Friday, August 29, 2008

Support of a Different Kind

We have talked about how important it is to support others in their running and cycling efforts many times. Over the next few days many people in the Gulf Coast area will face challenges that many of us will never experience. As you all are aware I'm sure, Hurricane Gustav has set it's sights on a region of the United States that was devastated just a few years ago. Evacuation orders are becoming a reality in the area and thousands of people are wondering just what will happen this time. How bad will it be? We can hope that it will lose some of its intensity and not hit the region so hard. The hurricane has already caused severe damage and loss of lives in its path in other areas.

As you go out the next few days on your roads and trails, whether you are running, riding, or walking, take a few minutes to send your thoughts and prayers of strength to the people of that region. Run one for them!

Forward we go! May your roads and Trails be happy and safe!

Helen Gold Run/Walk 10K and 5K- Overland Park, KS

Start off your fall racing schedule with a great race that is in the Kansas City area. The 2008 Helen Gold Run/Walk this year will have a 10K and a 5K. It will be September 13th starting at the Fountains Shopping Center in Overland Park, KS. You can register at or The races start at 8:00AM. This race is the largest contributor to Parkinson's Disease research in the Kansas City area. Race Director Bradley Brooks says," We offer a variety of participation levels because we want each person to feel uniquely inspired and empowered to combat this disease. We encourage everyone to choose the run or walk that's right for them to help us ultimately find a cure for Parkinson's". Have fun and enjoy the race!

Forward we go! May your roads and trails be happy and safe!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Run for the Hills

I know what the experts say about hill workouts or hill repeats as they are called. Most training plans call for a runner to find a hill of a certain grade and run up and down a number of times in a certain amount of time. Tried that. Results were not great. Didn't really see the benefits after I tried several published strategies. Progress was minimal.

Here are some of my thoughts. How many race courses use the same hill over and over? So why do you practice running hill repeats up and down the same hill? If you are running a marathon they don't reroute you back to the same hill like a hill repeat. That's like a ride at Disney World. You can just do it over and over. Same ride, same hill. It's like putting in your bathtub. How much variation is there with that one? It's like throwing a Frisbee into the wind over and over and wondering why you don't get better at it. It's like hitting one of those paddle ball things with the ball on the end of a rubberband. How good can it get?

For the past two months, I have been running two different training courses ( 6 and 9 miles) with several major and/or rolling hills throughout the routes that are of different grades and surfaces. Each hill has its own characteristic. No I haven't named them. Yet. To me, this simulates a true race course. One with a variety of challenges so that I can practice different strategies for the training run that day. I can reverse the courses and make the run harder due to the change in grades. I could on a given day run one twice. The benefits are already starting to show. I am using different muscles all of the time instead of the same ones doing hill repeats. I am running the courses faster each time and feel much more confident about upcoming race courses that will challenge me in the hill department. I am able to really reach out and develop good strides before the next hill. Good cross training which includes weight training helps a great deal too.

I know what the experts say, but.....See what you think. If you are running hill repeats, give what I have said here a try. See if you don't feel like it makes you more "race ready". We all find our strengths in different ways. We also have to try new ideas. So run for the hills. Work hard, but have fun!

Forward we go! May your roads and trails be happy and safe!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Will You Be On the Podium?

After several nights of watching the Olympics, it's obvious that getting to the medal podium is what most athletes strive for as a goal. Getting a gold, silver, or bronze medal is what it's all about right? Well, for an elite few yes. But for the rest of us, not really.

I think we all need to construct a podium in our backyards or rooftops. That way when we finish a great run or ride we can jump up on the podium, raise our hands up high, listen to the music, smile for the cameras, and bask in the glory if for only a few moments.

What makes the two groups the same? Goals.

The medal winners and many elite athletes set goals. Both for competition and training. The rest of us need to also. Whether it's training or racing, goals need to be set. What types of goals can you challenge yourself with? In running, it might be a setting a particular time for the entire distance that day. It might be that you ran a long run for endurance or a tempo run at the pace you set as a goal. It might be that you wanted to run a distance that you had never run before. In cycling, it could be that you want to climb a tough hill. You might also want to ride a distance that you have never accomplished before. It could be that you are riding with a group that you really want to stick with and not get dropped. It could be just to have fun. Whatever the situation, a goal needs to be set each time we step out the door.

So the next time you step out the door or when you set up your training plan for the week, set goals that you can work towards. Put your best effort into them. Accomplish what you set out to do. Then when you get home, get up on the podium and celebrate! If you listen real hard, you'll be able to hear me cheering for you.

Forward we go! May your roads and trails be happy and safe!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ultraman Dean Karnazes

I attended the one night showing of Dean Karnazes' movie 50 Marathons, 50 States, 50 Days last Thursday. It was outstanding! My first thoughts are that I hope that it does come out on DVD soon because I would like to watch it over and over again. Also, many people who could not attend that night missed an opportunity to see an elite runner really bring marathon and ultra-marathon running experiences to life through a very realistic lens.

Dean's goals were to raise awareness for youth obesity and to get America active. The movie captured the incredible journey that actually did take him to all 50 states. To run a marathon in all 50 states and also involve individuals of all ages in that in that journey was very meaningful. Many individuals joined Dean during all or some parts of each of the marathons and some even met up with him more than once. Some ran a few miles and some ran the entire marathon distance with Dean. Their comments were both thought provoking and sometimes humorous. In between the clips of each marathon were short segments of Dean running and talking about many things involving running. The movie also showed how much his family supports what he does and how important that is to him. There were several clips that illustrated how his family has contributed to much of his success. It was great to just hear him talk about so many things and how he got to where he is today and why.

It goes without saying that Dean pushes the limits of human endurance. But as I watched school children cheer him on and sometimes run with him and adults of all ages and abilities running with him it was very easy to see how he has inspired so many people over the past few years to start running. Thousands of people joined him across the country. It united people of all ages and abilities to "take the next step".

A lasting memory for me was one morning shortly after the New York City Marathon, the 50th, Dean headed down the hotel elevator in his running clothes, with a credit card and his cell phone back out into the early morning buzz of New York City to start the trek back where it all started with that first marathon. He said that he needed to "clear his head". To understand a runner. To understand running. One has to understand the training, the passion and the dedication.

Forward we go! May your roads and trails be happy and safe!