Six mile cross country run of South Atlantic AAU at College Park (Photo: Library of Congress)
Please welcome my good friend, trail runner and humorist S.H. Carlyle, who is contributing to RunKarlaRun.com for the first time! In October 2013, he took over my Twitter feed while I ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon with a comedic look at the race. Now he’s back with his take on trail running. I apologize in advance to my Australian friends. Enjoy!
If you’re an experienced road runner (which I am not) who knows a great deal about race strategy, pacing, and hi-tech fabrics (which I don’t), then you’ll no doubt be skeptical, but intrigued, about trail running.
Much like NASCAR or Australia, trail running was invented by criminals. Its genesis lies in old cross-country races when runners would attempt to cheat by taking shortcuts through the woods. While many early adopters were mistaken for wild game and shot, the sport soon took hold as a viable and fun alternative to road running.
A Fight With a Grizly [sic] Bear, circa 1850-1860 (Library of Congress)
The biggest challenge for road runners moving into trail running is the transition to varied terrain and the difference in ambient variables. As most people know, forests are filled with murderous bears. Note that you do not have to outrun a bear, you simply have to outrun the person next to you, which is why trail running encourages runners to trip fellow competitors and push them down in the case of bear attacks. Read the rest of this entry →
Today is my five-year blogiversary! And I’m celebrating the best way I know how: going for a run. On Sunday, October 19 I’m running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco as part of a Nike media group. When I cross the finish line and earn my Tiffany & Co. necklace, it will be a reminder of just how far I’ve come since I launched “Run, Karla, Run!” back in 2009. And how far we’ve all come together.
Before the 2009 Chicago Marathon. (RunKarlaRun.com)
It’s appropriate that my five-year anniversary is occurring around a race. My very first post was about running the 2009 Bank of Chicago Marathon on the anniversary of my father’s death. I’m from Chicago and the course runs right past my dad’s old office, a place I spent many weekends growing up. Running that race on that day in that city was bittersweet for me. You can read that first post, and its follow-up if you’re curious.
Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, where my dad worked. (Phil Hospod)
But opening my blog with a post about the town where I got my start as a writer—on my high school newspaper, where I eventually served as editor-in-chief— was a fitting beginning to my career as a running reporter, which has taken me from Chicago and my home in New York City to places I never would have dreamed of five years ago: to far-flung locales like Israel, Peru and the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, to new career frontiers like hosting a web and TV show for New York Road Runners on ABC in New York, to seeing my byline in publications like SHAPE and Canadian Running, RunnersWorld.com and Active.com, and right here on RunKarlaRun.com.
Now, I’m off to my first race in San Francisco. Rather than try to PR on the city’s fierce hills, I’m going to use the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco as a litmus test. This time, it’s all about my marathon pace for the upcoming GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon in November. Can I run 13.1 miles at my goal marathon pace? If I can, will it feel easy enough? It’s time to find out.
Lessons From The Track
Last month, I hit the track with a Nike+ NYC training group, including some of the ladies who are joining me in San Francisco. We ventured to Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island in New York City where we ran a workout led by Nike+ Head Coach Chris Bennett. It consisted of a warm-up, dynamic stretches and drills, strides across the infield, a speed workout on the track, cool down and foam rolling. Read the rest of this entry →
New Balance Fresh Foam Trail shoes in action at Machu Picchu in Peru. (Phil Hospod)
One of the most common questions people ask me is: “What are the best running shoes?” Variations include: “What running shoes do you wear?” “What’s your favorite brand of running shoes?” and “Who makes the best running shoes?”
My answer is always the same. There is no one best kind, or pair, or brand of running shoes. What works for one runner might not work for someone else. And what worked for one runner a year ago may no longer work for them now. We all have different foot shapes, sizes, gaits, body weights, stride lengths, form, muscle weakness, imbalances, strengths, injuries and all the other things that affect how we run. And even then, it’s good to rotate your shoes and wear different types of shoes for different types of workouts. Brian Metzler at Competitor wrote a great column about it: Why You Should Have A Quiver Of Running Shoes.
And yet, we’re all on the quest for the perfect shoe. I’m no exception. I was once fiercely loyal to Mizuno’s Wave Rider, until they dramatically changed the shoe and it was no longer my personal glass slipper. Since then I’ve worn other pairs of Mizuno, ASICS, Nike, New Balance, K-Swiss and Saucony searching for that perfect pair. Here’s what I’ve found in 2014.
New Balance 890v4 runDisney Cinderella shoes
Karla’s Best Running Shoes of 2014
I’ve tried 30 pairs of running shoes in the last year. What can I say? I really like shoes. I am a Cinderella runner after all. Athletic companies sent complimentary pairs of some for me to try. Others I purchased myself. Some I took for a treadmill run or two only to return them because they didn’t work for me. Others, I kept to test on the road. Among those, I give some away once I decide they’re not for me. But I keep the best of the rest.
These are the 10 best running shoes of the bunch for me. Keep in mind that these are all neutral shoes and I am a neutral runner with high arches. If you have low arches, wear a stability or motion-control shoes, these may or may not work for you. (Need to learn more? Read: Gait Analysis For The Nike Women’s Half Marathon SF)
All the shoe vitals are for the women’s version as provided by each respective manufacturer. I tried each pair in a women’s size 9 and I’ve listed them by brand. Happy shoe shopping!
I feel like pulling aHarold Zidler from Moulin Rouge! and screaming, ‘Everything’s going so well!’ But I know that training can change as quickly as the wind. So instead, I’m simply grateful that I’m motivated and on track. That certainly isn’t always the case.
Um, yerp. Of course, as Yeats wrote: “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.” Hold it did not. The train fell off the tracks.
A week later, I missed my long run for no good reason whatsoever—life simply got in the way. The following week, I set out on Saturday for my long run of 12 miles, only to eke out 6. I wasn’t feeling well at all—a sore throat and general tiredness soon gave way to a full-blown cold with fever and chills. It was ill-timed. My husband, Phil, and I were on our way to Peru and Panama the next day for a two-week running vacation.
Machu Picchu! (RunKarlaRun.com)
Sick on Vacation
We left on Sunday morning and got to the base town for Machu Picchu on Monday afternoon. I spent three flights and one train ride to Machu Picchu and the first full day on the ground in Peru incredibly sick. As Phil walked around town, I laid in bed shivering and desperately trying to get warm and healthy. We had tickets to tour Machu Picchu, the impetus for our trip, on Tuesday, the next day. There was no way I was missing that.
The classic Machu Picchu shot (RunKarlaRun.com)
Thankfully, my fever finally broke on Monday night after almost three full days. We bussed to Machu Picchu early Tuesday morning, toured the ruins, and hiked Montana Machu Picchu, the mountain that gives the site its name. It was a big push for me, and I was incredibly tired, but I really didn’t want to miss it. All told, we were on our feet for 10 hours and hiked 5,560 ft of elevation change, topping out at 10,112 ft.Read the rest of this entry →
When my husband, Phil, and I planned our last-minute whirlwind trip through Peru and Panama, I started searching for races that might be happening while we were there.
Luckily, I found the Marathon RPP Scotiabank in Lima on Sunday, September 21, which bills itself as Peru’s biggest race with 20,000 runners. Interestingly enough, the winners of the race get all-expenses paid trips to the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October. Funnily, both Phil and I ran that Toronto marathon in 2013—Race Report: Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.
Kismet? I think so.
Maraton RPP Scotiabank Lima Registration
Maraton RPP Scotiabank in Lima
So I turned to Google Translate to figure out the details on the Maraton RPP Scotiabank website. Contrary to the name, Peru’s “red tide” is not a marathon but a half-marathon with a 10K option as well. Perfecto! Both Phil and I are training for the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon in November and the race fit in well with our training plans.
I clicked “Inscripciones” only to discover that the registration process is anything but easy. Runners must first pay 50 Soles (about $17) in person to an escrow account at a Scotiabank. Then, 24 hours later, register online with their bank receipt. So I went into problem solving mode. Read the rest of this entry →
Peter Pan-inspired runners at the TInker Bell Half Marathon. (runDisney)
Disney’s Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2015 is 99 percent sold out as of press time. The Pixie Dust Challenge, Tinker Bell 10K, Never Land 5K and runDisney Kids Races may be sold out, but you can still run during the women-focused race weekend at Disneyland in California from May 7-10. Limited bibs are available via charity and tour groups. Runners must register directly through the groups listed below to participate.
The runDisney Kids Races sold out first in 4 hours and 20 minutes. The Pasta in the Park Party followed, selling all its tickets in 24 hours. And the Tinker Bell 10K filled up in 48 hours. Only the Pixie Dust Challenge and Tinker Bell Half Marathon had openings for about a month.
Tinker Bell (runDisney)
The sell-out paced behind the 2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend, which reached capacity at 30,000 runners weekend wide in two days.
Possible explanations? The addition of two more race weekends at Disneyland—Star Wars and Avengers Super Heroes—spreading out West Coast demand over more races. Disneyland previously had just two—Tinker Bell and Disneyland Half Marathon. With four race weekends, runners have more choices.
Also, the Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2015 is the first time the event will be held over Mother’s Day Weekend in May instead of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend in January.
Still Want To Run?
If you really want to run any of the sold-out races at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2015, you can still register through a charity or tour group. 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. Read the rest of this entry →
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 at11,200 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.)
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/10Kin 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.
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!”
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.
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.
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
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 →
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.
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.
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 →
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.
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.
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 →
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.
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.
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!
Running with Relly (RunKarlaRun.com)
Cinderella and Fred on the beach (RunKarlaRun.com)
Run, Cinderella, Run! (RunKarlaRun.com)
Cinderella in the wild. (RunKarlaRun.com)
Beach run! (RunKarlaRun.com)
My Cinderella helps me sew…or just lays on my clothes. (RunKarlaRun.com)
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.
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
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 →
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 →
I’m not the fastest runner and I’m not the slowest, but I am a running nerd. A journalist by trade, I love to research, read, learn and cogitate. So stick with me. Like all good nerds, I’ll do the homework and share it. But the running is up to you!