Racing in a Wheelchair for th First Time

By Ariel Jastromb

Alejandra Taco is wheelchair participant on the Boston Living Center’s Running for Life Marathon Team. As a holistic health and nutrition coach, Alejandra understands the importance of treating the body, mind and spirit just as the BLC does. This is Alejandra’s first marathon and she has chosen to raise money and support for the BLC. She is one among 22 participants on the BLC Marathon Team. The marathon will take place on Monday, April 19th.

1. What has your training schedule been like?

A: During the week I train indoors on an indoor roller, I wake up every morning at 5:45am train for two hours and then do yoga to help me stretch. Now that the weather is getting warmer I started to train outdoors during the weekends to get use to the road and hills. My dad has been helping me train and comes with me on my practice runs.

2. What is a typical day for you?

A. I’m starting my own practice as a holistic health and nutrition coach.  Right now I’m seeing 5 clients every two weeks. I enjoy creating new healthy recipes for my clients and family to try. I meditate once a week to keep me balance and practice yin yoga as well.

3. Have you ever done a marathon before?

A: No, this is my first one. I’ve always wanted to do one and the opportunity came along. I said if I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it!

4. Why did you choose to run for the Boston Living Center?

A: I was looking to support a charity that I felt connected to. I visited the center and was amazed with the resources the BLC offers to the members to help them improve their health and quality of life.  The BLC is very welcoming and supportive to every member who needs a helping hand. I strongly believe that in order to thrive in life we need to have a supportive network specially when you are face with an illness like AIDS. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the loving support of my family and friends who see me for who I am and not for my disability.

5. What’s the best part about participating in the Boston Marathon in a wheelchair?

A: You get to go fast! Now that I’m training outside and driving the racer, going down hills is super exciting. I love anything that allows me to go fast, and having people cheer you on until the finish line. I feel that if I finish the marathon, I’ll be able to do anything.


Introducing Kristin Lash: BLC Running for Life Marathon Team Member

BLC volunteer and marathon team member Kristin Lash

Kristin is a long time volunteer massage therapist here at the BLC. Welcome to the team!

Hometown: Monroe, CT – just moved to Marblehead about a month ago (in time for a good Nor’easter!)

Ever run a marathon before? Nope!

Favorite post race snack? A big bowl of steel cut oats with a super ripe, frozen banana and a big scoop of crunchy peanut butter with ground flaxseeds.

Most exciting thing about running the Boston Marathon? The build-up in training and the suspense leading up to Marathon Monday is really exciting, but I think the fact that I know firsthand what and who will benefit from my fundraising and efforts is the best part.

I can’t run a marathon without my…iPod nano! I use the camera on it to take videos of some of my running routes, so that I can show my friends and family. I’m also never to be found without chapstick or my inhaler.

What does running for the BLC mean to you? I’ve been volunteering at the BLC for about a year as a massage therapist and I always wanted to be able to contribute on a larger scale. So when the opportunity came about to run the marathon as part of the BLC team – I didn’t need to think twice. Being able to wake up super early, challenge myself and run with a purpose is extremely gratifying. I try to imagine the starting line, the hills, and what it will feel like to run past the BLC’s cheer squad toward the finish line and it helps me power through my runs – especially on the icky days.

How are you training for the Marathon? Carefully! I’m doing an 18-week program with four days of running, one day of cross training and two rest days. I’m also doing some core and strength training, and of course – I’m getting a lot of massages!

Favorite song to get you up Heartbreak Hill? It’s too hard to pick just one! I would have to say my current, pavement-pounding go-to songs are: “Best of You” by the Foo Fighters, anything by Rage Against the Machine, Lincoln Park, Beastie Boys or the Canadian fiddler, Ashley MacIssac and “Hard Sun” by Eddie Vedder (that’s the current fave!).

Meet Keli Rupert – BLC Running for Life Marathon Team Member

Kelli Rupert Running a half marathon

Introducing the fabulous Kelli Rupert. She’ll be running the Boston Marathon for the BLC  this year!

Hometown: Seekonk, MA

Ever run a marathon before? No, this will be my first of many…I am officially hooked on running!

Favorite post race snack? Spoonful of peanut butter, right from the jar!!

Most exciting thing about running the Boston Marathon? The emotions felt on Marathon Monday with the Boston crowd and camaraderie of the other 26 thousand crazies who decided it would be a good idea to train for a marathon during a New England Winter! and of course FINISHING

I can’t run a marathon without my…Garmin405 watch that tells me my distance, pace, time, calories and heart rate using satellites…It makes every run a measured sense of accomplishment.

What does running for the BLC mean to you? The BLC is giving me the opportunity to reach a personal goal of running 26.2 in front of family and friends as well as making an impact in my local community.  I really believe that the most important thing you can do in your own life is to make a difference in somebody else’s…and I am excited to do that with the BLC!

How are you training for the Marathon? I am using an 18 week plan; 5 days of running, 1 cross training day, 1 rest day, and a whole lot of ice each week!!!

Favorite song to get you up Heartbreak Hill? My Black Eyed Peas Pandora Mix

Meet Shawn Hatcher – BLC Running for Life Marathon Team Member

Introducing Shawn Hatcher! Running for Life Marathon Team Member

Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida

Have you ever run a marathon before? I’ve run two Marathons before: Jacksonville Marathon last Christmas and the Boston Marathon this past April.  My Boston time was 4hours 14mins, but my goal is under 4 hours this year!!

What is the most exciting thing for me about running the Boston Marathon? Its not as much about the cheers on April 19th as about the journey getting there.  Completing each run turns into a series of small personal victories.  The friendships you make with others who are training and also experiencing these victories is truly second to none.  Discovering these new friends is what is exciting!

Can’t run a marathon without my…I’m a gadget dork and can’t run without my Garmin Forerunner. It’s a cool GPS-enabled watch that displays your pace and the distance you’ve already run. I’m pretty sure it tells time too, LOL!

What does running for the BLC mean to you? Running for the BLC means giving those that are living with HIV/AIDS a sense of hope.  I always describe hope as the springboard that one can use to jump over even most daunting obstacles.

How are you training for the Marathon? I’m training for the Boston Marathon this year with the L Street Running Club.  They are fantastic club out of Southie with over 1000 members.  The Sunday long runs can easily top 180 people, which is very cool (and much needed) when you’re struggling — misery loves company!

Favorite song to get you up Heartbreak Hill? Although I listen to music when I run alone, I don’t when I train with a group and definitely won’t when I run on Marathon Monday.  I find it distracting and interrupting my internal dialogue (and screams..LOL!).  I will use the screams of “Go Shawn!!!” to get up Heartbreak Hill.

Meet Adrian Budha – BLC Running for Life Marathon Team Member

The BLC is the first AIDS Service Organization to be chosen by the the Boston Athletic Association to be an official charity for the Boston Marathon®. The past two years we have had fantastic teams of runners raise over $150,000 for the BLC. Our 2010 team is shaping up to be a great group. Over the next few weeks we’re going to be introducing you to the runners, this week meet:

Adrian, who ran for the BLC last year has returned to run again!

Adrian Budhu
Hometown: South End of Boston, MA — but, I grew up in Guyana, South America.
Ever run a marathon before? Yes. This will be my 4th.
Favorite post race snack? Banana and Lemon-Lime Gatorade
Most exciting thing about running the Boston Marathon? The energy from the crowd. They are all there to see us cross the finish line.
I can’t run a marathon without my… Lip Balm (I’m addicted to that stuff)
What does running for the BLC mean to you? A place of hope and community.
How are you training for the Marathon? Running in cold weather – along the Charles and around the neighborhoods in Boston. Look for the guy in the orange beanie and big smile. 🙂
Favorite song to get you up Heartbreak Hill? No song. Just the sound and cheers of the crowd. It really motivates you to keep going.