Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mark Your Calendars: Gasparilla Distance Classic Registration Opens July 1st

Remember the date: July 1st. That is when registration opens for the 2011 Gasparilla Distance Classic. Race weekend is February 26th & 27th.  Races include a 5K and 15K on Saturday and a Half Marathon (possibly an 8K too) on Sunday.

Race weekend falls on the same weekend as a friend's wedding, but I'm going to make it work. Nothing is going to keep me from their ceremony, not even my running addition. However, I will be running races both days. I'm thinking since I will already have a full marathon under my belt, it will be time to up the ante once again. Right now, I'm thinking the Beck's Light Challenge sounds not only possible, but fun.

The Beck's Light Challenge has runners participate in both the 5K and 15K on Saturday. Followed by running the Half Marathon on Sunday. So really it's the same distance as a full marathon, but spread out among two days. In addition to getting finisher shirts and medals for each race, I will also get an additional medal and shirt for my crazy adventure.

There is also a Michelob Light Challenge, which doesn't sound half as scary to me as it use to. That challenge had runners completing the 5K and 15K on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday. Now that the GDCA has scraped the full marathon, the challenge is rumored to consist of a 5K, 8K, 15K and the Half Marathon. If that's the case, the challenge is only five miles more than the Beck's Light Challenge. I think I could handle that.

The Gasparilla Distance Classic races are always a good time. The courses are nice and the food afterwards is good. Also, be sure to check out the health expo when picking up your race packet. You can get some great deals on gear and shoes. Most of the time, stores will sell last season's running shoes for half off. I always try to pick up a pair of shoes while I'm there, even if I'm not ready to retire my current pair.

Time To Put On The Brakes

Well, it's about that time. Time to slow things up a bit. My marathon training gets underway in two weeks. The last few months I have been taking it easy. Running twice a week. Five miles or less. I thought I would hate being that "inactive," but really it's been great... with exception of the ridiculous heat.

The most noticeable improvement from these short distance runs is my pace. I have gotten much quicker. I am now consistently running miles on an 8:15-8:30 minute pace. However, now is the time to hit the brakes. There is no way I can keep that kind of pace for a 10 mile or longer training run, at least not yet. Don't get me wrong, I plan on improving my pace for long distances. I just know I can't run that quickly right out of the gate. I do, however, know my marathon pace next January should and will be faster than the 10:56 minute pace I had during my first half marathon in February.

Another change that needs to happen is my food intake. I recently read an article called "Are you over-training or under-eating?" In my case, the answer is under-eating. My last 5K training run had to be cut short because my body couldn't handle it. I stopped sweating at around 2 and a half mile, which is a sign of dehydration, and started feeling light headed. You really need to drink lots of water and eat several small meals a day to keep yourself fueled for training. I guess that means I need to get better at packing a lunch and snacks each day.  Foods that are high in protein and complex carbohydrates. I tend to eat very vegetarian in the summer months. It's just too hot for heavy foods.

I have to say, I am both excited and nervous about my upcoming training. It is definitely going to be an uphill battle that will take a toll on me physically, mentally and emotionally. I think I'm ready for it though. Positive thoughts = positive outcome. Bring it!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hydration Tips For Runners From Runner's World Magazine

Here's a great article about running and hydration from the July 2010 issue of Runner's World Magazine:

Runners know it's important to stay hydrated to run their best, especially in the summer. "Being more than two percent dehydrated in warm environments causes a decline in performance," says Robert W. Kenefick, Ph.D., a physiologist with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. To keep fluids handy, you probably stash a water bottle in a gym bag or leave sports drink in your car. But to really improve performance, you need to be more than a casual sipper. A number of recent studies offer runners smarter ways to stay hydrated while also giving their running a boost. Here's how you can apply some of these strategies to your own hydration plan and run your best all summer long.

WHY In a study in the April 2010 Journal of Athletic Training, runners who started a 12-K race dehydrated on an 80?F day finished about two and a half minutes slower compared to when they ran it hydrated. Dehydration causes your blood volume to drop, which lowers your body's ability to transfer heat and forces your heart to beat faster, making it difficult for your body to meet aerobic demands.
DRINK UP Drink eight to 16 ounces one to two hours before a run. Sports drinks and water are good choices, says running coach Cassie Dimmick, R.D. Iced coffee and tea are fine, too. Didn't plan ahead? Fifteen to 30 minutes before going out, drink at least four to eight ounces of fluid.

WHY In a study published in 2008 in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, cyclists who drank cold beverages before and during their workout exercised nearly 12 minutes longer than those who drank warm beverages. And in a study published this year, runners who had an ice slushy ran about 10 minutes longer than when they had a cold drink. In both cases, the drink that was colder lowered body temperature and perceived effort, allowing participants to exercise longer.
DRINK UP Before going for a hot run, have a slushy made with crushed ice and your favorite sports drink. To keep drinks chilled while you run, fill a bottle halfway, freeze it, and top it off with fluid before starting. Running a loop? Stash bottles in a cooler along your route, says Dimmick.

WHY According to a study in the July 2009 Journal of Sports Sciences, when cyclists recorded their plan for hydrating during workouts—including exact times and amounts—they drank more frequently and consumed more fluid midworkout than their nonplanning peers. "Planning helps people remember how much and when they need to drink," says lead author Martin Hagger, Ph.D., of the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom.
DRINK UP Note your thirst during your runs, and write down how offen and how much you drink. Review your notes to help you plan when to drink. Set your watch to beep every 15 minutes as a reminder to consider your thirst. "Drinking smaller amounts at regular intervals can help you absorb fluid more effectively," says Dimmick, "and avoid stomach sloshing."
WHY Don't feel like downing a gallon of Gatorade? You don't have to. According to a study in the April 2010 Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, runners who rinsed their mouths with a carb solution right before and every 15 minutes during hour-long treadmill sessions ran faster and about 200 meters farther than those who rinsed with a placebo. "Carbs trigger reward centers in the brain," says Ian Rollo, Ph.D., one of the study's authors. The brain senses incoming energy "which may lower the perceived effort," he says.
DRINK UP For shorter runs when you want the benefits of a sports drink minus the extra calories, swishing just might do the trick. It's also good news for runners who get queasy from ingesting a lot of sugar at once. But for runs over an hour, find a drink you can stand to swallow (see "What'll You Have?" below).

What'll You Have?
Your midrun fluid needs depend on how long you're going

Three to six ounces every 15 to 20 minutes. Water is usually fine. For a tough run over 30 minutes, consider a sports drink to give you a kick of energy at the end.

Three to six ounces every 15 to 20 minutes. A sports drink with carbs and electrolytes will replenish sodium. Prefer gels? Chase them with water to avoid sugar overload.

Drink three to six ounces of sports drink every 15 minutes, after which use thirst as your main guide (drinking more if you're thirsty and less if you're not).

Replace fluids, drinking enough so you have to use the bathroom within 60 to 90 minutes postrun. Usually eight to 24 ounces is fine, but it varies based on running conditions.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It's Official... I'm in the Club!

Last night it happened. I became an official member of the Four Green Fields Running Club. For those of you who don't know, Four Green Fields is an Irish pub in Tampa. The owner invites runners to come by every Tuesday and participate in a 5K run down Bayshore Boulevard. The pub also supplies food and water after the run, although many choose to belly up to the bar and buy a pint of beer.

The club is quite amazing. On any given Tuesday there are more than 300 people running. I had no idea when I went for my first run there would be so many people. It says a lot considering, the club has only been around for a little over a year. It's also really cool to see everyone as you're running down Bayshore.

One of the highlights of the club is the official tech shirt. Sure, you can buy one for $20. But after 10 runs, you earn one for free. People actually wear them ever week and I look forward to sporting mine next Tuesday.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Fun in the Sun with some Beer and a Run

I ran my first 5K race in about a year on Friday. My thoughts: It was hot as hell! The Oldsmar Taphouse 5K is a great event, but running at 7pm in June with 97 degree heat is kind of insane.

I was really looking forward to this race. A few of my friends ran it too. It was actually the first 5K experience for two of them, so props to them. For the rest of us, it was all about the Das Boot. The first 50 male and female runners to finish received a Das Boot to drink out of the rest of the night. Two of my female friends ran fast enough for a Das Boot. Sadly, I did not. I did however record my best 5K time. That's right, I set a PR during a race where the heat index was well above 100. CRAZY! My first mile was by far my best, eight minutes flat. After that, the sun, heat and dehydration took it's toll. My next two miles were in the nine minute range. My final time was just under 28 minutes. So while I didn't get the Das Boot, I was extremely happy with my finish. Oh, and I still got free beer all night. I just had to drink it from a plastic cup.

Just one more short race (Kiwanis Midnight Run 10K) until my marathon training begins. I have to say I'm starting to get a bit nervous. Can I run the entire 26.2 miles? Will my half marathon time in November be better than my time in February? And will that new time qualify me for a faster starting corral for the Disney Marathon? Only time will tell!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Beware of Heat

After two nights of training in ridiculous heat and humidity, I decided to do some research on running in hot temperatures. Most articles say heat is the biggest adversary for runners for two reasons, dehydration and overheating. Just look at this chart I found online.

The key to beating the heat while running is hydration. If you are thirsty, it’s too late. You’re probably already dehydrated. An average person should drink two quarts of water a day. Runners need anywhere from four to eight quarts a day, depending on the intensity of their training.

Here are some other tips to keep in mind when running in the heat:
- Try to run early in the morning. The humidity will probably be higher, but it will not be as hot.
- Wear sunscreen. The sun takes a lot out of you, especially if you’re burnt.
- Wear a light colored, moisture wicking clothing.
-  Wear a visor or sunglasses to help keep the sun out of your face/eyes.
-  Drink four to eight ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes during your run. If you don’t like carrying a  water bottle, try a hydration belt.

Another good tip: Stretch thoroughly before and after each run, heat or not. This will reduce the risk of cramps or injuries. And this goes without saying, but I will anyway… drink plenty of water post run.

Good luck to those of you hitting the road in the heat. The next few months are going to be rough, but it’s worth it.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Hooray For Hydration

Running during the summer in Florida isn't the smartest thing you can do, but I'm not really a treadmill runner. I need to stay in shape since marathon training begins in one month. So, I have to suck it up, get out there with the heat and humidity and run, Kimmy, run!

One great purchase I made during my half marathon training was a hydration belt. At first I thought it was goofy and unnecessary, but after several long distance runs, I realized the belt is extremely helpful and needed. Most people go with the Fuel Belt or Nathan brand hydration belt, but I chose something a bit different. I went with the Amphipod RunLite 4.


The great thing about the Amphipod belt is its versatility. First, all the bottles and the velcro pouch are removable. So you can customize the belt as you'd like. For example, I only have two bottles on my belt right now because I'm not running long double digit distances. That will change in a few months. Also, the bottles can be attached up and down (as seen in the photo) or sideways along the belt. I prefer sideways so I don't get my shirt caught on the bottles or have them hit/dig into my back. Of course, I'm sure I'll have to put them all upright when I add the other two bottles.

Sure you feel like a dork when you first put it on. I know I did. It also takes a few runs to get use to wearing it. But I would rather look like a fool and be hydrated, then pass out on the side of the road... especially in this ridiculous summer heat!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Vote On My Marathon Bling

Disney announced some cool news today. Everyone who runs the 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon will receive free admission to the theme parks the day after the race or what is being referred to as "Marathon Monday." Guess that gives me one more day to "pack it in" at the "house of the mouse." For those of you who don't know, the post-marathon plan is to hit Epcot so that I can eat my way around the world in desserts. Sure, people like to drink around the world. I'll probably do some of that, but after running 26.2 miles I'm going let my sweet tooth run wild. It will be well deserved and delicious.

Another interesting twist announced by Disney today. Organizers are letting runners (and everyone else) vote on the bling you'll get at the end of the race. Here are the choices:

You can vote on which marathon bling I will receive at Personally, I like medal 1, but choose what you like. Voting closes July 28 and the winning medal will be announced in August. Oh, and while you're there, sign up for the race. Why not? If I can run 26.2 miles, so can you!