Sunday, December 29, 2013

Running on Water

20131216_173659 For the first time in quite awhile, my family and I went on a vacation by ourselves. The week before Christmas we went on a cruise with Carnival. It was one of the best vacation experiences that I’ve had besides going to London with my wife many years ago. I would definitely go on a cruise again. It’s a wonderful way to be pampered!  Yes, we took a selfie minutes after we got on the ship!

I could write several blog posts on how great the food was, the service, and the excursions, but, of course I’ll talk about running. I find release, adventure, and great enjoyment from running.

gulfofmexico While at sea, I thought I’d hit the running track on the top level of the ship.  11 laps equaled a mile so it was definitely going to be fun counting them off.  My GPS watch was doing its thing and measuring the speed of the ship. It was so fun to look down on my watch to see that I was rocking a 3:08/mile. :) Uhhhhh… not even in my dreams!

dailymilegps I thought that I’d see a bunch of circles overlapping in the Gulf of Mexico for my running route, but it came up as a staggered line. It alternated for every time that I lapped the ship. I ran 3 actual miles, but for every mile that I ran, the ship cruised 3 miles. So, as a result, my Garmin GPS watch showed that I ran 9 miles. I corrected the distance in DailyMile.  :)

progreso-mapmyrunI was looking forward to running while we landed on shore, but found out that it was highly discouraged.  In Progreso, MX, there was a 4 mile pier that I thought would be perfect to run. Before travelling on the trip I even found a MapMyRun route for the pier so I thought I’d be in luck.  However, there was definitely not enough room on that pier to run safely. I was kind of bummed about not being able to run while on shore, but enjoyed some great family time.

I did run 4 miles on the dreadmill in the ship’s gym. But, it’s never been fun for me. I always start out at a comfortable pace and then increase the pace for each mile since I’m so ready to be done. It was a unique experience when the ship rocked a little bit and you had to adjust on the treadmill.

While I didn’t get to run on land, I still made the best of what I could do.  I’m looking forward to running in the Houston Marathon in 3 weeks.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Blessing in Disguise

As everyone knows, the Dallas Marathon was cancelled on Sunday.  A lot of people were bummed, frustrated, angry, and whined about it.  However, I really see it as a blessing in disguise for some of us.  Some peeps did not train as well as they could’ve or would’ve because of various reasons.  Be it injury or complacency, now is the time to reset and prepare for the Cowtown Marathon.  That’s what Chris and I will be doing for his upcoming first marathon.  Cannot wait to be a part of it with him!

Cairo and I made the best of the weekend by playing a bunch of XBox One and sliding down our driveway.

I missed the Dollies at the Dallas Marathon, but I’ll look forward to seeing Mile 9 at the Cowtown Marathon.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Cyborg for the Day

20131031_141202 I normally don’t do Halloween. I’ve never really been into it except for when I was a kid. That was a long time ago. :) I’m not totally against it, but I’ve never been crazy about haunted houses and spooky stuff.  I have enough going on in my normal life that seems to scare the heck out of me.

Working at the GameStop corporate office, I thought I’d participate since they were having a costume contest. I also wanted to do it since nobody would expect me to play along.

My wife works with a lot of creative haristylists at Green Peridot Salon in Frisco.  One of them is a make up artist.  Sarah is definitely an artist.  Her favorite holiday is Halloween.  She dressed up as a cyborg a couple of years ago so I knew that she probably wouldn’t be wearing this costume again. 

Alex-CyborgI met with her early in the morning to have her apply the make up and hook me up with the cyborg gear. This was definitely the first time for make up, a fake eyelash, and whatever she put on my lips.  It really took some getting used to. I didn’t realize how hard it would be not touching my face throughout the day. It was fun trying to eat lunch without messing up the handiwork.

It was definitely a fun time wearing the outfit and playing Cyborg for the day. I got a lot of double takes and then… “nice!” comments. I also got a lot of strange looks when I went to Walmart. I’m usually the one giving the strange looks. :)

It was fun being a part of the costume contest. I didn’t win, but I’m sure I came in a close second. I lost to HR as they were dressed up as Duck Dynasty.  You just cannot beat those beards!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I’m Hyped for the Dallas Marathon

430721_10150513450601442_1786851817_n I was going to run the BCS Marathon on December 8th, but decided to switch back to the Dallas Marathon. Yes, I was growing tired of the Dallas Marathon since I ran it for the last 3 years, but I’ve got an awesome reason to run it this year.

My great friend, Chris, will be running his first marathon at the Dallas Marathon.  When he got back into running 4 years ago I ran a 5K with him.  He’s always been a huge encourager of my running.  He’s cheered me on at my first marathon and the 2012 Dallas Marathon.  It’s my turn to cheer him on for all 26.2 miles!

I cannot wait to go along for the ride with Chris as he experiences his first marathon.  I was super excited when he said yes that he’d like my company during the race.  Heck, he could’ve said “no” when I asked him.  I do tend to get a little crazy when running for multiple hours at a time.

I’m looking forward to so many things about this race.  The biggest theme for me is just to enjoy the race experience.  Enjoy being a part of something big!

The cool thing is that I was able to defer my registration for the BCS Marathon to next year.  So, I already know one race that I’ll be doing in 2014.

I wonder when I should start planning matching shirts for Chris and I to wear.  Too much?  Too soon?  :)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Running for the Joy of it!

This spring and for the last year or so, I was focused on getting faster.  When I’d get to the start line of a race, my goal was to PR.  For the majority of the races, I succeeded.  There were very few races where I just took it easy unless pacing.

This fall was to be a continuation of “mission speediness” with a lofty goal of shooting for a BQ.  However, with my recent injury, my goals have been adjusted.

The injury has reminded me why I’m out there.  Yes, I enjoy going faster, but one of the main reasons that I enjoy running is for the JOY of it!  My sister, Denise, with her infectious smile has always demonstrated to me that it’s not what place you finish, but that you run happy and you enjoy the race experience.

Sunday at the Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon, I truly enjoyed my time out there.  I made sure to interact with as many volunteers, spectators, and runners that I could.  High fives and jokes for everyone.  I made it a point to try to thank every volunteer out there.  I usually try to do this, but I was even more intentional about it on Sunday.

When I saw the balloons in the air during the first couple of miles, I commented to the other runners that we were getting our money’s worth.  It was definitely an awesome scene!  The weather cooperated for the balloon flight and cooler temps for the runners.

photo I love seeing friends at the races; either seeing them running or cheering people on.  One of my good friends from the Frisco Running Club, Christy, had the funnest race sign ever.  I’ve seen a lot of fun race signs, but this one was so much fun, that I couldn’t help but play along with it.

Christy had the sign shown to the left that there was a shortcut to the left, so I made it look like I was going to go off the course toward the left.  Once I started doing this and was getting closer to her, she changed the arrow to the right.  It was the funniest thing that I saw all morning.  So, of course, I photo (1) started veering to the right.  After straightening out and continuing we both had a great laugh!

I’m sure that the runners behind me thought that I totally lost my mind, but sometimes you’ve got embrace your inner Mark Lindsley!

I hope others enjoyed the sign as much as I did.  When I asked Christy how/why she put the arrow on a spinner, she said she did it because she didn’t know which side of the course that she’d be on.  I’m glad that we took it to the next level.

Races are not all about PRs… I measured this race in smiles!  I was so happy to run this race comfortably and pain free.  In honor of my teenage son, Cairo, I did kick it in high gear and finish it cross country style.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Cherish the Ability to Run!

I usually try to just post helpful and uplifting posts on my blog.  The world is too full of negative messages for me to contribute to that nonsense.  This might not be my usual uplifting Banana Eating Dog blog post, but it’s what I’m going through and something I wanted to share.

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You really don’t appreciate something, until you don’t have it!  I’ve been trying to rehab a groin pull for the last month.  It’s been a slow go.  I’m so used to just running.  Running whenever and however I wanted.  Yes, I followed training plans, but I never worried about not being able to just run.

I know that I’ll heal in due time, but it’s just darn right frustrating.  I can only run 4-6 miles until the pain comes back in my adductor.  I really wanted to be able to work on my marathon time to get it down and closer to a BQ. I’m definitely lowering my expectations for my marathons in December & January.

I’m in good hands… Since the beginning of August, I’ve been coached by Brian Edmison.  Unfortunately, he really hasn’t the opportunity to put me through a proper regiment since my mishap.  My rehab has also been helped by Erin Connor as she has been able to really work on my adductor muscle.

I complain and whine so much about not running, that I’m driving my wife crazy.  She really cannot wait for me to get better.  I’ve been referring back to my glory days of 5 months ago.  Oh… back in those days!

Some humorous observations of not being able to run…

  1. I give dirty looks to runners out on the road… sorry.
  2. I don’t like to log onto FaceBook on Saturdays to hear about everybody’s long run… jealous!
  3. Monday’s posting of DailyMile’s weekly mileage are met with the same type of jealous angst!
  4. Volunteering at a race is doable, but words of congratulations are said with a sarcastic tone. Ok, I wasn’t really sarcastic when volunteering at the Hottest Half. Those finishers earned those medals on that hot Texas morning.
  5. I miss ice bathes!

The times that I can run those 4-6 miles pain free have been awesome! I feel like a kid running for the fun of it! Running, not because I have to, but because I want to! I cannot wait to be in the full swing of running.

As well, I cannot wait to run more so I can stop giving other runners dirty looks.  :)

Monday, July 8, 2013

From Active to GameStop

20130624_130105 I’ve been quiet on here since the Cleveland Marathon, but I’ve definitely been busy.  I’ve had a change of scenery.  After nearly 8 years of working at Fellowship Technologies/Active Network, I’ve moved onto GameStop corporate.  This was definitely a huge decision that I didn’t take lightly, but after 3 full weeks at GameStop, I’m glad that I made the decision.  Sometimes you get so comfortable in where you’re at that you don’t think that you can make a change or move somewhere else.

My position is nearly the same without the Product Owner responsibilities.  My job title is Sr. Business Analyst.  I get to work with a lot of smart people in delivering the best solution to our customers.  My job is essentially to write the requirements that captures the essence of what the business represents.  A fun part of my job is to be a Scrum enthusiast.  Now, who cannot get excited about Scrum?  :)

Cairo has been pretty pumped that I’m working there now.  I think I’m back on the cool dad list again.  :)  I’ve been texting him a picture a day from throughout the offices.  Below are some of the pictures that I’ve sent him…

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Yep, I’ve still been running!  I’ve been keeping up my miles in anticipation of running El Scorcho in a couple of weeks.  25K at midnight in the middle of summer in Texas is a blast!  This will be my 3rd year running this race.  It’s fun in a weird way!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Cleveland Marathon Recap: Cairo’s First Marathon

Hmmm… to get a little nostalgic, I could talk about my son’s first steps, first words, first day at school, first soccer goal, first race, etc.  All worthy milestones in the lifetime of any child, but to be really epic, yep, I said it… EPIC, you’ve got to talk about your 17 year old son’s first Marathon!

If you don’t like to read about a father’s pride, you might want to close your browser now! :)  By the way, this will be a long blog post.

Guys Weekend

IMAG1078We were originally going to stay with family while in Ohio, but I decided to make it totally a guys weekend. We pricelined the car and hotel which got us a heck of a deal.  The hotel allowed us to enjoy time with each other.  We definitely enjoyed seeing family, but we got to hang out and bond.  Cairo really liked the rental car. I think it was the novelty of riding in a brand new car.

Family Visits

20130517_111208966553_10201197098393148_1316926848_oWe arrived late on Thursday night and crashed at the hotel.  On Friday morning, I couldn’t wait to get going to visit family.  First up, was Denise!  Cairo finally got to meet the infamous Jackson.  He’s quite the swimmer and retriever.  We also got to see his snarl, which Denise told us is nothing to worry about.  All snarl and no bite!  His snarl wasn’t intended for us, but Denise’s other dog, Sammy.  He likes to get attention too!

After getting Denise, we all visited my dad at his gym in Avon. After recovering from heart surgery, he’s still training people and running a business.  He took some time to school us on table tennis.  He’s going to compete in the upcoming Senior Olympics.  Up above is a picture of my dad, Cairo, and myself. We thought it’d be fun to stand in the order of height.

20130517_152227Visiting my mom is always a treat!  It’s been about 6 years since Cairo has visited Ohio so I gave him the grand tour of the homestead.  I showed him my palatial room.  Does anyone else think it’s odd that you always remember your home and room being so much bigger as a child?  I also showed him the huge backyard with the creek that I used to hang out and build tree houses.  Yep, I was getting nostalgic! We took Mom to one of my favorite ice cream stands… Dairy Grove in North Ridgeville!  I have to visit that place every time that I come home.  I always have to get the banana shake.  It’s not as good as the old days, but I still get it.

 

20130517_124945Expo

We got our race packets, did a lot of goofing off, and spent plenty of money at the race expo.  It was a decent size and had a great selection of race shirts.  Since this is Cairo’s first marathon, I splurged a bit and let him get when he wanted.  We enjoyed waiting for Denise as she spent twice as long at each booth as we did.  I’ve never seen anyone try on 3 different sizes of an uber cool race shirt and then not buy it.  She was still talking about that shirt a couple of days later. 

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VIP Dinner

20130517_210655One of the cool things about blogging for the Cleveland Marathon is that we get to attend the VIP Dinner on Friday night.  We get to dress up a little, meet other bloggers, race dignitaries, elites, and talk running.  We probably talked most about the upcoming Sunday morning forecast.  Why do we talk about things that are out of our control?

It was great to meet another teenager running her first marathon… Alana Hadley.  This 16 year old Olympic hopeful ran a 2:58.  Great first showing!  It was great to have a conversation with her dad about their training and who he’s been training.  He trains marathoners and elites through his coaching program: Maximum Performance Running.  I cannot wait to see Alana’s running success in the future.  She’s so down to earth and loves long distance.  It’s so cool to see someone that young embrace the marathon distance.

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20130518_124206Shake out Run

Knowing that Cairo was probably not going to be able to sleep much on Saturday night, I let him sleep in.  Once I woke him at a reasonable time, I took him down to the Cleveland Metropark – Rocky River Reservation to run.  Because of illness and the weather, I didn’t run since Tuesday so I really wanted to get another run before popping 26.2  We ran a few miles just to shake things up a bit and enjoyed the scenery.  It’s pretty darn beautiful down there!

Pasta Dinner

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In keeping with tradition, we had the Saturday night pasta dinner at Debbie’s house.  Debbie is the oldest of us Lindsleys and is an awesome mother of two children that keep her busy – Michael and Kayla.  With all of the family gathered, we enjoyed picking on each other and carb loading.

The Surprise

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I wanted to make this marathon experience extra special for Cairo. I always knew that I wanted to make a race shirt for us, but went a bit above and beyond by getting my family the cairoshirts as well. With the help of my friend Rob, we worked together on the artwork and all. Originally, I wanted to have a Batman emblem on Cairo's runner and Superman on mine since we both like them so much. However, Zazzle.com would not allow the use of the trademarked super hero logos. I couldn't even plead with them that I was not going to sell the shirts for profit. It was a no go, but the runner silhouettes look uncannily like Cairo and I. You would think that someone used pictures of us to create the silhouettes, but they were taken from some stock artwork that I purchased.

For the big reveal, I took Cairo for a little walk down the block and back to allow time for all of the shirts to be handed out and worn.  Cairo was surprised when he saw that everyone was wearing the shirts.  On the drive back to the hotel, he told me that it made him feel very special to have these shirts made.  It was also very cool to see everyone wear them when they came out to cheer us on at the race.

If you ever need shirts, I would highly recommend Zazzle.com as it was an easy setup, affordable, and no setup fees.  They always seem to have a discount code happening, so make sure to look for those.  For a total of 12 shirts in which 3 were tech shirts, I paid a total of $152.  Pretty good deal!

20130519_060955The Race

This was the 11th time that I lined up at the start of a marathon and the same thought goes through my head… “Oh crap, I’m about to run 26.2 miles!”  This time, I’m thinking the same thing for Cairo and knowing that I wanted to be strong for not only myself, but for him.

Team Lindsley below is all set to take on the streets of Cleveland!

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Normally at marathons, I’m wearing a throw away shirt until the last second before I start running.  However with the temps already in the low 60s there wasn’t a need for the long sleeve t-shirts that I brought.  I really wasn’t looking forward to running in the heat, but only moaned and groaned about it in my head.  No need for Cairo to hear my complaining.

It didn’t take long to feel the heat.  The breezy wind did feel good at times, but it wasn’t enough to offset the heat and humidity.  Since Cairo and I had our own water bottles, I made sure that we avoided the initial congested water stops.  I did tell him that the water stops were our reminders to drink.  Once we were out, I then told him that we’d be filling up our water bottles with 50/50 – half water and half Powerade.  I’m glad that we did dilute the Powerade because the times that I did drink the Powerade, it was way too strong.

The Half Marathoners don’t separate in this race until mile 12 which makes it pretty crowded for quite a while.  It felt nice to have some elbow room when they split off.

We did very well in the early miles keeping the pace under 9:00.  I had hopes of getting Cairo close to a 4 hour marathon.  We hit the Half Split at 2:01 even though we had a 4 minute potty break.

978040_4148621693045_1739945502_oOnce we got past mile 17 then Cairo seemed challenged by his knee and the heat.  He told me that his knee hurt with a huge grimace on his face. We walked through the water stop and a bit beyond it.  We stretched some and gave it a go for awhile longer.  At this point of the race and remainder, we ran to each water station and walked through.  There was a time when he wanted to walk and I told him no, that we’d walk at the next water stop which I thought would be right around the corner.  Poor kid… it was a long corner.  I’m sure he cherished that water stop/walk.

At one of the water stations there was a medic.  I asked for something for his knee and they gave him some BioFreeze which seemed to help.  They also cooled us down with water over our heads.  I’ve always read that it’s best to continually drink instead of pouring water over your head.  However, it was definitely refreshing.  There were several locations on the course with people spraying people with water from hoses.  That was definitely helpful.

It was an added boost to hear the occasional person yell out, “Go Cairo!”

Toward the last 6 miles, 74be2aea-aca6-4cf2-b897-d4cf3312a43aI was trying to keep him at a 10 minute pace, but he kept seeming to lag behind.  I pretty much did what Hamlin did for me at my 50K, I stayed ahead of him and pulled him through.  I would run backwards at times to see how he was doing.  I would encourage him and yell to other runners that Cairo was running his first marathon at 17 years old.  Total dad pride taking over.  The other runners encouraged him as well.

It was great seeing family throughout the race. We saw my brother-in-law and nephew at miles 11 and 23.  They called me a handful of times throughout the race to see where we were.  We missed them at mile 15 as we were already at mile 17.  I got to see my sister Deanna at mile 25.  She was so full of excitement to see us!

It was crazy to be recognized at the race.  I had a few people that recognized me because of my smiley faces on my calves or that they remember reading about myself and Cairo.  I had one really nice girl say that she actually used my before, during, and after bags for the race.  I’m so happy to think that I helped someone’s race experience.

I kept counting down the final miles for Cairo. When we got to mile 25, I told him that if we could keep it to a 10 minute mile that he could hit a Sub 4:30 marathon time.  I think that got him going.  When we had a half mile to go, he was hitting a 7 minute pace. I tried to get him to slow down as I knew how far we had to go and I didn’t want him or myself to be walking at the end. He slowed down a bit, but once we made the final turn and last 400 meters, he put the hammer down.  He was literally doing a 5 minute mile pace at that time since looking back at my Garmin time, I finished running a 5:40 mile pace trying to keep up with him.  He beat me to the finish by 5 seconds.  There was no keeping up with him.  That boy couldn’t help but to finish Cross Country Style.

Immediately after we finished, he gave me a big hug of relief.  I was so proud of him.  When one of the volunteers gave me a medal, I placed it over Cairo’s head.  I’m so proud that he gritted it out and pushed when he felt a lot of pain.  There are life lessons throughout the marathon experience that he’s going to be able to use in life.  I think that he’s pleased with his finish time of 4:25.  We had fun throughout the race.  It was great to see him interacting with the crowd as well.  At a later point in the race, he saw a mom with 2 toddler girls in a double stroller, he hollered at them, “Good morning, ladies!”

We grabbed some recovery food and found my family.  My mom, Debbie, and her kids were there to greet us.  We grabbed our checked bags and then found Denise after she finished.  She pushed through the heat as well.

Recovery & Celebration

After the race, Cairo and I grabbed a couple bags of ice each from the gas station next to the hotel.  We then had our lovely ice baths.  That ice bath felt so darn refreshing!

We then had our celebration dinner with all of the family in Avon at Bubba Q’s.  They have a D-Boned Baby Back Rib Steak that is just stupid awesome!  Cairo and I wore our race medals proudly.

Closing Thoughts

Cairo did really well!  He did all of the critical training elements to be successful.  Once in the race, he dug deep and pushed through.  He definitely had self doubts, knee pain, and the heat of the day weighing him down, but he pushed through.  I’m super proud of him.  I’m so glad that I got to experience this event with him.  This is something that we’ll share and cherish for years to come.  I’ve asked him to come up with his own blog post so that we could hear the thoughts of this 17 year old marathoner. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Last Minute Marathon Tips

Only a few more days until Cairo and I and thousands of others run the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.  We’re super excited and cannot wait for the Start and Finish lines!

All of us runners get so many tips on running marathons.  Some of it’s good, some of it’s completely bizarre.  I really enjoyed this video that I saw awhile back.  It hits almost everything I can think of.  I wish that I can take credit for it, but I cannot.  Most of all the advice is spot on.  Enjoy and heed some of that advice!

Last Minute Marathon Tips: shot with Nikon D90 from Mike Kobal on Vimeo.

Monday, May 13, 2013

What goes through my head before running a Marathon?

So, it’s marathon week again!  :)  It’s been a few weeks since running the Eugene Marathon and I’m ready to rock the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon with my 17 year old son, Cairo.  This will be his first marathon.  I’m so excited for him!  Besides all of my normal excitement, I’m on overload with what the marathon experience will be for him.

I have so many things going on in my head the week/days leading up to a marathon.  I’m so darn excited, it’s hard to hide it physically.  I’m just all over the place with my thoughts… Did I train well enough? Did I taper well enough? Should I have started carb-loading a couple of weeks ago?  SQUIRREL!  You get the idea.

If someone could peek into my head the days leading up to a marathon, they would see something like this video:

With that being said… I try really hard to relax!  How do I relax?  Make checklists and check off the items that I’m concerned about.  Travelling pack list, race outfit check list, race plan check list, and check lists for my check lists!

My sister seems to think that I’m over the top with some of the things I do, but it’s all about my process.  I’ll relax after the race!  :)

If you’ve got a hyperactive brain like I do… try to relax and let things happen.  Enjoy the marathon experience!  You’ve worked hard for it and now it’s time to reap the benefits of all of the disciplined training!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Inspirational Running Videos

So, I was thinking the other day what my life would be without running!?!  Scary thinking for me!  I’d be unhealthier, have less friends, lower self-esteem, and I wouldn’t be able to do cool things.  Cool things like being a part of a video for our company customer conference.

I cannot believe that it’s been a year since these videos were created and used. I was meaning to blog about them, but never did.  It was super cool to be a part of the video process.  The videos might’ve only lasted a few minutes, but the whole process was a day and a half of running and going to the different shooting locations.

I especially loved the second day as my daughter tagged along.  She actually drove the car for awhile as the video dude hung out the window videotaping me.  It was a great bonding time with her.

This inspirational video was one of the video openers for the daily sessions.  It was so weird watching it with all the conference attendees.  Check out the DC12 Opener Video.

 

There was a second video done for the our road show conferences which are our mini-conferences done throughout the country.  Check out the DC Roadshow Video.

If I didn’t run, I wouldn’t have been asked to do these videos.  I wouldn’t have experienced such a cool process.  I wouldn’t have made so many friends.  I wouldn’t have higher self-esteem.  I wouldn’t be as healthy as I am.  There are countless positives to running.  I’m so glad that I took that first step and that it has become an incredibly satisfying part of my life!

Looking forward to the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon to add to my experiences – the Cleveland Experience is going to rock this year!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Put your running spectators to work

There is nothing better than knowing that you’re going to see family and friends along a race route.  It’s a milestone marker that you can set out for yourself and recover a bit.  It’s also a huge boost that you’ll need.  When my family comes out to see me run a marathon, I stop just about every time that I see them, even if it’s just for 30 seconds.  I figure if they’re going to follow me around during the whole race, I better stop and let them know how I’m doing and all.

There are definitely times when I’ve seen my family at a race and haven’t stopped.  My awesome family in Ohio were at mile 25 of the 2010 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, I was on track to PR and felt too darn good to stop.  I was too close to the finish to stop – I had to keep stepping.  If I ever try to BQ, I’m sure there won’t be much stopping then either.

Since my family is coming to these races, I secretly put them to work as my race crew.  I’ve asked them to bring me items during and after the race.

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I usually prepare the before, during, and after bags the night before the race.  Creating 3 different bags makes it so easy for your family.  Instead of asking for certain items, you’re asking for a specific bag.  Pictures shown here are from the Cowtown Ultra Marathon – 50K that I ran in February.

Before Bag

The Before bag has my stuff that I need before the race… Garmin, GUs, SPI Belt, headphones, etc., etc.  I usually take this bag with me to the start line.  I’ll hand it back to my family along with any jacket or pants that I might take off.

During Bag

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I usually pin some directions on the During bag as shown in the picture to help them during the race.  What’s in the bag?  Some extra GU in case that I drop any.  A dry shirt, a towel, band aids, extra water bottle, and a plastic Walmart bag for any wet sweaty clothes that I might take off.  As you might notice in the picture, I ask for water and Gatorade G2.  It’s listed on the directions since the drinks are in a cooler.  :)

So, just think of what you might need during the race and throw it in the during bag.  Best case is that you won’t need it.  But, if you need it and it’s there… all the better!

After Bag

20130224_040759My After bag usually contains my favorite post-race beverages: chocolate milk and grape Gatorade G2.  It also contains my favorite protein bar, a dry shirt, towel, pants, and a jacket.  I get cold pretty easily after the race is over.  I need dry clothes to change into pretty quick.  It’s such a weird luxury to change into dry clothes.

I also place a portable battery phone charger in this bag as my phone will usually be close to dead.  I got my phone charger from Groupon.  It definitely comes in handy.  With the phone charger, I can start responding to tweets, texts, and FaceBook posts as I recover.

I keep refining the before, during, and after system and it’s worked out pretty well.  Below is a picture of my race crew after the race.  Notice the after bag :)   Best race crew ever!

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If your family is out there, they want to help you along your journey. Make it easy on them to help.  They’ll even feel more involved in the race.