Race Reviews

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Tough Mudder Tri-State Englishtown, NJ

Perfect day for the Tough Mudder - the sun was out, temps were cool, and there was little to no wind.  Team Semper Mudelis completed the 12 mile course in 4 hours.  It was definitely an endurance and mental challenge, speed at most points was not an option.  The course started with a dry, flat, 1 mile run and that was the last of dry and flat!  The first obstacle was an ice water jump requiring a swim under a wall.  Then it was mud, mud, and more mud.  I thought the most injury prone part of the race was a 2 mile trail run which include ditches, mud traps, and so many tree roots.  The water obstacles were a double edge sword one part energizing the other part petrifying.  The height obstacles, well lets just say I fixed my eyes on my hands, so that I wouldn't know how high up I was.  Started as a team, ended as a team.  I'm banged and bruised up, and can barely climb a set a steps, but would I do this again? ABSOLUTELY!  

PROS:

No Mudder Left Behind - everyone helped each other out

Mental Race - of course you have to be somewhat fit, but slow, steady, and lots of team effort.

Showers to rinse off!

CONS:

Parking was at the PNC Art Center and Monmouth, with bus shuttles to Englishtown, there was no shortage in shuttles but the distance was a 40-50 minute ride.  We lucked out with Volunteers on our extended team so we were able to park onsite.

Volunteer organization was good to start, but then forgotten and left to fend for themselves.  At the end of their shifts, no relief came.

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Beachwood 5k River Run (and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk)

The Inaugural Beachwood 5k River Run (and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk) took place Saturday October 20, 2012 in Beachwood, NJ.  MyRunSpot member, Steven Komsa, was a key organizer for this spectacular event.  The Beachwood 5k River Run starts and ends on the beautiful beachfront in Beachwood, NJ.  The course begins and ends on the waterfront at Mayo Park and Beachwood Beach, goes past parks, waterfont homes, the yacht club, marina, war memorial and river walk.  The 5k River Run began at 10am, followed by the Fun Run at 11am.  Proceeds from the event go to the Beachwood Recreation Commission.

Pre-registration and the after race party were at High Velocity, a great sports bar and grill, just blocks from the start and finish, at 226 Atlantic City Boulevard.  The after race party was immediately following the race, with a free buffet and drink specials for all runners.  Registration on Race Day was at the Beachwood Community Center at 147 Compass Avenue.  Registration on race day was handled very well by the volunteers, who were all very excited and eager to help.  The shirts for the event were awesome and included a very nice Beachwood 5k River Run logo on the front (pictured above).  Sponsors, including MyRunSpot.com, were printed nicely on the back.  The race packets also included some great promotional items (MyRunSpot wristbands and magnets included!).

The course wound through the neighborhood and along the beachfront.  Something to note for next year is to get there early and enjoy the scenery, park and happy people!  The Event Staff, local Police, Beachwood Recreation Commission members and volunteers did a great job of keeping the course clear of traffic and helping people find registration and race parking.  I look forward to running this race next year, and MyRunSpot will definitely sponsor and participate in this event again!

 

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The Color Run - New Jersey

The New Jersey Color Run was held at Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ on Saturday (and Sunday) September 1st, 2012.  It was a colorful start to the new month, to say the least!  The run begins at 8am with the first group of 2000 runners (yes, 2000 runners!!!).  The website and pre-race information packet explains that packet pickup is encouraged due to this, as race day is CRAZY.  After running the race, this is a definite and is strongly encouraged by us as well.  If you pick up your packet the day of the race be prepared to wait in multiple lines for a VERY long time.  The pre-race information indicates that there are 7 groups (waves) of runners, but we were included in the tenth.  The last wave of runners was planned for 9am, but the race went a bit later due to the large crowd at the event.  Below is a Course Map for the NJ run provided by the Color Run website.

The day was a bit warm (lower 90’s), however, the event took place early enough that the sun wasn’t too much of a factor with the general heat.  Runners are instructed to wear white clothing, which is the obvious choice when running in an event that’s sole purpose is to become VERY colorful by completion.

In addition to the white/light colored clothing, it is also advisable to wear some sort of bandana/hat, especially with light hair colors.  The Color Run staff indicates that the color is easily removable, but this is not always the case with some colors of paint and some hair colors.  Additionally, eye protection such as sunglasses is also a very good choice, as some of the paint dust is likely to end up in your eyes.  I personally had a large handful end up in one of my wide open eyes!  It wasn’t too painful, but the dust is EXTREMELY dry.  Thankfully, there was a water station not too far away.  No water was ingested in my case, only poured on my colorful eye!  LOL 

Another key to this race is to stay to the outside of the course if you really want to get colorful.  The crowd doesn’t move quickly through the color stations, as it slows to a crawl, but I found that running down the middle in the beginning of the color station and cutting over to the edge near the end worked well.  Also, though the event is named ‘The Color Run’, a solid 98% of the participants walk.  With the very large crowd, this makes for quite the adventure/obstacle when attempting to actually run the 5k.  Our group found that running on the outside of the course’s trail between the color stations helped, then the opposite through the color stations.  A few times, we had to pull evasive juke maneuvers through participant crowds, but this added to the fun and made it a bit of a game!

Following the race, most of the participants gather around a large stage where a DJ is playing music.  This is the post-race festival where participants are encouraged to save their bags of paint dust (comes in the race packet) to throw in the air, while dancing and having a good time!  There was plenty of items for sale at the race, and a food/beverage station was also open.  The event also had a good amount of water for drinking/cleaning at the Finish area, which proved to be beneficial.

In all, the run wasn’t much of an actual run, but definitely created some smiles and laughter.  As they state, The Color Run is ‘The Happiest 5k On The Planet’!

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The Color Run - New Jersey

This was definitely the happiest 5K on the planet, but just like Philly definitely a jog/walk/bring the kids event. My daughter Kaitlyn (15), Jessica (15) and I arrived at 6:45 am and the place was hopping. The event started right at 8 and the heats of 500 or so took off every 5 minutes. We got into the 4th heat but had to slow to a jog before the first kilometer. Finished by 9 and the girls headed straight to the mosh/dance fest. They had an absolute blast and wore their color with honor at the PPB Bubba Koos Burrito - totally worth the early morning rise. Next year, they plan on wearing Tutu's and Tiaras!

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Minimalist Running - More Than Just Shoes

Blog Post provided by Jason Fitzgerald of StrengthRunning.com

One of the main reasons that running is so appealing to millions of runners is that it’s simple. All you need is a good pair of running shoes (and sometimes that’s not even necessary!) and you can get a great workout anytime, anywhere.  

You don’t need any fancy equipment, a track, or any technology: just you, your running shoes, and the road. Now that’s minimalist running! (though, even tech like heart rate monitors can be useful)

But these days (I’ll try to refrain from complaining like an old man), the running landscape is changing. Runners are buying more gear that aims to make them faster, healthier, and stronger. True minimalist running, or embracing the purity of the sport and a commitment to the basics, isn’t as important as Garmin GPS watches, heart-rate monitors, fuel belts, and fancy recovery drinks.

Instead of simple running shoes that let us do all the work, we rely on heavy motion-control shoes with “advanced technology” and “systems” to correct our form. There have even been studies that show that expensive shoes are more likely to cause injury than cheaper running shoes!

It’s More than Shoes!

Many runners train only on treadmills where they can control their pace, distance, surface, and hill grade. But put them outside and it’s a foreign world – sudden turns, hills, uneven terrain, and changing surfaces.  

Our reliance on technology is replacing our reliance on our own bodies. Running by feel is a lost art that can be relearned simply by running outside and enjoying a “comfortable pace.” Go ahead, put the Garmin down and have some fun!

The human body is not a machine and can’t be tuned to a specific pace or distance every day, no matter how hard you think it should be. This is tough news for most runners who think they can adhere to every workout in their schedule exactly how it’s planned. Sometimes, you just need extra running recovery.

Just because your stock marathon training plan (that’s the same for everyone) says you should run 9 miles today doesn’t mean you necessarily should. Maybe you feel great and should run 10 miles! Or maybe cut that run to an easy 7 and focus on strength exercises or cross training. Remember that our bodies have limits that can’t be contained in simple schedules.

There are some runners who do most of their training on a track (can you fathom how boring that is?)!  

It’s time to ditch your high-tech running gadgets and the same training routes in your neighborhood (after all, variety is a hallmark of a good training program). Power off the treadmill, run in the forest, and take in your surroundings!

Take a lesson from the fastest runners out there:

  • They don’t own GPS watches
  • They rarely run on treadmills
  • They don’t wear motion control shoes
  • None use a generic training plan
  • None run their distance runs on a track

Minimalist running goes beyond what you wear on your feet. It’s a mentality. It’s how you approach the sport and go about your daily runs. Strip out the non-essential from what really matters: getting in tune with your body, taking in your surroundings, and improving your health because you truly enjoy the process.

Let’s take a deep breath, get back to basics and embrace minimalist running. Who’s with me?

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The 2012 Tri-State Rugged Maniac Mud Run

The Tri-State Rugged Maniac Mud Run took place this past Saturday, July 14th, at Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ.  The length of the run is a 5k (3.2 miles), and it is littered with obstacles and MUD!  The weather for the event was mostly cloudy and very humid.  The clouds certainly helped with the heat, and the mud and water raining down on the participants throughout the course helped with the humidity. 

Pre-Race

                Upon first arrival at the event, there are plenty of runners sporting costumes (one guy wore a complete dog costume) and finishers sporting plenty of mud.  Right away, one can tell this was going to be a great event!  The check-in tents had decent sized lines, but simply because of the event’s popularity.  However, the volunteer staff moved the lines quickly and check-in was painless and simple.  Once you have your race bib tightly secured to your outfit and your timing chip secured to your shoe, you are ready for action!  The registration indicates a specific starting time, but we found that they weren’t too stringent on letting you go a heat or two early if you got there in time.  We registered for the 2pm start time, and managed to join the 1:45pm group.

                                Starting Line

               The starting area is blocked off by wooden barricades, and the entrance can be found at the end along with a large sign that indicates “RACER ENTRANCE – ONLY THE RUGGED”.  The starting line is located right along the final obstacle, and the race begins by running under other participants climbing across a large cargo net about 12 feet off the ground.  The race winds along a dirt course that includes plenty of obstacles to contend with (18 total on this course).  Some of which include:

  • Large dirt mounds
  • Long stretches of slippery mud
  • Big wooden obstacles to climb over
  • A long stretch of mud water about 2-3 ft deep
  • Tire swings
  • Trenches of water covered by barbed wire
  • Underground tunnels w/ 3ft clearance
  • A long drainage ditch w/ 3ft clearance
  • Water/mud slides
  • Pot holes and mud puddles

               There is a water stop along the course, which was welcomed with the bit of humidity.  The water stop also doubled as a clean-up area to help with muddy faces, etc.  Some of the obstacles caused some scrapes and bruises, but these are mostly felt in the days following the race.  The adrenaline and excitement during the race helps keep these unforeseen obstacles at bay in the mean time!

                                  Post-Race

               Post-race includes a hose-down area where all the participants line up to hose off some of the mud prior to the drive back home.  The event also included live bands playing, food and beverage area, an area where spectators can also join the action with large, inflatable games, and plenty of beer!  There were plenty of volunteers to help with any questions and the area was maintained very well for the amount of participants.

                                 Plenty of MUD!

                In conclusion, this was the first obstacle, mud run that I have participated in, but it will definitely not be the last.  Can’t wait until next year and I certainly hope to participate in some of the other obstacle races as well.  

                      GOOD TIMES!!!

 

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Philly Color Run

So this weekend was the Philly Color Run, and I must say, I had a blast! The views during the "race" were great, everyone was happy and friendly, and all you saw were smiles. Highly irregular these days! It is definitely more of a walk/jog type of event. I'd say there were 70% walking and the other 30% ran it.


Anyone that is doing a Color Run in the future I have a little advice:

1. Wear a bandana or something to cover your hair... especially if you have light hair. I washed and scrubbed my head like crazy twice yesterday, and I still have green hair today. (People at work will think I'm nuts)

2. Prepare to be okay with your skin being dyed a different color. Again, I scrubbed like crazy, but I still have green and purple spots.

3. Be prepared to blow your nose and have black boogers.

4. When they tell you to stay in the middle, don't listen unless you don't want to get hit with that color. The color squirting people are generally on the outsides. Also, it doesn't hurt at all. They have squirt bottles or buckets filled with the color flour and just spray you or throw it on you.

5. Hold your breath when going through the colors. It's just a cloud of color and hard to actually breathe while going through!

All in all, it was an awesome time and a lot of fun! I hope all of you doing the NYC one this summer have as much of a blast as we did in Philly!

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Pine Beach 5k - June 24, 2012

MyRunSpot.com was a proud sponsor of the 14th Annual Pine Beach 5k at Vista Park in Pine Beach, NJ.  There was a very strong turnout this year, with 633 entries (Results found at Piranha Sports' website).  The morning of the event was relatively cool and in the upper 60's, lower 70's.  The heat would definitely make its presence as the day went on, however.  There was a good amount of parking around Vista Park, but the early birds definitely got the worm in this case.  Vista Park is beautiful and plenty of runners, vendors and a concert stage would be found occupying it this morning.  The event was very well planned and included a great atmosphere for all participants, spectators and locals.

With a beautiful view of the Toms River, the Start of the race includes a very small hill right along the water.  The hill does not have an immediate elevation, but is more of a gradual up-hill (most often considered the WORST for running!).  The run along Riverside Avenue continues for about half of a mile.  The course then winds down some quiet, neighborhood streets.  Residents in the area helped runners along with cheers and even sprinklers pointed into the roadway instead of the lawns.  This was very helpful, as the sun began to bake down on the runners as the day progressed.  This got the runners to the 1 mile marker.  It was nice to have the mile markers for the 5k, along with the clock displayed, as not too many 5k races include these (in this particular case, I forgot my Nike+ GPS watch, so I as very happy!).

The course then heads down Pennsylvania Avenue, which is a relatively long, flat stretch of road.  This stretch included PLENTY of sunshine on our backs.  Thankfully, there is a water stop at the end of the long stretch with plenty of volunteers to hand out cups of cold water.  The volunteers at the event were absolutely awesome!  Along with the Pine Beach Elementary School in view, mile marker 2 made its presence.

The course then heads through another neighborhood and back towards the river.  After another very welcomed water stop, there is a slight downhill.  Runners will then reach the waterfront and head back towards the Finish.  There are a couple hills along this stretch of the run, as well as, plenty of sunshine.  The view of the river definitely helps in motivation to keep pushing.  Not too far down the stretch, the Finish line comes into sight.  Plenty of family members, spectators and volunteers can now be seen, the cheers can be heard and the fresh BBQ food can be smelt.  Time to get kicking and get to the Outback Steakhouse food tent!

The post-race included plenty of ice cold water, Gatorade, various beverage selections from vendors and food provided by Outback Steakhouse and Foodtown!  Additionally, runners could immediately check their times on a number of large screens, listen to live bands playing on a concert stage in the park and catch some shade over by the Start/Finish area.  The perfect ending to a great race!

Congrats to all the participants for a great race!  Another congrats to our MyRunSpot member winning the bicycle giveaway from Beachwood Bicycles!  WooHoo!!!  See everyone next year!

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Jason Fitzgerald can help you improve training, prevent injuries, be more confident in your running and race faster!  Jason will adjust your current training program to help you train with more purpose.  He will help you achieve your running goals with his training packages, which are designed to eliminate the stress and worries that come with training!

Here is some feedback from other runners utilizing Jason’s training plans:

“Jason’s customized Plateau Buster training plan gave me a smarter approach to my half marathon training, taught me ways to make my speedwork more valuable, and provided me with workouts that increased my confidence when racing. ” – Kate F., owner NaturaStride.com

“I purchased your Plateau Buster and I’ve been following most of your exercises in it. So far I’ve knocked down about half a minute on my pace per mile. I’m so thrilled with that!” – Leo C., Texas

Jason’s training plans will:

  • Motivate you for an upcoming marathon and Personal Record attempt.
  • Losing those stubborn last 5 pounds with a few simple training adjustments.
  • Specific workout tweaks to build endurance and speed (often at the same time).
  • Injury prevention during a peak training period.
  • Clarify training questions like “How do I get over the middle part of a race where I always seem to slow down?” and “Can I combine weights and running in the same day?
  • Training adjustments that will help you run a personal best, without having to run more – just by running smarter. 

There are three training plans offered:

  1. The Plateau Buster – a detailed critique of your current training, with suggestions on how to improve.
  2. The PR Race Plan – a customized training plan showing you how to train for an upcoming race with mileage, workouts, and strength exercises.
  3. Full Coaching – 1-on-1 coaching, full training plans, unlimited communication, and plan revisions. All you can handle.

For more details regarding Jason's Personal Coaching, more runner feedback on the various training plans and excellent running tips/information, visit:

Strength Running – Personal Coaching

Have questions? Email Jason at support@strengthrunning.com.

About Jason: Jason has been running competitively for over 13 years and recently posted a 2:39:32 marathon PR. Jason is the founder and coach at Strength Running and has been featured in major media outlets like Yahoo, Fitness Magazine, and Lifehacker.  Jason wants to make you a better runner!

 

 

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Blog Post provided by Jason Fitzgerald of StrengthRunning.com

A popular question I get goes something like: "I want to run a fast 5k but I don’t want to run much.  How do I accomplish this with just three runs a week?"  

It’s possible to run a personal best and get faster with only three runs per week provided you haven't been running a lot already.  If you stop running 70 miles with two fast workouts per week and try this strategy, you will not improve.

But for those runners who have done some running and want to be productive with just a few runs per week, it’s possible.  

Let’s be clear that this type of training isn’t ideal.  The bare minimum won’t help if you want long-term success.  This is not the best way to train for long races like a marathon but it will allow someone who lacks time to run well.

These are my training recommendations for a 5k with a reduced training schedule.  

Three Days Per Week

If you want to be run well and only have three days to train, then you have to focus on quality.  A normal schedule would include a few "maintenance runs" that build your aerobic – but not this plan.  All three runs in this schedule are specific to racing a 5k.

Day #1: Combination Workout

The first run of the week will focus on strength: the combination tempo and hill workout.  To make this successful, shorten the length of the tempo so it’s shorter than normal and cut the number of hill reps.

A general rule is to cut the tempo in half from what you normally run and do the same with the number of hill repetitions. So if you normally run a 20 minute tempo and eight hills, do a 10 minute tempo + 4 hill reps.

Run the hills at your current 5k race effort.  The incline will make the actual pace slower, but the effort should be the same.

Run the tempo first; otherwise, your heart rate will be too high after the hills to run a successful tempo.  A short tempo is also a great warm-up for harder running.

Day #2: Intervals Specific to 5,000m

Next you’ll be on the track running intervals at slightly faster than 5k pace.  I like 800m or 1,000m intervals because they’re relatively short and allow you to easily hit your goal splits.  Confidence is important during workouts.

It's important to run between 4 - 5,000m in total volume during this workout.  This translates to 4-5 x 1k or 5-6 x 800m.  Covering the race distance or close during the workout will give you the strength necessary to race where you want to be.  Take 2-3 minutes between the intervals to ensure you're adequately recovered.

As you get in better shape and your goal race looms closer, reduce your recovery time to two minutes or even a minute and a half.  But keep in mind that you shouldn’t be racing during a workout – leave some effort in the tank.

Day #3: The Long Run

Every training plan needs a long run (especially for races 5k and up).  It's vital to developing endurance that will allow you to out-sprint your competitors at the end of the race.  The distance of your long run depends on your current fitness and past training background.

If your longest run in the past four weeks has been six miles, then try to run seven miles as your first long run.  But if you ran 13 miles last week, keep it at this level.  For this minimalist training program, there's no need to run longer than 13-15 miles.

Your long run should be about 40 - 50% longer than your other two training days.  So if you want to run 14 miles then your other sessions should be roughly 7-9 miles.  If your long run is ten miles, your other training runs should total about four to five miles.

A Sample Schedule

Let's see how this program looks when it’s all put together.  For simplicity, I’m not including any strength training, core workouts, or supplemental aerobic work like biking or pool running.  

 Monday: OFF

Tuesday: Combination workout - 10 minute tempo and 4 x 400m hill reps.  Includes: 15 min. warm-up and 15 min. warm-down.  6 miles total.

Wednesday: OFF

Thursday: Intervals - 5 x 800m with 400m jog recovery.  Includes: 15 min. warm-up and 15 min. warm-down. 6 miles total.

Friday: OFF

Saturday: Long run - 11 miles.  

Sunday: OFF

This schedule is high-intensity - it assumes the runner wants to improve and race well but only has three days to run.  By combining four types of workouts in three sessions in this week, this program allows a busy athlete to get the most bang for their time investment.

Jason Fitzgerald is a 2:39 marathoner, founder of StrengthRunning.com, and the author of 101 Simple Ways to Be a Better Runner. He’s been featured in Yahoo, Fitness Magazine, and Active. Sign up to get free access to the Runner’s Gear Bag – a collection of resources to help you be a better runner.

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The North Face Endurance Challenge Mid-Atlantic Regional at the Algonkian State Park, Great Falls Park and the Potomac Heritage Trail in Sterling, VA in the Washington D.C. area (thenorthface.com) took place Saturday June 2, 2012.  The day/night before the event, the D.C. area was hit hard by rain, thunderstorms and even tornadoes.  There were reports that many flights into the area were cancelled or delayed, so some runners were unable to make it in time.  Others arrived VERY early Saturday morning, and some even took buses into the area.  Many participants were battling the horrible traffic in the Georgetown area to get their race bibs and swag bags.  It took around an hour to get to the store from VA-295 (this is about 15 miles on the map!). 

Start/Finish Line – North Face Endurance Challenge

The race began at 7am, so runners had to prep early in the morning.  Saturday morning was cool and still damp from the rainfall the night before.  The clouds were beginning to dissipate early and it was going to be a beautiful day for the event!  The Start/Finish area was very well put together with various tents set up, a nice area to get a picture in front of the North Face Endurance Challenge logo, plenty of water and plenty of port-o-potties!  As runners know, the port-o-potties are a key part of the pre-race ritual.  LOL!  The 50k had a good amount of participants and everyone was ready for the challenge (and what a challenge it was!).

Pre-race 50k

As stated before, the weather was brutal the night before the event, and the runners were in for an extreme challenge on this course.  The trail became an ice rink, slicked with thick mud.  Additionally, there were large puddles and streams running through the trail that quickly got the participants down and dirty (both literally)!  Right away, the runners funneled into a large mud puddle, and everyone did their best to avoid going through and ‘ruining’ their running shoes/outfits.  Little did we know, this would not last long.  A few miles into the race, everyone was pretty well covered from hip to foot in mud and water (some even more if they fell).  The race had hints of an obstacle race, with small fences, bridges, streams, PLENTY of mud and plant life in the mix.  The views were epic and the racers were smiling as we made our way towards the Great Falls section of the run.

Narrow Mud Trail along the Potomac River (sorry for the shaky picture, but I was running!)

Much of the run was down a narrow, muddy trail winding through the woods and up and down some very steep hills.  It was a miracle if you didn’t fall into the mud or a stream along the run, but these falls were mostly followed by laughter and smiles (and other runners falling around you and helping you back up!).  Anyone expecting this to be your ‘typical’ run/event, you are very wrong.  This course is grueling and is not for the faint at heart.  The course challenges you beyond many courses out there, especially in/following bad weather.  However, the EMTs and volunteers at the event were right there to help you out with fresh water, Gatorade, GU Electrolyte Mix, chicken broth, many types of food (freshly made PBJ sandwiches, pretzels, etc.) and ANYTHING you needed to keep going and stay motivated to push yourself further.  The only thing I wished different for this event was to have another rest/aid station between the Fraser and Great Falls stations, as there was almost a 7 mile stretch of very hilly, muddy terrain that really wore you down and quickly rid you of your water on the way back.  As the day went on, the heat started to present itself along with the sun.  Most (about 95%) of the run was shaded by the trees, however.  This was no problem for the volunteers on hand, as they even had ice to fill your personal water bottle to keep you cool (event was VERY, VERY well put together and staffed).  The 50 mile race (yes, 50 MILES!!!) had started 2 hours prior to the 50k, so some of the elite runners in that event were already passing by as they headed back to the finish (which was absolutely amazing!).  My wife ran the 50 mile, which is something that anyone in the running world can very much respect, as many of us wouldn’t even attempt such an incredible distance! 

One of the few streams that had to be crossed

Once the Great Falls station was reached, many family members and spectators gathered at the local park.  This was a great motivator because we still had a great distance ahead.  The loop in this area included some more hills and a bit of mud, but not as much as the last section.  However, this section did present a brand new obstacle: LARGE ROCKS.  There is a section that runs along the river that MAY be considered rock climbing in some circles!  LOL  Again, a very scenic area to run, which really helped keep your mind off the pain and distance ahead.

Heather in front of an amazing view from the rocks next to the Potomac River

The run back towards the finish was a long-haul and we now had some Marathon runners on the trails.  Some of the 50 mile runners were catching up to and passing many of the later 50k runners on the run back, but this was somewhat welcomed, as the company out there was always fun.  The hilly terrain on the way back to the Finish was tough and many runners made their feelings towards the hills known!  LOL  Some runners were starting to fade from dehydration and exhaustion, while others pushed forward with a walk/run technique.  The Finish line was a welcoming sight to the runners and they had plenty of food, cold water and beer to help ease the pain from the run.  The race shirts came out very nice and were screen printed during the race (nice and fresh!).  The event was very, very well put together and organized throughout the day by North Face and all the volunteers, and the runners/spectators all had a blast because of it.  Can’t wait to participate again next year!!!

 

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Mind Games

I have less then 2 week until I will be competing in my first Ultramarathon. I will be running 50 miles while my husband will be running the 50K. I'll be honest, I'm starting to panic. I have kept myself in good shape, including running a marathon a few weeks ago. I am not so worried about my body, as I am about my mind. As we all know running is 90% mental sometimes. Are there any techniques or tricks that members use that can help me stay focused and motivated during a run that will likely last around 12 hours? Thanks for your help!

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New Jersey Marathon

The 2012 New Jersey Marathon was a great event!  My dad (Rich) and wife (Heather) also ran the marathon this year and were the pacers for the 4:40:00 group.  We all had some of the brightest outfits you could possibly find (they had neon orange and I had the Nike Volt yellow shorts and socks on).  The traffic heading to the event in the morning was HORRIBLE!  As many other participants would note, it was a "close one" to make it there on time.  Many runners for the Half Marathon didn't make it to the event for the start at 7am.  In fact, the streets heading to the start were lined with Half Marathon runners, running to the event!  I might also mention, they got there well before the participants that stayed with their cars.  However, due to technology, their times were still accurate, as the bib/chip needs to cross the Start line, etc.  So, a late start was not THAT bad, and there was still an hour before the Marathon started (at 8am).

The course did not have many hills at all.  There were the occasional long, rolling hills that spanned a solid .10 to .20 miles, but they did not have much of a grade to them.  I believe the steepest part was an overpass/bridge.  The weather was also very exceptional this Sunday!  We have been in quite a rain spell here in NJ, so it was a bit nerve racking heading into the race.  It wouldn't have been much of a surprise if it was humid and raining that morning.  The sun peaked through the clouds late in the race (for me anyway!), but the breeze kept the body cool.  It honestly felt like running towards a gently air conditioner in many spots.  The scenery was very nice, and had ocean views, neighborhoods, shops, and the boardwalk on the route.  There were also a few spots were plenty of people cheered on the runners, especially the boardwalk.  So, the course and weather were awesome.

My final chip time was 5:07:22.  This was a big improvement from my first marathon, which was around 5:35:00.  I will definitely be running the marathon again next year and look forward to it.  Congratulations to all the runners at the even, and congrats to MyRunSpot members, Rich and Heather Handzo and Dare Stokes!

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River To Bay 5k

Team MyRunSpot had another great time at the River to Bay 5k in Island Heights, NJ.  The weather was a bit muggy and cloudy, but that didn't stop all the competitors from coming out for this event.  The course is a nice, relatively flat course that has one hill (a very big hill!).  The view is beautiful and there are many spots overlooking the water.  Team MyRunSpot did really well, with one member entering the race a few minutes late, but still finishing with the top finishers (way to go Chux!).  V, Bethany, Juan, Chux, Heather, Joshua and Kelly (left to right) all did GREAT!  For Juan, it's beer time.  Can't wait until our next event!!!

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Some Running Basics fоr Beginners

Thоugh running sееms lіkе іt mау bе vеrу easy tо dо, if you are a beginner, thеrе аrе а fеw things thаt you shоuld knоw bеfоrе you start.  Тhеrе аrе some items thаt are nееded, аnd аlsо сеrtаіn things thаt you will wаnt tо dо tо protect your body аnd prevent injuries.  Similar to оthеr sports, уоu nееd thе correct equipment, аnd іt nееds tо bе maintained properly.  Whеn іt соmеs tо running, уоur body іs уоur main piece of equipment, аnd іn order to protect it, additional equipment and knowledge is needed.A key piece of equipment is thе proper pair of running shoes.  Wіthоut thе correct shoes а runner mау experience bасk problems, joint problems, foot problems, аnd shin problems (to say the least!).  А sturdy pair оf running shoes саn bе purchased from vаrіоus sporting good stores, as well as, specialized running stores.  Prior to purchasing a pair of running shoes, you should do some research on what kind of feet/step you have.  Do you over-pronate, under-pronate, land on the front of your foot/toes?  There are many ways to determine this, and TONS of great articles on the internet (check out Runner's World).  This will help determine which type of shoe you should purchase (neutral, cushioned, stability, etc.).  Аlsо, а runner must possess good posture. Running wіth bad posture саn bе vеrу painful, and may lead to injury.  Additionally, stretching is a very key part of running. Тhеsе саn bе basic stretches that work on the calves, hamstring, quads, etc.  We've all attended a gym class or two, so I won't get in-depth on stretches. Finally, it's a very good idea to dо 2-3 minutes of warm uр аnd cool dоwn wіth еvеrу run, with stretches before and аftеr аs well.Now to state the obvious: if you are nоt іn good cardiovascular shape and are nоt familiar wіth distance running, you shоuld nеvеr gо оut аnd trу tо run long distances.  This will VERY likely lead to injury!  You must start slow аnd еvеn walking іf necessary.  It's great to get the motivation to get out there to begin with, so start slow and make it enjoyable!  Start wіth оnlу 10-15 minutes of running/walking.  Іf you аrе аblе tо complete thіs wіthоut problems, add some distance/time to your running workout.  You mау аlsо wаnt tо start running еvеrу оthеr day, іnstеаd оf everyday, as this will give your body time to rest and heal from the workout.  Eventually, you will be able to set distance, pace and overall time goals!Hope this info helps, and hope to see you on MyRunSpot!
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WELCOME!!!

 Thank you very much for your interest in MyRunSpot.  MyRunSpot was created to give runners, joggers, walkers and anyone seeking a healthy lifestyle a way to connect and network with others with the same goals.  MyRunSpot will also give you an opportunity to connect with coaches, organizations, brands, businesses and products (local and global!).  MyRunSpot will also include ways to track goals, find new runs (and walks) in your area, find upcoming events (and track old ones) and even connect with organizations!  Many organizations have great causes – so, you can enjoy the run AND do it for a good cause!  Additionally, you may connect with a local running club for some extra motivation. 

Below I will go over some key areas/functions of the site.  Hope you enjoy, and please always feel free to send feedback, ideas, problems, etc. to Contact@myrunspot.com.  Please be sure to understand the Terms of Service, and most of all HAVE FUN!

 

Member Profile (‘My Page’ Tab):

During initial sign-up, you are asked a number of key questions, such as, your location and whether you are a runner, coach, organization, brand or business/product.  This information is very important for searching other Members, and will be discussed in the Members tab below.  In order to add some additional information about yourself (interests, hobbies, favorite races/distances, etc.), please use the ‘TEXT BOX’ field by clicking ‘Edit’ on the top right-hand corner of the box.

Also, in order to keep your profile looking clean and clear of clutter, you may remove some items from your Activity Feed by hovering over an item listed and clicking on the small ‘X’ in the top right-hand corner of that item.  Additionally, you may re-arrange the items on your profile page to your personal liking by clicking and dragging each section to different areas in your profile. 

While surfing through the various pages and items on MyRunSpot, you may select to ‘Favorite’ certain items that you like.  An easy way to access these items in the future is to navigate to your profile page, and under your profile picture there are a number of links.  One of these links is ‘My Favorites’.  You may review your Favorites by viewing this link on the Profile page.  Additionally, when viewing other Members’ pages, this link will display their Favorites.

Members may also upload photos and videos to MyRunSpot under the ‘Photos’ and ‘Videos’ tabs.  When uploading a photo or video, please be aware of any Copyright protection of the uploaded photo or video (please review the Terms of Service by selecting the link at the bottom of the page for further details).  Be sure to check the privacy settings of your photo or video upload, as other Members may be able to view the photo/video, if not specifically set otherwise.

Finally, don’t forget to review the ‘Settings’ within the top right-hand side of your Profile page.  In the ‘Settings’ you will find privacy settings (who may view your profile page, etc.) and more.  Again, any questions or concerns can be sent to Contact@myrunspot.com.

 

Members Tab:

The ‘Members’ tab will show ‘All Members’ of MyRunSpot, as well as, ‘My Friends’.  A quick way of searching and connecting with other Members is to use the Advanced Search function.   This will allow you to search for Members by Name, Location, and/or Profile Type: Runner, Coach, Organization, Brand or Business/Product.

 

Events, Forums and Blogs:

MyRunSpot encourages you (Members) to add new races/events under the ‘Events’ tab.  This will allow other Members to view and even participate!  Events may also be setup as private, so please be sure to check the settings of your Event(s).

There is a 'Forum' tab that is also available to start some discussions regarding music, running shoes, tips and tricks, etc.

Finally, feel free to upload some Blogs about events you’ve participated in, some running/motivation tips you may have come across and any other info that may help others!

Again, please feel free to contact us directly at Contact@myrunspot.com (I know, I sound like a broken record!).  Also, add Comments to this Welcome Blog with any questions or concerns, and feel free to add anything I forgot to mention!!!

 Have a great day and ENJOY!

 

 

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Running Music Playlists - What do you listen to?

I would like to see some Members' running playlists!!! Running without music can be very boring, and some songs really motivate you to push harder and run faster/further. Here's just a few songs on my playlist (I'm a big fan of soundtrack theme songs from inspirational movies! LOL): 1. Jay-Z and Kanye West - Otis 2. Jay-Z feat. Mr. Hudson - Young Forever 3. Salif Keita - Tomorrow (from 'Ali' soundtrack) 4. Atticus Ross - Panoramic (from 'Book of Eli' soundtrack) 5. Some songs from the movie 'Invictus' (Victory and the theme song are good) 6. Eminem feat. Lil Wayne - No Love 7. Eminem - Cinderella Man 8. Just about any Darius Rucker song! 9. LMFAO - Party Rock Anthem 10. Pepper - Wake Up ...Just to name a few! So what do you listen to?
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