Pip Running

Building a community one runner at a time

Half Marathoners!

They did it!

I haven't talked much about it or them but this Fall I had my first half marathon training group. The group was started to train for the Seattle Half Marathon which was happening on December 1st and let me tell you I love/d these guys!

Training started in September for these guys while I was training for the Portland Marathon in October. The mutual training worked well for my running schedule and once the marathon was done in early October I was able to something I call "car coaching". Car Coaching is where I am able to meet my group at several points along the route and be there water stop, moral support and if necessary ride back to the start. Once their miles started getting longer this also gave my husband and I a great chance to get runs in together. Mike would run half the route with the guys (while I car coached) then I would run the 2nd half while my husband did water stops.

I have been very fortunate to have some really great clients and it is really hard to express how much I enjoyed training this group and how proud and happy for them I was when they finished their half marathon. This was a first for several of them and I trained them on a lot of hills.  To see some of them come so far from having to walk/run 5 flat miles in the beginning to being able to run the full 13.1 hilly miles just made me so proud. We felt like a family that day and I have to admit it was a little bit like the morning after Christmas when it was done.

More training groups have been planned and I can't wait to feel this way again!

The "F" Word

The day that I have dreaded for probably 2 decades has come and now gone. It did not come in like an lion but rolled in like a wave already broken. Yesterday I turned 40.

The number is still hard to pass through my lips and people don't seem as surprised as I hope they would be when they hear my age. Even with the number being hard to say, mentally I am mostly OK with it. 39 was a big year for me. I started my own business, I ran 2 major races (one of which was my FIRST marathon) and my youngest started preschool. Mentally and physically 39 had been my best year and I think it really was just setting the bar for the next 10 years. People that turn 40 like to say 40 is the new 30 but for me I really feel it is the new 20. I wasted my 20's in crappy jobs and being so worried about being single that I did not spend that time working on me. I feel younger now than I ever did at 25 or 26 and so in my 40's I am hoping to further my education and my business. I may have gotten it a little reversed but when you plan on living as long as I do then age really is just a number.

This is the new 40!

But My Garmin Says 27 Miles!

Well we DID IT! Months of training, weeks of injury and many, many doctor appointments and the Portland Marathon has been conquered. Ok it's done so let's move on. Ha ha you don't get off that easy.

I will save you the play by play but I will give you a good overview of the day. Sunday morning I met Jamie in the lobby of the hotel and walked over to the start line together. We met up with Rachel, Erica and Corey in the corral so we could all start the race together. Rachel, Erica and Corey were all doing the half marathon but for the first 11 miles both groups ran together. It was great to see the girls and they all wore their Pip Running shirts which felt amazing! Shortly after we took off Rachel and Corey fell back into their comfortable running pace and Jamie and I ran with Erica for awhile. Lesson learned: be less generous with your finish time. We were in one of the last corrals and took off with the walkers. While I'm sure they are as a whole nice people they were very irritating to negotiate around when you are running a race. The time on our first couple of miles was all over the place do to the "obstacles".

I felt pretty good when the morning started. I knew I would be out there for awhile and faced the miles as a job that needed to be done. My foot was no longer hurting so I just had to handle whatever came up as it came up. We eventually lost Erica and Jamie and I ran through the first 13 miles. There were some interesting distractions such as the pirates shooting off cannons, ladies talking on cell phones and trains moving parallel to us giving you a sense of running on a moving sidewalk. My calves and hip flexors were already tight by the 12 or 13th mile and somewhere around mile 7 I could feel a blister forming. I tried to focus on my form, remember to lift my knees and remember that I had blister Band-Aids in my hydration pack (thank you Beth Baker for the story of you and the blister Band-Aid) and packed in a bag for Mike to bring when he met us on the course. We met Mike and the kids at Mile 12 and I put a Band-Aid on the forming blisters and was able to move on. I tried to keep in mind that I should be fueling and around Mile 5 I started taking Shot Blocks and drinking my watered down Gatorade that filled my hydration pack. When I met Mike at Mile 12 I pulled out my peanut butter pretzels and started to eat those for the next couple miles. Mile 12 was the last chance for Mike to see us for the next 6 miles so I'm glad he was able to negotiate his way around the course (with both kids) before our next scheduled meetup at Mile 18.

Jamie and I filled the next 6 miles with chatting, walking large hills and running over bridges. On the one big hill of the race, right before St. Johns Bridge, most of the people were walking up. Many, including ourselves, stopped at a scenic point on the hill and took pictures and then we took pictures for other people. One day Jamie will send me those pics. By this point my calves were so tight they felt like they were in vise grips or that they might snap but it didn't hurt too much to run. The stopping and starting was hard but once I was moving they were OK. By mile 18 Jamie had developed a blister so thankfully Mike was meeting us. She blister Band-Aided up, I had some Smokehouse Almonds and I kissed and cuddled the kids. Ailbe kept stealing my almonds but I got a few in before we took off again. Mike was going to meet us again around Mile 21-22. As we came up to Mile 20 our favorite partner in crime Donna was there!  It was so great to see her. I think Jamie's spirits were down and having this ball of positive energy that is Donna with us was great. She jumped right in with us and ran and walked the next 5 miles with us. She came really prepared too. She brought Kleenex, wet towels to wipe our salty faces and she said she had her car full of food/drinks. Our marathon angel.

Mike was there again at Mile 21 and this was a fun meeting because the kids ran with us for a block or so. I wish someone I know got a pic. By this point we were in the neighborhoods in Portland. Strangers were camped out in their front yards or in lawn chairs along the road cheering us on. We were able to customize our bibs when we registered and it was so great to hear strangers saying "You can do it Susie Q!". I high-fived and cheered my way through the next couple of miles. Around Mile 23 we met up with Jamie's family and I think she really needed to see them. Her family all had white shirts on which they wrote supportive slogans to support her. Off to Mile 25 and our final meeting with Mike and Donna's departure from us. Once we met up with Mike, Jamie and I dropped our hydration packs off with him and ran our last mile in elation. We were almost done! On the final bit of our last mile Erica, Rachel and Corey were waiting for us. They finished their half marathon 3 hours earlier but they hung out, thankfully on a beautiful day, for us to come in and ran that last quarter mile or so to the finish chute with us. I was so happy to see them and loved that we ran together.

Finally we were at the finish chute and we were crossing the Finish Line. It was great to get our medals, space blanket and finisher's shirt. The Finishers Chute was pretty empty by this point so we were able to walk through like champions and pick and choose our bounty. Fruit? No thank you. Chocolate covered donut holes? Yes please!

Jamie was able to cross another "40 Before 40" goal off her list and I could welcome my 40th birthday feeling wonderful. As my training mileage really started to build I became injured. Top mileage before injury was 17 miles and post injury maybe 12. I did not know how I would feel during those 26.2 miles but knew I had the base miles and experience to finish. Never a doubt I was going to finish.  I ended up feeling pretty great.  Mentally throughout the race I never felt down or that I couldn't finish. Yes might calves were tight but I could still run and really just ran the race loving everybody but especially loving my body for being strong and putting up with this bullshit I was putting it through.

I am planning my next one now.  When I told Mike he rolled his eyes. Gotta love him. I really can't wait to see how it goes with what I hope to be a full training.


A Tribute To A Husband

My first marathon is a little more than a week away. My foot/ankle are now pain free when I run. I have trained as much as I could under the circumstances, recovered as much as I could under the circumstances and tried to forget about the huge endeavor I will be taking on as much as I could under the circumstances. 

As I was driving to the gym this morning I was reflecting on the process and the journey I have been on this year with starting my coaching business and taking on the gigantic tasks of having a Ragnar team this year and training for this marathon. This made me think of my husband Mike. A real partner in every sense of the word. He has put up with a lot. I mean A LOT! I am gone more in the evenings than home now. We rarely have dinner together as a family and the patience and flexibility to be able to meet up with me at various parks or to be home by a certain time has not fazed him much. Maybe he doesn't like doing it, I don't know, but he WILL do it. I have stolen his Saturday mornings for coaching and commandeered Sundays for my personal training. His Monday schedule is adjusted so he is home early enough so that I can go to bootcamp and Thursday nights, while they are pizza nights, they are also my group run night. Although I am generally home to put at least one kid to bed on more than one occasion he has to handle both plus showers. So when I think about this running journey I have been on I can only think of how I could have not done this any way without him. My kids have put up with a lot too but really they only miss out on Mommy for dinner and occasionally a snuggle before bed. Mike has had to put up with his wife literally running out the door as he is pulling in. It is not totally unprecedented that I have stood in the garage in my running clothes waiting. I'll give him a quick smooch then jump in the car to meet my group.

BK (before kids) we weren't morning people. We would lounge around the house on the weekends often hanging out in our jammies into the afternoon. Once we had our kids, although they may have gotten up earlier than we would have liked, they adapted to the lounging on the weekends, watching cartoons and maybe getting dressed around noon. This year since I have been in constant training sleeping in on the weekend is 7am. More often than not we are up and running before the kids even wake up. The cruelest thing that could have happened to Mike was to get up even earlier during the week...and then it did happen. I started taking on private clients and we would meet at 7am twice a week. Yet he complains very little and sets the alarm clock. Sometimes he will go back to sleep with a pillow over his head and it does look just as pathetic as it sounds.

I thought I should think about this as I'm running my marathon. All the sacrifices a family has to make so one person can accomplish a goal. I think in the long run (always a long run) it is worth it. I think it is so important for my kids to see their mom active, train for a goal and finish it and to be there with their mom as I accomplish the goal they have sacrificed for. It becomes a family goal and a family triumph. I will mostly be thinking about Mike though and how much I would rather be with him at that moment. Looking for him and the kids every mile throughout the race will get me through until I see them. I hope the kids are cheering and that Mike is proud of his wife and knows how much she appreciates him and loves him for all the support.


It's been a couple weeks now since I have been cleared to run. I did not run any real distance for at least a month and it shows. I had a few set backs from when I was cleared. My second run out was the Sunday before Labor Day and I attempted 6mi- 3 out and 3 back. By the time I got to 3 out my right foot hurt so much with each step but I was 3 out so I had to get back. I ended up doing intervals of 3 min run with 1 min walking. It seemed like I was out there forever but I finally made it back to my car and promptly texted Dr. Monti. I felt so defeated and felt I was right back where I was a month prior. I came home, put my foot in ice and sulked a bit and briefly would let uncertainty about completing the Portland Marathon seep in.

I got to see Dr. Monti on Tuesday and by the time I saw him I was feeling better. Monday morning I had my usual Monday Morning Group Run with Pip Running and I was able to complete 4 miles. Not the fastest 4mi but to have the ability to get back on my forefoot on my right foot is wonderful. It really makes running easier when both of your feet are doing the same thing.  My foot and ankle still hurt. The pain seems to move around from behind my ankle bone to the side of my foot to the point on my forefoot where it bends when my foot pushes off to the fatty part on the right side of my foot right below my ankle bone. Dr. Monti said I am still a mystery but it seems that my peroneal muscles seem to be involved and I believe the Superior Extensor Retinaculum and probably the Inferior Extensor. However, since that dreaded Sunday before Labor Day I have been able to add miles and although it is still painful it is not too painful. I have been trying to work on my endurance which was trashed with not running for so long. My longest run so far has been 9 miles. It was broken up but I was happy to have it done. I am shooting for 11 this weekend.

I am still worried about Portland and joke that I will be running a 7hr marathon.  If I just knew my foot/ankle would not be hurting I would feel more relieved but with just weeks until the race that idea seems unrealistic. Now I just have to have a plan to manage the pain during the long time out there. I know I can do this.

Running Tip: If you wear a sock while icing your foot it hurts a hell of a lot less.

Laughing Through the Pain

Ragnar is over. I had a rest day. Now training for the Portland Marathon needs to continue and so it did for a couple of weeks.

I was feeling really great 3 weekends ago. Jamie and I had completed our 16-17mi training run the weekend after Ragnar. I bought the new Newton Energy running shoes in a post training run glow. I felt I might need something more padded for the marathon so I had been waiting for these to come out. They were definitely more cushy than my usual Newton Distance tried and trues. I was not sure if I needed a half size bigger though so I thought I would wear them on my runs during the week. After 4 days I felt my muscles were a little sore but nothing too bad but I decided to switch back to the Distance shoes for my Saturday and Sunday long run. Saturday was fine. Still some ankle stiffness but nothing I haven't felt before. Sunday was our 18mi long run. Jamie and I (with the help of some of our great friends) decided to run Lake Washington Blvd up onto the I-90 trail. Mary, Donella and Erica headed out with us but turned around at 4mi. We met Donna at mile 6.5 in Factoria and she was to continue on with us onto the I-90 trail and back to Factoria. From there Jamie and I were going to finish the last 6mi together. When I started the run my right foot felt weird. It didn't hurt to run but it felt like it could use a cracking or stretching. I assumed it would loosen up after awhile and I thought it did but around mile 9 or 10 I got a really severe bolt of pain running across/through my foot. It really hindered my running and I had to keep stopping and would try to run through the pain until it got too severe then would stop again. Finally I really realized I was not going to be able to finish this run. Not without really injuring myself and with Portland hanging out there I couldn't do that. The last thing Ben, my running coach, said to me was "Don't get hurt". Aghhh! I felt awful for screwing up Jamie's training run. We both felt good and this run was going to get done and it was going to rock. Once we got back to Factoria we decided to take Donna up on her offer to get her car and drive us back to ours. Total mileage for that run was 12 miles.

I saw Dr. Monti from Elite Sports and Spine the very next day. What I thought would be an injury that might have kept me off my feet for a week in now progressing into its fourth week.  Ben has greatly modified my marathon training schedule that includes completing maybe of my miles on an elliptical. For instance last Sunday I was supposed to run 20mi on the old training plan. On the new training plan I did 6mi on the elliptical. I'm still not really clear what is up with my ankle/foot. I took an x-ray last week and nothing showed up. I think I have Dr. Monti perplexed as well but I think we both think it has something to do with my wearing my new shoes too much too soon but I am slowly getting better. Such a rookie move! I asked him today if we could just fix it and we both had a good laugh. Laughing through the pain. I cannot say that these last few weeks have not been frustrating. Knowing that Jamie had to run that 20mi by herself this past weekend and physically not being able to run it with her was a real let down. I have had to cancel most of my weekly runs and I have been very hesitant to take on new clients. Thankfully the ones I did take on, thinking I was going to be better when they started, are new or walk/run. Portland is a snowball getting bigger in my rear view mirror but Ben assures me I will be able to run it (as long as my ankle/foot are healed). I am cautiously optimistic but I am trying to keep with his new schedule with the elliptical and/or aqua jogging.

So as of right now I am still a work in progress and my schedule and plans seem to change everyday. I am very determined to get through Portland. I was hoping for under 5hrs but I am also readjusting my time expectations as well as my training.

Eat, Sleep, Run, Repeat. Ragnar of Bust!

Well it's done. Months of planning, training and stressing came down to last weekend and now it's over. Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage felt many times like an albatross around my neck and I could not wait to get it done an move on. But as with any awesome experience it's the little events that happen along the journey that make the experience so wonderful...but it was tough!

Lets talk about the run. I trained, ran good distances, ran multiple times a day on tired legs and even added strength training. I felt really prepared. I expected my run time to increase with each leg to some degree and I was OK with that. In hindsight I really should have worked on hills more. Hills are no one's favorite and despite how good I felt on them during previous races I was cocky and really should have worked harder on them. I also felt reasonably confident in my ability to run in warm weather. It definitely is not my favorite weather to run in (that would be about 30-40 degrees) but I have had very few issues lately with running in warmer weather. I wear my hydration vest and I generally feel OK. This year Ragnar was hot! It was humid and warm and it just took the wind out of my sails. Well that and the numerous blisters I was given while running on hot asphalt in my minimalist shoes. 4.1 miles on my first leg felt like 14.1. I later went through almost 2 boxes of blister Band-Aids trying to prep my feet for my 2nd leg.

Leg 2- The Disaster!

I worried about my second leg. I wasn't worried that it was at night or 8.9mi long or that I was tired. I was worried about my blistered feet and wondered to myself how they would fair.  The run did not start off well. When I got out of the car at Exchange 23 it was windy and very cold. I had used the portapotty before Emily came in and the wind went right through me on the walk of shame. Before I even walked the 100 yards or so my teeth were chattering. I quickly went through the small pile of running clothes I brought and was frantically thinking of what I should wear. I purchased a sweatshirt at Exchange 6 and was currently wearing it. The idea of wearing a sweatshirt on a run sounded like the worst idea possible but as I did a mental inventory of the clothes I brought- short sleeve tech shirt, short sleeve tech shirt, short sleeve tech shirt, sundress...the sweatshirt was sounding better and better. I decided to wear it. I threw my hydration vest on, my feet were bandaged and I wore my trail shoes for a cushier run. When Emily came in I started off and from the first few steps I knew it was going to be a lo-o-o-ong run. By the 1 mile mark I was sweating and very hot. The sweatshirt worked! It would have been so great to hand it off to my team but oh, the first few miles were a non-support leg. This means my team was not supposed to leapfrog me as I ran. My feet hurt. I was running on puss filled pillows on my feet. I was tired. How did that happen? We were at a major exchange that night. We were all in the van trying to lay down. Couldn't do it. Could-not-do-it. Donna and I ended up chit chatting then Micah was cracking jokes. We managed to scare a team member from another team who was trying to sneak up and tag our van. Donna and I saw her creeping up so when she went to tag our van I pounded on the window and yelled at her. Then she screamed, then Jamie screamed! Ooops I didn't realize Jamie's head was resting against that window I just pounded on. Sorry Jamie. We all had a good laugh after that. Everyone except Emily who WAS actually sleeping in the back of the van. Guess when you climb mountains you learn to fall asleep anywhere.  I digress though. Back to my run. I thought I would just leave my sweatshirt on until Mile 3 when my van could meet up with me. I had my vest on and it would have been a hassle to get everything off plus the hills were killing me. Saw a couple of dead rats. They must have tried to run some of those hills. I saw some vans pulling off in driveways or little gas stations along the way. I so hoped I was going to see my van but I didn't. I knew I wouldn't see them until the non-support section was over but as I kept passing team vans I kept hoping more and more plus did I tell you I was hot? I really wanted to just complain and tell someone how much my feet hurt or how hot I was. I finally passed Mile 3 when I realized I was not seeing  my van and I did not see a large parking area where vans were converging. Must not be Mile 3 when the non-support ends. I trudged on. I walked some of the hills and wondered if I would be able to make the whole run on these feet. Not really sure what the other option would have been. Finally, Mile 5 comes around and at this point I am so depressed and almost mad at my team because they didn't stop. I finally see them and they are huddled under a blanket on the street corner. I just wanted to yell at them "Where the fuck were you?" but I knew it wasn't their fault. I also knew I would start blubbering like a baby so I kept all talking to an absolute minimum. I did get to take off my sweatshirt. Finally! Ahhhh! That cool air felt nice. I took off after telling them to leapfrog me every mile. Between Mile 5 and 6 as I was running I felt the blisters in my feet go -POOF!- and I remember thinking that's gross and thank god I had my blister band-aids on. I wondered if all the puss was being contained and how gross it was either way. I also started to realize that my feet were feeling better and those Cliff Shots I took awhile back were finally starting to kick in.  I had been passed by a few people earlier on but then I was mostly by myself. Now there is a girl on the road, with her team van. I was a bit in a daze and not really sure what was happening but I noticed she was running. I decided to just pace her. I wasn't going to get any kills on this run. I think she felt me breathing down her neck so eventually she slowed a bit and I passed her. I GOT A KILL! I GOT A KILL! WTF?!? How did that happen? Whatever, she's passed and she was my kill. I was starting to feel like this could be doable but I was also starting to feel like I had to use the bathroom. Ugh! Will this run ever end?!? Thankfully I spied a Texaco. I argued a little bit with myself that maybe I should just keep going but then I argued that this could become an emergency situation and I would be kicking myself in the ass for passing up this golden opportunity. Fear won out and I stopped. Now I was feeling good. I had a kill so I headed out again through the town and I was starting to pick up my pace. After a short time I see this little guy come up along side me and pass me. He looked like he wasn't doing too well but he was traveling at a good clip so maybe he was doing OK. I thought to myself "Whatever. I'm your kill. So what?" and I kept going. Eventually I came up to this girl trudging along. She was definitely at the end of her rope so I decided to sidle up next to her and chat a little bit. We agreed the leg was long and were glad that it was going to be over soon. There was hope coming up on the horizon.  My team was still checking on me every mile now and I just waved them on. No need for tears at this point as I just passed that girl and now she was my SECOND KILL!  I was so elated that I came cruising through the town and come across that funny little guy that passed me earlier. We were nearing the end and we both felt it. I felt like I was tearing through there and as I round a corner & see a volunteer calling in runners. I am so close to the end! Woo hoo! I realize that volunteer was Jamie's husband Jason (oh yeah it's Exchange 24!) and I waved like a school girl. Look at me! Look at me! I'm finishing and I am going to pass that little funny guy. Coming through Burlington(?) High School towards the finish and I have my THIRD KILL (I think. I really don't remember now because I was just so happy to be finishing. So I either had 2 or 3 kills on this leg) and handed off to Corey. Never so glad to be done with a run in my life.
Leg 3- The Finish

 My last leg was fun. It was fun because it was the end and spirits were high. Most of the team was very lucky because they had nice overcast skies for most of the day. I thought what a difference from the previous year where my last leg was blistering hot on the side of a highway. I still have the tan lines on the back of my calves from the sunburn I got from running those hills. This year I was runner 12 so I was bringing home the bacon for the team. I felt we were ahead on time and we were going to finish in the daylight. Two things I did not anticipate happening. Around Jamie's leg (runner 10) the sun made an appearance then decided to take the stage and it got warm and humid real fast. Jamie started off her leg in grey skies but ended her leg in full sun. This did not bode well for my all black outfit I was going to run in. By the time we got to the last leg we were in a woodsy area, I felt good because within an hour we were going to be done and I just felt right. Once Emily passed off the slap band to me I took off and it was hot. I thought to myself "It is hot" and told my van to meet me in 1 mile. I did not carry my hydration vest on this run because it was only 4.1 miles. Up the road and pretty quickly there is a hill. This is how this run was going to go. At the start of the 2nd mile I told my van to meet me at the top of the hill I was starting to ascend. It was definitely less than 1mi but the hill was steep and I was going to need water. As I am trudging up to the top I notice that the hill plateaus for a short bit then starts uphill some more. I just knew my team was going to go to the very top of the hill...and they did. Thankfully the Running Evolution Team "Superhero Alter Egos" was at the top of the first hill and they gave me bubbles and water and a little moment to chit chat in the shade. It was great! Thank you so much. The uphill continuation was pretty steep and I realized that it was completely in the shade so I decided to walk it. I wasn't sure how much more was in the shade or how many more hills there were but I thought it might be a good idea. I ran the last bit up the hill where my van was waiting. I grabbed some water and told them to meet me in another mile. They thought maybe they should just meet me at the end due to parking but it was hot and we agreed another half mile. I grabbed some sponges that were soaked in cold water, shoved 2 in the front of my bra & 1 in my back strap and headed out. Oh man it was hot. I eventually squeezed one sponge over my head and started a nice, long downhill decent. I ran into two other girls. One was going at a pretty good speed so I just kept going at my pace but I caught up to another girl, we chatted for a minute and then I passed her. Another kill! Woo hoo! At the bottom of the hill my van was waiting. I think that girl ended up passing me at the bottom because I stopped for my van but it didn't matter I already passed her. Once I left the van I was heading for home. I eventually passed that girl again and ran through town in Langley. I was noticing what a cute town it was and reminisced about the pizza place we ate at last year. I was getting hungry. The last mile up to the finish seemed to be all uphill. My van mates were waiting for me about .75mi away from the finish and they ran with me. I couldn't stop to walk now since they were all with me. Keep on going. As I get up another hill I see we are coming up to the finish and there is a tunnel waiting for me and a whole lot of cheering. Team Superhero Alter Egos and Van 1 were there cheering us on! What great motivation. We high fived our way through and I was headed through the gate into the finish. Then I hear "Susan wait!". My team was trying to catch up from the tunnel and once I saw most everyone I headed off again through the finish and I was done. We were done and it felt great. There was pizza and beer at the finish. I saw it. All we needed was our medals and to snap a few pics. We were done!



A few weeks ago, out of the blue, my son said to me "I think you should have a running group for kids". I thought it was a good idea and as I was processing what he just said he proceeded to say "And I think you should call it Pip Squeak Running!". Flash bulbs went off.
July was the start of this fun, free summer program I started for kids. I decided the goal was to get kids outside and running. I know from my own son that having him just run laps was not going to be fun to him. I originally thought laps for prizes might be motivating but the age range of the kids involved was pretty broad so I started looking for ideas.
I looked up running games for kids and found a lot of old favorites that we used to play. Never thought much about these games as for teaching skills or techniques but of course Duck, Duck, Goose is speed work!
Our first Pip Squeak Running event was last Friday. I fretted way more over what to do at this event than I have with any of my adult pay-for-training sessions. Despite 10 kids not showing up things went pretty well. I tested events on my own kids a few days earlier and came up with a few gems. Obstacle course, dashes, and bean bag relay. There were a few prizes given out, candy was won & all the kids earned Otter Pops.
My kids were tired that day. My 3 year old who never naps we found asleep on the couch later that afternoon. I'm considering that a definite success. That and the fact that they keep asking me if they're going to Pip Squeak Running.

Ragnar Relay Blues

It's been a little while since I last wrote. I've picked up 3 new Couch to 5k clients and have a few things in the works for summer but really my main focus right now is getting through the Ragnar Relay with a team.

Today it looks like we might have a whole team with the final addition of 2 more females and 2 males. I haven't received the guys registration fee yet so in my mind they are in limbo. The 12 passenger vans are 95% secured and there is a renewed slight hope for sponsorship. Now I just have to worry about leg placement, pace times and getting all the little crap together plus are our runners running? At this point we don't have any alternates so hopefully no one gets hurt and fingers crossed our runners have been training.

Speaking of running tonight should put me at right around 100mi. for the month. These John "Hate" Sales challenges have kept my miles up plus coaching isn't hurting either. I keep being impressed with how much all these miles, even slow ones, have helped with my pace and overall form. Hoping to keep it up for Portland!

Sales Pitch

Last month Road Runner Sports sent me an email and wanted to know if I wanted to do a Shoe/Support Clinic in their local store. I was told that it would be fun, there would be giveaways and of course a discount. I have been meaning to get down to the store to get an alternate pair of running shoes anyway so I thought it sounded like a great idea. I actually got clients to come and sold everyone on turning in their old shoes for the additional $10 discount. In retrospect maybe I should have read the exclusions.
Cutting a long story short the clinic wasn't more than a sales pitch, there was fun but not because of Road Runner (we're just fun people) , there were no giveaways and sadly most of us walked out without shoes! And not because we wanted to. However the sales staff was all friendly enough and the next day when I did the online chat with RRS the customer service representative was amazing and finally all those without shoes found their shoes... eventually.
This ends up being a happy story because I found my new universal alternate pair of shoes. So far I am loving these Newton Momentum. Not only do they feel great but the color is kick ass! I may not give up on RRS just yet but next time I'm solicited for an event I am definitely going to ask a lot more questions.

Semi-Controlled Chaos

May starts a new month of group runs.  Some have been expanded to also double as Ragnar training but I am also starting to offer a speed/form class and a trail run series.  The speed/form class I am most nervous about.  I never did track as a kid so I worry about drills and getting the intervals right for the right clients.  Thankfully the class is a basic speed/form class. I am definitely not coaching anyone to BQ but I still want to make sure I am doing everything as correct as possible. I am most excited about the trail run series.  We are holding them on the Lake Youngs Trail and should be fun and challenging.  This is a popular trail for the locals but is notorious for its steep hills.  May be good for some repeats.

Ragnar is coming up soon and we are still down 4 team members. Always leads on runners but for one reason or another they fall through.  We lost 2 good, fast runners so the whole team is a bit bummed about that but gained a runner who is currently residing in Beijing, China.  She will definitely win the award for farthest distanced traveled for a race but another team member is moving to California but flying back twice for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon and Ragnar.  She may be up for the dedication award if we had one. There is a lot to do to get this team together and now with the Boston Marathon bombings our rental vans may not have only skyrocketed in price but also are requiring some kind of clearance through Home Security?!?  We also toyed with the idea of sponsorship but have yet to get a sponsor letter together and the printing of team shirts is definitely getting held up due to this.  I'd like to control this chaos for sure but I think it just may be out of my hands.

There's A Race Picture and I'm Smiling

Today I started working with a new couch to 5k client.  She was already a friend or a well known acquaintance maybe but it was still exciting for me to start with her.  You just don't know who is going to fall in love with running and have it become their new passion or who is going to grind their way through the training only to not run again.  I find when I am working with the couch to 5k clients I tend to say "if you decide to continue" and wonder if I should stop putting that backout clause idea in their head already.  I don't want to be a pusher or make people think they need to spend a ton of money on new gear or even that I presume they will continue my services. That may be a bit of a confidence issue on my behalf more than anything though.  Confidence aside it is always a bit exciting to get someone fresh, who is themselves excited. The thrill of running your first mile, then 1st mile without stopping then first 5k! You are on top of the world!

Which brings me to something else I've been kind of pondering the last couple of days.  I recently did the Seahawks 12k and the Hot Chocolate 15k. For the most part I consider myself a middle of the road runner as far as speed.  I could get up to 9 min miles but generally could not sustain them for more than 3 miles at a stretch. These last 2 races however I felt pretty optimistic and strong.  The Hot Chocolate 15k in March was the first race I had run in a couple of months and really since I started coaching.  I started picking up my mileage in December and every month since I have added more miles. In March I ended the month with 134 or so miles, in February it was around 125 and January 110.  I really wasn't sure how all this running was going to effect me.  Running was definitely easier than before but since most of my miles are really slow client miles or LSD I didn't expect much improvement and maybe thought I was hurting my chances of being faster since I cut out my speed work sessions to run groups.

With the Hot Chocolate 15k, my husband and I truly averaged around 9:45 min mile. By itself that gain probably is not that substantial but for the amount of hills that were in that race and the fact that we ran them all I was really super satisfied with our time.  Made me mad we stopped for the bathroom though and cause our official time to average just a hair over 10 min miles.
The Seahawks race was just this past Sunday and I am so pleased with my time on this run. I averaged 9:03 min miles and felt I probably could have even gone faster.  This race also has some hills and in previous attempts those hills just tired me out. This go around I felt I still had some energy in there and was able to bound up some of the hills as opposed to slogging my way up.  I am now convinced that running all those miles and adding the Runner's Bootcamp to my Pip Running calendar twice a week for the last 6 weeks have really made a huge difference.  Also, I have been seeing Dr. Monti at Elite Sport and Spine working on imbalances and gait for awhile now.  I have no delusions of becoming a sub 6 min super 40 year old elite athlete but these last couple of races have definitely given me a new confidence about running the Portland Marathon that I did not have before.  Maybe 40 will be the new 30 and I will come out much stronger by years end. 

So It Begins...

Starting a Run Coach business and a new blog around the same time are not the easiest.  I had a whole post already written and I thought saved.  It was a great post about...something.  There were bits about running and there were bits about coaching and it was good. Some may even say Gold! But the train of thought left the moment I hit save and those beautiful words are lost in the ether.

What I want to do is chronicle about starting my business, my wonderful clients, the adventures we have on our runs and my training for the Ragnar Relay in July and my first full marathon, the Portland Marathon, in October.  Plus there will be some fun bits about my kids and husband in there but mostly just as it pertains to my running.