Monday, May 21, 2012

RTB MA {relay recaps} Part 1

Where to begin... I never really jumped on board when everyone started calling everything "epic", but now I get it because that was seriously an EPIC adventure this weekend participating in the Massachusetts Reach the Beach Relay!!


I will remember this amazing weekend with these amazing women always!  


Need a refresher?  Here’s the list of ladies in our running order:

Team Off Balance

Gretchen – Honey I Shrunk the Gretchen
Jess – Fit Chick in the City
Melissa – Fitness NYC
Patricia – Run Foodie Run
Sarah – Sarah Fit
Tina - Carrots ‘n Cake
Monica – Run Eat Repeat
Theodora – Losing Weight in the City
ElizabethOn Tap for Today
Anne – Fannetastic Food
Ashley – A Healthy, Happier Bear

There were also our unbelievably amazing drivers Nicole and Monica!!  They easily became part of the family this weekend too!!! 

I need to rewind a bit back to Thursday though. I left work early, made a quick stop at Whole Foods for some last minute provisions, and headed to the New Balance headquarters in Brighton to meet the team.


We quickly packed up the vans and headed north to Lawrence for a tour of the manufacturing facilities and the lab where they test all the shoes.

I used to work 5 minutes away from the New Balance in Lawrence for over 5 years and I never knew everything that actually took place here.
Some fun facts:

  • NB created it's first shoe in 1982 with their 990, which is still their top shoe.
  • This was also the first athletic shoe to break $100 and no one thought it would sell.
  • Whoever said that is kicking themselves now though, because as of today their have been 14,000,000 pairs of the 990 sold!!!
  • NB is also the only athletic shoe company that still manufactures shoes in the USA! 25% of their shoes are made in the county.


IMG_4284 (material waiting to become shoes)

We were lucky enough to tour the manufacturing floor and actually see these 990's being made. I've never seen anything like this before. Its crazy to see the shoes go from pieces of materials all the way into sneakers!






A shoe is made about every 22.5 seconds!

After that tour we headed downstairs to visit the  Sports Research Lab.

There were a few desks, but also a treadmill, basketball hoop, lifting bar, and other equipment that made me thinks they don't have onto sit behind their computers all day.

We saw and tried out some of their technology that analyzes how you run, if you pronate, how your foot strikes the ground, and how they test their shoes against competitors.



I learned that I strike the ground on my mid foot, which it what I had thought. Apparently striking mid-food helps avoid injury. But we also talked about how being a heel striker is not necessarily a bad thing if you do it right. However most people don't do it right and that's why it has a bad rep.

One of the guys that worked down in the lab also was telling us his theory about how when other parts of the body are injured you keep them in a cast/sling/brace for the short term and then get them back to their natural range of motion.  However, if someone pronates, they get a corrective shoe and that’s that.  Basically saying that being an over-pronator may just be how some people naturally run and as long as their not in pain or injured, why correct it??  Interesting…



We then headed back to the vans, and headed to the Wachusett Village Inn, where we would be spending the night before the relay. 

We checked in, had a few minutes to relax and then we gathered by a campfire outside while we had our first interaction with the videographer.  We had a videographer with us the entire time, and not just filming…but he is creating 5 episodes for the Reach the Beach facebook page about our journey.  We talked about what we are nervous about, what our thoughts were going into the race, and our goals. 

When he first talked about creating “conflict” I started thinking Real World: Reach the Beach.  But in reality it was more our own conflicts with what we might struggle with over the course of the relay.

Then it was dinner time!


Maybe nachos aren’t the best pre-race dinner…oh well!  I also had a big salad, and a few bites of mac and cheese that was passed around the table.  I love people who share :)

Just like the HLS, Elizabeth was my roomie and partner in crime…sadly we weren’t in the same van but we kept in constant contact via the twitter machine.  


In fact…twitter + group texting = the most action my cell phone has seen in a 2-day period EVER.  If you’ve  never group texted…get on it.  Its life changing.

After breakfast Friday morning we all headed to Mt. Wachusett to register, go through orientation, and get ready to send Gretchen off on the first leg!!



I love these girls!



Team Fast Food Nation:

Loved some of the costumes we saw!!

Gretchen getting ready to tackle the first leg…basically up Mt Wachusett!


And they’re off! IMG_4407  

I’m guessing by now you’ve read some of the other re-caps, and we were all trying not to do TOO many posts but there is just SO much to share.  I’m going to stop here for now, but I can’t WAIT to talk about the actual race!!! 


  1. Great recap so far! I love the silly group photos! 

  2. Emily @ A Cambridge StoryMay 22, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    Wow - what an adventure! Congrats on completing the race!

  3. What an amazing event!!!!! The new balance factory looks so cool! I used to love buying shoes  from the outlet store. Fabulous. You look adorable. Glad y'all had fun

  4. HealthyhappierbearMay 22, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    Why are my legs open in every picture? I don't even remember taking these! MISS YOU!!