Running Friends

I've talked about this before, but anyone who thinks running is a solo sport is doing it wrong. Running is a team sport, whether your team is Olympics-bound, sponsored by a major shoe company, a local running club, or simply a group of friends who run. 

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More than I've ever actually loved the physical act of running, I love the people of running. The spectators, the volunteers, the elite athletes (Love you, Des Linden!), the charity runners, the coaches, and all the "regular" runners. Of course, there's a special place in my heart for my fellow back-of-the-pack runners. We'll never win Boston or pick up an endorsement deal, but we're crushing personal records and achieving goals nonetheless. 

I went into Pittsburgh Marathon weekend feeling under-trained and just ready for the whole thing to be over. I knew it was going to hurt (thankfully, it wasn't as bad as I thought). I knew I wasn't going to have any sort of speed. I knew the whole weekend would be chaotic and would leave me feeling like I didn't get to spend any time with dear friends who were in from out-of-town. 

Saturday brought the 5k, where I saw some of my Crohn's & Colitis Foundation friends volunteering on the course. After that, it was back to the North Shore to meet up with my two favorite Kids of Steel. Aunt Chelsea and I once again accompanied Dex & Quinn in the Kids Marathon. This year, they ran the whole way themselves! (Last year included some piggy back rides and quite a bit of coaxing to keep walking haha). It was such a cool treat to two kids I love so much running in the streets of the city I love so much. 

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I had a whole bunch of stuff written here, but it somehow got deleted, so I had to try and remember what I wrote about. I feel like I'm missing a paragraph or two, but oh well. Here's the rest:

Chelsea and I had already talked about running the half together and just taking it easy and having fun. Until we actually started running that day, I wondered whether we were defining “slow” the same way or if I’d be holding her back. Thankfully, and unsurprisingly, we were in sync. We kind of followed a run-walk but took longer walk breaks whenever we felt like it (or whenever we were crossing a bridge that appeared to be 900 miles long). Towards the end of the race, I told her how glad I was that we had decided to run together because I knew I would have been much slower had I been on my own. Going into the race, I honestly thought anything under 3 hours would be a win, but that I could probably do under 2:50. We finished in 2:41:09! Certainly not my best time, but actually not my slowest either. I guess that goes to show that not all of my conditioning was lost.

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After recovering and seeing my family, we headed back out onto the course to find Coach Jeff. We had planned on running the last mile or so with him, but he was speeding along at a pace neither Chelsea or I could maintain (especially having already run a half marathon that morning), so we met up with him again in the Finish Line Festival, got some food, and once again headed out to the course to cheer on runners. By now, marathoners were coming through in somewhere around the 6-hour mark and it was POURING rain. Ashley from P3R graciously invited us up into (now) empty covered VIP Finish Line viewing tent where we were able to cheer for people.

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The finish line of a marathon is a magical place. There were people running solo, friends sticking together, and everyone with a determined look on their face. We met a 75-year-old man who just completed the marathon. A 75-year-old. Who ran 26.2 miles. In the rain. Like a badass. Seriously, runners are a rare breed.

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Here’s to crossing another finish line with my BRF and heading into summer ready to train for a fall marathon (or two? Am I that crazy?)!

Tell me about your running friends in the comments below!

Helping her helped me.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know by now that Desiree Linden won the Boston Marathon yesterday, in arguably some of the worst weather conditions a runner can compete in (thank you, 5439238672265th day of winter...). 

Source: New York Magazine

Source: New York Magazine

Des decided early on that yesterday wasn't her day (spoiler: it was SO her day). She thought she'd drop out due to the miserable weather and because she wasn't feeling great. Many people would have just dropped out and made their way to a warm shower and dry clothes as quickly as possible. But Des decided to use the gas left in her tank to help others, specifically her fellow American runners. 

When you work together, you never know what’s going to happen. Helping her helped me.
— Desiree Linden, on helping Shalane Flanagan during the 2018 Boston Marathon

She hung back when Shalane Flanagan made a restroom stop, and offered to block the wind for her. When is the last time someone offered to block the wind for you? Whether literal or metaphorical wind, when is the last time you blocked the wind to help someone else succeed?

Not only did Desiree Linden win the Boston Marathon, she was the first American woman to do so since 1985. American women claimed seven of the top eight spots. Who run the world? BADASS WOMEN. 

I'm passionate about helping others succeed, whether that means cheering them on via social media, running alongside them in a race, helping them start their own business and get their nutrition on track, or connecting with them others who can also support them in reaching their goals. It gives me so much satisfaction to see people making their dreams a reality. 

I'm going to channel my inner Desiree Linden in the coming weeks and focus on how I can "block the wind" for people, even if that means helping them get out of their own way and start believing in themselves. 

How do you block the wind for others? 

 

 

2018 Goals!

Now is about the time that many people are falling off the wagon with their new year’s resolutions and goals, so I figured now was also the perfect time for me to share mine. I don’t really ever set resolutions, but I like to have some goals to focus on.

I’ve actually got some pretty big goals that I’m keeping private for right now (but if we’re friends IRL, please ask me about them!), but here’s what I’m putting out there for the world:
 

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1. Read every day.

In 2016, I set a goal to read 52 books, or one per week. I actually surpassed this goal and read 53! I knew I wanted a slightly less aggressive goal in 2017, but I read even less than expected and probably read somewhere around 25-30 books (which is still a lot!).

To get back into reading more regularly, I’ve set a goal to read every single day (and so far I’ve still got a perfect record!). I use Goodreads to track my reading, and I’ve set a goal on there to read XX books, so I’m hoping daily reading time will help do the trick!

I’m not putting further parameters on what “read every day” means - so some days it may be a chapter, or other days might be a bit more, like the day recently where I had 3 hours of flights and read a few hundred pages.

I’m also committing to reading all of the unread books on my bookshelf (as opposed to the hundreds of unread books also sitting in my kindle app haha!)



2. Run 2 marathons.

I’m already registered for the 10th anniversary of the Pittsburgh Marathon in May (on my birthday!), so that’s one for sure. I’ve got a free entry for Akron in September and had a great experience there in 2017, so I’m definitely considering it again as well. I’m also tossing around some other ideas!

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I'm also participating in the Run for a Reason program once again and am looking to raise $1000 for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. I'm currently 15% completed with my goal. I'd love to see my friends and family sponsoring my race at $1 per mile (that's 26.2 miles, folks!). Even $0.50 per mile is a HUGE help and goes a long way towards funding a cure. You can donate by clicking HERE!

First things first - I’ve got to get back into a rhythm with running. The past few months have not included much running and while I’m ok with that and know I’ll get back into it, I also know these next few weeks will probably be rough, particularly with all the gross weather we’ve had.

 

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3. Create a plan and budget for a trip to Europe.

A Eurotrip has been high on my bucket list for many years, so I’m determined to finally start making some plans!

I won’t be going on the trip or setting dates until I’ve met some financial goals I’m working towards, but I’m also hoping that making more concrete plans will help keep me focused on those goals.

 

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4. Stick to my #powersheets.

I haven’t used a planner in many, many years thanks to technology because I keep my calendar and task list in Google Calendar, but I decided to try one out this year in hopes that seeing my goals in writing, on paper, in my own handwriting, will help me stay focused on them and not lose momentum. I figure if I’ve got to drag this book everywhere with me, I may as well smash the goals and plans written in it, right? :-p

After looking at a few options, I settled on the #powersheets planner from Cultivate What Matters. Unfortunately, they were sold out of the 12-month planner and aren’t restocking their inventory, so I purchased a 6 month calendar. I’ve been chipping away at it a little bit at a time and hope to have all of my action plans laid out by the end of next week!

This goal also encompasses achieving those other goals I vaguely mentioned at the beginning of this post, so it's actually more than just writing in a planner (though I'm definitely going to buy some fun new pens to write in it!)

 


Do you set New Year’s resolutions or goals? Share them in the comments!

26 until 26.2!

The countdown is on! It's the 26th of the month and there are 26 weeks until I run my first 26.2! I'd like to kick off this countdown by reaching 26% of my $1000 fundraising goal! If 21 people donated just $10, I'll reach my goal! 



I appreciate every dollar that is donated and it all goes directly to fund the Western PA/WV chapter of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. 




Big News!

I am returning from my completely unscheduled and unplanned blogging hiatus to announce some news: I am officially registered for the 2016 Pittsburgh Marathon! That's 26.2 miles, folks. EEEK! Once again, I will be participating in the Steel Challenge (by also completing the 5k the day before) and once again, I am participating as a charity runner for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America - Western PA/WV chapter. Who wants to be my first donor?!




I'm sure I'll have more to say about the marathon over the next several months, but for now I want to plug something else I'm working on - CCFA Western PA/WV's movie premiere event, Opening Night! It is taking place on November 5 at the AMC Loews at the Waterfront and tickets can be purchased here. Come join us for food, drinks, fun, and a premiere showing of the new James Bond movie, Spectre. I am on the planning committee and we've got a great evening planned! Hope to see many of my friends there that night! 

The Last Frontier

In case you've missed the news, I'm going to ALASKA in ONE WEEK! 

Along with Chelsea and Mike, I'll be spending time in:
Anchorage
Seward
Kodiak
Girdwood
Denali
Homer

We've got lots of fun lined up, incluing salmon/halibut fishing, hiking, playing with Husky puppies, a cruise in the Kenai Fjords, ziplining, moose watching, eating, running, and more! 

We will be running the Mayor's Midnight Sun Half Marathon and will hopefully have the chance to meet up with one of my Runspirations, NYC Running Mama who is also running! 

Have you ever been to Alaska? What do you recommend we see, eat, and do? Comment below! 

We are also accepting suggestions for a hashtag for our trip! Give us your ideas - if we choose yours, we'll send you a postcard (a real one! not a twitter one!) from Alaska! 

I ran a Half Marathon!

I ran a half-marathon. I did it! It wasn't a great run, or even a fun one, but crossing that finish line was the best! Sorry this is coming so late, and that there's not much of a recap, but here's some pictures! 

Race day outfit!

Steel Challenge Completed!



First Half = PR and PDR!


My favorite little fans!


Happy to be done!


5K, Steel Challenge, HALF MARATHON medals!

Thanks to the Pittsburgh Marathon for featuring this one on their Facebook page: 


Five Ways to Get Faster (Galloway Tips)

Hey everyone! I know you're all waiting to hear how my half marathon went - I will hopefully have an update soon. But for now, here's some tips from Jeff Galloway about how to increase your running pace!

Longer Long Runs

Increasing the length of the longest long run has produced the greatest amount of improvement that I've seen among my coaching clients.  Several surveys have shown more than 13 minutes of time improvement when runners increase their longest long run from 20 miles to 26 miles before a marathon.  Comparable time improvements are experienced in 10K runners and half marathoners when they increase their long runs above race distance as noted in my YEAR ROUND PLAN book that covers all the distances.  Long runs must be at least 2 min/mi slower than current ability, with liberal walk breaks.  The slower the pace, the quicker the recovery.  I suggest doing the long runs every 2-3 weeks.

Speed Repetitions—increasing the number

My runners have improved by an average of over 6 minutes in a marathon (3+ minutes in a half marathon) by increasing the number of speed repetitions to 14 x 1 mile for the marathon, and 14 x 800 meter for the half marathon.  I recommend that each of these be run 30 sec/mi faster than goal pace.  The recovery interval is a 5 min walk between miles and a 3 minute walk between 800's.  These workouts prepare one to maintain or pick up pace at the end of the goal race, instead of slowing down.  See GALLOWAY TRAINING PROGRAMS & HALF MARATHON books for details (www.RunInjuryFree.com).

Improve Running Form

Most runners I've monitored have improved several minutes in a marathon by fine-tuning their running form.  As the mechanics become smoother and within one's limits, there is a significant reduction in aches, pains and injuries.  The two best ways to improve form are water running and cadence drills.
•        water running uses the same basic motion as when running on land, using a flotation device so that the feet don't touch the bottom of the pool.  When done for at least 15 minutes, once a week, the legs find a more efficient path through the water—eliminating extraneous motion.
•        The cadence drill is done for 30 seconds, counting the number of times the foot touches the ground.  This drill is detailed in most of my books.  I've found the key to improving speed on the mechanical side is quicker turnover.

Race in Shorter Events

Dropping down a standard distance or two can improve your mechanics for running faster and your ability to handle a higher level of oxygen debt.  On non-long-run weekends, during a half marathon program, try some 5K or 10K races.  When training for a marathon, race at the 10K or half marathon distance.  At first, the faster pace of the shorter distance may seem awkward.  But after several short races, you will adapt—especially if you do some speed training for the shorter/faster event.  These performance improvements can translate into faster times in the longer distances.  My book 5K/10K details the training and the racing strategies for these events.

Hill Training

The only way I've found to build strength for running is to run hill repeats.  On a moderate grade hill, start at a jog and pick up the turnover rate of the feet and legs as you go up the hill, shortening your stride.  Walk down the hill for recovery.  Don't sprint, and follow the other hill training guidelines in my books and at www.RunInjuryFree.com.  The strength from hill training will allow you to perform better in speed sessions which will help you improve in your goal race.  You'll also run faster on hilly courses, during your races.
Listen and share this great podcast "Jeff Galloway's Tips For Beginner Runners" with Mark Kennedy from Healthynomics!  From how Jeff got running to breathing while you run; it's all here!

Things I Will Do This Week

The week is finally here. It's Marathon week in Pittsburgh! Here are some things I'll do this week:

1. I will go for a quick run with some of my fellow CCFA runners and get my CCFA race day shirt! Unfortunately, I think they decided to make these shirts orange, so it will probably be a one-time-wear shirt for me. Though it should make it easy for people to spot me on Sunday!



2. I will post a photo of my race day outfit so that people can find me on race day! Let me know in the comments if you will be there this weekend so I can look for you! 


3. I will see my running Ohana. I am so excited for everyone to arrive in town and to spend time with so many people who inspire me in my running (and life) journey.



4. I will attend the Expo and fight like hell to get a green men's shirt instead of the STUPID pink women's shirts. I will also be following up with the Marathon people to see why they thought sexist shirt colors were a good idea in 2015.



5. I will attend a Meet-Up at 7:30am by the main entrance of PNC Park on Saturday. Steff will be giving away some Sparkly Soul headbands!


6. I will run Pittsburgh Marathon 5k, which was my FIRST-ever race last year! (Medal count: 1)
Chelsea and I after the 5k last year - my first race! 

7. I will enjoy carbs and good company at dinner Saturday night.


8. I will run my FIRST HALF MARATHON! (Medal Count: 2)



9. I will collect my Steel Challenge Medal and hopefully visit the FedEx Ground Hospitality Tent for a complimentary massage and some treats! I will have access to this tent thanks to all of my amazing donors who helped me to raise over ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America - Western PA/West Virginia chapter! (Medal Count: 3)




10. I will go out to eat with my family to celebrate my birthday that is next week! 



11. I will do NOTHING for the rest of the day haha. 


See you all this weekend! Good luck to all of my fellow runners! 

P.S. Sarah at Sparkly Runner featured me on her blog today - check it out

The Training Plan That Wasn't...

Remember back in January when I picked out a training plan for my upcoming half marathon? Then the universe said LOL and the next few months did not go according to ANY plan, training or otherwise.

January brought 22 days of travel for work and volunteer obligations, a sinus infection, and bed bugs

February brought more travel and sub-zero temperatures. Without regular access to a treadmill, I was stuck inside.

In March came 18 days of travel, another sinus infection, and a kidney infection that turned to be e.coli (!!). I actually put a lot of miles in, but most were walking while traveling (I averaged 5-8 miles per day while in New Orleans). 

In summary, I haven't had a single week where I got all the runs on my training plan in. Oops. With that said, most weeks haven't been a total fail and I know I can finish 13.1 miles - it's just a matter of being able to finish in the time I want.

April finally brings warmer temperatures, and with it, the HIGH levels of pollen everywhere. April is also the month that some big miles need to happen, come hell or high water. If I can get a few good long runs in, I'll feel much better about May 3. Right now, I'm not sure I'll realistically be able to make my goal :( Right now the plan is to stick with Coach Jeff and Chelsea for the first 12 miles or so and make them keep me on track. 

Soooooooo if we could actually have some decent weather and I could not get sick or have my allergies make my head explode, that would be stellar. KTHXBAI.

What are your best tips and tricks for salvaging a disaster of a training plan? Comment below!

THE GOOD NEWS: Thanks to a very generous donation from my employer, I HAVE NOW SURPASSED MY FUNDRAISING GOAL! This is even better than any running could ever be because every dollar is a step closer to finding a CURE for Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis! Think I can make my stretch goal of $1500 by May 3rd? If you haven't had a chance to donate yet, please do so here! On behalf of the approximately 1.6 million Americans living with IBD, we say THANK YOU! 



Running in New Orleans! (I'm back!)

I had the opportunity to travel to New Orleans last week a few weeks ago to attend the NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education - their alphabet soup doesn't match) Annual Conference. It was my first trip to New Orleans and I can't wait to go back and visit again! New Orleans a beautiful city, full of life and culture and fun things to do and SO MUCH AMAZING FOOD. 

I knew I would have Saturday morning free before the conference kicked off in full swing, so naturally, I looked to see if there were any races happening in New Orleans. This is how I found The Great St. Charles Avenue Road Race sponsored by the New Orleans Track Club. There are 10k, 5k, and 1mile races. I quickly registered for the 10k to try and work it into my "training plan" - the reason I use that in quotes will come in another post soon.



As the conference neared, I realized my friend Matthew (partner to the awesome Sarah over at Sparkly Runner) would also be attending the conference and quickly invited him to join me at the race!

I arrived in New Orleans Friday afternoon and after lunch and a nap (I had to be up at 3:30am for my flight!), I set out to explore the area a little bit and get a few miles in before the race the next morning. I knew the climate would be different than the winter conditions I'd left behind in Pittsburgh, so I was hoping to adjust at least a little bit. Holy heat and humidity! What I had planned to be a 3 mile run ended up being a 1 mile run with a 1 mile walk back. 

Matthew had 18 miles on his training plan for that Saturday, so he opted to run the ~4 miles to the race start and back. I took the streetcar up to the start and met up with Matthew. The high school where the start was at had amazing race support. All the volunteers were helpful and excited and so welcoming. We cheered as the 1-mile race kicked off and hung out until it was time for the 5k and 10k start. The cheerleading squad led the racers in dynamic stretching, the national anthem was performed, and then we were off! 

Matthew and I at the start!

The course started down St. Charles Avenue in the Garden District. There are beautiful homes and gardens through this section of New Orleans. We passed the picturesque campus of Loyola New Orleans and then headed into Audobon Park. The park itself was beautiful as well - full of palm trees and lush greenery. The course looped almost all the way around the park before turning around to head back out and back down St. Charles Avenue. 
Matthew snapped this as we passed in Audobon Park!
Before I arrived in New Orleans, I was planning to try and PR this race. The course was flat and I knew I could do it. However, I knew as soon as I stepped outside at the New Orleans airport that a PR would not be happening. The humidity was just too much - especially without any gradual transition to it. I decided to just have fun and do my best. 

Coming up to the finish line! No PR but definitely FUN!

I used more water in this race than I have ever used in any race before. I say "used" because while I drank a LOT, I also poured a lot over my head to cool off. The high school students volunteering at the water stations were super helpful with refilling my water bottle. They could tell I was struggling in the humidity haha. 

The cheerleading squad were lining the sides of the finish chute cheering everyone on - it was great! Matthew had already finished and was there to cheer me on and snap a few photos as well - thanks, Matthew! 
I met up with Matt and we downed some more water and got some more Smoothie King smoothies - yum! We also experienced a post-race first, jambalaya! The jambalaya was provided by a company called Cook Me Somethin' Mister! We met the owner, Kristen, and she told us how she started the company using her family's recipe and made all the jambalaya that morning herself! It was DELICIOUS! She also told us that she sells packages of the rice online at wholesale on Amazon. If you're looking for a fundraising idea, this is a great one! Check them out on Facebook

Thanks for the great post-race grub, Kristen! It was so great to meet you!
After the race, Matt and I parted ways so he could finish his miles by running back! I grabbed my free post-race beer (Bud Light) and decided to start walking back to see more of the Garden District. I figured if I got tired at some point I could hop on the streetcar, but I ended up walking the 4 miles back to the hotel! Later this week, this would probably come to be a mistake due to all the walking we did in New Orleans. 



30 Days to go!


I can't believe that in only 30 days, I will run my first half marathon! I can't believe it - the time is going by so fast!


To continue with preparations, here are some more tips from Jeff Galloway!

Training and Motivation Tips
by Olympian Jeff Galloway
www.runinjuryfree.com
PROMOTIONAL NEWS!
Register now for the Jeff Galloway 13.1 with no risk!  The 2nd annual half marathon on Dec. 13, 2015 is currently $95. You can sign up with no risk! Take advantage of this low price, and if you can't make it, you can roll into the virtual option with no extra charge!
Register today at

Why do we get injured?

1.  Be aware of irritation of weak links.

The Key Weak Links are body parts where my runners tend to experience injuries are these: Knees - Feet -Calf - Achilles -Hip - Glute/piriformis/sciaticia

But the body parts that YOU need to be aware of are the sites where you are injured or suffer more aches and pains.

So if you're sensitive to the first indication of irritation in these areas and take immediate action it's possible to avoid injury.

2.  Stress buildup due to the way we train.
  • Training schedule is too intense-not enough rest between stress.
  • Adverse Training Components-speed is too fast or has too much, too soon.
  • Running form-too long a stride, forward lean, bouncing too high off the ground.

So staying focused on the way one runs and following these guidelines, can often allow runners to maintain a manageable increase without injury

__________________________________________________

Top 5 ways to avoid stress buildup-and avoid injuries

1.  Take walk breaks more frequently, and run shorter run segments
2.  Form: shorter stride, feet low to the ground
3.  Slower long runs, with more walk breaks
4.  Avoid Stretching
5.  Be careful when running speed sessions

  
Jeff Galloway
4651 Roswell Road, I-802
Atlanta, Georgia 30342
WEST COAST EVENTS
RUN/WALK/RUN CLINICS 

Carmel, CA                                                                     Lake Tahoe, CA
"Re-Charging Your Running, Fitness and Nutrition"       The Perfect Summer Running Camp
April 23-24, 2015                                                            July 23 - 30, 2015 (week)                           
 Click here for more info.                                                 July 24 - 26, 2015 (weekend)
                                                                                        Click here for more info.
                                                                                                         

P.S. I am still fundraising for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America - Western PA/West Virginia Chapter - please help me reach my goal and work towards a cure for Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis!


Coach Jeff and Coach Jeff!

In honor of MY Coach Jeff who is running his first ULTRA MARATHON tomorrow (!!!!!), here are some tips from the other Coach Jeff, Jeff Galloway! 


Jeff and I after the St. Barnabas 5k in August 2014 - I PR'd that day thanks to Jeff's coaching! 



Training and Motivation Tips
by Olympian Jeff Galloway
www.runinjuryfree.com

Runners from Austin, Duluth, Denver, Metro Dc, NW Indiana, and Montgomery County, MD - We are coming to you! There is a Galloway Training Program starting near you in the month of March! Check the calendar for more information.


Most injuries experienced by my runners are due to 1) pacing long runs too fast, 2) increasing the weekly mileage too quickly, 3)lengthening stride and 4) stretching.

The principle in staying injury free is to balance gentle stress with the right recovery periods-allowing for rebuilding. (for more information, see my book RUNNING INJURIES)

Finding the right Run Walk Run strategy from the beginning of a run has been the best way I've found to stay injury free, come back from an injury and in some cases, continue to run while the injury heals. (See my book RUN WALK RUN)
----
  • Are you concerned that running will damage joints, and other body parts ? I was told this regularly, from my first week of running over 50 years ago but the research shows the opposite result: Runners have healthier joints, etc. than non runners as the decades go by.
  • While researching for my book RUNNING UNTIL YOU'RE 100, I reviewed dozens of studies and could not find one showing that running harms legs, feet, joints, etc.
  • It may surprise you to know that many studies show that runners have fewer orthopedic issues compared with non-runners as the years go by.
  • A respected and large population study out of Stanford following thousands of runners over 50 who had run for more than 20 years concluded that runners had less than 25% of orthopedic issues compared with non runners of the same age.

_______________________________________________________________________ 

As long as you stay below the threshold of irritation you can often continue to run while the injury heals.


Good luck tomorrow, Coach Jeff! I will be cheering you on from the Great St. Charles Avenue Road Race in New Orleans, LA - I'm going for a 10k PR! 




Don't forget that anyone who donates $13 or more to my half marathon fundraiser between now and March 25 will receive a postcard from NOLA! 


50 Days!

In only 50 days, I will run my first half marathon! Yikes!

Today, I'm in Washington, DC to run the Rock n Roll Series 5k! Chelsea, Steff, and Kelsey are running the half, and Mel and I are doing the 5k! After the race, we're going to enjoy a girls weekend in DC and meet up with other runner friends Lauren and Mandy

As you know, part of my preparations for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon includes raising money for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America - Western PA/West Virginia chapter. All of the money I raise will stay within the local chapter, meaning it will have a direct impact on patients like me! 



I recently received a facebook message from a sorority sister telling me a friend of hers has a young daughter, a beautiful fourth grader, had just been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. The mom and daughter were both feeling overwhelmed and wanted to learn more. The first place I directed them to was the CCFA website. It has so many awesome resources to read and learn more about Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, and IBD. It also directs you to regional chapter pages, where you can learn more about in-person seminars and workshops that may be happening in your area, as well as support groups. I actually attended a support group in Erie for a little while after my diagnosis - it was a great way for me to learn from others who had experienced the same things as me. One of the coolest things CCFA does for kids is Camp Oasis - a camp just for kids affected by IBD! 

There is no cure for Crohn's Disease...yet. I am confident a cure could happen in my lifetime, and you can help make that possible! Please donate to my fundraiser and help CCFA find better treatment options and a CURE! 


To honor the 50-day countdown, anyone who donates $50 or more will receive a personalized thank you card (in the mail! snail mail!) from me - it may even include an additional surprise!! 



5 Things Friday: Saturday Edition

This week did not go according to plan. I had chapter visits in Delaware and New Jersey, and then I was supposed to end the week with a chapter visit in NYC followed by a weekend of fun in the city! I had even signed up to run the 38th Annual NYPD vs FDNY 5-Miler in Central Park.

None of that happened, and I've been sitting at home clearing things off my DVR since Thursday evening. 

I had a cold last week, and then this week the cold was getting better, but I kept noticing I had pretty bad back pain. After a few days of it getting worse, I started to think it might be my kidneys. Wednesday night, I finally gave in and decided to come home rather than try and stick it out for the rest of the trip. The weather was super craptastic in NJ and PA (again - I drove through freezing rain on the way out) so it took longer than usual to get home - extra awesome.

I saw my PCP on Friday and she confirmed it is most likely a kidney infection and started me on some antibiotics. While I'm still super bummed about missing out on the fun weekend I had planned, I also fee like I'm glad it wasn't nothing (not that I'm particularly excited it's a kidney infection, either). And let's not even talk about how this has derailed my training plan - again. 

So here's five things...on Saturday:

1. I started listening to Serial on the drive home on Thursday. While I'm curious to listen through the end, I feel like a lot of people WAY over-hyped it. I also feel like those people have never seen an episode of Dateline. The Slender Man episode of 20/20 was way more of a nail-biter (and insomnia-inducer - shudder). 

2. I finally watched the last season of True Blood over the past few weeks - I'm sad it's really over! The ending was...meh.

3. I started watching Orphan Black last night - OMG why aren't more people talking about this? This show is great and, perhaps unlike Serial, I can't wait to see what happens next.

4. I'm looking forward to DC next weekend with Chelsea, Kelsey, Steff, Mel, and LB!

5.  Planning for Alaska this summer is in full swing! Any tips or suggestions! We will mostly be in Anchorage, with trips to Kodiak and Seward. 

More Tips From Jeff Galloway!

As you'll recall, I am blogging for Jeff Galloway Productions throughout this training season. I received another set of tips from him and I am excited to share them with all of you! 


The training journey for a marathon or half marathon raises your body's physical performance capability and your sense of what you can do in life.

Running helps to bring body, mind and spirit together in a unique and wonderful way

In researching my book MENTAL TRAINING I discovered that running turns on brain circuits for a better attitude more vitality and empowerment better than other activities studied.

In researching my book RUNNING UNTIL YOU'RE 100 I found numerous studies showing that runners have healthier orthopedic units than non runners even after decades of running.


On Training:

When a runner takes walk breaks early and often enough for the individual the muscles are strong to the end.  See RUN WALK RUN at www.jeffgalloway.com for recommendations by pace per mile. (Note from Lauren: The Magic Mile calculator is very helpful!!)



The "exhaustion wall" can be avoided by running longer long runs up to or beyond race distance-using the appropriate run-walk-run strategy.

Marathoners tend to improve time by an average of more than 15 minutes when they increase their longest run from 20 miles to 26 miles.

To recover fast, run the long runs at least 2 min/mi slower than you could currently run in a marathon

The right run-walk-run strategy from the beginning of each run, gives any runner control over fatigue, injury-elimination, and recovery.

In numerous surveys, runners improved over 13 minutes when they shifted from running continuously to use of the right run-walk-run strategy.


LAST CHANCE to participate in the Inaugural JG Virtual 13.1 Half Marathon and 5k!  
Last chance to become a "Legacy" participant!  
Closes March 1, 2015.
    ** Register at https://jeffgalloway131.com/registration/ **

5 Things Friday: The Winter Freeze Edition

Ziva keeping warm in her Snuggie.

1. I'm going to New Orleans and Portland, OR and Seattle, WA next month - what are the must-sees (and eats and drinks!)??? Tell me in the comments!

2. I'm 37% of the way to my fundraising goal for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon - can you help me hit 40% by the weekend? If three people donate just $10, I can do it! 

3. My training plan has been completely derailed by the weather this week :-/

The More You Know

4. I got a great deal on some Mizuno leggings and ProCompression socks (yellow and green!) on Active GearUp yesterday! 

5. Chelsea from Pittsburgh City Girl is holding a Happy Hour fundraiser for her marathon training tonight at Buckhead's - I'm going to be there and you should too! 


75 Days!

The UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon is 75 days away!!! 

At the RSG1 Valentine's Day 10k - Thanks to Coach Jeff for this photo and all your encouragement! 





Can I count on your donation of $13.10 or more as I train to run 13.1 miles? Every dollar counts towards finding a cure! 

Donate HERE