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.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Borderland State Park Trail Run!

     The weather was perfect this Sunday morning. A cool breeze, light clouds to cover the sun, and the ground was nice and dry. Before our run, I had a cup of coffee and half of a banana to fuel me up. The caffeine in the coffee keeps me energized and awake, while the banana helps with those horrible side stitches. 
     Me, my mom, and our friend all decided to go trail running in the Borderland State Park. From where Charles River Running is located, it took about 20 mins to get to the park, which was in Sharon, MA. Not a bad drive, however, it did cost us $2 to park in the lot. We thought it would be a better idea, for next year, to buy The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) sticker for our car so we could visit these beautiful parks more often. 

     Out of the 18 trails in the park, we chose the Pond Walk which was 2.9 miles. It was a very pleasant run that included sights of ponds, open fields, and great wildlife. There were also many other people enjoying the morning as well. Mountain bikers zooming by, dogs pulling their owners around, and even horses! My all-time favorite animal in the world! We didn't explore the entire park, but I could tell this was a very populated and enjoyable place to be with your friends and family. 
     The trail path was very wide, unlike other trails we have ran on. This was probably because it was meant for many activities like walkers, bikers, horses, etc. The rocks were very loose on the ground as well. There were many ankle rolls and slips running on these trails, so I advise running shoes with good traction. For example the Salomon XR Mission, or for more rugged trails the Salomon Crossmax. Both of these shoes are sold at Charles River Running

   Can you spot the horses?! 

       At the end of our run, the trail led to the Ames Mansion! This amazing structure is the actual mansion that Blanche Ames and her husband lived in. For more information on the history and the park in general, visit their website here. There are scheduled mansion tours as well!
      In conclusion, this was a very neat place to explore and I deeply enjoyed seeing the mansion and the park around it. Other than the expense, I definitely recommend this place! 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Running while on Vacation: The Great Island Trail in Cape Cod

      Wow was this course an adventure. I mean that is basically what we called it, "the Cape Cod Adventure",  but the real name was the Great Island Trail. My group of 3 three and I ran 3 miles to the end of the trail, where we gazed upon such a great view of the ocean, and 2 miles back.
      I will be honest here and tell you that there were two attempts at this course. The first time was two days prior, at 9:30 AM in the scorching hot sun, no sunscreen or bug spray, and ankles buckling in the loose sand. It wasn't a good time.  We ended up having to turn around before we could reach our final destination. However, we took a day to recover and to plan the second attempt for the next morning. This time, we started at 7:30 AM, it rained the previous night which packed down the sand and cooled everything off, but with a little humidity and fog left over. We loaded up on sunscreen and bug spray, to protect us from those pesky flies. And finally, we knew what we were getting into. We accomplished the entire course! At the end some of the members decided to go for a little dip to cool off.

      For more information on the course itself, it was filled with sand dunes, pine tree woods, salty water, and mini crab invested marshes. I almost felt like a jungle animal running down the trail, dodging branches, and leaping over roots. At moments on the course, we had to stop, usually either because the sand was too loose to run in, the grass was too high, or we had to climb a dune. But, we accomplished it!
      The group members had some accessories that were very useful: we used Run Cuff and Run Keeper. The Run Cuff was used to carry our phones to take pictures of the landscape and Run Keeper was an app for the iPhone. Our run keeper user said, "I like it because it allows me to keep track of my exercise routines. So if I go running or walking or on the elliptical, it gives me a sense of what I am doing and how many calories I am burning. It also allows me to keep tracking of what I am eating and my nutrition. Also, what is cool is it gives me a map of where I ran, and you can post and share through the network on the iPhone".

The Adventure Crew

      To end this post, I am just going to fill you in with a couple reminders if you interested in running in Wellfleet MA and conquer the Great Island Trail:

  • Wear sunscreen!
    • Even if it is cloudy, the strong rays from the sun can peak out. I learned my lesson the first time. I ended up running with my arms inside my shirt.
  • Wear bug spray!
    • There are some evil little insects out there, especially in the marshes. Ticks in the grass, mosquitoes in the woods, and green head flies on the beach. Beware of the bugs!
  • Stretch!
    • The sand can be dangerous on your ankles if they were to roll. Also, there are many steep hills. Usually my calves and hamstrings get tight. 
  • Just keep going!
    • There are many places where you can stop and turn around, however, the ending feels great. Obstacles may get in the way, but just take on that challenge and go for it! 

We even saw a goofy little fox!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Running and Fitness Event for Women: Fun Run in Chicago

     Hey there! My name is Ginny Walsh, the daughter of Charlotte Walsh, and the new blogger for Charles River Running here to bring fresh new posts about running, products, insights, and races etc.
I have been running for almost 2 years, so I am just getting into the swing of things.
     What is a better way to start off a new blog post, than to write about the Fun Run for the Running and Fitness Event for Women last week! A beautiful and amazing 4 mile run on the lake front of Chicago was such a great way to start the morning at 6:30 am. My mom and I got to connect with runners, vendors, and suppliers and were able to try out new products.
     One of the products I got to test out, was the Mino. This was a little flat tablet that is inserted under the insole in the heel that lets me know when my shoes are worn out. Someone may think they would be able to feel it in their heel, however, I wasn't able to at all.  After my run, I discovered that my shoes were almost finished! I highly recommend getting a few of these for yourself, in case you are thinking about how long you have had your running shoes.
      Along with the Mino, we visited with bicbands, and tested an endurance drink called Nuun.  The best part about the event however, was the run! After the first day in Chicago, I automatically said, "This is the most beautiful city I had ever been to!" I am not much of a city girl, however, the architecture was amazing, the food was outstanding, and the lake was an image just waiting to be painted. Getting to run along the lake front while examining the sunrise was absolutely stunning! Everyone there was very friendly and willing to chat with you about their experiences as retailers, vendors and runners. I got to meet many great runners and come back with helpful tips.
     To conclude, this fun run was the perfect blend of business and pleasure! You were able to run, network and try new products. The people were so nice and willing talk about their products but if you didn't want to, they were perfectly okay with it. I loved going to this event and I would love to do it again!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A favorite little something

A favorite little something

I posted this graphic on the Charles River Running Facebook page this week.  Somedays it's harder than others to find the "thing" that makes you smile or reflect.  If I go a few days without a run, it becomes extremely difficult to see, much less find these moments or these favorite little things.  They happen all around me, sometimes so quickly, even simultaneously --how could I miss them?  But I do, and again, I miss them on the days when my antennae is down. It's down alright.  Down and I'm left to think of nothing better of how slow business is, how crappy the weather is, how few eggs my chickens are laying.  The pile grows and grows and the special, wonderful, favorite things that are happening all around me go unnoticed by the person who needs to see them the most--me.  How do I dig out?  I run. Running gets me out from under the pile and allows for the antennae to unfurl and pick up the grace of an ordinary day.

This morning while running down a quiet street inDedham I saw a dad and his daughter out waiting for the school bus.  His back was to me and he was standing in front of his 13 or so year old daughter.  I could tell they were sharing some quiet words and they didn't see me coming.  Then I notice the dad look quickly to the left and right and then plant a big, loud, loving kiss on his daughter's forehead.  I mean this was a loud kiss.  The morning air was so still and the smacking sound of the kiss had no where to go but echo off the trees and houses around us.  I immediately felt like a voyeur, seeing something that was clearly not meant for me.  The girl looked too old for the "off to school" smooch but the dad was having nothing of that.  She was letting him have this kiss and he was so happy to give it to her.  But who cares, they thought no one was looking.  My approaching footfalls eventually got their attention.  The dad turned around and greeted me with a loud and happy "good morning"  which I returned and looked back down at the ground.  I was embarrassed to have been a spectator at their moment.  But I also felt joy and grace and a bit of sappy sentimentality, as all my kids are way past the "off to school" kiss.  Shoot, I'm not even allowed within 100 yards of the bus stop.  So, while it was a bit awkward for all parties involved, I had found my "favorite little something" that day.  No coincidence that I found it on a run.  My antennae was out, out, out there picking up a whole world of fantastic stuff.

Here's a video a friend posted on social media this morning.  I'll fully admit to being a sucker for these YouTube tidbits but I'm so glad I watched it.  It has a lot to do with this blog entry. I, for one, am glad that I happened upon that dad and his daughter this morning.  Unknowingly, they gave me a little present and it was my favorite little something today.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Charles River Running Ambassador Lauren Leonard Weighs in on Motherhood and Running

Recently, more and more prominent female runners have openly embraced motherhood. Olympic hopeful and new mom, Laura Fleshman, has taken her own experiences as a first-time runner to pen a popular blog, The Fast Life, for Runner’s World.  Other moms like Kara Goucher, Deena Kastor and Paula Radcliffe are famous for blazing up the running circuit post-baby and setting new records. For us mortals, groups such as Another Mother Runner and are fostering communities that make running accessible to moms nationwide. From within these running communities, relationships are built, obstacles overcome, and victories won. As each of these stories is shared, an ancient secret is unveiled. There is a deep wisdom women share that is becoming clearer to me as I move further along in my own pregnancy.

This secret is one that has empowered women for years and, when applied to running, makes women more resilient and powerful. The truth of the matter is that motherhood allows women to tap into an infinite source of collective wisdom, strength, and courage. Lessons learned through pregnancy (and motherhood) offer invaluable insights into running and vice versa – here is what I’ve learned thus far:

Get Intimate with Your Intuition:
It is easy to give into the trepidation surrounding both motherhood and running, but our bodies are designed to do both and when left to their own devices – they know what to do, and even excel when not disturbed. 

In terms of childbirth, there are endless books, movies, and classes on the topic, but physically, there is very little to teach women. One can be taught about the stages of labor, positions that may ease labor pain, and listen to anecdotal evidence from other women or healthcare professionals. But when women surrender to the process of childbirth or to motherhood, for that matter, then fear organically dissipates. By having faith in one’s innate ability to birth, mother or run… you can let go of the emotions that are holding you back from performing at your best in any of those arenas.

Regarding running, there are a few techniques one can use to tweak physical form to prevent injury and improve performance, but any healthy child can naturally run… just like any healthy woman can give birth. If we put trust and faith in our training, if believe the body knows how to perform it will far exceed our expectations. It is not until we let go, that we can tap into our full potential as a female runner.

Love Thy Body:
More so than any other time in a women’s life, pregnancy evokes an overwhelming volume of unsolicited advice about what to do with our body, ranging from sexual activity, food consumption, birthing positions, and, most of all, exercise – specifically the notion that running and pregnancy don’t mix. 

This mess of conflicting, unverified advice can be overwhelming and intimidating, especially to first time moms. Luckily, we women come set with an internal compass and strong intuition that, together, can guide us down the right path.  Our bodies tell us what we need to know. By honoring the body’s wisdom, we can learn what is right for our pregnancy, our children, and our running.

I had always planned to run throughout both of my pregnancies. However, by about 6 months into each, I could not ignore my body’s cues to stop. Many viewed my decision to run while pregnant as dangerous. But, in my opinion, it would have only become dangerous had I continued to run despite the fact that it didn’t feel right anymore. It was clear to me that the baby was getting agitated for a reason and the stress on the body had become more of a risk than a benefit.

Just as I had to honor my body’s innate wisdom while pregnant, so, too, do runners need to listen to signs of fatigue, pain, and discomfort when training. In each case, the stakes are too high to ignore. But it is truly the experience of motherhood that reinforces this important life lesson. Love Thy Body, and it will do incredible things for you.

Motherhood is the TRUE Marathon:
As labor approached in my first pregnancy, my husband helped build my confidence by reminding me that I was a runner. He would say, “You run marathons, you can do more that just endure the mental and physical efforts of natural childbirth, you can triumph over it.” He was right!

Now at 8.5 months pregnant with a toddler running around me, I realize that motherhood is the actual marathon and labor is just an intense interval workout! Literally, each contraction is like a set, with intense effort and concentration, followed by a brief pause to catch your breath before the next round.  And when the “workout” is complete, the euphoric runner’s high is intoxicating --- difference being that only labor produces that precious baby!

While interval training is a necessary part of any good training program, marathons require something special – why else would they be on so many people’s bucket lists? Marathons require a true commitment. You are in it for the long haul and must pace yourself accordingly. You need to keep replenishing yourself with good nutrition, exercise, sleep, and enjoyable activities to counteract the stress of the training. You must be flexible, willing to adjust goals, and overlook daily hassles keeping the bigger picture in mind. The same is true of mothers!

Food is Thy Medicine

Pregnancy is one of the few times that women truly commit to eating well. Most women are willing to make sacrifices for nine months seeing the research is clear that there is a direct relationship between what the mother eats and the health and safety of their growing baby. In fact, most first time Moms can rattle off a long list of the foods and drinks they’ve been told them were off limits.  Conversely, most women can use food to better manage their morning sickness, fatigue, and ensure the baby is getting all the required nutrients to develop properly.

Likewise, if women follow the same laser-focused eating regimen when in training for a race, they will benefit from more fruitful training sessions, faster recovery, and stronger performances. In essence, your running becomes your baby. So you should honor your training and your body the same way you do during pregnancy, using food to support your desired outcome. No matter what the goal, if women commit to healthy eating habits, they will be rewarded by clearer focus, more energy, and greater gains. Make good food a priority and everyone wins!

The Power of Visualization:

As I get closer to my due date, I find myself thinking more and more about this very active baby growing inside the womb. Who is he/she? How do I want to bring this baby into the world? And how do I foresee myself parenting two children? To mentally prepare for these big questions, I find myself turning to a technique I learned as a competitive runner –visualization! 

When used correctly, visualization is a powerful tool to getting the very most out of yourself, both as a mom and runner. Preparing our minds for the task at hand is just as crucial, if not more so, than the physical training. Whether talking about an upcoming labor or race, visualization can build confidence in the last weeks before the event. By visualizing how you’d like the event to unfold and how to respond to a variety of what-ifs, the “pressure” or “fear” dissolves and the desired outcome becomes increasingly more achievable. In effect, you have already run the race a few times and succeeded!! You learn where to focus and those external distractions fade so that you can better monitor important signals from your body.

Having used this technique racing countless times with much success, I’m preparing for the upcoming labor in the same manner. I have some context to pull from with my first pregnancy, but, just as each race is different, so, too, is each pregnancy. Thus, this time I will envision myself tapping into that collective strength and courage innate in all women. I envision letting my body be my guide, honoring its cues and wisdom, and taking advantage of each pause to gather myself for the next phase.


When I originally wrote this article I was eight months pregnant enjoying a heightened state of intuition and intimacy with my body.  While I missed the catharsis of my regular runs, I was able to draw from both my experience as a mother and a runner to conquer yet another natural pregnancy – this one being even smoother (and faster) than the first. Now just 4 weeks post-baby, I’m a wiser, stronger more resilient version mother runner training for a half marathon in June. Honoring my body, by skipping runs in favor or sleep, eating better than ever and visualizing how sweet it will be to complete my first race post-baby #2, I’m eager to share my discovery and honored to be representing this secret society of women runners.