Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Running Happy New Year New You Year! What?

Happy New Year! Each year we are faced with new year's "to do's" by authorities around the world. This year is no exception. The cover of many magazines, well almost every magazine, carry headlines that it is time for a "New You!". Sometimes I think at the stroke of midnight we should all yell "Happy New You!", because that's what we are all told will/should happen. In the running community, things are really no different. Many running publications whether it be the magazine or online formats promote the same theme. Where were they in July?

Andy Rooney, of the CBS News program 60 Minutes, would have a ball with this. His humor would attack the theme of "It's Time for a New You" from many directions. Not pretending to even have an ounce of his talent, I can't help but take a look at the cover of one of the leading running magazines and have some fun with it. Runner's World has several cover story headlines that just invite a comment or two. Let's take a look at a few:

New Year, New You an inside look at "What kind of runner are you? Were you born to run a fast 5K, a strong marathon, or something in between? Here's how to find out- and how to realize your full potential." Actually not a bad article, but I don't know what I was born to run. No one has told me. The article sounds like you are supposed to choose by January first and then stick with it. What if you change your mind? Do you have to wait until the 2010 issue to see what to do?

28 Tips to Lose Weight, Get Inspired, Achieve Any Goal Why did they stop at 28? Have you ever wondered who comes up with these numbers? I would have done better with maybe 10. But could I have used 40? Who knows.

No Time to Train? 20-Minute Workouts If I don't have any time to train, where am I going to find 20 minutes? For some people they might as well have said 60 minutes or maybe 5.

Beginners, Feel Good on Every Run So does that mean that if I am not a beginner I can't feel good on every run. I'd like to meet a beginner that felt good on every run. I'd like to meet anyone that felt good on every run!

A Better Way To Breathe OK, now they've got me scared. There's another way?

Do You Tie Your Shoes Wrong? Well, no, I think that I am doing ok. I've been doing it for a long time and no one has told me that I am doing it wrong. I knew there was something I missed that day I was absent in Kindergarten!

Why We Need Running Partners Not being an early morning runner, if I run in the early hours, I really do need a running partner to help me find my way back home. Not quite awake!

Cut Calories, Boost Nutrition- Holiday Meal Makeovers How many people are really going to read this article before February?

On a more serious note. While it is fun to make a little fun at these Runner's World cover headlines, the articles that follow in the magazine are very well written and contain some high quality suggestions that I know will work to a certain extent for all of us. The January 2009 issue does contain excellent information in a very usable format. Easy to pick up and put into practice.

However, my favorite is the one on the cover of Adventure Magazine each month right underneath the magazine name: Dream It, Plan It, Do It. All kidding aside, that's got some power! Have a Happy New Year, and may 2009 hold all the best for you!

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

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Running Journals

I received a running journal as a gift for Christmas. As I opened it, I realized just what I had in front of me. It was to become the "year in review" for 2009. Today the journal is empty. But what possibilities exist for each page! I can't wait to write down each and every training run, cross training session, rest day, or whatever I choose to write about. The running journal takes on a life of its own. Every step that I will take in 2009 will be recorded there for me to look back on and see just what I accomplished and the races that I ran in as well as the gear that I wore each day.

There are so many ways to keep a running journal. There are the written ones like I just got, the computerized program journals, and the journals that are a part of a Garmin or other brand of wrist technology. Whatever the type, the possibilities for analysis are endless. Overwhelming to some, just right for others. The flow of information is only limited by the one putting in the data. No matter if you are a 5K runner or an ultra-marathoner, I think that it is extremely important to keep track of what you do each day. It is also important to keep track of how you felt about your training and what changes you might make. It's difficult to do that if you can't look back at something and see how your run went a few weeks ago or months ago. So what am I going to put in my journal?

Well, here is a list of things that I will try and keep up with:
* Date and Time of training run
* Weather conditions for the day
* Distance for that day's training run (I will also fill out the week in advance so I can see what is coming up.)
* What gear I used that day and how I felt about how it performed
* Where I ran
* If it was a race, how I did and comments about race strategies that I used.
* Who I ran with, if not by myself
* Enter into the journal when I started wearing a new pair of shoes so I can keep track of the mileage. (Also keep track of my two pairs of shoes wear rotation.)
* Weekly and Monthly mile totals
* General comments about how I felt that day

So there you have it. Some ideas about what to write in your running journal. I am sure if you are writing in one you have many ideas too. These work for me. If you don't have one I would suggest you start one just to see the things that you have accomplished. You will be amazed at what you can do!

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

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dallas White Rock Marathon

Just got back from running the Dallas White Rock Marathon on December 14th. What a great experience it was! It is a fantastic marathon. Great course and the volunteers were amazing. It was great to have Andy, Larry, and Joel there to run with.

Race day started out with a 4:00AM wake-up. Then we made our way into Dallas for the 8:00AM start. Parking can be an issue as it was for many this year who had to run to the start from vehicles that they had to leave due to traffic backups. It was really important to get there early to get into the lots. At 7:00AM I hosted an FCA Team Endurance meeting that was well attended by many individuals and we had a very meaningful devotion time to start our day. The confetti start is one of the best in the country. We had higher than usual temperatures and a strong wind to contend with the entire race. Larry Barthlow (Elite Runner Coordinator) was quoted in the Dallas Morning News as saying that his coach stated that "for every mile per hour in your face, it's minus 1.5 seconds [per mile]". Winning times according to the newspaper were 2:22:07 by Noah Serem of Kenya and 2:37:14 by Svetlana Ponomarenko of Russia. The winning times were the slowest since 2002 and 2006 for the men and women respectively. There were 6,360 marathoners, 7,000 half-marathoners, and 3,000 marathon relay runners. I also had a chance to visit with Barefoot Rick, a fantastic runner with many accomplishments.

A very special thanks to Sheri, Larry's wife, for the great photography. Below in the next two pictures, Andy and I are finishing the marathon together. (3:48:58) Andy did a great job (a marathon PR) and it was incredible to run with him!

Below, Larry is showing his great finishers medal and is happy that we had such a nice day to run the race! Larry is a fantastic runner, a great friend, and bakes a medal winning apple pie!

My apologies to Joel. At Blog time, I didn't have a picture to put in. Hopefully, I will get one soon.

For the most part, the race was well run. Registration and packet pick-up were very well organized as were the expo booths. I was interested at why some of the major shoe brands were not represented at the expo. It was really strange not to see them at a major U.S. marathon. I will always be curious at why a Sleep Number bed company was there instead of a running gear company. The expo did have a very good small display for those interested in cycling.

The race volunteers were some of the best I have ever seen. At the aid stations, there were always plenty of people to help and they were really into the race day with enthusiasm. The course was challenging but fair although the wind did make itself known quite well as we rounded White Rock Lake. Not the organizers fault though. The marathon has a great finish at the American Airlines Center. The crowd was large and very supportive. However two areas that race officials can improve on would be the after race food and also there was no designated meeting place for runners and their families as was advertised in race material. This caused lots of confusion.

But you know, when you have a great race, can be around great friends, enjoy outstanding weather, and be able to start your day with FCA Team Endurance, it doesn't get much better than that! I encourage all of you interested in running a marathon in Texas to sign up next year for the Dallas White Rock Marathon. Meanwhile Andy, Larry and I are looking forward to our next marathons: the Chevron Houston Marathon in January and the Austin Marathon in February.

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