Competitor.com http://running.competitor.com Your Online Source for Running Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:32:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Pros and Cons of Waterproof Shoes http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/shoes-and-gear/pros-cons-waterproof-shoes_123864 http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/shoes-and-gear/pros-cons-waterproof-shoes_123864#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:39:40 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=123864

Photo: Scott Draper

Are waterproof shoes the right choice for you?

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Photo: Scott Draper

Depending on where you live, running in February, March and April can often mean slogging through wet, slushy or muddy conditions with a still-doesn’t-feel-like-spring chill in the air. Do you need a waterproof running shoe made with a Gore-Tex, eVent or some other type of waterproof liner? Waterproof technology has improved considerably in recent years, allowing waterproof shoes to be more flexible and breathable than previous models. (Consider, too, that there are many water-resistant shoes that offer more breathability but less weather protection than waterproof models.) Ultimately it comes down to the conditions you’re running in and your personal preference.

Here are some pros and cons to consider.

Pros

  • Feet generally stay warm and dry.
  • Lesser chance for getting cold feet or even frostbite.
  • Removes excuses for not running in bad weather.
  • Allows for uninhibited running in inclement weather conditions.

Cons

  • Feet can get too hot on sunny runs in mild weather.
  • Waterproof shoes typically aren’t as flexible as traditional models.
  • $15-$20 more than non-waterproof models.
  • Most waterproof shoes are slightly heavier than non-waterproof shoes.
  • Feet are still vulnerable to getting wet from moisture that enters at the sock.

RELATED: Marathon Prep: Running in Bad Weather

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Video: Post-Workout Nutrition Strategies http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/video/video-post-workout-nutrition-strategies_123711 http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/video/video-post-workout-nutrition-strategies_123711#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 01:59:53 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=123711

What should you consume, when you should do it and how do you make time?

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What are the strategies that you should keep in mind when fueling up after a workout or race?

In this video, Dr. Jordan Metzl shares his nutrition strategies you should keep in mind—everything from planning to what you should consume to how soon you should consume it.

RELATED: Does My Meniscus Tear Need Surgery?

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Trailer For “BOSTON” Documentary Released http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/news/trailer-boston-documentary-released_123822 http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/news/trailer-boston-documentary-released_123822#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 00:06:58 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=123822

The Boston Athletic Association granted LA Roma Films and director Jon Dunham exclusive access to make a documentary about the Boston Marathon.

A documentary about the Boston Marathon is due out next year.

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The Boston Athletic Association granted LA Roma Films and director Jon Dunham exclusive access to make a documentary about the Boston Marathon.

The trailer has just been released for a feature-length film about the Boston Marathon due out next year. “BOSTON,” produced by LA Roma Films, will tell the rich story of the Boston Marathon from its beginning in 1897 to the present day. The film will chronicle the growth, change, triumph and tragedy of the iconic race, demonstrating how it has both reflected and catalyzed social change.

Directed by Jon Dunham, the award-winning filmmaker of the critically acclaimed “Spirit of the Marathon” films, and produced by Academy Award nominee Megan Williams, “BOSTON” is the first feature film to be produced about the world’s oldest annually contested marathon. In January, it was announced that Olympic bronze medalist and American record-holder Deena Kastor joined the production as an executive producer.

For more about the “BOSTON” documentary, go to Bostonmarathonfilm.com

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Blast From The Past: Nike Bringing Back Its Cortez Shoe http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/news/blast-past-nike-bringing-back-cortez-shoe_123803 http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/news/blast-past-nike-bringing-back-cortez-shoe_123803#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 21:21:08 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=123803

Nike is bringing back the original Cortez running shoe in identical fashion to the way it debuted in 1972. Photo: Courtesy of Nike

Nike is bringing back the original Cortez running shoe in identical fashion to the way it debuted in 1972.

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Nike is bringing back the original Cortez running shoe in identical fashion to the way it debuted in 1972. Photo: Courtesy of Nike

As a kid, I always wanted a pair of Nike Cortez shoes—one of the original running models launched by the brand in the early 1970s.

I didn’t get a pair until the early 1980s when I was a young cross country runner, but by then I found it to be a bit heavier and not nearly as breathable as my adidas Oregon trainers. Plus, I wasn’t keen on the grass stains that appeared on the white leather upper of the Cortez. In fact, even as a young middle-school running geek, I realized the Cortez looked good with jeans, so it became my everyday shoe and not my primary running shoe. But, honestly, I liked them because of their cool, clean style.

If you’ve seen the movie “Forrest Gump,” then you’ve seen the shoes. It’s the shoe Gump (Tom Hanks) laced up and wore on his across-the-USA running odyssey in that 1994 Oscar-winning film.

Nike is planning to re-launch the Cortez at 10 a.m. on Feb. 28 with a $100 price tag. It coincides with the growing trend of brands re-releasing heritage running models from their past. Brooks, New Balance, Puma, Karhu and Saucouny have also re-released vintage models in recent years. Nike has created modern versions of its Internationalist, Pegasus, Odyssey and Air Max shoes from previous eras.

PHOTOS: Sneak Peek At The 2015 Nike Cortez

Originally designed by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman, the Cortez returns after more than a 30-year hiatus. “His vision was simple: create a running shoe that’s as comfortable as it is durable,” the company said in a release. “The result not only allowed his athletes to run longer and faster, but it also changed the sport.”

The Cortez returns with the same premium white leather upper, a foam tongue and “varsity red” Swoosh logo. Just as the original, it has full-length EVA foam midsole enhanced by an additional wedge of blue foam to increase the heel height. The actual heel-toe offset specs aren’t available, but Bowerman (although with famed New Zealand coach Arthur Lydiard) were among the first to create shoes that were slightly higher in the heel than the forefoot. The shoe also features the same herringbone outsole pattern of the original.

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PHOTOS: Sneak Peek At The 2015 Nike Cortez http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/photos/photos-sneak-peek-2015-nike-cortez_123806 http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/photos/photos-sneak-peek-2015-nike-cortez_123806#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 21:08:44 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=123806

Nike is bringing back the original Cortez running shoe in identical fashion to the way it debuted in 1972. Photo: Courtesy of Nike

Nike is re-releasing one of its original running shoes.

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Nike is bringing back the original Cortez running shoe in identical fashion to the way it debuted in 1972. Photo: Courtesy of Nike

On Feb. 28, Nike is planning to re-launch the Cortez at 10 a.m. on Feb. 28 with a $100 price tag. Originally designed by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman and launched in 1972, the Cortez returns after more than a 30-year hiatus. It’s the shoe Gump (Tom Hanks) laced up and wore on his across-the-USA running odyssey in that 1994 Oscar-winning film.

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Out There: Moving Forward http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/out-there/moving-forward_123750 http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/out-there/moving-forward_123750#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 07:11:06 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=123750

Susan Lacke says goodbye to a city that gave her so much.

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Susan Lacke says goodbye to a city that gave her so much.

Five years ago, I arrived in Phoenix, Arizona with two dogs, a bike, and no idea what the hell I was doing.

I spent most of my 20s in that strange, clueless caravan. When things got too uncomfortable, I bailed. If a relationship went off the rails, so did I. If I made too many mistakes, I’d quietly tiptoe out the back door and start a new life somewhere else.

With every new year and every new scene, I’d become convinced that this time I’d get it right. This time, I wouldn’t screw it up.

(I always screwed it up.)

But Phoenix? Phoenix was different.

A few months after I arrived in the city, I found myself huddled over a bonfire in Gold Canyon, awaiting the start of my first marathon. I wanted to bail, to jump back on the warm bus and pretend like I had never signed up for the race at all.

But when I looked up, the warm bus was gone. My car was 26.2 miles away. The canyon walls felt like they were closing in.

One of my fellow racers gave me a pat on the back and gestured to the starting line:

“It’s the only way out, sister.”

(It really was the only way out.)

One sweltering summer day in the town of Casa Grande, I completed my first 100-mile bike ride. Ignoring the solid advice of my riding partner, Josh, I made a lot of dumb mistakes in nutrition and hydration that day. Though I faked a smile and told Josh I was feeling fine, my mental chatter blared in the final 30 miles of the ride: This is it. This is how I’m going to die, in the middle of the desert wearing neon spandex.

Josh, recognizing a bad bonk when he saw one, saved me with a Coca-Cola and a bag of potato chips.

(I didn’t die.)

I made friends on trails and in swimming pools throughout the city. I fell in love with a fellow Phoenician. At local races, I was welcomed like a member of a family. Every time I screwed up, these wonderful people would catch me trying to tiptoe out the back door. They’d gently inform me the proper way to reconcile acts of ass-hattery is with coffee and a genuine apology.

(I bought many cups of coffee.)

In Phoenix, I wedged myself into uncomfortable positions. I made mistakes. I lost my way. I did all the things that would normally send me packing up my car and searching for a new life. But in spite of myself, the world did not end. Neither did I. So in Phoenix, I stayed.

The lessons I have learned in the last five years as an endurance athlete have been profound: It’s never as bad as you think it’s going to be. Admit when you make a mistake. There’s no shame in asking for help. Show up. Follow through.

But the people of Phoenix, the ones who chased me up mountains during hill repeats and let me suck their wheels, who smacked my butt when they passed me at races and let me cry on their shoulders when things went south, are the ones who showed me how those lessons translate into every facet of being a good human being. For that, I’m eternally grateful.

As I write today’s column, I’m surrounded by moving boxes. Next week, I’ll arrive at my new home in Salt Lake City. With this move, there are some new additions to my caravan: three dogs, a few more bikes, and a husband. I still have no idea what the hell I’m doing, but I’m okay with (even excited about) the unknown. For the first time in my adult life, I’m moving for positive reasons, instead of trying to escape a hurricane of bad decisions.

There will be a new life in Salt Lake City. There will be new trails and new people; new opportunities and new lessons to learn.

It all feels familiar, except that it’s not. This time, I’m not starting over.

I’m moving forward.

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Foam Roller 101: The Upper Back http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/video/foam-roller-101-upper-back_123744 http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/video/foam-roller-101-upper-back_123744#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 02:33:44 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=123744

Another good way to use the foam roller to loosen muscles.

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This video gives great insight on how to use the foam roller to loosen up and stretch out your upper back.

As the video states, though, only use the foam roller from the shoulder blades to the middle of your back. Using the foam roller on your lower back is not recommended.

RELATED: Foam Roller 101: The Hamstrings

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Workout Of The Week: Deek’s Quarters http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/training/workout-of-the-week-deeks-quarters_12386 http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/training/workout-of-the-week-deeks-quarters_12386#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 22:30:59 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=12386

This workout benefits a wide range of runners from weekend warriors hoping to improve their 5K time to serious marathoners looking to lop minutes off their personal best. Photo: Mario Fraioli

This short track session will help you get fit fast!

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This workout benefits a wide range of runners from weekend warriors hoping to improve their 5K time to serious marathoners looking to lop minutes off their personal best. Photo: Mario Fraioli

This short track session will help you get fit fast!

On paper, a session of 8 x 400-meter repeats gives the illusion of an easy workout; but executed properly, these one-lappers can be a real doozy.

The workout, made popular by former marathon world-record holder Rob De Castella of Australia, is as simple as it sounds: eight, one-lap repeats of the track. The pace: it varies (more on this in a bit). The recovery: a scant, but swift, 200-meter float.

De Castella would perform this session weekly throughout the year, regardless of whether he was training for a marathon or not. The pace of the workout would fluctuate “depending if Rob was recovering in the winter versus when he was in peak shape and flying,” recalled Derek Froude in Michael Sandrock’s Running With The Legends.

So how fast should you run your repeats? De Castella recommends anaerobic threshold pace, or your fastest maintainable speed. For most runners, this roughly translates to a speed that is slightly faster than your current 5K race pace. Doesn’t sound too difficult, right?

Here’s the catch. The recovery between each repeat is a 200-meter, or half a lap, “float”—not a walk or slow jog, but more of a brisk trot. The key to this session is that you never completely recover before starting the next 400-meter interval, and as the workout progresses you’ll be forced to work harder to maintain the same pace at which you started out. This is threshold training at its truest, simulates race surging and will teach your body to recover quickly while running fast.

“As you get fitter, your red line rises from about 80 percent of maximum heartrate to 90-95 percent,” writes world-renowned running coach and top exercise physiologist, Jack Daniels. “Physiologically, threshold training teaches muscle cells to use more oxygen–less lactate is produced. Your body also becomes better at clearing lactate: race-day red line speed rises.”

Beginner (Shorter) Version

— Warmup: Run easily for 10-15 minutes; follow with 4 x 20-second strides.

— Workout: 4-6 x 400 meters (one lap of the track) with a 200-meter “float” between intervals. Run the 400’s at 1-2 seconds per lap (4-8 seconds per mile) faster than your current 5K race pace and the 200’s at a pace that’s about a minute per mile slower than your 5K pace.

— Cooldown: Run easily for 10-15 minutes, stretch, refuel.

Advanced (Longer) Version

— Warmup: Run easily for 20-25 minutes; follow with 6 x 20-second strides.

— Workout: 8 x 400 meters (one lap of the track) with a 200-meter “float” between intervals. Run the 400’s at 1-2 seconds per lap (4-8 seconds per mile) faster than your current 5K race pace and the 200’s at a pace that’s about a minute per mile slower than your 5K pace.

— Cooldown: Run easily for 20-25 minutes, stretch, refuel.

When all is said and done, a full session of Deek’s Quarters yields two miles worth of faster intervals but totals three miles of total work since you’re not taking a full recovery between 400m intervals. This workout benefits a wide range of runners from weekend warriors hoping to improve their 5K time to serious marathoners looking to lop minutes off their personal best. De Castella used to perform this workout weekly, but for most runners, tackling such a session every other week or even once every third or fourth week is plenty. As you get fitter, your lap times—and your race times—will get faster.

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2015 Chicago Marathon Lottery Details Announced http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/news/2015-chicago-marathon-lottery-details-announced_123699 http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/news/2015-chicago-marathon-lottery-details-announced_123699#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 18:10:29 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=123699

Photo: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Runners will have six weeks to enter a non-guaranteed lottery.

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Photo: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

The Chicago Marathon announced today that the lottery for the 2015 race will open on March 10th at noon Central time.

The lottery period will last six weeks, from March 10-April 21.

In addition to the non-guaranteed lottery, the Chicago Marathon has a few opportunities for guaranteed entry, including:

  • Racing for a charity as part of their official charity program.
  • Be a Chicago Marathon legacy finisher. That is, having finished the race at least five times in the last 10 years.
  • A time qualifier. Men who have run a verified 3:15 or faster after Jan. 1, 2013, or women who have run a 3:45 or faster, can get guaranteed entry.

Those seeking guaranteed entry must also register in the six-week period from March 10-April 21.

Entry fees for the 2015 race are $185 for U.S. residents and $210 for international residents.

The 2015 Chicago Marathon takes place on Oct. 11, 2015.

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Shoe Of The Week: Nike LunarTempo http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/shoes-and-gear/shoe-week-nike-lunartempo_123394 http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/shoes-and-gear/shoe-week-nike-lunartempo_123394#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 00:49:00 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=123394

The Nike LunarTempo is substantially cushioned, yet ridiculously light and agile.

Our wear-testers loved the versatility and natural feeling of this lightweight trainer.

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The Nike LunarTempo is substantially cushioned, yet ridiculously light and agile.

Built on Nike’s lightweight Lunarlon foam midsole, this lightweight neutral trainer offers enough cushioning and protection for marathon-length runs in a svelte package that’s sufficiently agile for interval workouts and short races. While most of our wear-testers used it for a wide range of runs from 5K to 20 miles, they also raved about its versatility as a do-everything shoe. What makes this shoe so magically versatile is the featherweight, nimble feeling combined with that copious amounts of energetic cushioning. The stretchy mesh upper and the Flywire cords work in concert to adapt to a wide range of foot shapes, providing a near-custom fit. Several testers called it an ideal do-everything shoe, able to run long and slower, and shorter and faster. “I felt very nimble running in this shoe. I liked how simple it made running feel,” said wear-tester Amanda McCracken. This shoe was the favorite model of several of our wear-testers. “It has a nice, responsive feel. I feel quick in this shoe,” reported wear-tester Mark Bockmann. “Super smooth ride that felt very natural as well. It feels like this shoe lets your foot do its thing, without getting in the way.” The only minor drawback was a feeling that the toe box could be a tad more spacious—especially near the big toe, where the mesh connects to the front of the shoe.

This is the shoe for your if: … You’re looking for a very light but well-cushioned shoe capable of just about any kind of run or workout.

Price: $110
Weights: 6.7 oz. (men’s), 5.8 oz. (women’s)
Offset: 8mm; 26mm (heel), 18mm (forefoot)
Info: NikeRunning.com

RELATED: Shoe Of The Week—Under Armour SpeedForm Gemini

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Ask Mario: Any Tips For Running Outside When It’s Below Freezing? http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/training/ask-the-coach-any-tips-for-running-outside-when-its-below-freezing_92949 http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/training/ask-the-coach-any-tips-for-running-outside-when-its-below-freezing_92949#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 23:32:48 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=92949

With the right gear, winter runs can be just as enjoyable as running during warmer parts of the year. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Editor and running coach Mario Fraioli talks about how to properly tackle a winter run.

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With the right gear, winter runs can be just as enjoyable as running during warmer parts of the year. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Q.

Hey Mario,

I really hate running on the treadmill all the time in the winter, but I know it’s probably my safest option most of the time. Do you have any tips for running outside when the temperature is below freezing?

Thanks!

Sam

A.

Sam,

Great question given the recent cold snap that took over most of the country. The cold winter months can often dissuade runners from heading outside to run, especially when the mercury dips below 32 degrees, but with a little planning and the proper equipment, it is possible to avoid running all of your miles indoors.

If you are planning to head out for your workout when it’s below freezing, here are a few important things to keep in mind:

Watch Your Step!

Freezing temps can often mean icy roads, so plan your route ahead of time and be wary of black ice and slippery conditions. If you’ll be running over snow or uncertain footing, look into studded soles you can slip over your running shoes to provide you with better traction, or spend a couple bucks and stud an old pair of shoes yourself!

RELATED: Winterize Your Training

Learn To Layer

When it’s below freezing, layer from the inside out. Get a moisture-wicking, tight-fitting base layer that will serve as your primary layer of insulation over your legs as well as your upper torso. Above the waist, wear another thick long-sleeved shirt and/or a wind- and water-resistant jacket. Same goes for the legs: Start with long tights and if necessary layer over them with a wind-resistant pair of pants. Make sure your clothes — even your socks — are made from moisture-wicking, technical materials so they don’t freeze when they get wet. Wool blends are becoming more and more popular and will do a great job keeping you warm in the winter months. As for footwear, your everyday trainers might be OK, but arctic air can cut through thin mesh and cause your feet to be cold. Many brands now make all-weather versions of many of their popular trainers which feature a more weather-resistant upper (and outsole), which can help your feet stay a little warmer in the winter months. Keep in mind: Once you start moving, you will warm up! Experiment with various layering options and find the combo that keeps you most comfortable in whatever conditions you are running in.

Cover Up

Your chances of getting windburn and/or frostbite go up in the winter, so try and cover as much of your skin as possible when it gets really cold or windy. Extremities such as ears and fingers are the most important, but also make sure your neck and face are protected from the cold air. Also, get a hat! It will help hold in a lot of heat and keep your noggin from turning into a snow cone. Lastly, break out your sunglasses, especially if there’s a lot of snow on the ground. It’s important to protect your eyes from the reflection of the winter sun.

Adjust Your Effort

With more layers of clothes on, it can be difficult to move freely and run fast. Also, the cold, dry air can make breathing difficult for many people. Similar to when you’re training in hot, humid conditions, focus on effort or heart rate rather than a specific pace when the temperatures are below freezing.

Good luck, and happy running!

Mario

Ask Mario appears monthly in Competitor magazine and more regularly on Competitor.com. Have a question for Mario? Submit it here.

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Oiselle Announces First Retail Store Opening This Summer http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/news/oiselle-announces-first-retail-store-opening-summer_123562 http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/news/oiselle-announces-first-retail-store-opening-summer_123562#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 19:34:40 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=123562

The Seattle-based women’s athletic apparel company expands its primarily online presence to brick and mortar.  Oiselle has plans in

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The Seattle-based women’s athletic apparel company expands its primarily online presence to brick and mortar. 

Oiselle has plans in the works to open a flagship store this summer in Seattle, continuing to build its growing empire of functional, but flattering female athletic-wear.

The retail store will be located just two miles from the brand’s Seattle headquarters in the University Village shopping center, alongside other notable brands such as J.Crew and Apple, as well as local businesses. Although an exact date has yet to be determined, a photo posted earlier this morning on Oiselle’s Instagram account (@Oiselle) gives a sneak preview of the new store space.

 

 

Oiselle’s new retail operations director Katie Woodruff who joined the team about a month ago will be taking the lead in building the company store’s strategy.

“Our [Oiselle’s] vision is to create a place where customers can experience the fit and feel of our product, but also to be a place where our friends, family and teammates can come together, ” Woodruff said in a press release. “It will be a hub for viewing big meets and races, having speakers and being a place for local groups. Involving the community is the best way to build community.”

Building a community is Oiselle’s forte. A small brand founded by CEO Sally Bergeson in 2007 concerned with making women’s running shorts better, Oiselle now boasts thousands of followers on Instagram and Twitter, and has extended its running collection to outerwear, swimwear and even sleepwear that have appeared on the runways of NYC Fashion Week. Utilizing the store experience is expected to only strengthen Oiselle’s social media reach, and thus grow their customer base.

“I believe in brands, and creating an immersive experience. A store is the ultimate opportunity to do that. In addition to product, it offers so much more in terms of sharing the sport we love. Our first and most important goal is to make this store perfect, but long-term, we see that this may be a stepping stone to multiple stores in key markets,” says Bergesen in a press release.

For now, the much anticipated single opening in Seattle will be attended by elite Oiselle-sponsored women athletes including two-time Olympic marathoner and 10K bronze medalist Kara Goucher, two-time USA 5K champion Lauren Fleshman, top U.S. marathoner Stephanie Bruce, and top U.S. hammer thrower Britney Henry.

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Changing Dates to Accommodate Pope Francis Visit http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/news/rock-n-roll-philadelphia-changing-dates-accommodate-pope-francis-visit_123566 http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/news/rock-n-roll-philadelphia-changing-dates-accommodate-pope-francis-visit_123566#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 18:02:50 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=123566

A visit by Pope Francis forced a change from the traditional weekend.

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To accommodate a visit by Pope Francis to Philadelphia, this year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon will take place on Oct. 31. For the past 38 years, the race has taken place on the third Sunday in September.

“We are happy that all parties agreed upon a date to hold this historic event,” said Josh Furlow, Executive Vice President of Global Events for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. “We have been in constant communication and cooperation with the City of Philadelphia, Parks & Recreation and all other involved agencies to secure an amiable race date for 2015.”

Pope Francis will be in Philadelphia on Sept. 26-27 for the World Meeting of Families. It’s his first trip to the United States since he was elected head of the Catholic Church in 2013. His trip will also include visits to Washington, D.C. and New York.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia will start at Benjamin Franklin Parkway and run through the historical Center City and along the scenic Schuylkill River before finishing at Eakins Oval near the Philadelphia Art Museum.

The race is offering a special $55 entry to the first 1,000 participants who sign up when registration opens on Thursday.

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Linden, Huddle to Run 2015 NYC Half http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/news/linden-huddle-run-2015-nyc-half_123533 http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/news/linden-huddle-run-2015-nyc-half_123533#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 17:18:08 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=123533

Photos: PhotoRun.net

The strong American field also includes Meb Keflezighi and Dathan Ritzenhein on the men's side.

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Photos: PhotoRun.net

American distance stars Desiree Linden and Molly Huddle will compete in the 2015 NYC Half on March 15th, the New York Road Runners announced on Tuesday.

The pair will gun for the title against a pair of past champions—2014 champion Sally Kipyego and two-time champion Caroline Rotich, both of Kenya.

Linden, who will run the Boston Marathon in April, finished seventh at the NYC Half last year.

“Training is progressing well and I’m anxious to see how I match up against some of the world’s best,” Linden said in a press release.

Huddle has run two other half marathons, a third-place showing at last year’s NYC Half in 1:09:04 and a 1:09:22 third-place finish at last fall’s B.A.A. Half Marathon.

RELATED: Q&A: Molly Huddle Talks Running Shoes and Gear

NYRR previously announced the men’s field, which includes American stars Meb Keflezighi and Dathan Ritzenhein competing against international runners like Stephen Sambu and Wesley Korir. Keflezighi and Ritzenhein are both using the race as a training run for the Boston Marathon, as well. Ritzenhein has raced well so far in 2015, winning the Campaccio cross-country race in Italy the first week of January and finishing third in the Great Edinburgh XCountry 4K later that week. He also finished third at the U.S. Cross Country Championships in Boulder on February 7. This past weekend, he won the Gasparilla Distance Classic Half Marathon in 1:03:17, a course record.

The NYC Half will start with the women’s race at 7:18 a.m. with the men taking off 12 minutes later. It will be televised in New York on ABC7 and available outside of New York on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.

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2015 Trail Shoe Of The Year: Hoka One One Challenger ATR http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/shoes-and-gear/2015-trail-shoe-year-hoka-one-one-challenger-atr_123344 http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/shoes-and-gear/2015-trail-shoe-year-hoka-one-one-challenger-atr_123344#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 13:08:50 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=123344

The Challenger ATR is equally cushioned and more durable than the award-winning Hoka Clifton road shoe cousin.

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Our wear-test team absolutely loved this shoe. Why? It’s all of the things you want in an off-road running shoe with enough trail-specific features to keep your feet protected. The Challenger ATR is amazingly light, quite nimble and very stable for such a well-cushioned trail shoe. It has a very similar makeup to Hoka’s award-winning Clifton road running shoe and our wear-testers raved about the Challenger’s featherweight, well-cushioned ride and a similar game-changing vibe as the Clifton. But our test crew also appreciated that the midsole foam felt slightly firmer and seemed considerably more durable than its road-shoe cousin. Wear-testers who were comfortable with maximally cushioned shoes and were able to dial in a good fit raved about this shoe as a smooth-riding, high-mileage trainer, as well as a long-distance racer.

Fit: The minimally designed, no-sew upper and lacing system provide a locked-down fit in the heel and mid-foot, but most wear-testers remarked at the roominess of the forefoot fit. Almost all testers preferred wearing a half-size smaller than their normal size.

Feel: Like all Hoka shoes, the Challenger has a “rockered” profile that helps produce a bit of a rolling sensation no matter how or where the shoe strikes the ground. That design, combined with the thick two-layer midsole and a slight heel-toe drop, results in a semi-soft and very enjoyable feel on smooth and semi-technical terrain.

Ride: The low-profile outsole tread offers modest traction, but it makes this shoe ideal for long runs on mild to moderate trails and less ideal for running on steep, gnarly terrain with technical features and loose debris or sloppy mud.

Wear-Tester Comments

“This is a responsive shoe. Though a bit bulky in feel due to the design it is fairly nimble on technical terrain. I found it to be much more responsive than I expected.” — Jim Conaghan

“I love the super lightweight aspect, plus the proper support they offer. I feel energized when I’m running over rough terrain. I think they are very nimble with the amount of cushioning they offer; a good balance.” — Amy Allison

“This shoe continues the Hoka tradition—it is luxuriously absorbent yet does not lose touch with terrain. It feels better anchored to the ground than previous Hokas.” — Jorge Latre

“Amazingly light for such a robust-looking shoe. The feel beneath your feet is a blend of both soft and firm.” — Todd Phillips

“It’s a pretty smooth shoe. Even though it’s a trail shoe, it’s really best on smooth trails and gravel/dirt roads.” — Jennifer Fawcett

This is the shoe for you if … You want a lightweight, maximally cushioned, high-mileage trainer for smooth to moderate trails.

Price: $130
Weights: 8.6 oz. (men’s), 7.4 oz. (women’s)
Offset: 5mm; 29mm (heel), 24mm (forefoot) for men; 28mm (heel), 23mm (forefoot) for women

RELATED: 2015 Road Shoe Of The Year—New Balance Fresh Foam Zante

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Video: Mule Kicks for Core and Glute Strength http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/video/video-mule-kicks-core-glute-strength_123511 http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/video/video-mule-kicks-core-glute-strength_123511#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 07:41:14 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=123511

A total-body exercise you can do anywhere.

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A good way to work your glutes and core muscles with an explosive bodyweight exercise, mule kicks also put stress on your arms and shoulders, making it a total-body workout.

RELATED: Side Leg Swings

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2015 Road Shoe Of The Year: New Balance Fresh Foam Zante http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/shoes-and-gear/2015-road-shoe-year-new-balance-fresh-foam-zante_123342 http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/shoes-and-gear/2015-road-shoe-year-new-balance-fresh-foam-zante_123342#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 23:06:09 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=123342

The featherweight New Balance Fresh Foam Zante offers plenty of cushioning without inhibiting its go-fast demeanor. Photo: Nick Nacca

The new Fresh Foam Zante has everything you need and nothing you don’t.

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The featherweight New Balance Fresh Foam Zante offers plenty of cushioning without inhibiting its go-fast demeanor. Photo: Nick Nacca

The Fresh Foam Zante earned our Road Shoe of the Year award not only because our wear-testers absolutely loved it, but also because it epitomizes the ways running shoes have evolved in the past several years. New materials, new construction techniques and, perhaps most importantly, new ways of thinking have led to lighter, better fitting and functionally enhanced running shoes. In addition to serving as a lightweight, flexible, performance-oriented trainer that offers just enough cushioning for high-mileage training, it’s also chock-full of giddy-up for faster workouts like tempo runs and fartlek sessions. One run in the Zante and you’ll want to ditch the clunky trainers you’ve been running in.

The Zante’s raison d’être can be found in a new, lower-to-the-ground iteration of the lightweight Fresh Foam midsole that debuted last year. New Balance used biomechanical data from runners to engineer the foam undercarriage with an optimal balance between cushioning and stability—testers fell in love with the result. The simple but smartly designed upper features two harmoniously integrated airy meshes, a seam-free interior, subtle heat-welded overlays, a lightly padded tongue and a fit-enhancing inner booty that all serve up a comfortable fit and just enough support and structure without inhibiting the ride. And the $100 price tag means it has everything you need and nothing you don’t.

Fit: A comfortably snug, low-volume interior is complemented by a foot-wrapping bootie that provides incredible foot-to-ground proprioception and agility, making up-tempo running a breeze. (Like many New Balance shoes, it’s offered in two widths.)

Feel: The comfy interior—enhanced by a premium footbed—and lightweight materials give this shoe an energetic demeanor from the moment you lace it up.

Ride: The combination of the resilient Fresh Foam midsole and considerable toe-spring design encourage a quick cadence, which can ultimately inspire faster, more efficient running—both in workouts and on race day.

Wear-Tester Comments

“The Zante has a balanced fit from front to back. The heel and midfoot were snug while the forefoot was wide enough not to feel cramped. The shoe has a really responsive, energetic ride and the fit felt just as comfortable and consistent while running as it did standing in it.” — Mario Fraioli

“These feel like light, zippy racing flats, yet pamper the foot with cushioning and soft materials. A fantastic combination of function with comfort.” — Casey Blaine

“These are a great shoe for a quick speed workout, but have sufficient cushioning and energy return to make for a comfortable ride for runs over an hour.” — John Tolbert

“Everything I want in a trainer and nothing more.” — Kate Woodward

This is the shoe for you if: … You’re looking for a lightweight, versatile training shoe for a wide range of training, from long progression runs to tempo efforts and short and fast interval workouts.

Price: $100
Weights: 7.6 oz. (men’s), 6.3 oz. (women’s)
Offset: 6mm; 16mm (heel), 10mm (forefoot)

RELATED: 2015 Trail Shoe Of The Year—Hoka One One Challenger ATR

SUBSCRIBE: Get A Free Subscription To the Digital Edition of Competitor Magazine

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Junk Miles: Dole Tests Wearable Banana Tech in Tokyo Marathon http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/video/junk-miles-dole-tests-wearable-banana-tech-tokyo-marathon_123420 http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/video/junk-miles-dole-tests-wearable-banana-tech-tokyo-marathon_123420#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 21:06:29 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=123420

The new fitness tracking device is edible and a great source of potassium.

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The new fitness tracking device is now edible and a great source of potassium. 

Complete with sensors and LEDs that display a runner’s race time, tweets and heart rate, Dole’s wearable banana may have been one of the more bizarre items spotted at the Tokyo Marathon this past weekend. Since 2008, the world’s largest producer of fruits and vegetables has fueled Tokyo marathoners as an official race sponsor. Now, the company’s Japan division is redefining wearable technology with food.

The robotically-modified banana consists of wired parts—similar to what you may find in a fitness tracker—inserted along the inside of an opened banana, which is then stitched back together and replaced with a much smaller banana-filling (to accommodate its wired innards of course).

“The power source is a small battery connected to the wearable banana. Inside the battery there are ultra-compact LEDs and other electronic components,” says the senior manager of marketing at Dole Japan Hiromi Otaki in an interview with CNET.

Out of 30,000 Tokyo marathoners, two sported the wearable banana on their wrists in Sunday’s race. The flashing LEDs would have informed them of their distance covered, heart rate and more importantly when to eat their next banana. We can only imagine the self-control the runners exercised from eating their banana before the finish line. Plus, it seems once the banana is consumed the tech portion of the banana becomes useless.

With the worldwide market for wearable devices projected to reach $52.3 billion in 2019 according to CNET, Dole’s high-tech banana may face some competition among other wearable food contenders such as Kagome’s wearable tomato project. However, if we’re going to compare the two, Dole’s wearable banana appears more efficient and purposeful than an 18-pound tomato dispensing mechanic backpack called Tomaton.

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Bonafide Hustler: Dylan Bowman Making Things Happen On The Trails http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/features/bonafide-hustler-dylan-bowman-making-things-happen-on-the-trails_123401 http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/features/bonafide-hustler-dylan-bowman-making-things-happen-on-the-trails_123401#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 19:02:13 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=123401

“No question that [2014] was a turning point year for me,” says Bowman, shown here after finishing fifth against a loaded field at The North Face Endurance Challenge Championships last December. Photo: Ian Momsen | Courtesy of The North Face

Hard work and a more structured training regimen are paying big dividends for the 28-year-old ultrarunner.

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“No question that [2014] was a turning point year for me,” says Bowman, shown here after finishing fifth against a loaded field at The North Face Endurance Challenge Championships last December. Photo: Ian Momsen | Courtesy of The North Face

Hard work and a more structured training regimen are paying big dividends for the 28-year-old ultrarunner.

Despite an affinity for hours-long ultra-distance races, Dylan Bowman has always been a hustler at heart.

Twenty-five miles into the Tarawera 100K on Feb. 7 in New Zealand, the 28-year-old Bowman suddenly found himself in the lead, a spot he didn’t expect to be in so early on in the day. After sizing up the situation, he threw in a deliberate surge and took control of the race, gradually extending his advantage over the final 37 miles to cross the finish line in a new course record of 7 hours, 44 minutes and 58 seconds.

The decisive move came naturally to Bowman, who has carried the same job description with him throughout his entire athletic career: He’s the guy who makes things happen.

“I definitely wanted to give it my best crack,” Bowman says of his mindset heading into Tarawera. “I definitely felt like I was in good form and was excited to race, which is the most important thing. I knew if I had a good day, I could compete for the win and that was my intention going into the race. I expected to have a good day.”

Bowman may have even exceeded his own expectations, slashing 45 minutes off the previous course record and his topping his occasional training partner, Jorge Maravilla, by almost 17 minutes on the way to the first international win of his six-year career.

A proud resident of Mill Valley, Calif., Bowman is coming off a 2014 racing campaign he rates as his most successful to date. He kicked off last year in February with a win and course record at the Sean O’Brien 50 Miler in Malibu, Calif., before a ninth-place finish at the Transgrancanaria 125K on March 1, a race he called “an agonizing effort in survival.” He rebounded from that effort with a win at The North Face Endurance Challenge-New York in May, and in late June, Bowman battled hard to finish third at the Western States 100, calling it “the greatest race of my life at the 100-mile distance.” He capped things off in December with a fifth-place finish against a stacked field at The North Face Endurance Challenge Championship at the Marin Headlands north of San Francisco.

RELATED: Higher Ground: ‘Bros On A Mountain’

It was an impressive 12-month stretch of solid results that elevated Bowman from a consistent performer to a bonafide contender nearly every time he takes to the starting line. He’s quick to give credit to his Colorado Springs-based coach, Jason Koop, for helping guide his transformation as a professional athlete.

“No question that [2014] was a turning point year for me,” says Bowman, who signed with The North Face’s global athlete team last December. “And a lot of that has to do with my training now is significantly different and much more professionalized. Working with Jason, I really now understand the difference between exercising and actually training. That allowed me to take my game to the next level and have some of the best races of my life.”

Bowman began training under Koop’s tutelage in September of 2013 after trashing his ankle on a training run in France before the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc. The injury was so severe that Bowman wasn’t able to start the race. While rehabbing his severely sprained ankle, he “had time to reflect on what I was doing and what I should be doing” and realized that if he wanted to contend in ultras and not just compete in them, he needed to add some structure to his training routine.

“I didn’t run on a team growing up, so I didn’t even know the meaning of tempo, VO2 max, fartlek and things like that,” explains Bowman, who nonetheless grew up in the endurance mecca of Boulder, Colo. “The most important thing Jason has provided me is education. He’s added a lot more focused intensity to my training, which I basically never did. It’s made me stronger, faster and helped to bring back my athleticism.”

Koop, the director of coaching for Carmichael Training Systems, says two of Bowman’s greatest strengths as an athlete are his mental outlook on training and racing, along with his relentless work ethic and insatiable appetite to improve. Under Koop, Bowman’s training has included more intense workouts with a specific area of focus for each training block.

“He does all of his training to a ‘T’ and communicates very well on how he’s feeling,” Koop says. “Dylan also executes very well on race day. He plays to his strengths, runs under control and has a great feel for how to compete.”

As a kid, Bowman dabbled in a variety of sports, but it was lacrosse that kept his interest throughout high school and into college at Colorado State University, where he played midfield and developed a reputation for chasing after ground balls and wearing down his opponents.

“I think initially that’s what allowed me to have some decent success [at ultrarunning] but I slowly kind of lost it as I just jogged around without any focused training,” the 6-foot-3, 165-pound Bowman says of his lacrosse background. “My job on the lacrosse team was basically to be the hustle guy.”

Bowman’s former coaches at CSU remember him for his leadership skills on and off the field, along with his athleticism and play-making abilities, but it was his penchant for running—even if Bowman didn’t know at the time where it would eventually lead—that really stood out.

“The thing I remember most about D-Bo was him always telling us ‘I can run all day, coach,’” says Alex Smith, the current head lacrosse coach at CSU and an assistant during Bowman’s playing days as a Ram. “He always led our long-distance runs and did well in conditioning.”

After graduating from Colorado State in 2008, Bowman to moved to Aspen, where he says he felt a bit lost after finishing up his collegiate athletic career. It was there that he started to dabble in running. “I’ve always been someone who enjoys exercising and sweating every day, so I just started running without any goals in mind,” explains Bowman. “Because I lived in Aspen I just started trail running because it seemed the natural thing to do.”

Not long after, Bowman learned about a mountain marathon in Breckenridge, Colo. He signed up on two weeks notice and went on to finish among the top 10 in the grueling high-altitude race. “I was completely crushed at the end but a new passion was born,” he says with a laugh.

That passion led him to learn about the Leadville 100, an iconic race through the mountains of Colorado that “immediately became the focus of my life.” Bowman vert

Knowing he couldn’t completely wing it for 100 miles at elevations ranging from 9,000 to over 12,000 feet, Bowman gave himself over a year to prepare for his 100-mile debut. He contested—and completed—his first Leadville 100 in 2010, finishing third. “There was not much of a competitive instinct in me when I started my first Leadville,” Bowman admits. “It was purely to see if I could do it. I had an ‘I’ll do anything I can to finish’ mentality. I was dead set on finishing no matter what and because of that it enabled me to have a good race.”

It was at that point Bowman realized if he gave running a little more focus that he could have success in the sport—perhaps even make a career out of it.

The following year, Bowman won the San Diego 100 and then returned to Leadville to finish second in 17:18:59, more than an hour ahead of where he finished the previous year. In 2012 he made his Western States 100 debut, finishing an impressive seventh. He returned in 2013 and placed fifth before this third-place finish last year. Standing atop the podium in Auburn, Calif., one day is high on Bowman’s bucket list.

“It’s the granddaddy,” Bowman says of the iconic race that starts in Squaw Valley. “It’s close to where I live. It’s one of the races I read about when I first discovered the sport. And here I am, I’ve got three finishes and going for number four this year. I’ve won a good amount of races now but I want to win a Western [States] or The North Face Championships or a UTMB. Winning one of those races would be a dream come true to me. It’s something I think about all the time and work toward every day.”

Along with employing a coach for the first time in his career, in 2013 Bowman and his girlfriend, Harmony Teitsworth, moved from Aspen to Mill Valley, where he started working remotely as the Director of Endurance at Hypoxico, a company which makes altitude training products for athletes. The move to California, one Bowman says he was initially reluctant to make, has helped catapult his competitive running career to new levels. On any given day of the week, he’s sharing the trails with a slew of national-class trail and mountain runners, including Alex Varner (2013 U.S. 50K champion), Matthew Laye (2014 U.S. 100-Mile champion), Maravilla (2014 U.S. 100K champion), Galen Burrell, winner of the 2004 Pikes Peak Marathon and Brett Rivers, the owner of the San Francisco Running Company who finished ninth at Western States in 2014.

“It’s been huge for me in a lot of ways,” Bowman says of moving to Mill Valley, which over the last year-and-a-half has become one of the country’s trail and ultrarunning hotspots. “The greatest thing about moving here was that it simultaneously occurred with the opening of San Francisco Running Company. It was so, so important to Harmony and I to be able to fall in with a new group of friends that allowed us to feel at home from the beginning. From a performance perspective, it’s been one of the most influential parts of how I’ve improved. Having some of the best runners in the country who can push you every day in training is important.”

A fan of all things athletic, especially triathlon—“I may or may not follow it closer than I do ultrarunning,” he says—Bowman draws inspiration and motivation not only from those he trains with on a regular basis, but also from the stars of other sports. He ranks three-time Ironman world champion Craig Alexander as his favorite athlete of all-time, admiring the Australian’s professional approach to his sport, along with his work ethic and lack of ego—traits he tries to emulate as he steadily moves up the ultrarunning ranks.

“You really have to treat it as if it’s your job to have the kind of success I want to have,” Bowman says. “I’ve always enjoyed listening to the greats talk about how they prepare and how they race. It’s inspiring. I’ve always thought of myself as an athlete. When I was a kid I was always dreaming of being a pro athlete. I’m not entirely sure what draws me to that but there’s nothing that gets me more fired up than watching iconic sporting figures do what they do best and listening to them talk. They’ve taught me a lot about discipline and the benefits of working hard and keeping my eyes on the prize.”

As for what lies ahead in 2015 and beyond, a return to Western States in June is imminent, as well as a trip to France in August for the CCC—a 100K race through the rugged Alps that covers the last two thirds of the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc course. If all goes according to plan, Bowman will close things out in December by taking another shot at The North Face Endurance Challenge Championships in his own backyard.

After stepping up his game in 2014, Bowman’s shown he’s a threat to be taken seriously every time he steps on the starting line, regardless of the distance or terrain. He’s never not finished an ultra-distance race in over 30 starts—a fact he shares with great pride—but make no question, it’s being the first runner across the finish line that gets him out of bed every morning to train and motivates him to out-hustle his opposition.

“I have a desire to win big races,” Bowman says very matter-of-factly. “I appreciate greatness and I appreciate hard work. It’s something about devoting a piece of every day to something that’s far off that’s really inspiring to me. I know there are areas where I can improve, which gives me a lot of confidence that it’s not the peak for me.”

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A Mother-of-Five’s Couch to Half Marathon Story http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/features/mother-fives-couch-half-marathon-story_123799 http://running.competitor.com/2015/02/features/mother-fives-couch-half-marathon-story_123799#comments Sun, 22 Feb 2015 20:28:22 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=123799

Run a half marathon? Kelli Stanley’s doubts and insecurities wracked her mind with countless reasons why covering 13.1 miles on foot

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Run a half marathon?

Kelli Stanley’s doubts and insecurities wracked her mind with countless reasons why covering 13.1 miles on foot was an impossible feat.

A single mother of five with a full-time job – the children ranging in ages from 7 to 14 – where was she going to squeeze in the time? At 5-foot-6, 220 pounds, she wasn’t exactly a lithe Ethiopian. And at 37, she had never been the athletic type.

“I used to laugh with my friends in P.E. during high school,” says Stanley, who lives in the Chicago suburb Oak Park. “We’d be playing soccer and the coach
 would yell at us. ‘Quit killing the grass!’ We’d take one step, move over a bit and say, ‘Is this good?’ He just rolled his eyes.”

Now in adulthood, Stanley faced one other not-so-minor obstacle.

“I didn’t run at all,” she says. “I couldn’t even run around the block before saying, ‘That’s enough. I’m done.'”

But last February, after hearing from friends who had tackled the running challenge with the help of a Christian-based running club, Stanley posed
 a question to herself: Why not me?

The six-month journey leading to last July’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon entailed pain, heartache, doubt and, in the end, the realization to Stanley that
 if you dedicate yourself to a task, surround yourself with a caring support group, sometimes you can accomplish things you thought were beyond your reach.

The program is called The Elijah Running Club. It was founded by Darnell Williams in 2001. The club’s purpose is to take people with little or no running background
 and show them that with faith, education, visualization and action, they can stretch themselves, achieving goals they thought were unattainable. To date, more than 
1,000 people have started the program as non-runners and gone on to complete half marathons and marathons. Some went on to cross Ironman triathlons 
and ultramarathons off their bucket lists.

RELATED: New Runner: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started

Stanley joined the club in February, during the heart of Chicago’s bitter winter. For the first seven weeks, the once-a-week indoor meetings were primarily
 educational, emphasizing basics like running form, nutrition and shoe fitting. The participants designed visual boards, cutting out pictures and writing captions,
 visualizing the person and the lifestyle they wanted to create.

By April, Stanley began the physical training in earnest, starting out using a walking-running combination to cover three miles. By late May, her once-a-week 
long run/walk with the group had stretched to 10 miles. It was only supposed to be an 8-miler but Stanley took a wrong turn on the course and inadvertently
 covered 10 miles. She had lost 30 pounds.

“I felt awesome,” she says. “When I got home (from the 10-miler), I wasn’t sore or anything. I didn’t believe it was me.”

But like anyone who accepts the first-timer’s long-distance challenge, there were setbacks. She missed about 10 days of training in late May when her
 high-school daughter, in Stanley’s words, “was making some bad choices, bad friends. I had to get in her back pocket.”

Having missed a couple of the club’s long workouts, she tried to jump right back in on the group’s schedule and tackle a 10-miler along
 Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive, fronting Lake Michigan. But her legs cramped and she had to hail a taxi for the last three miles.

Then her grandfather became gravely ill, eventually passing away in June. Helping her mother deal with funeral arrangements and all the details
 that go with a family member’s passing cost Stanley about another month of consistent training. Two weeks before the Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon,
 Stanley considered not running the race.

“But as a mom of five kids, you don’t waste money,” she says. “I said, ‘I accepted this challenge. I’m going to do it.'”

So two weeks before the race, having not run farther than seven miles the past seven weeks, she adopted a game plan. Start out training with a 3-miler,
 increasing the distance by about a mile each workout. She got up to about 7 miles. Realistically, Stanley knew it had hardly been the ideal
 four-month training regimen.

Life was throwing roadblocks. Too many workouts missed. But sometimes resolve takes the body places it didn’t know it could go. Stanley recalled her original thinking
 when undertaking the 13.1-mile adventure.

“I thought if I could learn to love something I completely hated, finish something I didn’t think I could finish, I could get that same push for
 other challenges in my life.”

Then came race day.

Stanley walked the first mile and a half, then eased into an alternate walk-run combo.

“The first five miles I felt really good,” she remembers. “After mile six, I started to feel a little sore.”

By mile nine, her back began cramping and she needed ice packs. There were frequent bathroom breaks.

Recalls Stanley, “One lady said, ‘Just go on yourself.’ I told her, ‘It’s not the kind of bathroom where you just go on yourself!'”

She crept closer and closer to the SAG wagon.

“One lady told me (the support vehicle) would take me farther up the course,” says Stanley. “It crossed my mind a couple of times, but I never took advantage 
of that.”

Of the last mile, she says, “I felt horrible. I had a cramp starting at my hip that went down my leg. My whole left side was cramping. A couple times people
 asked me if I wanted a ride to the finish line. They said, ‘Are you OK?’ I said, ‘I’m going to do it.'”

Her reaction to a stranger after hitting the finish line, 3:54 after the start, the temperature having pushed into the 80s: “I’m ready to go home.”

The ensuing weeks gave Stanley time to reflect.

She doesn’t think she’ll do another half marathon any time soon. As a single parent raising five children she felt pangs of guilt when 
the kids would occasionally say, “Don’t you have time for us?”
She’ll stick to 5Ks and 10Ks.

“I’m so glad I did this,” says Stanley, who dropped from 220 pounds to 175. “I’m glad I’m moving forward (in my life). I might not have finished first.
 I might not have been graceful the entire time. But I did it.”

Says her 14-year-old daughter, Kiara, “It’s cool that my mom can do so much and still have time to manage herself and take care of us, too.”

Adds Williams, the founder of the Elijah Running Club, “Kelli’s strong desire to believe that there was more in her life, more possibilities for her life
than what she was seeing, I think that’s what drove her to stick to the program, to get from the couch to the finish line.”

Sitting at home one recent evening, the to-school and back-home mother’s taxi service complete, her tutoring job done for the day, dinner cooked, homework checked,
 Stanley looked back on her self-discovery.

“Being in the mix of athletic people, it really empowered me to feel good about myself.”

She paused, then added, “You know, to love myself.”

The post A Mother-of-Five’s Couch to Half Marathon Story appeared first on Competitor.com.

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