Today is the day. The last day to register for a reduced price for the Athens Marathon and Half-Marathon. I have decided to not kill my body and simply compete in the half-marathon this year. As much as I would love to compete in a greater distance, I am not sure how well my body will be able to handle it. It is great to push oneself, but should never be pushed over a limit that is going to do more harm than it will do good.
The greatest distance I have run so far in my training is 8 miles. I know I can compete in the half-marathon with little to no problems, however, this time last year I was completing my 20-mile run. For some reason this past season, I was not able to gain the motivation I had last year in my training. I would love to keep up the distance running and compete in a marathon later in the spring, however, I do not feel that being a spring quarter in Athens (you Athenians and students know what I am talking about, its awesome down here) that I will have the time or dedication to set aside for 16+ mile runs.
This summer I am sure I will be way more into running and training. I am going to be a “Head of Fitness” director at an overnight summer camp in the Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania. Last summer I had the unique opportunity to coach jogging at the camp and it was the greatest motivator of all. I trained 78 campers to compete in a 5K race at the end of the summer.
Things like that are sometimes the motivation one needs- its not always a movie or a quote that gets us going. It has to be something more. Hopefully I will be able to teach the running, coach and get kids motivated all while motivating myself as well to compete later on in Columbus in the fall.
Running is different for everyone and nothing ever sticks to plans. Things change, this race has changed for me.. As hard as it is to accept it, I know that the half is what needs to be done and that there is always next year to try again…
Lauren Miller, 21, is a Warren, Ohio native who has been running for about six years. I had the chance to meet with her over coffee one afternoon and discuss her running career, how it was started, how she feels about running in Athens, Ohio and if she has any advice for non-runners and runners alike out there on the streets.
Courtney: Lauren, I understand you are a runner.
Lauren: Yea, I have been running since I was about 15-years-old, I started back in high school when my friend got me involved with the cross-country team.
C: So you ran competitively?
C: Do you still? Was cross-country the only competitive aspect of your running career?
L: I compete in 5K races here at school, in Athens, but I do not run cross-country or track for the teams here. I am not really a competitive runner anymore. I do it more for leisure now.
C: Yea…I think that is what happens to a lot of runners once they leave high school.
L: Um, yea…I mean, I was never one of those runners who only cared about the sport and had to perfect my form and times with every race. I was the girl who just kinda did it for the fitness aspect, and that’s what I still do.
C: That’s not always a bad thing, some people look at that as like “Why are you in this race if you don’t care how you do?” type thing and I think its great. Competitive running isn’t for everyone.
C: You said you run 5K races here in Athens, have you run or trained for anything greater than a 5K?
L: Back when I was a freshman, three years ago, I trained with my friend for a half-marathon and ended up getting sick a few days before the race. Since then I have realized I am not a long-distance runner. I like the 5K and that is it! (Laughs) My friend has trained for a marathon and she is crazy I think. I’m fairly certain I would die if I tried that. But then again, maybe if I put the right training in and felt good about it all, then it could be done.
C: Marathons are a challenge, I have run one and I think I blacked out in the middle of it. I do not remember miles 13-17. I do know that the last six miles are the hardest six I have ever run.
L: I bet they are! That is insane!
C: Yea, I am going to run in the Athens Half-Marathon this year- I was going to do the whole but have not been training properly for it.
L: Yea that probably wouldn’t be good…
C: Ha ha, yea, probably not. So when you go running around campus and through the town, where do you go?
L: Anywhere. There are some routes that I know back from my half-marathon training days that go around town more so than campus, I kinda like those because they are away from the hustle of pedestrians and campus traffic. It’s more of an alone run…I like that.
C: That would be nice. Have you ever run in any of the state parks?
L: I went out on a run with a friend once and she took me to Sells Park. It was fun- we got to explore new territory aside from a residential neighborhood.
C: Yea you need to switch it up every now and then…Do you think that Athens is a good place for people to start taking up the sport?
L: Absolutley. I think that anyone can become a runner. It takes something more to become competitive, but anyone can really go out there and jog for a little bit.
C: That is true. It doesn’t take much skill. Do you have any advice for Athens runners before I let you go?
L: Well…um…I would just say that, like you said, it doesn’t take a whole lot of skill. It requires commitment though and if you can’t give it that, then you will be at a loss. Running can be great though and act as such a stress reliever. During finals week especially, it would not be a bad idea to go out for a run to just clear your mind. I’ll tell you what, next time someone is stressed, tell them to go for a run, clear their head and go. I can almost guarantee they will be hooked from there on out.
C: You are absolutely right! Thank you Lauren for talking to me today.
L: Thank you for having me and I hope someone is able to take something from this, maybe get someone hooked and a new runner on the streets!
Teaching others to run: This can pose a challenge, a fun one, but a challenge none the less. I have taken after my aunt in being a runner and having the stamina to keep going, however, my mom asked me this weekend to teach her to run. Now, for us runners, being asked to teach someone HOW to run seems a bit obscured… afterall, we have been doing it since we could walk, haven’t we? It seems to me that I never learned how to run, I just did it. I went for a run when I was in 7th grade after dinner and I haven’t stopped since. Now to teach my mom how to run, I knew this would be a funny task because there is no real method as to how to go about teaching it. Running is an instinct inside of us all. We all know how to run, all that can be taught is mechanics, form, pace, habits, etc. So that is what we did. Friday evening after I got home, my mom said for me to lace up my shoes so we could go for a jog, she wanted to learn how to run. I laughed at her and put my shoes on. As we went for a loop around the neighborhood I yelled at her to stop stopping to walk and to breathe in through her nose and out through her mouth. She was out of breath from running four houses away. It seems to me that all that can be taught to her is how to be consistent. How to keep at it and to not stop when it starts to hurt. That is how we all got to where we are today… through hard work. Its not always about being coached by someone else, it is about what we can teach ourselves and having the guidance from someone else who knows what they are doing as well.
If you look around the streets of Athens, Ohio, you are bound to see more than one person running down the sidewalk. There are plenty of people who hold an interest in running but only a few are brave enough to take on the challenge of running a whole or half marathon. Senior management information systems and accounting major Rachel Musheff is one of these runners. She has been running since she was in the seventh grade when she participated on her school’s track team. In high school she started running cross country, where she would compete in a 5K, a 3.1 mile race, every weekend throughout the fall. When Musheff entered college, she stopped competing and started running for the pure enjoyment of the sport.
A lot of people have trouble finding places to run, but Athens runners don’t seem to have that problem because they run the streets on a regular basis. “When it is cold outside I run at Ping on either the track or the treadmills but when it is nice out, I run either around the streets of Athens or on the bike path,” Musheff said.
A senior Media Management student, Josh Bischoff started running five years ago as a freshman on campus. Bischoff never has trouble finding places to run.
“You can run anywhere. It’s really cool because you can run flat, you can run hills, you can run almost any terrain you want. I take different routes all the time but it is usually just around campus. I run wherever the wind takes me, wherever my legs go. It’s not my choice, it’s theirs,” Bischoff said.
Since finding places to run is hardly a problem and running is an enjoying sport, Musheff decided in January to take on the challenge of the Athens Half-Marathon. “My friend ran the marathon last year and it was something I have always wanted to do, but I realized I wouldn’t have enough time to train for the whole marathon so I decided to run the half so I could eventually train for the whole one,” Musheff said.
Senior Exercise Physiology major Kelley Phillips is also training for the Athens Half- Marathon. She started her training about two months ago in the beginning of January. “I have always had the idea to run a half-marathon but I have never been motivated until this year. The idea of getting back in shape and running a race again motivated me to do it,” Phillips said.
When training for a long race such as a marathon or half-marathon, runners usually have a set schedule they need to follow to ensure they are ready on race day. Musheff has been running an equal number of miles on Sundays that correspond to the week of the quarter it is. This way, during finals week she will complete an 11-mile run and that is the farthest she will go until race day on April 5th when she runs 13.1 miles. Phillips, who has been running for about nine years, has been doing her own type of training. She runs anywhere from 3 to 6 miles on a daily basis and is building a base and slowly trying to build up her endurance.
Training for a long race is not for everyone though. Bischoff said he has never considered running a half-marathon and probably never will. He prefers to stick to 5K races offered through the university and shorter distance races.
If you have ever considered running a long race you need to make sure you are mentally prepared to do the training and physically able to complete the race. That is the challenge of it, you need to push yourself to limits you never thought possible. Local runners, including Musheff and Phillips will be testing their skills on April 5th, 2009 at the Athens-Half Marathon. The race starts at 9:00 a.m. at College Gate and will end on the track at Pruitt Field.
Sorry, I had to do it… but it really is freezing out! Just yesterday it was in the high 40s. No wonder everyone is getting sick! In spite of the cold weather, and since I don’t know when Mother Nature is going to stop teasing us with the warm/cold temperatures…I thought I would offer some tips on how to stay warm out there on these below freezing days:
1. Always dress for the weather. Don’t assume it is warmer than it is and wear less than you should. If you layer clothes, you can always take them off. A good bottom layer is spandex tights and an Under Armor shirt.
2. As a second layer, put on a pair of shorts and a long sleeve shirt, t-shirt or running shirt that is made of lightweight sweat proof material. This is good because it helps to keep you dry in the cold weather. You will still sweat out there so if you are dry, you won’t get nearly as cold as you would normally.
3. It is always a good idea to wear a hat or headband, preferably sweat proof, such as the Nike Dry-Fit line. Also, don’t forget to wear gloves! My favorite gloves are the Dry-Fit line and have a pocket on the inside of the palm so I can slip a key in.
These are the basics of how to dress in the cold weather. It can be brutal out there, especially in Southeast Ohio. It is always important to make sure you are dressed for the weather or you can get frostbite or sick.
It is 5:30 a.m. I have class in exactly 3 hours. I have been in Alden, the library on OU’s campus, since about 8:00 p.m. with my roommate working on homework and just getting everything possible out of the way. On the downside (not that being at Alden for that long is on the upside) I am getting sick. I do not need to get sick right now, there is training to be done… and for about a split second I thought about going for a run BEFORE my Online Journalism class at 8:30 a.m. Don’t worry, I vetoed that thought real quick! There will be no running until Wednesday…and I am pretty excited about it too. I am planning on taking my camera out with me and photographing all the cool places I can find to run! Hopefully I will rest it off tomorrow, well I guess that would be today, after all my classes are over at 5:30 p.m. so I make it out there this week. I will post more later on about my runs and training and what not but I’m just too tired to do this right now.
This week I was looking through some running websites to find races in the Athens, Ohio area when I stumbled upon Active.com. I have been to this site before but this time, I was slightly more impressed. There were a ton of interesting articles from St. Patrick day races and parties to how to make a treadmill run more fun (which I think is impossible to do, since I rarely run on one). I like turning to this site when I need a quick bit of inspiration or want to pass time reading random articles on things I probably do not need to know. Active.com often sends me an e-mail with random facts or reminders about upcoming races. This is where a lot of online registrations for marathons take place, after all, it is where the one for the Athens Marathon is… the one with the submit button I am hesitant towards hitting… However, I guess I will be visiting this site a lot in the next 50-something days, contemplating hitting submit and finding some random facts along the way about running, keeping in shape during the off season, motivating me to get up and go on a run and of course, having user generated content about races, opinions on a course and favorite races to run. It is a good site to pass time on or to get a quick burst of inspiration and motivation.
Running isn’t the only thing Active.com gives insight into. There is information for bikers, soccer players, swimming and more. It has a guide called ‘Find things to do’ and you can find things within a certain mile radius of your hometown with races and events going on. I highly recommend visiting it when you have a chance.
The RW Daily, the running blog written by the editors of Runners World is a great blog that offers lots of nonsense advice and occasionally mentions inspirational running stories that really make you want to run-or do something amazing. Recently he posted a blog about a man who ran seven marathons in seven days on seven different continents. That is inspiring and truly amazing. Another recent post was about a man who ran on a tredmill for 24-hours straight to celebrate his 30th birthday. Why? Again, this is awesome and inspiring. To non-runners this sounds awful and uncomfortable. It is uncomfortable, very much so, but the experiece derived from this has got to be worth it.
Here is the link to this blog, check it out for some advice, inspiration and maybe just a little something to brighten up your day: RW Daily