By: Chris Kimbrough
Recently I’ve read a couple of blogs about “Happy Moms” running with their kid or kiddos in their joggers. They were fun to read, but honestly I‘m not sure I had too many of those joyful baby jogger moments! I think the most joyful moments for me were when they finally fell asleep. It was 16 years ago when I first started researching for the best joggers. I settled on one that fit my criteria: lightweight, sharp turning radius and not too expensive. When I think back to those times I didn’t have a nice trail to jog on, just pavement and sidewalks and an occasional dirt path. I spent most of that time dodging parked cars, watching for moving cars, and fetching flying sippy cups.
Now fast forward 16 years – I’m back to having a one year old! The option of running with a jogger has reared it’s head again. My first thoughts are always: No thanks — give me a treadmill or a teenage babysitter any day! I don’t miss blankets dragging on the ground and rubbing in the wheels. Nor do I miss the books, goldfish, crayons, pacifiers & juice boxes flying out the side… and then having to stop, bend over and pick up everything that’s lying in the street. I surely don’t miss the stares from people as my child is screaming in the jogger wanting to get out.
Yes, there were great moments too: the kids’ singing and coloring together; children looking at the scenery, enjoying nature and asking “LOTS” of questions. However most of the time it was just lots of work trucking the jogger around. I remember in 2008 training for the Olympic trials and having to get my run in with one of my kid’s home sick from school. I thought: A little fresh air would do her good! However, that made three in the jogger, so one had to sit on the older child’s lap. I recall telling my kids I’d run one hour. I think it was about that long when Ellie said, Mom, are you done yet? I can’t feel my legs. I also remember the time my son Jack had a box of crayons and “such”. The box just happened to have a pair of scissors in it. I can remember looking down as he’s cutting a whole in the jogger’s canopy. I said, “what are you doing?” He replied, Oh, I just wanted to see your face! I could have used an Ipad back then!
So my youngest child now, Layne, may not get too many of those fun adventures in the jogger. I still have it, but it’s become the garage’s stuff collector: loaded down with assorted rip sticks, basketballs and scooters. Maybe I’m just getting too old to bend down and pick stuff off the pavement! Happy running everyone!
Oh, one side note: one of my teenage daughters read my blog this morning and said, Mom, I miss those jogger days! Maybe they just had a little more fun than I thought!
By: Laura Mitchell
Well, the summer is in full swing in Austin and while it’s been humid it hasn’t been nearly as hot! This all bodes well for training, right everyone?
With the increase awareness of Rogue Expeditions floating around town, the curiosity of racing outside of your hood is becoming more and more popular…but before I introduce you all to a great destination race…let me catch you up on all things running and racing for Laura and just how that race fit into the schedule.
I finished up my season at the end of June. The goal was to get my 5k time down to a personal best since training with Carmen. Steve put to me one day: When one has been racing as long as I have, where do you mark your PB at this point? Is it when you ran in High School or College? Where’s the statute of limitations for still claiming that sub 5 minute mile time or that fast clip you could run 5Ks in weekend after weekend? So I guess to each their own, but I decided that a good starting mark was when I started training with Carmen. Five years ago…I think? So now that was settled; I created my goal for the season. The goal: To get a 5K PB.
Finally this was the year. The year when I started my base phase early enough to put in the work. This was the year where I put in more gym and core sessions that I ever had before. I really felt that I was strong enough to handle putting on more mileage at a faster pace during the winter, so once 5K season really started I would be fit and ready. I ran about five 5K races with a mid-season goal race and a final goal race to peak for. I wanted to first tell you about my favorite mid-season race spot and then in my next blog discuss the outcome of my goals laid out this season.
The mid-season race I do on the regular is the Carlsbad 5000. I recommend this race if you are looking for a relaxed destination coupled with an exciting race. At the beginning of every year, I think about the 1st weekend of April and save it for the Carlsbad 5000. It’s in the cute little town of Carlsbad, CA, which is about 35 minutes north of San Diego. It is deemed the World’s Fastest 5K. They call it the fastest because several people have ran crazy fast times there. It’s been running since 1986 where Steve Scott won the 1st three races setting World and American records in ‘86 and ‘88. To this day, the elite races never disappoint! So you may be thinking, “Wow, it must be super flat!” The race course is great, although it’s not flat all the way as you would expect.
It actually has a slight uphill start for the first 600m, but you never notice it as the adrenaline from starting a race is in full swing and all you are worrying about is not getting sucked into going too fast too soon. Then it turns left and is pretty flat along the beach boardwalk for the next mile. The course follows the shape of a track with two hairpin turns on either side. When you get to the first flip-turn you follow back on the opposite side of the road closest to the Pacific. Best to practice a few of these hairpin turns beforehand if you are taking this more seriously for course becomes slightly uphill for the next 50 meters and it helps to get an advantage here. The last mile is slightly downhill before coming to the 2nd flip turn. Just like after the first one, it’s slightly uphill and this is where you have to dig deep. For the last 600m or so you head right into the most exciting downhill finish you will ever experience in a road race! Don’t just take my word for it, go and race it! It really feels like you are flying.
The atmosphere pulls you along. There are timer clocks at every mile marker. People are cheering constantly, the weather is great, you are by the beach, what more could you want? If that doesn’t totally convince you, there are accommodations right on the race course, with fantastic beach views, a beer garden celebration afterward (just like our famous www.zilkerrelays.com -which I hope everyone attends Sept 5th), AND medals to the first 250 participants! There are several great eats and a great outdoor coffee shop to chill at all within walking distance.
Oh and there are 2 elite races afterward. I have witnessed some of the fastest runners race there pants off. From Olympians to NCAA National Champions, they come from all over to test their wheels in an early 5K race. We as fans can watch for free. It’s very inspiring. I’ve been 5 times and it’s always a blast. You can make it a nice long weekend. It’s always on a Sunday morning. I highly recommend it. www.carlsbad5000.com.
On Saturday, August 23rd in Laurel Springs, NC (about an hour NW of Boone) Mountain Goat Racing put on the Continental Divide Trail Race. Wow! What a total kick in the ass that was…totally fun in a sadistic, tough way. I was looking forward to doing this race being I’ve never done a national level trail race and why not?!? Plus, past summers the trail or mountain champs never fit into my summer schedule and this summer it did. I just got back, Aug 17th, from 2 weeks of running in Colorado, Boulder and Aspen. Got in some great altitude training and lots of climbing and trail running. So everything seemed to line up perfectly leading up to this 10k trail race this year.
I entered this race with nothing other than looking to having a fun new adventure. That it was! I have been in the Asheville area and loved the very green & wooded rolling mountains. As I drove from Charlotte up to the race site(2 hrs)…it didn’t disappoint. A drastic different view from my miles driven in CO…it’s all a different beauty. Up and up I drove to the top of a mountain of the Appalachians just over the continental divide. The race accommodations were in a very bare bones though nice retreat/resort facility. The views were amazing…rolling green mountain tops as far as the eyes could see in all directions. I arrived the day before, so I had the time to check out the course. As I drove to the very tip top of the mountain where the race started, I was told the race director was out finishing up marking the course. So off I went trying to figure out the course…which was not a success. Wasn’t sure where the start/finish was, how many loops or direction we were going on these trails?!? Oh well, after about 10-15 mins of running I jumped into the trails and once into the trails, it was time to walk! I think my legs were still feeling all those climbs at altitude in CO. And there I found myself, in the land of the Hobbits…everything became; mossy, ferny, shroomy and dense with lots of trees and green everywhere. I was so glad I did this to be able to really enjoy the beauty surrounding me that I would be missing racing, knowing how hard I’d be focusing on my footing through this very tough, technical single track hiking trails traversing up and down these mountains.
Race day: 9:30 am start
Back up to the mountain top, noticing it rained the night before, thinking….yikes! The footing is going to even more fun than I thought!! The temp was fine, of course coming from ATX, it’s not that hot or humid. There was one race, men & women combined. This could add to the already challenge of passing in any kind of trail race. Passing on this course was going to be interesting!! Not knowing any of my competition or how many were in the race or having any expectations other than having fun…it was time to start. The announcer was taking a tally how many where here for their first trail race and I was surprised at those numbers. He laughed and mentioned how much we’d love the ROCK WALL? Ok? Well, if it was your first or not…we all were in for a treat no doubt!
With a mass start which felt like a cross country race for the first 1000 m, was a great way to string things out pretty quick and down the mnt we went. Soon enough we where weaving in and out, down and back up thru the Hobbit like tough terrain. I would say overall all these tough trails made up roughly 5 miles of this 10k course. I thought several times I was going to fall & roll down the mnt with the trails tricky soft/mushy footing as well as the slant of the trail, not to mention the mossy, slick covered fallen trees and granite rocks that occasionally crossed/covered the trails. Mid way in the race was an interesting encounter….swarming bees or hornets!! Yes, there must have been a hive/nest on the course that got disturbed by several of the leaders. This was where I was stopped by a male runner who wasn’t sure what to do and informed me of the danger ahead and with a quick decision I decided to cut the course by about 50 feet to avoid the hazard and he with a few others who caught up followed. Once back on the course within in secs I could hear screaming behind where others weren’t so lucky!! (over 20 runners got attacked with multiple stings with 3 off to the hospital by race end) . There were 2 different spots on the course I found myself hiking due to the grade being so steep. Towards the end of the race I found out what the ROCK WALL was and this is where I believe ‘ignorance is bliss’! Truly, it was a granite rock mnt face that went straight up within the last 800 m/mile of the race. Awesome! With an up hill run out of the woods that continued up to the finish line…..all the fun was over.
As after any race…there’s the post race break down. I cooled down with several guys who ran this same race last year, they seemed to think this year was tougher. It seemed more runners went down with surveying the scene post race, with lots of cuts, scrapes, mud, and stings. The men’s winner wrenched his ankle real bad and 2nd place said he’s never fell in a trail race and fell that day. At this point I was not sure where I ended up overall with the women and had to head back to shower and check out from my room prior to the awards.
I ended up 3rd overall women and first in my 40-44 age group. Not knowing this wasn’t just the USATF 10k Champs, though also the NC 10k trails Champs as well. All in all I had a great time meeting some new peeps and loving the challenge of the terrain and traveling to a new place to race. I was happy the running in CO certainly paid off in these green-covered Hobbit-like mnts. I’ll for sure look into doing another USATF either trail or mountain event in the future.
Now it was time for some fun, off to Boone I drove. What a cool small mountain town. There are great trails to run/hike which I did that afternoon and a cool vibe being a college town as well. Had some good food and beer at a fun brewery. Sunday awoke with it totally socked in with fog and misty rain. Enjoyed a very wet run, knowing it was going to be awhile before a run like that back in ATX. Then the drive about an hour and 30 back to Charlotte. What a fun weekend in the North Carolina mountains! For those trail runners…you need to check this area out! You won’t be disappointed!
By: Sam LaBrie
The heat, humidity, and relentless pounding on the roads had me second guessing my decision to train for a Fall marathon so it seemed like a good idea to substitute a long run with an August trail race at Cameron Park in Waco. I’d run this course before and enjoyed the shaded and twisty singletrack, punchy climbs, and the fast finish along the Brazos River.
My training friends Chris Kimbrough and Dan Hannon were gullible enough to sign up as well. Chris volunteered to drive and, well, she drives like she runs. I don’t think Honda intended the Fit to get that close to triple digits. We made it up to the start area with plenty of time to register and jog a couple miles before the 8am start.
This race is part of the Texas XTERRA series and is managed by Race Revolutions (http://www.racerevolutions.com/). Joel Grimmett and his crew had the course expertly marked, with several aid stations and many course marshals to keep us on the right path. We ran 2 loops, each of which began with Jacob’s Ladder, a set of stairs about 3 stories tall, with uneven, but generally very high steps. TX Sports Photography provided beautiful pictures from a couple different spots on the course.
Chris was third overall and the first woman by nearly 20 minutes. The overall winner was Pompilio Romero. He’s a super nice guy and, from what the Waco locals say, wins most of the area races. He’s prepping for a Fall ultra (watch out Paul T.).
My race went fairly well. I had planned on a negative split so kept it under control on the first loop. I made it to the top of Jacob’s Ladder just after the start of the second loop in about 1 hour and hoped, at that point, to finish at around 1:57. On the second loop the conditions were increasingly difficult as the sun got higher and the trees blocked any wisp of a breeze. I had trouble with the heat and humidity and slowed down substantially. I made up some time on the last mile to finish in just over 2 hours. Good enough for third in my age group and sixth overall. Dan did well and finished fourth in our age group.
A trail run is a great break from the monotony of marathon training. It took a bit longer to get my ~15 miles for the day, but it was a lot more fun.
By: Cassandra Henkiel
It’s July and time for my break! I usually take a month off any structured running training during the summer, which for me is usually the perfect time. My last road race was the end of April, (US Master’s 10k Road Race Champs up in New England, placed 4th race isn’t until October, (US Master’s 5k Road Race Champs in NY).
So, I had quite a break to make some racing decisions…I ended up training through May and decided to race as many of Luke’s Locker All Comer track meet series in June. Unfortunately, I missed 2 of the 5 due to being out of town. It was a fun way to spend my Friday evenings with fellow track lovers, friends, Rogue Racers and to work on my speed and turn over. Racing the 800m, 1200 in the DMR and 1500m. With no racing in July in my plan and with the heat of the summer upon us…I look forward to this time to get in some cross training: road biking, spin classes, swimming, aqua jogging, yoga, more intense strength training, light running and days off if I want. Come August is when I usually take off to Colorado to visit friends and hit the altitude, cooler temps and the trails for several weeks. This is my time to start some base building to get ready for bringing back intensity to my training come September, as I gear up for fall racing. The USATF 10k Trail Champs is the end of August in NC and for the first time, I’m going to try and go. I’m a big fan of trail running/racing and seems like it fits perfectly post Colorado.
As I look forward to my break, I hope many of you out there also plan ahead and schedule a good size break in your running training season after season or year after year. In our sport of running you can race all year round and before you know it….one year or season bleeds into the next. So, it’s important to build in some kind of training/racing break from running some time. This is a good insurance policy not to reach burn out, (physically & mentally), ward off injuries and time to get in some good and necessary cross training!
Happy summer….stay cool and train smart!
By: Sam LaBrie
I had to be in San Francisco for a conference that went over a weekend and decided to jump into a trail race in the Marin Headlands area. I’ve run the course of the famous Dipsea trail race (http://www.dipsea.org/) and loved the combination of steep climbs, smooth trails, and beautiful views, so I had good reasons to expect a fun morning organized by Inside Trail Racing (http://insidetrail.com/). The race started and finished near the Marin Headlands park center, just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco.
The course for the half marathon included sustained climbs at the beginning and last third of the distance. My plan was to take it easy on the first climb and push the last climb and the last flat section.
I started at an easy pace and was surprised to be trailing only one other runner. We hit the hills and I was passed by a few others over the next 3-4 miles of climbing. The views up there were huge, with the whole SF Bay area and out to the Pacific on display in the bright, clear morning. I was feeling OK with the climbing and power-hiked only one super-steep stretch of about 100 meters. We started the long downhill and I was surprised that it was a wide, smooth dirt road. I let off the brakes and tore down, hitting 6 minute pace for about a mile. I passed one guy and came up on the 3rd and 2nd place runners before we started up again where they gapped me in the next 3 miles of climbing. At the top, we ran through and around some artillery bunkers and I thought about my Grandfather- Frank Tillman. He was stationed in SF during WWII with the Army and may have been on duty at this site.
I tried to push the last few miles, but it was getting warm and I had missed an aid station. My feet were also hurting from the long, fast downhill. The heat, lack of water, and my sore feet prevented me from making up ground on the next runners, but I still finished in 4th overall, second in the 40-49 age group. I filled up at the generous spread at the finish before heading back to SF for my conference (briefly) and then the England-Italy World Cup game along with plenty of beer. A good Saturday, for a business trip…
By: Lee Toowey
For the month of May, I set out to complete a month of high mileage training. After a week and a half of post Boston Marathon recovery, my focus was building a new aerobic base prior to the arrival of the dog days of summer in Austin. Important facets of a high mileage training regimen include the mental aspects, recovery, and running doubles. Each of these components will be discussed in this blog.
Mental aspects. My goal was to run 400 or more miles during May. My first step was to commit to the mileage. The only allowable excuse for not finishing was if I was in need of medical attention. The key word is commitment, not motivation. Motivation comes and goes. Commitment is more important. There were times I wanted to do anything but run. It’s important to make your goal non-negotiable.
During this difficult month, when I wasn’t running, I was reading inspirational books like “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” by Alfred Lansing. I watched documentaries about Navy Seals and Special Forces training. I was inspired by people going down very difficult paths.
Recovery. High mileage usually involves blisters, sore joints, cramps, and other maladies. It takes determination to stay the course. Keep in mind, your body will adapt and the discomfort is temporary. At the end off a high mileage week, a weekly massage is a requirement. In addition to massage, other highly effective recovery aids are 110% recovery gear, and the R8 Roller:
Running doubles. The key to running doubles is proceeding with caution. Add one double per week and gradually increase your mileage. You will need six to eight hours between your first and second run of the day. If you need help scheduling doubles, Pete Pfitzinger’s book “Advanced Marathoning” is a great resource. His book includes schedules for 55-70, 70-85, and 85-100 miles per week. Regarding fueling for running doubles, post run nutrition is crucial. After the first run of the day, be sure to consume a 300-400 calorie mix of carbs and protein within 20-30 minutes. A product I have benefited from is Endurox R4, made by Pacific Health. http://www.pacifichealthlabs.com/
My doubles schedule included 8 miles easy AM, followed by 6 miles easy PM. I continued to do my regular speed workouts, but favored longer distances like 4 X 1 mile repeats instead of 10×400. When running high mileage, to avoid diminished leg speed, I suggest including twice weekly stride sessions, something like 8 x 10 80-100 yards at the end of an easy run.
After running close to 100 miles a week, I was able to find my training sweet spot. Scaling back to around 80 miles a week seems to work best for me. I recommend every runner attempt a high mileage month to realize his or her physiological potential. In the process, you will learn a lot about yourself. You can do so much more than you can imagine.