Category Archives: Distance Challenge

Melissa & Sonja: Run for the Water

Melissa and Sonja were kind enough to share their story with us on an earlier blog, and agreed to let us follow along as they #DareTheDistance with us this season! 

Moving up from the 80’s 8K to a 10-mile run; Melissa was excited to release “the beast” she has been training, and her fellow runner and supporter, Sonja, was excited to see Melissa get some distance under her belt, or her laces, and see what she could do.

Melissa was a little scared that she wasn’t going to complete the Run for the Water, but once she got going, she did much better than she expected. During the race she felt awesome because she believed in herself and kept herself motivated towards the finish line. She felt incredible after too, because when she crossed the finish line, she realized she could do anything she put her mind to.

Sonja was also nervous before the race due to others making sure she knew what the cut off was before they were disqualified-3 hours, 15 minutes.  This was something that had come up in several conversations and unfortunately, Sonja, being as human as she is, let it begin to worm its way into her head: the doubts of what would happen if whichever scenario happened.  During the race she started realizing that Melissa was going faster than the pace they trained for, which was 15-minute miles to be safe to ensure she wasn’t going either to fast but not to slow either.  Sonja started getting excited as Melissa continued to pass people, especially going up the hills when so many others walk; she continued to run up each hill. There was only one hill she walked a small distance at the very top, other than this she ran the entire ten-mile route. When they were coming up to the finish line, and they had just hit two hours a few minutes prior, Sonja felt a medley of excitement, happiness, and pride. Melissa crushed her goal of completing the race in about 2 hours and to keep her feet moving the whole time.  Sonja also reached her goal of helping Melissa reach the finish line in the allotted time and keeping her moving forward.  

Melissa’s most memorable moment was when she would yell out “mile 2, 8 to go” and so forth. Everybody in the race would cheer along with her. Sonja was amazed at how many people would recognize her hand in coaching Melissa as she encouraged her to tackle a hill and proceed to tell her what she could do to train as well. It was interesting to Sonja to hear others advice such as telling her to have Melissa eat this, or walk at certain points.  It reminded Sonja of when she was pregnant, and everyone started telling her about their pregnancy, and what she should or should not do without even knowing her. The running community is very much a family in this way of wanting to help others do their best.

Sonja’s best memories of this race were the same as Melissa’s, merely from a different perspective: Melissa yelling at each mile marker how many miles she had completed, and how many more were left and then the cheers of those around her.  It is something Sonja believed many runners think, “ok 3 miles down, 7 to go.”  Hearing someone yell it out, loud and proud, makes it feel more real, like it is actually happening and that the race is going to get completed. Sonja’s favorite memory is watching Melissa speed up as she rounded the corner for the finish line and throwing her arms in the air when she crossed under the arch.  She had done something that others didn’t think she could do and at one point she even wondered about but now it was done! She had proved everybody wrong, including a version of herself who at one point did not think it could be done.

Melissa is looking forward to running in her first half marathon and sharing it with her Austin family. She is also looking forward to adding another piece to her distance challenge puzzle and eating well-deserved breakfast tacos. According to Sonja, Decker is the most challenging of the five races due to the vast number of hills, and the weather that has been very cold during the Decker marathon in times past. She is also looking forward to watching Melissa continue to conquer the hills which is the main thing they will continue to work on: getting up the hill.  Sonja is looking forward to watching her and Bonnie complete their first half marathon, again something both ladies have been told they should reconsider since they have special needs.

Melissa is training by working with the Warriors Fitness Club on Monday mornings. Run Lab has both women training their core on Monday and Thursday evenings. She will also train with Ship of Fools on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Melissa will also train with Kayleigh’s Club on Sunday afternoons.

Sonja is blessed that Melissa is very active already and loves to be moving. Run Lab has graciously offered Kayleigh’s club members access to their core classes on Monday and Thursday evenings and they are tough.  Both women will continue to run together on Tuesday evenings with their great Ship of Fools running group for speed training.  On Thursday evenings, they will either work with the core class at Run Lab or Melissa will be with her Warriors Fitness class as she isn’t keen on running on dark streets at night. They will do Melissa’s long runs on Sunday afternoons when the sun is up, and the path is lite. Sonja feels so blessed that different organizations are working together to help them both.  She states that it is such a blessing to see the support Melissa has received since she has started this journey.  On almost every run now, someone says hello to Melissa. They recognize her from her job at Randall’s or from one of the areas where she workouts.  She is quickly becoming a celebrity just by running and not stopping.

One more piece of the puzzle is complete, and both runners are continually working towards the next piece together, taking on the increasingly more difficult challenges head on. We’ll be watching for you both at the Decker Challenge!

80’s 8k Race Recap

Sonja and Melissa were kind enough to share their story with us on an earlier blog, and agreed to let us follow along as they #DareTheDistance with us this season! 
 
 

What were you excited about the most for the first race in our series? 

Melissa: I was excited to have Sonja there to help push me along the way. I wore a bright neon shirt for fun. 

Sonja: I love the 80’s 8K and the fun atmosphere. Being a young girl who was going through the ages of 10-19 during the 80’s made a big impression on me.  I mean what other decade has such amazing music, big hair, and parachute pants!  I get to relive some of my younger days by dressing up and listening to 80’s music. It is much better than going to an 80’s band concert now a days because everyone is over the age of 40 and the band members are not as hot as they use to be, except Rick Springfield who has aged pretty darn well and still wants Ricky’s Girl.

How did you feel before, during, and after the 80s 8k?

Melissa: I felt like “wow I’m about to run this” before the race. I felt great during because I was pacing myself really well during the race. I also felt great after because I accomplished the 80s 8k. I am really proud of accomplishing the race.

Sonja: Well before the race I was a little nervous for Melissa just because this was the very first race of the distance challenge and she had not been running much for almost 6 or 7 weeks due to a knee injury. I was concerned that we may have to walk a good portion of it and be fighting the clock to finish on time.  During the race I was amazed at how well she was doing for not having very much training prior to the race. I did keep wondering if it would last for the whole 8K. Afterwards I just was ecstatic for her and her friend Bonnie who both just completed their first Distance Challenge race and both are members of Kayleigh’s Club. After we hugged and I knew Melissa was steady on her feet from her sprinting in to the finish line I jogged back about a mile to run in with Kayleigh, her mother, Sandy, and Art from Run Lab.  Kayleigh was the last one to finish the 80’s 8K but she did it her way with lots of style.  Personally I think she knew that in the end the police escort her back to very end of the race.  So at each intersection she would have a police car blocking the road for her to cross and then slowly going up the road with her.  Not a bad way to get some men in uniform to notice you.  After the race was over for everyone I just felt refreshed and happy and hungry.

What were your goals, if any, for the 80s 8k to start off the distance challenge series? 

Melissa: My goals were to pace myself throughout the race and to complete the race in about an hour.

Me: My goal was to keep Melissa having fun, not to think negative thoughts that can come into anyone’s head when they are tired and just to help keep her motivated to reach her goal.

What was the most memorable moment during the event?

Melissa: My most memorable moment was getting pictures with and without Sonja. 

Sonja: Seeing another runner in front of us on a hill and realizing that she might be in distress. I told Melissa to keep going and I stopped next to the woman and asked her if she was alright. She had been standing in the road and holding her head and looking up. She stated that she had vertigo and was dizzy but that she really wanted to conquer this race due to running it the year before and not doing what she wanted. I asked her if I could hold her elbow and walk with her until she felt better and she agreed. She ended up running the majority of the remainder of the race with me and Melissa, kind of back and forth of we were in front of her and then she was in front of us. I know she finished really close to us. Later on Strava she thanked me and that surprised me that she was able to connect with me through the app. Nothing huge but just grateful that I was able to help another runner. 

What are you looking forward to for the next race?

Melissa: I am looking forward to getting my second piece of the magnet puzzle and eating breakfast tacos afterwards.

Sonja: Run for the Water is such an amazing race. Mr. Gilbert who host the race just inspires me to run with joy and this race helps people in Burundi Africa to get access to clean water much closer to their homes. Such a win/win for everyone involved. And just like Melissa I enjoy seeing my Distance Challenge magnet puzzle slowly becoming complete.  

How will you be training until the next race?

Melissa: I will be working out with The Warriors Fitness Club on Monday mornings. I will also be working out with the Ship of Fools on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. I will also swim twice a week as well.

Sonja: I just gently broke the news to Melissa that we would be doing a lot more steeper hills to help us prepare for all of our next races and she just smiled with joy! She is actually becoming really good at hills and they do so much to help us both get prepared for the next four races of the Distance Challenge. I would like to get some swimming in with Melissa but with my school schedule that may or may not happen. The Ship of Fools have been very good to the both of us and I love their workouts and attitude towards all runners of different abilities. It is a club for those brand new to running to elite runners and everyone in between.  For $30 a year to become a member and discount to many running stores and races it pays for itself quickly. Many people run with us who don’t become members but I quickly became one when I realized I would get a discount to every distance challenge race and I wanted to show my support to an amazing running community. I love that they don’t just give out their races and events but all free runs from all over Austin and other running groups. It really is a community of people who have a passion for becoming better in moving forward.

We’ll all be training on those super steep hills with you! Good luck at Run for the Water – we can’t wait to hear how it goes!!

GET TO KNOW THE DISTANCE CHALLENGE: MELISSA & SONJA

Melissa is part of Kayleigh’s Club and Sonja is her running partner. They are both registered for the 2017-2018 Distance Challenge and we will be getting updates from them after every race!

How did y’all come to know each other? 

Melissa: Through Kayleigh’s running club and Sandy and Kayleigh.

Sonja: I met Melissa when I at Austin High helping with Kayleigh’s Running Club. She was one of many that I ran with that first time. When she mentioned wanting to try to accomplish the distance challenge, I told her about the Ship of Fools and it turns out she lives right by the track.

What is your running background? 

Melissa: I have run in the Race for the Cure once. I ran with my sister some before she moved to Vermont. I trained on my own. I would go run around the neighborhood about two times a week.   didn’t like training by myself.  

Sonja: I started running track in 5th grade up North in Illinois. I didn’t do well my first year but lucky for me, I was held back and that is when I exploded! I became a sprinter and would run with the older students so I could have a challenge. They almost always beat me but it made me faster and I loved it. I did track for nine years as a sprinter; 100, 200, and 400 were my individual races and the relays, which I anchored. Over time the 400 became my race but I hated practicing it. My high school coach made me run cross country for three years, which I despised, but there was no way I could say no to my coach. So I would jack rabbit at the start and then walk until the very end of the race and run in… usually last. I was just out there to make a complete team not to actually do anything. If she could see me running long distance now she would flip.

Why did you start running? 

Melissa: I had done volleyball, swimming, basketball, bowling, and softball with Special Olympics. I started running more so I stay active when I am not doing those sports. I heard about Kayleigh’s club through Kayleigh and Ms. Sandy, her mom, and I like to train with my friends. I liked the fact that it isn’t Special Olympics. We were training for the Zilker Relays and I got to race with my friends and it didn’t involve Special Olympics. I liked being with just everybody.

Sonja: I actually started with the Ship of Fools because I had a friend visiting from out of state and she wanted to do a 5K, so we did the Camp Ben McCullough 5K and stayed for the awards. Everyone who was winning was from some running club in San Marcos and that made me curious if Austin had one, and I found the Austin Runner’s Club. The workout times agreed with my teaching schedule and I love the track workouts. It is more than just “go run 3 miles today,” it’s actually an evolving workout that changes weekly.

How did you hear about the Distance Challenge? 

Melissa: Sandy had asked me if I wanted to do the Distance Challenge. I said, “yes.” I want to try running races other then Komen Race for the Cure. I find training for the Distance Challenge has made my running more interesting. I am going to run three half marathons because not everyone with special needs is able to run. I am running for the people with special needs who can’t run. I want people to see that no matter what your disability is, you can achieve things that others have said you can’t do. I have been told by others, “You can’t read. You are not smart enough to be in school. I was told I wasn’t fast enough or strong to do sports.” Kayleigh’s Club and the Distance Challenge has helped me to overcome what others have said I couldn’t do.

Sonja: I heard runners talk about the Distance Challenge during workouts and I thought it sounded neat but way above anything I could actually do. I was just getting to where I could run two miles without falling over. I went to a packet pick up and they were also having those who had signed up for the Distance Challenge picking up their shirts and I signed up as a spur of the moment whim. 

Now I’m training for my third Distance Challenge and it surprises me still that I have been able to run the distances I have. I heard about Kayleigh through the running newsletters and I meet her and her mom, Sandy, at the Distance Challenge celebration last year. I friended her mom on Facebook and our friendship has grown from there. When I found out that Kayleigh wanted more of her friends to run with her, I signed up to help with her club.

How are you training for the first race in the Distance Challenge?

Melissa: I have been swimming every Saturday for my Special Olympics meet and that has helped me with my breathing as I run. I run with the Ship of Fools on Tuesday and Thursdays at O’Henry. I like the track workouts on Tuesday because it is different every Tuesday and it is challenging. Thursday workouts are not as fun because of hills. Hills are hard but Sonja taught me to say, “What the Hill!” as I run up each one. That has helped me because when I do the longer races I can get up the hill. I will win the hill by getting up it!

Sonja: I am trying to get back into a 3-day week of running, but with teaching it is a struggle. It seems every other week there is some after school activity that I’m required to be there for that interferes with practice – back to school night, math night, science night, but when I have been able to make practice I have been running with Melissa and if time allows I do the same workout later that evening or the next day at my tempo. Otherwise, I am primarily focused on helping Melissa to accomplish her goals this year. There is so much joy to be had in watching someone do something they didn’t think was possible.

Tell us a little more about yourselves!

Melissa: I’ve worked as a bagger at Randall’s for the last 14 years and walks many miles every day there. I have lived on my own since I was 22 and I live near the O’Henry Track so I can get there quickly. My disability is intellectual disabled which means I need some assistance. I struggle with some areas such as reading and finances so my family helps me in these areas. I graduated from Westlake High school in 2002, where I took combined regular classes and special education classes.  

Sonja: I teach ESL First Grade at Rodriguez Elementary in Dove Springs. I have been there for 12 years and enjoy the students and the challenge though at times it can be overwhelming. I have been with my husband, Michael, since I was a junior at Crockett High, graduated in 1989. We married in 1991 and have two children. Aaron is a senior at A&M in College Station and will marry next year. Samantha is a sophomore at Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma.

Thank you for sharing your story with us! We are thrilled to have you #DareTheDistance with us this year and can’t wait to see you at the 80’s 8K!!

GET TO KNOW THE DISTANCE CHALLENGE: JENN OTTO

In this blog series, we’ll get to know some of our new and veteran Distance Challenge (DC) participants. If you have a story you’d like to share, let us know! Interviews by DC Coordinator, Hannah Kanne dc@austinrunners.org.

I started running a few years ago. I was in the middle of a weight loss journey (55lbs!) and needed to add more exercise. Running seemed to make sense. I did cross country and track in high school, but that was more of a social endeavor. Running helped with the weight loss and provided me with a much needed release. As a stay at home mom to four kids, some quiet time is a must! I usually run in the wee hours of the morning and don’t often run with anyone. I usually don’t even listen to music! I do have a few phrases I repeat to myself. My favorite when it’s really hot is “the slower you run, the hotter the sun!” or on those challenging days, “fast or slow, just go!” Mostly, it is just me and the road.

When I reached my weight loss goal, I completed my first 5K with my sister in Maine. The plan was to run together. However, the moment the gun went off and those heads started bobbing, the wildebeest instinct took over and off I went! I was hooked. My sister eventually forgave me and I quickly looked for another 5K to sign up for. Fate brought me to the Brain Power 5K. I am an 18-year brain tumor survivor and still struggle with an uncoordinated right side and balance issues. For some reason, the forward momentum from running keeps me somewhat stable.

Since that first Brain Power 5K, I have participated in many races from 5K to marathon. My first half marathon was Moe’s Better Half in San Marcos (pictured). Since then, I have learned how important elevations maps are! In the next few years, I completed two marathons and was ready for a break when I heard about the Distance Challenge. I signed up the following year and was on schedule to complete it, until I was injured. Being a stubborn runner, I was determined to walk the Rogue Distance Festival (30K). After a mile of walking, I thought I would try running. It felt okay at the time, but at the finish, I could barely walk. I planned to walk the 3M, but still couldn’t even walk to my car. Thanks to Dr. Tuggle (The Tri Doc) I recovered. I did walk the Austin Half Marathon, but I did not complete the Distance Challenge. Incomplete goals don’t fly with me…

Unfortunately, it was just the start of injuries. I was back to running in March and registered for the Bay of Fundy International Marathon in June; a marathon that starts in Maine, runs into Canada and ends in Maine. The trip of a lifetime! I racked up the miles too quick and suffered a stress fracture a week before the marathon. Again, I managed to walk the half marathon. I signed up for the next Distance Challenge on the first day I could. I was going to get better and I was going to run again. I signed up for the Austin Marathon too. But injuries would plague me again. After the first race of the Challenge, my back was sore. A week later, I could barely function. It took a very long time with a lot of stretching, rolling and chiropractic care (thanks Dr. Tuggle!), but I didn’t miss any races! I was even able to complete the Austin Marathon!

Now, here we are at the start of another racing season. I completed Vern’s No Frills 5K in August with my 13-year-old daughter, and my kids will all be running in the Brain Power 5K. We have made running a family event! They wake up most Sunday mornings to find that Mommy is already on a run or sometimes even back already. Now, they want to be a part of it too. Two years ago, I left at 3:30 am to get 20 miles in before the Brain Power 5K. I met my family at the race and ran the 5K with them. I earned an ice cream that day! They have enjoyed visiting Dallas, Taylor, Texas, and the Bay of Fundy, Maine for Mommy’s races. In November, they get to go to Tulsa, Oklahoma to watch my next marathon, the Route 66 Marathon. I’ve done several races in Colorado, where I have family as well. I always try to schedule a race when I go on “vacation.” I run for my health and racing on vacation keeps it fresh on my mind.

My goal with the Distance Challenge is to stay healthy. I want to show my kids that there are healthy choices in what we eat and what we do with our time. I am selfish in that I honestly enjoy the alone time. I love the feeling of completing a goal that only I can achieve for myself. I hope to show my kids that hard work pays off.

My family will be on the 80s 8K course cheering everyone on. Eventually, they will be running the Distance Challenge with me, too.

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Jenn! We can’t wait to see your family cheering you on as you #darethedistance injury-free this year!

Get to know the Distance Challenge: Greg Leitich

In this blog series, we’ll get to know some of our new and veteran Distance Challenge (DC) participants. If you have a story you’d like to share, let us know! Interviews by DC Coordinator, Hannah Kanne dc@austinrunners.org.

I was born and raised in Chicago (North Side, so I’m a Cubs fan), came to Austin for graduate school in electrical engineering and fell in love with the city. After law school, more time in Chicago, and the second worst blizzard in Chicago’s history, I decided that Austin was looking better and better, so I came back.  

In high school, I was fairly sedentary — I spent most of my time reading and going to movies with friends. I also have terrible hand-eye coordination, so anything involving throwing or hitting or catching with accuracy was out! During my senior year, I decided I was tired of sweating and breathing heavy from going up a flight of stairs, so I started running and lifting weights and tried to get in shape. Through college and grad school, I added biking and swimming, and by my mid-twenties I was doing marathons and Olympic-distance triathlons.

In my late-thirties, I found managing the day job and all that real life stuff hard to juggle with seriously working out, so I didn’t do anything serious again from my mid-thirties to mid-forties. My last marathon had been the 2000 Austin Marathon. Periodically, I thought about doing one again and, in fact, signed up for one or two, but never found time to do the training. I had gained weight and running the longer distances was hard on my knees.

About five years ago, I discovered I was tired of sweating and having to breathe hard merely from walking up the hill to my house. Also around that time, I needed to buy some new jeans and was aggrieved to discover that I was going to have to go up to a size I’d never worn before.  

I decided this time I would actually run the Austin Marathon again and began training in earnest. I ran the 2013 marathon and finished with a personal worst. But, I’d lost 35 pounds along the way and no longer qualified for the Clydesdale division so I didn’t care. Much.

I sort of fell off the wagon the following year but decided that I should take advantage of the stuff that had attracted me to Austin in the first place: the active outdoors community and, yes, the weirdness. I decided that just one race a year was not the right approach. I’d done the 3M Half Marathon and the Decker Challenge back in the 90’s so I looked them up and discovered they were now part of this thing called the Austin Distance Challenge, which culminated in the Austin Marathon. So, I signed up…

What are your running goals? At the moment, my goal is to run a PB in a marathon. My best of the century (2015) is just under 4 hours but I’d like to bring that down. My PB of all time is around 3:45 but that was all downhill (and twenty years ago!). I would love to qualify for Boston but haven’t yet decided if it would be more efficient to try to improve my running times or simply live long and gracefully enough to let qualifying times catch up with me…

What do you do outside of running? Well, along with the running, I’ve taken up triathlons again and recently completed the Capital of Texas Tri and Jack’s Generic Tri. I’m more comfortable on the swim than I used to be but the running leg is more painful than I remember it. I have signed up for the Austin Ironman 70.3 and I’ve never done that distance before. The training is taking up a lot of time!

I enjoy cooking, largely because I enjoy eating — everything from sushi to pizza to steak to stir fry to chili to goulash. I also still spend plenty of time reading. I’m a recovering lawyer and a full-time children’s book author these days. I write mostly comedic and/or science fiction novels for middle grade readers, although my agent is shopping a couple picture books and nonfiction works as well. 

I also teach workshops and do school visits, encouraging literacy and reading. You can find out about my books at my web site http://www.gregleitichsmith.com

Have you participated in a Distance Challenge before? This will be my third consecutive Distance Challenge. I like the DC as a build-up to the Austin Marathon, and the other races are fun as well. The 80’s 8K isn’t the most picturesque but the music at start and finish is a riot. The Run for the Water has a great downtown route and the Decker Challenge and 3M Half Marathons are just iconic Austin races. 

This year, my goal is to beat all of my last year’s times…except maybe the 3M because the 2017 version featured a near-hurricane-level tailwind (it’s entirely possible I went airborne running past Darrell K. Royall-Memorial Stadium!).

Favorite type of food? Periodically I spend a couple weeks and do a Pizza-a-fay diet where I have a pizza from a different place each day. My favorite is the Chicago-style pizza with the cracker-thin crust and a tavern cut. Unfortunately, you can’t get it in Austin so I have to make my own. On event days, the banana is the perfect food. 

Do you like to listen to music while you run? I do not. I sweat more than most human beings and don’t like the sensation of ear buds floating in my ears. Also, I tend to zone out a bit when I run as it is, so I don’t want to risk missing car horns, the screech of tires, sirens, and the like. I also find that long runs are good for working out plot points in my novels-in-progress.

Thanks for sharing your story, Greg! We can’t wait to follow along as you #darethedistance and get that personal best this season.

 

 

Austin Half Marathon – Race Report from a Distance Challenge Finisher!

Amber at the Distance Challenge tent

Photo courtesy Amber Wadey

Two years ago I ran my first half marathon right here in Austin. I joined Team LIVESTRONG, created my own training plan, and did everything I could do to prepare, but I remember worrying about everything that was out of my control. What if it’s freezing or pouring rain? What if traffic or road closures make it too hard to park? What if I’m not feeling well, or my alarm doesn’t go off? The beauty of running your 2nd or 3rd (or 7th) half marathon is that eventually those details don’t bother you anymore. I know I can go the distance and I’ve logged miles in every kind of weather. I’ve learned that with a little planning, the logistics always seem to work out.

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Kayleigh’s Distance Challenge

Just over a year ago, Distance Challenge alumni Sandy Williamson submitted her story through our “September to Remember” contest and won two free entries into the Decker Challenge. When Sandy and her daughter Kayleigh decided to Dare the Distance together, nobody could’ve predicted where the journey would take them. With one race to go, Sandy shares their remarkable story with the ARC.

Sandy and Kayleigh

Sandy and Kayleigh
Photo courtesy Sandy Williamson

In April, my daughter and I travelled to Galveston for the Diva 5K. It was our first test to see how Kayleigh would handle a race with a strict cut-off time. She finished under the required time and the next week we started training for her first half marathon. Kayleigh has ITP and Graves’ Disease, and two weeks later her platelets hit a critical low of 15. It was a life threatening level. Even with steroids and a platelet transfusion, they did not increase so the decision was made to remove her spleen. The surgery normally takes 45 minutes to an hour, but in Kayleigh’s case it only took 20 minutes. Normally, they keep a patient for 24 hours, but she was released 5 hours later. That’s when I knew I had Wonder Woman for a daughter.

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3M Half Marathon – Distance Challenge Race Report

Amber Wadey registered for the Distance Challenge after realizing that she perfectly fit the profile for the “average” DC runner. She participated in an ARC member interview earlier this year and we’ve asked her to let us follow along as she runs the series by contributing her race reports to our blog. We hope you enjoy sharing her journey!

Amber's 3M stats

Image courtesy Amber Wadey

This is the first race report I’ve contributed where I don’t feel like a newbie. I ran the 3M last year and came in right at my goal time of 2:05. I registered for this year’s run soon after and told my training partner that next year we’d go even faster; perhaps even break 2 hours! After the Decker Challenge I was feeling strong but had a little more trouble moving from recovery back into training than expected. I blamed the holidays, weather, allergies, work and school for limiting my time and focus. Somehow I managed to stick with my training plan (even when my daughter insisted I could skip) and everything started coming together in the final week leading up to the 3M.

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Decker Challenge – Race Report from a Newbie

Amber Wadey registered for the Distance Challenge after realizing that she perfectly fit the profile for the “average” DC runner. She participated in an ARC member interview earlier this year and we’ve asked her to let us follow along as she runs the series by contributing her race reports to our blog. We hope you enjoy sharing her journey!

Amber's Decker pic

Image courtesy Amber Wadey

Before I started writing up these blogs for the ARC, I had never written a race report. I thought it might be a good idea to read a few race reports from previous Decker Challenge finishers to help me prepare for the event, but all the reports I found were by athletes who run 6-7 minute miles and focus on nutrition and pacing on a completely different level than me. My goal for this run was to average 10 minute miles and finish without injury. I did learn a few things, like apparently the big hill at mile 10 is called “Quadzilla,” but I hope my post will inspire more average runners to give this event a shot!

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Run for the Water – Race Report from a Newbie

Amber Wadey registered for the Distance Challenge after realizing that she perfectly fit the profile for the “average” DC runner. She participated in an ARC member interview earlier this year and we’ve asked her to let us follow along as she runs the series by contributing her race reports to our blog. We hope you enjoy sharing her journey!

amber_r4tw

I’ve lived in Austin for over a decade and friends have been telling me about Run for the Water for years, but I have NEVER been ready to run 10 miles by early November. Even these past couple of years as I’ve been training for half marathons, the Turkey Trot has been the kick-off for my longer distance training runs. Of course, in previous years I have never considered myself a “real runner.”

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