Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Running as a Team Sport

One of the things that I have always loved about running is the fact that it is not a team sport. When you want to run, you can - anytime, anywhere. You don’t have to rely on someone other than yourself to get out and run. You just lace up your shoes and you are good to go.

This weekend, I learned that running can be a team sport when I ran a running relay race that covered 190 miles in North Georgia. There were twelve members of my team, and there were nearly 50 teams that were all a part of this “team” event. It was a new and very unique running experience.

When we started, we did not know quite what to expect. We planned for what we thought we needed for the two day race. Running in the dark, running as a team, and running over 190 miles in two days. Even with all the planning, there were things that we could not have planned for. There were hills that we had not anticipated, a few more miles than we had planned on and there were unexpected local animals that came out to see who on earth was running through their neighborhood.

In spite of the fact that our planning did not cover everything we encountered, what I learned that running as a team sport is where fellow teammates encouraged and supported each other to get you through all of the unexpected “surprises” on the course. We laughed, we complained, we whined a bit and some even threw up, but in the end, we all had such a great time. This encouragement showed me a different side of runners that were all bound together to conquer 190 miles in two days.

Support came not only from teammates, but other teams who shared the experience. Along the course, when someone got lost, there were runners who directed them back to the course. When someone was struggling up a hill, there were those who ran or walked along side rather than breeze by them to finish first. And, when someone needed water, gu, food, or even a laugh, the support teams were there – whether they were your support team or not. There were also volunteers stationed in the middle of nowhere that offered words of encouragement, candy, water and directions. I appreciated every one of them.

This weekend provided another new and different opportunity to share my love of running with over 500 fellow runners all running as a team.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

When I am Your Age

I know time is passing by much too quickly these days. I am reminded of this anytime I run into someone I have not seen in awhile and see the passing of years in the way they look. Whether it is someone that I knew when they were an infant that now towers over me, or someone that I went to college with that I barely recognize because time has not been kind to them, I see the effects of time all too well. I remember when time seemed to pass so slowly. It does not see that long ago, as a child waiting for the summer break from school or as a young manager waiting to have enough years of experience to get the job that I wanted, time used to crawl. Now looking back, the reality is that it has just flown by, and now I find myself in the “when I am your age” group.

I learned this for the first time as I was recently competing in a triathlon. The only thing I do not like about triathlons is that fact that your age is plastered on your leg for all to see. So, when you breeze by the “30 something” racer up a hill, you feel great, but likewise, when the “70 something” racer speeds by you out of transition, you begin to wonder where you went wrong.

In a race recently I had a younger triathlete pass me on the bike portion of the race who said “I hope when I get to be your age I am as strong as you” while pumping up a hill, she went on to say “I am just a beginner at triathlons…” Somehow I think there was a compliment somewhere in that comment, but I did not hear anything after “when I get to be your age”. As I glanced at the young biker’s age on her leg, she was 39. Ugh. I thought to myself, I was just 39, then looked down at my leg and was reminded that 39 for me was over 10 year ago. How does that happen?

In every race that I compete in, there are always – still – several people competing that are older than me. So, I too can say that I hope when I am their age…
But maybe not for long, as time continue to pass by, much too quickly. I am just glad that I am still out there, hopefully an example for some young beginner runner or triathlete as I get to be the ages of the competitors that I now look at and think “I hope I can look as good as they do when I get to be their age”. I remind myself that we will all get there someday…if we are lucky. And, I would much rather be in the race than not.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A New Year, More Points

The 21st year of the Run and See Georgia Grand Prix came to a close with the year end awards celebration on New Years Day at the ‘New Years at Noon’ race in Athens. The 2010 Grand Prix series was the biggest ever with just under 500 races and over 70,000 runners participating in races that represented all parts of our great state. The number of races was impressive, but even more than the number of races or number of participants, was the number of runners who ran hundreds of races in the race for points. The runner of the year was Linda Zieman who ran 198 races and earned 4755 points. The male runner of the year was Roger Keel, who ran 203 races, earned 4597 points and logged many more miles in his car. Amazing. But what is even more amazing is the range in ages for Grand Prix runners – from under 10 years old to 70 year olds who are still running a race or two every weekend – mostly looking for Grand Prix races where they can earn not only a trophy, but the ever coveted Grand Prix Points.

The Run and See Georgia Grand Prix will be bigger and better than ever this year and is sure to break 500 races. If you are looking for a new challenge with a great group of runners for 2011, look no further than the web site and e-magazine. The race calendar features the races that participate in the series and where you can earn points for being one of the top 20 runners in your age group. And this year you can track your points and plan your running to maximize your points with our new system on the web site.

A great kick off to your running for the year and motivation at the beginning of the year is always a good thing. But even better is a way to stay motivated beyond the first part of the year. The Run and See Georgia Grand Prix does just that. So check out the calendar for January and get started. Even though many got points for the race on New Years Day, there are plenty more coming up this weekend and ever weekend throughout the year.

Happy New Year and Happy Running!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

National Run at Work Day

Corporate America is growing. And I don’t mean in numbers of workers. I mean in waist size and pounds. And what workers are gaining in pounds, they are loosing in health. Obesity, diabetes and heart disease are all on the rise.

In Georgia, we have been ranked among some of the unhealthiest states, not an accolade that we are necessarily proud of or will be promoting I am sure. But it is a ranking that should make us think about making a change in our habits – eating and wellness.

In September, the RRCA promoted National Run at Work Day. The purpose of the national observance was to encourage Americans to incorporate 35 minutes of walking or running into their daily routine to improve overall health. Was it successful? Hard to say. How do you change a culture that supports workaholism, overeating and excess?

But it is a start and is part of a growing trend to turn the unhealthy workplace around. And it is encouraging to see events like this and the other corporate wellness initiatives that expose workers to healthier options at work. I hope that many were able to take advantage of the National Run at Work Day. If you were not, I hope that you will start your own “run or walk at work day” some day soon. We all need it. And hopefully together we can change this trend of unhealthy lifestyles. Wouldn’t it be nice to see us change the Georgia ranking as one of the unhealthiest to one of the healthiest? It is worth a try and one that will be a great legacy of our community of runners today.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Heat Up Summer Race Participation

Is the heat starting to build and race participation starting to flounder? Let the Race Calendar jump-start your Summer participation by offering online registration for your race!

How Online Registration Works

If you are on our Race Calendar - better yet your race has signed up to be on our Georgia Runner/Run and See Georgia Grand Prix Series, you can be qualified to utilize our online registration system. It's simple and has been proven to enhance race participation by offering the runner a way to sign up for a race, while they are searching for a race to run.

Contact us for more information and we would be happy to assist your race with more information about our online registration!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Making the Switch to Trails

In the summer because the schedule is a bit more relaxed and I don’t have to be out the door at 6:45, I get to run with a group early in the morning. For me running with a group is a nice change of pace and gives me an added motivation, knowing that someone is waiting for me to run. This makes it much harder to decide not to run or not run as long or hard because no one is watching, as is the case when I run by myself. Although the group is made up of runners of all ages and running abilities, we all agree on the course that we will run. Normally, I like to run on the road, but the group will sometimes “agree” to run trails in a local park. Even though I am not normally a trail runner, I go along and hope to make it through the run without turning an ankle or falling.

So, in anticipation of having to run on trails again through the summer, I recently ran in Big Creek Park to get used to running trails again. As I ran the shady trails through the park, I began to think of many friends who prefer running trails to the road and wondered if I could ever get to that point. I do love the cooler temperature under the trees on the trails and the occasional deer that I may see in the park. But the roots and rocks always give me trouble, probably because I tend to be clumsy, even on flat pavement, let alone rugged trail.

But there are so many great parks in the Atlanta area that offer some great gravel, or even paved trails, that to me offer the best of both worlds. Oh, I know the true trail runners think this is not ‘real’ trail running, but for me, it is a great alternative.

If you are looking for a great change of pace to your normal road running routine, check out some of the great parks that we have in Atlanta. I found a great site that lists many of the great trail running locations around our city with great descriptions of each. Go to to find a new trail that may help you get into trail running or just offer an alternative to pavement from time to time. Whether you do it for a nice change or get hooked on trails, it is a great way to explore more of the great running venues we have in Atlanta and change up your running routine.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Farwell to Our Dear Friend: Will Chamberlin July 9, 1952-April 9, 2010

The Georgia running community suffered a huge loss recently. And this week, our dear friend and long time Georgia running advocate, Will Chamberlin, was laid to rest.

Anytime we suffer a loss it is hard to take. But when someone is taken from us suddenly and before his time, it makes it even harder. For those who ran the Run and See Georgia Grand Prix races, you may have been there or heard when Will Chamberlin suffered a stroke at the Hogpen Hill Climb in January. We kept up with his progress and knew Will had been doing well since his stroke and even directed his first race recently, which made it even more shocking to hear that Will passed quietly in his sleep on April 9th.

For those that knew Will, you knew that he loved running and putting on races. He approached every race as his gift to the runners who ran his races. He stressed perfection and always wanted to do the right thing and wanted the runners to do the same, as anyone knows who did not turn in their finish card after a race. And he cared, he genuinely cared about the runners as his words “have a good race, have a safe race” reminded us before each one of his runs and at the end of each run his resounding voice encouraging each runner by name and telling them to finish strong.

Will’s life was celebrated at a memorial service at the church he loved where those who knew him best shared stories of what we all loved about Will and what we will remember most. But for those who only knew Will by his races, it was a chance to know more about what made Will get to each race early and carefully plan each detail down to the bullhorns for each volunteer. I think the story that summed it up best was shared by the Associate Pastor, Reverend Julie Thompson who shared a quote that she saw on Will’s refrigerator at his home that said “Success is not final. Failure is not fatal.” For Will, it was his courage to take risks is what mattered most. The courage to follow his heart and do what he loved was the gift that Will gave us all. Those of us who knew Will and ran in his races are thankful that he did.

Please share your thoughts and stories to help us celebrate Will’s life as we say goodbye to our beloved friend.