Friday, November 30, 2012

Night Run

A few weeks ago, I started training for my 100 mile ultra that I will be running in late March. The 100 miler has been something I've had on my radar for awhile now and I'm excited that I finally feel healthy and strong enough to take on the training required for this beast of a race. The furthest I've ever run was 59.5 miles in a 12 hour ultra I ran back in 2011. So, there is 40 miles of uncharted mileage that I will get to experience in all its pain and glory come March.

This past weekend, my training plan called for an 18 miler. I knew with the holiday and my travel plans, getting in 18 miles was highly unlikely. So, I decided to push my long run to bright and early Tuesday morning. To my disappointment, the weather forecast Tuesday morning didn't look good. Rain showers were suppose to move into the area before sunup. I don't mind running in the rain, but when it's only gonna be in the high 30s, the idea of running in a cold rain shower didn't sound all that appealing. So, I decided to run in middle of the night to beat out the storm.

Why did I wait till 11pm to head out for my long run? When I got home from work at 7 I was starving and I knew I needed to eat something before I went for my run. 4 hours later and a triple stacked PB&J in my belly, aka the PB&J club, I was ready to rock it!

I donned my headlamp and water pack and headed out into the cold, peaceful night. Running in the middle of night can be dangerous. I strongly urge anyone that is considering it to make sure you run in area you know well and that is preferably well lit. Also, be prepared. Anytime I go on a long run I carry my phone, a credit card and sometimes my metro card if I'm running near metro stations.

The deeper I got into my run, the less and less street traffic there was until I was the only one out there. I had the whole city to myself and it was fantastic. I'm a very introverted person and I must say, I was in my own little introverted paradise. I never run with music so the only thing I heard was my feet pounding the pavement and my breathing. It was an amazingly peaceful run and I found my mind drifting away to a point where I wasn't thinking about anything.

If it wasn't for the fact that I was pretty cold and had to get up for work in a few hours, I probably would of kept on running. By the time I made it back to my house I had 17 miles on my watch and it was pushing 1:30am. Ok, so I didn't run the planned 18. What's one more mile when you look at it though? At least, that's what I tell myself, haha.

When my alarm clock went off 4 hours later, I didn't even mind getting up. I was on a runner's high that lingered well into that evening. Am I on to something here? Should I do more late night runs? All I know is that I love running. Who would of thought that moving your legs at a pace faster than walking could bring so much happiness?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Runner's Spotlight: Meet Ali Hatfield

I'm very excited to introduce my next featured runner, Ali Hatfield. When most people run their first marathon, the goal is to just get across that finish line. Well, Ali not only got across the finish line, she ran it in a BQ time! Ali will be running in the prestigious Boston Marathon next year, but before she kills it in Boston, she has a little business to take care of in Dallas. If you don't know Ali, you should, she's a wealth of running knowledge! 

Q: When did you start running and why?
I began running at a young age. My parents would take me to a local track meet with other young kids and I would compete in various track and field events. I loved this track meet each year because I would come home with many medals and also made new friends! I also loved to run in local 5k's with my parents and brother.

My official running career began in Middle School when I joined the cross country and track team. I continued running on both teams through my senior year and have so many amazing memories from each.  

Q: What are your current running goals?
I have been training for many months to break 3:30 at my next marathon. My current PR is a 3:32 and I am determined to top that! I would also love to PR my 5k (19:40) and half marathon (1:34) in the very near future.  

Q: You were supposed to run in the NYC Marathon - Describe what the atmosphere was like leading up to and after the cancellation? What were your emotions?
The NYC Marathon was an emotional experience for me. This was my dream marathon, and I had been looking forward to it since February when I received my acceptance. I worked so hard for 14 weeks to ensure I would run this race fast, and come home with a PR.

After receiving word from the Mayor of NY that the marathon would go on, my family and I went along with our plans to go to NYC for the race. We arrived on Friday morning and I tried to get myself excited. It was very difficult to feel happy when you knew that many people were suffering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy, and many other people were protesting the marathon altogether.

When I heard the race was canceled on Friday evening, I was very upset. Many people do not realize what runners put into completing a marathon. I was sad that months of training, months of planning, and months of saving my money would not go into running the NYC Marathon. I completely understood why the race should have been canceled, I just wished the decision would have been made earlier in the week so I could have saved my family the travel costs and time.

The trip to NYC ended up to be a fabulous experience, and one I will not forget. While there, I was able to contribute to the Hurricane relief funds, and provide necessities to a fellow runner in need. This gave me piece of mind that my trip was worthwhile :) 

Q: What was your most memorable race?
I have two very memorable races. One experience was from high school when I ran the 800 at the State track meet. I've never felt more "on fire" than I did during that race. Even though it was 10 years ago, I still remember that race so vividly. I ran a 2:18 800, and placed 6th overall in the state of Missouri. It was so amazing.

My second memorable race was the 2011 Dallas Marathon. This was my first marathon, and one of the best experiences of my life (if not the best!). I ran my heart out in the freezing cold rain and shocked myself by running a Boston Qualifying time.  

Q: What is your weirdest/funniest running moment?
In high school, my best friend and I hated running our warm up runs, and would hide behind cars in neighborhoods to avoid them! The day we were caught was not a happy one!!

I have also had my fair share of getting lost on runs, sometimes turning a short run into a rather long run! 

Q: Who is the biggest motivator in your life?
Easy! My parents. They have been there for me through everything. They are always supportive of me and do whatever they can to make me a better runner, as well as a better person. My Dad is my running coach and I trust all my training with him - even when I think he is trying to kill me with insanely hard workouts.  

Q: What is your favorite quote?
"Tough times never last, but tough people do!" - Robert Schuller.
This quote can be applied to all aspects of life!  

Q: If you could only give one piece of running advice to a newbie runner, what would it be?
Don't give up! Running is often hard and uncomfortable. Even for someone like me, who has been running for years, it still hurts and isn't always fun. But the pride and sense of accomplishment you have in yourself after a great run or new PR makes all the pain worth it.

I always tell my friends who are just starting out to try to go a little bit further each run. Even if it is just 5 steps more than you were able to do previously, it will help you become a stronger runner.

Q: When is your next race?
I will be running the Dallas Marathon on December 9th as my NYC replacement. I am so excited for the race, and look forward to seeing a number below 3:30 on the clock when I finish! 

Q: Anything else we should know about you?
You can catch up with me on the following sites:

Twitter: @AliHatfield
Instagram: AliHat

I am also a member of the Fitfluential Family!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Race Recap: Kinhaven 5K

5Ks are what introduced me to the world of road racing. When I first started racing, I would seek out weekend 5Ks like it was my J-O-B. I loved the competition, not just among the runners around me, but with myself. I wanted to run each one harder and faster than the previous one.

As my running evolved over the years, I drifted away from 5Ks and focused more and more on endurance events. It wasn't that I didn't find 5Ks challenging, rather, I became more curious in how far I could run instead of how fast I could run. But, a month ago when I saw a tweet from elite ultramarathon runner Michael Wardian about a 5K he was directing to support his son's school (Kinhaven), it peaked my interest. So, I signed up.

The race was held Sunday morning in a quaint little park in Arlington, VA. The course was an out and back on the Washington and Old Dominion Trail, better known as the "W&OD" to local runners. It was an absolutely gorgeous fall morning for a 5K with not a cloud in the sky and temperatures in the low 40s.

The week leading up to the race I did an interval workout to try out some paces. After completing my intervals, I determined that somewhere in the 6:30 range should be doable. However, I knew if I could average a 6:20 pace, I could possibly beat my 5K PR, 19:43. So, I figured, why not try and go for it?

After picking up my bib and very nice North Face technical tee (Michael is sponsored by The North Face), it was time to race and I was pumped! Twitter road races aside, it had been almost two years since my last 5K. At the start line, my mind flooded with great memories of my early running days. It was a nice moment.

Michael gave the countdown and we were off! I quickly settled into a 6:25 pace. Unlike a marathon where I usually hold back at the start, I laid it all out. If I crashed, I crashed. I knocked off my 1st mile in 6:25 and I was still feeling good. As I neared the turnaround point, the trail began to climb, slightly. The climb and a tight turnaround had slowed my pace and my 2nd mile was a 6:39. During the 3rd mile, I began to feel the pain of running hard. But, I kept on pushing. I knew I needed to make up some time if I wanted to beat my PR. While I was able to run the 3rd mile in 6:25, it wasn't enough to make up for my slower 2nd mile. I crossed the line in 20:06 and was handed a creative finishers ribbon made by the Kinhaven kiddies. In the end, I didn't care that I missed out on my PR, but I was a little bummed that I missed a sub-20 5K by 6 seconds.

Following the race, there was a toddlers dash for the little ones and a 1K fun run for the bigger little ones. I hung around for the awards because I thought I might have placed in my age group. To my delight, I finished 3rd in the 20-29 age group, edging out the 4th place runner by only 5 seconds! Overall, I was 11th out of the 150 runners that showed up to do what we love.

I enjoyed taking part in this race and I plan to run in it again next year. Who knows, maybe I'll run in another 5K soon!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Runner's Spotlight: Meet the Naked Runners

It's with great pleasure to introduce my next featured runner, or in this case, runners. Meet Dave Robertson and Silas Moss, aka, The Naked Runners. Dave and Silas are from Newcastle, Australia and I knew they would be perfect for my next interview, seeing that Dave and Silas are currently hosting the Naked November Campaign. Not sure what naked running is? Read below and join the movement! 

Note: All questions answered by Dave.
Silas (left) and Dave (right)

Q: When did you start running and why?
I can't remember a time when I haven't been a runner. It has always felt natural and come pretty naturally. Growing up, running featured highly in the playground, on sporting fields and at Athletics/Cross Country carnivals.
After a bit of a running lull during my University days, my second coming as more of a longer distance runner came after that period in 2004, when I entered the World's largest Fun Run, the City 2 Surf followed by my first Half Marathon in Sydney.

Since that time I have continued to explore running more and more & have deepened my relationship with running as I learn more about it.
 I run now for myself (physical, mental & emotional benefits) & for others (to encourage more people to run). Running is such a powerful tool & many of us don't realize it. I believe there isn't a problem that the world faces today that can't be solved by running!

Q: So, what exactly is naked running and why should runners try it?
We get asked this a lot! Naked Running is all about ditching the modern distractions including headphones, heart rate monitors & heel-striking, to provide a more connected, natural running experience (while keeping your clothes on!) The clothes part comes as a disappointment to some but a relief to many...!

We encourage people to run as naked as they feel comfortable, as often as they like (at least once/week), whether it’s leaving the iPod at home, not relying on the GPS or even stripping back the footwear to run barefoot occasionally.
 Running at its core essence should be less about how far and how fast, and more about high fives & headbands (i.e having fun!).

We believe the more naked the better & that the heightened physical, mental, social & environmental connections that
 running naked provides, will lead to a more joyful, fulfilling & lifelong experience of running.

Q: How long have you been “running naked” for?
My early years as a runner were most definitely naked. Then, like so many other runners I was lured to the world of convenient gadgets that provided feedback on my mileage, pace, time & heart rate. I enjoyed the process of collecting and analyzing my running data for a number of years. But the penny dropped one day when the run I was planning & mapping out on my computer (before owning a GPS), took longer to map than the run itself. It occurred to me had become a slave to the statistics and was running more for the numbers than the enjoyment.
About 3 years ago, after a 2 week time-out, following a 12 week training block preparing for an Ironman triathlon, I decided to head out the door for a run with no feedback devices, completely unplanned & free. The freedom I found by doing this was so refreshing & invigorating. I knew instantly there was something to this stripped-back approach. 

Q: What are your current running goals?
My main life-time running goal is to one day run a marathon with my grandson or grand-daughter. My wife & I have just had our first child, Grace, so she is an important first part of this plan!

I don't really have any set running goals currently other than to get out for some sort of run most days of the week. I have enjoyed taking part in events from 5K to the marathon in the last 10 years. I'm keen to have a crack at an Ultramarathon one day but I think I will shelve the longer stuff for a while and focus more on the shorter distances...I'm considering even resuming my track career & having a tinker at the 400m, 800m & the mile.

Q: What was your most memorable race?
I think it would have to be the Colfax Marathon in Denver earlier this year. I only decided to run it a month or so before as part of the 'Naked World Tour' that my wife & I were lucky enough to enjoy in April/May.

Partly as an experiment I decided to run it barefoot. The longest I had run barefoot before this was a half marathon a month or so before. After getting through the partial foot numbness of the opening couple of miles (it was only 4deg at the start line!) I settled in to the race and had an awesome experience. Not focused on going for a time allowed me to really soak up the atmosphere. A couple of the highlights were running down the middle of the field in Mile High Stadium (twice), and stopping to play drums with a road-side band at around the 18mile mark.
Here is the race report.

Q: Who is the biggest motivator in your life?
My Dad, Ian who was dealt a pretty rubbish hand a few years ago with a diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer. Through effective medical management as well as some dramatic lifestyle changes, including becoming an enthusiastic runner, he is now fitter & healthier than he has been in decades. 
I must also mention my wife Gabby & as of 12 weeks ago, my beautiful daughter 'Amazing' Grace!

Q: What is your favorite quote?
"The best things in life are not things."

And if I could have a second favorite it would be the Lion/Gazelle running quote:

“Every morning in Africa, a Gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a Lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest Gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a Lion or a Gazelle... when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.”

Q: If you could only give one piece of running advice to a newbie runner, what would it be?
Running can be a life-changing activity but in order to become a runner for life you should:

1) spend time honing the skill of running;
2) take time with letting the body transition to running;
3) have fun!

Do it right & you will be a runner for life! (Sorry that's more than one piece of advice).

Q: You guys are from Australia. Any races down under you would recommend?
The Six Foot Track Marathon in the Blue Mountains 1 hour west of Sydney is an iconic trail marathon (45K) which is very popular.
The Fernleigh15 (15K through a beautiful natural bush former rail corridor) & also Newy parkrun (5K) - in our own backyard of Newcastle, NSW. We'll take you for a guided tour of both courses, plus a run along our beautiful beaches and harbor when you come visit us!

You can learn more about Dave and Silas at the following links:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The 3 Rules to Happy Marathon Running

Rule #1
Don't start off fast.
It's very easy to let the excitement at the start of the marathon get to you and before you know it, you're running way too fast. The first few miles are crucial to having a good race. Decide well before the start what pace you want to begin at and and stick to it. It might be hard to see lots of runners flying past you at the start, but trust me, you will catch them all in the second half because they broke rule #1.

Rule #2
Don't change your race plan mid-race.
Do not stray from the your pre-race race plan. You're only asking for trouble if you do. If you're feeling good early on and you think you could run a little faster than you planned, that's great. But, instead of picking up the pace, maintain that feel good pace you're running and conserve your energy for the push at the end. You'll be glad to have that little extra in the tank.

Rule #3
Don't try something new for the first time during the marathon.
Race day is not the day to try that new running shoe, sock, short, shirt etc... Same goes for in-race nutrition. Don't eat or drink something you've never tried before. On race day, stick to what you know works. You don't want to find out halfway through the marathon that your running shirt is rubbing you the wrong way or the energy gel you tried made your stomach upset. Training runs are the time try out new things, not a race.

Run happy and enjoy the 26.2 mile journey!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Runner's Spotlight: Meet Elizabeth Rehmer

I got to thinking on a run the other day that it would be fun to feature a different runner each week on my blog. We spend so much of our time blogging about our running experiences, why not share someone else's? My Twitter friend Elizabeth Rehmer kindly accepted my invitation to be the first runner featured. Elizabeth is a two-time overall female winner of the Twitter Road Race and an avid sewer outside of her running life. So, without further adieu, I give you my interview with Elizabeth!

Q: When did you start running and why? 
I began running at the age of 9.  I used to ride the bike with my father while he ran and then one day I wanted to try running.  I loved it and have done it pretty regularly since.
Q: What are your current running goals?
My current running goals are to keep reaching for the BQ.  I also have an ongoing goal to finish each race with a smile.  I love running and hope to be the 92 year old lady in the Nike ads, so I don't want to ever leave that bad taste in my mouth.  Don't get me wrong, some training runs involve tears, bouts of nausea and a lot of pain, but those are to prep me for a successful race so I can enjoy it while crushing it! 
Q: Do you remember what your first race was?

Aside from track meets, my first race was a St. Patrick's Day race in Anaconda, Montana.  It was a 10k I ran with a few friends.
Q: What was your most memorable race?

It's hard to say which race was most memorable--some are just super fun events like the Disney Princess Half that I ran in a Minnie Mouse costume with my aunt, and of course my first marathon.  I ran Boston for charity and being from there--that race was AMAZING.  I see why its the mecca; however, I just had a PR (like 13 minutes!!:)) in Chicago.  And that race was FUN, FAST and efficient. The Nike women's run in San Fran was also a fave.  Ran with my #SistersInNike.  Amazing course, great views and a Tiffany Finishers necklace--phenomenal event!  I can't choose!! I just love races to be surrounded by other runners. 
Q: Who is the biggest motivator in your life?
My family and friends have always given me great support (parents and aunts and friends traveling around the country to watch me run!!) But I think the biggest motivation I get is from my senior citizen clients (80+ in years) that still have a strenuous workout regime.  These people keep me going.  They exemplify that it pays off down the road.
Q: What is your favorite quote?

I have several favorite quotes, but the one that pushed me through a very successful training for Chicago was "Don't half ass it and it will be worth it."  Not the most PC--but my step father (who has passed) used to say it to me when I would become complacent in my running or training.  And it works.  Meet each goal of specific workouts and results will be achieved.
Q: If you could only give one piece of running advice to a newbie runner, what would it be?

I think one needs to get in shape to run, not run to get in shape; therefore, take baby steps with running. Also, some days are harder than others, even to experienced runners.  Running is mental--so somedays eeking out a mile is misery and then the next day a 20+ miler may feel like cake.  Just ease into it and stick with it.
Q: When is your next race?

My next race is the Huffing for Stuffing, a 10k on turkey day in Bozeman, Montana.  There is a virtual 10k in February, but I do need to choose another full marathon.  I am open to suggestions!! :) 
Q: Anything else we should know about you?

I have a blog at that I recently began to share my experience as a Nike Women's Ambassador.  I am on Twitter @turtlegirl00 and love motivating/helping other people with their running or exercising.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fall Twitter Road Race - Final Instructions

Race day is Saturday, November 3rd and the race distance is a 10K. The finisher's form is posted under the Twitter Road Race tab on my blog. You MUST submit the time of your 10K on this form by 11:59 PM Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (HAST) Saturday night to be counted as an official finisher. After the cutoff time, submissions will no longer be accepted.

Only submit your time once. If you realized you made a mistake or are unsure if your time was submitted, tweet me and I'd be happy to check and make any necessary corrections for you.

IMPORTANT: When you enter your time into the form, PLEASE be sure you enter it in the correct format, which is HH:MM:SS. For example, if you ran your 10K in 56 minutes and 10 seconds, please enter your time as 00:56:10. If you enter your time as 56:10, leaving out the 00: for the hour placeholder, the form is going to think it took you 56 hours and 10 minutes. So, please be mindful of that. Thank you :)

The results will be posted no later than 12pm, Eastern Time on Sunday. I will be sure to tweet the link once the results are ready. 

Fall TRR Bib
My thanks to @hellomisspotter for creating this awesome bib for this race. Click on the link below to download this editable bib!

Q: Can I run the race on a treadmill?
A: Yes.
Q: My training program calls for a 10 mile run on Saturday, can I use a 10K split from that run to count towards the Twitter Road Race?
A: Yes. 
Q: I have a 10K race on the same day as the Twitter Road Race, can I use my time from that race for the Twitter Road Race?
A: Yes.

See a trend here?

Basically, any way you can run the 10K is fine by me. If you have any additional questions, please don't hesitate to tweet me your questions and I will be happy to answer them.

Again, thank you so much for spreading the word about this event! Please continue to tweet using #TwitterRoadRace so we can get as many runners as we can on race day! I wish you all a great and safe race! Have fun out there!

Happy Running!