Unfortunately it’s been several days since i’ve been on here. Been busy at work and my house looks like not one but 2 tornadoes went through it so, needless to say, i haven’t posted anything.

Anyway, i just got on here and was shocked to see 28 DAYS TO GO!!!! That finally sounds like it’s around the corner. Seems like it’s been a long time coming but i finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sadly, i’m dealing with some leg issues so i’m thinking of taking some rest time over the next few weeks which completely stresses me out but my main goal is to feel healthy on race day.

I’m excited!! Are you?

Hills, Hills, and Hills Oh My

ok, so i know we’re all a buzz about the hills in Nashville. i know i sound like a broken record, but i really don’t remember it being any harder than St. Jude. it’s different but i’m not so sure i would call it harder. maybe i’ll get there and be totally shocked at the huge, scary hills but i really don’t think so. i’ll give my 2 cents about what i remember and then we’ll get into the actual details.

the race (CMM) starts out in a pretty great downhill (see picture above- keith was at the mile 1 mark taking this picture). there are some small, rolling hills for the next several miles but you really can’t even see them ahead of you because of the other 60,000 runners. i remember there being a tough hill somewhere around mile 6 or 7 and i took this as an opportunity to take a walk break and drink some water. keep in mind though, right after this tough hill was a super downhill and i was able to make up all of my walking time. from that point until about mile 11 i feel like it was fairly flat. there was an incline near mile 12 that was tough but the finish is downhill by the stadium and, let me tell you, you can make up some time here if you want.

so now my re-cap of St. Jude- which i have run 3 times as part of a race and a bunch as training. st. jude starts out pretty flat, go down riverside with a good downhill around mile 2, take your right onto Beale for a beast of a hill (the one in nashville around mile 6 was much longer than this but not quite as steep if i remember correctly), up third which is a small, consistent incline, around to north parkway which is a constant incline with 2 fairly tough, albeit short, hills (over the interstate and under the overpass), into the park which is flat, around MCA and UP the hill, onto poplar which, somehow or another, is more incline to the finish.

i must say, if you ever asked me if memphis was hilly before i started running i would have absolutely told you no but now i can tell you it’s a constant incline no matter what direction you’re heading!

i know we’re all a little anxious about the hills but i really do feel like we’ll be more than ready since we’ve been doing speed and tempo work and have had a few runs out at the trails. i will, however, be sure to incorporate some more intense “hill training” over the next few weeks.

now on to the logistics of the race courses:
below i have pasted the st. jude elevation chart. i’m certainly no expert in reading elevation charts but you can see that there is a slight incline to mile 1, a downhill to mile 2 (riverside), an incline from 2 to 4, slight downhill from 4 to 5, continuous incline from 5 to 10, and a downhill from 10 to 13. funny because my perception was that the incline remained until the end but apparently not!

now for the CMM course:
it looks like it’s flat onto a downhill to mile 1, then some rolling hills from 1 to 2, then flat to 2.5 with an incline to 3, a downhill to 5 (maybe with 1 little hill- hard to tell), and some inclines to 7 (i think this is the part i remember being pretty tough- doesn’t really look like it on the map but i thought it was- a long incline), some quick downhills to 10, flat to 11.7 with a tough hill (short but steep) with a sudden downhill, again rolling for .8 miles, and downhill for last .6

does this make you feel any better about the course????? hopefully so!

Pub Run

Fun, Fun, Fun! what more can i say?

what a great turnout for the Breakaway St. Patricks Day Pub Run!! i lost count but i’m pretty sure there were more than 60 people. i’m pretty sure most people thought we were nuts but i think that just adds to the fun factor.

i’m not so sure it’s always the best thing to drink and run but a few times a year it’s the perfect thing! keith and i did this with Breakaway on New Years Eve as well and had a blast.

i’m already in the works with Bryan (breakaway) to get another one organized for Cinco de Mayo so get ready!!!

We conquered the stairs!

Stairs, schmairs! Great job everyone (and sorry dave- you left before post-stairs pics!)!! I know it was a tough workout but everyone did exceptionally well! It’s tough to figure out how to breathe and how to pace yourself on a workout of this intensity but that’s just part of what will make you a stronger runner.

I know it’s weird but i actually like running stairs. One of mine and Keith’s favorite saturday workouts is to ride our bikes downtown, run the stairs, and ride home. Don’t get me wrong- the first time i did this, i thought i had definitely ruptured both calf muscles. As sore as i was, i knew i had to get back there to do it again.

I didn’t, however, add the stair workout in last week just because i like it or to be a tough coach, but there are actually some serious benefits to running stairs. Running stairs improves muscular endurance and development, and your cardiovascular fitness. Running up the stairs and walking back down is a form of interval training, which quickly increases your heart and lung fitness. All of these improvements are ideal for cross-training and developing your overall fitness and strength. Running stairs is a high-intensity activity, and your body will learn to adapt to the buildup of lactic acid. Being psychologically prepared for burning muscles and fatigue is an excellent cross-training function when preparing for endurance events.

Running stairs is a great addition to any training regimen. It has been used by athletes for decades now, and the reason it has sustained is because of its great effectiveness in building lower body strength and endurance. Nothing builds leg muscles better. Because of the nature of the exercises the leg muscles are forced to work much harder than in normal running exercises. The mechanical trouble of pushing upward as you run causes them to push to the limit and increase in strength and power to overcome this problem.

Since we’re actually training for Nashville which has rolling hills throughout the race, i would like to try to incorporate more stairs over the next few weeks. Hopefully you all enjoyed this enough to go back!! I really think we’ll all benefit from it.


lost your mojo?? i know where you can find it……..the TRAILS!!!! what a great trail run this morning! oh my gosh, how quickly i was reminded of how much fun it can be to run the trails. at mile 7 i was talking with keith and dave about how great it was to be out in nature and off the roads. even though we ran some grueling miles, never once did any of us this we weren’t having fun or loving the challenge. it was certainly a super booster for all of us out there today.

it’s just so different from running on the roads- mentally and physically. it requires more effort so you would think you would just hate it because of the difficulty level but because of all the maneuvering and sight-seeing you hardly even have a chance to think about how much you might be hurting. it’s been a while since i’ve run the trails and it felt good to be back!

there was a time a while back that i was running the trails at shelby farms and also the greenline in VECA and i stopped because i was nervous about the vulnerability of my knee. i wrapped both knees today as a precautionary measure (i actually wrap them before all long runs- for stability and to help keep the fluid down) and i was a little nervous about how they would feel but it was all good.

the great thing about trail running is that you use so many more muscles than you do when running a road. think about how tough your hamstrings had to be to climb the tough hills and how strong your quads worked on the steep descents. your hips were working in all directions to help to maneuver the tree roots and mud. this requires more work from your entire core. all the times we had to jump over water (and once even build a little bridge to get across!) and climb over trees just added to the fun. what a great workout!! loved being out there with y’all and can’t wait to go back.

Runners Fuel

i read an article today i thought i would share:

Top 7 Foods for Runners:

1) Small Bagel with Peanut Butter
For runners, food does more than just squelch hunger. It also fuels your muscles and keeps you healthy.
“Runners need quality foods that provide a ‘spark plug’ for their energy,” says Nancy Clark, RD, MS, and author of the Food Guide for Marathoners. These seven “elite” foods for runners will help you feel your best — and keep you up and running.
If you’re a morning runner, you know it can be tough to hit the road on an empty stomach. It’s been several hours since your last meal the night before, and your energy stores are low. Eating a 100- to 300-calorie snack before your morning run can give you energy and staying power, says Clark. This quick-and-easy snack has carbs and protein, plus it’s easy to digest.

2) Bananas
If you need a carb-packed energy-booster before an afternoon run, it’s hard to go wrong with a banana. A bonus: Bananas contain loads of potassium, which regulates blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke.

3) Berries
Your legs can take a pounding from high-impact activities like running; soreness you feel after a hard run may be caused by micro-tears in the exercised muscles. That’s why, in addition to their high fiber content, berries are a good option for runners: the vitamin C and potassium they contain help the body repair itself.

4) Broccoli
This nutritional powerhouse has vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and phytochemicals, all key for peak performance and health, says Clark.

5) Low-Fat Yogurt
Running and other weight-bearing exercise can help you improve your bone density. But calcium is essential part of the equation, and many runners don’t get enough. One cup of yogurt contains a third of your recommended daily intake of calcium. Plus, yogurt has protein — important for building muscle and recovering from tough workouts.

6) Lean Beef
In addition to being a quality protein source, beef is high in iron, an especially important element for runners. (Iron deficiency can lead to fatigue.) For vegetarians, beans, peas, green leafy vegetables, and iron-fortified cereals are good sources of iron.

7) Wild Salmon
In addition to being a good protein source, salmon contains loads of heart-healthy omega-3 fats, which can counteract inflammation and fend off disease.

hope you learned something. enjoy!

Hit the trails

ok, i’m thinking it might be fun to change things up a bit. since we’re feeling pretty good about our current mileage but are also feeling a little frustrated or bored, i thought it might be fun to hit the trails.
it’s been forever since i’ve actually gone out and run the trails and i’m beginning to miss it. it is completely different from running on the roads though so be prepared. the biggest challenge for me is that you can’t completely zone out. you have to pay close attention to where you’re stepping and you also have to slow down. don’t expect to do a trail run at the same pace that you do road runs. you’ll shorten your stride and lose some time but it’s completely worth it.
some things to remember when running the trails:
* never have your headphone so loud that you can’t hear!!! there will be people going both directions on foot and on bike so you want to be able to hear if they’re coming . i usually wear my headphones but only have 1 earbud in- that seems to work ok. i also turn my volume down pretty low
* be polite when passing. if you’re coming up on someone and need to pass, say (loudly enough for them to hear) “passing on your left.” they should yield to you.
* don’t assume a biker will yield to you. technically all bikers are supposed to yield to runners unless they’re on an uphill or difficult single track but don’t assume everyone follows the rules. be prepared to hop over to the side and slow down or even stop if necessary.
* take fuel- you tend to exert a little more energy (maybe not more but definitely different) when running the trails so you’re probably going to feel fatigued quicker than on the road. if you have a handheld water bottle, i would also suggest taking this.
i guess the thing i want to stress most is that you cannot go into your first trail run expecting to maintain your regular pace. put the watch away and just run. let’s make this running thing fun!
see you at the trails 🙂