How to Be A Swim Animal: Open Water Swim Preparation for Triathletes

January 9, 2016

By Guila Muir, Swim Excursion Leader, Say Yes! to Life Swims LLC

ANIMAL (Definition): The highest compliment you can give an open-water swimmer.

Do you dread the swim portion of your upcoming triathlon? Are you training in a pool, even though you know (intellectually!) that triathlon swimming is totally different?

The only effective way to train for an open water swim is to train in the open water.  A pool cannot simulate open water conditions, such as chop, waves, wind, and current. When you wear a wetsuit, your body position and stroke change.  Your swim times outside may be much slower than those in a pool.

Triathlete swimmersThree Tips to Prepare

1. Get outside early in the season. To beat your competitors, start swimming outdoors early in the season. You should be able to complete 80% of your race distance in the open water two to three weeks preceding your event.

Because you are immersing early in the year, you absolutely must acclimate. Cold water robs the body of heat 32 times faster than cold air. Enter the water slowly and stay in a maximum of ten minutes at first. Run in and out of the water several times before starting to swim. Extend your distance and duration each time.

Expect to feel an “ice-cream” sinus headache during your first few minutes in the water. Your face may hurt. Relax and be patient…like many things in triathlon, pain is part of the process!

Remove your swimsuit and wetsuit quickly once you exit the water. Always change into closed shoes and warm clothes, and bring a thermos of warm liquid (NOT brandy). Because of vasoconstriction, you will probably feel colder 15-30 minutes after your swim than you did while swimming.

If you are combining your swim with a run, always swim first. Triathletes who do the opposite risk feeling uncomfortably cold in the water.

Read more HERE

Eugene Marathon Announces Date for 10th Anniversary Race

July 7, 2015

EUGENE, Ore. – The Eugene Marathon is pleased to announce that the 2016 race will be held Sunday, May 1, 2016. The 2016 Marathon will mark the tenth anniversary of the race.

The 2016 race date is in recognition of the very first Eugene Marathon, held during the same weekend ten years ago.

“We couldn’t be more excited to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Eugene Marathon in 2016,” said race director Richard Maher. “It’s a testament to the runners, fans and citizens of Eugene that we’ve been one of America’s premier marathons for a decade now.”


Local Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Announces 10th Annual Run and Walk to Support Uncompensated Care at Seattle Children’s Hospital

Local charity group Run for Children’s Guild announced today that it is once again teaming up with Columbia Winery to raise funds to help families pay for care at Seattle Children’s Hospital. The 2015 Columbia Winery Charity Run & Walk, which includes a 5K run /walk, a 10K run and a Kids’ Dash, will take place at Columbia Winery in Woodinville on Saturday, August 15th at 8:30 AM.

This year marks the group’s 10th annual event in partnership with Columbia Winery. Last year, the Columbia Winery Charity Run & Walk raised more than $90,000, all of which benefitted the uncompensated care fund at Seattle Children’s Hospital. This year the group hopes to raise more than $100,000.

The guild’s goal is to ensure that all children can receive the lifesaving treatments they need, regardless of a parent’s ability to pay. Its impact on patients and families is huge, says Janette Braun, mother of cancer patient Sienna, now in remission thanks to her care at Seattle Children’s. “We haven’t had to pay a penny. Because of the uncompensated care fund, we can take off work to be by her side.” She adds “I can’t fathom what it would be like to worry about financial issues when you’re already so worried about your child.”

The Run for Children’s Guild is a volunteer group that was founded by Aileen Kelly and Linda Smith after they saw, first-hand as employees of Seattle Children’s, the great need to support the uncompensated care fund. “The need for uncompensated care grows each year and is expected to exceed more than $120 million this year,” says guild president, Aileen Kelly. “This year our guild is celebrating our 10-year anniversary and over that time we’ve raised nearly $1 million for Seattle Children’s”


Get the Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival Handbook here!

June 24, 2015

Each year, during the last weekend in June, athletes, their family and friends, converge on beautiful Central Oregon to take part in the Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival. Pacific Crest is known as the jewel of multisport events in the Northwest and it has become a traditional destination race for athletes from across the nation, as well as from across the globe. It’s also a traditional event for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training fundraising efforts, where their participants have raised over $1.2 million over the years.

2015 Pacific Crest Weekend Handbook is online now with race details, event schedules, maps and everything you need to know for a fantastic Pacific Crest adventure in Sunriver!

Download the Pacific Crest Sports Weekend Handbook HERE.

US Mountain Running Championships: Events for all ages and abilities

Central Oregon’s Mt. Bachelor is a popular winter destination for skiers, riders and snowshoers, but did you know it’s also a first class destination for adventurous trail runners? Free from winter time crowds, the mountain is a rugged but approachable challenge with epic views of nearby Broken Top and Sisters mountains. Now almost 5 years after the demise of MBSEF’s Sunrise to Summit, trail racing is coming back to the slopes of Mt. Bachelor with the USA Mountain Running Championships – an official USA Track & Field event. Taking place Saturday, July 25 at Sunrise Lodge, the event features 3 races: a 12k championship for men; 8k championship for women; and a 4k open race for youth runners or anyone new to mountain running. All the races take place on a challenging 4k loop that climbs and descends 820’.

Considered the most competitive sub-ultra distance trail race in the United States each year, this championship is coming to Oregon after 5 years in New Hampshire. Top finishers go on to represent Team USA at the World Mountain Running Championships in September, while overall and age group national champions are named – all competing for $16,000 in cash and a year of bragging rights. What also makes this championship special is that anyone – you! – can toe the start line and see how you stack up against the top trail runners in the country. Unlike national championships in track & field, the marathon, and other road distances, there is no qualifying required for the USA Mountain Running Championships. In fact, last year’s championships at Loon Mountain in New Hampshire had over 500 finishers…



Youth Runner Middle School Running Camps in Portland this August

June 15, 2015

Get the scoop on camps here…

June 11, 2015

If you’re a serious runner who wants to get a jump start on your Middle School XC season or a beginner who wants to learn some basics to get better, check out the Youth Runner Middle School Running Camps held at Catlin Gabel School in Portland, Oregon, August 3-6th. Each day campers will get a jam-packed session of running the trails at Catlin Gabel, meeting new friends, and learning how to prepare for a competition. Runner’s will come away from the week-long camp with personalized training goals, a plan for the upcoming Middle School XC season, a goody bag of running stuff, plus a one year subscription to Youth Runner Magazine. Past guest speakers and coaches have been Olympian Ian Dobson and Oregon Track Club runner Jordan Schilit.

IMG_3360The same week, August 2-8th, Youth Runner Magazine is holding it’s first overnight Elite Middle School Running Camp at Lewis and Clark College. Running Legend Melody Fairchild will be coming for the first part of the week and other elites will be coming by each day, as well as other coach-experts to give the runners a nice boost going into their XC season.


Foot Traffic reveals Kara Goucher Chainsaw Carving During Grand Opening

Honors Charlotte Richardson and Judy Heller with induction into Running & Walking Hall of Fame.

From press release: Foot Traffic, a local running and walking retail store, will unveil a life-size chainsaw carving of renowned runner, Kara Goucher, on Saturday, June 13th during the opening of their fourth Portland-area location in Cedar Mill. The unveiling is part of a broader celebration of women’s running and it’s transformation over the last 25 years. Foot Traffic will also induct two local women, Charlotte Richardson and Judy Heller, into it’s new Hall of Fame exhibit.

goucherFrom 1990 to 2015, women’s running has exploded from a paltry 25% event participation level, to nearly 60% currently with over 10.8 million finishers. While commemorating the opening of it’s fourth Portland-area store, Foot Traffic wanted to use the opportunity to shine light on the significance of women’s running.


Does Caffeine Help You Cruise — or Crash?

May 26, 2015

Written by By Donna Marlor, BSN, RD, CSSD

I had just finished a 10k. Just finished. Face still red and flushed, sweat on my forehead, sensations heightened. My ears picked up a voice in the crowd calling for my attention: “What do you think about drinking coffee before a race?”

coffee beansHuh? Still in a post-race endorphin-dazed state, I mumbled something about being a regular coffee drinker when the second question came. “Did you read about the study that said blood flow was reduced after drinking coffee?”

Now my brain started to click on again. I started thinking fast. My questioner was a fellow runner, as well as a science teacher. It turned out I actually knew him, but hadn’t seen him for quite a while. A serious runner (and a fast one), he looked truly concerned. I could tell he had been contemplating how painful Monday mornings would be without coffee.

“I just read this study published in the Journal of Cardiology,” he said. “Blood flow to the heart was reduced by 22 percent after drinking coffee.” By this time my brain had fully recovered and was going rapidly through the storehouse of exercise and caffeine files, coming up with mostly positive effects. But hmm, less blood means less oxygen. I was hearing his concern.

“I really wouldn’t worry about it. Caffeine also affects you up here,” and I pointed to my head, with a comment about reduction in perceived effort.  “My experience — caffeine plus sugar — hard to beat in a marathon.” However, the 22-percent-reduction-in-blood-flow finding stuck. Could going java-less be like legal EPO?

Read more HERE

Overtraining: Prevention and Awareness

In order to improve performance, you have to challenge your body’s ability to tolerate an increase in physical, mental, and emotional stress. This is called overload and is defined as adding stress greater than your body is accustomed to.

Overtraining is a term that is used to describe both the process of excessive training and the resulting condition of “staleness” or “burnout.” Overtraining is a serious condition that results from repeated bouts of high volume or high intensity training without adequate preparation, recovery, and nutrition. Overtraining leads to excessive fatigue, performance decrements, insomnia, mental and emotional disturbances, and potentially the inability to train.

In order to fully recognize the symptoms of overtraining, you must be able to differentiate them from the short-term responses to a new training program. Overtraining is a very serious condition that takes time to manifest. As mentioned earlier, we have to add stress to our bodies if we want them to improve. Everyone will experience adaptations as a result of taking on a new fitness plan or changing the focus of training from lower intensity (i.e. base training) to higher intensity (i.e. speed work). Regardless of the type of athlete you are (beginner to elite), your body will go through the following stages when implementing a new training stimulus: shock, adaptation, and plateau and exhaustion.

Continue the story HERE

Black Diamond Triathlon will return in 2015 for a 13th year!

February 9, 2015

The 13th Annual Black Diamond Triathlon will return on Sunday, September 13th offering a Long Course Triathlon and Half Marathon!


The Long Course Tri has been a popular end-of-season event for athletes in Washington and Oregon for many years. The swim is a 1.2 mile 2-loop course in Deep Lake at Nolte State Park in Enumclaw. Athletes exit the water and ride along the base of the Cascade Foothills on gently rolling rural roads with generous shoulders through the sleepy communities of Cumberland, Selleck, and Ravensdale for 56 miles.  The roads are a favorite training ground for area cyclists.   

The 13.1 mile run doesn’t travel too far from the park and ends with a 1.4 loop on the trail surrounding the lake. The Half Marathon will take place on that same run course at the beginning of the day.  The bike and run courses give spectators quite a few opportunities to see their athletes on race day and the rural park housing transition and race central is very family and picnic-friendly, making it a fun event for families to attend.

Individual athletes can expect similar pricing to the 2014 fees ranging from $175-$220.  Pricing for the Half Marathon and relay participants will be slightly lower ranging from $55-$65. The first price increases happen March 1st.

Raise the Bar of Kent, WA has recently acquired the Black Diamond Tri BDT Tileand values the rich history that’s been built by previous owners Jon & Carol Atherton of Portland, OR.  “We are grateful for all the hard work Jon and Carol have done over the years to build the Black Diamond Tri,” explains Raise the Bar’s Patty Swedberg.   “This has been a race many of the Raise the Bar staff and team members have participated in for more than a decade.  We’re excited to continue the tradition of serving up a great race to great athletes.”

Find convenient, online registration through “RegToRace” for the Black Diamond Tri & Half Marathon at

Find more information about the event at

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