Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Interview with E-Speed: A Pacer's Journey

Elizabeth Hansen (or E-Speed) is 26 years old and a ball of energy. A runner since 1992, with 10 marathons, 4 50K's, and two 50 mile races under her belt, she knows a few things about competitive racing. She ran the Boston Marathon two times (2005 and 2006), and her marathon PR (Personal Record) is 3:27:16 in Columbus 2005. After reading her Blog, Run With Me, and learning about her impressive experience, funny running stories and entertaining anecdotes of family life, I decided to ask Elizabeth a few questions about her career as an athlete. Elizabeth is not only a runner, but an avid race volunteer, race pacer, and accomplished tri-athlete. If anyone would have some good advice or enlightening stories for new runners or competitive athletes, I’m sure she would:

How did you become involved with running and the running community?

In sixth grade my homeroom teacher was also the cross country coach. He saw a scrawny little kid and thought I'd be perfect for running. He convinced me to run in intramural cross country and track and I was hooked from then on. I went on to run cross country every year of middle school and high school. At my peak I ran a 20:03 5K at the Michigan High School Division 1 States Competition. Earning a place on the Academic All States list my freshman and sophomore years. I slowed down after that and struggled to compete in college. I had some issues with stress fractures and weight gain. In 2004 I signed up to do the Chicago Triathlon with Team in Training and I haven't looked back since!

What kind of runner are you? Are you competitive during a race, or do you run to keep healthy?

Definitely competitive. I am driven by my own personal goals and I must admit I thrill in placing high at races. At some point I would like to win a 50K. If my training goes well the next few years I think it is possible. My other primary goals are to break 20 in the 5K and to break 3:20 in the marathon. Thankfully I enjoy running all distances 5K up to 50 so there will be plenty of opportunities for new personal records along the way!

What do you love about being a pacer?

I am a running chatter box. I love to talk and most of my runs are social. Pacing gave me the chance to talk to a whole new group of runners as well as help them to achieve their personal goals. I would love to coach cross country some day but as that is not likely. Pacing is a fun way of being a "coach for the day." The runners out there count on you and look up to you and trust that you will advise them throughout the day. It is a big responsibility but also a lot of fun!

What have you learned from being both a volunteer for a race and a runner in a race?

I love volunteering for races. At the Burning River 100 mile race this year I headed up the aid station at mile 91.3. You truly appreciate what goes into a race like that when you are manning an aid station. The first runner came through our aid station hours before the next runner. We had to be on alert and ready to help runners throughout the night and into the late morning. It was so inspiring and I truly believe most of the runners would not accomplish their goal without the help of the volunteers. I started my endurance lifestyle with Team in Training in 2004 and have mentored for their program. Many of the people in TNT are first timers and are out there to cover the distance no matter how long it takes. I have a special love for the tri-athletes and runners who are back of the packers. They work so much harder than most of the speedy folks and I am always crushed when a race does not follow through on support for those last athletes to cross the line. I think seeing a race from the volunteer side of things makes me a much more appreciative racer. I always make sure to thank the volunteers throughout the day. Without them there would be no race.

What is your advice to new runners?

First and foremost go out and get fitted for a good pair of running shoes. So many injuries come from running in old crappy shoes. Talk with a shoe expert and find out what will work for you. Your feet will be happy and your running will be better because of it. I think when you start running it is so easy to quit. Running is not easy the first time around and it may not even be easy for the first few months. But I promise the benefits are worth the effort. I truly feel so many people are missing out by not running. I can't fathom not being able to run. Once you get over the initial soreness and difficulty breathing, running is truly so enjoyable. I find it almost meditative. My other advice would be to keep it fun. Run in different places, run with different groups, run at different paces. Mixing up your training makes it more of an adventure and less of a chore. I truly can say I look forward to 99% of my runs now. Most of that is because I have a different group to run with everyday.

I hardly ever run alone anymore and on the occasion I do it is a treat rather than being something to dread.

How has running changed your life?

I honestly cannot imagine life without running. Running has opened up a whole new social world for me. I have met so many wonderful people that I never would have met without running. I am truly so blessed to have so many good people in my life. I can call upon any of them at anytime to go out and get in a workout. I am by nature a ball of energy and I think running is a great outlet for me. If I didn't run I would be bouncing off the walls constantly. Running is kind of my own personal therapy as well as a great way to stay in shape!

Visit Elizabeth Hansen’s Blog Run With Me for more information about her running career, running tips, or just as a fun read. Her witty writing is just what you’ll need to keep motivated!

(Picture Credits: Picture #1 captured by Mike Keller from Running With Scissors 60K, picture #2 captured by North Country Trail Marathon photos, picture #3 captured by Brian Stern from a local 5K race)


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Winter Apparel from New Balance

Check out the complete line of winter apparel from New Balance on

You can tell New Balance did their homework with performance apparel; the entire line is perfect for chilly weather running. And all the apparel allows for great mobility; there is nothing worse than feeling trapped inside your running jacket!

I personally am a huge fan of the fleece; it's cozy but not too heavy so you can wear it and still be active. They are also great for layering in the bitter cold.

Not only can you easily find information on Winter Performance Apparel, but you can also find updated information on Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the latest New Balance technologies.

And, you can get back to via the link at the bottom home page. Just click on the link when you see the "Winter Apparel Collection" message appear.


Friday, November 23, 2007

I Should Have Shopped Online...

I never shop the day after Thanksgiving. But this year was different; my husband wanted a digital camcorder and my son wanted one of the hottest toys of the season. So, what did I do? I got up at 5:00 AM of course and started shopping. I battled the parking lots, parked a half mile away (which is fine, I needed to walk off that turkey and dressing from yesterday) and literally ran into the store. The aisles were packed. And of course all of the carts were taken and I had tons to buy and a limited amount of time. I got the last of the "hit" toys and all of the camcorders were gone. The other items I wanted were either not in the sizes I needed or they were just sold out! After waiting in line for 30 minutes in the electronics department, and battling the crowds and crying kids, I was finally finished and completely "shopped" out. Then I drove to the office to start my "real" day!

So, what did I learn from this crazy experience? I should have shopped online. And with all of the awesome free shipping offers, including with, why waste your valuable holiday time in line? The most frustrating part was the out of stock sizes. Most stores just don't carry the inventory.

So, enjoy NO CROWDS, NO LINES, AND NO HASSLES this year by shopping online. And if you have a few "fitness wishes" to grant this year, shop with I promise you won't be left without a shopping cart!


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New Balance 790

The December 2007 circulation of Fitness Rx just featured a spread on the New Balance 790!

They describe this shoe as "an ultra-lightweight trail-racing shoe...built low to the ground for maximum responsiveness." It was a pretty great review and featured some information about new technologies; N-Durance® outsole, AT Tread®, Rock Stop®, etc.

Check out this shoe for yourself. I am not a trail runner myself so I have not tried it out, but I have heard some positive reviews from others. Let's just say a few people in our own NB Web Express offices own this pair of shoes! Plus it comes in a ton of colors for both men and women!


Thursday, November 8, 2007

New Balance Winter Running Gear

It seems like only yesterday I was posting on how to stay cool in the heat and now winter is around the corner.

Cold weather, snow and ice are no longer excuses for a lack of running this season. So, as the temperature drops, think of it as a new opportunity! A new way to run and workout even though the weather may be less than spectacular.

Colder weather means 'new gear' to most runners and New Balance will not leave you in the cold.

Here are a few new additions to the NB Web Express site made just for winter running:

New Balance 921 - Winter Trail Running Shoe (pictured above)

Traction where and when you need it the most, the 921 features removable spikes to help with those slick surfaces and snowy hills. The BIOSHIELD® upper gives great weather protection. I can see this shoe performing well during high mileage runs on unexpected terrain or snowy/hilly trails.

Thermal Max Jacket
Made for men and women, the Thermal Max jacket features a cozy fleece interior and reflective outer layer for safety. This jacket will hold in warmth as you run. Think of wearing this jacket over a long sleeve performance tee or insulated top.

Thermal Max Pant
Ultimate winter running pant designed for men and women with Thermal Max fabrication to hold in warmth. Pair it with the Thermal Max Jacket and stay cozy. You could even wear over running tights for maximum warmth if the conditions call for it.

XT Running Glove

Your hands will stay far from chilly in these technical gloves. The warm insulated fabric construction will keep your hands from freezing up, plus the high density gel on the palms will give nice traction; they will keep your hands from slipping so you can open a water bottle or tie a shoe with ease.

These were just a few of the winter weather items New Balance has come out with for the season. More will surely come as temperatures continue to drop.

Stay warm out there!


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

New Balance "Gets their Feet Wet!"

November 2, 2007 the New England Aquarium just received a $3 million gift from the New Balance Foundation.

In an effort to support the children's fitness "Get Your Feet Wet" program, New Balance contributed to the cause, "the gift will be used to help build the New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center and to develop programs that use seals and sea lions to promote childhood fitness," the center is set to open in 2009.

"The New Balance Foundation is committed to encouraging childhood fitness and activity, and there is no better way to connect children to nature and the outdoors than through animals," said Anne Davis, managing trustee of the New Balance Foundation.

Read more about the program here.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

How do I clean my shoes?

This question has been coming up more and more. If you take all of this time to find the right running shoes, how do you keep them clean?

One great method starts by simply looking in the dental care aisle of your local store. Use a light bristle toothbrush (perhaps an old toothbrush you were about to throw out) and a light washing detergent (laundry or dish washing) and scrub the shoes. You can also immerse them in water. Allow your shoes to air dry for about 24 hours before putting them on.

New Balance does have an extensive line of cleaning products, those of course work great. Why not use the same brand of cleanser as brand of shoes?

Keep in mind, do NOT put your shoes in the washing machine!

If your shoes are suede or leather, you will need to use a suede or leather cleanser. Be sure to follow the instructions.

Well, there you have it. How to clean your running shoes. Has anyone tried this method lately? Any new cleaning methods to recommend?