Tag Archives: badass

Badass Runner Profile: Carmen CM- Xman

11146528_460302814125311_3672020799220244987_nName:  CM Xman (Carmen)

Home State: Long Beach, NY

BAR: When (and why)did you start running?

CM: I used to run with my dad when I was about 5 years old, then I stopped. I joined the Marine Corps when I was 17 years old and I started once again.

BAR: Why do you run now? What motivates you? :

CM: I run now because it makes me feel good. I think the kick I needed to kick it back into high gear was the birth of my daughter. I had gotten sick after her birth and had to go to the hospital. I also knew that I had physical standards to maintain for my job. So I signed up for virtual races and set goals for myself to beat monthly. Also, my friends keep me accountable.  For instance, I now have a new friend; his name is Maverick.

Longest race : Diva’s ½ Marathon, Myrtle Beach SC

Hardest course:  I haven’t encountered one yet. I run in mostly flat ground with the occasional small hill. Eventually I want to do a Ragnar.

Hardest race for you: The ½ marathon.  The farthest I had run before that was 7 miles and that was only a couple of times. By mile 10 I had started to get stiches and serious doubts about whether I was going to cross the finish line.


Favorite race (location / dates in case people would like to try it) : So far? The Warrior Dash in Huntersville, NC (June 6th, 2015). It was so much fun, I went with 3 friends and we were team “Fit & Feisty”. We helped one another out and finished together. I also liked the Diva’s ½. I saw a lot of pretty houses I liked along the route, plus my husband was taking pictures at every mile so it was cool.

BAR: What are your favorite and least favorite distances, and why

CM: My favorites are 5K’s, they are quick and easy. Not much of a mental block for me. I am still trying to work up the courage to attempt to do a marathon, we shall see.

BAR: You run more in the morning than any other time.  Was it hard to establish that routine? What advice do you have for others who’d like to get an earlier, faster start?


CM:  Other than leaving my nice warm bed and my cat Dora (she is my little spoon) it is not hard for me to get up early in the morning. I wake up at 4 and start my runs at 04:50-ish. I know that if I don’t get it done in the mornings it won’t happen that day. I go to work, come home, do homework, kids etc… so it’s hard. The mornings are my “me” time.

PRS:  5k: 24:20 / 10K : 55:15 / 1/2 : 2:05:19

BAR: I see you in pictures with other runners / walkers often.  Can you tell us a little bit about them?  What other runners, professionals, friends, etc. inspire you and why?  Do you like races, or do you prefer just running on your own?

CM: When I first started running again, I kept seeing pictures of Mari Merchant and Sherri Morgan, then Jamila Williams started popping up those ladies along with Lisa Davis were becoming my “She-ra’s” and kept me moving. Katrina Gay kept me motivated through her monthly challenges. I like to do “running” races by myself; I try to beat my times constantly and this allows me to stay competitive with myself. Obstacle and mud races I enjoy doing with friends because we help each other out and is just for fun, not timed.

BAR: What are your bucket-list goals as a runner, this year and beyond?


CM: I promised myself to hit 1000 miles this year. A marathon and a Ragnar are in my distant future. I want to run more races, I am addicted to bling!!  Oh and to have abs hahaha.

BAR: Do you have a favorite pair of shoes, or brand of shoes?

CM: Why?  Yes! I was fitted for Saucony pro grid guide 3. I am now up to the guides # 8. I tried to get refitted and see if I could possibly try other brands but I got scared. I don’t want to jinx myself.

BAR: Is there any other gear you consider essential?  Do you recommend one over another?  Are there brands / items you’d like to try?

CM: I have recently acquired a flipbelt to put my keys and phone. Also, since I run when it is dark I wear a glow belt with a knife and carry mace in my hands. (Hey, you never know)


BAR: What apps / GPS equipment do you use?  Are there others you’d like to try?

CM: Mari Merchant recommended the Garmin Forerunner 220 and I don’t ever run without it.

BAR: Any advice for runners trying to catch up and keep up?

CM: Don’t quit, everyone always has their bad days. Don’t expect overnight results. If you are trying to lose weight, don’t forget how long it took to put the pounds ON; more than likely it will take about to same to take OFF. Find other runner friends to lean on, and let them lean on you in turn. I belong to different running groups and they support me as much as I support them, I am friends with some of them even though we’ve never met in person.


Badass Running / Walking Profile : Don Lhati

1383556_679266478775016_232238227_nName: Donald Lahti

Home State: Suitland Maryland, although I lived in Duluth Minnesota longer. Now I call San Antonio, Texas home.

BAR: When did I start running?

DL: The late 70’s early 80’s.

BAR: I’ve noticed that, though you participate in all of the running challenges we share on Facebook, you are a walker?

DL: I’ve always enjoyed walking, so when health issues and injuries ended my ability to run, I just switched to walking.

BAR: What motivates you?

DL: My biggest motivation is my health. I’ve been living without a pituitary since 1991 and dealing with worsening neurological issues, possible MS, since 2008. So, if bodies in motion tend to stay in motion, I’m afraid if I stop I’m doomed.

Longest Race: 50K Aug 2012

Hardest Course: The Decker 1/2 marathon in Austin, Texas–Monster Hills Hardest Race: Saturday & Sunday full marathons.

Favorite Race: 3M 1/2 Marathon in Austin, Texas during the month of Jan.


Favorite Course: The Decker 1/2 marathon. Even though it was horribly hilly I loved it.

Favorite Distance: The half marathon–long enough to be challenging, but still able to finish in less than 4 hrs.

Least favorite Distance: The marathon–6.5-7 hours is too long on my legs and feet. Walking PR’s: 5K–42:05 1/2 Marathon–3:04:00 Full Marathon–6:40:32.

BAR: We see you in pictures with a lot of other runners and walkers. Who inspires you?

DL: Where to start?  First is my family. All of us race for Team Beef; including our granddaughters. My wife works 40hr weeks on her feet, but still gets out and logs 3+ miles in the evening with me, as well as a weekly long walk.


Our oldest son has completely turned his diabetes around, thru diet & exercise.  In fact he is training for his first full ironman this fall. My youngest son balances work, time with his daughter, and still manages to run or bike regularly. I’m also a member of Team RWB & the I Ran Marathons family, whose many members I’d have a long way to go to match accomplishments with. And of course, there are all of you on team badass. On top of that I always try to live a life worthy of the sacrifices my fellow military members have made.

Bucket List: Grandma’s marathon in Duluth, Minnesota & the Disney World 1/2 marathon.

Favorite Shoes: Due to size 14 4E very flat feet, I wear clunky walking shoes, but my favorites are Brooks Addiction Walkers.

Other Gear: I either wear a hydration vest, or a fitletic quench belt depends on how I feel that day. I also use 2 trekking poles for stability; They’ve kept me off of my face more than once.

Apps/GPS: I’ve been using Map My Walk, but lately it has been really acting up. According to the app, my wife & I walked a 13 second mile the other day; not sure I believe that. I also use a Garmin hand held GPS unit. Not fancy but pretty accurate.

Advice: Just because you are a walker doesn’t mean you have to stroll.10849725_908910649143930_6877550262441194479_n

Badass Running Profile : Joseph Leon Guerrero & Yeti


11329653_10206997627689734_270779767_nName: Joseph Leon Guerrero

Home State: Texas

BAR: When did you start running?

JLG: In 2002, I started long distance running after my wife of 22 years suddenly passed away and not long after a coworker said to me, in the middle of my usual five mile run, “Lieutenant, you should sign up and run the Kolekole Pass Half Marathon.” I told him that I couldn’t run that far but he convinced me that I could. Two months later I completed the half marathon in about two hours 45 minutes.

Not long after that, he then said, “Lieutenant, you should sign up for the Honolulu Marathon and run it this December”. Again I told him there was no way I could run a marathon. He said that if I could run a half marathon, I could run a marathon. And sure enough, three months later, I completed my first marathon in 5 hours and 59 minutes. My first three marathons were the Honolulu Marathon.

BAR: Why do you run now?

JLG: I run now because I am addicted to it. I love getting all the medals. I enjoy seeing my friends at all the races and it’s great to get out and exercise.

BAR: What motivates you?

JLG: Challenges motivate me. I am very competitive and get a rush when I complete a challenge.


Longest race: My longest race was a 50K that I ran in August of 2012 in San Antonio and it was held by I Ran Marathons on Leon Creek. It took me 7 hours and 57 minutes. The race director has a “No runner left behind policy”. This was perfect since I’m not fast.

Hardest course: My hardest course is the Chosen Marathon in New Braunfels TX because of all the rolling hills. It is an out and back that follows the Guadalupe River along the mostly shaded River Road. Despite being difficult, I’ve managed to get PRs on 2 of the 3 times running this marathon.

Hardest race for you: My hardest race was the Tulsa Route 66 Marathon in 2012. The reason it was hard is because the day before I ran the Warmup Marathon in nearby Jenks OK.

Favorite race (location / dates in case people would like to try it): My favorite race is the Seabrook Lucky Trail Marathon in Seabrook TX. I have been running that race each year since 2007 excluding 2012 when I ran the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach VA. Seabrook is held during Spring Break and is a two day event. The first day is a half marathon and you have the choice of running another half or a full marathon the next day. If you complete both days, you receive a third medal.

If you run a total of 10 marathons or 20 half marathons or any combination totaling 262 miles on their course, you become a member of their Hall Of Fame and receive a plaque to commemorate your achievement. This past March, I received Hall Of Fame status.


Favorite course (same): My favorite course is on Leon Creek in San Antonio where I Ran Marathons holds many of their races. It is a 3.275 mile out and back course along a nice paved trail. It takes 4 round trips for a half marathon and 8 for a full marathon. Because of this, you get to see your friends frequently and there is an aid station on each end. I volunteer at and run many of these races.

BAR: What are your favorite and least favorite distances, and why?

JLG: My favorite short distance race is the 5K because it’s over with pretty quickly.

My favorite long distance is the half marathon. When I run it, I’m usually done between 2:30 to 3:00. It’s a decent time and there are still plenty of runners behind me.

My least favorite is actually the marathon despite completing 38 of them. I’m slow and it takes me an average of about 6 to 6.5 hours. It takes a toll on my body and I’m usually one of the last runners to finish. Many times everyone is already gone and very little food and snacks are left. Kind of depressing.


BAR: Tell us about running with your dog Yeti. All of us on Team Badass have fallen in love with him – the pictures, his medals. What made you start running with your dog? How many races does he have behind him? Medals? Do you have any tips for people who might want to try running with their dog?

JLG: I received Yeti on Easter Sunday 2009 from a friend of a friend named Michelle. He was 7 months old and came from a breeder in Tennessee. I took him on a two mile run that afternoon and he loved it. He also attracts a lot of attention. We’ve been running together for 6 years and have logged over 2,000 miles. Last year Yeti ran 54 races with me. All total, he has about 100 races under his belt or let’s say “leash”. He has 40 running medals and one trophy. He has completed at least 20 half marathons and his longest distance is 16.4 miles. He also enjoys tubing down the river with me, fishing on shore or on a boat, hiking, running beside me when I’m on a bike, and going to the dog park to run around with his other buddies. There are very few races I run without Yeti, and when I run into my friends, the first thing they say is: “Where is Yeti?”


My advice on running with a dog? Well, the dog will like running or simply will not. Test the dog out at first. If you do long runs, feed him well the day before and get plenty of rest. Also make sure you give your dog water just as you give yourself. They need to stay hydrated too.

BAR:  Care to share your PRs?

JLG: PR 5k 26:17 Schertz / 5 Mile 49:39 Whine Run/ 10k 52:00? / 10 Mile 1:40:55 Austin/ half 2:10:17 Moe’s Half / full 5:09:16 Jenks / 50K 7:57:20 I Ran Marathons.

BAR: I’ve seen you running with your children in a lot of races. Have they always been runners?

JLG: My kids (4 boys/1 girl (youngest)) are all grown and are either in the Navy or the Marines. They run in the military but not long distances.

Did they start because of your inspiration?

Yes, I did my first marathon in 2002. Two years later my second son Mike, a Marine ran the Honolulu Marathon with me and we finished in 5:57. In 2013, my oldest son Joe, his wife Melissa, and my daughter Jessica ran the Virginia Beach Shamrock Marathon with me. I have run about 5 half marathons with Jessica and 1 with Joe.

BAR: What is it like being part of a family who can share those moments?


JLG: It’s a great experience being in my mid-50s and being able to go the distance with my children. In April, Jessica, myself and her friend Sarah hiked 120 miles of the Appalachian Trail that runs the entire length of Shenandoah National Park in VA in 10 days.

BAR: Are you a member of any running groups. If so, can you tell us a little bit about them?

JLG: I’m am  currently a member of Marathon Maniacs, Half Fanatics, The 2015 SunRype Team, and Texas Beef Team, I coach for I Ran Marathons and also for Girls On The Run Bexar County. I was also a 2014 U.S. Road Running Ambassador.

BAR: What other runners, professionals, friends, etc. inspire you and why?

JLG: My two favorite runners are Larry Macon and Parvaneh Moayedi, both hold multiple Guinness world records for marathon running and both live in San Antonio. Larry is 70 years old and has completed over 1,400 marathons. Parvaneh has at least 700 marathons and has a goal to be the first woman to complete 1,000 marathons.

BAR: What are your bucket-list goals as a runner, this year and beyond?


JLG: My goals are:

Double Half COMPLETED 2014 Double Full COMPLETED 2012 twice Double Half and Full COMPLETED 2008 Triple Half COMPLETED 2015 Triple Full Quad Half Quad Full 50K COMPLETED 2012 50 Miles COMPLETED 2015 as a hike in 5 days. 100 Miles COMPLETED 2015 as a hike in 9 days. Section Hike the entire Appalachian Trail (109 of 2,174 miles completed) Bike 100 miles COMPLETED 2011, 2012, 2013. (Sound like you’ve already completed most of them, and the year is young!)

BAR: Do you have a favorite pair of shoes, or brand of shoes? Why?

JLG: I have run in Mizuno since 2002 and switched to Hoka One One in 2013. Last year I did a gait analysis had went to Newtons. I own 3 pair and switch out depending on what I’m wearing. My hiking boots are Merrells MOAB.

BAR: Is there any other gear you consider essential?

JLG: I carry a hydration belt with 2 ten ounce bottles. The pouch holds my car keys, inhaler, SunRype, and poop bags.

On trail runs I carry a hydration vest with 2 twenty ounce bottles. I also carry the same items as when I wear my belt.

BAR: Do you recommend one over another? Are there brands / items you’d like to try?

JLG: I use the belt more often since I’m only carrying either 10 ounces or 20 ounces and when water stops are available. I use the vest when I don’t have water stops. I now carry a 20 ounce filtering bottle on my vest so I can get spring, river, run off or lake water on longer runs or hikes.

BAR: What apps / GPS equipment do you use. Are there others you’d like to try?

JLG: I use my MapMyRun app on my phone. On long distance I use that and my Garmin 310XT or when I want to view splits and average total pace.

BAR: Any advice for runners trying to catch up and keep up?

JLG: My advice is to take it slow and enjoy the run. Lately I have walked or run/walk many of my half marathons alongside my friends and talked the entire way. You will be surprised how fast the time goes by and how much you learn about the person you’re beside. One of the things I preach concerning long distance is: “It’s not how fast you go, it’s how long you can go slow”


Badass Runner Profile: Sherri Morgan

11356249_10206908538739012_803843116_nName: Sherri Morgan

Home State: Minnesota


BAR: When  did you start running?  Why?

SM: I started running in 2012. I have always disliked running but starting doing interval training to lose weight. I took a health class spring semester of 2012 and had to do a family health history. I found heart disease running rampant in my family. I also have watched my Grandma, and now my Mom, spend the later part of their life sitting in a chair because of the choices they have made. I knew I didn’t want that for myself, I needed to make a change so I could have a good quality of life when I was their age.


I kept getting faster and faster, being able to run longer and longer. I decided to sign up for a 5K to check it out. I ended up first in my division and have been hooked ever since!

BAR: Why do you run now? What motivates you?

SM: I run now because it really has become a part of who I am. I love the feeling of freedom. I love the feeling of accomplishment. I love pushing myself beyond where I ever thought I could be with running. Motivation comes from seeing what is actually possible, seeing if I can get a new PR and knowing how strong my body is because of running/training.

Longest race: Half Marathon

Hardest course: I don’t really have a hardest course. All my half marathons have had rolling hills, some higher than others. My trail races have had plenty of steep hills. Nothing stands out as the hardest. I did have one trail race that had a “hill” that had a name. It was long and it was steep and I am doing it again on June 13th!


Hardest race for you: The hardest race for me was my 6th half marathon. I had read a lot on the ketogenic and how ultra-runners were switching to this nutrition plan. Many said it gave them almost endless amounts of energy because your body uses more fats then carbs for energy. The body needs time to adapt and while adapting your energy levels can really drop for 4-6 weeks until full adaption. I started it just 2 weeks before the half marathon and it was my slowest half ever! It didn’t help that the humidity was really high that day. There was a discomfort in my chest for 9 of the 13 miles and I had to walk too much. My finishing time was 2:43:16 when I had been hoping I would finally get my sub two hour half marathon. It was very disappointing.

Favorite race (location / dates in case people would like to try it): I’m going to tell you about my top three:

The Hot Chocolate Race that is run in multiple locations around the country is one I have done the last two years. I have run the 15K both times. They are really organized and they give out great gear. Last year they gave us a great ¼ zip hoodie and this year a full zip hoodie. Also, this year they started giving medals to the 15K finishers and it is pretty awesome! Last year the course was pretty hilly and this year they modified it slightly so it wasn’t as much.


My second race is a multisport one. The Esprit de She Duathlon. (They also do 5Ks and triathlons) These are female only events and we are catered too! It was also very well organized and have great gear. I received an awesome cycling tank and they had Mimosa’s for us at the finish! It didn’t even matter that it started raining two minutes before the start, there were 28 mph winds (which had us riding at a slant against the crosswinds) and my ankles were raw and bleeding the whole last running leg!

Last year I did the Looney Challenge at the Twin Cities Marathon weekend. TC Marathon is a great event where people come from all over the world to compete in. The make a whole weekend out of it with a 10K, 5K and family events on Saturday and a 10 miler and marathon on Sunday. It’s the first weekend in October so the run showcases the beautiful fall colors here in Minnesota. The runs on Sunday start in downtown Minneapolis and finish in downtown St. Paul. A couple years ago they started the Looney Challenge where you run the 10K, followed by the 5K on Saturday and then either the 10 miler or the marathon on Sunday. I did the 10 miler. 2 days, 3 races, 4 medals! I am doing it again this year!

Favorite course: My favorite course is the one for the Lost Dutchman in Apache Junction AZ. So many races are run in the downtown areas but that is definitely not the case with the Lost Dutchman. It is run in the desert near Superstition Mountain. It made me wonder why they would have them in the city when they could give us scenery like this! My Mom lived in Apache Junction so I have been there many times and I have always loved Superstition! I did the 10K and we started in Prospector Park and ran an out & back. The half marathon does as well. You run towards Superstition for most of the out. It is a beautiful scenery! The marathon is a point-to-point and starts in Gold Canyon, 6 miles down a gravel road. They have pre-dawn campfires at the start of the marathon, and you get to see a beautiful desert sun rise as you are running! They also have some nice finishing touches at the finish with a little mining camp, old bearded prospector and live mule.


BAR: What are your favorite and least favorite distances, and why?

SM: My favorite distance is probably the 10 miler. It’s just a nice distance for me. I don’t know that I have a least favorite.

PR   5k / 10k / half 

 5K = 26:45

10K = 57:21

10 Miler = 01:36:04

Half = 02:06:29

BAR: You are always out running trails, or new places.  And in crazy cold weather.  What are some tips you could offer on finding cool new places to run, and on making sure you don’t die a frozen popsicle along the way?  What is it about the trails you enjoy?

SM: I am someone who likes variety and I love challenging myself! I want to explore new places, not only for the new scenery but also because you don’t know what you will find. Sometimes that can be a real challenge. I like to all types of races too. 5Ks to half marathons, obstacle and mud runs, doubles & triples in one weekend, chair climbs, mutli-sport and destination races.

Trail running poses a new challenge with rocks, roots, trees, hills, etc. You have to constantly be aware of that is ahead of you, jumping over things, dodging left and right, etc. I don’t even listen to music while trail running so I am fully aware of my surroundings. Running on pavement is more of a time where I can zone out and just get into my music.


I am fortunate to live in a place that really values parks and trails. When I am out driving around I take notice of any trails I see that I didn’t know were there. I also use MapMyRun to look for new trails. I’m am also a member of the UMTR (Upper Midwest Trail Runners) and on their website they have a nice list of dirt/gravel trails. I enjoy both paved and dirt/gravel trails.

As far as the cold–layers! And I guess it depends on what “cold” means. I have run a race when it felt like -17 degrees. That was brutal. I’ve run them at 25 degrees which is ok but I prefer a little warmer. I have run plenty at 45 degrees and find these very enjoyable once we get moving. Waiting for the race is the worst part. You have to just keep moving to stay as warm as possible. You will see many people wearing garbage bags to keep in the body heat and hope the black bag draws in more heat if the sun is shining. But as far as the running, layers are important. If below 32 you definitely want to keep as much skin covered as possible. Wear things that are wind proof if you have them, smart wool socks, etc. I have lined shirts that have a built in face mask I can pull up to my eyes and then I can just drop it back down if I don’t need it. When it’s really cold your eyes water like crazy, some people wear goggles but I have not tried that yet. If it’s not a race and I’m running outside in the cold I try to find a trail that is lined with trees, it’s usually less windy. They wind is worse than the cold! I, myself, would much rather run in 45 degree temps then 85 degrees with the humidity we have here in MN.

BAR: You are always color-coordinating your running gear… this seems to be something you really enjoy.  Any particular brands of outfits, gear, accessories that you prefer?  Any fashion tips?

SM: Well, I really like to look put together! It is something I enjoy and I have received many comments at races about my outfits and especially my socks. I almost always wear my pigtails when I race too! I don’t do any particular brand but it’s a must to start with the shoes.

Obviously, during a race your most important accessories are your shoes. They need to be the right shoe for the distance you are doing, so that is where I always start. Once I know the color of the shoes I am wearing (I have 8 pair to choose from lol) I work my way up, either picking the socks next or the top. I really like to wear the knee high, fun, bright socks. I find socks at a variety of places and when I see knee highs with colors I don’t have I will pick them up, just in case. One thing you really want to make sure is that the knee highs are not cotton, unless you like blisters. Claire’s has come cute ones right now, look like they are lace up and do have a decorative tie at the top. I do have some calf compression sleeves as well that can take the place of the socks. Once the top and socks are picked out I pick out a head band if I am wearing one, which I do like to wear to keep the sweat out of my eyes. I do like Bondi Band head bands, that’s where I got most of mine.

Biggest tip I have is just to make sure what you wear not only looks fashionable and put together but is also comfortable and right for running. You may look good running but if it’s chaffing you anywhere you will have days of recovery waiting for it to heal! Not worth it no matter how cute you are. J


BAR: Do you belong to any running groups, other than Team Badass?  If so, can you tell us a little bit about them?  What other runners, professionals, friends, etc. inspire you and why?

SM: I am a member of Upper Midwest Trail Runners but I just signed up so haven’t had a chance to get involved with them yet.

I am also a member of Twin Cities Running Club. They have group runs on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, you can attend any or all. Saturday is the long run, Tuesday is a leisurely run with a get-together afterword and Thursday’s are for speedwork and take place at a track. When I first signed up, last summer, I attended a Saturday long run. I had my headphones all ready to go and realized no one else had them. I put them away and we all started running together… and talking. I quickly realized that the reason I have always run alone is because I like it that way. I wanted to join a group to get to know other runners mostly. So I would have someone to do races with, etc. I did not enjoy running as a group, just the hanging out afterwards. I think this summer I may attend the speedwork nights though.

BAR: What are your bucket-list goals as a runner, this year and beyond?

SM: Since January of 2014 I have had a goal to run at least 100 miles every month. May brings me to 17 months in a row. Maybe I can make 100 months of 100 miles or more, good long term goal. This year’s goals are to complete 4 half marathons, at last 30 races (including at least one each calendar month) and I want that elusive sub 2 hour half. I also want to do a destination half and am looking at Utah. There is one called Morgan Valley! A half marathon medal and bib with my name on it would be awesome. Jamila (one of our badass runners) really has be thinking about this 24 hour race. I think that may happen in 2016. I really want one epic race for 2016 and I think epic would be an understatement for the Nanny Goat 24 hour race.

BAR: Do you have a favorite pair of shoes, or brand of shoes?  Why?

SM: My favorite brands of shoes are Mizuno and Asics. I have always had good luck with them. I recently bought a pair of Adidas Supernova Glide Boost because I read that the soles do not freeze when running in the cold. Since I hate when my shoes get hard running those winter races I decided I should try them. I used them for my OZ Run half marathon on May 23rd and they felt great. If they truly stay soft in the cold they will be my new winter outdoor runners!

BAR: Is there any other gear you consider essential?  Do you recommend one over another?  Are there brands / items you’d like to try?

SM: When running outside in the heat, some kind of hydration system is essential. I recently purchased a hydration belt by Fitletic and I really like it. I have used other things in the past because I didn’t think I would like something around my waist. I have tried hand held bottles, which I find a nuisance. I have tried a camelback, which I really like but only need something like that for really long runs because it holds A LOT. They hydration belt holds two 8 oz bottles and is good for runs up to about 10 miles. Even if I was going longer and there was a store along the way I could just bring some cash to get something to refill the bottles. I think it is important to try on a hydration belt and jump around to see if it bounces or is going to rub you the wrong way. They one I got is really soft and has nothing stiff on it to chaff.

I always run with my RoadID as well. The year I started running I spent 3 months in SoCal, by myself and was thinking if I got injured somehow, and unable to speak for myself, no one would know who I was. I ran a race with the RoadID coupon on the bottom of the bib and checked them out. I have been wearing one ever since.

One dilemma I always had while running is what to do with my phone. Women’s running gear rarely has a useful pocket. There are options but I don’t find them all that convenient. I found a great product that solves this problem. It’s a pocket called Underfuse and simply irons on your running shorts, pants or capri’s and can hold your phone, ID, cash, etc. I have bought 4 so far and will be ordering more, I want them on all my running bottoms!

I like to run with the least amount of stuff as possible. I do not like anything in my hand even if it’s “attached” to my hand like some of the water bottle holders. I do like to wear the little wrist pockets if I need to carry my key or the pockets for your phone that slide up to your upper arm too, but when you are running in heat and humidity those things just make the run that much harder.

BAR: What apps / GPS equipment do you use.  Are there others you’d like to try?

SM: I recently bought the new Garmin Vivoactive GPS watch. I really like it. The only thing I didn’t know and wish it had was a setting for multi-sport. I have the Garmin Forerunner 305 that I can and do use for my duathlons but it would be nice to be able to use the Vivoactive. Hopefully someone is working on an app for that.

I was using MapMyRun app on my phone but it stopped working properly in my neighborhood. It told me I was running zero miles per hour when I was clearly running.

BAR: Any advice for runners trying to catch up and keep up?

SM: I would say to just go your own pace. You do not need to keep up with or compare yourself to anyone else. One big thing that I had to learn was to pace myself. I would always start out a run to fast and then have to walk too soon. Once I learned to pace myself to my own abilities I could go farther.

I was running a race with a friend (it was his first) and we decided we were each going to run our own race. After the first two minutes I realized he was right behind me. I asked him if he wanted to slow down (I would too) so he could run farther. He said, “what’s wrong with this pace?” As I shrugged my shoulders, I said “ok.” At about ¾ of a mile he stopped and said, “my hearts on fire!!” I wanted to show him, rather than tell him, people learn better that way. I ran/walked most to the rest of the race with him and taught him how to run it most effectively. The next time he ran he paced himself and was so happy and proud he was able to run 2 miles straight.

Also, just keep it fun and enjoyable! Set your own goals and don’t let others talk you out of what you know you want to do. Last year I signed up for a full marathon and began training. I was really only doing it because other runners would say things like, “you have to, it’s the only thing you haven’t done.” (Which obviously wasn’t true because there are 25K, 50K+ trail runs, 12 hour, 24 hour, 100 mile runs.) I had no desire to run 26.2 miles straight. I just wanted to get it out of the way. By week 4 I started to feel like running was a chore and I could not think of anything else until I got my training run in for the day. I started to dislike running and the pressure it was putting me under. In week 6 I decided that if I completed a full marathon, but I lost my love for running in the process it would be a great tragedy! I email the race people and had them change my registration to a half marathon. I felt a weight lifted and I immediately started loving running again. I would much rather concentrate my efforts on getting faster at races up to half marathons and get better at trail running then conquer the full marathon. Do what’s right for you and let other runners do what’s right for them.

This is your journey and your race. Cheer others on and hopefully there are others around to cheer for you. And always, no matter what, keep smiling!

26.2 Miles – What I Learned from Them

26.24On Monday, 11/10/2014, I set out from home at about 8:30.  I had on my Altra Torin shoes, my Camelbak “Marathoner,” a birthday present from the family, several protein bars and Gu packs, my MP3 player, loaded up with part III of SWANSONG by Robert McCammon, and my game face.  One of the things that has characterized my running is the desire to get past the “I wonder if I can” stage of preparing for a race.  My first marathon was supposed to have been in March – The Newport News One City Marathon, which I’m looking forward too.  Still, that’s a winter away, and winter is the worst running time for me.  Right now I’m coming off hundreds of miles of training over sprint, summer and fall, and I just could not wait for March.

I had a plan (If you’ve read my posts about running long distances on my own before, you know that was futile).  I had a course set that should have brought me home just over 27 miles.  It was a reasonably simple map, and I carried the instructions with me, but there was a point – no road signs – where it just says, left, right. left right, and then turn right.   There were, of course, more options in that stretch than there should have been, and on that crucial final turn, I went…left.  Somehow.   I was supposed to run in to Elizabeth City, NC, and then loop back around toward home on familiar roads. Instead – when I finally poked my head back out onto Highway 17 about halfway into the run (a little over, maybe 14 miles) I was almost in HERTFORD, NC – the exact opposite direction from Elizabeth City.

By this point I had already nearly been blown off the road by a truck, chased by two packs of not-exactly friendly dogs, and gotten directions from people in two very “rural” yards.  One couple informed me I was way off track, but still better off than they were.  Their car woul dnot start, they were stranded, and they could not RUN all the way to the highway…made me smile.

So, anyway, there I was.  What I did was start calculating in my head.  I turned and ran back toward home, and just before hitting 16 miles, I turned left again, crossed back over the highway, and took the route I normally take on my 12 mile track (the one I got lost on LAST time).  26.21 26.22

I figured it like this.  No way I was not running the full 26.2 after all the preparation, and after telling everyone I was going to.  I planned to run half of what was left, turn around, and run back to that same point on the highway, then make it the last couple of miles to home and be well over my 26.2.   Except, what happened was that before I had quite hit that halfway point, I hit the final turn on my 12 mile course…and I took it rather than getting lost (lol)  So… on I traveled.  More dogs … a caterpillar … By this point I was at about 20 miles and speed was no longer an option, but I was still moving.  I stopped for a moment and called home at about 22 miles.  Trish was kind enough to drive out and bring me a bottle of Gatorade at mile 23.  I also gave her my camelback at that point, which helped.

The Gatorade was like magic.  I’d had a lot of water, and I still had water left, but it was no longer really rejuvenating me at all.  Of course, when I gave her the Camelbak, I forgot that my phone was in it – so I was then cut off, and had sent my “Mapmyrun.com” app home.  I kept going.  I had the Garmin watch, and it was going strong.  When I hit the turn to home, I started thinking.  I was going to be short.  Not a lot, but it was going to be – like – 25.78 … no good.  In the hardest running decision of my life, I turned AWAY from home and ran anouther 3/4 of a mile.  That was the defining moment.  After that I swung toward home, and I still felt okay…end in sight.

I walked / ran / stumbled the last mile … managed to remain upright through a shower … and plopped into my chair.  Then I got UP and drank a root beer, and a pepsi, ate an “Outshine” fruit bar, and got back IN to the chair.  Trish had gone to get Katie from school at this point.  Then I got UP again, ate a baloney sandwich and took the dog for a short walk.  The next time I got into the chair, I stayed until dinner…

So now I know.  I can go the distance, and complete it.  It feels good to be part of the 26.2 club…and today – after one day off – I’ll head out for my recovery run smiling.  25 miles from now, I will post again… that is when I will hit 1000 for the year, and I think I’ll take a look back at it for highlights.  Feelin’ kind of #badass today.

I did this (without planning to) on the USMC birthday.  To all my marine buddies, active and retired… Ooo freakin’ rah.