Team Challenge – 2011 Napa to Sonoma #3

Group Training #3

Team Challenge Group Practice #3
4 miles on the schedule
(5 miles for those doing Kona)
Start time: 7:00 AM

I guess Mother Nature is trying to keep us on our toes… the first week the temps were in the low 40’s, the second week in the 70’s and this week it was back to the low 40’s. And of course it fell on the first week we moved to an earlier start time (which is done in an attempt to beat the heat). Can’t beat it… might as well laugh at it and deal!

We probably had about 40 people attend practice today. I don’t know if it was the earlier start time, the crummy weather or just indicative of how the season will go, but our attendance has been a little bit lower each week. But those that are coming, are attending consistently and always have an eagerness and excitement they add to the practice.

This was the week where it seems aches and pains are settling in. On our out-and-back-and-out-and-back course I was consistently being grabbed by a team member heading in the opposite direction so they could ask me about pains. It seems that knee and hip flexor pain was the most prevalent. Our pre-run injury prevention clinic seems like it was right on time!

We talked to the group about the importance of building core strength. The core isn’t just the front abs, but the obliques and the back and the hips and glutes as well. We showed them some easy exercises that can be done with their own body weight or simple resistance bands. Truthfully, getting ready to present this information just made me more aware that I’ve been slacking in those areas! We encouraged the team to add some easy strengthening exercises a few times a week, I need to practice what I preach!

After the run I lead the group through a series of stretches, moves that would work throughout the body. We did a forward bend to stretch out the entire back of the body, worked on hips, IT band, quads, hamstrings, calves and ankles. We had a potluck breakfast and another fundraising clinic as well. I think a majority of the team brought packages of mini-muffins. We had a huge excess of mini-muffins. One person brought a bunch of hardboiled eggs, which went over very well! The fruit and eggs were cleaned up, but we hardly made a dent in the pastries.

Some of the ideas shared for raising money were to ask everyone because you never know who might donate (dentist, doctor, hairstylist, etc.) but to also think outside of the box. One girl suggested having an “Un-bake Sale”… sit in front of a store or take a flyer around the office that has a “menu” full of baked goods. Each good has a price next to it and the person gets to “buy” the non-existent treat, saving the calories and donating money in the process. I’m not sure I like the idea of promoting it as you are “saving them the calories” but it is a creative idea.

I had to leave pretty quickly after the clinic wrapped so I could drive across town to help wrap-up the timing at the Summerlin Half Marathon. That’s when the weather really started to turn nasty, getting even colder and I even saw some snow flurries and a little hail. It was bitter cold while I shut down the timing, a hot shower and a mug of tea haven’t cut through it yet.  I am still shivering a little!

I am coaching a group of runners for the organization Team Challenge. They are fundraising for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America while training to run the 2011 Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon in July.


  1. Coming up with fundraising ideas is always so hard. I hate to say it, but it’s one of the reasons I only did one season of TNT. It was so hard to raise the money that I just didn’t feel like I could go right back and ask people to donate again. The un-bake sale idea sounds different…I wonder if people will really feel like it’s any different from just making a donation?

    Your mention of core strength also reminds me of how much I neglect that area…

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