Miles aren’t long with friends by your side

Miles aren’t long with friends by your side

by Stephanie Miller

If you’ve run a 5K in the Asheville area, chances are you’ve seen two ladies dressed in matching outfits with smiles on their faces looking like they’re having the time of their lives. They may be wearing tu-tus and tiaras, glow-in-the-dark running skirts, or the traditional dirndl.

Wherever you see them running, you can bet that Kim Walker, 64, and Melissa Drennan, 49, are bringing the fun. 

“You can pretty much run in anything, even a coconut bra,” said Melissa. “Just make sure the costume doesn’t chafe.”

This comment is followed by laughter from both ladies, who have been running together in various costumes since 2014. I myself have seen them at various running events in the Asheville area, and my curiosity about their story has grown with every new costume I’ve seen. Recently,  I had the pleasure of meeting both Kim and Melissa at the YMCA to hear all about it. Their smiles are infectious as we talked about their ongoing friendship, running, and their love for costumes (and beer). 

“I love the camaraderie,” said Kim. “I’ve met so many wonderful women through running that I wouldn’t necessarily have met. I thank Melissa for getting me back into running.” 

Melissa convinced Kim to sign up for the Highland Night Flight about five years ago. Kim was a mountain biker and hadn’t been running much, but she loved the idea of a glow-in-the-dark type run …and also the beer at the end. 

“We loved the glow in the dark idea,” Kim said, then adds: “What can I say? Beer, darkness, glow in the dark… we’re in!” 

After that race, they kept the running and beer theme going and joined Race to the Taps. Then, it was on to the Cooper River Bridge Run, the Trick or Trail 5K, Thomas Wolfe 8K, the Resolution Run, the downtown Turkey Trot, Light Up the Night 5K…They estimate they’ve run about 24 races together.

“About two cases of beer-ish,” added Kim, and they laugh again. 

I’m starting to think that I want to dress up in costume and run with these ladies. 

“Everyone is so encouraging,” said Melissa. “When you’re in costume, so many people want to talk to you. It’s very supportive and fun. And so encouraging.”

From Couch to 5K

Melissa didn’t start running until she was in her 30s. A former verified couch potato, she started running on her own and signed up for 5ks to stay motivated. The support from others made her realize that not everyone needs to run a 6 minute mile to be viewed as a “runner.”

“Everyone is so supportive no matter what your skill level is,” Melissa said. Kim smiled and nodded.

“The running community is a great community,” she agreed. 

Melissa remembers the first time she ran a mile without stopping, and what a big deal that was at the time. Now, her goal is to run one half marathon a year. She has already completed a few, including one full marathon. 

Not bad for a couch potato. 

“I have come a long way since then,” she admitted.

What’s her advice for a beginner?

“Just do it!” Melissa said enthusiastically. “Sign up. Find a friend. There are so many great running groups around here. So many breweries that do run clubs…”

Ok, so….

  1. Sign up for a race
  2. Use the Buddy System

“And don’t skimp on shoes!” Melissa added. “My whole world opened up when I bought new shoes. It was like night and day!”

      3. Buy GOOD new running shoes.

Got it! 

Keeping it fun

The main reason these two ladies run, however, is because they keep it fun. Kim started running in the 1980s and ran the Chicago marathon in 1985. She completed it in 4 hours, 10 minutes and 6 seconds. 

“I was proud of that!” Kim said.  

That kind of running burnt her out though, she admitted, and with two little kids and working full time, she took a break from running and rode her bike instead. Thanks to Melissa, she is back in her running sneakers and having a great time. 

“It just kept being fun,” she said.

Now, running is more about having a good time and costume planning. Both friends sometimes travel together, and their trips often lead to “vacation races,” allowing them to see the sights while enjoying their favorite sport. 

Vacation races are a great way to explore a new city or destination, but both ladies know that running in Asheville is hard to beat. With so many beautiful places to run outdoors, it’s no wonder we have such a strong running community. 

Plus the costumes.

“Oh, the costumes make it really fun,”, Kim added, smiling. 

“Everyone thinks we’re nuts!”

No, not nuts at all. Just totally inspiring. 

Kim will be joining us at the 2020 Frostbite event! Her costume will probably be “warm,” but if you see her be sure to cheer her on! Melissa will be traveling for work at that time, but we expect to see her at another future event. 

Advice for Running in Costume

“You can’t just throw a costume on willy-nilly. You might have to wear it around the house, run down to the mailbox. Your neighbors might wonder…but it’s worth it.” ~ Kim

“Make sure the costume doesn’t chafe. And wear good shoes!” ~ Melissa

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Asheville Swim League Workout for Thursday, January 16, 2020

Asheville Swim League Workout for Thursday, January 16, 2020

by Coach Susan

Swim Workout Thursday, January 16, 2020

Review so far:

Week 1:  Saving shoulders by engaging lats & benefit of early vertical forearm (EVF)

Week 2:  Explain term “Build” in a workout and optimize amount of rotation in freestyle using water level on goggles as a guide.

New this week:

Week 3:  Explain “pyramid” term in workout and mix in backstroke and breaststroke to “round out” load on muscles.

  1. Pyramid Refers to a set of swims that grow in distance and then work back down to the starting distance.  A pyramid growing to 100 by 25s would be the following distances separated by a rest:

25 yards

50 yards

75 yards

100 yards

75 yards

50 yards

25 yards

  1. Backstroke & Breaststroke– Backstroke pulls your shoulders back which improves posture and requires an engaged core for balance and rotation.  Breaststroke arm recovery is underwater which gives shoulders a bit of a break and builds pectoral chest muscles as squeeze elbows together. Heavy emphasis on leg kick as the primary mover.

200 Choice Warm Up

Freestyle - Build:

Group 1:  6 x 25 Build - 20 sec rest (150 yd)

Group 2:  4 x 50 Build - 15 sec rest (200 yd)

Group 3: 4 x 50 Build- 15 sec rest (200 yd)

Stroke (Choose Back or Breast) + Freestyle:

Group 1:  8 x 50 on 2:00  - 25 Stroke + 25 Free (400 yd)

Group 2:  5 x 100 on 2:15 - 25 Stroke + 75 Free (500 yd)

Group 3:  5 x 100 on 2:15 - 50 Stroke + 50 Free (500 yd)

Freestyle Pyramid (Long and Smooth Stroke): 

Group 1:  25/50/75/100/100/75/50/25  - 30 sec rest  (500 yd)

Group 2: 50/100/ 200/400/200/100/50 30 sec rest (1,100 yd)

Group 3:  100/200/300/400/300/200/100  30 sec rest (1,600 yd)

Cool Down - Choice 5 minute swim

Distance before 5 minute cool down:

Group 1 1,250  yards

Group 2 2,000 yards

Group 3 2,500 yards

Running a race on mixed surface

Running a race on mixed surface

by Tom Mangan

“Running a race on mixed surface and terrain can be better on your body during the race and for post-race recovery.”

How does that commercial go…I’m no doctor, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Disclaimers away, here it goes.

We runners love our routines, and where we choose to run is no exception. Some favor pounding the pavement or tearing up the treadmill for 100 miles (don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it!), while others enjoy speeding on the track, or tackling the trails. There is a good likelihood that many of us don’t stray too far from our favorites. Ah…comfort zones. They’re so…comfy. As a result, we are limiting some of the physical benefits we might receive during our run.

One of the many unique characteristics of the Asheville Marathon and Half at Biltmore Estate is that both courses cover a variety of running surfaces. Quite a few runners, when first learning of the varied surfaces of their course, start questioning the shoes they plan to wear on race day. (Oh, how we runners love to think about shoes. A lot. And food. Lots of food. But I digress…)

Once we manage to pry ourselves away from thoughts of shoes and food, we start poring over the course description on the race website and our eyes land on “breathtaking.” Thankful that it’s describing the sights rather than how we’ll feel running up the hill at mile four, we move on to read the course has some pavement, some large gravel, some crushed gravel, some packed dirt, along with some concrete and wood on the bridges. Ultra runners are itching to make a spreadsheet at this point. Let the overthinking begin!

Running on a variety of surfaces engages different leg muscles and works leg muscles differently. For example, running on trails makes you engage a lot of little stabilizer muscles that you may not use running all of your miles on the roads. Running on asphalt allows you focus on form and consistency while firing your fast-twitch muscles, whereas running on gravel and carriage roads can put emphasis on your quads and ankles because each step is slightly different than the next. Just like snowflakes, no two are alike. These running surfaces tend to be easier on the joints because they absorb and disperse impact. Additionally, the tiny adjustments made on each stride help build strength in the small muscles of your calves and thighs, which have to work harder to stabilize your legs on unstable or uneven surfaces.

But fear not. In fact, there is good news. Running a race on mixed surface and terrain can aid in post-race recovery. Many of us are used to marathons that take us through the heart of downtown on pavement – which is ten times as hard as asphalt (who knew?!) – and one of the worst surfaces on which to run. The damage that can cause over 48,000 steps is remarkable. The simple explanation is that post-race recovery is faster because you didn’t do as much damage in the first place, and any effects are spread over more of your body.

On a multi-surface course such as Asheville, there is something for everyone. The course layout is such that you never run on a single surface for too long before there is a transition, yet the entire course is runnable. One of the reasons so many run the Backyard to Vineyard Challenge or the Backyard to Backyard Challenge is because their bodies don’t take a tough beating at the Saturday race that they can run well on Sunday, too. As one who has run the Backyard to Vineyard Challenge each year it’s been held, I’ve never had to do “the marathon walk” the day after the marathon and my body hasn’t been as fatigued as it would be at other races.

Knowing this, the only thing left to do now (other than register) is to decide which shoes to wear on race day. Without recommending a particular brand or model, I’d simply suggest a comfortable road shoe. There is no need for a trail shoe at Asheville and I’d recommend against a racing flat for all but those who are truly racing because many runners prefer a little more cushion when running on gravel. With 2 ½ months until race day, it should give you something to think about. That…and second breakfast.

If you’re like me (there’s a scary thought), you’re thinking about buying some shoes to wear at Asheville. Do yourself a favor and keep that new year’s resolution to save money. Use code “NEWYOU2020” (expires January 31st, 2020 at midnight) to save $10 when you register. Look for me at the expo and let me know what shoes you decided to wear. Good luck with your training.

Tom Mangan is an Asheville Marathon & Half Ambassador. Read more about Tom and the rest of our 2020 ambassadors on our Asheville Marathon Ambassador Page

Is putting on a charity event right for you?

Is putting on a charity event right for you?

Is putting on a charity event right for you?

by Daphne Kirkwood

Since 2011, Daphne Kirkwood and iDaph Events have been designing and producing events and have successfully implemented many different tactics for designing, planning and organizing events so that on race day, the event runs smoothly and as stress-free as possible.

iDaph’s new educational series, iDaph iNsight, is designed to help you enhance and grow your existing events. If you’re looking to learn more about event planning and growth strategies, please read our blog and subscribe to our iDaph Events YouTube channel. 

As a Race Director, I get a lot of questions about how to run an event — ESPECIALLY charity events.

People often say to me, “Hey we really want to raise money for our non-profit organization. Can you help us?”

Before you start your planning, here are the top five things you need to think about to determine if starting up an event for your non-profit is right for you.

#1: Do you have a supportive organization with a good leadership team and lots of volunteers?

Hosting an event for your cause requires solid leadership, organization, and a committed leadership team. Do you have a leadership committee in place? If you build an event, you want to make sure you have a group of people who are dedicated to seeing the event through and ensure its success.

Does your organization have lots of supportive volunteers? Volunteers are the backbone of your event! They will help keep your event running smoothly and reduce a lot of stress. Most 5k events require at least 25-40 volunteers, so keep that in mind in your planning.

Hosting a 5k run sounds like a good idea and most people think it is a great way to raise lots of money for your organization. But realistically, communities are saturated with 5k running events, and sometimes there are multiple 5ks on the same day. Which leads us to #2.

#2: Do you have a date in mind?

Having a season in mind and then honing in a few different date possibilities that work for your organization are key. Once you have these dates in mind, look at the community calendar and see what other events are happening that same time of year and date. The worst possible thing you can do is create an event that happens on an already existing event in the community. It will further saturate the event community and weaken your event participation.

The next thing to consider when determining if a charity event is right for you is:

#3: Have you determined the preferred location for your event?

If so, have you secured this spot? Finding a location and gaining permission and access is key to hosting a charity event. Before you spend a lot of time determining your race date, make sure that the location is available that you are looking for. And as mentioned in Tip #2, find someplace original to host your event. This unique location alone will help boost participation numbers and make the event a success.

#4: Make sure your event format is ORIGINAL and UNIQUE!

Instead of spending all your efforts on a typical event that is already happening in your community, determine a new and creative race format and idea. Whether it is a running, cycling, multi-sport, kids, themed event or during a holiday, creating a unique style of event is key.

#5: Finally, ask your organization what is the fundraising goal for this event?

If you have a solid leader, event committee, group of volunteers, a unique format and an original location and a date for your event that doesn’t interfere with existing events, you are on your way to have a successful event. Organizations hosting inaugural events should be realistic about their fundraising goals for the first year. You will want to bring enough revenue to cover expenses and to hopefully have a little bit of profit. Typically, events take 3 to 6 years to see financial growth and for organizations to reach revenue goals. Your two main sources of revenue for an event will be participants and community partnerships.

I hope this video helps you determine whether a charity event is right for you. Please feel free to share it with your event planning team, and if you have more questions or would like more information, please reach out to me personally at daphne@idaph.net. Drop a comment below and let us know how we can continue to support you and your team with your event planning.

I will see you in the next iDaph Insights Video.

 

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Is putting on a charity event right for you?

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Mental Resilience: How to stay mentally strong

by Jeremiah Reider

Jeremiah is an excellent cyclist who rides with Asheville Winter Bike League regularly and battles with seasonal depression. Here he shares a few paragraphs about his struggle and how AVL WBL and the iDream Athletes Foundation have helped him cope. 

Jeremiah has attended ALL of the AVL WBL rides this season so he is on his way to winning the coveted AVL WBL mug! 

I write this the day prior to the Winter Solstice, for I have endured the shallow arc that the sun is taking across our beautiful Western North Carolina sky. The fact that daylight is now scarce comes with a range of emotions. Some happy and elated because of the holiday season. Some dismal and depressed wondering when spring will begin to show its renewal on the land. Like many of you, I choose to keep pedaling through the winter month, often looking out the window and seeing the cold northerly wind dancing in the trees or the barely above freezing rain falling from the sky. Motivation to ride my bike becomes a fleeting thought.

I choose to ride for the child-like freedom and joy that cycling brings. For the challenge, camaraderie, sense of adventure and Strava KOM’s. Just kidding! I haven’t posted a ride to Strava in almost a year and plan to keep my streak alive ;-).

I prefer to ride off of feel, checking in with my mind and body to see the game that I want to play on any given day. Above all, I ride for my mental health. I have been on a 15 year journey of mental health rejuvenation, for I experience crippling depression and anxiety as I’m sure many of you do. Loneliness and despair can rein supreme if I choose to let them. Over the years I learned that I have a choice when these emotions become all consuming. My choice is to keep pedaling, even when my mind is screaming at me to keep curling my body up in a ball at the end of my bed.

I turn to group rides to keep my emotions in check. To motivate me on the days when my mind wants to ruminate and tell my body to simply stay put. The Asheville Winter Bike League rides have become a mainstay for me and another coping skill when my depression and anxiety rear their ugly head. I encourage you all to come out and reach out to one another through our common ground, and I bet that you will discover that you are not alone when it comes to the emotional and mental health challenges that you face.

Ride steady, ride strong, and above all ride for your emotional and mental health.

Want to learn more about Asheville Winter Bike League?

Click here, or sign up directly by clicking on the button below!

Past iDaph Blogs

Is putting on a charity event right for you?

Is putting on a charity event right for you?

Is putting on a charity event right for you? by Daphne Kirkwood Since 2011, Daphne Kirkwood and iDaph Events have been designing and producing events and have successfully implemented many different tactics for designing, planning and organizing events so that on race...

Why I Ride

Why I Ride

Mental Resilience: How to stay mentally strong by Jeremiah Reider Jeremiah is an excellent cyclist who rides with Asheville Winter Bike League regularly and battles with seasonal depression. Here he shares a few paragraphs about his struggle and how AVL WBL and the...

Building Speed and the Goldilocks of Rotation

Building Speed and the Goldilocks of Rotation

Building Speed and the 'Goldilocks' Amount of Rotation (not too little..not too much) Swim Workout Thursday, January 9, 2020  Build Begin swim slow and relaxed focusing on good form while gradually increasing effort and speed. Because you finish the distance at a...