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Girls on the Run Maine Go the “Extra Mile”

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We are thrilled to be partnering back up with Girls on the Run Maine for Beach RAID 2015! Girls on the Run is a nationwide, 10-week program that teaches girls in grades 3-5 confidence and life skills through running, which concludes in a celebratory 5K in early June.

Each season Girls on the Run Maine conducts a fundraising event called “The Extra Mile”.  This is a completely voluntary fundraising event for the girls to participate in. The Extra Mile provides an opportunity for GOTR participants to help their peers by raising money to support scholarships for future participants who are unable to pay the entire program fee. In 2015, there were 400 girls in the GOTR program and 125 of them chose to participate in The Extra Mile fundraising project! These 125 girls raised an astonishing $14,800 dollars! This money will go directly into the Girls on the Run scholarship fund to help other girls participate in the program regardless of their economic situation.

Here are some fun facts about the fundraising event:

      • -27 of the girls that participated were scholarship girls themselves. The girls understand the true meaning of what it means to give back! No girl should be unable to participate in our program because of financial reasons.
        • -This season we had a school that was a full scholarship school. Of the 15 girls on this team, 9 girls participated in the event. Together these girls raised over $500!
          • -Of the 125 girls participating, 3 girls raised over $500 individually, 10 girls raised $250 and 30 girls raised $125!
            • -The GOTR program cost to each girl is $130. These 125 girls raised enough money for 114 scholarships!

One of the girls explains, “At Girls on the Run I learned that it doesn’t matter if you are short or tall, old or young, you will still find friends everywhere!”

Help support Girls on the Run- Maine and The Extra Mile fundraising project by selecting the Premium registration option when registering for Beach RAID 2015 on September 19th!

One Mom’s Fitness Journey and Becoming RAID ready!

Jaime is a mom of two who woke up one morning and decided she wanted a lifestyle change. Jaime began a journey committed to fitness, exercising and obstacle racing! Since then, she has been inspiring and supporting other moms who are looking to begin their own fitness journey and others who want to simply make a lifestyle change. Most importantly, she is sharing her own experience to prove that no one is ever alone!

jaime4 jaime2

 What inspired you to begin your fitness journey?

I woke up on Jan. 1, 2015, the day after my 39th birthday and finally just decided I wanted to change. I had been struggling to lose weight for over a year and was yo-yo dieting and trying anything out there. I was unhealthy, unhappy and not comfortable in my own skin. I honestly had become someone I didn’t recognize, or like, for that matter. I was just tired of being tired all the time. I had no energy. I knew right then and there I was going to change my ways. I decided to start getting in some physical activity 3-4 days a week, but I really didn’t have a plan or have a clue what I was doing. Finally in February of this year I crossed paths with an incredible woman who helped me by introducing me to the 30 Day Push. That little personal exercise changed my life! I figured out my “Push Goal” and decided what I was going to do for the next year: Get healthy, fit and compete in as many obstacle course races that my finances would allow! It just all started steamrolling after that. Little did I know that my fitness journey would turn into something bigger and involve so many people.

Who has influenced you or supported you on this journey?

My biggest influence is my husband (He is my constant, daily reminder that ANYTHING is possible). He has seen me at my best and at my worst, through having two children and struggling with my fitness and health. I was always VERY active and fit throughout high school and my early 20’s. Once I got a full-time desk job and then had children, fitness sort of took a back seat. I wish I had appreciated the body I had back then and understood what not only being fit meant, but also staying fit through my 30’s. We BOTH make time for each other’s fitness activities. We usually have to do it alone, since one of us has to watch our two boys! I also belong to a wonderful online fitness group. I am very grateful to be a part of this “family.” We all check in on each other every single day and hold each other accountable and offer positive support. I wouldn’t be where I am without these people.

What are some goals that you have set for 2015?

This Summer/Fall I will be running about 8 different Obstacle Course races, including the Urban Raid and Beach Raid, and possibly a 10K (some of those OCRs depend on my finances!!). My race goals for 2015 are to complete every obstacle. I am not all that worried about time yet. Once I get stronger and can complete at least 90% of the obstacles, then I will focus on my time. I am trying to take training slow and steady and do this right. Some personal goals for 2015 are to be physically active for at least 30 minutes EVERY single day. It doesn’t have to be an all out sweat fest. I am trying for a 30-60-90 breakdown. 30 minutes a day for 7 days a week, 60 minutes a day for at least 3-4 days a week and 90 minutes a day 1-2 days a week. As my children get older, I hope to increase those times.

You are hosting Sunday morning workout sessions, what are you hoping to accomplish with these?

Our “Sunday Funday” sessions are for OCR training. We don’t in any way think we are pros at this! We are learning along with everyone else as we go. We do have specific exercises and obstacles, to emulate as much as possible, what it’s like to be on an obstacle course. Most people in our group have done obstacle races and have one coming up this Summer/Fall. It’s always much more enjoyable to work out with a group of people versus by yourself. I guess what I hope to accomplish most is getting people out here and being active. Whether they are just starting out or have been working out for years. Everyone brings their kids, we workout, and then have coffee and something to eat after! It’s a great way to visit with friends and also get a great workout in!

Are there times you wanted to give up or days you don’t want to work out? How do you push those thoughts aside and get your workout in?

Honestly…I think about giving up more than I want to let on! There are plenty of days I don’t want to work out. There are MANY mornings that my alarm goes off at 4:30 and I instantly get mad that I have to get up out of my warm bed and go workout. But, when I do get up early and workout, it sets the tone for my entire day. I have more energy, more patience for my work and family, and I am just in an all around better mood. (It’s important to note that I am NOT a morning person…I love to sleep, so this has been a huge change in my life.) One healthy choice at the beginning of the day, will lead to more. Eventually it will become a habit and not something forced. Plus, having signed up for so many races gives me that motivation to keep going and keep pushing.

We love that Beach RAID was a turning point for you! What was it about that race and the RAID Series that had an effect on you?

I had been looking to sign up for some sort of race last year and my husband had run the Mountain RAID in 2012 and 2013, and he told me about the Beach RAID. He knew it was the perfect obstacle course race for me. The obstacles seemed manageable and not scary for a first-timer like me! So, I signed up and a bunch of us from work ran it as a team! It was a BLAST! I highly recommend this race to anyone looking to run their first OCR.

Are you ready to take on Beach RAID 2015?

I am SO excited for the Beach RAID this year! I am much more prepared and in better shape than I was last year.

To follow along with Jaime check out her Facebook page here!

Training for the RAID Series 2015!

The groundwork for training to complete the RAID Series injury-free!

The RAID Series obstacles focus on challenging your entire body. They are meant to test your strength, agility, core and balance throughout the course. The participants that have ran the RAID these past few years have proven to us that they were RAID ready! We want to prepare you for the 2015 RAID Series by giving you some training tips that will hone in on the major areas of training to help you race injury-free! We’re sure that most of you have a go-to training routine to either stay in shape or train for races such as ours. Therefore, I’m not going to instruct you on ‘how tos’ about cardio or weight training but I am going to simply stress the foundational areas you should be focusing on to prevent injuries during or after the race.

Your core is called that for a reason! Everything comes off or attaches to the spine so you should be maintaining a strong core will not only prevent frequent injuries but it will improve your strength and how you perform during races. Simple sit ups or timely planks can also really strengthen your core and have it RAID ready in no time.

Next up is legs! Legs are our wheels for our body. Your legs get everything moving and provide a solid foundation while we run and take on obstacles! You’ve probably heard the saying “never skip leg day” and how it is feared by most gym goers and runners but you should never be scared of it because you need it! If you want to become stronger, faster, and ultimately avoid injuries, target those legs! Also, make sure you balance all your leg exercises around all your leg muscles and not just the quadriceps when you’re training your legs. A hamstring pull is NOT a fun experience!

You want to master all the obstacles by building up your arm strength and upper body by using simple weights or regularly doing pull ups or chin ups. You should also realize that monkey bars can be found in your kid’s and neighborhood playgrounds, so release your inner child and go monkey around on the monkey bars to really prepare for your race. Don’t stress entirely on your upper body because without a strong core and legs, you won’t be going very far.

All of the persistent training and working out in the world won’t do a lot if you lack flexibility. Strength comes just as much from flexibility of muscles then it does the size of muscles. If you want to truly excel on the obstacle course, consider adding some sort of Yoga or Pilates into your workout routine.

The term “consistency is key” is so accurate because you cannot expect results without repetition. Of course, results require time, which a lot of people don’t have a lot of in their daily life. Once you find that time and embrace it with repetition and effort, you will get those results you’ve been waiting for! Given the achievable nature of the RAID Series we want to include first-time obstacle course racers and experienced ones as well. Keep in mind that there are always injury risks while taking on all of our obstacles. Also, never forget that along with your strength training routines, you will want to be consistent with that cardio! You won’t get too far on the RAID Series course if you haven’t been combining your strength training with some cardio! Getting into a routine that focuses on strengthening the foundational areas such as core, legs, agility and flexibility will help you storm through the RAID Series injury-free and faster than ever!

URBAN RAID OBSTACLE RACE ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH RADIO 92.9 TO ADD MUSIC FESTIVAL, AND NATIONAL TELEVISION COVERAGE OF BOSTON EVENT

Contact Lauren St. Clair
Telephone 207.699.2360 x 104
Cell 207.232.3236
Email lstclair@360mediaventures.com
Website www.raidevents.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 19thth, 2015

2015 RACE SET TO TAKE OVER DOWNTOWN BOSTON ON OCTOBER 24TH, 2015 AND WILL INCLUDE A LIVE CONCERT AND BEER GARDEN ON CITY HALL PLAZA!

Registration opens March 23rd at 10:00 am at www.raidevents.com

Boston, MA, March 19th, 2015– RAID Events LLC, owners of the RAID Series of Obstacle Races announced today that Urban RAID will return to downtown Boston this fall on October 24th. This marks the third consecutive year that Urban RAID has led racers on a course through some of Boston’s most iconic locations. As the first ever obstacle race to be staged on the streets of Boston, Urban RAID is returning in 2015 with major developments including a partnership with leading Boston radio station Radio 92.9, a live post-race concert and more.

Urban RAID Boston will be the season finale of the 2015 Urban RAID Series and will host a championship division populated by racers that have accumulated points in Urban RAID races throughout the year. The event will also be filmed for a dedicated television program premiering later this year on Outside Television and Universal Sports Network.
In 2015 Urban RAID Boston racers will experience unprecedented access to the city as they weave thorough 3.1 miles of custom designed obstacles set throughout Faneuil Hall Marketplace, the historic waterfront and City Hall Plaza. Racers will finish by scaling an actual portion of Boston’s City Hall.

“Urban RAID is about crafting amazing athletic and social experiences in iconic locations. Bringing obstacle racing to downtown urban markets is a manifestation of our company’s pioneering work in the sport, and our commitment to staging innovative events. We are thrilled to return to Boston again this year and make it the Urban RAID season ending Championship.” Said Rufus Frost, CEO of 360 Media Ventures
Through a partnership with Radio 92.9, Urban RAID racers and spectators will invited to unwind and relive their Urban RAID experience while enjoying a post-race concert by a national recording artist as well as a beer garden (21+) at the “Radio 92.9 Rock and Run Festival”, to be held directly on City Hall Plaza. Radio 92.9 is the creator of the hugely popular Earthfest summer concert, the Copley Music Series and other high profile musical events staged throughout Boston.

“Urban RAID Boston perfectly aligns with the values of Radio 92.9 which at its core, is about creating amazing events and engaging the consumer through memorable and unique social experiences” said General Sales Manager Nicholas Lombardi. “The combination of a cutting edge race and a first class concert experience in the heart of the city will make for an event unlike any other in Boston”

Urban RAID Series brings best in class obstacle races to downtown city locations throughout the Northeast. The events are produced by 360 Media Ventures, a sports marketing and media company that pioneered the concept of urban obstacle racing after years of experience with global adventure races. Since 2006, 360MV has produced complex urban events in some of the biggest markets in the country.
Urban RAID Boston is open to men and women of all fitness levels over the age of 15 who desire a new challenge. In addition to open age divisions for both male and female racers, Urban RAID Boston also welcomes teams made up of a 3-10 racers as well as an untimed division.

The charity beneficiary of Urban RAID Boston is The Big Brother Big Sister Foundation which turns gently used clothing and household items into treasure.  And what greater treasure exists than the future of a child? Established in 1996, BBBSF collects gently used clothing and household items and turns them into cash from sales to a wide variety of establishments across the United States.  We give 100% of the net profits from donations to fund mentoring programs to more than 16,000 “Little” and “Big” brothers and sisters across Eastern MA & Southern NH .Participants can both donate and commit to fundraising for BBBSF during registration for Urban RAID Boston. Learn more: www.bbbsfoundation.org.

Registration for Urban RAID Boston will open at 10am EST on March 23rd at www.raidevents.com and the race is expected to sell out. Visit www.raidevents.com for more information on Urban RAID Boston and join the conversation with Urban RAID Series by following us on Facebook at facebook.com/RaidSeries, on Twitter @RaidSeries and on Instagram @RaidSeries.

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About Radio 92.9
Radio 92.9 is owned and operated by Greater Media Boston, Inc., a subsidiary of Greater Media, Inc., the parent company of 21 AM and FM radio stations in the Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, New Jersey and Philadelphia markets. It also owns a group of weekly newspapers in central New Jersey as well as several telecommunications towers located throughout the United States.

About 360 Media Ventures
360 Media Ventures specializes in animating client brands through innovative event and media properties. 360 Media Venture’s current projects and client history include pioneering event, media production and distribution partnerships with leading brands, media, tourism bureaus and rights holders throughout the world. For more details please visit www.360mediaventures.com 

10 tips for a happy and healthy lifestyle!

As we start to brainstorm our extensive New Years resolution list, we can start by making minor changes to end the year with a bang! They might be simple ones but they will have us feeling better and staying positive during our chaotic, everyday lives!

1) DRINK MORE WATER!

2) LISTEN TO YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC

3) ENJOY THE LITTLE THINGS EVERYDAY

4) INVEST TIME FOR YOURSELF

5) DO NOT PUT THINGS OFF

6) STRETCH DAILY

7) THROW AWAY THINGS YOU DON’T NEED

8) DON’T JUDGE YOURSELF

9) EAT FRUITS AND VEGGIES

10) KEEP LEARNING!

Post- workout FUEL!

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Whether you’re waking up with the sun or taking your lunch break to cram in your daily workout, we’ve got your post-workout meals covered! The most important thing to remember after finishing a workout is that you need carbs + protein to rebuild those muscles that you just worked! Most trainers will tell you 70% carbs, 30% protein. A few examples of the best post-workout snacks after a morning workout would be a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter. It provides you with the essential nutrients and protein that you need. Peanut butter is even great for a pre-workout meal!

Another post-workout breakfast you could make is an egg omelet filled with your choice of veggies! Eggs contain the fastest-absorbing form of protein in the world and are also proven to keep you full during the day. In addition to the eggs you could pour yourself a glass of chocolate milk because it can be more beneficial than drinking a sports drink after a workout! Chocolate milk provides calcium, potassium and electrolytes. It is so important to hydrate after working out and to replace electrolytes and potassium that you lost through sweating.If you want to add some cheese into your morning omelet, the best choice would be cottage cheese (if you can get over the texture!) which is packed with protein and has very few calories. If you’re a cereal fan, you should grab cereal that is high fiber and high protein. Try to stay away from cereals with a very high sugar content. Fruit smoothies are also great to whip up if you have time in the morning or even at night to save for a morning or afternoon treat. You can add some flavored protein powder or peanut butter for a burst of flavor that will also repair those muscles!
bagel        omelet          chocoo

When it comes to on-the-go snacks, you should aim for light but nutritious snacks. You don’t want to be aimlessly snacking throughout the day. My favorite go-to snack is Greek yogurt! It has double the amount of protein compared to regular yogurt and has many delicious flavors you can choose from. Throw in some granola and it will satisfy you just as much as those potato chips in the vending machine. Hummus and pita are also great post-workout snacks to eat together because they slowly release energy throughout the day to keep you motivated.
yogurt       hummus

If you workout during your lunch break then you should eat a good size lunch to keep you functioning into the afternoon. If you want to stick with a salad, then add some protein such as grilled chicken or tuna. Tuna is a great, budget-friendly way to get your protein in! Wraps are also a great post-workout lunch alternative, you can fill them with lean proteins such as turkey or chicken. Don’t forget to wrap up some veggies in there too! If you’re a fruit fan than fruit salad can be a great lunch loaded with good carbohydrates and helps your body break down nutrients and deliver them right to your muscles! If you have a bit more time to kill when you finish your workout then another great post-workout lunch would be a stir-fry! You can load it with your choice of veggies and include your choice of carbohydrates such as rice or noodles. A stir-fry can also be a delicious and nutritious dinner option.

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If you’re someone who has the energy to workout during the end of the day then your post-workout meal would most likely be your dinner too! Your post-workout dinner meal can be a plentiful arrangement of protein and superfoods! Leading the way in superfoods would be sweet potatoes which provide a great source of carbohydrates following a workout and can be prepared in the microwave. You could add this superfood as a side to some protein like salmon or chicken! One of the leanest meats that can help muscle repair and that you can include in your dinner is salmon. It is considered one of the healthiest foods ever! The extremely high protein content, omega-3s and vitamins in it makes it a great nutrient-dense food. A dinner dish centered on lean meats or lean veggies is the best way to go after an early evening sweat session. If you’re not into fish than you could opt for grilled chicken which is packed with protein so it is a great dinner option that will not make you feel too full. Not to mention there are so many ways you can cook chicken fast and make it your own! Adding vegetables will give it an extra kick and provide you with more nutrients. Some go-to veggies for dinner would be broccoli, carrots or my favorite, squash!

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Post-workout meals are crucial to your recovery, whether they are strenuous or quick workouts. Being conscious of your nutrition after each session should never be an afterthought, so don’t sell yourself short. Getting the most out of your workout does NOT stop at the gym!!

RAID Athlete Series – Victor

During packet pickup at Urban RAID New York City this past September, we had the privilege of spending quality time with RAID racer Victor Rodriguez. Victor was eager to help us out as a volunteer the day before the race and even more excited to run the Urban RAID NYC the following morning on Governor’s Island. His positive attitude seemed to lighten the moods of all RAID runners who came to pick up their packets and his big smile was contagious to all. While spending time with Victor, he spoke to us about his struggle to get in shape and the obstacles (no pun intended) that he had to overcome to get there. Here is a little bit about Victor!

       victor      vicc     victorr

 

1. What became your motivation to participate in events like Urban RAID NYC and how did you get to where you are today?

One of my biggest motivations to participate in obstacle races all started about two years ago when my health was declining and I was diagnosed as a Diabetic. Hearing those words truly hit home, especially since I lost my mother at an early age (50) to the disease. I realized in order to get healthy and still be around for my children, I had to be proactive and make healthy life changes. Healthy life changes for me did not just mean working out and eating right, but meant changing my entire mindset in order to become successful in every aspect of my life. I began my journey by going to the gym regularly and attending my Crossfit classes. I lost some weight and began feeling much healthier than before. Although, the gym began to feel very repetitive and was not such a big motivator or challenge for myself anymore. For me, hitting the gym on a weekly basis felt great and motivated me to get healthy the first two years! However, the more I went to the gym, the more repetitive it got. The gym got too easy for me and it just wasn’t enough challenge in it. I enjoy working out and enjoyed the gym, but still felt I needed a new challenge for myself. As a 41 year old man, I have so much strength sometimes I feel like Hercules, but I needed to build up my cardio. I felt running maybe even racing would be just the edge I was looking for. The gym just wasn’t enough for me to get motivated to meet my goals. I decided to participate in obstacle races. One of the races I decided to participate in was the RAID series, in order to challenge myself, meet new people and meet other individuals who shared an interest in obstacle races like me. Obstacle racing not only challenged my body but my mental limits as well. It made me notice how much I truly can endure and when I want accomplish something.

2. You were an amazing volunteer at Urban RAID NYC! Why do you enjoy volunteering?

Thanks! I agree, I was an amazing volunteer. It must have been my great charm and smile, ha ha, all jokes aside, I decided to volunteer at the Urban Raid NYC location in order to meet my fellow obstacle runners and get to know them on an individual level. I enjoy interacting with various people of different backgrounds, skill level and build. I also enjoy people’s personalities and meeting individuals of different “caliber.” Volunteering gives me the opportunity to meet athletes like myself and form friendships. Let’s face it, at the end of the day what matters is having fun, motivating one another and finishing the race in one piece.

3: Once you finished running did you feel a true sense of accomplishment?

Wow……making it through a race and getting to that finished line is an unbelievable feeling. “Accomplished” isn’t even enough to describe how motivated, determined and happy I feel at the finished line. All I can think of at the end of a race is, “yes! I did it again! Now on to the next finish line.” Obstacle racing has become such an addictive sport for me that I can’t get enough and need that sense of pride at the end of many finished lines. This summer, I completed eight races within six months. I never thought as a 41 year old, 325 lbs diabetic I would have enough will to do it, but I did. Racing has made me an unstoppable beast, that yearns for more “finished lines” in my path.

4: You say you have a running buddy that you run most races with, how has she motivated and guided you through every race?

Yes, I have an amazing running buddy named Maria DiMarco. She may be 27 and half my size but she is a warrior! Maria has motivated me and guided me through every single race this year. During a race, we always make a promise to one another to never leave each other behind and once we start….we finish together. She has motivated me greatly to not just race but to keep going, literally! There have been times when I just wanted to quit, but she would not let me. No matter what, Maria has always stopped during a race to even wait for me as I took a short break and even slowed down when I felt the heat outside got too much. She has always been my cheerleader and who can let down a cheerleader? As a diabetic, the heat, lack of water and running tends to burn my energy. My racing buddy, will carry my candy for me in a dry compartment in her racing gear to help it from getting wet when I need it. once we finish a race together, she is the first one to say; “Hey Big Vic you ready to do another one? I did some research and found more races.” Hearing her say this over and over again has yet to get old and I continue to smile, wanting more races to do together.

 5: You mentioned that you work with adolescents, how do they influence your hobby of running races?

I work for truant teenagers who have had some unfortunate luck in life due to mental illnesses and broken homes. Racing has helped me to teach youth about good sportsmanship, getting fit and has provided them with a positive outlook to resort to instead of getting into trouble with the law and drug abuse. Racing has helped to educate my youngsters about confidence and socialization. My racing buddy and I are not just friends but coworkers. Whenever we finish a race, we wear our medals and our racing shirts to work with pride. We do so to not only show off our new “racing candy” but to also show our youngsters how proud we are of each other because without teamwork, we wouldn’t have completed just a great accomplishment. Wearing our medals to work helps influence students to want to get fit as well and enter a race themselves. The day we completed the NYC RAID race, we actually ran into a few of our youngsters at Governor’s Island, who were there on a trip to enjoy a day of bike riding. Once they saw us, they were clapping and told us they were very proud of our accomplsihments. It is very refreshing to hear a teenager congratulate another individual.

 6: We hope to see you at all of our RAID races next year! Are you going to try to make it to all of them?!

You bet! My racing buddy and I are already planning our racing list for 2015! We are pumped and motivated to accomplish much more for 2015 and beat our times from 2014. Racing not only helps one stay motivated to reach a specific goal, but helps to develop strong bonds with people who share the same interests as you. Without will and determination, none of this could of been possible and I can not wait for more runs for 2015!

Beach RAID Charity Spotlight- Girls on the Run Maine

On Saturday, September 13th at Beach RAID we are thrilled to be partnering up with Girls on the Run Maine! Girls on the Run is a non-profit nationwide organization inspiring girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running! We caught up with the program director, Staci Olson, and she gave us all the details on this great organization!

 

gotr4         gotrr          gotr5

What is Girls on the Run?

Girls On The Run is a transformational physical activity based positive youth development program for girls in 3rd-5th grade. We teach life skills through dynamic interactive lessons and running games.  The ten week after school program culminates with the girls being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5k running event.

What is the goal of your program?

The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness. Girls on the Run is an International organization with councils across the US and Canada.  In 2013, close to 150,000 girls participated in the program.

When did it all begin?

Girls on the Run-Maine began in the Fall of 2012 and in just 4 seasons, our council has gone from serving 37 girls to 315. There has been an overwhelming response to the program, and more sites are being added each season. GOTR-ME plans to grow in a sustainable way, with the goal of serving 1300 girls throughout the state by 2016.

What is your involvement with Girls on the Run?

I first learned about Girls on the Run in 2011 when a steering committee was formed to help bring Girls on the Run to Maine.  At that time, Maine was one of four states that did not have a Girls on the Run council and this group of volunteers worked hard to change that and get it started.  I grew up participating in sports and I have a Master’s Degree in School Counseling where I focused my studies on self-esteem and empowerment of young girls, so for me, this was a dream organization to work for.

I began volunteering with GOTR as a Race Director for a 5k fundraiser, the Hot ChocoTrot, that we held in October of 2012, to help spread the word about our new council and then soon after that was hired on in the role of Program Director.  My job is to help people start GOTR sites in their communities, to recruit and train coaches to administer the program and then to support them throughout the season.  We run both a Fall and a Spring season and at the end of each one we host a Celebratory 5k to celebrate the girl’s accomplishments.  I take on the role of Race Director for those 5k events and it is always such a special day to watch the girls come together with their teammates and family members and to see them reach their goal of completing a 5k.

 

What do girls get from participating in Girls on the Run?

GOTR is a unique opportunity for girls because it combines both physical activity with life lessons that encourage positive youth development.  The lessons that we touch on throughout the ten week curriculum really give the girls the opportunity to have discussions about topics that are relevant to their lives as 8-11 year old girls.  We focus on subjects such as setting goals, positive self talk, cooperation, healthy friendships, the concept of “real beauty,” and how to make a positive impact in their community.   After completing the GOTR program, these girls then have these tools to go out and navigate their worlds with a sense of confidence and empowerment.  As one of our girls wrote when asked what she learned at GOTR she replied, “I learned that I am a smart, beautiful, confident, awesome girl!”  That pretty much says it all.  What I love about GOTR is that it reaches girls of all interests and all athletic abilities.  We have some girls who could run a 5k on the first day of practice and some girls who have never ran for more than a few minutes.  All of those girls are coming together to share in an experience where they can be a part of a team but also get a feeling of individual accomplishment – such an amazing thing to experience at such a young age.

How is the program organized?

Each team is led by 3 or 4 volunteer coaches and these coaches work hard to create a fun and safe environment where the girls can comfortably share their thoughts and learn from each other.  Our coaches span a large age range and bring with them a variety of backgrounds – some are teachers, some are parents, some are community members, some are runners and some aren’t, but what unites them all is an interest in creating a positive experience for these girls.  I feel so fortunate to work with such an amazing group of volunteers who dedicate their time and energy to GOTR.

It has been fascinating for me personally to watch this small non profit organization grow so rapidly.  Though the program is currently just in Southern Maine, we are working hard to continue to grow to more communities throughout the state and to give more kids the opportunity to become a GOTR girl.  We are also working on multiple fundraising campaigns to help build our Scholarship Fund to help make sure that the program is available for all girls who want to participate.

RAID Athlete Series – John

The RAID Blog is our favorite spot to give you insight into training, fitness and lifestyle but by far the thing we most look forward to is highlighting some of the extraordinary athletes that you will see on the start line. Recently, we checked in with RAID Athlete John Beliveau who has logged many a  trip to the RAID Series podium!  Below we  get some insight into how he stays #RAIDReady!

1382398_596950943685029_1600750393_n     1240329_583519015028222_734522783_n     portland podium

Raid: First things first, when did you start running and competing in races?

John: Well I started on the KRMS track team years ago and then ran strong through High School.  Kinda got out of it for awhile and it wasn’t until 4 years ago I started running on the road. My first race was the L.L. Bean 10k in 2012.  People told me I did really well and that I should keep it up.  It was a lot of fun so I kept going.

Raid: You’ve been a force to be reckoned with at every RAID Series race you’ve participated in so it’s safe to say everyone wants to know your secret.  How do you train for your races?

John: I wish I knew!  It’s probably a combination of things that have brought good results.  Active job, regular exercise, rest, cross training activities, diet and time.  My job in landscape construction/masonry provides plenty of time for some extra cardio/lifting, after work I’ll get my runs in.  I like to vary between road and trail days.  Hill/flat days. Hard/light days.  Typically every run is between 6-15 miles.  I’m not afraid to rest and stretch either.  Listening to the body is important to not injure it during training. Recently I have been adding burpees/bodybuilders at milestones in runs.  I find that really can amp up the intensity of an OCR training run.  Rest for me can be hard  because it seems like I’m always active.  I find a proper diet and plenty of water can help me recover and rest when there’s not much time.  Fueling the system is very important.

Raid: Fitness and nutrition go hand in hand. Do you follow a special nutrition plan to stay in top form?

John: It’s not so much a plan rather than just habit.  I try and eat as natural as possible.  Fruits and veggies.  Typically 3 pieces of fruit and a bean/rice salad at lunch can keep me going through the day.  I keep calories down by not adding stuff.  No cream or sugar, dressings, croutons or stuff like that.  People say you need to have meats and proteins to an active diet but my diet doesn’t consist of much of that.  I really love the 16 bean mix at the store and mix in a few cups of brown rice and then I blend in some different veggies or seasonings daily for a different twist.  Reading labels is handy.  If I can’t pronounce it or spell it, I don’t use it. That is a whole different road we won’t take today!  Truly that and oatmeal are my staples.  Of course, cheating after a race usually happens, chocolate, cake and ice cream are my sweet nemesis!

Raid: In one of the most badass moments in RAID history, at the 2013 Mountain RAID you decided to throw in a quick 12 mile Mountain RAID trail run BEFORE the OCR. How was that?

John: Haha, why thank you.  That was probably my favorite RAID weekend!  I know I was interested in the trail races at the time and was unsure what to enter or maybe just save it all for the obstacles.  Then a friend challenged me to a friendly race in the OCR and that’s what tipped me into deciding to run the 12 mile trail race too.  There was really a whole lot of cool terrain there.  That 12 mile race was the best!

Raid: You take part in all manner of races, from OCR to trail runs to marathons, at the end of the day which is your favorite?

John: Mt. RAID 12 Mile was honestly right up there, all eight peaks early in the morning is an unbeatable experience.  One race I just did a couple weeks ago was Battlefrogs 15k.  What was so cool about that one was the long distance trail running broken up with challenging obstacles.  That’s truly what I like the most.  A challenging trail run.

Raid: Favorite RAID Series race so far?

John: Mt. RAID 12 Miler

Raid: Favorite RAID Series obstacle?

John: Beach Raid 2013 sand bag carry across the tidal river

Raid:: What advice would you give to someone just starting out and considering entering their first RAID?

John: Go at your own pace.  Sometimes even I push a little too hard a little too soon and I pay the price for it.  Exercise isn’t fun when injured.  That’s what it’s all about for me at the end of the day.  Just having fun, hard to do with Achilles tendinitis or an IT band injury.  Know your own limits and stick by them. Just by getting out and active more often things will continue to grow and get better!

Raid: Where do you want to see the RAID go next?

John:  Longer trail distance with more challenging obstacles? RAID Xtreme?