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A Ton of Clothing Collected at 2016 Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon & 5K

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

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ATLANTA – January 17, 2017 – Some of Atlanta’s homeless are a little more comfortable this winter thanks to the generosity of the participants of the 2016 Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon & 5K. One ton of clothing was collected in connection with the event and donated to Atlanta Mission.

Atlanta Track Club encouraged participants to bring gently used clothing and shoes to the start line or race number pick-up for the Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon & 5K. An estimated 2,000 lbs., or one ton, of clothing was collected for Atlanta Mission, which provides emergency shelter, rehab and recovery services, vocational training, services and transitional housing for homeless men, women and children.

“Thanksgiving can be a hard time for our clients,” said Peter Flaaen, Atlanta Mission’s manager of partnerships. “Thank you for showing that you’re with them!”

Additionally, Atlanta Track Club donated $4,000 to Atlanta Mission, which was half of the proceeds from will call race number pick-up at the Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon & 5K.

Registration for the 2017 Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon & 5K will be available in March at atlantatrackclub.org.

Volunteer Registration Now Open for Publix Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

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ATLANTA – January 12, 2016 – Volunteer registration is now open for the 2017 Publix Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon. Atlanta Track Club is looking for more than 2,000 volunteers to work alongside the staff leading up to and on the day of the event to support participants.

Available volunteer positions include everything from working pre-race number pick-up to monitoring the course on race morning to handing out food and fluids at the finish line. There are even positions that will still allow you to participate in the event! Spots are also available to assist with the Be Healthy Georgia Festival, a free family event held in conjunction with the Publix Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon.

If you are interested in volunteering at the 2017 Publix Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon, click here to register for open positions. Questions may be emailed to [email protected].

Becoming a Runner: Support Crew and Sprouts

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

 
Shana Latest

ATLANTA – January 11, 2017 – Atlanta Track Club Intern Shana is taking up running and walking for the first time. In an attempt to get fit and lose weight, she has joined Atlanta Track Club’s Spring 5K In-Training program and is participating in a 12-week meal plan with Good Measure Meals.  Each Wednesday, Shana will give us a brief update on her progress sharing the highs and lows of her week.

Highs of the Week: This week is really about the support system that I have around me.  Even though its going into the second week, I’m finding that I need them more than ever. While workouts don’t seem as hard as the week before, mentally and physically I’m not as in it as I was the first week.  The first week, you’re excited and pumped for the new challenges you are about to face but as week two settles in the newness wears off and reality sets in that life as you know it is changing. You question whether or not you can do it. I’m grateful and thankful for the amazing coaches, dietitian, and Atlanta Track Club staff that encourage me everyday and remind me I am not alone in this challenge! You guys make it all worth it and are why I continue everyday despite my facial expressions.

Low Points of the Week: I must say I was not too happy with some of the meals this week and I admittedly stepped on the scale and the numbers didn’t make me too happy. However, after a conversation with my dietitian Alissa at Good Measure Meals, she helped me focus not so much on the numbers but on the lifestyle that I am working towards.
Best Workout: This week I found myself pushing through a lot of “I don’t feel like working out” and whining especially after the sprinkle of snow and ice. However, I laced up my sneakers and went to the gym two days after the snow fell and after saying I would cross-train for 30 minutes I ended up doing one hour! I’ve found if you turn on Netflix to binge watch a series, you won’t want to stop until the particular episode you’re watching is finished!
Best Meal: Brussels Sprouts! Who would of thought? Not me! All week I had been dreading the meal with Brussels sprouts. Well it was GREAT! Taste buds were pleasantly surprised by the taste.

AJC Peachtree Road Race to Host 2017 USATF 10 km Championships

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017
2016 Peachtree Road Race

ATLANTA – January 11, 2017 – The USA 10K champion will be named on Independence Day as the men’s and women’s USATF 10 km Championships return to Atlanta at the 2017 AJC Peachtree Road Race. One of the most decorated middle distance runners in history, Bernard Lagat, will join other top U.S. athletes to kick off Atlanta’s July 4th celebrations alongside the 60,000 participants of the world’s largest 10K.

The 2017 AJC Peachtree Road Race prize purse of $70,000 will be awarded exclusively to American athletes with the top male and female each earning $10,000.

This will be the sixth time the AJC Peachtree Road Race has hosted the men’s USATF 10 km Championships and the third time to host the women’s race. The event most recently held the men’s and women’s championships in 2013 and 2014.

“It is an honor to bring the USATF 10 km Championships back to the AJC Peachtree Road Race this year,” said Rich Kenah, Atlanta Track Club’s executive director. “Atlanta Track Club has a long history of hosting the best endurance athletes in the U.S. at our flagship Fourth of July event, the AJC Peachtree Road Race. In partnership with USATF, we look forward to crowning the 2017 U.S. men’s and women’s champions.”

Making his AJC Peachtree Road Race debut, Bernard Lagat is a two-time world champion and two-time Olympic medalist. He is a five-time Olympian with 11 World Championship medals dating back to 2001 on the track, and has found success on the roads later in his career. His 27:48 finish at the 2015 Great Manchester Road Race 10K tied him with Mark Nenow for the American record at the distance, just one of several records he currently holds.

2014 Carlsbad 5000 Carlsbad, Ca March 30, 2014 Photo: Victah Sailer@PhotoRun Victah1111@aol.com 631-291-3409 www.photorun.NET

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“I’m very excited to be running this year’s AJC Peachtree Road Race,” said Lagat. “Since I first started in college all those years ago I’ve known it as one of the great American roads races. I’m feeling good in my training; now that I’m focusing on the roads it’s exciting to be running in the race this year.”

The 48th running of the AJC Peachtree Road Race will take place on Tuesday, July 4, 2017. Lottery registration for the 2017 event will open on Wednesday, March 15 and close at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22 at AJC.com/peachtree. The AJC Peachtree Road Race is capped at 60,000 participants, making it the world’s largest 10K.

Additional details about the 2017 AJC Peachtree Road Race can be found at peachtreeroadrace.org.

About Atlanta Track Club
Atlanta Track Club is a nonprofit committed to creating an active and healthy Atlanta. Through running and walking, Atlanta Track Club motivates, inspires and engages the community to enjoy a healthier lifestyle. With more than 26,000 members, Atlanta Track Club is the second largest running organization in the United States. In addition to the AJC Peachtree Road Race (peachtreeroadrace.org) – the largest 10K running event in the world, the Publix Georgia Marathon, PNC Atlanta 10 Miler and Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon, Atlanta Track Club directs more than 30 events per year. Through the support of its members and volunteers, Atlanta Track Club also maintains a number of community initiatives including organizing and promoting the Kilometer Kids youth running program to metro Atlanta youth, honoring high school cross country and track and field athletes through Atlanta Track Club’s All-Metro Banquets and supporting the Grady Bicycle EMT program. For more information on Atlanta Track Club, visit atlantatrackclub.org.

About the AJC Peachtree Road Race
The AJC Peachtree Road Race is a 10K event that takes place every Fourth of July in Atlanta, Georgia. The first Peachtree was held in 1970 and featured 110 finishers. The AJC Peachtree Road Race is now the largest 10K running event in the world with 60,000 participants. The AJC Peachtree Road Race is perhaps most famous for the coveted AJC Peachtree Road Race T-shirt, which is handed out to all the event finishers. For more information on the AJC Peachtree Road Race visit peachtreeroadrace.org or AJC.com/peachtree.

About The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is the leading source – both in print and online – of news, information and advertising for metropolitan Atlanta, reaching a total print and online audience of 1.6 million people each week. Every month, nearly 6.9 million unique visitors access the newspaper’s websites, including AJC.com, myAJC.com and accessAtlanta.com. Our newsroom is the largest in Georgia with more than 150 journalists. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is part of Cox Media Group, a publishing, digital media and broadcasting subsidiary of Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises.

About USATF
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world’s oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the country’s No. 1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States. For more information on USATF, visit usatf.org.

Atlanta Track Club Seeks Musical Entertainment for Publix Georgia Marathon

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

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ATLANTA – January 5, 2017 – Atlanta Track Club is looking for groups and organizations to provide entertainment at Atlanta’s only marathon! In exchange for providing music on the Publix Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon course on Sunday, March 19, the Club will make a donation to all organizations selected. This program is designed to increase course support for our nearly 10,000 runners and walkers, give back to the community through which the Club runs and increase the visibility of the Atlanta music scene.

Musical acts must be a not-for-profit organization to be considered to perform at the Publix Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon and be connected to the neighborhoods, schools and communities along the course. Examples include high school bands, collegiate bands, church bands, drumlines and pipe and drum corps.

Selected acts will be responsible for the following:
• Performance time of 7-11 a.m. or 8 a.m.-12 p.m. on Sunday, March 19, depending on course location.
• All musical acts must play continuously (short breaks are acceptable).
• Promotion of the act’s involvement with the Publix Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon on its social media channels or email communications in the weeks leading up to the event.

Atlanta Track Club will provide the following for selected acts:
• $500 donation
• Promotion of each group’s involvement in participant communications including, but not limited to, social media posts, e-blasts and the official event website.

To be considered, contact Sue Payne, director of community outreach and membership, at [email protected] by Friday, February 10, 2017. Please include the name of your group/organization, description of group/organization and a proposed rundown of entertainment. All acts will be notified by February 27, 2017.

Becoming a Runner: One Mile at a Time

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

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 ATLANTA – January 4, 2017 – Atlanta Track Club Intern Shana is taking up running and walking for the first time. In an attempt to get fit and lose weight, she has joined Atlanta Track Club’s Spring 5K In-Training program and is participating in a 12-week meal plan with Good Measure Meals.  Each Wednesday, Shana will give us a brief update on her progress sharing the highs and lows of her week.

High Point of the Week:  Participating in my first race ever. On New Year’s Day, I got up early, helped set up for the Resolution Run and then, despite the cold rain, took part in the One Mile. I beat the goal time I set for myself, crossing the finish line in 16:29.

Low Point of the Week: Being sore!

Best Workout: Tuesday’s 10-minute walk.  I went to the gym in my complex but it was full! In the past, I would of just went back home and said “I tried. Oh well.” But instead I walked around my complex.

Best Meal: It’s hard to choose just one because everything Good Measure Meals makes is AMAZING, but if I’m forced to choose it would be the turkey and sweet potato chili with sour cream and cornbread. Yum!

Becoming a Runner: Shana’s Journey

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

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ATLANTA – December 28, 2016 – Shana is the first person you see when you walk into Atlanta Track Club’s Armour Drive offices. She is also often the friendly voice on the other end of your phone call to our main desk. The Georgia State University Masters Student (and UNC Tarheel grad!) is working here as part of an internship in her Sports Management program. This winter, two co-workers talked Shana into joining the Spring 5K In-Training Program. Shana, who is admittedly not a runner, reluctantly agreed to not only join the program but also work with Good Measure Meals to follow a strict 12 week diet plan with a goal of losing 12 pounds over the next three months. Every Wednesday for the next three weeks, Shana will be blogging about her journey; sharing her highs and lows. Before she started, we wanted to ask her a few basic questions about why she decided to “become a runner.”

Why did you decide to join the Spring 5K In-Training program?

I haven’t figured out how to say no to Amy or Sue (ed. note: Amy Begley is Atlanta Track Club’s coach and Sue Payne is the Director of Outreach). Well that really solidified the deal. The decision originated with the interest in wanting to [one] not be the only person at Atlanta Track Club who didn’t run* but also it is the perfect kick start to actually getting healthy.

What are some of your fitness goals?

Weight Loss! I’m was an athlete in middle school and high school so that athleticism still exists somewhere deep down. It would be great to finally lose the weight and maybe even gain a little muscle.

What are some of your nutrition goals?

To accomplish eating three meals a day. Right now I’m lucky to get in one.  I will forget to eat or will get so caught up in the day that by the time an opportunity presents itself, I find myself binging on everything in sight.

What is your ultimate goal for the 5K?

Being this is my first one I don’t want to set any expectations because I honestly don’t know what to expect. However, if I am able to run more than walk, I will consider it a success.

What scares you most about this journey?

The fear of the unknown. I’m a natural planner. I like mapping out a course of action and anticipating the outcome.  This upcoming journey and experience is not one I can plan for.  I can assume that it will be challenging.  I can assume it will be fun and truly help me reach my goals but there are still lingering questions that the planner in me feels needs answers.  Will I be able to do it? Aren’t I too slow to do this? Will I finish within the time limits? For years I have said “if certain things happened, then I would take on a certain task.”  Well the “if” is a reality so the question becomes will I put the “then” into action.  Well I’m as ready as I can be, someone just tell the director to yell “ACTION!”

What are you most excited about?

Crossing the finish line at the 5K. Being that I’ve never worn a bib, crossed a start line or finish line as a participant, I feel like that moment will be pretty special.  Someone should be waiting with tissues.

*While it’s true most employees of Atlanta Track Club run or walk, Shana is certainly not the only one who does not.

 

Sonja Friend-Uhl Overcomes Injury & Illness to Win 2nd Consecutive XC Title

Friday, December 16th, 2016

ATLANTA – December 15, 2016 – Atlanta Track Club’s Sonja Friend-Uhl had one of the best years for a masters runner in recent history. The 45-year-old won two silver medals at the USATF Masters Indoor Track and Field Championships, set a Masters World Record in the 4×400, won the Masters Mile at the IAAF World Indoor Track and Field Championships and set a new American Masters Record in the 1500m. But before attempting to repeat her USATF Club Cross Country title, she suffered a series of setbacks. We talked to Sonja who went into great detail about how she overcame injuries and health issues and what she did on race day to win her second consecutive national title.

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Friend-Uhl cruising to victory at the USATF Club Cross Country National Championships on December 10 in Tallahassee, Florida.


What was your mindset coming into the race? I know you mentioned there had been some setbacks.

Honestly I was tired and therefore a bit anxious!  I was able to start training again in late August after a plantar fasciitis injury had sidelined me since June. Things were going very well through the Masters National XC Championships November 6th (also in Tallahassee on the 5k course). I won that race running from the front and felt amazing! The weeks leading into that race I had felt very strong as well. There had been a positive upswing in my overall fitness. I was completing workouts such as 4 x 1 mile on the road in 5:25-5:28 average with a 2:00 recovery and running 300 repeats on the track in 48-49. Two days after the race, I ran ten miles at a sub-7:00 average and it felt very comfortable. Three days after that (Coach) Andrew had assigned “The Michigan” workout for me. I crashed and burned. I could barely hold a 5:50 pace. The next week was the same, and the week after that. I was also feeling extremely lethargic from midday on which is not like me at all. By the third week even after 2-3 days off in a row my five mile recovery runs were miserable.  My entire body was sore and fatigued. I went to get blood work done because this had happened once before. I knew it was either my thyroid or my ferritin.  It turned out to be my ferritin. It was about 20 points below where I usually am. I tend to run low and usually manage it better, but with the stress of the family move over the summer, the extra sweat loss from training daily again in a tropical environment, not absorbing enough dietary iron, and lack of adequate sleep I just fell off balance. This was discouraging!  I had felt so fit and powerful just 3 weeks prior and now after all of that work and effort I felt weak and vulnerable.  I could write an entire article on how sensitive female middle distance and distance runners can be to ferritin levels.  So I was not anemic, I was iron deficient. Knowing how bad I felt with a deficiency alone I would hate to experience actual anemia!  I am now taking a prescribed iron supplement called Integra-F with vitamin C and being much more diligent about consuming iron rich foods at the same time as those high in vitamin C such as oranges and mangoes.  This increases your iron absorption. I am also back on schedule getting blood work done every three to four months so I can stay in front of the curve.  I had only been on the iron supplement about seven days prior to the Club Championships so I am still not where I need to be as far as optimal health but I could tell I did feel a bit better because my legs were no longer sore and heavy.

It is important to note for anyone else struggling with this that my ferritin was in the normal range…just not normal for me. A wellness doctor or a GP familiar with athletes is your best choice to manage particular health standards crucial to an endurance athlete because they will look beyond “normal” measures of health and help you find your optimal level along the bell curve.

You talked about your family, friends, teammates and coaching buoying your faith in yourself. What is your athlete/coach relationship like with Coach Andrew Begley?

First and foremost I have a lot of respect and appreciation for Andrew and Amy. Most know their amazing athletic background and accomplishments as NCAA champions at the University of Arkansas and then of course Amy’s incredible race to qualify in the 10k for the 2008 Olympic Team. I remember watching that race on TV and I had tears running down my face at the end. You could see the pain but more importantly the determination on her face during that final 600 meters. That was a huge moment of inspiration for me!  What I admire most about them though is who they are as people. Humble, kind, disciplined, hard-working, and tenacious. How can I complain about an injury that sets me back for 8-10 weeks, or that I am weary of the grind of training when Andrew (and Amy eventually) had to shut down running careers while still in their prime due to recurrent injuries?  Instead of being disheartened they took all of that energy and love for the sport and put it into others.  Their heart and determination truly give me courage.  We don’t get to interact in person very often because I lived in Nashville and now Florida while the rest of the team is in Atlanta.  Of course it would be more ideal if I could train with the team and Andrew could see my workouts at least a couple of times each week, but we still make it work!   I am used to training alone which I have done for most of my post-collegiate career (a couple of days each week I volunteer with the Florida Atlantic University XC and Track teams so I can train with them in season which is awesome!)  I am a coach myself and a 20 year veteran of the fitness industry so I understand the science behind the workouts and my body.  I also think I am a good communicator. So whether it’s via our online logs or email recaps  I try to give Andrew as much detail as I can so he has a picture of how I am progressing with the training. I think one of the main reasons Andrew and I work well in the coach/athlete dynamic is because he is so even keeled. He stays solid when I get stressed or down or overwhelmed regarding an issue with my training or racing. I am not dramatic by any means, but sometimes I over-analyze or lack confidence. Especially lately when racing in large open/collegiate meets on the track I forget I am 45 once I am out there,  but every once in a while doubt and fear creep in. When I voice it to him he always reminds me that I am a strength runner and I have done the work and have seasoned experience. I will never forget the night in Nashville at the Music City Distance Carnival in 2015. It had stormed most of the day. It was hot and muggy and nearly 10 p.m. (my bed time!) I was the only masters female entered in the Elite Women’s Mile and the field was fast! I had a bad attitude that night. I just felt tired and unmotivated and like I had no business in this mega meet.  Basically I was being a baby.  Andrew never says a lot before my races but what he does say is on point and very valuable. He is extremely patient and does not absorb nor project negativity or fear. When I approached him that night I was trying to put on a happy face and I asked him what the plan was. He replied that my Atlanta Track Club teammates were going to take it out quick (68-69 for the first lap) and I was to hang off the back of them. As the pace settled in he felt I was ready to stay steady at 70-71 and close hard. He told me he felt I was ready to run 4:40-4:44. I nearly laughed out loud. I felt this was so out of my wheelhouse under the circumstances.   He saw the look of disbelief on my face and said: “I have seen your workout results! You are ready to do this!”  On my warm up I had to re-frame my brain and I kept visualizing 4:44 in my head. This happened to be my Masters Indoor World Record for the Mile which I set in 2012. I still couldn’t quite accept it so I decided on 4:45. Well, that ended up being one of the best races of my life, open or master.  Not just because I actually did run 4:45 and set a new masters American Record but because I felt so AMAZING!  It was so effortless and powerful. My 3rd lap was my fastest (69) and I closed hard passing several people on the final straight just as he had predicted.   When I finished he just smiled and said: “Now do you trust me?”    Yes Coach! I do!

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Friend-Uhl with Coach Andrew Begley following her victory at the USATF Club Cross Country National Championships.

You won the 5K Championships here in November. How beneficial was it to have that familiarity with the course?  

Extremely helpful!  This is a great course regardless, but as a miler and a track (rhythm) runner it is very important that I be able to divide the course into sections in my mind and then assign myself a goal or task at each section. After racing there at FSU’s invitational in September, and then again for Masters Nationals in November I knew each turn, hill and even how the different surfaces would feel to me on that course. I used that in my imagery preparation and felt very “at home” there during the Club Championship.

As a track athlete, what is different about your preparation for a longer cross country race?

On the physical side we increased my overall mileage by about 15%. My long runs increase by two to three miles on average (from nine to 10 miles during track season to 12 miles during xc prep.) My intervals were longer and more focused on 5k-10k race pace. I still had a speed day each week but more emphasis was on steady state lactate threshold runs and longer intervals. On the mental side I really have to focus and be patient during cross country. Especially if the course surface is choppy or thick field grass instead of dirt or manicured grass.  As I mentioned I am a rhythm runner. Once my rhythm is disrupted I have to work extra hard and stay focused on maintaining the pace. It really helps to know the course beforehand and be able to section it off in my mind. It also helps to have people to pace with. Cross country has always been a challenge for me but it is one of the best ways to prep for a successful season on the track. Strength is speed!

What strategy did you discuss with Coach Andrew Begley going into the race?

Honestly we didn’t get to talk much the morning of the race. We had communicated via email during the week prior so there was not much left to say. We had discussed that since I was still recovering from the iron issue and early fatigue was a concern that I should be conservative in the early part of the race. My speed would be my strength over the last 600 meters especially with the final 200 meters being downhill.  I knew he believed in me as did the team. I wasn’t at my best but I knew they needed me and I intended to leave everything I had out on the course.

How does that added 1,000 meters change your race plan between the 5K and 6K?

6k is tough for me! The first priority is preparation. Any race paced workouts from the beginning of the season total four to five miles instead of three to four. That is very helpful to me both mentally and physically to prepare for the longer effort.  Mentally I try to divide the race into two 3k segments. I also remember to race smart instead of worrying about my splits or finishing time. Especially in a team scored event the purpose is to win or place. When courses and conditions vary so much time goes out the window for the most part.

 You ran shoulder with Janet McDevitt through most of the race. When did you decide to make a move and how were you able to pull away?

It was at about two and a half miles before we headed back into the wooded area with the harder packed dirt trail. We rounded a wide turn and I accelerated through the turn.  She did not accelerate with me and when I settled back into the pace she was not at my side.  It seemed that I gradually gained separation. Because I ran a smart race (for myself) I was not overspent aerobically over the last 2k. I knew exactly where the 5k was and I had already made a decision that no matter how I felt when I hit that point I was to push and not let up. While I was certainly getting more fatigued I still felt strong with 1k to go and used every rise and dip in the terrain I could to keep my turnover at a quick cadence.   I also ran my tangents like a boss over that last mile!  I knew if I got to the top of the final hill and was in the top spot that I would not let anyone pass me over the last 400m.

It’s been the same one-two for the past two years at the USATF Club Cross Country Championships. What was different about your race with Janet this year than last year?

I am going to be very transparent here and tell you that last year (2015 in San Francisco) I was still racing like I had something to prove. I had been  third and second in the masters race the prior two years (first in Bend in 2013 when I went out too hard for the conditions and altitude and then at Lehigh in 2014 when Kris Kimbrough was in full beast mode and crushing anything 5k and over).  2016 has been a challenging year for me. It started out great with a 4:49 indoor mile at Vanderbilt, then taking a silver in the 400m and a win in the 800m at the Masters Indoor Nationals in Albuquerque and a Masters World Record Setting  4 x 400m relay. Next up was racing and winning the women’s masters mile event at the IAAF Indoor World Championships in Portland and a few weeks later running a new Masters American Record (4:29) for women 45-49 in the 1500m at Florida Relays on March 31. Very soon after that things started to go south. I battled allergy-induced asthma from late March through early June.  Straining excessively because of this, I injured my right hamstring at one of the Atlanta Track Club All Comer Meets on May 12 in the first 300m of the 800m event.  Being stubborn and knowing the biggest track race of the season was coming up (the Olympic Trials Masters Women 1500m Exhibition) I did not rest and rehab the leg as I should have. I was running at 70% most of the time and not healing. The result was a horrible case of plantar fasciitis in my right foot along with posterior tibial tendonitis in that ankle.  It was a heartbreaking and humbling experience for me. Running is a huge part of my identity and it was out of my power to “fix it” for quite a while. During that time off I focused more on my family, my friends and the runners I coach. I was reminded that it is a privilege and not a right to train and compete at the level we do especially as masters athletes. I also was reminded of how much I truly love running; just being able to run freely, to explore, to feel powerful and fast all without pain.  So as I approached the race at Club XC this year I think overall I was more at peace. The worst had already happened. People had witnessed my time of weakness yet still believed in me and supported me. I also had the opportunity to get to know Janet a bit more after a few other races this past year. I identified with and respected her as a fellow woman, mother, wife, and runner.  She was less a rival to me and more of an ally out on the course that morning. I had read a poem a few days prior in which a part of it said: “You lean into me and I will lean into you so that neither of us will falter.”  I remember thinking of that while we were racing side by side in the first 2 miles. Together we were stronger. There were points in the first two miles where I could feel the impulse to push ahead and then thought better of it and chose to stay with her and share the work. This created a much more positive race for me and I honestly enjoyed it even though I was very glad to cross that finish line!

Repeat championships are hard enough. Is a three-peat on your radar?

Anything is possible. This year has taught me that it is best to keep your energy and focus present in the current moment.  I think I will take one season at a time from now on!

Is this the end of the season? What does the buildup for indoors look like?

Yes! Cross Country is complete for me this season. Andrew already has my training mapped out for the next couple of weeks. I have two local road races I will use to continue to develop my endurance and stamina. In early January I will start training with the FAU team.  There is a Masters Indoor Southeast Regional Meet at the JDL Fast Track facility in North Carolina in late January and then I will travel with FAU to the Boston University meet the following week.  February 3 and 4 we compete at Penn State and then I will have Masters Indoor Championships February 17-19. It’s a short indoor season but I plan on enjoying every minute of it!

Sonja Friend-Uhl is a member of Atlanta Track Club and a certified Coach and Health and Wellness Instructor based in Florida. Sonja currently holds the Masters’ World Record for the Indoor Mile (4:44.81) and the Masters’ U.S. Record in the 1500 (4:16.90). She is the mother of two daughters. You can learn more about Sonja here and follow her on Twitter by following @SonjaFriendUhl

Phidippides, West Stride Named Exclusive Run Specialty Partners of Publix Georgia Marathon

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

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ATLANTA – December 13, 2016 – Atlanta Track Club today announced Phidippides Running Store and West Stride Running & Fitness Store as the exclusive run specialty partners of the Publix Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon. The expanded partnership brings an integrated approach and renewed commitment from Phidippides and West Stride to Mizuno, the official footwear and apparel sponsor of Atlanta Track Club.

The deal deepens the connection between these Atlanta brands in an effort to further grow and enhance the participant experience at Atlanta’s only marathon. As part of the agreement, Phidippides and West Stride have increased their commitment to carry Mizuno footwear and technical running apparel at their stores.

“West Stride Running & Fitness Store is proud to partner with Atlanta Track Club and the Publix Georgia Marathon,” said Genie Beaver, owner of West Stride, Atlanta’s only woman-owned running specialty store. “Our organizations share the same goal, to grow the current and future running community in Atlanta.”

“As Atlanta’s first running specialty store, we are completely thrilled to work with Atlanta’s first running club,” said Jeff Galloway, owner of Phidippides and 1972 Olympian. “Also, getting to partner with such a quality brand as Mizuno, we couldn’t be happier with the partnership.”

Features of the partnership include exclusive in-store availability of Publix Georgia Marathon apparel. Both run specialty partners will offer space and time at their locations for kickoff events for Atlanta Track Club’s In-Training for Publix Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon. Phidippides and West Stride will also serve as Mizuno’s retail partners at the Publix Georgia Marathon Health & Fitness Expo.

“Mizuno is very excited that Atlanta Track Club has decided to partner with two of Atlanta’s premier running specialty stores for the Publix Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon,” said Chuck Couch, VP of Running Product & Sales, Mizuno USA. “West Stride and Phidippides serve the local running community with excellence, and this partnership will surely enhance what is already a stellar running event.”

The 2017 Publix Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon start and finish at Centennial Olympic Park on Sunday, March 19. The event is Atlanta’s only marathon and one of the Southeast’s premier distance events. Registration for the 11th running of the Publix Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon is available online at atlantatrackclub.org.

About Atlanta Track Club
Atlanta Track Club is a nonprofit committed to creating an active and healthy Atlanta. Through running and walking, Atlanta Track Club motivates, inspires and engages the community to enjoy a healthier lifestyle. With more than 26,000 members, Atlanta Track Club is the second largest running organization in the United States. In addition to the AJC Peachtree Road Race (peachtreeroadrace.org) – the largest 10K running event in the world, the Publix Georgia Marathon, PNC Atlanta 10 Miler and Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon, Atlanta Track Club directs more than 30 events per year. Through the support of its members and volunteers, Atlanta Track Club also maintains a number of community initiatives including organizing and promoting the Kilometer Kids youth running program to metro Atlanta youth, honoring high school cross country and track and field athletes through Atlanta Track Club’s All-Metro Banquets and supporting the Grady Bicycle EMT program. For more information on Atlanta Track Club, visit atlantatrackclub.org.

About Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mizuno Corporation, one of the largest specialty sporting goods manufacturers in the world. Mizuno USA, Inc. manufactures and distributes golf, baseball, softball, running, and volleyball equipment, apparel, and footwear throughout the Americas. Mizuno USA, Inc. is based in greater Atlanta.

Kilometer Kids Celebrate Successful Cross Country Season at The Children’s School

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

KK photo

ATLANTA – December 8, 2016 – Several Kilometer Kids participants at The Children’s School helped their cross country team win the 2016 Atlanta Athletic League Championship for elementary and middle schools. This fall was the inaugural season for the team.

The Children’s School invited Coach Amy Begley and Youth Running Manager Josh Deaton to the team’s pep rally at the beginning of the season in August. Begley, who is a 2008 Olympian, shared her running experience with the team to inspire the beginning of their competitive running journeys.

“We are so proud of the kids! Several of them are Kilometer Kids runners as well, and we can’t thank the Atlanta Track Club enough for your support,” said Jenny Cohen, the team’s coach and a teacher at The Children’s School. “Youth running has taken off to new heights, and it is programs like Kilometer Kids and Atlanta Track Club that have led the way. I have seen confidence build, friendships grow, resolve strengthen through hardship and the love of running ignite at such an early age. We are very thankful to be in Atlanta where all of this is happening!”

Cohen coached a Kilometer Kids team for the past four years and is an assistant coach for The Children’s School cross country team as well as a long-time Atlanta Track Club member. The Children’s School is an elementary school in Midtown Atlanta.

For more information about Kilometer Kids, click here.