Going into our spring race season, Head Coach of The Heartbreakers Dan Fitzgerald explained the team’s spring singlets. Many of us were getting ready for the Harpoon 5 Miler and Dan wanted our presence at the race to more more than just having some of the fastest runners there. He set up a fundraising event at the store to help raise money for ALS treatment, as the race fundraises for this very important research. So on the back of our singlets the phrase Run Well, Do Good was written to be a reminder. Having been a sighted guide for the last three years, I have definitely felt happiness in helping others achieve their goals. Runners raise millions of dollars annually for thousands of different charities, here are two I had the pleasure of supporting recently…
Photo Description: Fellow Heartbreaker Kelly Heft, her friend from the sub 30 5K FB group & I before the BOMF 5K
I first met Elizabeth Carr while volunteering with the Massachusetts Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired. Elizabeth ran the marketing and communications for MABVI when I ran the Boston Marathon as a charity runner so we had lots of interaction. She and her husband Alan joined the Heartbreakers not long after me and we spent many early mornings at the Reggie Lewis Center together last winter at NRC Track Tuesdays. After MABVI, she had the amazing opportunity to become the Chapter Director of Back On My Feet Boston. If you haven’t heard of BOMF, they’re an amazing organization aimed at empowering individuals experiencing homelessness, through running. They have support programs to help people find the help and programs they so desperately need. To read more about BOMF’s programs and mission, click here.
On August 16th, BOMF organized a 5K in Franklin Park as fundraiser. I knew a few of my teammates from the Heartbreakers were running and I immediately spotted my friend and Kelly when I arrived. Kelly introduced me to a few of her friends that she knows through a sub 30 minute 5K Facebook group (they want to run a 5K in 30 minutes or under) she belongs to. I suggested they join us for track Tuesdays because that’s how I got faster and assured them our practices were definitely appropriate for all abilities. I also told them that I wasn’t going to “race” the BOMF 5K and that I was going to “take it easy” because I was coming off a calf injury. I don’t know why I lie to myself.
The course was tricky and was a trail run in several portions of the race, but Franklin Park is so pretty it really made for a fun time. There were a group of fast men that took off from the line so I tried to keep them in sight and hope I could catch them tired on the back half. I definitely ran negative splits and ended up passing a lot of people in the last mile. I ended up with a 20:51, which is my third fastest 5K ever. So much for not racing. Ended up being the 10th finisher overall and 8th for the men.
Photo Description: Me running towards the finish with other runners chasing me.
Video Description: My post race commentary.
Photo Description: Heartbreakers showing up big time.
Labor Day weekend is my wedding anniversary and every year I take a trip to the Vineyard to celebrate with my husband. I was excited that we were coming back on Sunday because Monday was the inaugural running of the MR8K. The MR8 charity was started after the Boston Marathon Bombings by Martin Richards family and it has done amazing work ever since. My Heartbreakers teammate Rachel Moo was Martin’s 2nd grade teacher at the time of the attack, so you can imagine how close to her heart the organization is. The MR8K was organized to raise funds for the LEADER program at McLean hospital. The program supports police, military and first responders dealing with PTSD, addiction and mental health issues.
Photo Description: Rachel rocking her MR8 shirt post race.
The Heartbreakers were in full force at this race and it was fun chatting with everyone pre race. We all checked our gear and headed down to the corrals. In most races everyone lines up way too far forward from the pace they will actually be running. Not at this race….Patrick McDeed from the Heartbreakers and I were lined up at the 7 minute mile sign and no one was going in front of us, even as the gun time got closer. Before we started the race director made us move all the way forward so were were between the timing mats! Definitely a first.
It was really hot that day and this was my first 5 miler ever, so I was getting an automatic PR regardless of how I did. As we went over Beacon Hill the first time I realized this race was going to hurt. I tried to use my teammate Bean as a pacer because I knew she was super fast but I was definitely struggling to keep up. Patrick had left me in the dust pretty much after we left the start. Coming down Commonwealth Avenue I could hear my teammates Adrianne & Brittany cheering for us as we went by which is always so appreciated. On my way back over Beacon Hill the second time, my teammate Kurt flew by me WHILE PUSHING A JOGGING STROLLER!
As we got close to the TD Garden I got excited because I knew I was almost done and really started to pick up the pace. The end of the course was the craziest thing I have ever seen in a race. To get from the street to center ice in the Garden, we had to go up a ramp with a 13% incline. For comparison, Heartbreak Hill is 3-4% incline! As soon as I hit the ramp, I was blasted by amazing feeling air conditioning and snapped my brain into focus. I started blowing by people struggling on the ramp and everyone spectating went nuts. I came around the corner and crossed the line in 37:46 (which I hope to beat at Harpoon next year). I finished in the 50’s overall and 10th in my age division.
Photo description: Me crossing the finish line and finally making a heart with my hands under pressure
Everyone from the team cheered for everyone else coming in and we even got to meet a “remote Heartbreaker” Kaitlin from DC who I think went to college with Kyle Shade. It was a really cool experience and they ended up raising over $100,000 which is amazing.
Photo Description: Heartbreakers smiling post race
Nathan Sports makes amazing running gear which I use regularly. Their Speedster 2L hydration vest has been amazing training all summer for fall marathon season. So I was over the moon when they reached out to say they wanted to do a blog post featuring me and the sighted guiding I do through Team With A Vision. To check out their post, click here. They also sent me a package of swag, my favorite being the hat which I wore for the MR8K.
Photo Description: Me rocking my Nathan Sports running hat
How are you making your miles mean more? I can’t say enough about the benefits of volunteering your time to a charitable organization. There’s something amazing about knowing you are making positive changes in the world around you. So get out there and Run Well, Do Good.