Ambassadors

The Importance of Being Mentally Tough

During my second attempt at the Comrades (Ultra) Marathon in South Africa I was convinced I was going to fail and DNF. In fact, by mile 13 of the 56 mile race I was finished. Despite traveling over 24 hours by air to arrive in Durban, South Africa, to participate in the World’s Largest Ultramarathon, I knew all my hard work was going for nought.

I would fail myself, my friends, and my family who had sacrificed so much to give me the opportunity to get a once-in-a-lifetime shot at a back-to-back medal. You see, at the Comrades Marathon, if you finish in your rookie year (your first attempt), and then return the very next year and finish, you will receive the coveted back-to-back medal.

You get one shot, and I was going to blow it. And I wrote all about it here.
Being Stubborn Isn’t Always Bad

The above picture shows my finisher medal and the back-to-back medal. So, if I was so convinced I wasn’t going to finish less than 1/3 of the way into the race, how did I achieve it?

By being stubborn and keeping a promise. You see, prior to my first race, I attended a meeting hosted by some of the best known Veterans of the Comrades race. During that meeting, I remembered one bit of advice:

“No matter what you do, don’t get on a bailout bus.” (A bailout bus is a bus that you get on in the middle of the race to get a ride to the finish, causing an automatic DNF).

I promised myself at the beginning of the race that I would not quit. Now, if I didn’t make a cutoff, if I was pulled off the course by the officials, […]

By |June 17th, 2015|Categories: Ambassadors||0 Comments

GPS Watches: My How Far We’ve Come

If you aren’t already running with a GPS device, chances are that if you look around at your next race or group run, most runners will be wearing a GPS watch or carrying a GPS-enabled smart phone. Today, GPS technology is rapidly improving and there are a number of watches, wearable devices and smartphone apps, which empower you with real-time data about your running—but, it’s worth noting that this technology has come a long way over the last decade. It wasn’t long ago that the accuracy and accessibility of GPS data was a far cry from where it is today—and GPS devices available to runners were similarly clunky. Today we get to enjoy feature-rich devices, like the Fitbit Surge, that integrate a heart rate monitor, GPS activity tracker and more – all while looking good on your wrist.

In fact, it wasn’t so long ago that runners ran without GPS. Although the US began development of the Global Positioning System in the 1970’s, the first running watch with a GPS receiver did not hit the markets until 2003. Prior to then, we used stopwatches to keep time but distances were generally just estimated from a map, or if you were an experienced runner, you might guess at your pace. In 1984, Timex came out with an LCD watch targeting runners, and the Timex Ironman series dominated runners’ wrists for the next couple of decades.

When Garmin released the first few GPS watches, they were bulky and anyone brave enough to wear one received a lot of smirks and oddball comments as fellow runners wondered why someone would use such a funny-looking watch.  I used a Garmin 201, which took up much of my forearm and created an odd feeling of weight […]

By |March 22nd, 2015|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on GPS Watches: My How Far We’ve Come

The Social Media Runners

Ever since I started running, I have been so lucky to have such an amazing support system. To be honest, there have been some days that without that support system, I would not lace up my shoes.

And the wild thing is?

I have never met most of them.

Social media is a funny thing. There are some days that I hate Facebook, I hate Twitter, I want nothing to do with it. But there are some days that a sure fire answer to a running question comes from cuing my social media.

For those of you on Twitter. A quick way to get answers to any of your running questions or ask support from the wide world of a running community is to post using the hashtag #runchat. #Runchat is a community of runners world wide that meet up on Sunday nights to talk running, but they also help eah other out during the week, answer questions, lend support, make suggestions for shoes, help remind you to go out for a run, remind you to pack your shoes. The #runchat community is a family that is all encompassing for runners. I find if I miss Sunday nights #runchat my week is not complete.

If you are on Facebook and looking for support. I suggest you search groups for running groups. I am part of several running groups. My favorite group is a collection of Pacific NW based runners in a group “We are runners”. I see these runners out at races or when I am out doing my volunteer commitments and am constantly getting encouragement from them. I also know they are the experts when it comes to local running questions. There are also groups out there that […]

By |May 23rd, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on The Social Media Runners

The Five Most Memorable San Francisco Marathons

I have completed The San Francisco Marathon for the past 5 consecutive years.  Most people assume it is an extremely tough course with lots of hills, but that is just not the case!  The full marathon course is ½ flat, ¼ uphill and ¼ downhill.  Personally, I love the changes in elevation and scenery, which are just a few of the reasons it keeps calling me back year after year.  Each year holds special memories and I would like to share them with you.

My first year running The San Francisco Marathon was 2009, just a few weeks after my very first marathon and I was hooked.  My family joined me for this marathon and cheered me on.  This was the ONLY time my entire family had attended one of my marathons.  My mom, dad, husband, 2 sons, daughter, and aunt and uncle all were there cheering me on along the course, and at the finish line.  It means so much to see your family there for you! My dad still recalls how much fun it was cheering on the runners, coming up with cleaver ways to encourage perfect strangers to keep running.  My elderly aunt and uncle sat at a near by bus stop, the only area where there was seating, waiting for me to run by and catch a glimpse of me!   Since then, it is usually just my husband out there, meeting me every 7 miles to hand off a water bottle, take a photo and give words of encouragement.  The kids have decided they would rather sleep in!

In 2010 I ran my personal best at The San Francisco Marathon.  It was a perfect day, the weather was cool and overcast […]

By |May 19th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on The Five Most Memorable San Francisco Marathons

Getting Back Out There

Once in my early twenties, I went for a horseback ride.  A group of my friends decided to go and when I told my mom, she asked if she could come. We got to the stables, saddled up, climbed aboard and set off for a lovely, evening trail ride. Then, about halfway through our ride, we decided to run the horses a bit.  My horse stumbled on a large rock and I went face first into the ground. NOTE TO SELF: BREAK FALL WITH HANDS NOT FACE!

By |May 17th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on Getting Back Out There

When Reality Changes Your Relationship with Running

In 2012 and part of 2013, running was my life. Every weekend I was out somewhere, running something. I was working on trying to build a career post college. I was really excited for the future.  I was the inspiration and the role model.  I was getting faster every day (Even though I am still uncomfortable with it)

And then real life crashed.

My father, who had been dealing with multiple health issues fell and broke his neck. So for three months my priority was to help the family out, and my running schedule defiantly took a beating. It hurt, but I still was doing everything I could when I could manage to make it work.

Shortly after when he started to heal from his broken neck, he ended up back in the hospital in August. His battle with congestive heart failure, and lung failure had gone to the next level. Yet again, running was about making it work. I ran a few races when I could, but I backed out of doing one marathon. My time commitments changes, and honestly so did my money commitments.

I had to face reality.

I could not do it all, no matter how much I wanted to. I could not be there for my family, afford the schedule of running I wanted  to take on, have the time to train for what I wanted. I was still committed to training 5-6 days a week, but some days I was sneaking my training in between medical calls about my father, visits, research, trying to work on my own business ect.  There are some people in my life who have said that I should give up everything all together in terms of my running […]

By |May 15th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on When Reality Changes Your Relationship with Running

Running With Injuries

We are now 75 days away from the San Francisco Marathon. How are you all doing? Are your legs feeling stronger? Are those long runs getting easier? Or has your body fallen apart? Are you struggling with some minor aches and pains? A pulled muscle? Or something worse?

The only time I made the trip to San Francisco for this wonderful race was back in 2011, and I will tell you this, I was not prepared to run a full marathon. The story that you read next isn’t something that I recommend, but it is meant to serve as some inspiration for those of you with ailments that are surmountable in the coming weeks, leaving a few weeks to train yourself to get back into some semblance of running shape, or maybe those who are coming off of injury now and hope to complete what I argue is the best marathon out there.

Back in February I was mid-training for a couple of marathons, and the second largest race in the country (Bloomsday 12k run in Spokane, Washington the first Sunday of May), a five mile race on St. Patrick’s Day, as well as the WSU 100k (team relay). I was hitting my long runs early, getting in 20 milers and feeling great. I planned on running through my first one at the end of May, the Coeur D’Alene Marathon, and from there I would get down to San Francisco after a few more weeks of training and set my sights on the Boston Qualifying time on a pretty difficult course. I wasn’t afraid, I was fearless.

In March I headed to the start line of the five mile race. I ran it in under 31 minutes […]

By |May 13th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on Running With Injuries

Bright Lights, Big Data

Armed with an arsenal of old running shoes in my backpack, I checked in at the UCSF RunSafe Clinic a few months ago to undergo a comprehensive assessment of my running form. I brought the shoes so that one of the Clinic experts could take a look at the wear and tear on the soles of the shoes as part of the assessment.

It was the wear and tear on the rest of me that prompted me to search for the clinic. Although I have been a runner since the age of 14, my casual running in the past several years had been causing chronic Achilles tendonitis. I’d tried some things on my own; a switch to minimal shoes and a shortening of my stride helped a lot. But frequently sore feet and occasionally injured ankles were still slowing me down. I was an ideal client for expert analysis by professionals at the RunSafe Clinic.

Dr. Anthony Luke opened the RunSafe Clinic in 2008. His was one of the first such clinics and he has amassed a significant amount of data on almost 2000 runners since his clinic opened. With such a large trove of data on runners who have visited his clinic, Dr. Luke is able to provide a comprehensive assessment of a runner’s strengths and challenges, and make evidence-based recommendations for runners who want to avoid injury and improve fitness.

The RunSafe Clinic assessment involves a four-station circuit. At the first station, a physical therapist (P.T.) examined the soles of the ten shoes I had carried with me. He then closely examined my feet, manipulating them to test flexibility and strength.

At the second station, a P.T. asked me to recline on a table while she […]

By |May 7th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on Bright Lights, Big Data

How I Started Running 14 Years Ago

You know if someone had come to me 14 years ago and asked if I ever would become a runner, I would have laughed right in his/her face. Me? Then, I was a mother of 2 grade-school children, I barely had time to take care of myself. Being a full time mom, I was the chauffeur, I was the cook, I was the cleaner, you name it, I was wearing all hats in my household. Why would someone that busy decide to pick up running then? Sometimes, I looked back and couldn’t figure it out myself. Fourteen years is a long time. It is basically the years it takes a child to go from his/her kindergarten years to graduate Grade 12. That’s 14 years! What had I accomplished??? Today, I look back and I can very humbly tell you this: I still have a long way to go! I had gone from a sedentary housemother to someone who thinks about running daily, not a moment goes by without a running thought crossing my mind.

You might ask then, how did I get started? I was out of shape, I was not confident, I was lacking energy, I felt inferior to Moms who had a career. There was something missing. One morning, after I dropped my kids at school, I decided once and for all to should join a gym. But which one? Since my university days, that was the very last time I stepped foot into a gym. I circled around the neighborhood a couple of times, and said, ”ok, this is it!” I had my big loose sweats on over my black leggings.With a number of deep breaths, I got out and walked into […]

By |May 6th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on How I Started Running 14 Years Ago

Practice Your Course

When training for a road race, you need to practice on the road. Don’t do all your training on the treadmill. You have to get out there and experience the pavement, the changes in level ground and elevation. Often we train on the same route or track, but in the event you may have to go up and down curbs, around corners, over dirt paths, concrete and asphalt. This can all effect your running form and if you haven’t practiced on it, may cause your shoe to rub a different way and lead to blisters.

By |May 5th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on Practice Your Course