Category Archives: Articles

Severna Park Running Community Grows

I can probably count on two hands the number of times I’ve intentionally run with others when it wasn’t during a race. I don’t mind running with other people, I just like (and need) the flexibility to go when I’m ready. And yet, I always feel a twinge of something (Jealousy? Admiration? Curiosity?) when I see groups of runners out together. I read often about the benefits of group runs and I know that I could definitely improve if I could run regularly with someone faster than me. In short, I know that I would like access to a running community. Continue reading

Runner’s World May 2012 Letter to the Editor

Last month I sent the below letter to the editor to the team at Runner’s World magazine saying why I thought the May 2012 issue may have been the best ever. Having worked in publishing before for a consumer publication I am familiar with the volume of letters that come in as well as the limited space in a magazine to print all of them. So I’m now taking the liberty of publishing my own letter. Continue reading

What is 70.3 Training?

Training is all about preparing for race day but it also means adjusting life to support the training.

The short answer: a lifestyle change.

Change, adjustment, choice–call it what you will but half Ironman training is a significant commitment and one that requires dedication and focus. I’m starting week 9 of my 20 week training plan and somehow only just recently realized that my decision to train for 70.3 miles is truly no joke. This is serious stuff and one that really has been a lifestyle change. This realization came to me on a Friday night when I was happily getting ready for bed at 9:30 p.m. Continue reading

Confessions From a First-Time Flat Tire Experience

My first flat tire; I had everything but a tire lever and the experience to change it.

When I first met my husband, Tim, we got into mountain biking and while I loved it I was always a cautious biker for fear that I might pop a tire in the middle of the woods and my daredevil husband would be so far in front of me that I would be left alone helpless. I had all the necessary tools for changing a flat tire during our mountain biking days but I’m proud to say that during three seasons of the sport I never once got a flat. I watched Tim change countless tires and was always confident that if my day came I would be good to go.

Last year when I decided to try triathlons (also at the nudging of Tim and others) I transferred my saddlebag from the mountain bike to my Cannondale road bike and added the requisite spare tubes and patch kit. My bike routes involve all sorts of potentially hazardous areas for tires from roads with no shoulder to uneven roads to busy roads with big shoulders that are littered with everything imaginable. In my first season of riding, after every ride I felt lucky to come home without a flat tire. But luck cannot last forever. Continue reading

Setting & Adjusting the Race Pace Goal

When I first started doing running races, I raced to participate, to experience the race, and that was about it. Let me first say that there is absolutely nothing wrong in racing with that mindset. My perception of racing started to change as I learned more about running, form, training techniques and drills, and my own potential. My perception of races also started to change the first time I adopted a real training plan which was for my first half marathon in October 2008.

I distinctly recall that race being the first time I set a hard goal that I hoped to achieve. For that run my goal was to finish under two hours, which I just barely did. That race pretty much set the tone for how I’ve been running, training, and racing which is goal-oriented. Continue reading

Big Vanilla Blunders: One Gym Member’s Comments

I joined the Big Vanilla gym in Arnold in January 2006 during a typical New Year’s resolution high and at the time happily signed a two-year family contract for my husband and myself that seemed to be the best deal they had to offer. The Big Vanilla is extremely convenient to where I live–I can get there in about 5 minutes–and my membership is inclusive of the lap pool, spin classes, pilates classes, racquetball courts, and an enormous spread of treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical machines, weight machines, and free weights. All of these perks are bundled into my family monthly membership of $79. Since joining in 2006 I’ve really not had much I could complain about. Sure, I could nitpick, no gym is perfect, but there hasn’t been anything that really pushed my buttons…until now. Continue reading

Training Log Review: RunningAhead

My home page on RunningAhead shows the graphs and charts I selected.

My home page on RunningAhead shows the graphs and charts I selected.

A while ago I went on the hunt for the perfect online training log and I decided to use and review as many as possible in my search. I started with RaceNation and moved on to use and review the Runner’s World training log. The list of logs I planned to review included probably half a dozen to 10 different sites and next up was RunningAhead. My original intent was to use each log for one month, give it a review, and move on. I started using RunningAhead in June (2009) and have yet to try another online log. I love RunningAhead, am very comfortable with it, and have now built a nice history of work-outs on the site. Is my search for the perfect online training log over? Quite possibly. Let me tell you why. Continue reading

Running in the Dark: Brighten Up

After a rainy night, but well lit, run!

After a rainy night, but well lit, run!

When I first started running, I was not serious enough nor did I run far enough to think that I would ever be running before the sun came up or after it went down. As I started to run more and added longer runs (6 miles) to my schedule I continued to run only during daylight. All of a sudden my running, and life schedule, changed. I was running longer distances (half and full marathon training runs) and working more hours and seemingly the only way to do both was to get up earlier and/or stay up later. I didn’t mind that some days I’d be running in the dark, I just wanted to be prepared–I wanted to be visible. Continue reading

Big Fun at the Big Lick Triathlon

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Smith Mountain Lake; it was gorgeous the day after the race!

The Big Lick Triathlon in Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia, was my first Olympic triathlon. I learned about the race from my sister-in-law and her husband who have done the race before and we had a full crew of six of us ready for race day. We also had a full crew of family ready to cheer for us and we all arrived to Virginia in time for the Friday night packet pick-up and a hearty dinner at a local restaurant. Before I get into the event play-by-play, I must share an embarrassing side note only for the purpose of sharing my mistake so that hopefully no one else will make it. Continue reading

Old Faithful: Gear I Love

Some of my favorite running gear--Brooks shorts, capri tights, and Equilibrium shirt.

Some of my favorite running gear--Brooks shorts, capri tights, and Equilibrium shirt.

You can pick almost any category of life and chances are anyone you ask will have their favorite something in that category. Favorite food, color, car, holiday, the list goes on. As a runner and an athlete I have favorite gear and I’m sure you do too. However, I don’t think you just stumble upon the best gear for your needs, I think you acquire it through a series of trial and error with all different kinds of gear.

I’ve written before about things that I have had the chance to try out like sports bras and shorts and I have written about the importance of layers that I discovered during winter running. Any time I have the chance to share an experience that helps or improves my running or that simply makes me happy (and I’m easily pleased!) I will be doing so on this site. And if I come across things that don’t fit so well with my work-outs or training I’ll share that too. What works for me may not work for you but at least if you’re researching you’ll have one more source to confer.

I will provide links and resources to the things I love and when you see that link it is because I have used the product or like the brand (and in some cases have a relationship with them) and if you choose to check it out, that’s awesome.

I like to consider my tried and true gear as my “old faithful” gear. Even though I am perfectly willing to try new things–new socks, new shirts, Cliff Shot Bloks instead of Gu–it’s nice to know what will always work. So, with no further ado (and in alphabetical order to be fair), here is some gear that has done me right and that I will continue to buy and use whenever I have the chance: Continue reading