students, 71% improvement in nutritional intelligence, and 48% improvement in personal and social growth. Our programs are primarily in low-income communities in Massachusetts, as well as in 8 states across the country. With 45 programs, we reach more than 3,000 students and families each year.

We are thrilled to be an official charity of the 120th Boston Marathon. A partnership between CYCLE Kids and the Boston Athletic Association in the 2016 Boston Marathon is a partnership for the health and wellbeing of children and families in our community.

To be considered for the 2016 CYCLE Kids Boston Marathon Team, you will need to download a packet of information that will include the 2016 CYCLE Kids Marathon Team Guidelines, an Application, and a Liability Waiver. Once you have read these documents and filled out the required information, please sign and date them and mail all three items to us by November 12th, 2015. You will be notified by December 1st, 2015 at the latest if you have been selected for the team. We will be notifying runners on a rolling basis.

A non-refundable $100 application processing fee will be charged to your card when you submit your application.  Minimum fundraising requirement: $5,000

Julianne Idlet
info@cyclekids.org
617-661-0908

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Help reach the ultimate finish line—a world without cancer—by running the Boston Marathon for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), a global leader in adult and pediatric cancer treatment and research. Dana-Farber is acclaimed worldwide for its comprehensive approach to state-of-the-art, compassionate patient care and its “bench to bedside” continuum from laboratory research to novel therapeutics. The Institute is the top ranked cancer hospital in New England for the 15th consecutive year, and is the only cancer center in the country ranked in the top four for both adult and pediatric cancer programs.

The Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge (DFMC) is a team of Boston Marathon invitational and time-qualified runners united by their personal commitment and determination to conquer cancer. Now in its 27th season, DFMC directs all funds raised to the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research, a critical Dana-Farber initiative at the forefront of transformative scientific discovery.

DFMC teammates have a rewarding, memorable experience while supporting a superb, pioneering institution:

•  Fundraising made easy and fun
•  The best training program around
•  DFMC Patient and In-Memory Partner Program
•  Marathon weekend festivities
•  Exclusive amenities and commemorative items
•  Unsurpassed camaraderie and volunteer support

Team Requirements for DFMC ’16 Invitational Entry Runners
For runners using a race entry provided by Dana-Farber

  • $75 team registration fee
  • $5,000 basic fundraising commitment (amount set by the B.A.A.)
  • $600 race entry fee (amount set by the B.A.A.)

Dana-Farber Running Programs
617-632-1970 or Toll-free 800-551-7036
DFMC@DFCI.harvard.edu

Doug Flutie Foundation

The goal of the Flutie Foundation is to help families affected by autism live life to the fullest. Through our programs and partnerships, we help people with autism get access to care; lead more active lifestyles; and grow toward adult independence.

Susan Hurley
charityteams@comcast.net
978-852-7891

Dream Big!

The mission of Dream Big! is to help girls from low-income situations achieve their dreams by providing them with the basic items and program fees needed to enable them to participate in sports and physical activities that contribute to their health, education, and overall well-being.

Dream Big! partners with organizations, schools and community health centers in economically disadvantaged communities to identify and fulfill the equipment, uniform, athletic footwear, program fees and training needs of girls from low-income situations, in elementary, junior high and high school in order to help them engage in sports and physical activities helping to lay the foundation for healthy, active lifestyles and quality learning experiences.

In addition Dream Big! works to create opportunities for girls to develop social connections with peers and mentors; maintain healthy, active lives; assume leadership roles; and grow physically, emotionally, and socially through sports, clinics, camps, sporting events and the annual Dream Big! Leadership Conference for female athletes from urban communities.

Dream Big! equipment donations, program scholarships, sports clinics and the Dream Big! Leadership Conference impacted over 6000 girls and young women from 50 different sports programs and schools in economically disadvantaged communities last year. Funds raised through the B.A.A. Boston Marathon Charity Program will help Dream Big! to further breakdown the economic barrier that currently prevents many girls from participating in sports and physical activities by increasing equipment, athletic footwear and sports attire donations, program scholarships, sports clinics and training opportunities available to girls in need.

Team Requirements for Dream Big! Marathon Team Numbers

  • $40 non-refundable team registration fee
  • $5,000 basic fundraising commitment (amount set by the B.A.A.)
  • $350 race entry fee (amount set by the B.A.A.)

Linda Driscoll
bostonmarathon@dream-big.org
857-404-0123

Family Aid Boston

FamilyAid Boston is proud to have the generous contribution of non-qualifying charity marathon bibs from the John Hancock Boston Marathon Non-Profit Program for the 2016 Boston Marathon. These numbers will be assigned to runners who are not time-qualified for the Marathon based on each applicant’s responses on the FamilyAid Boston application. Please return applications as soon as possible but no later than Friday, October 23, 2015.

Hale Reservation

The Hale Outdoor Learning Adventures program is a proud partner of Boston’s Public Schools Summer Learning Project (SLP). The four main goals include: (1) reversing summer learning loss in English Language Arts (ELA) and math, (2) helping students develop the vital social-emotional skills that research supports are necessary for school, college, and career success, (3) strengthening school-community partnerships through high quality programming, and (4) promoting student health and wellness.

The achievement gap between low-income students and their higher-income peers is explained largely by unequal access to learning opportunities beyond the school day. Summer is an especially precious resource. Students who don’t participate in learning programs lose substantial knowledge and skills gained during the school year. This well documented “summer learning slide” most adversely affects low-income students, is cumulative across a young person’s lifetime, and represents an expensive leak in our educational pipeline. Mounting evidence suggests that quality summer programs can stem this loss and, in some cases, even accelerate students’ progress.

Today’s youth struggle with a mounting obesity epidemic and the lure of technology that typically discourages physical activity. Studies show that physical activity is directly linked to brain health. Additionally, time spent outdoors leads to mental stimulation and has numerous health benefits, including improved eye development and auditory processing. Being outdoors and active is paramount for healthy youth development.

If providing healthy outdoor living and educational opportunities for low-income Boston students resonates with you, we encourage you to apply and Run like Hale!

Paula McLaughlin
PMcLaughlin@halereservation.org
781-326-1770 ext. 18

Joe Andruzzi Foundation

Save the date! On Monday, April 18, 2016 – Marathon Monday – the Joe Andruzzi Foundation’s “Team JAF” runners will take strides against cancer at the 2016 Boston Marathon® for the sixth straight year.

Team JAF is made up of charity runners, as well as those receiving entries through qualification or outside invitations. All fundraising by Team JAF members directly supports the Foundation’s mission of providing help, hope, and a reason to smile for cancer patients and their families.

To be notified when Team JAF’s 2016 Boston Marathon application period opens, email TeamJAF@joeandruzzifoundation.org.

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is a national voluntary health organization whose mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s Disease and myeloma, and to improve the quality of life for patients and their families. Team In Training is the Society’s signature fundraising campaign. It is the first, largest, and most successful endurance sports training program of its kind. To date, Team In Training has trained over a half a million athletes and raised over $1.2 billion dollars nationally in the race to find a cure for blood cancers.

Why run with the TEAM?
All Team In Training (TNT) runners will enjoy:

  • Individualized coaching from certified coaches with multiple years experience coaching for Boston Marathon.
  • Weekly group training runs on the Boston Marathon course, supported by volunteers at water stops and cheer stations. 
  • Weekly track workouts in the Boston-metro area. 
  • Personalized fundraising website, as well as multiple fundraising resources based on our 27 year old fundraising program. 
  • Mentoring from past participants. 
  • Inspirational pasta party and victory celebration.

Louise Popp
BostonMarathonTeam@lls.org
508-810-1341

Requirements for TNT Runners (non-Waivered)
– $150 TNT registration fee
– $350 B.A.A. registration fee
– $5,000 fundraising commitmen (as set by the B.A.A.)

Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation

The Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation Inc. was formed by the parents of eight-year-old Martin Richard, who was killed during the April 15, 2013 bombings near the finish of the Boston Marathon.

In the days after the bombing, a photo of Martin holding a handmade poster that read “No more hurting people. Peace” went global and made many see Martin as a symbol of peace. Martin loved learning, sports and the world around him. He participated in the BAA Children’s Relay on Marathon weekend for three consecutive years, was a school “peacemaker,” and recognized at a young age that while we are all different, we are all the same. The way Martin saw the world, anything was possible.

His parents, Bill and Denise determined it was fitting that the foundation should honor Martin’s message of peace by investing in education, athletics and community.

The mission of Martin’s foundation is simple: The Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation honors Martin’s message of “No more hurting people. Peace” by investing in education, athletics and community.

office@teammr8.org

Minimum Fundraising Amount: $7,500

Melanoma Foundation of New England

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, killing one person every 50 minutes. It is the 2nd most common cancer in teens and young adults ages 15-29. However, when caught early it is almost always curable. The Melanoma Foundation of New England was founded in 1999 with the goal to make New England melanoma free. We provide support and advocacy programs for melanoma patients and their loved ones and work to increase public awareness of sun-safe behavior and the importance of early detection. Since our first runner crossed the finish line in 2005, our Running for Cover marathon team has raised over $1,000,000 to support our mission of education, prevention and support in the fight against melanoma.

Our runners will receive membership to Joint Ventures marathon training program, training support from our team captains, exclusive meet and greet with Honorary Team Captain Bill Rodgers, informative team meetings and celebratory team events, team long runs on the marathon course, Running for Cover team apparel, private pre-race team space in Hopkinton, and lots of sunscreen and lip balm for protected running! To help our runners exceed their fundraising goals, MFNE also provides fundraising tips, resources and one-on-one help. Team Running for Cover consists of both qualified and charity runners. Despite coming from different backgrounds and levels of running experience, each of our runners share a passion for our cause. Many of them are survivors, family members of survivors, or lost a loved one to melanoma. It is their dedication that helps spread awareness and educate others. Together we can outrun melanoma!

Amy Mason
runningforcover@mfne.org
978-371-5613

Requirements for Invitational Entry Runners:

Invitational runners have not received an official race entry through another source.

  • Raise a minimum of $5,000 by May 18, 2016. While the required minimum is set at $5,000 per runner, additional consideration will be given to runners who are willing to make a more aggressive fundraising commitment (in 2015, runners accepted to our team committed to $8,000-$10,000+).
  • Submit a non-refundable $20 application fee upon apply to the team. If accepted, this fee will be applied towards your fundraising.
  • Submit a non-refundable $100 processing fee, valid credit card information and signed team contract upon acceptance to the team. This fee will not be applied towards your fundraising.
  • Pay a BAA race application fee of $350 (subject to change) in addition to your fundraising minimum.
  • 18 years of age or older by April 18, 2016.
  • Capable of running a marathon in less than 6 hours.

Team Benefits

Qualified and Invitational  runners will receive all of the same great team benefits!

  • Guaranteed Race Entry for the 2016 Boston Marathon
  • Celebratory team events with Running for Cover members
  • Exclusive team training clinics and Joint Ventures marathon training program 
  • Training support from seasoned marathoners, Dr. Robin Travers and Greg Earley
  • Meet and Greet with Honorary Team Captain, four time Boston Marathon winner Bill Rodgers
  • Fundraising tools and support to help your exceed your fundraising goals. Additionally, you will have a unique fundraising website where you can share your story and accept secure online donations.
  • Private pre-race team space in Hopkinton where runners can stretch, eat and get ready for their run
  • Fundraising contests and incentives
  • Exclusive Running for Cover apparel
  • Cheering section for family members and supporters along marathon course
  • Sunscreen and Lip balm for protected running
  • The knowledge that you are running to support MFNE’s mission of education, prevention and support!
  • and more!

Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership

Apply now to join Team MBHP 2016!

We are accepting applications on a rolling basis now through November 9. Spaces may be filled before then, so submit your application now!

Basic financial requirements to participate as a nonprofit runner include:

  • $5,000 fundraising commitment (minimum set by the nonprofit program).
  • $350 race entry fee (fee set by the B.A.A.).

MBHP welcomes qualified and other runners who already have a 2016 Marathon number and want their marathon experience to include transforming lives.

  • We will work with you to set and achieve a personal fundraising goal.
  • Contact Mary Jo Kane at at maryjo.kane@mbhp.org or 617.425.6705 to find out how you can join the team.

Members of Team MBHP receive

  • A personal fundraising web page and on-line tools that make fundraising easy.
  • An invitation for you and your supporters to attend our annual Marathon Celebration.
  • A training program and support from MBHP’s in-house marathon coach.
  • Regular team meetings and Team MBHP dinner.
  • Team MBHP singlet.
  • Support for fundraising and outreach efforts.
  • Incentives for achieving fundraising milestones.
  • And much more!

Application deadline is November 9.

MetroWest YMCA

The MetroWest YMCA responds to community needs through affordable wellness, educational and recreational programs that help strengthen and support MetroWest area children and families.

The Y is dedicated to providing programs and services that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. In order to achieve the Y’s overall goal of strengthening community, the Y focuses on three major areas: youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

The MetroWest YMCA is a cause-driven charitable organization. One of every 8 people at the Y receives Y financial assistance. Team MWY Boston Marathon runners will raise funding for financial aid, to enable more children and families to learn, grow and thrive.

Miriam Kimball
mkimball@metrowestymca.org
508-879-4420 x53

  • Applicants must raise a minimum of $5,000 by April 24th or pay the balance in full themselves.
  • Runners will become members of the MWY Boston Marathon Running Team and will receive
    an individualized personal training program, including a training schedule, running group class, weekly group runs, positive encouragement, fundraising guidance and tools, injury prevention training and safety topics to help runners meet their marathon goals.

Submit your application today! Go to metrowestymca.org  and click on the  Boston Marathon link

The application fee is $25. Selection from applications for the Marathon number will occur on November 6th at which time a non-refundable deposit of $100 and a credit card number will be required. The deposit will apply toward the fundraising goal.  For questions, please contact mkimball@metrowestymca.org.

Michael Carter Lisnow Respite Center

The mission of the The Michael Carter Lisnow Respite Center is to create a home away from home for children and adults with disabilities, a place that offers parents time off from the emotional and physical care needed by their children. The Respite Center now provides intensive support services for families including daycare, after school care, adult day programs, overnight respite care, supervised residential placements and community employment supports.

Wendy Sousa
wendysousa@hopkintonrespite.com
508-435-1222

Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation 

Support the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), recognized as one of the most significant innovators in cancer research. Founder Kathy Giusti was recently named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, recognition for her leadership and the MMRF’s transformational way of developing and conducting medical research and drug development.

The work of the MMRF is dramatically improving the outlook for patients with multiple myeloma. Since its inception 16 years ago, the life span of a myeloma patient has more than doubled. The treatments being developed with funds from the MMRF are now being explored as treatment for 30 other cancers. The MMRF directs an exemplary 90% of its budget to research and related programming, consistently earning the foundation ranking in the top 1% of all charities by the nation’s leading charity evaluators, like Charity Navigator.

Jane Hoffmann
marathon@themmrf.org
203-391-4053

National MS Society

The Marathon Strides Against MS team is comprised of invitational and qualified runners who are dedicated to creating a world free of multiple sclerosis. Team members raise funds to support the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s leadership in funding cutting-edge research and treatments to stop progression of the disease, to restore all function lost to MS, and to end multiple sclerosis forever.

The Society’s Greater New England Chapter help 21.000 individuals and families affected by multiple sclerosis in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.  Eighty-four (84) percent of monies raised by the Chapter helps address the challenges of each person affected by MS through MS education, emotional support, public advocacy, facilitating independence, and financial assistance to help individuals and families keep their lives moving forward.

Nancy Dlugoenski
nancy.dlugoenski@nmss.org
413-659-0036, ext. 87301

Neurofibromatosis Northeast

Since 1988 Neurofibromatosis Northeast has had runners participating in the Boston Marathon and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for NF research and patient support.

If you would like to be considered to be on a future NF Boston Marathon team, please contact Diana Flahive, Director of Special Events at dflahive@nfincne.org and we will forward you an NF Marathon Team application when it becomes available.

Going forward, NF Marathon team members will not be selected on a first come, first serve basis, but through an application process. Space on the team is very limited and top consideration will be given to those applicants who commit to hitting fundraising goals at or above $7,500.

New England Patriots Foundation 

The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation is the nonprofit organization established by the Kraft family in 1994 to support charitable and philanthropic agencies throughout New England. This support comes in the form of direct grants and the donation of signed memorabilia to charitable causes, as well as from Patriots players who offer their support by appearing at charity functions throughout the year. The funds raised by the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation’s Boston Marathon team will be earmarked for the Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards program. For more information about the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, please visit www.patriots.com/community.

Susan Hurley
charityteams@comcast.net
978-852-7891

Project Purple

Attention all runners! Project Purple is now accepting applications for the 2016 Boston Marathon team. We’re looking for runners of every stripe, so don’t be afraid to submit your application for consideration. At the moment, we are not making any decisions about team members. If you want to be considered once we start choosing runners, please submit your application soon. The selection process will start sometime in early fall.

Benefits:

  • Guarenteed Entry
  • Personalized Training
  • Coach Bus to the Start of the Race on race morning
  • Group Training runs in the Boston area
  • Customized web page for on line donations
  • Team Uniform
  • Pre Race Dinner
  • Post Race Party

Signing this application only serves to verify that you’re human. It doesn’t guarantee you a spot on the team or oblige you to participate if you are selected for the team.

If you’re having trouble with the application, or have questions about the team, please contact Elizabeth Mauldin atelizabeth@run4projectpurple.org.

Red Sox Foundation

The official team charity of the Boston Red Sox, the Red Sox Foundation harnesses the power of Red Sox Nation to support select programs serving at risk children and families across New England. The Foundation’s efforts are primarily focused on our cornerstone programs, including the Red Sox Scholars Program, which provides mentoring, enrichment programs and a college scholarship to academically talented but economically disadvantaged Boston public school students, and the Red Sox Foundation’s RBI and Rookie League youth baseball and softball programs serving inner city children and teens each summer. The team charity also supports the new Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with combat stress and traumatic brain injury, The Dimock Center in Roxbury, serving more than 40,000 low-income families in Boston’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods as well as The Jimmy Fund, supporting breakthrough cancer research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

The Red Sox Foundation has won a number of awards including Major League Baseball’s first-ever MLB Commissioner’s Award for Philanthropic Excellence and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Sports Philanthropy Project Patterson Award as “Best Team Charity in Sports.” We are honored to partner with the BAA and 100% of the proceeds raised through our charitable team’s participation in the Boston Marathon will be used to support the Red Sox Scholars program and RBI youth softball/baseball programs. For more information about our nonprofit cornerstone programs, please visit www.redsoxfoundation.org. We thank the BAA and all of the Red Sox Foundation’s Marathon runners and those who support them – with each mile, you are helping to close the opportunity gap for disadvantaged youth in our community.

Gena Borson
redsoxfoundation@redsox.com
617-226-6440

Run to End Alzheimer’s

As part of our team, you will receive:

Training Support
Receive a personal training program tailored for your running level, professional coaching, and fully-supported weekly team runs through the training season.

Fundraising Support
Get fundraising ideas, strategies, support and one-on-one fund raising coaching to help you easily meet and easily exceed your personal commitment!  You’ll also get access to a personal online fundraising site and a press release tailored for publication opportunities in local media.

Team Info Sessions
Get expert advice on training, injury prevention, nutrition, race strategies and more at our monthly meetings in our Watertown, MA office.

Team Gear
Wear your official, complimentary Run to End Alzheimer’s singlet with pride.  In addition, our online store has additional Alzheimer’s team gear at reasonable prices.

Team Recognition
Including special get-togethers during the training season, a pre-race recognition banquet and post-race celebration.

Fundraising
Run to End Alzheimer’s Boston Marathon participants are as passionate about the cause as the event. Most have a personal connection with Alzheimer’s disease. That’s why the majority of our runners exceed the charitable fundraising minimum of $7,500 per runner for non-qualified entrants and $1,750 for those who secured their own entry.

Team Brookline

Team Brookline is the Town of Brookline’s official Boston Marathon team. Established in 2012 by the Town and managed by Brookline Community Mental Health Center, the team benefits four local charities that play an integral role in strengthening and enriching our community: Brookline Community Mental Health Center, Brookline Education Foundation, Brookline Library Foundation, and Brookline Teen Center. Since the program’s inception, Team Brookline runners have raised more than $650,000 – an amazing accomplishment that has made a true impact in the lives of all who live, work and study in Brookline.

Questions about Team Brookline? Interested in sponsoring the team or volunteering? Please contact team manager, Greta Teller.

Are you a runner with a passion for mental health? Want to run the 2016 Boston Marathon to expand access to care for adults and children in our community? As a member of Team Brookline, you’ll receive:

  • Official 2016 Boston Marathon number
  • Individualized coaching and training
  • Personalized fundraising support
  • Weekly training runs on the race course
  • Camaraderie of training with a team
  • Fulfillment of running for a great cause!

Applications due September 30, 2015. Please select Brookline Community Mental Health Center as the referring charity on your application.

Tenacity, Inc.

Founded in 1999, Tenacity, Inc. serves over 5,000 City of Boston students annually with high quality programs that impart the skills and resilience needed for under-served youth to lead productive, successful lives.

The Tenacity Pathway to Post-Secondary Success is comprised of year-round programs serving students aged six through college graduation with academic enrichment, tennis instruction and competition, and other life enhancing experiences. Over 98% of our Middle School Academy graduates earn their high school diploma; 70% of those students pursue post secondary academics.

Funds raised through the B.A.A. Boston Marathon Official Charity Program directly support the free programs Tenacity, Inc. offers City of Boston youth.

Caroline Lane
caroline.lane@comcast.net
508-259-3594 or 617-562-0900

Tenacity will field a team of 15 charity runners. The minimum fundraising requirement to be considered for the team is to raise $5,000 by April 18, 2016. Tenacity Marathon Team runners typically raise $7,500 on average.

Tufts Medical Center

Tufts Medical Center is a world-class, not-for-profit, 415-bed academic medical center that is home to both a full-service hospital for adults and Floating Hospital for Children. Located in downtown Boston, Tufts Medical Center offers comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services for adults and children and is the principal teaching hospital for the Tufts University School of Medicine.

Founded in 1796 as the Boston Dispensary, Tufts Medical Center is the oldest permanent medical facility in New England and one of the first hospitals in the nation. For more than 200 years, Tufts Medical Center has pioneered innovative programs in clinical care, biomedical research, education and health care delivery.

Team Tufts MC aims to raise funds through the Boston Marathon to support our mission to heal, to comfort, to teach, to learn, and to seek the knowledge to promote health and prevent disease. We dedicate ourselves to furthering our rich tradition of health care innovation, leadership, charity and the highest standard of care and service to all in our community.

Lauren Tedeschi
Development Coordinator, Events
ltedeschi@tuftsmedicalcenter.org
617-636-8974

Members of Team Tufts MC you will enjoy a variety of benefits, including:

  • Personalized training and nutrition assistance from our experienced team Coach
  • Team Tufts MC running singlet and runner gift
  • Team social outings and pre-marathon pasta dinner
  • Fundraising incentives
  • The ability to make a huge impact on the lives of our patients and their families

Minimum Fundraising: $5,000

Timmmmberrrrman!

August 21, 2015

I’m writing this in between continuously stuffing my face because of my constant, insatiable hunger.  Who knew that completing a Half Ironman would leave one so hungry?  Oh, spoiler alert, I completed my first Half Ironman at the Timberman 70.3 race!  This blog entry will serve as my “race recap,” of the aforementioned finishing.

After I decided I wanted to make a 70.3 race my goal for this racing season I got a number of recommendations to do Timberman, which had the benefits of being late in the season and fairly close.  I was looking for a late in the season race to have an opportunity to get in a good amount of outdoor riding and open water swimming.  I mainly succeeded at the first goal and got in enough OWS either swimming at Walden Pond or in races to feel comfortable heading into the race.  Of course, I also had planned on using the summer to get in a lot of brick workouts and that plan…failed.  Miserably failed.  And, of course, that came back to bite me come the run leg.

We headed up to New Hampshire on Saturday morning and made our way to Gunstock Mountain, where the Ironman Village was located as well as a meet and greet for Make-A-Wish racers with none other than Andy Potts.  Andy, I call him Andy, gave a stirring message about the good we can all do in the world for others, “you don’t have to help everyone, just start with the person next to you.”  During his talk, he got quite choked up, which of course got me quite choked up.

Potts Choked Up

It was incredibly inspiring to hear him speak, not to mention hearing from the Wish kids themselves.  Alex didn’t speak, but his story provides a great example of the difference Make-A-Wish can make.

Wish Kid

Of course, there were photo ops to be had.

IM Village

The eagle-eyed of you may note that I am simultaneously representing both the old and new Slipstream Sports teams with my Garmin argyle New Balances, and Cannondale argyle water bottle.  It was roughly about this time that I realized I had unimaginably left my wallet back home, roughly 90 miles away.  Me.  The guy who loves buying race swag.  That guy.  I had a near panic-attack at the thought of not being able to check in without photo ID, but some very lovely volunteers devised a clever way to check my identity, i.e. they covered up my birthday on the entrants form and then asked me what it was.  Disaster averted.  I did end up buying one piece of swag, thanks to R having a second card of my credit card on her, a Timberman bike jersey.  The rest of the village was fairly meh, with a couple tents selling some Gu products and other things that you might have forgotten to pack, like spare tubs, CO2 cannisters, etc.  While I did pick up some Salt Stick salt tabs, I did regret not getting some Base Salts for the race.

After Gunstock, we made the short 10 minute trip over to Ellacoya State Park where the actual race takes place.  This presented one of the aspects of race organization I had an issue with, namely the complete lack of parking assistance in a space that very much needed it.  We had absolutely no idea where we were supposed to park, or even how to get out of the parking lot once we did.  After that, however, it was a breeze to get my bike racked up in transition.  Knowing there was a possibility of rain in the forecast, I covered my bars and seat with garbage bags, which proved to be the right call after thunderstorms swept through the area.

IMG_5564

 

With logistics behind us, and a sweet new Make-A-Wish tri top in hand, we headed to our bed and breakfast, the Nutmeg Inn.  For those reading this with an eye towards potentially doing Timberman 2016, I’d encourage you to book your accommodations early.  We were happy enough with the Inn, and they were kind enough to get up at 4:30 a.m. to make sure there was coffee ready for the racers staying there, but the options run out quickly for places close to the start.

Fast forward to the bracing buzz of the alarm at 4:30 a.m., and race day was finally upon me.  I did my best to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on homemade sourdough bread that the inn owner made for me (super sweet, right?), and we headed over to the park.  One of the great perks of racing for Make-A-Wish was the VIP area they had set up for racers and family members.  This meant we had a place to hang out before the race along with a supply of water, Cokes, and other goodies.  But, the absolute best part was the dedicated Port-A-Potties, which meant no lines!  That they were decked out in disco lights made them all the cooler.

Make A Wish Potties

R and I made our way over to the swim start and I took some time to get acclimated in the water along with some easy swimming to loosen up.  The water was really pretty perfect, just cool enough to make it comfortable in a wetsuit.

Swim Warm Up

After watching a bunch of other waves go off, it was finally my turn to begin with the second set of M30-34.  I made an effort to smile throughout the day to keep my spirits and energy up, not to mention reminding myself to have fun.

Swim Smile

The other guys in my wave clearly shared my general antipathy towards the leg, with only a handful of them eager to be right in the front of the pack.

Swim Start

My biggest concern with the swim, other than, you know, distance and speed, was staying on course.  I have such a tendency to veer that it can add a not-insignificant amount of yards to the distance, which I cannot afford.  Luckily, this course had a number of intermediate buoys in between the turn buoys, giving ample targets to sight to.  I did my best to maintain an even effort throughout the swim and, while I did get passed by people that started in waves after me, I didn’t get that same feeling of sluggishness I did during the Mass State Oly.

I didn’t start my stopwatch during the swim, but did note when we started time-wise.  As I made my way out of the water, I was surprised to see that I had gone roughly 43 minutes, much better than my anticipated best case scenario of 50 minutes, given that I had just swam a pool mine in 39:50.  My official time was 43:54, which I will take every day of the week, and twice on race day.

Swim Transition

The path to transition was nice grass, and took us past wetsuit strippers, an experience I’d never had before.  I had no clue what to do, but had seen them in Ironman videos.  So, I got down on the ground, some volunteer grabbed the suit, and then he pulled it off in one fell swoop.  It was AWESOME.

Swim Transition (2)

I didn’t exactly rush through T1, trying to take my time to make sure I had the fuel I planned on bringing .  Of course I forgot one pack of Skratch Labs chews and only brought one salt tab, instead of two, but, c’est la vie.  After a few minutes, I grabbed my bike and made the fairly long trek out of transition.

Bike Exit

As you can see, I decided to go with my XX2i sunglasses and The Athletic socks.  Thankfully R noticed that my tri top rode up in the back, leaving a perfect opportunity for a “tramp stamp” sunburn.

Tramp Stamp

Glad I put sunblock on that spot!  Also, apparently my move was the fist pump all day when passing the Make-A-Wish cheer tent.

Bike Fist Pump

I rolled out onto the course, trying to stay at a moderate pace, knowing the first 11 miles or so of the course included some pretty good climbs.  Here is the elevation profile from my Garmin.

Bike Elevation

There are two Cat 4 sections as identified by Strava, and roughly 2700 ft. in elevation over the course.

The advice I’d heard over and over going into the race was to go easy those first/and then last 11 miles and open up a little more over the middle part, all the while saving energy for the run.  Of course, unsurprisingly, I screwed that up.  I actually felt reasonably good on the hills, attempting to stay in my saddle as much as possible to avoid overcooking my legs.  To my surprise, I even passed people on the climbs, which are anything but my strength.  With the hard opening behind me, I opened up some, still trying to stay in a zone where I wasn’t laboring to breathe.  However, when I hit the 40 mile mark at an average of 20 mph, I knew I had probably made a mistake in pacing, given that I’d never ridden that fast in any training ride.  Oops.

For fueling, I took two bottles filled with Skratch Labs drink mix as well as Skratch Labs chews and Untapped Maple Syrup.  I tried to drink every 5 miles or so and take solid fuel every 10 miles, which I more or less executed.  I did drop a nearly full pack of chews though at mile 5 while trying to get it back into my top tube bag.  That’s what I get for not practicing zipping and unzipping the bag.

As for the actual course, I think I was expecting something a little more…scenic?  It’s not that it was a bad course, though there were a few fairly rough sections of pavement along the way, it was just…road.  There was almost always a good amount of shoulder to ride on, and I never had trouble passing anyone.  The course was well-marked with plenty of volunteers.

I slowed down some from mile 40, partially because I was getting tired, partially because I was trying to preserve what little I had left in my legs.  In the end, I averaged 19.4 mph (based on my Garmin start and stop) with an official leg time of 2:51:27, 90/185 in my division.

I felt pretty good heading out for the run, throwing on my New Balance Zante Boston shoes and visor, while downing two salt tabs ahead of what was sure to be a hot, hilly, run.  From what I’d been told, the run course would be a fairly unrelenting, rolling, course.  The intelligence was right.

Run Elevation

I really didn’t have much of a game plan heading into the run, which was just as well, as it would have fallen apart fairly quickly anyway.  Simply put, I was cooked, and the walking started somewhere around mile 5.  The real anxiety came in the first mile though, when I realized I’d completely forgotten to grab my race belt in T2, which meant I was running without a bib.  While I was somewhat concerned about being DQ’ed as a result of not having a bib, I admit I was probably more worried about not getting my pictures!

The course followed the lake shore, though I was expecting more of a view, and was basically an out-and-back done twice, even though it’s described as two “loops.”  On the first “back,” I started walking most of the uphills, then trying to run after.  I got a little pick up during a random French chat with a Canadian before going through the spectator area and seeing R before starting lap 2.  I had asked that she have a Coke ready for me, and she was spot on with it.  It was a welcome respite in the heat, and I thank Todd Christy of Chillmark Coffee for the suggestion.

Run Coke

I knew heading out for Lap 2 that it would be a slog.  I grabbed a couple minutes rest while an extremely nice woman who was doing…something or other…in transition was able to grab my race belt.  At least I wouldn’t have to worry about that aspect of the race.  I also managed another fist pump for Make-A-Wish.

Run Fist Pump

Truly, there’s little to say about the second lap which was, for all intents and purposes, the same as the first.  I gave everything I could, but was eventually really held up by calf cramps starting around mile 12.  This seems to be an inescapable problem for me in long races.  Hopefully at one point I’ll be able to dial in my fueling to avoid this problem.

Eventually the finish line was in sight.  I couldn’t exactly kick it in for fear of my calves completely seizing, but I limped across the line with a final time of 6:00:17, and a run split of 2:14:59, 93/185.

Run Finish

And, with that, I became a Half Ironman.  On R’s advice, I slowly made my way over to the lake to try to cool down some, as I was feeling roughly the same way I did after running the Boston Marathon in the heat, as you can probably sense in the picture below.

 

 

Lake Sitting

The lake felt absolutely wonderful, and I started to feel a little better after the dip.

All in all, Timberman was a fantastic experience, and one I’m very proud of.  I’m fairly certain there will be another 70.3 in my future, though I’m not entirely sure which one it will be.  I re-learned the same lessons I have from previous races, including that a lack of brick workouts will bite you in the ass, and nutrition is best not left to chance.  I also learned to actually trust myself and my training a little more heading into race day.

Many thanks to R for putting up with me during the race weekend and being a great photographer and sherpa on race day.

Enjoy the ride, dear readers!

Skechers GOrun Ride 4

May 21, 2015

It has been way, way too long since I’ve done any kind of review here but, today, that drought ends.  If you’ve visited the blog before, you know I’m a big fan of the offerings of Skechers Performance, having previously reviewed the Ride3 and Bionic.  I’ve now had a good amount of time to test out one of the newer entries in the SP lineup, the Ride4, including using it for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in Washington, DC and trying it out in a sprint triathlon.

To get the basics out of the way, the Ride4 is a neutral shoe with a 4 mm drop.  Like many other SP shoes, you can remove the stock insole to turn it into a zero-drop shoe, which I’ve done with the Bionics and have really liked.  The Ride4 also makes use of SP’s M-strike technology, which is meant to encourage a midfoot strike, and their GOimpulse sensors, which are designed to provide more sensory feedback with the ground.  Reported weight comes in at 8.4 oz.

IMG_1661

I’ve yet to be disappointed by an SP shoe and the Ride4 has proven no exception.  I particularly like the update in the upper from the 3 to the 4, which features a lot more mesh and improved laces.  What you cannot see, unfortunately, is the inclusion of a small thumb hole in the ankle of the shoe, which allows for the shoes to be pulled on quickly, aided by the slightly elastic upper and softer heel cup.  I rarely even untie these shoes on a day to day basis.  While many might not make much use of the pull hole, I found it very helpful when I tried them out in a sprint triathlon, allowing me to slip on the shoes quickly in transition.

On the triathlon side, though, I would note that the seem at the top of the forefoot, where gray meets black, did not agree with my bare feet…at all, giving me a pretty decent abrasion when I tried the shoes sockless.  With socks, I’ve never experienced any issues with irritation.
The sockless issue aside, I love running in these shoes.  Whether or not the M-Strike technology actually affects my stride, I don’t know, but I do know I at least FEEL like it’s easy land on my midfoot, with the ride never feeling clunky.  It’s hard to pinpoint why, but these shoes feel a lot lighter underfoot than the claimed weight might indicate.  What I particularly like is that, unlike many lighter weight shoes, the Ride4’s toe box feels generously wide, without feeling like my feet are sloshing around side to side.
So, if you’re looking for a lightweight trainer or racer for triathlons or longer races, I’d highly recommend you check out the Skechers Performance Ride 4 as an option!

 

Pilgrimman Triathlon Race Recap: The OK, The Good, and The Ugly

September 30, 2014

It seems as if a whole summer has passed since my last blog entry, which is unsurprising I suppose given that a whole summer has passed since my last blog entry.  I’d feel bad about that, but truth be told there’s really been very little to write home about as I’ve spent the summer trying to prepare myself for this past weekend’s Pilgrimman Olympic Distance Triathlon.  The advertised distances for the race were 0.9 mile swim, 28 mile bike, and 6.6 mile run.

I’m not entirely sure why, but there seems to be a naming convention for triathlons that includes “-man,” particularly if they include a 70.3 distance or longer, see Timberman, Eagleman, Pumpkinman, etc.  Though the timing is a bit off to be associated with Thanksgiving, Pilgrimman did take place in the Myles Standish State Forest in Plymouth, MA, Myles Standish being a passenger on the Mayflower and first commander of Plymouth Colony’s militia.  Check out the flow on the pilgrim.

I set Pilgrimman, in its inaugural year, as my target race for my inaugural season training for triathlons and spent the summer building up my swim and bike strength while trying to maintain a semblance of running shape.  Of course, when I signed up for the race I didn’t have a very good sense of exactly where it was, nor did I know that registration would close at 7:30 a.m.  These two factors combined led to a 4:50 a.m. alarm so I could make sure that my whole race day wouldn’t be scuttled by a failure to get through registration on time.  This leads me to my first gripe with Pilgrimman, two gripes actually.  First, registration did not close at 7:30.  This gripe has more to do with being annoyed that I lost out on maybe 30 extra minutes of sleep and less to do with an insistence that races keep their word about when they say registration will close.  Frankly, it’s a good thing if they accommodate stragglers.  Still, it was clear that the 7:30 time was unnecessarily early.  Second, they had run out of all but extra-large size t-shirts by the time I checked in, around 7:20 a.m.  This was particularly vexing given that the shirt was included in the registration fee and I doubt there were many triathletes interested in XL size t-shirts.  Big deal?  Nah.  Annoying and an issue that should be addressed next year?  Yes, absolutely.  In any event, I was glad I had everything ready to go the night before so I didn’t have to wake up any earlier than I already had to.

2014-09-27 20.51.36-1

With registration materials in hand, I headed over to the transition area and got all markered up.  I wouldn’t exactly say the transition area was especially clearly laid out, but it was good enough and I was able to snag a primo piece of real estate on the bike rack.  Unlike at the Dam Triathlon, this time I had a decent sense of how to set up my transition area with the hopes of cutting down on my T1 and T2 times from my first attempt.  I munched on a half a pack of Honey Stinger chews to go along with my breakfast of toast and butter (note I include these details mostly in anticipation of a potential coach reading them at some point and critiquing my pre-race fueling) and passed the time talking with some fellow competitors, including one older gentleman rocking a wicked sweet pair of jorts over his tri-kit.  Finally, with everything in place, it was time to head down to the beach for the swim.

Despite my instincts towards laziness and an aversion to swimming any more than absolutely necessary, I convinced myself that everyone else who was in the water warming up must have some better idea about the right way to get ready for a swim than I did.  So, ever so slowly, I made my way into what turned out to be cold, cold water, at least to my delicate sensibilities.  Though all I wanted to do was rush back to shore and get warm, I ducked under the water and embarked on a roughly 50 meter warm-up swim.  OK, it wasn’t a lot, but I think it let me get over that first chest-crushing rush of coldness and anxiety that could otherwise completely sabotage the swim leg.  Fast forward through other age group swim starts and it was finally time to start.

That's me, bending down.

That’s me, bending down.

The swim was 3 laps for the Olympic distance, laid out in rectangular fashion with a short beach run from the end of each lap to the start of the next.  I’d like to think that I maintained a fairly even pace throughout the swim, slow that pace may have been.  There were two notable exceptions to the swim going pretty smoothly, the first being when, during the third lap, I veered too far left going around the first buoy (in a counter-clockwise fashion) and had to course-correct back up to the second buoy so that I didn’t cut the course.  Next, on the home stretch I somehow found myself swimming perpendicular to the beach, which, if you are unfamiliar with how races work, is not a good idea.  This is not a good idea, at all.  Thankfully I didn’t get too far before realizing my mistake, and powered through to the beach, dragging myself out of the water and beginning the trudge uphill to the transition.  Final time for the swim was 36:22, a 2:18 pace, good enough for a solid 109th place…out of 146…dang it.  I’m a slow swimmer.  Still, the performance was about what I would have expected, which makes it fine by me.

I tried doing the whole “running” thing but mostly ended up yogging and walking to my bike.  Learning from a mistake I made at Dam, which essentially boiled down to not listening to my mentor Jocelyn’s advice, I put my calf sleeves on under my wetsuit for this race, which meant I didn’t have to spend time pulling them on in T1.  I was dismayed to see that my helmet, which contained my sunglasses and gloves, had been knocked to the ground off my handlebars, but I can’t say it really cost me any time as a result, just annoyance.  I made it out of T1 in 3:44, a big improvement from the 5:01 it took me at Dam.

On to the bike leg.  The course was an out-and-back format, 7 miles out, 7 back, therefore requiring 2 circuits for the full distance.

Bike Course

Though the elevation gain doesn’t seem to reflect it, the course felt like it was an endless series of slight hills with very few flat stretches to speak of.

Bike Elevation

After the end of lap 1, I took one Salted Watermelon Gu and also removed my cycling gloves, which were threatening to numb my hands entirely.  Both turnaround spots featured hairpin turns around a cone, which leads me to the first of my 3 gripes concerning the bike leg, the first being the hairpin turns, which I found difficult to navigate in a narrow space and a big momentum killer.  Frankly, I don’t know what could be done to avoid this, but I don’t like those kind of turns in road races, let alone on the bike.  Next, traffic issues were a major concern for me.  On the first lap I had a run-in with a car that I felt got too close to me on a turn and exchanged some pleasantries with the driver.  I know it can’t have been easy for cars to pass riders given riders going both ways on the road, but as a result I ended up stuck behind cars going up a hill because they refused to pass the rider in front of me.  I’ll give the Pilgrimman RDs some credit for course management in terms of giving directions to riders as I understand from various Facebook posts that there were major issues in the sprint race the day before.  Still, course management remains a concern for me.  Finally, though I love volunteers and am grateful they were there for the race, I found that they crowded the road when handing out water, though maybe I just don’t know how these things work in triathlons, never having been offered water on a bike before.  I’m willing to chalk that last gripe up to personal discomfort with people being too close to me on the bike.

[EDIT: Pilgrimman has announced that the course will be changed next year to a closed course, which is great news.  I really respect how quickly they have moved to address concerns from racers, it’s the mark of a good RD and they should get credit for their alacrity.]

Some shots from the bike leg!

Pilgrimman Pilgrimman DM_140928_8572

I didn’t pass as many people on the bike leg as I did at Dam, but I was still pretty happy with an average pace of 18.7 MPH.  That said, I have a feeling that I extended myself too much, sapping crucial energy for the run.  My time ended up at 1:29:39, good enough for 62nd place on the bike leg, which I can be pleased with.  I quickly racked my bike, gulped down some Gu Brew and a salt tab (thanks to Alett for the suggestion), pulled on my New Balance 890 v4s and headed out of the transition zone to begin my last leg, with a T2 time of 2:11, down from 2:42 at Dam.

I started the run feeling tightness in my quads, and that was about as good as I’d feel all run.  The run course started uphill.  The run course continued uphill.  The run course never stopped uphilling.  OK, that’s an exaggeration, still, the course just felt brutal to me, even though it probably might not have been so hard if it was just a road race.  I had to stop about a half mile in for a bio break – it would not be the last time I had to stop running.  It didn’t take too long to get the feeling that I just did not have very much left in my legs for the run and I soon became fairly demoralized by the feeling that I was running on what seemed to be a net uphill loop, which I previously did not think was possible (that’s a lie, there was a long period in high school when I argued that the Stratton Brook XC course was more uphill than downhill, despite being a loop).  I likely wasn’t in the best frame of mind, but I do have to point out my final two gripes for the course, both having to do with the water stops on the run.  The first probably has to do with me being a curmudgeon, but at the mile 1 water stop the volunteer asked if I wanted water, bottled water, or Gatorade.  I don’t blame the volunteer, and again maybe this is me not understanding the triathlon world, but at that point I just could not process or deal with trying to figure out why I was differentiating between “water” and “bottled water.”  Upon reflection, I’ll move this gripe into a personal preference clash as, maybe, triathletes like getting bottles of water they can carry with them and sip as needed.  Maybe some people put this feature of the race into their plus category.  However, I think my second gripe, now technically my first, is legitimate, namely that the Gatorade on the course was really, really gross.  I’m not sure what went wrong with the mixing process, but something did go terribly wrong, leaving it tasting really bad.  Perhaps this is all to say that maybe I should consider using a fuel belt in the future such that I can have better control over my own hydration needs, something I’ve never worried about in a road race, but, again, triathlon is a different world.

Pilgrimman Pilgrimman DM_140928_9387

As for the run course itself, other than feeling ludicrously hard, it was quite pretty running through the forest, at least during the times I could let myself appreciate the scenery.  All my fellow racers were friendly and encouraging, despite everyone around me appearing to be in some sort of pain or another.  Here are some pictures that relate to the course, and my slow, slow splits thereupon.

Run Course Run Elevation Run Splits

At long last I took the final turn onto the path leading to the finish, which, of course featured another slight incline.  I finished hot, exhausted, but proud.

IMG_4710

Oh, did I mention it was hot?  Like really hot?  Like “unseasonably warm” but hotter?  Well, it was hot.  Was I pleased with the run, which should have been my best leg?  Definitely not.  But, was I proud of the accomplishment of finishing?  You betcha.  There’s plenty to build on and I learned a lot of lessons about both training and racing, including:

  • Do.  More.  Bricks.
  • Swim more, swim faster when swimming more.
  • Run longer distances during training.
  • More bricks.
  • Think about adding a heart rate monitor to racing to not over-exert on the bike.
  • Be less fastidious in transition.
  • Swim straighter, sight more often.
  • Finally, more bricks.
  • Eat a better breakfast pre-race.

I’m sure there are more things I could have done better both in training and racing, but I’ll have to figure them out as I go along.  For now, I can be content with placing pretty darn squarely in the middle of the pack, 76th place overall and 6th in my age group.  I know I can do better.  I know I will do better, and I can’t wait until next tri season to prove it.

2014-09-28 12.49.45

p.s. I don’t want to come off overly harsh on my race experience.  This was a first time race, and it can’t be easy to stage a triathlon in its first year.  Overall it was a very good experience and all the volunteers were outgoing and helpful.  Fixing the t-shirt ordering and traffic issues would go a long way to smoothing the race experience as a whole but, on the whole, I think it was mostly a job well done by the RDs.

2014 Dam Triathlon Recap – I’m A Triathlete?

July 15, 2014

It’s been far too long since an update here, and now all of a sudden it’s like, wait, what, triathlon?  That’s right, dear reader, triathlon.  Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?  In the summer of ’97 I participated in my first triathlon at Winding Trails in Farmington, CT.  At the time, the format was a 1/4 mile pond swim, roughly 8 mile bike ride, then 5K trail run.  The weekly summer race series is still going strong, though they’ve switched up the bike to a 5 mile trail ride.  All the same, pretty neat that the tradition lives on these many, many years later.  At the time of these races not only did I not have a wetsuit (though most racers weren’t using them in the fairly warm water), not have a road bike, instead using my Mongoose mountain bike, but I was running in long mesh shorts and a cotton tank.  That’s right.  Frickin’ COTTON.  I shudder at the thought.  It would be a long time before I embraced the split short as anything but a cross country race piece of apparel.  But, embrace it I have since then.  About the only “legit” gear I had was were my trusty Nike Zoom Country racing flats.  Through the magic of technology, I have been able to take what were once actual physical photographs from those races that could be held in one’s hands and converted them into “digital files,” that I might share them with you.

1048279_10101578151857830_1242313049_o 1039809_10101578151678190_1893153074_o 1048615_10101578151239070_1075576101_o (1)

Sigh, look at that fine head of hair.  Also, please note the old school TYR swim briefs in the middle picture.  Cool briefs, bro.  I’m sorry if that came off as sarcastic, I really do think that dude rocks the grape-smuggler look with panache.

Between those heady high school days and this past weekend, despite having a love affair with road bikes and roughly a dozen solid intentions to get into triathloning, I only followed the sport from the sidelines while concentrating on road racing, geeking out over bike tech, and swimming every now and then for a couple weeks when injured.  Case in point, I purchased a Zoot wetsuit in November 2012 but did not open it until June 2014.  And so, I existed as a pure runner, at least until my wife and I decided to each get bikes.

After a number of test rides and trips to bike shops, which was very difficult work, let me tell you, I finally decided on a Cannondale CAAD8 bike, which seemed to be a good compromise between an “endurance” bike and a “racing” bike in terms of comfort and geometry.  Sure, I could be making that up, but it sounds right at least in my head.  Also, it’s pretty, don’t you think?

10404521_10102312301401260_2124894403487107289_n

I…like taking pictures of my bike.

Concord Ride Mass Ave Bridge

I joined up with local triathlon club Zoom Multisport and starting joining them for Track Tuezday workouts at the Harvard Track and gorgeous Walden Wednezday open water swims (OWSs) at Walden Pond in Concord, starting to get used to swimming in my wetsuit and the difference between pool swimming and non-pool swimming.

Walden 1

Walden Team

I mean, beautiful, right?  Not the worst way to start a day, if I do say so myself.

Now that we’ve established that I had a modicum of training under my belt in the three ancient disciplines of triathlon, let’s get onto the race recap of this past weekend’s Dam Triathlon.  That Dam race (I feel it necessary to overuse the Dam/damn thing as the race itself certainly did) consisted of a 1/2 mile swim, “13” mile bike leg, and “5K” run.  I use quotes to indicate that although the race may have said one thing about the distances, my Garmin said otherwise, as did others’.  In the end, the bike was likely more like 12.5 miles and the run 2.9.

Alright, let’s finally get to the race.  Friend and Zoom teammate Jocelyn picked me up bright and early and we loaded up her Subaru with my bike alongside hers, because taking anything other than a Subaru to a race involving bikes would be a USAT violation.  Arriving in Amesbury, I was downright giddy to go through the pre-race procedures of getting Sharpie’d up with my number and getting my ankle timing chip.  Then it was time to set up my transition spot, which just happened to be right next to another Zoomer, Greg.  Now, I’ve seen transition set-ups before, but somehow trying to do my own filled me with anxiety.  Above all, I didn’t want commit any newbie faux-passes.  Here’s what I ended up with.

2014-07-12 07.44.44

I even managed to do that nifty thing where you hook your bike onto the rack using the saddle…and it didn’t fall down!

And for my fellow shoe geeks, shoes.

Pearl Izumi plus Hoka One One.

Pearl Izumi plus Hoka One One.

Headed to the shore for the start of the race, Rebecca flagged me down and gave me some last minute words of encouragement.  She also got a pre-race shot.

They were supposed to have yellow swimcaps for new triathletes.  Instead, they wrote "NOVICE" on the regular ones.

They were supposed to have yellow swimcaps for new triathletes. Instead, they wrote “NOVICE” on the regular ones.

My swim wave was second in the water behind the elites and was to be a “waist-deep” start, which I didn’t know existed until that day.  I tried to relax a little bit before the start by joking around with my fellow swimmers to calm my nerves and it must have worked because, for my first time in open-water swimming, I didn’t have any moment of panic when I got into the actual swim.

I'm in the white cap.

I’m in the white cap.

My only strategy on the swim itself was to survive and maintain forward momentum.  I achieved the forward momentum goal, and survived as well, but definitely could have done a lot better job when it came to sighting, not that it likely would have done anything to change the fact that I left the water second to last in my age group (12/13) and behind a number of athletes that started 6 minutes after I did.  But, hey, I swam a half mile both without drowning and without collapsing on the beach in a huffing mess after it was over.  Final time for the swim was 17:49, which I’m pretty sure is a time I should be happy with given my training paces.

Photo by Rebecca.  Editing by Snapseed.

Photo by Rebecca. Editing by Snapseed.

2014-07-12 08.20.47

It would be fair to say that my first transition was glacial in pace. In fact, it took a whole 5:01.6.  I should have listened to J’s advice to put my calf sleeves on under my wetsuit and swam with them and I should have gone sockless rather than spending the time to dry off my feet, quite deliberately it would seem given the time.  Other than that, I’m not entirely sure what I could have done to get through the transition faster, but I’m sure as I get some more tris under my belt it’ll just…happen.  Finally, all set up, I made my out of T1.

2014-07-12 08.25.08-2

On to the bike!  I figured I’d be able to make up some time here and set off to do just that.  Then I missed the second turn, roughly 1/8 mile into the leg.  Oops.  Backtracking, I made it onto the real course and set my sights on the cyclists ahead of me.  Riding in the drops, I got into a good rhythm, focusing on keeping my cadence up and “spinning” rather than “pushing” the pedals.  Soon I was making up ground on, and then passing, other competitors, eventually settling in with about 4 or 5 other cyclists that I would trade spots with throughout the remainder of the leg.  I have to say that there was a moment around Mile 8 where I just had to smile, thinking “I’m racing on a bike right now, and that’s pretty neat.”  It was a truly unique moment in my pursuit of athletics, and one I enjoyed tremendously.  My final time on the bike was 39:24, good for a 19.1 MPH average according to Strava, my best MPH average over any distance to date, and 7/13 for my age group.  Speaking of Strava, here’s your Dam bike route map and elevation chart.

Dam Strava Bike

Sadly the official race photographer didn’t get any shots of the bike leg, but thankfully Rebecca was on the spot and got some!

2014-07-12 09.05.02-2

And then it was into T2, which I managed to navigate a lot faster than T1, likely because it mostly involved changing shoes and taking off my helmet.

2014-07-12 09.07.18

And then onto the run, which I hoped would be my best showing.  I slipped on the trial pair of Hoka One One Conquests the Hoka rep procured for me and made my way out to the course.  Although perhaps a bit heavier than the shoes I would normally race a 5K in, I was looking forward to the cushioning that the Hokas would give my legs and the Speed Laces were perfect in aiding my attempt to speed up my transition.  Also, they matched my Pearl Izumi cycling shoes, which is very important.

2014-07-12 09.07.38

Almost immediately, I was hit with the exact same problem I would have way back in high school switching over from the bike to the run…calf cramping.  Also, that whole legs feeling like “bricks” thing was exactly on-point.  I stopped at the side of the road to stretch out my calves whereupon Zoomer Lindsey came up on me and encouraged me to get going.  Thankfully that bit of stretching did the trick and I didn’t have any other issues with them.

The run course was about as hilly a”5K” course as I’ve run, which hills definitely took their toll on my already beaten legs.  I tried to keep my sights set on the runners ahead of me and do my best to pick them off as I could.  Given that I’ve run, and written about, my fair share of road races, I can’t say there was a lot to blog home about when it came to the run leg other than to note that, even in the heat, my Pearl Izumi tri shorts and Zoot tri top were both comfortable to run in.

After one last uphill push, there was a quick corner to turn before finally hitting the finish line, 1:25:48 after I started with a 20:53 run split, which was 5/13 in my age group.  Here’s the pace and elevation chart.

Dam Run Leg

And then, I was done, with a neat and glittery medal in hand.

2014-07-12 12.12.05

 

Flush with excitement, I met up with Rebecca and my fellow Zoomers whereupon we all helped ourselves to the Kegs and Eggs that makes the Dam Triathlon such an appealing race, i.e. one local beer plus some eggs, sausage and blueberry muffin.

The Dam Triathlon was a Dam good way to start my Dam life as a triathlete, or at least an adult triathlete.  Many lessons were learned, and there are many more to come, no doubt.   I’m very grateful for my supportive wife being there to not just cheer me on and take great action shots, but keep me posted on how I’m doing in the field.  Coming out of the water she told me “there are white caps behind you,” which was not quite technically true as there was only one white cap behind me, but it made me feel better nonetheless.  Also thankful for my Zoom teammates, in particular J, who helped me with innumerable training and race-day questions, and then provided more encouragement on the course.

Next up, the Borderline Running Club Triathlon, a 5 mile bike to a pond, 500 yard swim, 5 mile bike back to the start, then a 5K run and then, at the end of September, the Pilgrimman Triathlon, my attempt at the Olympic Distance!

Run, and tri, happy!

 

 

 

Road Runner Sports R-Gear High Five 5″ Short

May 27, 2014

This post kicks off an exciting new relationship with Road Runner Sports!  RRS was kind enough to send me some great clothes from their house R-Gear brand, along with a sweet running dufflebag, for me to review.  I’m going to kick off the reviews with the R-Gear High Five 5″ short.  Here they are, pictured below front and back.

IMG_1864 IMG_1865

Anyone who has seen my race pictures knows that, when it comes to race shorts, I like to keep things as short as possible, usually in the 3.5″ range.  Still, there are times when having a bit of extra coverage is more appropriate, particularly when it comes to group runs when I don’t want to be “that guy in the short shorts.”  What I love about these 5″ shorts is that they give me some extra coverage without making it feel like I am wearing basketball shorts.  You can see where they hit my leg here, which is to say about an inch or two above the knee.

IMG_1825

This is pretty much my ideal length.  The shorts feature a fairly standard built-in mesh brief that didn’t bind or chafe.  The shorts were, in a word: comfortable, even when tackling the stairs of November Project.  When I run, I don’t want to have to think about the clothes I’m wearing, either in a positive or negative light.  If I’m not thinking about them, they are doing their job, and I’m very happy to report that is the case with the High 5 shorts.  When I first put them on, I noticed that the waistband seems a bit thicker and…for lack of a better word, sturdier, than some of my other shorts.  I thought this might wind up bothering me, but instead it proved to be a positive feature, as the waistband material did a better job of staying put without a lot of need for a tight drawstring, which can cause unpleasant pressure in other shorts.  The shorts stayed put, no riding up, no twisting.

A final noteworthy aspect of the shorts are the pockets, which, for anyone training for a longer race, are quite important to get right.  What’s very cool about these shorts, and, I believe, unique among all the shorts I own, is that these shorts have 3 pockets, two of the “holster” style, i.e. slanted on the back hip with velcro closures, and one zip pocket right at the small of the back.  I typically prefer velcro pockets because they allow faster access to gels and I never have to worry about not being able to get a zipper undone when I’m really hurting for fuel.  At the same time, a zippered pocket is really idea for when you want to be certain you don’t lose something important like a key or hotel room card.  3 pockets, one zippered, two velcro, that is the way to go.  Hands down.  Overall, I really liked these shorts and, for $35 they’re priced right too.  I definitely recommend these shorts!

Full Disclosure: These shorts were sent to me free of charge by RRS.  All opinions are my own.