Last week you got a relay education with 12 Things You Learn at Reach The Beach and today I’m finally sharing my New Balance Team Pumped Up Kicks Reach The Beach recap (it’s a long one, so get comfortable).

Team Pumped Up Kicks, Reach The Beach, New Balance

Team Pumped Up Kicks at the New Balance Factory (L to R): Theodora@PreppyRunner, Caitlin@CaitPlusAte, Carrie (in back) Jess@RacePaceJess, Gia@RunGiaRun, Christine@LoveLifeSurf, Me, Marissa@BarefootColorado, Allie@VitaTrain4Life, Sarah@RunFarGirl (in back, not on team but a NH native – Sarah was on an ultra team), Melissa C.@SoTheseAreMyThirties, Lorraine@RunWifeyRun (in back) and Melissa G.@FitnessBlogNYC


On Thursday, Team Pumped Up Kicks got the chance to learn more about the New Balance brand at their factory in Lawrence, NH (see photo above).  Getting a chance to see learn about the science, design, performance and spirit of what goes into making New Balance products definitely got the team psyched for the relay.

New Balance, spirit, factory

A glimpse into the spirit of New Balance.

After the tour, we were whisked off to a ski resort in Bretton Woods, NH.  It looked exactly the way you imagine New Hampshire to look at the end of summer and beginning of fall.

New Hampshire, scenery, Reach The Beach

We were treated to a carb loading dinner with all 11 of the New Balance teams.  After a short sleep, we were soon out the door to get the Reach The Beach party started at 5:30am on Friday morning.

Reach The Beach, Van 2, Team Pumped Up Kicks, Allie, VitaTrain4Life

Fake smiles at 5:30am.


Relay begins:

Because everything that can go wrong, will go wrong when you’re pressed for time, we were lucky that we made it to the start line in time to see Jess@RacePaceJess start the Relay at 7am.   The whole team wanted to be there to help support our longest distance runner (25.4 miles in total) of the team no matter what.

RacePaceJess, Reach The Beach New Hampshire, Team Pumped Up Kicks


After Jess started, Van 2 decided to use the time we had before our runs began by getting a proper meal.  We all agreed that food would make us better van sitters (and/or drivers), runners and human beings in general, so we drove toward transition 1 and stopped at the very adorable Glen Junction restaurant.  We took care of business in order of priorities:

Van 2 Group selfie:

Team Pumped Up Kicks, Glen Junction, Reach The Beach

Eating and getting properly caffeinated followed by

Utilizing social media (as good bloggers should).  This was before my cell service started to punk out):

Bloggers, Reach The Beach, Team Pumped Up Kicks, Glen Junction

We waited for our first transition between Van 1 and Van 2 at the Attitash Ski Resort.  We decorated our vans, hung out a bit and made sure to capture another group shot before the fun (and the sweat) really began.

Team Pumped Up Kicks Van 2


Leg 1:

As the van followed each of our runners during the first leg, I couldn’t help but notice that the roads were especially hilly.  Very pretty but hilly.  As I waited for Marissa@BarefootColorado to transfer the slap bracelet for my first leg, I was nervous.

Waiting for Leg 1

Image courtesy of CaitPlusAte

I knew that I had the second least amount of mileage in total for all of #TeamPumpedUpKicks but after traveling cross country with a sinus infection, poor sleep for the past 2 nights and my recent history of crappy runs, I was a little afraid of the 5.1 miles I needed to cover.  This leg was also a No Van Support leg (which means your van can’t stop for you on the way to cheer you on or provide fuel or water).  The last thing I should have done was to look at the elevation map before I ran:

Leg 10, Reach The Beach Relay

It was perfect running weather and the scenery couldn’t have been more beautiful but there were some nasty hills throughout the leg.  Instead of killing myself, I walked the hills (I wasn’t the only one who walked them either).  As I neared the end of the leg, I picked up the pace only to find that to reach the end, I needed to go up a grassy knoll.

The race planners must have known this was not the way for runners to end because they actually had people sitting on the hill directing people upwards.  I was frustrated and didn’t take a photo of the hill.  Instead I took this in the beginning of the run:

NH scenery

After 55:29 minutes, I was done with my 5.1 miles and Melissa@SoTheseAreMyThirties was off for her 4.8 mile leg.

More food and some rest:

After feeling accomplished, I got cleaned off with an Action Wipe, changed clothes and the van finally met up with Lorraine@RunWifeyRun at the end of her run (we got a little lost).  Of course, we needed food again before Leg 2.  We had a very civilized dinner at Canoe Restaurant and Tavern.  We were lucky to get the word from another RTB team that half portions of food were more than plenty (they were) and the lobster pea risotto was perfect running food IMHO.

Next, we went to get some rest.  Some of us went to sleep outside while the rest of us attempted to get some sleep in the van.  Sooner than we realized, it was nearly midnight and Allie had to start Van 2’s second set of legs… the dark.  All relays have the requirements of a headlamp, safety vest and front and back blinking lights to make sure you’re visible on the road.  New Balance provided us each of the runners with one of their very cool Glow Beacon Vests that literally glowed in the dark.

NB Glow Beacon Vest, Allie VitaTrain4lLife, Reach The Beach

Allie modeling and getting ready for Leg 2.

Leg 2:

It might have been lousy running at 4am but since my 3.5 miles were all downhill, I could not complain at all.  Honestly, it was actually kind of fun.  I hadn’t seen a split time under 9:30 minutes/mile in quite a few years.

leg 2, Reach The Beach

It was a little spooky running along the shoulder of a road with only a few distant blinky lights as beacons but I kind of zoned out to my music.  I may have zoned out too much because when the two people passed me for their kills (I might have woken the neighborhood with a shriek – I’m easily startled). I was done quickly and Melissa was off again.  Another quick wipe down and clothing change and I felt great.  I tried to stay awake to cheer on the rest of my van mates but I drifted off to sleep.  I woke up as Lorraine finished her leg and the sun was already shining.


Food and Rest again:

Because food is magic during a relay, we again drove toward a restaurant near our final van transition.  We were all tired, hungry and exceptionally cranky.  This was not the time to have to wait over an hour for breakfast but I can guess that Josiah’s Restaurant in Kingston, NH is not often as busy as it was that Saturday during the Reach The Beach Relay.

Melissas, Team Pumped Up Kicks, Reach The Beach 2014

Tired Melissas in a van with a photo bomb by Lorraine.

After some refueling, we parked and tried to get some sleep before our last legs.  As luck would have it, our van got hit while we were parked.  I’m convinced that I have some sort of bad van karma since during the SoCal Ragnar my van also got hit while parked.  It gave a little drama to the already charged day.

Leg 3:

Sooner than we knew it though, Van 1 was done with their part of the relay and Allie started Van 2 for the home stretch.  A lot of this time is a bit of a blur due to lack of sleep.  I did wake up a bit when my friend Christa came to see me in North Hampton.

MB and Christa


Christa was one of the bridesmaids at my wedding and even though we don’t get a chance to see one another often, whenever we do, we can pick up like we saw each other last week.  We got a chance to chat for about 10 minutes before I had to run my last leg but I’m pretty sure that seeing Christa was the only reason I could smile like this during my remaining 4.1 mile run:

MB Thumbs Up

This might need to become my new profile picture – Image courtesy: VitaTrain4Life

Once I was done, I was in a daze.  Once Melissa was done with her leg, we coordinated with the rest of the team from Van 1 to meet Lorraine as she finished to cross the finish line together as a team.  It was so cold when we went to the beach that Allie brought a sleeping bag as we waited.

Reach The Beach 2014

Glad that I’m not the only weather wimp – with Allie and Christine at Hampton Beach waiting Lorraine’s arrival.

 Finish Line:

Crossing the finish line together as a team was a really nice feeling.  We had just enough time to take this group shot with our medals (notice that Melissa@SoTheseAreMyThirties and I have double medals for doing 2 Ragnar relays within the past year) before it started to pour and we needed to make a mad dash for the vans back to Boston.

Reach The Beach

Within 3 hours of the above shot, I made it from Hampton Beach, NH to the hotel in Boston to repack, shower and change all in time to catch a flight back to LA.  It was a crazy trip but absolutely worth it.   As someone who has had to pull out of 4 half marathons in the past 4 years due to injury, I’m still in shock that I’ve completed my second 200 mile relay race in less than 6 months!


Ragnar, Double Medal, Reach The Beach, New Hampshire

Double Prizes! Double Medals for completing 2 Ragnar Relays in one year

There really is something different about running an overall distance with built in breaks versus slogging on continuously to cover the same distance.  Even though I’ve never been a member of Van 1 in relays, I like that Van 2 gets a break in the beginning but ends the relay as part of the action.  I may not still be in love with running per se but despite the lack of sleep, extensive van sitting and unique running demands, I do know that I really enjoy relay races.

I’m really proud and very thankful to have been part of the New Balance Media Team Pumped Up Kicks! (short video – courtesy of New Balance)


We may not have been fast but we certainly had fun!

Bib       # Team Name          Overall            Category                  Cat./ Plc.             Pace         Finish Time

23      Pumped Up Kicks   463/520   8-Women Open      7/11         9:45    33:43:17

To see other Team Pumped Up Kicks Recaps, see below:


Disclaimer:  All travel, lodging, gear and all aspects pertaining to Reach The Beach was sponsored by New Balance for all members of Team Pumped Up Kicks.  However, as always, all opinions expressed here are completely my own.


Have I made you want to participate or avoid a future relay race?