A few weeks back our local Cedar Rapids running shoe store, Iowa Running Company, hosted a “Ladies Night” for 30 runners. The evening included self-defense techniques by one of Cedar Rapids own CRPD, sports bra fittings with a Brooks representative, a few guest speakers like myself and some great swag for each of the attendees. As part of the fun and educational evening, I held a drawing for one of the 30 women to be awarded an Iowa Runner Campaign highlight guest podcast and interview. The recipient was local runner Emily Moffitt, who tells her own humble story in a relaxed “get to know ya” atmosphere at a local coffee shop.
In chatting with Emily, I found several commonalities that she shares with so many of us runners. She was honest in talking about the difficulty to find balance between parenting two children, working 12 hour shifts as a nurse, and her desire to run. She aspires in running a spring 2019 half marathon and says that she’s always enjoyed the Des Moines Dam to Dam, Drake Relays 1/2 marathon and considers the new CRANDIC half marathon as one of three to put on her calendar.
When I asked her how she fits her running into her life, like I ask so many others and am always intrigued by the different ways to skin the cat or balance running into normal life, she was very candid in saying that it’s become increasingly more of challenge. Maybe you can relate to Emily’s lifestyle juggling? She says she’s excited and grateful to have a new treadmill as her youngest daughter who is 3 1/2 no longer likes to ride along in her jogger stroller. But still feels the strain to try and weasel a 40 min run into her schedule three to four times a week.
Many of you Mother runners out there, should take a listen to Emily podcast and how she describes taking her first running steps postpartum. “Whoo, that first mile after was rough and I had forgotten how hard it is to start running again!” Her comeback is relatable and inspiring to hear her talk thru.
Yet, now she finds that her son has followed into her footsteps and will ask frequently if he can go run with her. In fact, the two just shared the running love by doing a recent Turkey Trot that his school run club prepped him for. Emily may be passing the running bug baton onto the next Moffitt generation.
Needing Sources of Inspiration
I always like to ask runner’s where they get their inspiration or find motivation to fulfill their passion. And when I find or hear about something new, I like to pass it along to others. Emily admitted that she really doesn’t have any current sources for motivation be it books, magazines, online blogs or websites, podcasts, etc. So, we both came to the realization and conclusion that perhaps a great future blog post would be to share some. Or even to request from all you other runners out there, to share what motivates you to get back out there.
However, if you’re reading this blog post now perhaps you will continue to return to this website for future motivation and inspiration. Or even better yet, share it with other friends and runners by clicking on the ‘SHARE’ button at the bottom of the post. And please don’t feel shy! Leave a comment or reply to this blog post thru the Comment & Contact link here or at the top of the page.
You can listen more in depth to Emily Moffits “Iowa Runners” guest podcast by clicking on the Apple iTunes link below or the audio recording link. You can also find the RMC podcast and episodes via the various podcast platform links on the RMC Podcast & Music Playlists tab at the top of this page.
Remember the old “Got Milk” ads and campaign in the mid-nineties? Like milk was such a staple and necessity that the ad almost insinuated that you might be an anomaly if you didn’t drink it. Almost implying even, that all healthy specimens consider milk essential. You may be asking yourself, what does milk have to do with Yoga? Well, runners let me ask you if you’ve “Got Yoga” in your life and if you realize how beneficial to us runners it can be?
The Multi-Facets of Yoga
Yoga has proven to offer a myriad of benefits like lowering blood pressure, reducing insomnia, and offering awareness and harmony for both mind and body. This probably sounds like a campaign ad as well. But for runner’s Yoga should be strongly considered as part of your training regime for the benefits of increased flexibility, muscle strength, and protection from injury.
“Running can lead to injury because of its repetitive nature and the resulting musculoskeletal imbalances. On a physical level, yoga restores balance and symmetry to the body, making it the perfect complement to running.” – Human Kinetics.com
According to this blog excerpt on Human Kinetics.com, https://us.humankinetics.com/blogs/excerpt/the-benefits-and-effects-of-yoga-for-runners, the runner’s body and the practice of running itself being such a repetitive singular plane exercise, can mean that a runner’s strength resides dominantly in his/her’s legs or lower body. It can also mean that muscles that would assist movement in other planes (the same muscles that assist balance and stability while running) become weak. Thus, major muscles groups doing all the work and becoming tight or “bound” and weaker ones taking a back seat to cropping injuries. Per the blog excerpt, “biomechanical imbalances” can lead to pain and dysfunction. And none of us want that!
Re-establishing a Physical Baseline
I have to admit that I had almost forgotten how great I could feel after an hour-long yoga session in heat. I am pretty disciplined about stretching after I run, and even trying to implement short 10-20 minute yoga sessions 2-3x/week in my own training. But, if I’m being honest, I know that I’m not always as thorough or spending time on reaching all corners of my body. I’m guilty of only focusing on the major running muscle groups. I.E. – hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, calf and Achilles, groin or inner thigh and IT Band.
Until I went to a heat yoga session the other day, I had forgotten how good and much more thorough a professionally led yoga session could feel. As a former sports and orthopedic massage therapist, I fully understand that our bodies are an entire kinetic chain and that our bodies nerves, muscles, and joints must all work together in a chain to produce motion. After I ran about five miles, I went straight into the yoga class. I came out feeling a much free-er physicality and range of motion even just in walking.
When and How to Implement Yoga
As a runner, you may like to implement yoga on rest or light cross training days as an alternative to pounding the pavement. Or you may choose to add it post run for the mobility and stretching benefits.
I’ve even implemented runner’s yoga over the years for the cross county team that I coach. I firmly believe that it aids them in all of the above mention benefits, but also helps to improve their range of motion. Surprisingly, even though these are some of the toughest athletes I know, the yoga and pilates sessions are still challenging and fun. My fellow coach and good friend Jen has become yoga and pilates instructor certified and has brought her lessons to our kids in the form of PiYo or as she likes to call it “Yoga-Latte”.
The PiYo a.k.a. “Yoga-Latte” sessions not only work flexibility and mobility but also challenge the core muscles and kinetic chain stabilizers. I also personally use and am a huge fan of the Runner’s World Yoga for Runners DVDs with Rebecca Pacheco.
You’d be surprised at how much upper body strength that Yoga can even require in poses such as downward dog. Or the strength and stability required for planks during a PiYo session. I may have allegedly even felt the burn in my quads and thighs during a few of the warrior poses.
The Runner’s Mental Edge
Did you happen to read any of the previous blog posts I’ve written on mindset? I wrote one called “How to be a Zen Runner“, which talks about present mindset and how to finesse your mental game in order to become a more present mindset athlete. Experts say that when you can obtain a present mindset, you can tap into “the zone” or what I like to call being a “Zen Runner”.
“Regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness; increases body awareness; relieves chronic stress patterns; relaxes the mind; centers attention; and sharpens concentration,” – Dr. Nevins for American Osteopathic Association
So I’m getting back to realizing that deliberate yoga practices and perhaps even a once a week longer yoga session is what my body could thrive on. I used to be so impatient during a yoga class and get bored. And perhaps maybe it’s my age coming into play here or that I now understand better what yoga does for my body, but I’m sold on yoga. New Year’s Resolution #1 – implement more regular yoga sessions into running routine and training.
As old time winter settles in, the first of Newton’s 3 laws seems to be blaring in my subconscious. Newton’s first law of motion states, that an object at rest will stay at rest unless a force acts upon it. Consequently, an object in motion will also stay in motion with the same principles. With winter taking hold on outdoor running conditions, it seems like it becomes a daily lottery on whether or not running outside is a good idea or even safe. This gamble is exactly what my mind had me debating this morning as our school district made the first call for a 2-hour delay, and then followed it up a little later in the morning with a full cancellation. Even if you can’t get outside to run or don’t have access to a treadmill, you can still stay active and in motion with some other forms of winter cross-training. Something is better than nothing!
Choose a Cross Training Exercise that Compliments Running
If you want to become a better runner than you’ve got to keep running. But it can also be quite beneficial to not only give your body a break from the impact of running or pounding the pavement, with cross-training options. What cross-training options should you choose?
Logically, it would be beneficial to choose something like indoor cycling or an elliptical, which would utilize similar muscles and in the same sagittal plane (forward-backward flexion and extension). These exercises also give you a break from the repeated impact of running.
If the impact from running is exactly what your body needs a break from you may even consider swimming laps in a pool or aqua jogging. When aqua jogging, you can even simulate similar workouts that you would run and just implement the water jogging for minutes duration instead of miles. You can also use this as an opportunity to run/aqua jog by feel or perceived exertion, and practice listening to your body while exercising and learning to challenge yourself or your inner demons. Trust me, it’ll give you a great aerobic workout and the cryotherapy is also a beneficial recovery method from running. Win, win!!
A Few Winter Specific Cross Training Exercises
One of my favorite winter cross-training substitutes for running is snowshoeing. Snowshoeing allows you to explore more off pavement, since you can pretty much go anywhere that’s covered with snow. You may notice some different inner thigh muscles being used or a little sore afterward, since the width of the show snow widens your gait somewhat.
Nordic skiing or cross-country skiing is one of the most touted VO2 max capacity gain exercises. Not to mention again, little to no impact although not as easy to just step outside your front door and go.
All the gear and gadgets can tend to get expensive, but you can save a few bucks if you buy second hand at a sports consignment store like Play-It-Again Sports or buy online from Craigslist or E-Bay. Or maybe you’ve got another wishlist item for Santa!
Don’t wait until you set another lost cause New Year’s Resolution to exercise more. Start now, and learn to love the winter months and being active!
A few weeks back I shared how I had randomly met a seemingly handicapped man from Norway, while running on the trail. That’s Norway the country by the way, NOT Norway, Iowa. We ran together for three or four miles and tried to conversate thru a little bit of a language barrier. I discovered that not only did he easily maintain my progressive pace, which had us logging the last mile around 7:20-7:35, but that meeting Oddbjorn Homstvedt made me feel like our “running world” seemed surprisingly small.
I’ve sat huddled shoulder to shoulder, wrapped in a garbage bag in pouring rain with other runners while waiting for my wave to start at the Boston Marathon. In oddly intimate moments like that, you almost feel obligated to alleviate the awkwardness of it by striking conversations with those around you. When I began to really listen to other’s stories, it was very inspiring to me that we were all there huddled together on that morning in Boston because we shared similar passions and the interest of running.
Of course, the nature and draw of that morning united a pre-destined group of people together. However, the morning that I was running solo on the trail when I met the Norwegian runner was much more random. And yet, I went home afterward feeling the same inspiration and worldly camaraderie.
Meeting Oddbjorn Homstvedt
From what I could gather by my quick visual observations, Oddbjorn was a handicapped runner. But his handicap, I discovered may also be a defining strength of his. He quickly approached me running up from behind with two canes attached to his wrists. I wasn’t necessarily startled or threatened, which one can never be too cautious these days. His off-set gait created a shuffling of his feet thru the leaves on the trail.
Once he was beside me as he easily could’ve passed me at that point, I cordially just said ‘Good Morning’. He replied something with a foreign accent. I wasn’t sure I had heard him correctly. For the sake of pleasantries, I replied back “What a beautiful Iowa sunrise!” and did quick nod in the direction of the sun rising over the cornfield next to us.
He asked if it was ok to run with me and as we ran next to each other over the next mile or so, he told me that he was from Norway. He asked me the usual questions one runner might ask another. And when I reciprocated the same getting to know you questions, I was able to make out that he holds the Guinness Book of World Records for most races in one year.
Like I mentioned before, I ran a progressive pace that day which started with Oddbjorn around 8:00 minutes per mile average and completing the last of about 6 miles (he started running with me at about mile 1.5) at around 7:20 average mile. I wouldn’t consider myself fast by any means, but conversating the entire time got me thinking that he must not be kidding around about his world record stuff.
About Oddbjorn Homtvedt
At the end of the run we exchanged e-mails and I had him write his name down. I wasn’t exactly sure how he was saying it. I couldn’t help after I returned home, typing his name into a Google search and sure enough these are a couple of articles (translated with Google translate) that popped up.
Since that day and my original blog post mentioning him, his fiance and a close friend have reached out to me thru Facebook. They shared with me that during his visit in Iowa, he ran the Mercy 5 mile Loop in Des Moines. There he came in fifth with a time of 33:43 (6:45/avg. mile). He also ran the 5k Des Moines Marathon and came in 9th with a finishing time of 20:20 (6:33/avg. mile). His friend’s proudly noted that if you put both of those races together he came in first out of 40,000 people. And had apparently received a letter from the Des Moines Marathon chairman.
Who would’ve thought that you could just set out to get a few miles in on a weekday morning in piddly little Shueyville, Iowa and end up meeting an unpredictably speedy man from Norway who holds the Guinness Book of World Records?
Perhaps, I’ll someday travel to Norway and be able to run in the Norwegian mountains and fjords. I’ve already typed in another Google Search!
Happy Belated Thanksgiving everyone! Last week I traveled out to see my oldest daughter who attends The University of Colorado in downtown Denver. Not only was it wonderful to see her, since the last time had been mid-October, but it was a great immersion into a culture and lifestyle I could easily get used to. I absolutely loved how enabled I felt to be active and loved even more running in Denver, Colorado!
Experiencing the No Car Commuter Life
We didn’t let Tori have her car right off the bat, since her apartment is only a few minutes from campus. This also means tho that anywhere else she chooses to go, she has to utilize the RTD rail, her mountain bike, Uber, e-Scooter, or her own two feet. And since I flew out, I got a full immersion into the no car lifestyle. I must say, that I kinda liked it.
It’s a different lifestyle, and of course we had to plan ahead a little bit more but I loved that we were incorporating fitness into the goal of just getting from point A to point B. The other odd thing I noticed after bracing myself for in general being more exposed to the weather and outdoors, was that 40 degrees in Denver felt more like 55 or 60 degrees in Iowa. Joel thinks it has something to do with the lack of humidity in the air having the counter effect of what we experience with oppressive heat during the summer months. Makes sense to me! Less moisture in the air and on your skin in the cold means less chilling effect? Crazy!
Running in Denver
Denver is known as the Mile High City because it sits at 5,280 feet (a mile) above sea level. I wouldn’t say I noticed a significant difference of aerobic capacity when I ran, but just felt a little out of shape. Which, to be honest may have some truth to it. Haven’t run hard or much more than 25-30 miles of weekly volume since about mid-October after the Chicago Marathon.
I got curious tho and did a quick google search on the effects of altitude on aerobic capacity. There are many articles out there that are even more in depth and scientific that I have gotten re-acquainted with and sucked into, but a quick synapse quoted below on the mapmyrun blog says this- https://blog.mapmyrun.com/high-altitude-affects-performance/
“Aerobic exercise capacity is reduced by about 10% per 3,300 feet of altitude gain above 4,900 feet. [It’s reduced further] by 30% at 14,700 feet compared to sea-level performance,” – Martin Burtscher, MD, PhD, a professor in the Department of Sport Science at the University of Innsbruck, Austria
I wished I had stopped long enough to take some pictures of the amazing views at the fork of the river in Confluence Park. Or at the top of the hill in Commons Park, where you can see out over downtown and over at the Millennium Bridge. But that’ll have to wait until next time.
Also, the next time I visit, I’d also really like to get to the foothills and do some trail running. Ain’t nothin’ better than getting away from civilization a little bit and running thru raw nature. I’m a geek, yes!
Rock climbing and Bouldering a form of Strength and Mobility
Tori was chomping at the bit to take me to the indoor rock climbing gym she’s a member at called Movement. She’s really taken a liking to the new and different physical challenge of rock climbing and bouldering and I was also ignited to experience a fun new way of seeing what my body could do.
The apple never falls far from the tree right?! My Dad used to say, that he moved the swingset around the back side of the garage because my mother couldn’t stand watching me climb and sit on top of the swingset all the time when I was a kid. There the swingset was out of eyeshot from the kitchen window and it was only the neighbors behind us then that would periodically call and ask my Mom if she knew I had climbed up on top of it.
Tori has natural spider monkey abilities too! Crazy!! Needless to say, we had a blast and I already can’t wait to go back and climb again.
Rock Climbing and bouldering called for using different muscles other than just the sagittal plane forward-backward muscles of running. It required flexibility and fine motor and balance control. It also required opening up the hip girdle a bit. What a great compliment to us runners and a fun way to mix things up! And what a reminder that I have twigs for arms!!
I’ve got some exciting things in the pipeline for my RMC podcast for the month of December. When I attended the Iowa Running Company Ladies Night as a guest speaker, I did a drawing for one of the 30 attendees to highlight their Iowa runner story on a December podcast.
Additionally, I had reached out to Coach Jay Johnson just prior to heading out to Denver (since he resides and coaches out there) to introduce myself and to see if he’d be gracious enough to let me interview him. He is known for his Simple Marathon Training book and the Lunge Matrix and SAM work I always preach about and share. To my pleasant surprise, he replied right away and I’m keeping fingers crossed we can find a date to hear more in depth from him personally.
Happy Hump Day Runners! A few weeks back a former Prairie High School alumni, Morgan Russel, had reached out to me to introduce herself and the Type 1 Diabetes Running Program that she is trying to establish here locally in Cedar Rapids. I have to admit, it was the first time I’d heard of the global running program and figured that I wasn’t the only one that has never heard of it. Thus today’s “Happy Runner’s Hump Day” blog post and podcast introduction to Ep. 9 Morgan Russell and our Local Chapter for Type One Run.
What Is Type One Run?
Type One Run is a global grassroots initiative to unite those that live life as a Type 1 Diabetic and communes those that also want to live a life which includes running. Their presence is worldwide and even includes a Type One Run Strava training group that according to their website has already united almost 300 runners from across the globe.
Morgan Russell, has chosen to volunteer and drive this program to establish local camaraderie, and posts group run announcements and other helpful information to Type One Run – Cedar Rapids Facebook page.
Podcast Interview Morgan Russell Reveals More of Her Personal Story As a Type 1 Diabetic Runner
Morgan is honest is admitting that learning to run as a Diabetic runner can be a little scary. She details her own personal runner’s lifestyle and how that lifestyle may look different for her as a diabetic runner.
Her own humble advice to others are to maintain and keep a journal or log to be able to document and recall what’s worked or not worked well for aspects relating to fueling and carbohydrate vs. insulin intake considerations. She’s discovered that in order to maintain a safe healthy balance thru some of her long runs, she even requires setting an alarm clock to go off at 4:00 a.m. in order to eat and prep.
But these are the types of convos and information tidbits that runners being part of her Type One Run chapter would be able to all share with each other. No different than perhaps a run club that you or I may be a part of, sharing training tricks of the trade or asking and bouncing questions off of each other for when or how to fuel say for a marathon. Good stuff!!
Continuing Efforts to Unite Runners and Pay it Forward
Morgan and I seemingly share principles of wanting to just foster other runners and a positive running community. In interviewing her for my RMC podcast, and learning about the Type One Run program and educating others thru this blog post, we are both hoping to support and foster enabling all kinds of runners.
Please consider liking and sharing this blog post via Facebook or other social media. In addition, go check out Morgan’s Type One Run – Cedar Rapids Facebook page and follow her unique story and the group’s news.
Happy Hump Day Runners!! (podcast link below but also available thru iTunes, Spotify, & Google Play)
When I started this blog, almost a year ago, I realized that it would help me to have some structure to it. I had originally thought that I would blog once a week on topics that were relevant to me such as, being a mom, being a runner, and being a coach. My Monday blog posts were designated as “Mom Blog Monday”. So, today as I begin my return to hopefully more regular blogging (now that XC season is over), I have to pass along an idea that I saw a Mom share on the national news to help prevent possible stranger abduction. This Mom proactively prepped her own child with an agreed password, so that the child would know NOT to go with any stranger posing to know his/her parents. How genius!
The Reality of Our World Today
There has been seemingly more media attention brought to light regarding stranger and child abductions as of recent. Sadly, maybe this being a by-product of several recent deaths and abductions within the news.
It is terrifying and unsettling to realize that this media attention comes with the harsh reality and strong caution for all of us. And yet, how can we direct this caution and ability to also be proactive with our own lives and children?
For almost seven years, my oldest daughter and I studied martial arts and self-defense. At the time she was quite young and maybe didn’t even consciously realize the subtle lessons she was receiving. She would often spar much larger people than her and sometimes spar several people at once. Our instructor did a fabulous job of not only teaching her and me how to use our petite frames to defend ourselves, but also to have the mentality and confidence to be able to do so. This message is imperative! Our children must do everything they can; kick, bite, scratch, scream, and have the confidence to do so, in a situation if needed.
“What’s the Password?”
The mother that was sharing her daughter’s attempted abduction on the news, merited their proactive plan of having an agreed upon password. You’ve heard the tactic of a stranger telling a child that their Mom or Dad got hurt and that they (the child) are supposed to come with them (the abductor) to go see Mom or Dad. This specific girl was put in this exact scenario but remembered and had practiced with her Mom, that if it were a real situation, whoever it was would’ve been privy to their families password.
Once the young girl asked the stranger what the password was, the abductor was immediately turned off and fled. This struck me as such a smart and genius plan. Not only does it ward potential kidnappers, but it also even buys a few more seconds for the child to take a look around and possibly pinpoint where to run to for help.
What Else Can We Do?
I urge you to take the time to talk thru a plan with your own families. Aside from martial arts and self-defense classes, there are other general safeguards that you can consider using such as;
Another useful app that works across platforms is Life 360. You can also set the app up so that you receive notifications when your child leaves school, or arrives home.
Additionally, on the iPhones at least, there is the ability to make emergency calls by pressing the right side button 5 times. Again, in your settings on the phone you can also enter other emergency contacts that should be notified when an emergency call is made. Of course, save this ONLY for emergencies.
Have talks with your children on what to do in hypothetical situations. I’ve discovered that these talks vary from one kid to the next and with different ages. I never wanted to scare my kids, but I did want them to understand the importance of their safety. Your talks might be very different if you’re talking to a small grade school child vs. a teenager.
Safety for Mom and Dad too
These apps and safeguards might be something that you have a tough time getting your teenager to buy into. Especially, if said teenager is not liking being tracked (if you know what I mean). But hopefully, you can convince them and help them realize that it is for them to be able to also be a lifeline of support if the tables were ever turned.
I’m a runner, and I’m aware of the risks. I am 100% ok with giving my children the security of knowing where I’m at when I’m running. And for convenience sake, they frequently use the app to check things like how far away I am from picking them up at school, after-school practices or a friend’s house. That way they don’t need to distract me if I”m driving.
Today’s topic is not a light one necessarily, but one that seems so important now days. Our school tells our kids that, “If you see something, say something!” If someone or something looks fishy or suspicious, to not just dismiss it. Watch out for yourself and others!
Thanks to Iowa Running Company
Our local Cedar Rapids running shoe store, the Iowa Running Company, is hosting a Ladies Night this Thursday. One of the features they’re offering to pre-registered ladies is a self-defense segment. I love this and am grateful that they’re emphasizing runner’s safety within the community! Thanks, Iowa Running Company!!
If any of you are registered for this, then I will see you there on Thursday as a guest speaker. I’ll be doing a drawing for a free t-shirt give away and podcast highlight of YOUR story. Can’t wait!!
My goodness, it has been several weeks now since I’ve been able to blog. The past 12 weeks of the cross country season has been quite intense and now I’m finally able to slow down a bit and catch my breath. This 2018 season will be one that I will never forget and for good reason. It has been “A History Making Cross Country Season” in more ways than one. Today I write somewhat of a surface level recap.
Mother Nature Likes to Test
This has been the most significant season, since my time and seven-year tenure, of a record number of meets, canceled either due to heat or rain-related issues.
The first meet of the season which we (Prairie High School) host started Mother Nature off to the races, for lack of better and less ironic terms. The morning wasn’t necessarily all that hot, 76 degrees at peak race time to be exact, but there must’ve been just enough humidity in the air from the dense fog that morning as well as evaporation off the soggy ground that we had kids really struggle. That morning we had to cancel the JV races, which seemed to set the trend for the season.
Then in succession, the next several weeks of continuous rain had meet directors canceling meets which really throws everyone for a loop. Grounds were soggy and wet, and predictably unsafe to run on. Or forecasted thunderstorms had everyone scrambling last minute to figure out some way to either substitute a meet for the week, and thus shift training days around. The kids get antsy and anxious and I suppose us coaches do somewhat too. Everyone wants to be able to mark the measures of their hard work and see who they can measure up against.
But thru it all, there were opportunities to turn lemons into lemonade. We were welcomed, although very last minute, into the Luther All-American Cross Country Invitational. Which proved to be a new meet that we have all become quick fans of. Perhaps we’ll work this one into the calendar again next year.
I also was pleasantly surprised at the strength in character amongst many of our girls on the team. It could’ve been very easy to be down and out and permeate negativity, but they chose to focus on forward momentum. They chose to continue to try and have moments of fun during practice. And they chose to continue to support each other towards the ultimate end goal of Championship Season, without dwelling on the things they couldn’t control…Mother Nature. They chose to resemble our season mantra, which was GRIT. Their choices proved to reward them in the end.
Prairie Girls Cross Country Makes History
It’s still settling in with me…seems like it’s been a goal now for the past 7 years and maybe somewhat started to feel like chasing a unicorn. When I first came into coaching in 2012, my middle school team had 24 kids and the high school team I believe had 22. Maybe only two or three of those kids ran during the summer and if they did, it was with the boys as there wasn’t a girls’ summer running program at all.
Within the first couple of years, we doubled our roster numbers, implemented a summer running program, and a camp for 7-12 grades. Since then, the dream of a team that could strive to get to State became more of a reality. Kids started committing more and more, logging more miles, working harder and more or less…believing.
Then three years ago, we had our first individual qualify for the High School State meet. This spark seemed to reach down all the way into our middle school team. For three years, we saw the young budding middies race and do well. In fact, there were a couple of years there where we went undefeated except one meet at the end of the season, which was the STATE middle school meet. Maybe it was back then, that the ever evading unicorn seemed to really come to be within reach. It may have even been on a solo run during one of those seasons, that I started dreaming about jerseys with orange wings on them for a State qualifying team.
The Multi Facets of Coaching
I”m sure I”m not the only coach that tries to figure out how to deliver a message to an entire team, that miraculously has to also somewhat resonate with each of the team members as an individual. The training, the mileage, the paces, the before and after work, stretching, strength and mobility, foam rolling, nutrition, icing, yada, yada, yada…could almost be categorized as one facet of coaching.
Yet another facet, and one that almost consumes just as much if not more mental real estate, is how does a coach motivate an athlete individually or team as a whole where everyone contributes. I mean,…what it seems like one athlete needs to hear might be something totally different than what another one needs to hear. What resonates with one person, may not resonate with all!
It did seem, however, very apparent to me that with such a potentially young varsity team of practically all freshman and sophomores, and one junior (whom by the way just joined XC this year) that they needed to understand how tough it would be. They would need to harden themselves, and callous their bodies AND minds. There would be no room for fragility or softness if we were going to get there. “There” being the STATE meet.
With a season mantra of G.R.I.T. (Girls, Running, Intentionally, Tough), which was implanted during days of summer camp, the 2018 team DID IT! It was amazing how they stepped up and ran fearlessly on arguably one of the toughest State Qualifying courses. They embraced and cried together just after crossing the finish line and it was a moment that I hope they realize made their families, coaches, team, and entire community proud of.
So now, only being nine days postseason, I am back to the drawing board. I’m back to running by myself and having lot’s of time with just my brain and the roads. One question my mind got spinning on was, “what if”? What if, these girls could strive for being on the “deck”? Meaning, placing in the top 3 teams at the State meet. Or,…what if, we could have some individuals placing in the top 15? Or,…what if we could even set stretch goals to win the State meet? What if?…..!
This, I wonder might be one of those messages that might resonate with the entire team during the off-season, thru spring track season, and into next summer’s daily mileage under the beating sun. Perhaps, “What If?” will be next seasons mantra.
The leaves on the trees have begun to change and radiate fall’s beauty thru it’s vibrant hues. It’s this time of year that many runners revel in all the glory of the crisp air and sanctuary of the outdoors. With much anticipation of training that will culminate towards fall marathons, trail runs and the community of runners enjoying this time of year together, I am happy to announce today’s blog post titled, Capital Strider’s Happenings and RMC Podcast Interviews.
RMC Podcast Interview with Capital Striders
Capital Striders representatives, Kristin Adkins, Amber Crews, and Jason Kenyon were all kind enough to take time out of their busy schedules organizing and hosting the upcoming fall trail races, Des Moines IMT Marathon Volunteer coordination, and the 100 mile November Challenge to let me ask them a few questions during a group interview.
Capital Striders is a running club group based in Des Moines, Iowa and is currently about 550 runners strong. They offer a well-rounded amalgamation of various types of training runs, group runs and is heavily involved in the Des Moines area running community. Listen to their interview thru the podcast link below that describes and talks more in details about some of their specific training runs thru out each week.
Upcoming Races and Fall Motivation
Amber Crews and Jason Kenyon tell us some of the race highlights of two of the upcoming trail races that the Capital Striders Club will host.
Fast approaching at the end of October (October 27th, to be exact) is the “To Grandmother’s House We Go” trail race. Included here is a link for registration and race details. http://www.capitalstriders.org/to-grandmothers-house-we-go. The race distances of 5k, 10k and 15k offered are based on the 5k loop thru Brown’s Woods. They even encourage and give prizes for those that are brave enough to come in costume and honor the Red Ridinghood them.
The other scenic trail race being held before the end of the year is the “Sycamore 8“. This race travels along the Des Moines River and if you’re one of those cold weather runners, then mark your calendar for this year’s race to be held on December 1st. Link for registration and race details here – http://www.capitalstriders.org/sycamore-8
Along with the weekly offerings of speed work on a track, hill runs for strength, and Saturday group runs, the club offers some more informal trail runs which you can find out about location announcements by following the ‘Capital Striders’ Turkeys‘ Facebook page.
In addition to the weekly group offerings, there is also what’s called the ‘100 Miles in November Challenge‘ spearheaded by Kristin Adkins. With a couple years under its belt, the 100 Miles in November Challenge has been proud to collaborate prize offerings with Fleet Feet Sport and Heartland Soles to award a pair of new runnings kicks. Local Hy-Vee dieticians have also contributed runner’s swag in the past like a new Fitbit watch. If only I lived 2 hours closer, I’d sure be taking advantage of this late fall motivational running group.
Runner’s at Heart
It’s always fun to hear about an individual’s specific reasons for running, their personal motivation or their proudest running moments. Within the Ep. 8 – Capital Striders RMC Podcast episode, you’ll get to hear Amber tell you about her zen 50k in Portland memories and how she came to identify herself at a young age thru running, Jason’s Rocky Mountain Park experience and his downhill hail running PR, and Kristin’s battle with Mother Nature at last spring’s Boston Marathon and how she came to find her role with Capital Striders.
FREE Race Registration Giveaways Contest!!
Capital Striders was generous enough to give away 1 FREE race registration for each of the upcoming “To Grandmother’s House We Go” and “Sycamore 8” trail races. If you’d like to enter the contest, here are the parameters;
Share this blog post thru Facebook and/or Twitter via the Runnermomcoach Facebook/Twitter page, on your personal Facebook/Twitter page. This can be done by simply clicking on the SHARE button at the end of this post.
Be the first to directly e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with screenshots of 1 and 2, along with which race you would like to receive FREE entry into by 10/25/18.
Sunday is the big day! On October 7th, 2018 (this Sunday), I will set out around 5:30 am to get to Grant Park in Chicago, IL in order to run the Chicago Marathon for the Girls on the Run Charity. I will run 26.2 miles for You, and you, and you!!
26.2 Dedicated Miles to My Donors!
As promised, I will run 1 mile for each of my exactly 26 donors and the .2 for my husband and family, who are always unconditional support to me.
Here is my 26.2 list of donors (in no particular order) and the miles I”m dedicating to each of you.
It has enlightened me to receive all of your support thru out this charity journey. You will have a lasting impact on not only myself, but to some young girl who may just be discovering who she is or who she’s to become. Thanks to you for donating to me, but more importantly for your belief in humanity and in making a positive impact in the world!
Enjoying the Ride
J.Bo and I are looking forward to our experience and are hoping to make the best of it. Life has thrown us a little curveball as Jen has been experiencing some back issues and it’s affected her running game a little bit. But we’ve worked to raise the awareness for supporting young runners and specifically young girls thru our charity efforts and running for Girls on the Run. And we’ve decided together, that just to ensure we are enjoying the experience itself, the camaraderie of the runners in Chicago, and each other that we won’t be at all time focused and may even choose to pause and walk a little here or there to stop and smell the roses along the way.
Post Race Re-cap next week along with a new podcast episode with Capital Striders representatives and even an opportunity to receive a FREE race registration for one of their upcoming fall trail races. Stay tuned!…