“I Run for the Party Half Marathon”

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Nov 18

Nashville Half Marathon

Nashville Half Hard Rock

Getting by with a Little Help from a Friend

This past weekend I ran the “I Run For the Party Half Marathon”, also known as the Nashville Half.  It is a smaller marathon with about 1400 running the half and 400 or so actually doing the whole marathon. There is also a 5K as well. It is my second year doing this race.  It starts right in front of the Hard Rock Cafe, which I like. There’s a lot of cool scenery down at the end of Broadway. One of the main reasons I decided to do this race is because it is good pace training for the Memphis full I have coming up December 6th.  I had been on the fence about it, but when my friend Ashley agreed to sign up I was sold!

The weather was chilly, only about 35 degrees to start out, which is good.  I actually got a little hot because the sun was so hot in the middle! I will take cold weather any day!  The beginning of the course was a little hilly then it flattened out for most of the middle.  I will say though that I was not a fan of the big hill at mile 12.  I’m pretty sure I added a minute on I my time. There wasn’t a lot of spectators which I expected but it does remind me of the importance of spectators at a race. They motivate me and that just wasn’t happening here. It reminds me how much I love high energy races like Chicago or even the Country Music.

Stephanie Nashville Half MarathonSo last year when I ran this race, several of us felt according to our apps and GPS’s that the course was a little short, possibly .2-.3 miles.  This year several of us clocked it a tiny bit over, maybe .13 or so.  So for two years it just hasn’t seemed totally accurate which bothers me a bit, but not the end of the world. I wore my Brooks Glycerin which I absolutely love, and my favorite Asics Capris (I swear I could live in them!) I also wore my all-time favorite Asics half zip with a Nike dri-FIT tank underneath.

Let me mention one thing that annoys me about races, the fact that sometimes the shirts just don’t fit right! I love race shirts and to be honest, the shirts and the post-race food are partly what I judge a good race by! Here is a perfect example.  Last year the shirts were pretty small, both tight and short in length (short shirts are a pet peeve of mine.) This year all of the shirts were men’s sizes so they were loose and big.  It’s kind of like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, it’s hard to find the race shirt that fits just right! They are a very cool blue which I like, so I guess that’s the silver lining! Some of the race shirts I have gotten have been so tight that I have passed them down to my daughters!

I’m All About That Pace

So, I mentioned that I wanted to do this race to help pace me for my full.  Typically In a full marathon my second half is way slower than my first, which is normal, although I have been working to narrow the gap.  In my training runs I tend to get faster as my miles increase for about the first half.  But in my races I am always way faster in the beginning.  So this time I tried to hold back a little in the beginning of this half.  I have now decided that for me that doesn’t seem to work very well.  So I am going to stick with the way an old manager in Atlanta taught me.  I look to my first half as saving time in my time bank.  So for example if I want my overall pace to be an 8 for 26.2 miles, but I run 13 miles at a 7:30, that’s 6 and a half minutes in my time bank for me to slow down in the second half. I ended up running a 1:38 which isn’t my best or worst, but won me first place in my age group and put me as the 9th overall female.  (This was the day after my birthday too so it was my first race as a 37 year old….ugh!)

I did pay a visit to the Franklin Massage tent and got a quick table massage which was pretty fantastic in a painful way.  Wow there was some sore spots! The post-race food was just ehh…protein bars and fruit. However I was a little too chilly to eat anyway. Overall it was a good race, not a favorite but it falls at a good time in my training for the Memphis. So December 6th I will be running 26.2 miles for St. Jude’s, and more specifically for 3 year old Hope Reynolds. I am giving until end of the day on December 7th for people to donate! Any donation at all will enter you in the drawing for a $100 Sport Seasons gift card, just in time for the holidays! So please consider helping to give help for Hope this season!

Nashville Half Marathon starting line

 

Cold Weather Favorites at Sport Seasons

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Nov 11

Under Armour winter gear

This week we’ll see the biggest cold front of the season so far, although no snow yet in Tennessee like our friends up north. That got us thinking about all of our favorite cold weather things. Pumpkin Spice Lattes, of course, signal fall and cold weather. (and the serious need for new workout gear after New Year’s) Our amazing graphics guy, Keith, sketched out this masterpiece, and we couldn’t help but share it. (you should see what he does during staff meetings)

The Cold Weather Gear

 

When you work at Sport Seasons, there are some go-to items that you’ll spend your employee discount on first thing in the fall. Under Armour Fleece - lightweight, warm, ultimate comfort going to the gym or snuggling on the couch. Team knit hats like ‘ole Punkin’s Tennessee Vols knit hat. Keeps your noggin warm while supporting the home team. Plus our all time favorite thing – Swiftwick wool socks. Oh how we love these wool socks. They keep your toes at just the right temperature – cozy.

Another productive day in the office. Stay tuned for more awesomeness.

(You are signed up for our emails, right? Coupons? Sales? Yeah, you’d better sign up.)

 

 

St. Jude’s Marathon – Giving Help for Hope

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Nov 04

St Jude Marathon

“Once you choose hope, anything is possible.” – Christopher Reeve

In 5 weeks on December 6th, 2014, my friend Jenifer and I will be running the St. Jude’s Marathon in Memphis. This will be my third time running this race. It is without a doubt the most inspiring marathon I have ever done. Last year I ran as what they call a St. Jude’s Hero, meaning that I signed up to raise money for the children at the hospital. This year I’m going to do something a little different and we are going to ask for everyone’s help.

Help for Hope

Hope ReynoldsA high school friend of mine, Gwen Reynolds, has spent more than the last year taking care of her 3 year old daughter Hope who is battling a very rare form of cancer. She has spent a great deal of time at St. Jude’s hospital in Memphis and is back there again now. As a mother, when I think of how hard this must be for her whole family it is unfathomable for me to comprehend. Hope’s mom Gwen has such an inspiring and positive attitude. I have so much admiration for that. Following Hope’s story and knowing that we are headed to Memphis for this marathon made me realize that I didn’t want to just raise money for St. Jude’s this year. Jenifer and I decided we want to run every mile for Hope and that any money we raised would go straight to Hope and her family.

A Go Fund Me account has been set up for Hope. You can read more details about Hope and her courageous fight. I cannot imagine the pain this Hope Reynolds Cute Smilesweet little girl and her family have endured. Please go to Hope’s page and read about her story and her courageous battle. I am going to ask that anyone and everyone that can give for her cause, do just that. For everyone that donates before December 6th, I will be putting their names in a hat and one lucky winner will receive a $100 Sport Seasons gift card!!! So not only will you be giving to an amazing cause and am amazing family, you are entering a chance to win! Another thing that I am asking is that EVERYONE that reads this, share the blog on your Facebook status. The more people that see her web page, the more chances we will have to help them meet Hope’s goal!!!

Whether you are a parent or not, there is no way this little girl won’t tug at your heartstrings. So here are just a few ways to think about donating. I am running 26.2 miles and Jenifer is running 13.1. So collectively we are running 39.3 miles. Whether you can give $1 a mile and donate #39.30, or even just 50 cents a mile and donate $19.65. Any flat donation of $5, $10, or $15 is great! Any donation at all will get your name in the hat for the gift card! There is NO better reason to give than to help a child. So please let’s help give help for Hope.

I will do the drawing after I return home from Memphis. So read about Hope, share the blog, and DONATE! Thank you all SO much in advance!!

 

When the world gives up, hope whispers try it one more time.

 

The Importance of Nutrition and Rest for Runners

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Oct 31

“You know you’re addicted to running when your least favorite workout of the week says ‘rest’!”

I am at the tail end of training for the Memphis Full Marathon.  Last weekend I was set to do 18 miles.  You would think that being a seasoned runner, I wouldn’t make dumb mistakes.  Ha!  Think again.  I ended up having one of my worst (if not the worst) training runs ever.  That week had been very busy so I hadn’t been to the grocery store. Yes it was one of those weeks where we frequented Wendy’s and Subway after a zillion practices with my kids. (No judging please…it was just one of those insanely busy weeks.) I realized the day before that we were out of peanut butter.  Which if you know me at all, you know is rare.  I love peanut butter and often have three kinds in my pantry so this was a rarity. Well I meant to grab some on Friday because peanut butter is a staple for me before a long run and every marathon I have ever ran.  It is packed with calories and provides both protein and carbs, yet it doesn’t sit heavy in your stomach.  The calories last a while.  I woke up at 4:30 Saturday and realized there was none so I ate a 90 calorie granola bar and off I went.

Peanut Butter a Runners FriendTen miles in I knew I was in trouble.  I had a stomach ache and my energy was diminishing.  I tried to drink water and sip Gatorade but I was past the point of fixing the problem.  I was literally out of gas.  I did push through but it was my slowest pace in a long while and it was not enjoyable at all.  I have never been so empty on a run and it took the whole day for me to feel normal again.  It was just a reminder to me that no one wakes up with enough energy to run or workout for an endless amount of time. Water is great for hydration but it doesn’t give you the energy you need to exercise.  So it was a reminder for me that yes I have done this training time and time again but I am not superhuman.   Without the proper nutrition for energy, you physically cannot sustain that long of a run.  Nutrition is key.Be Smart Eat Smart

Another thing I have learned over time that is important is rest.  I have been waking up to run or go to the gym for an average of 6 days a week for the last 15 or so years.  I can’t say enough how much it helps my mood and my energy level.  The only problem with that is when I don’t get up to exercise, I usually feel guilty and lethargic.  So I always have to remind myself that there are real benefits to taking a day off from exercise.  Here are the biggest reasons that I have learned to be okay with taking a rest day.

  1. Your muscles need time to grow, heal, and repair.
  2. Never taking a day off can lead to overtraining and mental burnout.
  3. While a good amount of exercise can help you sleep at night, never resting can actually cause sleep issues.
  4. Rest is important in injury prevention.

 

Both of these things, nutrition and rest seem like things that someone who has ran for years should have down to a science.  The truth is though that is not always the case.  We all need reminders and we need to change things as necessary depending on how we feel.  Eat hard, run hard, rest hard.  You have to do all three in order to make it work!

 

Running the Middle Half (Murfreesboro Half Marathon)

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Oct 24

Murfreesboro Half Marathon

Stephanie running pic

About a week ago I ran the Murfreesboro Half (also known as the Middle Half) for the fifth year in a row. The best part about it is that I always go with a few of my friends. That always makes getting up at the crack of dawn a little easier. Registration for this race was over four months ago. It fills up in just hours so if you want to run it, you have to register the day it opens. What I didn’t know when I registered was that I would be in Philadelphia the whole week before, flying back home the night before the race. I am not going to lie, I was dreading it and even slightly considered not going. I had planned to be at my friend’s house at 5:15 which meant leaving at 4:45 and waking up at 4:15. Thank goodness for Jenifer and Ashley because meeting them helped me motivate myself to go.

Gearing up for the Middle Half

 

Saucony Ride

Stephanie’s Race pick – Saucony Rides!

Running the Middle HalfThe weather was extremely cloudy to begin the race. It looked as if it was going to rain at any second so I came prepared in my Nike Dri Fit hat. (A necessity for running in the rain!) I chose my Saucony Rides over my Brooks Glycerin because they are a little lighter and with the potential for soggy shoes I wanted my shoes to be as light as possible to begin with. I also kept my clothes light weight with a dri fit tank and shorts. I made it about 4 miles with no rain and then it rained consistently until the end. It was a good rain though, not too terribly hard. (And nowhere near as bad as the Country Music Marathon two years ago.) I felt so much better this race than the Women’s Half two weeks prior. The weather during the Women’s Half was sunny and a little warmer. Probably due to the fact that the majority of my miles are run in the dark, I feel and do so much better in overcast or even rainy races. I finished in 1:37 and was second in my age group out of about 275 and 11 the female out of about 1300. My finish time was two minutes slower than when I ran the race last year. Last fall I was coming off of my fastest full marathon ever at the Nashville full. I had worked the hardest I have ever worked and I am trying to build back up to where I was. My goal is to qualify for Boston again and go back to Boston in 2016 for the 120th anniversary. I will try this December in Memphis and if that doesn’t happen I will try again in the spring.

There isn’t a ton of spectators in at this race, but there are definitely some. And of course at any race in the rain there isn’t as many people out. (Which is totally understandable!) The shirts are always great at this race. This year they were gray and yellow and it was a half zip. I love half zip pullovers for running. You can layer to wear running in colder weather or where them alone when it isn’t as hot. However I do have to say I was a little let down by the runner’s food at the end. Normally Jim N Nick’s is at the end with some bbq tacos and the amazing rolls they have! Last year they also had mini Gigi’s cupcakes!!! They were amazing and it was such a great surprise! This year….totally different story. There was neither of those things there. There was Domino’s pizza and some not so great donut holes.

cute dog with second place race plaque

Second Place, good job Mom!

We were soaking wet and freezing cold after the game. We almost passed completely on the food but grabbed some fruit and donut holes for the road. Aside from the big bummer that I didn’t get my Jim N Nick’s…….I loved the race and would do it again in a heartbeat.