Dusting off the Racing Shoes

I ran my first race in the Run the Bay Series yesterday; the San Jose 408K Race to the Row.  It was, in fact, my first race of 2017 and the first race in my brand new age bracket.  Buh-bye 44-49, Hello 50-54!

I normally don’t travel far or pay for shorter races.  And it’s not that I feel a certain way about shorter runs or think they aren’t worth it but I can bang out a 5 mile run for free.  In my neighborhood.  Plus, let’s talk economics.  Race fees add up.  But, as you can guess from my opening sentence, this is a SERIES.  Meaning, special goodies and props for running all of the races involved.  And besides, my friend Stephanie said it would be fun.

So at 5:45am we piled in my car and drove 75 minutes in the rain to San Jose.  The race started at the SAP Center, home to the San Jose Sharks.  And venue of many concerts including an upcoming show by Neil Diamond.  I know!  Neil Diamond!

This is a very well run race.  Plenty of parking and cheap at $5, a large line of port-a-potties, a UPS bag drop and 4 Corrals for runners.  They announced that there were close to 5,000 runners so it was a good field.

After the National Anthem and the wheelchair athletes, they started Wave 1 for the speedy demons and the folks who would have a chance at winning.  There was about 5 minutes between waves so in Wave 2 we were next to go.

What I love about shorter races is that it’s a fantastic way to see how your training is going.    You race.  You push.  You get uncomfortable.   Sometimes that’s hard to do on your own.

What I dislike about shorter races is that it’s more of a cluster at the beginning.  In a marathon you don’t worry about crowds because you are supposed to start slow and easy.  There’s plenty of miles to settle in to your pace.  In a shorter race I feel more pressure to get out the gate and go.  So there’s a lot of moving around to find space to hit your stride.  Luckily it was only for about half or three quarters of a mile before it opened up.

Stephanie and I stayed together for the first mile then settled in to our own paces.

Side note.  My husband Brad asked if it’s expected that friends run together if they go to races together.  He seemed to think it was weird and maybe rude that we didn’t stick together.  I’ve done some races running with friends but most of the time I find it’s a hard thing to do because no one has the same pace and is able to run the same race on the same day. But I’m curious to hear what you think.

The course was pretty flat, mostly flat actually.  There were some spectators, a Mariachi Mile at the end (3 or 4 mariachi bands playing along the last mile) and the Memorial Mile, a block along the course where veterans were invited to come and cheer the runners on.  They were a great boost and I know that the runners were grateful for their presence and service to our country.

The race finished at Santana Row, which is a lovely outdoor shopping center with restaurants, etc.  We were medaled, snacked, watered and directed to the shuttle buses to take us back to the start and our cars.   Next time we will have to plan more time to have a proper meal and maybe a celebratory libation!

I’d definitely do this race again and am looking forward to the other two races in the series.  For more info on the series click here.

Ok results, because when you race you want to see how it all went.

  • Race Place:  402
  • Chip Time:  00:41:51
  • Pace:  08:22
  • Age: 50
  • Age Place:  8
  • Gender Place:  116

Stephanie and I joked that no matter what we ran it would be a PR because neither of us had done an 8K before.  So yeah, nailed that PR!

My next scheduled race is Ragnar So. Cal on April 7-8 so I’ve got some long runs to get under my belt.  My three running legs total 25 miles.  Cannot.  Wait.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂




Scared Straight

With most of my fav tv shows on hiatus for the holidays I turned to Netflix for some viewing enjoyment.  Now many of you know how much I like mindless entertainment.  Too much to be sure.  But as I was browsing the cue I found a documentary that looked interesting and one begat another and so on.  So here’s the list of what I watched over my winter break.

  • The Barkley Marathons
  • Finding Traction
  • From Fat to Finish Line
  • Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead
  • Sugar-Coated
  • Hungry For Change

Running, nutrition and the dangers of sugar and processed food.  Fun stuff.

The Barkely Marathons and Finding Traction are about running; ultra and super extreme running.  Waaaay outside of my comfort zone but I enjoy watching people push themselves (from the comfort of my living room as I folded laundry).

From Fat to Finish Line was about a dozen folks running the Ragnar Florida Keys race.  The Ragnar is a 200ish-mile relay race with teams of 12 split into 2 vans of 6.  I’ve run a few and written about them before.  This story highlighted these people because they all had significant weight losses and took up running during their journey.  Truly inspiring stuff.

All of these movies shared the truly transformational effect that running has on people and more importantly how people can accomplish their goals.  Amazing.

I believe in the power of healthy eating and the importance for good health.  And I consider myself to be pretty knowledgeable about nutrition, as well as the problem of excess sugar and processed food in a typical diet.  Or at least I thought I did before watching Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Sugar-Coated and Hungry for Change. Well.  Mind.  Blown.

In a nutshell (because I could not do any of them justice in trying to adequately describe them), we are in big trouble.  We, the American people, eat crap, drink crap and are overweight.  Now don’t get all crazy on me.  I know there are very healthy communities and very healthy people withing those communities.

But the majority of adults over age 20 in the US are overweight.  And it’s not just adults.  Check out these stats below.

  • Percent of adults age 20 years and over with obesity: 37.9% (2013-2014)
  • Percent of adults age 20 years and over with overweight, including obesity: 70.7% (2013-2014)

Source: Health, United States, 2015, table 53 [PDF – 9.8 MB]

  • Percent of adolescents age 12-19 years with obesity: 20.6% (2013-2014)
  • Percent of children age 6-11 years with obesity: 17.4% (2013-2014)
  • Percent of children age 2-5 years with obesity: 9.4% (2013-2014)

Source: Health, United States, 2015, table 53 [PDF – 9.8 MB]

So many people think that exercise is a huge factor in weight loss.  And don’t get me wrong, I’m the first one to tell you that exercise is VITAL for a healthy life.  But the reality is that if you don’t change your diet, you cannot change your body.  And I’m not talking just about thin thighs or a six-pack.  I’m talking about your metabolic system, your organ health, your overall health.  See our body is a perfectly functioning machine. Before we muck it up with a Big Gulp and fries.

And while a few of the movies promote vegetarian lifestyles as well as juice fasts, etc.  I think that if we committed to eating at least 6-8 servings of (mostly) vegetables and fruits and cut out all or even just half of the processed foods and sugary drinks consumed we would be in much better shape.  Literally and figuratively.

Food for thought, right?

Now go run!

Keli 🙂









Stuff I Luv

I’m often asked about certain running gear, products, and stuff in general.  Here’s a partial list of the things I have, use, read and love.

Garmin 405 Watch

watchIt tracks my stuff, is pretty easy to use and the face isn’t so sensitive that I can mistakenly reset it on a run. Granted it’s older and there are some peccadilloes to deal with, but the truth is, I’m older too so we’re a perfect match.  The key was replacing the plastic band with the Velcro one.  Now this bad boy has tons of functions but I just want to see how far I ran, how fast I ran and the total minutes I ran.   I’m actually on my second one, the first bonked after about 6 years so I was sent a refurbished model for free.  Garmin stands by their products and I appreciate that.

Thin, No Show Socks

I know compression socks are “yuuuge” right now, but give me a very thin and very low pair of socks.   I don’t need cushioning or extra padding.  Just the socks, ma’am. My favorite are the ones from Road Runner Sports.  I just bought a new 3-pack for $30.  Score.  And thank you Shelly for the gift card!

Nathan iPhone Arm Band download

Until 2015 I had a well-loved iPod Shuffle for my long runs.  I think it was my 4th shuffle.  I had the same playlist “Keli’s Running” for oh, about 4 years.  It had 80 or so songs on it.  In mid 2015 the shuffle died and I upgraded to carrying my iPhone.  I tried various arm bands and finally found my soul, or arm-mate.  This little jobber is small, holds nothing but an iPhone 5s (because as you may have realized I’m a tad behind in tech) and I can listen to my podcasts or the Hamilton soundtrack to my little ear’s content.

Brooks Shorts – Versatile 5″

Sadly, Brooks doens’t sell these shorts any longer.  And it’s a shame because these are the perfect running shorts. I don’t like shorty mcshort shorts so these cover the bits, the cheeks and I don’t have to worry about my nether regions being on full display when I stretch.  So when these are no longer wearable I’m screwed.  But they made the list because I love them so much.  Um, Brooks Running.  Help a girl out!

Champion Sports Bras

Some low-priced athletic gear works well.  Champion Sports Bras (sold at Target) are a gem.  Being, um, less-endowed than many other females on the planet I don’t have a need for underwire or super industrial materials.  In fact, I can live with a uniboob.  I mean, I’m not looking for a date, I’m running and those girls just need to lay low.  And bonus!  The ones I have are reversible.  So it’s like 2 for the price of 1.

Runner’s World Magazine

The Runner’s Bible.  The Holy Grail.  If you can’t find what you need about running, nutrition, etc. in this magazine, on their website (www.runnersworld.com) or via their podcast then it’s not necessary.   What I especially appreciate is that they have embraced that runners come in all speeds, shapes, sizes and abilities.  Whether we run a 7 minute pace or 12 minute pace we’re still covering the same ground.

The Ragnar Race Seriesragnar-logo

A 200-mile, 12-person, 24 to 36 hour relay run?  Ragnar is like a frat party on wheels. Without the drinking and nudity.  Or maybe with all of that, but in a different context.  Only sweatier and smellier.  Did I mention that you sleep in the vans too?  Whatever.  Find one.  Run one.  If you need a teammate, call me.  I’m your gal.  www.runragnar.com

Running Buddies

A running partner will motivate you and push you to be a better runner.  Do they have to be the same pace?  Not necessary, but it is nice to be close enough so you’re not dragging behind them too far or having to sprint to keep up with them.  How can you find a running partner?  Ask your friends, look at your social media feed to see who’s posting about running, or the races they are doing.  Look online and join a local running club or drop into a running store and see what they have going on.

Bani Band Headbands

I have a small head and slippery hair (attractive, right?) so headbands tend to fling off my head easily.  These are backed with a soft-grip backing material and you can cinch them for any head size so they stay put.  I am partial to the ones with glitter or sequins.  They make me happy and they aren’t too pricey.  The ones I get are $13 or so plus shipping.  Even better, they have a whole network of home sewers who are stay-at-home moms, veterans, college students and grandmas who make their products.  Check them out at www.banibands.com.

A LAX Ball, Foam Roller and Yoga Mat…walked into a bar

Like onion, celery and carrots are to a chef, these three items represent *my* Holy Trinity.  The LAX (lacrosse) ball hits the tight spots in my glutes, the foam roller tingles the IT band and my Yoga Mat is just y(om)my.   If you run you need to go get all three.  Next week I’ll post a mini tutorial on how to use them.

Ok, there you have it.  My list of fav things.

So now it’s your turn.  What’s YOUR go-to, must-have running stuff?  Drop me a note, post a comment on my FB page (https://www.facebook.com/seekelirun/) or tag me on twitter @kelihonsberger.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Adventures in Trail Running

A few weeks back I wrote about a trail adventure that my pal Stephanie and I had on the hills above our neighborhood.  A wrong turn turned led us on a very confused run.  On the plus side we did manage to go eke out 10 miles as we ambled. But we finished the run determined to do a bit of research and try it again.

I don’t want to use the phrase “obsessed” but we were sure as hell going back up to that trail.  No question.

So this past Sunday we headed out at 6:00 am (to beat the heat) with our Ragnar Teammate Bill.  Team 316!!

Now don’t think just because we brought Bill we were in better directional shape.  Bill had never been up on the trails before.  So the score before we even started was The Trail 1, Team 316 zero.

Undaunted and armed with 6 strips of cloth (to tie to bushes at specific turns), a map with the route highlighted in yellow and Stephanie’s iPhone we were a go.

We made the climb up to the top of the ridge (the part we already knew) and marked off a few turns with our cloth strips just in case.  Check.  We consulted the map, turned it around a few times to see which way looked right and make a left turn down the path.  Running for about 10 minutes we stopped.  Stephanie and I both realizing we had made this wrong turn before.  We consulted the now sweaty map and stood looking for guidance by staring down to the houses at Lucas Valley.

Luckily for us (because an answer was NOT coming from the LVHA)  a runner came down the hill.  He looked very strong and capable and comfortable on these trails.  He ran without water and had about 3 percent body fat.  He started to pass and we realized he was our chance at help so we waved our arms for him to stop.

Explaining we took a wrong turn and asked if he would kindly help us find the trail to Big Rock.  He showed us where we made our mistake on the map (so that was Chicken Ranch) and pointed us back up the hill (damn).   He did seem a little surprised that we were attempting an out and back to Big Rock and he offered an alternative trail to the cell towers at the top of the hill.  It was shorter but hillier.  “A lot of ultra runners train there”.

So back up the hill we ran/walked.  At the turn we re-positioned our cloth strip on a log and pulled it into the trail so we could see it on the way back. With our newfound instructions we easily found the trail to Big Rock and also the trail to the cell towers at the top of the hill.  A literal fork in the road.

Our running angel had shared that the trail to the tower would take us to the 2nd highest peak in Marin County and was close to 2000 feet high.  I figured we were at 1200 already so whats’ another 800 feet.  Chuckle.  I’m funny that way.  High road?  Low road?  How to decide?

A game of Ro-Sham-Bo, of course.  Stephanie and Bill went first and I played the winner.  Stephanie won and we went up the high road to the towers.  Yeah.  The climb was no joke.  We went up and around and up higher.  (Special thanks to the Hill Family who granted us access to their private property and yes, we did stay on the trail as instructed).

And then we were at the top. Don’t be crazy,  it wasn’t like that (insert finger snap) but we were determined to make it up to the top and we all pushed hard to get there.  And it was worth it!  The view was breathtaking. See those towers at the top of the hills?  That’s where we were.  7006124_medium_ed91bb1445178369

A funny thing happened on the way to the top of the hill.  It was a long climb but when we got up there and caught our breath we realized that if we had more time we’d go farther.

There are some gorgeous paths that we could see that would take you further into Novato.  Definitely something we’ll do next time.

So we started our descent and made our way back. Now my friends joked about my cloth strips but they did come in handy!  Except for the one that was tied to the log.  When we came back to that trail the log was gone.  Like completely gone.  Someone had moved our marker.  So rude.

So this trail adventure ended up being, you guessed it 10 miles.  Full disclosure, we were slow but I think we all consider this run a victory.  The towers were at 1890 feet according to my Garmin.  Adding in the ups and downs of the path we had an elevation gain of 2,900 feet and a loss of 3,011 feet.

That explains the quad tightness the next day.

So after this tough run I feel more confident about our race on June 11.  I’ll let you know after.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

A Year in Review – 2015

Overall, 2015 was a good year!  Sure, there were hiccups and some challenges, but that’s life.  And since I’m a glass-half-full kind of gal I thought I’d share some of my “greatest hits” of the year.  year in review

New Year’s Day Run – This annual run is a one-person event that takes place in Pismo Beach.  While it’s usually only 3 or 4 miles long, it sets the tone for my year and my intention to make it a good one.

Challenge-Palooza – If you are a regular follower of the blog I ran a bunch of challenges this year.  My feedback is that people like them and it helps them stay motivated and focused, even if it’s for a short period of time.

Ragnar Relay Series – I did the SoCal and Napa relays this year and have found a crazy new way to experience, share and enhance my love of running.  200 miles, 2 vans full of 12 sweaty runners, very little sleep and some wacky, middle of the night hj-jinks added to the fun. Having my final leg of the race as a 13 miler on a hilly course and warm day wasn’t ideal but I earned some badass cred on that race! For more info on the race, click here.

Sunday Runs – When I trained with Team in Training I finally “got” how important a running group is.  Having not found one that worked for me I formed my own.   When marathon training was over it morphed into a trail run series which is even more fun!  Click here and join in the fun!

Training for Races – Training runs trump non-training runs.  I trained for 2 Ragnar races and a marathon this year.  For me, that’s a big year and I was in a constant state of training for most of it.  I relaxed training a bit over the summer and I think that explains why my 3rd leg of the Napa Ragnar was a bit more challenging than I expected.  Needless to say, I function better when I’m in-training.

Annual Turkey Trot – This 4 mile Thanksgiving Day tradition has grown over the years. Sure, we’ll never rival the other “official” races but the intent has always been to provide an easy and fun way to get out of the house on Thanksgiving, get some exercise under your soon to be stuffed belt and enjoy the great outdoors!

Personal Growth – I know.  Gag.  For the past few months I’ve felt that I need to make some changes on a professional and personal level and have spent a lot of time identifying what my next steps should be.  I’m going to put on my big girl panties and make some things happen.  Happy New Year indeed!

Your turn!  Take a few minutes to list some of your accomplishments from 2015.    Post your list where you can see it and let it help propel you into the new year.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Running Ragnar – the Prequel

ragnar-logo-wonkyThis weekend I’m running in my first Ragnar Relay Race – starting in Huntington Beach and finishing in San Diego.  For those who have no idea what this means, it’s a 24 hour (ish) relay run comprised of teams of 12 running about 200 miles.

Each runner of the team will tackle three separate “legs” of the race. Each “leg” has varying distance and terrain.  We’re broken up into sub teams of 6.  Our team isThe Crazy Beaches and runners in Van #1 run the first 6 “legs” and then our group in Van #2 runs “legs” 7-12, then Van #1 runs their next 6 “legs” and we run ours – until we get to San Diego.

I’ve been assigned as Runner 8 and my “legs” are 8 ish, 5 ish and 7ish miles – totaling 23 miles.  I’ll run at 3pm Friday, 12:30am on Saturday morning and then Noon ish on Saturday afternoon.

It’s my first relay race and I’ve heard they are a ton of fun.  I’m comfortable with the distance but the process of running 3 times in such a short period of time is something I’ve not done.

Common sense would dictate that I should have practiced running in the morning and then evening, I wasn’t able to fit that in my schedule so I’m relying on the strength and stamina that I’ve been building for the marathon training.

I’ll report back on the race when I get back on Monday.  Wish me luck!

Now go run!

Keli 🙂