Hiking, Running and Touring Peru and Panama

Touring Peru, Hiking Machu Picchu & Running Lima

Machu Picchu (©Pedro Szekely/Flickr via CC BY-SA 2.0 license)

Buen viaje! I’m off for a 12-day trip touring Peru and Panama! It’s a last-minute adventure—and by last-minute, I mean my husband, Phil, and I decided on the vacation and booked our flights exactly one week ago. We still don’t have all of our hotels sorted. Details, details.

What’s important is that we’re going to straight to Machu Picchu, which has been on my lifetime bucket list as long as I can remember. I’ve written about the Inca Trail Marathon in the past, and while we booked too late to hike the trail (trail passes sell out months in advance), we’ll still get to tour the ruins and hike one of the mountains around the ancient Inca citadel.

After Machu Picchu, we’ll spend a few days in Cuzco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site as the capital of the Inca empire. With Machu Picchu at nearly 8,000 ft. and Cuzco at 11,200 ft., Phil and I keep joking that we’re altitude training for the upcoming GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon and the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco leading up to Philly. We’re just hoping we don’t get altitude sickness like so many people I know. (Shout-out to running and blogging friend, Elle at a Fast Paced Life, who just went to Peru, too.)

RunKarlaRun.com

Maraton RPP Scotiabank in Lima

Then we head to Lima for one last Peruvian adventure: running the Maratón RPP Scotiabank. After we’d already settled on Peru and come up with a tentative itinerary, in my usual way, I started Googling to see if there were any races going on when we’d be around. I found three: The Panamericana Running 10K and 5K in Cuzco, The Terry Fox Run 5K/10K in Lima and the Maratón RPP Scotiabank in Lima.

Rather than put ourselves through a race at elevation in Cuzco, we got really excited about the idea of the Maratón RPP Scotiabank, which bills itself as the largest running race in Peru with 20,000 registrants. Contrary to the name, it’s not a full 26.2-miles race, but an event with half-marathon and 10K options. Obviously, Phil and I were in. More on that later…

Since we are flying Copa Air through Panama, and Copa Air allows free stopovers in Panama City, we decided to end the trip in the land that connects North America and South, the Caribbean to the Pacific. We’ll spend two nights in Panama City and two nights on the beach in the Gulf of Panama. Yep, I can’t get Van Halen’s “Panama” out of my head. Especially now that I’m sitting in the Panama City airport surrounded by stands selling Panama hats.

I’ve never been to either Peru or Panama. Excited? Crazy excited! We’re hiking, running, touring and relaxing in two countries that have long been on my radar. Perfecto.

Adiós, amigos!

14

Sep 2014

Philadelphia Marathon & Half Marathon Running Playlist

GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon Running Playlist

Rocky cheers on runners at the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon. (Photo: Philadelphia Marathon)

The 2014 GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday, November 23 is a little over 10 weeks away. I’m running as a guest of GORE-TEX, my second tango in City of Brotherly Love. The 2012 race is where I ran my current marathon personal best of 4:28. I’m looking to put a huge dent in that number. So far, all my training and racing points to “Yes!”

To help me get excited and inspired to run the streets of Philadelphia (see what I did there?), I put together a Philadelphia Running Playlist with 20 songs about the Birthplace of America that make for good running company. Use it for any Cradle of Liberty race you might be running: GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon and Half Marathon, Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon, Blue Cross Broad Street Run or any other event.

Enjoy and please list in the comments any great Philly running songs I may have missed!

Philadelphia Running Playlist

1)   “Gonna Fly Now” Bill Conti

No Philadelphia running mix would be complete without the theme from Rocky.  

2)   “I-76″ G. Love & Special Sauce

Hands down, this ode to the Philadelphia 76ers and the highways of Philly is my favorite song about the City of Brotherly Love. It will help you find your running groove for sure.

3)   “Summertime” DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince

It wouldn’t be a proper Philadelphia playlist without some Will Smith. For more comic effect The Fresh Prince of Bel Aire theme song would work in a pinch. But I’ve always liked the laid back vibe of Smith’s ode to hot summer days in West Philly.

4)   “Streets of Philadelphia” The Fray

Yes, The Boss’s version is the original and I’m sure many will disagree with me, but I prefer The Fray’s rendition. It feels a little more raw and running friendly. Either way, lyrics like “I walked the avenue, ’til my legs felt like stone,” don’t get any better for marathon training.

5)   “Philly Night” Berry Jones

A 2010 retro dance pop number from Philly collective Berry Jones, it’s the perfect song when you need to pick up the pace. Read the rest of this entry →

Kara Goucher, Desiree Linden To Run NYC Marathon

Kara Goucher To Run New York City Marathon

Kara Goucher (Courtesy of NYRR)

We already learned that 2009 New York City Marathon champion and 2014 Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi will be running the New York City Marathon for the ninth time on Sunday, November 2.

Now, two of America’s best marathoners will be joining him.

New York Road Runners (who I freelance for as host of On The Run) announced today that Kara Goucher and Desiree Linden are headlining the American women’s field at the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon.

Goucher is returning to the race for the first time since 2008, when she finished third in her marathon debut. Linden will be running New York for the first time. Read the rest of this entry →

08

Sep 2014

My Running Mantras For Racing And Training

My Running Mantras

“Just Keep Pushing!” (RunKarlaRun.com)

Recently, someone asked me: What’s your running mantra? I didn’t always have one. But this summer I’ve been using two mantras that have really been working for me. When I’m struggling and need to dig deep, I turn to these two phrase that somehow spur me on.

1) Just keep pushing

Hiking, Running and Eating in Italy's Cinque Terre

Pushing is easy when the run is this beautiful. (RunKarlaRun.com)

This is my go-to racing mantra. My husband thinks it’s too simple. “There’s no magic to it, no poetry to it,” he says. He prefers mantras like, “Pain is weakness leaving the body,” and, “Pain is temporary, glory is forever.” Yes, he actually says those to himself. Perhaps that’s why he is a Boston Qualifier and I am not.

But that’s the funny thing about mantras. What works for one person does not always work for someone else. Anytime he’s tried to encourage me during a run with one of his mantras, I just get annoyed. I don’t know why, but waxing poetic about pain seems to make me angry. And not in a good, “Yeah, I’m going to crush this run!” sort of way. But in a “Shut your face, you’re not helping!” sort of way. Read the rest of this entry →

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