Thursday, March 29, 2012

Running Tips

How many times has a beginner said...what do I need to know?  Well, here is a nicely-compiled list of everything that you should be aware of and consider.  While many may not be relevant to you, i bet everyone can improve their running by incorporating one of these "ah ha's"...and the fact that I contributed two just makes it a more valid list, right? :)

running tips

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Danskin Triathlon Series

So, you were wondering which tri I have been referring to? I think I'm gonna take the plunge, so here it is....The Danskin Triathlon Series has eight Races throughout the country. It is the largest women and girls Series in the sport!

Now, there are two options for me:

  • Sprint distance triathlons (1⁄2 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 3 mile run) 
  • Super Sprint distance triathlons (1/4 mile swim, 7-8 mile bike, 2 mile run)

For me personally, given that this is my first foray into a tri, I'm gonna keep it simple and not stress over it.  I want to see what its all about, so I'm opting for the super sprint.  Remember, my goal is simply to not come in last :)  I'll be doing the "individual" option, but a relay team option is available for those that want to try a tri (get it?) but are extra weak on one event.

Raes are nationwide, but I'll be partaking in the first in this year's series:

  • May 13 – Clermont, FL (greater Orlando area) 
  • June 3 – Austin, TX 
  • July 22 – Webster, MA (greater Boston area) 
  • August 5 – Howell, MI
  • August 19 – Seattle, WA 
  • August 26 – Chicagoland 
  • September 9 – Sandy Hook, NJ 
  • October 7 – Palm Springs, CA

So, why this tri?  If I want to attempt a tri, what made this one unique?  Well, I must say that a normal tri is a bit intimidating.  I rather like my first experience to be all about the experience.  Let's be serious here...I haven't swam laps since high school...I'm not going to break any records.  So, I want to have fun.  I don't want any self-imposed intimidation.  I want to feel part of a community.  A women's series fits this bill perfectly!  Women's races simply tend to be more empowering....people tend to root you on more.  People tend to help you up if you have fallen more.  The average racer isn't so concerned about their times as they are about the fellow racers.

So, this is what I'll be focusing on....if there is any interest, maybe check it out here.  But if nothing else, simply think about what you are capable of doing....maybe a tri is your thing and you just need a little nudge?  Checking out this picture below just makes me want to part of the tri family, I must admit!

Tri Basics 101 - Transition Time

Triathlon races are made or lost during transition times.  I suppose racing in the morning to get showered, dressed and hair brushed before the kids wake up doesn't come close to comparing the speed in which this is needed during a triathlon.

There are two transitions in a triathlon; T1 is the transition between the first and second leg, and T2 is the transition between the second and third leg.  Both times are counted in the overall race time, so if you waste a minute or two here, its equivalent to running an entire minute slower per mile. In other words, take your transitions seriously.  Every second between the start of the first leg and the end when you cross the finish line counts.  Therefore, smooth and quick transitions are key.

A great reference document is here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Words of Wisdom: Pre

“If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.”
- Pre

We've all done it. Gone into something with a desire, but not quite enough desire to prepare for it properly. Was it that all-night cramming you did in college?  Was it that interview after a night out with friends?  Was it that last race when your desire to stay up watching a movie was counter to what you needed to do?  Yep...we've all done it.

So, when we see ourselves doing just do we stop it?  We see the train wreck that is ahead of us....what do we do?  We become passive and ambivalent, or instead do we put on the gloves and go in there with full force to meet the challenge?  Running is an individual sport, even though there is a clear team-like comaraderie to it.  Us runners meet the challenge....individual sports require this. Plan and simple. Failure cannot be placed on another (as in many team sports), as it rests solely on our shoulders.  If we want it bad enough, we will find a way to make it happen.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tri Basics 101 - Event Order

Sprint triathlons are a bit unique...they often use a reverse order of legs, compared to longer events.  In a typical triathlon, the order of events is swim-bike-run.  Many sprint triathlons will be the reverse: run-bike-swim.

Why does this matter?  You can adjust your training and pacing appropriately.  If swimming is your weakest event and swimming is last, you need to know how to save your strength and strengthen that so you don't hit the wall on this event.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Another knee injury....

Last half was the Florida Beach Halfathon, and right around mile 10 or so, the outside of my left knee started acting up.  I took an entire week off from running, and tried again today.  Got 2 1/2 miles into the run before I felt any discomfort, and ended doing intervals the next 1 1/2 mile home.  Very disappointing.

I can deal with it all, and I'm glad that we are nearing the end of racing season, so if it the dreaded IT band, I will be able to give it adequate time to recover.  According to Wikipedia:
ITBS is one of the leading causes of lateral knee pain in runners. The iliotibial band is a superficial thickening of tissue on the outside of the thigh, extending from the outside of the pelvis, over the hip and knee, and inserting just below the knee. The band is crucial to stabilizing the knee during running, moving from behind the femurto the front while walking. The continual rubbing of the band over the lateral femoral epicondyle, combined with the repeated flexion and extension of the knee during running may cause the area to become inflamed.
Runningtimes also had a more detailed introduction to ITBS here.

I'm not convinced that it is ITBS....yet, but it is absolutely a real possibility.  So, the foam roller will come out and I will be using it!  I'll try to walk down the steps every day at work this week when I leave for the day....I think that will be a good sign when I am truly recovered.  Let's just hope its sooner rather than later!  I do have a 5k this Friday night that I was really looking forward to (on my first trail when I did the C25k) and they have a kids race as it was destined to be a family event!  I suppose if I cannot run, then Joe can take my bib, so all is not lost.  But, I really wanted to run it...but before you even say it, I know that ITBS is not something to take casually.  I know its not worth the risk.  I just hope that the stairs will tell me its something else soon!

I "collect"

I can't help it, and maybe I don't want to stop!  I remember when I was a child, I was a girl scout (the whole brownie and junior girl scout thing) and I absolutely LOVED collecting the badges from projects that I earned.  I thrived on it.  I remember delving into the book o' badges to see badges would be "low hanging fruit" for me.  See, if I knew I had to do 4 things and I've already experienced 2, let's knock those others out and get...that....badge!  And yes, I still have my girl scout sash somewhere!

I suppose collecting the bling from races is similar.  I don't much care for the shirts (except maybe the Florida Road Race Series) and most of the stuff at the expo I typically don't use...but its the bling that I like.  Just looking at it is satisfaction of my effort.

Sprint Triathlon Training Plan - Week 2

This week appears to be similar to the first week of skill building.  Running and swimming are typically the hardest for novices.  Running, because it takes so much more cardio and bone strength than day-to-day activities.  Swimming, because its typically the least comfortable of the three for us land-dwellers!

Regardless, each workout is still designed to be low intensity, which fairs well for my long runs.  Long runs should always be done at an "easy" pace.  The running "long run" is designed solely to build endurance to increase distances safely.  So, again, I'm good here.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tri Basics 101 - Equipment

Advertisers will tell you that you need a TON of equipment to race in a triathlon. Not all athletes are the same.  It comes down to the type of triathlete that you want to become.  There are two types of amateur athletes....competitive or recreational.  So is your goal to be on the podium?  For me?  Not at all.  I will fully embrace my novice status, and while most advertisement is done to attract the true competitors, there are a few things I may need!  Yep, even little ole "just trying to finish the triathlon" me.

I am in no way an expert (after all, I haven't even completed my first sprint triathlon!), but I am a natural I'll share what I have discovered thus far:

  • If you don't know how to swim, get some lessons please!
  • Access to a pool with lap lanes - lap lanes will help define the distance covered
  • Goggles
  • Swim Suit
  • Wetsuit (helps in dealing with cold water and buoyancy which makes swimming a little easier)
  • Just a swim suit and goggles for the swim. If you do not own a wetsuit or are an inexperienced open water swimmer, select an event that is in a pool and does not require a wetsuit. If your event does require a wetsuit, and you don't own one, some retail stores rent wetsuits. A good pair of goggles and a swim suit made for lap swimming, not sunbathing, is all you need for the swim portion of the event.
  • OPTIONAL FOR THE COMPETITORS: Equipment to improve workouts, such as a pull buoy, kickboard, and paddles to increase resistance
  • Triathlon-specific shorts which have a thin padding so that you can hop to/from the bike and water, which helps improve transition time.
  • For the recreational triathlete, any bike is fine. It can be a road bike, mountain bike or hybrid, whether borrowed or owned.  Just make sure it fits correctly and is in good shape.  A mountain bike (with road tires) may be more than ok in these circumstances.  That being said, since even a cheap bike is an investment, think about what type of triathlete you want to become...if somewhat serious, buy the bike you will want to use a year or more down the road.  For me, personally, I'll be using my Specialized aluminum mountain bike with road tires...unless someone can offer a borrowed bike?  I simply can't justify the cost of a new "proper" bike quite yet!  But if you do decide to buy a new bike, a fitness bike is preferred.  What is a "fitness bike" you ask?  Its a road bike with a crossbar for handles, rather than the curved old-school 10-speeds from our youth.  Some triathletes are wiser to use a mountain bike, so it stil all depends.
  • FOR COMPETITIVE TRIATHLETES If you have the desire AND the money, purchase a carbon fiber bike with tri-specific geometry for aerodynamic benefits.
  • Learn how to change a tire!  Most races have a support motor vehicle (SAG support) following the participants to pick up riders who cannot complete the challenge.  If its due to a simple deflated tire...don't let this happen to you!  
  • Pedals.  Yup, you need to make a decision about pedals.  Consider the options:
    • Platform, inefficient but what you are accustomed to
    • Cages, basic pedal with added benefit of pushing/pulling with more force but without fear of your foot sliding
    • Clipless, very efficient = speedy, allowing you to use all of your energy throughout the entire pedal stroke, but you need to learn how to unclip/dismount in a hurry, or else you will be falling along with your bike, which can be a bit scary for some initially.
  • Bike Shoes - if you opted for clipless pedals, you will need shoes that "clip" into the pedal.  Otherwise, any shoe should do as long as its comfortable.

  • Running shoes...real running shoes.  Go to a real specialty store for a quality recommendation.  Its worth spending a little extra instead of buying some off the internet from a discount store.  This doesn't matter if you are a competitive runner or not...remember, real running shoes!  If they don't fit properly OR they are the wrong type of shoe, you can quickly develop some serious knee and foot problems.  Its simply not worth the risk.

As you can see, the "triathlete" magazines and stores definitely want you to think of yourself as the super uber competitor...and to spend that money!  But, its truly not necessary.  Now, I know that there are other little things that I will need, but these are minor and should not be a deal breaker for anyone.  The items listed above are the deal breakers....but as you can see, there are so few that a triathlon is within reach for almost everyone!

Friday, March 23, 2012

2012-2013 Race Calendar

So, I threw out all the races that I want to do...warning...its a lot!
  • 2 5Ks
  • 2 4-Milers
  • 2 5-Milers
  • 9 Half Marathons
The 5K's are local and I think these are simply traditions in the making. Robinson Preserve is 3 miles away from my house and my first "trail" and Canes Classic is about 2 miles away and is a speedy cross-country race (and the first race of the season) for lots of runners in the area (lots of times under 20 minutes is not unusual here).

There are two 4-milers. UPCC is beautiful...the only time you can actually run ON a golf course.  Its about 70% grass/trail and 30% paved, by my recollection.  The spread afterwards is gorgeous...really classy.  The other 4-miler is the Ringling Bridge.  Its an intimidating bridge, but its a great little race to judge your "hill" stamina, and its a great predecessor for the Sarasota Half since it runs the same bridge.

The two 5-milers are put on by Bradenton Runners Club, and extremely well done.  The Turkey Trot one is no-fee (bring food to share and donate) and timed.  Amazingly organized for a free race...I would seriously pay for this one if I needed to.  The Manatee River Run is their annual fundraiser. 

The one 10-miler I want to do (Tower of Terror 10k in September)...just don't think it will be possible.  Joe may be at Oktoberfest this year for a big boy's trip (mind you, its with my brothers and father).  While I can appreciate the idea of a boy's-only vacation, I must say that I'm a tad jealous that he gets to go to Germany before me.

The half marathons are aplenty, but pretty well spaced out (except January-March).  That is going to be hectic, but at least there are only two back-to-back weekends.  So, as long as I stay healthy, I can do them.  As for the summer, maybe I should try a mud run or two?  Just to keep busy!

Drumroll please....
  • 9/3/12 Canes Classic 5k*
  • TBD University Park Country Club 4-Miler*
  • 9/29/12 Tower of Terror 10 Miler – may have major schedule conflict
  • 10/28/12 Florida Halloween Halfathon
  • 11/18/12 Women’s Running Half Marathon
  • 11/22/12 BRC Turkey Trot 5-Miler (my club)*
  • 12/9/12 Florida Holiday Halfathon
  • 12/31/12 BRC Manatee River Run 5-Miler*
  • TBD Ringling Bridge 4-Miler*
  • 1/20/13 Disney Tinkerbell Half Marathon or Clearwater Halfathon
  • 1/27/13 ING Miami Half
  • 2/10/13 St Petesrburg Rock-n-Roll*
  • 2/24/13 Disney Princess Half Marathon*
  • 3/17/13 Sarasota Half Marathon* or Florida Beach Halfathon*
  • TBD Robinson Preserve 5k*
  • TBD Iron Girl Half Marathon*
The races above with asteriks are being run in the 2011-2012 race season, so race report links are/will be available here.

The biggest obstacle I have is knowing how to train once racing season begins.  I completely get how to train for a half marathon...knowing what I have to do and why.  But, once race season starts, how should I handle those weeks in between races?  Over the summer, I really need to nail down that part.  I "get" what I need to analyze...I just need to analyze it!

So, am I going to kill myself in the process?  I hope not!  I just need to be smart and diligent, so the schedule keeps me from injury and keeps my family sane!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Future Iron Girl Bling

Here it is....I'll have this bad boy puppy medal in just a few weeks!  I rather like the sandcastle.

Sprint Triathlon Training Plan - Week 1

Most novice plans have you training for a mere 8 weeks leading up to the event, so backing into the one i'm considering, I'm already a tad behind schedule!
3/18 - Week 1
3/25 – Week 2
4/1 – Week 3
4/8 – Week 4
4/15 – Week 5
4/22 – Week 6
4/29 – Week 7
5/6 – Week 8/Triathlon
But, I'm ok....sure I haven't ran since Sunday (outside left leg/knee is still a tad sore when descending stairs, but I feel great walking everywhere else), but I don't think I need to worry too much about my conditioning considering my running as of late.  After all, the plan below calls for 30 minutes of running on Sunday.  Yeah, I did that and about 2 hours more after that!  Now, the swimming part....I know our pool is not nearly long enough, but darn...its still cold in there!  Sure, the kids have played in these last 2 weeks, but its still frigid!

The training schedule above really is flexible.  You can change the number of swim-bike-run workouts each week, but you should always focus on the one segment that is most challenging to you.

The time intervals suggested assume you are a novice.  30 minutes inlcudes 5 minutes of warm-up, 20 minutes of conditioning and 5 minutes of cool-down.  If you have more experience (not sure if I qualify here or not), the target is 10 minutes of warm-up, 40 minutes of conditioning and 10 minutes of cool-down.

The conditioning "zone" is color-coded:
Blue = Go easy (can speak in full sentences)
Yellow = Go harder (can speak words)
Red = Go all out (eg race pace...don't even bother to try to speak)
It should also be noted that the training schedule being used uses slightly different nomenclature than running for their phases:
Running/Base Building = Tri/Skills
Running/Sharpening = Tri/Endurance
Running/Tapering = Tri/Tapering
I still  haven't determine if I want to do a sprint or a super sprint.  Now, I'm leaning towards a sprint, but the darn water part still intimidates me!  I suppose I need to swim this week to see how I feel about it.  Or, am I just trying to find a way to talk myself out of this?

Tri Basics 101 - Event Types

The word "triathlon" comes to mind...what does it conjur up?  A scary, intimidating hard-bodied "Ironman" people...that rare breed of physicality that has no inch to pinch, and the pecs and abs protrude from the bones!  While an Ironman is serious (after all, it does include a 2.4 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and a full 26.2 marathon), one should never start there.

Lo and be hold, there are other options out there!
  • Ironman - significantly scary event, as stated earlier
  • Half Ironman - scary event which is ONLY half of an Ironman, but still ridiculous for my physical fitness level (1.2 mile swim, 28 mile bike ride and a half marathon)
  • Olympic distance* (1 mile swim, 25 mile bike and 10k run)
  • Sprint** (typically 1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 3 mile run)
  • Super Sprint** (typically 1/4 mile swim, 8 mile bike, 2 mile run)
*Now seriously, I always thought that Olympians are tough!  And yet, they don't even cover a half Ironman distance?  This was a tad shocking to me!
**The sprint distance triathlon (and therefore the "super print") is unique as it is the only triathlon where the distances vary a bit from race to race. Most sprint triathlons include a swim distance between 400M and 750M, while the bike leg will typically be a 20K ride and the run is usually a 5K (3.1 miles).
So, if the idea of a triathlon interests you, but you are new to this hybrid event, why would you ever in your life sign up for something as intimidating as a half Ironman?  Seriously!  The Sprint seems reasonable, but I tell you...a 1/2 mile swim sounds intimidating enough to me! So, maybe the "super sprint" is more my speed for a first time event. 

The thing is...I know how much effort a bike ride or a run takes, but visualizing the distance in water terms is a bit more difficult.  So, how many pool laps is a 1/4 mile in water?  Normally a "lap" equals a full circuit of something, but in swimming a lap is generally one length of the pool.  So, depending on the pool length, I am looking at this:
  • 25M lap = 16.1 laps
  • 25Yds lap = 17.6 laps
  • 25 Ft lap = 52.8 laps
Since I have never done a triathlon before, I think I need to start with the shortest, easiest distance.  On the way, maybe I will learn more about it all...the transitions...the three legs...the whole race experience.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Toying with a Tri?

Hmmm...I've thus far been interested in running.  But, what if there was a triathlon that was not intimidating, not too far to drive, not filled with machismo, and instead filled with ordinary women.  Some of them are amazing athletes and some of them are just like me.  Would that change my mind?  What if my sole goal was NOT to come in last?  Would that make it less intimidating?

Hey, this could be fun!  Low expectations for performance.  High expectations for enjoyment.  Should I jump in?  Anyone want to join?

I'm a "Saturn" ....3 moons baby!

I know the title means little to most every person on the planet, so let me explain.  I joined Half Fanatics a few weeks ago once I made their basic requirements....2 half marathons in 16 days.  It was tough, but I did it.  That qualified me for "Neptune" status.

I just entered the other two half marathons that I completed.  I completely jumped over the next level ("Uranus") all the way to "Saturn"!!!

I didn't even think I did this until after I entered them...and even then, I was thinking that I needed to plan next year's race schedule to get me to this level.  Well, lo and behold, I don't need to do this simply because I AM A SATURN now....3 moons!


Now, to get to 4 moons ("Jupiter" status), I need to do one of these next race season:

  • 4 Half Marathons in 23 days.
  • 19 - 25 Half Marathons within 365 days.
  • 2 Half Marathons in 2 days (or 48 hours) must finish both races!
  • 9 Half Marathons in 9 different US states, Countries, or Canadian Provinces (any combination) within 365 days.
No idea how that could/would happen given my current plans for the next race season....may have to re-evaluate this once many other race dates are confirmed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Iron Girl: Last Half of the Season

So, all I get to look forward soon is the last half marathon of the season....Iron Girl on April 22nd.  The course looks to be beautiful, but I must admit that the bridge (which is more intimidating than the Ringling Bridge - which makes people worried - combined with the heat is a lot to take in for this new runner!  Us Floridians don't spend much time outside after April 1st (if its not in a pool!).

Joe has also been crazy busy this last 2 months, and next month is his busiest month of the I have to really be focused to get in as much running as I possibly can.  And, we will not have a kitchen until after tax our life is not going to get less hectic anytime soon.  But, hey, I definitely want to do better at this last race than I did at the last two.  Quite frankly, the lack of running really did affect me at both Sarasota and Florida Beach Halfathon.  I know that I am capable of a better performance. Sure, the heat played its part...but I have not been putting in the requisite miles as of late.  Now, can I reverse this trend without hindering my family in the process?  Its simply hard to do right now...but I'll try find a way!

So, there are a few small events between now and the fall race season, but I am going to ensure that I am respectable for this last half AND enjoy it tremendously at the same time!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Half Marathon Statistics and Trends

Since 2003, the half-marathon has been the fastest growing road race distance in the U.S.  Just the increase in the official "finishers" is surprising:
20091,113,000 (record high)
With the introduction of the Tinkerbell HM, the expansions to the RNR Half Marathon series, as well as trend in the Divas Half Marathon and Nike Women's Half Marathon series....its easy to predict that this distance will continue to be the "it" distance through the next decade, especially for women.  In fact, just a few years ago, women were the minority and women are now overwhelmingly the majority.

The Sarasota Half Marathon recently announed that 67% of the early registrered runners were female.  By the look of the RNR St Pete Half, this percentage seems accurate as well....seems like the half marathon is quickly becoming a female-only club!  But what is equally interesting is the fact that given the huge increase in new runners, the median time for women has only slipped a tad, during the same period.  One would presume that if you have this flurry of non-runners entering the sport, the median times would reduce dramatically!  Not maybe the new runners are truly pushing themselves more than in the past?  And yet, men's times are being negatively affected as well (even their representation is actually reducing)....but I have no explantion for that, except that maybe men are tending to push themselves more to the marathon (as this is the only distance that they have a clear majority in now).

I think the reduction in times is nothing to be ashamed of...if anything, its great!  Decades ago, if you were not an elite (or aspiring to be an elite) athlete, you simply didn't run.  A marathon course would never be open for 8 hours!  But now, with the mass influx of new runners into the sport (eg people like me!) it seems that the focus is getting people out there and being active, and to compete against themselves with more comraderie to their fellow runners.  Even the 5k has seen tremendous growth!  At one time as well, you only saw gizelles run the 5k, and now all shapes and sizes run.  True, as a country we still need to focus on obtaining a healthy weight, but at least our muscle/bone/cardio strength is improving as a nation!  So, even if you are not perceived to be "fit", you join races now!  Its a great trend, especially since we are seeing obesity strike the young now...and we have to curb this current generation from handing their souls to McDonalds!

Other half-marathon “boom” facts:
  • In the past decade (2000-09), U.S. half-marathon finishers have grown from 482,000 to 1,113,000, a 131% increase; the 5K, the most popular distance, is a distant second with a solid 40% growth over the same period.
  • Since 2002, more than 20 U.S. half-marathons annually had their inaugural running.
  • Twenty of the top 30 largest U.S. half-marathons (greater than 8,000 finishers) are less than 10 years old or rebranded.
  • In 2009, there were a record 17 U.S. half-marathons with 10,000 finishers or more; in 2000, there was one.
  • The half currently has the largest female percent (57%) of any U.S. road distance; the percent flipped to a female majority in 2005, and by contrast, in 1985, the female percent was less than 20% in 13.1 mile races.
The source for all of these statistics can be found here.  But, if you read the details, please share with us any insights you have gained....what puzzles you?  What statistics surprise you?  Is your view of running in line with the numbers?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Florida Beach Halfathon Race Recap

Race was great!  So, I get up around 4:40 and am out the door at 5am...really not much I can do except get dressed and grab some drink/snacks for the drive.  After my stop for gas, I get to the park right around 5:45am.  The people taking my $5 park entrance fee were just so happy (maybe from taking this new park fee, and maybe just happy that people are actually awake at this darn time in the morning).  Either way, I'm in a little caravan now and we all land in the North Beach parking lot right around 5:50.  Parking is a breeze at this time, and I head up to the packet pick-up and it took a mere 2 minutes to get my #218 race bib (with my birthdate, I might add) and then make my way to the chip collection.  Again, 2 minutes total to get this....and then I'm on my way back to the car to drop off my swag.  Obviously, there is absolutely no need for bag check at this race.

Now, about the swag....simple.  Got some Dole fruit snack, a shirt and some papers.  But, this shirt?  I almost regret getting my husband a shirt.  Seriously, after every race, he keeps on saying "You don't wear these, so why don't you just get my size so I can wear it."  Well, I finally do...and seriously this is a shirt I would so wear.  First, there was a choice of white or green (it is St Patty's weekend after all).  Second, there is no annoying sponsorships on the back!  Seriously, you are NOT walking around like a billboard.  I have issues with this.  I pay for a race fee and therefore, I am paying for a shirt.  Why would I pay to advertise some business on my back?  Seems this is the opposite of any other sense of normality.  Third, its simple and kinda cute...but not girly cute....gender neutral cute.  Anyways, Joe was happy with it.  He loves the fact that I do all the work, and he got the shirt!

So, to step back, while the race series does promote early packet pickup at a few locations Thursday-Saturday, its not needed at all if you plan to get to the race location around 6am.   So, I'm all I walk back to the staging area and meet up with some other HF's for a photo op.  One of them even brought a case of gum, so we all enjoyed that!  But, this required another walk back to the car.  Perfectly ok with me since the car was so close.  :)  Went to the restroom line afterwards and by the time the line dwindled, it was time to get to the start!

The first 3 miles is a wrap around the paved trails near North Beach as you can see on the map (I'm thinking its the same path the 5kers complete).  The next part southward runs to Fort De Soto.  Honestly, I don't even recall noticing the fort (and I've never been to this park before), so maybe I was just focused on the path?   The next section was a bit harder.  The light was getting brighter and the heat was setting in.  It was a long straight away....but the view at the turn-around all the way to the east was beautiful.  Picturesque in fact.  This is right around the 8-mile mark.

The return was harder.  I hit the 9 mile mark around 1:35...but the heat was seriously affecting me now and the water stops were clearly not coming fast enough...I kept on thinking how a sprinkler would be nice to run through right around here! Right around 11 miles, I just had issues.  Wasn't really in pain at all, even though I was starting to feel it...just simply lost the desire to push it.  Again, my goal was NOT to go for a I don't feel bad about this...I'm glad to see that my wall is coming at 11 miles now, rather than where it came in earlier races!

I was out there just to enjoy the run, and I did just that.  I know I need to work on a few things, and clearly my lack of running lately has definitely affected me.  I've run 3 times in the last 2 weeks, and one of those was also a half!  But, this race season has been very positive regardless...I've solidified myself as a recreational runner.  Remember, I had issues with calling myself a "runner" a mere month I've overcome that mental barrier at least!

With the last half of the season coming up next month (Iron Girl Half), I don't expect to break 2:20.  There is a seriously intimidating bridge AND it will be hotter!  But again, I'm seriously going to enjoy this it will be the last for quite some time!

So, would I do this one again?  You betcha.  Its a "runner's race" by runners for runners.  Its safe, clean, well managed and doesn't have any "fluff" that simply doesn't matter.  Now, I do wish someone would have used a golf cart to drive the path (with a shovel) before the race began to scoop up any inconsiderate dog owner's stuff...but hey, thats really my only negative comment.  I don't miss the expo.  I don't miss the hoopla.  I don't miss the cheerleaders.  I don't miss the bands.  That being said, sine this is a "runner's race" if one is accustomed to placing around the middle of the pack in a big race, it will not be repeated here. There are no "first time half marathoners" at this while its not uber-competitive, your standings in your division will be negatively affected.  But again, you don't run this for the run it for the enjoyment.  I'll be at this one for the Halloween Halfathon....same course (I think) and similar medal (starfish with halloween theme)....and this time I will bring Joe and the kids!

Why?  The course is very spectator-friendly.  Seriously, the kids could have seen me at the start, around the 3 mile mark and the finish line.  If they chose to jump in the car and drive a tad, they could have seen me at the 5-mile mark as well as the 10-mile mark (really tons of places they could have pulled over and cheered me on...really, any place on the north-south stretch...just driving the east-west stretch to the turnaround would not have been well-received by course officials).  And if they chose NOT to get in the car, the place has tons of playgrounds and is safe...and they would not have been lost in the crowd.

Definitely a race to recommend to anyone.  I just hope that next year's (which is actually on St Patty's day) has a medal with the requisite starfish draped in a shamrock :)  Listening to this Chris?  Hint hint hint!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Florida Beach Halfathon Plans & Expectations

Tomorrow, I will join a group of runners for the pure joy of running.  I'm not in it for the bling (well, not completely).  I didn't even anticipate adding this race to my schedule until a mere 3 weeks ago.  But, I'm doing it.  I'll break 2:30, but I don't plan on anything faster than a 2:20.  Again, I'm going for fun.  I think the rest of the races this race season I will be approaching in a similar manner.

Chris's race series is held at Fort DeSoto park, one of the most picturesque in the entire state.  There are several races in the series, but this one is the Florida Beach Halfathon.

Good news: the race starts a bit before dawn, but the first leg is on mostly paved paths.  By the time dawn breaks, we will experience a beautiful sunrise on the beach, and then when the sun rises, our back should be to it for the remainder of the race.

Bad news: Pinellas County has recently implemented a new parking fee of $5 per day per car.  In years past, the race has pre-paid the $.35 state toll, allowing all runners/volunteers/spectators to be waived through the toll booth to avoid congestion.  Unfortunately, $5/car is too much to absorb through race fees.  To reduce congestion, pre-paid parking passes will be offered for sale at packet pick-up.  I can't do early packet pickup, so I'll have to ensure that I have exact change ($5) ready to go for the park entrance. sunpasses or credit cards are accepted for payment.  I think the new fee is fine, but do wish that there were other payment options than just cash.  Seriously, thats an internal audit nightmare.

Now, I'm prepared for parking...just need to find out how to pick up my packet!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Words of Wisdom: Pre

“You cannot propel yourself forward by patting yourself on the back.”
- Pre

While we all strive to be all our best, we often are simply satisfied with accomplishing a new goal.  Seriously, running a half marathon made me so proud.  I kept reminding myself what small percentage of people in this country have ever even attempted such a thing.  Its easy to be pleased with yourself.  Its good to be proud of your accomplishments!  But, what does that provide after the achievement is met?

Little, actually.  We all too easily become complacent.  Once we achieve that big goal (whether its running for 30 minutes straight or completing a half marathon), we become deflated.  We become a little more indifferent.  Now, we've all experienced this.  So, what do we do?  We either are content with our accomplishments or we find it deep inside ourselves to rise to a new challenge.

Now, the problem with the past challenge is that we remember how hard it was.  We remember the pain.  We remember the injury.  So, we need to remind ourselves of the joy and pride equally as much, if not more!

This season, I have officially become a seasoned recreational runner.  Am I content with this?  No.  Am I ready to take the next step?  Not quite yet.  There are some other goals that I will be working on in the next 2 months...and I will be "propelling" those, but I do want to make the next step in my running.  By summer, I will be "propelling" that goal as well.

Have you ever caught yourself sitting on your laurels?  What have you done to push yourself forward?

Body Image

I know this girl.  She is 21.  She is a size 1.  She is on a diet.  Incredulous, isn't it?  And yet, I'm sure this same thing occurs throughout our society on a regular basis.  We are really harsh on ourselves, aren't we? Its interesting when you see yourself through others' eyes though. This is a great website for women to do just that.

My Body Gallery

So, do you really NEED to lose weight to look great? Maybe not....maybe you are perfectly fine right now.  I'm a size 8 bottom, hourglass, size M on top, 5'4" ....I honetly think that weight shouldn't even be entered into this grid.  It really doesn't matter...its the size of your body we should be concerned about (or not).  Someone who is 160 or 140....they could wear the same size clothes!  So, I entered "any", I don't look so bad through other people's eyes!  I think we need to remind ourselves of this quite often.  I'm all for toning up and getting rid of extra fat around the mid-section, but it should be done for health reasons and not asthetic....seriously, our personal view of how we look should NOT come into play.  We are too biased on the "skinny."

After plugging in your figures, were you pleasantly surprised at how others see you?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Allied Medal Display Give-A-Way

Yesterday, I wrote a product review for Allied Medal Display here.  Want to win one of these bad boys?
Well, here it is.....the contest you have been waiting for!  You can earn up to 9 entries for this give-a-way. The winner will have their medal hanger shipped directly from Allied Medal. (note: the area to post your entry below may take a few seconds to load)

Please also ensure that you read the giveaway rules, as the winner's responsibilities are noted there with timely notification requirements.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Allied Medal Displays for all that blings!

First of all, when I opened it...I immediately fell in love the heft of this medal display. It is solid, unlike some of the competitors that I've picked up and held at various expos (and more importantly it neither looks like a towel rack or a tie rack!). The laset-cut edge is super fine, but won't draw blood. Remember, I was worried about that...I need to be with kids around since I know my kids will be wearing the medals (especially my daughter with the princess medal!).  I've posted a pic below of the edge of the words so you can see how fine the edge is...hopefully it comes through well with my camera in this darkened room (it is evening and I just got it about 20 minutes ago so I had to put it up immediately and write a review).

I have been looking around for one that can hold everything I need (eventually), looks like it fits in with my office decor, and is adult-friendly. I wanted one that was easy to add/remove medals and that didnt cry for attention, but garnered subtle "oohs" instead (after all, I want the actual bling to get most of the attention!).  In other words...I was looking for quality.  Trust me, I've checked quite a few out. So, I knew what I needed...just hadn't found the right thing for me.

Lo and behold, Allied Medal Displays is a unique contender in this market. You don't find them expo-hopping around the country, but they are slowly making a name for themselves by word of mouth. Runners and triathletes everywhere utilize their hangers...and they've even branched out to other sports. They even offer customized options, unlike any other hanger out there that I've seen.

So, I selected the Starry bling holder. I know most would opt for a custom display, but I just wasn't sure what I would put on there that I would love until the day I die. Now, bling and stars? I'll always like those. So, what do I think about my bling holder? LOVE IT!!!

The mounting was simple. The display comes with "spacers" so you basically mount the screens through the front of the hanger, through the spacers and into the wall of your choice. It took maybe 2 minutes once I found the drill....darn husband keeps moving my stuff around in the garage!

That being said, the screws and spacers are perfect for drywall....but of course, the one exact space that I wanted to place it had 2 (of the 3 spacers/screws) required wood drills behind the drywall.  I found optional screws in my handy dandy garage that worked.  It was just a fluke that the space I desired for this required wood drills...really not a big deal, but something to be aware of.  And, of course, the wood nails (if needed) need to be longer than 1 1/4" and definitely skinny so they fit through the bling holder and through the spacer.  If you bring them to Home Depot, it would be easy to match...but again, just something to be aware of.

Overall, the holder (and all of the models by Allied Steel) has a nice sheen to it, but has more of a matte finish so it won't be showing any fingerprints. I absolutely know that my kids will be touching it for quite some time. In fact, as I write this the kids have already decided to re-arrange the bling in order of first to most recent race.

As for the stars, the stars are brilliant! Some of standard and some are wavy. Some feel a bit girly/wavy, but some are so solid that the entire display feels more gender-neutral than originally expected, which means it would fare well in our bedroom, but its destined for the office for me, especially since I seem to keep my running shoes there all the time anyway!  And, I must say that it fits in perfectly!

Now, if you are interested in getting one of these Allied Medal Displays for yourself, check out their options here. Use discount/promotion code CMOTR for a 10% discount (should at least cover your S&H).  Or, you can check back tomorrow and enter my give-away for one of these bad boys!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Coconut Oil

The key to the use of this oil is:
  • You must like coconut, as the taste is very present in good coconut oil
  • You must only purchase cold-pressed not processed oil
  • You must purchase unfiltered, not that clear as can be oil you find in the grocery store which is tasteless and where the nutritional content is questionable.
So why coconut oil? Sure, its a saturated fat...but surprisingly, its the only saturated fat that the body uses like a carb! Research shows that the medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil boosts the body’s metabolism, raises body temperatures, and helps provide greater energy which can lead to weight loss. Multi-chain triglycerides are high in coconut oil....just like mother's milk. Hard to get a better source for it! 

But, most coconut oil that you can buy from "normal" stores is seriously doesn't even have a coconut scent!  Tropical Traditions is my store of choice. So, get on their facebook page and/or get on their email list and wait for a B1G1 coconut oil and coconut cream to show up! When they have these sales, the prices all of a sudden become very reasonable.

So, how do we use it? When we have a kitchen that wasn't destroyed by a fire (by the way, I really miss our kitchen) least once a week, we pound out chicken breasts and dredge it in the eggs that my mom acquires from her chicken coops. We then dredge it in a bread crumb mixture that my daughter and I make every 6 months (basically, we make a vaiety of healthy breads in the breadmaker and add some spices to make our own italian seasoned bread crumbs, which we then store in the freezer in an air-tight container). We heat up some of the coconut oil and make coconut chicken cutlets. This is by far my kids most favorite chicken dish (even wins out over the dino chicken nuggets!).

Monday, March 12, 2012

Recreational Runner versus Competitive Runner

I've been running for less than a year.  That year mark coincides with the last month of racing for the season.  I'm certain to be categorized as a "recreational" runner.  My mileage, lack of a true training plan and "beginner" status solidified me with that title this race season.   But, where do I want to go?

To embrace the title of "competitive" runner, I know that a few things would change:
  • time commitment to run would increase (to about 35+ miles/ about 5 days/week of running)
  • attitude would change
Now, the attitude would be welcomed.  It will force me to focus on my health, eating habits, schedule, etc.  The time commitment worries me.  Basically, this would require 6 hours/week of running.  2 hours saturday and sunday, and then an hour probably tuesday and thursday.  Of course, thats assuming my time improves.  I'm pretty good at the hour mark...and can hold pretty steady around 6 miles/hour.  The bigger problem is that the long runs on the weekends just deplete me for anything family-related.  I just want to lay down and nap all day!  Maybe thats the part that worries me.  I know someone who does half marathons and triathalons, and after her races, she is out in the yard gardening!  I'm sure it comes with time...I just wish I was there already.  I simply don't want to miss out on my family.

But, I also want to get to the point that a 2-hour run is ok for me (and doesn't make me want to nap the rest of the day).  I need to remember that not long ago, I couldn't run around the block without gasping for air.  Now, I can comfortably run 1 hour straight!  Isn't that just amazing?  Well, it is to me.  Our bodies are adaptable to quite a lot!  I'm thankful that I have a body that hasn't experienced any major trauma thus far.

So, my goal, by my 1-year mark of running...I want to solify my plan for the next race season.  Until then, I'll embrace the title of "recreational" runner and enjoy everything it brings me!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sarasota Half Marathon Race Recap

Time change was a killer, but besides that I thought I did everything in preparation for this run right.  Got up at the "new" 5:15am (but my body still thought it was 4:15am!).  Got prepped, had a small meal, hydrated and then was in the car at 5:40.

I did get to the lot before 6am, but I swear it took me 15 minutes to park!  They made us meander through a variety of lots, passing many empty ones, until we were right up to the action.  Personally, I don't think this made sense.  Because we were all going to the front, the lines were unnecessarily long. I don't think people would mind parking an entire 4-minute walk away....if they had several different lots they were parking at the same time, it would have been much quicker, alleviated traffic congestion and eased tension among the runners.

Got out of the car and immediately began searching for porta-potties.  Requisite line...then I wandered over near the desolate area behind Van Wezel, near the water.  It was calm.  Full moon was out and you could easily find your own solitude to stretch, warm up, or just chill.  There was a cool breeze in the air...definitely calming.  I didn't find anyone  that I recognized (or even any shirts that I recognized).  Thought there would be a BH or HF photo meet-up in the area, but honestly given the time change, it was DARK!  So, I wander over to the porta potties again and eventually make my way to the corrals.

I search out for the 2:15 pace group.  We were all talking among ourselves, but the pacer didn't utter a single word.  This felt a bit odd...after all, she was supposed to bring a group to the finish line.  Wouldn't it be a good thing to introduce yourself and make some small talk?  I suppose our pacer in the RNR St Pete was so totally the opposite that her quiet demeanor threw me.

Regardless, the anthem soon played and the race started.  I felt good at this point.  We made our way onto US-41 south to the Ringling Bridge.  The bridge was ok, definitely required work...but ok.  Once over the top, we headed to St. Armand's Circle.  I decided to start fueling around here.  Then, we headed back over the bridge.  Past mile marker 4, I just didn't feel the urge to push it.  I let the 2:15 pace group continue ahead of me.  I suppose right at the 5-mile marker, I decided that since the heat was increasing, I was going to just run this for no PR.  I contemplated this for a bit until I got to the half way point, and in my mind, I firmed it up right then and there.  I was not going for PR...I was just going to run this as a recreational runner and be ok with it.

It was well over 70 now, and there were no clouds on the way up US-41 towards Ringling.  I just chilled...just doing a lot of people-watching.  What struck me strongly was this apparent mother-daughter team.  The daughter was leaning on her mother.  The mother was also checking her pulse occasionally.  It was so obviously unusual that I saw two runners offer gu or water to this girl.  And, in retrospect, everyone was sweating but this daughter looked non-sweaty.  I ran close to them for a good mile or so.  When we turned into the Ringling Museum, I saw a medic tent.  The duo were still right ahead of me.  I stopped to tell the medical tent to call ahead and the next station and to watch for the girl and to pull her aside.  Their response?  They didn't give us phones.  Really?  This was seriously disappointing!  How can a medical tent on a half marathon course NOT have communication?  They did tell me that I could talk to these "other" people nearby and they could make a call.  Seriously, while I'm not going for a PR, I am still in a race...and don't have the time to stand in line and talk to someone that the medical tent personnel should be seriously concerned about!  Apparently, my reaction was obvious as they then said that they would take care of it.

Ok...maybe it wasn't truly a good deed, but it should count.  We then make our way in the back neighborhoods.  Be warned..anyone who runs in Florida and is not from not touch the sprinklers in people's yards.  I know it SOUNDS like a good idea.  It is not.  I did manage to stop one person from setting foot in them.  Sprinklers in Florida are typically full of either 1) well water which has a "bad egg" smell due to the sulphur content or 2) reclaimed water which is obviously not healthy for your skin, but great for plants and yards.  It was funny this person then told her friend that she was surprised with such nice houses why they wouldn't be able to afford regular water.  Well, for the non-Floridians reading this....reclaimed water is much much much cheaper and is better for your yard.  It is instant fertilizer.  And, with the amount of yard water we go through with this year-round heat, even wealthy families are better off with reclaimed water.  Now, if you cannot get reclaimed water (we are fortunate enough to have it, but not everyone is without some serious cash to pay for the water line extension to their yard), well water is pretty common for yards.

So, 2nd good deed done.  See...if I was too concerned with my pace, I wouldn't have been able to help anyone!  Now, I just needed to finish this race.  5k to go.  Lululemon was offering oranges...they were fabulous.  I ran into another HF and we chatted briefly before starting off again.

After the finish chute, I collected my medal and stood in a tremendously long line for food.  Now, given that standing still is one of the worse things you can do after a long run, this is not good.  I felt a spasm in my lower leg while waiting in line, but fortunately, I moved my foot just enough immediately just to avoid a proper "cramp" ....felt something similar in the car.  Considering that I felt pretty good, I was surprised by this!  Food options were bananas, bagels with peanut butter, orange slices, muffins, yogurt parfaits.  Water was available at another station.

Finish time was 2:29:27.  I loved the fact that the race bibs had a QR, so when scanned from my phone  a tad later, I was able to get immediate results for me:
Average pace: 11:24/mile
Overall: 1416/2108
Overall Sex: 775/1301
Overall Division: 138/224
I actually thought I would do worse (in overall division)...but I suppose the heat affected everyone else in a similar manner.  So, I'm happy with my crappy performance :)

Finishing time....2:29:27.  Did I mention it was hot?  Galloway's book on running estimates that my performance would be 5-7% slower in this heat (as compared to the temps in the RNR St Pete). 2:29:27 roughly equates to 2.491 hours.  2.491 / 1.06 (average of 5% and 7%) = 2.35 hours.  So, my adjusted time for temperature would probably have been 2:21.  Just imagine if I truly had the inclination to finish strong.

So, overall, I suppose I'm pleased with my experience.  Better than any long run before, I felt great in comparison!   The big question...would I do it again?  I think so.  The spectators were great.  The course was beautiful.  I would have preferred cooler weather and a race on any day other than the first of a time change....kind of hard to adjust for that though.  As for the things they can change, the parking in the morning needs to be better thought through.  The line for food was disappointing.  There wasn't good water/drink options once you finish the race either...I only saw one table with water cups.  I would have had to drink 6 of these to satisfy my thirst.

Offical results are here.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sarasota Half Marathon Expo

The expo was disappointing.  Granted, I had very little time to browse anyway (had to go straight from the RRCA class to the expo...class ended at 5pm, expo closed at 7pm), so I suppose it was a good thing.

Problem is...the expo took over the lobby, atrium and another small conference room...and there really wasn't much there.  The space was simply too small!  It felt cramped, and nobody had any interest in staying longer than they really needed to.

I did manage to pick up 3 Sweatybands look-alikes....called Chicabands.  Definitely look to be just as good quality for a lot less.  3 for $30!  Why is it I have a hard time leaving an expo with nothing in my bag?  The bag really should be enough!

RRCA Coach Class - Day 2

Another good use of my time.  I really enjoyed Janet's class.  Today's topics primarily focused on developing training plans (build weeks, sharpening, tapering and recovery).

The variety of methods to handling this is so significant, but I do think our team did an excellent job at creating a plan for mythical "Joe Runner" (a man who thinks he is all that, with a great 5-mile base, but has never really pushed himself out of his comfort zone and now wants to run a half in 1:30).  Yep, it was interesting to see how many different ways the different teams approached the topic.

Janet also spent some time reiterating how people need to be absolutely careful about "adjusting" someone, e.g. changing their gait for efficiency.  An individual's gait, even if unorthodox, works for them for a reason...often for reason's that are not visible to us.  For example, if someone runs in an asymmetrical manner, there is probably more harm which could result from an effort to "right" their gait than from allowing them to continue. After all, maybe they are compensating for an asymmetrical spine!

The course was definitely worthwhile attending.  There are quite a few things that I know to address in my own training plans...and I plan on developing that further once the last half of the season is behind me (Iron Girl).

But, I did take away a ton of material that I really am interested in learning more about...and therefore, I have a ton of material for this blog!  Just writing and summarizing it all here will definitely ensure that I make it all sink in!

Next step, I have an online test to take in the next 30 days, and I have a CPR and First aid class to complete...then its official.  I can coach myself somewhat properly!

Friday, March 9, 2012

RRCA Coach Class - Day 1

The course was pretty much what I expected.  Janet is a good instructor...she keeps the information moving, even though everyone was tired of sitting in the same chair for 8 hours!  Today's class consisted of:
  • 2.5 hours of exercise physiology
  • 2 hours nutrition
  • 2 hours injury
  • 2 hours coaching
As for the specific sections...  Nutrition was pretty much repeat for me...not much new here that I didn't know.  Coaching was similar to a ton of leadership classes that I've already taken.  The exercise physiology had some information that I knew, but overwhelmingly overwhelming. :)  Yep, thats right, a ton of information. The injury section I was most curious about...learned a ton of stuff here as well.  The day was well worth the price thus far.  

We did have some homework assigned, which consisted mostly of creating a training plan for someone who completed a basic informational survey.  We need to come up with some specific questions for this fictitious runner, as well as craft the best plan for his experience and his goals.  Should be interesting.

So, I'm looking forward to the class tomorrow....but still have a lot of things to sink into this brain of mine.  And, that little race the following day....just realized that the whole time change thing will force me to wake up before 5am....ugh.  But, its all good!

At what point do you become a non-beginner?

Of course, when you first start running, you are a've never tried to run, you've never made it farther than your own block, you simply don't know what you are doing. But at what point, have you graduated from novice/beginner? I suppose this is a philosophical question, as everyone will have their own opinion...but a few things to consider are listed below:

  • You are not a beginner when you do not think of yourself as one.
  • You are not a beginner when you go on a group run and are finally offering guidance to another! 
  • Beginners are on a mission to get better...but then again, we always find a different meaning of "better" so maybe we are always beginning something!
  • Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher are just beginning to compete in internationally-ranked I suppose even amazing runners can be considered beginners!
  • When someone calls you 'a beginner' with that tone after you comment on anything running related....and you start defending yourself, you are not a beginner.
  • You pick up a new goal and select a training plan (eg your first half marathon) and the beginning of that training plan has you taking a step back from where you currently are, then you're not a beginner.
  • When you continue running, even though you have just peed a little in your pants (or maybe a lot) are a runner.
Do you have anything else to add to this list?  When did you consider yourself no longer a beginner?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

RRCA Coach Class Prep Work

Seriously, this quarter is crazy busy!  Between Joe's tax season, race season, kitchen fire fiasco and STILL not being able to cook a meal at home, and an acquisition at work...its BUSY!  But, even though all of this craziness is occurring, I am still looking forward to the RRCA Coach class coming up!

The instructor will be Janet Hamilton of Georgia (website Running Strong).  She has already been in contact with us to gather some basic information, which she will compile and share with the rest of the class:
  • Name
  • Running Experience
  • What you do in “real life”
  • Coaching Experience
  • E-mail address
  • Website  
She also clarified that this course is not intended for you to jump out there and sell your coaching services, but is a first step to immerse you into the sport, and afford you the opportunity to grow and become a true coach:
As described on the RRCA website – the course covers the basic fundamentals and science related to coaching and developing sound training plans. This course sets the stage for further learning as a coach, and should be viewed as a starting point of your coaching education in the coming years. A primary focus of the coaching certification process is to enhance participation in our sport of running by training coaches. It is the hope of the RRCA that these trained and certified coaches will ensure their athletes have intelligent training programs which help to extend their running careers, have more fun running, and minimize the risks of overuse injuries. 

Of course, to become certified, I need to complete both days, pass an exam, and be CPR (in person class) and First Aid (in person or online) certified (will be able to get those certifications through work next time they are offered at least!)  But, I need to get these within 60 days of completing the course...yikes!
So, I'l be in class the next two days (8am-5pm) least breakfast and lunch will be provided each day!  I just need to bring a copy of a training plan that I've recently used or provided for someone else (and a calculator, pen and paper)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Give A Way Update

You asked for it, and here it is....This post is really just a teaser since the give-a-way will not start until March 15th. Before then, I'll do an entire review of the product and share all the details. So stay tuned!  When the give-a-way is open for entry, the link on the left page will take you straight to the post for entering.  Good luck!
Until then, feel free to click the bling holder above for all the details of the item.  I have to tell you, I know people who have thes and they RAVE about them.  The stars are definitely interesting to me, so I'll be curious to see how detailed the laser-cut enough to have amazing lines, but not too sharp to hurt me!  :)

So, maybe you want to consider following this blog now, just to ensure that you do not miss out on this amazing opportunity!  And while you are at it, maybe consider voting for my blog in the Fitness magazine contest happening right now?  You do need to register for it, but its simply an email address and password setup...easy peasy.

Sarasota Half Marathon...Plans are being made

Even though I absolutely know that I felt physically sick for the Gasparilla run, I also didn't take it too seriously since I had no serious urge to run the 15k. Truth be told, I wanted to run the half marathon after I saw the bling (the 15k bling, by comparison, was seriously a let down). I do wonder how/if that changed my mindset leading up to the actual event. What would I have done differently to ensure that I was adequately rested and adequately hydrated? Regardless, that experience will NOT repeat itself. Sarasota is allowing me a chance to redeem myself in the face!

Seriously....just take a look at this bling!  The largest in the state this year! Its gorgeous.  Over 4 inches long!  This road race company knows what they are doing.  The race is actually managed by the same team that handles the Publix Georgia Marathon, the ING Miami Marathon, the Chicago Half Marathon and the 13.1 Race Series. They have a ton of experience to their name...and being that its Sarasota, well lets just say this city doesn't do anything just because.  They may not draw the biggest crowds, but they put the emphasis on bringing upscale visitors to this area to entice them to visit once it should be managed nicely.  So, I suppose my redemption is in good hands?

Now, for the race...its somewhat familiar.  We start close to the Ringling Bridge, which has some serious elevation.  I've done the Ringling Bridge Run in January to get my feet wet with it, but its still something to be considered.  It follows the bridge and wraps around St. Armand's Circle and then back over the bridge.  So, the serious elevation is all in the first few miles.  It then follows Tamiami Trail north and then heads back down hugging the gulf.  There is continuous elevation gains up Tamiami....I think I've felt them in the car, so you know they will be more severe running.  But then again, its pretty much all just a few feet above sea what goes up will go down.  So, the course is familiar somewhat.  At least, I've been on these streets, so feeling them under my shoes will be a new experience and seeing the street up close and personal will be new, but at least its familiar.

Water stations appear sufficient.  There will also be a sports drink at every single water station (as well as a porta-potty), which is nice.  Not sure whether that will be powerade or gatorade, but fortunately, my stomach isn't sensitive to either.

Race starts at 7am.  The weather has been unpredictable lately.  Right now, Sunday is expected to be a low of 63 and high of 83....and partly cloudy.  I'm anticipating a 66 degree start, and hopefully finish before it hits 75.  Its not optimum and I do hope that we get an unexpected cold spell in a few days...but its probably not going to happen.  At least I'll consider this a good dry-run for the Iron Girl (for the weather impact, at least).

I will conquer this one.  I'm ready for it.  I have plans to sleep in Thursday night, Friday night and get to bed early on Saturday.  My RRCA class is actually the two days prior, so I will be all pumped and prime for running!  At least, I hope so! :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bling Bling for Florida Beach Halfathon

Here it is...cute medal for the Florida Beach Halfathon....doesn't it just make you want to visit the beach?

If I survive next week's Sarasota Half Marathon...I'll be going for this one next :)

Seriously...stop me!  How can I do so many back to back?  Isn't this what got me into the problem of my performance at the Gasparilla?  Or, was that seriously just a fluke?  I'm just not certain anymore.

Either way, I like the idea of the Florida Beach Halfathon...seems that its done by runners for runners.  Grass-roots effort.  No major "for profit" activity...just a normal, honest profit.  It does interest me, I have to say!

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2012 - Pasta in the Park

Ok, we did not chose to do this (occurs the Friday evening before the running events), but so far, I haven't heard stellar reviews of it. I've heard that if you go with a large group, it could be fun....but with just a handful of adult friends, not so much. Why?
  • There wasnt a ton of food selection
  • If you are not into DJ's, you may not care for the musical experience
  • Hula Hoop contest? Not for me.
  • Lines were pretty short for photo ops with princesses...but isnt this what we were supposed to do DURING the race?
  • There are fireworks...but since we see them all the time, I don't really view them as something special
Now, if you have kids with you, I'm sure it would be great!  The kids get short lines to all the princesses.  Sure, my son wouldn't really be thrilled with it, but he can eat pasta like there is no tomorrow!

As for the price? 
  • $47.50 for Adults (ages 10 and up)
  • $28.35 for Children (ages 3-9)
For that price, you get:
  • Buffet pasta dinner and dessert at the Wonders of Life Pavilion inside Epcot®
  • Live DJ
  • Disney character appearances
  • Access to view IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, a mesmerizing fireworks, laser and water show
The Pasta in the Park Party menu includes:
  • Mixed Greens with Lite Vinaigrette & Cucumber Yogurt Dressing
  • Herb Balsamic Potato Salad
  • Herb Roasted Chicken
  • Bowtie Pasta with Grilled Vegetables and Basil Pesto
  • Wheat Penne Pasta with Marinara Sauce
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • House-made Focaccia Bread with Butter
  • Whole Bananas
  • Chocolate Brownies
  • Ice Water with Lemons and Limes
  • Lemonade and Fruit Punch
  • Cash bar
The extra benefit here is that you can get into the park at 6:30pm without a true park ticket. So, buy the Pasta dinner and get free evening admission.  It may or may not be worthwhile for some with kids, since its already late in the evening by the time they finish their meal.

I'm still not convinced its for us though.  With a group of girls going for a weekend, its too family-oriented.  With a family going for a weekend (and is driving), you would probably get to Orlando Friday evening and just want to chill.  But, if you are bringing the entire clan and flying in and justifying this as a family trip, then it may be perfect!

So, if anyone did it and can share their experience, please post a comment!

Other Princess posts that may be of interest include:

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