Staying Healthy while Staying at Home By Amy Katz

Even though races and club runs have been cancelled, SCRR members have been finding ways to stay healthy both physically and mentally. Some have drastically changed their routines, while others have been maintaining their regular training regimes as much as possible. While we don’t know when we’ll be able to get back to regularly scheduled races, many members have been challenging themselves by running virtual races.

For example, Stacey LaRuffa ran a virtual 5K with dog Murphy to benefit the Irvine Animal Care Center. Scott LaRuffa adopted him 9 years ago through their 3rd chance program.

Stacey LaRuffa running a virtual 5K with dog Murphy

And Jennifer Walt tried something she had never done before by running a 24 hour 26.2 marathon. Beginning at midnight she ran 1.1 miles every hour, for a grand total of 26.4 miles.

In a survey of club members, 100% of respondents expressed that they have been making a concerted effort to stay healthy. Besides running, many are also doing strength training, yoga, pilates, meditation, or cycling. And most are trying to eat lots of fruits and vegetables and get plenty of sleep.

The biggest difference in responses was to the question “How are you making running fun while you can’t run with the club?” Several joked that this was a trick question because they are already used to running alone and said running is fun, no matter what. Another common response listening to music or podcasts makes running solo more enjoyable. And finally, some members have been running with family or training partners while remaining at least 6 feet apart.

Running is always fun, even when alone.

Justin Tolentino

As far as where people are running, while many have been sticking to their usual routes, a large percentage of people have been exploring new places to run by simply starting from their front door. From discovering new neighborhood streets and paths to creating interesting Strava patterns, many expressed joy in trying new things during this challenging time.

When it comes to spending time indoors at home, club members have found numerous ways to enjoy themselves. Common pastimes include cooking and baking, reading, puzzles, gardening, listening to music, watching movies and TV, cleaning and home organization, knitting and other crafts, and spending time with animal companions. And the number one thing that is helping people stay healthy is by staying in touch with friends and family via Zoom, social media, and phone calls.

Of course, everyone is looking forward to regular club runs and races, but SCRR members are showing their strength and resilience by making the best of the current situation. I’m sure we will all appreciate group running and racing even more when the world moves into a new normal.

Stay safe, be healthy, and keep running!

Justin’s First Half Marathon By Margot Johnson & Justin Obrien

My uncle once asked my dad “How much did you pay for that race?” My dad “I don’t know, maybe $25?” My uncle, “Tell you what, you can give me $25 and I’ll let you run around my block as many times as you want and I’ll give you a shirt when you’re done”. My dad is a runner (obviously) and my uncle is an avid mountain biker, who apparently didn’t get the point of paying someone to run and what makes something a “race”. This is a question many people have been pondering over the past six weeks, as their events have been cancelled, postponed, or done virtually.

When races started getting cancelled in March, we figured it was only a matter of time until the Tustin Hanger Half was added to the list. When we got the email that it was indeed cancelled (maybe rescheduled to August? But no firm dates), Justin looked at me and said “I don’t care, I’m still running 13.1 miles”. This was to be his first half marathon – he’d signed up back in October after running a handful shorter races and having a particularly good longer weekend run. We live in Tustin and I’ve always enjoyed this race because it basically goes by our house, and I get to run down the same streets I so often train on, with a crowd of other people and no cars on the road. 

Justin running over a bridge

We talked a lot about what makes it a “race” versus just another weekend long run, and if that even mattered. He felt that he had committed to something, had started a training plan, and wasn’t going to quit just because the anticipated event wasn’t going to happen. So, we started thinking about potential routes and decided that we would do the loop of Hicks, JOST, Walnut, Mountains to Sea trail. It would be close to home with no worry about cars and crossing streets.

One aspect of a race that you don’t get on your normal weekend run is the excitement of packet pick up, anticipation and nerves at the starting line, supporters along the course to cheer you on, and finish line celebrations. I wanted this first “race” to be special and memorable, so I emailed event reminders, we did a “packet pick up” at the kitchen table (with “swag” from our pantry), and made medals commemorate the run.

Valerie and Bob Freeman cheering for Justin as he runs by

But the best part was having some close friends and family come out to support Justin along the route. He didn’t know they would be out there and was surprised and grateful to see people he cared about. They cheered, smiled, gave us water, and helped celebrate the accomplishment of signing up for and completing his first half marathon. It truly made the day special – thank you!

We both have plans for running a “real race” again, however, I think going through this experience showed us that just because it was different, doesn’t mean that it was bad. That being said, I can’t wait until he gets to experience the excitement and energy that is found when you’ve trained hard for something and cross over the “official” finish line.

Justin and Margot with their homemade finishers medals

My Virtual La Jolla Half Marathon By Sherri Ellerby

“Okay. You’re going to have to start the race.”

“Alright. On your mark. Get set. Go!”

Started the 6:30 am race at 6:31. Not too shabby for my first ever try at race director. Fred Cowles was both the announcer and my race support. On Sunday, April 26, I virtually raced my favorite 13.1 race, the La Jolla Half Marathon.

That was the actual date of one of the many, many cancelled or postponed running events. And I’m happy to say I’m incredibly satisfied with my “race.” I got to run it non-stop, just like a real race. 

Sherri running on the bike path in her virtual half marathon

Fred rode along on his mountain bike, holding my sports drink and pressing the crosswalk buttons ahead of my arrival for uninterrupted racing. I even had a water station set up for me around mile 5 by my Nova Masters swimming mate, Naomi. I ran right past her front yard and she was ready with cold water and a cowbell. AND I was holding a very strong pace for the first 6 miles: sub 7:10. I can’t believe how well this is going!

Along the course I had a few SCRR sightings: Ingrid Johnson, Bob and Valerie Freeman cruised around on their mountain bikes, Mike Sellers, Alanna Brown, and Tank helped me over Cannon, and Ben Coyle, Amanda Beach, and Sasha Coyle appeared multiple times with a cowbell.

The week of January 6 I began my TrainingPeaks half marathon plan with the intent of being the strongest I could be after a year-long injury in 2018 and building up my race strength in 2019. Also, for the first time since 2005, I made the huge decision (well, it was huge for me!) to run 5 days a week instead of the 3 days I’d been doing for the last 15 years. The risky decision paid off. I specifically trained for this event and I felt ready to go hard a couple weeks before the event. And no injuries. Hallelujah.

After the stay at home orders had been going on for a couple weeks, friends would often discuss what we were doing to keep our sanity. I would always respond with I’m going to keep on training as if I really will be racing at the end of April. It truly was one of the best things I looked forward to everyday. What’s the next workout? Feeling myself getting stronger and stronger. It had been so long since I felt this good at running.

Since I knew I couldn’t get the satisfaction of trying to win my age group, I decided to make it a Strava Segment Smackdown event for myself. Can’t win any race hardware? Then how about a few Strava crowns! A couple weeks before the race, I started researching Strava segments around Orange. When I told Kirsten Hirneisen my virtual La Jolla plan, she said, “Well, I hope you’ll put a big hill in there!”

And that’s when I knew I had to run over Cannon. I wanted the whole painful Torrey Pines experience. So I designed a course with four specific Strava segments where I thought I had a chance at earning the top female times. One of those was the “Up and Over Cannon” segment, which is owned by Ingrid Johnson. I was pretty doubtful I could win that crown, but maybe I’ll have an incredible day.

Sherri after her race with the Coyles and the Freemans in the background

So the race course is ready, I am trained, and it’s Tuesday before the race. I was kind of surprised to have yet one more workout with some speed. I had to do 2 x 3 miles at HM pace. I struggled through the workout on a warm afternoon after a full day of distance learning with my 4th graders. There’s no way I can run 7:10 pace for 13 miles! All this newly gained strength, and I think I may have been too ambitious with my goal. Sigh. Maybe I’ll feel better after the next few days of truly easy and minimal workouts. Last run was 4 miles at 9:00 pace on Friday. I averaged 8:59. I follow directions well, but that didn’t really feel super easy.

That evening my arms were aching. Am I getting sick? I feel so fatigued. Saturday was a mandatory rest day. No exercise of any kind. Got it. No problem. I embraced it. I slept in. Now the body aches and fatigue are more intense. Nooo!

Now I’m worried. Fred says, “You don’t have to race it tomorrow. Or you could run a 10K.” But I didn’t train for a 10K. I already had friends lined up to cheer me on the course. Maybe I should text them and tell them I don’t know if this is going to happen tomorrow. I certainly did not feel like I was going to be able to run fast. But for some reason I kept it to myself.

I Googled “feeling tired the days before a race.” And there it was. Just what I needed to read. Taperitis. It’s a real thing that I know all you marathoners know about. But it’s been so long since I’ve been in this position, I forgot about this running phenomena. What made me realize I was going to race for real was this excerpt I found about Steve Jones. It’s from his training log the days before he broke the world record in the marathon in 1984:

45 minutes steady, not too bad but a bit stiff. Flew to Chicago.

Thursday 18th

Another 40 minutes steady, very wet and windy. Not too bad but still a little stiff.

Friday 19th

40 minutes again, legs sore, chest heavy, confidence seeping away (must have race soon).

Saturday 20th

Did about 4 miles or so, legs not sore today. Come on tomorrow. Getting nervous.

Sunday 21st

Chicago Marathon. World Best – 2 hours 08 mins 05 secs.

Huge sigh of relief! I am not going to fret about this anymore. Go to bed, Sherri.

The big take away from all this: the mental aspect of racing is a giant ingredient to success. I love to race, and I mentally go to that place days before the race. But you still need to do your homework and train.

On race day I was completely pumped up, alive, and so excited to run fast. I earned 2 of the 4 Strava crowns I was shooting for. But I had a bunch of Strava PRs. My goal was to finish around 1:35. I did it in 1:34:31. Oh, and Ingrid is still the Queen of Cannon. I am now 3rd overall for it. I can live with that.

Sherri and Fred in his cycling kit after her race

Treasurer’s Report By David Paul

Total Cash Balance, Beginning  3,736.16
Cash Inflows 96.80
Cash Outflows-First Thursday
Cash Outflows-RRCA Insurance
Cash Outflows-Banquet
Cash Outflows-Uniforms
Cash Outflows-Social Gatherings
Cash Outflows-Other
Net Change in Cash   96.80
Total Cash Balance, Ending 3,832.96
10% Discount at A Snail's Pace Running Shop

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