Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Run Off Those Holiday Pounds with January Road Races

Over the past month, my office saw its fair share of chocolate, cookies and other holiday treats. It can be hard to resist. But no fear –- there are plenty of road races in January to help run off the holiday pounds.

Atlanta Track Club Resolution Run in Kennesaw – January 1
Along with the 5K and 10K courses, this family-friendly event includes a 1-mile fun run and a tot trot. Register online through today (December 29). Keep in mind that on-site registration is not available. For more info, visit the ATC site.

Wonderful Days of Winter 5K – January 2
Proceeds from the race support Marietta’s Wonderful Days Preschool, which is a pre-K program that serves low-income families. Top finishers receive handmade awards. Registration is available at Active.com.

Run with the Dogs: Frostbite 5K Run/Walk – January 9
This neighborhood run benefits sports programs at Decatur High School and Renfro Middle School. Don’t leave your four-legged friend at home – the race is open to runners with dogs. The event starts and ends at Decatur H.S. Registration is available at Active.com or you can sign-up at Decatur H.S. on race day.

Marietta Polar Bear Run 5K/2K – January 23
Johnson Ferry Baptist Church plays host to this annual event. The race is limited to 2,000 runners and on-site registration is not available. While it may be cold outside, post-race festivities take place inside the church’s Family Life Center. You can register at Active.com or at Big Peach Running Co.

Eagle Run 5K - January 23
In Alpharetta? Check out this event. The race course runs through Will’s Park, located off of Old Milton Parkway. Proceeds benefit the Milton Boys Lacrosse Team. Registration is available at Active.com or on-site at the event.

Tartan Trot: Fun Run, Tot Trot, 5K and 10K – January 30
St. Luke's Presbyterian Church in Dunwoody hosts this local race, with proceeds supporting the church’s youth outreach program. Got a young runner? Bring them along for the free tot trot. You can sign-up at Big Peach Running Co, St. Luke’s or online at Active.com. On-site registration is also available.

Around Peachtree Battle 5K - January 30
Here’s an opportunity to “do good” while you run. The race benefits the Atlanta Union Mission’s shelter for women and children. Runners are encouraged to bring canned food, clothes and other items for donation to the shelter. The race takes place in the Haynes Manor neighborhood, near W. Wesley Road and Northside Parkway. Register online at Active.com.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Easy Gift Ideas for Runners

Completed your holiday shopping yet? Me neither.

The thought of traffic and mall crowds doesn't necessarily put me in the holiday spirit. If you've got a runner on your gift list, here are a few stocking stuffers that don't require a stop at the mall.

  • Pedicure: Taking proper care of the feet is essential for runners. Hang nails, black toe and other common problems can make running a painful experience. Add a gift certificate for a pedicure to your runner's stocking.
  • Sports Massage: Does your runner need more pampering? Consider a gift certificate for a massage. Natural Body has neighborhood locations throughout Atlanta.
  • Socks: A great pair of socks keep feet comfortable and dry. Avoid the crowds by heading to a local running store. Big Peach Running Co., Fleet Feet, One Step At A Time and West Stride have knowledgeable staff and convenient neighborhood locations.
  • Reflective Vest: Keep your runner visible and safe. The local running stores mentioned above can offer lots of options for reflective gear.
  • Race Registration: Is your runner training for the ING Georgia or another big event? Race fees often go up after December 31. Pay for their registration online and place the confirmation print-out in their stocking.

Happy gifting!

This week’s running route comes from the Oakhurst Running Club. A map of the course is available at the club's site.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Runners: Nutrients from Food (not Supplements) Keep Immune System Strong

Last month, I wrote about my struggles to fight off a nasty respiratory virus that kept me from running for nearly four weeks. It sparked a search on my part to learn more about improving my immune system’s ability to fight off infections.

A colleague of mine passed along an article from the Wall Street Journal last month that detailed the role nutrients from food have in maintaining a strong immune system. What it comes down to is knowing the vitamins and minerals that contribute to the immune system and the foods that serve as good sources for these nutrients. One fascinating point – malnourished people can serve as a breeding ground for viruses that spread to healthy people. Think about last spring’s outbreak of the H1N1 virus or the SARS virus from a few years ago.

So, what foods help your immune system? How much do you need?

The WSJ story provided a helpful chart of the key vitamins and minerals that contribute to a strong immune system. Vitamin A was the top nutrient, benefiting all four categories of immunity health. It helps regulate the immune system by making white blood cells that fight off infections and viruses. Good sources for vitamin A are liver, carrots, spinach and kale.

Other key nutrients and the food sources to look for include:

· Vitamin B-6: potatoes, bananas and fortified cereals
· Vitamin C: red pepper, orange juice, kiwi and broccoli
· Vitamin D: salmon, mackerel, tuna and fortified milk
· Vitamin E: wheat germ oil, almonds and sunflower seeds
· Iron: chicken liver, beef, fortified cereals, and beans
· Selenium: Brazil nuts, tuna (in oil), beef and turkey
· Zinc: oysters, Alaska king crab, pork shoulder and fortified cereals

The NIH Office of Dietary Supplements is a great resource for detailed information on these nutrients and the suggested serving sizes.

What's the issue with taking supplements to get these nutrients?

A multivitamin is a good addition to your diet, but supplements of individual vitamins and minerals can be problematic. Supplements aren't absorbed as easily by the body as nutrients from food. And too much of certain nutrients can be detrimental. For example, an excess of zinc can create problems with your body's ability to absorb other minerals. In addition, some supplements can interfere with over-the-counter drugs and prescriptions.

So runners, don't let a weak immune system interrupt your training schedule. Maintain your health by getting a good balance of vital nutrients from food. If you take supplements, be informed about the potential effects.

This week’s route is a 3.5 mile run through Druid Hills and Fernbank. You can find the route at Map My Run under my group Atlanta Running.

· Start at the parking lot of the Fernbank Museum

· Turn right on Clifton Rd· Turn right on E. Clifton Rd

· Turn right on Conventry Rd

· Turn right on Heaton Park Dr

· Turn left on Atwood Rd

· Turn right on Ponce de Leon Ave

· Turn right on N. Ponce de Leon Ave

· Turn right and cross Ponce de Leon Ave

· Veer right onto S. Ponce de Leon Ave

· Cross Ponce de Leon

· Turn left on Lullwater Estate

· Follow Lullwater back to Ponce de Leon

· Turn left on Ponce de Leon

· Turn left on Clifton Rd

· End at the Fernbank parking lot

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What an Inspiration! Girls on the Run Participants “Graduate” at 5K Race

Readers of my blog will know that I’m a big fan of Girls on the Run (GOTR). This terrific organization hosts running programs for girls 8 to 13 to encourage healthy lifestyles and foster self-esteem. Programs are offered at local schools, YMCAs and Girls Inc. sites. At the end of the program, girls “graduate” by running the New Balance GOTR 5K race.

On Sunday, GOTR Atlanta hosted its annual fall 5K for these young runners. As a volunteer, I felt lucky to join the celebration as the girls completed their first race. And I had the best job – tracking runners’ race times as they crossed the finish line. The girls’ energy and joy was amazing to witness. They broke out in cheers and chants, creating an incredible atmosphere. One GOTR coach shared her experience at the group’s blog, Why We Run. For me, the best part was to see the expression of pride and accomplish on the girls’ faces as they crossed the finish line. As an added bonus, I got to deliver a $1,500 sponsorship check from The UPS Foundation to GOTR Atlanta.

If you’d like to support GOTR, consider joining its fundraising program SoleMates. You can participate in any event to raise money for GOTR programs.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I’m on a Mission for a Stronger Immune System

A nasty respiratory virus has been making its way around Atlanta and I fell victim to it last month. Chest-aching cough and blocked sinuses delivered nearly four weeks of misery. Ever since I became a mom, I’ve had a tough time fighting off colds and viruses. Getting sick becomes a real challenge when you’re training for a race. Losing a week or two of running can derail a meticulously planned training schedule.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to research information on boosting my immune system. My search will include conversations with co-workers, friends and medical practitioners, web surfing news and health sites, and flipping through recent issues of Runner’s World. I expect to get lots of input on diet, but I’m wondering what else I’ll learn. Does sleep make a big difference? Will over-the-counter vitamins and supplements offer a meaningful boost? I’ll provide updates on my search at this blog. I’d love to hear your opinions and advice.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Product Review: thriv running apparel

I was recently offered an opportunity to review a running shirt from thriv, a new brand entering the athletic apparel market. Let me start first with a disclaimer: I received two shirts for free to review (one for me and one for my husband). I’m under no obligation to publish my review, and the opinions that I share are based on my and my husband’s experiences. O.K -- so now for my review.

To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised by the shirt. It feels lighter and softer than the typical running shirt that’s designed to wick sweat. And it’s quite comfortable. I wore the shirt twice during afternoon runs when the weather was in the low 70s. Typically, I get warm pretty quickly so I don’t like to keep a shirt on for long. I was a bit amazed that I felt pretty comfortable wearing this shirt throughout each of my 50-minute runs. It did a good job of wicking away sweat. My husband also liked the shirt and his feedback was similar to mine. Washing instructions are the same for other sports apparel I own (cold water wash/tumble dry low). The brand promotes its use of bamboo and organic cotton as key materials. I appreciate the use of a sustainable plant like bamboo (regarded as the fastest growing woody plant on the earth). It would be really cool if thriv could eventually offer a garment recycling program like Patagonia’s Common Threads. You can purchase thriv apparel at Sports Authority online and at select Sports Authority stores. My husband and I tested the short-sleeve shirts that sell for $24.99. The brand also includes long-sleeve shirts, shorts, pants and racer-back tops.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Halloween Day Race Offers Family Fun

I’m a fan of events that support local schools. Here’s one that offers something fun for every member of the family.

Oakhurst Preschool Cooperative hosts its 3rd annual Beat the Street for Little Feet at Candler Park. The event includes both a 5K and 1-mile race plus a fun run for kiddies. After the race, stay for the children’s festival. Activities include live music, a costume contest, face painting and food. The 5K route is available at the event site. Register at Active.com or at your neighborhood Big Peach Running Co. Proceeds from the race help the school provide tuition assistance and classroom supplies.

Have an old pair of running shoes lying around? Donate them at the race to Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program. Nike’s site features a cool video showing how old shoes are deconstructed and repurposed for a variety of play surfaces.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

It’s Fall … Get Out and Run Atlanta!

It’s almost the middle of October and Run Georgia’s Race Calendar shows over 50 race events scheduled for the remainder of the month. There’s no excuse not to get outside and run. Here are a few races to consider:

Big Peach Fall 5 Miler – October 17
If you’re in Marietta, don’t miss this race. Big Peach always hosts a great event. The course runs through the neighborhoods of East Cobb. Register at any Big Peach Running Co. location.

Monster Dash 5K and Little Goblin Run – October 17
You gotta love a race with a Halloween theme. The beautiful neighborhood of Grant Park hosts this family-friendly event. While online registration closes October 12, you can sign-up on race day.

Atlanta Dog Jog – October 24
Looking for an easy run with your four-legged friend? This event offers the choice of a 1 or 2-mile course. If you run the 2-mile course, you and your pup are eligible to win. Awards given to the top three finishers in the small, medium, and large dog categories.

Run Like Hell 5K – October 31
What better way to kick-off Halloween festivities than a race through Oakland Cemetery. Run past the headstones and mausoleums of Atlanta’s most notable dead. Proceeds benefit the cemetery’s restoration efforts.

Callaway Gardens Twilight 10K – November 7
It’s not likely you’ll find a more scenic course in November. Spend the evening running through gardens and holiday lights display. The race is limited to the first 500 registrants. It’s a qualifier for the Peachtree Road Race.

Cabbagetown Romp and Stomp 5K – November 7
Looking for an intown run? Check out the Cabbagetown Romp and Stomp. After running the quick course, race participates can celebrate over a bowl of free chili. Registration is available online at Active.com or at Big Peach Running Co. locations.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What it Means to be a Volunteer

I’ve been thinking a lot about volunteering lately. A blog post by my friend Nadine Randall offered a candid, moving account about her experience with Girls on the Run Atlanta. Often times, volunteering leaves us with a sense of pride and altruism. But Nadine’s story didn’t reflect on those factors. Rather, it focused on her uncertainty over her ability to coach and mentor a group of girls. Over time, she gained confidence in her skills and discovered a sense of joy in her role. And that’s an important lesson. While we often view volunteering as a selfless act, we gain in ways we don’t always expect.

This week’s route is the Run for Research 5K course at Piedmont Park:
· Start at the corner of 14th and W. Peachtree St.
· Head towards Piedmont Park
· Follow the path around Lake Clara Meed and through Piedmont Park
· Exit Piedmont Park at 10th St.
· Run down 10th St. toward W. Peachtree St.
· Turn right on W. Peachtree St.
· Turn right on 13th St.
· End at 13th St. and Peachtree Walk

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Inside Scoop of Volunteering at a Road Race

Over the past 10 years, I’ve run in a variety of races – from fun runs to half marathons. I was always amazed at the number of volunteers who came out to operate the event and cater to runners. For big events, like the Peachtree Road Race, hundreds of helpers are needed. I decided it was finally time to get a different experience from a road race by serving as a volunteer.

The Fall Five was a new 5K race in my neighborhood that benefitted a local school. I’ve helped manage large-scale events for my company, but I figured there was a lot I could learn by volunteering at a local road race.

As with any event, there are many details to coordinate – like a web site and online registration, traffic cones to mark the route, signs to alert neighbors who live along the route, along with safety pins for race numbers and food and water for runners. On top of that, you also have to deal with the weather. Atlanta has seen rain all week and Saturday was no exception for the race. Runners found shelter at Navo Church as they waited for the race to start – a nice offering that most running events can’t easily provide.

I tried to help out wherever I could. Since I’m not the quiet type, I landed the job of race announcer. This meant I got to talk a lot on a bullhorn, which was fun. Along with starting the race, I also cheered the runners as they neared the finish line. I got a glimpse of what it meant to be a race director. You’re the person that everyone looks for to make decisions and keep the show running. It’s a tough, demanding job that requires a lot of dedication. While I’m not looking to lead a race anytime soon, I plan to look for more opportunities to volunteer. It’s a worthwhile experience for every runner.

This week’s running route is the course from the Fall Five. A map of the course is available at WalkJogRun.net.

· Start at the corner of Oakview Rd and Spring St.
· Head north on Oakview, towards East Lake Dr.
· Cross East Lake Dr.
· From Oakview, turn right on Adams St.
· Turn right on Hill St.
· Turn left on McKoy St.
· Run through McKoy Park
· Exit McKoy Park and turn right on Spring St.
· Turn left on Oakview Rd.
· Turn right on 2nd Ave.
· Turn right on 3rd Ave.
· Turn right on East Lake Dr.
· End at East Lake and Oakview

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Look who's on Twitter ... Lots of Runners

As a Twitter junkie, I occasionally tweet about my blog. When I do, it leads to a few new followers who tweet about running. Which made me wonder, how many running-related twitterers are out there? Apparently, a lot. You can find a listing of the most-followed Twitter accounts at wefollow.com. Here are a few to check out:

@ActiveNetworks – 16, 596 followers
The site that seems to manage registration for nearly every race is on Twitter. Tweets include links to articles and tips on training.

@RunnersWorld – 15,608 followers
Running news from around the world with links to the magazine’s online articles and videos.

@Cool_Running – 11,360 followers
Similar to the @ActiveNetworks, you see plenty of tweets with links to tips and news articles on running.

@Runningnews – 16,109 followers
News and information from across the web, including links to popular blogs and running sites.

@bmorrissey – 8,643 followers
Brian Morrissey is the Digital Editor at Adweek and you’ll find tweets about his training runs in NYC.

@1stMarathonPlan – 3,144 followers
As the name implies, J David Doss posts lots of tweets about marathons and training tips.

@just_finish – 2,031 followers
Hosted by Kevin Green, this Twitter account supports people training to complete events. Plenty of positive tweets found here.

@raygill1 – 3088 followers
A self-proclaimed coach, triathlete and fitness addict, Ray includes several links to interesting running and fitness content.

@runningscoop – 1,413 followers
A good source for links to stories about runners and online race registration.

@peachyruns - 1,122 followers
This is the Twitter handle for Big Peach Running Company. You'll find news on Atlanta events and running gear.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Get Ready for Fall Road Races

If you’re looking for a running event, you’ll find plenty to choose from in September. Rungeorgia.com lists more than 25 races in the metro Atlanta area. Here’s a sample of the races offered next month.

U.S. 10K Classic – Sept. 7 (Labor Day)
East Cobb is home to this multi-sports event. It hosts runners, cyclists, inline skaters, wheelchair athletes and walkers. Proceeds benefit children’s charities in Georgia and World Children’s Center.

Avondale Estates Labor Day 5K – Sept. 7 (Labor Day)
Avondale Estates is one of my favorite neighborhoods to run. There’s no online registration for this race – you’ll need to send the form by mail or drop it off at city hall.

Corporate Challenge – Sept. 10
Billed as the world’s largest office party, the route runs through Downtown Atlanta. It starts and ends under the Olympic rings on Hank Aaron Drive. CEOs who want to compete against their fellow execs get designated bibs and a separate finish line.

Decatur-Dekalb YMCA Fall Five - Sept. 19
I’m a fan of races that benefit local neighborhoods and schools. The Decatur Fall Five is a new 5K race that raises funds for College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center. The route runs through the Oakhurst neighborhood in Decatur.

East Atlanta Village Strut 5K Run/Walk - Sept. 19
This 5K race kicks-off a day of festivities, music and fun. The route starts at Portland and Brownwood Avenues. Stick around for the day to enjoy concerts, the artists market and the neighborhood parade.

Big Peach Sizzler 10K – Sept. 26
A MARTA-friendly event, it starts at the Chamblee station and ends near the Buckhead station. The race is USATF certified and serves as a qualifier for the 2010 Peachtree Roadrace. Register at a Big Peach store and get your race number before the event.

This week’s running route is the 5K course for East Atlanta Village Strut. Click here to access the route map.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

One Inspiring Runner

The first story I read in this month’s Runner’s World profiled Rosie Coates, a Seattle-area runner who achieved some amazing accomplishments. In her quest to become a marathoner, Rosie shed 110 pounds – essentially whole person. For anyone who’s dieted (haven’t we all?), that’s simply remarkable.

But what I found inspiring about Rosie is her devotion to help other women. Rosie conducts health and fitness workshops and provides personal training services that help women gain confidence and self-esteem through fitness.

Apparently, I’m not the only person inspired by Rosie. A quick Google found mentions of her story on Facebook, FriendFeed, Twitter and blogs.

When we take time to look around our own neighborhoods, we’re sure to find examples of inspiration. For me, it’s the teacher who starts a 5K to raise money for schools or a 72-year-old whose race time in a 5K is faster than top finishers who are more than 15-years her junior. Who inspires you?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

It Aint Called “Hotlanta” for Nothing – Tips to Avoid Heat Stroke

The summer heat has arrived here in Atlanta. The hot weather brings special precautions for runners. Heat stroke is a serious and deadly condition. It occurs when a person’s cooling system no longer functions properly and can lead to brain and organ damage.

Runners need to keep in mind that hot weather effects your pace and performance. Don’t strive to run the same PR at 80 degrees that you achieve at 60 degrees. This month’s issue of Runner’s World features stories and advice to stay safe in the heat. I recommend reading Truman Clark’s personal account of her near-death experience ... very sobering and informative. Here are some tips I found in the magazine:

· Run during the coolest time of the day
· Drink water or a sports drink 2 hours before your run
· When it’s hot, take your run indoors and hit the treadmill
· Keep your route to a shorter distance than you run in cooler weather
· Slow down your pace
· Stop running if you feel uneasy or disoriented
· Cool down your body temperature by drinking water and pouring some over your head
· Take a cell phone to call for help if you feel sick

This week’s running route is comes from Run.com. It’s a 5-mile run through Inman Park, Little Five Points and Candler Park. Click here to access the route map.

Monday, July 27, 2009

New Half-Marathon Series in Atlanta

If you ran the ING Georgia Marathon/Half-Marathon, you probably received an e-mail promoting a new road race coming to Atlanta. The 13.1 Marathon hits Atlanta on October 4. It promises to be lively, with southern rock bands along the race course. If you’ve never run a half-marathon, you may want to check out this event. It’s geared towards novice runners and walkers. The course is a bit odd – running from Oglethorpe University to Perimeter Mall and back, with a good portion of the route along Ashford-Dunwoody Road. It’s not as picturesque as the ING Georgia course, but it’s convenient if you live in Buckhead or Brookhaven. The cost is $55 if you register by August 20. Afterwards, the cost goes up to $70.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Runners: Take Care of Your Feet!

When runners talk about injuries, it’s typically issues with knees or hamstrings. But feet can be especially vulnerable to problems if you don’t take care of them. While I’ve been able to run with knee issues, a foot or toe problem leaves me on the sidelines.

Who Knew Flip Flops Could Be Bad?
Believe it or not, wearing flip flops for long periods of time can affect the health of your feet. Why? According to a story in the New York Times, people alter their way of walking which can lead to pain in the feet, hips and lower back. Flip flops don’t provide arch support, heel cushioning or shock absorption and the shoes leave toes vulnerable.

Walking barefoot is also not a good option. Aside from leaving your feet exposed to sharp objects (like broken glass and pebbles), it can contribute to collapsed arches and flat feet.

This doesn’t mean that you need to stop wearing your favorite pair of flip flops. Just limit use to short periods of time. The Foot Solutions Atlanta blog offers helpful tips for foot care and injury prevention.

Pamper Your Feet with Professional Pedicures
I love this piece of advice I found at Traxee.com. It’s important to keep toe nails short and properly trimmed. Pedicures also take care of calluses and moisturize feet and toes. While it may be tempting to save a few bucks by doing a pedicure at home, most people don’t do a good job of cutting toe nails properly. My own attempts to trim toe nails have occasionally led to hang nails –- very uncomfortable.

Give Your Running Shoes Time to Dry
Our feet sweat during runs, which can lead to moisture building up in your shoes. Do you run two or more days in a row? If so, consider purchasing an extra pair of shoes to alternate shoes between runs. This lets your shoes have an extra day to dry out.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Claims of Cheating at the Peachtree Road Race

The AJC published two separate stories this week concerning allocations of cheating at this year’s Peachtree Road Race. In Mark Bradley’s column, he complained about seeing 2 women with high seed numbers who passed the 2-mile mark before the elite runners – a clear sign they started the race past the official starting line. Bradley’s point – why participate if you’re not going to run fairly. The column attracted nearly 200 comments on ajc.com; an indication that Bradley hit on a sore point with a lot of runners. Some of the comments expressed amazement at the number of “runners” they saw waiting at the side of the road to jump onto the course.

Yesterday’s front page featured a story about the disqualification of elite runner Tadese Tola over claims he deliberately elbowed another runner to finish fourth in the race. While I haven’t seen the video of his alleged misconduct, the photo in the AJC does show him tangled with runner Boaz Chebolywo near the finish line.

With 55,000 runners, it’s not surprising to me that issues of unsportsmanlike conduct would occur. However, I agree with Bradley and the comments at his column – why run a race if you don’t run the entire race? In the end, you’re just cheating yourself from achieving a true sense of accomplishment.

This week’s route is the course from the Peachtree Road Race. Click here for map.

· Start at the intersection of Peachtree and Lenox
· Follow Peachtree for approximately 5 ½ miles
· Turn left on 10th Street
· Finish at Piedmont Park

Friday, July 3, 2009

Peachtree Road Race: 55,000 Runners hit the Streets of Buckhead & Midtown

That grand old southern event, the Peachtree Road Race, celebrates 40 years of great running. For many local runners, it’s a traditional start to 4th of July festivities. The race starts at Atlanta’s most popular shopping district – at the corner of Lenox and Peachtree Roads.

Elite runners start at 7:30 a.m. while the last group of runners hit the road just before 9:00 a.m. Given our recent burst of summer humidity, it’s gonna feel hot out that at the starting line. But no need to worry since there will be plenty of water stations and bands along the route to keep runners moving.

Not into running the race? Join the thousands of spectators along the course to cheer on the runners. The Atlanta Track Club’s race site lists locations for viewing the event.

Thanks to the end of our multi-year drought, the finish line is back at Piedmont Park. Local runners that I’ve talked to are thrilled to return to the race’s long-established route.

Good luck runners!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Run, Walk, Bark … Help Innovative Program Support Georgia Kids

The Bridge hosts its inaugural Run Walk Bark 5K Race/1K Walk on Sunday, June 28. The event takes place at Brook Run Park in Dunwoody.

For troubled and abused kids in our community, The Bridge provides residential, therapeutic and educational services. Proceeds from the event benefit The Bridge’s Animal Assisted Therapy Program. This is a pretty cool program … dogs are part of a therapy treatment for abused youth. Kids learn coping skills and establish a sense of security and comfort with themselves and with others.

The event includes a 5K race (people only; no dogs) at 7:30 a.m. and a 1K dog walk that starts at 8:30 a.m. Registration is available at Active.com. If you’re not able to participate but want to help, you can make a donation at the event site. Register by June 22 and pay $20. The event fee goes up to $25 after June 23.

This week’s running route is courtesy of the Oakhurst Running Club. It runs along the East Lake Golf Course.

· Start at One Step at a Time
· Head west down East Lake Dr.
· Turn left on Wisteria Way
· Turn right on Rockyford Rd
· Turn left on College Ave
· Turn left on Howard St.
· Turn left on Hosea L. Williams Dr.
· Veer right onto Oakview Rd
· Veer right onto Cottage Grove Rd.
· Turn right on 3rd Ave.
· Turn left on Alston Dr.
· Turn left on Spence Ave.
· Turn right on E. Pharr Rd.
· Turn left on Garland Ave.
· Turn right on S. McDonough St.
· Turn left on W. Hill St.
· End at One Step at a Time

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Review of the Garmin Forerunner 405

Last month, I praised REI for its hassle-free return policy that allowed me to exchange my two-year-old deteriorating 305 for the nifty and sleek 405. Well, my excitement about owning the 405 quickly diminished once I started getting to know the device. Here’s my story:

Set-up: Initially, setting up the device seemed fairly easy. But I had a few problems correcting my profile and setting up the training screen. So, I went back to REI for help. After the REI associate spent 30 minutes with the device, he couldn’t figure out how to fix the problems either. Not a good sign. Eventually, I had to erase the data and start over again.

Pace Accuracy: I was really excited on my first run with the 405, but that feeling didn’t last long. Why? The pace reading wasn’t accurate. I ran with the 305 for two years and I had a good sense of my running pace on my routes. On downward hills where I knew I was running a 7:50 to 8:00 minute-mile pace, the display showed a 12:30 pace. During random stretches of my runs, the display reported a slower pace than what I knew I was actually running. I rely on the pace reading in road races to judge my performance, so this issue has been a real concern for me.

Ease of Use: The bevel responds inconsistently. Just trying to get to the training screen for the start of my run has been a challenge. Sometimes it’s easy to find, other times I can’t get it to display. During the Summerfest 5K, the training screen disappeared a few minutes into the race … which meant I could no longer track my running pace.

Also, the wrist band seems oddly over designed. A small metal piece in the rubber loop on the band makes it a bit hard to secure the wrist band in place.

I was hesitant to write this review, not knowing if perhaps my experiences where due to a defective device. But after doing a bit of research, I’ve found other users complain about similar problems with the user interface and device accuracy. To be fair, there are also plenty of reviews from people who simply love the Garmin Forerunner 405. But, I’m not a runner with a lot of patience … especially for a device. I’ve felt so frustrated with my experience that I didn’t even bother to download the software from Garmin to sync the device with the computer. What’s the point if I don’t trust the information it shows me during my runs?

As a busy mom with a full-time job, I want something simple and easy to use. While the Forerunner 305 is a bit clunky, I loved the fact that it was easy to use and the information was accurate. I could push a button instead of scroll through seemingly endless screens of information.

Given the number of positive reviews I found for the Forerunner 405, it is worth checking out if you don’t mind spending the time needed to learn the device. But if you’re looking for something simple, stick with the Forerunner 305. You can find more reviews at Amazon.com and at REI.com.

For me, it looks like I’ll be heading back to REI to exchange the Forerunner 405 for the 305.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hey Atlanta - It's National Running Day

Today was the inaugural celebration of National Running Day. The mission of this event is to promote the benefits and convenience of running and encourage Americans to adopt the sport as part of a healthy lifestyle. Several running clubs across the country, including the Atlanta Track Club, supported the event. Nearly 100 running events were hosted, starting at midnight and concluding at 9 p.m. I ran tonight with about 20 runners from the Oakhurst Running Club. While the heat and hills left me feeling out of shape, I ended the run motivated to hit the pavement again. So Atlanta, get out and run!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Hit the Hills during Virginia-Highland’s Summerfest 5K

It’s been quite a few years since I last ran Summerfest. My lingering memory of this event is the hills -- lots of them. Virginia-Highland is one of Atlanta’s great intown neighborhoods and it hosts one of the best festivals in the area. The course rambles through the area’s quiet side streets and avoids most of the retail district along Virginia and North Highland Avenues. Proceeds from Summerfest events benefit neighborhood projects, including park improvements and public libraries. After the race, you can grab a cup of coffee and wander through the artists market that runs along Virginia Avenue.

The race is scheduled for Saturday, June 6 at 8:00 a.m. It starts at the intersection of Virginia and North Highland Avenues. Early registration closed rather early (on May 19). The race fee is $25, which includes a Summerfest t-shirt. Race packets can be picked up on the day of the event. You can sign-up at Active.com, by mail, or at Phidippides’ Ansley Mall location. A map of the race course is available at the USATF site.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Race Event That Could Save Your Life

A unique 5K event offers multiple health benefits for runners. The SCAN Foundation (Skin Cancer Awareness Network) hosts its third annual race next Saturday, May 23 at Perimeter Place. Starting at 7:00 a.m., dermatologists will offer complimentary skin spot checks. At last year’s event, doctors found one melanoma, and several basal cell carcinomas and other pre-cancerous lesions.

Why is it important for runners to pay attention to skin cancer? Here are a few facts to consider:

· Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S.
· More cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year than breast, lung and prostate cancer combined
· Approximately 90% of all skin cancers result from over exposure to ultraviolet light or sunlight

Warm weather often means runners spend more time outside, which makes their skin vulnerable to over exposure. Runners can reduce their risk by using sweat-resistance sunscreens. While cancer is scary, the good news for skin cancer diagnosis is a 96% cure rate when it’s discovered early.

Registration for the race is available at SCAN’s site, at Active.com or at Big Peach Running Co. locations. You can also sign-up at the event. The race starts at 8:00 a.m. The running route is available at SCAN’s site

Sunday, May 10, 2009

REI: Membership Has its Rewards

I had the most amazing and unexpected customer service experience today at REI. Two years ago, I purchased the Garmin Forerunner 305 during REI’s May anniversary sale. I loved the device but after only a few months of use the screen started deteriorating. It worked fine but the data was hard to read, which is a problem when you’re tracking your pace during a run.

So today I headed back to REI to check out the latest edition to the Forerunner series – the 405. I brought my 305 with me because I wanted some assurance that I wouldn’t encounter another problem with a malfunctioning screen. Talking to the REI associate about my concerns, I learned that REI offers a lifetime guarantee on any product if it’s purchased under your membership number. No receipt needed. No questions asked. Needless to say, I was shocked and delighted. All I had to do was provide my member number and hand over my Forerunner 305 to get the new 405. I’ve always been a fan of REI because it offers great products and has a knowledgeable sales staff. Now, REI will always be my first choice when I’m looking for athletic gear and apparel.

Special thanks to Meredith and the friendly staff at the REI Atlanta store.

This week’s route is a 5.35 mile run through East Lake, Kirkwood and Oakhurst courtesy of the Oakhurst Running Club. The club meets on Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. in front of One Step at a Time. You’ll find a map for the route at the club’s web site.

· Start at One Step at a Time
· Head west down East Lake Dr
· Veer left on Wisteria Way NE
· Turn right onto Rockyford Rd
· Turn left on College Ave
· Turn left on Howard St
· Turn left on Hosea L Williams Dr
· The street turns into Oakview Rd
· Veer right onto Cottage Grove Ave
· Turn right on 3rd Ave and cross Memorial Dr
· Turn left on Alston Dr
· Turn left on Spence Ave
· Turn right on E. Pharr Rd
· Turn left on Garland Ave
· Turn right on S. McDonough
· Turn left on W. Hill StCross Oakview Rd and end at One Step at a Time

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mother Nature Provides Ideal Weather for Big Peach 5K

Spring rain storms are traveling through Atlanta, but skies were dry for this morning’s Big Peach 5K. Runners of all ages showed up to run the 3.1 mile course through Brookhaven. The course was a lot nicer than I had expected and the hills on E. Roxboro were a good challenge. I was hoping to run the race at an 8 minute-mile pace, but I ended up averaging an 8:20 pace. What really impressed me were the finish times for some of the oldest runners in the race, especially 72-year-old Danielle Emory whose time of 24:07 puts her at a 7:45 pace.

Post-race, food and drink offerings were quite generous. Lots of fruit, bagels, muffins, energy bars – even pizza. My favorite was the Jersey Mike’s turkey subs, which offered a perfect combo of protein and carbs.

Proceeds from the race benefited the Georgia Chapter of Leukemia & Lymphoma Society/Team In Training. Kudos to the team at Big Peach Running Co. for hosting a terrific event – I plan to participate again next year.

If you’re looking for a new running route this week, check out walkjogrun.net. The site features more than 30 routes to run in Atlanta that are posted by local runners.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Celebrate Running at May Events

Spring temperatures have finally arrived in Atlanta, which means great running weather. Be sure to check out these events during the first week of May.

Big Peach Running Co. 5K Run/Walk – May 2
Brookhaven is one of the prettiest neighborhoods in Atlanta. Runners hit the streets of this neighborhood next Saturday for Big Peach’s 5K race. The race starts near the Brookhaven MARTA Station and ends at the Big Peach location on Peachtree Road. Top overall finishers and age group winners receive Big Peach gift cards. Proceeds from the race benefit the Georgia Chapter of Leukemia & Lymphoma Society/Team In Training.

Fit & Feminine Fiesta – May 5
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with women runners at West Stride’s Fit & Feminine Fiesta. The evening includes sports bra fittings, special deals for ladies throughout the store (including a buy one sports bra, get one $10 off deal), free massages, margaritas and Mexican food. As part of the event, West Stride will raise funds for Susan G. Komen's Race for the Cure. The event runs from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Contact info@weststride.com or call 404-467-1010 for more information.

This week’s route is the 5K race rout for the Big Peach run. You’ll find a map for the route at Map My Run under my group Atlanta Running.

· Start at the corner of N. Druid Hills Rd. and Standard Dr.
· Run down N. Druid Hills and turn right on Lenox Park Blvd.
· Veer left onto Park Vista Dr.
· Turn right on E. Roxboro Rd.
· Turn right on Peachtree Rd.
· End at Big Peach Running Co.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Story Behind Running Shoe Insoles

Why do running shoe manufacturers invest so much on the design of the shoe but seemingly so little on the insole? This was the question on my mind the past few weeks as I worked through physical therapy sessions to recuperate from my knee injury. One of the initial recommendations I received was to buy supportive insoles. Which got me thinking about my question.

Ads and articles promote the innovative design aesthetics with shoes that promise support and comfort. But if you look at the insoles in a new pair of shoes, they tend to be thin and a bit flimsy. To help answer my question, I turned to a local expert – Kash, the manager at Big Peach Running in Decatur. Here’s what I learned:

· Manufacturers invest in the design of the mid-sole and the shoe’s structure because these are the areas that absorb the pounding and pressure from running

· The insoles that come with running shoes are intentionally thin because this provides a more comfortable fit when you try on the shoes

· Many shoes are targeted at the $85 to $100 price range; a more expensive insole would push the price above this range

· The mid-sole in new shoes provide plenty of support, so most runners don’t need a thicker insole until well after running 100 miles or more in their shoes

This week’s route is an easy 4-miler in Avondale Estates. You’ll find a map for the route at Map My Run under my group Atlanta Running.

Avondale Estates – 4 miles

· Start at the corner of N. Avondale Rd. and Claredon Ave., by the gazebo
· Turn left and head down Kensington Rd.
· Veer right onto Lakeshore Dr.
· At the end of Avondale Lake, turn right on Wilshire Dr.
· Cross Claredon Ave. and turn right on Sussex Rd.
· Turn left on Dartmouth Ave.
· Turn left on Fairfield Plaza
· Turn right on Essex Rd.
· Turn right at S. Avondale Rd.
· Turn right on Dartmouth Ave
· Turn left on Kingstone Rd.
· Turn right on Claredon Ave.
· Turn left on Wilshire Dr.
· Turn left on Berkley Rd.
· Turn left on Kensington Rd.
· End at start point

Sunday, March 29, 2009

ING Georgia Race Report

After four days of rain in Atlanta, runners were grateful to have dry skies for the third annual ING Georgia Marathon and Half-Marathon. The morning was cold and windy and it wasn’t much better as the day progressed. Despite the winter-like temperatures, the course was fun and the spectators were rowdy. Located near three MARTA stations, Centennial Park was a convenient spot to host the race start and finish. I was glad to run the first five miles with my friend Kelly. Since we’re both busy moms, it provided a perfect opportunity to catch up. Unfortunately for Kelly, she was suffering from a knee injury and had to exit the race at Inman Park. Although I missed by goal finish time by 2 minutes, I was still pleased with my results. I completed the race in 2:01:40 – nearly 15 minutes faster than my race time two years ago. My energy level was strong until the last mile, but by that point I quickened my pace through sheer determination to reach a respectable finish time.

I ran the half-marathon with Team Tiara to support Girls on the Run (GOTR) Atlanta. Through its running programs, GOTR fosters self-confidence and a healthy lifestyle among girls aged 8 to 13. Programs are offered at local schools, YMCAs, and Girls, Inc. sites. Thanks to the generosity of family and friends, I raised $283 for GOTR Atlanta. My commitment to support GOTR added a meaningful aspect to the race for me. It gave me an opportunity to meet other local women runners and help an organization that provides a valued program to our community.

This week’s route is the ING Georgia Marathon and Half-Marathon course. It travels through some of the best Atlanta neighborhoods – Inman Park, Sweet Auburn, Decatur, Druid Hills, Virginia-Highlands and Midtown. You’ll find a map for the route at the ING Georgia site.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Race Plan for ING Georgia

With the ING Georgia Half-Marathon just a week away, I had my last long run today before the race. During my run, I started to think through my plans for race day. Travel to the race was easy to decide – MARTA’s the only logical choice. But I needed to give some further consideration on what to eat and not eat.

While a big cup of coffee is what I’ll crave, I’m opting for other choices. Slow-digesting carbs like oatmeal seem to be the best option. I recently read that sports drinks consumed before runs help sustain energy levels longer than water or other beverages.

Here’s my plan:

· Wake-up early enough to make oatmeal with walnuts
· Wash it down with G2 sports drink
· Take prescription anti-inflammatory pill to reduce swelling on knee
· Carry 2 packets of Luna Moons to refuel my energy
· New socks and insoles to cushion my feet
· Thick layers of Aquaphor for those spots that easily chafe

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Virtues of Running in the Rain

With the ING Georgia Half-Marathon only two weeks away, I had little choice but to tough it out and run today. To be honest, I was not a big fan of running in rainy weather. Wet clothes and even wetter feet was not a pleasant thought. I became slightly more open minded to the idea when I remembered the great blog post from Beth Moore at Traxee.com about why she loves running in the rain.

Once I got outside and settled into a pace, it wasn’t so bad. In fact, it was rather refreshing. Rain provides a much needed cleansing of Atlanta’s notoriously smoggy air. The air was clear and easy to breath. I also found that I didn’t get quite as soaked as I imagined. Traffic was light and the temperature was cool yet comfortable. Only towards the end did the wetness start to bother me, but I kept thinking about the hot shower and coffee I’d enjoy soon.

Lesson learned today – don’t be so quick to judge an unfamiliar circumstance. Every situation has a few good points.

This week’s route is the 9-miler I ran today. It travels through Decatur, Candler Park, Little Five Points and Druid Hills. You’ll find a map for the route at Map My Run under my group Atlanta Running.

Decatur to Little Five Points – 9 miles

· Start at Fellini’s at Commerce St. and Sycamore Place
· Turn right at Howard Ave.
· Stay on Howard/Dekalb Ave. for approximately 2 miles. Pass the East Lake Marta Station
· Turn right on Ridgecrest Rd.
· Turn left on McClendon Ave.
· Stay on McClendon for approximately 2 miles. Pass Flying Biscuit Café and Candler Park.
· Turn right on Moreland Ave.
· Turn right on Ponce de Leon Ave.
· Take Ponce de Leon Ave. through Druid Hills
· Turn right at Clairmont Ave and head towards Downtown Decatur
· Turn left on Commerce
· Take Commerce back to Fellini’s

Sunday, March 1, 2009

March Kicks Off a Great Season of Atlanta Road Races

March marks the start of spring and the promise of warmer weather and longer days. Over 25 races give Atlanta runners an opportunity to celebrate the change of season.

Chattahoochee Road Runners 10K – Saturday, March 7
Considered one of Atlanta’s fastest 10Ks this is a great race to run if you’re looking for a qualifying time for the Peachtree Road Race.

O’Highlands Jig & Jog 5K – Saturday, March 14
This St. Patty’s themed race encourages runners to get in the spirit by dressing in Irish attire. The best costume wins $25.

Jog for a Cause – Saturday, March 14
This event features a 5K, 10K and 1-mile fun run. The 10K is a qualifier for the Peachtree Road Race. Proceeds benefit organizations that address childhood cancer.

ShamRock N’ Roll Road Race – Sunday, March 15
Located at Atlanta Station, this race offers both a 5K and a 10K that’s a qualifier for the Peachtree Road Race. Strollers and dogs are welcomed.

Tour Decatur – Saturday, March 21
Runners enjoy a 5K race through the picturesque neighborhoods of Decatur. The event also includes a 1-mile fun run and a Tot Trot. Proceeds benefit the Decatur Education Foundation.

ING Georgia Marathon/Half-Marathon – Sunday, March 29
March ends with the big one – the ING Georgia. This race offers one of the best tours of Atlanta on foot. Runners pass through Inman Park, Decatur, Virginia-Highlands, Midtown and Downtown.

Check out Run Georgia for a comprehensive list of road races across the state.

This week’s route is the course for Saturday’s Chattahoochee Road Runners 10K. You can find a map of the course at the club’s web site.

· Start on Mt. Vernon Highway, in front of the Waffle House and just east of Sandy Springs
· Head west on Mt. Vernon Highway (just past 3 miles)
· The turn around is just before Northside Drive
· Head east on Mt. Vernon Highway (approx 5.5 miles)
· Turn right onto Hammond Drive (approx .5 miles)
· Turn right onto Sandy Springs Circle (all downhill)
· End at Lake Forest Elementary

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Great Day to Run with Team Tiara

While the weather still feels like winter, sunny skies added a touch of spring to this morning's run with Team Tiara. We persevered through 11 miles of very hilly neighborhoods near West Stride running store. There are only 5 short weeks left to the ING Georgia Half-Marathon. I'm hoping to have a couple of good 13-mile runs before race day.

Since West Stride won't be hosting group runs during the next 2 weekends, I'll shift my training back to familar routes in Decatur and Druid Hills. It will also be a good time to check out Saturday runs hosted at Decatur's running stores.

Fundraising through Facebook

As part of my participation in this year’s ING Georgia Half-Marathon, I decided to join Team Tiara to raise money for Girls on the Run Atlanta (GOTR). Through its running programs, GOTR fosters self-confidence and a healthy lifestyle among young girls. Girls ages 8 to 13 are eligible to participate. Programs are offered at local schools, YMCAs, and Girls, Inc. sites. As a mother of a young girl, I can really relate to the ideals of this organization.

By joining Team Tiara, I’m committed to raising at least $262 for Girls on the Run. It’s been quite a while since I’ve had to solicit money for a race. In the past, I would have pleaded for donations from family members or co-workers through phone calls or posters displayed in my office. This time, I’m going to turn to Facebook. Since joining the social networking site last year, I’ve re-connected with college and high school friends to grow my personal network to over 100 people. If just half of my Facebook friends contribute $10 each, I’ll raise $500. The Facebook e-mail is going out today. Wish me luck.

If you like this blog, please consider helping me support Girls on the Run by donating at my fundraising page.

This week’s route is the 11-mile route I ran this morning from West Stride. You can find the route at Map My Run under my group Atlanta Running.

· Start from West Stride and run south (toward I-75) on Northside Pkwy.
· Turn right on West Paces Ferry and cross the street at the crosswalk
· Turn left on Nancy Creek Rd.
· Head straight on Nancy Creek and cross W. Wesley Rd.
· Turn right on Ridgewood Rd.
· Cross W. Wesley Rd (the road is a loop)
· Turn left on W. Wesley Rd
· Turn right on Rivermeade Ln
· Turn left on Rivermeade Dr.
· Turn left on Rivermead Way
· Turn right on Nancy Creek Rd.
· Turn left on Ridgewood Rd.
· Turn right on Nancy Creek Rd
· Turn left on Ridgewood Rd
· Turn left on Ridgewood Terr
· Turn left on Moores Mill
· Turn left on Peachtree Battle
· Turn right on Margaret Mitchell Dr.
· Turn left on Ridge Valley Rd.
· Turn left on Sequoyah Dr
· Turn right on W. Wesley Rd.
· Turn left into Westminster complex
· Turn right at first road (no street name) and follow through complex
· Turn right on W. Paces Ferry
· Turn left on Northside Pkwy.
· End at West Stride

Monday, February 16, 2009

Six Degrees of Separation

Last night, I watched the Science Discovery show “Connected Power of Six Degrees”. It talked about the science of networks and how mathematicians are discovering that we’re all linked through “hubs” which connect us – essentially six degrees from each other. The internet is a great example of this phenomenon, where sites like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter serve as hubs that link people to both content and each other on the web.

So, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with running. Well, it got me thinking about how I’ve become connected with runners across the country through my blog and Twitter account. Runners tend to be social people and enjoy sharing their passion for the sport with others. I’ve agonized with women runners at Traxee.com through our stories about dealing with injuries. I’ve laughed at the adventures that runners chronicle on their blogs. And I’ve followed the daily observations and activities of runners at Twitter. Last week, I connected with a former Atlanta resident who recently moved to Baltimore and started his own running blog Meep Meep. We used to rely on running groups and road races to meet other runners. Now, with the wide use of online sites and applications, you don’t have to slip your shoes on for an early morning meet-up to connect with people who share a passion for running.

If you’re training for the ING Georgia, here’s a great, scenic to run. You’ll find a map for the route at Map My Run under my group Atlanta Running.

Decatur to Little Five Points – 8.16 miles

· Start at Fellini’s at Commerce St. and Sycamore Place
· Turn right at Howard Ave.
· Stay on Howard/Dekalb Ave. for approximately 2 miles. Pass the East Lake Marta Station
· Turn right on Ridgecrest Rd.
· Turn left on McClendon Ave.
· Stay on McClendon for approximately 2 miles. Pass Flying Biscuit Café and Candler Park.
· Turn right on Moreland Ave.
· Turn right on Ponce de Leon Ave.
· Take Ponce de Leon Ave. through Druid Hills to Downtown Decatur
· Once in Downtown Decatur, turn right on Church St.
· Turn left on Sycamore St.
· Turn right on Sycamore Place
· Cross Commerce St. and return to Fellini’s parking lot

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Tips to Prevent Running Injuries

On Saturday, West Stride hosted Dr. Thomas Myers with Myers Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center. Having recently recovered from runner’s knee, I was anxious to get his advice on injury prevention.

Dr. Myers’ key tip for runners is that you can’t limit your physical activity to running. Core body strength is essential. It provides stability that helps prevent strain and overuse of muscles. This month’s issue of Runner’s World has a section dedicated to exercises for developing core body strength.

Along with core body strength, weight training is also important. Strong quad muscles help support the knees. Keep in mind that if you’re experiencing cartilage damage or arthritis, exercises such as leg extensions can be hard on the knees. Consider exercises that work the quad muscles while keeping the leg straight to minimize stress on the knee such as using elastic bands while lifting the leg up.

Rather than post a running route this week, I want to give another plug to WalkJogRun.net. You'll find 30 running routes in Metro Atlanta posted at the site. It's a great resource for local runners.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Train for ING Georgia at West Stride

While I don’t normally like to venture far from my neighborhood to run, I woke up early this morning to check out the 8 a.m. group runs at West Stride. The drive across Atlanta was worth it. Over 40 runners showed up for training runs for the ING Georgia Marathon and Half-Marathon. Genie Beaver, owner of West Stride, really knows how to pamper runners. Prior to hitting the road, Genie offered free energy supplements to sample, including Jelly Belly Sports Beans, Hammer and Gu. Post run, we were treated to hot coffee, fruit salad and breakfast breads. Runners were also offered a chance to chat with the Adidas rep and try out the Supernova Glide.

Next week, West Stride will host group runs for 8-mile and 16-mile routes. Both the Mizuno ING Pace Team and the Chattahoochee Road Runners will be on hand. Post run, orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine expert Dr. Thomas Myers will offer advice on running injury prevention and treatment.

If you plan to run the ING Georgia, consider joining Team Tiara. It’s a fundraising effort that supports Girls on the Run (GOTR), which fosters self-confidence and a healthy lifestyle for girls through its running programs. Team Tiara hosts its next group training run at West Stride on February 21st.

This week’s route is the 6.4-mile run from West Stride. You can find the route at Map My Run under my group Atlanta Running.

· Start from West Stride and run south (toward I-75) on Northside Pkwy.
· Turn right on West Paces Ferry and cross the street at the crosswalk
· Turn left on Nancy Creek Rd.
· Head straight on Nancy Creek and cross W. Wesley Rd.
· Turn left on Ridgewood Rd.
· Turn left on Ridgewood Terr.
· Turn left on Moores Mill
· Turn left on Peachtree Battle
· Turn right on Margaret Mitchell Dr.
· Turn left on Ridge Valley Rd.
· Turn right on Wesley Pkwy.
· Turn left on Margaret Mitchell Dr.
· Turn left on W. Wesley Rd.
· Turn right into Westminster complex
· Turn right at first road (no street name) and follow through complex
· Turn right on W. Paces Ferry
· Turn left on Northside Pkwy.
· End at West Stride

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Plan Your Next Vacation Around Running

The cold weather has settled into Atlanta and it’s got me thinking about warmer climates. Growing up in Florida, I’m not well-suited for temperatures dipping below 60 degrees.

At November’s ZOOMA Atlanta race, I visited a booth for Running Away which is a travel company that offers running-themed vacations. Each travel package includes hotel accommodations, meals and a running expert who leads the runs. Running Away offers three types of trips:

1) Active Running Vacations – these trips combine daily runs with sight seeing in popular locations, such as New York City, Florida and California’s Wine Country.

2) Training Trips – if you’re preparing for a marathon or half-marathon, this can be an ideal travel package. Trips are available for New York City, The Berkshires and Colorado.

3) Voluntourism – if you’re looking for a real adventure, this is a trip to consider. Travel to Gambia in West Africa and spend part of your stay in a local village working on community projects.

Running Away also offers custom-designed trips for groups. A team of travel and running experts will help you choose your destination, accommodations, running routes and food.

This week’s route comes from Adam at WalkJogRun.net, which is one of my favorite sources for local running routes. It’s a 10-mile run through Decatur, Emory and Virginia-Highland.

· Start at the East Lake Marta Station, on the corner of E. Lake Rd. and W. College Ave.
· Head east on W. College (turn left)
· Turn left on N. McDonough St.
· Cross Trinity and run through the Square to get to Clairmont Ave.
· Run down Clairmont and cross Commerce and Scott Blvd.
· Turn left on N. Decatur Rd.
· From N. Decatur, veer right on Haywood Dr.
· Run past Druid Hills High School and the Children’s Hospital
· Turn on right on Clifton Rd.
· Run past the CDC
· Turn left on Briarcliff Rd and veer right on Johnson Rd.
· Stay on Johnson Rd. as it turns into N. Highland Rd.
· Stay on N. Highland Rd.
· Turn left on Ponce de Leon Ave.
· Stay on Ponce de Leon
· Veer right onto E. Lake Rd.
· End at the East Lake Marta Station

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Legacy of Fred Lebow Celebrated at Local Film Festival

Among the movies featured at this year’s Atlanta Jewish Film Festival is Run for Your Life. It’s the story of Fred Lebow, the legendary founder of the New York City Marathon. The film is a celebration of running and a man who made a lasting impact on the sport.

You can see the film next Sunday, January 18 at the Lefont Theater in Sandy Springs. It starts at 11:50 a.m. Atlanta’s own legendary runner Jeff Galloway will introduce the film. You can purchase tickets and view a trailer for the movie at the film festival’s site.

This week’s route is a 3.5 mile run through Druid Hills and Fernbank. You can find the route at Map My Run under my group Atlanta Running.

· Start at the parking lot of the Fernbank Museum
· Turn right on Clifton Rd
· Turn right on E. Clifton Rd
· Turn right on Conventry Rd
· Turn right on Heaton Park Dr
· Turn left on Atwood Rd
· Turn right on Ponce de Leon Ave
· Turn right on N. Ponce de Leon Ave
· Turn right and cross Ponce de Leon Ave
· Veer right onto S. Ponce de Leon Ave
· Cross Ponce de Leon
· Turn left on Lullwater Estate
· Follow Lullwater back to Ponce de Leon
· Turn left on Ponce de Leon
· Turn left on Clifton Rd
· End at the Fernbank parking lot

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Warm Up During Winter with Atlanta Road Races

Winter in Atlanta is typically a pleasant time of year to run. It’s also a great time to support local causes through road races. At Active.com, there were nearly 20 races listed in the Atlanta area. Here are a few that support local charities:

Around Peachtree Battle 5K – January 10
Proceeds go to the Atlanta Union Mission’s women and children’s shelter.

CDLS 5K – February 7
Event benefits the Cornelia de Lange Syndrome Foundation and research facilities.

Merrick’s Walk & 5K Fun Run – February 22
The event is in memory of Galloway School Alum Merrick Ryan, who died of complications from anorexia. Proceeds benefit EDIN.

Druid Hills Fun Run 5K/1K Fundraisers – February 22
Event benefits the Lance Armstrong Foundation for cancer survivorship.

Jeanne’s Memorial Run – February 28
Proceeds support Noah's Ark Animal Rehabilitation and Child Care Homes.

Hunger Run 2009 – March 1
Event benefits the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

Shamrock N’ Roll 5K/10K Road Race – March 15
Hosted by the Junior League of Atlanta, the event supports the community partners of this women’s organization.

Rhodes Race 5/10K – March 21
This inaugural race benefits the Georgia Trust for Historical Preservation.

I found another interesting route this week at WalkJogRun.net. It’s a 4.5-mile run through Buckhead.

· Start at the corner of Pharr Rd. and N. Fulton Dr.
· Turn right on Peachtree Rd.
· Turn left on W. Paces Ferry Rd.
· Turn right on Habersham Rd.
· Turn right on Roswell Rd.
· Turn left on Buckhead Ave.
· Turn right on Maple Dr.
· Turn right on Pharr
· End at starting point