Learning How to Go with the Flow

Last week was the first week of our official Fall Cross Country Season in conjunction with my own personal first week back at training for the marathon distance.  However, this time I am doing something completely unlike myself.  I am going to try a very loose training progression and mileage plan.  I’m kind of excited about letting the control ropes go a little bit and giving a little slack to myself this time.  I’m “Learning How to Go with the Flow”.

What Will I NOT Do this time?

With the training this time, and since I’m running with the sole goal of raising money for charity and experiencing the marathon with my running bestie, I’m NOT going to do planned or structured speed work.  No mile repeats at set paces, no tempo long runs, no Yasso 800s.

I will NOT abide to such a rigid training plan that gets me up at 3:30 in the morning to log mileage before morning practices.

I will NOT wrap myself so tightly around the time and pace axle, so to speak.  Again racing for pace is not my goal here.

I will NOT take for granted the gift of running!

What I WILL Do

I WILL however, log my usual daily average mileage with the cross country kids.  This varies depending on the day between 3 and 8 miles.  Usually on the higher side, when we fall into two a days and higher mileage runners.  And on the lower side when the kids have a hill workout or some sort of quality workout that keeps us centrally located on a route.

I  WILL also, TRY and run some frequent hill workouts for strength with them.  And when I say “try” it’s because we now have some feisty little speed demons that I’m not sure I can keep up with any more (LOL).  But I like the personal challenge and it’s always fun to coach them while being part of the mix.

I WILL most importantly give myself permission to have more of a “go with the flow” attitude and just ride the train for the experience and pure joy of running.

I WILL try and sponge into the memory bank every mile and memory with my J.Bo thru out our training runs and on the marathon itself.

I WILL try and slow down to take a look around more and smile at the fan support, thank the volunteers, and cheer on other runners beside me during the race more.

Dedicating Miles to my Donors

Lastly, I have decided that for every person that donates to me I will dedicate a mile to that person.  If there are miles left over than I think perhaps I will try and make note for something about my running that I am or have been grateful for.

I will try and keep you posted thru out the next few months until October 7th, which is when the Chicago Marathon is run, on how different my body feels or adapts to the things I have chosen NOT to do this time vs. the things I WILL do.  I like being my own guinea pig subject here.

I am still in desperate need of donations to reach my monetary goal of $1500.  Thanks for considering and if you choose to donate, I promise you that your donation dollars will NOT go wasted.  You WILL help a young girl be able to participate in the Girls on the Run program.  And you may just possibly be able to spark a change in her life for ever!!

 

Hy-Vee’s Hydration Message

The other day I went to grab groceries and on my way out noticed the Hy-Vee health magazine called “Balance” sitting within a wire rack next to the exit doors.  I like to grab this magazine from time to time.  I often find new healthy recipes in it or descriptions of some new health-related products.  This July issue had a specific wellness article and ‘Hydration Message‘ called “Water Works”.  I wanted to highlight a recipe out of it for you and re-iterate a few of the great hydration game reminders the article point out that are pertinent to us runners.

“During just one hour of exercise your body can lose more than a quart of water.  Drink before signs of thirst appear, and hydrate before, during and after workouts.” – American Council on Exercise

Hydration Marathon

One of the things I tell my cross country team is this – you can’t wait until you feel thirsty to hydrate properly!  Hydration thru the summer months is a marathon and you have to pace yourself for the long haul.  So many of the kids come to practice having just barely rolled out of bed.  Needless to say, most do not take the extra time to get up even earlier than necessary (they are out of school after all) before they need to get to our “optional” summer practices and focus on hydrating.  So, what I tell them to do is focus on the 24-hour pre-hydration game.

However, we also want to remember not to be so obsessive about drinking water that we become hyponatremic.  I talked a little bit about this in a previous blog post called Starting the ‘Running in Heat’ Round Table Discussion.

If we eat a well-rounded diet, that includes some sodium, potassium and other electrolytes than this shouldn’t be much of an issue.  Here even is a fun recipe from the Hy-Vee July periodical that includes a yummy cool and refreshing electrolyte popsicle.  Thanks, Hy-Vee!!

Hydration Pre-Game Strategies

First strategy I talk thru with the kids on my team are a nice simple math problem.  Divide your weight in half and that’s an approximate baseline for how many ounces a day you should consume of water.  Simple and easy right?!

100 pound runner / 2 = 50 oz. H20

Then I have them look at a visual or either their own water bottle or a standard size bottled water, which is just over 16 oz.  So, we know that in this instance a 100 pound runner would need to consume at least 6-7 bottles of commercially bottled water thru out the day.  Double check your own water bottle and see how many ounces it is.

BUT – Hold the phone!!  This does NOT include the sweat that is happening during their ‘beast mode’ cross country practices in the mornings.  So,…make that at least 7-8 and perhaps a nice post-run snack of banana and peanut butter for protein, carb, potassium and sodium replacement.  Done!!

My 26 oz. water bottle helps keep my ‘Hydration Game’ strong!

 

Many, like mine (pictured below) are even larger than store bought water which makes hydrating a less daunting task if you only have to tell yourself to get thru 1 before lunch, 1 thru out the afternoon and maybe (depending on your weight) another to sit on thru the evening.

Fun Fact & Kudos America!!

According to the Beverage Marketing Corp. which Hy-Vee cited on page 63 of their free store magazine,

“Bottled Water is now the top drink in the country.  Americans downed an average 39 gallons of it in 2016, surpassing soda.  “

That’s some real “HYDROPOWER!”

SO…set yourself up to have a great run tomorrow and go fill up your glass or water bottle and get drinking!

P.S. Next blog post I’ll share a new campaign idea that will hopefully enable and empower all of you amazing “mother runners” out there.   Stay tuned!…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is GOTR and What Does it Have To Do With Me?

There is something big brewing in America right now!  I’m sure you’re probably assuming that I’m going to say it is running, and then launch off into how and why the running boom that began back in the 1970s is still alive and kicking today.  No!  What’s brewing is more specific than that.  It is more specifically GOTR.  You may ask “What is GOTR and What Does it Have To Do With Me?

GOTR is Empowering Young Women All Over America

Three years ago, my youngest daughter Vivian was presented an opportunity thru her school to participate in GOTR.  What is GOTR you might ask?  GOTR is an acronym for Girls on the Run.

Girls on the Run is a non-profit 501(c)3 life-changing, after-school program for girls in 3rd-8th grade that creatively integrates running, goal-setting and training for a 5k with a curriculum all about developing confidence, respect and healthy living. “

The flier came home from school and my first impression was pretty simply that it was a running program for young girls to learn how to run and to basically learn to get along with each other.  But after the 10 weeks that culminated in a celebratory 5k, it became very clear that the GOTR program was and IS much, MUCH more than just my first impression.

Over a period of 10 weeks, girls in the 3rd through 5th grade participate in an after-school program like no other. Designed to allow every girl to recognize her inner strength, the Girls on the Run curriculum inspires girls to define their lives on their own terms. Throughout the season, the girls make new friends, build their confidence and celebrate all that makes them unique.

The Girls on the Run lessons encourage positive emotional, social, mental and physical development.  Participants explore and discuss their own beliefs around experiences and challenges girls face at this age.  They also develop important strategies and skills to help them navigate life experiences. We start with helping the girls get a better understanding of who they are and what’s important to them.  Then, we look at the importance of team work and healthy relationships.  And, finally, the girls explore how they can positively connect with and shape the world.

Physical activity is woven into our program to inspire an appreciation of fitness and to build habits that lead to a lifetime of health.  At the end of each three month session, the girls participate in a Girls on the Run 5K event.  This celebratory, non-competitive event is the culminating experience of the curriculum.  Completing the 5K gives the girls a tangible understanding of the confidence that comes through accomplishment as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals.  Crossing the finish line is a defining moment when the girls realize that even the seemingly impossible IS possible.

What Does GOTR Have To Do With Me?

Girls on the Run and it’s driving principles are something I can get behind.  As many of you know, I have coached cross-country and distance running to girls grades 7-12 at Prairie and am going on my seventh year of coaching.  I’ve always thought that coaching any sport is so much more than just the sport itself, and have believed it to be an opportunity to positively influence young kids and in my case more specifically young girls.

To give a little more preface, late last winter my running bestie and I decided to go after a shared bucket list goal of running a marathon together.  We chose to run the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 7th of this upcoming fall.  It was her idea to run for charity and we both loved the idea of running for Girls on the Run.  It just made so much sense!!

We both feel very passionate about the program and what it’s done for girls all across America.  We also both share the same passion for doing what we can for youth and young women and as proof, she volunteer coaches cross country with me at Prairie.  This is not the first time she’s put her own running abilities and physical gift towards raising money and giving back towards charity, but it WILL be my first time doing so.

My Fundraising Goal

I will be running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 7th and fundraising $1500 on behalf of Girls on the Run-Chicago to empower young women. These donations go directly toward crucial program scholarships for girls in need. By June 30th I am trying to raise $200, any donation will help me hit my commitment goal!

You can donate online here: http://www.crowdrise.com/2018-gotr-chicago-marathon/fundraiser/RunnerMomCoach

Or by writing a check to Girls on the Run-Chicago with my name, including SoleMates 2018, in the memo section. Please send your checks to Girls on the Run-Chicago (1415 N. Dayton St, Suite 112 Chicago, IL. 60642). On behalf of the 11,000 girls that GOTRC will serve this school year, THANK YOU!

I will be honest in saying, while this new goal of running for charity is exciting and something I’m passionate about, I am a little nervous about meeting the fundraising goal.  If you have read this far and choose to help support me and Girls on the Run, I will say from the core of my heart…THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!  Your donation WILL make a difference for a young girl out there that just needs guidance, acceptance, self-worth, a confidence boost, and to be taught that she CAN make a difference in the world by learning how to be positive and make intentionally good choices.

 

Tomorrow is Global Running Day!

Have you heard that tomorrow is Global Running Day?!?  Maybe you didn’t realize that there is a declared day for anyone and everyone to just get out there and take a few steps.  I certainly will be fueling the bandwagon with the 8 tempo miles that I am scheduled to log for my current training.

What is Global Running Day?

 

Global Running Day is a worldwide celebration of running that encourages everyone to get moving. It doesn’t matter how fast you run or how far you go—what’s important is that you take part, and how you do it is up to you. Run a lap around your block, take your dog for a long walk, or call your friends for a pick-up game in the park. The important thing is that you have fun being active—and you inspire others to join you.

– https://globalrunningday.org/

As you can see, ANYONE can participate.  You don’t have to self-identify as a “runner” per say.  I mean, really it’s just a label that is all relative.  Perhaps, you’re more of a “jogger” or “speed walker” or “saunter-er” (is that a word even?).  It doesn’t matter!!  The point is to get outside, be active, and partake.  No one is sizing you up, no one is telling you that you’re too slow, and EVERYONE should help each other get out and “run”!  Grab a friend, take a furry four-legged creature, and just go RUN!

Make a Pledge and Win a Shirt

If you think you want to possibly be part of something that is uniting runners all over the world tomorrow, you can even make a pledge thru https://globalrunningday.org/.

Shoot – I even thought maybe we can take this a step further and create a fun campaign.  I created an RMC Runners team that is free to join and all you have to do is follow this link https://globalrunningday.org/6n5whpq and enter your name and join the RMC Runners team.

I will give a FREE t-shirt to the first person to sign-up and pledge to run as part of the RMC Runners Global Running Day Team! Once you sign-up online, just e-mail me a screenshot or link to your pledge page via cemerunblog@gmail.com.  First person’s e-mail I receive will win a FREE RMC logo t-shirt.

I will also give a FREE t-shirt to the first person who plans to get out and partake in the worldwide festivities, and can document your run somehow either by taking a picture of your Garmin, Strava account, mapmyrun.com route or any other form of official documentation and tag me via Instagram, Facebook or Twitter @runnermomcoach.

Let’s get out there and keep the world a spinning!  Enjoy this cute Nike commercial with one of my favorite celebrity runners, Kevin Hart.

 

 

Influential People of the Running World

So, a few days ago as I was researching some information in preparation for my cross country coaching endeavors, I stumbled across a list of Influential People of the Running World.  After skimming thru the list of high profilers, it got my brain churning on who else I would’ve added to the list.  There have been so many great pioneers thru out history and continues to be ever up and coming elite runners, sports scientists, race directors, and trailblazers of their own rights within the sport of running.  Today’s post may launch me off onto a summer campaign of “Who’s Who” in the running world, but for today I want to simply introduce the very article that got me going on all of this and lay the groundwork and preface for what’s to come.

How the Fire Became Ignited

This whole topic snowballed on me after I originally was looking up some information on Coach Joe Vigil.  Coach Joe Vigil, if you didn’t already know, is a prominent figure within the distance running world and more specifically has had legendary success as a cross country coach thru out his years.

“In 1988, he was the long distance running coach on the track staff of the United States Olympic Team. He was also the head coach for the United States team in the 1997 Pan-American Games. ” – https://www.coloradosports.org/index.php/who-s-in-the-hall/inductees/item/224-dr-joe-vigil

One of the things I appreciate about Joe is that his education and doctorate are held in exercise physiology and he backs his coaching with more of a scientific approach.  He breaks down varying energy systems and attributes running success to spending appropriate time training within each energy system.

His high standards of excellence were taught to his pupils of running and emphasized that running was an all-around lifestyle of greatness, which included academics in the classroom.

https://www.coloradosports.org/index.php/who-s-in-the-hall/inductees/item/224-dr-joe-vigil

You can read more about him thru several web-links here:

https://www.bigbeartc.org/coaches/

https://blogs.adams.edu/chpce/about/dr-coach-joe-i-vigil-bio/

http://www.olympiatrainingsystems.com/2012/08/dr-joe-vigil.html

Runner’s World List of The Top 50 Most Influential People in Running

Coincidentally, I had stumbled across a link within a Runner’s World article featuring Joe Vigil called “Is 80 the New 50 In the Running Community?”.  The article highlighted “high performing octogenarians” and “movers and shakers within today’s running world”.

Another inter article hyperlink took me to a compiled list by Runner’s World of their Top 50 Most Influential People in Running  – https://rw.runnersworld.com/the50/

Granted, compiling a list would be an extreme challenge in itself and yet had my cogs spinning on feeling as though there were some definite potential list qualifiers that weren’t included.  Joe Vigil being one of the first that came to mind obviously.  A hindsight which Runner’s World threw response to after posting the first compiled list and thus came up with their list of octogenarians.

Inspiration, Motivation and Ideology with Running

I don’t know about you, but when I read or learn about prominent running figures and why or how they contributed to running in some way, it inspires and motivates me.

Whether it be successful runners thru out history and knowing how they got to their elite status, or pioneers in the running science realm and the education and research they’ve devoted their work towards, it is each journey documented and work publicized that fulfills and nurtures my own running passion.

As I am always on a lifelong quest for knowledge, I am frequently stumbling across great articles, books, or online resources that I will pay forward to you all as well.  For the month of June, I may even take a stance on adding to my own list of Influential People of the Running World.

If you have people of your own that you find inspiring, prominent, or significant in some way, please share by commenting thru the Contact / Comment tab at the top of my website.  Or you may e-mail me directly with a “guest post” or story of your own.

 

Documenting My Running Vlog on YouTube

Do you ever feel like declaring a goal out loud helps you hold yourself accountable?  Also, have you ever stopped to realize that the ability to invest 100% of yourself in the training towards your running goals is perhaps even more acknowledgeable than the race itself?  I’m ‘Documenting My Running Vlog on YouTube’ thru the running and training of my quest for you, and a little bit for myself.

21st Century Runnermomcoach

Now before you get all judgy on the lack of video quality, shaky footage, no make-up sweaty face Corrie, let me preface with saying that my purpose towards documenting my training serves two-fold.

The first purpose is as I’ve already mentioned, which is to allow all you other runners out there to get a feel for what I do in my training.  And yes, I’m open to constructive comments, recommendations or questions.  I’ve accumulated notes over the years and experience from previous training.  In addition, I try and read as much as I can about different training plans, methods and philosophies and the science behind each.

What’s worked for me the best, with a little amalgamation, has been the 1/2 and full marathon training plans out of the Runner’s World Big Book of Marathon and Half-Marathon Training.  I’m currently using the advanced 1/2 marathon training plan and have implemented hilly route days for strength, additional before and after strength and mobility work, and plyometric work since I’ve noticed that my fast twitch muscle fibers seem to have gotten lazier as I’ve aged.


The second purpose of me documenting my journey is so that hopefully someday I can look back and be able to have made progress and learned better, more efficient, and more creative ways of “vlogging” my runner’s lifestyle.

And…after all, my kids tell me all the time that I’ve gotta get with the times.  So, that means spreading my influence, blog and journey out over social media, the web and YouTube.

What You See Is What You Get

You’ve also probably already noticed, that I am usually my “organic” self in my videos.  Meaning,…no make-up, hair hastily pulled back and whatever running clothes I threw on in the morning.  I don’t believe that image is everything and stand by values of believing that content and message is always more important.  So, what you see is what you get!

Summer is Near

As I prep myself for the upcoming summer months and having my kiddos home during the day, as well as the beginning of summer XC coaching and training, I realize that I should let you know that I’ll be dialing back just slightly in my blog posts.

Being a Mom always comes first for me, and the summer months is a time that I always try and be very present not only as a Mom but also with my coaching.  I will still try to remain somewhat consistent with blog posts (perhaps only 1-2 times per week), even if it’s not the typical Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

Happy Running Hump Day!!

 

A Runners Guide to Downtown Cedar Rapids and the NewBo District

I’ve been a Cedar Rapidian (Cedar Rapids resident) for almost forty years.  I’ve also been a runner for the large majority of those years and have trained thru many miles on the trails and streets of our town.  I’d like to share this blog post called, ‘A Runners Guide to Downtown Cedar Rapids and the NewBo District’ and hope that it will be helpful to you whether you’re visiting the city for the first time or looking for a runner’s perspective and resource tool for a new route to get you going in a new direction.

Rejuvenation after the Flood of 2008

As with most everything in life, there is a yin and a yang or relative concept of balance.  Although our city experienced a devasting blow with the massive flooding that occurred in 2008, the silver lining of what came from that was a rejuvenation of the city and a few specific areas like the NewBo Market and New Bohemia District, the Downtown Riverfront and the Czech Village area.

The new thriving area and beating heart of the New Bohemia District and Czech Village area include easy access to the Cedar Valley Trail System.  The paved trail travels south all the way to Ely and includes several “pit stop” and restroom amenities at about every 1.5 – 2 miles.  Much of the trail on this stretch going south as it transitions into the Hoover Trail system, is tree-lined and offers a nice “tunnel” of shade for enjoyment even thru the blazing hot summer months in Iowa.  There are only a few slight elevation changes along this stretch and could mostly be considered “slightly rolling”.  For a runner training for any longer distances of a half or full marathon the distance, one way, if starting at the NewBo Market, is approximately 8.5 miles thus making a great training run of 18-19miles total.

Cedar Valley Trail – Southbound

If traveling southbound on the trail you’ll get a chance to run along the river and past a couple of our cities factories.  You’ll also experience running up and over the train tracks next to Tait Cummins Sports Complex and past some watershed area, where the occasional woodchuck or deer can be spotted.

A few additional perks of running an out and back route from the NewBo Market are that you can choose a nice refreshment or snack after your return to the NewBo Market.  I personally love a smoothie from Get Fresh Juice Press.  Perhaps even take a little time to stretch on the lawn or meander thru some of the fun shops like RayGun, The Iowa Running Company Shoe store, or even the NewBo Market vendors.

Prairie Park Fishery Trail and the Sac and Fox Trail

The Prairie Park Fishery Trail is one of my favorite spots for any sort of speedier running or specific shorter distance work because the 1.6 mile trail loops around the Cedar Lake and is marked at every tenth of a mile.  The scenery is not too bad either.

Additional Perks to this section of trail are that you can hop right onto the Sac and Fox Trail extensions and wind your way all the way to the Indian Creek Nature Center.  This part of the trail becomes pea gravel and is a nice surface to run if you’re looking to get a break from pounding the pavement.

Nurture the Brain and the Body

Have you heard of the RunCRwith.us app?  It is an internet based app that a very bright group of high school kids at the Iowa BIG school developed for runners.  More specifically there are 19 different routes that a runner can access in and amongst Cedar Rapids.

The app offers live gps tracking for runners as they tour around our city via one of the offered routes.  The routes highlight many of our historical landmarks such as Brucemore Mansion and Czech Village, notable areas of the city like the above mentioned NewBo area and Cedar Valley Trail, and even navigate you thru a couple of local road races courses i.e. Especially For You Race Against Breast Cancer.  Within the app and the live navigation, there is also audio tour and educative recording which plays to inform you about each specific route or landmark.

The routes vary in distances from just over a quarter mile all the way up to 15.2 miles.  And if you find yourself feeling a little competitive the RunCRwith.Us app has teamed up with the Iowa Running Company shoe store and is offering a fun contest.

CONTEST

From May 12th to May 19th RunCrWith.Us is holding a contest! Run a route and tweet us at #runcrwithus to get credit. The person who ran the most miles by the end of the week gets a prize! 1st place gets a $75 gift card, 2nd place $50, and 3rd place $25 all from the Iowa Running Company!

The RunCRwith.us and Iowa Big students even took a few minutes (14min and 48 sec to be exact) to sit down with me and tell me a little more about the app and what went into the design and development of it.  You may listen to it on my RMC Podcast on iTunes or thru the link on the right of this website page.

Cedar Rapids Can Be Fun to Explore thru Running

Like I said, I’ve been a resident of this city for quite some time and I still enjoy discovering new running routes, beautiful scenery for my photo run journal and seeing other outdoor enthusiasts doing the same.

What better way to learn and acquaint yourself with your city, than being active and fit at the same time?!

 

 

 

 

Drake 10k Road Race Review and Week 1 of 10 in Training for My Half Marathon Goal

Last weekend, as some of you may have already noticed on social media, my family and I went into Des Moines for the Drake Relays Road Races.  The Road Races include three different distances – a 5k, 10k, and half marathon.  Joel, Tori and I each ran the 10k distance and in today’s post, I’ll give you my Drake 10k Road Race Review.  I’ll also explain my current training goals with some personal 2018 race aspirations and details on ‘Week 1 of 10 in Training for my Half Marathon Goal’.

Post Race on the Infield of the Drake Track

Drake 10k Road Race Review – Course Elevation

I fully understand and want to preface with my road race review, that my experience is solely my own.  Take from today’s post what you will and with a grain of salt.  Also, neither Drake University or the Road Race coordinators have anything to do with my blog review for today.

The three road races start in front of the Drake Stadium and Knapp Center on 27th Street and at the north end of the Drake campus.  Both the 5k (overlapped and run on the same route as the 10k) and 10k courses were in my opinion, pretty flat.  There were maybe some very mild rolling elevations as you can see thru the elevation chart thru the course link here.

Drake Road Races Combined Elevation Chart. *Click on image for a link to full size map and chart.

My Garmin recorded that there was only an overall elevation gain of just 88 ft. and total loss of 104 ft.  I’ve attached a screen picture of the analytics page from my Garmin Connect dashboard and you’ll see the elevation gain and loss per each recorded mile of the 10k.  You can see where I dropped off my HMP tempo pace thru miles four and five, which was supposed to be 7:14 – 7:23.  I’ll explain more about how I came up with this specific pace window and why as you read further.

Screen shot image taken from my Garmin Connect Dashboard after upload from 10k race.

Road Conditions and the Surrounding Environment

Of course, hence the “road races” label that Drake has chosen you can conclude that all three of the courses were on city and neighborhood streets.  The 10k route was an out and back, thru some housing neighborhoods and over one overpass bridge.  The nice aspect of the majority of the specific streets that the route ran on, was that it was two wide lanes (one in each direction) with a hefty median and grass strip thru the middle.  This was nice from the aspect that there was plenty of room for runners to spread out, and retrieve water from volunteer stations without too much congestion.

It also seemed to be a spectator friendly course because of the median in the middle and the sidewalks and frontage along the roads.  I would also say that for the most part the streets that ran thru the neighborhoods weren’t too gnarly, uneven, or chewed up from Iowa’s winter concrete expansion and contraction.

The first mile and the last mile from Drake Stadium were course marked with cones and the entire course was nicely marshaled with city government officials to stop or direct traffic for runner’s safety.

Water Stations

The 10k course at least had ample water stations.  There are only 2 marked on the map, but realize that the volunteers were on both sides of the streets on the out and back course.

If I’m being honest for constructive purposes, I would recommend to the race coordinators to advertise in race packets or something for walkers to try and walk on one side of the road and runners to take the other.  This could alleviate some zig-zagging from runners around and thru walkers and potential tripping by either parties once the courses overlap as the different race distances combine coming back towards the finish at the stadium during the last mile and half.

Fun Finish on the Blue Oval

As you come into about the last quarter mile of the race, you descend and make a hard left turn into the Drake Stadium.  Thus the larger number in elevation loss over gain on my Garmin analytics.  The last 300m is completed rounding the track clockwise (the opposite direction that track races are run in) to the finish on the 100m straight away.

This was fun and a bit nostalgic for me, as I had remembered running there as a high schooler and how exhilarating that feeling was knowing my feet were touching the same blue rubber as the “big dogs” and professional runners.  Runners like Carl Lewis, Micheal Johnson, Gwen Torrence, Flo-Jo and others.  There was even one year I can remember when Micheal Johnson, who used to be known for his gold track spikes, threw one of them up into the crowd after winning the 100m dash.  He’d probably be shunned by today’s litigatory hyper standards.

 

“Billed as America’s Athletic Classic, it is regarded as one of the top track and field events in the United States.” – wikipedia

Nelly in the Barn – Second Verse Same as the First.  A little bit louder and a little bit worse!

I’ve discussed in previous blog posts my quest for 2018 in still going after my goal from 2017, which was to try and qualify with a half marathon time to run the New York City Marathon.  As I mentioned previously, I missed my mark last year at the Marion Arts Festival Half Marathon last spring.  It took me some time to get over being ungrateful and placing blame on Mother Nature as it was yet another day of race conditions like my Boston Marathon was in 2015, cold, rainy, windy.  De Ja (friggin’) Vu!

The reality for me is that declaring goals out loud is scary and yet I want to be transparent and honest about the ups and downs of my own personal journey with running and racing.  Now, after spending the winter running and soul-searching and reminding myself of my “why”, I’m approaching the same goal with tenacity and tenaciousness in 2018.

Week 1 of 10 in Training for Half Marathon Goal

Last week was week 1 of 10 going into the training for my first planned attempt for a qualifying half marathon time of 1:37:00, which I think will be the Sturgis Falls Half Marathon on June 24th.  I was scheduled for a quality run last week of 6 miles with 4 miles at HMP(half marathon pace).  I have been training in the 1:35:00  – 1:37:00 window just for a little buffer, which equates to a 7:14 – 7:23 HMP average mile.  So, as you can see by my Garmin analytics (at the bottom of the page) the run went well but I’m keeping nose to the grindstone and focusing on doing some of the things that I pushed to the wayside last year that had always had me running faster before, like strength and mobility work, AIF (active isolated flexibility and stretching), and as always diet.

I will add that I’ve added Amino Energy supplement into my routine.  Using myself as a test subject here and no I’m not sponsored in any way by Optimum Nutrition.  I’ll elaborate more on my reasoning for adding this into my training fluids intake and my findings thus far, perhaps on my Coaches Corner blog post on Friday.

I’ll probably shoot to do a once a week post regarding my own training and how things are going.  Things I’m observing and assessing as I go, and what’s working or what’s not.  Again, with the intent of allowing you to pull from it what you want or to learn from my mistakes at the very least.

Mile Repeats Tomorrow

My next speed workout or quality run will be seven miles with 3 x 1 mile repeats in the middle.  The mile repeat pace being based off of 10k race pace, which for me is 6:54 – 7:03 avg. mile.  I’m going to try and shoot for neg. splits on the repeats.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Been enjoying the sunrises and morning light shows (as J. Bo,my running bestie likes to call it) the last couple of mornings.  Had almost forgotten what spring sunrise running felt like.  Soul Food!!

 

 

 

This Year’s Boston Marathon Is a Lesson For Us All

Boston Marathon Desi

It’s been all over the news….the iconic and epic win by the American woman, Desi Linden.  Watching how the race unfolded on Monday, had me almost in disbelief and tears of joy at the end.  There were so many lessons on running and achieving your goals that were re-established for me and so many on that morning.  Lessons like, “Keep Showing Up!” a mantra that drove Desi thru the 26.2 miles after she had verbally declared to fellow American elite Shalane Flanagan, and had mentally already resigned to thinking she’d drop out at some point because of the harsh weather conditions.  Or the lesson we watched play out on the course between Desi and Shalane and about how serving others, can perhaps become a gift in itself.  And even the resonating quote in my head right now by Bill Bowerman “There ain’t no such thing as bad weather…just soft people!”  This year’s Boston Marathon is a lesson for us all!

Mother Nature Humbles Us All

Do you notice any trend in all of the pictures of above from this year’s Boston Marathon?  Rain, wind, cold, and icky conditions!  I can sympathize with this as the conditions we had for the 2015 Boston marathon were almost identical as documented here by the https://www.boston-discovery-guide.com/boston-marathon-weather.html and https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2018/04/15/boston-marathon-2018-forecast/

  • “2015 – 44 degrees; driving rain and wind”

  • “In addition to the rain, the 2018 marathon is poised to be one of the chilliest in recent years. When the first wave of wheelchair athletes cross the starting line in Hopkinton on Monday, it will likely be just below 40 degrees. Meteorologists anticipate temperatures in Boston will crawl into the upper 40s by the late afternoon, and the National Weather Service pegs the city’s high temperature at 52 degrees for the day. This year’s temperature will likely mimic what we saw for the 2015 and 2009 marathons, according to WBZ meteorologist Barry Burbank. Monday’s race will be a far cry from Patriots Day in 2012, when it was dangerously hot.”

I’ve been finding myself thinking and saying out loud, that “April is having an identity crisis!”  But perhaps the “spring” weather as of recent all over the United States should be considered more of a norm?  Regardless, Mother Nature and the weather she gives us on race day is an extrinsic factor and one that as much as we’d like, we have absolutely no control over.  So, what can we do but just try to adapt and hang on right?!

I watched a video on YouTube with Desi Linden’s coach, Kevin Hanson, and how he was a personal fan of the weather conditions that morning being in Desi’s favor and contributor of her victory.  He talks about Mother Nature “throwing a big dilemma at everybody” and how Desi is a master at making her competition hurt and want to back off.  She loves Boston because it is already a difficult course and then on top that and the weather, she had an upper hand going in with her race strategy.

Shalane called Desi a “Sacrificial Lamb”

Haven’t we all had those moments when we’ve been out on a run or in a race and we suddenly find ourselves scanning for a porta potty?  That is just what happened this year with Shalane Flanagan.  It was only a few miles in (maybe between miles 4-6) and Shalane decided to “Nascar Pitstop”.  As I was watching live coverage of the race get underway and saw some sort of dialog happening between Shalane and Desi and then Shalane suddenly peel off and duck into the blue relief stations, my stress level spiked and heart skipped a beat with worry and not knowing what was going on.  Next thing you know, Desi is slowing down as well and when you see Shalane jump back onto the course it is very clear thru Desi’s body language and backward glances that she’s encouraging Shalane to get back in the game with the then still tight pack of elites.

After hearing follow-up interviews with Des and Shalane we now all realize how phenomenal that show of sportsmanship was and how Desi had humbly resigned her own race to helping Shalane.  In fact, Des had already mentally figured that she would drop out at some point and verbally declared that to Shalane offering that she would stay in as long as she could and do what she could to help block wind or keep Shalane in the front-running pack by trying to manipulate the pace for her.

Finding this out about Desi and her selfless act and sportsmanship towards Shalane made me so proud and gave me something to hang onto from a coaching standpoint as well.  The irony and karma for Desi was that when she shifted her mind to helping and supporting someone else it gave her a new purpose and goal, which paid her back in the end.  The media keeps referring to it as “storybook stuff”.

“Keep Showing Up”

On the coattails of the irony of Boston Marathon morning, the last poignant reminder I received was to run the mile you’re in.  This seems to be a lesson that I keep learning over and over, and am continually working on ways to be present and adaptable as a runner.

Desi and I imagine all of the runners who had to run the always challenging Boston course and dealt Mother Nature’s winning poker hand that day, were forced to really have to bargain with themselves thru out the duration of the 26.2 miles.  It’s easy to forget sometimes all the long training weeks and all the mornings you wanted to stay in your cozy warm bed instead of getting out to log miles, and when your body and mind start playing “I want to quit!” tricks on you, to just throw in the towel.  BUT, we need to be resilient and present and a bit tenacious and keep plugging forward one step at a time.  We have to “Keep Showing Up”!

Happy Running Hump Day everyone!!  Have faith that Mother Nature will eventually relent, and that your training will all come to fruition.  Keep your chin up and remember the power of positivity in your running!!

 

 

 

Who to Watch at this Year’s Boston Marathon

I”m such a geek for the marathon and have been anxiously awaiting this year’s Boston Marathon.  I always try and block off Patriots Day morning for myself so that I can tune in and hoop and holler like it’s the Super Bowl or March Madness.  The field of elite professional runners this year is stacked and is going to be an exciting shakedown to watch.  Here is a recap of a few sources mentioning the U.S. elite team as well as my own personal opinion on Who to Watch at this Year’s Boston Marathon.

The 2018 Boston Marathon Elite Field

46 Elite Athletes from 13 Countries Invited for 122nd Running on April 16 .

http://www.baa.org/news-and-press/news-listing/2018/january/john-hancock-announces-2018-boston-marathon-international-elite-field.aspx

You can check out the field thru the Boston Marathon website link above of all the professional runners from across the globe that will be running in this year’s marathon.  But I want to give specific attention to the US field of runners from both the men’s and women’s side.  In no particular order here is the list;

US Elite Men

  1. Dathan Ritzenheim.  (PR – 2:07:47, Chicago 2012)
  2. Abdi Abdirahman.  (PR – 2:08:56, Chicago 2006)
  3. Galen Rupp. (PR – 2:09:20, Chicago 2017)
  4. Ryan Vail.  (PR – 2:10:57, London 2014)
  5. Elkanah Kibet.  (PR – 2:11:31, Chicago 2015)
  6. Timothy Ritchie.  (PR – 2:11:56, Sacramento 2017)
  7. Shadrack Biwott.  (PR – 2:12:01, New York 2016)
  8. Scott Smith.  (PR – 2:12:21, Frankfurt 2017)
  9. Andrew Bumbalough.  (PR – 2:13:58, Tokyo, 2017)
  10. Non competitive – Meb Keflezighi (PR – 2:08:37, Boston 2014)

US Elite Women

  1. Deena Kastor.  (PR – 2:19:36, London 2006)
  2. Jordan Hasay.  (PR – 2:20:57, Chicago 2017)
  3. Shalane Flanagan.  (PR – 2:21:14, Berlin 2014)
  4. Desiree Linden.  (PR – 2:22:38, Boston 2011)
  5. Serena Burla.  (PR – 2:26:53, Osaka 2017)
  6. Sara Hall.  (PR – 2:27:21, Frankfurt 2017)
  7. Molly Huddle.  (PR 2:28:13, New York City 2016)
  8. Kellyn Taylor.  (PR – 2:28:40, Houston 2015)

The US Elite Men Runners I’m Personally Interested in and Why

I would say that I’ve been following the elite marathon circuit closely now for the last decade.  Of the top fastest US elite men coming in, Dathan Ritzenheim (nicknamed The Ritz), Abdi Abdirahman (also nicknamed, The Black Cactus) and Galen Rupp have my personal interest. However, all of us ‘Ritz’ fans were given a sudden blow by his Tweet on this last Wednesday.  https://twitter.com/djritzenhein.  My heart goes out to him as I know how frustrating it can feel to invest so much time and effort and make sacrifices to then not have all the stars align the way you have planned.  I will keep fingers crossed that he is able to come back from his setback with vengeance and we’ll all get the chance to root him on again later this year perhaps.

Abdi Abdirahman has been a strong runner and a four-time Olympian.  I became very interested in following him after seeing him place third in the 2012 Olympic Trials.  He also placed third at the 2016 New York City Marathon and has 4 Olympic team qualifications under his belt.  Although, he has had a bit of a teeter tottering with DNF’s and a little less than stellar finishes.  Perhaps he will give us all an entertaining and standing ‘O’ performance on Monday.

Speaking of the Olympics, Galen Rupp has some Olympic hardware of his own.  Galen had an impressive high school cross country and track and field career and history of records, but then also went onto run impressively for the University of Oregon Ducks and continues his professional running career under the long-standing partnership with Coach and infamous distance runner Alberto Salazar.  Rupp also placed third in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and placed second in last year’s Boston Marathon.  Although a little fresher on the marathon circuit, it seems Rupp has been shooting for the stars and comfortable with his position in amongst them.  He is the marathon rookie to watch!

Even though he’s running competitively this year, I’m always a rooting fan of Meb Keflezighi.  He gave us all hope after the 2013 Boston bombing by coming back so tenaciously and giving America and all runners the reassurance of proving it simply isn’t that easy to take us down.  He’ll be running this year for charity and for Team MR8 – named after the 8-year old child and one of the bombing victims and Martin Richard Foundation.

I have always wanted people to know it was the memory of Martin and the other Boston victims that was on my mind during the 2014 Boston Marathon. That is why I am so honored to be running the 2018 Boston Marathon as [a] member of Team MR8.  http://www.wbur.org/news/2018/03/27/meb-keflezighi-mr8-boston-marathon

The US Elite Women Runners I’m Personally Interested in and Why

Let me start with one of my current idols and who I feel would make one of the sweetest post-race stories if she were able to win this year’s Boston Marathon.  The “Cold Execution” runner Shalane Flanagan grew up in Marblehead Massachusettes and considers the Boston Marathon course as her hometown course.  Maybe even more driven to win this year’s marathon so that she can close out her career on a high with knowing that not only had she won the 2017 New York City marathon and really gave the marathoning world whiplash with proving the ability of current American women distance runners, but also to contribute and cap off the family running legacy of marathoning in Boston.  A great article from Runners World speaks a little more towards Shalane’s “Unfinished Business”.  https://www.runnersworld.com/runners-stories/a19644611/shalane-flanagan-unfinished-business/

Then, of course, there is who I like to refer to as the “American Mother of Marathoning”.  Deena Kastor took the baton with this title from the previous “American Mother of Marathoning”, Joan Benoit Samuelson.  She also brought American distance runners hope when she won the bronze medal in the marathon distance during the 2004 Athens Olympics.  I also love that she, like so many other marathon runners, got her start in the direction of her successes with cross-country running.  Last but neat least of the reasons I want to see Deena run well on Monday is that she is returning to running the marathon distance competitively after becoming a mother and entering the ‘masters’ division.  And what better hope for all American women runners than to see a gracefully aging woman and mother still be able to run and challenge her body.  Deena Kastor on Boston: No Pressure, All Gratitude

Desi Linden, Jordan Hassay and Molly Huddle will also be fun to watch.  Desi has had my admiration since 2008 when she qualified to run in the Olympic Team Trials as well as the same year she placed 5th at the Chicago Marathon.  In 2009 she became the second fastest American Woman in the marathon distance at the IAAF World Championships.  I still can’t even get used to calling her by Linden, since I first knew her as Desi Davila and her name just rolled off the tongue.

Jordan Hassay is similar to Galen Rupp on the women’s side, in terms of being the rookie to watch for female elites runners.  She was also so recognizable by her long blonde ponytail with braids and who tore up the track in high school and college as a 1500m and 5000m runners.  Jordan too trains under Alberto Salazar and under the Nike powerhouse.  She continually climbed the distance records ladder from the 10,000meter to now owning several third place marathon titles from Chicago and Boston.

Here also is a link regarding this year’s US American Women’s line-up at Boston.  http://www.espn.com/sports/endurance/story/_/id/23133548/2018-boston-marathon-long-run-watch-us-women-april-16

Live Coverage of the Boston Marathon

So, like I said before I will be blocking off my Monday morning to cheer on all the US men and women distance runners.  My good friend and running bestie will be joining me this year and get to witness first hand how raucous I can be while watching the race.  I’m sure I, like so many of you, we will be inspired by these runners, motivated by their efforts and impressive fluid form and running ability and charged for another 365 days towards our own goals and training quests.  Here is a link on how to tune in also found on the B.A.A. website.  http://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/event-information/tv-coverage.aspx