Tag Archives: team off balance

Reach The Beach: Road to Glory

Announcement: My blog is scheduled to transfer to my own domain on Monday! Starting Monday you can find me at www.Fitnessnycblog.com!  I can’t wait to see you there!

So we finished our first legs and all was well.  My first leg was far harder than I had expected and in the words of Gretchen, I wasn’t prepared.  However, as we hit the next transition are at twilight, I was feeling better about my next leg. We were waiting for van 2 to finish their first leg by a gorgeous lake.  Vans were everywhere, we were dancing around to call me maybe, twilight was casting it’s pretty black-blue all around us. Life was great. 


credit: Jack atpixelwiremedia.com / rtbrelay.com

Ashley came flying in at light speed and off Gretchen went for leg 13! 


credit: Jack atpixelwiremedia.com / rtbrelay.com

I started to focus on my second run of the trip.


Leg 13 looked intimidating and hilly, but the actually elevation change was only around 100 feet up and down.  The night run was scary, so many things to worry about, being alone, being safe, not getting lost, being disoriented. However as the leg approached, I was just excited to get out there!

I started off and almost missed the first turn, but fortunately, I saw someone ahead and I decided to follow them.  After falling into a few potholes and off a few curbs, I started to really focus on the ground in front of me.  Sometimes it was hard to see, but I just kept adjusting my headlamp so I could make out the foot or two ahead.  Rather than my usual crazy hip hop/moshup music, I had on a mix Gena made me of Animal Collective, the Decemberist, chairlift, mates of state and passion pit.  While it was slow, it was soothing and my mind just focused.  My body was on autopilot and I was along for the ride!  I kept a good 9:30ish pace  and kept looking for the van ahead.  It was always there for me, whenever I needed it! Soon it was all over 5.67 miles done. I was so exhilarated, I think that was my favorite leg of all!

We all rocked our night legs and tried to curl up for a few hours sleep. I failed miserably at the sleeping.  And spent my time stalking van 2 on twitter. I was thrilled when we were up again.  While I was nervous about how my body would hold up, I only had 2.7 miles to run, so I couldn’t complain.

Off went Gretchen, then Jess, and I was up once again. I almost didn’t want it to be over.  I almost wanted to put an extra mile or two on my leg to make it fairer for those with long 3rd legs.  However, I could only run my own leg, 27!


It looks hilly, but it was actually pretty flat. I took off, my legs were stiff, but not too bad. Kind of like I had a hard strength class a few days before.  RTBMA12-8817

credit: Jack atpixelwiremedia.com / rtbrelay.com

Honestly, it was over before I knew it,  I actually almost missed the end and didn’t pick it up early enough to sprint it out as my watch was a little off.  That said, I was thrilled to be done.


credit: Jack atpixelwiremedia.com / rtbrelay.com

I definitely enjoy being a cheerleader and I was happy to be able to focus on my awesome teammates!


credit: Jack atpixelwiremedia.com / rtbrelay.com

Soon we were all done and waving goodbye to van 2!  2012-05-19_11.35.26

We took off for coffee and finally hit THE BEACH.  What we had been waiting for, it was GORGEOUS.

But, we had something more important to attend to…



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I didn’t really know what I was doing with the bowl, I just got everything. Next time I will skip the teriaki and sour cream…in fact, I will be off sour cream for the forseeable future.  But yay for broccoli and mango salsa…it was delicious.

After enjoy the beer tent band for a bit, I had to see the beach.  I reached the beach, and the went to sleep on it!

After what seemed like forever, van 2 arrived!  We all waited excitedly for Ashley and then ran to the finish with her! Running to the end together was priceless, emotional and just plain awesome. 


credit: Jack atpixelwiremedia.com / rtbrelay.com


credit: Jack atpixelwiremedia.com / rtbrelay.comRTBMA12-1947

credit: Jack atpixelwiremedia.com / rtbrelay.com

While the beach was truly beautifully, we were all ready to shower and sleep, so after van 2 grabbed food, off we went.

I was almost sad to say goodbye to the vans, almost. However, the Hilton Double Tree Cambridge was everything I could want and more!

Once again Jess and I relaxed in a two room suite! She enjoyed a glass of wine and I treated myself to room service.

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I am so happy to accomplish my RTB goal. I did it under the best possible circumstance.  I had a great sponsor, a great team, great weather.  The stars aligned. It was perfect. Thank you New Balance for being the best sponsor ever.2012-05-19_13.24.10

Make it Excellent!

Reach the Beach-Dawn till Dusk!

Reach the Beach was like nothing I have ever done.  It was incredible. I can’t possibly do it justice, so I will share the major highlights, and if you want to know more, I suggest you try it yourself!

After all meeting at the New Balance Brighton Factory, we had an amazing tour, and headed to the adorable Wachusett Inn.  Jess and I shared a very romantic suite, that was far larger than my apartment.  We didn’t have time to make much use of the sitting room. IMG_4111


Nope, we had some interviews to do.


I love me a good campfire filming!



After that, it was time for dinner!



Hi Team!


This awesome crew was going to rock my world for the next two days! I miss them already! Apparently the way to forge a relationship is to spend 32 hours straight in a fan listening to call me maybe on repeat sans showers.

The next morning, we had a yummy breakfast, bid the Wachusset Inn goodbye and headed to registration. I have never experienced a registration like this!  There were multiple steps!

IMG_4818 (640x480)

We passed safety check with our waivers, reflective vests, blinking lights and headlamps. Then we moved on to orientation.  Apparently there are a lot of return RTBers because the orientation leader kept referring to last year.

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Jess, Theodora, Sara, Ashley and Patricia were really getting all the details!


Bridget got our bibs and shirts!


That’s me, leg 3!

You know what’s next, group photo!


Van 1:

Van 2:

We also took one of the NYC ladies!


Gia was on another team, but we actually saw her a lot! Yay!

We all got to see Gretchen off at the start!



She had a tough first leg:

Leg 1: Wachusett Ski Area to Wachusett State Reservation: 2.8 miles: hard

New Hampshire isn’t the only state with hills. So we start you off with a ‘blast from the RTB past’ with a leg that goes straight up the ski slope and tops off at the State Park Ranger station some 2 miles away.

Holy crap! But she rocked it! It was here Patricia explained that hills are kind of RTB’s thing!

After seeing Jess off, it was time to get my game face on.  As I mentioned, check the course elevation ahead of time! My first look was in the van!


Actually on paper, I thought this would be easy peasy. It was mostly downhill, right?  OMG wrong! Never underestimate 2.1 miles of uphill!  This was definitely my hardest leg.  I felt like I wasn’t moving, but my watch told me that my first leg was under a 9 minute mile.


I started my watch a little late, but I kept around a 9:40 pace even though the hills killed me! It was pretty brutal, but on the first leg I learned that i had nothing to worry about on the course.

There were plenty of these to keep me running in the right direction.


My van was there for me every couple miles and plenty of other vans dotted my path as well!

It felt great to slap my bracelet off to Patricia and see her fly off!

My camera refused to close when I got back to the van and was dead for the rest of the trip, so sadly all the other photos are from my phone.  But, I did take a ton of video and if flipcam stops crashing, I will have a little montage for you soon!

Patricia killed the 8.5 mile leg, the longest of the entire course, and Bridget took off like a boss.  Sarah tore threw the last mile and slapped the bracelet off to Tina! Our first set of van legs done! 5 to go!

By then it was close to 4 and we needed a real meal! We found it at the Boynton Restaurant.

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The food was delicious!  Thanks to Sarah’s sister for affirming that Boynton was indeed the best.

We then headed to Shaw’s (or some such store) to buy even more food. We  were not going hungry no matter what ;). After that, we headed to the VTA to chillax for a bit!  Honestly I don’t even remember the time in the van, it flew by.  But how can time not fly by with these awesome ladies?

Before we knew Ashley was sprinting down the chute and slapping the bracelet on Gretchen and off we went again….

Reach the Beach Vans

While I am writing my first real recap of RTB, I wanted to share just a few RTB Van photos!  I really enjoyed looking at all the van decorations, and more than a few gave me a good laugh.  Having your van decorated helped people identify the teams you were close to and saw at every TA. In fact, we got a tweet from a runner that thanked us for cheering him on in leg 5!  He even thanked us in person later.  When you need a cheer, Team Off Balance is there!

A small glimpse of our van:

IMG_4072 IMG_4070


And I have to give a shout out to our fabulous, wonderful, amazing van driver Nicole!


Team Ouch


Honeybad-ger 2012-05-18_16.19.57

Longest Beer Run Ever 2012-05-18_19.51.29

4 dudes, 16 boobs


And my fav, WAR: Wicked Average Runners  2012-05-18_16.00.22

Reach the Beach: Packed!

Tired of packing posts yet?  I actually find them pretty helpful.  I referred to Meghann’s when I started packing and then I received a helpful email from RTB and New Balance detailing everything I could possibly need-see below.  Packing was sort of relay in itself, Team Off Balance tagged teamed on who was bringing bigger items and random things, like coolers and headlamps!


For safety (required): (Team Captain will provide the team (each van) with these items:

  • 2 flashlights
  • 4 reflective vests
  • 4 flashing lights – 2 per vest, front & back
  • Handbooks and Course Maps (one copy each for each van)

These are being provided by my fab teammates

Other tips/valuable things to bring:

  • GPS (teammate is bringing)
  • A cooler (teammate is bringing)
  • Energy bars, Gu and snacks
  • Extra rolls of toilet paper
  • CD’s (need to make one!)
  • Decorations for the van (washable window markers, Xmas lights, inflatable characters)
  • Newspaper to stuff in shoes to dry them (gonna hope for the best)
  • Batteries for Headlamps ?IMG_4534

What to pack:

For traveling on Thursday, before the race, in between legs and after the race:

• Warm up gear and comfortable footwear you will need in between legs.

• In addition, bring a sweatshirt of some sort, a couple of t-shirts (don’t forget you will get the race t-shirt as well), dry socks, a pair of sandals and a hat and gloves. (thanks to nb these are covered)

• Pack in a medium size bag with your sleeping bag separate instead of a big bag with the sleeping bag in it. (I just have a blanket)IMG_4540

What to wear during the race – in between running legs:

  • Medium bag
  • Sleeping bag
  • Warm Layers
  • 1 x Gore-Tex jacket with hood or equivalent (only if rain is forecast)
  • 1 x Comfortable shorts/capris
  • 1 x Short sleeve t-shirts (preferably technical fibers)
  • 1 x Long sleeve technical shirt
  • 1 x Hat and/or cap
  • 1 x Gloves
  • 3 x dry socks (i have like 5 pairs)
  • 1 x comfortable shoes/sandals (that you will not run in)

The check list:

  • 1-2 pairs of running shoes

3 Plastic bags with one outfit per bag.  This will make it easy to find each outfit and to seal up stinky post-run clothes to keep the van fresh as a daisy.IMG_4537 IMG_4539 IMG_4532

First leg bag:

  • 1 x short
  • 1 x tank/t-shirt
  • 1 x socks
  • 1 x cap
  • 1 x hand towel

Second leg bag:

  • 1 x long Lycra tight
  • 1 x Short sleeve t-shirts (preferably technical fibers)
  • 1 x Long sleeve technical shirt
  • 1 x socks
  • 1 x gloves and hat
  • 1 x hand towel

Third leg bag:

  • 1 x short
  • 1 x singlet/t-shirt
  • 1 x socks
  • 1 x hand towel

Other stuff:

  • Running watch (if you use one)
  • Flip flops – Worth their weight in gold between runs.
  • Glide/Vaseline (chaffing = bad)
  • Ear plugs
  • Deodorant
  • Bug spray (mine is from a safari in south africa, so I better leave tick free!)
  • Sunblock
  • pain reliever of choice
  • camera, video or still – got both!
  • Cell phone car charger – The reception is spotty, so your battery will drain quickly.
  • Cash Money – Lots o’ bake sales, little Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts selling delicious homemade baked items.
  • A first aid kit
  • spibelt
  • IMG_4541 IMG_4542 IMG_4543
  • IMG_4559

For pre and post race:

  • Outfit for dinner and outfit for Saturday night and Sunday morning-dress not shown. (I basically plan to wear anything mostly clean on Sunday)
  • jammies x2
  • toothbrush and toothpaste/toiletries (above)
  • basic make up (above)
  • rundies (for good luck)
  • laptop
  • foam roller
  • bus and train confirmations, waviers, race handbook




All together!

Getting Ready to Reach the Beach!


Reach the Beach is finally (and already!) here!  Well in a few days, but the prep starts now!  Packing for a 24 hour relay is not an easy feat! Blankets, foam rollers, decorations for the van, multiple outfits for each leg, down time clothes, charges, cameras, travel info, band aids, and so so much more!

So far I have picked up two essentials:


Cleansing clothes, in case there aren’t any showers.


Plenty of fuel for the road!  Don’t worry, I am sharing!

  I am in the midst of washing a lot of laundry, but I will definitely show you the contents of my duffel before I leave bright and early Thursday morning!

But speaking of what’s going in the duffel.  I received a surprise package today!  New Balance (best sponsor ever) sent us even more goodies!


We received a long sleeve dri fit, a tank and a gorgeous rain jacket all branded with our team name!  We’ll never forget this experience.  My goal for this event is really just to be best dressed, and I think  Team Off Balance has that title in the bag!

May has been a pretty awesome month, I official got promoted, attended my first Fitfluential event and Reach the Beach is next, kicking off a busy, but hopefully fabulous summer!  Only a week after RTB, I head to Boulder to run the Boulder Boulder 10k! 

Does anyone have tips for running at high elevation?  I’m nervous!

Eating Good in the Neighborhood

The week is off to a busy, but great start!  I had a great weekend and my good mood isn’t going anywhere!  I thought I would share some of my favorite eats from the weekend, as well as some exciting news!

On Thursday I met friends at Pure for a drink (I was happy to see it was PACKED) and then we headed around the corner to Bar Jamon for a little more delicious wine and some yummy tapas.  This spread really reminded me of Spain:

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Pan con tomate, mussels, fried anchovy, and goat cheese.  Yum.  I stuck to the cheese and pan con tomate– two major staples of diet during my time studying abroad in Madrid.  Small plates is definitely my favorite way to eat and I love the cozy feel of Bar Jamon.

On Friday, we tried a new place with friends called the Mussel Pot.  The space was sleek and modern with a cute little outdoor area complete with waterfall. I love mussels and this place had everything from traditional to more exotic styles, such as thai curry mussels.  Fortunately, if you don’t love mussels there are also plenty of other options.  We ordered a lot (and then ate a lot!), I had the fra diavolo which were mildly spicy with a great tomato sauce.  I also ordered some delicious sweet potato fries for the table.  We also split the tuna tartare which had a great guacamole base.



Yes, I was definitely a fan and look forward to going back!

Tasty things have been coming from my own kitchen as well!  After a bunch of fancy dinners out, I’ve kept things a little simpler at home.


Roasted brussels sprouts and a quinoa cake from whole foods (it ended up being way too sweet, but more room for brussels!).


Sweet Potato Soup with Apple, Orange and Cayenne.

Most recently, we took a second stab at risotto!  We tried a lemon and pea risotto with shrimp.

Lots of stirring:





I really wanted to make a balsamic reduction to drizzle over the top. However, after two failed attempts, I gave up. Who knew it would be so hard to make something with just two ingredients? Anyways, Frank drizzled the balsamic straight from the bottle and loved it!

And salad with a homemade dressing.


In addition to all the excitement around eating, there has been some other exciting news in my running life!

Reach the Beach Relay

Our Reach the Beach Relay leg assignments have been determined! I have to say, when I ranked my preferences, I was really nervous to disappoint my team, take forever or just fail all together. I am not a very competitive person, so I don’t really put a lot of pressure on myself when I am running or racing alone. However, I put a ton of pressure on myself when other people are counting on me. 

I thought about a few things when I was selecting the legs that would work best for me:

  1. My running shape right now—I am not running crazy long distances and I am still having the occasional ache and pain, so I wanted something that wouldn’t be a huge stretch for my fitness level, but that would still demand that I committed to regular training.
  2. When I would start and finish. I was too nervous to lead the team or be the last one finished, I wanted to be anywhere in between.
  3. The times I would be running. In the end, I decided this didn’t matter too much to me.  I don’t love running in the dark, but I can handle it.
  4. The difficulty of the legs. I wanted a mix of easy, moderate and hard.

So here’s what I got!

  • Runner 1 (10.55 miles): Jess
  • Runner 2 (18.97miles): Patricia

——->Runner 3 (14.35 miles): Melissa <——— ME

  • Runner 4 (14.32 miles): Bridget
  • Runner 5 (11.51 miles): Gretchen
  • Runner 6 (16.4 miles): Sarah
  • Runner 7 (19.69 miles): Tina
  • Runner 8 (22.48 miles): Monica
  • Runner 9 (19.82 miles): Theodora
  • Runner 10 (14.77 miles): Elizabeth
  • Runner 11 (17.36 miles): Anne
  • Runner 12 (16.74 miles): Ashley

I am pretty excited about my legs!

The first two are moderate difficulty and 5.98 miles and 5.67 (M) miles.  The last one is only 2.7 miles and easy intensity, so I hope to be able to really give it my all at the end!

I kind of wish I had pushed myself more to really challenge myself, but in the end I am happy that I don’t have to be crazy nervous!

See you all soon!

Reach the Beach a Dream Within Reach


I still pinch myself when I realize that I am actually running the New Balance Reach the Beach relay!  What you may not know, is that this relay has been many years coming for me.  I first heard of it from a guy I met through Team in Training told me that he did RTB every year with a group of friends.  I was in awe of this crazy endeavor, running for two days, through the night, 200 miles?  But wait, you run until you get to the beach! What’s cooler than that? I may have lost track of the boy (no loss), but I didn’t lose track of my goal to run an RTB!

I swore one day I would run one of these races. In fact, I first mentioned my goal way way back in Dec of 2008!

Running a Reach the Beach Relay was also MY DREAM GOAL for 2010!

While I often mentioned it to runner friends, I never could quite get a committed team off the ground.  Then suddenly a miracle happened and the best team of all invited me to join!

Check out my fellow crazy runners, affectionately known as Team Off Balance!

  1. Anne of Fannetastic Food
  2. Sarah of SarahFit.com
  3. Patricia of Run Foodie Run
  4. Tina of Carrots ‘N Cake
  5. Ashley of Healthy Happier Bear
  6. Bridget of Yogurt and Berries
  7. Liz from On Tap for Today
  8. Theodora of Losing Weight in the City
  9. Gretchen of Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen!
  10. Monica of Run Eat Repeat
  11. Ali of Food Fitness Fashion
  12. and Me

I really couldn’t ask for a better team.  I know some of these fabulous girls and I look forward to getting to know everyone else!

Not only do I have a kick ass team, but we have a sweet sponsor! New Balance! It’s hard to believe they are going to support our race and deck us out in some fabulous sports wear! A lucky team are we!

In fact, my new duds came yesterday! Check out what I will be wearing on a race day that merits outfit changes! Let me tell you, my workout wardrobe now destroys my regular my regular wardrobe in quality and quantity!

The Purple Haze!





And the pink gear!   IMG_3841IMG_3840IMG_3828

And SHOES!  These are the New Balance 860s, which offer stability!



All together with the N9 GPS Trainer (A GPS watch) and NRG Bars.

I love that some things are 100% totally my everyday workout style (capris, pullovers and short sleeve tees) and others are going to be fun to try out! I almost never run in shorts and I have NEVER tried a skirt!

Do you need new workout gear to get you excited for the upcoming running season?  New Balance is offering 15% off everything to FitnessNYC readers. Just use this code: NBRTB127DB3CE

As you can tell, I am pretty excited to make this RTB Dream happen and I hope you will follow me on my journey!