40 and Beyond: your best running years are ahead of you.

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“The God who has girded me with strength has opened wide my path. He made my feet like the feet of deer, and set me secure on the heights.”

  - 2 Samuel 22:33-34

 You don’t just wake up one day and decide – Hey, I’m gonna be a runner! – Or do you? It takes years of dedication, sacrifice, hard work and sometimes struggling to stay focused and I say that for even the casual runner, because even so, over the years running would have demanded something from even you.  And so, you don’t just quit. You can’t. There’s this current school of thought running around that approaching 40 years is major. It claims that you’ve now attained full maturity and peak form, you’ve never looked nor felt better; your best years are ahead of you.

It is said that all the work you’ve put into who you are up to this point is about to blossom into the most beautiful flower you can possibly imagine. I think it’s a great metaphor for your running potential going forward. In all honesty, and for most people, 40 can be quite scary. You either look back with horror and forward with trepidation or, you look back with satisfaction and to the future with hope. Depends, I think, a lot on your perspective and where you stand, but what I can tell you is this.. the past is in the past, what you did or didn’t do is done for. However, what you do now and can do is totally determined by you. It is absolutely true that you’re now at your peak: fit, healthy, strong, beautiful and determined. Indeed you’ve never felt better; this is the result of your sustained effort and hard work and so at this point you can look forward to enjoying rewarding running.

You have running down to a science; a tried and true method. You’ve established where you are on the running scale and feel pretty confident about your abilities. Whether you’re facing your first marathon, ultra, triathlon or Ironman, you can do so confident in what you have to give. And so it follows that it only gets better from here on. Your experience, wisdom and knowledge of running will inform and fuel your runs and give you the opportunity to impact the sport and community in a unique and lasting way. So whether you’re staring at 40 in a couple of years or whether it’s right around the corner, you can do so with confidence and ease, you’ve earned it. Now go out there and show’em!

Running Denver

Denver, CO

Denver, CO

I’ve been nagging you about choosing a Fall run and so I decided to lead by example and chose Denver for my next big race. The Denver Rock n’ Roll marathon is on October 15 and is only my second rock n’ roll event, the first being the Washington DC marathon I ran in March of this year. Not too shabby, I thought, and so here I am again with big plans to rock Denver. Why Denver? Well, it’s a new course, I was invited by a friend to stay and run with her; nothing can trump that, I’ve never been there, plus it’s gorgeous I’m told – that of course was the deciding factor.

Washington Park

Washington Park

According to our friends at Runners World, Denver is a running paradise. “It’s a year-round runner’s city – a mile-high mountain metropolis stuffed with pristine parks, surrounded by a couple of hundred miles of paved paths and natural surface trails to tread.” Because of its 5,280-foot altitude, Denver is known as America’s “thinnest” city. And its most educated, as it has the highest percentage of college graduates of any major US metro area. But what’s really attractive to me is the “feast of nature” experience that it promises. It’s said that its 5,280-foot altitude produces hefty hemoglobin counts, which really means that it’s running on a whole new level out there. Cupped by the mountains, and not mountainous, Denver boasts some of the most scenic trails, parks and bike-friendly paths in a green environment. I promise to test the truth of this along with those single-track trails that serve up sweeping views of downtown Denver and the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.

Manitou Incline

Manitou Incline

It whispers adventure and a tough but scenic running experience. For a runner like me, that’s enough to send me packing and running with sneakers in hand. Because of the altitude level, I’ve been warned to get there a few days beforehand to get acclimated; at least that’s my official reason for taking a couple of days off from work to head over yonder, and make sure I’m all situated before race day. Training is on. This time around, I’ve decided to sign up with a track club to work on speed, strength and endurance. Within recent times, I’ve found breathing to be quite challenging over long distances and would like to throw some focus in this area as I’m sure this will come into play in the race. As I dig down into my training, I remind myself to give up the late nights and crazy eating and to take an all-round approach to ensure I’m fit and fabulous come October.

The Rockies

The Rockies

1, 000 000 000 Reasons to Run this Summer, Choose One!

I could give you all the reasons in the world why I run but they would still be my reasons.  On the other hand, there are infinite reasons why others enjoy this faithful and rewarding sport.  Like most things in life, what you put in, is most often what you get out of it.  And for those who genuinely seek it, they will find all these and more.  

Health.. Fitness.. To lose Weight.. To be SexyWP  De-stress.. For Charity.. To Motivate.. Inspire.. Meet People.. Be Free.. Worship.. To Think.. Travel.. Meditate..  For Self Satisfaction .. To Find Peace.. To be Awesome.

WP6To Find Yourself.. Discover New Places.. To Belong to a Community.. To believe in Yourself.. To give Hope.. To Succeed. . To get Me-Time.. To Enjoy Nature.. To be All You Could be.

WP2To Earn Your Calories.. Just Because.. For Discipline.. Finish Line.. Medals.. Prizes.. Money.. Sense of Achievement.. Speed.. Strength.. Recognition.. To Retreat.. Escape.. To Live.. To Forget.. For Insight.. For Inspiration. To Master Fear.. To Connect.. To Live.. To be Happy.

smell-roseTo Smell the Roses .. To Remember.. To Honor.. To Dream.. To Heal.. To Deal.



To Give Yourself the Best Fighting Chance to Life, Love and Happiness.

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World Cup-Inspired Running

imageI confess I’m a World Cup junkie.  My background and culture has a lot to do with that. I grew up in the eighties and nineties where football aka soccer was to the rest of the world what the Super Bowl is to the United States.  Never mind that my home country of Trinidad and Tobago only ever qualified for this world class tournament one time in 2006, we were and are avid football fans and players and boast a number of home-grown international players.  I grew up either watching, playing or attending practice sessions, games and/or tournaments.

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That being the case, it is neither difficult nor far-fetched for me to attempt to see what impact this has had on my desire and ability to run.  I look at the players on the field in this World Cup and I’m as amazed now as I was all the way back then (some 25 odd years ago) at their sheer physical strength, speed and stamina.  On the off chance that you’re not aware, runners share  these very same characteristics. I compare the dexterity and nimbleness among some of the world’s top players such as Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Italy’s Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez from Uraguay, Yaya Toure from Ivory Coast and Netherland’s Robin Van Persie and I cannot imagine a sport more defined by pace and endurance. It is ninety full-contact minutes of constant movement; defense, attack and counter-attack while running.  Is it any wonder that their physical form is so impeccable; most, if not all, of these players own amazing bodies along with abs to die for. I won’t give all the credit to running of course, even if most of their drills consist of it, as I’m aware that their training includes major gym work to build, strengthen and tone muscles; however, I’m willing to bet that at least 70% of their training involves running. If I ever need running motivation, here it is.

imageI’ve taken my football frenzy to the streets, or better yet, the fields, where I attend soccer practice weekly throughout summer into mid-Fall. I will never be a Ronaldo or Suarez, not even close, and that’s ok because it’s enough to even mirror their moves and form while getting my run on. It is true that this World Cup has seen me up my running game, I am motivated to move, get physical, keep active; to run and race more. These are my Brazil Moments. Can I help that they’re inspired by super-yummy eye candy!

Running on the treadmill vs outdoors

20140626-050251-18171316.jpgSince my injury last fall while doing a fast run on the treadmill, I’ve kept away. Truth is, even before that ill-timed and mostly self-inflicted disaster, I disliked running on the treadmill and had a number of reasons lined up for the unsuspecting victim who would dare to ask why. It’s funny or rather foolish how we can convince ourselves of mostly anything when we make up our minds to dislike something; sometimes with no just cause or it could be that we hold preconceived or even stereotypical notions about that said thing. In fact, I had no basis for my dislike of the treadmill other than my preference for outdoors, and that, I felt it was boring and for non-serious runners.

Then I fell victim to a strained ankle, which I got on the treadmill due to running in the wrong shoes. I couldn’t be angrier. I knew better. Hadn’t I told myself I detested this machine..how could I be so stupid. I berated myself as if the dumb machine was at fault here and not me and my last-minute, stupid decision. Seemed I got more ammo to solidify my view of treadmills and that was fine by me. But I couldn’t stay away from the gym as I had to train for a marathon and it was still winter, so after one month, I was back. The evil monster looked at me and seemed to smile as I approached it with trepidation. The long and short of it being, I had to get back on there pretty fast as there was no stopping what had to be done. There were subsequent races thereafter, leading up to the current World Cup, and so the treadmill and I made up and while we’re not running buddies or anything, we see each other pretty often.

Here’s what I now know to be true of treadmill running:
- it is a good substitute for outdoor running when temperatures are extreme.
- it provides good simulation for race practice with the use of incline and speed adjustments as well various course running options.
- it’s pretty safe ( yes, despite my self-inflicted injury) and pretty boring as I initially thought.; no hurdles to cross or variance in terrain, which I expect is a good thing for most but the view sucks.
- you can practice proper breathing and hydration without stopping or slowing down your pace.
- machines give you heart, calorie and mileage information, which could act to provide momentum for your running.
- on the other hand, you cannot learn pace on a treadmill. It’s easy to get locked into the set pace and forget about maintaining pace to suit your race goal. Also, it’s impossible to find and maintain your own pace, which is important for long races such as a half or full marathon where running a negative split becomes important.
- but, and this is to the gym’s credit, you get to run while viewing your favorite programs on your personal TV and the big screen, or like me these days, watch multiple World Cup games while getting your run on. Now that, just can’t be beat!

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Running a Fall Marathon (Part 2)


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If there’s anything I’ve learned over the years, it’s that running long distances in the heat is not for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I love summer and I’ll take 100 degrees over -10 any day, but the heat and I do not make good running buddies. So during summer, I run 10 miles and under races and train either at the gym, late evenings or early mornings.  By the time Fall comes around, I’m filled with anticipation and bursting with energy..all revved up and ready to go.

Establishing your base & building mileage

These days I’m running 5x a week and truly that’s the best way to build up you running base and mileage. Each day I try to increase by as little as a mile but the important thing is running consistently. Six days a week isn’t too much to aim for and increasing your mileage by the week is much more realistic. Say you’re running between 20 miles this week, you want to slowly increase that to 25 by next week and then 30 and so on. That’s ideally of course, but there are those with a slower pace, here you want to focus on consistency over pace.  Let’s say you’ve never raced before and this is going to be your first marathon, then you would benefit from starting slowly and gradually increasing pace and mileage but ensuring that you stay consistent with your running.

Building Core Strength & Upping Your Fitness Level

It’s said that good running form is essential to completing 26.2 miles.  There’s really no contesting that. Good running posture ensures economy of movement, which in turn maximizes your speed, strength and endurance.  However, this all begins in your core area, which needs to be strong to help you perfect your running plans.  Core exercises such as planks, crunches and push-ups are very helpful as are Pilates as it deals with contracting your abdominal. Also, swimming, biking and weight-training are great cross-training methods. It is also important to get proper sleep and maintain a nutritious diet high in protein and to ensure post-workout recovery; proper stretching, eat, drink and rest.

Long/Tune-Up Run

This is super-important. About 3-4 weeks before race day do a couple long runs. So 4 weeks before, then 3 weeks before; whether it’s a half marathon, 18 or 20 miler, this allows you to know where you’re at in terms of your race day goal as well as it gives you the opportunity to run at your goal pace, determine your fitness level and practice your nutrition and hydration strategies..which work best for you..that you’ll use on race day.

Race Day

All your perpetration culminates on this day. By now you know your level of fitness, you’re comfortable in your skin and you’re ready to run the race of your life. There is no room for doubt or dissension, you’ve done the work and your body will thank you. Follow your race-day plan which would have included a good night’s rest, getting up early to have a good breakfast, which would entail only the stuff you’ve eaten before, don’t try anything new but stick with the tried and true, says Coach Lindley from Boulder, Colo.,. This is your day, paint yourself a mental picture of your race, see how you plan to run and see yourself overcoming whatever minor obstacles that may turn up. Let the finish line and the celebration you would have earned propel you towards it. As most coaches like to say, finish strong.

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Running a Fall Marathon (Part 1)

Bank Of America Chicago Marathon

Bank Of America Chicago Marathon

Sometimes there’s no help for it, you just have to take the proverbial bull by the horns and have faith in your handling. Deciding to run your first marathon or going for a fall goal after some absence away from running or maybe you’re like me, just looking for a good race in cool weather; whatever your reason, let’s pave the way to make it happen with as little pain and pomp as possible. Choosing your run should be among the first set of things you do so here’s a list of some great, local ones. Choose your fancy.

  • The Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, Minneapolis, St. Paul/Minn.
  • The Bank of America Chicago Marathon
  • Under Armour Baltimore Marathon
  • Detroit Free Press/ Talmer Bank Marathon
  • Nike’s Women Marathon, San Diego, Cal.
  • New York City Marathon
  • Marine Corps Marathon, Washington DC
  • Anthem Richmond Marathon, Virginia
  • Philadelphia Marathon

For some of these races there are pre-conditions to racing or some pre-qualifying standard to be met, so that should be taken into consideration when choosing. For my part, I’ve decided on one not on the list there but part of the Rock n’  Roll series which are always loads of fun,  this one in Denver, Co.

So you’ve signed up..Congratulations! Now what? It’s time to start training. Various training plans exist ranging from 12 to 18 weeks but before taking up one it’s wise to get your body used to running four or five times a week and build some base mileage. This can offset injuries and help you prepare for the longer training runs due in a few months.  There are five parts to a successful marathon training plan says Jason Devaney, writer for Competitor Magazine, 1. Establishing a base. 2.Building core strength 3. Increasing mileage and developing fitness 4. Running a tune-up race and 5. Executing on race day. Next week we’ll cover similar aspects to these according to my experience in tandem with what the experts say. For now, let’s focus on building our base mileage by continuing to put in a few steady runs per week, slowly increasing as we go along.

Happy and focused running!

I Run Because…

running happy

running happy

I had a fun and celebratory run in the park yesterday to commemorate National Running Day and ended up smack dab in the middle of  Chase Bank’s corporate challenge run, 15000 strong.  Apparently, I wasn’t the only runner with running on their mind; seeing so any other like-minded folks was pretty super and helped assuage my irritation of blocked paths, slow pace and  too much company. The weather was a tolerably humid 74 degrees; overcast with a slight breeze, which meant you wanted to be as close to naked as possible while going heavy on hydration.

While out there cheering the runners on, my mind got to thinking about why I run..why I constantly put my knees and ankles through the often brutal pounding of running..I’m well aware I’m not getting any younger and so there are gonna be a lot more aches and pains as time goes along.  As I reflected on this and my various runs, I sensed a commitment to the sport that has carried me through the years; a commitment to running first because I can..it’s my happy place and secondly, for all those who can’t.  Sure there are many other underlying reasons such as: the medals, great physical form, traveling, meeting fantastic runners, the physical challenge and so on, but mainly it’s because I feel I’ve been given a gift and it’s up to me what I do with it.  The challenge lies in not getting so caught up in myself and my ability, that I lose sight of  being able to use this platform to help others.

With that in mind, I’ve recently recommitted to cause-running as oppose to mainly races for my personal enjoyment and will be joining like-minded runners this summer to give all those who can’t a fighting chance. I’ve always found that when you identify a purpose for what you do.. whatever that is.. it begins to matter differently and adds meaning and value to the challenges you meet and the sacrifices that you will ultimately have to make.  So I’m challenging you to determine a reason for your running, print it on your mind, place it on your heart and share it with your friends, after all there are thousands of reasons to run.  It shouldn’t be difficult to find one and own it; let it become your running badge that defines your purpose for indulging in the craze that has exploded over the years.  You are not just another face out there, you have an important story to tell that will bless someone, never mind that you’ve chosen  an unorthodox method for telling it.

So what is it: health, friendships, a good cause, to de-stress, freedom, community, to stay fit, to explore, it’s cheap therapy, for fun, fitness etc… It can be funny, personal, inspiring, challenging, motivating, it’s yours to tell.

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Ready to Race? Here’s Your Checklist!

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We’ve already determined that Spring cannot fly by without us getting out and trying some new things as it pertains to challenging ourselves and pushing our limits. Now, I’m well aware that might treat differently with each person as we all have different goals and have set differing limits on our person. While keeping that in mind, I’m still one for pre-preparing and over-setting and such, so just in case you decide to take that leap or run, you’ll be super ready.

When deciding to take a trip or set out on an adventure, I imagine there are a number of things you take into account before you make your final decision, and upon doing so, you make a checklist of sorts, itemizing your “must haves” to make sure you have a successful trip or rocking adventure. So too, in the running world. Race day requires a similar list, denoting the things you need to make sure you enjoy a successful race.
As to the reasons why this is necessary, well.. imagine that you’re ready to head to the starting line and you’ve discovered that you’ve left yr lucky shorts or God forbid, your running shoes that you’ve trained in all season, behind. Believe me this is not far-fetched, we’ve all done it; forgotten one thing or another, on that day, that we felt we really needed. The list forestall all of this and keeps you goal centered and focused on the race.

Race Checklist

- Race and Hotel Confirmation as well as travel documents such as passport & tickets where applicable
- Bib/ Number/ Timing Chip: this should be attached in the recommended position and properly filled out with emergency contact information included
- Extra Safety Pins and Pen
- Location and Directions to event: ample time should be allocated to get there whether driving or using public transportation. Also, allow for extra time for commuting emergencies such as traffic, train issues etc.
- Course and Area Maps
- Running Shoes and Gear: socks, shorts, t-shirt and/ or sports bra (ideally you should already be dressed but depending on commuting distance you may opt to dress at location)
- Sweats, Extra T-Shrirt and/ or Sweatshirt or Raincoat or disposable plastic: to keep you insulated from unpredictable weather and for post race
- Hat/ Visor
- Sunglasses
- Watch/ Timing Device
- Sunscreen, Lip Balm and Anti-Chafing cream or lotion eg. Vaseline
- Feminine products: you can never be too prepared
- Extra Cash/ Credit Card/ Subway Card
- Energy Bar/ Fruit/ Yogurt: you’ve already eaten breakfast so this is in case you need a little bite before (ideally eaten up to 1 hr prior) and for post race refueling
- Energy Gel Packs or Chewies
- Extra Water/ Energy Drink: this may most likely be provided but you need your “just in case”
- Cell Phone

Most race organizers advise that if and when allowed, your personal items should be encased in a clear plastic bag ( sometimes provided) to meet safety standards and regulations. You should allow additional time for checking in bags at event location if this is the case and make sure to walk with your stuff already bagged and clearly labeled to avoid gate hassle.

Happy Running!

Good Running Form

imageThere are varying opinions on what is good running form for runners. Coaches, Runners and Experts sometimes vary in how they believe a runner can maximize his or her efficiency in running while increasing speed and remaining injury free.  However, most agree on the basic techniques that can help achieve the afore-mentioned goals.  The following video addresses these basic techniques: (1) Mid to fore-foot landing (2) No over-striding (3) Slight forward lean/ natural or chi running and (4) Stride rate. The owner of this video, Sage Canaday, is an experienced runner with a host of  accomplishments under his belt or, more appropriately, shoes and provides instruction and drills to aid in these areas and advises on some of the difficulties that a runner may encounter that could hinder his or her ability to perform at max.  Of course there is a lot of information out there as it pertains to this, but what I have found is that when wanting to know how to improve in any area or field, it is always wisest to get your information from a professional with hands-on experience.  This helped in choosing the video, which proved to be quite informative and instructional.

Happy watching & running!

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Previous Older Entries

Denver Rock n’ Roll Marathon

The Big DayOctober 1st, 2014
2 months to go.
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