0

Coaching,Running

Join My European Maccabi Games Team!

MP Headshot 2013This summer, from July 27 to August 5, the 14th European Maccabi Games (EMG2015) will take place in Berlin, Germany, and I personally have the great privilege of participating in the games as a member of Team USA’s Half Marathon Team. The EMG2015 are Europe’s biggest Jewish sports event with more than 2000 athletes, coaches and counselors from 36 countries around world. Personally, this will be my third time participating in the Maccabi Games; my first two experiences both occurred in Israel as part of the World Maccabi Games (once in 1997 as a member of the Junior Track & Field team and most recently in 2013 as a member of the Women’s Half Marathon team).

However, this summer’s experience promises to be extra meaningful. For the first time ever, the European Maccabi Games will take place in Germany – just 70 years after the end of the Shoah and the Second World War and 50 years after the establishment of German-Israeli relations. And potentially most significantly – right in the midst of a period of heightened terrorist attacks and anti-Semitism in Europe, when prominent leaders and journalists from around the world are suggesting the Jews emigrate from Europe. Further, the EMG2015 will be held at Olympic Park in Berlin, which is the same location where Jews were forbidden to participate in the Olympic Games of 1936 – less than 80 years ago.

The historic and sociopolitical importance of the EMG2015 is enormous for Germany, Berlin and the worldwide Jewish community. And the urgency of Jews like myself not backing down but rather traveling to Europe, and specifically Germany, to proudly compete in athletics and celebrate being Jewish is dire.

It is with this purpose in mind, that I humbly ask you to support me in reaching my Chaverim requirement and becoming an integral part of my personal journey to Berlin and EMG2015.

Thank you in advance for your support. If you would like to make a contribution, please visit my Maccabi USA website! The direct link is as follows: http://musa.convio.net/site/TR/Games/MaccabiTeamRaiser?px=1004341&pg=personal&fr_id=1060.

Thank you and sincerely,

Melissa Perlman

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Cross Training,Health & Wellness,Running

From Asthma to COPD: This Runner Promises to Keep Going

IMG_1944Ailments, illnesses, sicknesses…they all seem so distant, foreign, disconnected from you…until someone close to you, a friend, family member, etc., is diagnosed, assigned that title, matched with said “situation.” And from then on, that name, acronym, label is no longer someone else’s problem or sad story…it’s now yours as well.

This was never so true as when my mom was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer and then passed away two very short years later. But today, I’m referencing COPD. Sure, the commercials on TV are pretty common, the pretend definition “chronic old people’s disease” always a throught or two away, but in reality did I know what COPD actually was? No, and I am pretty sure the majority of people out there don’t either. That was until, my friend and running buddy Sam informed me via text one afternoon that he had just been diagnosed with COPD. He was telling me not to spread the word or make some official announcement, but rather because I had put out a feeler via social media asking friends if anyone knew someone with COPD, asthma, or some other related breating ailment. (You see, my other friend / Palm Beach Post reporter Steve was looking for a local person to be profiled for the next issue of Health Living Mag, distributed by the Post.)

Sam let me know that he was probably the ideal candidate for the profile – having had asthma as a kid…and now only months early being diagnosed with COPD. He wasn’t sure if he really wanted to spread the word and announce to people he had COPD…but figured it was a good thing to tell his story in the hopes of helping, informing someone else. So he put his own concerns, selfish feelings to the side and offered up his full story. Sam and I sat outside Starbucks one morning…and he told me what a diagnosis of COPD really meant, when he received it, what his plans were, and what he was scared of…

And that’s where the story becomes real. Sam’s real fear/concern in telling me (and the Post and its hundreds of thousands of readers) his story…is that by putting it in writing, out there for everyone to read and hear, was making it real. He knew he couldn’t avoid it anymore, pretend he didn’t receive this news from his doctor, etc. He’d have to accept it, strategize, plan, and go-on with his life – different or not. I think the fear is still there…Sam acknowledges he is dealing with it still…and probably will for a while. But what I told him (and will say again here) is that life can’t always be planned. Diagnoses, changes, challenges happen. And if you focus too much on them and what will happen next, you will miss out on today. So yes, plan and strategize and do what you need to do to keep yourself healthy…but be sure to live every day life to the fullest, unconcerned with what you can’t control, and focused on being happy.

We didn’t know my mom would be diagnosed with cancer and die two years later. We couldn’t plan for that…but what we can do, is make sure we are living every day to its fullest while we are here. It’s the only way to win at life, regardless of what is thrown your way (good or bad).

So with that said, please read on…Here’s the Palm Beach Post, Healthy Living Magazine cover feature story on my good friend Sam.

Healthy Living: Can this Boynton Beach Man Out Run COPD?

PB Post Healthy Living - 2 PB Post Healthy Living - 3 PB Post Healthy Living - Cover

0

Coaching,Running

Steeplechase What?!

FullSizeRenderLast week, I drove up to Orlando with the Spanish River track team for the Disney Relays. The meet was a little hot (and sunny) but fun…but the highlight had to be the 2,000 Steeplechase event for high school boys. Two members of our team competed (jumping hurdles and steeplechases for the very first time), didn’t get injured and had a great time in the process.

I have to be honest…I questioned the idea at first…concerned that these runners would fall, slip, get trampled, etc. while trying out this “different” event…but my fellow Coach Doug Horn pushed for it, saying it would be fun for the boys…and he was right. They had a good time trying out an event…you rarely get the chance to compete in (especially in high school) and they did okay!

So, I figured I’d share some of the pictures from the race here…and also share some tips from steeplechase experts…

Also, check out this Runner’s World article on the subject.

Enjoy!

1. Don’t wear socks.

2. Have a strong core! The race requires you to get your legs up and over the barriers multiple times. Also, you don’t always land smooth. A strong core will help you keep your body in control and prevent a side stitch.

3. Run big. Running in any distance race where you are in a pack is tough. Now throw in some barriers to leap over and you have a disastrous mix if you aren’t careful. Find some space by staying outside, or being on the inside, but edge away from the first lane line a little to give yourself some space on one side. If people try to crowd you, lean towards them to make your presence know.

4. Don’t go out too fast. It is nice to be out in front and out of traffic, but if the pace is too fast at the start for you, the later stages of the race will be a death march. This race is unforgiving and just imagine being extremely fatigued with countless water jumps and barriers to make it over. Every hurdle is another momentum killer, so don’t burn up your energy too soon.

5. Learn to use hurdle with either leg. Out of all the steeplechase tips, this one is the most difficult to follow. You have to keep your momentum going, and you aren’t going to be counting steps between hurdles. Don’t do that choppy step routine or the long leg strides right before the barrier. Practice hurdling with your opposite leg. It makes a huge difference to be able to leap and not mess up your stride.

0

Cross Training,Diet,Health & Wellness

Healthy Living: Couple’s Workout

I have a great relationship with a Palm Beach Post reporter that allows me to write for the paper and its supplemental magazine “Healthy Living” every so often. Here is my most recent feauture story on a wonderful couple that I had the pleasure of meeting, interviewing and photographing. Enjoy! Read it on the Palm Beach Post’s website here.

Debbie & Ron Schwartz work out at the Adolplh & Rose Levis Jewish Community Center gym in Boca Raton.

Debbie & Ron Schwartz work out at the Adolplh & Rose Levis Jewish Community Center gym in Boca Raton.

Healthy Living Magazine
Palm Beach Post
February 15, 2015

Debbie and Ron Schwartz have been happily married for 47 years. So what do they attribute their success as a couple to? Well working out, together of course. Debbie, age 68, and Ron, 71, workout together at the Adolph & Rose Levis Jewish Community Center (Levis JCC) in Boca Raton three days a week for 60 minutes…sometimes more. They typically begin each session with legs and lower body and end with biceps; Debbie adds on between 15 and 30 minutes of cardio after her weights; Ron skips the cardio trying not to slim down too much.

According to Debbie, the couple has always worked out together. “It motivates you,” she says. “On days I don’t feel like working out, Ron pushes me. And vice versa. It makes you really enjoy working out and being together. It’s our time. We can share it and be together with no distractions.”

Ron, who is also Debbie’s personal trainer, adds: “Debbie never complains. I’m truly amazed at what she can do. She is absolutely my favorite student.”

Ron, who has been working out since age 15, first taught Debbie his healthy lifestyle ways when the two got married. Since then the two have taken up the “get healthy cause” together and share it with everyone they come in contact with – from their social circle to other Levis JCC gym members to their two young grandsons. “Our focus is on staying healthy and hopefully living a little longer,” says Ron. “Appearance and health motivate us; working out and eating healthy are what get us there. Hopefully we can share our message with those around us.”

Debbie adds that nutrition and eating healthy have been a huge component of the healthy lifestyle for her. Just three years ago she lost the extra thirty pounds she had been carrying around thanks to Ron’s training schedule and a focus on cleaning up her diet. “For me, I had to start watching what I was eating more,” Debbie says. “Just working out was no longer enough. We now eat salads every night and lots of vegetables, fish and turkey burgers. We’re not perfect but try to eat well about 95% of the time.”

Pull Quote: “It is a lifestyle. We are not suffering. We love working out and we love eating healthy because we know it is good for us.” – Debbie Schwartz.

Debbie Schwartz: Age 68, Lives in West Boca Raton, Works full-time as an insurance agent at Century Risk Advisors.

Ron Schwartz: Age 71, Lives in West Boca Raton; Retired from IBM and Office Depot where he worked for more than 40 years total as an IT Systems Analyst.

Health Living Tips from Ron and Debbie Schwartz:

  1. Visit your doctor to get medically checked before starting any physical exercise or nutritional program.
  2. Join a gym (like the Levis JCC in Boca Raton)!
  3. Get a trainer and/or find a partner. If you don’t have a partner, working out is much harder and definitely not as much fun. Plus a partner/trainer gives you accountability, motivation and guilt – all the emotions that will keep you going back!
  4. Educate yourself: Learn how to work out before you even step out onto the gym floor or pick up a weight. Understand the process first and then start. Otherwise you risk injury.
  5. Eat healthy. It is not a diet, but rather a way of life. We recommend more vegetable and lean proteins!

About the Levis JCC Sports & Wellness Program
The Levis JCC Fitness Center is an affordable way to incorporate health and wellness into your life. With a variety of membership options, members can make working out fit both their budget and schedule.

Membership includes brand new, state-of-the-art fitness center (bikes, elliptical machines, treadmills, Stairmasters, strength training equipment and free weights. Fitness staff, trainers on-site. Unlimited group exercise classes (Zumba, Body Pump, Cardio Kickboxing, Yoga) in new studio; Spinning in new, neon room with top instructors; six tennis courts and two full indoor basketball courts. Locker rooms with sauna, steam room and showers. Learn more at http://www.levisjcc.org/sports-and-wellness/fitness-membership/.

Adolph & Rose Levis Jewish Community Center
9801 Donna Klein Boulevard | Boca Raton, Florida 33428
561-852-3200 | info@levisjcc.org

0

Coaching,Running

McFarland: A Must See for Cross Country Runners and More!

mcfarlandI rarely make it to the movie theater these days, but I have to admit that from the minute I saw the previews for McFarland, USA, I knew I’d have to go. It’s rare to see a movie about running, let alone cross country. So supporting this Disney film was a no brainer…plus I heard rumors that it was really good!

So this past Sunday, I headed to the theater (I actually biked 12 miles there with my boyfriend – how appropriate?!) in West Delray Beach to see McFarland. And the movie was fantastic!

It was inspirational, realistic, educational and rewarding all at once. It was definitely a Disney movie…with any form of romance or violence being left on the cutting room floor – I am sure. But it also wasn’t corny, forced in any way. It was a good story…and realistic (as it should have been – being based on a true story). The end was one of my favorite parts I’ll admit – when the audience was updated on how each of the McFarland team members turned out…and what they are doing today.

I would highly recommend the movie for anyone – especially for those that know the sport of cross country, compete in it, ran high school cross country at some point in their life, and/or just want to know more about this AWESOME and sorta cultish team sport.

While I did not see the movie with my own team that I coach, I wish I had. I’d highly recommend it for anyone – great bonding, great inspiration for all. Maybe next time we’ll watch it the night before a big race!

Summary:

McFarland, USA is an American 2015 sports drama film directed by Niki Caro and produced by Walt Disney Pictures. Based on the true story of a 1987 cross country team from a predominantly Mexican-American high school, McFarland High School, in McFarland, California, the film stars Kevin Costner as Jim White, the school’s coach, who leads the team to win a state championship. Read more: http://movies.disney.com/mcfarland-usa

0

Cross Training,Running

No Gravity Running?! Testing Out the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill

I’ve been super lucky the past ten years or so…avoiding injury and any major aches and pains. I’ve chalked it up to taking off when I feel the need to, stretching a lot, sleeping even more and keeping my body strong. However, that all changed two weeks ago when I felt a pain in my left knee. Since then, I’ve been spending my days in Acupuncture (Integrated Holistic Medicine in Boca Raton) sessions with Carlos and Su and Physical Therapy (Physical Therapy Institute, Inc.) with Krystal.

IMG_7924Acupuncture is always my go-to…however, I knew while waiting for my knee to heal/feel better, I’d have to look at other alternatives to keep my body in shape and endurance high. A few of my Spanish River High School athletes had tried the AlterG(R) Anti-Gravity Treadmill at the Physical Therapy Insititute in Delray Beach, as had my co-coach Doug Horn….and all spoke highly of the unique experience. So when Krystal offered up the machine during my PT session, I jumped on board. (Besides the fact that the machine looked REALLY cool; I hadn’t run for a few days and was itching to get my legs moving!)

So what is the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill?

Anti-gravity treadmills, like the AlterG, are taking the aches and pains out of cardiovascular training by “unweighting” runners from 20 to 100 percent of their bodyweight, one percent at a time. The benefit? The AlterG can reduce the risk of stress-related / pounding injuries, while allowing athletes to train harder, faster, and smarter in a safe, controlled environment. Learn more here.

Krystal had me put on the tight neoprane spandex-style pants, step into the machine, get zipped up, and begin. After the machine calibrates you and your weight, you can change the speed and the percentage of body weight that you feel (i.e. you can run at 50% body weight and feel like you are literally flying). I quickly turned up the speed and felt my legs turning…FAST. I have to say it’s a pretty unique experience. Like pool running but so much more realistic. I was only on the treadmill for a brief 10 minutes but it felt like far less (two-four minutes at most). I found myself yearning for a lot more time on the treadmill…and wondering how I could make this a part of my daily routine (regardless of whether I had an injury). It turns out, I am not alone, in the yearning…professional athletes and sports teams around the country have their own AlterG treadmills and are changing the way athletes train (in good health or not) every day.

The negative? Really only the cost…The treadmills are expensive – hence going to a physical therapy location to use it. It will be a long time before your neighbors (or me) have an AlterG in their garage / home gym. The treadmills start at around $34K…

Here’s a good video from Runner’s World of the AlterG: “Running on Air.”

 

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Coaching,Health & Wellness,Running

Session Two of Boca Raton Kids Run Club Kicks Off in March!

Thanks to our friends at ModernBocaMom.com for featuring this awesome Kids Running program. Learn more HERE:

Kids Complete Session One of the Kids Run Club at the Holiday Mile Run in Boca Raton in December 2014.

Kids Complete Session One of the Kids Run Club at the Holiday Mile Run in Boca Raton in December 2014.

Runner’s Edge Boca Raton is partnering with The City of Boca Raton and Run for Funds Florida, a school and organization fundraising/event management business, to launch a highly requested Kids Run Club here in Boca starting March 3rd.
The Kids Run Club is open to first through sixth graders or kids ages 7 to 11. The kids meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:45 to 4:45 pm at the Spanish River Athletic Complex (across from Spanish River Library).
Lacey Chimienti, a teacher and track coach in Boca Raton and a weekend Runner’s Edge Boca Raton employee, is the head coach of the program; she is assisted by Runner’s Edge owners (and runners) Tom Vladimir and Carol Virga.
To participate in the Runner’s Edge “Kids Run Club,” please call Runner’s Edge Boca Raton at 561-361-1950 and/or email Coach Lacey at lacey@runforfundsflorida.com to sign-up to receive details on registration.
The cost of the Kids Run Club is $75 for residents and $93.75 for non-residents. The Spring session will kick off on March 3 and end April 23, 2015. Kids will race in the Run for the Rays race on April 26th in Boca Raton.

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Coaching,Cross Training,Health & Wellness,Running

How’s that New Year Resolution Going? Couch to 5K Training Program

The 2013 Couch to 5K Training Program

The 2013 Couch to 5K Training Program Participants

We are just two weeks into the New Year! So…how’s that New Year resolution to get in shape, to finally run a 5K race, to feel better…going? Well let the Runner’s Edge Boca Raton training team help! Whether you are a self-labeled “couch potato” or a regular runner looking to race faster, the Runner’s Edge has a training program for you. Read on:

  • Runner’s Edge Boca Raton’s 2015 Carol’s Couch Potato 5K Training Program (aka “Zero to 5K”) (Feb 12-April 26, 2015) designed for beginners! This program is built around interval training (run/walk) and the focus is on fitness, not competition. Includes: personalized coaching, schedule, discount on store purchases, t-shirt, free entry to Run From the Rays 5K, alumni pace leaders, and three group meetings/classes per week. Cost is $99 for 10 weeks. Orientation Thursday, Feb 12th.
  • Runner’s Edge Boca Raton’s 2015 5K/10K Training program (Feb 12-April 26, 2015) designed for runners of all levels. The goal is to improve speed and conditioning and includes coaching seminars, individualized training, group runs (three-times a week), daily training schedule for 11 weeks, alumni pace leaders, free entry into Run From the Rays 5K on April 26th, training t-shirt and discount on purchases at Runner’s Edge. Cost is $99. Orientation is Thursday, Feb 12th.

Learn more and sign up at http://www.runnersedgeboca.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/zeroto5kbrochure15.pdf

Runner’s Edge Boca Raton
3195 N. Federal Highway
Boca Raton, FL 33431
561-361-1950

0

Coaching,Cross Training,Health & Wellness,Running

Turkey Trots Galore!

Thankgiving is in fact the biggest day for 5Ks in South Florida…so join in on the fun and participate in a Turkey Trot near you! I personally will be racing in the Levis JCC Turkey Trot on Thursday morning at 7:30am at South County Regional Park in West Boca Raton! Hope to see you there! Details below!

Register here.

Sun-Sentinel - Turkey

1

Coaching,Running

High School Cross Country “Clue Run”

My fellow coach at Spanish River High School in Boca Raton, Florida, Dough Horn, loves to intertwine fun games and team activities within our serious and high-intensity season (which happens to last from summer through mid-November). So when he asked me to plan a “Clue Run” of sorts that would take place the week prior to the Florida State Championships and therefore act as a stress reliever for those that qualified for States (the boys varsity team) and a fun run for those who had already ended their seasons (the remaining 40 kids)…I quickly got to work strategizing! The “Clue Run” was a success for many reasons, which I will list below, and therefore I wanted to share it with others/coaches looking for a great activity to execute with their own respective teams. (Thanks for the push to post here Lacey!)

Overview/Direction:

  • Doug wanted the run to total 8 miles and of course stay around the Boca Raton area (running distance from Spanish River high school, where the kids would begin the run).
  • We also decided to split the teams so that the faster kids would be required to “run with” and/or push the not-so-fast kids. Initially we were going to choose the team ourselves, but ended up having captains choose their own teams.
  • We also needed a way to prove that all of the kids were running the full distance (i.e. making their way to each of the clues)…and that’s where the selfie requirement came into play! (I borrowed that strategy from a Delray Beach “Seek In The City” event I participated in earlier in the year!)
  • There were 9 clues…and each was spaced a little less than a mile away from the prior clue. Clue locations included: local play ground, water park, cemetery entrance/bench, flags at local university, one of the team members’ houses, crossing guard, Publix produce section, and back the school.

Rules: We gathered the kids after school, named two team captains who went ahead and took turns choosing team members, and then listed the rules. (Earlier in the day, I had driven/run around Boca Raton placing our clues in their “homes” and hoping no one would move anything before our runners had the chance to find them! While most clues were hidden, I did put balloons in certain places where I felt the clues would be tough to find. Remember, the goal was not to get the kids lost but rather for them to run the full 8-mile distance and have a lot of fun!)

Following are the rules shared with the kids:

1. All runners must reach each location. And to prove it, they would have to take a picture of the “team” a the clue location and immediately text it to me.

2. No stealing or moving clues meant for the other team. (Each location had two clues – one for the green team, and one for the blue team – which looking back was a mistake! If I could do it again, we would have had one team go in the reverse direction…to allow for a real race!)

3. No jaywalking! This was critical as the Clue Run is lots of fun…but as we always tell our runners, safety is the priority and cars don’t stop!

4. Be professional! Some of our clues were in private locations (Publix, a park, etc.) and it is important that the kids understand that and act appropriately. On that note, dressing appropriately (wearing shirts) was important as well.

And with that, we sent them off with their first clue…

Lessons Learned

  • A few injured runners were on-site to help out. We wanted them to feel included, and I wanted pictures of the excitement…so we provided them clue locations in advance and they were asked to take pictures. As a result, we had awesome pictures…but having them out there with cars led to a few kids on the team bailing out early and/or being lazy and jumping in the cars. Not the intention…and lesson learned for next time!
  • As I said earlier, two teams going to the exact same location lead to the ultimate merger of the two teams…by the time the kids finished, there was a complete merger of the two teams…luckily the winning prize (a sheet of Rice Krispy Treats) was able to be shared! But next time, we’ll have one team go in a different direction!
  • Try and keep the number of clues below 8! By the time the kids got to number 7…they were bored and distracted.

Questions? Comment here and I’ll share more detail as needed!