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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Race Rituals

The race - Race against Child Abuse
The distance - 10K

I'm SO antsy! As my first race of the season approaches I am getting so anxious! The good kind. The excited kind. The "I can barely contain myself!" kind. How do I quench the butterflies? Here's my plan of attack.

1 - First and foremost...Be Prepared!
  • I make sure I've trained well enough that I know I can at least do the distance.
  • I eat a good dinner and stay hydrated through-out the day before the race.
  • I try to get at least 8 hours of sleep during the 2 nights before the race.
  • I find directions to get to the race and where the parking is.
  • I lay out my clothes, Ipod, and and a plan for what I'm going to have for breakfast the night before.
2 - Do everything early race morning.

Wake up early. Get ready early. Arrive to the race early.

I HATE to be rushed on race morning. I need to save that adrenaline for running! Ideally I get to a race at least 30-40 minutes early so I can warm-up, stretch, mentally visualize how I'm going to run and take care of number 3.  No this does not involve a bodily function. It's the next step. ;)

3 - Take care of my pre-race rituals. I know, Silly right? But these are the things I have to make sure are done.

~ I have to make sure my laces are double-knotted and tied with equal pressure. I don't like if one shoe is fitting snugger than the other.
~ Visit the porta-pit about 15 minutes before start time. Even if I've gone 3 times during the morning, it's just something I have to do.
~ Then right before the gun I make sure my tunes are on, volume is perfect, and my finger is on the start button for the timer.

It may seems silly but having a set sequence of things you do before the race can actually CALM you. Check this out. Rather than trying to fight performance anxiety, elite athletes use pre-race rituals to help them manage it. They might listen to music on an iPod, pray, meditate, or go through a specific warm-up. Work on developing your own pre-race rituals and do them before every race, so they become familiar and relaxing. (1)

If you caught the speed skating at the 2010 Winter Olympics you might have seen Apolo Ohno yawning before his races and thought "Why doesn't he try to get more sleep?" Actually, this is one of his pre-race rituals.

Apolo Ohno - "Number one, it's a habit. Number two, it relaxes me," Ohno said. "I'm not tired at all. I have this visualization thing. I try to think I'm a lion when I'm on the ice. I notice lions yawn a lot." (2)
What are some of your pre-race rituals? Do you wear the same pair of socks to every race? Do you repeat a mantra? Do you make sure to apply the lucky chap stick and pant your toe nails bright red the night before? Come on, I wanna hear 'em!



Friday, April 23, 2010

Playlist Update

My music needs to be upbeat and energetic when I run to keep my pace going strong

Here's some more great tunes to add to your playlist.  Click the link for a download.

Hope you enjoy!  Oh, and if you have any suggestions for my Ipod, do tell!

For previous playlist posts, look to the right and click the "playlist" link under "Hot Topics".

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sign Up for a Race!

Need some motivation?  Try signing up for a race! 

This is by far the best thing I do for myself to keep me striving to go farther, do better, get faster, or just plain keep me going.  Plus you get to meet some great people.  The sense of community that runners have is amazing and encouraging.  Pressure's off!  Most races have different categories too (age, weight, distance, and sometimes pace) so your not up against the whole field.  Ever heard of the "Clydesdale" runners?  This is for you men with healthy appetites.  Really, runners come in many shapes and forms.  Don't be discouraged, give it a shot!  You'll find that this community cheers for everyone.

Set some sort of goal whether it be to finish in the top three, not to finish last, or just to finish.  After your first race you'll then have a time you can try and beat at your next race.  Or, as you're running find someone a little farther ahead of you that you would like to catch up to or pass.  Little accomplishments really can feel quite rewarding.  If all else fails, finish strong.  When you catch site of the finish line PICK UP THE PACE.  Not too soon though.  You'd rather be sprinting than crawling to the end right?  Above all...HAVE FUN!!!  After all you've probably got yourself a new T-shirt, some new friends, and hopefully a big prize from the raffle. 

Here's a couple of upcoming races in my neighborhood.  Click on the links for online registration. 

May 1st - Race Against Child Abuse
  • Offers 10k, 5k, or 1 mile
  • Early registration by April 24th
  • Place - Wellsville, UT
  • Time - 9:30

May 8th - Smithfield Health Days
  • Locate left side tab "Programs"
  • Use drop down menu to find "10 Health Days Fun Run"
  • Choose your distance - 10k, 5k, or 1 mile
  • Place - Smithfield, UT
  • Early registration - May 3rd

What's going on in your neck of the woods?  Here's some ways to find out. 

Find your local parks and recreation office.
Search online for local races.
Logon to your City or County website.
Ask your sporting good store if they have any race schedules
Check out...,, or
Runnersworld Race Finder

Good Luck!  See ya on the road!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Good Luck in Boston!

I just wanted to give a shout out to all those racers who will be running the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 19th.  Good Luck!!!

So in the spirit of things I thought I'd post some trivia on the Boston Marathon.  Enjoy!

~ The Boston Marathon course is 26 miles, 385 yards (42.195 kilometers)

~ About 25,000 runners compete in the Boston Marathon

~ Runners begin the Boston Marathon in two waves, beginning 30 minutes apart

~ The total prize money package for the Boston Marathon is $806,000

~ The winners of the Men and Women Open Division Winners each receive $150,000

~ Prize money was first awarded at the Boston Marathon in 1986

~ Since 1969 the Boston Marathon has always been run on Patriots' Day, the third Monday in April

~ About 500,000 spectators line the marathon route each year

~ Wheelchair athletes Ernst Van Dyk and Jean Driscoll hold the most Boston Marathon victories (8)

~ Johnny Kelley started a record 61 Boston Marathons, won twice and finished the race 58 times

~There were only 15 runners to start the first Boston Marathon in 1897

John J. McDermott won the first Boston Marathon in 1897 in a time of 2:55:10

~ Greg Meyer was the last American Man to win the Boston Marathon (1983)

~ Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach was the last American woman to win the Boston Marathon (1985)

~ 1966: Roberta Gibb became first woman to unofficially run the Boston Marathon

~ 1967: Katherine Switzer became first woman to receive official number, by using her initials to register

~ 1972: Women were first allowed to officially enter the Boston Marathon

~ In 2004 the Elite Women runners were given a separate, earlier start time from the main field

~ The largest field of runners was for the 100th Boston Marathon in 1996, when 36,748 runners started the marathon

~ Clarence DeMar was the oldest winner of the Boston Marathon at age 41 (1930)

~ 18 year-old Tim Ford was the youngest winner in Boston Marathon history (1906)

~ 173-pound Lawrence Brignolia is the heaviest runner ever to win the Boston Marathon

~ 1975: Boston became the first marathon to include a wheelchair division

~ 1936: Boston Globe reporter Jerry Nason nicknamed "Heartbreak Hill" in Newton
~ Twice in Boston Marathon history, just 1 second has separated the top two finishers. In 2009 Salina Kosgei edged out Dire Tune. In 1988 Ibrahim Hussein finished 1 second ahead of Juma Ikangaa.

~ Robert Cheruyiot, Clarence DeMar, Bill Rodgers & Cosmos Ndeti are the only champions to win the open division three consecutive years

~ In 1961 the racers faced 38-degree temperatures and snow squalls along the course

~ Water and Gatorade are provided every mile of the course. PowerGel is available at mile 17

~ 11,300 pounds of pasta and 2,825 quarts of tomato sauce are cooked for the official pre-race dinner

Facts from

Friday, April 16, 2010

Top 10 Reasons NOT to Exercise

10. They sell pants in size Bigger-than-you-think.

9. Who wants to live past age *fill-in-the-blank* anyway?

8. Hey, you still have a few Battlestar Galactica episodes to catch up on!

7. You don't want your husband/wife/
significant cat to miss seeing parts of you jiggle that were NOT Intended To Jiggle.

6. Two words: plastic surgery.

5. Since the majority of the population is putting on weight even as we speak, you already look thinner by comparison. I mean, you don't want to look gaunt, do you?

4. One word: liposuction

3. All right, so maybe airline seats are getting narrower, but wouldn't you rather travel some other way besides flying?

2. Gyms are full of annoying people.

and the number one reason not to exercise is...

1. Oh, sorry, my vending-machine pizza is ready. Gotta go chomp. I'll finish this later.

Brought to you buy

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Biker Shorts - Not a Fashion Statement

This is what I run in.

Clearly I'm not trying to achieve any fashion glory.  My sole purpose is comfort.  When I'm exercising (usually pounding out the milage) I don't want any slippage or rubbage going on.  You know what I mean.  No more grass fires or rashes in unwanted places.  No more lubin' the legs with vaseline and a popsicle stick.   Problem solved.  Oh, and when I'm doing some inclined sit-ups at the gym, no more free shows. 

I don't care what size you are, you should give it ago.  Tight is Right!


Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I did it! Yesterday, in the wee morning hours I headed to the gym (still too cold outside for my comfort) and climbed on the all too familiar treadmill with one purpose in mind. My 5k baseline. Right now I am trying to see just how fast I can get my 5k. I’ve done all the distances (except the ultras) and have chosen this goal for my motivation.  Being a busy Mom of three young children, the training fits in nicely with needs of my kids.  Plus it's just so dang fun!  I'm a little competitive and the short distances (5k/10k) is where I've seen success so why not try to go for the gold, right?

Back to my baseline. In order to formulate my goal pace I had to have a place to start.  So after a warm-up mile at a 9 min. pace...I went for it!  As I was going I decided that I wanted to try to get below 24 min. (I'm probably more competitive with myself than anyone else).  Well, after a couple miles I realized I was going to have to pick up the pace if I wanted to accomplish that so about every 1/4 mile I increased the speed a little bit.  Still, by 2.75 miles I was going too slow to beat 24 minutes and so I started running as fast as I felt I could go to the end...7 min. pace...6:30 min. pace...6 min. pace...5:54 min pace...HOLD IT.....I made it! BARELY - 23.59 minutes. Whew, how's that for cutting it close? The computer spat out that my average pace was 7.44 min.  Not too bad, I'm happy with it.

Now that I've got my baseline I can set a more realistic goal instead of just pulling one out of the air. And here it is - sub 22. By the end of this running season I want to be able to run a 5k under 22 minutes. Can I do it? I think so! I usually do better running outdoors and I have my first race in a couple weeks to test out my ambition. Wish me luck!

Fitness tip - To set a realistic goal, figure out your baseline.  What can you already do?  Then go from there.  Best wishes toward your goals!

Monday, April 5, 2010

WARNING~Shin Splints

With the warmer days coming (and then going, and then coming, and then...) I thought I'd throw in a post about a common injury that can happen to runners when they start hitting the pavement again after spending a season or two indoors on the treadmill...SHIN SPLINTS.

They can be caused by a number of things. Old shoes or wrong kind of shoes, running on hard surfaces when your not used to it, leaning too far forward over your feet while running which causes more strain on your toes, flat arch, running with your toes pointed outward, and sometimes one can get so overzealous that you may be doing too much-too fast.

Pain along the medial tibia bone (inner shin bone).  At first the pain may stop when activity ceases but after a while it may remain continously.


R.I.C.E. - Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation

Rest - Take a few days off.  Easy advice but SO hard to do. 

Ice - During the early stage, apply ice to the area for 15- 20 minutes increments.  Cryotherapy reduces inflammation and pain by slowing the blood flow.  Try writing the ABC's with your foot while you ice to help strengthen and stretch the muscles surrounding the area.  After this acute stage, alternate heat with the ice.  Applying heat dilates the blood vessels and increases the flow of blood to the tissues to aid healing.

Compression -  Applying compression to a wound prevents excessive swelling from occurring and should be applied for about 24-48 hours from the onset of injury (1).  There are many kinds of compression wraps and sleeves. Here are a few inexpensive options that provide the needed support.

An ace bandage or tape may also be used just be sure to not wrap it too tight as you could be doing more damage than good.  A test, check your toes after 5-10 minutes.  If they are discolored or cold, loosen the bandage.  For proper taping technique, check out this tutorial.

Elevation -  Do just that.  The injured limb should be elevated for as long as possible throughout the day for the first 48 hours (1).This slows blood flow to the injured area which again decreases swelling and pain. 

Prevention is key.  Above all, know what kind of shoe you need. If your shoes are a couple years old or you've logged more than 500 miles walking or running (including just wearing them around town), getting some new ones will do you some good. Here's an earlier post that can help you determine what works best for your foot. Also, ease out of the gate. Don't go running full speed ahead at the distance you were running indoors. Introduce your muscles, tendons, and ligaments to the harder and sometimes uneven surfaces gradually.

See ya on the road!