Posts Tagged ‘ Races ’

Firecrack 4-miler

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I’m so EXCITED! I officially signed up for my first race after my injury. It’s the Firecracker 4-miler in Cranford, NJ. Guaranteed to be, well, a blast! πŸ™‚

The race boast tree lined streets and bike trails complete with water stations and a USATF certified course. The festivities don’t stop with the end of the race though. There’s an after party with refreshments, balloons, popcorn, music and face painting. A perfect gathering for the whole family! Best part? Entrants not only get a commemorative race t-shirt, but a Firecracker pint glass as well!Β  I can’t wait! πŸ™‚

Happy running, my friends! πŸ˜€

Are You a Fan of Fad Runs?

Color_RunThere is a new breed of racing running rampant around the country. Tough Mudder, Spartan, Mud Run, Zombie Chases, Color Runs, and now Electric Runs (think neon lights and glow sticks). Bored with running a 5k? Not interested in a PR? Want to entice your non-running buddies into joining your uber-fun relay team? Don’t worry! There’s a whole slew of new, exciting races just for you! At least that’s what the organizers of these new races would like you to think and get you to sign up for these runs. More expensive than their same-distance counterparts, these new fun runs are filled with anything and everything that might keep your attention. And if your interested in obstacles and entertainment more than running, then you’ve come to the right place.

I’m personally not a fan of these new fad runs. I like to run in races. That’s it. Run. No bells and whistles, no undead hunting me down, no sprays of color exploding in my face. I’m glad that these runs get people out and active. What I don’t like is the danger element involved in the obstacle-centered ones like the mud runs and their counterparts. While the risk of injury is minimum, it’s still a definite factor. More and more reports are coming out of people being seriously hurt or killed during these runs. The most recent report was of a man who drowned in one of the obstacles at a Tough Mudder in West Virginia in April. It sounds like negligence on the part of both the race organizers and those they hired to man the stations, but here’s the article so you can judge for yourselves. On a more personal note, a friend of mine recently signed up for a run that was supposed to be just a fun run with some friends. She returned with her elbows and knees bruised and bloodied due to the army crawls under low hanging wires. Problem was the ground was littered with small stones that dug into her arms and legs as she maneuvered through the obstacles. She didn’t want to complete some obstacles but because of the mass of people pushing around and behind her felt forced to do so.

While I don’t think all these new fad runs are dangerous, I think that because of their popularity race officials should be more aware of the potential injuries or dangerous situations that might occur and prepare accordingly. And if you love these runs – great! It’s always fun to find new, exciting challenges that get you and your friends running.

Happy running! πŸ™‚

Beer + Running

beerracesPeople everywhere are discovering the joys of running. And beer. With the number of running participants growing exponentially in the past few years, it’s easy to find a race to enter every weekend of the year. Creating new race themes also seems to be in vogue, so with craft beer on the rise around the country, pairing the two seems like the next logical step.

Some of my favorite races are the ones that incorporate beer into them. I’ve gotten pint glasses from a half marathon and a four-miler that I’ve run. I still feel a sense of pride every time I pull them out of the cabinet to use. Local pubs and bars often sponsor races and discounted pints after the race. And while I’m not a fan of running and drinking at the same time – I’d rather enjoy my frosty brew as a post-race reward – beer races are growing in popularity. There’s even a website devoted to beer races – willrunforbeer.com. Then there’s the Beer Mile where participants must follow strict rules regarding chugging beers in between running laps around a track.

Have fun finding your next beer race. Happy running and remember to drink responsibly! πŸ˜€

 

(Note: The illustration was created by artist John Hendrix for Peter Sagal’s article in the September 2012 issue of Runner’s World.)

Intermediate Running

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A fellow blogger recently wrote about being classified as a beginning runner despite having run for close to a year. Said blogger also lamented about how there isn’t much information or support out there for people in between newbie running and those running longer (half marathons and beyond) distances.

So,Β Geek Fitness, this is for you.

What do you do if Β you’ve been running for a while and can run for prolonged periods, but aren’t quite at the point where you can, or want to, run longer distances? You’re happily running between these two categories and want support but can’t find it.

While there are plenty of resources involving intermediate training programs for longer races like half or full marathons, finding information for those running on an intermediate level can indeed be tricky. When I searched online and in various running books for any resources under the label of “intermediate running” I couldn’t find anything! Then I started thinking, what makes a runner fall into the intermediate category? Is it running more than twice a week? Or is it running at a certain pace? Is it when you’re ready to introduce hill or interval training into your routines? Or is it when you are ready to train for a 10k or another longer race? Because every person, and thus every runner, is different, then those questions are unique to each individual runner. And when you can answer that question, you’ll Β start to find there are many resources out there that will provide support for intermediate runners.

As I can’t answer that question for anyone else except myself, I’ll do just that. I actually consider myself, happily, to be an intermediate runner still despite having run for about ten years and having half marathons, 10ks, and many 5ks under my belt. The reason I place myself in that category is because I don’t run intervals, do speedwork, extensive hill training, or time my splits, nor do I want to. I don’t know my 5k PR and don’t feel bad about having no desire to ever run a marathon. I love running and I love reading about running and learning how to become a stronger runner, so I find topics that will help me do just that. So I started searching for articles and online resources for things that would help me improve as an intermediate runner like strength training exercises for runners, how to train safely without injury (still have a while before I master that one!), and the best way I can build my mileage each week. I can find like minds on websites like dailymile.com and by following my favorite running blogs like another mother runner.

I realized, thanks Geek Fitness, that there’s a lot of topics out there for intermediate runners, like myself, it just depends on what you’re interested in and where you want to go as a runner.

Happy running! πŸ˜€

My Running Story

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“I feel like going for a run…” These words sealed my fate as a runner seven years ago. I knew nothing about running when I had this thought. I figured I would throw on any old pair of sneakers and run around the town I lived in at the time until I’d put a few miles under my belt and decided to return home sweaty and happy. Haha! Instead, I put on an old t-shirt, a pair of shorts, and a tread-worn pair of sneakers, headed out my door at a jog – and made it halfway down the block. Not even a city block, a short suburban block. Pretty demoralized, I didn’t run again until a few months later when a friend of mine who was an avid runner said she would run with me and help me along the way.

Still wearing the same worn out clothes and sneakers, we drove to a nearby park that had a great dirt trail that was both flat and easy on the knees. The conditions couldn’t have been more ideal – blue skies, no humidity, warm but not too hot. Birds were chirping, the trees spreading their leafy canopies over the trail providing blissful patches of shade. I managed to jog with intermittent walking for about twenty minutes before being completely wiped out. Even with walking breaks, my lungs felt like they were on fire, my limbs ached, and I felt like I was running in slow motion – definitely not like those glossy pictures of fit runners in magazines like Runner’s World with their toned, sinewy muscles and lean midriffs. But even with all that, I loved it. Maybe it was the masochistic side of me, but I wanted more.

I had only run a couple of weeks when a friend of mine told me about a race called Bay to Breakers that was happening in May. It is a 12k run through the streets of San Francisco, up the notoriously difficult Hayes Street Hill, with most of its participants donning costumes for the event. I would have only been running for a little more than a month, but feeling that having a goal would help motivate me to continue running I agreed to join her. While this goes against the rule of only increasing mileage 10 percent each week, running this race actually worked in my favor. I think that if I hadn’t had the goal of that upcoming race I might not have stuck with my weekly runs and wouldn’t have gotten the love of running rooted deep in my life.

My first race through the hilly streets of San Francisco officially sealed the deal for my love of running. I had two goals during the race – to finish and to not stop running. Bay to Breakers was a perfect race because there was so much to distract me as I ran. People everywhere were in costumes (I wore a pink tutu), most everyone was there to just have fun so there were a ton of people cheering runners along the course and the mood was happy. It got to the purity of the run because I wasn’t worrying about negative splits or checking my pace on my Garmin or aiming for a new PR.

After that first less than stellar run, I’ve grown a lot as a runner. But I haven’t forgotten where I started and always try to keep those initial days in mind whenever I’m encouraging others to put on their sneakers and go for jog.

Happy Running! πŸ˜€

Running a Half Marathon

halfmarathonMarc Parent, author of the Newbie Chronicles in the Runner’s World magazine, wrote an article for the February 2013 issue documenting his first half marathon running experience. For years Parent has been writing about his experiences in becoming a runner and growing to love it. I love his article as I could relate to many of his stories. When I first began running I never dreamed that I would run in any race let alone a half marathon. It wasn’t that I was unfit, but when it came to prolonged cardio activities I definitely had a lot of room for improvement. (I’ll post about my first running experience in a near future post.)

My first half marathon wasn’t anything like Parent’s experience. I ran in the Delaware Half Marathon, my first, in 2009. A combination of my naivety and the circumstances of the day made for a rough run. Since I was coming in from out of town, a friend who was running in the same race offered to pick up my race packet the day before and give it to me before the race. Except for some reason she took out the bib number and subsequently forgot it at her apartment. Which meant I had to run around the morning of to try and obtain a new number, something that baffled the race volunteers – guess that doesn’t happen very often. By the time I finally got a new bib number a light drizzle had begun to fall. No problem I thought. I’d run in the rain before and wasn’t worried about it affected my ability to run or finish the race.

By the time I lined up at the start, the rain had begun to come down with more intensity. At the official’s signal I took off – way too fast. I pounded out the first few miles, waving happily to my girlfriend who later said she couldn’t believe how quickly I ran past her at the three-mile mark. By that time it was pouring and I was soaked through and through. The course wasn’t particularly difficult, but I soon realized how ill-prepared I was for this half-marathon. Around mile 6 I got a cramp in my side so painful that I was forced to walk for the next half mile. Eventually I was able to run once more, but at a much slower pace. My intention had always been to just finish the race as it was my first half marathon, so I didn’t worry about my pace focusing instead on the finish line.

Around mile 11 I hit the dreaded wall. My legs were had tightened and I had hit the bottom of my reserves. I ran/walked the last couple of miles and managed to move past the pain to cross the finish line. I don’t even remember my time. I just remember the feeling of euphoria and relief at crossing through the finishing gate. Despite the less than stellar run, I felt like I could conquer the world. And I knew I wanted to run another half marathon, only next time I’d be more prepared. πŸ™‚

(Note: I ran in the Philadelphia Half Marathon in 2011 and loved every minute of it. I had trained well and finished with a time of 2:06. My goal for the half marathon, yet to be determined, this year is to break 2 hours.)

Happy running!

 

Running Skirts – To Wear or Not to Wear

runningskirts  I recently finished reading Run Like a Mother by Dimity McDowell & Sara Bowen Shea. In it they touted the wonderfulness of running skirts over shorts or spandex. While I’ve seen women wearing skirts at many races I’ve gone to, I had never considered wearing one myself. But when I read about how fun and practical they are to wear, I started thinking twice about solely wearing shorts and spandex while running.

It seems as though there are a lot of pros regarding wearing running skirts:

1. Comfort – With built in briefs underneath created to prevent riding up, skirts allow for more freedom of motion as opposed to the shorts which have an unfortunate tendency to bunch while running.

2. Keep Cool – Allows air to circulate freely while wicking away sweat.

3. Fits runners of all shapes and sizes – A flat waistline fits snugly without the tightening elastic that a lot of running shorts and spandex tend to have. Runningskirts.com also sells maternity skirts.

4. Storage – Roomy pockets are found on many running skirts make for convenient holding places for keys, cash or gels.

5. Fun and stylish – With unique patterns in exciting colors these skirts would make going out for a run even more enjoyable.

With so many benefits, I’m already shopping around for my first running skirt! πŸ™‚

Happy Running!