Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Luck of 2011

The Greeks have this tradition where on the first day of the New Year we eat bread. Ok, it’s a little more complicated than that. We buy a round loaf of sweet bread, called Vasilopita or in English St. Basil bread, made special for the New Year holiday. What is special is that a coin is placed in the bread dough and then baked inside the bread.

When the first day of the New Year arrives we cut the bread into slices and dedicate each piece to an aspect of our lives and the people in the family. For example, every year we cut the bread into 11 pieces and dedicate them to the following: home, health, finance/work, and then the 8 people in our family (each member gets their own slice). When we are handed our pieces, everyone digs through their bread. The person who has the coin in their piece is bestowed good luck for the New Year. The year 2011 was my first year in which I had the coin. So, according to the Greeks I should have had a very lucky year. In retrospect I did. I have a very happy and healthy son, my relationship with my husband has grown stronger, and I have discovered my love for running. Of course 2011 had its pitfalls, mostly in the academic and job arena. But I learned a valuable lesson.

What I learned in 2011 was that I need to make myself (health and happiness) my number one priority. Once I learned this (which wasn’t easy), everything else just fell into place. Along this path of health and happiness, I discovered myself. I am pretty sure I lost my sense of identity along time ago, even before becoming a mommy and wife. My priority was school and work and it’s no surprise that the strong focus on these two aspects in my life have paid off immensely. But I was a workaholic with no outside interests. I forgot what I loved to do, because I never had the time to do it.

When I had my son in April 2010, it took almost a year to discover that the way I had been living life before wasn’t what life was about. March 2011 was when I turned it all around; school (as important as it is) became lower on my priority list. And jobs which I would have died to have before, I so graciously turned down. My priority became taking care of my family. And to do that to my fullest I needed to make sure I was feeling happy. I hit the gym and soon after I told myself I was going to do something I never thought I could, run a half marathon. And I did. That goal opened a door to a world I never imagined being at my fingertips.

The year 2011 wasn’t about luck; it was about learning to live life correctly by trying to enjoy every day.   Granted I did have my setbacks (mostly between Thanksgiving and Christmas), but the setbacks I experienced were necessary reality checks to help inspire and motivate me to continue being strong for myself and my family.

2011 was an amazing learning experience. But 2012 will be the year I shine. As John Lennon sang in his song Instant Karma “Well we all shine on, like the moon and the stars and the sun…Why in the world are we here surely not to live in pain and fear.”

Be Inspired, Stay Motivated, Run Strong! Happy 2012

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My First Blind Date and it Involved Sweat and Stretching!

Yesterday I had my first blind date, and it was AMAZING!

In March I invested in a personal trainer. Best money I ever spent. GeraldDean was amazing, she quickly whipped my ass into shape. She never took excuses and always pushed me harder. GeraldDean was Irish and was (at one point) a part of the Celtic group River Dance. I don't know if it was because of the Irish superstition of luck, but whenever I had an exercise with reps she always made me do one more for luck. And it became a habit of mine to always push to do one more sit-up, pushup, pull-down, etc, for luck. GeraldDean trained me until my first half-marathon in October (Disney Wine and Dine) and when I got back I had a message on my machine. Because of obligations to her dancing troupe in Long Island and future traveling she was quitting my gym and no longer employed as a personal trainer. My heart sunk, she was my rock in this new journey of mine.

So I decided that I would take sometime to train myself, using what she taught me, and I hit the road. After 2 months of being MIA from the gym I finally went back, more because it was too cold outside for a decent run. While there I bumped into the head of all the trainers and he informed me that I had 5 more sessions left. Not wanting to waste the money, I told him that I would like someone who could help me improve my pace and teach me to be a stronger runner.

The next day is when I met her, my new trainer. Alexandra was amazing. A triathlete who refused to train anyone who wasn't either a runner, swimmer, or biker. We did some great strengthening exercises  (which I will post about later) and when we were finished she stretched me out and rolled a medicine ball on my stiff muscles. It was the best experience. Along with the training, every four weeks we will do a session where she takes my biometrics and determines my future workouts based on the results. She also promised that within the next few months I will see an improved pace (we shall see, keeping my fingers crossed).

The funny thing was, every time I would slow down during a rep she would look me in the eyes and say in a greek accent "You are a Runner. A strong, determined Runner." You bet your ass I am!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Love I Took for Granted

Do you know that saying (I'm sure you do), that one that says something like "If you love something let it go and if it's meant to be it will come back."? I know that I just stated it totally wrong, but you understand. Well, that's been me and running the last month. Running let me go, gracefully. The truth is it happened slowly. And it all began during an amazing five miler I was having.

I was running through the upper west side of Manhattan, keeping an awesome pace (actually one of the best paces to date) and at mile 4.85 I fell into a pot hole. I just shook it off and kept going, but at the end I knew I twisted my ankle pretty bad. It hurt, but what was worse was how bad the small injury shook me. I had been running since March and had minor setbacks (shin splints and sore muscles). But it was the first time that running reached out and hurt me. And with any relationship that hurts, I got scared. I know it was only a twisted ankle, but for the first time I realized that I was vulnerable during the only time I felt safe. Running has been my escape, my paradise. Me and the road. No worries about my relationships, being a mom, school, work; and for the first time I felt good about me. The depression that had engulfed my life had disappeared. This was my world of running. But after the minor setback I was hesitant, it hurt me like so many other aspects of my life. Just like the way I was raised (resist conflict by all measures), I let go. I put my running shoes in the closet and I stepped away. And slowly I fell apart.

It was crazy to realize how the activity of running was keeping my world together. It was the glue that kept me grounded. But I didn’t realize the extent until now. Thanksgiving came and I ran the treadmill a little bit, but not the mileage that I was use to. And as the holiday approached I slipped into a depression. Thanksgiving has always been hard since I lost a friend 5 years ago in a very tragic car accident the day before the holiday.

After the holiday I became swamped in school work and mommy obligations. The two constantly conflicted with one another which began to cause massive guilt to build up. There were numerous times where I was on the verge of a melt-down; and at one point where it just happened. Sitting at my desk I just cried and cried. Why couldn’t priorities be easier to manage? The stress of my PhD program was taking a toll on my marriage and every day my husband and I were at each other’s throats. Keeping sane was becoming more difficult, I felt like I was drowning and once again my life felt like it was falling apart and depression began to slowly take over.

One day after coming home from a long day of work and school, I opened my closet and there sat my beautiful bright blue running shoes. For the first time in my life I felt a love towards an inanimate object. I picked them up and gazed at them. My shoes missed me as much as I needed them. At that moment I gathered all my running gear and packed it away in my gym bag. I walked out into the living room and informed my husband that I was going into work early so I could run. The next morning I woke up excited. Today was the day I reconciled with a love I didn’t really know I had.
I drove to work, dropped off items in my office, and hurried over to the gym. I walked the track a few laps to warm up and then jumped on a treadmill. For 40 minutes I gave it my all. Granted it wasn’t as good as my previous five mile run, but it had been a while. The moment I stepped off the treadmill, I had a bounce in my step. I was happy and I felt good. I gradually got back on the horse and it felt great. I am not as edgy and snippy which has decreased the tension in my marriage. And the guilt of having to be away from my son has somewhat subsided.

Running has taught me time management. It has also shown me that my number one priority is taking care of my physical and mental self. A happy mommy is a good mommy. Looking back I feel bad about taking time off. But in all honesty, I needed to truly see how this sport has shaped me and made me stronger.

So my running affair continues. Every date we have is one that I will never again regret.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Everyone Dies, Unfortunately Some Die While Running

As a new runner, I am saddened and, honestly, terrified after hearing all the news stories about runners who have died suddenly while running (or after finishing) a race. It's hard not to see these stories and let the very sad outcome of these runners affect your mental strength. As a researcher, I couldn't help but do what I do best.... Google how to stay healthy during marathon training and racing. What I found, might be common sense to most people but to me was new information that is helping me overcome the irrational fear I have developed (don't get me wrong, I am still running races but my head keeps going to the "no no" place of "what if you die while doing this?").

There are a handful of causes of death while running which include sudden death, hyperthermia, hyponatremia, and hypothermia.

Sudden death happens when the body succumbs to the stress of a marathon either from a preexisting condition or the surge of adrenaline. Numerous doctors and exercise experts have dedicated time to research looking at the cardiac problems of runners to address why there seems to be an increase in cardiac related deaths among runners.

Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study found that the most-fit subjects (not super athletes, but those who exercise 15 to 25 miles per week and have a pace that averages 10 mins) are 50% less likely to suffer from heart-disease, as well as less likely to experience a stroke, have diabetes and high blood pressure, are less likely to have cancer, and are at lower risk of showing signs of Alzheimer's. If the ACLS has found that running is very beneficial to our health, what is the cause of sudden death? A runner who is under 35 years old and suffers from a heart attack is more than likely to have a structural defect in their heart (most commonly a misshaped, malfunctioning, enlarged heart - hypertrophic cardiomyopathy). If the runner is over 35, the cause of death is most likely artery disease (cholesterol deposits  that rupture and then cause a heart attack) because of the flexing of the the arteries that loosens the deposits and then the cholesterol mixes with the blood forms a clot and then clogs the artery.

Besides preexisting conditions, runners can experience adrenaline surges that can lead to death. The  adrenaline surge seems to happen when a runner first sees the finish line. Many times, paramedics are stationed at these areas in races to help runners whom may experience the adrenaline surge. Thankfully the amount of deaths due to adrenaline surges has been on the decrease because of the use of defibrillators. A runner who suffers from an on course heart attack is 50 to 75 percent more likely to be saved, compared to 15 percent on the street.

A runners body temp is controlled by the heart pumping blood to the skin where body heat is lost through sweat. Heat loss can happen through high humidity and dehydration . But hyperthermia can also happen from other circumstances like running a faster-than-usual pace which can cause a high metabolic rate. Runners can also overdress or not remove layers to adjust to the climate. Hyperthermia can also be prevented by drinking the water that is lost from sweat.

The main cause of hyponatremia is drinking too much water, which dilutes sodium levels in the blood causing swelling in the brain. Hyponatremia is much more common in women, slower runners , and those who took over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Hyponatremia is most likely to develop after completing a race when sodium is lost in the urine. Staying hydrated by drinking water or sports drinks shouldn't be avoided, because drinking fluids helps maintain adequate blood flow to support demands of running.

Hypothermia is most likely to happen in cold, windy, or wet conditions. Other conditions like running slower during your second half of a race can make it difficult to maintain a proper heat level because sweat is building up and wetting clothes, which cools the body temp especially in cool climates. Besides body temp, hypothermia can also cause serious heart problems.

RECOMMENDATIONS (by International Marathon Medical Director’s Association):
1. Participants should be sufficiently trained and have a corresponding race plan that is appropriate for that level of training and fitness.
2. Have a yearly physical examination being sure to discuss your exercise plans, goals and intensity at that visit.
3. Consume one baby aspirin (81mg) on the morning of a long run/walk of 10k or more is no medical contraindication.
4. Consume less than 200mg caffeine before and during a 10K or more.
5. Only drink a sports drink or its equivalent during a workout of 10k or more.
6. Drink for thirst.
7. Do not consume a NSAID during a run or walk of 10k or more.
8. Consume salt (if no medical contraindication) during a 10k or more.
9. During the last mile, maintain your pace or slow down; do not sprint the last part of the race unless you have practiced this in your training. Run/walk as you train.

After reading all the research and information it has helped me realize the true underlying factors of on course deaths. Death while running is still a scary thought, but the truth is that at some point everyone dies; it's unfortunate but some die while running. 

Jane E. Allen (Nov. 21, 2011), Adrenaline-Fueled Sprint Makes Some Marathons Deadly.

Amby Burfoot (Dec, 2008), Special Report: Are Marathons Dangerous?,7120,s6-238-244--12968-6-1X2X3X4X5-6,00.html

Jake Emmett (2007), The Physiology of Marathon Running: Just What Does Running a Marathon Do to Your Body?

Lewis G. Maharam, Arthur Siegel, Stephen Siegel, Bruce Adams, Pedro Pujol & Paulo Alfonso Lourega de Menezes (March 20, 2010), IMMDA’s Health Recommendations for Runners & Walkers.

Monday, November 21, 2011

What's Your Must Run Race in 2012?

Like many runners, I am looking at making my race list for 2012. I really want to do some amazing races! So here is my question to you: What is your must run race in 2012? And why do you love it so much?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Winner for November Giveaway Week 3

Congrats Karen Kidwell!! Please email with your address! Happy Running!

Michigan running = treadmill torture!

As some of you may know, I have taken a little time off to recover from plantar fasciitis. The worst part of my pain... knowing that this happened because a pair of  everyday flats. Needless to say, those shoes have been put where they belong (the trash). My recovery has consisted of Ibuprofen, a night brace, morning tennis ball rolling, foot soaking with Epson salts, and nightly frozen water bottle rolling. I am not sure if one helped more than another, but the pain has subsided and I finally laced up my beautiful neon blue mizuno shoes and went for a run.

Unfortunately, the run was on a treadmill :( Since I arrived in Michigan for the Thanksgiving holiday, my son has been on me like glue (super duper glue). I can't even take a shower. My husband is still back home in NYC, so everyone in my mom's house is relatively new to my son (my mom and grandmother and aunt have met Michael numerous times, but he is too young to really remember people that he doesn't see somewhat regularly). This clingy phase has put a major damper on my running. But fortunately, my mother had invested in a treadmill that sits (dusty) in the corner of her living room. This has been my ONLY option to get a run in. But using a treadmill is actually much harder than I remember; I stopped running on treadmills around May and that transition was hard. At first I hated running outside, but now going back to the treadmill has made me realize how much I love being in charge of my own pace without pushing a button and how great it feels to run a neighborhood. I am thankful though for that dusty thing sitting in the corner, because I have a very strong feeling that this is my only way of getting my miles in. I do have to admit that after such a beautiful snowfall last night, my mind and body were aching (deeply) to go for a crisp run in the snow. Oh, well maybe in a few days I might be able to sneak away for a much needed date with some pavement.

Hug a runner

Today is Hug a Runner Day!
It feels great to say to my family, "hug me because I run!" hahaha.
But all joking aside, it's great to hear people close to me say how proud they are of how I have changed my life. I did it for myself and son, but every now and than it's nice to be recognized for the effort that goes into running (more like fitting a run in during the day... the act of running is a cake walk compared to getting out the door!!).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Disney Family Fiesta 5K Featuring the Three Caballeros

I ran into a personal dilema a few days ago. I was on the phone with Disney trying to reschedule our Chef Mickey reservation on Friday to a later time. Unfortunately, Chef Mickey is booked (not really a surprise). The problem lies in the fact that a 9:30 breakfast will probably interfere with the 5k race.
In frustration, I brought up the dilemma with my husband and told him that I was really thinking about not running it. Then today RunDisney posted a beautiful picture to their Facebook page. They revealed the 5k medal. Yes, I know it's plastic. But the design is adorable and I have always loved the Three Caballeros. After seeing the picture I just might be late to our Chef Mickey breakfast reservation. I don't think I can pass it up!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Happy Mother Facelift

As some of my regular readers can see, this Happy Mother blog got her self a facelift! Hope you enjoy the new layout :)

Happy Running!

Running in the news - For Beginning Runners, Advice can be a hurdle

When I first started running back in March, I would read anything and everything I could get my hands on that would give me insight into the sport that I was starting. I also picked friends brains consistently for information (thank you Karen!). So when I came across an article in the NY Times about newbie runners and advice I had to pause for reading (as well as reflection).

The article addresses three main points for beginning runners: running form, training programs, and injuries. The author briefly discusses the fact that there is a lot of information "out there" and some of it reiterates myths that could actually be harmful to runners. For example running form, as a new runner you read in numerous places that there is a perfect way to strike the ground with your midfoot or forefoot. But research shows that there is no evidence for "perfect form". Instead, studies have shown that people run in a way that is best for their body and changing it can cause injury.

As for running programs, there is not a one size fits all. When choosing a program, the runner must take into account the goals they are trying to meet and how fit they are when the begin. One piece of running advice that stays true is that new runners need to begin slowly and increase mileage gradually (often advised, 10% per week). Runners shouldn't feel locked into a program, and he/she should change their running time and miles dependent on how they feel.

And finally, the dreaded injury is discussed. The author brings up the fact that while running, injury is unavoidable and the only thing associated with running injuries is actually running. The more mileage a runner does, the more likely they are to sustain an injury.

The article was interesting. It will, obviously, be criticized for its Que Sera Sera type of attitude towards running. What's your take: Does form matter? Are there certain programs that are better than others? Are injuries avoidable? Are we inundated with too much advice?


For Beginning Runners, Advice Can Be a Hurdle
Published: November 14, 2011

I wrote a column last month discussing whether runners should train with a coach — and not a single reader wrote in to ask how to find a coach. But many asked about something else.

I mentioned that my colleague Henry Fountain had started running with the help of a podcast. Readers wanted to know what podcast it was. “I really need it,” one wrote. (For the record, that podcast, on, is called “First Day to 5K.”)

That response is an indication, exercise researchers say, of two things: how hard it is for someone who is not used to running to suddenly take up the sport; and how unnecessarily complicated advice about running has become as “experts” battle over shoes and running form and training programs.
Researchers who have no financial ties to running programs or shoe manufacturers say that most of those complications are unnecessary and some of the advice is even risky, because it can make running harder and can increase the chance of injury.

Take, for example, the notion that there is a perfect running form, like striking the ground with the midfoot or forefoot. There is no convincing evidence for this convoluted advice, disinterested researchers say. In fact, studies have found that individuals automatically run in a way that is most efficient for their own bodies. Those who change the way they run naturally are less efficient and more prone to injury.

“There is good evidence that your body is exquisitely lazy and will find the easiest way for you to run,” said Carl Foster, professor of exercise and sports medicine at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Even elite runners have a variety of styles. Some strike the ground with the heel, others with the midfoot. Some look elegant, while others look awkward and clumsy.
Dr. Steef Bredeweg of the University Medical Center Groningen, in the Netherlands, and his colleague Dr. Ida Buist are principal investigators in a series of rigorous studies of runners, asking how best to train novices and how to prevent injuries.
When it comes to running form, Dr. Bredeweg said, “we don’t know what is the right thing to do.” For example, he noted, forefoot strikers place less stress on their knees but more on their calves and Achilles tendons.

“We tell people we don’t know a thing about the best technique,” he said. He tells runners to use the form they naturally adopt.

Running form is just one example of the confusions buffeting beginning runners. Running, said John Raglin, professor of kinesiology at Indiana University, “is so prone to these sorts of trends.”
People “will latch onto anything,” he added, and an anecdote or two about what is supposed to be an ideal running form often passes for evidence.

Exercise researchers also say there is no perfect program to get people started running. A lot depends on what a person’s goals are and how fit he or she is before starting to run. Experts caution, though, that it is important to start slowly, increase mileage and effort gradually, and not become a slave to a rigorous program.

“You have to be more patient than anything you have heard or read about,” Dr. Raglin said. “People are indoctrinated with what they can achieve in a short time with a little bit of work. But the reality is very different.”

Individuals, even competitive athletes, also vary enormously in their ability to adapt to training. There is very little science to explain why, but Dr. Raglin and others have repeatedly documented the effect.
Two athletes can be training at the same relative intensity, running the same distances. In races, the two are equivalent. But one will break down under a training program and the other will thrive, Dr. Raglin said.

So if a training program does not seem to be working, he said, “don’t stick with it because you think it’s what you have to do.”

He suspects that unreasonable expectations are an important reason about half of all people who start a running program drop out, usually in the first six weeks.

Others give up after an injury. Unfortunately, though, injuries seem to be an unavoidable part of the sport. Dr. Bredeweg and Dr. Buist noted that about a fifth of novices who were training to do a popular four-mile run were injured and stopped running before they ever reached that goal. When the researchers tried to figure out how to prevent the injuries, they learned that the only thing associated with running injuries was, in fact, running. The more people ran, the more likely it was that they would become injured.

Despite these obstacles, many beginners, like my colleague Henry, succeed with programs like podcasts, while others, like Daniel C. Smith, dean of the business school at Indiana University, succeed on their own.

Until last spring, Dr. Smith thought running was not for him. He’d tried it a few times. Inevitably, after about a quarter of a mile, he decided it was not fun. Then his wife took up running, and Dr. Smith thought that perhaps they could run together. He bought running shoes and began. “The trees were starting to blossom, flowers were coming out,” he said. He was motivated, he said, by the opportunity to be outside.

“The next thing I knew, I was up to two or three miles,” he said.

Then he and his wife entered a five-kilometer race. “We survived,” said Dr. Smith, who is 54. “But there is nothing like starting your Saturday morning being beaten by 75-year-old men and passed at the finish line by 8-year-old kids. It is quite humbling.”

He decided to train to run faster and went to various Web sites to find out how.
“They are so complicated,” Dr. Smith said. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, it’s just running.’ ”

Hunter Orange

Sexy Right?
It's that time of year when I head back to my old stomping grounds to visit my family (Friday I am taking flight). I am always excited to travel to the UP to see my mom and grandma. Most of the time spent there is quality family time since the UP is notorious for not having anything exciting to do. This time around I have added running to my list of activities (as well as puzzle construction and scrabble with my grandma). The funny thing is , for those that might not know, it's hunting season. Yep, deer hunting... one of the most important days of the year for Yoopers (not joking). The tradition is so deeply engrained in the culture that kids get opening day off of school. I never realized how crazy of a concept it was until I moved away and realized the rest of the world didn't understand spending time in da woods in da cold to bag da buck (Yooper talk). Anyways. the crazy part isn't that it's hunting season, what's crazy is that if I want to get my long runs in outdoors (in the snow and the gear!) I will need to wear this very fashionable piece of clothing. Why might you ask.... well it helps ensure that all hunters will know that I am not a deer running down the street and will (hopefully!) not shoot me. And I can guarantee that my mother (even though I am almost 30 years old) will not let me out of the house without it, unless I am going somewhere in the car. Don't fret blogging community, my embarrassment is your amusement. So for your viewing pleasure I will undoubtedly make sure that there is a wonderful picture of me decked out in my "DON'T SHOOT! I'm running!" gear.

The northern part of MI.... way up North!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Manic Monday at the Doc

Having a child means frequent doctors visits even if they aren't sick. Since Michael was born we have been going to the doctor almost every month either for check-ups, vaccines, or the dreaded flu.  I like to do same day appointments instead of month by month scheduling (for me it's easier because things always seem to change in my house). Yesterday was my day of doctor craziness. I decided when I woke up, since I had the day off, I would take Michael in for his next set of vaccines and a check-up. I should have known that the day wasn't going to go well when it started off with a call to the wrong doctor. The worst part, it took me a whole conversation to realize it. Here is what happened.

How I felt after calling the OBGYN!
Lady: Hello, doctors office.
Me: Hi. What time is the office closed today for lunch?
Lady: The doctor isn't in today.
Me: Oh really. Ok, I guess I need to make an appointment.
Lady: What's the name?
Me: Amanda
Lady: Ok, what is it for?
Me: I need to get my son his next set of shots
Lady: Oh we don't do that here
Me: Really? When did you stop?
Lady: We never gave shots
Me: Last time I brought my son in he had his shots.
Lady: I'm sorry Mrs. Rosenburg, but I think you are confused.
Me: No, no I remember.
Lady: This is the OBGYN, we don't give children shots here.
Me: <Long pause> Oh my God! I have the wrong number! I am so so sorry.
Lady: it does say in your record that you're due for a check up soon.

Me: well I guess I should schedule something.

After hanging up with my OBGYN I called the actual pediatrician and they told me that they weren't busy and to come in right away. The appointment went as expected, Michael screamed and held on like a monkey and the doctor fought with the little guy to get his temp, a look in his ears, and a listen to his heart. The appointment took a turn when Dr. Nick looked at me during one of Michael's screaming fits and asked me if I was feeling ok. I looked at him with a sense of bewilderment. Dr. Nick approached me and asked me if he could touch me.... "umm ok". The doctor started rubbing the front of my neck and he stopped and stepped back and said, "You need to see your doctor. Your thyroid is excessively large." Really?!? 

Since I didn't have work I thought, "why the hell not, lets go to my doctor also." So after Michael finished up, we headed to to my doctor. After an hour and a half wait it was my turn. 
Doctor: What's up Amanda?
Me: Michael's pediatrician thinks that I might have a problem with my thyroid. He said it looks enlarged.
Doctor: Ok, lets take a look. (steps back) swallow for me.
Me: <Gulp>
Doctor: Do you lift weights.
Me: I haven't for a few weeks
Doctor: well, it doesn't look like you have a thyroid problem.
Me: Really? Well, what did he see?
Doctor: <laughs> your neck is more toned compared to most woman.
Me: huh?
Doctor: You have masculine neck muscles.
Me: So you're saying that the weight training I do for my arms has been more effective for my neck
Doctor: Yep, looks like it.

Seriously....FML! Really? I am happy that it isn't a thyroid problem, but the idea that my muscles are building in my neck and I still have the "wave" fat on the bottom part of my arms is irritating. 

So what happened next.... I asked my doctor about my foot pain and he told me that I have the beginning signs of Plantar Fascia (I figured) and that I need to take it easy for a week. Allow for soaking time at night, wear a night brace, not to walk barefoot, do some stretches, and look into alternating my running shoes. So today I went and got an awesome pair of neon blue Mizuno shoes (of course fitted at wonderful Jack Rabbit).
My new foot gear
LOVE the color!

Then I brought up the problem I have with breathing (a variable that has kept my pace rather slow). After some breathing tests and a laundry list of questions, my doc gave me my new running buddy. I am hoping that this will help with all my problems while running. We shall see!

All in all, it was just another manic Monday!

Monday, November 14, 2011

13 Going on Crazy

Awesome swag at 13 & Crazy!
Fellow runner and blogger, Melissa, has an amazing blog that I think you should all check out. First and foremost, she is working on completing 13 half marathons in 13 months. Yep that's right, 13 races, 13.1 miles each, in 13 months. Melissa debunks the myth of the number 13 being bad luck. Not only is she chronicling her journey of the crazy 13's, she is also giving away some awesome running gear from Oiselle. I highly recommend checking out her blog, as well as following her on Facebook (
Her journey is just beginning and it looks to be an amazing one at that. Don't miss out!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

First run through Manhattan

Living in NYC has its perks, especially when it comes to running. But until today, I haven't actually really ran in Manhattan (well, once but it was on a Boardwalk with other runners). I live in Queens so I run in Queens. Most of the time running in my neighborhood is quite and pretty laid back. I don't have obstacles to run around.
Since today was amazingly beautiful, I decided to take my lunch break and get my 5 miles in. It was AWESOME! I actually didn't use my Garmin (OMG!) and I had a PR for training. There were the downsides, like tripping in a pot hole and twisting my ankle :( Oh well.... off to ice it and take some Ibuprofen.

When Etiquette Rules Conflict

Living in NYC, I am the privileged (rolls eyes) to be subjected to mass transportation daily. Most of the time I take the bus (which stops a few blocks from my house) right to Columbia University. The trip is not too bad ranging from 25 minutes to over an hour sometimes. The adjustment to mass transportation hasn't been an easy one. Growing up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan didn't provide me with any opportunities to learn the rules and etiquette of mass transportation. It was when I moved to NY that I quickly learned that there is a pattern to things. But my question is, "What happens when that pattern is interrupted?"

The stated rules of NYC Bus transportation:
(1) no spitting
(2) no radio playing
(3) no talking to the driver while he/she is driving
(4) no explosives
(5) marked seats are meant for handicapped persons. If you are sitting in a marked seat and a person who is handicapped enters the bus, you must (by law) move and give them the seat.

The unmarked rules of NYC Bus transportation (This is more etiquette side)
(1) move to the back of the bus if the front is crowded
(2) give the elderly your seat
(3) don't talk loud on your cell
(4) do not look at or talk to crazy people
(5) put bags on laps or under seat
(6) give pregnant women your seat
(7) give parents with small children your seat - help them with stroller if needed
(8) give heavy people your seat

Ok so with that stated, I ran into a moral dilemma yesterday on my trip home. The bus was packed from front to rear and everyone was crammed in like sardines. We arrived at a stop with three people waiting to board (1) a heavy set 40 something year old woman (2) a woman carrying a 9 month old (ish) child and stroller (3) a teenage boy.

As the three enter the bus, a man quickly jumps out of his seat and motions to the mother with the baby to sit. Before the woman could put her stroller away, the heavy woman takes the man’s' seat which is marked for handicapped persons. When the man addressed the woman about taking the seat, she turns and tells him that she needs the seat because she can't stand for long periods of time so she is handicapped. A few moments later another person gets up and gives the mother a seat.

So all is right in the world, but it left we wondering... "Who really deserved the seat?" The pattern of bus etiquette was interrupted and the atmosphere was a little tense.

Do you think that the heavy lady was right in taking the seat? or do you think that the mother deserved it first?

Monday, November 7, 2011

How to Encourage Physical Activity

As a developmental physiologist, creator and researcher of technology, a runner and mother I have addressed the question, "how can we encourage children (as well as adults) to be more physically active?" A majority of the technology we have in our everyday environments encourages a sedentary lifestyle (television, game counsels, remote controls, motion sensor lights)... think of it we have the CLAPPER! The form of technology that makes it possible to turn off lights with only clapping our hands. We have become lazy. I am not saying that all technology is bad, I am an advocate of properly developed technology that enhances learning and experience. But I feel that our society has reached a point where we have gone overboard.

When I saw a picture of a line to take an escalator with no one on the stairs, it made me think, "how can we change this?" There's a group who has developed, what they call, the fun theory. They installed a music device in a flight of stairs to make taking the stairs fun. What resulted was an amazing outcome of people opting out of taking the escalator. Those who used the stairs ranged in ages infant to elderly. The concept of making a daunting/exhausting task fun will ultimately give way to people voluntarily experiencing and taking part of the task itself, ie climbing stairs.

But, the fact of matter is, we usually don't have access to musical stairs. So how do you make your kids excited to take the harder path less traveled?... make it a game and get the whole family involved. Buy a set of pedometers and give one to each family member (you can get pedometer as cheap as $9.00, equal to a ticket to see a movie at the theater!) Explain how a pedometer works to your children and set ground rules like (1) we use it on weekends (2) the winner chooses the next family activity.. etc (really whatever works for your family). This isn't only great for getting your whole family moving, but making everyone realize how much or little they move.

We don't need musical stairs. We do need motivation because the technology we have in our homes is very enticing!

Long Run Fail

So this weekend was suppose to be filled with amazing running! Well, it seemed that way for those running ING marathon but not for me. Saturday I decided to take my long run in the mid afternoon since the weather was beautiful. I knew when I was getting ready something felt off. I told my husband that maybe I should skip today and go tomorrow. He pointed out that I would miss watching the marathon and that would be silly. So I hesitated but went out the door. It was only a mile and a half, when I realized that I didn't have water or money to buy water (seriously what was I thinking). I have no idea how I left the house so ill prepared. It was at mile two that it hit. My head started pounding horribly. I hadn't properly hydrated the day before and I haven't been feeling well. I wanted to turn around and go back so bad, but I couldn't I needed to finish this long run and get my distance in. I have two half marathons coming up in 50 days. So I gave myself a walking break. But the walk break turned into a 6 mile walk. I was so disappointed. By the time I got home my head hurt so bad that I called my mother in-law to watch my son for the night. I took a shower and went straight to bed (7:00 pm - a new record). I slept through the night and woke up the next morning at 7am. Not only was I dehydrated but extremely tired. I need to start listening to my body. The runners world quote of the day relates to my troubles I felt this weekend; "They say that the most important thing about a marathon is showing up at the starting line healthy. I'll agree, but the second most important thing is showing up confident, and I'm feeling that's well within my reach." Peter Sagal
This bad run took a huge toll on me, and it was my fault for not being ready and healthy. I learned my lesson because I still feel the backlash from it.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The winner of the Headband Swag is...

Helene Melchert LaFaver! Congratulations on being the first winner of Novembers Bounty Giveaway! Helen, please email with your mailing address to receive your running gear! 
There will be another giveaway next week, please stay tuned. Happy Running to All!

Friday, November 4, 2011

ING NYC Marathon Expo

Hal Higdon and I. Unfortunately the picture was blurry :(
Even though I am not running the NYC marathon this year, I couldn't  help myself, I took my son and we made the trek to the Jacob Javits center to go to the expo. The vendors at the expo were amazing. Right when you entered, was the Runners World booth. Sitting there signing his book was Hal Higdon. So I went up and had a chat with him. Thanked him for helping me loose my baby weight, and then asked him to sign the book to my husband, who is now working on becoming a marathon runner. I walked around and looked at all the booths that were promoting races. Had to look at the Disney medals, in person, one more time (AMAZING). Next to the Disney booth was the Ottawa Marathon, I fell in love with the Ottawa Marathon medal. It was hands down gorgeous. I think we are going to have to look into the race. After some shopping and browsing, I ended my visit at the Rock 'n' Roll booth where I registered my husband and I for the DC race (we received 15 dollars off per registration). Overall, it was a great expo. I wish the ING people would have had the expo in a bigger room because on a Friday midday it was PACKED. I wouldn't want to try to maneuver around everyone with a stroller tomorrow. YIKES! Now off to find some good sayings for signs to cheer on the ING runners as they go through Queens on Sunday.

Happy Running!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Running Shoes and Guilt

As a running mother, there are days that I feel down right guilty going out the door. And there have been times where my guilt takes over the reasoning part of my brain and I take off my shoes and actually give up a run. This isn't just a mommy problem, but a problem for any woman who has work or home obligations. We think, "Really? Is it ok for me to go for run when the shit is hitting the fan at home or work?!" And the answer is YES! Go run! By allowing yourself time to go run and focus on YOUR health, you are bringing a better you back into the work and home environment. And what does that mean for the people around you? A happier and more sane you! (see the clip below)

Running and exercise develops endorphins that are vital to making you happy. So why is it important to be happy? Well it helps you live longer. What a concept... happy people live longer! (see the clip below)

One of the main ways to stay/be happy is to make sure you do not postpone your happiness. So lace up those shoes, put your blackberry on silent, and give your child a hug and kiss goodbye and get your run on! Because running = happiness and happiness = longevity so RUNNING = LONGEVITY! Let's dedicate this run to becoming a healthy, happy, 100 year old runner!

Happy Running!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November's Bounty Giveaway

As the title suggests, November is going to be filled with amazing goodness at Happy Mother Runner! Why? Well, I am giving away some AWESOME running swag! Each week in the month of November one lucky reader will win a nifty running gift.

How do you enter? Easy... sign up to follow me on my blog or like me on Facebook ( If you do both, you are entered twice! I said it was easy :)

The grand prize gift is a Preppy Blue Athletic Skirt from Stay tuned to learn how to win this amazing piece of swag at the end of November!

Good Luck and Happy Running

Gift #1: Headband Swag
White DANCE! Headband from Lululemon
Great for running, yoga, and everything in between. Made from luon, our signature fabric: breathable with 4-way stretch
Size: One size fit all
Value: $12.00

Blue Slipless Headband from Lululemon
Great for running, yoga, and everything in between. Sticky grip holds it in place
Size: One size fit all
Value: $9.00

Gift #2: Stay Hydrated On-The-Go!

Sigg 1L Sport Top Bottle from Lululemon
Super lightweight aluminum bottle. Contains no PVC, BPA or phthalates that might be harmful to your body. Internal coating does not retain smell or flavour and is bonded to the metal so it will last the lifetime of the bottle. Virtually unbreakable and fully recyclable when you're done with it. Swiss engineered, leak proof lid! Complies with all FDA health regulations
Value: $19.00

Gift #3:The Best Support System
Nike Victory Adjust X-Back Sports Bra
Ideal for high-impact sports like running, soccer, tennis and basketball. Adjustable shoulder straps and back closure for a fully customizable fit. Open mesh X-back for ventilation. Molded cups for separation, lift and shape
Size: S(C-D)

Gift #4: Keeping the Style
Spin Me Tank from Lululemon
Medium support and coverage tank with bra adjustability and a twist! Made for the gym, cycling or yoga. Made with super soft stretch luxtreme™ - lightweight, inherent wicking performance to keep you dry and comfortable. Wide mesh straps are wicking, and quick drying, with an anti-stink Chitosan finish. Mid length, body skimming fit - follows your curves but doesn't ride up. Mesh shelf bra comes with removable cups.
Size: 6
Value: $52.00

GRAND PRIZE - Gift #5: Running with Class

Preppy Blue Athletic Skirt from
Super versatile navy, royal blue and pool argyle print with white heart detail in lightweight performance fabric. 2 Roomy Velcro closure pockets at the hips. Attached compression shorts with no chafe flat seams have a longer inseam for thigh protection and a fit that does not ride up. Inseam length 6-8".
Size: 4

Sunday, October 30, 2011

#1 Killer of Runs

Creaky floors. Yep creaky floors are the number one cause of not getting out the door. Well, at least at my house. What do I mean by this? I am an early morning runner, I try to get out and back before anyone wakes up. Living in a somewhat small apartment in NYC doesn't provide me with many options when it comes to escape routes. If I want to go for a run I have to sneak out of my bedroom and pass my sons room to get out the door. Many times (too many to count) I have tried sneaking out and I get right to the door and the floor goes !CREAK! and the next thing I hear is "MAMA!" When this happens, just for a second, everything in me deflates. I go into his bedroom and greet him with a "Good Morning, Sunshine!" and he just giggles. It makes me so happy to see his face in the morning, but what's even better is seeing him wake up (with his happy face) after I have a great run under my belt. I have to admit, I have tried everything to pass over that creaky floor without making a sound. I have shuffled my feet instead of walking, baby crawled, army crawled, marked areas on the floor with tape. I have even kept him up late in hopes that he will sleep in. But some days, to get out the door is impossible even at 5:30 am. I do find a way to make it work. The other day I did sprints carrying him along. And I have done runs pushing a none jogging stroller (a jogger is on my PLEASE SANTA PLEASE list). But no matter what, at the end of the day I am a Happy Mother Runner because I have a son who says "BRAVO MAMA!" even after my most horrible run.

Cold Wind, Wet Feet, & Hot Soup!

Unless it was yesterday... YIKES!
Even though I woke up with a sore throat and runny nose, I pushed myself out the door. I was suppose to run 7 miles but ended up completing 7.71. I am extremely happy about my distance. My time not so much, but because I wasn't feeling well and haven't been running consistently this last week, I was ok with it.

I am happy that I passed up a run yesterday to do one today. Yesterdays weather was HORRIBLE! The snow storm hit the North East and hit it hard. By the time I was able to run the slush was ankle deep and I would have frozen my toes off.

Today's run had considerably better weather. Granted, there was a cold wind that stung my face when running by the water. And every now and then, I would accidentally catch a puddle getting my feet wet. But the best part of my run was finishing it and going to Brooklyn Bagel and getting myself a hot bowl of delicious veggie soup!

I guess sometimes all it takes is a decent run to make things in the world feel right again. I wasn't inside my head this time around. Instead, I was 100% into my run taking in my surroundings and feeling it. It was a completely different feeling compared to my last one.

I am also happy that I have finally found a top that doesn't try to ride up while I am running. I have been having problems with winter attire staying put. I am so excited because this top moved with me, kept me warm, and looked great. YAY!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Head Is Playing Games

The other day a family member commented on how fat I still look even after all my running. At first the comment hurt, but after overcoming the sting I started to ponder why and it dawned on me that maybe I need to diversify my exercise routine. So I decided that I needed to really focus on my strength training. I know that I have it on my calender, but it is usually the first thing I skip when I need time to get work done for school or work.

So I started my Jillian Michaels routine. Two/three times a week I am alternating between "6 weeks to a 6 pack" and "30 day shred". I am hoping that tacking this on to my running will help build a stronger core, which is what I am really aiming for (not a thinner figure but a stronger one).

Even after figuring out my new plan of attack, my early morning run yesterday made me want to scream. It was one of those runs that was just hands down horrible. I know everyone has bad runs and to truly appreciate the good ones you have to experience the bad. But it's hard when you already feel like you are floundering. "You're fat! You're fat" kept running through my head. Along with "You're slow! "You're Slow!" (slow is my critique of myself). When I finally got home I just wanted to cry. But I told myself that the only way to get over this is to fix it. So I put in 30 day shred and worked my warm muscles a little more. Afterwards I felt a lot better.

I am my biggest critic. And I never thought that this journey would be easy, but I have learned one big lesson....As much as I train my body I also need to train my mind and thoughts to help me along and not bring me down.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My love of CEP

I had a pretty big scare last night, which led me to the conclusion that there are certain running items I just can't live without.

I had just gotten the laundry back from the laundry mat (I outsource b/c it saves time) and I was putting away our massive amount of clothes. As I was making my way through the piles and piles, I discovered one lonely CEP sleeve. This is what our laundry mat does when they find missing socks, the lady nicely piles all the lonely ones together. As I held my CEP compression sleeve I remembered specifically putting both in the laundry bag. If both went in the bag that means one is missing at the laundry mat. My eyes begun to tear and I felt frustration building up inside. How could they have lost my compression sleeve. What would I do, I can't get to the store to buy new ones until Saturday. How would I complete my long run? At this point during my panic it dawned on me that this compression sleeve was what helped me get through my 3 mile wall. It stopped my shin splints after months of icing, ibuprofen, and a couple chiropractor visits that couldn't. This sleeve is what helped me complete my first half marathon. This was more then a sleeve, it was a sentimental item that made me a runner.

As I pushed back the tears, I put away the rest of the laundry with a huge feeling of disappointment. I went to bed accepting the fact that my beloved sleeve was gone for forever.

When I was getting ready to go to work/school this morning I was gathering my belongings. I decided, since it was raining, that I would run indoors at the University gym. So I started to gather my running/workout attire. As I picked up one of my moisture wick shirts, there it was (my sleeve) stuck on the back of my shirt. My heart skipped a beat. I was beyond excited and it made my day. I happily put my newly found sleeve safely with my other sleeve and smiled. Everything felt right again. And then reality hit and I remembered that I had a huge day of meetings and headaches ahead of me.

I love my CEP's :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Changing Your Wardrobe w/the Seasons

As a new runner, I have been trying to figure out how to make an easy transition from the hot summer weather to the cool fall temps. It has been a guessing game and I always seem to guess the wrong answer.  I am either always overdressed and too warm or under dressed and too cold.

So I obviously goodled my imposing problem! And I found a great blog post titled, what else, "Cold weather running" which provides  good guidelines to follow when trying to pick your daily running attire. These are just starting points to help you choose what to wear.

According to Mary Katherine Ibbetson
What to wear as the temperature dips
> 55º    – Shorts, sleeveless jersey, socks, sunglasses
45-55º  – Shorts, short sleeve jersey, socks, sunglasses
40-45º  – Shorts, long sleeve jersey, socks, sunglasses, gloves (mine are windproof)
35-40º  – Running pants or tights, long sleeve jersey, socks, running vest, sunglasses, gloves, chapstick
30-35º  – Running pants or tights, long sleeve jersey, woolie socks, running vest, headband, sunglasses, gloves with glove liners, chapstick
25-30º  – Running pants or tights, long sleeve jersey, woolie socks, running vest, headband, sunglasses, warmer gloves, chapstick
20-25º  – Craft windproof front panel pants, spandex shorts under the tights, long sleeve jersey, Craft windproof under layer, woolie socks, running jacket, running face mask, sunglasses, warmer gloves with glove liners, chapstick

The above chart gets adjusted for:    
Long slow runs – I find that I may need to wear gloves if the temperature is below 50º because my hands get colder the longer I am running
Races – I dress a little cooler because I am running faster and tend to be hotter
Windy – I may wear an extra layer (sleeveless shirt) under my top layer.
1st Cold run of the season – dress a little warmer because you are use to the warmer weather so it feels even colder than it really is.
Dark runs (early morning/night) – dress a little warmer depending on wind

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Uphill Sprints

So I told myself that I was going to stick to the plan. hahaha! I really wish I started off like that. I am running and getting my miles in. I am just not doing the strength and tempo like I really wanted to. So today I pushed myself. I dragged my butt outside and ran hill sprints. I know today was suppose to be a rest day, but I rested all weekend after the 10K.

I have read some articles on the positives of hill training. There is an article in Runners World titled "Want to Run Fast? Run Uphill!" from 2007 that covers the basics. The article states "The fast pace builds speed, but it's the hill that provides the strength benefit. Running up an incline places the same demand on your muscles as weight training--your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves must "lift" you up the slope--but they're more specific to running. And just as with plyometrics (jump drills), the "explosive" action of uphill sprints improves elasticity in your muscles and tendons, which allows you to spring quickly into action after landing."

So I thought I would give it a try. 

The hill sprints weren't bad I did a set of four with my final sprint carrying my 23 lb son. That was a workout. Now to keep it up. I guess everything is a an uphill battle, literally!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Rock ‘n’ Roll New York 10K - Recap

So today my husband, brother and I ran the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll 10k in NYC.First, I want to say that the weather couldn't have been any better. It was cool but not too cool.

EXPO Packet Pickup
Swag Bag Contents
So before I get into the race I want to talk about packet pick-up yesterday. Packet pick-up took place at Super Runners on 7th ave at 12pm to 7pm. When we arrived (12:30ish), there was a long line outside.The line moved pretty fast, and once we were inside it was easy sailing. We were asked if we had our printed confirmation emails. We didn't have them, because at that point we hadn't received the confirmation email (which we got 2:30 that day). So we had to fill out our paperwork. We got our numbers and were directed to shirt and bag pickup. Unfortunately, there were only medium and large shirts available. I was irritated by this because I had ordered an extra small, but it was a blessing in disguise because I love how the medium fits. The bags also had one free Gu packet for the race and we were given a free gift coupon to redeem during out next purchase. Overall, the staff was friendly and informative.

Race Day
We started our day at 5:00am (race start at 7:30). We were out the door by 6:00. Estimated travel time was suppose to be 22 minutes. With that in mind, we thought we would have ample time to find parking and get to bag check and our corrals before the wave start. Well, we ran into huge problems starting as soon as we walked out the door. First we were out of gas and at 6:00 gas stations aren't usually open. After finding a station and filling up we got on the road. We were doing pretty well until we hit a major traffic jam going into Brooklyn. There was construction for over 3 miles, three lanes cut down to one. Traffic wasn't moving, we sat there for 40 minutes. At this point it was 7:00am. Only 30 minutes until the start. We finally got to the park but couldn't find any parking! For 40 minutes we searched, finally we found a parking garage (which wasn't busy because everyone was already running the race). We got out of the car (deciding to leave our check bags in the trunk to save some time) and booked it to the race. When we got to the start, all the corrals were already waved through. We were told by the staff that we could still run the race so we headed out of the starting line. I was just praying to finish before others and not get swept.
**On a side note, I guess public transit was worse because of the re-routed Q train which was one of the main routes to the park.

The race course was beautiful. The park was perfect this time of year. We ran the inner lap of prospect park twice to gain distance. I would have preferred a route that wasn't repetitive, but it wasn't that big of a setback. Since it was Saturday morning the park was full of dog walkers and equestrians. At mile 3, two equestrians decided that they were tired of waiting to cross the race path and just stepped out in front of us. Running around the horses wasn't the only distraction these large animals contributed. There were times during the run that I had to dodge around some horse poo. Just some minor hiccups in the race.

The course was mapped to have 3 water stops (mile 1.5, 3.5, and 5.5). During our run there were only two (mile 3.5 didn't have water). The mile 5.5 water stop also had Gu (but I passed b/c I wasn't sure  what Gu they were giving out and it sometimes messes with me).

The course also provided DJ entertainment at miles 1, 2, 3.5, 4.5, and 5.5 (these weren't individual DJ's at each because of the loop, each DJ covered 2 separate spots). They were a great addition except that one DJ at mile 3.5/start was slightly rude. My husband had told me that there were two heavier set women running by and the DJ asked where they were from. They replied Texas. The DJ proceeded to say, "Well I guess everything is bigger in Texas". MORTIFYING!

The course allowed for easy spectator viewing throughout. And there were a lot of cheer squads, who by the way, cheered for everyone. I love that, it's always a great boost of motivation.

The finish was smooth, I ran right through and was given a medal and water right away. They were also handing out cold Zico water, banana's, bagels, and power-aid. There seemed to be more than enough left over (even after seeing people grabbing more than their fare share). After I met up with my husband we headed over to the photo section (taken by Bright Room) and had a bunch of pictures taken (I will post them when I get them back). After we finished with pictures, we decided not to stay for the party because we wanted to get back to our son and spend the rest of the day enjoying the weather as a family.

I really don't have any complaints about the race. Many of the problems we ran into (traffic, parking, and horse poo) were not within the control of the organization. I did hear that people were having problems with bag pickup, but since we left our bags in the car I can't comment. I also overheard that the race had a late start, but we also were late and didn't participate in the official start so I can't say much about that.

Overall, the race was pretty good and I look forward to running it again next year.

My Race Gear