Three Things Saturday {Guest Post}

That’s right, Joe’s at it again! Pretty soon I’m going to have to promote him to series regular around here. Enjoy!

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Three Things Saturday: If you behave better this week than you did last week, maybe then we can have five things next week.

If you wanna be my latte II 

This is only a vanity piece so I can write: the “Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation of Chicago” and mention the images it conjures of one man, many cans of beans and the poor soul pacing behind him as he makes those beans disappear. The poor soul paces back and forth scentless, alone and dreaming of the day the treatments work and he finds out just why all the men in white coats are laughing at him. Anyway, Alan Hirsh at the (even better the second time) Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation of Chicago had 31 men smell 30 things to find out how horny it made them (as laid out here with the benefits of editing and professionalism). Hirsh found that the combination of lavender and pumpkin pie had the best results. What gets me is that Hirsh had to decide to mix pumpkin pie and lavender together in a process that most likely involved restraints and a safe word but I don’t want to trespass on Cosmo’s turf. So if you ever wondered why that Pumpkin Spice Latte was so popular despite containing no actual pumpkin just ask that man in your life. Because nothing turns a man on quite like telling him you spent another $6 on flavored coffee. Once he’s over that and things do heat up and get all frothy, stop and think of Mr. Alan Hirsh of (pumpkin does nothing for me but I get positively beastly for) the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation of Chicago.

Ooooh, They So Sensitive

6SensorLabs are making a device to sniff out any hint of flour in food for those affected by gluten allergies. The price will be less than $150. The person that buys it will be ridiculed (starting just then). I accept that people experience negative reactions to gluten and the thought of that scares me because god put gluten in all good things and without carbs, I wouldn’t last a mile in those shoes. But, seriously, for less than $150.00 Becki will come to you and lick whatever is on your plate giving detailed descriptions of her gastrointestinal goings-on. Not kidding. Not even asking her permission. It’s on. First six requesters only pay $75. Book now, Christmas is on the way.

While They Are So Fancy, In Case You Didn’t Already Know

16 food and beverage companies surpassed their own goals in The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation Pledge cutting 6.4 trillion calories from their products, up from the stated goal of 1.5 trillion. This saves an estimated 78 calories per consumer with cuts being made to foods and beverages deemed “concerning”. Now it’s time for the breakdown. Snack peddlers of delicious high-fat, high-sugar, artificial e’erything promised to remove some calories over a five year period and they did. Aren’t they just as bland as their products are addicting. This wasn’t the disco limbo competition after 8 margaritas, this was clearing the low bar you set for yourselves. I don’t want to be too harsh because something this large would affect many people including myself and while 78 calories is about the equivalent of three trips to the bathroom, this is a step in the right direction for corporations that turn diabetes into gold. I also understand that while nutritional education lags, caloric intake retains an element of choice and companies do not make us buy or eat anything, only manipulate us using reams of consumer data, freaky deaky smell tests and the enslavement of cartoon animals. This is the corporate version of a duck-lipped, high-angle MySpace selfie. You do not look that good. It’s not a good day at the office to spend five years getting marginally less worse. If you really want to feel better about yourself then send a care package of these better products over to Phillip Morris. Show ‘em how it’s done.

Five Things Friday: September 19

Five Things Friday

We’ve finally made it to Friday, folks! It’s time to talk about current events and issues that may or may not actually matter to you. Regardless, I’ve been thinking about them. Here are this week’s Five Things Friday.

1. Scotland voted on whether to gain independence. No matter how long I stayed up waiting to hear this one, so far (at the writing of this post) the final votes weren’t in. Early on in the count the No votes were leading, but there may have been a surprise upset.

2. This guy lost 102 pounds and became a long distance runner. I’m always so impressed with and inspired by people’s weight loss journeys because it reminds me that different things work for different people, but exercise and healthy foods are always a winning combo.

3. It’s almost flu season. That’s right, with the start of pumpkin spice season also comes cold and flu season. The CDC is recommending people get their flu shots early. Like, now. You should see it in your doctor’s office soon and the CDC reminds us that the flu is a potentially lethal, but preventable illness.

4. Hamster wheel desks exist. The idea behind this desk is that it is superior to a treadmill desk because you can set your own pace. Admittedly it does remind me of the Curve treadmill we have at the club, which is also man-powered and goes at the pace you set. That said, the Curve can be difficult to use unless you’re paying close attention and walking at a moderate pace is actually trickier than sprinting, so I’m not sure how well this would work, especially if you’re also trying to operate a computer.

5. Rich people exercise, poor people take diet pills. According to a recent article in The Atlantic, economic disparity is tied to overweight and obesity in even more ways than we realized. Not only do those living in poverty tend to eat more junk food to make their money stretch further, it turns out they also tend to exercise less and resort more to quick fixes like diet pills that may not have lasting results. This makes sense given that these individuals may have less access to fitness facilities and adults are often working multiple jobs to feed their families with little to no time for fitness and recreation. We need to do more to ensure that people from all economic backgrounds have the opportunity to keep themselves healthy, both when it comes to fitness and things like medical care.

What’s on your mind today?

xoxo,
Becki

Canon’s PIXMA PRO City Senses Interactive Gallery Open to the Public

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that last night I attended Canon’s PIXMA PRO City Senses interactive gallery at EpiCenter: Artists for Humanity, which was hosted by Donnie Wahlberg.

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If you’re a long-time reader you know of my love for New Kids on the Block and that I’ve met Donnie twice before. When I was invited to attend last night’s media preview of the gallery it was a no-brainer.

The most exciting part about the gallery was that it engaged all senses. The local photographers who were spotlighted had each given their interpretation of a sensory trigger, which gallery visitors were also able to experience.

The gallery highlights the power of the print and what it means to people to have permanent images of memories and scenes around Boston in today’s digital age.

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Donnie was in attendance last night along with his wife, Jenny McCarthy. Donnie spoke about how powerful the images were for him as a native Bostonian and the way the print is able to capture the special essence that makes Boston so unique.

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Although Donnie won’t be there today, the gallery is open to the public from  4-8 pm at the EpiCenter: Artists for Humanity. Admission is free and the experience is one of a kind.

Two of Donnie’s photos will be displayed along with those of the two local photographers, Scott Nobles and Josh Andrus.

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Check it out and let me know what you think!

xoxo,
Becki

Thursday Thoughts: Counting Calories

Welcome to a brand new video series here at Fighting for Wellness called Thursday Thoughts! I’m excited to kick this series off this week with a topic that has come up a lot lately among the trainers at my club and in the fitness industry in general: calorie counting. It’s a polarizing issue and a lot of people have an opinion, so my thoughts are in the video below.

The goal for Thursday Thoughts is that this will become a forum for your opinions and thoughts. I want to hear what’s worked for you and what hasn’t worked. I want to hear your questions or suggestions for future topics. What do you want to know more about in the realms of fitness and mental health? Ask away! In the meantime, enjoy today’s Thursday Thoughts!

Workout Wednesday: Killer Legs & Glutes

Happy Workout Wednesday! As part of my half marathon training I’m making sure to include plenty of strength training. Even though my legs are carrying all my weight around on my training runs, that’s different than the effect of dedicated strength training on building muscles in the legs and glutes. Today I share my current favorite leg and glute circuit for runners and non-runners alike. Descriptions and modifications are below.

Killer Legs & Glutes - Fighting for WellnessLateral hurdle hops

Use a hurdle, cone, or any small “obstacle” for this one. Keep your feet together and jump sideways over your hurdle, then back to the original side with minimal rest. Modify this by resting between each hop and/or using a smaller hurdle. If necessary, begin with lateral hops (no obstacle). Complete 20 hops (10 per side) as one set.

Weighted walking lunges

Use dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell for the added weight here. Lunge forward, keeping your front knee behind your toe and bending your back knee down toward the ground. Move forward out of the lunge, bringing your back foot forward into your next step and subsequent lunge. Modify this by keeping your lunges stationary or eliminating the extra weight.

Stability ball leg curls

Lie on your back with your feet on a stability ball. Bend your knees, pulling the ball in toward your butt. Lift your hips off the ground and keep them lifted as you extend your legs and push the ball back out, then pull your feet back in to return the ball as close to your butt as possible.

Kettlebell swings

Begin with your legs slightly bent and with your back flat. Hold the kettlebell with both hands and bring between legs, pushing your hips back while keeping your shoulders back and chest up, but without bending your knees any further than their starting position (the hinge in this movement is at your hips, not at your knees). Use your glutes and hamstrings to quickly pull your hips forward, pushing the kettlebell forward and up (do not use your shoulders to lift the kettlebell, rely on the momentum of the movement from your hips). Keep your chin tucked to avoid straining your neck and keep the kettlebell close to your pelvis on the down swing. Modify this by eliminating the kettlebell and practicing the movement.

Weighted squats

Use dumbbells, a kettlebell, or barbell for the added weight. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and toes turned out slightly. Push your weight into your heels, keeping your back flat and pushing your but back and down as you squat toward the ground. Make sure your knees do not extend forward beyond your toes, though they should track in the direction of your toes to avoid knee twisting or strain. Modify this by eliminating the weight and/or not taking your squat as low to the ground.

 

**I am an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer with experience in exercise prescription and programming. Each person’s body is different based on movement patterns, ability, and fitness level. Use caution attempting new or advanced movements in this and any exercise routine. If you have any questions about form, speak with someone at your local gym or contact me for a free one-on-one video consultation. Always get your doctor’s approval before beginning an exercise routine.**

 

No Topic Tuesday {Guest Post}

Joe’s back again today with some more things he would like to discuss. Specifically, the problem with getting healthy. 

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No Topic Tuesday: The all guilt, empty calorie of a post, used to stall until something substantive gets written wherein pronouns and antecedents disagree.

The problem with trying to be healthy, whichever type of wellness you are after today is, well, let’s make a list:

1. Fine German Chocolate cake.
2. Good Bourbon
…and now I’m a little hung up. So we’ll skip the list because most days it doesn’t take five and the off-brand dollar store Ho-Hos and a fifth of Wild Turkey are enough to derail a body. So let’s focus on that one major issue with getting healthy. It’s you.

Don’t worry, you aren’t fired. There are still a million little things you do everyday that only you would have and only you could have done. We love you for that and appreciate the unique you-ness that you bring to bear in any situation.  But between you and there, that better job, different size, full-split on the dance floor without feeling it for two weeks, stands you.

I know what you’re thinking. It wasn’t me. I can see how people would get confused because we look so much alike but it was actually that wide-eyed lunatic, the dreamer, the twin that woke up one day, deaf to the words no and can’t. That’s the one you really need to talk to, this was their idea. They just dragged me along on the thirteen mile runs, those trips to the grocery store for fresh produce, they were the one in the workout gear sweating and damn proud of it for everyone to see. I was happy with life as it was. This nutjob was the one talking about better. They started this whole thing, the calorie counting, exercise before breakfast, taking the stairs, stopping to reflect on the little moments and small wonderful things that make my life great. I suppose I got that extra energy. And I did fit in to those new clothes but you have to believe me it was them the whole time. I was an accomplice. And where are they now? For that 20th pound? Waking up early to workout an eighth day in a row? Where are these energized hellbent perfectionists when it’s time to decide whether or not to have one more drink?

The most disappointing thing in the never ending process of getting better than we were, is us, each against ourselves. Those same people who grabbed life in both hands, shook the hell out of it, took ownership and decided to just feel better, still seem so close to those people with a head full of awful static that put on the weight and smoked that extra pack. How far until we manage to outrun ourselves? Everyone else thinks we look great (not you construction workers, no one asked you) but some days no matter how far we’ve come, how far removed from the start of this we get, there comes that feel of the old skin. Like every accomplishment made is actually thinner than you’ll ever be, the healthier you is a fraud and all you are seems too easily reducible.

Everything having to do with getting healthier is hard. No one ever tells you that just stopping a bad habit let alone learning some good ones is the work of a lifetime that can not include quit. Some of it’s fun but at the end of the day you will pay in sweat equity for every little gain you make. And every step will be worth it. But that hard part is there and the day you don’t step forward you wonder what this is. You miss that payment to yourself and if you don’t progress today, then what happens? What does that mean for tomorrow? That’s up to you. And that’s enough to keep you up at night: it’s up to you. So what are you going to do about this it, that is you? Well, I wouldn’t stay up all night worrying because whether you sleep or not you’ve still got you come tomorrow and you know what you’re like when you don’t sleep. You’re someone who can, someone who usually does and someone who will again. You just missed a beat. So rather than return to that old maudlin rhythm, catch your breath and jump back in when you can. You’re going to be stuck with you. You is three letters stretched tight around those trillion little things that make you and you’re going to have to make some peace with that. It doesn’t need to be a full truce because you do get grouchy sometimes, so more a temporary armistice. We’re all at a stalemate here with ourselves.

So, I’ll make you a promise. I promise you that I will screw up. That on the way from here to there, I’ll fall. You will too. And to be honest, I’ll probably laugh when you do which is not a nice thing, but it is my thing so step off. And you get to laugh at me too when one cheat meal becomes two weeks. Just don’t feel guilty about the laughing or the eating or whatever takes you off course because that’s you and that’s your fight.

You’re off the hook if you’ll let me off too. And if nothing else can we please agree that Fine German Chocolate Cake and good Bourbon are innocent and never meant to hurt anybody? Some things are just stuck to their nature.

September Goal Check-In

This past week was a great one for my September goals! After our 5K on Sunday, I was feeling great about half marathon training as well as my overall fitness and nutrition.

All week I’ve been tracking my food. Not necessarily shooting for a particular calorie goal (more on that this Thursday), but just being mindful of what I’m putting in my body. The food I’ve been eating has in turn been much healthier overall. When I did eat something I wouldn’t normally (such as ice cream with hot fudge on Saturday in Salem with Joe’s family), I was more conscious of everything I ate the rest of the day, and making sure I did the exercise to help make up for it.

In addition to running I’ve been sticking to my strength training and doing yoga with Joe. I’ve been incorporating my physical therapy exercises into my strength routine to ensure I don’t re-injure my shoulder. This past week I only got 2 days of strength training rather than the 3+ I wanted, but overall felt great.

My running was also spot on this week, though I did start to have some pain below my right calf and was afraid I might be injured. We did a lot of walking on Saturday though and that felt fine, so I continued with my training. I had planned a 5 mile long run for Sunday and decided to see how 6 miles would feel instead. After a quick yoga video with Joe in the morning, I went out for my long run in the afternoon. Turns out, 6 miles felt great!

Runkeeper6 mile run

Even after 6 miles (and almost 1,000 calories burned – holy cow!), I was still feeling great! No pain at all, and part of me wanted to continue running. I decided I had better not push it, so I opted for a relaxing walk home to appreciate the beautiful day in a beautiful city.
post run

I walked back across a fairly new bridge between Cambridge and Charlestown and even spotted a boat passing under one of the drawbridges. It was spectacular cool down. BostonZakim bridge

The walk home was another 1.8 miles and my heart rate monitor registered over 250 calories burned. The hills certainly didn’t hurt. It was also great for my mental health because the walk really served to clear my head and let me come down from the adrenaline rush of the run.

Post run walkInstead of eating tons of unhealthy food since I had “earned” it on my long run, I stuck to healthy eating with extra healthy carbs and plenty of protein. I felt great – the best in a long time actually. I felt like the athlete I am instead of focusing so much on my weight. I can tell by the way my clothes fit that I lost weight this week (and did weigh myself on Saturday when I did my InBody assessment at work), but I’m less concerned with that number than with the number of miles I logged this week and how many I have planned for next week.

I’ve missed this feeling and it’s so good to have it back.

xoxo,
Becki

Joe’s Five Things Friday {Guest Post}

A special guest post from Joe is below. You can compare my sass with his snark. Who else thinks he needs a blog?

You can call it Five thoughts for Friday, but these are just timeless, y’all.

1. If you wanna be my latte

There is no pumpkin in your pumpkin spice latte. There is only pumpkin spice. That is totes deep and this is what happens when the Starbucks has its scientists concoct a seasonal beverage with the flavor of sugar being licked off of the flawless skin of a Kardashian (I’m told). The cake is a lie. And you want to vent about what’s been missing from your venti but your barista deserves so much more. Don’t be that patron. Resist the urge once in front of the line to tell everybody how much smarter you are because that person that you didn’t even like back in high school, whose friend request you accepted even though you told everybody it was “wicked sketch”, just posted that there is no pumpkin in your pumpkin spice. The world’s still turning. It’s okay. The ram is still in the rama-lama-ding-dong. If it is not okay, if it feels like nothing will ever be okay again and Starbucks has been misspelling your name and not filling the lowfat milk to spite you then please, put on your best Uggs and get in line over there pumpkin-truther. This is not ¼ of a V-8. This is ribald saccharine sacrilege and it cannot stand. You know there is no tea in honesty but you will get steamed up and shout when the rest of us are content with the lies. And we love you for it. We just may hide you FB posts until peppermint mocha season. Anyway, it was a cheat day so do you really care how they made the sugary goodness?

2.Microlives: A case for speed reading
Science, in it’s never ending quest to make you judge yourself for living your live developed a way to quantify just how guilty you should feel about every little thing you do. From the same toolbox as the BMI that sits in the garage because the damn thing hardly ever works comes the microlife. In layman’s terms, a half hour. In my nephew’s terms, one show. The idea of the microlife is that we are now capable of looking at many diet and food choices and counting how much time you add or remove from your life based on them. Stopped to read a blog? One carrot may gain you a few blog posts of time. Binge watch two epsisodes of Orange is The New Black? Lose one microlife but gain it back with a cup of black coffee. Watch the Superbowl with wings, nachos, cocktails and sliders? Ask someone who is good at math but just like with last years squares, you aren’t coming out ahead. On the brightside, whatever money you lost betting on the other team? You aren’t going to be around long enough to spend it because you just burned up all those microlives. Makes for a fun party game.

3 . Apple, The Fly and the watch your friend will be waiting in line for.
Apple made a new phone. Didn’t see that coming. For a name, they just looked at the number they used for the last phone and jumped that puppy up one in the sequence. There’s also a watch that talks to the phone, that does what the phone does for a lot less time than the phone could do it before it’s battery dies but OMG you guys! It does it on your wrist! 2015, the year #thatssoDickTracy starts trending. Bono was there to help announce it with the Edge and the two other Irish fellas who when their powers combine form U2. They gave away halff a billion copies of their album to those who have iTunes and they did it so fast they can’t even be called sellouts because it was a give away the likes of which you only hear about when crotchety old folk try to understand welfare and foreign aid. So marketing FTW. I just wonder if I could have been old money by now if great grandma were possessed of this level of marketing savvy. Here’s apple pie three, much like two but it’s bigger with an anodized pie plate. This is Apple pie four, I baked a camera in, and may have sourced certain of the ingredients from Japan. Apple pie five is drizzled with a map that no one can really read. And apple pie 6 tastes like pumpkin spice but contains no pumpkin.

4. Many Rivers to Cross
Joan Rivers passed away this week. The Queen of can we talk, is silenced. She was a living monument. An honest to goodness living monument. Really, she had the foresight to have been coated in that same plastinate that they use in Body World’s exhibits and had maintained a lemon scented Pledge like sheen since 1992. You probably saw a lot about how beloved she was. That was written by whoever had her name next in the deadpool. Joan Rivers lived loud and unapologetic about being a woman with a wit so sharp that most people didn’t even feel it happening. Without an outlier, it’s hard to see the boundaries and the trouble with a trailblazer is that you never know where they’re going until you finally make it there yourself. Humor is now a little more dull and unfortunately, safer.

5. Becki.

I thought about Becki this one time. There was a nice warm up with some good deep stretching and a water break. Then the thinking with more water interspersed and finally some deep breaths into a cool down. I’m still sore. I won’t be doing that again for a while.

That’s enough thinking for Friday. If you actually made it all the way down the page then let me commiserate with you on being stuck on the bus, waiting room or toilet. Whatever sad circumstance compelled you to make it this far, thank you for reading. Since you must enjoy a challenge, how does this sound? Let’s set the clock for a month and see who can cook up the most interesting pumpkin dish with real pumpkins at the cost of the least microlives by mid-October. Winner will by no means win an iPhone but they can stand proud knowing they represented for gourds everywhere. Right before they butchered them, gouged eyes into them and completely objectifed their natural beauty. Think on that.

Five Things Friday: September 12

Five Things Friday

It’s Friday! I’ve been reflecting on a lot this week. Here are five things that have been on my mind, in no particular order.

  • Pumpkin Spice Lattes don’t have any pumpkin in them. People are upset, some even to the point of “outrage” upon learning this. Did you really think you were getting real pumpkin flavor from a chain coffee shop? Not to be down on Starbucks, I’m a gold card member. All I’m saying is that as a person who generally tries to eat pretty healthy, there are some things that I just accept I will always consume, even though they are chemical and/or calorie-laden (diet soda, for instance — yes, I know). I’m more of a Peppermint Mocha girl than a Pumpkin Spice Latte girl, but I never assumed either contained real pumpkin or peppermint. Sure, we should be able to expect real ingredients in our food, but that’s just not where we are right now. Most of the the products we buy from fast food chains (let’s be honest with ourselves, that’s what Starbucks really is) are not exactly healthy or made from fresh, real ingredients. Yet another reminder that if you want real ingredients, make things at home. Otherwise, don’t be surprised that there may be scary things in your food and drinks.
  • Domestic violence is not okay. It isn’t okay even if the other person hit you first. Not even professional athletes are immune from this immutable fact. After a video of Ray Rice’s domestic violence incident surfaced, the reverberations were felt around the country. The good news is that the video caused an increase in the number of calls to domestic violence hotlines, hopefully indicating that people are taking steps to get out of their abusive relationships.  That said, it isn’t as easy to walk away from an abuser as people make it out to be. This is a great article about that very topic. Read it before you judge someone for staying in an abusive relationship.
  • Your life can be broken down into “microlives” that you can gain or lose with behavior. Michael Blastland and David Spiegelhalter have started to quantify just how bad that cheeseburger is or how good that workout is for you by quantifying your life into 30-minute microlives and examining how your life expectancy in microlives is affected by common behaviors. Among the included behaviors are those that reduce life expectancy, such as smoking, eating red meat, and drinking in excess, as well as those that increase life expectancy, such as physical activity and fruit and vegetable intake. This is all well and good, but clearly not a hard and fast calculation of how long you’ll live. Take it with a grain of salt, but just a grain because too much salt is worth a lot of microlives.
  • This week was the anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center. We all remember where we were on September 11, 2001 when the twin towers fell in NYC. Yesterday pretty much everyone reflected on that, sharing various iterations of “Never Forget” and “Always Remember” on social media. I don’t think any of us who lived through it will ever forget it, but I do wish we took time to reflect on incidents like these year round, and reflected on similar incidents around the world. I’m not saying 9/11 should take a backseat to tragic events in other countries, but I do believe that if we spent more time reflecting on similar incidents around the world, in addition to those that happen in our own backyard, we would be better off. We sometimes forget that huge loss of life is happening every day around the world in civil wars, terrorist attacks, genocide, religious warfare, etc. That is something else we should never forget.
  • Massachusetts primary elections were held for several offices this week. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know that I was volunteering on a campaign for one of the Democratic candidates for Governor. Unfortunately my candidate didn’t win, but he sure did come a lot closer than many people thought. I still believe Steve Grossman was the best candidate for the position, but you can’t win them all. I do hope that whoever wins in November will be a champion for job creation, particularly jobs for minorities and in parts of the state that are still recovering from the economic collapse. It’s still tough out there on the job market and we need someone in office who knows how to create jobs.

What’s been on your mind this week? 

xoxo,
Becki

Workout Wednesday: Run Of Hope Recap

It’s time for Workout Wednesday again. I missed the last couple of weeks, but wanted to use this week’s post to share with you a recap of the 5K race Joe and I participated in on Sunday, the Four Seasons Run of Hope Boston for pediatric cancer research at Mass General Hospital.

After I told you about Jamir’s story and the heartbreak when he lost his battle with cancer, we have been touched by stories like his of children struggling in their fight against a terrible disease. When a coworker of Joe’s began raising money for pediatric cancer research via a 5K race, we knew we wanted to get involved as part of her team.

We arrived at Sunday’s race super early because we were choosing to register as part of Rebecca’s team on the day of the race. Having never registered for a race on the day of, we wanted to have plenty of time to get everything squared away and check out the course.

There was no posted race course and when I asked at registration the volunteers just had one copy of the map. It wasn’t super clear, but being familiar with the area we had a pretty good idea what the course would be like.

I took a photo of the one course map the volunteers had so that Joe and I could have an idea what to expect.

I took a photo of the one course map the volunteers had so that Joe and I could have an idea what to expect.

We got our numbers, picked up our t-shirts (I should say I did, Joe’s not a t-shirt guy), bought some raffle tickets, and did some warming up prior to the race. Joe had foam rolled the night before and I foam rolled the morning of, so we finished prepping for the race with some dynamic stretches, particularly focusing on hips since we both have a lot of hip tightness in general.

race bibs

 

It was an absolutely perfect day for a race. After some really hot and humid days the first week of September (some of the hottest we’ve had all summer) the cool, crisp weather was a welcome change. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day.

 

Perfect race-day weather

Perfect race-day weather

We posed for our pre-race photo and got ready to line up. I told Joe that he should pace himself on his own in this race and not feel like he had to stay with me. This was after he felt somewhat held back by our last 5K together in which he ran alongside me at my pace.

No race is complete without a pre-race photo.

No race is complete without a pre-race photo.

I used RunKeeper throughout the race because I’m using it to track my half marathon training progress. Interestingly enough, by the end of the race it had only registered 3.01 miles rather than the 3.1 of a 5K. A conversation with a fellow runner revealed that hers isn’t always accurate, so I’m not sure whether to rely on RunKeeper or the race organizers, but that’s for a different post.

When the race started Joe and I were traveling at a pretty even pace, weaving between runners who had improperly seeded (what else is new?) to get to my 9:30-10:00 pace. It wasn’t long though before Joe tapped me and motioned ahead before taking off in a burst. I almost caught up to him around 1.5 miles, but after that I could just make him out in the distance for the remainder of the race.

The course, which was a loop along the esplanade near the Hatch Shell in Boston, was mostly flat with some small steps and foot bridges along the way. Luckily I have done a lot of my race training along the esplanade, so it was very familiar for me. I wasn’t really feeling my music, but was afraid that without it I would be in my own head too much.

The race certainly wasn’t easy, I put a lot of myself into it hoping for a PR. I figured with the running I’ve been doing, my focus on form, and the increase in strength training I’ve put in, I would be in good shape to hit it. Turns out, even if RunKeeper was more accurate than the course, I still ran a PR pace (my RunKeeper time was 29:17; a 9:44 mile).

Joe was waiting for me at the finish line and we were both glad to get some water and head to the recovery tent. We didn’t have any of the pancake breakfast that was being offered, but we sure did take care of several bottles of the water they had on hand.

Can't forget the post-race photo, crazy hair and all!

Can’t forget the post-race photo, crazy hair and all!

After the race we hung around to hear from the race organizers, Mass General cancer researchers, and to see if we won any of the raffle prizes. Even though we didn’t win anything, hearing stories about past races, why the race was started, the countless children who have been helped with the funds raised, and how much was raised in this year’s event made it all worthwhile.

This year’s goal was to raise $100,000 and by the time the raffles were drawn a record $106,000 had already been raised with fundraising still open!

An awesome array of raffle prizes helped to raise even more money for pediatric cancer research.

An awesome array of raffle prizes helped to raise even more money.

As happy as we both were to PR in this race, we were even happier to stand alongside MGH in an effort to eventually cure pediatric cancer. Running for a cause, for a purpose, always makes a race that more meaningful and this one was no exception.

Have you ever run for charity or a cause? What was your experience like?

xoxo,
Becki

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