Reach the Beach Part 1: Pre-Relay

In case you missed last Wednesday’s announcement about participating in the Reach the Beach Relay as a member of the New Balance media team, you can read it here!

Oh. Man. Recapping the events of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday is going to take 2-3 posts, and I don’t know if I’ll get through it all this week, but I’ll try! So Thursday morning after a quick 30-minute solo spin session, I headed over to the hotel to meet the other eleven bloggers/members of Team Pumped Up Kicks:

I was a bit nervous at first because the only team members I’d already met were Christine (at the Fitness Magazine Meet & Tweet) and Theodora (at various events). But many of the other girls were in that same situation, and bloggers are certainly good at being friendly and making new friends! It didn’t take long at all to feel comfortable around everyone, especially the fellow members of Van 2 (my van).



Once we divided into our vans, we hit the road for the New Balance offices/factory in Lawrence, MA!

My group started on the factory floor, learning how the 990 sneaker is made. The process is so involved and labor intensive! Definitely not a 100% automated process. Then we headed over to the testing area where engineers work with athletes, test subjects, and machinery to perfect each shoe and create shoes that will solve athletic problems.


I got to participate as one of those test subjects, thanks to the fact that I wear a size 8 (most women’s test sneakers are this size). New Balance uses dribble glasses AKA glasses athletes practicing dribbling use (so they can’t look down) to keep testing blind. They’ve found that there’s a lot of bias when it comes to sneaker brands – people are die-hard! So to get more genuine opinions, participants aren’t allowed to see which shoe is on each foot during a test.

Cinderella on the right!

Sharing my thoughts on each sneaker.

Sharing my thoughts on each sneaker.

The dribble glasses truly did work, and I even ended up choosing the New Balance shoe 🙂

We also visited development offices and learned how New Balance uses different types of data on both competitors’ shoes and athlete performance to design new footwear. I really loved the look of the offices. The first sneaker actually was modeled using the arch of a chicken’s foot, hence the random chickens one may spot around the office.




After some visited the factory store (despite the amazing prices I just couldn’t; the last thing I need is more workout gear), we hit the road for New Hampshire! Each van was put up in an adorable townhouse/cabin. I’d love to spend a long weekend at one of these with a group of friends!



View from the porch!

Intense outdoor Instagramming by Marissa.

Intense outdoor Instagramming by Marissa.

All the New Balance teams met at a nearby ski lodge for dinner – and drinks! The dinner was very nice – chicken, pasta, rolls, mashed red-skin potatoes, salad, and cooked veggies. I had some of all of the above!

9-11-14-rtbrelay4Followed by strawberry shortcake!

(And wine...)

(And wine…)

The two drink tickets each person received ended up not mattering because New Balance kept the bar open. This led to some poor life decisions on my part.

Gia, Theodora, me, and Marissa…AKA the late night crew.

After a little too much food and way too much wine, I went to bed dreading my 5AM alarm. I got a biiiiit caught up, but don’t worry, I woke up on time to get to the start line! I’ll end this for now, stay tuned for part two…

Are you interested in behind-the-scenes of brands you use?

Ever heard of dribble glasses?

What was YOUR last pre-race-day poor life decision? 😛

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