The Glo with the Flo 5K race in Ocala Florida was fun

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Glo with the Flo LogoThese 5K social road races are really fun. The recent Glo with the Flo 5K in Ocala Florida was no different. I got there approximately 30 minutes before the race began and it seemed like a big party was happening. It was put on by Milestone Race Authority and had only a few sponsors. The few I noticed were The Courtyard on Broadway, Campus USA, Bath Fitter, and MoJo’s Grille. The run was to benefit The Children’s Alliance. Even when you open your entry fee bag, there was very little sponsorship items. What a waste.

Whoever was in charge of marketing this running event certainly did not know what they were doing? Running events should benefit the runners and the runners should benefit the event makers. Besides a great place to run, giving trophies and a t-shirt to the runners, sponsorships should give coupons to put into the runner’s event bags. This would encourage the runners to visit their place of business. The only other thing in the bag besides a few Glo-Sticks was upcoming running event brochures.

MMA PromotersThe funny thing was that an MMA fighting event coming up in Ocala took advantage of the runners being there and had 2-girls with their fanny sticking out of their shorts and a man going from person to person promoting their upcoming fighting event. That may had benefitted the actual sponsors if they were to have someone walking around handing coupons to the runners and other people at the events instead of standing behind a table under a canopy hoping someone will come by. Oh well, enough with the soapbox.

The race started at 8 pm. The sky was just getting dark and everyone who had a type of Glo-Stick was starting to glow. One of the funny things I had witnessed was that my family had started cracking their Glo-Sticks (which were made into necklaces and bracelets) the night and/or several hours before the race. I had wondered how many children runners did that as well. The second interesting thing was the serious runners who had finished in the top 10 did not participate in wearing a Glo-Stick.

Start of Race Glo with the Flo

Finally the race started and the course had winded around a local neighborhood. At one point the police who were at the event for protection and guidance had stopped runners on a few occasions to let cars pass through the race course. For some runners trying to PR it did not sit well with them. It seemed that for the front runners, there was no interference. I know the police were trying to do the right thing and make everyone safe.

The winning time was 16:59 for this 5K race which was not the exciting thing. The exciting thing was to watch all the runners and walkers smile, laugh, groan or have a determined face when finishing. It was like one big party. These runs have become a community that socializes, tell stories and share experiences. I know this writing seems a little negative but in reality this race was a very possitive experience. Being a runner, sales and marketing person I tend to enjoy how things are put on as well as observing the many runners who participate in the race. When this race comes back to Ocala, I hope to see you there.

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5K race Scam

tmp_8501-scam-5k39779191My daughter had called me about a 5K race that was coming up in a few weeks. She kept trying to register for it but the page would not let her. I went to the website and it looked legitimate and it started getting me excited too. I tried to sign up, look for additional information and who to contact but to no avail. I started to think is this a 5k running scam?

My next thought was to look up and call the cities local running club. I did reach the director of the running club and he said he would look into it and get back with me. A few days later he did get back with me and said it was not a running scam but rather a poor put together attempt at putting on a 5K road race. He went on to explain the many avenues it takes to put together a road race. Road races, even as small as a 5K, cost money. You need to get volunteers to help, get with the city or county on the event, get sponsors and advertise the heck out of it. There may also be other miscellaneous cost or issues which are specific to each individual running event.

 Most runners participating in these events don't really think about what it takes to put on these events and that is the way it should be. Runners should only have to enjoy the event and not be burdened about the cost and time. You may think that the entry fee of each runner should cover the cost but it doesn't. There usually has to be a certain amount of runners in a running event just to break even. I'm sure that sometimes a running event that is not put on correct may cause the promoters of the event to lose money. This is just my opinion.

Are there 5K running scams? Maybe, but my guess is that most of the time it is a poorly organized event that people who have little experience, try putting on. In my many years of experience most running events advertised online are legit. If you as a runner ever run into this problem with a running event that is advertised online do what I did, Call the local running club or race event organizers and ask them if it is legit.

PACE YOUR WAY TO A WIN

PACE YOUR WAY TO A WINIf you are the type of person who loves running like me, you may have watched a few track races in the 2016 Rio Olympics. There were so many good races (and as of this writing, is still going on) in which you can see the tactical running of several metal winners. One in particular was Mo (Mohamed) Farah who won the 10,000 meter race in Rio. Most of the talking about him was how he was tripped, got up and won the race. The one aspect I had noticed was how he had started the race in the rear (or near the rear) of the pack. He kept this position for 2-3 miles into the race before he quickly caught up to the leaders.

I certainly cannot read his mind but it looked to me that he had decided to not go out fast with the rest of the runners but rather pace himself the first few miles. He did keep close enough to be able to work his way to the front. When you watch the beginning of the race you think that Mo may not be doing so well but in fact he knew what he was doing. On several occasions in which I had run a race I had paced myself to a victory as well. Not at the Olympic time Mo Farah did but good enough to win.

I can tell you now that it seemed totally against my nature when I paced a race. Watching the many runners ahead of you is very disturbing. In fact at times it made me doubt if I would ever catch up to the leaders or not. If it weren’t for me knowing the many practices I did with pacing ¼ miles, half miles and one miler at a certain race pace, I would have been lost. I had once gotten so good (this is years ago) with the ¼ mile pacing I could do 10 to 15 interval laps within a second or two of each time.

There are many runners whose character is to go out fast, keep the lead and finish hard but that is not the norm. Names like Steve Prefontaine, David Rudisha (Olymic 800 meter winner) and Wayde Van Niekerk (Olympic 400 meter winner & world record holder) are some of the fiercest front starters that seem to wear the other runners down. Their inner motivation and guts make them who they are but if you are like the thousands of other runners who do not possess the inner driving force to be a front runner then pacing is the key to your success.

Even though there is a difference between track racing and cross country / road racing, the principals are the same. Its learning to pace yourself for each interval from a ¼ mile to a mile so that when you race you will not get burnt out. If you are not a front runner or starter and do not learn how to pace then you will be susceptible to running out of breath, legs giving out or possible injury. By pacing yourself you will conserve the energy needed to finish a race at a time you are shooting for.

In order to find your pace you must first know what your current time is, for the distance you are racing, and then break it down. Also if you are setting a goal to reach a specific time then you would also have to break it down in pace intervals. Roger Bannister the first person to break the four minute mile barrier knew this best. He knew that if he paces each quarter mile in 60 seconds he would run an exact four minute mile. With this knowledge he would have to do at least a 59 second quarter out of the 4 laps in order to break the 4 minute mile barrier. As you know, he did just that.

Let’s say you have a goal of running an 18 minute 3-miler. I would say 5K but I want to round it off for this example. Each mile you would practice to pace a 6-minute mile; each half mile you would learn to pace a 3-minute half mile and each quarter you would pace a 90 second quarter. So for practice you would run at different days either the quarter mile intervals, half mile intervals or 1-mile intervals. For my 3-mile (5K) races I had loved running six 1-mile intervals and finish each mile within several seconds of what the previous mile was until I got the pace down as close as I could. Depending on what you are practicing your pace for, there will always be some give or take during your racing. I had run over rough terrains, golf courses and winding roads before. It was not always easy to pace exactly the time I was shooting for but it did keep me focused during the race.

Also for the 3 mile (5K) race I would encourage you to do at least 15-20 quarter miles with a minute rest in between, 8 to 10 half miles with a 2 minute rest in between and 5 to 7 mile intervals with a 3 minute rest in between. The most important part of learning to pace is when you are getting tired. If you find yourself pacing a your goal time in the mile interval after the 3rd or 4th mile then you are getting accustomed to what you have to pace at race day.

If you are racing on the track then the quarter and half miles are an excellent practice for finding your pace. As your distance gets longer you would practice maybe 2-3 mile intervals at a certain pace. Learning one’s pace in a race can make the difference of finishing below your goal time to finishing at or better than your goal running time.

Ouch, Ouch , Ouch, What’s in my shoe

stone-in-shoeWhat a Pain, What a Pain, What a Pain! Here you go taking a stroll through some woods, gravel road or trail. Your thoughts are to run a certain distance because you felt like it. You want to complete this distance without stopping. It’s a challenge to you but you had decided to do it either yesterday or several hours before you began, that’s what runners do. They have an inside visualization or feeling of running a certain distance or practice and proceed to do it.

After a certain distance they feel something in their shoe. Their first thought is, “How did it get there”? What is it? The runner tries to ignore it for a certain distance but cannot get it out of their mind because it seems to roll around their shoe at different steps. Their thought is, “Do I stop, untie my shoe and take it out or do I keep going and put up with this annoying feeling (Sometimes Pain). The runner pushes it further and further until finally they stop, untie their shoe and empty out the object.

Once the object is removed it is hard to get back into the rhythm you are running in. Eventually you will get back into your rhythm but at first it is hard. I really hate Debris that magically appears in your shoes when I am running and I’m sure you do too. There are many conclusions why debris enters into your shoe but none of that matters except for getting rid of the object in your shoe.

What a Pain, What a Pain, What a Pain! Beware of the magical debris in the shoe. Hee Hee.

The Pea in the Bed

How to successfully achieve your running goals

Achieve your running goals

Running Goals

Even though there are some people who do not believe in goals, for many others, having a goal gives them a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Goals are not just for the elite professional runners but also for the beginner and intermediate runners as well. There are many different reasons why people run, such as to lose weight, for medical reasons, to impress someone, to have something a family can do together, to get back in fair shape because they once were a competitive runner and to be the best in the world at the distance they choose. Running has become a worldly event and has no stereo types. It cost very little to run and now a days they have made road racing a social event.

Just for a moment think about why you run or have taken up running. What is the end result you want to accomplish? This is basically the beginning of a goal. I read a book written by Zig Ziglar, a motivational speaker and sales expert, in which he described a goal. He talked about a great archer who could not only hit a bullseye but also shoot an arrow through another arrow he just shot. Now if you take this same archer and blind folded him, spun him around several times and then ask him to hit the bullseye, most likely he couldn’t do it. You might ask, “How can this archer hit the bullseye he can’t see”? And I ask, “How can you hit a running goal you don’t really have”?

Your running goals should be personal to you. It’s okay to share them if it motivates you or gives you a sense of accountability. You know what your obstacles are more than anyone else. You may have a physical or mental issue, you may have never run before or you may just be content to be a jogger. Wherever you are right now is a perfect time to set a running goal.

The most important aspect of achieving a goal is to have a goal. Here are the following steps to successfully achieve a running goal.

  • Make it a bigger running goal than you first initially thought of having
  • Set a time limit to when you will achieve this running goal
  • Break down your big running goal into smaller more achievable running goals
  • Write down your running goals and look at them daily
  • Be Flexible when obtaining your running goals
  • Pat yourself on the back every time you achieve one of your smaller running goals.
  • Reward yourself when you finally achieve your main running goal.

Let’s break this down.

Make it a bigger running goal than you first initially thought of having. It is so easy to set a running goal that you really know you can obtain in a short period of time. It will give you no satisfaction and you may easily find yourself not working on it because you lose interest. The exciting thing about a hard to reach running goal is to not know if you can achieve it or not, but to have the drive and determination to try and achieve it anyways. There have been countless of stories of runners achieving victories that many other people thought would never happen. Billy Mills is one of the best examples. Who’d ever thought he would win the 10,000 meters in the Olympics or even place?

Having a hard to reach running goal gives you purpose. It gives you something to look forward to and it is a lot of fun.

Set a time limit to when you will achieve this running goal. Running goals need time limits. It doesn’t mean it’s over if you don’t achieve it but rather it’s an ongoing process and one that can be slightly changed. When you set a time limit such as a certain race date, holiday or event it gives you the focus you need to keep on your running schedule in order to achieve it. Your time limit must be realistic to a certain extent. If you are a 7-minute miler and think in 1-week you will be a 5-minute miler, then that is not realistic. If you set a time limit of 3-months to drop your running pace time from 7-minutes to 6:30 race pace, then that is a better way to set and achieve a running goal with a time limit.

Break down your big running goal into smaller more achievable running goals. When you have a running goal in mind and made it larger than you would expect to achieve, then it’s time to break it down to smaller more achievable goals. When you achieve smaller running goals on your way to your bigger running goal it gives you a sense of accomplishment and will give you more determination to keep going forward. Here is an example.

Big Running Goal – Run a Half Marathon in 8 months.

Situation – Never ran before

Smaller Goals – Run / Walk 1 mile for the first week, Run / Walk 2 miles for the 2nd week, Run 2 miles without walking in the 3rd week, Run / Walk 3-4 miles for the 4th week, sign up for and Run / Walk a 5K road race. Sign up for and Run / Walk a 10K race, Ect.

Because every runner knows what level they are at, their running goals need to be conformed to them personally. The point is to make out smaller more attainable running goals on your way to your larger running goal.

Write down your running goals and look at them daily. Think about the time you wanted to buy something but did not have the money for it. You also did not want to put it on your credit card. Every day you seem to be thinking about it and visualize getting it. Before you know it, you end up owning it.

This is what happens when you look at your running goals daily. When you write your running goals down you commit to it. Every time you look at your running goals you visualize obtaining it. Writing down and looking at your running goals will steer you towards obtaining your running goals more quickly.

Be flexible when obtaining your running goals. I can sum this up with one word….”LIFE”. Life happens. Rain, snow, sickness, injuries, work, school and whatever life throws at you. If you are not flexible it will be very hard to reach any of the running goals you may have. Flexibility is key. Sometimes you have to change your actual running goal list. You may find yourself improving at a faster or slower rate so being flexible will help you to stay on track to reaching your main running goal.

Pat yourself on the back every time you achieve one of your smaller running goals. Even though most of us do not look for the pat on the back, when we get one, it feels good. This is part of us being human. The same thing goes for your smaller running goals. You need to pat yourself on the back and say, “Good Job”. A pat on the back can be verbal but to do something like treating yourself to a lunch, t-shirt, new shoes or a weekend trip to the beach is much more rewarding. These pats can keep you inspired to go eagerly to the next smaller running goal you have listed.

Reward yourself when you finally achieve your main running goal. This reward should not be small like the ones where you pat yourself on the back. A reward to reaching your main running goal should be like a trip to a different city to run a particular road race, spending the night at a nice hotel and possibly bringing your family or a friend. It can also be like buying a treadmill for rainy days, a new outfit from head to toe. It needs to be a REWARD.

Making running goals are fun and a must have to anyone who is serious about running. It is not just for the professional runners but for anyone who is currently running or taking up running for the first time. By following these tips you will be on your way to successfully achieving your running goals.

Running from the Cops has never been this fun!

My daughter had mention a few months ago that there was going to be this crazy race in Ormond Beach Florida called “Cops & Joggers”. I never heard of it before but it sounded fun. This race was being held July 16th 2016 at the public section of Ormond Beach. I call it the public section because Ormond Beach had made an absolute beautiful parking and picnic area right on the beach. It does not cost anything to park there and it is a full service facility with clean bathrooms, playground, fresh water play area, picnic tables and grilles. It’s a very popular place for beach goers. 

The race started at 8:00 am on the beach and was sponsored by several radio stations like 103.3 The Vibe, 93.1 Coast Country, 93.7 Whog Hog, 93.5 WNDB, 99.5 WLOV, and a few businesses like Southern Stone Event Group, Sign-O-Saurus, Image Today, Rue & Ziffra and RCR. When we arrived there were several police cars in the parking lot and many runners signing in. This race was a 5K (3.1 miles) along the beach. The idea was for the runners to run wearing flag football belt and 2 flag ribbons. During the run the runners need to avoid the police officers from pulling their flags  (put on with Velcro) for the entire distance of the race.

The police officers would be stationed at different parts of the race and ready to chase the runners down and pull their flags off. I was really surprised that there weren’t at least a thousand runners because I heard it was a popular race event. It did have a good amount of runners from walkers to runners and all age groups. Some were very serious and others just wanted to have fun. Over all I’ll tell you this, It was a Great event for runners”. 

Before the gun they honored America and then you heard a real police siren go off with an authentic Ormond Beach police officer pulling up next to the starting line and then his car bullhorn sounded. This is the police, you can not run away. We will chase you down and obtain your flags. The runners were instructed to line up and then the race gun went off. Not more than 200 yards were the first officers. The runners worked hard to avoid the cops and it seemed like the cops only got a few ribbons at that point. 

I talked with one of the officers who’s job was to pull the flags from the runners. He told me that last year they did not get very many flags and they were reprimanded (most likely teased) by their Sargent and other officers and needed to double their efforts for this running event. They had planned to double the officers at the first station for when the runners come back. They felt the runners would be very tired and not put up a running fight. What I noticed that they most likely didn’t is that they got really tired after chasing runners during the race. In fact many of the runners were fresher than the officers. As you know it’s because runners train for endurance besides speed. Ha Ha officers.

It was a pleasure watching runners run in the ocean, zig zagging, and colaborating with each other so as to keep their flags. When all said and done, it was a great time for all.  The winning time was not too impressive being 22 minutes and change but then again it was in the sand. If this race event comes to your area, I recommend you sign up for it and run in it. Worse case scenario you can brag to your family and friends that you ran from the cops and got away. Have fun and remember to always be socially running.

Its alright to Jog-Walk when you first start out running

I have "just started out" a couple of times in my life when it comes to running. When you read the My Story page you will see what I am talking about. Depending on your age, weight and condition people who want to take up running for one reason or another may have a hard time at the beginning. This is especially true if you have not read up on the many running books, blogs or websites that have infinite information on beginners running. A few times when I started up again my breathing was heavy and I got tired fast. Part of the reason was because of my weight and for not running for a period of time.

I would set a goal to achieve by the end of the month, broken down to daily and weekly goals. The reason for goals is becuse you have something to shoot for and it will keep you much more motivated to keep going. If you find yourself winded or a little sore by the 2nd or 3rd day it is okay to jog for a period and then walk. Believe it or not when you keep going by walking for a short time from a jog you will more easily catch your breath and jog again. By pushing yourself to continue to jog even when you are hurting is asking you to quit sooner. By Jog-Waliking you will reach the distance you set out for that day.

The reason I mentioned the 2nd or 3rd day is because many runners seem to finish the first days run with no problem. Some of it could be because of excitement and adrelelin. By the 2nd or 3rd day you will wake up with sore muscles you have not used for quite a while. Jog–walking when you are a little sore will help you to rebound faster and to keep going. A quote from a terrific person, great sales person and motivational speaker, "You do not pay the price but rather you enjoy the benefits", Zig Ziglar. He wrote this in his popular book, See you at the Top. He explained he needed to get his weight down before his book was published so he made some goals and woke up every morning to run. It was tough for him at the beginning but with much persistance he got to where he wanted to be. That is when he said, "You do not pay the price but rather you enjoy the benefits". Keep Jog-Walking as you need to, you will benefit from it.

 

Is listening to music an advantage or disadvantage to runners?

Listen to musicWhen I first started running, the idea of listening to music wasn't even a thought. You might say, "yes because there were no MP3 players in your time". I would have to agree with you except there were small radios the size of an iPod and eventually the cassette players which could have been used. The thing was when I trained, it was away to not only get away from the daily grind but to be able to think. Sometimes it was the most relaxing thing I did especially when I ran a 10 miler.

A few times when I would do a light run I would listen to the radio but with the static and the channel changing it was more of a pain then pleasure. I also noticed as I got older and ran less competitive (along with this new technology) I would run with an MP3 player to enable me to run more than what I probably should have.

This brought me to the question of, "is it an advantage or disadvantage to run with music blasting in my ears? I personally think it is a disadvantage more than an advantage. I can understand that if a person is just starting to run or may use a treadmill to run, the enjoyment of listening to your favorite tunes is a positive thing. But all I am saying is to be careful. 

What I noticed when I used a music player are the following things.

1. I played the music much too loud. The disadvantage of this was that not only could it affect my ear drum in the future years but I really could not hear cars, bicycles or pedestrians come up to me. This could ultimately put me in danger.

2. I would push myself harder than I normally should. Notice I said should. When you run without music you tend to listen to your body more. Music has a tendancy to block your mind from pains or other things happening to you when you run. You could be more prone to injuring yourself by pushing yourself beyond your limits. Running towards a goal you have is a gradual thing, not one that should be rushed. Listening to music while you are running could rush you more than you should.

With today's technologies a runner may use different items that seem to be an advantage but really look into it to see if it is an actual advantage during your training and racing.

Don’t be an outcast in running, make some friends

Make FriendsThere has been many discussions on if running is an individual sport or a team sport. Looking at the sports of track, cross country and road races you would say "team" but if you look at an individual achievement you would say "individual". The truth is, it's both.

During my running career (even though it was a short one) I had individual goals and many times I would do extra training without my team in order to better myself. When I got together with my teammates it was extremely fun. Usually there was one or two teammate runners that would do as well or better than me at practice so it enabled me to push myself. 

I had looked at the importance of being an individual and a teammate equally. Now a days with technology at hand you can easily be social, get with friends or aquantances on and offline so you don't have to be alone. Let's look at the importance of both.

As an individual you will set private and sometimes public goals of what you want to achieve as a runner. This could be a particular PR for a particular race or it could be running a certain distance race you have never done before, such as a 10K, half marathon or a marathon. Because no one really knows what you are thinking or feeling for your goals these goals have much more meaning to you than to your spouse, friends or children. Your individual (private) goals give you the inspiration you need to feel good about yourself and what your doing.

When you get socially involved with other runners it gives you an additive strength in what you are doing. My belief is that we are made to move, react and to socialize with others. I have read many stories about people who was once active and communicating, dieing early or contracting an illness because they became a kind of ghost. When you socialize with others it pushes you to do much better than to try to achieve your goals yourself. It is also much more fulfilling to your life and don't forget it is fun also. I believe this is why recent road races we run have become a more social event with people with common goals in running. There are also a few terrific online communities you can join in which you can interact with other runners or get some much needed advice.

I had wish during my running career that I had the ability to interact with other runners from around the country like we can do today. If you don't believe me just think about how popular places like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and other social websites (including online running communities) have become. If you have one of these accounts then you too crave the social aspect of communicating with others on similar interest as yours, including running. Make some "running" freinds.

Breathing Technique that can make you an Above Average Runner in less time

Don't Breath HardAn important aspect to every runner is his or her breathing. Over the years and especially when I ran somewhat competitively, I would observe runners of every caliber. It was during one summer after talking with a few expert runners in some fun runs and noticing how professional long distant runners on TV seem to easily breath during their race, I came up with a breathing technique that lowered my running times while running less miles for the upcoming cross country season. I had used this technique to help several other runners and eventually my daughter when she ran cross country in high school. A word to the wise, even though this breathing technique works you still have to put in the training, time and distance running if you expect to be the best.

Here is what you practice. 

While jogging, take a slow 5 second inhale, hold the air in for 5 seconds and then slowly let it out. I practice this while jogging, walking around, while watching TV and when I played with my friends. You will eventually adapt this breathing technique to fit your running style. By this I mean I was able to slowely inhale a breath for every 5-6 steps I took and exhale the same breath for the same amount of steps. I notice during my run that I would be less tired even running at a 5-minute mile pace.

Think of your lungs as another muscle that can be worked on during your training. Many successful distance runners don’t think about their lungs because they breath pretty good during their race. This is from the many years of practice and the amount of miles they have done collectively.  For the serious runner that does not want to wait to be good enough to join a varsety team, the breathing technique is another way you can achieve success quicker until you have had the time to put in the miles needed.

I recommend you first practice this breathing technique by walking, then jogging and then eventually running. Of course I started working on it when I jogged. As you practice it you will need to catch your breath in between like you do when you have come up for air after holding your breath under water. Swimmers make the best runners because they are forced to use a controlled breathing while swimming a race. Watch a swim race. You will notice them turning their head from side to down and back up to the side again. They do it throughout their race. They are actually controlling how they breath.

Here it is again. Once jogging do the long slow inhale, with your mouth wide open, taking in the oxygen and expanding your lungs. Hold it in for up to 5 seconds and then slowly exhale. In between the long slow breaths, you need to breath regular. Kind of like catching your breath. You should eventually be able to take one breath for every 6 steps you run.  Once you can do this through 75% of your run you will find yourself less tired, running faster and for a longer distance.

Correct way to breath Wrong way to breath