Monday, September 12, 2016

The last marathon: an update from the team

When you set out on your long road of marathon training, sixteen weeks seems like an eternity.  But you chip away at the track days, the long runs, the active recovery days and eventually you find yourself just 7 weeks away from game day.  Let's bring you up to speed on what's going on with me and the rest of my team as we roll towards Marine Corps Marathon 41.

As you know, we started with the dream team of Erin, Kris and myself.  Early on, Kris had to make the painful decision to drop out of the training.  Maslow's hierarchy of needs reared its ugly head and Kris refocused her effort, time and energy to where it was most needed.  Above all, women tend to be the first ones to understand when this happens.  I've had to drop out of "big" marathons before when more important issues came up.  Marathon training is exciting and focused but let's not kid ourselves as to how much time and energy is sucks from our everyday lives.  So we rallied around Kris (while secretly hoping she would change her mind) and discussed our shared feelings on this subject.  This is what we came up with:  Marathons will come and go and we will always have our running to get us through the tough times.  Our families take the main stage and marathons get the back seat.  This is what makes complete sense to Erin and myself and Kris is here for moral support, team fundraising projects and is always good for a much needed tequila shot (while we have yet to do a shot while running).

Erin has been having a fantastic time with her training.  She's been following the 16 week FAST training plan from Runner's World.  With her busy schedule of teacher, mom of two little ones and yogi she can fit in her days of scheduled runs plus cross training on her opposing days.  Her secrets to staying healthy:  1.  Rest, which includes sleep  2. Yoga and scheduled massage and 3. Post run chocolate milk.  As you know, this is Erin's first marathon and with each long run, she reaches a new milestone,  It's been a pure joy to get her Map My Run updates on my phone each weekend and see her progress as an endurance athlete. Following a proven plan and sticking to a manageable routine leaves her confident and leaves little room for any self doubt.  We see great things happening for Erin on race day.

My training has hit s speed bump as I tore my left soleus about 4 weeks ago on a 15 mile training run.  This is a pesky injury that tricks you in to thinking that you may be healed after a few days, but it turns out, at mile 2 that you are SO NOT HEALED.  So just 4 days after incurring the initial injury I turned my left calf and all of my pride over to my physical therapist.  We've been seeing each other weekly and I've been getting some good results.  Add to that prescription, regular massage therapy, ice, heat, stretching and strengthening exercises and I'm happy to report that while I am not yet back to running, I am feeling much better.  So, I've resigned myself to training for a marathon without running which in a way is really a lot of fun.  Spinning, swimming, mountain biking, all kinds of torturous gym cardio machines and getting to know the hot yoga instructors on a first name basis has pretty much taken the place of my weekly running mileage.  As it turns out, I'm pretty lucky with just a calf tear because there are so many different types of cardio that I do that doesn't bother it. Who knew?  The new plan; show up on race day with a completely prepared cardio vascular system and pray that the left side soleus holds for the 26.2 miles.  No use worrying, fretting, hoping that things were different because it simply is what it is.

Our fundraising game is on point.  The squad is sending out emails, FB posts and planning events.  Our goal is to raise a collective $2000 for Back on Our Feet's Boston chapter. If you are reading this, please consider making a donation.  Every little bit helps and as a team we can attest to the efficacy of this much needed program and the healing, confidence building and life time benefits that running has on all walks of life. Check out our page here, where you can learn more about Back on My Feet and make a donation. Thanks

We'll blog again soon.  Send us good vibes and know that we are collectively trying our best to complete the journey to marathon day.

Best to you,

Charlotte, Kris and Erin

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

My last marathon? Yup.

Just a few years ago (almost 30), this photo was taken at the finish of the Marine Corps Marathon.  I'm dressed in my 100% cotton high school cross country shirt and underneath is what I am sure, an original edition Jog Bra. I ran this race before Body Glide and GU which is quite obvious by the look on my face. This was my awful, terrible, wonderful, empowering, and poorly trained for first marathon and I remember it like it was yesterday.  What inspired me to run a marathon while I was a second year college student?  Why Marine Corps? Over the next 16 weeks the story will unfold in this blog and with it, a hopefully very happy ending.  On Oct 30th of this year, I will travel back to Washington DC to run this very same race, 30 years later almost to the day.   And for no other reason other than the math works out so nicely  I'm calling this my last 26.2 mile race.

This blog will be a 16 week journey to the starting line.  I've got a wonderful organization to raise money for along the way (Back on My Feet Boston) and two amazing women who will be training and running with me on October 30th.

We hope that you follow us--it's going to be much more than a story about marathon training. We'll write about what we're running towards, away from and through.  We will share with you how Back on My Feet has changed lives with the simple but powerful discipline of running. I may even share the names and phone numbers of the rock star physical therapists, massage therapists and yoga instructors who will get us to the starting line on Oct 30th.

Until the next post--- you keep reading and we'll keep running!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Top Running Gear Picks from Charles River Running

There are two phrases we hear pretty much every day at Charles River Running.  The first one, if you can even believe it, is "I'm not really a runner".  Funny, we know.  The second is more of a question:  "So what _______ (fill in the blank: shoe, sock, tight, bra, water bottle) do you use?"  Which got us to thinking, why don't we just publish a list?  We've tested just about everything that comes our way in all kinds of conditions, over all kinds of distances, while healthy and injured.  We feel pretty confident that our curated selection here at Charles River Running is the best available in the very crowded running market.  We LOVE the products featured below and what better time to showcase them but on the eve of Valentine's Week?  Take a look at the products we HEART, can't live without, and want to share with all of you.  Enjoy!

FitKnix by KnixWear is hands down the very best athletic underwear currently on the market.  If you don skivvies before your tights, shorts or running skirt. you will want to check out this brand.  No lines, no riding up, you won't even notice that you're wearing them.  Both Cosmopolitan and Shape magazines have been singing this praises about this brand.  Available in three styles and lots of colors.  FitKnix will be in stock in February.

If you are female runner, there's only one piece of gear more important than your shoes.  A cup or DD, a great fitting running bra can be a game changer.  Having run for more than 35 years now (yikes) I feel pretty qualified to weigh in on this catagory of apparel.  Moving Comfort (now owned by Brooks Running) has been making running apparel for women since 1977. They have their bra business down to a science which is why it is the only brand of bra that we carry at Charles River Running,  The bra featured above, the Uprise Crossback took 18 months to perfect and is just that. This bra holds you firmly yet does not bind or compress.  The pads give you shape and at the same time are breathable and light.  Featuring cross back straps, this bra is a breeze to get on and off. $48.00  Now in stock.

The Balega Hidden Comfort sock as been around for a long time for a reason.  This sock has just the perfect amount of cushion, is super wicking, and wears like iron. It's been my personal choice for 4 years running.  You won't let anyone borrow these, you won't let one get lost in the dryer, you will have them on your gift list forever.  $12.00

Compression is a runner's friend.  Insulated compression tights are a Boston runner's best friend.  Fear not the cold on those long run days.  These best selling CW-X tights not only support your quads, hamstrings and IT band, but they have an extra layer of fleece material to keep your hard working legs warm.  $125.00

The FlipBelt has solved a whole boat load of problems for active people.  Simply put--you won't know what you did with your phone, keys, $20 bill, ATM card, and GU packet before this handy accessory came along. You can keep your phone in its protective case, you can easily access your phone while running, nothing BOUNCES around, and you can wash it :)  Yes, accessories can get stinky too. What I carry in my flipbelt---my iphone for instragrams of Olive and dog treats.  $28.99

Want your post-run vente to stay hot longer? How about that long ago melted ice water on your desk?  Your beverage of choice will stay the perfect temperature, even in hot yoga, your hot car or a cold commuting backpack.  Hydro Flask bottles are made from 18/8 stainless steel and are double wall vacuum insulated.  Best of all, they come with a lifetime warranty.  We have plenty of sizes and colors in stock.

There's no better way to show the world what you do and where you do it.  Pick up a one of a kind, limited edition Run Norwood pompom beanie for Boco Gear.  This hat keeps your noggin warm and cozy and serves as a nice variation from you Patriots hat.  Really, your fans will appreciate a break from the PatsNation routine.  Soft, warm and colorful $30.00.

Last but not least is a product that I wear litterally every day all year round.  These closed cell foam sandals from Oofos will not quit. I picked up my first pair at the 2012 Boston Marathon Expo and haven't looked back.  Even before Charles River Running had opened it's doors, I knew this product would have a place on the coveted shoe wall.  This shoe is light, supportive and feels great after a long run, first thing in the morning or after you get home from a long day at work.  The only down side to Oofos--my puppy loves to chew them.  Olive-- 4, Oofos--- 0.  Many colors and styles now in stock.

While not currently for sale, but certainly in-stock, our store dog Olive, has developed quite a fan club.  She greets customers, eats cardboard, barks at no one and has taken a particular liking to our treat-carrying UPS man.  She keeps me on a pretty strict running regiment and saves me from loneliness on the slowest of days.  We forgive her her canine flatulence, drooling condition and propensity for jumping up.  After making the drive up from Alabama with a bunch of other rescue dogs this past May, Olive has decided to stay here at Charles River Running and we are thrilled.  Stop in anytime and give her a pat on the head.  Those are free, btw.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Winter Running Tips: Share What You Wear

Baby it's cold out side--and like all the sudden.  I'm not sure how you are feeling, but it seems like these winter temps came on all of the sudden, with not much time for my body to adjust.  So this morning, with the sun shining bright and the iphone reporting 9 degrees in Norwood, I was at a bit of a standstill in front of the closet.  What to wear, what to wear.  We have great intentions right now, streets clear of snow, resolutions to keep, and races to train for.  We need to get out there and we need to dress right.  What layers? How many? What works for you?  Maybe it will work for me too!  And so, like many ideas that come to you while running, this contest was born.  Play along and win a pair of Due North Traction Aids (never slip on the ice again)  Here are the details:

1.  Take photo of yourself with your winter running attire 
2.  Post your photo on FB, Twitter or Instagram and use the hashtag #sharewhatyouwear
3.  You have 10 days to post as many times as you like (Jan 5 -- Jan 15th)

Here's my info for today's run:
Conditions:  on the trail, out of the wind, 9 degrees.  
Duration:  4o minutes.  
Attire:  Brooks Seattle Shell, Mizuno BT Wind Top, Mizuno BT tights, Feetures Merino Elite light cushion, Mizuno BT Beanie, Saucony Run Mit, Skida neckwarmer

What I would have done differently:  used Vasoline on my chin and cheekbones.  I also would have worn a headband under my hat for my earlobes.

What was toasty:  my torso
What was cold:  my thighs, cheekbones and earlobes

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Charles River Running Holiday Gift Guide

Charles River Running wants to make your holiday shopping easy.  All of the products listed below have been hand-picked and tested by us. We have so many more things at the store to share and we hope that you can stop in and browse at bit.  See you soon!

1.  Dr. Cool:  Ice and compression all in one handy product. $30.
2.  Run Gum:  Get the pre-run kick without the latte. Fruit and Mint flavors $1.89
3.  Boston Strong Sticker--nuf said $3.
4.  Perfect Fuel Chocolate Energy Bites. When it's 4pm and there's still so much to do.... $2.29

5. Athlete Inspired bracelets.  13.1 and 26.2 models also in stock $20.
6. Colorful timekeeping from Soleus $55.
7.  Skida VT-made neck warmer--just the right weight for runners--lots of prints available $36
8. Bold, fresh graphics from Run Pretty Far, in a set of note cards. $18.

9.  Only the finest organic cotton and bamboo for your guy Tasc Boxer Brief $24.
10.  Moji foot massager  $40.
11.  The Saucony Run Mitt---cause it's gonna get cold $30.
12. Garmin Forerunner 15 now on sale while supplies last $119.99

13.  USB rechargeable Orion Strobe--compact and throws an impressive 32 lumens $30.
14. Skida Made in VT--we love this spunky brand of fun, warm hats $36.
15. You can never have too much sparkle. Sparkly Soul nonslip headbands $15.
16. Runners + coffee = happy. Hydro Flask 20ozw/ fliptop $28.

17. This little package of handmade caramels goes a long way. McCrea's pillow pack $3.95.
18. For the beer loving runner on your list. HydroFlask True Pint $22.
19. Moji works wonders for those in-between-massage-appointment knots  $30.
20. You don't have to live in Brooklyn to rock a trucker hat, period.  Run Pretty Far $24.

21.  Get noticed and stay warm.  Gloves from Nathan $35.00
22.  So many features--113 lumens and rechargeable. Light the way with Nathan $45.
23. Pop one on the front and one on the back. Strobes in fun colors $10.
24.  Recharges with a USB and flashes in your choice of 3 colors. LightBender  RX $30.

Now get out that list and check it twice! Come to Charles River Running and let us help you.  Happy holidays.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Noanet Woodland Trails and a Fantastic View!

I felt so energized in these trails!

       There is a ghost in the Noanet Woodland trail! 

       Just kidding, that is me.

       I am back again for another trail run blog post. It was a hot Wednesday evening when my mom, her friend, and I decided to run the Noanet Woodland trail in Dover, MA. This trail gave made a great impression on me because of how beautiful and organized the place was. Right when we pulled onto the nice gravel parking lot, we saw the beginning of the trail, which was marked by a giant easy-to-understand map and clearly marked trees. We picked our route and raced into the forest.

      Compared to all of the trails I have ran in my life, this trail was the most stunning. The road was wider, more clear of roots, rocks, and ditches, and not as many hills. The tall pine trees were just so amazing and the plants and wildlife looked so refreshed and healthy. If you choose to ever run this trail, make sure to look up a couple times to observe the nature around you. But don't trip!

Looking out from the view!
        About half way through the route, we made a quick stop at one of the maps they have along the trails. It was so helpful how they inserted these maps more frequently throughout the trails and not just at the beginning. We were switching from the Blue trail to the Orange trail, when we realized that there was an option to go look out upon a peak. We all agreed to follow the quick little detour off our trail. The path was pretty steep, however the view was worth it! We could even see Boston from up there! (The sight of the city is right above my head and a little bit to the left in the picture above). It was an awesome way to take a break in the middle of this run. Everyone should take this path when running on these trails.

       On this run, I chose to wear my bicband for my hair. I have those annoying fly away hairs that always stick to my face when I run, so I usually wear head bands. I love the different patterns and styles that bicbands offer and they don't fall off as easy as other brands do. 

       The trail grew more amazing as we were getting to the end. The smells were calming, the air had a warm and crisp feeling, and the ground was lightly padded with fallen bristles of the pine trees. It definitely made me feel closer to nature. 

We all enjoyed this beautiful run and I couldn't wait to tell everyone about it! 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

An Interview with Lisa Drummey, Director of Norwood Meals on Wheels

CW: Thanks for joining me Lisa, we’re very excited to be putting on the Napper Tandys Flyer to benefit Norwood Meals on Wheels and we’re trying to get as many runners as we can to come down to support the cause.

LD: As will we

CW: So I’m just going to begin with some basic questions about Norwood Meals on Wheels. How many people do you serve in a year?

LD: In a year we can serve anywhere from 5,000-8,000 meals a year, which for us is huge because we’re only providing services in Norwood. A lot of those numbers represent the regulars who we have 5 days a week, but we have a lot of different types of clientele that come on and off the program throughout the year.

CW: How did this program get started?

LD:  In 1975 one of the churches in Norwood noticed that there was a need. There were people that were home bound, whether it was due to surgery, the New England weather, not having their license anymore, who didn't have access to shop and couldn't prepare meals for themselves.   So the church started the program and provided meal to those in Norwood.  The state subsidizes many other similar programs but we decided to stay in Norwood. Some of the state mandated programs have age and health requirements but we have no age requirements. Our only requirement is that you have the need.  No age requirement is huge for us because a lot of our people might be people with disabilities, such as the mentally impaired adults that are able to work but not able to cook for themselves at home, so it’s one less worry for them and their families during their day.

CW: How many people are on your staff?

LD: We have approximately 30-35 people and they’re all volunteers. I coordinate with them and everyday we have two packers that go down to the Ellis and prepare our meals These volunteers will take care of all of the logistical stuff and I send down a packet to the Ellis with all of the labels and requirements for people, including any of their dietary needs. Everybody gets an individual meal, even if it’s for example a husband and wife at the same house because they most likely have different restrictions. We have 3 volunteer drivers that come in to drive the three geographical routes to deliver the meals. That rotates each day, so when a volunteer commits it usually about an hour to an hour and a half a week, and it’s usually the same day every week. Many of our volunteers themselves are retired and they might do other things so they can have their set day that they work giving them their schedule so that’s great.

CW: So let’s go back in time, if you could tell me how you got involved in the program?

LD:   I was asked to take the position from a friend of the family.   It’s such a fabulous program that it was hard for me to say no.  The majority of the work I do from home and so it fits well into my life.  Everybody with the exception of me, are volunteers.  I couldn't do it without them, I really couldn't.

CW: It sounds like a team effort. Could you talk now about how is this program funded?

LD: We are funded by private donations and grants. The Ellis charges us for the meals, so we in turn, unfortunately, do have a fee that we charge our recipients.  We used to get a huge grant from the United Way however,  their funding criteria kind of changed.  Our budget is a shoestring budget, we don’t do a lot in the press per say because we don’t have a marketing budget. The one thing we do is we put inserts in the electric bills.  We’ll get donations from the town. We always get a very generous contribution from Norwood Bank every year.  Aside from those organizations and companies, we supplement with grants that come along and really the generosity of the town.

CW: So over the time that you've worked with Norwood Meals on Wheels I assume you've seen an increase in demand for your services.  What does the future look like for the program and your population in need?

LD:  I think that our services will always have a place in the community.. The demand constantly changes. It’s always a program that fluctuates, sometimes you are bursting at the seams with people and then you pull back a little.  We just had one women who stopped the program because she had to go into assisted living full time, she had Alzheimer’s, but her daughter wrote a very lovely note and she was able to get maybe another year, year and a half in her own home because of the program. The meal component is really important with Alzheimer’s because of the forgetfulness, sometimes they just forget that they have to cook. People use us for various reasons. We just had someone come on because she had arm surgery, so she may be one of those people that are short term, she has her couple months, or she may decide, “you know what? I really like this. This is really helpful to me” and maybe just cut back to a couple of days a week.  That’s why I think that the need is always there for us--our terms are flexible and we have no age limitations.

CW:  I imagine you’ve helped and have gotten to know a lot of people doing this type of work. Do you have any special memory or any special person who sticks in your mind?

LD: I do, I do. Gosh I have so many, they’re all so wonderful. I do fondly remember a woman who was real tough to crack at first.  She was kind of aloof, but somehow we got to talking about how she was from Lithuania, and my grandmother is Lithuanian, so once I shared that with her, she became my best friend. She was a favorite of mine and I remember as the sweetest, nicest woman ever.  There was one other gentleman, who was a charmer, and someone told me he had owned racehorses.  I shared this with my dad he said “I went to school with someone who owned a racehorse, he was always trying to charm the ladies”.  When I heard his name I almost fell over because it was this same man my dad went to school with.

CW: What a small world.

LD: Yeah, you miss them. You miss them when they go.

CW: Now walk me through a day in the life of the Meals on Wheels director. How do you start your day?

LD: Every day I get up and I check the messages on the phone at the Ellis and then I prepare the list of all our recipients for that day.  Then I’ll call the packers and tell them the recipients so they know who to not deliver a meal to that day. Then I will call the drivers and let them know if there are any changes to their route and if there’s anyone new. Then depending on how the day unfolds, on Tuesdays I help pack the meals, I’ll usually check the messages and do the billing once a month. I’m always looking for grants and writing thank you notes, sending out letters and soliciting donations. Sometimes I drive or train new drivers. The beauty of the job is that no two days are alike.  When adjustments need to be made, like if a driver can’t come in, I’ll have to move things around.

CW: Now, here’s the big question:  How does one get involved with this organization either as a volunteer or a recipient of the services you provide?  

LD: Just call our main number 781-769-9061 and leave a message.  I promise to return your call.  A lot folks find us by word of mouth.   A lot of our volunteers have come to us very randomly and they are great people.  We have to run a CORI check and then train you, and then you are good to go.