Monday, February 20, 2012

Run Like A President

In honor of President's Day, we thought it would be fun to see which of our nation's leaders shared in our love of running.

Former President Jimmy Carter jogged regularly through his presidency and still likes to take his running shoes for a spin every now and then. He even made the Official Jogging Handbook :)

It's pretty well known that Bill Clinton was a runner, even if his most famous runs included stops at McDonald's (pre-heart ailments, of course). All joking aside, it has been well documented that Clinton is a regular runner and while in office, he often took other heads of state, dignitaries and colleagues out for a run through Washington, DC.

No comment on those shorts!
As you can see, Al Gore was not only Clinton's presidential running mate, but often his running partner. In fact, Al Gore ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 1997.

Former President George W. Bush was also a marathoner. He ran the 1993 Houston Marathon in under 4 hours. Not bad, GW!

President Obama is not only an avid basketball player, but he's also a runner. He better keep training though, if he wants to be as fit as his wife! Michelle Obama has to be the fittest First Lady we've ever seen!

We've even seen a few Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates hit the road. Former Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin is an avid runner. She's finished the 2005 Big Wild Life Runs Marathon (formally known as the Humpy's Marathon) in Alaska in under 4 hours. Her running even made the pages of Runner's World in their monthly "I'm A Runner" feature. Pretty good, Ms. Palin.

Former Vice Presidential Candidate John Edwards is also a pretty serious runner. He's run 5 marathons, his best being the Marine Corps Marathon in just over 3 and a half hours and has also graced the cover of Runner's World.

And there's always the Running Presidents at Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals baseball team. At every Nats home game, George, Teddy, Abe and Tom race during the 7th inning stretch. It's really a sight to behold and if you're ever in DC during baseball season, you should check out a game just for that.

Other famous running politicians? Bill Frist, Michael Dukakis and Mike Huckabee are all marathon finishers while Mitt Romney and Rick Perry are running for President in between their morning runs. There have been several running politicians over the years, who are quite literally running our nation. Now, if these folks can manage to get in a run in between Committee meetings and press conferences, then so can we :)

Happy running!

Monday, February 6, 2012

What do stand up paddle boarding and running have in common?

It may not be a question you ask yourself often, but in case you've ever wondered...the answer is A LOT!

Yesterday my friend and I took a stand up paddle (SUP) boarding lesson in the Carlsbad Lagoon. I am not a water sport fan. I like to go to the beach, I like to go to the pool, but I'm not a water sport person. I don't surf. I don't swim that well. In fact, in the triathlons I've done, the swim was the ultimate challenge. But my friend is in town and we wanted to do something fun that we'd never done before.

We met Matt and Ryan from 2 Stand Up Guys at the Lagoon. Right off the bat, they were fun and friendly and made us feel at ease. They gave us excellent preparation instruction and once they thought we were ready to get in the water, we did.

Getting into the water and onto the board was no big deal. Standing up was a little worrisome for me. But I was up and paddling before too long. Matt stuck with me while Ryan was with my friend, Lynne (who was a natural!). As we were moving along, Matt could tell I was nervous and immediately tried to distract me with stories. We talked about where he was from (he grew up in Montgomery County, funny is that? We JUST moved from MoCo!), how he became a SUP instructor, how he met his business partner, Ryan, etc. He made me talk about myself, how we ended up in San Diego, etc. It was good. This is a tactic I use with me runners too. Get them talking so they can't think about what they're doing (and it's a good way for me to tell if they're struggling). But then he started talking about the mental aspect of SUP and how most people who are not comfortable in the water have to get over the doubt. That we have control over the board but it's the doubt we place on ourselves that prevents us from being successful.

I tell this to my runners all the time. The only doubts we have are the ones we place on ourselves. No one else places the doubt but us. We have to tell ourselves that we're in control over whether or not we can get through a run and nothing else. Matt went on about stamina, endurance, pacing ourselves, etc. It was a little strange for me to be hearing the same things I say to my runners.

What was most interesting is the technique in which you use to paddle board. You bend your knees, keep good upright posture, but have a slight forward lean (ahem, proper running form sounds pretty similar, right?). You need to look in front of you to where you want to go. When you look down, you change your form, which throws off your balance, increasing the likelihood of you falling. Again, this is exactly what you should do while running.

How did I fare? I did pretty well. I did fall in once but that was because I didn't turn my board fast enough when we entered the marina and I crashed into the dock. I scraped up my arm and leg but am fine for the most part. After Matt explained the whole looking down thing, it started to come together. There was even a moment when we were paddling along that I felt like I was in control. It was a fun morning!

I have to say that the experience was much better than I had anticipated. Once I realized that there really wasn't anything to worry about and I had more control over the situation than previously thought, I felt a lot better. Who knows, maybe stand up paddle boarding will be my new cross training activity. It was definitely a great total body workout. If nothing else, it helped me get over some of the apprehension I have when it comes to water sports. I'm not saying I'm going to become the next big thing, but instead of watching, I may actually get in on the fun next time. The whole point is to be open minded and just see where it can take you.

What is the moral of this story? Have confidence in yourself. You may think you can't do something but that's mostly because you've never tried it before. The fear of the unknown is a powerful thing. Don't let it prevent you from moving forward. You never know how successful you'll be unless you try. And if you fall, just get right back on your board and try again :)

Happy running!

Cardiff Kook 5K & 10K

I have found my first race here that I hope to do every year!

Yesterday we ran the Cardiff Kook Run 5K and it was a blast! The Cardiff Kook is a statue of a surfer sitting on Highway 101, that has become a symbol of the lifestyle of the area. It's real name is The Magic Carpet Ride but the locals have embraced it as the Kook, often dressing it up in various costumes. We run by it every Saturday on our long run and I actually look forward to seeing it and the outfit it may be wearing at the time. When it was announced that there would be a race, I was all for it. I know proceeds from the race will help restore the Kook, keeping it as kooky as possible.

Can't beat this for a race start!
The race started at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, ran through some side streets and then out to 101. The 5K turned around before the Kook but the 10K ran past the Kook. It was a great course but a little tight at times with all the people. The right lane of 101 was closed to cars for the race in areas, so it wasn't too bad for the first half of the race. But at the turnaround, it looked as though the lane was no longer completely closed and runners had to avoid oncoming traffic. And the water stop was also at the turnaround, causing more congestion. If I had a gripe, it would be that area. There should have been more space for the turnaround as it could have been a bad situation with the oncoming traffic.

To honor the Kook, the race also included a costume contest. There were some great costumes out there. Cowboys and Indians, sharks, a group of very fast women dressed as Flamingos, Ghandi, Batman (there were several super heroes represented), pirates, bumble bees and more. But don't let the costumes fool you! There were some serious runners out there as well. The winner of the 10K did it in 31 minutes and change and the winner of the 5K did so in just over 16 minutes. Whether you're looking for a fast time or a fun time, this race is one where you can have both!

We got our Kook on!
A dear friend of mine is in town and we were just planning on running it for fun, so we decided to run with my twin daughters in their stroller and just have a great time. My husband and son didn't officially run, but my son did cross the finish line with us. We didn't wear costumes, but I think next year that is definitely a possibility. Look for the entire Gill family to toe the line in costume!

It was a beautiful morning and I'm already looking forward to doing this race again next year!