Use These 3 Tips To Have Your Best First Race Ever

It’s easy to get freaked out when you are running your first race ever (or first race distance ever).  All these questions rolling around in your head:

  • Am I prepared enough?
  • Will I be the last person to cross the finish line?
  • Do I have everything I need?
  • and the list can go on and on IF you let it…..

So my quick advice for you, whether it’s your first race ever, or your first distance ever is to follow these three tips (works for me every time!)

  1. Don’t stress out! Getting a bit nervous about the unknown is normal, trust me! But don’t let that bit of nervousness get you so worked up that it consumes you so you don’t sleep the night before and you use up so much unnecessary mental energy you won’t have any for the race.  There is no need to get yourself worked up!
  2. Don’t go out too fast!  One of the most common mistakes for a first time race is to get excited that you start out way faster than you should.  Your adrenaline is pumping and so is everyone else’s and it’s easy to get caught up and rush out too soon. Let everyone go because you will see most of them later.  One of my other tricks is to start nose breathing as it immediately slows me down or just start in a nice warm up pace. Once you are half way through the distance, you can check in and if you are feeling good, then you can speed it up.  Trust me, it feels worse to go out too fast and then get half way through and feel like shi*t…your mind will start playing tricks on you and the negative self talk will start.  I’ve learned this the hard way!
  3. Be present!  You only get your first time once! Enjoy every single moment and stay as present as possible.  You are going to PR it (have a personal record) so make it a point to have fun and enjoy it! Thank the volunteers and the people cheering on the side line, meet people on the course, and take pictures to capture your first time experience.

More than likely if you are reading this, you are not an elite athlete, an Olympian or someone who is going to win the race. So just go out and have FUN!  You want to have a great experience so you can do it again!

This video pretty much says the same thing 😉


Across The Years: Race Report & 6th 50K


….and My Story Runs On….

Where do I even begin? First I have to try and explain how this type of event works. Across The Years is described on the Aravaipa website as:

“the original fixed-time multiday running event celebrating the New Year. Runners have 24, 48, 72 hours or 6 days to cover as much distance as possible.  Each runner is free to walk, stop, eat, and sleep whenever they wish, but the clock is always running!”

What does this mean?  It’s basically you against the clock. You can sign up for minimum of 24 hours to a maximum of 6 days and log as many miles as you want or your body/mind will allow you.

I’ll be honest, I have very mixed feelings about this event. In 2014, my boyfriend and I volunteered during the midnight shift at New Year’s Eve and we had a blast!  We decided to do it again this year and The Running University sponsored two volunteer shifts on New Year’s Eve so I received a free entry for filling those spots.

I was excited to have the opportunity to try this type of event out.  The course is a 1.04 mile loop at Camelback Ranch and you basically go around the loop as many times as you want or your body/mind will allow you. I’ve done an event before that was looped but it was a 4 mile course so this was a first experience for me.  Every 4 hours they change the direction so you go around the opposite way.


I can’t wait to get my official bib number. It’s yours for the lifetime of the event. Apparently once you get to 1,000 miles you get a jacket! not sure I’ll ever shoot for this goal!

I ran this mostly with my friend Heather and we decided that we were “just” going to follow our training plan for the weekend and our plan was to do a 50K (31.1 miles). I also had dinner plans that night so I was on a bit of time crunch. We started at 9am (the 24 hour clock is from 9am-9am).  The first several loops felt great…actually most of it wasn’t bad at a matter of fact at one point I was thinking, maybe I can do 48 hours next year and do my first 100 miles…break it up in four 25 miles segments over 48 hours…that sounds doable, right? Well… the time I was done, I was done with those loops.  Heather and I spent most of the time chatting together and with other people on the course. At one point she needed to make a stop so I kept going knowing we find each other on that loop at some point. I started listening to one of my new favorite Running Deep playlists that I purchased awhile ago and had not had chance to get into (guided meditation for runners).  It was perfect timing to be zoned out and zoned in at the same time.  I was also hoping to PR my 50K time. Doesn’t really mean a whole lot as this type of event is much different than running a 50K on a trail with an actual elevation profile. But still, I was running a lot more than I would’ve on a trail so that had to count for something.  I did set another PR and I found my results from my Tom Tom amusing. Mostly the elevation profile and the map of my run. 😉

It might be easiest to break this up to pros and cons (of course just my opinion!). Would love to hear comments from anyone who has done these events!


  • The course is a 1.04 mile loop so there is no way to get lost. It’s probably one of the safest ways to get rack up mileage.
  • You set your own goals and it’s just you against the clock. This will also be a Con.  For me, I liked that my plan was to stick to my training plan and I purposely scheduled dinner plans later because I knew that I could be convinced to keep going since I technically had many more hours to go. But if someone was “afraid” to do a marathon because there are normally cut offs, you can sign up for 24 hours here and finish a marathon no problem in 24 hours…you could crawl it!
  • I’ve never eaten so much at a race! LOL  There is a main aid station with lots of goodies. We purposely skipped it many times.  I’ve taught my body to go for longer periods of time with little fueling but it’s so hard not to stop by and visit at the aid station…and maybe grab a few M & M’s or piece of pizza or peanut butter pretzels (my main trail staple). I’ve heard people say they actually gain weight on this event.

Should’ve got a better picture but this is the main aid station…lots of goodies here!

  • No need to carry anything.  There is also another water station half way through which means you really don’t have to worry about carrying anything with you on this race as you have it all right there.
  • Seeing lots of friends!  It was fun to see so many people I knew. Unfortunately because I was on a mission to get done by a certain time, I couldn’t stop and slow down much to talk with them as most of them were going longer so moving slower that I wanted to at that point. But there are a lot of local runners along with people who come internationally for this event so a great place to listen to people’s running stories and goals.

Heather and I at the start line getting ready for the 9am start 😉


Had to get a selfie with the pretty “lake” behind us. There were some scenic spots on this loop!


Hanging with Ed The Jester. I found out today that he placed 1st with 451 miles completed in 6 days! Just google “ed the jester” and you’ll find out some amazing things about this guy!


Sharill! Her and her husband used to own Solemates which was a racing company that only did these type of timed events but shorter starting with 6 miles up to 24 hours.


Ron! I see this guy volunteering everywhere! And you can’t help but love that shirt!


Ila! Still waiting to hear on her finish as of right now. She is an inspiration and I blogged about her too:


We reached our goal of a 50K! 31.8 miles on my watch 😉

  • Relaxed atmosphere.  People are all just doing the same thing going around this loop…some running, some walking, some talking, some listening to music or whatever.  There didn’t seem to be much “race” pressure that you can normally feel in a race.  You get to do whatever you want when you want.
  • Strategy.  You basically create your own race strategy. I met people who were planning X amount miles in X amount of hours, some people were just going with the flow and people like me were using it as a training run.  Your time, your strategy.

My strategy was to complete a 50K but my mantra is the same thing I have on the back of my The Running University shirts 😉


  • The course is a 1.04 mile loop and all you do all day and night is go around in the same circle for hours even though they change the direction every 4 hours.  One of the things I love most about ultra running is being out on a trail and seeing places I’ve never seen before. I don’t know how people do 6 days of this but all power to them!
  • You set your own goals and it’s just you against the clock.  As a running coach, this type of race can really push people to a level that I believe is not healthy.  Don’t get me wrong, I am all for people pushing outside their comfort zone mentally and physically!  However, to be smart about doing that, training your mind and body really helps too. I know several ultra runners that were out there and used to do this kind of mileage…however this race brings some people out that have not been spending the time training and it’s an injury or many waiting to happen. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your goal and I can’t tell you the number of times I heard people complaining about body parts hurting (there is a difference in knowing when you can push through “hurt” or “injury”) and when you are mentally exhausted, you are not always making the wisest decisions. It was painful for me to watch some of these people limping along (there is a medical tent on site and they do an amazing job…but I know people who wouldn’t go in there in fear of hearing they needed to stop). As much as it’s an inspiration to watch an 82 year old with a walking stick or a 10 year old achieve a 100 mile goal,  it’s still begs the questions, when is too much too much?

So, 4 days later, do I still want to do 100 miles in 48 hours next year?


Will I do the event again next year?  Hell yes!  My plan would be sign up for the same 24 hours with friends, hopefully convince some people to do their first marathon, and have a walking/running party and just have fun with it!

Have you ever done a timed event? What’s your experience? Would love to hear your opinion!


From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

Running Marathons at 70?!

….and My Story Runs On….

Why are you limiting yourself?  These are the words that struck Ila Brandli one day and turned her into a marathon maniacShe heard these words at 62 years old and hasn’t looked back since.  Today, at the amazing age of 70, she has completed 150 marathons/ultras (8 of them are Ultras)! This number keeps changing as I write this blog…I can’t even keep up with her! She’s completed a marathon in each state twice! In February of 2015 she completed 8 marathons on 7 continents in 11 days in a row! (was supposed to be 7 but Antartica was fogged in)

When we started the interview, I asked her about the number of marathons she completed.   She said “Hold on, let me look at my spreadsheets. “ She pulls out her iPhone and has 3 different spreadsheets:

  1. to track her half marathons in different states
  2. to track her full marathons in different states
  3. to track her upcoming events.

I love this lady!

I met Ila at a free ChiRunning clinic I had at REI in Tempe several years ago. Then she reappeared at Running For Brews Tempe (I’m the Organizer).  I summarized the answers from the interview I had with her about a month ago.

Why did you start running?
First time she started running, she was challenged by her boss around the age of 42.  She couldn’t walk a mile without a side ache.  She never did any exercise through most of my adult life.  Second time around, she did it to look and feel better.

When did you start running?
First time: she was challenged by her boss to do her first half marathon (13.1 miles) in November of 1998. She did two 5ks, a 10K and a 12K before that half so she knew what to expect.  Her boss did the half marathon too but she beat him. Her knees starting hurting her and she quit running for awhile.  In 2000, she completed multiple 5Ks, 10K and a 1 half marathon.  By this time, she had found out about orthotics which helped her knee issue…so no more knee pain.
In 2007 she signed up for Team in Training and did first marathon  in Anchorage, AK.  She dedicated it to her dad and swore she would never do one again (because it hurt, she was sore, and had injuries including IT band issues).
A friend from Seattle called and wanted to do a marathon with her daughter before she got pregnant. She called Ila because she wanted an “experienced” marathoner. She survived that one at the age of 62.
2013 was turning the point to “craziness”.  A lady had a jacket that said Titanium 100 miles and asked Ila: “Why are you limiting yourself?”  She looked at her schedule and did 35 marathons that year!  She completed several series including 5 in 5 days.
Her problem is that if there is a challenge out there, she’ll take it. 

How did ChiRunning help you?
She took the ChiRunning workshop in 2013 with Mark Wallis (he was my mentor when I became an instructor!) and told her she was doing everything wrong.  She’s been practicing ever since.  ChiRunning keeps her from getting injured and allows her the additional stamina to do what she does.

What are some of your major accomplishments?
She’s completed 100 half marathons (4 more states and she will have completed 2 in every state. This may have changed since the I said, I can’t keep up!).
She’s completed 152 marathons (I have to keep checking her record on the Marathon Maniac page because this number is literally changing daily!).  She completed a marathon in each state twice and 11 out of the country.   Her 100th was in Antartica (was supposed to be the Phoenix Marathon).  The one in Chili was 98 and Antartica was supposed to be 99.  She did a 2nd one in Chili to make it 99 so Antartica was 100 and Phoenix was 101.
In February of 2015, she tackled 8 marathons, on 7 continents in 11 days. (knew she could do this already because she had in the US). But the stress is very different, you are flying overnight, then running, then flying overnight again fly at night, etc.
She completed 8 ultra marathons (an ultra is more than a 26.2 marathon). 212 miles in 4.5 days at Across The Years.  ATY was training for the 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days.  She had injured her toe in mid December 2 weeks before ATY. She didn’t go to the doctor because she knew they would put her in a boot (I don’t recommend this!) Her goal was 300 miles but she knew she couldn’t do 50 miles a day with the foot injury and didn’t want to jeopardize the 7 continents marathon tour! She “settled”  for 212 miles which is her longest to date back to back.  She was very proud of this because in 4.5 days she had accomplished 7 marathons within that time with less than desired sleep.  She purposely went over 7 hours to prove you can do it and don’t have to be elite athlete to complete marathons and ultras.

What is your favorite race?
The most emotional was the Baton Memorial Death March because of WW Vets and the units running together.
Antartica has to have a special spot because of the trouble getting there and camping overnight….and it’s Antartica!

What are your obstacles?
She’s currently dealing with some shoulder issues due to a fall in May. She has issues with heat and doesn’t perspire.  She has to be careful with her feet but doesn’t need the orthotics as much due to ChiRunning and her favorite shoes, Altras. (mine too!)

What’s your advice for anyone wanting to start running?
Find enjoyment in it!  It’s about the accomplishment.  You do it because you enjoy it.  You don’t need to love it because there is a love/hate relationship with running.  There are things you can control and things you can’t and you work on what you can—

How do you plan out your races?
It depends on what her goal is—looks at different websites, will contact race directors to check cutoff times, looks at race results and to make sure there are slower people.  She gets excited when she can do two back to back, she tries to double up when she can to save on travel expenses.

What do you think about when you’re running?
Majority of the time she is working on her form and relaxing. She finds a target: could be a time or a person that she wants to shoot for.  She is constantly looking at the scenery. When she is doing loops like ATY she uses them as speed intervals. Sometimes she is with people.  She loves meeting unique people who have different stories (met youngest gal who did all 7 continents in Antartica. )

What is your nutrition like?
She uses Tailwind but can’t take it full strength. A cold beer at the end is always a good thing! She uses Arnica when flying/driving for swelling.

What do you do in your spare time?
She volunteers for Aravaipa and different races, at the Mesa Art Center, and does taxes for AARP during the tax season. She has raised money for some of her events: she was a Solemate for Girls On The Run when she did ATY and 7 continents.  She is heading to St. George and raising money for GOTR again.

What is your next big goal?
By January 2017, she is planning to have completed 40 marathons and 40 half marathons  in 2016.

So are you really to old to run and achieve goals? Not according to Ila…or me!  I mean I can’t even keep up with her, I just checked her Marathon Maniacs page and as of today (9/22/16) she is at #152!

Here are a few great quotes from (2014):
She took up running marathons at 62 and recently ran seven full marathons in seven days. Why? “Because I can,” she said with a sly smile, adding, “Sometimes I win the age group because I’m the only one out there.”

Ironically, this was her original plan when she was interviewed by on 3/2/2015:
“I plan to run marathons in my 60s, and I won’t be 70 until December,” she said. “I’ll run half marathons in my 70s, 10Ks in my 80s, 5Ks in my 90s and after that, I’ll run in anything they’ll let me into with a walker.”

For some strange reason, I don’t think she’s giving up marathons at 70!

If you’d like to support her: you can make a donation to her fundraising page or come to Running for Brews on Tuesday, 9/27/16 as we host a 50/50 raffle for her.


Found this on her facebook page…”only” 50?? LOL


You will also find Ila dressed in various themes when running. I think Wonder Woman is very appropriate for her!


8 marathons on 7 continents in 11 days (Antartica got fogged in)


We got to hang out while volunteering at Javelina Jundred last year on the night shift!


When she is not out of state running a half or full marathon on Tuesday nights, she is at Running for Brews!


From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

We placed last at Ragnar!!

….and My Story Runs On….

Yep!  I didn’t just use this catchy blog title just for the heck of it, both of our teams were 2 of the last 3 teams to cross the finish line at the Ragnar Trail Relay Race held at McDowell Mountain last weekend. Continue Reading →

She’s such a loser!

….and My Story Runs On….

No, I’m not about ready to start bashing anyone but just wanted to get your attention. Honestly, this will be probably my favorite blog post yet…Why?  Because this story is EXACTLY why I do what I do.

Meet Diane.  I met her in March this year when she attended Danny Dreyer‘s ChiRunning workshop.  I remember hearing her say at one point that she lost 100 lbs. As a fitness trainer, I always love to hear these stories. We became facebook friends and she joined my Running for Brews group a few times and met at other running events across the valley.  This weekend, I had the honor of being with her on her longest run to date. Not only was it her longest run (15.5 miles) but she did it on a trail…and at night time!  Let’s go back a bit though…

Here is a before/after picture of Diane:


Since my passion in life is to help more people get into walking and running because it’s one of the easiest things you can do for weight loss/maintenance (if done correctly), I asked Diane if she could answer a few questions for me.  I was in tears reading her answers and I asked her permission to blog about it because I know she can inspire others!

How much weight did you lose?  
“I lost 100 lbs in a year and 105 lbs to date.”

When did you realize you need to make a change in your life?
“I was lying in bed one night and I was concerned because my heart was beating really hard and fast. It had been doing that for a couple months and I was scared I was going to have a heart attack and have my daughters find me. So that was my defining moment of when I decided to make a lifestyle change.”

What did you do?
“I was very strict with my diet by cutting out fast food, junk food, and sweets–I basically detoxed. I allowed myself to have one splurge meal a week.” (if you calculate it, she lost about 8-10 lbs a month which is healthy amount to lose)

When did you start running? Why?  When was your first 5K?
“I started running in September 2013. Even though I had lost a lot of weight, I felt like something was missing in my life. I decided to start walking. One night on a walk I started wondering if I could run. So I tried it–it was really tough and I could only do it for maybe 30 seconds at a time. Three weeks later I ran my first 5K.”  (I love that running can provide people with so many first time experiences: distances, trail, night trail, triathlons, etc. I see people pushing their boundaries all the time!)

Why did you keep doing it if it was hard?
“I was hooked on the race experience and found that I could channel my stress and anxiety through running. I ran my first half in May 2014 and am currently training for my first full in January. I’m still pretty careful about what I eat, but running allows me to enjoy brownies every once in awhile!”

What else has running done for you?
“Running and losing weight have given me the confidence and inner peace that helps me to be successful in all areas of my life, personally and professionally. The best part is I have become a good role model for my daughters, and they’re very proud of me!”

Any advice for anyone who would say to you “I could never be a runner”
“My advice to those who feel they could never be a runner is to take it slowly in the beginning with both pace and distance. If you try to do too much too soon, you could injure yourself or get burned out. Running is a huge lesson in patience. Accept the days when running feels impossible, and embrace the days when running feels effortless. Progress is gradual so don’t give up!”

Any advice for anyone who would say to you “I’m too overweight to be a runner”
“As far as those who think they’re too overweight to run, not true! Runners come in all shapes and sizes. There are plenty of amazing runners who don’t fit the mold. Fear is a prison. Don’t let it hold you back from being successful and accomplishing your dreams! It’s also important to focus on good running form so you learn how to run with minimal impact to the joints. I haven’t had shin splints, foot pain, or muscle pain since I started ChiRunning in March.

And for all new runners–don’t get hung up on being fast. Just get out there and enjoy it!”

Thanks so much to Diane for sharing a very brief summary of how weight loss and running has changed her life!

Here is a picture of us from this weekend.


Both of these ladies broke records by surpassing their longest runs to date.
Both of these ladies never thought they would be running 15 miles on a trail at night (same goes for me!).
Both of these ladies never thought they’d be running a full marathon!
But both of these ladies had the courage to listen to their heart (don’t listen to your mind because it will tell you otherwise!) and just go for it.

So whether it’s weight loss or starting a walking/running program, remember this:

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” ~Brian Tracy

“If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” ~Thomas Edison

From My Running Story to Yours….

(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

Running Tips for Beginner Trail Runners

….and My Story Runs On….

I’m finally getting some of my “road” runners to drink the Kool Aid 😉  The trail running Kool Aid that is!

I’ll be honest, I remember the days when I used to hike and see trail runners out there.  I’d call them “freaks” in my head….I’d think “what are they crazy? They’re going to fall down and hurt themselves.”  Then a few years ago (and for the life of me I can’t remember what hit me) I decided I wanted to try trail running….and I did…and I’m hooked!  I don’t mind road running (my trail running has actually improved my road running) but if given a choice, I’ll hit a trail any day first.

I have a schpeel (had to look up how to spell this word ;)) that I give my newbie trail runners that I’d like to share because it can help you too:

  1. Pick an easy off-road trail. Don’t pick a trail with a lot of hills on your first time.
  2. You are more than likely going to take a fall at some point so don’t keep thinking about it.  Acknowledge the possibility and move on. You’ll deal with it when it happens, no sense in adding this stress to the situation.  Make sure your core is engaged because this well help with stability.
  3. Look for all the OPEN spaces to put your feet.  Most people focus on where NOT To put their feet.  Your eyes will find what you are looking for so if you look for obstacles, that’s what you’ll find.  Look for all those OPEN spots.  Same idea when you buy that new car or are pregnant and all of the sudden that’s all you see around you.
  4. Start out slow with short strides.  Don’t try to make big jumps in between open spots. I like to think of it as a dance sometimes.
  5. Keep your eyes focused ahead of you so you can see the terrain as it comes at you.  This will get easier with experience.
  6. As a ChiRunner, you will always shoot for a midfoot landing but sometimes the open spots are smaller so aim with the top part of your foot. This will engage your calves more so be aware not to do it all the time.
  7. Make sure are bending your knees. One of the most common reasons people fall is because their heel doesn’t go high enough behind them and they trip on a protruding rock.  Sometimes I even over-exaggerate knee bending when there are bigger rocks around. (Again, more than likely a fall will happen but we try to avoid those as much as possible with proper technique).
  8. It’s totally OK to walk!  I prefer ChiWalking myself but you get the idea.  Trails are more challenging and will tend to get your heart rate up. Don’t worry about walking if you need to take a break (and enjoy nature too)…
  9. Enjoy nature.  Stop and take photos and enjoy nature at it’s best. This is one of the main reasons I love trail running.

Hope these help you!  If you have any other good tips for beginner trail runners, please comment below so we can all learn from each other!

I also highly recommend the ChiRunning Hills and Trails DVD.  You’ll find some of these tips and more, especially the hills part!

One of my favorite DVDs!  I love hills and trail because of ChiRunning ;)

One of my favorite DVDs! I love hills and trail because of ChiRunning 😉

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

4 Reasons NOT to PR a race

….and My Story Runs On….

PR or PB are words you will here in the running community all the time.  PR is a Personal Record and PB is a Personal Best.  I remember getting wrapped up in this idea until the last few years.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about setting, achieving and surpassing goals… but sometimes, it’s just not necessary.  Here are some of my reasons for not PRing a race in no particular order:

  1. Because you have a different goal and learned a lesson from a previous race.  Sometimes your goal in a race is not about having a personal record. For example, I purposely ran the Cedar City Half Marathon slower this year than I did last year. Why? Because last year I was sore for an entire week due to the dowhill and altitude change.  My goal for this race this year was not to be as sore.  I’m happy to report that I enjoyed the race AND I was sore for a few days instead of a week.
  2. Because it’s just another training run.  Depending on your running level, races are a good way to get in a training run and get some swag at the same time.  When I’m training for a half or full marathon, I’ll seek out some races that might be the  length I need as opposed to doing a “regular” training run in the same place.  Even though I pay for a race and not a training run, I get to run with different runners, get a cool shirt and medal just for a training run.
  3. Because you are running with a friend.  Running is a great social sport.  I love running with my friends. I’ve “ran” into friends at races that I haven’t seen in awhile and I choose to run with them for company rather than worry about the race.  OR you might have a friend who is doing their first event and you want to be part of their experience.
  4. Because you just don’t need to add that kind of pressure (or resistance).  The thought of having to do better than last time, sometimes can mess with your head.  This causes mental tension which causes physical tension and just can overall ruin your race experience.  You have the power to make that choice.  It’s that simple.  I blogged about this on the ChiRunning website last year when I described my experience at the Women’s Half Marathon.   I purposely ran a race without my GPS.
  5. Because you just want to have fun!  There may be a time to race for you but ultimately, when running isn’t fun anymore, what’s the point?  Seriously, sometimes we just need to get out of our heads and enjoy life. One of the many things I’ve learned from ChiRunning and meditation is to enjoy the present moment.  So instead of worrying about your time, enjoy the scenery, talk to a new person running next to you, and thank the volunteers and people cheering along the road for being there.

Bottom line, it’s your running story and you can do whatever you want!

Please comment below if you have any other reasons not to PR a race. Help me inspire other people to enjoy running for the fun sport that it is!

From My Running Story to Yours….

(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

My New Favorite Running App

….and My Story Runs On….

(I started writing this while I was on vacation in the midwest.  Just got back last night)

As you may know, I’ve been gallivanting around the midwest for the last week and a half.  I have found the scenery here so different and refreshing from the AZ desert.  Continue Reading →

Purposely run a race Garmin-free?

….and My Story Runs On….

What? Purposely run a race Garmin-free?
In November 2012, I decided to do something CRAZY. I purposely chose to run the Women’s Half Marathon in Phoenix without my Garmin!  CRAZY, right?! Here’s why…

Well, for starters, this was my 3rd year running this race. Since it’s been the same course, last year I was dead set on having a PR (personal record). It was probably the worst race I ever ran. Did I achieve the PR? Yes, I did. As much as I am proud of that, it was a miserable race. All I kept doing the entire time during this race was check my GPS, making sure that I was staying ahead of my last PR. I hurried through water stations and mentally and physically pushed myself so hard that I did not enjoy the race at all. Plus, I was really sore a few days after, which told me I was not focusing on my ChiRunning form either.

It was a tough decision, which I did not make until the day before the 2012 race, but I decided to leave my Garmin at home this year. IT WAS ONE OF MY BEST RACES EVER! And, I had another PR!

As I had a chance to reflect on my race, here is what I have learned:

• Being in the present moment, as opposed to worrying about the final outcome, is a wonderful place to be. I have learned this through ChiRunning but also with my daily meditation practice (not only has meditation improved my life, but also my ChiRunning). It’s really true when they say; “it’s about the journey, not the destination.” I focused on my form continuously and enjoyed every single moment. I thanked the volunteers, police officers, and spectators. I took in the beautiful weather and scenery that we have here in Arizona.

• Relaxation truly is the key. Since I was so relaxed mentally, this translated into physical relaxation. I stayed relaxed the entire time, even up the hills towards the end of the course. I stayed focused on my form and continually focused on my breathing to stay relaxed. I was shocked when I wasn’t sore one bit the next day!

• It’s not always about the numbers. When you are measuring something, it means you are going to do better or worse. What happens if we don’t improve? We tend to beat ourselves up which is not a good place to be. And what about those things that aren’t measurable? Like the beautiful scenery or those moments when you get to run with a friend you haven’t seen in awhile?
My bottom line:

Sure it’s great to push yourself to reach new goals in your running practice, but please don’t forget the reason why you run. One of the elements I love most about ChiRunning is having constant “AHA” moments. Not only “AHA” moments that affect your run, but more importantly that can be translated into your everyday life.

So try it one day:  let go of tracking your miles, your pace, or distance on your next run.

Purposely run a race Garmin-free?

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)