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April 29, 2010

Experience With Running Trips or Camps?

Filed under: Coaching Tips — Tags: — Dr. Cathy Utzschneider @ 8:59 am
Dr. Cathy Utzschneider

The track season over, the Boston Marathon done, it’s a great time for a little variety in your training to keep things fresh. That got me thinking about running trips or camps. Been on any you’d like to share?

Here’s one many of my clients have enjoyed — maybe it would be of interest to you. It’s the Craftsbury Running Camp based in Craftsbury Common, Vermont — located amidst evergreens and gorgeous lakes (Great and Little Hosmer “Ponds”) in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.

For less than $1000 per week, the camp offers summer week-long running camps from Sundays to Saturdays. The camp includes coaching with the likes of three-time Olympian Lynn Jennings, clinics on hill running, four mile early morning “bird runs” (with stops for bird watching), optional sculling, mountain bike fitting, weight lifting for runners, nutrition for runners, swims and hikes and….hey, it’s camp — campfires and marshmallow roasts!

April 21, 2010


Filed under: South African Running — Tags: — Pam Immelman @ 11:01 am
Pam Immelman

I wish I had good news, but I’m afraid I don’t! My young athlete, Alyssa Conley who was aiming for the 2010 World Junior Champs had a setback about two weeks before the national junior champs. She had the flu quite badly and was unable to regain her strength. Trying to make up for lost time also seemed to bring out the weakness in her back which has been plaguing her over the last year, so she had to withdraw after the 100m heats.

Alyssa was very disappointed, but will be undergoing six weeks rehab and after a rest will start with her winter base training. True to her winning character, Alyssa has accepted the setbacks and is looking forward to next season.

After the disappointment of one of our masters champs being canceled on 20 March, I was looking forward to our regional champs this month. Lo and behold our striking municipal workers trashed the stadium and threatened the stadium workers if they found them working at the stadium. Our organizing committee decided to call off the champs for the sake of everyone’s safety.

Funny enough, I injured my back about 10 days ago and have now also gone into my own ‘rehab’. Hopefully, both these canceled championships will take place later in the year after the World Cup Soccer. I suppose these things happen and if we can overcome them, it can only make us better people and better athletes.

April 19, 2010

Boston Marathon Fast Facts About Women

Filed under: Running News — Tags: — Dr. Cathy Utzschneider @ 1:59 pm
Dr. Cathy Utzschneider

With sunny skies and temperatures in the low 50s at the start of the race, conditions for the Boston Marathon were good. Runners dealt with a moderate crosswind over the first 17 miles and a bit of a headwind for the rest. Here are some fast facts about the women’s race.

The top three females:

WINNER: Teyba Erkesso, Ethiopia, ran 2:26:11 in a 5:35 pace. She also ran a 5:06 mile during her surge in mile 16.
SECOND: Tatyana Pushkareva, Russia, who ran 2:26:14 in a close contest with Erkesso.
THIRD: Last year’s winner, Salina Kosgei, Kenya, who ran 2:28:35.

The first American was Paige Higgins (Arizona) who ran 2:36:00.
The first woman in the wheelchair division was Wakako Tsuchida, Japan, who finished in 1:43:32.
The first woman in the handcycle division was Kirstie-Louise, Great Britain, who finished in 2:18:35.

Total women runners — 9721 compared with 13,300 male finishers,

Age group finishers below:
18-39 Age Group — 5087
40-44 Age Group — 1712
45-49 Age Group– 1575
50-54 Age Group — 800
55-59 Age Group — 344
60-64 Age Group — 142
65-69 Age Group — 45
70-74 Age Group — 14
75-79 Age Group — 1
80+ Age Group — 1

As one of the elite racers said after finishing in well under 3 hours, “That is one tough race — even on a beautiful day in great conditions.”

Congratulations to all finishers!

April 18, 2010

Boston Marathon Factoids

Filed under: Running News — Tags: — Dr. Cathy Utzschneider @ 3:19 pm
Dr. Cathy Utzschneider

The Boston Globe conducted a survey with this year’s Boston Marathon runners earlier this week. Cutting to the chase, here are some of the questions with answers.

How many road races do you run in an average year?
5.2% run one, 13.6% run 2, 41% run 3 – 6, 20.4% run 7 – 10, and 19.8% run more than ten races.

Favorite race distance?
5k – 25.7%, 10k – 17%, half marathon – 32.7% marathon – 19.7%, and other – 5%.

Toughest part of marathon training?
Long runs – 32.4%, speed workouts – 11.7%, hills – 8.5%, simulating the course – 7.0% and (yes, you can believe this one) 40%.

Alright — a few “foody” questions:

Favorite pre-race meal:
pasta and sauce – 46.7%, meat and potatoes – 2.6%, fish – 2.6%, nothing heavy – 30.7%, and not choose – 17.5%.

Favorite post-race treat:
beer – 46.2%, ice cream – 10.2% cake – 1.1%, big restaurant meal – 18.8%, and nothing heavy – 23.7%.

Guess what kind of music was most popular?

April 13, 2010

Boston Marathon….Get Some Rest!

Filed under: Coaching Tips — Dr. Cathy Utzschneider @ 6:40 am
Dr. Cathy Utzschneider

It’s Boston Marathon time, a good time for marathon reminders of all kinds — tapering, “carbo” loading, hydrating, and sleep prior to a major event. This note is about sleep, as many runners say they worry about sleeping little to not-at-all the night before. (“How can I sleep when I have to wake up at 3 a.m. to catch the bus to Hopkinton?”) Don’t worry – there’s time still to work on sleep.

The sleep you get on days 5, 4 and 3 before the marathon – and especially on days 4 and 3 will get you through it. If you were to be up all night before the marathon or even if you only get 3 to 5 hours of sleep, the energy for the race will be derived from energy your body has stored from minimal running 4 days before the marathon and from the sleep you got particularly from days 5, 4, and 3 beforehand.

Knowing this should eliminate one more worry. In the meantime, go get some rest!

April 8, 2010

Portland Track Festival

Filed under: Running News — Tags: , , , — Joanna Harper @ 9:24 pm
Joanna Harper

Two years ago I was a spectator at a track meet in Portland called the Portland Track Festival. The meet is an intriguing mix of youth, open and master’s races with an emphasis on middle distance and distance races. There are a few feature races of the meet including Dave Clingan’s well respected master’s men’s mile. While I enjoyed the meet I came away with one overriding question.  Why wasn’t there a featured race for master’s women?

I addressed that question to meet director Craig Rice a few months later and he replied that he’d love to see a high level race for master’s women. He just needed someone to champion it. He then looked straight at me in a meaningful manner.  His message was clear. After a moment of contemplation, I replied, “ok Craig I’ll do it.”

I decided to have a 3000 meter race. It was long enough to interest distance runners but short enough that most milers could move up to it. I got my running Club Team Red Lizard to come in as a title sponsor. But who the heck was I going to get to run the thing?

I was actually in a little over my head. I had been a race director before, but I had never tried to attract a national caliber field.  I had neither the experience nor the contacts that I needed to do the job.  I put notices in master’s track and online but I knew I needed more than that.  Fortunately, Dave Clingan gave me a very good piece of advice.  He said get one runner and others will follow.

But who would that one runner be?  My choice might not have seemed obvious for someone living in Oregon. I decided to go after a runner from Texas.  I’m sure that Carmen Troncoso needs no introduction to readers of this website.  I had seen her name in meet results in Oregon over a period of several years. It seemed like she came to the state almost every year.  I hoped that I could talk her into coming to my race with the goal of building a race around her presence. And amazingly enough, she said yes. It turned out that she has friends in Oregon and could use the trip as an excuse to visit them.

With Carmen on board, I could go after other runners.  I had met Christine Olen in Spokane at Club Nationals and she relished the idea of racing Carmen over 3000 meters. Trina Painter, Tania Fischer and Kirsten Leetch followed suit. I also managed to get some Northwest standouts to enter the race too.  In the end I got a better field than I could have imagined possible.

Race night conditions were near perfect. The sky was overcast and temperatures hovered around 70 degrees. Winds were light and almost unnoticeable.  A local runner or two complained that humidity was high by Portland standards but Carmen would have laughed at them.

At the gun, Tania took the lead and pushed the pace for the first 1600 meters.   Trina, Carmen and Kirsten followed right behind while Christine stayed within striking distance.  Carmen’s pace was ahead of American record pace for 50-54 women. Trina made her move just past 4 laps and by 2K she had open a gap on the rest of the field.  Carmen held on as best she could while Tania and Kirsten fell back.

With 600 go Christine started her move.  I have seen her closing speed before. Her kick is a thing of beauty to behold. She quickly moved from 5th to 3rd and then to 2nd and was gaining on Trina at the end. However, Trina had more than enough of a gap to win comfortably in 9:56. Christine finished strongly in 10:03 and Carmen’s 10:10 easily surpassed Kathy Martin’s AR.

Further back in the pack, Jeannie Groesz and Candy Puterbaugh both ran times that gave them age grades of more than 90.  I also ran my highest age grade in years at 85. Only 2 women in the race age graded lower than I did and only 3 finished behind me.  Afterwards almost all of the women agreed that it had been a magical night for racing.

Flash forward to 2010. Most of the women are eager to return and I’m now working on getting some new people to the race. Sabra Harvey would like to have the chance to pick up the 60-64 AR and I’m working on two or three other big names.

For those who might be interested here are the details. The Portland Track Festival will be held Friday night June 11th and all day Saturday June 12th. Friday night will feature some high level distance races for open women and men. Last year Rene Bativier-Baillie won the women’s 5000 and Sally Meyerhoff took the 10,000 meter race. Youth races will dominate the day section on Saturday.  Saturday evening will feature middle distance races for youth, open and master’s runners.  The 3000 for “old ladies” will be among the featured events on Saturday night.

The master’s women’s 3000 will feature a modest amount of prize money with $200, $100 and $50 going to the first three women across the line. There will also be $100 for the highest age graded performance.

For more information contact Joanna Harper at jmharps57@gmail.com.

April 7, 2010

What’s Your Best Distance?!

Filed under: Coaching Tips — Dr. Cathy Utzschneider @ 10:01 am
Dr. Cathy Utzschneider

At a changing of seasons, runners often reconsider their goals. A question that comes up is “What is my best distance, anyway?” Thinking about that can be fun!

Different distances require different combinations of aerobic and anaerobic energy systems, as you may know. Aerobic (“with oxygen”) energy is drawn from oxygen from the blood, heart and lungs, whereas anaerobic (“without oxygen”) energy uses chemical processes within the muscles themselves.

The 100 meter race is so intense that 100% of its demands are anaerobic. By contrast, the 1500 meter run uses 50% aerobic energy and 50% anaerobic energy and the marathoners derive all their energy aerobically.

So – you may know whether you are a sprinter or a medium- or long-distance runner. But how can you double check whether you might run a better race in the 1500 meter, 5K, 10K, or half marathon for example?

Here are a few suggestions. Allan Lawrence and Mark Scheid’s book, The Self-Coached Runner II, and Jack Daniels’ book, Daniels’ Running Formula, both include charts from which you can identify your best distances.

An on-link to chart from The Self-Coached Runner is www.coachr.org/bd.htm. You can also age grade the various distances you’ve run and see which ones deliver the highest percentages of world-best performances. An age grading calculator that you can use whether you’re 8 or 75, is AgeGrade.

You can enjoy comparing your results!

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