Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!!

2013 was a pretty good year, running wise.  I ran a couple of good races and have consistently upped my mileage in the latter half of the year.  Here is looking forward to 2014 and meeting, beating and demolishing old pr's.  My goals for the coming year include at least one half marathon and, hopefully, an improving pace.

Best wishes and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Slower Kids?

This article from The Telegraph suggests that kids today are not as fit as the kids of 40 years ago:


While my son runs almost twice as fast as I do now, I sure do wish I had a record of my times from when I ran cross country in high school.  Yes, it still wouldn't be a fair comparison given the gender difference, but it would still be interesting to see.  I'd also love to see how my daughter compares to my time from then, despite the fact that she is a self-professed "non-runner."

Reading that article makes me glad I have active kids.  Think I'll challenge them to become even more so.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sniggle Snaggle 5k

Finished today's race 50 seconds faster than my last 5K.  I'll take that!


The weather was cooperative - wet roads, but no rain at least. I'm still trying to get accustomed to breathing colder air. First mile my lungs felt like they were on fire, but by the start of the second mile it was improving.  I am happy to report even though my over all time was no where near what I ultimately want it to be, I did have negative splits this race.  I had originally intended to warm up by running to the school where the race was held, but the hubby decided not to go, so I had to drive my daughter there so she could work the race. (She did an amazing job as always working side by side with Debbie, as did Elaine and Cindy pictured with me above - we have a great crew!)

Here's looking forward to the next one and hoping I can keep shaving off those minutes!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Changes in Attitudes

I love running magazines.  Every once in a while I see something in one that makes me wonder.  That was the case when I picked up a recent copy and read a letter about a reader’s exchange with another runner.  The letter writer had gone to a race that had both a half marathon and a 5k.  Another runner asked her if she was doing the half and she told her no, that she was running the 5k.  The snide response she received was, “well, at least you’re running.”  The magazine stood up for the 5k’er, making the argument that one can truly race a 5k as well as run an “easy” marathon.

The problem is that’s not the only time I’ve seen runners downplay the efforts of others.  In the comments section of a popular running gear source’s status on Facebook, runners were asked to list their pet peeves.  Most of the pet peeves were legit – aggravation with others who go slow and won’t allow a runner to pass, walkers and slow runners that toe the start line when they should start further back and closer to their own pace group.  But two of the pet peeves which were listed repeatedly seemed to me to just be rather, for lack of a better word, snitty.

The first one was wearing a race shirt on race day, before you’ve run the race.  Yes, some runners are superstitious and feel like if you haven’t “earned” it, you shouldn’t wear it.  Ok, well if you feel that way, don’t . . . but don’t make rude comments about spotting the newbies and pointing out those who chose to wear their shirts.  Here’s a little revelation . . . not everyone has lots of running gear to choose from.  It may be that the technical shirt they just received is better than what they wore to run in.  And guess what else?  Not everyone that gets one of those shirts has even run the race.  I’ve got a lot of running shirts that I “earned” by volunteering to work the race.  At almost all the races I work, I’m offered a shirt as a matter of fact and so are the rest of the volunteers.  Should we never wear those shirts because we didn’t run the race? You know what?  If it weren’t for all those volunteers, there wouldn’t be much of a race.  I volunteer about half of the weekends in the year.  I only get to run a few races a year because of that.  Do I wear those shirts I got for volunteering while I’m training?  You bet.  I am a working mom.  I don’t have the cash to outlay on scads of running gear.  There are a lot of runners out there who may not have that kind of money either.  Don’t gripe because they wear their shirt on race day.  They’re happy to be there and excited for the race they are about to run, don’t spoil it for them.

The second “snitty” pet peeve mentioned was seeing shorter distance runners with fuel belts/hydration belts.  Honestly?  Why do people care what gear other people see to outfit themselves with?  That is so petty.  I have asthma.  If you have ever used an inhaler, you know that it can leave a nasty tasting, gummy feeling in your mouth.  If you need to use an inhaler, you don’t have time to wait until the next water stop.  During my training runs I wear a hydration belt.  It does not matter if I’m going long or short.  Sometimes I leave the house not knowing where or how far I’m going, I just take it by feel.  During a 5k, I stick a small water bottle in my sports bra.  I don’t care what people think about this.  I have water should I need it.  And I can tell you it is pretty amusing when some of my fellow runners look at me like they wish they’d brought some water too.  Again, don’t worry about what other runners are wearing --worry about what gear you are wearing.  The right gear can make a huge difference in your running experience.  If a hydration belt makes it easier for a shorter distance runner, why should you let it bother you? 

If you’re a runner, it is my opinion that you should try to avoid coming off as snide, petty or “snitty.”  All you’re managing to do by having a bad attitude is setting a bad example for other runners and discouraging newer runners.  Those newer runners may someday be the next batch of ultra-marathoners.  Our sport is full of wonderful people, people who go out of their way to help others.  Don’t be the bad apple of the bunch by having an elitist attitude.

Hello and Welcome!

Hello and welcome to the first post of my brand spanking new running blog!

In June of 2012 I was selected as the member of the month of the running club I belong to, Salisbury Rowan Runners.  The questions I answered then seem a good way to introduce you to me now, so here is that interview:

When, how did you start running?

I started running seriously in high school.  I was on the cross country team.  Incidentally, that’s also how I found out I was allergic to cedar.  There was this one particular spot on the course our coach had marked out where my allergies would just kick in full force.  It took me a while to figure out what the trigger was.  Once I did, I’d pull my shirt up over my nose and mouth as I got near that stand of trees and dash through like the wind!

 What motivates you to keep going? 

I have this picture that I just adore.  It’s of a silhouetted runner and it says “There will be a day when I cannot run.  Today is not that day.”  Staying active is what keeps us young. 

What are some of your hobbies and interests? (Please answer, I would like people to know you write, and that you are talented in so many other ways)

My spare time is spent doing the things I really love.  In addition to working with SRR, I write, paint, cook, read, and enjoy spending time with my family.  I’ve written a cookbook as well as a novel (which I hope to have published sometime soon).  I recently sold one of my paintings.  I love theatre and music.  I enjoy shopping, especially for shoes and jewelry.  I get a kick out of exploring new places and revisiting old favorites.  I believe that if you’re going to do something, it should be something you truly enjoy.  You’re trading away a day of your life for what you’re doing, so make it worth it. 

Who are your family members?

Chris is my husband and I have two really awesome kids, Rhys and Teagan.  Most everyone would recognize Rhys from running and Teagan has been helping out at the results table.  Chris is the quiet one.  Most people don’t notice he is there unless something goes wrong and he steps up to help out.  I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention our pets.  We have Cooper, an Italian greyhound/Chihuahua mix we adopted from a rescue (who thinks he is human).  We also have the ancient and esteemed cat, O.C. (short for Orange Cat),  two bunnies – Chloe and Claudia, two Schneider’s skinks – Craig and Fergie and Skyper the bird. 

What is your favorite food before; after a race? 

My favorite food is sushi, not before a race, but definitely as a post-race treat.  I gave up meat, but I still eat fish and seafood.  The night before a race, there’s usually some form of pasta at my house.  If Rhys gets to choose it will be quinoa spaghetti.

What is your ideal running/jogging weather?  

I have asthma so cold weather is painful to run in, but cool autumn weather is my favorite.  No allergy issues, no overheating.

What advice would you give a beginning runner?

1.       Drink lots of water, but make sure to give yourself ample time to go to the restroom before the race.  It’s a crowded place right before race time. 

2.       Show up to the race early so you don’t have to wait in long registration lines.  That way you can also take your time stretching and reading over the course map. 

3.       If you listen to music as you run, please, please, please don’t put your ear buds in until the race is underway.  At the beginning of the race the race director will be giving vital information that you need to be aware of….things like “if you don’t turn in your card, you will not be counted,” or “stay in the left lane both out and back due to traffic,” or “the course has changed, it now goes…”  

4.       Also, at the end of the race, just before you cross the finish line, pull your ear buds out.  The people at the finish line and results table will be saying things to you and you will need to answer. 

5.       If you are new to racing or you are, like me, a slow runner, please move back in the starting line-up.  Let the really fast people have the front of the line.  This keeps them from getting frustrated with you and keeps you from getting trampled by them.  If you are walking the race, move to the very back of the line-up. 

6.       When you pass someone in a narrow area, it is courteous to call out, “on your left,” before passing them on their left hand side.  No one likes to feel they are being run off the road and runners in general are courteous, helpful people.  I’ve watched people give up a chance at a medal to stop and help an injured runner. 

7.       Wear your bib on the front unless otherwise instructed and keep it visible so it can be seen by the people at the results table.  That’s how they know who you are and mark your place accordingly. 

8.       Never wear brand shoes or gear on race day.  Break it in and test it out first. 

9.       Bodyglide is your friend, blisters are not. 

10.     Unless you’re a guy who has a physique like Brad Pitt, please keep your shirt on.   

11.     Never drink anything but water prior to a race.  If you feel you must break this rule, please move (far) away from the results table before you puke…because you will. 

12.     Don’t crowd the results table trying to see how you or your aunt or your second-cousin-twice-removed finished.  The people working the tables are working under a lot of pressure to be fast and accurate.  They will be more than happy to accommodate your request of “what’s my time?” after the race is fully over and they’ve tabulated the results and gotten the times off to the person announcing the awards.  When dealing with SRR, the times will also be posted on the website (salisburyrowanrunners.org).  

13.     Be aware of where you are standing.  I can’t tell you how often I see people turn in a card and then just linger between the chute and the results table, blocking the way of others wanting to turn in their cards.  If you’re asked to move, don’t take it personally.  A fun run may be starting or you may be blocking the view of the chute.  Either way, if you’re asked to move, the people asking aren’t trying to be rude, they are only trying to get a job done. 

14.     Don’t leave until after the awards are over.  Even if you don’t think you won anything, it never hurts to wait and see.  If there are only three people in your age group, even if you finish dead last, you’re taking home an award.  Also, there may be door prizes or special awards.  The best reason of all to hang around is to cheer and applaud for others.  It can be really discouraging for the last age group announced if there is only a smattering of applause left for them.  They deserve it just as much as the first group announced. 

15.     Don’t be afraid to speak to people and make friends.  Runners are almost always tickled pink to share information . . . where the next great race is, what kind of shoes they are wearing, where they shop, good websites  . . . and you never know, you may find your next training partner that way too. 

16.     Most important of all, have fun.  Running is a great sport and it is great for you, but you won’t do it if you don’t enjoy it.  Keep a positive attitude.  Even if you finish last, you’ve accomplished something.


What is the most memorable moment in/during a race?

If I’m running, it’s the point where the finish line comes into sight.  If I’m working the race, it is when someone I’ve never met before comes up to me and says thank you.

 What is your favorite genre of music to listen to while running?

Oh Lord! Anyone who checked out my mp3 player would think I was totally schizophrenic.  I listen to so many genres.  Right now the playlist labeled running has the following artists: Christina Aguilera, Faster Pussycat, Jet, Sweet, Ramones, Marilyn Manson, Vampires Everywhere, Joan Jett, Cee Lo Green, GNR, Jimmy Buffett, Lady Gaga, Timo Descamps, LMFAO, Mechanical Moth, and Scatterbrain.

As the go-to person of results, what is it about this position that keeps you coming back for more….

When my son ran his first 5k (Bare Bones 2007) it took several days before the results were posted online.  Some races (not all SRR races btw) it took weeks before we saw anything online, if ever.  As he began to run races more frequently, sometimes every weekend, I began to think, “Hey you know, I think I could help get this done.”  Finally, I offered to help SRR with the results since my typing and Excel skills made things go faster.  I like helping other people and I know that people want to see the official results as soon as possible.  It makes me feel good to know I can provide that.  God gave me the ability, it would be wrong of me not to make good use of it.

The best part of being a member of SRR is…….

Knowing that I’m helping not only the runners wanting to see their results, but indirectly helping support the community with the charities to which SRR is a benefactor.