Nike Women’s Half Marathon SF Course + Training

Nike Women's Half SF Course Map is Here!

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. (Nike)

A few weeks ago, I announced that I’m running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco on October 19 as part of a Nike media group. I was waiting for Nike to release the course map before I decide if the race will be the scene of my sub-2 hour half marathon attempt.

Well, the course map is finally here! For the 11th edition of the race, Nike has drawn a completely new route through San Francisco.

Nike Women's Half SF Course Map is Here!

Course Map

Like years of yore, the Nike Women’s Half Marathon starts in San Francisco’s Union Square.

But instead of heading north to the Marina and Presidio, the first three miles take runners through the city streets, including the iconic Alamo Square neighborhood with its rows of Victorian houses.

Nike Women's Half SF Course Map is Here!

San Francisco’s Alamo Square neighborhood. (Nike)

Miles 4 through 8 tour the bucolic 1,017-acre Golden Gate Park before another mile through the often-foggy Richmond District. Read the rest of this entry →

Race Report: Naval Station Newport Sprint Triathlon

Race Report: Naval Station Newport Sprint Triathlon

Naval Station Newport Sprint Triathlon (RunKarlaRun.com)

A sprint triathlon on a U.S. Naval base? Sign me up! The MWR Naval Station Newport Sprint Triathlon on the Naval Station Newport base in Rhode Island is part of the Navy’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation programming, designed to support Navy personnel, their families, and civilian employees.

Race Report: Naval Station Newport Sprint Triathlon

Getting my timing chip (RunKarlaRun.com)

Members of the general public, like me, were welcome to support and take part in the event for a $65 registration fee, while active duty, retired and reservist military members and their families paid reduced fees.

Nearly 50 of the 140 participants at the 2014 race on Sunday, July 27 were active duty military personnel.

I headed to the race with my friend, Justin, a budding triathlete, and my husband, Phil, who came to cheer us on.

We had great weather with cool temps, starting in the high 60s and reaching 70 by the end of the race. A sunny, blue-skied morning gave way to storm-clouds as the triathlon got underway. But the rain held off until later in the day.

Organization

As you would expect from the U.S. military, the Naval Station Newport Sprint Triathlon was incredibly well-organized. Pre-race communication via e-mail in the week before was thorough. Packet pick-up on race morning was a breeze; right next to the parking lot, with one table for race packets, another for chip timing, and a third for body marking. Read the rest of this entry →

28

Aug 2014

Happy National Dog Day! Celebrate Man’s Best Friend

Happy National Dog Day!

We love our dog! (RunKarlaRun.com)

Happy National Dog Day! As a dog lover and dog mom, I’m a huge advocate for dogs and all the wonderful ways they add to human lives.

National Dog Day serves to “recognize the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year, and acknowledges family dogs and dogs that work selflessly each day to save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort. Dogs put their lives on the line every day – for their law enforcement partner, for their blind companion, for a child who is disabled, for our freedom and safety by detecting bombs and drugs and pulling victims of tragedy from wreckage,” according to NationalDogDay.com.

Happy National Dog Day! Happy dog in a field of wild flowers

Cinderella in the wild. (RunKarlaRun.com)

And that’s not all that dogs do. Research shows that dog owners live longer on average than non-pet owners, have fewer signs of heart disease, and better cardiovascular fitness. Pets also lower stress, anxiety, and blood pressure for their human friends. And they boost immunity and self-esteem for their owners. Plus, dog owners are less likely to suffer from despression than those living without four-legged friends. The Atlantic published a great article about the many ways dogs enrich our lives, physically and mentally. A dog really is man’s best friend.

I can honestly say I’m happier now than I was when I didn’t have a dog. My life is certainly better because Cinderella, my doghter, is in it.

I’ve shared Cinderella’s story in the past—from homeless and living in the woods of Tennessee to finding her fur-ever home in New York City with my husband and me. I found her on PetFinder.com, one of the supporters of National Dog Day and a great resource for finding adoptable dogs throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Happy National Dog Day! Trail run in Colt State Park

Running with Relly (RunKarlaRun.com)

I’m a vocal advocate for dog adoption, versus purchasing from anyone but the most reputable breeders. According to the ASPCA, 7.3 million dogs and cats enter the shelter system every year through no fault of their own. Approximately 2.6 million of them die there. The ASPCA says 31 percent of the dogs that enter shelters are euthanized.

By adopting—and not buying—and spaying or neutering your dog, you can be a part of the solution. You’ll find your pick of purebreds and one-of-a-kinds like Cinderella in our nation’s vast shelter and rescue system. Looking for even the rarest of breeds? You can find one for adoption, like my sister did with her Bedlington Terrier.

So let’s raise a bone to all the furry friends out there who make our lives and our worlds a better place. Take National Dog Day as an opportunity to donate to your local shelter or dog rescue organization, or spend some quality time with your furry friend. I practice what I preach. This year, I’ve donated to the Friends of the Bristol Animal Shelter in Rhode Island and the North Shore Animal League in New York. Now, it’s time to snuggle my dog.

So Happy National Dog Day from Cinderella and me!

26

Aug 2014

Triathlon Gear List For Runners, Beginners and Beyond

Triathlon Gear List For Beginners. At the Wild Dog Triathlon

Coming out of the water at the Wild Dog Triathlon. (Phil Hospod)

As I stare down my sixth triathlon— Triathlon Valleyfield in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec on Sunday, August 24—I realize that I have fully fallen down the multi-sport rabbit hole. In that hole is an assortment of athletic equipment that I’ve accumulated to help me swim, bike and run my heart out. Before every race, I write out a triathlon gear list to be sure to pack for race day.

Triathlon Gear List For Beginners

Biking my second triathlon. (Capstone Photography)

Unlike running, triathlon is incredibly gear intensive. All that “stuff” is the main barrier to entry for runners who are interested in dabbling their toes in the open waters of the sport. Buying everything at once can be intimidating and expensive. I’ve staggered my purchases over the course of three years, reached out to sponsors, and still don’t have all the gear a truly competitive triathlete calls their own, like a tri-specific bike, areobars and the like. But that hasn’t stopped me from getting into the sport and it shouldn’t stop you either.

So here is my triathlon gear list. Some of these items are essential, some merely nice to have. But once you know that the sport of triathlon will be part of your regular racing routine, you’ll want each of these items in your gear bag.

I’ve listed the full price for each item, but in many cases I found them on sale or got them for free, and have indicated where that was the case. Where gender specificity is a factor, I’ve listed the women’s gear. But most items are available in men’s options too.

Triathlon Gear For The Entire Race

Tri Kit

Your tri kit is the outfit that takes you through all three events. Ideally, you can swim, bike and run in it. You don’t have to buy a fancy tri kit. I certainly didn’t. Here’s what I use to race and train. Both of my kits have two things in common: 1) They’re designed and tested by female triathletes for female triathletes, and 2) They’re from American companies that manufacture the majority of their products in the U.S. Read the rest of this entry →

Race Report: William J. McCarthy Memorial Swim

Race Report: William J. McCarthy Memorial Swim

Getting ready to swim. (RunKarlaRun.com)

The William J. McCarthy Memorial Swim in Bristol, Rhode Island on Saturday, August 16 was my last open water swim before the Triathlon Valleyfield in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec on Sunday, August 24.

Race Report: William J. McCarthy Memorial Swim

Swim shirt (RunKarlaRun.com)

The event was put on by the town of Bristol Parks and Recreation department to raise money to develop an aquatics program, including swim lessons for kids, and two proposed swimming pools, none of which the town currently has.

The William J. McCarthy Memorial Swim

The swim was a quarter-mile in open water at the Bristol Town Beach on Narragansett Bay. For my running friends, picture one lap around a 400-meter track. The event also included a 4 x 100 yard relay and a Fins & Floaties fun race for kids.

Registration was a bargain at $20 per swimmer, per event, or $10 for the kids race, and that included the event T-Shirt. It might be my favorite cotton shirt I’ve ever gotten at a race— incredibly soft in heather red. Best of all, they actually had my size. Read the rest of this entry →

18

Aug 2014

I’m Running the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon 2014

Running the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon 2014

Irina Mashkantceva wins the 2012 Philadelphia Marathon. (Philadelphia Marathon)

It’s official. I’m running the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon 2014 on Sunday, November 23! I’d been debating which marathon, if any, to run this fall and I’ve finally committed to running Philly as a guest of sponsor GORE-TEX.

While I considered—and was invited to—a few other marathons in the U.S. and Canada, I decided on Philly for a few reasons.

Running the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2014

Pausing for a photo just before a PR finish at the 2012 Philadelphia Marathon. (RunKarlaRun.com)

1) PR Course: I ran my current marathon personal best of 4:28:06 at the Philadelphia Marathon in 2012. I failed to best it at the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, despite perfect weather and a pancake flat course, thanks to a cold that settled in two weeks before race day and decided to linger.

2) Redemption: I feel like I have unfinished business in Philadelphia. Back in 2012, I’d been zipping along on target for a 4:14 finish when a quad cramp struck after the 20-mile mark and decided to linger. I lost 14 minutes in the last 10K, as I stopped to stretch the cramp a few times, jogging slowly in between. While I was ecstatic about my finish time, a new personal best, I knew I had even more in me. I want to return to Philly and run the time I should have two years ago: 4:15. Read the rest of this entry →

Snoop Dogg Hits Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon

Snoop Dogg Headlines Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon

The Dogg

What the what? Competitor Group announced Tuesday that the headliner for the 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon and Half Marathon on November 16 is none other than Snoop Dogg.

The iconic rap superstar will play the pre-race concert at 3:00 p.m. just before the start of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon to benefit the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (yes, that’s the entire name) at 4:30 p.m.

Is there any chance Jason Derulo will pop in for a cameo and performance of “Wiggle”? I have no idea, but that would be amazing. I’m not going to lie: I kind of love that song. Put it in the “Baby Got Back” and “Thong Song” category. What can I say? I like rap and R&B songs about derrieres.


Read the rest of this entry →

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Registration Opens

Disney adds Pixie Dust Challenge to Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend

Melissa Hernandez wins the 2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon. (Jimmy DeFlippo/runDisney)

Registration for the 2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend opens Tuesday, August 12 at 12 p.m. EST. The women-focused race weekend will take place from May 7-10 at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. The race is the fourth largest women’s running event in the U.S. with 11,948 finishers in 2013 and 13,143 finishers in 2014.

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Registration Opens

Runners get their Tink on. (runDisney)

In addition to the title half marathon, the 2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend also includes the new Pixie Dust Challenge, Never Land 5K, Tinker Bell 10K and runDisney Kids Races. Courses for the weekend’s races run through Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park and the streets of Anaheim with music, entertainment and Disney characters, not to mention thousands of costumed runners.

The runDisney Health and Fitness Expo is free and open to the public Thursday, May 7 through Saturday, May 9. That’s where runners pick-up their bibs and race gear, can find official runDisney merchandise along with the coveted runDisney New Balance shoes, other retailers showcasing running apparel and products, and a speaker series with tips for training, racing and eating before the big day.

A ticketed Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend Pasta Party takes place inside Disney California Adventure on Friday, May 8 with a buffet dinner, Disney characters and other entertainment.

Pixie Dust Challenge

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Registration Opens

The start of the Tinker Bell 10K. (runDisney)

New to the 2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon is the inaugural Pixie Dust Challenge, which follows in the footsteps of other runDisney challenges like the Dumbo Double Dare at Disneyland Half Marathon and Glass Slipper Challenge at Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend.

Runners who register for the challenge and complete both the Tinker Bell 10K on Saturday, May 9 and the Tinker Bell Half Marathon on Sunday, May 10 earn a fairy-themed medal in addition to a medal for each race. To qualify for the medal, you must register for the Pixie Dust Challenge itself and not the Tinker Bell Half Marathon and Tinker Bell 10K individually. Read the rest of this entry →

Gait Analysis For The Nike Women’s Half Marathon SF

Gait Analysis For Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

(Courtesy of Nike)

Have you ever had a running gait analysis? I now have video of mine thanks to Nike Running.

On Sunday,  October 19, I’ll be running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco! I’ll be attending the race courtesy of Nike as part of a media group. Along with the race, they’re helping me train and gear up for the event. Excited? You bet!

Gait Analysis

To help me gear up for the race, I got fit for shoes at the Nike Running store in New York City’s Flatiron district. I’ve had my gait analyzed four times before at various running stores and in physical therapy. I have it checked periodically in case my form has changed dramatically since I’ve gotten faster, been diagnosed with arthritis, injured my hip in a horseback riding fall, and all the other things that affect how I run.

But year after year, gait analysis shows I’m a steadfast neutral shoe runner. This time I have video proof.

But what does it mean to be a neutral shoe runner? Read the rest of this entry →

08

Aug 2014

Race Report: 2014 NYRR Team Championships 5 Miler

Race Report: NYRR Team Championships

Cheering on the men with my teammates. (Courtesy of NYRR)

Smells like team spirit? You bet.

The NYRR Team Championships is a 5-mile race in Central Park for all the running clubs in New York City. It’s one of the most fun races of the year and one of the best deals in the Big Apple at $10-$20 depending on how far in advance you sign-up.

Race Report: 2014 NYRR Team Championships 5 Miler

(NYRR instagram)

To register, you must belong to an NYRR-recognized team (there are more than 90 of them) and run at least one NYRR race for that team in the previous year, though you don’t have to be an NYRR member. (In am an NYRR member and host On The Run, their web and TV show.)

However, most of NYRR’s 55+ races and events are open to everyone, members and non-members, team runners and non-team runners, tourists and New Yorkers alike, including dozens of 4-mile, 5-mile and 10K races in Central Park. If you want to run and race in New York City the next time you visit, you can find the whole schedule at nyrr.org. Team Championships is one of the few events that’s just for club runners.

Men and women race separately, which makes for a great morning. The men cheer on the women while they race and then the women root for the guys.

The course is a 5-mile loop, which makes it easy to catch your friends at the half or 1-mile marker, then cut across the center of the park to see them again at the 4 or 4.5-mile mark. Team runners line the entire first and last miles, with a few dotting the other miles in between.

Race Report: NYRR Team Championships 5 Miler

With some teammates before the start. (Courtesy of NYRR)

As a result, NYRR Team Championships has the most people watching and cheering of any of the smaller “local” events in Central Park. Of course, teams cheer loudest for their own teammates as they race by, but we all clap and cheer for everyone. This team spirit is what makes it one of my favorite events. Read the rest of this entry →

06

Aug 2014

A 1930s & 1940s Hollywood Inspired Vintage Wedding

A 1930s & 1940s Hollywood Inspired Vintage Wedding in Rhode Island

Under the trees (Lev Kuperman)

Two years ago today, I married my favorite runner. Happy Anniversary, Phil!

I’ve previously shared how Phil and I met while training for the New York City Marathon, and how he proposed at the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon. To celebrate our second anniversary, I thought I’d share some photos from our 1930s and 1940s Hollywood themed vintage wedding.

A 1930s & 1940s Hollywood Inspired Vintage Wedding in Rhode Island

The Bay (Lev Kuperman)

We got married in Bristol, Rhode Island at the Herreshoff Marine Museum Pier. Rhode Island is our favorite summer destination and we wanted to share it with our families and friends. We looked at venues in Newport and Bristol, but when we saw the museum’s west-facing pier, we knew that was the spot to host our vintage wedding with a killer sunset.

A 1930s & 1940s Hollywood Inspired Vintage Wedding in Rhode Island

Inspired by Fred and Ginger (Lev Kuperman)

For our wedding portraits, we headed to the bucolic Colt State Park just five minutes away.

Finding inspiration was easy. Since I was a little girl, I’ve been enamored with the classic movie musicals of the 1930s and 1940s. Among my favorites from the era are Swing Time starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, For Me and My Gal starring Gene Kelly and Judy Garland, Anchors Aweigh starring Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Kathryn Grayson, and anything starring Esther Williams. Read the rest of this entry →

04

Aug 2014

Pixie Dust Challenge Flys To Tinker Bell Half Marathon

Disney adds Pixie Dust Challenge to Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend

Runners get their Tink on at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. (runDisney)

You asked, runDisney answered. Disney’s running branch today announced the addition of the Pixie Dust Challenge to the 2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland in Anaheim, California from May 7-10.

The inaugural Pixie Dust Challenge follows in the footsteps of other popular runDisney challenges like the Dumbo Double Dare at Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend and Glass Slipper Challenge at Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. Runners who register for the challenge and complete both the Tinker Bell 10K on Saturday, May 9 and the Tinker Bell Half Marathon on Sunday, May 10 earn a fairy-themed medal in addition to a medal for each race.

Disney adds Pixie Dust Challenge to Tinker Bell Half Marathon

The start of the Tinker Bell 10K. (runDisney)

The Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend, Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland and Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World were the only runDisney half-marathon weekends without multi-day running challenges, along with the shorter distance The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend and Expedition Everest Challenge.

The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend has the Dopey Challenge and Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge. The Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend has the Rebel Challenge. Dumbo Double Dare at Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend and Glass Slipper Challenge at Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend round out the challenges.

Yet, race challenges have proven especially popular among runDisney fans, often selling out first among each weekend’s events. The 2015 Glass Slipper Challenge filled up first in 1 hour and 45 minutes despite technical difficulties when registration opened for the Disney Princess Half Marathon and the 2015 Rebel Challenge reached capacity in just 25 minutes before any other Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend event. Read the rest of this entry →

Run with Meb Keflezighi at TCS New York City Marathon

Run with Meb Keflezighi at the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon

Meb Keflezighi runs the 2014 Boston Marathon to victory. (Gr5/Wikimedia via CC-BY-SA-3.0)

I told you about chances to run with Meb Keflezighi in both New York and San Diego earlier this year. Here’s another.

Meb Keflezighi will be back in New York on November 2, 2014. The 2009 New York City Marathon champion and 2014 Boston Marathon champion is running the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon as a Team for Kids Ambassador. (I’ll be covering the race once again as host of NYRR On The Run.)

You may not be able to run with him, but you can join Team for Kids, along with pro tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, the 2014 Istanbul Cup winner who ranked first worldwide in 2010 and 2011.

“Meb will highlight a world-class field of athletes competing for the marathon title, while Caroline will join thousands of runners raising critical funds for worthy charities,” said Mary Wittenberg, president and CEO of New York Road Runners, in a press release. “They’ll serve as inspirations to the 50,000 runners and millions of fans lining the streets of the city’s five boroughs and watching the race broadcast around the world.”

As Team for Kids Ambassadors, Keflezighi and Wozniacki will take part in Team for Kids activities during race week and help raise money for New York Road Runners’ youth running programs. Money raised by Team for Kids participants goes toward free and low-cost health and fitness programs for kids who would otherwise have limited access to regular exercise. NYRR’s programs reach more than 200,000 children each year in more than 800 schools and community centers in New York City, the U.S., and the world. More than 1,700 Team for Kids runners will raise an estimated $4.5 million this year. Keflezighi will also be raising money for his own The MEB Foundation, which promotes youth health, education and fitness. Read the rest of this entry →

31

Jul 2014

Touring Duomo di Milano in Italy’s ‘Second City’

Touring Italy's 'Second City:' Duomo di Milano, Galleria and More

Duomo di Milano (Phil Hospod)

Milano. The name evokes thoughts of Italian fashion, espresso, opera and, yes, cookies. Though often overlooked by American tourists for more popular locales like Rome, Florence and Venice, Italy’s second largest city has plenty to offer sightseers, most notably the Duomo di Milano, Milan’s grand Gothic cathedral; Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the word’s oldest malls; Teatro alla Scala better known simply as La Scala, the famed opera house; and Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper mural; and that’s just scratching the surface.

Touring the Duomo di Milano in Italy's Second City

(Phil Hospod)

As Italy’s business and fashion center, you’re as likely to see a women in a suit and stilettos riding a scooter as you are tourists in sneakers and shorts. Milan is a vibrant cosmopolitan hub with gorgeous building stock, a unique cuisine, and culture in abundance.

After three nights luxuriating beside Lake Como and another three hiking through Cinque Terre, my husband, Phil, and I headed to the regional capital of Lombardy—Milan.

I’m one of those tourists who overlooked Milan on two previous trips to Italy. But Phil had been to Milan at least five times before, often spending weeks at a time. He urged me to give the city a chance. With just one afternoon and evening to take it in, we headed for Milano Centro, the city center.

Welcome to this week’s Travel Tuesday.

Touring the Duomo di Milano in Italy's Second City

(Phil Hospod)

Duomo di Milano

If I had time to see just one thing in Milan, it had to be the Duomo di Milano.

As a former religion major and religion reporter, I’ve visited many a cathedral over the years: St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, the Duomo in Florence, Notre Dame in Paris, Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and many others around the world.

But as far as classical cathedrals go, the Duomo di Milano might be the most spectacular one I’ve seen.

In The Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain wrote: “They say that the Cathedral of Milan is second only to St. Peter’s at Rome. I cannot understand how it can be second to anything made by human hands.” Read the rest of this entry →

29

Jul 2014

Win TCS New York City Marathon 2014 Entry with ASICS

TCS New York City Marathon 2014

Runners cross the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at the start of the ING New York City marathon. (Photo: Fergal Carr, via Creative Commons)

It’s no secret that the TCS New York City Marathon is one of my absolute favorite races. It was my first marathon in 2007. I’ve run it three times total and now cover the race with New York Road Runner’s On The Run web and TV show. I’ll be at the TCS New York City Marathon 2014 race with “On The Run” on November 2.

But if you want to join in the action in the Big Apple, you can win one of two official entries into the TCS New York City Marathon 2014 race courtesy of ASICS. Each winner will also receive an ASICS gift pack valued at $500. During “On The Run’s” race week coverage, I’m often decked out from head to toe in ASICS New York City Marathon gear. I love it so much that I continue to wear it year round, like at the Trot Off Your Turkey 5K. Read the rest of this entry →

26

Jul 2014