Top 3 ‘Runner Friendly Communities’ in America

Great press release on ‘Runner Friendly Communities’ that just came out from The Road Runners Club of America. Unfortunately, South Florida is not on the list. While we may not have the trails (that the top three seem to brag about), we do have beaches and warm weather year round! Not too shabby!

Read on below.

Arlington, VA – The Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) is pleased to announce the 4th Quarter round of 2012 selections for the Runner Friendly Community® designation: Peachtree City, GA, Eugene, OR, and Columbus, GA.

These communities have shown that they meet the program’s criteria, which includes community infrastructure, community support, and local government support for running. Each community has an infrastructure that can foster physical activity in a safe environment; a proven track record that organizations and businesses work together to promote running as a healthy exercise and sport; and there are positive relationships between the running community and local government.

“The citizens of Eugene take great pride in our deep-rooted running heritage and our national reputation as Track Town, USA,” explained Kitty Piercy, Mayor of Eugene. “Our running community is vast and diverse, spanning all ages and ability levels.”

While runners do not require a lot of expensive equipment, there are several ways that local communities can invest to ensure that running is safe, affordable, accessible, and enjoyable for anyone that wants to run.

“Peachtree City’s 24-square miles include over 25% naturally wooded green space, and we own and maintain a 90-mile network of paved, multi-use paths,” explained Don Haddix, Mayor of Peachtree City. “The paths are tremendously popular and provide the perfect environment for individuals and organized events.”

“In November 2010, the Soldier Marathon and Half Marathon was established with assistance from the Columbus Road Runners.  To make the Soldier Marathon a reality it took the cooperation of the Army, Military Police, the Columbus Police Department, the Mayor’s Office, the Columbus City Council, Columbus Parks & Recreations, local sponsors, and more,” explained Teresa Pike Tomlinson, Mayor of Columbus.

“Our soldiers, leaders and Department of Army Civilians, as well as their families, enjoy and are proud to participate in events which promote healthy and physically fit lifestyles for all,” explained Robert Brown, Major General, US Army, Commanding General, Fort Benning, GA. “I am in full support of the city of Columbus, GA to be nationally designated as a Runner Friendly Community.”

The goals of the Runner Friendly Community program are to shine a national spotlight on communities that standout as runner-friendly and provide incentives and ideas for communities to work towards becoming runner friendly communities. Runner friendly communities can increase the quality of life, improve physical activity for residents as outlined in the National Physical Activity Plan, and provide for increased economic impact for the community.

Congratulation to the new RRCA: RUNNER FRIENDLY COMMUNITIES:

Eugene, OR
Eugene, known by many as Track Town, USA, offers miles of Cross Country running trails on diverse terrain. European-inspired bark running trails are prevalent throughout the city, spanning flat land and hillsides alike. Paved paths wind along the beautiful banks of the Willamette River, and year-round they are home to runners and cyclists. Eugene has a dedicated group of city employees and Oregon Track Club volunteers that maintain the trails year round. Eclectic Edge Racing manages a well-attended fundraising race each year that benefits trail system maintenance. Eclectic Edge Racing works closely with the Oregon Track Club as well as other schools and nonprofit organizations to host races nearly every weekend in the Eugene area. These partnerships help maintain and foster a large pool of volunteers, officials, event managers, and elite, youth and masters athletes. Throughout the summer the Oregon Track Club hosts an informal weekly running series, as well as youth and adult all-comers meets. These inexpensive events provide runners of all ages and skill level the ability to compete in a fun, relaxed race or meet. The City of Eugene and its recreation staff work closely with local events to provide low cost, accessible opportunities for individuals and families to participate in running related events. In the last four years the City has developed a “Starting Block” program where children off all ages are invited to try out running, hurdling, jumping and other fun activities for free at local track & field meets. These activities are very popular and help to foster a younger generation of lifelong runners and athletes. Eugene’s local newspaper (The Register Guard) and news stations are strong supporters of the local running community. They regularly cover road races and track & field events that take place, as well as special features on training for these races and maintaining healthy lifestyles.  Eugene business are very supportive of the running community including Eugene City Brewery which offers discounts to Oregon Track Club members and supports the local running community by producing their “Track Town Ales,” track & field themed microbrews.

Peachtree City, GA
Peachtree City is an award-winning master planned community located just south of Atlanta, Georgia.  Founded in 1959, the city is home to a diverse population and provides the best in residential areas, commercial areas and community services to its citizens. Peachtree City is known for its active lifestyle.  A quick visit to the city web shows not only multi-use paths, but also a sample of the facilities, which support runners and our activities. Peachtree City’s hallmark is its 90-mile network of multi-use paths for pedestrians, cyclists, and golf carts. Peachtree City residents can go from neighborhood to shopping centers, schools, and parks through the wooded scenery that makes Peachtree City special. Peachtree City is home to a very active running club (Peachtree City Running Club – PTCRC), the second largest in Metro Atlanta. The club hosts the annual Peachtree City Classic Women’s 5K, Men’s 5K, and the 15K Open, which has also been the RRCA Southern Region Championship and the USATF Georgia Association Championship. All races are on certified courses, voted the Best Course by Georgia Athlete Magazine.  Summer track meets are held every Tuesday in June and July 6 (Championship Meets on July 13 & 14) at Riley Field near Peachtree City Elementary School. All events are free for runners and spectators.  The All-American 5K on Memorial Day highlights local heroes and provides support to their families. The Rotary Grand-Prix, which includes races at sixteen local schools, has raised $100K in the fight against childhood obesity

Columbus, GA
Columbus is the third largest city in the State of Georgia, and the city was ranked number 4 on the 100 Best U.S. Cities to live by Best Life Magazine. Physical fitness is very important to the community and the Mayor’s Office and Columbus City government proclaimed Columbus a “Live Healthy City.” There are numerous parks that include fitness and running trails over a mile long. The Fall Line Trace is a Rails-to-Trails Project that is 10.5 miles long from point-to-point. Flat Rock Park has multiple trails for running and mountain biking and is adjacent to the 9.3-mile mark on Fall Line Trace. There are 22-miles of asphalt roads from Columbus to Fort Benning along the Chattahoochee River.  Bathrooms, water fountains, and safe street crossings, are available along the route. There are light poles very 30-yards along the entire route, which allows for night training to get runners out of the humid summer heat.  Live Healthy Columbus is a non-profit organization based at Columbus Regional Hospital.  Strong4Life, a division of Live Healthy Columbus, donated $3,000 to the Columbus Roadrunners to launch the Kids Run Columbus program. The program is designed to help the kids participating in the Kids Soldier Marathon and Half Marathon reach their mileage goal by the Soldier Marathon held in November.  The Kids Run Columbus program works with the Park and Recreation Department’s After School Program at Midland Academy Elementary & Middle School.  This program is modeled after the RRCA: Kids Run the Nation’s program. AFLAC promotes the Columbus Roadrunners Couch to 5K program on the company’s intranet.  AFLAC is the major sponsor of the Columbus Roadrunners.  Fountain City Coffee, Big Dog Running Company, and Below the Knee are runner friendly businesses that allow bathroom access, beverages, phone access and safe shelter during bad weather.  Fort Benning, the largest US Army Base in the US, hosts numerous events on the Army base that are open to the public.

Source – RRCA.

Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure 2013

Women start the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure 5k. Picture courtesy of The Palm Beach Post.

The annual Susan G. Komen Race For the Cure was this past Saturday and I had the great opportunity of participating again. It’s become tradition year after year – as I alternate attending with my family and kids from the Spanish River Cross Country team. While last year it was a family affair, this year it was just me and a couple of kids from the team. Regardless, the feeling of being at the race, the opportunity to race, and the beautiful merging of two loves of mine (my mom – who I lost to breast cancer in 2008 and running) is indescribable.

While this year I just jogged the race compared to last year when I ran to place well…I still had a fantastic time. Some of my favorite traditions:

  • The women and men run separately! It makes watching and experience the day that much more exciting. I feel lucky to be able to run with primarily just women and then cheer on the men immediately after.
  • The PINK everywhere. It is truly amazing how a color has evolved to mean so much more.
  • Medals. The medals at the end aren’t handed out to us runner…they are handed out to survivors. So the real intent of the race (regardless of how fast you run) is always there.
  • Booths. From the delicious Dunkin Donuts coffee set-up to the Sari Center – the booths offer everything and more.
  • Green Market. Following the race, there is an opportunity to walk through the green market. It’s amazing for the shop owners who gain access to so many more potential customers and it’s great for us!

 

Single, Fit? Boca Raton is the place for you!

Those of us that live here, in Boca Raton, have known it forever! Between the beaches, the warm weather, and the money to spend – Boca Raton affords a lifestyle and location for the single and fit that can’t be beat. Now the rest of the world knows it as well! Check out this great article by my good friend, Steve Dorfman, reporter at The Palm Beach Post.

If you live in Boca, you’ll totally agree. And if you don’t, you’ll be looking for a way to move here ASAP.

Palm Beach Post: Single, Healthy, Looking for Love?

Good news for health-conscious singles who are ready to mingle — and live in southern Palm Beach County.

In a study released earlier this month of its multimillion-member database, the matchmaking website Chemistry.com (a subsidiary of Match.com) ranked Boca Raton No. 3 in the nation for cities whose single residents pursue a fit, healthful lifestyle, and highly value similar traits in a potential mate.

According to Chemistry.com Chief Scientific Advisor Dr. Helen Fisher, “The site tallied profile information on factors such as active hobbies, commitment to exercise, alcohol-intake patterns and smoking habits. Boca Raton ranked among the top across the board.”

Doesn’t surprise me a bit.

(Although Boca Raton ranking behind some place called “Shawnee Mission, Kansas” — a sleepy little suburb of Kansas City — was not something I would’ve expected.)

I don’t reside in Boca, but live close enough that I’m quite familiar with how high a priority its populace — both single and married — place on recreational sports, health and nutrition. To wit:

  • The scores of runners, cyclists and power walkers inhabiting the city’s ubiquitous residential fitness pathways every morning
  • The numerous, immaculately maintained — and perpetually crowded — golf courses and tennis centers (both private and public)
  • Gyms and health clubs of seemingly every size and ilk (including a half-dozen Cross-Fit “boxes”) permeating the primary thoroughfares, from State Road A1A west to U.S. 441.

Read the full article here.

 

An Open Letter to Drivers

Confirming that a driver sees you before crossing is critical to ensure one’s safety. Don’t cross until the driver acknowledges your presence. It’s the only way to guarantee they won’t hit the gas and hit you.

Dear Drivers:

When driving on the roads, please see the runners that must pass through a crosswalk and/or cross a street and acknowledge them. Don’t assume that you looking at the runners while wearing dark sunglasses through a glare-prone windshield is enough. Remember, you are in a large, metal vehicle. And they are simply in running shorts and a shirt.

I bring this up because over the past two weeks while running on the roads with my high school track team, driver after driver has stopped to give us the right away but never really acknowledged that we were there. They assumed stopping their car was enough. I’m not sure if they were angry, annoyed, or whatever, but they all stopped their cars and just sat there waiting for us to cross. Those that know me well, know that while running (especially with the team) I will wave my arms, yell, snap, or do whatever I have to in order to get a driver’s attention and then cross (and signal for the team to do the same).

Today, while crossing at the crosswalk at St. Andrews and Yamato roads in Boca Raton, there was a white SUV trying to make a right hand turn into Broken Sound Country Club. Even though we had the right away and the crossing sign said “go,” I made sure the kids saw the turning car and told them to wait to run in front of the vehicle. (Right hand turners are always the ones you have to watch out for when running/crossing.) The woman in the SUV was wearing dark sunglasses. She stopped her car but I still waved to make sure she saw us. She did nothing in return. She did not smile, wave okay, or anything. With her in sunglasses, making eye contact was nearly impossible. I continued to wave in hopes that she would do the same. She did not. Rather stared at me (and the group) and sat there. After another few seconds of waving and her directly staring, I was sure she was annoyed at us (but most importantly saw us) and we continued to cross.

The question is, why couldn’t she wave back? Why couldn’t she acknowledge us and confirm that she saw us? I am running across a street with numerous high school kids behind me. Is it too much to ask you to wave back and confirm you’ve made eye contact so I can be 100% positive that you see us? It’s dangerous on the roads…for cars let alone individuals (specifically kids) that are crossing streets. With all do respect, staring back at me behind a pair of dark sunglasses behind a glare-filled windshield is not enough.

Thank you for your time…Now and of course the 5 extra seconds we took earlier today while trying to cross the road.

-Melissa

Happy National Peanut Butter Day!

It’s January 24 and guess what that means? It is National Peanut Butter Day!! How I didn’t know in advance so that I could prepare adequately is just a disgrace and I promise to make amends next year!

My absolute favorite food in the world is peanut butter. It can go on basically anything – and making the eating experience 10 times better. It’s amazing on apples, bananas, celery, bread and pretzels. It is even better in shakes and on ice cream. I like the natural kind just as much as the sugary sweet store-bought brands. Regardless, it is the best combination of protein, carbs and fat. And as a runner – it just goes so well.

How do you like your peanut butter?

 

Solutions to the 17 Most Common Running Problems

I found this piece on Active.com and wanted to share. Great tips for us runners…including everything from pre-race jitters to pacing during a race to fueling up before and after to much more!

 

Jay Johnson Solves 17 of the Most Common Running Problems

Jay Johnson, expert coach of elites, high school and adult runners, and creator of RunningDVDS.com, tackles 17 of the most frequently asked questions about running—from common running injuries to best pre-race fueling to how to improve, Jay has the answer…

See them all here.

Baby It’s Cold Outside

If you live in South Florida (where this blog is based) you have noticed the chill in the air! Well – I mean the drop to 55 degrees! And while that is nothing for those that live up north and even for me who spent four years of college in New England, it’s still something to pay attention to and respect. Keep these tips in mind especially if you travel up north where it is really cold or if the thermometer drops any more here in S. Florida. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when running/training in cold weather:

  1. Warm up. You need the warm up more when it is cold outside to avoid straining or pulling a muscle. Remember, when it is cold, muscles restrict and need to be warmed, stretched, and so on before expecting them to perform.
  2. Hydrate. A lot of us forget to drink water when it is cold outside. But it just as important compared to when it is hot and sunny. If you notice that you start getting the chills and goosebumps while out on a run – immediately find water and drink it! That means you are dehydrated.
  3. Dress for it. Some of us think we are too tough to admit it is cold and refuse to put on an extra shirt or sweater. If it is cold, where the extra shirt. You can always take it off mid-run.
  4. If it is really cold, change quickly after your run. Your core body temperature drops as soon as you stop running. To avoid a lingering case of the chills, change your clothes–head to toe–as soon as you can. Women need to get out of damp sports bras quickly. Put a dry hat on wet hair.
  5. Drink something warm (e.g. coffee, tea, soup, etc.) after a cold run to help warm up your core body temperature even more (and faster)!

And enjoy it! It’s so hot in South Florida that we rarely get the opportunity to enjoy running mid-day when the sun is blaring! A cold day is the perfect opportunity to soak in that sun while going for a long run. You’ll never appreciate it so much!

THINGS ARE CHANGING in 2013

Okay runners – get ready for some NEW and EXCITING stuff coming your way in 2013. And only on RunningTips101.com.

Every few

weeks – we will be focusing on and unveiling new TIPS meant just for you Tips will fall in a number of categories including (but not limited to) Shoes, Gear, Running Routes, Workouts, Health Providers, Food, Beverage, Wellness and much more.

You tell me what you want to learn about. And I’ll provide the information, the product, the SAMPLES, the testing (with my crew of runners), the reviews/results, and more.

Interested in having your product reviewed?! Sent an email. Send your product. And we will see what we can do!

Start emptying out your closet!!! This is going to be fun!!!

 

Happy New Year! What’s Your Resolution?

It’s the new year and with a new beginning comes new opportunities, new goals, new starts and resolutions. They say that over 60% of resolutions involve exercising more – which essentially almost always involves RUNNING!

My new year’s resolutions include:

1. Being more consistent with my running. I am great during the week when I’m with the high school team, but I need to be better about committing to my long Sunday runs. They are early but make me feel so good when they are done (plus they add about 10 or so miles to my weekly mileage).

2. Follow my Advocare program better. That means less coffee, no dairy and more veggies, healthy fats and good proteins. New year, start, go!

3. Use my massages! I pay $59 a month to Massage Envy for an enjoyable massage  and I haven’t been using them! It’s such a shame. And for now on I’m booking them and using them – at least one a month – if not more!

And that’s it…With these three resolutions complete – life will be fun, relaxing, enjoyable, happy, healthy and SUCCESSFUL! What are your New Year’s Resolutions?