Runners Notes
By Heather Cass Erie Times-News staff blogger
If you want to know anything about the local running scene, ask Heather Cass. A member of the Erie Runners Club for 10-plus years, she is immersed in the local fitness culture, and she's taking your questions.   Read more about this blog.
Archive for the ‘We asked’ category
Posted: March 21st, 2014

I asked: Are you training for any big spring races? What’s on your schedule?

Boston!!!! — Amy Cronk

I’m training for the women’s half in Niagara Falls on June 1st. Looking forward to running with a great group of friends! — Stacey Hammer

Tough Mudder, the Presque Isle half marathon and Beast on the Bay! — Lisa Meyer

Pittsburgh marathon relay and the Marine Corps historical half marathon. — Jameel Gavin

I’m excited to say I’m training for the Tough Mudder, a half marathon this summer and Beast on the Bay. Every time I see a 13.1 sticker I think ” I need to earn that ASAP!” And I will probably wear the orange headband from the Mudder to bed every night. — Erin Ryan

Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington, DC and the Hot Chocolate 15k in Philadelphia! — Jessie Zahner

What Stacey Hammer said….and I’m also training for Wineglass Marathon in Oct. — Jen Kelly

Wild Trail Half Marathon on April 19th, the zombie run in which I’ll be running the morning extreme race and converted into a zombie for the Black Ops event, and the Buffalo Marathon on May 25th. — Carolyn Michael

Tough Mudder, Niagara Falls Half, PI Half, Beast on the Bay, and the Wine Glass Marathon! — Bri Hodges

Tough mudder in May, Beast on the Bay in September, and that stupid Presque Isle full marathon in September. — Matt Kleck (who totally got talked into the marathon by a friend)

Pittsburgh Half Marathon… the first time I ran it in 2011, I was 30 pounds heavier and had just quit smoking. So, I figured I can’t run it any slower than I did in then–the pressure’s off! Plus, I’m running for a charity for the first time ever (a retired racing greyhound adoption group!) It’s been a fun opportunity to meet fellow the dog owners before I fill out the application to adopt one this summer. I told myself no dog before the 13.1, but… after meeting these great people and some great dogs … I might break my own rule. — Abby Badach

Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon! And Tough Mudder Ohio! — Leslie Cooksey

Citifield Spartan Sprint April 12th then More/Fitness Magazine Half Marathon through Central Park April 13th, TM Ohio with Run Hard Finish Wet… Tough Mudder Ohio 2014 group, Glow Run, and more through the summer! — Amy Fuchs

Tough Mudder Ohio! — Crystal Nicholson

I’m training for 3 – Boston in April, Pittsburgh Marathon in May and in June the Cayuga Trails 50! — Karen Manganaro

Mudder in May, 1/2 in Niagara Falls, Bay Swim, Tri in June. — Kristen Currier

I’m training for the Miller Mile Run at Christmas. Yep, just one mile. — Jeff Seevers (LOL)

Tough Mudder and the Presque Isle Half Marathon. — Brenda Carr

Well…my physical therapist just informed me that I’m out for the Wild Trail Half in April… :( But I’ll be back on track for Tough Mudder in May, Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon in June, then a triathlon in the summer and more throughout summer and fall. — Karen Beebe

Tough Mudder, Niagara Falls half, PI Tri, Beast on the Bay, & Wine Glass half. And, as a note, I’m doing all of it with an amazing group of friends! — Debbie Humphreys

Posted: January 24th, 2014

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Two Erie runners, Mark Dombrowski and Jenny Turak, recently completed the Dopey Challenge — a 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon and a marathon in four consecutive days — in Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

I had to find out more:

1. What made you want to do the Dopey Challenge? What appealed to you?

MARK: In 2013, I completed my 4th “Goofy Challenge,” which is a 1/2 marathon on Saturday and a full Marathon on Sunday. I remember telling my wife “that’s it for the Goofy; not much more to prove at Disney.” Soon after I heard about the Dopey and signed up almost immediately. It was a new challenge. I’ll never be an ultra-marathoner. But string almost 50 miles together in 4 days and I’m in.

JENNY: Ever since I started running it had been my dream to run the Walt Disney World Marathon. I’m in love with both running and Disney, and 2014 was the year! I had requested my time off of work and saved up my money, and was planning on running the Goofy Challenge until I found out about the Dopey Challenge. I love running races and race every chance I get, so it immediately appealed to me. Thank goodness Mark told me it was 90% sold out after 2 days. I got in just in time!

2. What special things did you get for doing the Dopey Challenge? (discount on the package, special medal, etc.)?

MARK: Six race shirts and six medals. One shirt and medal for running each of the races; a shirt and medal for running the 1/2 and full (Goofy) and a shirt and medal for running all 6 (Dopey).

3. Have you run at Disney before? If  yes, what keeps you coming back.  If no, would you go again?

MARK: This was my fifth trip to Disney World Marathon Weekend. It’s a first class event. Considering the number of runners—10,000 each for the 5K and 10K and 25,000 each for the half and full—the races are incredibly well organized. The entertainment along the course is great, typical Disney. Running through the parks is hard, but awesome. Mainstreet USA in the dark, 6:30 in the morning, and the street is lined with cheering spectators and “Cast Members” (Disney employees). For the full marathon, runners get to run through all four theme parks plus Wide World of Sports and Disney’s NASCAR track. Once again I told my wife I’ve had my fill of Disney races, but who knows!

JENNY: I ran the Disney Wine and Dine half marathon in 2011. I had the time of my life, and at the time I wasn’t as into running as I am today. It was just incredible—from the fireworks at the start, to the characters, concerts and entertainment on the streets, to running through the parks and the cheering crowds, to the medals and Disney swag available to purchase. I’m a kid at heart and love just being in Disney. There is something so magical about it. Disney really knows how to do races right, and I plan on signing up for the Wine and Dine half marathon in November 2014 as soon as registration opens.

4.How do Disney races compare (or stand out) from other marathons?

MARK: All races have unique characteristics that make them appealing. I’d say Disney races are more social and casual. In 2013, my goal to to get as many character picture as possible along the course while still getting a respectable finish time (result in the marathon was 31 photos with a 4:11 finish). While that was fun for me, many others at Disney seem to have even more fun. I have a friend who stopped for a beer and did some shopping at Epcot before finishing the marathon. At Disney, there are also a lot of “highway miles” between the parks. Disney works to make them entertaining with characters and music, but it’s a lot different that running through downtowns and neighborhoods that you’d find in the majority of races (PA Grand Canyon excluded). I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that you’ll never see as many port-a-potties as you see at Disney in the runner’s village at the start and along the course.

JENNY: At Disney they say Every Mile is Magic, and it really is. Like I said previously, there are just so many aspects that make Disney races so special. The course entertainment goes above and beyond any other marathon I’ve been to, and it’s more like a party than a race. They even have fun DJs and music to pump you up, and they make you feel like a true champion when you finish. They give you a treat box, take your picture, cheer for you when you pick up your bag, and they have character pictures after and you can get your picture with your medal. The Dopey Challenge was the best experience of all my life! I’d recommend Disney races to anyone… Even if they are not an avid runner, because it is just an incredible amazing experience and the miles fly by. Especially since you run through the parks and it keeps it so exciting! The most magical part for me was running through Magic Kingdom at the marathon. The castle looked like something out of a dream, and all the lights on mainstreet were mesmerizing. Plus cheering crowds like you wouldn’t believe! I felt like a superstar and was dressed up like Cinderella and everyone was yelling “go Cinderella” such a rush!!

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5.  Which was the hardest race for you?

MARK: Usually it’s the marathon, particularly the second half. This year, it was definitely the half marathon. Orlando had a record high temperature on the day of this year’s half marathon—86 degrees.. Even though I finished around 7:30 a.m., the temperature as already 80 degrees with 80 percent humidity. It was tough. Thankfully the next day the temps for the marathon were in the low 50s and the humidity was gone.

JENNY: The hardest race for me was actually the 10k. It was soooo humid that morning and hot and my body was in shock after the negative windshields I was used to training at in Erie. The half marathon was the same way, but I was saving myself for the marathon so ran slow and got my picture with every character and just made it a fun experience.

6. Was there ever a point at which you thought….what have I done? I can’t do this!

MARK: Nope. There’s way too much going on around you to keep you occupied.

JENNY: I loved every mile and was smiling the whole time!

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7. What is it like to run four progressively longer races in four days? Did you conserve energy in the first couple?

MARK: I’d say I moderated my pace for all four. With the shorter races, I tried to stick with 9 minute miles. Normally, I’d be about 30 seconds a mile faster. For the1/2 marathon, I started with 9:15 & 9:30 miles, but I knew the heat was going to take a lot our of me so I slowed down considerably. The full marathon was a crap shoot this year. I felt good for the first 18 miles and kept decent sub 10-minute pace. I slowed down the last 6 to 8 miles because I needed to walk away without injury since my next marathon is Boston.

JENNY: I knew I would complete the challenge no matter what, but I conserved on the half marathon because the marathon is such a long way to run and I was exhausted already after the 10k with the early morning wake up calls (3a.m.!) and the humidity. I’m the worst heat and humidity runner! I think I ran the 5k too hard also, and my legs were sore. It’s hard to know how to pace yourself for so many miles. Luckily the marathon was perfect ideal weather and it was the best I felt of all four races! I was on such a high and it was the best experience of all my life, and I even got my picture with all the characters.

8. If you don’t mind, would you provide times for each of your races?

MARK: 27:13 in the 5K; 55:38 in the 10K; 2:07 in the half marathon; 4:24 in the full marathon

JENNY: I did Disney solely for fun. I dressed up as a different princess every day and felt like I was back in my childhood. I started off trying to run the 5k for time, but it was so crowded and got stuck behind walkers from start so decided just to get pictures with characters and have fun with it. Lines for pictures at half marathon were insane! I was in corral F so people were running way slower than my half marathon pace… I usually run around a 1:45 half and they were running 9:45 pace. Again, got frustrated from start, so I decided to conserve energy and waited 5-10 min for each picture. The pathways were so skinny so it got pretty frustrating after stopping and getting stuck behind walkers. I learned a lot for next year, and will definitely do some things different because I’m pretty competitive and was not happy with my times. But anyways here are my times: 24:45 in the 5K; 56:23 in the 10K;  3:04.30 in the half; 4:17.37 in the full marathon.

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9.Parting thoughts?

MARK: Anyone planning to run a Disney race should consider it a chance to have some fun. Stop and take pictures with characters. Enjoy the parks. The second time I did the Goofy Challenge, I had a sub two-hour half and a sub four-hour full marathon. So, with the rest of them, I had little to prove. I still wanted to have respectable finish times but I also wanted to have a “magical” experience. Disney does it right.

JENNY: Disney is really such a wonderful experience! For how many runners are  involved, it is really well organized and it is so convenient staying at a Disney resort because they have buses to take you to start and back to the resort after you finish. I had the time of my life and am already planning on for sure running the Dopey again next year, and, like I said earlier, the Wine and Dine in November. I can’t get enough of Disney . Lived up the whole experience and went to 3 parks while I was there as well and just had such a blast! They also have the best running expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports — walking in there felt like Christmas morning. I didn’t want to come home and can’t wait to go back again!

Posted: November 8th, 2013

Question of the Week: Do you display your medals somewhere, or are they stashed in a drawer amongst your sports bras and compression socks?

Mine are packed in a box being shipped to Arizona. Not sure where my sports bras are. — Paul Bressen

In my bedroom. My motivation! — Amy Cronk

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Mine hang from a nail in my exercise room, within sight of my treadmill (below). — Kim

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My wife made a board for her accomplishments last month. She started running about 5 years ago, but really became more active when we moved back to Erie 3 years ago. Last year she did the Warrior Dash and this year did the Beast on the Bay. She set a goal of 4 half-marathons next year and is really proud of her accomplishments – as we all are! This is the board she made to display her numbers, times & medals. The photo is a souvenir from Warrior dash and the plaque is from this year’s Endurance where she did her first 14 mile run, in prep for the coming year.  — Terra’s husband, Kevin :)

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All of my race bibs hang on my bathroom in my game room , and my medals and trophies are displayed down there as well. — Ramon Patron Jr.

This is my memory wall….of great trips. Or, perhaps it’s my “mid-life crisis shrine” :-)   (below).  — Leann Parmenter

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In the garage, nailed to a wall. — Eloise

We used to hang them all on a coat rack. We put all but a couple in a box in the attic now. Now we have the kids’ medals hanging from the book case in the living room. — Jim Lang

Luigi displayed some of his medals on this deer rack (below) that he found on the railroad tracks a few years back. He found the rack, brought it home, cleaned it up, lacquered it, and hung it on the wall. It quickly became a rack for hanging some of his medals.  — Ginny Sackett

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Well, they reside on 2 shelves of my curio cabinet—-I don’t own too many curio’s–hahaha!!  — Sarah Rose

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They’re all in a box. I’ll display them eventually. I usually just have one hanging that I rotate now and then, and I have one of my 100-mile buckles on the wall. — Pat Krott

Just some of the race numbers I’ve saved over the years (below). I like to think of them as little trophies :) — Tom Toale

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I have thrown out 90% of my medals and plaques, need to work on trophies soon. I always kept them in boxes down the basement, after almost 40 years, it was time to get rid of most. I used to display a few trophies, etc., if it was for a big event and will probably keep those. — Rick A.

A reader’s response: May I suggest that instead of throwing away your medals and awards that you consider donating then to medals 4 mettle instead?  This non profit takes finishers medals and gives them to children and adults fighting debilitating diseases.  You can find out more at www.medals4mettle.org

Mine are just laying around the house (below).  — Mark Dombrowski

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No idea where the heck they are…..  — Renee Uht

Some are displayed in my office at work. The rest are on a bookshelf at home along with marathon finisher pictures. — Karen Manganaro

With two runners in our house and two kids who participate in races, we’ve got a lot of bling around Casa Cass. Some of it is in boxes in the basement, some special things are on display (see below), and most of my medals are on my “Mom’s Race Bling” hanger Dan & the girls made for me last Christmas:

 

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Posted: September 6th, 2013

What’s your favorite running-related website …besides Runner’s World ?

The Daily Mile — Jameel Gavin

www.flotrack.org (See the latest running videos on track and field events around the US and the world. Watch running videos and interviews with the greatest coaches and athletes) — Greg Cooper

I visit the Facebook Warrior page often for trail running. I have the Burning River and Oil Creek websites bookmarked, too. — Christine Vassen

Runner’s Notes — Dennis Albrewczynski  (Editor’s Note: Awww….thanks, Dennis, and also Christine (above) who also included me on her list!).

Flotrack.org. — Ginny Sackett

sock-doc.com & irunfar.com. — Rob Kolodziejczak

T-Rex running blog — Karen Manganaro

The ERC page mostly. But I’m biased. — Jim Lang

irunfar.com — Pat Krott

Angry Jogger —Karen Groshek

 

 

 

Posted: August 30th, 2013

Runners aren’t known to loaf around, so tell me….what do you do to relax?

Clean. — Jennifer Bach

Yoga and I get massages at Panache — dual purposed for relaxation and recovery/stretching. — Meghan Corbin

Read and knit. — Rhonda Berlin

No time to relax. — Dennis Albrewczynski

Drink wine! — Amy Morrow

Nothing relaxes me like the beach. — Lisa Shade

Relax?… what’s that? I’ve never been good at that, always on the move… Although Kayaking comes close:) — Linda Straub

What’s that? — Tracy Jenks

Biking or reading. — Amy Cronk

Play soccer, go for a bike ride, read, and of course attending baseball games in warm weather. All relaxing! — Jessie Zahner

Read! — Ginny Sackett

As for me?  I love to read — books, magazines, blogs, newspapers. Dan and I also enjoy backyard fires (it’s mesmerizing to just stare at flames and talk), swimming in our pool, and taking walks in the gorge behind our house.

Posted in: We asked
Posted: July 12th, 2013

What’s your number one recovery aid (aids)? ice bath, compression socks, chocolate milk? What’s your go-to to speed recovery?

“Vicodin.” — Dbrew (It’s a joke, people!)

“IPA” — Ross Aresco (It’s a type of beer)

“Easy runs” — Pat Krott

“Diet Dr. Pepper and potato chips!” — Jan Comi

“Lavender Epsom salts in my bath while drinking a beer!” — Karen Groshek

“Chocolate Milk, Compression Socks, Ice Bath…in that order of importance. I see too many runners wait too long for the chocolate milk (or other carb/protein replenishment if they are vegan). The Compression Socks don’t have to come before ice, but they do make a difference. We have had athletes do significant workloads and slide into a pair of compression socks between along with a nice snack and be able to handle everything on a very hard day and not be any more sore than a normal hard run. Ice never hurts (except frostbite) so I do think that it’s critical, and the constriction of the capillaries is really important to reduce the chance of inflammation, and also a good recovery tool if you forgot anything else and are sore the next day.” — Greg Cooper (Editor’s note: Greg is Penn State Behrend’s head running coach…which is to say…a guy who would know about recovery! :0 )

And more from the coach:

“Also, Patrick Krott’s suggestion of easy run is also great. Of particular benefit is running a recovery run at a recovery pace within 24 hours of a hard run. Inside our brain, interleukin-6 is the trigger that causes us to feel we have fatigue, this is also an inhibitor of motor impulses from brain to muscle (this is bad if you’re trying to run fast at the end of the race) Some research from the U of Copenhagen in Denmark says that the easy run w/in 24 hours of the hard run allows your body to learn to run with lower levels of glycogen (one of your primary fuels), so when we run those easy runs, we teach our body to continue to send those motor impulses from brain to muscle when we are tired, fatigued, sore, etc., This is not eliminating soreness, but it’s teaching your body to not feel that pain/soreness nearly as much the next time. This is probably a good thing if you want to progress in your training.”

Posted: June 21st, 2013

What is the most annoying question/statement non-runners ask/make to you?

“You ran a 5K!?” (I’m a big guy … and don’t run the whole thing.. .but I get out there. And I proudly answer YES! I did 5 of them last year!) — Kevin Major

“Doesn’t all that running hurt your knees?” — Leo Fohl

“It’s OK. He’s friendly. He won’t bite you.” — Ross Aresco

Maybe not most annoying but heard most often …”I could never run. My knees wouldn’t take it.” — Jan Comi

“How do you find time? I just can’t do another thing.” or “You’re crazy to run that much.” or they simple “why?” — Jennifer Bach

“Wow. You do Not look like a runner.” — Christine

“Doesn’t it hurt your feet/knees to run barefoot?” (Answer – Not nearly as much as it used to when I ran in shoes!) — Tom Madura (barefoot runner)

“You mean you actually PAY money to race? ” or my personal favorite , “Are you crazy ? I couldn’t even run around the block!”  (Well, have you actually tried ?) —Ramon Patron, Jr.

“Why are you running if no one is chasing you?” — Benjamin Reitz

One of my all-time favorites was:  Me: “I’ve been running barefoot.”  Them: “What shoes do you wear for that?” — Jason Robertson

When someone says they or someone they know has run a 3, 5, 6, 10 etc. mile “marathon”!  Uh….congrats to them for running but marathon distance is 26.2 miles.  ;) Julie

“Oh, you can eat anything you want then…” — Ginny Sackett

“I’ve never seen a runner smiling!” (What?!! Then they don’t know our Erie group!) — Karen Groshek

 

Posted: June 14th, 2013

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www.fitsugar.com

This week’s question addresses something EVERY runner has dealt with — sore muscles!

I asked runners: What’s your favorite/go-to remedy for sore muscles?

* Epson salts/ foam roller and a beer. — Amy Cronk

* Between  golf balls and “the stick,” I rely on massaging to rub out and keep circulation moving. — Christine Vassen

* I like arnica gel for treating inflammation and comfrey ointment for muscle knots and pain. — Debbie DeAngelo

* Ice bath, it’s cold, but it works! After about 7 minutes you really can’t feel anything (but, yes, that first 7 minutes isn’t much fun) — Greg Cooper

* Tonic water (applied internally, not externally!). — Bill Cox

* Rest, massage, wine. — Pat Krott

* Dr. Teals Epsom salts–lavender—not the plain kind in the Pharmacy section of Wal-Mart—the lavender scented are by the nicer bath soaps down a few aisles. Foolproof (for the fools who overuse their muscles…LOL).  — Eloise Hawking

* Foam roller, stretching. Advil if necessary. — Ginny Sackett

 

Posted: June 7th, 2013

What’s your “bucket list” race…the one you want to do before you die?

1.  Boston, 2. New York City, 3.  Disney marathon/ half  for the goofy combo  — Amy Cronk

Boston Marathon! No contest there. — Mary Connerty

Boston. — Paul Bressen

Rock ‘n Roll 1/2 marathon in Las Vegas. — Jameel Gavin

1. Boston 2. New York 3 . Disney. 4 . Runner’s World Half in Bethlehem, Pa. — Ramon Patron Jr.

Goofy Challenge at Disney World! — Tracy Jenks

Hatfield & McCoy Marathon on  June 14, 2014.  State number 50 for me. — Dale Werner

I really would like to run the Disney World Marathon and someday I will but it probably won’t be for another 8 or 9 years (after my kids graduate). — Sandie Sweet

Marine Corps Marathon. And the Leadman Ironman n Bend Oregon…starts with a 5k mountain lake swim…..eek! — Mary Kay Snyder-Migdal

Any race that pushes my limits to the point of breaking. — Eric Ellis

The 100K at Oil Creek 100. I will never be fast enough to consider the full 100 miler but the 100K is possible. — Christine Vassen

I HAVE to run the next Nike Women’s Half whether in DC or San Fran because they give away a Tiffany’s necklace at the end of the race instead of metals! I have to have one! Also, the Moab Half Marathon in Utah looks amazing because of the awesome scenery! — Jessie Zahner

Western States 100, Hardrock 100, Marathon des Sables. — Patrick Krott

Great Wall of China marathon. — Doug Oathout

I’ve been lucky enough to run most of my bucket list marathons. In October I’ll be knocking the Marine Corps marathon off my list. The remaining race(s) is the new Disney World Dopey – consisting of a 5k, a 10k, a half marathon, and the full marathon. Looking to run that in January 2015. — Karen Manganaro

I’ve completed my “bucket list”. All that is left is my “F_ _ _ it” list. Marathon #11 is on that list. That’s what happens when you get old. — Cyndie Zahner

The original marathon course in Greece. — Michael Morris

New York City marathon! — Lou Montefiori

 

 

 

 

Posted: May 24th, 2013

When you feel like stopping, how do you keep pushing yourself beyond that point?

I just apply the guilt that feel from missing a scheduled run to an incomplete workout . If I quit during an especially hard workout, that guilt eats at me until my next training day ; and I don’t like to feel that way , so that becomes a good motivator. I also have a specific mantra that I use , “finish strong ” which usually helps. — Ramon Patrone Jr.

I walk for a minute or less, to catch my breath and refocus.  I used to hate doing that, but it seems to really minimize injuries.  Giving myself permission to slow down for a minute has really helped me finish out a run when I’m tiring, too. — Mary Ann Daniels

If I am alone I chide myself for thinking like a quitter.  If negative thoughts overtake my focus in a race, I look around and tell myself everybody here is in the same boat.  And we are all nuts :) )) — Barb Armour

I give myself “permission” to slow down or stop once I reach the next chosen mark, i.e. the next tree, the next tenth, etc. Ironically what happens is that when I get to that next mark I’m still feeling OK and go for the next mark. Rarely ever do I end up slowing or stopping. Just giving myself permission to stop seems to have the opposite effect…like the pressure is off somehow.   — Kim

I thank God for giving me the legs that keep me moving, the lungs that keep me breathing and the will to keep pushing on. —Sunupmiles (via email)

Picture the finish line!! And remind yourself that race day will suck if you don’t train right!! — Mary Kay Snider-Migdal

I tend to resort to mantras or “100 Bottles of Beer On the Wall” — anything to drown out the negative voice in my head. My mantras: “Settle…settle,”  “Harder, faster, stronger…harder, faster, stronger,” and “I can stand this.”  Need a mantra? Some good ones here

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