It’s snowing. Again. I made it back to Southie early enough this evening to snag one of the good parking spots on our street (if you’re from around here, you know how we treasure our spots), while Clark claimed his own parking spot. On the sofa. We’re planning to stay put for the rest of the evening, practicing our favorite new duet, “What U Want With My Body.” Clark called dibs on the Gaga parts… so I’m stuck being R. Kelly. Rude.
If you’re looking for something more normal to do this evening, I’ve got an idea… provided you have a bag of buffalo snow laying around. I was first introduced to this magical material at #WFMEtsy, a holiday event hosted by Whole Foods River Street in partnership with Etsy, Boston Handmade and local artists.
After perusing local crafts and meeting vendors at the event, I had the chance to make my own snow globe. As soon as I got my hands on that fluffy, sparkly faux snow, I knew I could make some really fun messes with it at home.
Make your own snow globe
All you need to make your own snow globe… or snow bowl… or snow jar:
Some sort of container (I picked up a few latched jars and shallow cyllinders at A.C. Moore)
A bag of buffalo snow
Random figurines (the weirder, the better)
(Super obvious) directions:
Place figurines in container
Add buffalo snow
Sprinkle some on your dog and transform him into an arctic fairy
New Balance celebrates another season of clear paths along the Charles
If the thought of making your own snow globe picking up tiny scraps of glitter for the next six months sends you running… I get it. And if you’re really running, New Balance has you covered for the fifth winter in a row, having renewed a sponsorship agreement with the DCR to ensure area runners and walkers have clear and safe running paths along the Charles River during the 2014 winter season.
Having trained along the Charles through a particularly snowy and cold Boston winter, I know how valuable this partnership is to our city.
Enjoy those clear paths… while Clark and I enjoy the sofa. And the glitter.
I think the expression Better late than never! was invented as an act of charity towards people like me. People who are just now realizing it’s Thursday.
I had a few really great workouts last week, one’s worthy of sharing, so let’s pretend I am not tardy to, like, every party.
Tuesday: Power Vinyasa Flow at NB Fitness Club with Susan G. Komen Massachusetts and New Balance Lace Up 365
Image courtesy of New Balance
I spent eight hours in Detroit last Monday (and exactly as many hours on planes or in airports), so when my alarm went off bright and early Tuesday, I considered spiking that thing volleyball-style across the room. Instead, I got up, grabbed a great outfit from New Balance’s Lace Up For The Cure line (as part of a minimum $500,000 donation, 5% of proceeds from this line of athletic wear supports Susan G. Komen) and headed to Brighton.
New Balance hosted a number of special workouts this month, helping to raise awareness for their Lace Up 365 campaign. I’d been looking forward to the yoga class for a while, but was so impressed with the overall experience. Before class started, we heard from three breast cancer survivors, who joined us for an hour of Power Vinyasa Flow with Antoinette. While I’d like to blame travel fatigue or pregnancy hormones, I teared up in the back row, listening as Peter, Theresa and Carol shared their stories because all three were so relatable, so honest, and so human. And that’s what I love about the Lace Up 365 campaign. It’s all about honoring those lives affected by breast cancer and ensuring that they are on our minds all year long, not just during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In addition to news and information about breast cancer, you can also find information about dedicating your workouts to survivors on New Balance’s website.
The class itself was the perfect blend of challenging and restorative. I made modifications here and there to accommodate my growing belly (and dwindling balance), and looked up often to see Peter, Theresa and Carol practicing in the row ahead of me. I’m grateful to have been able to spend the morning with such courageous people.
Thursday: Thanksgiving WOD at CrossFit Southie
Nick and I managed to fit in a workout before hitting the road on Thanksgiving, visiting my parents south of the city and his parents north of the city. I had planned to do my own thing while the rest of the class completed a partner WOD, but I ending up pairing up with our friend Kendra and completing the whole workout. I made a few pregnancy-friendly modifications (squats and elevated push-ups in lieu of burpees, step-ups instead of box jumps), but was happy to crank out all the rowing, running, kettle bell swings and double-unders.
A few people have asked me about keeping up with CrossFit while pregnant, and while I am no expert, I think it all comes down to doing your research, consulting with coaches, and doing what feels good. Thanksgiving’s WOD took just over 40 minutes for us to complete, and at a high intensity– this was definitely pushing it for me. Knowing how to scale different workouts (whether for time, reps, intensity, etc.) is so important. If you have specific questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!
Saturday’s hero WOD honored Joe Lengel Jr., 57, of Toledo, OH, who died on November 19, 2012, of a gunshot wound sustained while opening his gym, Crossfit Intensity, early that morning. I finished 8 +8 rounds (I believe the time cap was 35 minutes) and yes, my jump rope matches my Nanos. Pro Regular person user tip: a bit of washi tape on your rope handles ensures your husband never mistakes your rope for his.
I’ve been fitting in long walks at lunch on off days, making sure to stay active despite the fact that my Spandex is getting tighter and tighter. Meanwhile, this baby seems to be getting her own workouts in. I think she’s partial to kickboxing…
Despite the fact that I practically ice skated my way home (so many near falls slash unintentional triple sow cows) from work last night, it is technically spring. I don’t know about you, but I am ready to shed my puffy coat and get outside for a run. In addition to my spring race recommendations, here are a few other great spring fitness opportunities you may want to check out:
New Balance and DCR celebrate spring
New Balance #teamoffbalance at the Reach the Beach Relay finish line
Tomorrow morning (Saturday, March 23rd) from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM, New Balance and Department of Conservation and Recreation are teaming up celebrate clear paths for runners and walkers along the Charles. Stop by the tent near the Hatch Shell where New Balance representatives will be showcasing new products, and proving spring running tips and giveaways. Oh, and free Boston Common Coffee. New Balance is also hosting a fun Twitter contest in conjunction with tomorrow’s event. Tweet @NBBackBay and let them know how you think #NBrunsbos for a chance to win new running kicks from New Balance.
Speaking of New Balance, I stopped by their store in Copley Square last week for the launch of NBPSYCHE, their new line of sports bras. The New Balance ladies were offering bra fittings and recommendations, and donating $10 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure for every fitting that took place. To find a great fitting sports bra and know you’re helping one of your favorite brands support a great cause is definitely a win/win. Isn’t it nice to be a modern lady? You get to write about the new pope one week and bras the next.
BSSC Spring leagues (including a number of new women’s leagues)
After going into temporary soccer retirement (so as to not walk down the aisle covered in bruises), I am making my probably-not-so-triumphant return to the field next week. I’ve been playing the the same team for a number of years now, but we started out as total strangers (this sounds like the start of a romantic comedy). Joining a league is a great way to stay active, meet people, and relive your middle school travel team soccer glory days. Or whatever. Boston Ski and Sports Club is offering a number of new women’s leagues and is giving a $25 discount (on first time individual sports league registrations) when you use the code BLOGONTAP.
Get outside with Ultimate Bootcamp
You know I love Ultimate Bootcamp (find all my UBC recaps on the Fitness On Tap page). With the weather warming up and the snow melting on the stadium stairs, this is the perfect time to join a session in Southie or one of their other many locations. Save $30 on your first four week session with the referral code BLEL30 at registration. An added bonus: You get to catch sunrises like the one above while finishing your last squats and burpees.
I wasn’t sure whether to lead with that, or save the best for last. It seems like much of the year (and the end of 2011) felt like a lead up to the wedding, and I loved (nearly) every minute of it. From marriage prep class to cake (pop) tasting, it was quite a bit of fun. Seriously. There was certainly a melt down or two, but when you get to marry your best friend, the silly stuff (like table linen swatches) sort of fades to the background.
A close second to getting married was the time we spent immediately thereafter. Nick and I took a ten day honeymoon to St. John, where we swam, snorkeled, explored, sailed and floated to our hearts’ content.
After months and months of listening to Nick and friends rave about CrossFit, I got my first taste of the proverbial KoolAid while visiting Reebok World Headquarters and Reebok CrossFit One with FitFluential. I was hooked at 3-2-1 go! I joined Crossfit Southie and started going to WODs twice a week with Nick. If you’re looking to be challenged, and to find a great community to keep you going, I highly recommend taking your own sip of the (paleo?) KoolAid.
Clark passed his AKC Canine Good Citizen and therapy dog exams earlier this year (I like to think I did a little work, too, but it’s his name on the certificates…). We’ve made visits to a local children’s hospital (specifically to a pediatric and adolescent psych unit) nearly every week since July and I can say without reservation, it has been the most rewarding and moving volunteer work I have ever done. It’s such a privilege to be able to connect with such wonderful kids, and the adults who care for them. Though some visits are more difficult than others, I always leave feeling like my heart is spilling over. And Clark always looks pretty darn happy, too.
5. Putting down roots in my ‘hood
Perhaps it’s because our condo was good and renovated by the start of 2012, but it feels like we really put down roots this year. From Crossfit Southie to our local coffee shop, our routine is very local. And I love that. I love that strangers know my dog’s name (I don’t love when they try to feed him Cheetos, though). I love that I see the same people, doing the same things, day after day. I love that I have to cross a bridge to leave, and a bridge to come home.
Simply put, I love our hood. Especially when I’m wearing a (Reebok) hood.
6. Making a health plan
After vowing to find a new primary care physician for years, I finally made good on my promise and ended up with not only a great doctor, but an entire team of health care professionals. Though the months of blood tests, elimination diets, poking and prodding got old fast, I am feeling better than I have in years. Like, 10 years. Though chronic illnesses like colitis don’t vanish into thin air, I’ve learned so much about managing symptoms and making changes. This former pastatarian has forgone gluten and lived to tell of it. And the weekly B12 injections? Completely worth the literal pain in the butt.
200 miles, 12 girls, 2 vans. A recipe for disaster? Or the ultimate weekend? Thanks to New Balance, we averted disaster and had the ultimate relay experience. I think of my teammates whenever I hear “Call Me Maybe.” Fortunately, I love my teammates. I hear that song a lot. Still.
This should have been far closer to the top of the list (my brain has a tendency to wander, we know this), but becoming an aunt has been a highlight not only of 2012, but of my semi-young life in total. I could have never imagined loving someone as much as I do my niece. When my older brother called me from the hospital to say that Nora Elizabeth had finally arrived, I cried and cried and cried. And when I held her the first time, welp… I cried and cried and cried. She is just incredible.
Being a guest of Nespresso and Emirates Team New Zealand on a VIP boat (complete with the best espresso) in Newport Harbor felt like something that should be reserved for a, welp, VIP. Somehow, I got a spot on one of the boats and enjoyed a front row view of the match races this summer. It was, quite simply, incredible.
[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]While Memorial Day may mark the unofficial start to summer, today is the real deal. Happy Summer Solstice, ladies and gents. We reached 90 degrees in Boston, my hair was extra poodle-ly, I started sweating from my elbow creases while walking to get the mail, and my dog needed to be carried back inside after a short prance around the block. Yep. Summer’s here.
We celebrated the solstice– and more importantly, Tina‘s birthday– at the Liberty Hotel’s Yappier Hour this evening. While this may not be bulldog weather, Clark made the most of his time with Murphy and a yard full of other dogs. And a horse Great Dane.
When Clark hit the deck, we knew it was time to get the little dude back in the air conditioning. We’re enjoying the rest of the first day of summer with a big pitcher of water and a few frosty treats.
Knowing not everyone is safe and cool indoors during this heatwave, please be sure to check in on loved ones and those most vulnerable. For more information about helping the homeless during extreme heat, please click here.
[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Welp, I broke my summer run streak by accident earlier this week. Note to self: run in the morning when there’s even the slightest chance work will get in the way at night.
A missed day is no reason to fall of the bandwagon entirely, though. Especially when it’s National Running Day.
This run streak business has been a great reminder that on some days, a mile is perfectly enough. And that all you really need is a good pair of shoes and a bit of motivation. All the gadgets in the universe won’t run for you, and sometimes, they just get in the way. (Other times, it feels like Lady Gaga is running for me. Let’s be serious.)
I’ve stressed before (in my sternest writing voice) the importance of getting fitted for a good pair of kicks. It’s the best way to ensure you’re running in a shoe that was made for you, protecting you from needless injury (fingers and toes crossed). Once you’ve got your perfect-for-you shoes, there’s still room for customization. Is it me, or do most stability shoes look like robot feet? Thank goodness for fun colors and flashy shoe laces. My favorite way to customize lately, though, isn’t just for show. In fact, I’m the only one (besides you, now) who knows they’re there.
The lovely people at OrthoLite sent me a free pair of their performance insoles, which were designed to fit athletic shoes. You may already be wearing OrthoLite insoles without knowing it, as they are built into the top brands of athletic shoes and outdoor boots (Reebok, adidas, New Balance, Nike, Under Armour, etc.). Unfortunately, many other brands cut production cost by scrimping on their insoles (not cool, bro), despite the impact an insole can have on fit, comfort, and performance.
I slipped my insoles into my running shoes the day the arrived and immediately noticed the difference. While my shoes fit great to begin with, the addition of insoles make them feel surprisingly cushier and springier (shockingly, those are both actual words), without adding any weight. I rarely wear socks when I run, so I really appreciate how soft and smooth these insoles are.
An added bonus: these little guys are fully washable. Not that my feel smell. They don’t. Regardless of what Clark tells you.
Want to customize your own running shoes with OrthoLite insoles? I’ve got three pairs to give away. To enter, please leave a comment below, completing this sentence I run…
Just getting started? Feel free to share what excites you most about running. For additional entries (please leave a comment to be sure your additional entries are counted):
Tweet: Happy Running Day! I want to win @OrthoLite insoles from @ElizabethEv: http://wp.me/pySBS-1EY
If Van 2 had an official motto, it would have to be If it feels good, do it. Want to sleep (or more accurately giggle) atop the van? If it feels good, do it. Want to wear a banana costume while you drive alongside midnight runners? If it feels good, do it. Want to have a roadside dance party? If it feels good, do it. Want to run fast, or reign it in a little? If it feels good, do it.
My second leg of the Reach the Beach Massachusetts relay was definitely my favorite. After seeing Theodora run through my hometown, and knowing the sun would be rising soon, I was anxious and excited to get on the road. But first, I needed a banana hug.
I loved running a short, fast and familiar route not far from where I grew up. There was no one on the road, and while it was still dark, it wasn’t at all scary thanks to the street lights and densely populated neighborhoods. About half way through my leg, I looked over my right shoulder to see a runner catching up to me.
Having been passed several times during my first leg, I wondered if I could hold this person off. A bit of competition can be a great motivator, even for a slow poke like me. I was able to hold him off, and succeeded in passing someone ahead of me as well. I felt most calm, confident and smiley during this leg. I am usually a solid 10 minute miler, but bootcamp and speed training this spring has definitely paid off. During my second leg, I completed my first mile in 9:07, my second in 9:34, and the last 3/4 mile in 8:02.
Before I knew it, I was coming down the driveway to Mansfield High School, where Anne was waiting for the slap bracelet before taking off on her second leg.
We caught up to her as she neared Borderland State Park, a gorgeous property that features wooded walking and horse trails. She handed the bracelet off to Ashley, who would finish off our second legs at Oliver Ames High School (Hockomock League, woop woop!), and send Van 1 off on their final legs.
We spent the next few hours at the final Van Transition Area, lounging in the grass, stretching a bit, having a laughing fit on top of the van, and recovering from a potentially poisonous meal. If a waiter or waitress says anything remotely close to, “I am not sure if you wanted meatballs or not… so if you didn’t, just push them aside,” it’s okay to be worried. In fact, I’d be worried if you weren’t worried. Fortunately, we lived to tell of that ill fated dinner.
Our last legs fell in the mid-afternoon sun, and for many of us in Van 2, they were our longest or toughest. I personally got worked on my last leg. My legs felt strong, but my stomach was in knots. I felt some temporary relief when I reached our van near mile 3, and my teammates’ energy carried me towards what I thought was almost the end of my adventure… until I realized I had taken a wrong turn at some point.
A number of signs had been pulled down, and I must have veered off course. I ended up running 10 minutes or so in the wrong direction, but was soon back on track. Between that mishap, my stomach ache, and running on a busy road with no shoulder, this final leg was definitely not my finest. Climbing up the hill to Dartmouth High School, though, and realizing I was done? That felt good. So good that I nearly cried in the port-o-potty. Things get weird when I’m over-tired.
The fact that Anne and I finally perfected our slap bracelet handoff was the icing on the proverbial cake. Anne and Ashley both made quick work of their final legs, bringing it home for Team Off Balance. We welcomed Ashley to the finish area with a victory arch before crossing the finish line together.
Neither words nor photos can do the experience justice. From starting line to finish line, all I could do was smile. Lack of sleep, lack of non-meatball food, lack of space… none of that matters when you’re surrounded by good people. None of that matters when you’ve got miles ahead of you, and the privilege and luxury of being able to run them.
I smiled for 200 miles last weekend, and I can’t wait to do it all over again soon. I cannot thank Reach the Beach, New Balance, and my teammates enough. Call me. Maybe.
Also On Tap for Today:
Happy graduation anniversary, fellow Class of 2004 Eagles 🙂
[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Whether they’re family members, college roommates, your better half, a furry friend, or eleven pals in matching New Balance gear and twelfth dressed as a banana… life is better with teammates.
Our team had spent most of Thursday together, touring the New Balance facilities in Lawrence, enjoying dinner at the inn, and chatting by the fire pit, but it wasn’t until our van left the Wachussett Village Inn and headed to the starting line on Friday morning, that I realized how much we’d be depending on one another for the next 30+ hours. Run on sentences are sort of acceptable when you’re overtired.
From handing off the team’s baton slap bracelet at each transition point to sharing compression sleeves and salty snacks, to making room to “stretch out” (everything’s relative when you’re in a van), to cheering one another on from mile to mile, everything is better with teammates. Especially when those teammates are kind, generous, thoughtful, supportive, gracious, and a bit sassy. That wasn’t even a full sentence; I do what I want.
Our Reach the Beach adventure officially started when our sweet golden vans, driven by New Balance tracksters (and the weekend’s MVPs) Monica and Nicole, arrived at Mt. Wachusett. I learned to ski at Wachusett, and am a big fan of their infectious advertising jingle. The mountain and lodge look much different in warmer weather, especially when Santa’s parked out front.
We breezed through our safety equipment check (which would be called into question later on, when we’d realize we were short 2 safety lights…), team orientation and team photo with plenty of time to see Gretchen to the starting line.
The race director set the perfect tone for the relay during orientation with advice such as, “If you find something that belongs to someone else… and you can’t use it to your advantage… turn it in to lost and found.” He covered reminders about course rules, information about specific legs, and promises of beer at the finish. All that was left to do, was start.
Being in Van 2 meant our first official duty was to wait. This doesn’t bode particularly well for anyone who gets race anxiety and wants to get the show on the road, but with such incredible weather and perfect company, it was all good. Monica (who was sent from Heaven Southern California to drive, coach, and encourage us) brought us out to our Van Transition Area 1 to relax before our first legs.
She checked in with each of us on Thursday night to get our estimated pace and then compiled a spreadsheet of each leg, calculating and updating arrival times throughout the relay. This meant that we were never late to a single transition, and that our time was budgeted perfectly. I’m telling you, this woman is a genius.
The chart also included our cell phone numbers, our estimated pace and finish times, as well as our actual finish time. Monica coordinated all of this with Nicole, Van 1’s driver, to be sure everyone was on the same page. I was really excited to come in under pace on my first two legs; I think the chart added some extra motivation.
While I am not sure if I could have handled this half as well as Monica did (on top of navigating and putting up with our shenanigans) with next to no sleep, it seems like every team could benefit from her system. Apparently a similar chart is available online for Ragnar races, and perhaps it will be available for future Reach the Beach events.
We enjoyed some downtime at a park not far from the first VTA, sipping iced tea and iced coffee, and getting excited for our time on the road. We stopped for lunch at a nearby Panera before settling in the sun at Assumption College, where Sarah would hand off to Tina, putting Van 2 officially in the race.
We spent the next few hours tracking our runners and switching off at transition points. When we left Theodora for her first leg (as prom goers gathered alongside runners on the town common), I could feel the nervous energy building. In true nerd fashion, I was required to wear safety gear for my first two legs, as they both fell between 6:30 PM and 6:30 AM. Nothing says fresh and sexy quite like a reflective vest and headlamp.
My first leg was 3.68 miles and flew by, save for the hill at the end. Is it me, or did all of our legs end with a climb? I suppose that’s payback for the free wheelin’ downhill just before the 1.5 mile mark. I was passed by a few runners towards the end, but everyone (both passing runners and vans) was extremely friendly and encouraging. Though I am not a particularly competitive person, I loved the challenge of trying to keep up with other runners, or hold someone off from passing me, if possible (usually it wasn’t, let’s be serious).
When I reached the top of the hill and the transition area was in sight, all I could think was Hurry up and get to Anne. It took us until our third and final transition to get the slap bracelet, which team members pass off at each leg, to actually slap and become a bracelet, but hey. Practice makes perfect.
After some quality time with the baby wipes and a quick change of clothes, I was ready to join my vanmates for a Call Me Maybe (the unofficial theme song of the entire relay, judging by van decor, tweets and blasting speakers) dance party as we met Anne halfway through her first leg.
Ashley brought our team to our second VTA as the sun set along her gorgeous waterfront route. She flew into the transition area, where I presented her with one of the glow rings I packed for the team (fun and functional for night runs).
Life truly is better with teammates. And things that sparkle.
Soon to come: where to not eat dinner in Hopkington, how to run on no sleep at 4 AM, and why the top of the van is where it’s at. For those of you who don’t feel like waiting for 12 more posts: Yes, you should definitely sign up to run a relay.
[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]The short story: Team Off Balance reached the beach. The 200 mile story: each hour and each mile that passed was even greater than the one before.
I worry that it may take me as long to recap our relay experience as it did for my teammates and I to run from Wachussett to Westport, as it really was an incredible experience. I laughed hard, ran fast (…for the first two legs, at least), slept very little, and smiled big. While I take another shower (to make up for the ones we missed over 30+ hours of running), a few highlights:
I am so grateful to New Balance and each of my teammates for all of the work, energy, effort and enthusiasm that went into the weekend. I’ll be back with more… just as soon as I figure out how to put all 200 miles into words.