Tag Archives: fundraising

Week 18 – Getting Down To the Wire!

Friends, there is now officially less than one month until the 114th Boston Marathon. That means many things:
1. There’s only one long run left before the taper. We’ll be running 21 miles next week along the course with Children’s Hospital.

2. There’s only a month left of fundraising. Yes, I’ve hit my original goal but I would LOVE to finish by raising $4,500 for Boston Partners in Education. Thanks to the generous donations of Aime Goldberg, Superfan, and Matt Baker this week, I’m only $287.60 short of doing just that! Visit my page if you’d like to help me reach it – or beyond!

3. Bib Numbers are out! I am officially runner 23019. If you’d like to follow my progress on race day, you can use that number to sign up for text alerts here! You’ll also be able to search for my number on the BAA’s site on marathon day, if you prefer.

4. Sign up for your mile! You may recall way back when that I mentioned that donors of $50 or more could have a mile in their honor. This will include an official list on this blog, plus appropriate commemoration at your chosen mile. My tee-shirt the day of will be covered by my dashing red singlet (picture to come, DON’T YOU WORRY) but I’m thinking of putting together a post-race shirt that has everyone’s name and mile on it. Feel free to sign up in the comments or email me at frightfullyclever*at*gmail*dot*com!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone for the continued support. I know I write it nearly every week, but you all deserve it. One of the biggest thrills of this marathon has been how overwhelmingly wonderful all of my family and friends has been!



Last week, as you all know, I participated in a trivia night with the other staff members of Boston Partners in Education who are on the marathon team. We put in a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, getting everything donated, from the space given to us by Crossroads, to the wonderful prizes from Flour, Capital Grille, and PICCO, to the hard work of our amazing trivia masters, Mr. Menace and Gary Spezzafero! I’m pleased to announce that all of that hard work paid off amply – we raised $765 for Boston Partners in Education! That’s $191.25 for each of us to put toward our fundraising goals – not too shabby.

For me, it means something even more exciting – I’ve hit my original fundraising target of $4,000! To be honest it feels a little bit unreal. While I had every confidence that I would reach that goal, I wasn’t expecting to do it with two months left before the marathon. There’s a huge sense of satisfaction and relief at accomplishing this! And yet…

Well, you see that word original up there, so I’ll bet you can guess what’s going through my mind. Two months away is certainly no time to give up on the fundraising. So let’s see just how far we can take this thing. Can I get to $4,500? $5,000?! To that end, I’m going to continue to hold my raffles and update this blog with the weekly training updates straight on through April 19. If you are one of the wonderful people who’s already donated, or come to an event, or god love the many of you who’ve done this, BOTH, then, hey, we did it! If you haven’t, and think you might like to, there’s still plenty of time.

Speaking of which, don’t forget that February’s raffle is for cookies! Your choice of chocolate chip, ginger molasses, brownies or lemon squares. Special requests will most likely be granted. Tickets are $1 each, $5 for 6 just as always, and you can buy them here.

Thank you again for all of the support!

Dry Run

What an exciting week of running that was, folks! Our weekday mileage has increased to 17 total – 4 on Mondays, 6 on Tuesdays, and 7 on Thursdays – and I think the entire team is feeling it a bit. For one thing, working in a 7 mile run on your average Thursday can be a bit tough – Kelly and I resolved the problem by running directly from the office all the way home. Since we usually take the T to Central Square before running home, this was big change. Running through all of the folks in Downtown Crossing who are commuting home is a slightly crazy-making proposition, but we managed, and were rewarded with a gorgeous view of the Boston skyline at sunset courtesy of the Longfellow Bridge.

The other thing about our mileage increase is that, while I can’t speak for everyone else, my legs are tired. I wouldn’t say they’re sore, exactly, although sometimes that’s true, but they’re slightly stiff and I find myself noticing them more, which I realize is a bit vague but is the only way I can describe it. I am very aware of my legs.

Despite all of this, though, I have to say – this week’s long run may have been one of the best yet! This week we were able to run the last 17 miles of the marathon course – Children’s Hospital and The Liver Foundation (who all wore wacky Valentine’s Day related costumes) put together this amazing training run every year. Runners are bussed from the Riverside T stop out to Natick – and run right to the finish line! It was a wonderful opportunity to really understand some of the challenges of the route.

I’ll admit that I was nervous on the bus ride to Natick. Last week’s 15 miler had been pretty exhausting, and 17 miles seemed like an impossible number in my head. As I told Nandi, I couldn’t even wrap my head around it – it was too large.

When we reached our destination and started running I decided that the best way to approach the course was to do what I could and not worry about what everyone else was doing. This meant I lost Kelly and Nandi, who were keeping a brisk pace, pretty quickly, but since we had a clearly marked rendez-vous point at the end I wasn’t concerned. The weather was about as perfect for running as you could wish for – clear blue skies, sun, and just under 40 degrees. As I ran, I was in awe of how good my legs felt – no numbness or woodness, no real pain. I did have one terrifying moment around mile 6 when I bent to tie my shoe and something literally exploded in my right knee – I saw stars and was convinced I was done for, until I stood up and felt great! The slight stiffness in the knee was gone! If anyone has any explanation for this I would love to hear it.

Around mile 8 or so we started on the Newton hills and I was pleasantly surprised by how manageable they were! While I realize that in the real marathon I’ll have run about twice as far when I come across them I still feel like all of the hillwork we’ve done in the weekly runs is paying off. After the hills the course is pretty easy – a small climb in Coolidge Corner but that’s rewarded with what’s practically a downhill slope all the way to the finish line. In this week’s dry run I crossed it with a huge smile on my face – let’s hope I can do the same in April!

Alas, I have no pictures of this week’s run. Here’s one from last week’s pegleg run, for contrast:
Crushing Ennui
That’s Jess and I, exhausted from our efforts and the evil set of stairs at mile 14!  Note my sad, zombie-like demeanor.  Now imagine me bounding with joy – that was this week.

Big fundraising news!
1. I am over the minimum $3,250 threshold! Special thanks to the folks that made that happen this week: Kevin Kominsky, Matthew Fuller, my sister Kelly and most especially my dad! You are all amazing!
2. The staff teammates are hosting what promises to be a really fun trivia night at Crossroads Pub on 2/19, at 6 pm. Details are here. We only have room for 100 people, so please let us know if you plan to attend.
3. February Raffle! $1 for one chance, $5 for six, this month it’s going to be cookies. Your choice of chocolate chip, ginger molasses, brownies or lemon squares.
4.As always, you can check my fundraising progress, buy raffle tickets or make a donation here.

A 20 Mile Week!

Forgive this marathon update coming on a Monday – the holiday has put me a bit behind the 8-ball. Still, it was lovely to rest and enjoy some time with family. Speaking of which, special thanks to Christine and Vin McGrath and Bonnie and Gerry McGrath for the wonderful donations! I just need a little over $500 to hit my next goal – 50% of target!

The mileage for our runs has started climbing as well, with the long run this week at 9 miles, and the total mileage for the week at 20. This is where I really start noticing the effects of my runs – they’re more exhilarating, but more exhausting as well. For my 9 miler I decided to revisit my favorite hill and extend it by adding another, smaller hill at mile 8.

As promised, I brought my camera and took a picture of the fantastic view of the city from Park Ave:
Breathtaking, isn’t it? Though I was certainly breathing better on this trek up – this week’s jaunt felt a lot easier than two weeks ago, a good sign that my training is paying off.
And just for fun, here’s a picture of the water tower!

The weather was unusually good for the end of December; a bit gray but extraordinarily warm at 50°. For the first time in weeks I was able to run in shorts!

Clarendon Street, the mile 8 hill, is much smaller than Park Avenue, but I remember when I first started running three years ago how difficult it was. I think my favorite part of running as a sport is how much better one can become simply through perseverance and dedication. I’ll never be fast, but I’m stronger and faster than I was and it’s really gratifying. Here’s the view from the top of Clarendon:

It looks a bit less steep than it is because there’s a plateau smack in the middle of it. Just as you think you’ve crested the top, there’s another half of the hill to climb! It’s a fine lesson for training in general – no resting on your laurels – there’s always more of a challenge to be had.

To date I’ve run 94 miles, and it feels pretty great. However, there are 482.2 to go before I cross the finish line on April 19th, and it’s good to remember that every day I need to keep getting stronger and better. Likewise, I’ve raised $1,439 for Boston Partners in Education – but that leaves $2561 to raise if I’m going to meet my goal. So keep your eyes and ears open – in the next week or two I hope to have some fun fundraising activities to share with you all! And if you’d like to make a New Year’s donation, you can always do so at http://www.firstgiving.com/erinmcgrath. Thank you all for your support!

Changing It Up

It’s Sunday, and you know what that means – Marathon Training Update! If you didn’t realize that Sunday meant that, I suppose you do now.

Though it was only week 2 of training, I decided to mix things up a bit. This mix-up came in two forms.
Form 1 – I bought new shoes! More specifically, I bought a completely different brand of shoe than I typically wear. I’ve been a Saucony gal ever since I started running – the Ride my shoe of choice for my neutral foot. Alas, the good folks at Saucony keep making minor tweaks – and after the latest I started noticing a rather unpleasant pain to the side of my right knee. I suspected the shoes due to a few factors – the timing of the pain, the fact that it would feel better with rest but return as soon as I ran again, and the frequency with which I needed to re-tie my shoes. The last sounds odd, but I suspected that my foot was rolling more and loosening the laces. Luckily, the fellow at my local running shoe emporium confirmed my suspicion, and fitted me into my new kicks – the Brooks Defyance 2 (nope, I don’t know why they spell it that way, either). After this week of training – no more knee pain! The big triumph here was not only that the pain is gone, but that I accurately diagnosed the problem. Makes me feel like I know what I’m doing!

Form 2 – I’ve been mixing it up with my training. For the first week I really just went out and ran however many miles the coach suggested for that day. This week, I added some hill training and speed play. I had two reasons for doing these things – the first was simply to keep it interesting. We’re not yet going long enough distances that the workout alone is enough. The second is that I am painfully slow. While I have no need (or real inclination) to become amazingly fast, I’d like to get a little bit better so that I can finish the marathon in a reasonable time. Both hill work and speed training should help with that – it will be interesting to see how this develops.

On the fundraising front, I am well on my way to meeting my first target of $1000 by December 13th! So far I’ve hit $984! Thank you to everyone who has bought raffle tickets, baked goods, or made a straightforward donation to my page! Incidentally, I’ve decided that donations of $50 or more will earn the donor a mile of the marathon dedicated to that person. This is retroactive, so if you’ve made such a donation, let me know what mile you’d like! I’m reserving the last .2, though – that one’s for me.

One last marathon note for this week, and then tomorrow it’s back to food – shellfish, in fact! You may have noticed a new link section on this here blog, reserved for my teammates who’ve started training blogs. You should make sure to visit them! Next week I think I’ll give a specific run-down of each one and what it’s about, but Jess, Kelly, and Laura are all great, fun writers – so go give them some love!