Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Ludivine's Elkmont Half Marathon Recap

I normally post my own race recaps here, but because Ludivine is a bloodhound I am going to devote this post to analysis of her 2016 Elkmont (Ala.) Half Marathon form. Ludivine finished seventh overall and first in her working-dog group with a PR of 1:32:56. She was let out to pee and wound up in the middle of this race, and through the race organizer's pics (thanks to WeRunHuntsville/G Gelmis & J Armstrong) we can now break down her impressive performance here.

THE START



Ludivine is on the right of the start pack here. She was bred to be a tracking dog at the local prison, but she also looks out for rabbits. That's what she is doing here. She starts coyly on the other side of the double yellow line and then dives in behind the guy in blue, content to let him set the pace.



Darting a bit too much at the outset, needed to conserve a bit more energy. But boundless enthusiasm is understandable to all of us who break out fast in the pack.



THE GIN RUNNER MAKES HER MOVE



I did some homework on Elkmont, and it has an awesome history. The "rails to trails" area is a stretch that takes you near Civil War fighting, notably the important Battle of Sulphur Creek Trestle. There is also a cool cotton-gin history here, and Gin House Barbeque is one of the race sponsors. So in these shots, Ludivine is looking strong going past the old North Limestone Gin Corp. building. (Thanks to reader Andy for noting that it was a dry county for many years so it's not the other kind of gin made in this building.)



Good forward lean here, everything going forward like @CoachKastor says. Clearly drafting off runner in blue shirt.



In the photo below you can see Ludivine's excellent gait, powerful strides and good four-heel strikes. Note the mouth closed, breathing efficiently through snout. Peak performance! The other runners respect her space. This is a nice running pack.



KEEPING IT TOGETHER



Here is where a runner has to stay within herself, stay composed, block out distractions and bad thoughts. Deer, squirrels and rabbits can be spotted along the trail as well as hawks and woodpeckers. It is a lot for a bloodhound to block out, because they smell everything and they put the track in track and field. But Ludivine holds her own with mantras and total focus.



I rarely ever make a portapotty stop during a race, but I made an exception during the ferocious winds on the back side of this month's Key West Half. Here I can relate to Ludivine. She's gotta pee, and she shows good runner courtesy by not hosing down the area between these two runners. She politely moves over to the grass, does her business and then bolts back into the field.



SMELLING THE FINISH LINE



Note the perfect tail extension. Still a solid forward lean with remarkable acceleration and drive. She can sense much love ahead from her family and friends, strong motivation to close strong. Shoulders are pulling the path to her and focused on a big finish. A bloodhound can smell it.



You can see at this point that Ludivine has a lot to teach us human runners. She runs free, fast, far and fun, emphasis on the last of those big four F's. Just let it fly like Ludivine.

PHOTO OPP

Excellent awareness of event photographers, slight dip in upper body to show rigor of the journey as a keepsake for later. Stays away from fenced area, respectful of private trail owners.



FLUID AND CHEER STATION MANAGEMENT



Ludivine allows for momentary comfort and heaps adulation as she powers her way forward on gravelly terrain. Tongue flying everywhere at this point indicative of PR pursuit. I'm told she also did a roadkill shot block at some point on the course as well to maintain glucose storage.





POSTRACE MEDAL SHOT

Beautiful pose for all the social media sharing to follow, eyes wide open for cameras. Happy to share adventure with loved ones. Looking forward to post-race meal and then the next race signup.



Photo credit: April DeBois Hamlin

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Monday, January 25, 2016

fuzeX will take me to the Rome Marathon. Et tu, Brutus?



Thanks to #TeamASICS for the new fuzeX shoes! This cutting-edge and affordable new model will go on sale at the start of February. According to ASICS, it is a shoe for anyone from neutral to underpronator, for a mile or an ultra. I can't wait to put enough miles on them to see for myself, as they take me to the Rome Marathon in April.

Be sure to enter the ASICS fuzeX "Where Will It Take You?" contest and get ready to win your own pair -- and maybe a grand prize trip! Start tagging your TW & IG training pics with #fuzeXplore and say where your fuzeX will take you, while you wait for these to hit the market in a matter of days.

While I knock out this last bout of bronchitis and get back to the gym and trails, I wanted to share some closeups of the fuzeX. I can already tell you that my 12-year-old nephew hoopster saw them and said they are the coolest running shoes he has ever seen me get. So I already know that age group is going to be gaga over them. Check 'em out:

























Where in the world will your fuzeX take you? See the #fuzeXplore contest details now and get ready to win a pair plus a grand prize trip anywhere in the world you want to run! If you can’t wait until February 1st to get started, share your excitement on Twitter or Instagram now. Snap a shot of you getting fit in your favorite running spot and tell us where fuzeX shoes will take you using the hashtag #fuzeXplore for a chance to win a pair.



Friday, January 8, 2016

How Mark Zuckerberg just changed running forever

Mark Zuckerberg started his A Year Of Running group on Facebook less than a week ago, and in my experience as one of the first of about 100,000 to join it already is the biggest running social network in the world and is already changing lives and making a difference everywhere.

The Facebook founder started it as his annual commitment to try something new, and his objective is to run 365 miles in 2016 and get others to run as well. The results are already profound, and I predict that it will live on into 2017.

Here is why I am obsessed with it:

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The 2015 @Marathoner ASICS Holiday Wishlist

A Christmas tradition is back: The annual @Marathoner ASICS Holiday Wishlist! Once again, I walked into the ASICS Meatpacking District Store right next to our MLB HQ in New York City and took pictures of things I really want. Which was most of the store...



Thursday, November 5, 2015

2015-16 ASICS Ambassador - But Really For A Decade Now

ASICS is a way of life for me, ever since I traded a box of KOOLS for a box of ASICS and became a Central Park runner on Dec. 1, 2006. Now that I am about to start a year-long celebration leading up to my 10th runnerversary (!!!), I am PSYCHED to announce that my friends at ASICS have chosen me as one of 16 #TeamASICS Ambassadors for 2015-16.

What it will mean for you and friends who follow me here and @Marathoner on Twitter is...

Monday, October 19, 2015

"You Better Run" to the Runners World Half Marathon




That's me in the Pat Benatar concert shirt with runner friends Larisa, Karla and Kristin, and crossing the finish line. Below, that's my #FlatBenatar from midnight the night before. Here is what happened at the legendary 2015 Runners World Half Marathon & Festival..