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!

awards

Face of the Race 8.0: Why We Love to Run

My oldest brother, an avid runner, sent me a blog post last week from the British publication, the Guardian, called “Why We Love to Run”.  (Read it here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/the-running-blog/2013/feb/05/why-we-love-to-run)

Just over a week away from the Race on the Base, it is a good day to ask ourselves that question. Why, indeed?

The blog post said we love to run because it’s a natural urge. We did it freely when we were kids because it was fun. As adults, we find reasons to justify running again. Also, we love to run because it is a primal instinct; it connects us to nature, and at the same time disconnects us from everything else.  And finally, running connects us to ourselves and brings peace. We love to run because we love the Zen.

Maybe you agree with a few of those insights. Maybe you don’t.  We all love to run for all the different reasons.  For me, it was definitely the joy.

This is my 6th update as the Face of the Race, and you probably notice that I still whine about running. With this much complaining, how could one say she love to run?  How is this joyous?  To answer that, we’ll have to go back many, many years.

Growing up in Bangkok, Thailand, I was a sprinter.  The tiniest and fastest girl in class up through 6th grade. 50-meter dash was my event. I could sprint up and down that stretch of my school’s field all day long and beat just about anybody.  At that time, if given the chance, I’d sprint ANYWHERE. I just loved the speed, the rush of the wind, and the pounding of my heart.

In my submission for the Face of the Race contest, I said that I started running to find self worth and a sense of accomplishment.  While that is true, I didn’t realize until now that the real reason why I run is because deep down I still love to sprint.

The blog post also said, “I remember, as a keen runner in my youth, constantly correcting people who asked me if I was running to get fit. “No,” I would say. “I’m getting fit to run.'” 

 Apparently, that’s exactly what I have been doing—subconsciously.  I was getting in shape so that I could sprint again.  A part of me loves to run because it’s the opposite of the slow march toward the pit of despair that was my soul-crushing unemployment.  But most of me loves to run because it just makes me happy.

Without knowing it, I’m trying to get back to my favorite activity of my youth to experience that complete and utter joy.  The one that makes me giggle when I cross the finish line. 

After all these months of “training”, I’m barely making 14-minute-mile pace.  And while I do love to run, I still can’t say that I love going the distance.  The first mile, I feel like Wonder Woman. The second mile, I force myself to keep going and all the while hate myself for encouraging myself to keep going. (Totally meta, I know. My brain gets really weird on the run.)  The last mile, though, I would start to feel like Wonder Woman again.

And then, a block or so from home, with every ounce of energy I have left, I would sprint until I could no longer feel my limbs or catch my breath.

And I would giggle.

life is better graphic

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

alyssa1

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!

tejas4
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/

Face of the Race 7.0: Running Home, Literally

Running Home, Literally

Great news! Your mostly-unemployed Face of the Race has gotten a part-time temp job right here in beautiful Los Alamitos.  My morning shift ends at 11:30 a.m. and the office is a little shy of 2 miles away.   The moment I was told I got the gig, the first thing I thought was, “Gosh. Getting up to run at 5 a.m. is going to suck!”

(By the way…WHAT?! Who am I? Before I started running, my first thought would’ve been, “When is the latest I can get up?” and not how EARLY I have to get up. Not just that, to get up to RUN!)

I’m decidedly a morning runner.  For one, my sinuses and lungs love the moisture in the morning. Another reason is that I don’t get side stitches if I run on an empty stomach.  A big spoonful of honey and a gulp of water and I’m out the door.  If I had anything more than an apple or a banana within 4 hours before running, I am guaranteed a painful long walk soon after Mile 1.

Having said all that, I am still not dedicated enough to wake up at 5 a.m. for a run and get ready for work.  I’m just not.

But maybe I could run TO work and get ready there.

People commute on bicycles too, so I’m sure there are folks who run to the office. And sure enough, I found a few articles about run commuters and even a blog. (Super helpful http://theruncommuter.com/).  These commuters run anywhere from 5-12 miles to work. Some run one way either to or from work, some do both.  Some run daily, and some don’t.  That’s a lot of running people are doing out there!  And here I am, planning for days for a 2-mile commute. But I digress.

The top challenge of bike and run commute is the hygiene.  Some folks run to a gym close to work to shower. Most just go with doing a bird bath.  There are several tips and tricks to get yourself presentable after a sweaty workout without a shower.  I had done my share of “dry cleaning” when I used to hike up a steep incline to work years ago.  But still, personally, I don’t like the slightly icky feeling afterward.  And the thought of having a pile of sweaty clothes stewing in my bag all day just grosses me out more.  So, running to the office will not work for me.

Besides, at the pace I’m running, I might not get into the office at noon!

That leaves me with running home which is actually perfect.  Since I don’t have to be home at a certain time, I can actually add another mile to make the run a full 3.1 mile/5K.  More importantly, if I had a light breakfast before I leave the house for work, by the time I set out for home, I should not have the side stitches.  And because I don’t run every day, I can leave my dry work clothes at the office to take home the next day.  No running with cargo for me!

So, last night, I laid everything out. I would wear a t-shirt with my work slacks, my running shoes, topped off with a warm jacket and MP3 player. To get ready for work, I packed my work top, face powder, a hairbrush, a washcloth, and body spray. I doubt I’ll get too sweaty by the time I get there, but you never know. For my run, I packed my clothes, Road ID bracelet, watch, ponytail holder, hat, sun block, and water belt with my phone, ID, a few bucks, and my house key in it.

The run home didn’t go quite as well as I’d hoped. The sun was a bit too much and my shoulders started to turn a little crispy, so I headed straight home instead of staying on my training course.  I’m still quite proud that at least I got my run in. 

The best reward of today’s run commute experiment, however, happened right before I left the office.

I was making my way out the door in full running gear.  That, of course, drew a bit of attention.

“I see somebody’s ready for a work out,” someone chirped.

“Yep. I’m running home,” I said.

“You’re going home to work out?”  She’s probably thinking, then why didn’t she go home THEN change?

“No, no. I *am* running home. Literally!  I live only 2 miles from here.”

Oh, the look on their faces when they realized what I was actually going to do was just priceless.

Rumor Has It

Word on the street (and my iphone and 8 or so office calendars) says that it is… (Insert drum roll here)… FEBRUARY! Race month is finally here. We are just 22 days away from Race Day. Hopefully that is as exciting for you as it is for our Race Crew. Each day, we can see more and more of our work come together and can’t wait to see all of our hard work pay off. But if the “three weeks” jumped out to you as your mouth dropped in realization and terror because you had no idea the race was so close… don’t worry. There’s nothing to be scared of. In fact, if you’ve kept up your training regimen so far, right now might be the perfect time for you to start tapering off in the intensity of your training and workout routines. 

The type of event you are training for and your personal fitness are naturally going to be big factors that affect where you should be at in your training schedule. At this point, your training shouldn’t be about conquering all obstacles and setting new PR’s. Instead you should be focusing on maintenance and injury prevention. You’ve made it this far… you are so close. You can do this!

Check out these articles for some interesting information about how you should consider training for the last few weeks before an event:
http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/exercises/race-day-is-approaching-how-should-you-be-preparing.html

http://healthland.time.com/2012/10/05/final-countdown-5-training-tips-for-the-final-weeks-before-a-big-race/

Tapering off Training–5K, 10K, and more:
http://www.therunningadvisor.com/tapering.html

Tapering for a Triathlon (adapt as relevant for a Reverse Triathlon):
http://www.ehow.com/how_4479849_taper-before-triathlon.html
http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/expert-insight-article/3/797/how-can-i-train-for-a-sprint-triathlon/ 

Beginning Runner and their first 5K:
http://www.active.com/running/Articles/What-to-Do-Before-Your-5K

Happy February everyone… keep up the great work. All of your hard work is about to pay off! Be sure to check back here leading up to the race for updates and details about event parking, packet pickup, and more!