Kooky Spooky 5K and Warm Up Trainer

2014-KS-Page-Header-UpdatedThe weekend before Halloween, I got the opportunity to again lead the warm up before a race! The Kooky Spooky 5k, 10k and Half put on by All-Out Multisports took place in, technically, Golden although it really is Arvada, CO.

If you recall, this is the racing company that I volunteer at and using my personal training and coaching experience, I lead two different warm ups. One before the half marathon and one before the 5k and 10k. This is the fourth event I have done with them! At first, to be completely honest, I thought it was a silly idea. Runners usually don’t warm up at all or if they are super competitive, they have their own warm up. But as the events have gone on, I have come to really enjoy it AND regulars at these events know I’ll be there and continue to join me. My warm ups have been getting larger and larger!

I arrived around 7am to check in and figure out where I needed to be. I was greeted by the volunteer coordinator and some friends that I have met in the running world that were also volunteering. I got my registration for the 5k done so I was prepared to jump in the coral for the 5k start after the warm up.

20141026_102313First the half marathoners joined me for a warm up and I led them trough some track-style moves. I joked and laughed with the runners, promising PR’s (not guaranteed). It was really fun!

Next, the 5k and 10k runners joined me for a similar warm-up. I had a LOT more people join me this time. I finished up, the 10kers started and I joined the 5k-ers in the coral for our start.

To be honest, ever since the half I did in the middle of September, I haven’t been running much. I really beat myself up at that race and kinda have been in a rut, motivation wise, not sure what I really want to do with running.

I also haven’t even had time to run. I have been working SO MUCH! 50, 60 hour weeks between all of my jobs to catch up financially. So for me to “race” was a long shot. I literally was just using it as an excuse to make sure I ran.

I didn’t really feel like I would do well, and I knew I would;t place overall, but as I was looking around, I got the impression I might be able to place in my age group. It always happens…the closer I get to race time, I get this awful competitive urge. Some races I don’t intend to be competitive and I step up to the starting line and that feeling just takes over.

11668_92038_3894My Race – 4/5:

I started out pretty slow – on purpose. I have a tendency to start off too fast in races, trying to keep up  with the lead people. But this race I purposefully started out slow. Boy did that take a lot of self-control!

With the sun blazing down on this Colorado Fall Day, it was actually really hot and I was struggling a little with keeping pace. Like I said, I hadn’t been running much. The course was actually pretty hard. There was a lot of hills as it wound around the reservoir along the Ralston Creek Trail.

At the turnaround, I knew I had to tackle those same hills! I was talking to a friend after the race and we both agreed that the whole race felt up hill! Obviously impossible, but it was just one of those days and courses that felt like the incline never went away.

With a half mile left, I knew I was almost done, breathing hard up the hill (a real one, I swear), I tried to hold it together as I could see the finish line ahead.

I crossed under the finish sign, exhausted, trying to smile for the camera, but as you can see, failing.11668_92038_4434

I quickly found water and Gatorade and refueled, waiting for the race results.

Turns out, all that not-running was beneficial (Disclaimer: I don’t actually recommend that as a training principle) and I placed 1st in my age group!!!

Overall – 5/5:

Always an excellent event with All-Out Multisports. You can tell they take the time to make sure everything runs smoothly. My volunteer duties are pretty minimal, so I am not involved too much with behind the scenes here, but one of my friends volunteers a lot with registration. She had told me that they tried a new system and it was really chaotic behind the scenes. As a participant, I didn’t notice any of it be before, during or after the race. I thought everything was normal!

Race Organization – 5/5:

Pretty much what I said above.

Cost – 5/5: 

20141026_125245I think you get the most for your money with these races through this company. Given I didn’t pay for the race, but I know they cost the average as far as races go (starting at $35 and ending at $50 race day). For the Kooky Spooky, you got a cute long-sleeved shirt, a beanie (hat), a finishers medal (all race distances), prizes for overall finishers, free photos, post run food, access to all the expo booths, and the whole set up, organization, and volunteers (that stuff is not cheap – money or time wise!). Well worth it!

Post Run – 4/5:

Lots of sponsor booths including: Longmont Dairy Farm (mmmmmmmm chocolate milk), Naked Juices (from all the random jobs I do, I knew the people working this and they sent me home with a BUNCH of juice. SCORE!), Girls on the Run, It Works (I don’t really like that product), and I honestly can’t think of what else was there, but there was a lot of booths.

The race itself had provided breakfast burritos, bagels, and fruit! While I was snacking on food and talking to friends, I actually had a few people seek me out. One gentleman came up to me exclaiming he had been looking for me everywhere. He had never warmed up before a race before and he took 3 minutes off of his half marathon time!! Thanking me, I smiled!

Similarly, while I was waiting for my age-group award, I was standing next to a gentlemen who had done the 5K warm up with me. He said he took 5 minutes off of his time!!!! 5 minutes!?! That’s awesome, AND he placed 1st in his age-group! He was so thankful for me and said he was going to have to remember all those warm up moves for his next race!

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 9.56.16 AMCourse – 3/5:

Oof! Hard! Or it just felt that way. Maybe I’m out of shape! It was also pretty hot for being fall and there was not much shade!




Your Turn: Did you do any halloween-themed race???

Neighborhood Fun Runs

3W Logo As part of the 3W Races company, they like to do Neighborhood Fun Runs. To best tell you about these events, I’m just going to take the words right off their page:

Our goal for this series of runs is to meet racers in a small, informal setting and introduce them to fun, local businesses and trails through an affordable, relaxed (yet timed) running experience.  In most cases, the Fun Run partners with a local charity as well.  The nominal registration fee covers a few race company costs and we ask that racers also bring an ‘in-kind’ donation to the charity which will be collected at the time of the run – usually non-perishable food items or hygiene products.  Our hope is that you have a great experience meeting 3W Races and will come back to race with us again at Neighborhood Fun Runs or our other, larger events.

Photo credit: 3W Races. Neighborhood fun runs go on rain or shine (or snow)

Photo credit: 3W Races. Neighborhood fun runs go on rain or shine (or snow)

They have them at least once a month, sometimes two times, and throughout the whole year at different locations. The “registration fee” that they mention is never much…(how does a five dollar race sound?)…and they encourage you to bring donation items are part of your registration cost. The races are timed, so you know how you did, but even so, it’s not a competition to make anyone nervous or feel intimated. Each fun run is coupled with a different charity partner as well to help out the community.

I finally got to participate in one last month for the first time, and like they said, it was a very relaxed experience, the same sort of feeling you get at a run group or club.

That particular one met at Road Runner Sports in Westminster, CO. Once everyone was checked in, the race director led as all to the race start, which was only two blocks away, to Sensory Park along the Big Dry Creek Path. It was out and back, and even had course markers so no one would get lost of go off trail.

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 3.52.19 PM

My “race:” I just intended to go and hang out/run with my ambassador friends. I wanted an excuse to get out of bed and get some exercise in. Later in that day, I had plans to be one of the leaders of a Pub Crawl in Denver, so I figured I could definitely use the exercise. I ended up running it in a little over 24 minutes, and was the 2nd female to finish. I gladly ate my breakfast burritos that were provided and then headed home to get ready for some day drinking!

It was a very fun and relaxed experience. I definitely would recommend it to anyone that wants to do a 5K for the first time and doesn’t want to deal a big intimidating crowd. These fun runs are great for families as well!

Photo Credit: 3W Races

Photo Credit: 3W Races

More Information: Check out the website HERE

**The next Neighborhood Fun Run is tomorrow, July 31st, 6pm at Coal Creek Physical Therapy in Louisville, CO and the one after that is on August 30, 6pm at Road Runner Sports again in Westminster, CO. Click that link above to find out more or register!**

Don’t worry, they’re not always during the week, the one in November is on a Saturday morning!


Bolder Boulder – Pre Race Preview

It’s been less than a week since my last race. And I’m still on cloud nine about it. Mostly for the mere fact that I seem to have reclaimed my running motivation.

I have kept my training runs this week pretty minimal just to recover from last weekend and to stay fresh for Monday because I will be running another race!


The Bolder Boulder! Easily Colorado’s most popular race, but they claim to be America’s most popular 10K. Anybody who is anybody runs this race. Ok, just kidding. That’s not the case, but it has been quite the social gathering versus a race.

BolderBoulder2014ERLogoYou ready for a small history lesson? The Bolder Boulder was first run in 1979. The inaugural race started with 2,200 participants! The following year, participation doubled, and since then it has continued to grow and grow until nowadays there are about 50,000 runners (That’s a lot of people! To put this in perspective, the Boston Marathon attracts between 35,000 and 38,000 and the NYC Marathon attracts about the same, around 50,000)! A lot of big races these days of the “wave” system. The Bolder Boulder is no different; it takes a lot of time to get that many people through the starting arches! The “wave” system was started in 1983 to give all runners equally competitive chances. With start times from 7am all the way until after 9:30am.

I will give the Bolder Boulder this: It definitely combines ALL types of runners. There is the competitive runners, like me, that aren’t elite, but still care about their time. There’s the social runners that only show up to say they did the event and spend most of the time jogging/walking/drinking the free beer along the side. And, after all of those people finish the race, they release the Elites. While everyone is sitting in the CU Football Stadium, on the big screen they show the Elites racing down the same course we all just trotted along. They finish the 10k is a time shorter than my 5k. It’s ridiculous.

bolder boulderI actually love the Bolder Boulder. 90% of it anyway. I love the course and I love how you finish in the stadium and just because everyone is chattering, it creates an echo that sounds like they’re cheering for you as you come in! I love that neighborhoods get involved having the same things every year (slip and slide house, Doritos house, marshmallow house…and the beer houses). What I don’t like is the crowd. Now, they have a bazillion different waves. The faster you can run a 10k (with proof) the sooner you get to run, thus, less crowds. I have yet to get a non-crowded run time. This year, I would have been able to register for an earlier wave, but I didn’t send in my 10k time in a timely manner. No pun intended.
boulder boulder10

I’ve done the Bolder Boulder three different times. The first year was in 2010 with a good friend of mine, Joanna. I joined her and her family and we ran together for the 6.2 miles. This was right after my first half marathon and the racing bug hadn’t quite bitten yet. Nevertheless, it was a great time.

The second time I ran it, it was with a guy I was dating at the time. This was before I started my blog, before I really go into racing. But, I was regularly running, and that guy started running with me. We would “train” after both of us got off of work, and run the streets that we grew up on (he and I had gone to the same high school, way before we even dated). That neighborhood is pretty hilly and definitely prepared us for the challenge of the Bolder Boulder. I remember my goal that year was under 60 minutes, but I think we ended up running in 60:02; so close, yet so far!

97705-4423-003fThe third time I ran it was a year after that. It was after I started my blog, after I really started racing, and after I knew how to push myself and train better. I ran it in under 55 min (not my PR. My 10K PR was achieved after that at a race in New Mexico). I ran it “with” my friend Theresa, but I was really concentrating on my time and met her before and after.

Last year, I did not run the Bolder Boulder. It was the day after my first marathon. I was kinda sad, because I was getting in the tradition of running the race, but I knew that it wasn’t a good idea after running a marathon (my FIRST marathon) and then sitting on a place for a cross-country flight.

This year, I wasn’t going to run it due to finances. That really bummed me out, BUT you’ll see from this post that I have regained my motivation and thanks to the lovely people at 3W Races, they somehow got a handful of Bolder Boulder entries for us and now I’m registered! Super excited!

I’ve been debating on if I have any goals. That sounds silly. Basically, I’ve been debating between trying to have a really good time and get close to or beat my PR, OR having a really good time running just for fun, stopping to take pictures and participating in the festivities.

There’s a few things to consider. 1. I just ran a really good race last weekend, and I really want to see what I can do with a slightly smaller race, an actual 10k. 2. But my start time is 8:05am, and that would put a lot of people in front of me, possibly making my attempt harder as I have to dodge people. 3. If I were to go the fun route, I would love to have company, and I’m not sure who of all my 3W friends have registered is going the fun route. 4. I have to work at 10:30am, after the race. I’ll already be in Boulder, where I’m working, but if I go the fun route, will I have time to change/clean up after the race??? That is the dilemma!

What would you guys do??



Bolder Boulder Website

Bolder Boulder – Post Review (2012)

Book Review: “Run Less, Run Faster”

Before I get too into this review, I would like to say I really, really, really loved this book. BUT, I’m not entirely sure I would use the plan yet and I would like your opinion (yes, you!) on what you think about the training method. Or, if you or anyone you know has tried this method to train for a race, what they thought.

I read. A lot! I usually, almost always, have more than one book going at a time. Generally, it’s a combination of one fiction/fun book, one non-fiction/informative book and random books I store in my bag or purse for down time.

Lately, I’ve been reading through zombie fictions books like they’re going out of style, so I’ve completed multiple fictions while still reading my non-fiction book.

8721183If you want to know how “Zombie Apocalypse!” by Stephen Jones was or “Zombie Versus Fairy Featuring Albinos” (yes, that’s a real book) by James Marshall was, you can email me at racingthestates@gmail.com and we’ll have an intense conversation. However, this is a running blog and I have ALSO been reading “Run Less, Run Faster” by the experts at FIRST: Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, and Ray Moss.

I absolute loved this book for many reasons. I was originally interested in it because of the idea that you can still train for races (i.e. a marathon) without running as much and thus less stress on your joints and bones and body. I STILL feel like I’m almost recovering from my first marathon last MAY! I know this is not true, it’s a been a series of events that have made me not fully “healed,” but if there’s a way to reduce all that stress, I’m all for it.

Run Less Run Faster Book coverLet me explain the FIRST program, first. No pun intended. FIRST stands for the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (how do I get a job there!?) and they have developed a training program that has been proven to minimize the stress on one’s body WHILE improving your racing performance. Hard to believe, right? But the program is designed and tested from scientific principles, which is one of the reasons I loved this book.

As crazy as it sounds, I have a degree in Zoology. It’s a long story, but basically I used to dream of becoming a veterinarian but after working in the field, I changed my mind. Although I don’t want to do surgery on animals anymore, I still have a strong love for science in general. My mind works in a very scientific way and I like to combine that with my passion for health and fitness.  This book uses so many science principles that it is hard to have any doubts that this program works. I also love that it took definitions and words straight from my personal training book and applied the science to those principles as well. For example, right in the first chapter, they talk  about exercise pricinples like The Progressive Overload (the principle that as you gradually increase the training stress this will cause the body to adapt to that overload. I.e., gradually increase the distance of your long run will help you train for a marathon). The book is very “smart” for lack of better words.

Anyway, back to the idea of FIRST. The philopsohy is to make running easier, and limit overtraining, thus cutting the risk of injury but also producing results. FIRST is a 3plus2 training program. This means that there are three key running workouts and two cross training workouts.

Yes, you read that right. You only RUN three days a week. Keep in mind, and it’s repeated constantly in the book, it is NOT an easy program. A typical boston qualifying goal (for my age) training week, mid plan, would look like this: Workout 1 – 2 x 1600 in 6:51 (60 second rest), 2 x 800 in 3:17; Workout 2 – swimming 10 x 2 lengths, kick 4 lengths, 10 x 2 lengths; Workout 3 – 1 mile easy, 4 miles at 7:38, 1 mile easy; Workout 4 – cycling 20 min easy, 10 min temp, 10 min easy; Workout 5 – 20 miles at 8:40 pace.

That seems pretty intense if you ask me!

The science behind it: You are running fast at high intensity because this increases the muscles ability to metabolize lactate. You are training your body to use lactate as an energy source. It’s about intensity rather than time. You cross train in between to allow the body to FULLY recover from the stress of running and in the end you are reducing the chance for overuse injuries. Simple, right?

Proof? Well, there’s dozens of success stories throughout the whole book, but they also detail the running studies they conducted right in the first couple chapters. They tested maximal oxygen consumption, running speed at lactate threshold and running speed at peak oxygen consumption. And in all the studies, the data proves and supports the success stories. I wont detail the data here – although I am tempted because it reminds of writing dozens of science research reports in college.

Benefits: 1. People who have limited time to exercise can still train for a marathon. 2. Like I said before, reduces injuries. 3. Improves running times and performances.

Doezens and dozens of charts like this

Doezens and dozens of charts like this

But that’s not to say there aren’t downsides: 1. It’s hard! In order to benefit from the plan, you have to stick to the listed paces. There’s an million and a half charts in the book, one lists comparable 5K, 10K, half and marathon times. Basically, you determine your current 5K time, and using the chart, find what paces you should be running in your training.

I’ll visualize it for you. My most recent 5K time was 26:10 (or something like that – but this is not my PR). The book strongly urges you to choose your most recent time, not your PR, to prevent injuries. For a simple non-boston qualifying marathon training plan, my first day of training would be 3 x 1600 track workouts. My 1600 would be at an 8:09 pace. That’s pretty fast, for me, but probably doable. If I were to stick to this plan, based on my current 5K pace, NOT my goal time, it will improve my performance, according to this book.

The book goes on to breakdown how to use the plan and pick a training schedule and what to do on the cross training days. There are charts for that including cycling, rowing and swimming crossing training for every week of training. It talks about realistic goals, year-round training, and a little bit on nutrition. What I also really like about this book is that is gives you a little bit on strength training, including key exercises for the runners, and flexibility and form, including essential stretches. However, I would have like to have seen more on how to incorporate the strength training into your training week. I wish it would have discussed which days to actually do the exercises.

The book concludes with boston-qualifying training plans for EVERY age group (and gender). That is actually pretty awesome and makes it pretty easy to find a plan just for you and your goal.

My thoughts? Sign me up…. I think! It sounds like a great plan, all the evidence is there..my only concern isn’t really a concern. This plan is made for people who are VERY goal oriented. That’s not to say I’m NOT goal oriented, but my goals don’t really consist too much based on time or performance. Yes, I want to run a marathon in every state, but I’m not going for gold in these races. I just want to finish, to check the states off my belt. Although, EVENTUALLY, maybe a few years down the road, I do want to try for BQing.

There is a teeny tinny section of running multiple marathons a year. They barely address it and strongly encourage readers to only stick to 1 to 2 marathons a year to reduce injury and peak performance. But like I say, they address the question assuming people are trying to PR at every marathon they run, even the noted Marathon Maniacs trying to running 3 marathons in 3 months. So take from that what you will.

I really LOVE the idea of reducing stress on the body, especially with how I felt after my first marathon. That is want made me purchase the book. But i’m still not entirely sure about it or if it is ideal for everyone or all goals.

What are YOUR thoughts? Has anyone tried one of these plans? Do you think it is still an ideal plan for someone, like me, not trying to PR but to just finish a race? Comment! 

Other book reviews I’ve done: “50/50 – “Secretes I learned running 50 marathons in 50 days…” by Dean Karnazes

Addendum: I would like to point out that if you are interested in doing one of the training plans, the book does suggest that if you are not used to this type of high intensity training that you slowly start to incorporate speed work into your weekly running.