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Official Results–Never been happier to place 2,791!

December 13, 2010

Elizabeth Walker #4729

Distance HALF MAR

Clock Time 2:33:09

Chip Time 2:28:21

Overall Place 2791 / 3227

Division Place 278 / 346

Divtot 422 10Ksplit 1:07:05

Pace 11:20

Yay, I beat my goal of finishing in under 2 1/2 hours!!

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Mission complete!

December 13, 2010

Well, I did it! The 2010 Thunder Road 1/2 marathon was so much fun and I feel great having met my running goal!

I tweeted frequently during the race which proved to be a helpful distraction. It is also funny to now read them.  If you are wondering how the race went, here are my tweets:

Thank you to all the volunteers and those who pull #thunderroad together each year! Fun times!! http://yfrog.com/h3qi4fj 9:23 AM Dec 11th via Twitter for iPhone

Morehead was brutal just passed mile 12 and can hear the party at the finish line #thunderroad #newhateformoreheadstreet 9:05 AM Dec 11th via Twitter for iPhone

Moving still and just passed mile 11#thunderroad 8:52 AM Dec 11th via Twitter for iPhone   

The joy of running downhill is not lost on me right now. I see you mile market 10! #thunderroad 8:38 AM Dec 11th via Twitter for iPhone 

#thunderroad http://yfrog.com/gy9njoj 8:28 AM Dec 11th via Twitter for iPhone 

Grateful not hateful! 8:24 AM Dec 11th via Twitter for iPhone

Mile 8 dunzo. Hitting stride so hateful have not had to contemplate porta potty. #thunderroad 8:18 AM Dec 11th via Twitter for iPhone

People offering mimosas in foxcroft…kind of nice and kind of cruelz #thunderroad 7 down!! 8:05 AM Dec 11th via Twitter for iPhone

Mile 5 half way, providence an Sharon lane done. Ditched best with mom and she had a gaterade for me. #momsarethebest #thunderroad 7:50 AM Dec 11th via Twitter for iPhone 

About to hit ml 5! Thanks @daviDBWalker for coming out! #thunderroad 7:42 AM Dec 11th via Twitter for iPhone

Ok was overly confident about hill. It kind of kicked my arse but made it and still running. #thunderroad 7:35 AM Dec 11th via Twitter for iPhone

Mi 4 done! #thunderroad 7:32 AM Dec 11th via Twitter for iPhone  

Hello hill up providence, I am about to rule you! #thunderroad http://yfrog.com/h0wu6xj 7:31 AM Dec 11th via Twitter for iPhone

Mile three down. Just ate first gu chomp… Super foul should have tastes before race whoops. #thunderroad (cont) http://tl.gd/7edgm2 7:22 AM Dec 11th via Twitter for iPhone   

Just hit the first water station and all gear off except vest. Can’t wait to ditch it too!’ #thunderroad 7:08 AM Dec 11th via Twitter for iPhone

Was a little late bit back on track! Mile one, I see you! #thunderrroad 6:57 AM Dec 11th via Twitter for iPhone  

#ThunderRoad getting all my final gear on! Happy running!! #running #comm648 http://yfrog.com/h39ctlj 5:58 AM Dec 11th via Twitter for iPhone

Meal Plan–YUM!

December 10, 2010

Nutrition is not something that  I have touched on in my posts before but it has been something that I have paid attention to during my training. I have learned that the fuel in put in my body to run is just as important as the miles I have run to condition my body for the race.

My golden rule for tomorrow is to stick to my normal meals before any long run. I will be having a slice of toast with bananas and peanut butter and water for breakfast. I will also have with me GU Chomps energy chews to eat at about mile 9 or when I start to feel my legs whimping out.

I also make it a point to stop at EVERY water station and walk while I drink. It provides me a good mental break.

Wish me luck! Happy running!

Tomorrow is the big day!

December 10, 2010

Well, tomorrow is the big day! Yes, I am nervous. But I am also excited. My goals are to finish and to have some fun along the way so trying to just look forward to crossing the finish line instead of worrying about the many steps I will be taking to that point.

Here are some facts about the race tomorrow:

1)    Volunteers are needed tomorrow. Come out and support the race! http://www.runcharlotte.com/volunteers.htm

2)    This is Charlotte’s premier running race—don’t you want to be part of it! This will be the 6th time the race has taken place in Charlotte.

3)    There are actually 3 races tomorrow that you can participate in: The Thunder Road marathon, the Amica Insurance half marathon (that’s what I am running) and the Jingle Bell job 5k. Pick your race!

4)    Race Day Forecast is partly cloudy: Low 37 / High 51. Given the recent low temps, I am not complaining.

5)    The races start at 7:45 am—see you there!

2010 Charlotte Turkey Trot

December 6, 2010

The annual Charlotte Turkey Trot is an 8k race that I have been participating in since high school. I have always found it to be a fun race that really gets me in the holiday spirit.

It is run the morning of Thanksgiving and is always filled with characters dressed as Pilgrims, turkeys, Santa Claus, etc. The course goes by the childhood street and is not too hard, even if the last leg is uphill.

 This video, starring my husband, is a quick recap of our Turkey Trot experience:

 Happy running!

Barefoot and fancy free?

November 28, 2010

A current fad in the running community is barefoot running.  Why in the world would one run barefoot, you ask? Recent studies are showing that running as god intended, without shoes, results in less impact to a runner’s feet, knees and legs.

“Researchers reporting in the Jan. 28 issue of the journal Nature show that runners who run without shoes usually land on the balls of their feet, or sometimes flat-footed, compared to runners in shoes, who tend to land on their heels first. Cushioned running shoes, which date back only to the 1970s, may seem comfortable but may actually contribute to foot injuries, say Daniel Lieberman, PhD, professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University, and colleagues. The scientists, using motion and force analyses, showed that barefoot runners who strike on the fore-foot (land on the balls of their feet) generate smaller collision forces than shod rear-foot strikers.” (Source

Impact or not, there is no way you will see me running down the street with no shoes on. EWWWWWW. Remember Britney’s barefoot phase? No, thank you!

The good news is that there is a way to have the best of both worlds–good hygiene and comfortable running—with the invention of the Vibram FiveFingers. They are super funky looking but supposedly provide the same benefits one would get from running barefoot while also providing a protective layer between the foot and whatever gross things you may cross on your running route.

“Vibram FiveFingers—the only footwear to offer the exhilarating joy of going barefoot with the protection and sure-footed grip of a Vibram® sole. FiveFingers footwear connects you to the earth and your surroundings in a way that is simply not possible in conventional shoes. It puts you in touch with the earth beneath your feet and liberates you to move in a more natural, healthy way. FiveFingers stimulate the muscles in your feet and lower legs to build strength and improve range of motion. Customers report an increased sense of balance, greater agility, and visibly improved posture.” (Source)

My Mizunos are still working out for me but I would consider trying the FiveFingers in the future. What about you?

Want to learn more? There are many groups on Twitter having an ongoing conversation about barefoot running.  Below are a few to follow if you are interested:

  • Vibram FiveFingers: The official twitter account of Vibram FiveFingers.We like to run, bike, climb, hike, workout and sometimes just lounge barefoot. Discover the alternative.
  •  Barefoot Running: Dedicated to providing information to runners who desire a more natural and less injury run through following the barefoot concepts.
  • InvisibleShoes: Barefoot Running? Try this high-tech barefoot running sandal (like the huaraches of the Tarahumara). The ultimate minimalist running shoe.
  • Primalfoot Alliance: Advocate for people to go barefoot and find prudent ways to let feet be feet first. Take your feet back. Go barefoot or only wear primal shoes & footwear.

Running: No longer a solo journey to the finish line with help from social media

November 24, 2010

You know what secret no one ever shared with me about running? It’s doesn’t have to be a solo journey to the finish line; it can actually be a very social sport, supported by local, national and global communities just waiting for you to join.

I recently started my own running journey to complete a half-marathon with the help of social media as part of my graduate studies. As a student of communications, the impacts of social media are a big focus. How can it not be? With the emergence of a new social media reality, there has been a complete democratization of the information “out there” for users to consume.

“Social media is a revelation that we, the people, have a voice, and through the democratization of content and ideas we can once again unite around common passions, inspire movements, and ignite change” (Solis, 2010, Engage!, p. 9).

I get it; social media is the new “it” thing. But how can social media help me? To find out, I signed up for a half marathon, something that I would definitely need help with, and looked to social media to help get me to my finish line. Through this journey I have learned so much about running and social media. For example, there are few things that give me more of a sense of accomplishment than a strong finish to a long run. Also, running is not just a way to lose weight; it can also decrease stress, improve sleep and help tone areas that for some reason seem to prefer to be flabby. But more than anything, I have learned that there are large networks of running experts, practitioners and enthusiasts, with a wealth of running knowledge, who are ready and willing to share their expertise with you. And, social media is there to connect you with these people so that they can help you meet your running goals.

 Here are some of the meaningful ways that social media helped me over the last five months reach my running goals:

 Training: Social Media connected me with my running guru 

 

My running guru, Hal!

I had no idea how to train for a half-marathon. So, what did I do? I Googled “running guru” and Hal Higdon popped up as a top search result, soon becoming my virtual running guru. While he is blissfully unaware of my existence, he has diligently guided me over the last five months as I followed his online training guide, studied his tips for successful running and was encouraged by his daily insights posted to Twitter. If Hal said I needed to run 5 miles on Tuesday and rest on Wednesday that is exactly what I did. If I was having a bad day and wondering how I will ever cross that finish line, a visit to his Twitter profile for his wise snippets of information puts me at ease. I feel like he has been holding my hand at each milestone as I have trained by using social media to access his expertise and encouragement via his website, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

 

 

Inspiration: Running blogs kept me inspired each day

Blogs helped start the social media boom we are experiencing today as one of the first social media platforms that mass numbers of everyday folks started using to create their own content on the internet. Today, blogs continue to be a forum where people can write, share and communicate about whatever they choose. Luckily for me, there are some really smart, interesting and inspirational bloggers that choose to focus on running. Through their blogs, not only do I learn about running, but I am also inspired by their running experiences. I cannot tell you how much value I found in reading their stories, relating to what they share and learning from their experiences. Some of my favorite inspirational blogs include:  JogBlog running blog, Rants and raves from an ex-30-something female runner, formerly in London, now in Kent; Judy Mick’s blog; and Run, Theo, Run!  There are many more that I read on a regular basis but these stand out. “JogBlog”  blog is just funny and relatable, “Run Theo” is local to my community and “Judy” is a running phenomenon. On Nov. 20, she celebrated her 25th anniversary of running every single day without fail. Talk about inspiration!

 

Motivation: Social media keeps me moving!

 

Muscial motivation

I am now aware that there are running “purists” that frown upon any sort of entertainment while running. I appreciate that but I also fully acknowledge that I am not that hard core and would be unable to complete more than a 3 mile run with nothing to listen to or watch. I require music and podcasts to get me through my long runs. Social media has connected me to some of the most motivating musical playlists through music sharing sites like Pandora.com and Playlist.com. When it comes to what I consider long runs (anything over 6 miles), I turn to podcasts to keep me entertained, and more importantly, distracted. If you see a blonde laughing out loud while running down the road, it is probably me listening to Ricky Gervais’ podcast, The Ricky Gervais Podcast.  I highly recommend. 

 

Tracking: It is impossible to lie to a GPS tracker 

One of the first tips that I picked up from the wise Hal Higdon was the importance of tracking while training for any race. “Never underestimate the power of a simple calendar sheet attached to your refrigerator to record miles run,” he tweeted recently. While the sentiment is the same, social media makes tracking a little more high-tech, fancy and fun.  Tracking my runs via applications I have downloaded to my phone has hands-down been one of the most important components to my training. With applications like RunKeeper and iMapMyRun, I am unable to lie to myself about the distance, frequency and intensity of my runs. These applications use GPS technology to track every inch as I run, averaging my speed, measuring inclines and calculating calories burned based on my weight.  After each run, I post my stats to the respective sites. It is so cool to see my runs posted with others from around the world, all with a common passion for running.

Connecting: My social network of running buddies

 All of the things already noted have been a big part of my preparation for my upcoming half marathon. However, the best thing that I have gained from making social media a component of my training are the friends that I have made along the way. Social media allows you to connect with, get to know and really like people around the world who share your same interests. In my case, running. I have met people in my area, across the country and across the pond since starting my running journey. When I cross that half marathon finish line, I will have my new running friends in mind: Jon Mendes, the 96 year-old who recently finished the NYC marathon for the 12th time; Cathy White in England who loves running and keeps me laughing with her wicked British humour; Ward Gibson who has a true passion for overall fitness and helping people meet personal fitness goals; Philip Ciccarello, a local Charlottean who is an avid runner and posts the most impressive distances of anyone I follow on Twitter; and Judy Miller, wife, runner, blogger, positive thinker and lover of life who recently celebrated 25 years of running every day! They may not know it but their stories shared via social media have been a valuable part of my running journey. Thank you, social media, for connecting me to these lovers of running who have helped me along the way. So, what are you waiting for? Join the conversation today and take advantage of the many ways social media can help you meet your running goals!

CFF: Cyber Friends Forever!

Happy running!