Preparing for the Boston Marathon

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Apr 17

Set a goal so big you can’t achieve it, until you grow into the person who can.”- Unknown

Boston Strong

Less than a week is left before the Boston Marathon!  I am excited, yet nervous. I get nervous before any marathon, but this one even more so.  The later start time and the logistics of running in a new and very big city contribute most to my nerves this time.  I have also never done an out of town marathon without a friend that is also running. Let’s just say I am not the best when it comes to logistics and directions.  I think I have read so much about the race that it is overwhelming!  Thankfully I have gotten advice from a friend who has run the race before (thank you David!). With the hilliest part more towards the end of the course, holding back a bit in the first half is going to be crucial for me because I am definitely a first half runner. I am excited because I know this is going to be such an emotional, amazing, and inspiring run, and I love to be inspired.  I am hoping that will give all of us running it a little extra energy.  I am counting on some really great pictures and some amazing memories.

I have put in the training miles, yet there is a lot still to factor in.  There’s the weather and what to wear, the travel time to the actual race and the logistics, the food and hydration, getting to the expo to pick up my packet, and many other things as well.  It is always different to run an out of town race because you don’t have the comfort of your own home and your own things to get ready with.  Food for example can be tricky when you travel to run.  I always pack what I know I am going to want to eat because when staying in a hotel, you may not have access to all that you need.  What I have always eaten before a full marathon is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (heavy on the peanut butter) and a banana. I usually carry a banana with me to the start line in case I need a bite or two right before we run.  Although I normally am not a Gatorade fan, I do sip on it the morning before a marathon, and water too of course! I have already bought my GU’s and Sport Beans that I will take with me to the actual race.

I do have to say the weather is looking borderline perfect for a marathon.  (Knock on wood!) The high for the day should be in the upper 50’s with temps around 40 when we wake up! (Rain unlikely, could not ask for better weather!)  I will definitely bring a throw away sweatshirt for the start line.  The good thing is that all of the items thrown down will be collected and donated.  So…. what to wear is the question.  I am on the fence between running shorts and my all time favorite Asics running capris.  I will be wearing my favorite Nike tank (VERY bright yellow) and have yet to decide if I will be wearing anything over it.  My biggest decision right now is my shoes.  I have two pairs that I love so much that it makes it hard to choose.  I have a pair of Saucony Rides and a pair of Brooks Glycerin.  Both are amazing.

                                                                       Stephanie in Saucony Stephanie in  Brooks

The bright yellow Brooks match my favorite tank (shouldn’t matter but somehow it does!), it’s just that I am usually a Saucony loyalist.

So I am taking it easy this week and trying to stay hydrated, eliminate sugar (hardest thing EVER!), and a lot of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and good carbs such as whole wheat bread, oatmeal, granola, and more. By Thursday I will cut out anything high in fiber to eliminate my chances for any digestive issues!  I am as prepared as I am going to be, I feel like I have been preparing for 5 straight years, which is whyI can’t believe it is finally here, I get excited every time I think about it. I am looking forward to the amazing crowds there to cheer everyone on, I have heard that the sheer volume of the crowds alone will send chills up your spine!  Cannot wait…..Boston here I come!

Check back next week to hear how it went.  Hopefully I will get pictures and updates sent quickly through the Sport Seasons Facebook page.

GoTime

 

The Richland Creek Run and My Addiction to Distance

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Apr 08

In it for the long run Richland Ready

This past weekend I ran the Richland creek 5 mile run. The timing seemed perfect because I am tapering for Boston and I thought a 5 mile race would be a nice, fast speed training day as well. I first have to say I was way overdressed.  With this crazy weather in Nashville it is hard to predict and the 40’s can feel colder some days than others.  I wore my Asics Half Zip and a tank, but would have been better off in a good long sleeve running shirt…I was a little warm!  The good thing though about half zips is that you can unzip them and let a little air in! The Richland Creek run benefits Nashville’s Greenways, which as a city we are fortunate to have and need to maintain. The race was small but very well run, with under 300 finishers. I would definitely recommend it.  I think it’s great when we can participate in a race and support our community at the same time.

I tried to find a balance of pushing to get some fast miles in but not pushing so hard that I ended up too sore (since Boston is two weeks away). As usual I started way too fast by running a 6:20 first mile. So I slowed it down and averaged a 7:05 at the end which won me 1st place in my age group and 3rd place for overall women. (I was ok with that although it wasn’t my best 5 mile run….and the bonus was that I won a cool mug!). The thing about Saturday was that I am not used to running just 5 miles on a Saturday.  For well over a decade Saturday has been my “long run” day. It was especially odd for me right now because I am training for my 4th full marathon in less than two years. I am addicted to distance running, and I admit it. Just ask my husband about my mood when I don’t get my long runs in….he will be happy to share that with anyone. (Hey, there are worse things to be addicted to right?!)

 

Military Veterans Benefit from Operation Hat Trick Tennessee Vols Caps

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Apr 07

Sport Seasons is proud to support Operation Hat Trick with ’47 Brand hat styles in the University of Alabama and Tennessee Volunteers. ‘47 Brand is supporting Operation Hat Trick (OHT). When you make a purchase of an OHT hat, a portion of a purchase goes to the Operation Hat Trick organization who select organizations that provide direct services to wounded soldiers. Their mission is to benefit the recovery, education, and future employment of wounded servicemen and women and veterans.

OHTvols (1)

Operation Hat Trick began at the University of New Hampshire and was simply the donation of a hat after two hats were sold, playing on the idea of three consecutive successes during a game period. The lady behind the idea was UNH Senior Associate Athletic Director Dot Sheehan. She decided after the tragic death of two fellow UNH’s professors that the OHT would be dedicated to the memory of their son Nate Hardy and his friend Mike Koch, Navy SEALS who died while fighting together in 2008.

 

Bring on the Rain

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Apr 03

Chance for a Run

Finally we are seeing real signs of spring. I think we can all agree we are ready for it. The sunshine and nice weather seems to improve everyone’s mood. For me it is also a guarantee of a few things…soccer and baseball game cancellations for my kids, and a LOT of rainy runs.

I admit that up until a year ago I shied away from running in the rain. Normally I would opt to go to the gym and make the miles up another day. I was ok with getting caught in it mid run, but I had a tough time making myself start in it. That is until the Country Music Marathon last April when it poured the whole 26.2 miles! That day I ended up running my fastest time, by a long shot. Now, I am ok to face the rain on most any day, bring it on Mother Nature!

One price you will pay after a rainy run is the very soggy shoes you come home with. Most rainy runs I have had old shoes on so I just set them on the porch to dry….and it took days. After a 23 mile run this past Saturday in my new Saucony Triumphs and nonstop rain, my shoes were soaked.  I decided I better ask Barry (who is a wealth of shoe knowledge) what I needed to do to dry them quickly and without sacrificing the condition of my new shoes. Here is what he instructed me to do, which by the way worked like a charm and within hours I might add:

  • Loosen the laces.
  • Remove the soles.
  • Stuff the shoes with paper towels to absorb the extra moisture
  • Place the shoes and the soles in front of a fan.  (Air only, NO heat)

Drying the Shoes

By the time I went to bed my shoes were completely dry.  (After 20 years of running I finally learned how to dry my running shoes out the right way!)

Here are a few other things that help when you know there is a chance it may rain during your run.

  • Wear a hat to keep your head dry and to keep the rain out of your eyes.
  • Be sure to use a body glide or Vaseline in any place you may possibly chafe. The constant rubbing with the added wetness is a brutal combination if you aren’t prepared! Trust me you will feel it when you get in the shower!
  • Be sure you wear light weight clothing because the rain will weigh them down.
  • Remember that even though it may be wet outside, you still need to stay hydrated. (You may not feel quite as thirsty but you still need it.)
  • One of the most important things for me is to place my iPhone in a Ziploc bag.  It protects it 100% from the rain and you can still control your music through the bag. It has truly saved me because I need my music to run.

 Stephanie Nicely Done

When you are prepared to run in the rain it can actually end up being a very liberating, relaxing, and peaceful run.  This last Saturday in the rain ended up being my fastest long run in over a month.  (This also may have had something to do with my speed work that week….See the previous blog, “Need for Speed”)  There are actually a few benefits to running in the rain.  When you run in the rain you don’t have to fight heat exhaustion so you can often have a more intense workout.  This can help develop your leg muscles and build endurance.  Running in the rain can also develop mental toughness, which is a key component of becoming a better runner.  It makes you realize that you don’t have to wait for the perfect conditions to run.  You know what they say….. “If you wait for the perfect conditions, you will never get anything done!”

So lace up, grab a hat, some body glide and get your miles in this Spring!

Feel the Rain

 

26 Crazy Facts about Running!

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Mar 24

Just Run

In honor if the upcoming spring marathons I thought I would share some crazy, fun, and interesting facts about running! For some reason these types of things interest me so I decided to share them with you!  Some of them are actually kind of shocking yet cool.  So here you go…

  1. Over a billion pairs of running shoes are sold worldwide every year.
  2. Less than 1% of the U.S. population has completed a marathon. (Around 0.5%)
  3. Just 15 competitors ran the Boston Marathon in its inaugural year, 1897.
  4. In 1972 the Boston Marathon was the first marathon competition to allow women to enter. However, in 1966 Roberta Gibbs hid behind a bush and competed in the Boston Marathon anyway, she was the first woman to complete the course. (With an unofficial time 0f 3:21:25, heck yea!)
  5. The fastest marathon time for a woman is a 2:15:25 set by Paula Radcliffe in the 2003 London marathon. 11 years later her record still stands!
  6. “Runner’s High” is a real phenomenon, not just an expression…and yes it is addicting :)
  7. The oldest person to complete a marathon was 100 years old at the time (born in 1911), an Indian man named Fauja Singh. (And he didn’t even start running until he was 89, talk about never too late to start!)
  8. The record for the most marathons run on consecutive days is 365. It was set in 2011 by Stefan Engels….aka the “Marathon Man” at the age of 49.
  9. The fastest mile ever ran was in 1999 by Hitcham El Guerrouj. He ran a mile in 3:43:13. (WOW!)
  10. The fastest mile for a woman was set by Svetlana Masterkova in 1996. She ran a mile in 4:12:56!
  11. Running with music can boost your performance by 15%.
  12. It takes 200 muscles to take a step when you run.
  13. The human heart creates enough pressure when you run that it could squirt blood 30 feet! (My kids loved that one!)
  14. 104.3 calories are burned every mile when running a 10 minute per mile pace.
  15. In order to burn off a Big Mac (540 calories), a 140 pound woman would have to run at a 10 min per mile pace for 52 minutes!
  16. Running burns about 50% more calories than walking.
  17. In 1990 only 25% of road race finishers were women, now women make up more than half of competitors.
  18. The average men’s finishing time in U.S. Marathons is 4:26.
  19. The average women’s finishing time in U.S. Marathons is 4:52.
  20. Human feet can produce up to a pint of sweat per day.
  21. The Bay to Breakers in San Francisco is the largest U.S. running race with over 100,000 participants annually.
  22. The world record for the fastest marathon is 2:03:23 set by Wilson Kipsanf of Kenya at the Berlin marathon in 2013.
  23. Since 2003 the half marathon has been the fastest growing road distance in the U.S. and it continues to have double digit growth each year. It has become the most popular distance by every metric…debut racers, finisher totals, and by general interest. There are over 1500 active U.S. half marathons.
  24. The fastest human foot speed on record was set by Usain Bolt during a 100 meter sprint with a speed of 44.72km/h (27.79 mph!!)
  25. Runners can store about 2000 calories worth of glycogen in their bodies, which is enough to fuel about 18-20 miles of a run.
  26. At regular points during a run, both feet are off the ground.  Check out the pictures below and you will see what I mean!

 

“Every day is a good day when you run, so keep running!”

Stephanie flying low 1 Stephanie flying low