We’re nearly a week into 2014 and my first three races of the year—the Disney Family Fun Run 5K, Walt Disney World 10K and Walt Disney World Half Marathon—are already upon us.
I guess it’s finally time to write down my running goals for 2014.
When I look at them, one thing comes to mind: I’m a Maverick. I want to go faster. In 2013, I made the realization I’m a Speed Demon, not an Endurance Monster. I love speed workouts. I hate long runs. I run a 6:46 mile, but have struggled to break 2 hours in the half-marathon. Speed, not distance, has been good to me. So I’m giving into that for 2014.
But let’s see how I did on my 2013 goals, first.
Running Goals For 2013
1. Get even faster
SUCCESS! I make this goal every year because it works for me. Last year I wrote: “In 2013, I’m going to try to knock out a 5K and 10K PR.” Done and done. I knocked out the following personal records in 2013: Read the rest of this entry →
There was the high of running in Hawai’i and the low of getting sick for my fall marathon. And there was the redemption of a 5K PR after marathon season was over.
If 2013 taught me anything, it’s that you can’t win them all. But you can still have fun trying.
This photo of me with my finisher’s medal at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is proof of that. I was sick, failed to run a marathon personal best like I wanted, but still managed to enjoy the race. My smile says it all.
And you know what? When you give a goal your best and fail, it makes the successes even sweeter. I ran 6 of the 13 races either as fun runs or training runs and I ran 7 of the 13 races as races, pushing with everything I had. I managed to PR at three of them, and scored a few PRs in workouts without even trying, too. I’ll save those for my Goals of 2014 post.
Running through Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. (Photo: Phil Hospod)
Hawai’i Island is the triathlon Mecca of the world. But Hawai’i is also a great running vacation destination, as my husband, Phil, and I learned on a trip there in August, which was sponsored by the Hawai’i Visitors and Convention Bureau. When it comes to running in Hawai’i—whether you’re going there to race, to train or just for fun—there are many iconic, unforgettable places to get in a jog.
I put together a “Running Vacation” guide to Hawai’i, the Big Island in my column at The Washington Times Communities. Here are some highlights and embellishments.
What To Race
Triathlons in Hawai’i
A cyclist on Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway (Photo: Phil Hospod)
To compete in the Ironman World Championship, athletes must earn a spot at a qualifying race, gain entry through a lottery or win a bib at a charitable auction. But that’s not the only triathlon on Hawai’i Island.
The Ironman 70.3 Hawai’i on May 31, 2014 is the only Ironman World Championship qualifier held on the island, with a start and finish on the Kohala Coast.
Or try the Lavaman Triathlon Series with Olympic distance races at Keauhou on November 24, 2013 and Waikoloa on March 30, 2014. And many other triathlon events take place on the island throughout the year.
And Peaman puts on a free series of events throughout the year. There are lots of year-round options for running in Hawai’i.
Where To Run
Views from a run on Ali’i Drive. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)
The most famous spot for running in Hawai’i might be Ali’i Drive. The iconic road is seven-miles long from start to finish with markers every mile. Winding through Kailua-Kona, the oceanfront road features prominently in most races in Kona, including the Ironman World Championship and Kona Marathon.
Phil and I made sure to get in a run along the route while we were staying at the Sheraton Kona, which is perfectly situated and the end of Ali’i Drive. Read the rest of this entry →
Many runners have a love-hate relationship with shoelaces. I love that they come in fun colors and keep my shoes on. I hate tying them. When it comes to running shoelaces, I like to make like Ron Popeil: set it and forget it.
When I get a new pair of running shoes, I tie the laces a few times until I find the “perfect fit.” Then I never tie them again. I put a double knot in and just slip my running shoes on and off for the rest of the life of the shoe.
I know that’s a cardinal sin of running, but it works for me.
So when I heard about Hickies, I thought I’d give it a try. Hickies elastic lacing system is a different concept than most elastic shoe laces, which look just like traditional laces. For starters, Hickies come in 16 color combinations. Yes, they promise you’ll never have to tie or untie your laces again. But for $19.99, you get a pack of 14 smaller, individual elastic shoe laces in your color choice plus two bonus Hickies in another color, instead of two regular old long elastic laces. Different? Yes. Better? I’m undecided. Worth a try? Certainly, if you’re thinking about going tie-free. Read the rest of this entry →
The Wild Dog Triathlon on August 11, 2013 in the charming town of Bristol, Rhode Island did not disappoint with a gorgeous course and great organization. I’ve long been a fan of the state known as “Little Rhody.” It’s one of my favorite summer vacation getaways. I’ve run a small handful of races there—the UnitedHealthcare Providence Half Marathon and two local 5Ks.
But the Wild Dog Triathlon was my first multi-sport event in Rhode Island, and it has to be the most scenic of the bunch I’ve done. With a swim in the warm waters of Narragansett Bay, a looped bike course around the dazzling Colt State Park, and an out-and-back run entirely along the water, this is a race I’d happily do again.
Bristol Harbor at morning. (Photo: Phil Hospod)
Bristol, Rhode Island
The town of Bristol recalls many a fictional, but picturesque New England hamlet like Stars Hollow, Conn., of “Gilmore Girls” fame or Cabot Cove, Maine from “Murder She Wrote.” There’s also a touch of Quahog, R.I. from “The Family Guy.” How cute is Rhode Island and Narragansett Bay? They’ve served as the backdrop for idyllic films like Moonrise Kingdom, Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, and Dan In Real Life, not to mention many a Farrelly brothers’ movie like There’s Something About Mary and Dumb and Dumber. The Big Blue Bug? It’s actually mounted on the roof of a building in Rhode Island.
But Bristol is the real deal. The town is most famous for its 4th of July parade, the oldest in the U.S., dating back to 1785. The double-yellow line that marks two-way traffic on most streets isn’t yellow at all in Bristol. Along the parade-route, it’s red, white and blue year-round.
But that’s only part of Bristol’s charm. Throw in a town common with an actual white gazebo (take that Stars Hollow), a bustling downtown on the waterfront, a 14-mile bike path that goes all the way to Providence, and an embarrassment of museums, grand old mansions, and public-access green spaces like Colt State Park and Mount Hope Farm. Simply, Bristol is a perfect place for a summer retreat…or a triathlon.
The men of wave 1 wait for the start. (Photo: Phil Hospod)
Wild Dog Triathlon
The race was exceedingly well organized. Registration and packet pick-up was a breeze, the race started on time, and the courses were well-marked. Read the rest of this entry →
I finished my fourth triathlon on Sunday, August 11 at the Wild Dog Triathlon In Bristol, Rhode Island. The course in Rhode Island’s Colt State Park was dazzling with a surprisingly warm open water swim in Narragansett Bay, a bike ride through the 464-acre park, and an out-and-back run entirely along the waterfront.
Check out the video below.
I had a great time at this triathlon and would love to do it again. But it was full of highs and lows.
The swim was a high. I finished 13th of 74 women, polishing off the quarter mile swim and tenth of a mile run to the transition zone in 7:49. The only woman in my age group who beat me won the women’s race overall. Read the rest of this entry →
Colt State Park in Rhode Island plays host to the Wild Dog Triathlon. (Photo: By Jim Willis [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons)
Triathlon fever continues.
Sunday is my fourth stab at the crazy art of swim-bike-run at the Wild Dog Triathlon in Bristol, Rhode Island. It’s a sprint or mini triathlon with a quarter-mile swim, 10-mile bike and 3-mile run.
After struggling through a hip injury for two months, I finally feel like I’m in fighting form again. I’ve had a few confidence building runs and feel like I might be able to give this race my all. Heck, I ran a 5K personal record this morning during a 4-mile tempo run. I haven’t raced a 5K since 2011, so maybe it’s time!
My hip is still not 100 percent, but it’s somewhere in the 90s. It only starts tightening up after running 7+ miles and has been feeling better every week. So a mini triathlon should be within my wheelhouse.
Since my last triathlon at the Montauk Point Lighthouse Sprint Triathlon on July 21, where I had an awful, tight-hipped, sluggish run, I’ve been running three days a week. I’ve also been swimming once a week. And biking? Well, my training there hasn’t exactly been stellar. My biking has fallen by the wayside as I’ve started upping my long runs to 12 miles as part of marathon training.
I want to make it to the starting line healthy and strong. (Photo: Phil Hospod)
Injury can be frustrating, especially when you’ve got a full slate of racing plans. But I want to make it to the starting line healthy and strong. So I’m counting down the weeks until I’m 100 percent by swimming, biking and running away from my injury…literally.
It’s been 7.5 weeks since I fell off a horse and injured my hip. I bruised the bone and the muscle, along with some whiplash to my neck. It was incredibly painful the first week, but luckily my x-rays showed no fractures. After two weeks off, I eased back into running and have been in doctor-prescribed physical therapy to strengthen my hip and get rid of the traumatic bursitis that settled into the joint.
The Montauk Point Lighthouse was the spectacular finish at the Montauk Point Lighthouse Sprint Triathlon. (Photo: United States Coast Guard)
The Montauk Point Lighthouse Sprint Triathlon on Sunday, July 21, 2013 was my third and, by far, most scenic triathlon. The race was a point-to-point course that served as a fundraiser for the Montauk Point Lighthouse, a National Historic Landmark and the oldest lighthouse in New York state, dating to 1796.
Montauk sits at the very tip of Long Island surrounded by Block Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. Starting with a swim in the sound, a bike course that toured triathletes around Lake Montauk and a run through a tree-lined state park, the Montauk Point Lighthouse Sprint Triathlon course put Montauk’s natural beauty on full display. Pair that with a finish beside the lighthouse at the top of Turtle Hill overlooking the sea, and you have a challenging but beautiful triathlon course.
I was tackling the race with my husband, Phil, who was doing his first triathlon. With my new bike in hand, I was ready to race.
Our family on our wedding day (Photo: Lev Kuperman)
I’m a newlywed. My husband, Phil, and I have been married for six months and we’ve been together for five years. Running played a large part in our courtship, our engagement, and has been a mainstay of our relationship. We love to run, and whenever we can, we run together. They say that couples who sweat together stay together. I hope it’s true. Here’s to running love.
He’s much faster than me with his 3:03 marathon personal best; mine is 4:28. But that doesn’t stop us. Here’s how we keep on running side-by-side.
Running toward New Year’s resoultions (Photo: Phil Hospod)
2012 was a notable year in running. The pros dazzled at the London Olympics, the New York City Marathon was canceled for the first time in its history, and a vice-presidential candidate’s not-quite-true claims of marathon glory brought running into the national conversation.
On a personal level, it was a meaningful year for me too. I married my Prince Charming, who proposed after a half-marathon; I ran for my cousin Laura, who died from cancer in June; and I started hosting a web series about running. I also knocked out four personal records in the marathon, half-marathon and triathlon, and ran 10 races total to reach a personal milestone of over 50 “career” races.
It’s been an eventful training season for the Philadelphia Marathon on November 18. As always with marathon training, I’ve enjoyed plenty of highs and lows over the course of the last few months. But marathon training comes down to this–how ready you are on race day. I’m ready to tackle Philly with a vengeance and leave all my cares out on the course in an attempt at my marathon personal record. Read the rest of this entry →
The running life is like any other life—fraught with pitfalls and challenges, but also rewards and joys. And I’ve experienced them all. Some lessons I learned the hard way and others were pleasant surprises. Some are obvious, but not necessarily if you’re a new runner. Some are humorous and some are serious. But all of them are worth heeding.
I hope to keep adding to my trove of running wisdom over the course of my next 50 races and beyond—which begins with the Philadelphia Marathon on Nov. 18. But for now, here are a few nuggets from my running wisdom treasure trove, in no particular order. 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!