Friday the 13th Fitness Facts

Through my research and preparation for this blog, I have come to find that there are themes and “holidays” assigned to just about every day of the year. September 13th has been dubbed “Positive Thinking Day.” Ironically, this September 13th also happens to fall on Friday the 13th. This is the infamous day that is supposed to be wrought with luck so bad you can make 12+ subpar scary movies about it.

In honor of the 13th, and just in case you happen to be superstitious, I am going to give you 13 positive thoughts and/or fun facts about running: (disclaimer: I tried to use as many unique sources as possible—though many of these facts appeared on multiple sites. The facts are only as good as the source and are subject to change. Feel free to let me know of any necessary updates or corrections!)

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  1. The oldest person to complete a marathon was born in 1911, making him 100 years old at the time. His name was Fauja Singh of India. This marathoner didn’t even start racing until he was 89 years of age. I’m going to throw out a horrible Justin Bieber reference and tell you to never say never. When you’ve hit a plateau or are struggling to stay motivated, put your mind at ease knowing that it IS possible and it’s never too late to start!http://anytimehealth.com/blog/394816-10-interesting-facts-you-probably-didn-t-know-about-runningrunfact2
  2. Athletes dressed in red are more likely to win events than athletes wearing any other color. http://www.agoga.com.au/running-facts/runfact3
  3. It takes 200 muscles to take a step.  Pretty mind-blowing when you think about it. Makes me in awe of the physical feats that our bodies can achieve. http://halfcrazymama.com/2013/02/07/fun-facts-about-running/runfact4
  4. An average man has enough energy in his fat stores to run non-stop for 3 days at 15 miles per hour. http://www.christyruns.com/2011/07/fun-facts-about-running.htmlrunfact5
  5. Human feet can produce a pint of sweat per day. I don’t really want to test this theory…http://fitnessemu.com/40-random-facts-you-did-not-know-about-running/runfact6
  6. “Runner’s High” is a real phenomenon. From the Oxford Journal: “Ten athletes were scanned at 2 separate occasions in random order, at rest and after 2 h of endurance running (21.5 ± 4.7 km). Binding kinetics of [18F]FDPN were quantified by basis pursuit denoising (DEPICT software). Statistical parametric mapping (SPM2) was used for voxelwise analyses to determine relative changes in ligand binding after running and correlations of opioid binding with euphoria ratings. Reductions in opioid receptor availability were identified preferentially in prefrontal and limbic/paralimbic brain structures. The level of euphoria was significantly increased after running and was inversely correlated with opioid binding in prefrontal/orbitofrontal cortices, the anterior cingulate cortex, bilateral insula, parainsular cortex, and temporoparietal regions. These findings support the “opioid theory” of the runner’s high and suggest region-specific effects in frontolimbic brain areas that are involved in the processing of affective states and mood.”runfact7
  7. *Warning: this is a more disturbing/interesting fact that is well-suited for the spooky theme of today* When we run, our hearts create enough pressure to squirt blood 30 feet. Disturbing visuals ensue about how this might have been tested… Now that’s a scary movie in the making. http://blog.runningwarehouse.com/running-sport/trivia-time-25-fun-running-facts/runfact8
  8. Until 2011, German runner Horst Preisler held the world record for having run the most marathons, having run over 1,760 marathons. His club teammate Christian Hotta is the new leader with more than 1,820 marathons run. This is a sign of healthy, competitive rivalry at its best! CHALLENGE accepted! http://running.competitor.com/2013/07/news/did-you-know-running-facts-and-trivia_77648runfact9
  9. If you weighed 150 lbs., a 20-minute walk would burn about 85 calories, while a 20-minute run would burn about 225 calories. http://tribesports.com/infographics/running-the-facts-and-the-figuresrunfact10
  10. Just thinking about exercising causes your heart rate to increase in anticipation of an increased need for energy. Does this mean I can think my way to being healthier and faster? Hmm…runfact11
  11. Achieving a personal goal is the Number 1 reason why people enter into a race. What’s your reason? http://www.runningnetwork.com/RNW/index.php/mobile-news/41-news/5936-celebrate-national-running-day–infographic-from-brooks-runningrunfact12
  12. Every two hours we spend sitting reduces blood flow, raises blood sugar, and drops good cholesterol levels by 20%. Now that’s scary. http://dashburst.com/infographic/health-problems-from-sitting/runfact13
  13. Runners age more slowly. http://rebloggy.com/post/fitblr-running-fitness-runblr-running-facts/36354520043. If that isn’t motivation, I don’t know what it is.

YOUNG ATHLETES: WHEN TO START

TOT TRIATHLETES: KIDS AND RUNNING/TRIATHLONS

Kid’s running and triathlon events have been sprouting up more and more over the past few years. With this growing trend comes an inevitable list of pros and cons. As an eternal pessimist, I’ll start with the cons (and save the best for last, of course). If not approached correctly, entering kids into competitions before they are ready (or willing) can have a backlash that includes injury due to inexperience, the child getting burnt out on that sport early in life, or it feeling more like a chore and obligation (And we all know how most kids feel about chores… And most adults for that matter). When something feels forced it can be easier to lose a passion and drive for it. It is all too easy to assume that since something is your passion, it should be your child’s too!

To help avoid some of the potential negative outcomes, make sure to give the kids the option to participate. Hype it up all you want, but when it comes down to it let them have the final say. It is important to encourage positive habits and techniques to avoid injury. It is great (my personal motto is you should try everything twice to give it a second chance- nothing should have to be perfect on the first try. We are human after all.), especially with growing trends of health in youth, to find ways for your child to stay as active as possible.

On the bright side, when approached with an air of caution and good nature, junior triathlons can be the perfect setting to foster a love for physical activity and competition at an early age. If it is not over-emphasized it can also be a perfect opportunity for some light-hearted fun. Many kids naturally love all three elements of triathlons and this solo-sport can be the perfect place for them to grow and shine. The extent you can push your child will really only be clear to you- each training situation is going to be unique and need different sets of guidelines and expectations. Just take the time to gauge your child, their needs, and their abilities.

Speaking of kids… we have a lot to offer this year to keep them busy while you compete (or before/after they do)! In addition to our Mission: 1K Kid’s Run and our Jr. Triathlon, we are excited to introduce Southland’s Kid Zone in the vendor expo. Here, kids will have access to a face painter, balloon artist, various carnival games, AND a radar game that measures the speed of their pitch! They will also have the chance to make a custom race sign to cheer on their favorite racer!

Whether as a spectator or an athlete, this event truly has something for everyone and is sure to be fun for the whole family. Don’t miss out! If you haven’t signed up already, visit our website www.raceonthebase.com to register! If you have… now you know that you have that much more fun to look forward to!

EYE OF THE TIGER

The time has come (read this with the Rocky theme song NOT the Jaws soundtrack in your mind)… we have finally made it to the week of the race! It is almost time to celebrate with friends and family as you gracefully sprint (or walk or pant or crawl) across that final timing mat. Until that beautiful moment, remember to take care of yourself, stay healthy, don’t overdo it, and most importantly… have fun! We are so impressed by the amount of effort all of our athletes put into preparing for our race and are excited for you to embrace that feeling of accomplishment as you champion your goal and cross that finish line. Whatever reason is behind participating in our run—you are training, you are looking to lose weight, you’re aiming to complete your first 5K, 10K, or triathlon… heck, maybe you are one of those amazing creatures that just enjoys running and competing—we are so happy you have chosen our race to be a part of whatever journey you are on!

For those of you who have been following our blog since it first began, you’ll know that we selected Oakley as our Face of the Race. The original idea had been to touch base with Oakley throughout her training to gain perspective on someone’s individual journey to train for our race. Luckily for us, and probably for you too (no one needs to read all of MY ramblings on a weekly basis), Oakley happens to enjoying writing and blogging. And so a beautiful bi-weekly entry was born. For the final week of the race, we wanted to try and give our amazing Face of the Race a chance to relax and focus on her training. With that in mind, we did a more straightforward interview so she wouldn’t have to pour quite as much energy into this post. Take a read as Oakley reflects upon her journey as our Face of the Race…

Race on the Base:  Has being the Face of the Race impacted your training?

Oakley: Yes, in a way. Now the pressure is really on to not finish last!

ROTB: Have you stuck to your original training goals?

Oakley: I have done really well for the most part. I’ve hit a lot of stumbling blocks this last month or so. The cold and dry conditions sent me into the gym instead of running outdoor. And that spoiled my training a little bit. And as I finally got back on track again, I had some other health issues that interfere with my schedule.  I still have not been able to hit the entire 5K in one shot yet so I am certainly not on my target.

ROTB:  What was the distance you could run when you first started?

Oakley: A block, if I was lucky.

ROTB:  How have you improved over time?

Oakley: I can run a stretch of almost a mile now.

ROTB:  What is the hardest part of training for a run such as this?

Oakley: Breaking through my endurance limit.  I haven’t been able to push past the 15-minute mark yet. I have to switch to walking at that one mile mark. 

ROTB:  What is the easiest part?

Oakley: Just getting out the door. That’s the easiest part of all because I really do want to run.

ROTB: What is your training plan as we head into the last week before the race?

Oakley: First, I would like to get healthy again, and I’m working on that.  I would like to be able to get one more 5K in before trying to run 20-25 minutes in one stretch.

ROTB: Do you have a race day routine in mind for your first race?

Oakley: Other than figuring out how to get my wig and wings on? Not really.  I’m really excited that my friend and half-marathoner Amy is coming down from LA to do the 10K to support me at my first race! Amy was the one who inspired me to get running in the first place.  I have a few more friends who are running. A couple of them are running with their 2-month old baby! 

ROTB:  Do you have any running habits or superstitions?

Oakley: Unless the fate of USC football depends upon it, I do not have any superstitions. Kidding. My running habit is that I like to run on a mostly empty stomach, so I prefer running in the morning.  I would roll out of bed, take a big tablespoon full of raw honey, drink half a glass of water, warm-up and stretches, and then out the door. 

ROTB: Do you have any post-race plans?

Oakley: I hope to stick around and cheer on my friend Ana Cholo who is doing her first triathlon! (Fight on, girlfriend!)

ROTB: Do you think that you will continue to run after you have achieved your goal?

Oakley: Absolutely. I may not get past 5K (seriously, I really don’t have the attention span for it), but I will definitely keep running.

ROTB: Will your performance at Race on the Base impact your future running plans?

Oakley: I hope that it will motivate me to run more race. As of right now, I’ve already signed up for the Long Beach Marathon 5K!

ROTB: What is your main goal for race day?

Oakley: Don’t finish last. That’s it. That’s all!

 

Don’t forget to sign up for our race so you can join Oakley and our other amazing participants as they compete this Saturday! Register at www.raceonthebase.com. Your race entry includes a long sleeve black shirt, a medal, a cinch bag (not pictured, but it is a backpack with our logo), AND a free lunch from Johnny Reb’s BBQ. If you’re not in the mood to run, sign up for the great shirt! If you couldn’t care less about the shirt, run to get the cool dog tag medal or the convenient little bag! Still not convinced? Everyone has to eat! That settles it folks… there’s no good reason to NOT come! So we’ll see you there!

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Running for a Cause

When I was little I had a cliché dream of being a veterinarian or finding a way to somehow transform tree-climbing into a professional career. These dreams were dashed both by my lack of scientific prowess and intense fear of ridicule, respectively. At just thirteen years of age, eighth grader Alyssa, puts my simplistic aspirations to shame.

Alyssa is set to compete in our 5K this year. That alone is exciting for us, as we love for young kids to get out and stay active. However, there’s a little more to be excited about than the simple fact that she is running our race. Alyssa has set out on an ambitious journey: run a race in each of the 50 states.

Not only is her feat extraordinary on its own as a physical accomplishment, but it is an extraordinary display of determination and good will. Each race she competes in, Alyssa raises money for a different charity. It hasn’t been just about a personal goal, but about helping others achieve their goals by supporting worthy causes.

Alyssa’s ultimate goal is to complete all of her races before her 16th birthday. She currently averages one race per month and may even extend to two in order to finish on time. During her free time (I clearly use the term free time very loosely) she attempts to blend in with the rest of the kids her age by participating in various sports, hitting the beach, and playing music (piano and percussion, to be exact). Keep reading below to find out more about this amazing young girl and her equally amazing cause:

Race on the Base: What gave you the idea to run for charity in all 50 states?

Alyssa: I ran the race in Washington DC because my friend Athena’s Mom, and my Mom’s friend Carol were battling breast cancer and I wanted to do something to show support for them. So my mom said you can always run the 5k in Washington, and we did.  I didn’t run another race until I was going into the 7th grade and in my hometown there is the Progeria foundation.  My brother had run for them the year before, so I decided to make Team 777 which was 7 kids in the 7th grade to raise 700.00 for Progeria.  I sent out 10 letters to my friends to get them on my team and only one joined.  So 120 letters later, we had a team.  We worked hard to reach our goal and it ended up being over 1000.00. Sam and Megan who have Progeria were amazing, but when we were fund raising, we found out that a lot of people didn’t even know of the condition. That is when I decided I could find other races to run and help out other charities.

ROTB: Why did you want to run all of these before your 16th birthday?

A: I chose 16 because you have to set goals in life and since my birthday isn’t until August, I will turn 16 right before my junior year in High School when I have to really start focusing on college.

ROTB: How do you raise money for your charities?

A: I raise money through letters, e-mails and small bake sales.  My goal was to raise at least 25.00 per month and run one race per month.

ROTB: How much have you raised for charity to date (including all races so far)?

A: I’m not sure how much I have raised so far, but 25.00 is my least amount and 2295.00 is the largest amount.  My parents pay my entrance fees to the races.

ROTB: What states have you ran in so far?

A: I have ran in Washington DC, Cape Cod, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, and Wisconsin.  I have ran 20 races total because I have ran a few in MA.

ROTB: What do you like to do on your free time?

A: In my free time I love to hang out with my friends, play soccer, lacrosse and basketball.  I love the beach in the summer and skiing in the winter.  I also play piano and percussion.

ROTB: What grade are you in?

A: I am in the 8th grade and go to Peabody Higgins Middle School.

ROTB: What is your overall goal in doing these races?

A: To help as many different charities as I can because there are so many people out there who need us.  My Nana and Papa are my biggest inspiration because they do so much for people and they are 79 and 84.

ROTB: What has been your favorite race so far and why?

A: Susan G Komen Race for the Cure in Washington DC.  There were so many people there and a lady asked me how old I was and I said 10 and she was 70 battling cancer and she thanked me.

ROTB: What has been the hardest thing about your journey?

A: The hardest thing about the journey is going to the same people over and over again to pledge me and the causes are great ones.

ROTB: Why Race on the Base for your California race?

A: My brother Nick is a junior in High School and he is taking the ASVAB on Friday and he found this race for me. (ASVAB stands for “Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery”, which serves as a career assessment).

ROTB: What made you select Honoring Our Fallen as your California charity?

A: I have chosen Honoring Our Fallen as my charity because I ran for Home front Heroes in Colorado and The Wounded Warriors in Rhode Island and the military are so grateful and nice for the little things we do for them and the Fallen have made the ultimate sacrifice for us, so we owe them.   

If you want to donate to this young girl’s amazing cause, please visit her charity page:

http://www.crowdrise.com/HonoringOurFallen/fundraiser/alyssashashaty

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Shown here, Alyssa competed in a run to raise money to battle MS (Multiple Sclerosis). 1 of the 50 charities she will have helped by the end of her journey!

Crossing the Finish Line

Working a race like this we have been fortunate enough to meet many amazing people with equally amazing stories. People enter races like these for a variety of reasons from exercise and fitness goals to bucket lists and weight loss. We are excited and honored to have a special participant in our Mission 1K Kid’s Run this year: Tejas.

Like most little boys his age, he is more excited about the fact that he is running on a military base than anything else. However, his parents have a reason to be proud. At 6.5 years old, Tejas has already undergone two reconstructive surgeries for a rare orthopedic condition called Tibial Hemimelia. By definition, Tibial Hemimelia is a partial or total absence of the tibia. For those that aren’t as familiar with anatomy like me, the tibia is the bigger, thicker bone in the lower leg (the smaller, thinner one is the fibula). The tibia supports most of your weight and is a key element of both the knee joint and ankle joint (http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00522). It supports the calf muscle and allows for movement of the foot. The condition and severity of Tibial Hemimelia varies for each person.

For Tejas, it means that he has 89% of his lower leg bone. He wears a 1.25” lift on the outside of his shoe and has gone through many casts and braces. Throughout life and in setting out to complete this race, Tejas’ parents have made sure to let him know that he can compete and earn his accomplishments like anyone else. Tejas doesn’t need anything handed to him- he will gladly take on the challenge. With a new pair of running shoes fitted with a lift, Tejas is ready to go!

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Tejas (pronounced Tay-jus) is all smiles.

A condition that happens to only 1 in a million births produced a 1 in a million child: a boy that is smart, confident, determined, and ready to conquer the world around him. Already, he tells his parents that he is eating healthy so he can be in the Air Force. From the sound of what he has overcome so far, we would be lucky to have him serve. This race day, take the time to stop by our Mission 1K Kid’s Run at 9:00am to cheer on our trooper, Tejas, and the rest of the kids as they race across the finish line!

To learn more about Tibial Hemimelia, check out these great websites:

http://www.steps-charity.org.uk/How-We-Help/fibula.html

http://footanklealliance.com/blog/find-foot-doctor-orange-county-san-diego/

Official Charities

Aside from being a great way to motivate, exercise, and have fun, the Southland Credit Union’s Race on the Base provides an excellent way to give back through our official charities. Participants, spectators, volunteers, or anyone for that matter, can donate through our Crowdrise online fundraising site. (http://www.crowdrise.com/raceonthebase2013) Read below to find out more about the great causes that our charities support.

The Cancer Support Foundation of Los Alamitos has been a long-standing official charity of our event.  This group was developed out of the Los Alamitos Medical Center in 1981 as a way to better serve the needs of local cancer patients. To date, the Cancer Support Foundation has served over 9,000 cancer patients and their families. Provided services include practical assistance (financial assistance to the patient), resource information, hospital visitors, and support groups. The Cancer Support Foundation is entirely self-supporting, raising money through fund raisers, grants and community donations. All donated funds stay right here in our community and all of the services provided are free of charge. Many people have found it very rewarding to give back in honor of a loved one or simply to support this great effort to help patients in need.

New to our race this year, Honoring Our Fallen is an official charity with the mission of assisting Family members of Fallen Heroes during the initial shock of notification. They work with appropriate government agencies and community members to provide comprehensive support. This assistance includes linking families with the resources they need to cope with life after loss. Honoring Our Fallen envisions being able to provide national, comprehensive support to the Families of all Fallen Heroes within 24 hours of notification by local, state or federal officials. They want to see these families be honored in a way that allows them to focus on grieving with little other stressors like media involvement and public interest. Honoring Our Fallen supports military Families where support is needed, and how it’s requested. They also strive to link organizations who provide other support services – counseling, financial support, housing assistance, etc. – with Families who need it. Every situation is different and every Family is different — but they are all Heroes — and deserve proper respect during the most difficult time of their lives.

The JFTB MWR (or Joint Forces Training Base Morale, Welfare & Recreation) operates out of the base that we hold our event at. An MWR exists at installations around the world with the purpose of providing support and leisure services to military personnel, families, veterans, and civilian employees for free or at discounted rates. Each branch of the military offers a variety of services depending on resources and geographical location. Such services can include fitness centers, pools, restaurants, golf courses, and special events. The concept behind this group is to provide “the same quality of life afforded the society they protect.”

Frank McIlquham’s The Rock Club – ‘Rock for Vets’ Music Therapy Program began in early 2010. Benefit concerts have proven to be an excellent vehicle to raise community awareness and funds for therapy programs. The “Rock for Vets” Music Therapy program offers hope to veterans returning from recent deployment, Vietnam veterans and beyond who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other conditions. The Therapy Program provides Veteran’s a chance to learn a musical instrument and learn to play or sing as part of a musical group.  Groups practice twice a week and as they further develop their musical skills, perform in public at a variety of locations both within the hospital and at community organizations and functions. This group provides both therapy and purpose. With the large number of Veteran’s returning from war, effective therapy programs are still in the trial stages.  The Rock Club – ‘Rock for Vets’ Music Therapy Program has had such a dramatic impact in a short period of time. The organizing committee would like to invite you to be part of the significant growth in Long Beach, California and Nationally. Your support can help ease Veterans’ transition back to civilian life after serving their country. 

Finally, LAEF (Los Alamitos Education Foundation) provides enrichment classes and extraordinary educational experiences that benefit EVERY STUDENT, at every level, in every school in the Los Alamitos Unified School District. After-School Enrichment Programs and the Summer Enrichment Institute keeps students learning throughout the year. LAEF’s support helps ensure that over 99% of Los Alamitos Unified students graduate from high school. Their programs also contribute to almost 70% of students meet all CSU/UC entrance requirements, with the percentage continuing to climb each year.

If one of these great charities doesn’t suit you, that’s ok… you are always free to (and encouraged to!) support the charity of your choice. Make a team in honor of the charity of your choice and start raising funds and awareness TODAY!

Hungry Holidays

First and foremost, if you are reading this, let me congratulate you on surviving the end of the world! We did it!

Oh, the Holidays. They are a joyous time of year. It is filled with laughter, presents, beautifully corny songs and wonderful family traditions. And then, there is always that one kind of awkwardly distant relative that you can’t help but watch to wait and see what weird thing they will do or say this year. Everyone is busy during the holidays, whether it is braving the masses at the mall to shop, taking in the seasonal sights and sounds or attending one too many ugly sweater parties. Aside from the magic of the season that brings people together (or maybe even a part of it), there is a very distinct trend that slips its way into the holidays each year.

The sights and sounds of the holidays bring back so many warm memories, but nothing, at least for me, stands so vividly in your memory than the familiar smell and taste of holiday foods. It’s the hot cocoa wafting toward your nose, the white chocolate peppermint bark dancing along your tongue, the cakes, the pies, the cookies, and the chocolate, oh the chocolate… Any semblance of a diet or normal, healthy eating habits goes right out that frosted window. Baked goods and treats are one of the easiest gifts to give and so there they are by the stocking full, sneaking into your already too-full tummy. But it’s ok… that’s what the holidays are for. They are a time to be thankful for what you have: friends and family… and delicious treats.

There are far too many holiday parties and gatherings to go to… who has the time to work out? It’s ok, there is no judging here. So you go right ahead. Take the time to fully enjoy your family time and your treats. Just remember that the “oh I’ll get to it soon” (“it” being “working out”) time is right around the corner. You can’t push it off too much longer. The 1st of the year is always the busiest day at the gym… I should know, I’m always there. As one of the first racing events of the season, our race falls at a perfect time for you to use it as a goal to shed that holiday weight and get yourself back into shape. So set your goal and start working towards it. Hit the gym or hit the pavement, whatever works for you, and I’ll see you there in 2013! HAPPY HOLIDAYS everyone!

Race for FREE- Sign up for Southland Credit Union

If you’re like me… you like anything and everything that much more if it is free. Free food literally tastes better. Free movies seem more enjoyable. Free advice is better than therapy. Now, maybe I’m biased, but what would make you like an already great event (like Race on the Base for example) that much more? What if you could participate for FREE?

(Insert drum roll here) Well… you can! What is the catch? All you have to do is create an account with our title sponsor, Southland Credit Union. Sound like a trap? It’s not! It’s true… you have to submit a $25 deposit to open an account. But you can withdraw it. You can keep it. You can invest it. You can make it rain. You can do whatever you want because it is still YOUR money!

If you’re not sold already, I’m going to pitch this idea a little more to you (even though it really shouldn’t require much convincing). Southland Credit Union is an Orange County based credit union with a long standing history in the area. They regularly give back to their local communities through donations, sponsorships, and more. Another great thing about credit unions in general is that they tend to co-op. This means that you don’t necessarily have to do all your banking specifically at a Southland Credit Union branch… you can go to one of their many partners for banking or ATM usage which includes Schools First FCU, 7-Eleven, Arrowhead CU, Altura CU, Visterra CU, and many more! This eases your banking experience and makes everything that much more accessible.

This is a fantastic opportunity… what are you waiting for? Stop reading… go register!

To register, visit www.southlandca.org and click on the Race on the Base link in the scrolling picture menu along the bottom of the page. You can also stop in at their Los Alamitos branch at 10701 Los Alamitos Blvd to fill out and submit a form in person.

Superstitions

Though it seems long ago, we recently wrapped up the Halloween season (which apparently means it is instantly Christmas time according to Target) that is infamously filled with urban legends and spooky superstitions. The way my brain works… I started by thinking of superstitions…and then because I’m a mild workaholic, work snuck into my innocent work-free thought process… work lead me to Race on the Base… and that lead me to remembering how I’m responsible for this blog and superstitions could be an interesting topic to discuss. And now here we are.

I used to play sports in high school (yes, by referencing this at all I am still clinging to my glory days). I am a mildly superstitious person by nature, but this is especially true when it comes to sports and my game day routine. I remember that I had certain things I had to do to warm up, specific foods I would eat, and most importantly… my game day outfits and accessories. At some point, I was apparently struck by the idea that a head band, long socks, and two wrist bands (both on the right arm, naturally) would transform me into an instant lady version of Michael Jordan on the court. I soon realized I looked completely foolish (and still shake my head as I look at pictures), but it was too late. I played great one day early on while I happened to be wearing that combination… and I never looked back. I wore that same combination every single game day from then on (don’t worry… I normally washed them first). My routine had been set, my superstitions ingrained. I couldn’t just drop this tradition since I had been playing well. It wasn’t up to ME after all, was it? Consequences from breaking superstitions are clearly out of my control. If I lost, it wasn’t because I played horribly… it was because I somehow messed up my game day routine.

Well that’s enough about me… let’s turn the tables to you. What, if any, race day routines or superstitions do you have? If you have an off day can you immediately pin point what went wrong in your routine? Tell us all about your quirks that keep you going. We won’t judge here (after all I told you about my ridiculous outfit, so I’m not sure I have room to say much)… so feel free to share your race day secrets.

Veteran’s Day

Intro: This entry is shared by one of our Race Team members. This team member has special personal ties to the military and wanted to share an individual perspective in honor of Veteran’s Day.

 

With our military ties and theme, we are obviously regularly mistaken for military personnel ourselves. Sometimes I feel almost guilty that people make this mistake and thank us for our service. At the same time, I am proud that we are able to be tied to them in any way, even if only by affiliation of our event theme and hosted location. I am proud, not to earn undue respect and gratitude, but to be given the opportunity to help support a military installation through positive media and donations.

Yesterday was Veteran’s Day. With that in mind, I hope you don’t mind me getting a little more personal than usual. I am going to speak from a personal perspective, so please know that I am in no way trying to speak on behalf of military people everywhere and I have no goal or agenda in sharing this other than discussing an element of the human experience and my pride in my ties to it.

My father is a veteran, as is my older brother—the Air Force and the Marines, respectively. Childhood in a military family is a unique experience. Stability can be inconsistent with one or more of the family figureheads gone for extended periods of time with minimal contact. It is a simultaneous source of pride and pain.

I think family dinners, holidays, birthdays… are all things that people can take for granted. For most of my birthdays my dad was on a ship or stationed somewhere far away out of contact. It was before the drastic technology boom made contact with families and loved ones at least somewhat more accessible. I think when you’re younger it can be harder to appreciate the sacrifice that is being made by family members. Sometimes I was consumed by the only evident fact= they weren’t there. Something that made acceptance harder was that when my family members returned home… they weren’t the same person they were when they left. This wasn’t necessarily good or bad… it was just different. In my experience, there is something about the military life that seems to change people. It seems like the things that they have seen and the things that they have done are ingrained in them forever. So much of my experience with my ties to the military has not been easy. It has had a dramatic impact on my life and on my family dynamics as a whole. But throughout it all, I know that I am fortunate in that my family has always returned to me, even if they aren’t who they used to be.

When growing up in a military family, my expectations were altered. They had to be. I didn’t expect people to be there for every occasion, but I tried to appreciate when they were. I was guilty of taking this for granted too at times, but ultimately I had to be strong for the sake of those around me. I always felt like staying strong at home was the least I could do when my dad and brother were busy risking their lives for our country and our freedom. Their sacrifices made it possible for me to have food, to go to school, to feel safe. Though it was hard at the time, I am forever grateful for that.

I am not sharing my personal family history for appreciation, pity or any undue sympathy. But military life is an undeniable part of my worldly experience, and I know that is true for numerous people out there. It helps define people and impacts people’s lives in ways they may not even realize. I divulge because I am someone who tends to find comfort in shared experiences with others. Today, yesterday, or any other day, whether or not you have ties to the military, I hope we can all take the time to acknowledge the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. This year, my dad retired as a disabled veteran: Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. Though words will never really feel like a worthy trade, I want to say THANK YOU to my dad, to my brother, and to all the men and women who sacrifice family time, birthdays, holidays and more irreplaceable time and memories in order to protect our country.

Here are a few recommendations on how you can support and/or learn more about veterans and the sacrifices they make:

There are Veteran’s organizations that exist to both support those who have served as well as to educate the surrounding community at large. They can also provide the opportunity to get involved and actively support their mission. Two well known nationwide organizations that have local branches are the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Legion. If you’re not sure how to express your gratitude… you can contribute to an organization such as these, personally thank a veteran for their service, or simply send positive regards their way. The sacrifices they make are ones we’ll never truly understand without personal experience. With the freedom we are provided by our brave military, we can honor them and we can thank them.

The base which we operate out of is the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos. Since I know I won’t be able to do it justice, I encourage you to visit this link: http://www.militarymuseum.org/LosAl.html for more information about the origins and history of JFTB. I also recommend visiting http://www1.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp for some background information on how the celebration of Veteran’s Day came about. “In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day (*became Veteran’s Day in 1938) will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”   

And just in case you’re sappy like me, here’s a link to a video about a marine surprising his brother: http://youtu.be/YiFh9DJJpPM

Check out www.welcomehomeblog.com if you enjoy seeing those little surprise homecoming visits as much as I do!