National Half Marathon – Race Recap!

What an incredible day. Last Saturday morning, the streets of Washington, DC were FILLED with people running in the National Marathon/Half Marathon/Team Relay, and it was an awesome sight.

Mal and I ran the half marathon with our friend Kevin, who was running his first half ever!

Our friends Cat and Kathryn also ran it. It was also Cat’s first half ever…way to go Cat! We actually ran into KT at around mile 10 and she was sporting a shirt that had some advertisement for this blog…thanks for that KT, and congrats on another half completed!

The race started in the shadows of the old home of the Washington Redskins, RFK Stadium

and the route went through Capitol Hill, downtown DC, Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, Howard University, the H Street corridor, and finished up by RFK Stadium.

Man was it cold just standing around waiting for the race to start! With 15,000 fellow runners it took us awhile to cross the start line, but after standing around and doing some quality people watching, we were off!

The first part of the race was around Capitol Hill and we did some sightseeing as we passed by:

And we also ran right by the Supreme Court

From there we went past Union Station, down Constitution Avenue and then up through downtown DC. We eventually make it to Dupont Circle where the crowds were just amazing, even despite the cold weather!

Look at all these runners and all the people cheering!

And then we ran through Adams Morgan, where once again the crowds were out in HUGE numbers!

At about mile 7, Kevin sprinted ahead to try and break the 2 hour mark (which he did – congrats buddy!) and Mal and I finished the race together. We crossed the finish line at about 2:03, which was almost the time we got last year!

After collecting our finisher’s medals, we walked around the finish line festival for maybe 30 seconds (we were freezing!) and Mal posed in front of the official race billboard.

After driving back to our neighborhood, Kevin, his girlfriend Trina, Mal and I headed to Open City for brunch for what has become an awesome and delicious post-race tradition. Once again, it was exactly what we needed after running through “13.1 miles of history.” The perfect conclusion to yet another successful race experience 🙂

Next up on the race calendar is the Hurry Up For Health 8K with my sister in Georgetown on April 9 (link HERE), followed by the GW Parkway 10 miler (link HERE) the next day! Looks like it’s gonna be an active weekend!

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National Half Marathon TOMORROW!

Mal and I, together with our friends Cat, Kevin, and Kathryn (anyone else running who is reading?) are running the National Half Marathon tomorrow morning. Come out and cheer us and the other runners on!

Here’s the course, as well as some other useful info (like road closures) so you can plan where to look for us.

Race recap to follow on Monday. Hope to see you all tomorrow 🙂

 

Interesting Study on Contributors to Childhood Obesity

Looking at that map, it’s painfully clear: childhood obesity is a major issue in our society. For the first time in history, kids growing up now have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. From every dollar spent on health care in this country, about 70 cents go to treatment of preventable, chronic diseases. That kind of spending is not sustainable. Something has to change and it needs to start with getting kids healthier.

At the HOPSports presentation in my class a few weeks ago (see blog post here), their CEO said that some of the most successful lifestyle and/or health campaigns started with teaching kids. Three examples he gave were recycling, anti-smoking, and seatbelt wearing. The people in charge of those campaigns targeted kids – via advertisements and in schools – so that they would go home and tell their parents about what they learned.

By all accounts, these three movements have been wildly successful. There is so much more awareness on all three fronts now than there was before. Fighting childhood obesity shouldn’t be any different. Make exercising and nutrition-education interactive; get kids excited about learning and being active. Start with the kids and the message will spread.

I read a VERY interesting study on childhood obesity recently that offers a great approach to explaining the epidemic. Click The Six C’s Approach to read it.

Basically the authors are arguing that there isn’t one easy explanation; rather there are six spheres of influence on kids that help determine their obesity levels: cell, child, clan, community, country, and culture. The authors call it “The Six-Cs Model” and it focuses in on all the societal and environmental contributors to obesity.

Hard to read, I know, but definitely worth looking at!

It’s interesting to read this because in my Nutrition class, we were just discussing how a newer, more community- and environment-based approach to explaining obesity is emerging, as opposed to just blaming the individual. While genetics MAY play a role in a few cases (with people now developing and pushing the “leptin” hypothesis) in my opinion obesity can best be explained by environmental factors.

Think about it. Just as a quick, simple example: we say “exercise more and eat more fruits and vegetables,” but what if that’s just not possible for someone? What if they can’t afford more fruits and vegetables? Or if they live in a food desert, where their “grocery store” is a corner market that doesn’t have any fresh foods? What if they don’t have access to a safe place to exercise? What if they don’t know how to start exercising or eating right? We need to make health more available to everyone. That’s what so phenomenal about a company like HOPSports: they’re making physical activity accessible and bringing education to the people who need it most. Kids.

With so much money being spent preventable and lifestyle-related diseases, we need to do a better job promoting prevention, as opposed to preventing promotion. Start with the kids and results will follow.

In other news, the National Half Marathon is this Saturday. Hope to see you guys out there, either running or cheering us on! Look for a race recap early next week…and I’ll be sure to bring my camera this time 🙂

St. Patrick’s Day 8k Race Recap

Yesterday Mal and I ran the St. Patrick’s Day 8k in downtown DC. People were all decked out in their greenest running gear and ready to tackle the scenic 4.99 mile route that started on Pennsylvania Avenue and extended through other parts of downtown.

The weather was beautiful. Probably around 50 degrees at the start (much better than the cold drizzle of last year’s race) and sunny! There were over 5,000 St. Patrick’s Day enthusiasts who were all Irish for a day. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, so no pictures from the race in this post 😦

We took the Metro downtown (going green!) and got to the start line about 10 minutes before the start. Just enough time to walk around in the crowds, take in all the Irish-ness, and get in our target time zone (about an 8 minute mile or so). After a few minutes of commentating by the race director, and the first wave of elite runners, it was out turn to start!

Not even a mile in and there were bagpipes! Made us all feel very Irish and kind of motivated us to run faster…? I would have preferred some U2, but I guess bagpipes are more authentic.

After weaving up by Union Station and back down by the Capitol, we ran past the Air & Space museum before making our way back to Pennsylvania Avenue to head for the finish line.

Here’s the map:

About half a mile from the finish line I saw my buddy Brendan running by with a friend of his. He gave runfreedc.com a shout out and told me to be sure to include him in the post, so here you go buddy! He finished ahead of Mal and me by a few minutes running an impressive 7:48 minute-per-mile pace. Anyone else run the race? Comment and let me know!

Mal and I crossed at about 42 minutes (I was just under and she was just over). We were happy with the result and had a great time.

We then headed to Open City for yet another delicious post-race brunch with our friends Peter and Cat (we also went after the Love the Run You’re with 5K). That place is so good; check it out here. It’s located right at Connecticut and Calvert, in Woodley Park – maybe a block from the Metro stop – and it’s always delicious. I highly recommend it if you haven’t been. I know some of my friends from AU have done a post-race brunch or two there in the past…

Mal and I are so excited for the National Half Marathon that’s coming up on March 26. If you’re registered, see you there! If you feel so inclined, put something on your shirt that advertises my blog! Mal and I are both going to find a way to put www.runfreedc.com on our shirts, and I know my friend Kathryn is also going to try.

If you’re not signed up, come out and cheer us on. Here’s the course so you can plot out where to find us. Like I’ve said before, it’s always good to see a familiar face along the way 🙂 Hope to see you there!

HOPSports, Let’s Move, and the USTA

Yesterday in one of my classes, the CEO and President of an extremely innovative and brilliant company came in to talk to us about their business. HOPSports is a company based in California that incorporates cutting-edge technology into fitness and wellness programs for kids. As great as the product is, their presentation was just as incredible.

It’s a really great experience to be in a room with two people who are so passionate about what they do and to be able to feel that emotion coming from them. My friends and I left the room feeling inspired to get started now!

HOPSports’ focus is the children. Childhood obesity is a major concern and something has to be done to fight it. But not something run-of-the-mill. We need innovation and new ideas that make physical activity cool and fun. The combination of technology and physical activity is just what the doctor ordered.

By offering tons of different options and variations of the program, HOPSports is moving past the standard offerings of football, kickball, soccer, basketball experience of PE to appeal to all kids, not just the jocks. For example, Martial Arts are a huge part of HOPSports; what PE class have you ever been in that teaches the right way to fall and tumble to kids? It’s brilliant, and it gets everyone involved.

Please, PLEASE check out HOPSports. Here’s the website. It’s the wave of the future. Get on board now!

Speaking of initiatives to combat childhood obesity, I want to give props to the Let’s Move campaign for joining forces with the USTA.

Tennis is a great sport that you can play for your whole life, so getting kids started playing is an outstanding way to get them active early in life. Healthy kids are likely to grow up to be healthy adults. I grew up playing tennis and I still love to get out there and hit around when I want to get a great cross training workout in.

It didn’t hurt that Mrs. Obama brought in one of the most likable tennis players of all time, Andre Agassi, and his wife Steffi Graf as major spokespeople for Let’s Move. Check out the commercial that announced the new partnership:

Innovation and thinking outside-the-box are the keys to fighting childhood obesity. Getting kids active by engaging in fun activities that they don’t see as “boring” exercise is what works. You have to make it fun and you have to believe in what you’re showing them! HOPSports and Let’s Move understand that, and that’s why they leading the way in the fight against childhood obesity.