Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Gift Guide for Fast Girls

Gifts for Fast Girls
A gift guide for the Runner Girl on your list.
See more of my Gifts for Fast Girls list at ThisNext.

Since I am done with my Christmas shopping, I thought I'd help out anyone looking to buy for a Runner Girl this season.  Enjoy!

See more of my Gifts for Fast Girls list at ThisNext.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Today I am doing NOTHING.  No run, no swim, no bike, no Alter-G.  Nothing.

Hang out with me for more than a few hours and you will realize that is not an easy thing for me to do.  I have fond memories of my family pushing me out the door for a run because I am too hyper.   My Soldiers in Iraq would very nicely ask me if I needed to go for a run on days when I would get stressed out.  I need to run.  I LOVE RUNNING!  When I can't run, I love swimming, biking, surfing, snowboarding, hiking. . . you name it.  I love being outside breathing fresh air.  I have a hard time sitting still, which is why I don't go to movie theaters.  I just need to move!

But today my training schedule says "DAY OFF."  I already called my coach to whine and she wouldn't budge.  She told me all of the things that I already know: that my body needs a break and that I have a long time and plenty of hard training before Rotterdam in April.  She promised me I wouldn't lose my fitness and that it was totally necessary.  She knows what she's talking about and I need to listen if I want to keep running well.

Rest is an important part of any training plan.  It's just hard to make a conscious choice to be lazy, especially after I've put in all this work! But I'd rather take some down time now than be forced to take some later on.  Therefore, despite the fact that it completely goes against my nature, I am going to sit on the couch with my feet up and watch some lame reality TV that I am embarrassed to admit I actually enjoy.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Finish Pic!

Can you tell I was excited?  

Calway earns berth in 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials

Calway earns berth in 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials

By Tim Hipps, FMWRC Public Affairs
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Army Capt. Kelly Calway
U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program runner Capt. Kelly Calway of Fort Carson, Colo., seen here finishing second among women at the 2010 Army Ten-Miler, earned a berth in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Marathon with a fifth-place finish at the California International Marathon on Dec. 5 in Sacramento. (U.S. Army photo by Tim Hipps, FMWRC Public Affairs, cleared for public release, not for commercial use, attribution requested).
 ALEXANDRIA, Va. – U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program runner Capt. Kelly Calway earned a berth in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials with a fifth-place finish at the California International Marathon on Dec. 5 in Sacramento.

Calway’s time of 2 hours, 42 minutes, 19 seconds met the “B” qualification standard for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Marathon, scheduled for Jan. 14, 2012, in Houston, the first U.S. city scheduled to play host to both the men’s and women’s Olympic Trials for Marathon.

Calway, 26, of Fort Carson, Colo., began training with Army WCAP distance runners in August with her sights set on competing at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.

“It’s everything I dreamed of and more,” she said of joining WCAP. “It’s awesome. It gives me time to train, get coached, and do everything right.”

Calway, a former cross country and 1,500-meter runner on the track for North Carolina State University, finished second among women at the 2010 Army Ten-Miler with a personal-best time of 57:20 on Oct. 24. That was nearly three minutes faster than her Army Ten-Miler time of the previous year – just after returning from a six-month deployment in Iraq.

“Every time I’m out here running, especially with Army on my chest, I’m running for way more than myself,” Calway said. “I’m running for all those Soldiers overseas and all of the wounded guys who are coming home. To be out here representing the Army is awesome.”

Her mission now is to concentrate on marathon training.

“I love the marathon,” Calway said. “It’s an evil, evil race. You really have to reach down into your guts and find what you’re out there for.”

At the California International Marathon, Calway reached down and knocked 17 minutes off her previous best time for 26.2 miles – a 2:59 clocking at Boston in 2009.

At the Pentagon, she dedicated her Army Ten-Miler runner-up finish to Marine Corps 1st Lt. James Byler, who was wounded a week earlier by an improvised explosive device in Iraq.

With her husband, Capt. Chris Calway, still deployed in Afghanistan, and three- year-old daughter Hazel to care for, Kelly feels fortunate to find time to run.

“Juggling being a Soldier in the Army, a mom, a wife and all that, it’s hard to get my training in,” she said. “But I’m able to do everything that I need to do and do everything right. I’m able to eat right, sleep right, get my training in, and rest when I need to. Go Army!”

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thanks for all of the support!!!!!

I did it!  I qualified for the trials with a time of 2:42 (a 17 minute PR)!  I am still feeling it, physically and mentally!  I am so excited, relieved, happy, and motivated to run harder and faster next time (Rotterdam Marathon April 10th 2011).   I guess that  means I have to update my blog header. 

The race went really well.  It was a lot hillier than I thought, but the hills kind of broke up the miles and made it go by quickly.  The first 10 miles clicked off like nothing, I ran a sub-60, and felt totally under control.  My half split was 1:18:16 (which is faster than Big Sur).  After mile 14, I started to feel a bit tired (at mile 16 I caught a second wind) and hung behind this awesome guy with a runner tattoo on his shoulder.  We ran together until mile 18 when he made a pit stop and never caught back up.  

I was planning on picking it up for the last 10k and I honestly tried, but I was suffering.  I was glad that I had a cushion to make my time, because my legs were heavy and exhausted and I fought hard against them to get to the finish line.  I did pass two women in the last 10k, one of which was in the last .2 (after Coach Lisa screamed "go get her!") and finished 5th overall.  I was so excited when I made it to the finish line and saw 2:42 on the clock!!!!  I gave my coach, Lisa, a huge sweaty hug right after I crossed the finish line.  

My coach cheering me on and giving me tips at mile 10.   She was out there several different times on the course helping me keep my head in the game.  

The BEST part of the whole thing is knowing how many people I have behind me cheering me on and pushing me to the finish line.  I know the greatest people in the WORLD and I am so grateful to have so much support.  I knew how many people were using the online tracking to virtually watch my race, from Afghanistan to Hawaii and everywhere in between, and I was not about to let you all down! 

Hazel and Grampie Bob were tracking online at breakfast in Manitou.  This was her reaction to the news!

My phone was blowing up with texts and calls after the race.  The first call I received after the race was from my middle sister, Kristen, who was balling.  Before I had even had a chance to process it, she was yelling into the phone, telling me how proud she was.  I love her!  

Next call was from my parents, who were also shouting!   My Father, who has done multiple combat tours and had 3 children, told me that the tracker stopped at mile 20 and that the time in between that and the end of the race was "the most nervous he's ever been in his life."   

My Dad had a reason to be nervous!  I look like I am dying in this picture! 

While on the massage table post-race, I got the call I most desired: my husband Chris.  He was able to use the virtual tracker despite the low-bandwidth in Afghanistan.  However, he was only able to track the race until mile 20 and then he had to go out on a patrol (if I had known that I would have been more nervous for him than myself).  He claims that he was so confident that I would make my time he didn't worry at all.   He was so excited to get back to base and call that he almost left his weapon behind!  

I certainly could not have done it on my own.  From my amazing Family to my Coach, from my Father-in-law who came out to babysit, to WCAP and ACEP,  all of the pre-race good luck wishes and post-race congratulations, and everyone who believed in me, I am so lucky to have such incredible people behind me every step of the way.  


If you were tracking the race, let me know where you were and what your reaction was by leaving me a comment below!      

Friday, December 3, 2010


I am so ready to race and set a new PR at CIM!  I feel great and I am very excited to get it over with!

This past week has been taper-tastic!  I've had less than 10 miles to run each day and I've had tons of time to complete my Christmas shopping, decorate the house, bake cookies, and, best of all, send packages to my husband in Afghanistan.  I only had one workout, 400s, on Tuesday.  It went really well, but I am ready to run fast and for a long time, 26.2 miles, to be exact!

The weather looks great, temperatures between 40-60F and only a 20% chance of rain.  It doesn't matter what the weather is because I am going to GET IT DONE!

You can follow my race progress and virtually cheer me on at this link:

My race number is: 109

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Last Long Run: Not the Only Hurdle Before CIM!

This past week I was getting pretty stressed out about the upcoming marathon.  I was basically just putting a lot of undue pressure on myself.  This is the last shot to make the Trials standard for two of my teammates, with whom I raced this weekend, and I think some of their tension rubbed off on me.  Additionally, I didn't have the best 5 mile tempo track workout on Thursday and I was crushed.  I was letting it get to me and thinking very negatively.  Luckily, I know who to call-- Dr. Z.

On Friday, I called Dr. Nate Zinsser, the Director of the Center for Performance Enhancement at United States Military Academy.  He was able to squeeze me in to his busy schedule and talk some sense into me!  He heard my sob story and quickly got me back on track.  He asked me if I enjoyed running, to which I responded "of course!"  Then he said

"just ENJOY yourself and think of this marathon as an OPPORTUNITY."

Today, I felt so free on my 18 mile long run (is that redundant?).  I went out without a Garmin and just had fun.  That Eagles song "Get over it, Get over it, All this whinin' and cryin' and pitchin' a fit 
Get over it, get over it" was going through my head the whole time :)  I felt strong the whole way and picked it up for the last 6 miles.  I ENJOYED myself and am, once again, EXCITED to race at CIM!

I am so grateful to be in WCAP, with the opportunity to do what I love, representing the US Army and the incredible Soldiers who serve our Country.  This is my opportunity to show off how hard I've worked.  This is my opportunity to get to the Olympic Trials.  I know that I can do it and I can't let negative thoughts get in my way!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tips from an Ironman Champ

There is a reason why Chrissie Wellington wins Ironman…
Her 10 tips are what makes an athlete perform to his or her best ability.  How many times have you heard me say many of the same things!
Please take a minute to read through these “pearls of wisdom”
Coach Lisa

Performance tip #1: Passion gets you further than gear.
"You've really got to be passionate and enjoy the sport and never lose sight of that. Amateurs sometimes get caught up in the minutia. You've got to have the latest bike and this, that and the other thing. You have to keep the love for the sport in mind."

Performance tip #2: More isn't always better.

"There's always a tendency to think that more is better, especially with regard to Ironman training. People think, 'I have my log book and I have to be a slave to it and log as many hours as I can.' Whereas for me, people are always surprised that I don't do as much volume as they think. Don't get me wrong; I work incredibly hard. But always err on the side of quality rather than quantity."

Peformance tip #3: Don't be afraid to go fast.

"Lots of people go for long, slow, steady rides. If you ride long, slow and steady, you're going to race long, slow and steady. You have to go faster, harder and stronger in order to reach those faster times. There's a place for periodization and for not doing too hard of intervals too early in the season. But as race season starts, you want to change it up. There's still a place for those slow miles, but you also have to incorporate harder, faster efforts as well."

Performance tip #4: Rest is as important as training.

"Recovery is an integral part of training. People have their log books, and they tick everything off in all of the columns, but where's the column for recovery? That's the 4th pillar. Without that, the whole structure collapses. I break recovery down into nutrition, compression garments (which I wear), getting enough sleep, and resting between sessions. Also learning not only to relax your body but also relax your mind. Without recovery, I wouldn't be the athlete I am."

Performance tip #5: Train your mind, too.

"It amazes me how little time people spend on mental training. 30K into a marathon on race day is too late to figure out that you need to train your brain. There are many different tools you can use. Have a bank of positive images and songs. It doesn't have to be related to sport at all. That way, when the going gets tough--and it will get tough--you can draw on those images and have peace of mind."

Performance tip #6: Have a mantra (or two).

"I have some that I write on my water bottle and wristband when I race. One is 'smile,' and another is 'never give up.' There's a poem I write on my water bottle--Rudyard Kipling's If. It encapsulates everything you need to do to be a good athlete, especially the mental side of the game. 'If you can keep your head when all about you/Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;/If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,/But make allowance for their doubting too...'

It's all about keeping calm under pressure and knowing that triumph and disaster are one and the same thing. You can win or lose, and often losing can be just as much of a learning experience as the victory can. Someone said to me in an interview the other day, 'You've never lost an Ironman; what would it feel like to lose?' And I think, is coming in second losing or is it coming in second? It's changing the concept of success and failure, triumph and disaster."

Performance tip #7: Make it hurt.

"It's important to hurt in training and to learn to suffer a bit. Embrace fatigue and pain--welcome it and develop strategies to embrace it. If it doesn't hurt, you're not working hard enough. You're not always going to have easy days in training--you're going to be frustrated and have a bad day and it's important to learn to endure those in training. When you experience it in a race, you've already encountered it and can have that peace of mind."

Performance tip #8: Develop a deep understanding of your own body.

"People say how do you know how fast to go? I've trained at that pace I know I can sustain for X number of hours. Whether you train with a power tap or heart rate monitor or another device, that's all well and good, but you need to be able to control your own effort and your own intensity and internalize that race pace so when you get onto the course you know what pace you can sustain. When everything's hurting 30K into the marathon, no heart rate monitor is going to help you."

Performance tip #9: Get stronger by getting smarter.

"You have to be prepared to be objective and honest about weaknesses and where you can improve and learn from your mistakes. That's how you grow."

Performance tip #10: Eat!

"I eat a really healthy, well-balanced diet. I think it's important for women that they have role models who consume a sizeable amount of calories each day. Nothing is naughty or banned for me; I eat sensibly and healthfully. I eat red meat once a week and have lots of good fat and lots of carbohydrates. I fuel my body, and that's an integral part of my training.

Breakfast is a big huge concoction of oatmeal, flax seed, chia seeds, nuts, coconut, and then another cereal (like Kashi GoLean), and I put yogurt on it and put honey on the top. That's after my first training session. Before it, I have maybe three to four rice cakes with nut butter and honey."

"I'm uber-competitive and I don't make apologies for that. I love racing other athletes, and I wanted to race them on the best stage of the world [Kona]. I love the atmosphere, the cameraderie, and the thrill of winning. But when I first got into the sport, I said to my coach at the time, Brett Sutton, 'I feel so selfish, I'm doing this for me alone.' I had just moved from international development to becoming an athlete. He said, 'within a few years, you'll be able to affect more change through your sport than you ever thought possible.' And it's true: I'm not just racing for myself I'm racing for a cause, for women in sport, to spread awareness and inspire and encourage people. I don't just want to win. I want to win in a manner that affects change but in a way that shows my passion and my love and inspires others."

"Think like a bumblebee and train like a racehorse!"

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Big Sur Half Marathon

A great shot of me and the guys at the start!

Getting some goodies on the podium.

What a gorgeous race!  The event was run flawlessly (even the weather cooperated) and the events for the elite athletes were top-notch.  

The conditions leading up to my race were not exactly ideal: battling the flu, a knot in my IT band, falling on ice, and a twenty-miler on Monday.  But I certainly can't complain about the results:  I got second place overall!  

It was a lonely race, because the first girl ran a 1:09 and I was all by myself from mile 4 on!  I was a little disappointed with my time, but I just really didn't have any competition out there, so I let myself get comfortable for the last 4 miles.  I am mad at myself for not giving it my all, but second place with a 90% effort is not too shabby.  It was a great race before my marathon because now I am HUNGRY.  I have to put in a few more weeks worth of work and then I get to redeem myself at California International!  

A few articles from before and after the race:

JET SETTER: Ethiopian Gebre breaks course record with time of 1:09:43 -

Big Sur Half Marathon Elite Field

Such a pretty place!

Goofing off before the awards.

Post race ice-bath in the bay.  It was outrageously cold!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Heading to Big Sur!

I am waiting to board the plane to Monterey for the Big Sur Half marathon.  It'll be a welcome escape from the recent winter weather that arrived abruptly in the Springs of the past week!

I barely made it out the door this morning!  As prepared as I was to leave super-early, I got everything (including a very tired and cranky 3 year old) into the car and couldn't find the car keys!  I ran back up into the house a few times and looked through everything but couldn't find them!  I finally found a spare, but thought that I may have accidently left the keys in the front door.  So I ran up the steps, which turned out to be COVERED in ice (which is totally my fault for not de-icing them)!  On the way back down I busted hard and really hurt my shoulder.  Of course I wasn't wearing the brand new pair of snow boots with traction that I bought just yesterday.  I managed to make it to on time, despite some whimpering.

I'm very excited for the race!   You can learn about it and look for my results here:

Big Sur 1/2 Marathon

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Watching the NYC Marathon!

I'm back in Colorado and enjoying a lovely morning sipping cappuccino and  snuggling with my daughter while watching the NYC Marathon!  It's a beautiful day for a race in NYC.  Our USA guys and gals are running strong.  Of course, the Meb vs Geb is going to be GREAT to watch!  They just went through the first mile.  The Women's race actually started 30 min prior, so they have excellent coverage of Shalane Flanagan, Kim Smith, Tulu and all of the Pro-Women.  You can check it out here:

It's so exciting to watch, but I can't WAIT to race again!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Product Review: Sweaty Bands

Wearing my Sweaty Bands with the Chief of Staff of the Army

My Mom bought me my first Sweaty Band at the Army Ten Miler Expo.  They had a ton of adorable bands in a wide range of colors and styles displayed on a large rack that was surrounded by women.  My Mom found some cute headbands for herself and my sisters and surprised me with a headband that matches my Army uniform.

I was skeptical at first because I have been through all sorts of different head bands.  Not only do I have long, unruly hair, I move my head A LOT while running (I can't help it).  The Goody ones (with the grippers) stretch out and fall off, my Lululemon headbands that have the plastic inside move around and just frustrate me while I'm running.  I opted not to risk wearing it for the Ten Miler (never test out new gear on race day), but put it on right after the race for my cool down.  I was pleasantly surprised.

Sweaty Bands on the Podium at ATM

Since then I've worn it for over 100 miles and I am hooked!  I wore it casually at the AUSA conference, for a long run (20 miles) and speed work on the track.  Not only is it cute and comfortable, but it STAYS in place!  I was browsing the website tonight searching for more and I thought I would share them with you!

Here's the link:

Sweaty Bands

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Track Workout on Halloween!

You better believe I'm in costume! I madeit out of a couple of old uniforms, paint, and yellow fabric.  For the record, it's a bad idea to hand-paint something while you're wearing it!
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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Coffin Races!

Click on the collage to enlarge it.
I attended the 16th Annual Emma Crawford Coffin Races in Manitou Springs today. Hands down, the coolest Halloween celebration that I have ever seen. The costumes were incredible--people went ALL out, very impressive.   To top it all off, it was a running event! Does it get any better?

Here's a brief history of the race, courtesy of 

 "The legend of Emma Crawford lives in this unique race up Manitou Avenue. Costumed impersonators of Emma Crawford, a 19th-century local who was buried on nearby Red Mountain, ride on coffin-like contraptions pulled by teams of four mourners. (Emma supposedly still haunts the mountain even though her coffin washed away years after her burial.) A parade and awards for the best Emma, the most creative coffin, and the best overall entourage complete the daylong event."

I want to run it next year.  Maybe a WCAP team?  Maybe Green Army Men with a Tank Coffin . . .  I think we'd take the trophy!
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Product Review: Zoot Active Compression RX Tights

Some of my teammates have been raving about compression tights recently.  My first reaction, as a self-proclaimed "minimalist runner" was to dismiss the tights as just another new gimmicky running product.  But then I gave it a bit more thought.  I know that the medical community has prescribed compression gear to people with poor circulation due to diabetes or another medical condition for years. Those not-so-sexy and not-so-sporty medical knee-highs work wonders to promote circulation and prevent swelling.  The technology made the leap into the sports world in the 70's and I know that cyclists and triathletes wear them to race and to recover.  So I decided to give them a try.

The tights are fairly pricey at around $125 a pop, so I did a bit of research to make sure I was sinking my money into a pair that would work for me.  There are many brands out there specializing in compression gear.  I narrowed it down two brands: SKINS and Zoot.  

These tights come with attached footies, which I liked.  They are a nice black with different color stitching down the legs, I tried on a pair with blue stitching.  The sizes were a bit difficult to figure out, the chart is very similar to a package of panty hose.  Unfortunately, the store that I tried them on at didn't have the XS size, so I tried on the S.  These were easy to get on and comfortable, but didn't achieve the compression goal because they were a bit large.  Also, they are labeled as unisex, but the seams were very similar to a male boxer-brief, not very flattering for females.  I decided to try out something else.  Which brought me to the Zoot tights.

These are a flat black tight with the Zoot logo on the calf.  The thing that first struck me about these tights is the different stitching all over the legs, which gives them an odd shape when they aren't being worn.  This is due to the various gradients of compression moving up the leg, which allow for better circulation up the leg in order to avoid pooling of old blood near the ankles. 

The sizes are muscle-size specific, which I also liked.  Rather than a general height/weight size chart, I had my calf, thigh, and waist measured to determine the proper size  (which certainly makes ordering tights online easier).  The gentleman at the store advised me that his general rule was to go one size lower than the size for which I measured.  I did and the tights were tight enough that I feel like they are working, but not uncomfortable.  

I was a bit concerned that these weren't labeled "Recovery" tights, but he assured me that the level of compression is the same in most compression tights, it's the seams that are different on "active" pairs in order to promote movement and decrease chafing.  

After trying on both pairs, I went with the Zoot tights.  

I purchased the tights about 3 weeks ago. Since then I have worn them post-workout, post ice-bath, overnight, on the plane (worn under a pair of jeans or lululemon pants), and just around the house.  

I noticed a difference when I put them on post-Army Ten Miler.  My legs were swollen and heavy after the race and ceremonies.  After a shower, I pulled on my Zoot tights and wore them for a few hours.  When I took them off, I  saw veins in my lower legs that I've never even seen before!

They are compression tights and therefore require a bit of work to put on, getting the bottom over my heel is the most difficult part.  I have found that it is much easier to put them on with a light pair of running socks. I also recommend putting them on DRY legs.  I attempted to put them on immediately post-workout (ie. sweaty legs) and had a pretty difficult time.

For travel, they are a must.  Rather than having swollen, tired logs for legs, I hopped off the plane on a spry pair, ready for a run and race in a few days. 

Do they work?  The technology makes sense and when combined with every thing else, they make a difference.  I think they give me about as much of an advantage as an ice bath, proper stretching, and massage do in the recovery realm.  

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Army Ten Miler!

It was a GREAT day at the Army Ten Miler!  The conditions were perfect: weather was perfect, the course was gorgeous,  proper training under my belt--I knew I was ready.  

I went out strong, but conservative, hitting 5:30 for the first mile and then easing in to a steady 5:40 pace after that.  I felt strong and in control.  I started to ease up on the way back up Independence Ave, but I fought back, motivated by 1LT Byler.  I was able to push to the end and kick hard to run a 57:20.  
The cheering squad!  With awesome hand-painted signs!

The podium!  

Our guys did a fantastic job this year. We FINALLY beat the Brazilians and WON the International Division!  I called it!!!

I am so proud of my Mom and Sister for kicking butt in the race today!  It was the first ATM for both of them and I think they will be making an annual show!  I am so proud!  I love you!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Army Ten Miler!

I am in Washington DC now and all set to race the Army Ten Miler tomorrow morning at 0800.  I am feeling good and I am ready to RUN!  This course is fantastic, winding around the highlights of our Nation's Capitol and finishing at the Pentagon.  It gets me pumped up every time! If you look closely at the above pic, I am just behind the Brazilian guy.

I am honored to run with an Army jersey because I know that I am racing for far more than just myself.  I represent the thousands of men and women who are serving overseas, including my husband.  As well as my brothers and sisters in arms who have come home wounded.  This year I am running for Marine 1LT James Byler, who was recently wounded in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.  James is in Germany right now waiting for a flight back to the US where his parents and brother, Army CPT John Byler are anxiously awaiting his return.  James is a total stud and has an incredible attitude despite what he has just been through.  I have no doubt that he will tackle any obstacles he finds in recovery and will excel.  I know that my pain during the race will be nothing compared with what James has been through this past week.  He is my inspiration: when I think the race is getting tough, I will think of James and run harder.

I believe you can follow my race on 

My bib number is 12

Good luck to my WCAP teammates (pictured in the poster, top right)!  You guys are going to ROCK this!  The Brazilian team is going down!

A very special good luck to my Mom, Patti, and sister, Kristen, who are running the ATM for the very first time!!!  I am so proud of you both!

Fast field set for 26th running of Army Ten-Miler

Oct 22, 2010
Army Ten-Miler

Photo credit U.S. Army

The 26th Army Ten-Miler takes place Sunday, Oct. 24, in Washington, D.C. This Army tradition annually attracts runners from all over the world and of a variety of experience levels.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Army News Service, Oct. 22, 2010) - Sunday's 26th running of the Army Ten-Miler is expected to feature one of the fastest fields since 1998 when Maj. Dan Browne battled a slew of contenders to win the chase in 48 minutes, 52 seconds.

"Since 1990, that was probably the most exciting year where it wasn't completely a runaway race," said George Banker, operations manager of the Army Ten-Miler. "They were battling it out. Every time you saw Dan Browne on the course, there were at least three or four Reebok Enclave runners all around him.

"This year, I'm not about to put any money on the table because I don't want to lose."

The event record has since been lowered to 46:59 by Ethiopian Alene Reta, who ran away with the 2009 chase.

"My plan was to break the course record, and I did," said Reta, a 28-year-old who lives in Manhattan, N.Y. "After three miles, nobody was coming, and I went to my pace and kept it."

Reta finished 33 seconds faster than the mark established in 2004 by three-time race champion Browne, who finished third last year with a time of 47:49 while competing for the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program.

Brown will toe the line Sunday determined to reclaim his record.

Army Ten-Miler officials were still unsure Friday if Reta would be running in Sunday's race.

"Going after that record from last year - 46:59 - that very well could be in jeopardy," Banker said. "Alene may be returning. He's sort of still sitting on the fence. Even if he does show up, I think he will definitely have his work cut out for him."

There are, however, a host of others who should challenge Brown, including WCAP teammate Robert Chesert, 27, the Kenyan brother of American record-holder Bernard Lagat.

Pvt. Joseph Chirlee, 30, of Fort Sam Houston, Texas, should also figure into the mix. He won the 2009 Surf City USA Half Marathon in Huntington Beach, Calif., with a time of 1hour, 4 minutes, 31 seconds and finished 14th in the 2010 Los Angeles Marathon in 2:20:18.

Reginaldo Campos Jr., 23, who won the 2008 Army Ten-Miler in 48:59, and Jose Ferreira, 35, winner of the 2007 event in 49:21, are expected to return with a host of contenders from the Brazilian Army, which dominated the past three Army Ten-Milers.

Ethiopians Tasfaye Girma --runner-up in the 2009 Army Ten-Miler -- Birhanu Alemu-Feysa, Tesfaye Sendeku and Fikadu Lemma should also contend with the lead pack.

Other U.S. Army WCAP runners include Nate Pennington, who finished 12th in the 2004 Army Ten-Miler; John Mickowski, winner of the 2010 Armed Forces Cross Country Championship; marathoner Troy Harrison, Kenneth Foster and Darin Shearer.

Samia Akbar won the women's division of the 2009 Army Ten-Miler with a time of 55:25 - 55 seconds quicker than the previous event mark set in 1995 by Susan Molloy of Charlottesville, Va.

Ethiopians Meseret Kotu, Aziza Abate, Serkalem Abrha-Biset and Muliye Gurmu should be challenged by Elyse Braner of Washington and U.S. Army WCAP runners Kelly Calway and Capt. Emily Potter, the 2009 Army Female Athlete of the Year who won the 2010 Charlottesville 10-Miler. Potter finished fifth in both the 2008 and 2009 Army Ten-Milers.

"The women's side is sort of wide open," Banker said. "I don't see on the surface where there will be a complete runaway."

And you can never count out Alisa Harvey, 45, of Manassas, Va., a four-time winner of the Army Ten-Miler.

"You give her any daylight, and she'll take it," Banker said. "One thing about her, she doesn't respect any ages out there, especially in this race."

The oldest standing Army Ten-Miler event record is Sammy Ngatia's male masters mark of 48:50 set in 2000 when he outdueled WCAP's Teddy Mitchell to win the open division.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Great Article on Elite Athletes from NY Times


How to Push Past the Pain, as the Champions Do

My son, Stefan, was running in a half marathon in Philadelphia last month when he heard someone coming up behind him, breathing hard.
Ian Walton/Getty Images


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To his surprise, it was an elite runner, Kim Smith, a blond waif from New Zealand. She has broken her country’s records in shorter distances and now she’s running half marathons. She ran the London marathon last spring and will run the New York marathon next month.
That day, Ms. Smith seemed to be struggling. Her breathing was labored and she had saliva all over her face. But somehow she kept up, finishing just behind Stefan and coming in fifth with a time of 1:08:39.
And that is one of the secrets of elite athletes, said Mary Wittenberg, president and chief executive of the New York Road Runners, the group that puts on the ING New York City Marathon. They can keep going at a level of effort that seems impossible to maintain.
“Mental tenacity — and the ability to manage and even thrive on and push through pain — is a key segregator between the mortals and immortals in running,” Ms. Wittenberg said.
You can see it in the saliva-coated faces of the top runners in the New York marathon, Ms. Wittenberg added.
“We have towels at marathon finish to wipe away the spit on the winners’ faces,” she said. “Our creative team sometimes has to airbrush it off race photos that we want to use for ad campaigns.”
Tom Fleming, who coaches Stefan and me, agrees. A two-time winner of the New York marathon and a distance runner who was ranked fourth in the world, he says there’s a reason he was so fast.
“I was given a body that could train every single day.” Tom said, “and a mind, a mentality, that believed that if I trained every day — and I could train every day — I’ll beat you.”
“The mentality was I will do whatever it takes to win,” he added. “I was totally willing to have the worst pain. I was totally willing to do whatever it takes to win the race.”
But the question is, how do they do it? Can you train yourself to run, cycle, swim or do another sport at the edge of your body’s limits, or is that something that a few are born with, part of what makes them elites?
Sports doctors who have looked into the question say that, at the very least, most people could do a lot better if they knew what it took to do their best.
“Absolutely,” said Dr. Jeroen Swart, a sports medicine physician, exercise physiologist and champion cross-country mountain biker who works at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa.
“Some think elite athletes have an easy time of it,” Dr. Swart said in a telephone interview. Nothing could be further from the truth.
And as athletes improve — getting faster and beating their own records — “it never gets any easier,” Dr. Swart said. “You hurt just as much.”
But, he added, “Knowing how to accept that allows people to improve their performance.”
One trick is to try a course before racing it. In one study, Dr. Swart told trained cyclists to ride as hard as they could over a 40-kilometer course. The more familiar they got with the course, the faster they rode, even though — to their minds — it felt as if they were putting out maximal effort on every attempt.
Then Dr. Swart and his colleagues asked the cyclists to ride the course with all-out effort, but withheld information about how far they’d gone and how far they had to go. Subconsciously, the cyclists held back the most in this attempt, leaving some energy in reserve.
That is why elite runners will examine a course, running it before they race it. That is whyLance Armstrong trained for the grueling Tour de France stage on l’Alpe d’Huez by riding up the mountain over and over again.
“You are learning exactly how to pace yourself,” Dr. Swart said.
Another performance trick during competitions is association, the act of concentrating intensely on the very act of running or cycling, or whatever your sport is, said John S. Raglin, a sports psychologist at Indiana University.
In studies of college runners, he found that less accomplished athletes tended to dissociate, to think of something other than their running to distract themselves.
“Sometimes dissociation allows runners to speed up, because they are not attending to their pain and effort,” he said. “But what often happens is they hit a sort of physiological wall that forces them to slow down, so they end up racing inefficiently in a sort of oscillating pace.” But association, Dr. Raglin says, is difficult, which may be why most don’t do it.
Dr. Swart says he sees that in cycling, too.

“Our hypothesis is that elite athletes are able to motivate themselves continuously and are able to run the gantlet between pushing too hard — and failing to finish — and underperforming,” Dr. Swart said.
To find this motivation, the athletes must resist the feeling that they are too tired and have to slow down, he added. Instead, they have to concentrate on increasing the intensity of their effort. That, Dr. Swart said, takes “mental strength,” but “allows them to perform close to their maximal ability.”
Dr. Swart said he did this himself, but it took experience and practice to get it right. There were many races, he said, when “I pushed myself beyond my abilities and had to withdraw, as I was completely exhausted.”
Finally, with more experience, Dr. Swart became South Africa’s cross-country mountain biking champion in 2002.
Some people focus by going into a trancelike state, blocking out distractions. Others, like Dr. Swart, have a different method: He knows what he is capable of and which competitors he can beat, and keeps them in his sight, not allowing himself to fall back.
“I just hate to lose,” Dr. Swart said. “I would tell myself I was the best, and then have to prove it.”
Kim Smith has a similar strategy.
“I don’t want to let the other girls get too far ahead of me,” she said in a telephone interview. “I pretty much try and focus really hard on the person in front of me.”
And while she tied her success to having “some sort of talent toward running,” Ms. Smith added that there were “a lot of people out there who were probably just as talented. You have to be talented, and you have to have the ability to push yourself through pain.”
And, yes, she does get saliva all over her face.
“It’s not a pretty sport,” Ms. Smith said. “You are not looking good at the end.”
As for the race she ran with my son, she said: “I’m sorry if I spit all over Stefan.” (She didn’t, Stefan said.)