It’s October, which means one thing: Marathon season is officially here!
Many of us will slog long miles in marathon training this month. I’m prepping for the Honolulu Marathon in 10 weeks, and I know many runners targeting the New York City Marathon, Philadelphia Marathon, Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon and other races.
Others of us will toe the line at events this month, like the Wineglass Marathon, Chicago Marathon, and Marine Corps Marathon.
This one was just plain fun to write. I don’t usually write “Listicles” but I couldn’t pass up sharing the wisdom I’ve culled from my seven marathons… in GIF form. I think #8 and #11 are my faves. Pretty sure they’ve happened to me during every single marathon.
What else would you add? Check out the list at Shape.com.
You’ve put in the miles, training your body for the rigors of running 26.2. But is your mind ready too? Running a marathon is as much a mental battle as a physical one. Inevitable doubts and fears creep into many a marathoner’s mind. Train your brain while training your body with seven tips meant to help flex your mental muscle come race day.
6,000 runners. 500 teams. 201 miles. 32 hours. 12 women. 2 vans. 1 state. Put New Balance Reach The Beach Relay in the bag! I ran as a guest of New Balance, who covered all my expenses and kitted me out in gear for the event as part of the “Girls Run Beta” media team. And it was amazing.
Girls Run Beta! (Carrie Kabat)
The New Balance Reach The Beach Relay, in partnership with the Ragnar Relay Series, takes teams of 12 runners 201 miles across New Hampshire, from the White Mountains to Hampton Beach State Park on the Atlantic shore.
The scenery was lovely, my teammates fantastic, and the overall experience amazing. It’s no wonder I’ve only heard great things about this race.
The fun levels were off the charts. We giggled, we danced, we ate, then ate some more, we told ghost stories, high-fived, commiserated and cheered. While looking for Jess during a night run, I busted out an impromptu rendition of “There’s a Light (Over At The Frankenstein Place) from Rocky Horror Picture Show. Another team called “Snoop Joggy Jog” inspired some “Bow wow wow yippy yo yippy yay” at our side-of-the-road dance party. Carrie and Dani played DJ with boy bands greatest hits. And the gummy bears flowed like water.
Van 1! (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)
We worked as a team. Carrie finished her legs with a cart-wheel (true story) and chauffeured us from spot to spot. Dani was co-pilot and speedy anchor leg. Rachel recruited her dad’s team to cheer us on, and taught us the art of the silent scream (pictured). Jess kept a log of our start and finish times, and shared her Aleve when an afternoon migraine threatened to derail my second run. Kylie gave me her seat in the van to lay down. When it was time to suit me up mid-run with reflective vest and lights, the entire team swarmed me as my pit crew.
I was water girl, filling up and passing out water bottles to the finishing runner or the runner on the road—in one case jogging along side Dani for a brief stint so she didn’t have to stop. I also shared my massage stick with the team and Carrie shared her foam roller, so we could all stay limber.
In other words, the race was truly a team effort. You can see for yourself in this video New Balance put together for us.
But in addition to my tip in the 30-Day #RunForFun Challenge, here are five other tricks I use to keep me fleet of feet and young at heart.
RunKarlaRun’s #RunForFun Tricks
We can make believe… (Photo: Phil Hospod)
Play Mind Games:
Who says pretend is just for kids? You’re a great white shark chasing seals. You’re running to the end zone for the game-winning touchdown. Watch out, a velociraptor is chasing you! Ahhh! My favorite? I’m a lion hunting gazelles. I don’t sprint, I stalk. And I pick off runners in front of me slowly. One. By. One. Playing pretend while I run keeps me entertained for miles and miles.
Put Your Music On Shuffle:
When you have no idea what song might come next, every few minutes bring a pleasant surprise. I’ll put my entire MP3 player—all 700 songs—on shuffle to keep my music unpredictable. Sure, I have to skip a song here and there, but shuffle is one of my favorite ways to keep my run fresh.
Forgotten jams often inspire a fist pump. “I Got A Man” by Positive K anyone? Or “Wonder Woman” aka the ’70s TV show theme song? Or “Come Out and Play” by The Offspring? And sometimes I discover unexpected songs that are great for running like “Trying My Best To Love You” by Jenny Lewis. Would have never put that one on a running mix, but it really peps me when it pops up. I get lost in the lyrics and dig deep for those few minutes. Read the rest of this entry →
Donald Duck Fresh Foam Boracay (Photo: New Balance)
“Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!” New Balance has revealed yet another pair of Disney shoes, this time modeled after Disney’s favorite duck. The Donald Duck Fresh Foam Boracay is coming to Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna in honor of Disneyland Resort’s 60th Anniversary celebration. The shoes will be available at the runDisney Health and Fitness Expo starting September 3.
Red bow tie (Photo: New Balance)
Donald’s signature look is woven throughout the shoe, from his red bow tie to a black heel tab evocative of the ribbon on Donald’s hat. The Donald Duck kicks will sell for $140.
New Balance’s Fresh Foam Boracay is a neutral cushioned shoe meant to carry runners for many a mile. I tried and reviewed the new kicks; read all about them here:
Along with Disney shoes for adults, New Balance is also releasing kids versions of the Donald Duck Fresh Foam Boracay and Tinker Bell Fresh Foam Boracay. They will also debut at the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend.
So you didn’t get into any of the Star Wars Half Marathon 2016 races from January 14-17 at Disneyland in California, including the Star Wars Half Marathon, Star Wars Rebel Challenge, Star Wars 10K, Star Wars 5K and runDisney Kids Races? You’ve still got a chance. Charity and travel providers offer limited entries for runners who register and run with them.
Contact the following organizations directly to find out how to run the races with them. Charities will ask runners to raise a certain amount of money and tour providers may require purchase of a travel package.
Star Wars Half Marathon 2016 Charities
runDisney Charity Groups offer guaranteed entries to sold-out races. Some charity teams include other perks for the Star Wars Half Marathon 2016 races like complimentary or discounted entries, party party tickets, training resources, and other benefits. Check with each group individually for their fundraising requirements, benefits, and to register with them.
The Star Wars Half Marathon start (Photo: runDisney)
Runners can also register for the Star Wars Disney races through a runDisney Travel Provider. They offer packages for runners, including guaranteed race entry and specially priced Disneyland hotel rates and theme park ticket options. Contact each tour provider individually to learn more and to register through them. Read the rest of this entry →
I’ve watched with interest how the fashion industry and the running world alike have started to—but not fully—address the normative images of beauty, health, and fitness. Most recently, France banned the use of models with a BMI of under 18 from working in the country. Israel, Italy and Spain have similar measures in place.
I used to be one of those models. That’s me 15 years ago. Thigh gap? I had it.
I rarely talk about my former life as a model. In fact, this is the first time I’ve written about it here. My brief stint in the fashion industry left a sour taste in my mouth. Working as a model made me susceptible to unhealthy habits that may have made me skinny, but certainly not fit. When I started running—12 years younger and 12 pounds lighter than I am now—I fit the stereotype of what a runner “looked” like. People used to assume I was fast because I was skinny. Nothing could have been farther from the truth.
All too often we equate fitness with thinness. And that’s why I was happy to see Schenk on the cover of Women’s Running. Because we all know that a runner doesn’t look like any one thing, doesn’t run at any one speed, and that fitness has little to do with weight. You see people of all shapes and sizes toward the front, in the middle, and in the back of the pack at races.
It’s taken time, but I’m more comfortable in my skin now than I was then. These photos (all un-retouched) were taken about 15 years apart. Don’t I even look happier?
I wrote about my experience as a model—and lessons learned—for Shape.com. It wasn’t even my idea. My editor twisted my arm into writing an essay after she learned about my past life. After some hesitation, I finally gave in. Here it is.
Confession: I used to model. I was young, I was beautiful, and I didn’t know it. I stumbled into modeling as a lanky musical theater performer in New York City. After one model scout, then another, stopped me on the street, I found an agency. I figured it beat waiting tables. I was 22 years old and had an “underweight” BMI of 18.2. “Normal” starts at 18.5, according to the National Institutes of Health.
But I didn’t think of myself as a model. I was shocked every time someone hired me: major-market magazines, brands you see in Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s, boutiques, hair care companies, and morning talk shows. Showrooms—where I modeled a brand’s wares for buyers from Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and other big-name stores—were my bread and butter, but I did some print, TV, and runway too. I was never a top girl, but one of the nameless, sometimes faceless minions selling an image of beauty of which I didn’t believe myself worthy.
At go-sees (modeling lingo for auditions), I faced a barrage of physical critiques. I heard I was too short, too tall, too old, too young, too fat, or too thin. I was too everything and not enough of anything. Read the rest of this entry →
My sis high-fives Mickey at the finish. (Photo: MarathonFoto)
How much fun did my sister and I have at the 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon? Her Mickey Mouse high-five at the finish line pretty much says it all.
When my sister decided to run her first half-marathon, there was no doubt which race it would be. She’d run her first 5K with me at the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend in 2012. As a family, we did everything there was to do at the time: Pasta in the Park Party, Kids Races, 5K, and my husband and I ran the Half Marathon.
So naturally, we decided to return for my sister’s 13.1 debut in 2015. I attended the race as a media guest of runDisney to write a story for Shape.com about our experience. You can read it here: Why I’d Rather Run With Women.
First, we tackled the Disney Princess Frozen 5K dressed as Disney’s most infamous sisters, Cinderella’s stepsisters Anastasia and Drizella Tremaine. We had too much fun, despite wearing tank tops in a 33-degree race.
Anastasia and Drizella (Photo: runDisney)
Then, I ran the Disney Princess Enchanted 10K on my own, dressed as Cinderella in tatters, just so I could earn that beautiful Glass Slipper Challenge medal.
Finally, for the half-marathon, our choice was obvious. My sister and I are totally Elsa and Anna. Right down to our birth order, hair, coloring, and temperaments, she’s definitely an Elsa and I’m completely an Anna. We’re a match made in runDisney heaven.
Elsa & Anna! (Photo: MarathonFoto)
Yup, we learned to love team costumes from an early age.
Twinsies! (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)
Disney Princess Half Marathon: The Course
The Disney Princess Half Marathon takes runners from just outside Epcot to the Magic Kingdom and back.
The first five miles are a long, and sometimes lonely, stretch of road on the way to Magic Kingdom. Disney lines this section of the course with bands, DJs, and character stops, but at other parts you’ll simply hear the sound of 20,000 pairs of feet pattering away.
Highlights of the first five miles include the car entrance to the Magic Kingdom near Mile 3, which makes for a great photo opp.
Friends Tara and Lesa are runDisney photo superstars! (Photo: runDisney)
Throngs of spectators and Taiko drummers at the Ticket & Transportation Center near Mile 4 always give me a boost.
Drummers! (Photo: runDisney)
And a dancing DJ pumping tunes at the overpass leading to the Contemporary Resort near Mile 5 is also a fave of mine.
Dancing DJ at the overpass (Photo: runDisney)
Mile 5 to 6 is by far the most exciting of the course: the run through Magic Kingdom. No matter how many times I do it, it never gets old.
From the Mile 5 marker, the course is lined with Disney cast members and spectators cheering you on. You’ll hear them before you see them—the roar of the crowds waiting on Main Street USA as you run toward Cinderella Castle. I get so pumped every time.
But before the castle, you’ll turn into Tomorrowland, run through the back of Fantasyland, then through Cinderella Castle from the carousel side and out the front. There are tons of characters, photo opps, and course photographers along the way in Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, before the castle, through the castle, and in front of the castle.
We nailed our Cinderella Castle shot! (Photo: MarathonFoto)
Then you’ll turn into Liberty Square before exiting the park through Frontierland. You’ll find a few more characters awaiting you in this section as you pass the Mile 6 marker and again once you exit the park. Read the rest of this entry →
Mirinda Carfrae leads a class at Mile High Run Club. (Photo: Ironman)
Want to learn to run fast on tired legs? If you’re a half-marathoner, marathoner, or triathlete, methinks you do. I’ve got a Miranda Carfrae running workout for you from the best runner in Ironman, Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae herself.
On Tuesday afternoon, I headed to Mile High Run Club in NYC at the invitation of Ironman to meet Rinny, try one of her favorite run workouts while she coaches on the mic, and interview her for a Q&A at Shape.com.
Running with Rinny (Photo: Ironman)
As a reporter and broadcaster, I’ve met and interviewed some of the world’s best athletes—from runners like Meb Keflezighi to winter Olympians like Apolo Ohno. I’ve watched them cruise to gold medals and major marathon wins, interviewing them before and after.
But getting to run a workout led by one of them? Like a Visa ad, that’s priceless.
Ever since I watched Rinny cruise to her second Ironman World Championship victory in Kona (on TV, not in person—I wish!), I had an instant girl crush. She’s such a fierce and confident runner, perhaps the best in the world of Ironman. That fierceness and confidence lacks in my own running. I tend to admire in others what I lack myself. Read the rest of this entry →
Want to take part in the Nike Women San Francisco Race Weekend from October 16-18, 2015, including the Nike Women’s Half Marathon? Registration for the random draw is open until Monday June 29, 2015 at 11:59 a.m. PDT. The random draw will take place July 8, 2015.
Registration is $200, and only runners picked through the draw will be charged. You can enter the lottery as an individual or as a group, and men are welcome too.
If you’re one of the lucky runners to get a half-marathon entry, you’ll also be able to register for other Nike Women San Francisco Race weekend events at no additional cost, until events have reached capacity. For more information or to register, visit nike.com/sf.
Running San Francisco!
I ran the 2014 Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco courtesy of Nike as part of a media group. I went in with high expectations and, somehow, the race managed to exceed them. I love, love, love this race. I’d never run a Nike event before, and I’d never run in San Francisco before. From start to finish, I was thoroughly impressed.
From the start at Union Square and on-course signage that let you know the next bathrooms were 1.4-miles away to the red carpet finish and free race photos after the fact, it was a superbly executed race and incredibly fun, too. Not to mention, instead of a finisher medal, I got a Tiffany & Co. finisher necklace. Yep, I’ve been wearing mine all the time. And Tiffany will be back for 2015.
The course’s natural beauty was among the most scenic of the 90 races I’ve run—behind the Kauai Half Marathon and Bermuda Half Marathon. Even through San Francisco’s famous fog I was able to appreciate the beauty of the city’s architecture, Golden Gate Park and the beach. No, we weren’t able to see the Golden Gate Bridge on race day because the fog was so thick. Thankfully, I got a shot in front of it the day before at a shakeout run.
Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Paris (Photo: Disney)
Finalement! More information about the inaugural Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend has finally arrived. Disney’s first race weekend outside the U.S. will take place September 22-25, 2016, kicking off with a three-day runDisney Health & Fitness Expo starting Thursday, September 22 at Disneyland Paris Disney Events Arena.
The Disneyland Paris 5K and runDisney Kids Races will run Saturday, September 24, followed by the main event, the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon on Sunday, September 25. Runners can also buy tickets to a Pasta in the Park Party at Walt Disney Studios Park and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show at Disney Village in the evenings before the race.
“We could not be more excited about the upcoming runDisney event,’’ said Tom Wolber, President of Euro Disney S.A.S. in a press release. “It will make Disneyland Paris the world’s third Disney destination to host this successful sporting series that offers a whole new running experience for the young and young-at-heart.’’
Mickey Mouse and friends escort runDisney finishers across the line. (Photo: runDisney)
Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend Registration
Registration through runDisney Travel Providers is slated to open October 13, 2015. The list of tour companies offering travel packages for the weekend has not been released yet.
Runners can also register to run for charity starting October 13, 2015. The list of participating charities will be released on that date.
For individuals who want to register without a travel package or charity partner, limited race registrations will open January 12, 2016.
Pricing for all of the weekend’s events has not been announced yet.
A friend of mine, who’s not a runner, recently asked me for a training plan. Her husband—a chronic marathoner—signed her up for a Spartan Race. She’s run two 5Ks and a 2-miler in the past, but not recently. So she wanted something that would help her start from scratch. I’m guessing most of you have a similar friend, who sooner or later is going to sign up for that 5K or obstacle race and not know where to begin.
Thankfully, I’ve curated a few training plans for SHAPE.com with the help of top coaches, including a 5K training plan for total beginners, an obstacle race training plan, and Nike “all-around” training plan that mixes running, strength training, and yoga.
Every day, Nike+ NYC coaches lead runs and workouts for all skill levels on the streets of the Big Apple, using the city as a gym—no equipment needed.
But you don’t have to live in NYC to “Just Do It” with Nike+ NYC Run Club Head Coach Chris Bennett and Nike+ NYC Master Trainer Traci Copeland, who teamed up to design this exclusive plan for Shape.
With three days of training, two days of running, and two flex days per week, the plan integrates Nike+ Training Club and Nike+ Running to make you a stronger, faster, and fitter athlete, whether you’re simply looking to stay in shape or getting ready for a race.
Monkeying around at SHAPE Diva Dash (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)
The annual Shape Diva Dash is dotted with fun obstacles sure to challenge your balance, strength, and speed. To help you dominate any 5K adventure run, this obstacle race training plan blends running, strength, balance, and agility training to help you finish strong.
No equipment required—just a pair of running shoes, a watch, and a nearby park or playground where you can play like a kids again. Read the rest of this entry →
We already knew that runners like wine. My roundup of 10 Wine-Themed Runs To Get Your Drink On at Shape.com has more than 11,000 Facebook likes. But a new report from Brooks Running found that runners are like wine. That’s right, 44% of runners say they get better with age, just like a good bottle of vino. While 24% of runners tied to say they’re more like beer, with a little hop in their step, or more like a cocktail, shaking up their routine.
That was just one of the fun tidbits unearthed in the third annual Brooks Run Happy Nation report, a survey of 1,000 runners in the U.S., Canada, and Germany, commissioned by Brooks Running. Here are some of the results.
32% of Americans say they choose a friend as their go-to training partner
24% pick a digital fitness tracker
20% would rather hoof it with their dog
Business Time (Flight of the Conchords fans, you know what I’m talkin’ about)
48% percent of Americans under 40 like to get it on pre-run
41% of Americans reveal they feel “frisky” after hitting the pavement
35% say a pre-race horizontal rhumba improves running performance
62% of American women prefer briefs, compared to 72% of German women
8% of American women go full commando, versus 11% of Canadians
47% of runners prefer racerback sports bras
39% like crossback sports bras
14% prefer front closure sports bras
32% of respondents say Forrest Gump inspires them the most among running movies
26% connect with Rocky‘s eye of the tiger
18% love Silver Linings Playbook’s wackier take on running
47% of respondents say trails are their favorite place to run
27% of respondents pick running around the Grand Canyon as their dream runcation destination
I saw my doctor on Monday after taking two full weeks off from running and all weight bearing exercise, wearing a foot pad and wrap, and avoiding heels like I avoid broccoli.
Last I saw the doc, he had my MRI results in hand. “Findings suggestive of a stress fracture of the tibial sesamoid,” read the radiology report. When doc pressed on the area—one of the two tiny bones in the ball of the foot—it was pretty painful.
Now? No pain whatsoever, not even when he really dug in there. Based on that, he thinks I may not have had a crack in the bone, but a bruise.
Bone Crack Or Bone Bruise?
My MRI results
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons describes it this way: “A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone, or severe bruising within a bone.” They’re both stress fractures, but two different types.
A crack and a bruise can appear the same on an MRI, which doesn’t necessarily show the fracture. MRIs might show swelling, or edema, which is indicative of a stress fracture. But I’d have the same swelling whether it was a crack or a bruise, my doc said.
He thinks I caught the bone bruise right away and nipped it in the bud before it had the chance to become a crack. That’s the theory anyway.
So what next? He told me to try a short run on the treadmill, 20 minutes or so nice and easy. If I had any pain, he wanted me to march right back into his office, at which point he’d slap me with a full stress fracture diagnosis, put me in a cast, and pass down a sentence of four more weeks without running.
If I had no pain, he said I could ease back into running every other day, with short, easy jogs. He wants me to keep wearing the foot pad and wrap for the time being. If the pain creeps back in at any point, I march right back into his office. If I’m still pain free, I see him for a follow-up in three weeks.
Soooooooo? I hopped on the treadmill Monday night for that test drive. Talk about knots in my stomach! I don’t think I’ve ever been as conscious of one teeny, tiny bone as I was for that 20 minutes, constantly assessing for the slightest hint of discomfort. The good news? It never crept in. Those 20 minutes—building slowly up to a conservative for me 11:30 min/mile pace—felt great. Yee-haw! Read the rest of this entry →
I really hoped I was over reacting by seeing a doctor a week after a mysterious ache crept into my left foot. Here’s the thing: it didn’t hurt and I only felt it while running. When I wasn’t running it felt totally fine. But when the ache was there, it felt deep within the bone in the ball of my foot. I didn’t like that. I thought, “It might just be a bruise.” But I also know that fractures are common among runners, and especially common among women—Deena Kastor famously fractured her foot, Desiree Linden her femur. I’m no elite runner, but I decided not to waste time. I booked a doctor’s appointment. I just had a feeling in my gut.
I’m so glad I did. An MRI confirmed I have a stress fracture in my tibial sesmoid—one of two tiny, round bones in the ball of the foot. I also have a swollen or “pinched” nerve known as a neuroma. Both are common in runners, says my doc, who is a runner himself. He’ll be running the Airbnb Brooklyn Half in in May and I’ll be announcing at the start.
“A chronic fracture is a stress fracture (a hairline break usually caused by repetitive stress or overuse). A chronic sesamoid fracture produces longstanding pain in the ball of the foot beneath the big toe joint. The pain, which tends to come and go, generally is aggravated with activity and relieved with rest.”
Yup, that’s it exactly.
The Good News
The good news is doc thinks my foot stress fracture isn’t too acute, so he’s prescribing two weeks of no running as a starting point. Read the rest of this entry →