Our First REAL Challenge – Falmouth Road Race

So, two weeks from this very moment (at least, the very moment I’m typing this) the gun will go off and the 41st running of the Falmouth Road Race will begin. 10 minutes later the 5th corral will be allowed to start and off I’ll go. A few minutes later, the 6th corral and off goes my fiancee Megan.

Holy. Crap.

This is what we’ve been working up to since March (whether we knew it or not) when we went for that first run.

That’s great Darrell, but what if I don’t know what the Falmouth Road Race is?

The Falmouth Road Race (which is kind of a big deal) is a 7.4 mile road race from Woods Hole to Falmouth Heights. The course goes by Nobska Lighthouse, along some scenic roads, along Surf Drive (and its beaches), along the beach at Falmouth Heights, all the way around Grand Ave. down to the finish line in front of the British Beer Company. They cap the total number of race participants somewhere around 12,500, and they have elite runners from around the world fly in to run this thing.

And then there’s us.

***UPDATE***

So I took a break in writing this post to actually go run the course with Megan. Boy am I glad I did We learned a lot about the course and we’re definitely better prepared.

OK, so…why are you two running this?

 I’m running as a part of Team Lanzoni. That’s the 99 Restaurants team. Team Lanzoni is a part of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute running programs. That means that I’m running to raise money for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Why?

My Grandfather – Peter Scuteri. A loving husband and father, retired Malden police officer and pilot of the Malden PD K-9 program, Freemason, Shriner, and all-around hero. He passed away from cancer last July. The short story is, during his battle with cancer, he received care from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Dana-Farber helped my grandfather in his battle, and I wanted to use a run to raise money for them so someone else could have a fighting chance too. My other reasons for running, yes – even my new-found health and fitness, pale in comparison to this reason.

What about Megan?

My fiancee Megan is running the race for a different reason. Megan’s brother – Chris Boselli – passed away last summer from complications with heart surgery. He was 27 years old. His passing rocked her family in a way I can’t even properly describe to you. Her family set up a memorial scholarship fund in his name to honor him by helping others who share his love of theatre and the arts. Originally, Megan had been trying to run the Falmouth Road Race on a team to raise money for this scholarship fund. UNFORTUNATELY, the team was not selected in the lottery.

She still wanted to run the race. For herself and, I think, for him.

So, long story short, she (and her sister, Kim) are running as a part of the West Falmouth Library team to raise money for them. Megan went with this because, of all the fundraising opportunities available to her, this one made the most sense. Megan always has a book on her and reads like its her job. If she couldn’t raise money for her brother’s memorial, being able to support a place that helps others with the same hobby/habit/problem (hah) as her is a great compromise. While I have surpassed my own fundraising goal through the help of the people at Team Lanzoni HQ, Megan has not yet achieved her fundraising goal.

This is where I’m calling on you, faithful friends and readers.

Please visit Megan’s personal fundraising page and consider making a donation to help her towards her $1,000 goal. As of my writing, she is at $170. There’s a yard sale this coming weekend to raise money towards the goal, but it’d take way more stuff to sell than we have in order to achieve that.

Please consider helping and contributing to a great cause. Megan has until August 6th to raise the money she needs – I have a few weeks after that. It would mean a lot to me if you could help her out.

That said – the training continues. Two weeks from this moment the two of us will be celebrating a great achievement and looking forward towards the next. It’s all about the journey.

The “Music While Running” Controversy

So here’s something I wish I had heard before I started running. Silly me, I just ASSUMED that you could listen to music while you run. How foolish of me! Apparently there’s a big controversy in the running world about listening to music while you run. Many people argue that you shouldn’t, that it will interfere with your run, that its better to listen to nature and whatnot…some even go so far as to say that it’s dangerous (in the case of road running or urban running). Others (the camp I have fallen into) say that running while listening to music can help improve the quality of your run and help make it a more enjoyable experience. There is nothing I love more when I’m on a run than a power song coming on and feeling a surge of energy hit my stride (Chelsea Dagger – The Fratellis is a PERFECT example).

That said, I COMPLETELY understand why the “Anti-Tunes” camp believes what they do, and THIS is the part I wish I had been told before I started: the wrong music can COMPLETELY ruin your run.

When I started running I, enjoying music and having a large music library, had a number of playlists. I picked one, I put it on shuffle, and off I went down the street. THAT was my mistake. The playlist I picked was a lot of The Offspring (No Brakes, Walla Walla, etc) and other fast-paced tracks. I could not for the life of me run to that music. Something just wasn’t right. I ended up going slower, my strides shorter…I couldn’t sync up with the beat. After long enough trying to deal with that, I figured it out. CRACKED THE CODE!

You have to pick songs that have the right BPM (beats per minute) for the pace you’re running (or trying to run).

That’s about how I felt when I finally figured it out. (img from fanpop)

Well, with that bit of genius finally unlocked I sifted through over 14,000 songs (between my own music library and outside suggestions) to put together a playlist. First I had to figure out that I ran about a 9:00 to 9:30 /mi pace and I’d like to shoot for 8. As far as I was concerned, anything just below 8 all the way up to 9:30 pace for music was fine, so I searched. There are a TON of google results for “Top running songs” “best running songs”, etc. I took ideas from many of these sites, but I will be so bold as to say…there CAN’T be one perfect running playlist. That would imply that everyone runs the same, or that there is one standard of “perfect” in running world…if there’s one thing I love about fitness its that there’s never perfect, its the journey and the evolution that’s important.

Better, not perfect.

Aside from everyone out there with a blog that thinks they’ve figured out the definitive list of the best songs for running, there are other resources too, like Jog.fm. That site gives you a TON of song suggestions listed with (and sortable by) BPM/time (it matches up BPM with what pace that gives you). GREAT resource!

While I did figure out a great playlist, it is not “THE BEST”. Your playlist will need to evolve over time just like your run does. I have cut a bunch of songs from the list…some I wanted to be able to run to and they just weren’t right, some I liked and then fell out of love with, and some I can’t run to anymore because they’re too slow. I threw Blurred Lines (Robin Thicke) on my playlist and I really want to run to it, but I have a feeling its going to end up cut.

That said, here’s my current playlist (current because I have no doubt I’ll edit it soon). DISCLAIMER: Just because I’d run to it doesn’t necessarily mean I’d listen to it in real life.