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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Coaching or Personal Training Can Help Jump Start Your Goals!

When I decided last year that I wanted to work hard and try to qualify for Boston, I knew I would need help. I would have loved to hire a coach, but that was a little out of my budget so I had to use what I had available to me.

I work for 1-800 Contacts and our company has a great health and wellness program. We have access to a beautiful gym with personal trainers at our disposal for help at no charge. So over the winter I decided to add some strength training to my running and for the first time, I worked with a personal trainer.

My trainer Suzy was AWESOME and she kicked my butt! Not only did I see results in my strength and weight loss, I also felt a huge difference in my running. The cross training not only made me stronger, it made me faster and I accomplished my goal of qualifying for Boston.

Just before my BQ attempt in Ogden, Suzy took another job and left the company. I had my BQ and with Spring in full bloom, I just wanted to spend more time outside and less in time in the gym. Well this was probably not the best idea with my 100 mile training taking over. If I could use some extra strength for anything, it would be for running 100 miles! So with a little over a month before Arkansas Traveller 100, I am back in the gym to try and get back on track. My new trainer Joe is great! He kicked my butt (and my arms and abs)!

Meet my new trainer, Joe!

I know a lot of people that have a coach to help them reach their goals. If you can swing it financially, I highly recommend it. Like a Personal Trainer, not only are they there to create a training plan to help you reach your goals, they offer the extra push needed to reach your full potential. 

I could work out alone and be fine, but it's easy to do less when I am tired. I need someone to kick my butt when I get lazy!

Coach or Personal Trainer, sometimes a little help and commitment (on your part to work hard) can help move your running to a new level.

Monday, August 24, 2015

I Am A Streaker!

OK, before anyone gets the wrong idea, I am not talking about stripping all my clothes off running around town like Will Ferrell in "Old School". When I say streaking, I am referring to a running streak.

I had big goals for 2015, so big some people suggested that I split them into two years as the training for a Boston Qualifier and a 50 and 100 mile ultra marathon are very different. I was motivated at the time, but I was going to need and incredible amount of motivation to train (basically alone), for such lofty goals.

One day I was on the phone with Houston Wolf (a fellow Maniac and Streaker). I told him my goals, and being as crazy as I am when it comes to running, he encouraged me to start a running streak. He said it had really helped him get out the door everyday. He said for the streak to count you have to run at least one mile everyday. I wasn't sure how I could do it. Then he said, "How long does it take to run a mile?" I said, "Well, even at a slow pace it would take less than 10 minutes."  He came back with, "Come on! You can do anything for less than 10 minutes!" He was right and the streak started 8/24/14.

It wasn't always easy. I was traveling a lot and sometimes had to do my streak run in jeans and boots around airports to get it in. The day after the Big Cottonwood Marathon in mid September, I ran with a 102 degree temperature. I only ran a very slow and easy mile, but I got it in. In late October, I injured my SI joint during the Marine Corps Marathon and for the next month, my runs looked more like hobbling than running, but I got that one mile in.

So here I am one year after starting my streak and what has streaking done for me? Well, a lot. It made getting out that door a habit. Even when I didn't want to get up early or run late after work, the streak kept me going. This led to better training for my goals. I wanted to run a 50 miler this year, CHECK! I wanted to get fast enough to qualify for Boston (something that I NEVER thought I would do), CHECK! I wanted to run every day for at least one year and be included in the United States Running Streak Association's list of streakers- CHECK!

I still have 2 goals on my list (running a 100 miler and completing my 100th marathon/ultra), which I hope to achieve on Oct 3rd-4th at the Arkansas Traveller 100. None of this would be possible if I had not started my streak.

Thanks to everyone that has encouraged (or put up with) me during this past year. I promise there will fewer selfies now! Thanks Houston for inspiring me to get on this crazy streak. I will always be grateful to you for that.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Runners Cheat? Say It Ain't So!

If you are like me, then you too have this blind trust that all runners are really good people. Whether it be by the obligatory wave as you pass each other on the road or trail or the offer of an extra gel when you forget yours during a race, I have always thought of runners as friendly, honest and trustworthy. Basically morally above all other people.

I remember doing the Mississippi Blues Marathon in 2013, when a man I had met on the plane told me he was also a Marathon Maniac and he offered me a ride to the expo. I would never get into a car with a strange man I had never met before, but I immediately got into the car with him without a fear in the world. Why? Because he was a runner. I just thank goodness he was only a Marathon Maniac and not just a maniac!

I did the the same thing when I went to dinner. A Marathon Maniac invited me to dinner and off I went on a 45 minute trek in a car through Jackson with someone I had only met once, but he was a runner, so he was a good guy right? Turns out both guys are now good friends, but in any other instance, I would be more safe.    

In my mind runners worked hard, were committed to doing their best and followed the race rules regardless of convenience, but over the last year or two it seems I have been a little naive. I have had the rude awakening that runners are people too! Yes folks, I know it's hard to believe, but there are liars, cheaters and unscrupulous runners out there! Just don't tell me there is no Santa, my heart couldn't take it!

Wikipedia sited quite a few unscrupulous runners:
  • Rosie Ruiz was the first female finisher of the 1980 Boston Marathon, but her result was immediately questionable. In the wake of suspicion about Ruiz, her results in the 1979 New York City Marathon were invalidated and then her Boston result was stripped.

Rosie Ruiz
  • During the 2005 Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC, a group of about eight Canadian runners called Jean's Marines cut four miles from the marathon in order to avoid a time cut-off on the course. The team was barred from running the 2006 edition of the marathon.

  • Roberto Madrazo, a Mexican presidential candidate in 2006, had his results invalidated in the 2007 Berlin Marathon. According to his timing chip, Madrazo skipped two checkpoints on the course and covered one nine-mile segment in 21 minutes (faster than world-record speed for such a distance).
  • Kip Litton, a dentist in Davison, Michigan, has been linked to suspicious results in many races; his alleged cheating is the subject of a 2012 New Yorker feature article, Marathon Man: A Michigan dentist’s improbable transformation. Litton has been disqualified from races including the 2009 City of Trees Marathon, 2010 Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon, the 2010 Missoula Marathon and the 2010 Delaware Marathon.
  • At least 30 of the top 100 finishers in the 2010 Xiamen International Marathon either rode public transport during the race or hired other runners to carry their electronic timing chips. Competitive finishes in the marathon earned runners points toward entries into China's highly competitive universities.
  • After finishing 3rd in the 2011 Kielder Marathon, Rob Sloan eventually admitted to cutting the course by taking a bus between the start and finish.
Rob Sloan
  • Kevin Goodman, a prominent Cleveland businessman, claimed to have helped victims of the Boston Marathon bombings after having run the 2013 Boston Marathon, but marathon officials stated they had no record of Goodman starting or finishing that race. Goodman’s results in the 2012 and 2013 Towpath Marathon were retroactively invalidated.
  • Jason Scotland-Williams made news among the London media who questioned his result in the 2014 London Marathon. Scotland-Williams’s results show that he ran the first half of the marathon in 2:07:05 and the second half in 1:01:42, world-class pace for the last 13.1 miles. News sources report that he may have jumped a barrier or skipped nine miles of the course. He denied any wrongdoing.
  • Tabatha Hamilton was disqualified after finishing as the first female of the 2014 Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon; race officials determined it was impossible for her to have run the last half of the marathon in 49 minutes without cutting the course. According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Hamilton said "that she completed the full marathon and the disqualification was a mistake."
  • Kendall Schler finished first among women at the 2015 St. Louis Marathon but officials determined she had not completed the entire course and Schler was disqualified. She was also retroactively disqualified from the 2014 St. Louis Marathon.
Kendall Schler

Most of these folks were caught (or accused of) cutting the course, but there is one way of cheating that is becoming more prevalent and here in Utah, it seems like people just turn a blind eye to it.

Most of us remember the stories from the 2014 Boston Marathon when many runners forged bibs to get into the race. It caused quite the uproar on social media, but what I am talking about is running a race with a bib that doesn't belong to you.

Runners forged bibs to run in the 2014 Boston Marathon!

People do it for many reasons. A friend gets hurt and can't run the race, why let the bib go to waste? Want to qualify for Boston or NYC but are not fast enough? Ask a fast friend to do it!

This practice may seem harmless to some, but make no mistake, if you run under another person's bib you're cheating. I have seen age group awards won and prizes taken by people NOT running with their own bib and in most cases they are in a different age group and/or gender!

As runners and racers, we should always respect the rules of the race we are running. When we sign up we all sign waivers and agreements saying we understand the rules and will follow them. That means if the race has a no transfer/no refund policy, we have to use our judgment on whether we are willing to risk losing money when we sign up. Yes, it sucks, but if you are not willing to take the risk, it's best to sit it out. Running is free, racing is not. I have lost quite a few clams on races I could not or decided not to run. 

Some runners may have different goals than getting an award. I know a girl that just wanted to make the top 10 in her age group. How would she or others feel if she was edged out by a man running under a woman's bib he bought off a Facebook page? In order to keep the sport fair, we ALL must follow the rules, not just the elites or faster runners, not just when the rules benefit us, we should always play fair. I won't even get into the safety issues involved, it's just good sportsmanship to follow the rules of the race.

The good news is, a lot of races are starting to offer more liberal transfer policies so those who register early and find out later that they can't run, are able to legally transfer their bib to another person.

Here in Utah, there is a Facebook page in Utah called Utah Bib Exchange that allows people to post bibs they want or want to get rid of. The owner of the page indicates that the page should be used for legal transfers only, but I don't think it's enforced by what I have seen on the page. In fact, I saw a post yesterday asking for a 1/2 marathon bib in return for a 1:30 PR and people were actually supporting this behavior until someone called him out.

Saw this on Utah Bib Exchange yesterday. I wish I could say I was shocked.

This is the kind of stuff that gives runners a bad name. Come on people! Let's play fair and live up to my fantasy that runners are the greatest and coolest people in the world!

We all want to run all the races and races are expensive, but you risk not only cheating others (by skewing results), you end up cheating yourself by posting a time you didn't earn.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Ultra Adventures Is The Coolest!

So, if you read my race report on the Full mOOn 50k, you may remember the awful time I had with my Ultimate Direction SJ vest. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE that vest, but I have the 1st edition which does not have the adjustable sides. I dropped some weight (and women tend to drop it up top before anywhere else), so my vest does not fit right anymore. With both bottles filled, it weighed a ton and it bounced all over, leaving some really bad chaffing. I knew I could not wear this vest for Arkansas Traveller 100, so the search was on.

With aid stations at AT100 from 4-6 miles apart, I knew I would be OK with one bottle, but holding a hand held for 100 miles will not work. I got tired holding my little flashlight for 20 miles at Full mOOn!

I have also grown to loathe anything around my waist, so I really did not want to wear a belt either. I don't like bladders because I can't see how much water is in them until I am out of water! Thea also are a pain to refill. If only there was a one bottle pack or vest out there! Oh wait! There is!

In my online search for what I thought was impossible, I came across the Orange Mud HydraQuiver. This was exactly what I was looking for, but at $85, I wanted some feedback from those that had used it.

The feedback was good for the double and single barrel options.

Then the nicest thing happened. I got a message from the good folks at Ultra Adventures, a race company here in Utah that puts on the most beautiful and rugged ultras around (see my Capitol Reef race report). Orange Mud happens to be a sponsor and they offered to send me a HydraQuiver.

I loved Ultra Adventures before, but I really love them now. It warms my heart how the ultra running community looks out for one another! THANK YOU ULTRA ADVENTURES and ORANGE MUD! I can't wait to rock this at AT100!!!

Check out the AMAZING Ultra Adventures races here:

Check out this and other Orange Mud products here: