Showing posts from 2013

Snow sighted in Sarasota at the Frosty 5K

While a cold weather front blankets the north with snowy skies we Floridians have found a different way to celebrate the season, it involves costumes, fake snow, a beer truck and 700 runners. That's right, the Frosty 5K took place this past weekend in Sarasota and it attracted a monster crowd of endurance junkies who were warmly wrapped in the Christmas spirit.
The event brought in running groups from all over southwest Florida as well as visitors from as far away as Canada. Attendees added flair to the occasion wearing reindeer antlers, sparkly red Christmas shorts or simply dressing as Frosty the snowman. However, Frosty himself showed up wearing his running shoes. He was made of snow but the children know that he ran the Frosty 5K and boy did he run fast. Well, who could blame him? With the morning temperature reaching 80 degrees, Frosty had to finish the race before he melted.

The Frosty 5K is organized by the Active Suncoast Foundation and is one of the most scenic runs in t…

6 Events to Kick Off Your New Year

At the beginning of each year we resolve to start a new. We make promises to ourselves that we will eat healthier, spend more time with friends and family and we will exercise more. It's often that last one that kicks us in the butt. However, if you are going to suffer for better health, you don't need to do it alone.

Listed below are six fun filled activities based here in southwest Florida to kick off your New Year. Peruse the list at your leisure. With walking, running (Fun runs to a half marathon), biking (On and off road) and even longboarding there is something for everyone.

1. Mimosa Fun Run - On Jan 1st in Punta Gorda the Foot Landing Running Shoe Store is holding their Annual Mimosa Fun Run. Think you had enough to drink the night before? Nonsense! Meet up at the Foot Landing at 7:15am and take a nice relaxed jog, walk or stroll around the city. The volunteers at the finish will greet you with a delicious Mimosa and a smile. Registration is FREE but arrive early. For…

Can Running Shoe Stores Succeed in Today's Economy?

This is a question I would have been afraid to ask a year ago. With store fronts being crushed by low prices from mega-corporations it has become hard to imagine how a small business with a sport specific product could make a profit. I recently made a trip to the Foot Landing in Punta Gorda, Florida where after only one year in business, something outstanding has happened.
Before I reveal their story, I should probably explain where my pessimism originated. Eight months ago I was suffering from foot pain and decided to buy some new running shoes. I knew that the Foot Landing was a supporter of Zoomer's Run & Tri Club, of which I'm a member, so I decided to check out their store.

The Foot Landing is forty-five minutes away from my home so I had to make a special trip. The owner Sherri Kemp Lennon was courteous and helpful. She had me stand on a computer pad that shows the weight distribution on each leg and the arch of my feet. This can help a person pick the proper shoes …

The 3rd Annual Achieva Reindeer Trot

While the big events get all the press and attention, I decided it might be nice to check out one of the smaller races that flies under the radar. The 3rd Annual Achieva Reindeer Trot takes place not far from main street in Sarasota. The Reindeer Trot is actually three events in one. They have a 5k race, a 10k race and a holiday dog walk followed by a doggy costume contest.
Why did I pick this race? First of all, it's held at Payne Park. This beautiful little stretch of city property is decked out with meticulously groomed grass, a central jogging track, a playground and a skate park. I filmed part of a Strider Sports video here only a few months ago. Secondly, the race is sponsored by Achieva which is a credit union based in Southwest Florida. In the past I've bought two cars through Credit Unions. They are an excellent alternative to the traditional bank because the members/account holders are also part owners.

In addition to my personal reasons, small races possess a charm…

555 Chilly Runners took on the Turkey Trot 5K

If you think it never gets cold in Florida, I welcome you to race the Habitat for Humanity Turkey Trot 5k which takes place on the beautiful grounds of Edison State College in Punta Gorda. I entered this race in 2012 and had my first taste of Thanksgiving morning's unexpected chill. Last year it was about 45 degrees but this year was at least 5 degrees colder.
555 Runners, many wrapped in sweatsuits, took to the grounds of the college passing back and forth on the roads with a final loop around the pond and down to the finish. The benefit of the weather change was that chattering teeth and crisp winds inspired people to run very fast.

How fast were the runners? Let's start with the top 3 Men Overall. All of them were under 23 years old, one of them (Ian Elkin) was only 16. All three braved the weather with the minimum of clothing and the maximum of preparation. All three were cruising along doing 5 minute miles.
1. Johnathan Nusbaum 15:59 2. Anthony Pollizzi 16:12 3. Ian Elkin 1…

Introduction to the Joy of Mud - Tippecanoe 2013

When I first learned that people were paying good money to run around in the woods and get covered in mud, I wasn't so sure about the concept. I remembered doing it quite a lot as a kid and it was fun back then but why is it suddenly popular now? Sometimes you have to witness an event to understand the appeal.
At the 2nd Annual Tippecanoe Trail Mud Run, I got up close to the race and zoomed right in on the action to see what motivates such behavior. What did I see? I saw a man running in a kilt. I saw women with fake mustaches. I saw mud covered kids with huge smiles on their faces. I saw teammates waiting up for each other, even at the finish line. What I saw through the lens was good clean, no wait, not clean at all. It was even better, it was dirty fun.

A week before it all began my wife and I stumbled upon some of the constructions being built for this race and they were amazing. From the water slide on Mount Tippecanoe to the sudden plunge of the mud pit to the heartbreaking…

Tempo Cyclery Grand Re-Opening Party

A bike shop is often the heart of a local biking community. Even in a cycle saturated city like Sarasota, Tempo Cyclery had no problem filling their shop for their Grand Re-Opening party on Nov 16th, 2013. What a party it was! With good food from the grill, good beer in the coolers and prizes being raffled off every 15 minutes, the atmosphere was jubilant and anticipatory.
Tempo owner Julian Gregory and his staff kept the shop running with sales and service even while it was filled with friends and customers.

Between sips of Fat Tire Amber Ale and sweets from Sirard's Chocolate Cafe, the cyclists retreated out back to prepare for the day's planned entertainment. A chalk outline on the cement marked an obstacle course designed to be raced by adults on miniature kids bikes. The prize was two brand new Scott cycling helmets, one each for the male and female winners.
A handful of men and women, some of them Ironman competitors, struggled playfully with the tiny bikes. The course …

Our Mysterious Tippecanoe Adventure

When I was running the Southwest Florida Lung Cancer 5K at the Charlotte Sports Park, I noticed that there was a trail system behind the stadium. The Tippecanoe Environmental Park is maintained by Charlotte County who protect a beautiful piece of land hugged on its outer rim by waterways and a salt marsh. The County fenced off this property and set in place a system of wide (Truck size) trails meant for hiking.
Terri and I decided that it would a fun place to explore and we were hoping to get in a couple miles of walking in this beautiful fall weather. Happily, we got a little more than we expected.

Let me start off by saying, this park is still a work in progress. That was clear from the roughness of the sandy trails and the lack of internal signs. Biking is possible but pointless as the deep sand would not be much fun and the actual distances are rather short. Otherwise, everything is wide open. There are wide open views, wide open trails and a wide sky looming over you. We were lu…

Lung Cancer 5K Raises Thousands for Research

Did you know that Lung Cancer is the number one killer in Charlotte County? It's a harsh statistic to hear when you call Southwest Florida your home but it helps you understand why charity races are so important. Sometimes we get caught up in our goals, our personal records or age group rivalries and forget that at the end of the day this is a race to raise money that will help save lives.
The Southwest Florida Lung Cancer 5K attracted 33 teams, 165 timed runners and a score of untimed runners and walkers. Thousands of dollars were raised for the Lung Cancer Research Council all of which will benefit this worthy cause.

The pageantry of the day was fitting. Runners gathered in front of the stadium where a huge American flag hung from the extended ladder of a fire truck. A bagpiper played patriotic tunes as the color guard marched in time. Politicians and sponsors made proclamations and gave thanks. Prayers were spoken for those still in the fight and silence was given for those wh…

Mountain Bike Trail Access Expanding in Venice

Success breeds access. That is the theme at the T. Mabry Carlton Reserve, a enormous park purchased in 1982 for the purpose of natural resource protection and nature based recreation. Nowadays nothing is more nature based than Mountain Biking. The most successful trails in the Reserve as of late have been built by SCORR or the Sarasota County Off Road Riders.
A steady pattern has developed at parks across the country. Local riders assemble into a MTB group and then seek the right to build on State or Public lands. This can sometimes be a long, tiresome process but with good reason, the park managers need to know that the groups are sincere, responsible and capable. Often times the new trails attract a larger crowd, bringing new life to the park and economic growth to the neighboring towns and businesses.

Earlier this year SCORR was given permission to start building Mountain Bike specific trails in the Carlton Reserve (Read the Trail Building Story Here). These changes have turned a …