Thursday, March 28, 2013

Runner's Lingo

By: Deana Havens

Whether you are new to running or a veteran runner it doesn't take long to realize that runner’s have their own special language. Have you ever heard something like this while in the company of runners?

“I totally owned that 5k! I ran negative splits and PR’d! 
I just went for it and wound up placing first overall masters for women! 
I didn't think I had won, but once the race was over I realized the person I had been running behind was running as a bandit.”

When I first started running I would have had no clue what this person was talking about! I started running because it was supposed to be easy and economical. No gym membership to purchase…all I needed was a pair of sneakers and I could hit the road. (Note that I also discovered that I love running gear so my “inexpensive” new hobby hasn't been quite so “inexpensive” but that’s a topic for another day!). But when I started encountering running jargon that I didn't understand I looked to my trusty friend Google and this is some of what I found:

5k: A 3.1 mile run. 5k is one of the most popular race distances and usually the first distance a new runner will decide to race.

Me and some of my fellow SW's running a half marathon.
8k: 4.96 miles

10k: 6.2 miles

15K: 9.3 miles

Half Marathon: 13.1 miles

Full Marathon: 26.2 miles

Ultramarathon: Any race distance further than a marathon (26.2 miles)

PR: Personal record or personal best time for a specific distance or race. If you run several 5k’s the race with your fastest finishing time is you 5k PR.

Splits: Refers to your average pace for each mile or other pre-determined distance during a long run.

Negative split: When you are able to run the second half of a race faster that the first.

Masters: A race category for runners over 40.
Note: Many races have several categories in which runners can win awards. These include Overall Male, Overall Female (includes all runners under the age of 40), Overall Masters Male, Overall Masters Female (includes all runners over 40), and Male and Female Age Awards (are separated by sex and year age groups ie., females 20 – 24). Typically overall winners are awarded first, then age group awards are decided. If one of the overall female winners is 35 (wins either 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, overall), then the female runner with the next best time who is between the age o f 35 – 39 (if that is the age group) would place 1st in the 35 – 39 age group category.

Bandit: Someone who runs a race without officially signing up. Bandits or rogue runners are typically frowned up since they take away race benefits from runners who have paid, registered, and run with race bibs.

Gun time: The total time it took for you to complete a race from the actual race start (or gun) time).

Chip time: For races that provide runners with a timing device (or chip) the chip time is the time that registers when a runner’s chip is captured and their race time starts, typically at the start and finish line. Your chip time is the actual time it took for you to run the exact race distance.

Corral: The area you have been assigned to stand prior to race start. Corrals are typically used in larger, more commercial races to help organize runners. Corral assignments are based on your estimated finish time. Typically, most of the people in your corral will run around the same pace as you during the race. It is important to be honest when determining estimated finish time so that you will not have to weave in and out of runners to get ahead or hold up other runners in your corral.

Speed work: Often discussed in terms such as 4x400 or 4x800. Typically conducted on a track or pre-measured flat terrain, speed work (done consistently such as once a week) can help improve a runner’s overall pace. In the numbers above 4 refers to how many repeats (or times) you would run 400 (.25 miles) or 800 (.5 miles) meters at a faster pace than your typical easy run. Each repeat should be followed by a slow 400 meter recovery run.

5k or 10k race pace: Often used for training runs where you run part of the run at the pace in which you would run a 5k or 10k race. Note that this pace if different for every runner.

Fartleks: Bursts of intense effort alternated with a slower paced recovery. Fartlek distances may vary based on the intent of the runner. Fartleks are a type of speed work.

Hill repeats: The act of running repetitions up a hill quickly with a planned recovery in between.

Taper: A cut back in weekly mileage so your body is rested for a race.

Hitting the wall: Can occur when muscle glycogen stores become depleted and you feel overcome with fatigue. This may occur during a race but can be held off with proper nutrition and hydration.

These are just a few of the more popular terms that you may hear…but hopefully they will help you to start to understand runner’s lingo!

Happy running!

Deana Havens is a Marine Corps wife, Mother of 3, and co-coordinater for Stroller Warriors Camp Lejeune. Deana has authored the Stroller Warriors Guidebook and helped establish new chapters across the world. Check out her personal blog at

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Running for a Reason

By: Stephanie Geraghty

In 6th grade, our P.E. teacher required us to run a mile for the Presidential Fitness Test.  We had to run all the way to the bridge and back again.  It wasn't intended to be a race but that's how I viewed it.  I had no idea what my capability was but I was competitive and I wanted to win.  Nolan would finish first because he was the most athletic boy in the whole class.  But who for the girls?  I willed it to be me.  I remember how ominous that gravel road looked and I seriously thought I would not survive that mile.  Regardless, I raced my heart out and achieved the perfect score I aspired to attain.  The thrill of winning overtook me and drove me for years to come.  On into my high school and college years, I competed because it was something I enjoyed, something I could be successful at, and something I was proud of.  The reason I ran was to improve, compete, and win.
As the years passed and I grew older, my reasons for running evolved.  I will always enjoy the competition but I started to see more sides of it.  I added more distance and trained for longer road races.  Training runs became a time to unwind, a time for prayer, a time to foster friendships, and a time to take in God's creation around me.  Come race day, finishing first was not necessary to feel success.  I turned my attention to meeting my own personal goals and not comparing myself to others (like  speedy Nolan!).  Last, but not least, I found myself simply appreciating my health and the fact I can run at all.
This past year, our club expanded on another central reason we run: to reach out and fundraise for charitable causes.  We raced and supported a myriad of organizations, including Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy, the Semper Fi Fund, Organization for Autism Research, C.U.R.E Epilepsy, the Onslow County Homeless Shelter,  the Wounded Warrior Project, Toys for Tots, Christmas Cheer, and much more.  These organizations all have different purposes, but one common theme:  they support individuals facing a great obstacle.

My son Cole faces obstacles every day.  He possess a genetic motor neuron disorder called Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  This disease causes his muscles to be weak and atrophied.  Cole is unable to walk independently.  But don't let that fool you.  He's a go-getter and nothing stops him!  As a result, he's made great strides with physical therapy and continues to gain strength.  I can see how hard it is for him just to climb onto the couch or crawl up the stairs, but he wills it to happen.  He wants to "win" just like I did in 6th grade.  I see the same competitive spirit in Cole, expressed in different ways.
I listed a lot of reasons that I have ran over the years, but now I run for the most meaningful reason of all. I run in honor of Cole and all individuals that yearn  to walk or run themselves.  I run because I realize it is an ability not to be taken for granted.  I run because I want to emulate the courage and strength they exhibit.
Running is mentally taxing and does not come easy to everyone.  But what if you have something so powerful in your mind that you can't let your body fail?  When we run to honor, every step seems lighter.  Just contemplating all they achieve even under great strains incites you to vow, "I can do more too."  By running and supporting their cause, we help uplift and inspire them to forge ahead.  We cannot and will not let them down.  And in turn, they inspire us, tenfold.
The Stroller Warriors echo this sentiment.  Members constantly approach us with ideas for events and causes to support. They show so much love and concern for their friends, family, and surrounding community.  We see members run in honor of their parents, grandparents, spouses, children, friends, military service members, and people they have never even met.  They recognize the challenges and see running, racing, and raising funds as a positive outlet to make a difference.  We eagerly abide because the fact is, we LOVE running for a reason.

Next month, our Camp Lejeune chapter will host a 5K/half marathon in honor of my son Cole and Families of SMA.  We're running to remember, raise money, and preserve hope.  Last year we raised over $7,000 for Families of SMA.  Our ultimate goal is even more this year.  Can you help us run for a reason?!
I encourage you to find your own reason to run, be it for Cole, one of the causes I mentioned above, or someone/something else close to your heart. I can promise you that adding this dimension to your running will forever change your outlook and capability. The impossible is suddenly possible when you run for a reason.

Stroller Warriors Founder & Camp Lejeune Coordinator

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mini Warrior on Board

By:  Dusti Coacher

If you have ever been pregnant, you have received your share of unsolicited advice. Can I get an Amen?! One of the most common things that I remember hearing during my first pregnancy was, “No two pregnancies are the same.” Well, after delivering my second baby a month ago, I can attest to that statement. I have now been pregnant twice and the experiences were like night and day.
There are several factors that could have made my pregnancies different. I have a girl and a boy, a North Carolina baby and a South Carolina baby, and a summer birth and a winter birth.  But, the biggest difference in my pregnancy experiences to me was my activity level, particularly, how much I ran.
During my first pregnancy, I was a full-time student and some might say that I became stagnant with my exercising, but that seems like a negative word, so I will say that I was a little too relaxed. I would go for a walk or a swim occasionally, but that was the extent of my activity. If I ran, it was because I was trying to avoid the rain or a scary animal. (Try not to judge; it was a hot summer in North Carolina and I was nervous to do too much during my first pregnancy. Live and learn, right?!) So, I ended up gaining 60 pounds (yes, you read that correctly), needed oxygen during delivery, and took FOREVER to heal after delivery. I was finally released to exercise eight weeks later. Shortly after that, I discovered Stroller Warriors Camp Lejeune and didn’t slow down since.
We were planning to bring Stroller Warriors to Parris Island when I found out that I was pregnant with baby number two. I was already active and running several times a week so I didn’t see any reason to slow down. Fortunately, I had Stroller Warriors to get me out of the house and running, even when I had to excuse myself to be sick. I ran at least twice a week until I was 32 weeks pregnant. I gained a little over 20 pounds and had the easiest delivery.  I went for my first run yesterday at only four weeks postpartum, joining in for day 1 of the Stroller Warriors Couch to 5k program!
During my second delivery, while monitoring my heart rate, a nurse asked if I was an athlete. I laughed and said no, because I automatically thought of basketball and soccer players. My husband spoke up and said "Yes, she is an athlete, she is a runner." The nurse said, “I can tell, you have an athlete’s heart rate.

Isn’t it funny how doing something that you love can make your life easier in so many ways?
As a result of my experiences, I encourage you to speak with your doctor and find the best exercise regimen during your pregnancies. Needless to say, I am an advocate for exercising and RUNNING throughout. I have two happy, healthy children, but my second pregnancy and delivery was definitely more enjoyable than the first.

Dusti Coacher is a Marine Corps wife, Mother of 2, and coordinator for Stroller Warriors Parris Island. This recruit depot requires intense work schedules and puts families under strain.  Dusti identified a need for a positive outlet.  In just 10 short months under her dedicated leadership, SWPI has thrived, growing to over 120 members and making a difference every day.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Stroller Rider to Cycle Warrior

By: Elizabeth Harlow
We have reached another corner in our household. My 4-year-old son is ready to be a non-stroller rider! He is getting BIG. (I will pause so that you can shed a few tears for us, me in particular.)
This involves more than I initially envisioned when we first bought his new to him 16-inch wheeler. I thought buying the bike would mean I could start running with a single stroller pushing my 2-year-old and he would pedal beside me. Life would be all rainbows and roses! Funny that I (the PE teacher) did not account for the fact he would not want to ride for 4-6 miles. Isn’t that what kids do?!

He did awesome at his first ride. We were at a Stroller Warriors workout with over 100 people in attendance and he rode for three miles. However, I had forgotten to bring him water. How could I have not realized that he would need water? I had some for myself even, which was good so I could share.
Lesson #1: Bring a water bottle for new bike rider to the workouts.
On his second ride, I realized that hills are a struggle for a new bike rider. I got an arm workout pushing him up each one and still trying to steer the stroller with the other! He ended up riding 3 miles that day too. I remembered water but he was starving after the ride and it was clear his blood sugar had dropped.
Lesson #2: Bring new bike rider a recovery snack.
Bike ride three happened about two weeks later in our neighborhood. With water and snacks easily accessible, we tackled a 2.5 mile loop. We made it to the end of the street and then the complaining started. He couldn’t do it. He was tired. He needed help. He wanted a drink. His legs hurt. He was hot. What was going on?! He had been riding much further than this. That's when my Bachelor’s degree in physical education kicked in.
Lesson #3: Little ones can have sore muscles.
Here's a photo of Jack "beating" Miss Stephanie!
We had been sick the prior week so his body was not in the same shape as previously. Also, we were solo instead of at a group workout so he did not have the encouragement from other bike riders and runners. He’s fiercely competitive and needs the motivation of "beating" someone. He also didn't have the incentive of the playground reward at the end. As adults we would not expect ourselves to get on the bike and ride any distance without prior experience. I now realize that I need to practice with him by riding around the block and up and down the street, a couple of times a week to prepare for longer rides.
Lesson #4: Even little bodies need to "train" for physical activity.
 As both a Mom and a runner my goal has always been to set an example of an active lifestyle for my children. Ever since my oldest was 9 months, we have been involved in a Mommy/baby fitness program like Stroller Warriors. This group has given my children an outlet to be active and participate with me. He loves his new gang of “Mini Cycle Warriors” and looks to the older children as a positive example to emulate.
Running with a little guy in tow has been a learning process but I love that we can bring his bike to group runs. So my advice: don’t despair when your older children outgrow the stroller. Remember these lessons to be better prepared and embrace the new opportunity to learn, grow, and enjoy family fitness.
Elizabeth Harlow is a Marine Corps wife, Mother of 2, and co-coordinater for Stroller Warriors Camp Lejeune. Elizabeth leads Saturday morning Long Runs and has been instrumental in organizing our "Have to Half" race series, supporting fundraising events, and promoting recruitment and retention.