Twenty-six-point-two Smiles: Stephanie and her first-place plaque.
I Am PRC: Stephanie Crawford Fells the Giants
When Stephanie Crawford moved to Portland from New Hampshire last fall, one of the first things she did was join our PRC Race team. With a spring marathon to train for, Stephanie spent the fall and winter logging miles and making friends on our Sunday Forest Park runs, at our weekly track workouts, and during our Saturday Challenge Runs.
Fast forward to Sunday, May 5th, when Stephanie toed the line at the start of California's Avenue of the Giants Marathon for a race through the redwoods. Representing our PRC Race Team, Stephanie crossed the finish line two hours, 58-minutes and 15-seconds later, winning first place in the women's division!
PRC's Holly Paige caught up with Stephanie and asked her to share her winning race strategy.
Talk about your game plan for racing—and winning—Avenue of the Giants. Why did you pick this marathon? Had you run it before?
I originally heard about the Avenue of the Giants Marathon from my dad and my uncle who ran it in the '70s and raved about the scenery. My uncle had described a lottery to get into the race, so I was surprised when I looked it up last year and noticed statistics for "day-of-race registration." It sounds like the race has gotten smaller over the years which is too bad because it's a really beautiful course and well-organized race. But it was the perfect race for me because I prefer a small, scenic marathon where I can distract myself with natural beauty to a large city marathon with cheering crowds.
Did you have a time goal?
I had been trying for the past five marathons to go under three hours, and had gotten as close as 3:01 twice. During training and in the back of my head, that was always the goal for this marathon although as it got closer, I tried to tell myself that I wasn't going to worry about it and was just going to enjoy the race and the scenery.
Talk about your training regimen. How many miles a week were you running at peak training?
Whether training for a marathon or not, I run almost every day with my husband, Hunter, because I enjoy it. For this marathon, we gradually increased our mileage starting in January or February. We were probably running about 65–75 miles a week during peak training, but I honestly don't remember because Hunter keeps track of all that! I do remember that during spring break when we went to visit my brother in L.A., we logged a 95-mile week, but some of that mileage included hiking!
What particular part of training was most effective for your marathon?
I benefited from a combination of speed work and long runs with a few races (Shamrock, Horse Butte) to test my fitness. PRC Sunday long runs were great for providing company while adding miles, especially when we had to add a few extra miles because of trains! PRC's Saturday Challenge Runs and Tuesday track workouts helped me increase my speed. If you haven't been to a PRC group run yet, they're a lot of fun!
Lots of runners and racers have pre-race rituals. What are yours?
I don't really have one. I used to have a special nut mixture that I would eat before a race (cashews, almonds, and craisins), but I forgot it before this race so I guess it wasn't lucky after all. I did wear my lucky headband that my mom made for me, though!
Talk about the course and race day conditions. What was the terrain? Were there any surprises along the way?
The course was made up of two separate out-and-back sections of the historic "Avenue of the Giants" road. It follows a river and is lined with huge redwoods, so it was shady and not too hilly. Race day conditions couldn't have been more perfect with temperatures in the low 60s at the start. Because of the shade, it never seemed to get much warmer.
When did you know you were ahead and could possibly win?
I tried to calm my nerves at the start of the race by telling myself it was just a long run in the woods—only slightly longer than some of the PRC Sunday runs in Forest Park. I looked at my watch at the first mile—6:50—right on pace for under three hours. At the second mile marker (which I later found out was misplaced), my watch showed me slowing to 7:00 pace. I decided at that point to stop measuring my mile splits and just enjoy the run. I knew there was one woman ahead of me and another one was catching up to me. We talked for a while (this was her first marathon and she was looking for a "low three-hour marathon"), and ran together for a few miles, catching up to and passing the lead woman. After the first turnaround, the course seemed to go downhill slightly, and I started to feel great and took off, winding through the trees and enjoying the quiet. As I came back to the start, the spectators were cheering loudly, and the second out-and-back almost felt like a different race. There was a half marathon and 10K that used this second out-and-back section, so the race was no longer solitary. I started to be able to see some of the 10K and half-marathon runners coming back, and recognized some friendly faces from the PRC Team. Because I was in the lead, there was a woman on a bike riding just ahead of me who announced my coming so that the larger groups of half-marathon and 10K runners moved to the right. Their cheers were energizing! By that point, I knew I was in the lead, and when I looked at my watch, I was pretty sure that I could also make my time goal!
What racing shoes did you wear?
My Brooks Adrenalines. They're the only shoes I ever wear, whether it's a long or short run, speedwork or recovery run, track or trails.
What advice do you have for runners who want to set PRs or even win their upcoming races?
Keep your goal in mind and train hard. Do what you can to make training fun whether that's exploring new trails or running with new friends.
I Am PRC is a regular feature on our site. For more interviews like this one, click here. Interview by Holly Paige.
Hoppity Heck-yeah: Kayla after setting a half-marathon PR at the end of March.
I Am PRC: Kayla Moothart
At PRC Nation, we have some of the best customers in the world. Sometimes, our customers become our employees, so they can share the PRC love in a whole new way. Meet Kayla Moothart. She's a member of our PRC racing team, a blogger, an elementary school teacher by day, and now, one of our newest PRC employees! PRC's Holly Paige spent some time with Kayla to learn what makes her tick.
"When I started dating my husband, he was running in college on a scholarship. He wanted running to be a shared experience that we could do together, so I agreed to start but wanted to wait until I could run two miles without stopping. By the time I was up to two miles of running he wasn't interested in running anymore, but I kept on going."
"My first race was a super small 5K. I remember that it seemed like a big scary deal and the anticipation was awful. My husband ran with me and made me run much faster than I could handle so the last mile was horrible and I hated him for it. I consider my first half marathon—the Cinco de Mayo half in Portland—to be my first "real" race because I actually had to register and wear a bib. I loved that race. Going up and over Terwilliger at my own pace was so much fun. Finishing was exhilarating, and I was hooked."
"The half marathon distance is a fantastic distance. It is long enough to be a challenge but short enough that you can still work with speed! Plus my No. 1 fan (my husband, Austin) doesn't have to wait as long for me to finish as in a full marathon. I love long distance though."
"I have run 12 half-marathons and five marathons. I will be doing the Vancouver BMO Marathon in Vancouver, BC, in three weeks. This will be my sixth marathon and I am super excited to become an international marathoner!"
"I have a whole list of races that I want to run. The 'bigs' of course: Boston, New York, Chicago. But I would also love to run the Avenue of the Giants in the redwoods and a trail marathon. I love being surrounded by all of the beauty."
"In my training cycle I am currently running between 50 and 55 miles. I peaked at 60. I'm very goal-oriented which helps me to stay focused and motivated. Setting little goals along the way has helped me to get where I need to in my training to run the time I am hoping for in Vancouver."
"Racing was very hard for me in the beginning because I really lacked mental strength. I would just enjoy running comfortably and would fall back on that. When a faster pace started to get tough, I would kind of just give in. In my current training cycle I have been working on "training my brain" and have made huge strides. My half marathon PR has come down almost 10 minutes in five months!"
"Right now I am really digging the Mizuno Wave Riders for my racing shoe.... Still cushioned for the long distance but more responsive than my Nike Pegasus."
"I used to listen to music when I ran—ALWAYS. Now it has been almost exactly a year since I last listened to music. I can feel my body better and what it needs without the distraction. When I did listen to music I listened to a lot of rock for my speed work, and a lot of more mellow alternative stuff for my long runs."
"In my time of being a customer at PRC I was always impressed with the staff's ability to remember my name and shoe size or my next goal race. I love how personal it feels to be here. That is a huge reason why I wanted to be part of the crew. I also am a elementary school teacher, so it doesn't hurt to be able to work with adults, either."
"My blog is called "Fit Life Forward". It is mainly about how I strive to be happy in all things in my life—career, health, fitness—and it centers a lot on my running. I got the idea for the name from my motto: "Keep Moving Forward." I started blogging as a sort of journal to know my training and to be more purposeful in each of my days. I wanted to remember everything and the blog got me to start taking more photos and made me think about the positive parts in my everyday life. I enjoy sharing my experiences with training, races and the fun things that happen in my life. Check it out!"
I Am PRC is a regular feature on our site. For more interviews like this one, click here. Interview by Holly Paige. Find a link to Kayla's blog on our Press Truck page.
I Am PRC: Ben Corderman
Last week we had a little fun with Ben Corderman's profile, publishing a redacted version of a phony interview. This week we're going to play it straight. Ben is a Marine turned full-time dad and full-time student. He's also a dedicated runner who shows up at least once a week to our group runs. This year he joined our Race Team. Find out what got him back into running and other interesting facts about the multifaceted Ben. He wears lots of hats, not just ours.
What's your history with running?
I ran track my senior year in high school, just to try and get some running in before bootcamp that summer. I ran the 800 and the 1500. I had no business being out there. I ran quite a bit in training while I was on active duty [in the Marines] but really nothing too outrageous mileage-wise after bootcamp.
What got you into running so much now, and why are you sticking with it?
I got back into running last April because I was overweight; I am sticking to it because now I am not. That and I have found a real passion for the training and the community.
When I got out of the Marine Corps in November of 2003 I vowed to not run again unless I was being chased. Nobody bothered to chase me so I managed to put on quite a bit of weight. Last April when I started running again I weighed 245 lbs. I got down to 170 lbs. in time for the Portland Marathon in October. And now I am closer to 160 lbs. and feel pretty good; I’m at the weight I should be.
What is your favorite race distance?
I would say my favorite distance is probably the marathon, but I am looking to do some longer stuff. I want to try my hand at some ultra-distance running. I don’t have a lot of experience racing, so this year I am looking to run everything I did last year (and more) and start getting some PR's. The next “big” one for me will be Helvetia Half, that was the first thing I ran last year.
What types of races would you like to do?
The plan of doing an Ironman is what really started my transformation last year. That is certainly still on the list and something I will continue to work towards, but it just becomes such a time and money drain. I like the idea of trying some longer distance running as well as multi-sport events. I also really want to chase Alex around in the snow next year with some snowshoes on.
What's on your bucket list?
Marine Corps Marathon, SuperFrog Tri, Ironman World Championships, Western States 100, Enduroman Arch to Arc, Spartathlon.
Why do you keep coming out to our group runs? Why should everyone?
I keep coming out to the group runs for a couple of reasons, but the biggest being the community of it. I like the people that are there. I wish that I could make it out to more of them, but my schedule is just too full right now.
Everyone should come out because the group runs really are for everyone. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are. How experienced or novice you are doesn’t matter either; there is somebody for everyone there. Plus they are free. Free is a pretty darn good price. It is a great place to learn what's going on in the community, both running and non-running. There is legitimate world-class instruction available at some of the different runs; that's incredible.
What's your best purchase at PRC?
My best purchase would probably be my Amphipod Xinglet. It keeps me from bailing on latenight runs after I get out of class.
If you could invite any three people on a long run with you, who would you pick?
Hmmmm. Well, I would invite my uncle Jim. He is a runner. I have run with him and it's always interesting. He has a really interesting job (he commits people to mental hospitals), so he has some great stories. I would also have to have my good friend Austin along just because we don’t see each other that often so it would be nice to catch up. I know everyone will think Ryan edited this in, but Ryan Heal is fun to run with so I feel like he would make the cut. Plus Uncle Jim could really get behind the curtain of Ryan, maybe finally have him put away….
What if you could run with a dead person?
Would I have to carry this dead person? Somebody light.
Best running book so far?
I am just finishing up Finding Ultra by Rich Roll right now and it is awesome.
What do you have in common with Alberto Salazar?
Well, when I read Alberto’s book [14 Minutes] I could really relate to his description of dying, having his life flash before his eyes. In 1999 when I was in Okinawa I almost drowned while attempting to SCUBA dive during a tsunami (yeah, I know, dumb idea), and I had one of those “life flashing before my eyes” experiences.
Why won't your wife get on helicopters with you?
I have been in more than a few that have fallen out of the sky.
That's a good segue. We had a little fun last week with your personal history in the Marine Corps, but you really did attend to some global flashpoints. Give us the brief synopsis of your service.
I was an active duty Marine for 8 years (1996 to 2003). I loved being a Marine. It was the only thing I ever wanted to do. I had the honor and privilege to serve my country, and I am very proud of that. I don’t often speak of it, but my favorite “keepsake” is my seabag. My big green US gov’t-issued canvas duffel bag. I have written on it, every place I went while I was in. It is probably the one thing that will really get me talking about my time served.
What are your hobbies nowadays?
My other hobbies that are not athletic in nature are knitting and a little stained glass work. Yeah, you read that correctly, I knit. I’m pretty good at it, too.
What takes up most of your time?
My kids and my schoolwork take up all of my time. I am a full-time stay-at-home dad by day and a full-time college student by night.
What's next, outside of running?
We are currently finishing up improvements on our home so we can get it on the market and get into something a little bigger.
Why did you join the PRC Race Team this year?
I’m a team guy. I like being a part of something bigger than myself. It has been fun to get to know some of my teammates, and I feel like anytime I am around any of them at a run I learn so much. I wouldn’t get that anywhere else.
I Am PRC is a regular feature on our site. For more interviews like this one, click here. Ryan Heal contributed to this report.
Good Times with PRC Team Six: Corderman, right, and lakjdlkjlkdjf ;lkajdsf;ljkadfasldk.
I Am PRC: Meet SSgt. Ben Corderman
Ben Corderman showed up at PRC's Sunday long runs last year and has established himself as one of the familiar, if more intimidating, figures at many of our group runs. An Astoria-native and son of a commercial fisherman, Ben joined the U.S. Marine Corps after high school and spent nearly a decade going from one global flashpoint to another. He got into running, without someone telling him to do it, to restore his former edge.
When he's not tromping through the woods with us, Ben takes care of his two kids in N. Portland. If he tells you to get off his Astroturf, you'd better listen.
The interview with Ben has been sanitized by the NSA for distribution to a wide audience.
What did you do in the Marine Corps?
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Sounds hairy. Was there a lot of running involved?
Yes! I remember this one time when we were in N. skjdfkh skdjfhlkhjsldf alskdj skjdhf asdklfhjs skdfjh s ksjdhf skh fkjshdfj skjdhf kjshdfk jhsdfkjh ksjhdf sdkjd. You could hardly hear or see anything, and we were just running helter-skelter when the lkjsdlkfjlsdhfkjh kajhsdfkjhskdjhf skdfjhksdjhf skdjhf kjshdf askldjf klajshdf slkjdfh lkjhasdf lkjhasdkljfhlkdjhsf jhalksd on fire slkdfjalkjdhsf akdjshf kaksjdhf kajsjkdhf lkjhasdf kjh! It was like being inside an exploding volcano! We did some running in training, of course. a;sldkfj slkdjf a;lskdjf ;asldkfj a;lsdkjf running everywhere akjsdlfk ja;lksdf jhalsdkjfh kljahdsf kjhalksdjhflaksjdhfl kahj alksjdhf alksdjhf lakjhsdlf khjaljksdhf lkajhsdf. run! We ran in training sometimes.
You once said you survived klsjdf lskdjf lsjf lksjfl crashes. Is that why your wife to this day won't get on a skjdhfkjhoiioh with you?
To be honest, I mean, not all of the skdjhf alskdjflakjhds alsdkjfha lskjdhf kaj skdljfh alksj, slakjdhf klajhsd slkdhjf lakjshdf lkajhsd flkjahsdfkj alksjdhf lkajhsdf alkdhjsf lkajhsd lkjhas lskjdhf lkajhsdf alksdhjf alkjshdf lakjhsdf lkajhdsfl .
How is parenting like being in a war zone, allegedly?
Well, potty-training is like alsdkjfklahsdkjfh alkjsdhf klajhs alkjsdhf lakjhdsf alksjdfh lkajhsd alkjdhsf lakjhds kjlhasdlkf hjalkjdhsf lakjsdhf lkjahsldkjflakjhdslkfjhakhjdsfkjh kjalhdslkjfhalkjhdsf lkjah ldhjsfl jhaldsfh. You know? It's like a solo mission to alkjsdhflkja alksdjf alkjsdhf lkajhsdlkfa lkjhsdflk halkjdhsfl kjhalkjsdhfl kjahlksdjhf lakjhsdf jlkhadslkfhlakjhdsf. alskdjhf lakjhsdf lkjhasdlkfjh iwudlkfjh lakjshdflk halksjdhfwihefkljsdhf lkjahsf lkjh asdklfjhakjdsh. But we didn't do any of that. alksdjf alksdjhf alsdkjfhasldkjh dl fkajhd alskdjf al lkajshdf lkjahsd Modesto [CA].
You post a lot on the PRC Facebook Page. What do you get out of being an active participant in our community?
I'm not on Facebook.
Yes, you are. That's where we got this photo of you.
It looks like you, a little younger, without the salt-and-pepper beard.
Are you saying I look old now? Only my wife can call me ldfjhalksjhf alksdjhf lkajsdf lkjahdslfk jhalksjdhf lakjsdhf
OK, whatever. So, have you ever seen the inside of a Turkish prison?
Listen punk. lkajsdflkjadsf;lkjajeoij oieofij doja;lksjdf;l kjadjfnocinewoicrupaourpouaporoiuspfjlksjdfociofjoiajdsjskljghndcfoiueowio oiuenvponu ouenva oaucnfopsdnfcpoapocfuoisdufcoiaufioauosfuoafpaufopiupoi paoiuncpoa poudifnpo pounpofunpco poaiuscn opisaucnp poaucn podifun poiunpois o onunocuaopius apoidununc paoiucponsc aoiufncpoansc paoiucnpoansd
Do you still run in heavy pants?
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my favorite recipes on Pinterest.
Thanks for your time!
The PRC staff involved in this interview requested not to be named. To read the rest of this interview, submit a formal public records request to:
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301
(More on Ben next week!)
Waud Bluff Trail Is Open!
Out on a jog this morning we discovered that the long-in-progress Waud Bluff Trail is open! This 1,700-foot paved path connects Willamette Boulevard at N. Harvard Street with Swan Island below. A bridge at the bottom of the trail provides safe crossing of the active Union Pacific tracks at the base of the bluff. North Portland runners, rejoice! This trail should open up some new and interesting routes as well as provide an awesome place for some seriously baller hill repeats! One thing to note: The trail doesn't appear to be stroller friendly. Not only is it steep (runaway baby?!), the stairs at the bottom don't look like they'd be too easy to ascend or descend with a baby jogger, unless you can flag down some of the nearby Coasties to help you carry it! See the pic below snapped with our phone.
So, where exactly is this new connector trail? It's basically at the southeast entrance to the University of Portland campus. You'll see some bike racks, a bus stop, a pedestrian island, and some chain-link fencing at the top. The fencing provides narrow entry to the the Waud Bluff Trail, ostensibly to prevent NoPo's population of itinerant shepherds from bringing their flocks to graze on the beautiful meadows below. Either that, or safety-conscious planners didn't want motor vehicles on the trail. The bottom of the trail spits you out at the very end of N. Basin Avenue on Swan Island.
P.S. Did you know, Swan Island used to be the site of our fair city's airport? It's true. This fact is commemorated by the "Hairport of Portland" Salon at 5130 N. Lombard St.
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