Quick Updates

  • Tropical Storm Fay is a pain and has prevented me from running this week…boo :(  Hopefully I can make it out to the track tomorrow
  • EXCITING NEWS!!!!  I got the statistics from Sunday’s 5k and I placed 7th in my age group (out of 55) that is awesome, I have never placed that high!!!
  • I have found a new core workout routine that I am going to try for the second time tonight in place of being able to run….if I think it’s worth it i’ll put up the details.

Romanian Mother, 38, Takes Gold in Marathon, Deena Kastor Unfortunate DNF

Constantina Tomescu-Dita of Romania crosses the finish line first in 2 hours 26 minutes 44 seconds. (By Anja Niedringhaus -- Associated Press)

Constantina Tomescu-Dita of Romania crosses the finish line first in 2 hours 26 minutes 44 seconds. (By Anja Niedringhaus -- Associated Press)

USA marathon runner Kastor breaks foot

Beijing, China (Sports Network) – American Deena Kastor broke her right foot during the Olympic women’s marathon.

Kastor, the 2004 bronze medalist, said she felt a pop in her foot before pulling up at the five-kilometer mark.

“My foot has been sore for the past week,” said Kastor. “I thought it was just tendons, they get hypersensitive leading up to a marathon. I was icing it this week. It didn’t affect how I was training. It was a bit sore when I woke up. I didn’t expect to be finishing the marathon in a bus.”

Romania’s Constantina Tomescu-Dita has won Sunday’s race, finishing in a time of 2 hours, 26 minutes, 44 seconds. – Courtesy http://www.canada.com

Click here for Amby Burfoot’s (Runners World contributor) thoughts on the Women’s Marathon: http://www.nbcolympics.com/blogs/blog=ambyburfootsblog/postid=225519.html

Wow.  I really felt a sense of sadness last night watching the Women’s Olympic Marathon, I had been so excited for Deena Kastor to run this race and try to beat her Bronze medal she won in Athens.  I could hardly believe the news when I turned on the race to hear she had dropped out after mile 3.  Every runner, especially a marathoner’s, biggest fear is getting injured before a race, or worse, during.  And that unfortunate occurrence happened to Deena Kastor.  I can honestly say I felt tears fill up in the back of my eyes, she was the hope for America in this event, and I know from following her training how hard she has worked.

Thinking back to my marathon experience, if I had to stop in the middle of the race, I don’t know how I could have overcome that feeling of defeat.  And that wasn’t even a race I had trained 4 years for!  My heart goes out to Deena, I know she will recover and be back on the scene even stronger, but unfortunately she did not get the opportunity to shine that she deserved.

I have to give accolades to Dita who won the race, watching her over 1 minute lead over the pack of Jamaican and Chinese runners chasing her was unbelievable, she is 38 years old!!  She looked so solid and strong, and the feeling she must have felt running into “the birds nest” is probably impossible to describe.  I had chills just thinking about what the feeling would be like, all of the world to cheer you on, what a great moment for her.

The men take to the course next weekend for their shot at glory.  The US has a solid team of runners who all stand of chance of getting on the podium.  Hopefully none encounter the unfortunate luck that Deena Kastor has.

Track and field events will be on all week on NBC, make sure to tune in!  Click here to view the schedule of televised events:http://www.nbcolympics.com/tv_and_online_listings/index.html

New 5k PR!!!

Crossing the finish line!

Crossing the finish line!

This morning was the first 5k of the race season, the Track Shack Celebration of Running 5k.  I have been really pumped about this race for the past few weeks since I have been amping up my workouts over the past month and a half since I joined the Y/Run Club and I was anxious to see how much I had improved.

I was up early at 6 am, excited and ready to go.  It was incredibly humid this morning but not too hot thankfully.  There were over 2,000 runners lined up this morning which is a good turn out.  I had run this race last year and the course had not really changed, so I knew what to expect.

My goal has been to do it in 25 minutes or less, so I did feel a bit of pressure, but Jon kept assuring my that I could do it.  Fortunately enough, the night before the race included lots of great track and field events from Beijing so I was feeling extra inspired.

My first mile started off strong, I was able to hit the first marker in 08:05, which was a bit faster than I had planned on.  I was able to maintain the same pace for mile 2, so I knew I was capeable of stepping it up for the final mile and perhaps even beat my goal.

As I rounded the final stretch of the course I tapped into my adrenaline stores so I could push it as hard as i could the last 300 meters or so.  I hit mile marker 3 at 24:00 so I was pumped, i had sub-25:00 in the bag!

I crossed the finish line in 24:52!!!  My last 5k was the IOA Corporate 5k back in April where I ran a 27:30, which was my best time at that point.

I couldn’t be more excited, since I started running almost 2 years ago I have shaved off almost 8 minutes from my 5k time.  I can attribute that to a few things

– Consistent running, no matter what distance

– Trained for/Ran a marathon

– Added strength training and core work

– Started yoga

– Added speed workouts at the track

– Osmosis: Have been running with the Y club, the fastest runners in Central Florida

– Slimmed down, lost almost 10 pounds

This has definitely been a work in progress, but it goes to show that if you stick with something and make it a priority, you can see results.  Can’t wait for the next race, let’s see if I can pull of 24:30!!

Running on the road: Old Town Alexandria

For my second installment of running on the road I visited Old Town Alexandria in Virginia.

My cousin Kate got married in Georgetown over the weekend at a beautiful historic church and estate home and I was so thankful I could make the journey up there as the last time I visited DC was in the fifth grade. We stayed in Alexandria which is roughly 10 miles outside the city and a 20 minute metro ride away.

Old town has a beautiful historic feel to it that lives up to it’s name, all the streets are brick and the main street in town, King St, is lined with boutiques, bakeries, and cuisine from every culture imaginable. King street runs right into the Potomac river which is a beautiful sight to see.

Friday morning I got up early, ate a quick snack in the hotel lobby and made my way out for an exploratory run through town. I didn’t really have a route mapped out, but got comfortable with the street grids the night before. It also really helps having an iPhone that has GPS and shows me where I am. The other great thing about the iPhone is that it allowed me to take some really cool pictures along the way (see below).

I could not have asked for better weather. It was probably 77 degrees and sunny which is exceptional for August in DC. It was a nice change of pace from the blazing heat and humidity in Orlando. Thankfully for me, and my cousin, it stayed that way the whole weekend.

The city itself is rather small, but it still has a city feel with lots of intersections and crosswalks so I made sure to stay off king street for the majority of the run so I wouldn’t have to make too many stops. The neighborhoods are lined with beautiful colonial homes and town houses that reminded me a little bit of Philadelphia.

I probably covered 3 miles or so on my run, it was hard to get an idea of time because I kept stopping to take pictures and enjoy the scenery. The terrain was all brick so I had to keep my eyes on the ground so I wouldn’t trip.

I always try to keep my eyes and ears open when i run in a new place because you can never be too careful when it comes to safety. I must say I felt safe the while time. I only came accross one block which felt a little iffy, otherwise it was nice. Maybe something to do with the cost of living being extremely high. I saw real estate ads for these shacks (if you will) selling for $750k!

I knew I wanted to run down to the Potomac and back so I could get a view of the river in the morning. Once I made it down there it was breathtaking. There is a nice spot in Founders Park that sits on the rocks that border the river and allowed me to take these great photos. My philosophy for running while traveling is to “run untill you find a reward” and what a reward this was.

A quick observation about the people there: it is a very diverse mix of people hailing from all over the world. It also has a very preppy feel with most in some combination of plaid and polos. I also noticed 1 in 5 people walking around listening to their iPods, not sure what that means but it stood out to me for some reason. As you can imagine, images of McCain and Obama were everywhere being so close to the capitol. Im going to make the assumption that the majority will be voting for the latter. What I didn’t notice was a lot of runners. Maybe it was because it was a workday, summer vacations, or I just wasn’t looking in the right places. Although I did come accross the local running shop, Pacers, which was not open yet but I had to take a picture of this great shirt in the window “Virginia is for runners”. You get it right?

All in all it scored a 4 out of 5 on my rating scale for being runner friendly. Weather was great, everyone yields to pedestrians, beautiful scenery and safe.

Not sure where my next adventure will be, but I can’t wait. Running is the best way to get comfortable with a new city, get a feel for where things are, and observe the people. Make sure on your next trip, whether for business or pleasure, you carve out some time for a good run.

Click Here to view my MapMyRun route of this run: http://www.mapmyrun.com/route/us/VA/Alexandria/296839575979

Click here to view my facebook photo album with pictures from the rest of my trip to DC: http://www.new.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2308206&l=fddcc&id=5106143

2008 Olympics: What can you learn from Olympians?

Runners World has interviewed 15 Olympians to learn what tips and tricks give them the edge over their competitors.  While most of us are lucky to receive a medal from a local race, let alone an Olympic medal, it doesn’t hurt to see what works for the pro’s.  Because after all, aren’t we all after the same goal: personal achievement?

Here are the highlights, click here for the full article: http://www.runnersworld.com/cda/microsite/article/0,8029,s6-239-473-0-12777-0,00.html

NUTRITION

Eat to Recover
“I focus on hydrating and eating protein immediately after a hard workout or race. I may have some leftover salmon or some cottage cheese. I do this to help repair my damaged muscles and replenish energy. Even if your stomach is feeling upset, you should still force yourself to eat something. If you are rushed to meet friends or go somewhere, then grab a spoonful of peanut butter and eat it in the car on your way. Don’t make excuses on recovery. Your workouts are only beneficial if you are recovering well from them.” —Deena Kastor 35, Mammoth Lakes, California; Marathon, 2004 marathon bronze medalist

TRAINING

Test Yourself
“By keeping track of my five-mile tempo run times, I can tell how I’m progressing. I’ll do those every other week, and it’s always on the same course, so I can really tell where I’m at endurance-wise. Early season, it’s about 26 minutes, later in the season maybe 25:25.”
Nick Symmonds 24, Eugene, Oregon 800 meters

Take Advantage of the Treadmill
“I do my interval work on an incline on the treadmill. It keeps my body healthy because I’m going uphill, so my turnover isn’t as fast, which decreases my injury risk. But my cardiovascular system is still working very hard. I was susceptible to injuries when I was running a lot of intervals on the track, where I had to run turns.
“My coach, Jack Daniels, has a table in his book [Daniels’ Running Formula] that gives combinations of pace and incline for different workouts. Here’s a sample workout that takes about a half hour: 3 x 3 minutes at 8 mph and 8.5 percent incline. Then 3 x 3 minutes at 8.5 mph and 7.5 percent incline, followed by 3 x 3 minutes at 9 mph and 6.5 percent incline. After each three-minute effort, I jog easily at zero incline for two minutes. Those combinations of speed and incline give me the same cardiovascular workout as if I were running five-minute pace on a flat surface.”
Magdalena Lewy Boulet 35, Oakland, California Marathon

MOTIVATION

Make Each Day Count
“There are days when I definitely don’t want to get out the door. So I’ll have a training partner meet me at the gym or the track to help me get there. On days when it’s difficult for me to run, I remind myself that it feels a lot worse at the end of the day when I skip a workout.”
Shannon Rowbury

INJURY PREVENTION

Circuit Train
“Being a better all-around athlete makes your body stronger. I had that going for me in high school because I played a lot of sports. Now I’m getting back into it. I do jumps and push-ups and squats, going really hard for two or three minutes at a time. I also do hurdles and medicine-ball work. My coach, John Cook, gives me some drills he used to do as a soccer player. They get your heart rate up without running fast, and I’m a lot stronger for it.”
Erin Donohue

RACING

Repeat a Mantra
“I have a lot of different words that I say to myself. One is ‘fighter.’ I think that and all of a sudden things come into focus for me. Even if I don’t speed up, in my mind I calm down. I use my workouts to practice responding to these one-word cues.”
Kara Goucher

Only 8 Days until Beijing!

I don’t know about you but I cannot wait until the Olympics kick off next Thursday 8-8-08.  I have always enjoyed watching the best athlete’s in the world come together to defy all of our wildest expectations.  I think now that i’m a bit older (I was only 20 years old when that went to Athens) I have a fonder appreciation.  Not to mention I watched most of the last games while cooped up in an un-air conditioned apartment with 8 other people as we weathered Hurricane Jean (or one of them from 2004).  We might not have had air, but by God we had the gymnastics competition!

I also have a new interest in the track and field competition since I can now really appreciate how talented these athletes are.  I am bragging about running a 7:47 mile, these guys are running 2 miles in that time!  Their sheet talent is mind-blowing.  To think that these individuals have spent, in most cases, their whole lives training for one moment to win is hard to wrap your mind around.  Dreams are fulfilled, but also crushed, during the Olympics and I think it’s one of the only times we can really see all the different types of human emotion wrapped all into one moment.

What do you think about all the drama surrounding the pollution in China?  I have watched numerous pieces on the news about the danger it poses to our athletes and how China is fabricating their success in reducing it.  Have you seen some of the footage from Beijing? You can’t see 5 feet in front of you!  To say this will disadvantage our athletes is an understatement.  It will defiantly prove to be a huge challenge to overcome, especially for those who compete outdoors, i only hope it doesn’t slow down the ability to break world records.

As the games get close next week i’ll post a guide to what sports are on and when, as it will surely dominate all TV coverage for the next 3 weeks.

Running on the road: New destination coming soon

Running on the road is heading to our Nation’s capitol for it’s next installment.  I’m flying up to DC next weekend to attend my cousin’s wedding in Alexandria and have added some extra time into my stay so I can see the sights by foot!

Know of any great spots that I should see?  Run shops to check out?  Do tell!

I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures and include a link to my “map my run”.