Sunday, April 30, 2006

Running Music City

I am not a big fan of country music, but when in Rome...

We took a team of runners from Chicago Endurance Sports (half and full marathon training program) to Nashville for the Country Music Marathon yesterday. 23,000 runners and walkers and a country music band at every mile. It was a fantastic event!

The Music City race was a beautifully rolling course through the Nashville community and a fun journey with rockin' tunes even I enjoyed. The team was really challenged by the never ending hills, but they had trained all winter on the one hill we have in Chicago and treadmills too. Not exactly the same, but it helped them conquer hill after hill.

We met at a hip honky tonk "Tootsie's Orchid Lounge" later that night and all of them were surprised and excited about what they had accomplished. And to my surprise, we were even caught dancing to the country music.

Every now and then it pays to push your self outside your comfort zone physically and culturally. You realize just how much you can achieve and learn to enjoy different styles of life too...

Happy Trails Ya'All,

Coach Jenny

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Earth Day Run...

I think I am one day off the official celebration of Earth Day, but nonetheless, I had a beautiful day to run my annual Earth Day Run. 10 miles, sunny and cool and it couldn't have been a better day. It is a run I started after I raced in Eco-Challenge out of respect for the terrain we live on day to day.

Eco-Challenge was a grueling race and also an opportunity to help the terrain and the community where we raced. In Borneo we planted new trees in a park. In New Zealand, we donated books to the school children and in Fiji, I adopted a family. We were cold, wet and tired and they invited us into their hut for hot tea. We took off our shoes and walked in the back door, out of respect for the chief of the village. We talked (they speak english), we celebrated life and shared stories of our cultures. It was truly one of the most magical experiences of my life. The fijian woman was my age and had a lovely family of children. We hit it off as soon as we met. No shoes, not much food and hardly any clothing, yet they were happy in their village and shared what little they had. A life lesson for me.

So as I run on Earth Day, I pick up what ever trash comes in my path and toss it in the garbage. That is quite a lot on the lakefront path in Chicago. I know, it is not exactly a huge contribution, but at this point in my life it is a way to remember the Fijian family and a small way of respecting this wonderful planet we call Earth.

Happy Trails,

Coach Jenny

Friday, April 21, 2006

Running on the wrong side of the lake...

I'm fortunate enough to be up in Toronto speaking to a great group of coaches for the Jeans Marines Training Program. Toronto is a great city, and there is nothing like running through the streets to get the feel of the town. It reminds me an awful lot of Chicago, only the lake is on the wrong side of the city! They have a nice running path along the lake, but boy am I turned around. I just might have to break out my adventure racing compass again.

Happy Trails...

Coach Jenny

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me...

Yes, today is my 39th birthday. One more year until I hit 40. I thought I would be upset about leaving my thirties, but I can't stop thinking of how great it will be to have another 5 minutes to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Life is good.

I ran my traditional birthday run on the lakefront path today. I am about one minute per mile slower than I was 10 years ago, but I still smile when I run. Running is the ultimate gift. That is what I try to remember when I get down on my times. I am still out there enjoying it!

Happy Trails...

Coach Jenny

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Warm Weather Running Tips

I had the chance to get out and run today. What a gift! The weather is Chicago has been pretty darn icky lately, but not this morning. I ran past the Lakefront beaches and they were taking down the winter snow fencing and that can only mean one thing... the warm weather runs are coming. The best way to acclimate to running in the warm weather is to give yourself time to acclimate.

It can take 10 days of running in warm weather for your body to acclimate. Take is easy and slow down. Wear technical fabrics that keep you cool. Wear sunscreen and shades to protect yourself from the sun and run when it is cooler in the day.

If your heart rate and effort level seem elevated, have no fear - you're RIGHT! Your body is trying its darndest to cool you off and it is a bit rusty since you've been running in the cooler temps. Work with it and slow down. Eventually, you will be able to run at your normal efforts in the warmer weather.