Friday, December 23, 2011

Planning x-mas morning

Being a runner sometimes has a few drawbacks. This year Christmas falls on a Sunday. I was a bit bummed when I realized that because Sunday morning has been my scheduled long run for the past 15 years. Now that I am in full-blown marathon mode, I have been focusing on these long runs more than ever. I hate to get out of a routine, but Christmas with Jon and Quin is more important this year. Quin is just over 2 1/2 and really into Christmas this year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Feeling good

My neighbor stopped me the other day and asked, “Don’t you have a big race coming up?” When I told him the Olympic Trials on Jan. 14, his reply was the “the real Olympics?” Yep, this is it the real Olympic Trials, not the fake ones. I am starting to get excited though. I have to say, I am really pleased with how things are going. It seems like the more I do, the better I feel, which is something I have not been able to say in a long time. That’s the best Christmas present I could ask for right now.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A smelly tale

This morning, I was dressed for running and snuggling with Quin before his nanny came over. He turned to me and said, “Mama, I smell your shirt.” Oh, boy, guess it’s time to do an extra-long laundry cycle. My running shirts have soaked up a lot of sweat these days despite the cold weather. In this week's column I'll be relating some even more harrowing stinky running tales.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Not a fun run

Oh no!  As one of my Facebook friends pointed out, not a good year for Rock'n'Roll marathon series, now this

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Benefitting from a 12-year coaching relationship

A few weeks ago, Quin was playing with his train set after dinner, my husband Jon was watching television and I was surfing the Internet for news (my morning news watching has been replaced by Sesame Street and Curious George). A headline caught my attention: “Runner seeks Mystery Woman.” I decided to read on, imagining that maybe someone was sure they had just run by their soulmate. As it turns out, it was a reporter from CNN who was using the iPod Nike App and every time he ran a personal best a woman’s voice would come through his ear buds and say, “Congratulations. This is (a name he did not recognize). You just ran a personal best.”

Of course I knew exactly who that mysterious voice belonged to, but this guy kept forgetting her name.

He finally decided to run longer than he had ever run before so he could get her name. As he stopped after his longest run ever, he whipped out a pen and paper ready to write the name down. He got the name and ran home to look it up on the Internet. Paula Radcliffe. He was shocked to learn that she not only had sweet voice, but is the world-record holder in the marathon at 2 hours and 15 minutes. Intrigued, he used his CNN contacts in London and talked to her husband/ coach and eventually Paula herself. He got to ask what her husband says to encourage her. She said he usually doesn’t say anything after workouts, because they know each other so well.

Usually just a look would convey his thoughts.

Occasionally, she said he gives her a hug.

As we count down to 2012, I realize my coach Bob Sevene and I are going on a 12- year coaching relationship which is a pretty long in athlete years.

He probably doesn’t realize that I know all his mannerisms and can tell pretty quickly if he is satisfied with my workout.

Often it’s the way he stands, or the way he calls out splits when I am running on the track. He gets quiet when things are not going according to plan. One
time, his best-known athlete, Joan Benoit-Samuelson was running a marathon and ran by Sev, but did not hear him say anything. She assumed she was running too slow since she did not hear him and dropped the pace. As it turns out, him not saying anything worked out to her advantage because she went on to a 2:26:17 a breakthrough race in the beginning of her career.

I have to say since I do all my runs and workouts alone, a little encouragement goes a long way. I even appreciate the random golfer or walker that will say, “wow, nice pace.” It’s hard not to feel a little more skip in your stride when someone thinks you are running well. The Olympic Trials are getting pretty close (Jan. 14) and my workouts have been a little up and down due to illness. I am looking forward to my next few longer workouts and I’m hoping they will go well enough to warrant a hug.

Though Coach Sev has been with me through all the training, he stepped out of his coaching role to help watch Quin as Jon and I bravedToysRUs. Wow, now I know why I prefer online shopping. But, it’s hard not to get excited about Christmas with a 21⁄ 2 year old in the house.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Jingle Bell Run

The Jingle Bell 5k run/ walk and kids 1k fun run looks like a great family event to get everyone in the mood for Christmas! Check it out this Saturday at Lover's Point in Pacific Grove.







TEAM UP TO FIGHT ARTHRITIS!

Sign Up Today For The 2011 Jingle Bell Run/Walk®

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lover’s Point, Pacific Grove

Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis


The Arthritis Foundation is calling for people to take action against arthritis by participating in the second Annual Pacific Grove 2011 Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis. The annual nationwide event kicks off during the holiday season, raising awareness of America’s leading cause of disability, while raising desperately needed funds for research, health education and government advocacy to improve the lives of people with arthritis.

To celebrate the holiday season, participants tie jingle bells to their shoelaces, don festive holiday costumes and join friends and neighbors in support of the Arthritis Foundation’s mission to prevent, control a

nd cure arthritis and related diseases.

The Pacific Grove Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis will take place at Lover’s Point on Saturday, December 10, 2011 at 7:30 a.m. There will be a timed 5K run, a fun run/walk, and an Elf Run for children under 12 years of age. Santa will be there with his elves and other fun activities. More than 118 other Jingle Bell Run/Walks can be found at www.arthritis.org

The Arthritis Foundation is the only nationwide, not-for-profit health organization helping individuals to take control of arthritis by leading efforts to prevent, control and cure arthritis and related diseases -- the nation's number one cause of disability.

To get involved or to form a team, visit: www.jinglebellrunpacgrove.kintera.org or email afallon@arhtritis.org – phone contact: 831-620-1699.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Enjoying the half marathon

I finally ran the Big Sur Half Marathon after several years of watching from the sidelines. I feel like Quin, who usually throws his arms up and yells, “I did it!” after scoring a basket or eating a cracker in one bite. Usually I am against racing while I am training for a marathon for one simply reason — they never go well. I have always found it hard to get psyched up when it’s not THE race. I have also discovered, the legs just don’t want to go. Strangely, I run faster in practice.

But this year my coach and I decided it was stupid to not run the race since it was so close to home. It was also eight weeks out from the Olympic Marathon Trials in January, so it would help break up my training and give me some variety. I would have had to do a similar workout the day before anyway, so it made sense to use the race for some preparation.

My early enthusiasm started to wane two weeks ago when I began getting sick. If my coach had his way, I would not have run, but he also knew that I wanted to run in front of the hometown crowd. I finished a round of antibiotics the day before the race. It's never fun to try and train through an illness. But when race day came, I was really happy with how I felt, although I wasn't 100 percent.

The race started out as I figured with my Olympic teammate Magdalena Lewy-Boulet and me running a 5-minute, 30-second first mile. Although we slowed, I pulled ahead after mile 2 and ran in the lead until just after mile 12 when Magdalena made a final surge to the finish and won by 19 seconds. I was bummed to lose the win so close to the end, but considering how bad I have felt training the past two weeks, it could have been much worse. I warmed down by running another 5 miles after the race which gave me an even 100 miles for the week.

I got back from warming down to the pier where the elite athletes go to collect our clothes, and found my husband Jon waiting for me. I asked him where Quin was, and he replied, “Don’t be mad.” That is never a good sign. He pointed around the corner where Quin was running back and forth through a giant puddle and was soaked up to the waist. Quin looked up with a big grin and said, “I run through puddle, Mama.” Oh well, so much for going out to breakfast. I am just relieved the rain held off long enough for most of the runners to make it to the finish line.

Thanks to the Big Sur staff and volunteers and all the DLI volunteers for making it a wonderful and special race. The course, which runs along the Monterey Bay, is probably the most scenic half marathon in the country. Seeing that I run those roads almost every day, it made for a mentally easy race because I knew the race course so well.

There was also some excitement at the fourth water stop as a pregnant runner seemed to be experiencing labor pains. Although the baby didn't arrive that day, maybe the Big Sur race director should get naming rights? I propose “Suri” if it was a girl. I truly appreciate all the great cheers from all of the runners I passed on may way to the finish on the out-and-back course. I wish I had had the energy to cheer for each and every one of you. Next time I am on the sidelines I promise to reciprocate.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

thanks to big sur half marathon folks

Thanks to the Big Sur staff and volunteers and all the DLI volunteers for making it a wonderful and special race. The course, which runs along the Monterey Bay, is probably the most scenic half marathon in the country. Seeing that I run those roads almost every day, it made for a mentally easy race because I knew the race course so well.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Puddle runner



After finishing Sunday's half marathon, I returned to the pier where the elite athletes go to collect our clothes, and found Jon waiting for me. I asked him where Quin was, and he replied, “Don’t be mad.” which never is a good sign. He pointed around the corner where Quin was running back and forth through a giant puddle and was soaked up to the waist. He just looked up with a big grin and said, “ I run through puddle, mama.” Oh well.

Monday, November 21, 2011

second place at Big Sur

From this morning's race wrapup in the Herald: I was just trying to run my own race. I pushed the middle part a little and didn’t have enough toward the end. I didn’t even know what was going on behind me. You always want to win, but you never know what to expect when you’re in marathon training. You’re not as rested as you’d normally be coming in.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Big Sur Half Race weather forecast

Hope everyone is getting excited and geared up for the Big Sur Half tomorrow. I just checked the weather, and they are still calling for thunderstorms after 4am tomorrow morning and throughout the morning, so make sure you are prepared. If you don't have a raincoat, a simple trash bag will be better than nothing. Keeping your core dry for as long as possible will help you maintain some heat, as will a hat. If you decide to chuck it during the race, make sure you hand it to a volunteer so it does not float into the ocean. If you have friends and family coming to watch establish a meeting place and, make sure you bring plenty of warm, dry clothes to change into as quickly as possible. Well, let's hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Good luck everyone.

detailed forecast
http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?CityName=Pacific+Grove&state=CA&site=MTR&lat=36.6175&lon=-121.921

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Breaking down the Big Sur competition

In this week's Herald column Don Buraglio and Mike Dove run down the elite field for Sunday's Big Sur Half Marathon

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Keep Fort Ord Wild

I admit, I am a nature-lover, so when I learned about the proposed highway through the middle of Fort Ord Land I was beside myself. My coach and I used to be on the Fort Ord Users Committee which a committee of concerned citizens working with the county and the Fort Ord Reuse Committee currently doing the "cleanup" of Fort Ord. Since Quin was born, I have not been invloved, but Sev goes to meetings almost weekly, sometimes until 9 at night. His goal is to keep the trails and land open to everyone-period.

It is shocking to learn about the political process and realize that there are 5 people on the Board of Supervisors Committee that are making enormous decisions for the future of this beautiful area. Not only is a highway planned, but the Board has approved additional housing projects, and a large equestrian center complete with hotels and a racetrack. All of this through miles and miles of pristine land that local and visitors have come to love. I say, take that 12 million and widen existing roads. Help save our land..

Read a full article here:
http://keepfortordwild.org/2011/11/15/citizen-group-files-suit-against-monterey-county-board-of-supervisors/

Monday, November 14, 2011

Marathon Brain

Well, there's mommy brain, and did you know there is also marathon brain? Generally, I have always heard that exercise makes you smarter. Not so much for this guy who forgot where he parked his car...for two days after running the NYC Marathon. Bet that was a pretty hefty price to pay.

Check out the full article here:
http://rwdaily.runnersworld.com/2011/11/marathon-brain-strikes-again.html

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mommies, Daddies and Half Marathons

The other day Quin and I were sitting down for lunch, and I was telling him how I had just met my coach for a run.

“You run on the track, Mama?”

“No. I ran on the roads. I have a big race coming up on the roads.”

Quin was silent for a moment, and then asked, “You get hit by a car, Mama?”

“No, thankfully, the cars aren’t allowed on the road while we are racing.”

Again, I could tell the wheels were turning inside his brain. He asked, “Other mommies running?”

“Yep,” I said, “and daddies too.”

He got quiet again, and I waited for another question about next week’s Big Sur Half Marathon. But then he giggled.

“Hee hee,” he said, smiling “I tooted.”

Great. Boys will be boys.

Last year I remember the Big Sur Half Marathon announcer saying that 60 percent of the runners were women, which no doubt included a whole bunch of mommies. In Quin’s eyes, I may be a runner, but I am his mommy first. Our little conversation made me remember a similar talk I had with a co-worker years ago.

My friend, Janice, was not an avid runner, but had decided to enter a local 5K for fun. Her husband and two daughters were out there near the end to cheer her on. As she crested a final hill, her family spotted her and she could see her daughters jumping up and down, getting pretty excited.

Just as she got close, her youngest shouted, “ Mom!

Mom! . . . What’s for dinner!” Caught up in the excitement she had just shouted the first thing that popped in her head. I am not sure what my running friend said, but hopefully, it was a “Ask your father!”

Though Quin has been to many races, he hasn’t seen my husband Jon or me run much (so many more interesting things tug at his short-attention span). He will be traveling to Houston for the Olympic Trials, but I don’t plan on seeing Jon or Quin until after the race, so I can concentrate Next weekend for the half marathon, I think my mom and her husband will watch Quin as Jon and I run. Quin might have his first sleep-over at grandma’s house since the race starts so early.

This year I am happy to be on the starting line of the half marathon as a runner rather than the official starter as I was last year when I was coming off an injury. Though, I admit I did enjoy sitting in McDonalds eating pancakes with Quin while Jon was huffing and puffing along the streets of Monterey and Pacific Grove. Thankfully, this year I am healthy and excited to run.

It’s the first time I’ve run the Big Sur Half. I run along Ocean Boulevard almost ever day, so I’m interested to see how it feels to race on it.

It’s a nice rolling course, and there are usually pretty good crowds of spectators around Lovers Point.

I will be in good company with the returning champion and course record-holder Belainesh Gebre and my Olympic marathon teammate Magdalena Lewy Boulet from Oakland. Both are coming off a great 2011 seasons with personal bests set at many distances.

Boulet, like myself, will be coming in off heavy
marathon training with the Olympic trials looming in January. The timing of the race is perfect and allows us both to race and practice drinking water in preparation for the full marathon. The Big Sur Half will be my last race before the Trails in January. I am just looking for a solid race and am not expecting anything spectacular since I cannot afford to back down training now.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

More syrup!

After reading the story of my friend whose young daughter was so excited to see her in a race she yelled, "Mommy, what's for dinner," editor Dave asked what I thought Quin would yell. Knowing Quin, he’d probably yell, “Mama, more syrup!” The kid is going to turn into a waffle. It's a regular at our breakfast table.
I think my Mom and her husband, Alan, will have Quin the morning of the Big Sur Half since Jon is running too.
Though Quin has been to many races, he hasn’t seen Jon or me run much (so many more interesting things tug at his short-attention span). He will be traveling to Houston for the Olympic Trials, but I don’t plan on seeing Jon or Quin until after the race, so I can concentrate.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mike Dove


If you run in Monterey County you've no doubt heard of Mike Dove. Not only does he co-author a running column in the Monterey County Herald, he also helped establish the Just Run program, which encourages school children to exercise. 
 Some good news came our way today about Mike, he has made it to the finalist round of AARP Create The Good’s “Win & Do Good” national volunteer story competition.  He is one of seven finalists, and has already won $5,000 for his preferred charity, the Big Sur International Marathon JUST RUN program. Online voting is underway to select the grand prize winner, who will be awarded an additional $10,000 for their charity of choice. 

Dove’s volunteer story was one of more than 1,800 entries from across the nation in the Win & Do Good contest. The public is now voting online to select a grand prize winner from among seven finalists.

Voting in the Win & Do Good contest is open to the public.  Finalist entries can be viewed at http://www.createthegood.org/sweepstakes.  Voting is open until November 18, and individuals may vote as often as once a day.

  So remember, vote early and vote often. 

Recent interview

Check out a fairly lengthy Q and A on my marathon preparations done by Gary Cohen.
http://www.garycohenrunning.com/Interviews/Russell.aspx

Half marathon thoughts

This year I am happy to be on the starting line of the Big Sur Half Marathon rather than the official starter like last year because I was coming off an injury. Though, I admit I did enjoy sitting in McDonalds eating pancakes with Quin while Jon was huffing and puffing around the streets of Monterey and Pacific Grove. Thankfully, this year I am healthy and I'm excited to run the race for the fist time. I run along Ocean Boulevard almost ever day, so I'm interested to see how it feels to race on it. It’s a nice rolling course, and there are usually pretty good crowds of spectators around Lovers Point.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mommys and daddys too

The other day Quin and I were sitting down for lunch, and I was telling him how I had just met “Bev” for a run.
“You run on the track, Mama?”
“No. I ran on the roads. I have a big race (the Big Sur Half) coming up on the roads.”
Silence for a moment, and then Quin asked, “You get hit by a car, Mama?”
“No, thankfully, the cars aren’t allowed on the road while we are racing.”
Again, I could tell the wheels were turning, and he asked another question. “Other mommys running?”
“Yep,” I said, “and daddy’s too.”

Monday, November 7, 2011

What's for dinner mom?

My friend, Janice, was not an avid runner, but had decided to enter a local 5k for fun. Her husband and two daughters were out there near the end to cheer her on. As she crested a final hill, her family spotted her and she could see her daughters jumping up and down, getting pretty excited. Just as she got close, her youngest shouted, “ Mom! Mom!....What’s for dinner!” Caught up in the excitement, she had just shouted the first thing that popped in her head. I am not sure what Janice replied, but hopefully, it was a “Ask your Father!”

Saturday, November 5, 2011

NYC marathon video

For those of you up early wondering what to do with your extra hour, check out the link to the live NY marathon Sunday morning. A great elite field and perfect weather will make for some exciting races on both sides.

http://www.universalsports.com/marathon/events/event=US0100723/index.html

Thursday, November 3, 2011

More barefoot running

More internet buzz about barefoot running this week. I just can't imagine going sans shoes on the streets of Pacific Grove in a couple of weeks for the Big Sur Half. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

More on the half

The organizers of the Big Sur Half Marathon say the Nov. 20 race will have "the deepest ladies field ever." Last year Blake was the official starter and then took Quin for pancakes while her husband pounded out 13 miles along the Monterey Bay. This year Blake is entered, hoping the race will help her training for the Olympic Marathon Trials. Last year Belainesh Gebre, 23, shattered the course record, running 1 hour, 9 minutes and 43 seconds. Also in the field this year is Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, the Olympic marathoner who won the Wharf to Wharf this year.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

This week's column: Full on marathon mode

It seems like just yesterday that my husband Jon and I were bringing our newborn son home from the hospital. I felt I had all the time in the world to recover from child birth and get ready for the next Olympic Trials. Quin is 2 and half now, and boy has the time flown by. I have had more than my fair share of bumps in the road since Quin was born, but now things seem to be falling into place just in time. I have been training hard these last few months, but now that the Trials are 11 weeks away we are in full marathon mode. That means increasing the number of miles I run each week, which seems to make workouts and long runs take forever.

This past weekend I decided to treat myself and take a little more time to drive to one of my favorite parks, Nisene Marks in Aptos. It’s about a 45 minute ride from the Pacific Grove homebase, but well worth it.

Before Quin was born, Jon, Coach Sev and I ventured up there every Sunday. It was always a nice change to run through the redwoods and on trails that wind up to a scenic lookout point. This time of year is especially nice with the leaves changing colors and the cool air because of the dense trees.

So Sunday I left Jon and Quin eating waffles and met Sev to drive up there for our run. We parked in our usual spot, and I started off down the road to do one of my loops. I decided to go up the West Ridge trail which takes me about an hour and 6 minutes to get to the top. I come back down on a windy fire road. Despite not having run this loop in years, I still remembered every turn and every root I used to trip on.

It’s nice to see some things don’t change. It’s quite a tough first hour with all the uphill, and I am a little obsessive about trying to reach the top in a good time. My legs were really burning by the time I reached the lookout point, but then I knew I had a good chunk of downhill to recover.

I made it back to the parking lot feeling good and strong. As I was stretching, a couple ran by me and I heard the man say tell his partner what the strategy for their run was: “We’re going to start slow, then in the middle we are going to run slow, and at the end we are going to keep running slow.” His partner and I both laughed. I like it, but I can’t afford to run slow right now and take in all the scenery.

With one of the deepest women’s marathon fields ever assembled for January’s Olympic Trials, slow and steady will not win the race.

I pulled in the driveway at home just as Jon and Quin were coming back from the beach on a beautiful 80 degree day.

“You have a good run, Mama?” Quin asked.

“Yes, I did munchkin.”

I still can’t believe Quin is speaking in full sentences and is a little boy now. But, it will be years before he understands why I am doing all this running. I’ll probably tell him I wanted one more shot to do something special.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fitting it all in





Thanks to Coach Sev for working out early this morning around Lover's Point, so I could get to a very important function- the Carmel Halloween Parade. I made it home just as Jon and Quin were getting in the car. Luckily, Quin already had on his Halloween costume and was ready to go. It was a fun morning, followed by some early trick or treating at Carmel Plaza. I am surprised Quin still took his usual nap with the sugar high. I guess there is some truth to a sugar crash. Mom jumped into bed as well:)