5 Tips How Keep Up Winter Running

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Dec 21
Winter Running

The Temps May Drop, But The Running Won’t Stop!

The winter months are definitely upon us.  It makes it harder to get out of a nice warm bed in the morning, that’s for sure.  It makes it even harder when you are getting up to run.  (Not that getting up in the dead of summer is any easier, Nashville humidity is brutal!) In the winter it takes a little extra preparation and self-talk to get out there.  So here are a few quick tips that will without a doubt help you stick to your running during the cold months!

1. Prepare at Night!  It always takes longer to get ready when it’s cold out.  You have to layer, add ear warmers, hats, gloves, and more.  The best thing to do is to get all of that out at night and put it in a pile.

2. Keep Key Parts Extra Warm! It is a really common problem for runners to put on too many layers and end up hot, even on a frigid day.  By keeping your head, hands, and feet warm, your body will automatically retain the heat it needs.  A good pair of socks like the Feetures Merino Wool and a good pair of gloves like the Nike Thermal Tech Running gloves  will make a world of difference.
Cold Running

3. Avoid the Mental Fear… Remember It’s Only Cold When You’re Standing Still! At night when I take my dog out or run across the street to a neighbor’s, I think about how on earth I am going to run in this cold?? But remember yes it is cold, but it isn’t so cold when you are out there running!  So don’t judge how it will feel to run by the way you will feel when you are standing still.

4. Find a Friend! (Or download some new Music!) It is always easier to get out of a warm bed when you are meeting someone who makes you accountable! If you have someone to help get you in the habit, getting up won’t be as bad! If you aren’t in the position to have a partner then use your music as your partner.  Freshen up your playlist often so you will avoid getting burnt out on your music!

5. Sign up Now for a Spring Race!  There is no better way to stick to running in the winter months than to have a training plan in place.  If you sign up for a spring marathon or any race, you will have to train through the winter months.  Having a set schedule and something to build on will help you stay motivated.  Not to mention that this time of year all of the spring race entry fees are less expensive!

 

St Jude Memphis Marathon, Hard to Top This One

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Dec 19

St Jude Memphis Marathon Bib

When I think about the St Jude Marathon in Memphis, the first word that comes to mind is “inspiring”.   I don’t think that there is ever going to be a marathon for me that will top the emotional and inspirational high that you get here.  From the minute you walk into the expo to pick up your packet and see the signs, the shirts, and everything that reminds you of who exactly this race is for, you are driven.  There is a reason that this marathon fills up in a day.

Jenifer and I both purchased ornaments at the expo and waited in a ridiculously long line to pay (totally worth it.) We got to the expo near the end of the last day so the merchandise was about wiped out.  Then we ate a delicious dinner and came back to the hotel to get ready for the morning.

St Jude Marathon Ornament 2014

St Jude Memphis Marathon Ornament 2014

Race Day

When we woke up, the weather was great.  It was cloudy and gray, in the 50’s and perfect.  I of course woke up extra early because I am always nervous and worried about oversleeping.  I decided to take a hot bath to help warm up my muscles, and I actually think it helped.  I ate my standard pre marathon meal, peanut butter and jelly and a banana. I had brought just about every clothing option with me, capris, long sleeve, short sleeve, shorts, tank, and a hat.  I decided on my new Nike Tempo shorts and a tank because even in the fifties it can get warm.  To be honest we did not realize how windy it was so I was glad I didn’t grab my hat.  I don’t think it would have stayed on!  it was without a doubt the windiest race I have ever ran.  Although there were moments where the wind was challenging, I think it kept us cool, which for me is key.  The incredibly gray skies were without a doubt a blessing for me.  The sun and I get along great for a pool day, but not for a long run!

St Jude Hope

Running for Hope

Somewhere around mile 4 we entered into the St. Jude’s complex.  This was the most memorable moment of any marathon I have run.  Seeing all of the parents, the workers, and the children that are patients there sitting outside is just an overwhelming feeling.  I felt myself starting to cry and I thought “No! You can’t cry and run!”  I am not sure if many people have tried but I have and it is so hard to do!  But wow seeing those sweet kids who were clearly undergoing chemo sitting out there was way more motivation than I needed.  All along the run there were inspiring pictures, posters, and even video screens playing clips of the amazing things being done at St. Jude’s.  There were so many groups of people running in honor of either a child at St Jude’s or a child that had sadly lost their battle with cancer.  Jenifer and I pinned a picture of Hope and her mom to our bib, to remind us every step of the way that we had one special patient in mind.

Then about mile 12 that point in the race I hate for some reason came, when the marathoners and the half marathoners split.  Then I always think to myself, ugh why didn’t I do the half?! And when it’s a race and I am doing the half, I think whew thank gosh I am not doing the full!!  And there I was, doing the full marathon.  For a few miles I let it get the best of me mentally and it seemed as though I just had so far to go.  But like it said in that article I shared before the race, marathons will do just that to you.  They will beat you down and make you question everything you’re doing, and then they will turn right back around and prove to you that you can rise above.  So about mile 14 I had to have a little self-talk and tell myself not to let it get the best of me.  I reminded myself of what Hope Reynolds and her family had gone through, and literally out loud I kept telling myself…..” Yes You Can”.  By mile 16 I was feeling brand new and I paced myself successfully.   I ended up beating my goal which was to just come in right below a 3:40 so I could qualify for Boston 2016.  I ended up running a 3:31 which was my second best marathon ever.  I came in 5th out of 254 women in my age group.  I was good with that!  It was such a feel good day.  Jenifer ran her very best half marathon ever and I was so proud of her too!

This race is clearly a meaningful one.  But that day I was also reminded of something that I often forget.  Going into this race I was so nervous.  I had such a horrible stomach ache and a not so great run in Boston that it is always scary to try again after something like that.  I doubted myself so much going into this race.  I wasn’t sure if I had it in me anymore to run a qualifying time.  I had prepared myself to have to try again in April.  Having a good run there was validation that I hadn’t lost my ability, I just doubted my ability based on one bad day.  I mean if we don’t have confidence in ourselves, how do we expect for anyone else to see us as someone to have confidence in?

I could never in a million years recommend this race enough.  It’s flat. It’s fun. It’s inspiring.  I will be back next year, no doubt about that.

 

10 Great Holiday Gift Ideas!

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Dec 07

With holiday shopping season officially here, I decided to share some of my favorite things I have either gotten for myself or given as a gift from Sport Seasons.  Sometimes it is hard to find gifts for people who either have everything or are extremely picky.  So here are some holiday gift ideas!

Ready, Set, Gift!

Nike Half Zip

1. The Nike Element Half Zip Pullover is a great gift for either a man or a woman.  Not only do the look great on, but they are great for everything from running, walking, or just watching a Saturday soccer game.  I have one and I gave one to my husband for his birthday and  e would barely take it off!  It comes on several great colors and is bound to make anyone happy.

adidas defender2. A duffle bag is also a great gift and it is great  for all ages,  Anyone from a teenager and older can use a duffle bag for travel, the gym, or even ball practice.  We take them to ball games,  on weekend trips, and my kids use them for sleepovers. You can get a great bag for under $30!

Vols Hat3. Hats of all kinds make great gifts.  Ball caps are great and  so are winter knit hats! Sport Seasons has a great selection of hats for any team fan!

Swiftwick socks

4. Socks are the perfect stocking stuffer or gift for anyone. We have several kinds of running socks including Feetures and Swiftwick.  We also have Nike Elite Basketball Socks, soccer socks, and more!

Womens Brooks Glycerin5. Shoes! You can never have too many pairs of shoes!  Whether you are looking for running shoes, basketball shoes, or just fun and fashionable athletic shoes, they are all great gifts!

Nike Tempo Shorts6. Workout apparel is a great gift.  Shorts, pants, tanks and everything you can think of will make any active person happy!

Titans hooded sweat shirt7. Team apparel is something that any true fan can never have enough of.  T-shirts, sweatshirts, pajama pants and more are things you can give to anyone with a favorite team!  The best part is that you can find fan gear for everyone in your family, children included.

TItans Christmas Ornament8. Fun team accessories such as team trashcans, Christmas ornaments, earrings, and more.  Help your favorite team fan decorate their house to support their team!

Under Armour Bra9. Okay men and moms, another great gift for a woman is a good sports bra!  Yep, I said it.  It is something that we don’t always want to spend our money on because there are more fun things to buy.  However a good one will be a much appreciated gift and maybe you can throw in a nice dry fit tank to go with it!

10. Lastly, another great gift you can buy is a gift card.  You can get them in any amount.  Maybe if you have a runner to buy for but don’t know their favorite shoe, or you can’t seem to decide on which ball cap…a gift card is a perfect gift for just about anyone!

Many of us make New Year’s Resolutions to get in shape or hit the gym.  So any of these workout and running related gifts are perfect!  Come in or shop online for the perfect gift for anyone in your family, children included!

 

St. Jude Memphis Marathon 2014 for Hope

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Dec 05

St Jude Marathon

It is so hard to believe that it has been a year already since we drove to Memphis for the marathon only to have it cancelled two hours after we got there.  It was freezing cold and the wind chill that day was expected to be in the single digits.  This Saturday it is going to be in the mid 50’s at the start, very big difference!  I would definitely rather the 50’s than single digits, however if I had my pick I would probably prefer low 40’s, but hey that’s on Mother Nature right!?

It’s Personal this Year

Last year I ran as a St. Jude Hero, I was able to raise a little over $500 for the hospital.  This year as you know I decided to run for someone I know, three year old Hope Reynolds.  Thank you in advance to all of you who have shared that blog and all of you who have donated.  I have run this full marathon two other times, but this is the first time I have a personal connection to a patient of St. Jude’s.  Hope is home right now and will be back at St. Jude’s next week for doctor visits.

The two other times I ran this race I ran it in 3:36 and 3:40.  I would love to qualify for Boston again, which means I need a 3:40 or better.  However I probably haven’t been pushing myself quite as hard, so I will run a spring marathon if this one ddoesn’tget me where I need to be.  I may run a spring marathon regardless.  I would like to run Boston again in 2016, which means registration is in September 2015.  Having a not so super race in Boston, and feeling pretty cruddy during the run, makes me nervous to try again.  I know there were reasons why Boston was more difficult, but feeling like that can make you not want to try again.  Trust me when I tell you that I told myself a zillion times during miles 20 and 26 in Boston that I would never do this again! That however is exactly why I am heading to Memphis for the marathon.

I read a really great article by Dean Karnazes, also known as The Marathon Man.  The article spoke to what a marathon is really about, and it isn’t running.  I wanted to share this article because it is such a great explanation of why many of us keep at it.  As he says, “The Marathon doesn’t just build character, it reveals it.” I think even if you are not a runner, this is a great article to read.

http://www.runnersworld.com/advice/the-marathon

Ok, Here goes…..Hope, Gwen, Lenny……Jennifer and I are doing this race is for you!

 

“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