Monday, June 25, 2012

2012 Summer Breeze 5k

June 23, 2012 7:30 AM
Charlotte, NC

Time Pace Division Division
Bib #
Michael 21:27 6:54 M1-14 3/18 81/318 90/661 304
Alicia 30:55 9:57 F1-14 8/18 155/343 412/661 302
Malissa 31:43 10:13 F30-34 44/71 176/343 439/661 303

Written by Owen

Kyle and I decided to sit this one out.  I just ran a marathon the previous weekend and have another one in a couple of weeks.  Kyle doesn't enjoy running 5k's quite as much as the rest of us.  So we enjoyed cheering on the rest of the family.

This race does the start a little different than most.  The girls start at 7:30, then the boys don't start until 8:00. I don't care for this format because it caused me to miss the start of Michael's race (since Malissa and Alicia were finishing around that time a couple of blocks away.)

Malissa and Alicia at the starting line

Just before the start of the girls' race.
After Michael, Kyle, and I watched the girls start, we hung out at the starting line for 10 minutes or so, then Kyle and I wished Michael good luck and headed to the finish line.

Kyle wasn't sure which way to go??
Kyle and I hung out at the finish line and watched everyone finish.  Michael did a great job in the heat to come within a minute of his PR (I told him beating it would not be wise in this heat.)  Alicia also came within a minute of her PR.  I'll let Malissa tell her story below.

Malissa and Alicia after their race.
Here's a compilation of video I took at the race:

Written by Malissa:

I signed up for this race back in May (when the weather was cooler) in hopes to break 30:00. At the time it was just going to be Michael and I running. Alicia has been wanting to run a race by herself so early June Owen signed her up for this one. I was reluctant, I was worried she might go out too strong and then have trouble later on in the race. I knew that if for some reason she was struggling, there was no way I would be able to pass her.

I struggled with training for this race. I enjoy speedwork but the humidity was getting to me. We were out of town the week before the race and I didn't make the time to train much. The day before the race I was still wanting a sub 30 but knew realistically I was asking for a little much since I didn't train as hard as I should have. I decided that if a 9:40 the first mile felt easy then I would go for it but if I struggled then I would just go for a PR.

 I wanted to stick as close to Alicia as I could so I could keep an eye on her too. At the start it was already 75 degrees and felt like 100% humidity. Early on in the race I was having a hard time catching my breath. I caught up to Alicia and as soon as she saw me, she took off. She was determined to run this race by herself! Then all of a sudden I saw her trip and fall. Looks like she has my gracie jeans! I was so glad that I wasn't too far behind her and was able to help her up. She was embarrassed and was trying to fight back the tears. I asked her if she wanted to stop for a second but she said no and took off running. That was the last time we ran together. I could see her in the distance but could not catch up with her.

I struggled my second mile. It was really hot and I wanted to walk so bad but was determined to at least get a PR. The only thing that helped me pick up the pace was I was determined to get away from this guy who was breathing really loud. It was driving me crazy! It seemed like every time I picked up my pace so did he. I guess in the end I'm glad he was there because I might not have gotten a PR. By the time I crossed the finish line I was so overheated and felt like I was going to throw up! Even though I didn't get my sub 30 I'm proud of the minute I shaved off my time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The 2012 Grandma's Marathon; How not to run a Marathon

June 16, 2012 7:45 AM
Duluth, MN

Time Pace Division Division
Bib #
Owen 3:49:48 8:46 M35-39 170/446 1144/3425 1508/5788 2156

Written by Owen:

Wow, I made a lot of mistakes on this marathon.  I had trained harder than ever, with the hope of qualifying for Boston.  I was 100% healthy, a much more improved runner than I was on my previous marathons.  That can all be tossed out the window with some bad decisions.  In regards to qualifying for Boston, I had gone back and forth over and over.  Should I just enjoy the race?  Should I just try to PR?  Should I try to beat BQ time by 5 minutes in order to for sure secure a Boston registration?  AHHHHH!  I thought about those questions every hour of every day leading up to this race.

We started our trip on Thursday when we drove up to my mom's house in Stafford, Virginia.  The kids would be staying there while Malissa and I flew to Minnesota.  Friday morning I got up and did my two mile run, then Malissa and I drove to Washington, DC for our two hour flight to Minneapolis.  We rented a car and drove to our cabin.

We rented a cabin about a half-hour south of Duluth, as all the hotels in Duluth were taken by the time I registered for this race.  This is a huge marathon in a pretty small city.

The view from our cabin, looking down at the lake.

We unpacked our things, then headed into Duluth for the expo.  We made sure to take in Dick Beardsley's talk.  He is my all-time favorite runner, and has amazing stories to tell.  After his talk he treated us to a song!

Then we ate a ton of spaghetti, by far the best spaghetti dinner before a marathon.

The spaghetti dinner was great, all you can eat deliciousness.

We went back to the cabin and went to bed early since I had to get up so early the next morning.  Race morning we got to the parking lot at 4:45 AM.  My train didn't leave until 5:45 AM, but I didn't want to fight the crowds for parking.

In the car at 4:45 AM.

Malissa was really excited because another of our favorite runners, Kara Goucher, was running the USA Half-Marathon Championships, which started at the half-way point of the course and finished at the same finish line.  So she planned on spending all morning at the finish line so she could watch Kara finish, then watch me finish (hours later).

Kara breaks the tape in a course record time of 1:09 and change,  winning the championship.
I boarded the train which parallels the entire course so I got to see what I would be running.  The train travels pretty slowly, so it took us about an hour to get up there.  What an amazingly beautiful course it is, overlooking Lake Superior.  I chatted with other marathon runners, one of them asked what my goal was for the day, and I honestly told them I still hadn't decided if I was going to go for a BQ, or just take it easy.  It was very humid and sunny and the angel on one shoulder was telling me to go slow, while the competitive devil on the other shoulder kept reminding me how cool it would be to run Boston next year.

The organization of this race is second to none.  I didn't think a race could be run better than Big Sur was, but Grandma's is.  At the start line, they had what seemed like an endless row of porta potties.  The line only took a minute or two.

I got to the starting line and saw the pace team for 3:05.  3:10 was my BQ time standard.  I don't think a 3:10 would actually get me in the race though, because of the way they do registration and how many people get turned away every year.  If you beat your BQ time by 5 minutes, you get to register before the people that didn't, virtually guaranteeing your spot in the race.

Miles 1 thru 7

I knew I couldn't run a 3:05, however.  I decided to try and run the 3:10, which works out to a pace of 7:15 per mile.  They sang the national anthem, had an amazing F?? flyover, then the gun sounded.  I took off and ran a 7:02 first mile, then a 7:09 second mile.  I told myself if I ever ran anything slower than a 7:15 mile to go ahead and slow down to 8 something because if I'm not going to qualify, I want to enjoy the race.

Stupid me, marathons don't work that way.  If you go out too fast you are SCREWED.  The first hour of the race it was very hot, very humid, and very sunny.  I maintained a pace below 7:15 every mile until mile 8.  During that mile I was so hot.  I was feeling OK, but was really worried about the heat.  How can I expect to beat my PR by 12 minutes in these conditions?

Miles 8 thru 14

I consciously decided to slow down.  It just wasn't going to happen.  Can I salvage an enjoyable marathon?  Should I still try to PR?  The cloud cover came and we had a nice tiny cool tailwind.  I decided to slow down to a pace that combined with my fast start would combine for a PR.  I felt good running at about a 7:40 pace.  But then, mile after mile, I started slowing down without trying to.

Miles 15 - 22

I knew I was in trouble at this point.  My miles were slowing down every single time. My pace went from 8:30 on mile 15, to somewhere in the 11 minute range by mile 22.  I was hurting.  I was so mad at myself.  Why would you do that, you idiot.  You've enjoyed every marathon, I want to enjoy this one.  While running these miles I promised myself I would just enjoy running future marathons, train hard in between, and not even consider Boston until I naturally came within 5 minutes of it by enjoying a marathon.

Miles 23 - 26.2

Gut check time.  I was in so much pain.  Indescribable.  The miles took forever to pass.  All I could think about was just finishing this thing.  I had to keep running, I want to finish all 50 states without ever running one in over 4 hours.

I finished the race, grabbed my medal and then found Malissa.  We crashed on the grass while I recovered enough to walk.

On the way back to the car, we passed Famous Dave's and had a great post-race meal.  I was feeling fine by this point and could laugh about all the mistakes I had made.

I had no injuries, no abnormal soreness, my only problem was that, because I had decided to run without a belt, I carried my gu packets in my shorts pocket that was on my back.  The packets had worn my skin out and I had multiple sores just above my butt crack.  Nice!

Another mistake I made was taking off the auto-lap feature of my garmin.  I wanted the lap locations to be exact, so I thought I'd just hit lap as I passed each of them.  Well, I forgot over and over, so my lap locations are messed up.

Another regret was running without my phone to take pictures.  It's such a beautiful course and I would have loved to take pictures, at least on the ride up there on the train.

A couple of stats:  At the 10k mark I was in 482nd place. I finished in 1,508th place.  So over 1,000 people passed me!  Wow.

My next marathon is in less than three weeks.  I can not wait to redeem myself.  Not in time, but in enjoyment level.

Here's my finish line video (talk about finishing slow), and here's my Garmin data for the race:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Written by Malissa:

I've been doing a bunch of speedwork lately. I'm working on getting my 5k time down. I will be running a 5k for myself, for the first time since October. Lately the humidity is getting to me and I'm having a hard time staying motivated. Tonight I had 8x400's and Alicia wanted to run them with me. I just love my girl to pieces. She has Owen's drive and determination and is the perfect running partner for me. After my 4th 400 I was ready to call it a night, she was so sweet and said, "you can do it Mommy." I made it through the last 4. Guess I just needed a little boost from my girl.

She's still a little faster than me on the short runs. Once I focused in on her cute little ponytail going back and forth I was able to keep up with her a little better.

I'm so thankful she loves to run. I look forward to running with her as she gets older. I wonder what will be her favorite distance.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Favorite Olympic Moments

Written by Owen: 

I am very much looking forward to the Olympics. That got me thinking about some of my favorite olympic moments. These are the ones that came to mind. What are some of your favorites?

Miracle on Ice in 1980:

Mary Lou Retton's Perfect 10 in 1984:

Derek Redmond in 1992:

Kerri Strug in 1996: (This is probably my all-time favorite)

US Men's 4x100 relay in 2008:

Usain Bolt's 100m in 2008:

Usain Bolt's 200m in 2008:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

National Running Day

We declare our love for running on National Running Day:

Written by Owen
I truly love running. I love the way it makes me feel.  I love the results.  I love being healthy.  I love it so much I ran my 4 miler this morning in a very heavy downpour of rain.

Written by Malissa

I started running a little over a year ago in hopes to gain my health back. I learned this week that I now run for my sanity! I've been sick the past couple of weeks and haven't been able to run much. On Sunday I was having a blah day, nothing was going my way, everything was bothering me. It was almost 8pm and I was about to snap. I turned to Owen and said, "I'm gong for a run, I'm about to snap." My first two miles were pretty fast because I was mad but by my third mile I was cooling down and had a nice easy jog. So yeah, running keeps me sane these days!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Stretching and Running Form

Written by Malissa

Stretching is very important to runners-Owen learned this the hard way. Owen always did a few small stretches before his runs but hardly ever stretched after.  When Owen ran the Bi-Lo Mrytle Beach Marathon he was hoping for a PR so he pushed it harder than he ever had, both in his training and in the marathon. His calf muscles were very tight and he ended up having servere plantar fasciitis in both feet. Stretching is most important after your runs. It's best to be warmed up before you stretch.

Here are a few of our favorite stretches:
Against the Wall
Target: Calf and Achilles

Hold for three seconds and repeat five time with each leg.

Hurdler Stretch
Target: Hamstring

Repeat five times.

Ankle Grab
Target: Quadriceps

Repeat five times with each leg.

Knee Clasp
Target: Hamstrings and Lower Back
Lay on the floor. Bring both knees to your chest. Hold for three seconds. Repeat five times. Then do the same exercise but with one leg at a time, while keeping the other leg straight.

Chest Push-up
Target: Abs and Lower Back
Lie face down on the floor with your legs, hips, and abdomen pressed flat on the floor. Place your hands on the floor beneath your shoulders. Push your chest up with your arms as far as you can go without pain and hold for three seconds. Repeat five times.

Lying Glute
Target: Glute

Owen's Two Favorites
Target: Calf and shins

and writing his abc's in the air with his toes.

Running Form

When you first start running you shouldn't stress about your form too much but you do want to pay attention to a few things so you don't get injured. When I first started running I always looked down and after a few months I noticed a clicking sound in my pelvis/hip area. It didn't hurt, but was really annoying. After a bunch of research I realized it was do to me looking down all the time and I had to re-learn how to run.

Here are a few things I learned:

Keep your body upright. Your head, torso, and legs should all align while you run.

Look forward. Your head should be level, eyes looking foward, jaw relaxed with mouth slightly open.

Breathe in through your mouth & nose, and then out your mouth. You want to get as much oxygen to your lungs.

Keep your shoulders down and arms relaxed. You don't want your shoulders to bunch up around your ears. I have to remember this all the time. I find my shoulders at my ears all the time when I'm really tired.

Take short, efficient steps so that you conserve energy. This is also suppose to help you land on the balls of your feet instead of your heels.

Again, don't stress to much. Just be proud that you are out there running!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mother-Daughter Running

Written by Malissa:

This past year I have been thinking a lot about my running and how I can use it to help others. I've been helping a few of my friends that have just started running but I really wanted to do more.

I've always had a desire to help late elementary/middle school girls. It's such a tough age for girls, I know it was for me. I was tiny, like Alicia, in elementary but started developing a chest in late third grade and then went through puberty in sixth grade. I gained some weight during this time. Looking back on it now, I wasn't fat, even though I thought I was.  I had a large chest and hips and no longer had a stick figure body like all the other girls. I was teased by the other girls and harassed by the boys, in middle school and high school. When I see a young, overweight girl my heart hurts for her, because I know she's getting picked on. She most likely has low self-esteem and she compares herself to the girls around her. Again middle school is so tough for girls!

During my getting healthy journey, I've really enjoyed doing research on better ways to eat healthy. I've decided to get my Nutrition & Wellness Consultant and Children's Fitness Specialist Certification this fall. I really feel that this is what God has been preparing me to do with my life. 

I've also asked my running partner and good friend, Joana, to help me start a mother-daughter running group this summer. We have a few natural runners in the group and a few that aren't so we're going to try and make running fun. We're getting a list of games together that we can play while we run. We plan to start off slow and work our way up to a 5k. We'll most likely follow the Couch to 5k plan with a slight twist. We're also going to have a bible study once a week with the girls. Since most of the girls are late elementary/early middle school we want to talk about friendship, self image, and nutrition. At the end of summer or early fall we're planning on taking the girls to the beach for a 5k race and to celebrate all their hard work! If you're interested in following along , we will be posting weekly at

Do you know of any ways to make running fun? Any games?   

Saturday, June 2, 2012

King Tiger 5k

June 2, 2012 7:30 AM
Charlotte, NC

Time Pace Division Division
Bib #
Owen 20:30 6:36 M35-39 9/52 56/289 62/616 265
Michael 23:08 7:27 M1-14 7/30 104/289 118/616 264
Alicia 43:39 14:03 F1-14 19/21 278/327 561/616 261
Kyle 44:05 14:11 M1-14 27/30 284/289 566/616 262
Malissa 44:06 14:12 F30-34 51/57 283/327 569/616 263

Written by Owen

Michael and I are anxious for the race to start
Michael and I have a goal to each break the 20 minute barrier in a 5k.  We each keep improving so we thought we'd give it a shot in this race.  To run 19:59, you need to average 6:25 or so per mile.  I wore the Garmin and told Michael to just hang with me, then we could race the last quarter mile.  I locked my pace on 6:25, looking at my watch every few seconds to make sure I was not going too fast or slow.

We crossed the 1st mile marker at exactly 6:25.  I felt good but knew it would be a stretch to hold that pace for two more miles. When Michael and I train together, we usually run at about a 7:55 pace or so, so we are able to carry on conversations without much effort.  Going this fast, however, I wasn't about to attempt to ask how he was feeling.  He was keeping up.

Shortly after the first mile marker he said he wouldn't be able to keep up any longer.  We had discussed this and had decided if either of us couldn't keep up, the other one should still try and do it.  So I encouraged him, and then he hung back.

I crossed the 2nd mile marker at exactly 12:50, I was nailing this pace.  Shortly after that, however, I realized I wasn't going to be able to hold it for another mile.  I did the third mile in 6:50 or so, then finished the last tenth of a mile strong to finish in 20:30.  I'm still very happy with this time, the last 5k I did was 9 months ago and was my PR at 22:27.  So I can't complain beating my previous time by almost two minutes. Here is my Garmin data.

I waited at the finish line, hoping Michael wasn't far behind.  He crossed at 23:08, which is a minute and a half slower than his PR.  He told me he had cramped up pretty bad.  He is so competitive, he doesn't like the fact that my PR is faster than his by four seconds.  I know he'll train hard and beat it in three weeks when he runs his next 5k.

Written by Malissa

A couple of weeks ago my friend Joana mentioned that her daughter wanted to start running. She shared that running does not come naturally to her daughter Julianna but that she wanted to encourage her and was looking for ways to help her. Of course I jumped all over this, it makes my heart so happy to hear that kids are interested in running. I told her that the kids and I had a 5k coming up and that we would love for Julianna to "train" with us and then we would run the race with her. Knowing that we only had two weeks to train we decided to approach this race with a run/walk.
Me, Alicia, Julianna, and Joana

This was my good friend Lynne's first 5k! She hurt her knee a few years back and her doctor basically told her that she wouldn't be able to run again. Well, she didn't listen to her doctor and began doing exercises to strengthen her knee. She started running and for the most part she hasn't had too much pain in her knee. I was so excited for her when she told me that she signed up to run this race. I love running with my friends and family!
Joana, Lynne, and me

Before the race the kids and I talked about how this race would not be a competitive race for us. We were going to run this race for Julianna, be there to encourage her when she needed it. The kids agreed and thought it was a great idea. Once the race started Alicia's competitiveness took over and she really stuggled the whole race to slow down. Joana wanted us to go ahead but I really want to teach my kids that it's ok to be competitive by at times it's more important to help out friends, especially when they need the encouragement. There's always going to be another race that they can run for themselves.

I'm so proud of Julianna! She worked really hard these past two weeks and improved so much. She had a great run/walk and I hope she enjoyed it.

Katie is one of Alicia's best friends. She rocked the fun run and came in third, on her birthday!! So proud of her!

Here are a few more picture from before the race:
Michael, Julianna, Alicia, Katie, and Kyle

Kyle and me
I love that Alicia is making so many fun memories with her friends!
the girlies!