About Me

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Hi, I'm Whitney! I am a middle of the pack runner who discovered the fun of triathlons in 2009. Join me in my adventures in life and training. I run with the Rush Running team and enjoy the fun that comes with such a supportive group of friends who understand what running means to me. I'm newly discovering road biking and the fun that it entails.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Open Water Swimming in the Off-Season

There is something unique to open water swimming and many people think that you just can't replicate it in the pool.  Well, today I think I figured out how to do it.  Here are my simple steps:

1) Find a swimmer who is faster than you.
2) Split a lane with said swimmer.
3) Ask said swimmer to swim butterfly with a 5 sec. lead-off from you.
4) Watch the wake form and get into it!

See...it's simple.

I came up with this strategy by accident today.  The pool was busy so my swimming partner and I had to share a lane for our workout.  He's faster than me and can swim a lot more of stroke during the workout.  Even with a 5 second lead-off, I still felt like I was struggling in his wake a few times during the workout.  Though I apparently paid that back to him a few times when we would have the timing off for our flip turns.  As I was going into mine, he was coming out of his which meant he got to deal with my wake for a chance.

For our workout we did the following:

Warm up swim - 600 yds
Set 1 - 500 yd Ladder
His version: 25 fly, 50 back, 75 fly,back,breast, 100 IM, 100 free, 75 fly,back,breast, 50 back, 25 fly
My version: 25 free, 50 free/back, 75 free,free,breast, 100 pull, 100 pull, 75 free,free,breast, 50 free,back, 25 free
Set 2 - Pull 250yd to 300yd
Set 3 - 6 x 50 yds 3 on 60 sec and 3 on 55 sec
Cooldown swim - 100 yds

This year has been a great swimming year for me.  I did have a few months where I swam less than I would have liked as I adjusted to a new work position but I think that I've got that balanced back out now.  I'm looking forward to another great year for swimming in 2014.  As 2013 comes to a close, I have to thank one of my sponsors, TriSwim products, for the awesome support this year.  My hair and skin has felt great all year and I have TriSwim to thank for that.  No green hair for this girl...TriSwim gets the chlorine out and keeps my skin itch-free!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

What makes you stronger!

This morning was the Bentonville Half Marathon training group's third group run. At just the 3rd week of the program, we are at a distance of two miles. For many in the group this is their first time to commit to a running program and two miles is a challenge. 

The route that we tackled included the Compton Gardens portion of our local running trail.  This section of the trail also happens to be part of the last mile of the race course too.  The fun part of this route is that you get to run downhill only to hit the turn around point and go back up! Before each group run, our coach Mike Rush goes over pointers and call outs for the participants.  Today he talked about a key form mistake a lot of us make...running with tension. His tips were to make sure you dropped those shoulders and relaxed the tension in your back. 

Once we were out on the run the Rush team split up through out the group to encourage and support the participants. I ended up with my buddy Jody and we had fun encouraging others as we ran. We tried to say good job or something similar to everyone we passed. When we hit the hill we were the chattiest ones trying to take people's minds off the hill. Sometimes running can be mental and you just need a distraction! I tried my hardest to get someone to cross the top of the hill with their arms up a la Rocky but got no takers. 

After running the training group in, I had 2.78 miles on my watch which was way less than my target mileage for the day.  I took a quick break to use the potty and get a sip of water then headed back out.  Originally I wanted to add on enough to hit 5 miles and I headed in a direction to accommodate that. Then I decided to continue on to hit 6 miles and ended up making it to 6.5 miles with my route choices. I quickly headed home and got Sidney geared up to run with me.

Sidney got a new gentle leader harness for Christmas and these are the best harnesses for her. She loves going on runs and just ran with joy the minute we got out the door.  I needed another 2.5 miles to hit my 9 mile goal for the day.  The thing about running from my house is that there are hills in every direction.  I decided on a route that would take me down and then back up one of the biggest hills.  Going down was a breeze...but coming back up was slow going. I swear my dog stopped a couple of times and looked back at me with a look that said, "seriously are you even moving!" I was slow but I conquered that hill.  

That's the thing about hills...the more you train on them the easier they become.  Hills truly make you a stronger runner and that is why Mike Rush has the training group run on the hills in the course. Back to Mike's tip about relaxing the shoulders and tension...I noticed on my run with Sidney that no matter the terrain she ran with joy and happiness. That pup had no tension in her little body! I should take lessons from her, especially since she beat me up that hill! 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

It's a Rush Running Christmas!

Last night was the Annual Rush Running Holiday Party! Every year, our running team gets together to celebrate the year and have a fun dinner before the holidays.  This year we have expanded the team so it was fun to have a chance to get to spend time with some of our newer team members.

Around Halloween I came up with an idea.  It stuck in my head and I envisioned greatness...but I didn't know how to execute the idea.  I reached out to the team and to a photographer friend for help.  From the team, I collected pictures from everyone's racing and training throughout the year.  And then a smaller group of us went to work on a more technical part of the surprise...recording some audio.  Here's the finished product!

We managed to keep this video a secret from Mike.  He was surprised and liked this surprise quite a bit more than his official introduction into Marathon Maniacs club which was the 2nd surprise gift for him.

I owe a huge thanks to my friend Chuck who compiled the audio into one file and laid the track over the instrumental version of the song.  I also owe huge thanks to Matt who wrote the lyrics and served as lead vocals on the song.

Our coach, Mike Rush, is a true magnet for change.  He has been a driving factor in changing the face of running in our community.  We have so many more people out and running and so many more races now because of his store and the influence he has had within our community.  He has given me all the kicks in the butt that I have needed throughout the last 5 years of running and he has lifted me up with praise for all my accomplishments too.  I can't tell you enough how lucky each of us on the team feel to be a part of this group.  And to shout out praise for his store and staff...together they all accomplished being one of the top 4 running stores in the US as announced last week at The Running Event in Austin.  We're super proud of them and of course all figuring out how to catapult them to the number one spot that we all think they deserve!!!

Friday, December 6, 2013

What Not to Wear...Snow Day Run Edition!

Thursday I headed home from work like the rest of Northwest Arkansas...EARLY...you see winter weather was coming! Light sleet started around mid-morning and by 2:00 our offices were nearly deserted.  I packed up my computer and made the slow drive home on the slippery roads.  It was just in time as the big hill I have to get up was starting to ice over and at least one car in front of me slid off the road.  I made it home just fine and prepared for the rest of the weather to hit.  It began to snow around 4:00 and it was gorgeous fluffy snow.

Today I woke up to a blanket of snow covering everything.  I quickly shoveled the driveway so that any slush was scooped off before the super cold temps arrive overnight tonight.  Around mid-morning, Facebook started to blow up with pictures of people and their kids out playing in the snow.  And then Chuck, owner of the local race photography company Podium Images and a friend, posted a photo of himself out running in the snow.

Chuck forgot some of the basic rules of winter running...dress for the weather!  His ensemble did include a hat and scarf to ward off the chilly winter weather but other than that all he remembered to put on was a pair of briefs and his running shoes.

Chuck this video might help prepare you better for your next snow run!

In truth, Chuck took opportunity of a gorgeous snowy setting to take a fun photo and I trust that he really does know how to properly dress for a wintery, snow run! If you are local to NWA...it is highly likely that Chuck and his beautiful wife Janet have taken your picture at one of our local races.  Consider following them on Facebook here as they always provide links via their page to new race galleries where you can view and purchase great race pictures!

Back to today...what was great about today was seeing people post pics or comments about getting out into the snow to still get their runs in for the day.  I started my day on the bike trainer to get indoor cardio but by 4:30 all of my friend's posts had motivated me to get on my winter gear and get in a little jog before it got dark.  Sidney and I got 2 miles in which isn't much but it was refreshing to be out there and the crunch of shoes on the snow isn't something I get to hear too often on my runs here in Arkansas! For the run, we went and checked out the two street options to get down off the hill that my neighborhood sits on.  Both streets are about 1/2 mile from mine and both still look to be under heavy ice conditions.  I saw mostly pick up trucks and 4WD vehicles out on the roads.

This brings me to my final tip for the day and it deals with running on roads in poor winter conditions...when you see a car STOP completely and step off the side of the road.  Remove yourself as a distraction for that driver because if they start to steer or make sudden movements they are more likely to skid and lose control of the vehicle putting you on the sidelines in danger.  Once they are past you, resume running.  This method makes me feel safer so it's what I do!

If you have similar winter weather in your neck of the woods this weekend, stay safe and warm and remember to put on those Yak Trax and get out there for a fun snow day run!