Sunday, December 23, 2012

Running Year Review: 2012

2012 got off to a slow start. The planter fascia in my right foot was acting up, which sidelined me for most of January. Because of this, I was forced to DNS two races I had planned to run in February.  By the end of January, I was running again and as February wrapped up, I was starting to feel like my old self.

Even with my sore planter fascia, I was able to run the inaugural Twitter Road Race that I ended up hosting 4 times throughout the year (one during each season). The race has been a great success and I have all the awesome runners that have participated to thank! Be on the lookout for the date of the next TRR soon! It will be sometime in February.

March was upon me before I knew it and the RnR DC Marathon was knocking on my door. It turned out to be a great race for me and I was able to set a new PR! Race Recap

The next race on my agenda was the popular Cherry Blossom 10 miler in DC. It was a fun race and I snagged up another PR.  However, the highlight of this race was enjoying an awesome brunch with my girlfriend, Katie (who also ran in the race), and our running friends afterwards. Fyi...mimosas make for great post race recovery fuel.

Then, it was on to the Blue Ridge Marathon in late April. This was an was an extremely difficult race set in the hills/mountains of Roanoke, VA. The course boasted over 7,000 feet of elevation change! I dragged my ass to the finish line and thanked the running gods for sparing my life. Race Recap

After a successful winter TRR, I hosted the spring TRR on the last weekend of April. I ran the race with Katie while we were out in Charlottesville, VA visiting one of her friends. After the race, we spent the whole afternoon visiting the plethora of wineries in the area.

The following weekend Katie accompanied me on my trip to New Jersey for the New Jersey Marathon. I decided to run this race naked (no Garmin) and it was a lot fun. Katie even joined me for a few miles during race which was definitely the highlight for me. Race Recap

No rest for the weary and the weekend after the NJ Marathon, Katie and I ran in a 10K at an airport in Manassas, VA. I'm a big plane nerd so of course, this race was awesome! Part of the course went right down the runway! Race Recap

Next, it was off to the beautiful Potomac Heritage Trail in Northern VA for The North Face 50K in early June. It rained buckets the night before the race which made the course extra muddy and even more challenging. But, I loved it! Race Recap

Over Father's Day weekend, Katie and I ran in a twilight 10K in DC. It was a little different running a race at the end of the day after being so accustomed to racing in the morning.

For my dumbest (idea) race of the year was the Grant-Pierce Indoor Marathon in Arlington, VA. That's right, I decided it would be "fun" to run around an indoor 200 meter track, 211 times. To say the least, the race was interesting and I was very happy to finish this circle of death race. Race Recap

In early August I hosted the summer TRR. I ran my 5K during part of my Saturday long run with my running club. It was hot, sticky, and humid. Not much else to say.

In late September I ran in a 12 hour endurance trail run. My goal was to run 50 miles, but my body had other plans. About 6 and half hours later, I called it day, running more or less a 50K. The Chicago Marathon (my key fall race) was right around the corner and there was no need to push my body further that day. I still enjoyed the race and the trail was very scenic and peaceful. Race Recap

The Chicago Marathon is my favorite marathon. The last time I ran it was in 2009. So, I was very excited to toe the start line on race morning. I ran the race of my life and accomplished my goal of setting a new PR, 3:45:27! The weather was perfect that day and I had hunch before the race that the course record might be broken, and it was. 2:04:38! Race Recap

At the end of October, I ran in DC's flagship race, the Marine Corps Marathon. Two days before the race, I arrived back in states after being in Thailand. I had gone to Thailand to visit Katie. She is currently teaching 5th grade at an international school in Bangkok and is loving it! Teaching abroad has been a big goal for her and I'm so happy to see her achieving it. 
I had signed up for Marine Corps before I made my plans to visit Katie. Knowing that Marine Corps was just gonna be a fun race for me, I wasn't too worried about running so soon after returning from a long trip and an 11 hour time difference. Long story short, by mile 5 I was tight and it only got worst from there. I seriously considered dropping out of the race at one point because I felt so terrible. But, I'm stubborn and didn't want to DNF, so I crawled to the finish line. 5 hours later I was done and learned a valuable lesson.

The first weekend in November, I held the last Twitter Road Race of year. For this race, I created a poll on my blog and had everyone vote for what they wanted the race distance to be: a 5K, 10K, 15K or a half marathon. The 10K won in a landslide. Thanks to all that participated in this race!

To cap off my year, I ran in a local 5K. It had been awhile since I ran in a 5K and I really enjoyed it. I had a very strong race was able to finish 3rd in my age group! Race Recap

2012 was another great year for me. I able to lower my marathon PR by about 5 minutes, which made me very happy. I feel my best years are still ahead of me! I started training in November for my ultimate race goal in 2013, a 100 mile trail ultra in late March. Training is going well and I can't wait for the race to get here! It will be an amazing experience, I'm sure!

I wish all you a wonderful and safe holiday season and a Happy New Year. Enjoy your time with your loved ones and friends. I hope your 2012 was great one, filled with lots of PRs! Cheers to you for having an even better year in 2013!

Happy running!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Runner's Spotlight: Meet Jocelyn aka Enthusiastic Runner

My next featured runner is one of the few tweeps I've met in person. Meet Jocelyn. I met Jocelyn back in the spring at the NJ Marathon. The NJ Marathon was Jocelyn's 2nd marathon and her goal was to go sub-4. Catching up with her after the race, she told me that she missed out on her sub-4. I could tell she was disappointed and told her that it had taken me 4 tries to run a sub-4, which I believe provided her some reassurance. 

Jocelyn ran the Chicago Marathon this fall and just missed the sub-4 by about 4 minutes. It would appear the number 4 was starting to taunt her. A little over a month later, she ran in her 4th marathon (Philly) and well, I let her tell you what happened...

Q: When did you start running and why?
I grew up playing sports so I always "ran". But I didn't start running (aka without kicking a soccer ball) until I went to college. I started running 4 times a week for 3 or 4 miles just to relieve stress and get fresh air.   When I got my first job out of college, a bunch of guys at my company  (I worked in a mostly male department) asked me to be on their Ragnar Relay Team.  I had never run more than 4 miles before, but in order to impress them, I "trained" for the Relay race.   I had so much fun training that I decided to sign up for a half marathon a couple months later, then a marathon six months later, and now four years later, I'm addicted.  

Q: I loved your blog post about your recent PR effort at the Philly Marathon. What did it mean to break the sub-4 hour barrier?
Thank you for reading my blog post! I never think that people actually read my blog posts.  As for breaking the Sub-4 barrier: My first marathon finish time was a 5:04, so I have come a long way.  It was an unbelievable feeling crossing at 3:50 in Philly!  I was really proud of myself.  It was probably one of the first times I have accomplished a goal just for me - not for my parents, my boss, etc.  Sub-4 was my goal.   

Q: What was your most memorable race?
Hood to Coast 2011 & 2012 with Team Nuun Hydration. I love the team atmosphere of relay races.  It was an amazing opportunity to run with a company I believe in, meet new running friends, and be inspired to become a faster runner.  I will forever be grateful to Nuun for giving me the opportunity to run on their team.

Q: When is your next race?
Next "A" race will be Eugene Marathon in April 2013.  I will probably run a couple half marathons as training runs in the next couple of months, but my eyes are set on Eugene. 

Q: What is your weirdest/funniest running moment?
I have blonde hair, and sometimes I wear my hair in a messy bun when I run. Well, one time I was running and a bird landed on top of my head!  I think he thought my "messy bun" was a bird's nest.  I freaked out (obviously) because the bird wouldn't get off my head!

Q: Who is the biggest motivator in your life?
Great question.  My parents signed me up for sports at a very young age, so I appreciate them for that.  I think it taught me how to be self-motivated when it comes to sports.  Of course I look up to a lot of professional athletes and running friends.  But I think I am self-motivated, aren't all non-professional runners?  No one is paying us to run 20 miles on the weekends! (Unless you are a professional runner).

Q: What is your favorite quote?
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill

Q: If you could only give one piece of running advice to a newbie runner, what would it be?
Start slow!  You don't need to sign-up for a marathon.  You don't even need to sign up for a 5K.  I think running is more than running races - it is about being outside, improving your mood, releasing stress, listening to good music, keeping yourself active and/or spending time with friends.  Think about those things before you think about certain paces or distances.

Q: If you could only use one word to describe what running means to you, what would it be?

Q: Anything else we should know about you?
Twitter: @enthusiasticrun
Runner for Team Oiselle:
Nuun Ambassador:

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Runner's Spotlight: Meet Bart Yasso

My next featured runner needs no introduction. If you're an avid reader of Runner's World, you probably know of the awesomeness that is Bart Yasso. I was so excited when Bart gladly accepted my invitation to be interviewed. Bart is the Chief Running Officer for Runner's World magazine and running coach for the popular Runner's World Challenge training program. He is also the man behind the 'Yasso 800's', which is used by many runners in their training regiments.

Bart recently published a book, My Life on theRun, which chronicles his amazing running career. I highly recommend reading his inspirational life story. Bart's passion in life is to connect with other runners and motivate those thinking about running to lace up their shoes and give it a try. It goes without saying that I am honored to share my interview with Bart with you!

Photo credit:
When did you start running and why?
I started running way back in 1977. On my runs I started dreaming about what I wanted most out of life. I knew I wanted to travel around the world, experience exotic locations and different cultures. I played lots other sports in my younger years but I made a critical error and chose the path of alcohol and drugs. I was very lucky to gravitate towards running in 1977 which could have saved my life.

You have what many runners consider to be the dream job at Runner’s World. What does working at RW mean to you?
The CRO at Runner’s World is a pretty cool job. I think most runners would love to get paid to go to running events all over the world. Runner’s World is owned by the Rodale family. I love working for the Rodale family. I share the same values as Rodale Inc. which is what keeps me going. Rodale is a very philanthropic company. Favorite part of my job is meeting runners every weekend as travel around the world.

You have traveled to countless running events around the world - what are some races you would recommend?
The list of races I could recommend would be a mile long. I attend about 60 races per year mostly domestic. About 2 or 3 of my yearly trips are international. In the old days I ran every single race I attended. These days I only do a handful races per year and I lean heavily to the events I’ve never run before.

What was your most memorable race?
One word, Comrades, the greatest footrace on the planet. 
What is your weirdest/funniest running moment?
Doing the Bare Buns Fun Run. [A run at a nudist camp that he writes about in his book]

Who is the biggest motivator in your life?
My older brother George, he passed away back in 2003 but still feel his presence everyday.
What is your favorite quote?
"One day I won't be able to do this, today is not that day."  -Unknown

If you could only give one piece of running advice to a newbie runner, what would it be?
I want to be a runner for life. I always remind myself that running isn’t about how far you go but how far you’ve come. The reward is living the lifestyle and embracing the journey.

As 2012 comes to an end, what are you looking forward to in 2013?
I have 2013 running goals but none of them are related to racing. My goals are to motivate and engage people that never thought they would be a runner.

Anything else we should know about you?
Twitter: @BartYasso
Facebook: Bart's page

Great article on Runner's World by Bart.
Running with the Amish