The Bluegrass BAMR Podcast Episode 34: “Be a Good Bad Influence” with Debbie Stafford

Debbie Stafford joins Stephanie for another episode of the Bluegrass BAMR podcast. Debbie talks about why she loves running so much; for her, it is an experience.  We talk about her travels across the United States to run in the most amazing places. She also tells us more about Team Red, White & Blue and why it is so near and dear to her heart. Stephanie enjoyed catching up with Debbie and learning about her next adventures. We hope you enjoy the show too!

Show Notes:

Team Red, White & Blue 

Listen to this episode now!

The Bluegrass BAMR Podcast Episode 33 “Running is Not Just About Running” with Sara Ziegele, DPT

Sara Ziegele, DPT

Sara Ziegele, DPT, sits down with host Stephanie Boyd to talk about her path to running and her current connection to the Louisville running community. Sara talks about her move to Louisville with her young family and the drive to start her own business in Preempt Physical Therapy, LLC. In this episode, you learn a little more about Sara as a person and a provider. I hope you find our discussion informative and encouraging!

Show Notes
Dr. Ziegele’s website
Preempt Physical Therapy on Facebook

Click here to listen!

What I am Learning as a Guide Runner

*Disclaimer: Most of this post is my opinion and based upon my personal experiences observing guide runners and serving as a guide runner. I do not speak for all guide runners or visually impaired runners.

I first discovered guide running about five years ago. My husband and I volunteered with our local Visually Impaired Preschool (VIPS) 5K event. We were new to guiding and very thankful to have an organization that was patient enough to show us, newbies, the ropes. My runner did not participate in that event, so I followed behind my husband and his runner to observe and learn. They placed first in their age division and maybe overall males (I cannot remember). I was in awe. They had just completed a race at a pace not many sighted runners can complete. I was instantly intrigued by the role of guide and continued to read and stay connected to VIPS.

Fast forward to 2021. I met a woman in my She Runs This Town running group, Jayne. Jayne had been in the group for a while, but I did not know her personally. In our Facebook group, she posted she was running a fall Half Marathon in Kentucky and was looking for a guide. I messaged her that I was happy to guide her.  She accepted and then told me if we didn’t have time to meet on training runs, she was glad to meet me at the race start line. I was flattered but stated I would prefer to do several training runs with her. I wanted to make sure we were a good match. For example: would we “click”? Could I guide her the way she wanted and needed? So many times, sighted people take for granted a race pacer; they just stick close to the pacer and cross the finish line. Guiding is so much more than pacing!

On a training run!

Jayne and I decided to meet up a couple of times before the race. Let me just say, Jayne has the patience of a saint. She also has a great sense of humor, which can come in handy when things get complicated!  Most importantly, she is a wealth of knowledge. Jayne is an advocate for visually impaired persons in the community.  I am so grateful for our conversations; her perspectives on different issues (not just running) are insightful to me.

Here are some of the things I have learned while serving as a guide:

  • Establish expectations: Have a conversation early about expectations; what does a runner need from you as a guide? What pace will you run? Does your runner use verbal cues, a tether, etc.? The more specific the expectations are, the easier it is for both parties to meet them and hopefully have a great experience! Luckily, Jayne is not shy and provides excellent direction for me.
  • Be dependable: Sighted runners are privileged. We often don’t have to think about scheduling our transportation, arriving early to acclimate to new areas, etc. If you tell a runner you will meet them for a training run or a race, make sure it is a hard YES. Imagine how disappointing or frustrating it would be to arrive at the run to find your guide didn’t show. Of course, things do come up occasionally, but it is vital to be considerate and dependable; your runner is counting on you to be there. 
  • Educate yourself: Understand your runner’s visual impairment(s): It is okay to ask questions! Knowing about the specific diagnosis can be very helpful to a guide. When Janye told me about her diagnosis, I was able to read more to gain some (never all) understanding of Jayne’s needs when running, which can help me become a better guide for her.
  • Be concise in communication: Learning how to cue Jayne was a huge learning curve. She was probably like, “Oh wow,  this girl can talk” the first time we ran together. I was trying to use way too many words to guide (this is still a work in progress for me). I quickly learned that less is more if you need to communicate fast (a hazard, etc). Ask your runner about their verbal cue preferences and put them into practice on training runs.
At the Finish of the 2021 Urban Bourbon Half Marathon

Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive. I learn something new every time I guide. I think an essential part of the role is a guide should be open to learning all of the time. 

Was I nervous about guiding? Yes. I think that is a normal feeling. 

Do I enjoy guiding? Absolutely. It is just one more way to give back to the running community – there are not enough guides out there for blind and visually impaired runners, so this is one way I can help fill a gap. I have also found a new running partner and friend with Jayne, a bonus to the entire experience. She keeps me motivated and helps me grow my love for running. I look forward to many more miles with her.

If you are interested in learning more about guiding, please let me know or you can check out the resources below. 

Resources

United Stride https://www.unitedinstride.com/get-started/become-a-guide

US Association of Blind Running https://www.usaba.org/sports/track/

The Louisville Triple Crown of Running 15K – A Race Recap

Disclaimer: I received a free race entry to The Louisville Triple Crown of Running 15K to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!

I am thrilled to say that The Louisville Triple Crown of Running is back in the Ville! This race series is a tradition for many Louisville runners as they work up to training for the Kentucky Derby Festival Mini or Full Marathon. I was very excited to have the opportunity to run this race as a BibRave Pro.

The timing of this race was two weeks after my 100K, so I decided well in advance I would not have time goals for this race. I asked my BibRave Pro friend Sherry if she would want a racing partner for this one and she said Yes! This was a training run for her as she gears up for the Big Sur Marathon so she didn’t have much pressure going into this one either. After running so many training runs by myself for my last race, I was thrilled to be able to run with someone. Bonus: Sherry and I had not actually run a race together, so this was a new experience too.

My husband signed up for this one, too. It would be his first race since everything shut down due to COVID in 2020, so I was super excited for him. He has also been recovering from injury, so he was ready to test the waters. He picked up our packets and reported no major issues. The expo for this race is always small, but the venue and parking make it super easy to access, so you can pick up your packet on your lunch break if you need to do so.

Race morning the parking was super easy! We parked by Slugger Field and basically crossed the road to get to a meet-up area. I met up with Sherry and fellow BibRave Pro Matthew, who drove in from Ohio for the race. It was great to see them both! I love in-person racing for so many reasons, but getting to see my running friends is always my favorite part.

We headed to the start line and into our corrals. I kissed my husband for good luck and then we were OFF! The start weaves a little through downtown and then heads out River Road and back. I loved the road closures; the course was not crowded once we were out of downtown. We were able to see and cheer on friends because it was an out and back. I loved that part! Sherry and I ran intervals (she trains with a 2 min/30 sec interval), got caught up on things, cheered people on, and entertained several runners on the course. We laughed and had a great time! I was so happy to get to run with her. Luckily, my legs and body felt good despite coming off of my ultra. I told Sherry had I known I would have felt that good, we could have run much faster and she laughed at me stating we would not have had as much fun.

The start line was very organized-lots of post-race fuel and hydration. The medal station was centrally located and there was a photographer there to grab everyone smiling with their medals.

Bonus points for this race as the race pics are free!

Bonus Bonus Points: The Charity for this race is the local Crusade for Children

My husband had finished ahead of me and was waiting on me so that we could get home to the kids, which meant I couldn’t hang out post-race. I didn’t leave without saying hello and congrats to so many friends. I highly enjoyed this race and would recommend it to many – there are never enough good 15Ks around!

You can read my friend Sherry’s review here!

My BibRave Race Review is here.

The Pistol Ultra 100K – A Race Recap

This race report is 2 years in the making! I was signed up to do this race in 2020, and we all know how that turned out. Thankfully, the Race Directors are amazing and allowed us to defer due to COVID, and I was able to cash in my deferral this year.

Let me start by saying this was not my first ultra, nor was it my first time at the Pistol. It was, however, my first attempt at 100K (see 50K and 50-mile reports). My training for this race did not go as it had for races prior to 2020. I was coming off not running at all for the first quarter of 2021, and slowly worked my way back to longer distances late summer. I had a core group of ladies I was running with during 2021, and they helped me get back into a groove and hit my weekly miles. I have to admit, I felt older and slower going into this training block, but I had to give it a go! I decided my only goal was to finish in one piece, which was hard for me. The last two times I raced here, I had taken home age group awards, but I realized this time around was different and needed to let the idea of podiuming go. So, I did.

(I realize now I should probably blog more about my training, but I didn’t for this race, so let’s skip to the good part.)

Amy, Jessica and I at packet pickup!

The race weekend just happened to be the same weekend as my son’s last hockey tournament of the year and in the same city! I drove down with my family and then met up with my BibRave Pro friends, Jessica and Amy, to go to packet pickup. We decided months prior that we would go to this race together. I was so happy to see them; we roomed together that night, had dinner, and played catch-up.

This year’s race was slightly different. Due to construction, the start/finish area was moved, but only slightly. Parking was advertised as tight, but we didn’t have any issues getting a spot in the 100K/100M lot right the start line. We took our gear to the self-support crew/tent area and plopped it down under a tree right by the course. A large heated tent full of breakfast waited for us! We had a little breakfast at the hotel, but I decided to grab half a bagel, some fruit, and coffee. I was able to see several friends from Louisville there as well as some friends I had made from previous years at this race, which was nice. And then it was time for the National Anthem, and we were off.

Loop 1 & 2– Each loop is a little over 10 miles. Jessica and I decided we would start together. We agreed if things got tough for either of us, the other would go on, no questions asked. Our first loop was lovely – the weather was VERY windy but around 48 with overcast skies, so I was happy. Loop 2, we decided to separate and see how things went. I was staying up on nutrition and feeling good.

Loop 3– This is where things got a little weird. My hips and legs did not feel well; I decided at this end of this loop I would switch out shoes. I slowed my pace down quite a bit. I ate a wrap at an aid station that I thought was black beans – nope! It was black olives and hummus-it was yummy but came back to haunt me later. This was also the loop where I lost my competitive timing and would not get it back, thanks to the discomfort and stopping too long to change shoes/add layers.

Loop 4– I decided to stick with intervals this loop and put some music in my ears to distract. The wind was cold, so I added a vest to my layers. About mile 44, I had that place where things got a little heavy emotionally. I became a little weepy! I sent some SOS texts to some friends and my husband and they helped lift me out of my funk. It is funny how the highs and lows of running a race like this can hit you in the silliest of ways. I also had a bathroom pit stop around this time I had NOT planned on and that was a first for me as well. Later, my husband (who also happens to be a dietitian) would discover I had taken in an olive and hummus wrap that was NOT part of {his} plan. Whoops. Lesson learned: next time, stick to the plan, which includes the food he packs me or the “approved” aid station finds. Needless to say, this was my “quiet” loop. The shoes worked though-by the time I got back to the start/finish on this one, my hips and legs felt much better.

Loop 5 – I have to say, this loop wasn’t bad at all. The sun was going down and the wind had picked up (I would end up having windburn on the top of my thighs from wearing shorts most of the day) but overall these were good miles for me. My mood picked up, I started chatting with other runners again and generally felt pretty good. No music; I was running in the moment, albeit slow. I tried to pay attention to what was going on around me and just enjoy what I was doing. I got close to the start/finish area and decided I would pull on some pants for my last loop, eat really quickly and then get back out there. As I was standing in the warming tent, eating salted potatoes and broth, I turned around and ran smack into MY HUSBAND. Who was standing there grinning with a pacer bib on- What a surprise! I loved and hated that he was here. I loved that he was here to support me, but I hated that he was here about to see me run my last 10 miles very slow and looking like hell. But, here we were, and off we went (after I put on some warm pants).

Loop 6 – Of course, my husband took off like a rocket. And I was like “whoa, whoa, whoa”. I asked him to reign in the enthusiasm because there was no way in heck I was running fast. And he laughed and said he wasn’t running fast; he was running the pace I had asked! It was then I realized I was living in some alternate universe where my body didn’t want to do what my brain wanted it to. This is frustrating for a runner. So, we tried another method, where I took off and he walked behind me until I got a good rhythm and then he would catch up to me and push me a bit. We played leapfrog like this for the entire loop. It also didn’t help this loop I had some nausea-this had not happened to me in past races either. (We figured out it was the olive wrap I mentioned earlier.) I pleaded with him to power walk the downhills as I couldn’t bear the thought of running down them. Uphills weren’t as bad. I have no idea why my body wasn’t cooperating at this point, but he was patient and we just kept moving forward. The nausea passed as we moved forward. I cussed a little. He told me stories about the hockey games I had missed, what the kids were up to and what he had for lunch. It was nice to hear him talk while I just focused on moving forward. I cussed a little more.

FINISH – I remember trying to be a part of the conversation as I ran with my husband, but I was also trying to just remember the moment and what we were doing. I mean, how many married people do this for fun? Not many I know. I wanted to remember this part of the race, so being silent was my way of taking it in and putting it somewhere in my memory banks for later. And then, just like that, we were back at the finish area. He was going to peel off at the end, but I told him no I wanted him there with me in that finish line moment. I have no idea if there is a picture of us, but I will remember it for as long as I can. It felt so good to come into the finish area and have him with me. We do all of the hard things together, so why not this?

As I came into the finisher’s tent, I was hungry! In true Pistol fashion, the aid station workers were there to get me what I needed. I was ushered through a line and handed my finisher swag. My time was recorded and celebrated as I made it in under 15 hours and received a special finisher’s medal for that! I had no idea that was a thing, so that was cool. I came in about 20 minutes after the 3rd place female in my age group, so not too shabby considering I wasn’t keeping track of the competition at any point.

This race was nothing like I had planned; things went sideways several times. I had to dig deep and I was so grateful to have the strips of paper with messages from my family to read as I completed each lap. I am glad I was able to regroup and move forward instead of stopping. I was happy to see friends on the course that encouraged me. I was relieved my husband showed up to pace me. I am thankful for the amazing race directors and volunteers at this race. While it was was nothing like I planned, I am definitely thrilled to say I finished and am now thinking about the next one.

Want to read other reviews of this race? Click here to see the reviews over at Bibrave.com

The Bluegrass BAMR Podcast Episode 32: “I’m in it for the Hugs!” with Kim Dallara

Stephanie sits down to talk with Kim Dallara in this episode. Kim describes herself as an “average human being that likes to stay active”, but in reality, she is much more than that! Kim is an advocate for women in the triathlete world. Listen in as Kim talks about her journey to find running and eventually triathlons. She shares that awareness, information and accessibility are key to opening up the sport to a more diverse group of athletes. And, she even provides advice to those who may be considering a triathlon, but have yet to get their feet wet (see what we did there?). Kim is always positive and encouraging; hopefully, you will be inspired in some way(s) by her story.

Click here to listen now!

Show Notes

Follow Kim on Instagram

Louisville Landsharks

Khadijah Diggs

SwimBikeRun Fun

Coeur Ambassador Page

Fast Chix

2021: The Bluegrass BAMR’s Year in Review

Not gonna lie; 2021 wasn’t my favorite. The good news is it was slightly better than 2020. 😉 And, despite all of the challenges, there were some great things that happened in my running journey that I want to reflect upon with you. So, here we are, my 2021 Year in Review.

  • Served as a BibRave Pro Team Captain – I had an amazing 2021 leading a wonderful group of runners from across the United States. It was a challenge with races being on pause and no in-person meet-ups for most of the year, but I loved every minute of it.
  • Returned to Running after a 2020 COVID-19 Diagnosis -ICYMI check out my blog post on it!
  • Bourbon Belt Challenge Team helped me regain my confidence; thanks to my team “You Can’t Run with Us” for an amazing 571 miles across Kentucky.
  • Participated in the 2021 BibRave Pro Virtual Summit -it is always a blast to hang out with this amazing running community and learn about all things running!
  • The Bluegrass BAMR Podcast returned for Season 2 – I was so humbled and proud to connect with so many amazing women and share their stories.
  • Ran the 2021 Urban Bourbon Half Marathon as a guide runner. This by far was one of the most fun but most challenging experiences I’ve had in racing.
  • Honor Run Half Marathon 10K was my first in person race since 2019 (pre-COVID)! I took home second in my AG.
Me (far right) with my friend Jayne (hands raised in the air) during the 2021 UBHM.

Check out all of my 2021 race (virtual and in-person) reviews here as well as what is in the works for 2022. Here is hoping you all have a healthy and prosperous New Year.

The Bluegrass BAMR Podcast Episode 31: “Embrace Challenges to Create Change” with Kelly Doyle

Stephanie wraps up 2021 by talking with Kelly Doyle about the magic of embracing challenges and seeing changes in yourself! Kelly is a native Louisvillian, mom, wife, sister, and amazing cheerleader. In this episode, Kelly tells us about the start of her running journey, her setback when fighting choriocarcinoma (cancer), and her comeback to running in 2016. She gives some great advice on being open to challenges (and change) and demonstrates how she was open to change and in turn completed her first Half Ironman this year.

No doubt you will be inspired and motivated by Kelly’s story – enjoy it and share with other women you want to encourage. Click here to listen now!

Spring into 2022 Training with The Run Show USA in Boston

Disclaimer: I received a ticket to The Run Show USA Boston to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!

Have you heard of The National Running Show in the UK? I will be honest, I had not until this summer. I started reading more about it and then BibRave asked if some of the BibRave Pros would like to attend the FIRST EVER ‘The Run Show USA’ in Boston, January 29-30, 2022. Of course, I said yes! It seems like an amazing event with so many running-related topics under one roof. The goal is to provide running enthusiasts inspiration, kit, tech, nutrition, and advice needed to achieve their running goals -what is not to love?

After reading more on the website, I can tell you I am super-pumped about the schedule. With everything from a run clinic, recovery zone, and treatment room, there is an abundance of hands-on information runners can take home with them. I also love the speakers line up for this event! I cannot wait to get a major dose of inspiration while I am in Boston.

So here is the short list of why you should join me in Boston January 29-30th:

  1. This event is for everyone! Trail runners, road runners, sprinters, long distance runners, recreational runners – this event has something for every runner. You do not need to be an elite runner to attend the event and take away some fresh gear and great advice.
  2. The event is in Boston. The Run Show USA will be in the Hynes Convention Center. Meet up with old and new friends in the running community for the event. I am so excited to get to meet up with my BibRave Pros! Once we mark all of the schedule items off of our list, we can head outside to visit the city. There are so many great places to eat and fun things to do in Boston.
  3. The event helps kick-off your Spring Training Season. This expo isn’t just about your race goal. It is about all of the things that lead up to hitting that goal! You will learn so much about nutrition, stretching, gear and technology at the event. Check the What’s On section of the event site to see allll of the deets.
  4. FREE Tickets. Yes, you read that right! If you use my code BIBRAVEBOSTON when you register at the link below, you can reserve up to 10 FREE tickets. So get your friends together and register today!

Use code BIBRAVEBOSTON to register for FREE tickets to the Run Show USA Boston at https://bit.ly/RunShowUSABR

Still not sure? Check out fellow BibRave Pro articles on more reasons to attend The Run Show Boston below.

Jessica

Vanessa

The Bluegrass BAMR Podcast E 30: “Running, Yoga, Family” with Tavi Tichenor

This week Stephanie welcomes Tavi Tichenor, ultrarunner, mom, wife, yogi, and all-around BAMR, to the show. At the start of this interview, Tavi is fresh off of back-to-back Barkley Fall Classic and Chicago Marathon finishes! She talks about her start in running, her recent running adventures, as well as the joys & challenges of being a new mom! Through her work as a local yoga instructor as well as a member of the Fleet Feet Louisville Elite Racing team, Tavi supports many runners in the Louisville community. I hope you enjoy the chat. (As an additional note, Tavi wants all of the listeners to know that she is mental health advocate/in recovery from an eating disorder- please reach out to her or anyone you trust for support on these topics!)

Tavi is the Race Director of Louisville’s Ugly Sweater Run. Find more information here: https://www.facebook.com/events/357438416021664

Follow Tavi on Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/tav_wall/

Catch Tavi at a yoga class:  https://www.yogaonbaxter.com/schedule/

Listen to this episode now – click here!

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