I think it’s safe to say that tonight, as a runner and as an American, I am grieving. I prayed today. I mourned today. I ran today.
This morning started in a flurry of activity. My friend Katie and I are both runners–she is in training for her Boston Qualifier as we speak, and I am going with her to Wisconsin to support that quest. We are also both homeschooling our kids. Today we planned special activities that centered on Boston and the marathon to
educate our kids justify getting together to watch Boston. She read aloud the story of Phidippides and showed the children Greece and Persia on a map. I re-enacted the story of the Tortoise and the Hare with puppets and we talked about pacing and focus. We showed them Boston, talked about Massachusetts and it’s State Bird, the chickadee. It was quite sweet, and included breaks to watch the elite women’s race, and some of the men’s.
I was long gone from Katie’s house by the time the explosions happened. The explosions that took lives, that took limbs, and that have changed running in America. I posted on Twitter that it was the day ‘someone broke running.’ And I do believe that, in a way, running has been broken. Now, don’t get me wrong–of course it has not diminished the spirit of runners. If a marathoner doesn’t overcome adversity by nature, the journey of 26.2 will teach them to overcome it. Also, it has not been broken beyond repair. We are too tough for that.
But, for my young children and yours, running races will not be the same experience that it has been for us. Even cheering for races will be different, from this point on. While I expect running to be even more important to us, I also expect heightened security, higher race fees to cover the security, and perhaps fewer spectators. The saddest prospect of all: fewer kids watching the drama and glory of the finish line. One of the dead was 8 years old. Eight. Perhaps a second-grader, a gap-toothed new reader. Maybe a kid looking forward to running a 5k soon with his mom or dad. There are far too many others who were rushed to Boston Children’s Hospital. Those kids were presumably there to cheer on a parent, in a race that is far too big of a deal for them to really comprehend.
My children have been that child.
My children want to be those runners, crossing the finish line in victory after a hard road to get there.
My children are Boston, but I don’t want them to know.
“Do the girls know?” a friend texted me today.
No! No! A thousand times no! These children already voice their concerns for us in their prayers before we run a race–I don’t know why they worry, but they do. Thankfully, mine aren’t around other kids who will talk about it with furrowed brows Tuesday, or who will be parroting something their parent said about the tragedy in a moment of sadness and confusion. And I will support their blissful ignorance for as long as I can. I hope that you are in a position to guard the innocence of your children, too.
Let us all be mindful of when and how we talk about this tragedy around our kids. Obviously there are many who already know, or who will find out about Boston tomorrow. I pray you find words to explain it to their child-minds. But if you don’t have to… Don’t. Our little ones simply don’t need the burden of worrying about a bomb going off in a spot where they are holding the signs they have made, or about an explosion in the spot where Mommy and Daddy are running.
My children are currently sleeping peacefully in the next room. Their associations with the 117th Boston Marathon are still of us screaming like crazy for Shalane Flanagan in the final moments of the women’s race. Of giggling at my tortoise puppet doing a happy dance at his finish line. Of talking about how Miss Katie might be there next year (which I still hope she will. I feel confident there will be no safer place than Boston on Patriot’s Day 2014).
Tomorrow I will wear a race shirt. I will run with Katie. I will continue to process what the events in Boston today mean for all of us.
In the future, when I feel anxious at being jostled at a start line, or am in the crowds waiting to see my husband lope around a corner, or am approaching a major-city-race finish line, I will remember the glee-filled moments of our morning together with our children. I will quiet my fears and remember the enduring spirit of runners, of kids, of EMS workers who head toward danger instead of away from it.
I will not be scared, because I refuse to let terrorists win. But my children will not be scared, because they will not know. Not now, and hopefully not for a long, long time. If I need to pray three times as much for the victims, I will, but my children will not know.
I get a wide variety of running-related questions on Facebook, Twitter, this blog, or in real life. So I figure I’d address some of the common questions I get here, on Fridays. Cause Friday starts with ‘F’ and so does FAQ. See what I did there?
Anyway, one of the biggest ones I get—and got a LOT when I worked the Ragnar booth for the Publix Georgia Marathon Expo—is “How do I put together a Ragnar team?” I’m sure there is a wide variety of correct answers to this one, but I’ll tell you my thoughts.
1: You don’t necessarily have to put together a team. If you’re not picky about who you are with in a van, you can join an existing team. A great way is to join the individual race event on Facebook. Then you’ll see people posting that they need runners, or you can post that you are looking for a team. I got on my first team because I wanted to run Ragnar Chicago and I knew a runner in suburban Chicago. One. And not well. But I figured it was worth asking, and she put me in touch with a runner friend who knew the captain of my team, and the rest is history.
2. If you are going to captain a team, talk about it. A lot. To everybody. Online, in person, tell people about this cool relay you heard of and how awesome it sounds and that you want to do it and that they should want to do it too. Enthusiasm is infectious!
3. Throw your net wide. When I started putting together Team Twisted Running for Ragnar Tennessee, some of the most avid runners I know shot the idea of a relay down immediately—they’re just not into team things. Others that I thought would never go for the idea, or that didn’t know well, were right up there on board from the first mention. As my Ragnar Chicago teammate George said, It’s not about getting the fastest or best runners—it’s about getting people who can commit, send you the money, and take a day or two off work to have the time of their lives.
4. Share. If you have the chance to run with a team before putting together your own, share your experience on Twitter or Facebook. A lot. Not one picture of the start, or one of the finish. But blow your feed up showing them how much fun you are having. I made entire Facebook albums for both relays and posted in real-time all the craziness. One of the reasons we made the video of our Chicago team was to help get people excited about the team, and it worked.<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/43902693″>Ragnar Chicago 2012: Better Off in the Long Run</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user12106537″>TwistedRunning</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
5. Go where the runners go. Run with groups, befriend the ones wearing race t-shirts in you classes at the gym, join a running club. Likewise, find the runners in your area on Twitter. I nearly recruited a teammate off Twitter; he had a family commitment that kept him from doing it, but it’s good to harness the power of the internet for good.
6. Phone a Friend. If you know someone else who is really into the idea too, suggest co-captaining a team—they fill one van and you fill the other. Then you only have to find 5 runners.
7. Ask your team to Phone a Friend. A team member who commits may have a friend who wants to join in the fun, but may not necessarily think to offer them up. Ask them. Also, they may be more willing to commit if you encourage them to bring a friend. One of my teams consists of three husband-and-wife combos, two sisters, two gym buddies, and two other guys who weren’t friends before, but are now. Once the circle starts growing, it may surprise you!
I hope those tips help you to get started planning your team. Dive in and see what you find! Just about anyone who’s up for a 36-hour, 200-mile running road trip is probably a lot of fun to be around. Go on, see who’s out there looking to share an adventure with you!
Know what I love?
You knew that.
Know what else I love?
If you follow me on Twitter you probably knew that too.
So you can probably guess that when I heard there was an Atlanta 5k that offers bacon at the finish line, I’d have to snatch that up. Because runners are a smart lot, I figure many of you, like me, also love bacon, and would want to know more about the geniuses who decided to mix two of life’s finest pleasures. They’re even throwing in a side of Piedmont Park and Spring in Atlanta to boot. Here, a quick Q&A with Alex and Brad, the brains behind Atlanta’s Brunch Run.
Lindsay: How did you come up with the idea for the Brunch Run?
Alex: We both ran in college and something that was always common throughout the team was eating after a run or after practice. It was a good way to decompress and bond and obviously delicious. When we were trying to come up with ideas for our race we wanted something that would be a fun weekend activity and we thought why not combine brunch (with bacon!) with running.
Lindsay: What makes the Brunch Run different from other races in the area?
Brad: First off, bacon. No other race offers that. We’re trying to leverage our background as competitive runners to offer the things that make competitive running fun without turning it into an event that excludes people who are new to the road racing world. We’re trying to make the race well organized both during the race and during the after party.
Lindsay: You guys were on the track team at Emory and have run a good deal in Atlanta. What are some of your favorite routes/areas to run and why?
Brad: My favorite route has always been counter clockwise around the Emory track. Least favorite, too. Seriously though, I was a jumper/decathlete in college and have only recently begun running longer distances but I run through Piedmont Park almost every morning and basically love running anywhere with trees.
Alex: Funny question, as a distance runner in college I always considered Atlanta a terrible city to run in, however, there have been numerous hidden gems that I’ve discovered throughout the years. The thing I enjoy most about running in Atlanta is that you’re never far from a park that has trails, even if it’s only for a couple miles. My favorite is probably Daniel Johnson Nature Preserve.
We both are really excited about the BeltLine project. We like to bike as well and it’s really changing the city from that perspective.
Lindsay: Running collegiate track together obviously created a bond between you guys, huh?
Brad: if this doesn’t set the scene, I don’t know what does.<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/9981065″>Robin’s Epic 800M Win</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/sbeehler”>SMB</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
This was at our indoor conference championship at Brandeis and was the first time Alex won the 800. You can tell from the video that he runs with “spirit” and it’s always fun to watch someone with a great kick.
Brad: Also, our official company name is Super Beastly Running but we were really just trying to get the initials SB Running because before cross country meets all the teams generally do a cheer after the pre-race pep talk and Alex’s senior year the team decided being serious before races was overrated so the captain would yell “Sexy” and the team would respond “beasts,” and then spirit fingers for those who felt it was necessary. And that’s just too good of a story to pass up.
Lindsay: Spirit fingers are always necessary, in my opinion. Okay, let’s say you’ve just done your long run. Build a dream brunch with your favorite eats from around Atlanta.
Brad: Well my girlfriend was training for a marathon in the fall and she had the pleasure of coming home to coffee, pumpkin pancakes, bacon, hashbrowns and a few friends. I think that’s pretty hard to beat.
Alex: I prefer when someone else prepares my brunch for me.
Brad: Like if I prepare it.
Alex: Yea, but if you’re not around Creamy Dreamy Grits from Flying Biscuit with bottomless coffee, home fries from Sweet Melissa’s, banana peanut butter French toast from Highland Bakery, and if I’m still not full my favorite quick bite is the ham and cheese croissant from San Francisco Coffee Roasters.
Lindsay: *drools* I can also endorse the sweet potato pancakes and pierogi omelette at Rise N Dine. But anyway. Got any insider tips for someone who really wants to rock the Brunch Run?
Alex: Check out Running Coach Carl. He coached me to every one of my lifetime PR’s. He is really hands on and has a good sense of how to individualize his training programs. He has experience working with runners of all ability levels, anywhere from helping people prepare for their first 5K to training NCAA All-Americans. He also will work with you on your form, which I was always in need of. I’ve been told I look like a goblin when I race.
Brad: The group runs at Phidippides also have a wide variety of pace groups so I’d encourage anyone who’s hesitant to check it out.
Alex: Make sure not to skimp on your bacon eating either, gotta replenish.
Lindsay: Anything else you’d like to add that’s important for those of us who love running and brunching?
Brad: We’ve had a lot of people ask us if it’s okay if they walk and it absolutely is! We’re trying to make the event a lot of fun for people of any level because at the end of the day its hard not to enjoy a beautiful May day in the park. But if you’re trying to win keep training; we’re on the hunt for a trophy and we’re looking for someone who can make it bacon-themed.
Lindsay: *spirit fingers* Thanks guys!
The rest of you: Calendars out! May 11, 9AM, Piedmont Park. We’re Brunch Runnin’.
Contact info for the race:
Cooper River Bridge Run has become one of my favorite races, and I can’t say enough good things about it. This is the second year my sister Lesley and I traveled to Charleston to celebrate our “Sister Day”–a totally awesome excuse to be together and run some. We left Friday, later than I would’ve liked, but with plenty of time to get to the expo, grab dinner, and get some rest.
The race is the 3rd largest 10k in the country, and is logistically complicated–35,000 runners going point to point over a huge bridge. They made some major changes this year to avoid a similar scenario to last year’s debacle that included the race going off an hour late. (note: i still enjoyed myself thoroughly last year, despite the delay). This year they changed the expo to a roomier convention center in North Charleston, which was nice–it felt a little less frenetic, and was easier to navigate. The other big change was that they had three locations in different parts of the area for shuttle departure to the race, as opposed to one, in downtown Charleston, as they had done prior.
The shuttle changes didn’t really affect us, since we stay downtown, right at the finish line, and take the ferry across the Cooper River. I love it; such a nice way to start a race day. No real line to stand in, there’s coffee on the boat, and if you time it right, you can see the sun rise, silhouetting the bridge. You still have to hop a bus to the start line, but it’s all just people who got off the boat with you, so no big deal.
We did get to the boat earlier this year, which made the start experience a lot less rushed. We were dropped off the bus the end of all corrals, at about 7:20, which gave us plenty of time to walk allllll the way to corral A to use the portapotty. We were in corrals C&D, but this area has the least crowded portapotty area, but don’t go telling everybody and crowding it up for me next year, ok?
YOU GUYS. GUESS WHO WAS THREE PEOPLE IN FRONT OF ME IN THE LINE FOR THE PORTAPOTTY. Remember the World’s Most Photogenic Guy? This one? Zeddie Little? I saw him and thought it was him, but without the smile, wasn’t sure it was the same guy. My sister said no, but I had hop over to him and ask his name. He told me “Winston,” so I told him I thought he was someone else, but he wasn’t. He kind of mumbled “I have another first name.” I cocked my eyebrow at him and he told me. He was super nice, we talked about the picture, and he took a picture with me. Fun!
So, with our bathroom-ing and Zeddie Little-sighting complete, we headed back to the corrals. I got in right as they were starting the elites off (at EXACTLY 8AM–they were clearly not going to mess this up this year), and with very little fanfare or lag time, I was running.
I hadn’t really set a goal for this race, as my 10k PR was set just a few weeks ago, and on a downhill course with nothing like the monster that is the Arthur J. Ravenel bridge. I figured I’d give it my all, shoot for 8:30-ish miles and treat it as a tempo training run in anticipation of the miles I’ll run with Katie in Wisconsin. I started my Garmin as we went over the mats, I KNOW I DID but at .5 in it beeped as it started to go into Power Save mode.
I started to get mad, but then decided I’d just reset and start my watch again when I heard everyone else’s watches chirp near the Mile 1 marker. Which is what I did. But having no real gauge for how that first mile went, I knew the PR thing might not happen, unless I wanted to REALLY push the pace to be on the safe side of a PR. With a huge course PR certain (last year I finished CRBR in 1:00:13), and with it being Sister Day and me wanting to enjoy my time with Lesley, I pretty much knew I wasn’t going to push. I wanted to do well on the race, but sometimes, there are just other things going on. I could be happy with a fat course PR, and with the Garmin fail, I decided just to lay it out and let the (timing ) chips fall where they may. Heh. Get it?
Before I knew it we were moving up the bridge! I had forgotten how huge it is. And how very crowded it is, and hard it is to navigate the folks who walk on the uphill. But I hadn’t forgotten how hard it had been last year to make it up the thing. This year, I felt… strong. Last year it took me a little over 10 minutes to get up to the top, this year, it took me under 9. I love it when speed training pays off–it makes me want to do even more!
I had also forgotten what a lovely, long descent you get on the bridge. If you haven’t shredded everything up it, it’s great to go down. The slope is short and big going up, and long and little going down. It can definitely be used to your advantage.
When we hit the bottom of the bridge, back in Charleston, was when I felt it in my legs. Like they were leaden. I honestly wanted to walk–I felt that sloggy–but pushed through. They really lay on the water stops in the second half of the race, and I was thankful for the distraction. We made our way toward the historic area, and the finish. Here is where the cheers pick up, and it’s so beautiful. I wanted something there for the last two turns before the finish, and when I made the next to the last turn I kicked it in. I made it across the finish and didn’t feel like puking–hurrah! My Garmin read 44:53 for 5.23 miles. I knew I’d only have a PR if I’d killed the first mile, which I didn’t think I had. And I was right–my official time was 53:38, exactly one minute off my existing PR.
Mile 1 8:45, by my calculations.
Mile 2 8:50
Mile 3 (the bridge) 8:54
Mile 4 8:14
Mile 5 8:36
Mile 6 (.2 miles) 8:09
Average pace: 8:38
4166 of 31467 runners
1138 of 18493 females
Do I wish I’d run those first 2 miles faster? Of course! But I don’t know that I could’ve powered up the bridge if I had. I honestly have no real regrets about the race. I finished with a course PR of 7:30+–that’s a huge difference year-to-year. I felt strong, and I feel ready to run with Katie in Wisconsin, and I feel ready to work toward more PR’s. With some more speedwork, I can practically taste my sub-25 5k goal.
Post-race, I got some water and a banana, and went over to the edge of the park where you can cheer the runners on as they hit mile 6. I scanned and scanned for Lesley until I found her, then jumped in and ran with her till the finish line was in sight. She always looks like she’s about to kill somebody when she’s at the end of the race, so I chirped some happy things at her and hoped her victim would not be me. Yikes! (In truth, she has said she loves it when I run her in, so I’m kidding there.) She had a huge PR herself, about 7:00 or so, too.
We hustled back to our hotel for some breakfast, but not before I met up with another Ragnar ambassador who had come in from Tennessee. I’d helped him out in getting his packet as he was late getting to Charleston, and so it was nice to put a face to the random number I’d been texting with on Friday.
After showering and stretching, we walked to Husk for lunch–do eat there when you are in Charleston. Though they claim their schtick is Southern, I will tell you, as someone who grew up in Kentucky and has lived deep in Appalachia, that their schtick is actually Refined Hillbilly. AND I LOVE IT. Our dishes included bacon, pork belly marmalade, more bacon, and pork. WINNING.
We also visited Fort Sumter (this felt familiar as our father is a historian and we spent our youth visiting landmarks and tombstones) and ate at an AWESOME cafe called Five Loaves. I recommend that, too.
We were beat on Saturday night and in bed early. Happily. It was a great race, a great weekend, and a great Sister Day.
I love ya, Charleston! Kisses! Save some pig for me for next year!
1. It involves me making fun of myself (one of my greatest skills).
2. It makes mention of the fact that I am a Duchess of Hazard (a story for another day).
3. It has a dream sequence.
See for yourself:
Shout out and a HUGE thank you to my husband, who shot and edited this, as well as doing the voices of the Three Runners. The dream sequence was an idea I had a nearly year ago but he helped me execute it and then frame it with the stuff about me to help it make sense. Thanks, David!
When you run outside, you become very interested in the weather. It dictates what you wear. It demands you move your run or put off your run until the rain lets up or the lightning moves out of the area. Sometimes, the weather is powerful enough to throw out your training plan, your money invested in a race-centered trip, and your race goal itself.
Yesterday was that day.
I had suggested the Berry Half Marathon to my husband way back in late 2012. I ran it in 2011 and it was great. He was coming off Ragnar Tennessee and looking for something to carry that momentum through to our next Ragnar in June. Berry fits a lot of our criteria: Saturday race, not too expensive, and close-ish to where we live. It also happens to be held on the campus where we both went to college, where we met, and where we got married. In fact, the race benefits the campus elementary school where his groomsman teaches, and where the kids of my bridesmaid attend. Easy choice.
David trained hard for this race. He’s had a rough couple of halves and wanted a good race, especially on his old turf. Along the way, we recruited most of our Ragnar team, and a couple of friends, to come and have a mini-reunion for the race.
We all had our goals. David was on track to set a massive PR (In my opinion, he had the potential to break it by 20 minutes). Katie was using it as a race-day practice and long tempo run as she prepares to qualify for Boston. Her husband Jason could’ve been looking at an age group award. Aron was returning to the half-marathon after a decade off. Sara wants a redemption race after a disappointing first half in the fall. Jan and Cris were running the 10k, just because they cared enough about being with us to fork over money for a race and drive all the way to Berry to hang out.
As for me, I wasn’t actually running the race, but instead watching our children and Katie and Jason’s kids while everyone else ran. I was looking forward to a lot of things. I wanted our Ragnar team at least partially together for a post-race lunch. And I was so excited to give Katie and Jason a chance to run the same race, And since David is unfailingly supportive of me running and racing and traveling to race, I wanted to give him the chance to run one. I also had hoped that when Jason finished I’d be able to find a friend/teammate to keep an eye on our kids, and to run David in to the finish line.
Our kids were excited, too. On Thursday, they made signs to cheer on the runners and we read to them the history of Martha Berry and the school. On Friday, I took Katie and all the kids on a tour of Berry/course tour and showed them the school landmarks, and the landmarks of David’s and my relationship. The kids (ages 4-7) collected cowbells and snacks at the race expo, excited to put them to good use to cheer on their family, friends, and other runners at the race.
But none of it happened. NONE of it. A line of storms moved through the Rome, GA area early Saturday morning. We awoke to thunder and lightning. Before we left the hotel the race was delayed from 8AM to 9AM. It was raining hard. It wasn’t letting up. The runners went on and Aron’s wife and I wrangled kids into the car and to campus. We walked a long way to the race staging area at the Ford buildings, and along the way heard some kiddie whining and complaining about being cold, wet, and tired (all true, and probably true of the runners, too!) Along the way we got word of another delay–9:30.
Vine video of the gym:
Then finally, the race director appeared and told us it was over. There would be no race. He cited safety concerns and expressed his sadness over it. The disappointment in the room was palpable. Runners dispersed quickly, and our group huddled. Sara had to leave as she needed to go to a funeral. I called Cris and Jan and they were already back at their car. But Katie, Jason, Aron and David all agreed-they wanted to run on Berry’s campus that day. I told them I was fine to watch the kids, and to go!
As the kids and I left the gym, the sky was a glorious post-storm blue, and the temperature was perfect. What a great day to run. Our group was not the only one to decide to run a bit that day. The kids got out their signs and cowbells and as we meandered back to the car they stopped for every runner and cheered for them. We even drove part of the campus looking for our group and the kids hung cowbells out the window for them. We caught Katie and Aron as we headed toward the now-deconstructed finish line and
annoyed them cheered for them, too. As they headed toward the finish a race worker caught them and hung a medal around their necks.
Afterward, we showered and had lunch, and dissected the morning. Here are my thoughts:
1. There are just times when the weather is a punk.
Berry is, as school literature once read “nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains.” I was a reporter in Appalachia and the stories I remember most vividly are the flooding stories. Flooding in the mountains is real, and it’s dangerous. Weather Underground says Mount Berry got over an inch of rain Saturday, and it all fell by 9:30 AM. If a storm dumps a huge amount of rain in a mountain area (about 4 miles of the race are held on Berry’s “Mountain Campus”), it can do damage. Damage to roads, damage to trails, damage to poorly rooted trees, and damage to people who are insistent enough to be out in it. Weather is some powerful stuff, and it will humble you. Sometimes you just have to accept that it is more powerful than what your plans.
2. Race officials have more information than you do, and sometimes you just have to trust them.
I had the opportunity to speak with and observe the race director during the time our group was out running. He was talking to runners, he was facilitating the clean up, and he was busy. But more than once, I saw him look around at the empty area that should have been brimming with success and achievement, and saw him take in the emptiness of it. He had had to make a difficult decision.
When everyone walked out of the gym Saturday, the storm had broken. The lightning was gone. From what we could see, the threat was over, right? Well, we were on main campus, not on the mountain where there are portions of trail—dirt and rock trail. The race director said that in the time they’d waited for the lightning to pass, the storm had dumped enough rain on the course to wash out the trails.
Honestly, those trails had looked rough on Friday, before the storm. In fact, Katie and I had plotted some running strategy for them and talked about the need for caution as we drove on them. Damage from rain + thousands of pounding feet + runners focused on their race and not necessarily who else is running around them would’ve been a recipe for disaster. I pictured anything from twisted ankles, to falls, to a trampling situation.
No race director wants to cancel a race! But, this time, it had to be done.
3. Sometimes God answers prayers in ways different than the ways we might answer them.
In being with the four kids all weekend, I heard them pray more than once “Please don’t let any of the runners get hurt.” In my adult, runner-brain, that always means, “Please don’t let anyone have a heart attack at the finish line.” Because isn’t that the story we tend to hear? I actually even had a conversation with the kids, telling them that they didn’t need to worry about Mommy or Daddy getting hurt; that that’s why we train, to build up our muscles and bodies, etc. etc. etc.
I don’t know what danger the kids were envisioning, but what a timely prayer that was for this race! And it was answered. I emailed this to Katie Saturday night:
“I also thought about how much they (the kids) prayed for y’all’s safety and how… you’re safe. No one struck by lightning, crushed by a tree… No twisted ankles, no broken bones, no being trampled on by a herd of flighty runners… not even a defeated attitude from running a potentially discouraging race, or being worried about an unexpectedly technical course. Their little prayers were answered.”
I tell my kids all the time that I make my rules to keep them safe. Sometimes, I have to throw out our general rules to keep them safe in extreme situations. In this case, the race director was our parent, and made the decision to keep runners safe, even though from where we stood, there didn’t appear to be danger. I choose to respect and trust that decision.
So, going forward, what should Berry do? They don’t offer refunds, and honestly I’m fine with David’s race fee going to the schools—I know it’s a good cause, and furthers Martha Berry’s vision of well-educating students in Northwest Georgia.
I do think they need to remove the ‘rain or shine’ portion of the wording about the race if they continue to run the parts of the course on the trail. It’s an unfortunate un-truth if you have parts of the course that can be washed away.
I think the other option is to change the course. That would mean re-routing it away from the Old Mill, which is Berry’s landmark tourist attraction—it holds the title of being the most photographed place in Georgia. I’d hate to see that happen, but there are other roads on main campus that could make up a new course—including one that leads to Martha Berry’s original “Gate of Opportunity.”
Berry Half Marathon, you got handed a raw deal by the tremendous power of the weather God made. But you handled it well. You communicated with the runners, and you kept us safe. And we plan to be back. All of us. Thanks for making a potentially horrible experience one that was merely disappointing and humbling.
I have a saying: what happens on the running playlist, stays on the running playlist. (But I also have a blog, so I guess that’s not always true.)
Anyway, I love to run with music. I also get bored easily, so I’m always looking to mix up my playlist. There’s only so much Calvin Harris a girl can take, mmmmmkay? I am a huge 80s music fan; in my non-running life, mostly of 80′s new wave. But I’ve been using Spotify lately, so I have instant access to some super-deep cuts of every genre, and have found some 80′s pop that really makes me want to move. I will say, that I might not have ever thought about or bought without it being right there on Spotify for me to access. So yes, these are pretty much my musical dirty little secrets. Here ya go:
Lionel Richie: Dancing on the Ceiling
Okay, first of all, whatever you’re thinking, shut up. Okay? I cannot even lie. I love this song. It’s not even a blip on my childhood music radar, but it is just so FUN and UPBEAT and makes me take my running less seriously.
The Go-Go’s: Our Lips are Sealed
Cheeky 80′s girl band. Drums. Belinda Carlisle’s hair. Convertibles. This one also falls into the ‘fun distraction from pain’ category.
The Bangles: Hazy Shade of Winter
WIth all due respect to Simon and Garfunkel, I like this girl-band version better. It’s kind of intense and dark, but driving, which is perfect for running. And, is that some plastic cowbell I hear in there? I rest my case.
Do you have any dirty little secrets on your playlist? C’mon… I shared mine…
Spring is a weird time of year, for me, running-wise. Everyone else seems to be gearing up for a great season of races, and I am generally winding down and dreading the Atlanta heat. The whole time I’ve been running, my goal races have been in the spring, and I’ve then had downtime—and sometimes weather malaise– as the weather warms up and I recover.
This year, I’m treating things differently. First of all, my major race came and went in February! We officially start spring today—and I just can’t slack off just yet. The potential for goals has presented itself, and I am ready to take on the challenge. I’ve got several races coming up, and one major goal. So here’s the rundown:
The “A” Goal: The Wisconsin Marathon, May 4: Run 3.2 miles at 8:10 pace. I’m not running the marathon, or even the ½, as I have the last two years. But I’m going up to the race with my friend Katie, who is attempting a BQ. I plan to see her at mile 4, mile 11, and then at mile 23, jump in and run the last bit of the race with her. Her goal pace is 8:20; I want some wiggle room in my ability in case we need to push it some to make her goal.
The “B” Goal: Run a 24:50 5k, Mid-May. For a long-time, a 25:00 5k has been a hazy, somewhere far off in the distance goal. The 5k has been a distance I hate for a long time. I just want to yak the whole time. But a few weeks ago, Tim said something to me that made me re-think why I hate the 5k so much. He is a good racer, and he said to me, “A 5k should start hurting about 1:00 in.” Well, that made me consider: it’s supposed to be hard! And I know I can handle hard. I just have to do it. Then, during the Silver Comet 10k, when I finished with that awesome 8:26 pace, I decided I wanted to shoot for running a shorter race in which my average pace started with a 7. 7:59/mile would put me at 24:50. I WANT THAT. I’ve seen what speed training can do, and I intend to spend a lot of time at the track to get there. I’m looking at a race in mid-May to shoot for that goal. It lines up nicely with the goal I have to run with Katie in Wisconsin, and I may make the Brunch Run the goal race. Plus, there will be bacon afterward. HELLO.
The “C” Goal: Toughen up in the heat, all summer. Every year I’ve said I would use summer as a time to get faster. While I certainly would like to finally have my ‘summer of speed,’ I have wound up rehabbing or prehabbing an injury for the past two summers. This year, I want to get tougher about the heat. I don’t know exactly what that means, except embracing the fact that it will be hard and I will sweat a lot. But Idon’t want to give up the gains I’ve made so far, and that training in heat without excuses will reap dividends in the fall. For sure this will mean looking forward to the Peachtree, and not dreading it as I so often do. I’ll formulate more on this goal going forward, but now I’ve at least said it.
Upcoming races: I’ll be heading to Charleston in a couple of weeks for the Cooper River Bridge Run. I’ll figure out closer to time what that race goal needs to look like as it lines up with my 5k training. I’ll also figure out if the Brunch Run on May 11 is indeed my 5k PR attempt. I’ll also formulate a plan for the Soldier Field 10-miler. I’ve never run a 10-mile race before, so it’ll be an automatic PR, but I want to run a worthy race.
Anybody want to share their goals, or how to work toward a speedier pace, with me?
I haven’t said much about it yet on the blog, but one of the most exciting things so far about 2013 is that the Ragnar Relay series chose me to be a Ragnar Ambassador! I apparently gush so much about the series–how much fun it is, how it will re-invigorate your running, how it will be the MOST AWESOME TIME OF YOUR LIFE– that they want me to do it while wearing and running in cool Ragnar shirts and jackets.
I originally applied late last summer but then as time came and went I figured I’d been passed over. I was a little bummed, but oh, well, right? Well I then found out in January that they had just selected their new ‘class’ and I was in! They want me to talk up Ragnar Tennessee! I was jump up and down excited! I received my first box of gear and swag in February, and have been wearing it all over the place (they used some seriously soft fabric for the ambassador shirts and I love how cozy the hoodie is).
Anyway, Ragnar got a booth for last weekend’s Publix Georgia Marathon expo, and asked the local ambassadors to work it, gathering contact information for runners who might be interested in becoming part of the Ragnar Nation. It was a BLAST. A fun and exhausting blast, even for this high-energy extrovert.
I worked Saturday afternoon, and by the time I left, Ragnar had the names of hundreds of potential new Ragnarians, and we’d given out a ton of awesome Ragnar swag to the coolest runners at the expo. Success! I also loved being around all the nervous and excited energy of thousands of runners about to take on the hills of Atlanta for the race (and yet not have to take on the hills myself–further success!). It was so fun to talk about Ragnar to people, to introduce them to the concept or to answer the questions they have about it. One of the most common was “How do I find 11 other runners?” I’ll be addressing that, and some other common questions in a future blog post. (Side note: if you ever work an expo, work the last shift. Vendors will give away tons of free stuff right at closing so they don’t have to pack it up. I walked away with BOXES of PowerCrunch bars, a tube of Nuun, and a full jar of Biscoff spread. Yeah baby.)
Also in the future, the other ambassadors and I will be spreading the Ragnar love at local races and hosting some Ragnar 101 sessions around Atlanta. I’m excited to talk up a race series that I love! Stay tuned for much more!