Friday, November 26, 2010

Stomp the Grapes 1/2 Marathon Report

I was very excited to run the Stomp the Grapes Half Marathon this year with my boyfriend and friends. It sounded like the perfect fall race...start at Maize Valley Winery (a cutle little winery in Hartville) and end with a killer after party with free wine and food. What's not to love about that? Unfortunately it wasn't as great of an experience as I had hoped it would be. My boyfriend and friends will most definitely agree.

The start wasn't all that bad. We got there and could tell it was a good turn out of people as we had to park out a little ways from the winery in a field. No biggie...except that it was very cold out. A blustery 30 degree November day with winds. So we got there, got our numbers and goodies and bolted back to the car to get ready. Fortunately we had brought extra hats, warmer clothes, etc as we needed them.

The race started out pretty fun as I had decided to just fun run it with friends. So the first mile was a very slow-going and fun mile of running close to my friends. My sweetie Steve had decided to go for the PR that day so he was way ahead.

The next 4 miles or so were pretty mellow. Running at about an 8:30 pace with friends and then around mile 6 it was time to venture out solo and the race continued to get more difficult with hills, winds, cold, and I just wasn't really feeling it out there running on my own - especially since I had been in the hospital and off training two weeks before. But I gutted it out and finished in just over 2 hours. Not a great performance but another 1/2 marathon in the books.

After the race is where I have most of my issues with the race setup. You see the start and finish were in different spots. Runners were to finish and get on a bus to head back to the winery. So at the finish only water was available - no food. And it was bitter cold.  Some runners had to wait a full hour outside in the cold to return to the winery. Not cool. Plus when you get back to the winery you have to go outside in the cold again to get food and drinks and/or watch the awards. The best part of after the race was hanging out with my sweetie and getting warm.

So in sum, the race itself could be improved by better logistics and planning - either moving the finish to where the start was or having the finish better equipped with food, mylar blankets, etc. This would have made a big difference.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cross-train Workouts for Increased Results & Better Health

Human beings are creatures of habit. We thrive on routine. We find something we like such as running, cycling, swimming or yoga and we stick with it.  For a number of years all I did was run. I ran 5-7 days a week and did nothing else. I was frequently injured and never really sculpted my abs or arms. Sure I was skinny but was I healthy? Probably not.

Today I still run more than anything but I train for multi-sport events and also make sure to integrate core workouts including vinyassa yoga, pilates, kettlebell and weights into my weekly routine.  When life gets crazy I can always squeeze in a quick 30-60 min core workout at home or a quick run.  So can you.  Since I have become a multi-sport athlete I have noticed a couple of things improve. First, I am injured far less than when I was running alone. Second, my body composition has changed such that I have more muscle mass and definition. And lastly, I just feel better. I don't have the burn-out that I used to feel with focusing on running alone.

I encourage you to cross-train to enjoy the same benefits I have realized. I promise you will not lose effectiveness at your sport of choice but rather increase your overall fitness level and sport of choice as well! You can start this week by adding one different work-out to your routine. Do that once a week and you'll be on your way to a better, healthier you!