Tortoise and the Hare Half Marathon (and 10k) 

It was a humid morning in Canton, Ga. I was still struggling with foot pain from an injury the week before, and made the last minute decision to drop to the 10k. This turned out to be a great decision. I had discussed this with the race director at packet pick-up the previous evening, and was told I could wait and see how I felt.

Boling park was the backdrop for this race, and after and out and back on the grassy field, we turned into the forest and onto the trail.

The trail was steep and knotted with stumps. I was glad I was not in a hurry. As tough as it was, it was truly beautiful – and for once I did not mind that fact I knew I would be walking a lot of this one!

There were some nice flat sections, but they were few and far between. Soon signs ahead pointed to what makes the Tortoise and the Hare half so unique: runners start from slowest to fastest, with the plan that everyone will arrive at the after party around the same time.

Inside this tree house, they playfully reminded us of the concept!


The course was incredibly well marked. At any point where there was more than one option of path, bright pink ribbons marked the correct way.

At mile three the rough terrain gave way for a mile or so of nice pine covered path. This was a nice break, and jogging was easier in this stretch.


This was followed by an even nicer stretch of soft clay path.

At a well marked turnaround, 10-K runners headed back. Half marathon runners kept going, and I was told that the additional 3+ miles out and back that they ran was the least scenic of the entire run.


Water stops were loaded with goodies from gels to cookies to gummy bears and other surgery sweets.

The last mile along the water with the amazing natural rock formations was my personal favorite.


The shirt and the medal were a cute design, with a spinning tortoise and hare. The medal was the same for the half marathon and 10k.

There were also special awards for the person that came in first and last for both distances.
  
There was A LOT of food at the finish, and the finish line was kept open for every runner. It had ended up being an exceptionally hot day, and the support for the last runner coming in was just as strong as for the first.


It was a good time. There are two groups of people I would strongly recommend this race to.

The first would be runners/walkers who care more about the scenery than their time. This course is not likely to be a PR for anyone.

The second would be anyone training for a competitive trail race such as the north face endurance challenge.   This race would be a great place to test your trail skills.

Overall it was a wonderful experience. The volunteers and directors of this event are kind, wonderful people who care about the experience every runner has, and it shows in all aspects of their event!

#feedthemachine: Cracking the Egg

Like most things athletes do for their training, there is intention behind every choice. The need to “feed the machine” requires selecting the right foods at the right times. However this quest for nutrition does not need to come at the sacrifice of taste.

While social media is littered with the reward and recovery meals, often accompanied by hashtags such as #whywerun… a nod to the balance of life enjoyed by many distance athletes, most meals need to be carefully selected to improve the training or event performance.

Knowing why foods fuel us is key to selecting the right foods at the right time.

One staple for many athletes is the egg.20140610-111118-40278146.jpg

About 2/3 of the egg is egg white, and 1/3 is egg yolk. The yolk holds all of the fat in the egg, but before you throw it out, there are a few more things to consider.

1. THE WHITE: The egg white itself is mostly water, about 90%, only 10% protein; requiring the consumption of A LOT of egg whites for high protein consumption. The white is made up of a thick and thin white, and as the egg ages, the think white thins out; this is the cause of a greater spread of an older egg when cracked into a pan, and will be less “foamy” when beaten. The egg white also has very little flavor.

2. THE YOLK: The yolk is only about 50% moisture; the other 50% is primarily protein and fats. Compared to the larger white, the dense yolk is 17% protein. With age, the yolk pulls moisture from the white, causing it to thin out and flatten. The yolk also contains carotenoids, which is what gives it its yellow/orange color. These carotenoids, specifically lutein, help with vision. The yolk also contains vitamin D and Omega 3 Fatty acids, along with L-arginine and leucine which help to maintain blood sugar levels and produce growth hormones.

Keeping just ONE whole egg with the addition of several egg whites (I prefer adding two egg whites for every whole egg) will increase health benefits, assist in the processing of the proteins in the egg white, and add a whole lot of flavor!

As I add my favorite egg dishes in the coming weeks and months I will include links to them here. I hope you enjoy!

Ham and Neufchatel Omelet

 

 

References: Figoni, P. (2011) How Baking Works: Exploring the Fundamentals of Baking Science. Hoboken, NJ. Wiley Publishers.

http://www.jillianmichaels.com/fit/lose-weight/myth-eggs

If everybody ran…

Tonight, like so many runners, I hit the pavement and marked my miles on social media with #nationalrunningday. As I drove home from the park I realized how very different my life is today than it was a year ago. Before this season, I was a solitary runner. I traveled to races alone – and talked very little about my goals.

One year ago, on national running day 2013 I sat at my computer and signed up for a dozen races. I had set a seemingly impossible goal of running 40 half marathons in a year between my 40th and 41st birthdays. I had just joined Half Fanatics, and a new online friend told me about running for the Sun, by doing 52 half marathons in a year.

Half Fanatics gathering before a race

Half Fanatics gathering before a race

In several Facebook groups I was making new friends… Megan, Sue, Kelly, Jamila… women across the country who shared my passion and fears, dreams and ambitions. Over the next months, I met these women in person, and it seems crazy to me as I sit here today that a year ago I did not know them – now I talk to them daily.

 

Just some of the wonderful women that have become my best friends

Just some of the wonderful women that have become my best friends

I connected with the organization Black Girls Run, and run frequently with my local chapter. Tonight, my run was with these fantastic empowering women who have become my sisters, my family on and off the road.

Some of the wonderful women from the Orlando Black Girls Run Chapter

Some of the wonderful women from the Orlando Black Girls Run Chapter

In the past year I have run 57 Half Marathons. My schedule for the coming year is already fairly full – and I am turning my attention to training for full marathons – starting my season in October with Chicago, Marine Corps, and NYC.  My goals are more aggressive than ever, but as I face them, I do so with a community of support.

Mizuno has been asking the question “What if everybody ran?”. This sport, which embraces all races, genders, ages and skill levels has the transformative power to change lives. It has changed mine.

So to all my running friends, thank you. Thank you for encouraging me, celebrating with me, and making me see a version of myself I had not yet met, one who knows anything is possible if I take the journey one step at a time.

 

 

 

Getting in Gear: Eight weeks to the San Francisco Marathon

June first means many things to many people… School is out, the weather is finally warm (almost) everywhere… And for many runners, it is the beginning of training season for the fall Marathons.

For those with a late summer marathon, it is also the time to check the training plan, and get the gear for the race finalized.

I am excited that tomorrow I will begin training with a new piece of technology, the Pebble Smart Watch.20140602-183535-66935418.jpg

In a unique partnership with The San Francisco Marathon, runners are offered an exclusive $20 discount on the watch. This is not a like other GPS Trackers – its interface works with Apps downloaded to the phone it is paired with. I am still figuring it all out, but have downloaded several different ones and will review them and give updates as I learn. I am a NIKE+ user – and really only use my watch for interval timing. There are several apps for this alone, and the watch will also allow me to control my iTunes Playlist, for a hands free run. Here is to trying something new and exciting!