Friday, October 7, 2016

Ursula Rains Balboa Boogie 5k

By: Nancy Morris & Jessie Carey McBride

Ursula Rains Balboa Boogie 5k
Saturday, October 8th
Morley Field, San Diego


This classic cross country race runs through Morley Field on October 8th. Presented by the San Diego Track Club, this race is part of the Dirt Dog Cross Country series.

Saturday, October 8th, 2016
* Masters (40 & over) start: 8:00am
* Open (39 & under) start: 8:45am
* Day of Race registration: 6:30am

* SDTC Members $15. Non-Members $20.
* Ages 17 and under $10.
* Online Registration available at here:


Who was Ursula Rains?
Ursula first immigrated to the US following WWII. She worked in the San Diego District School system until her retirement.

As a means of losing weight, Ursula began running and it did not take long before she started moving up in her age group to the top step of the awards and relinquished it very rarely – to the second step only – she was an awesome athlete.
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Ursula was also one of the kindest team mates ever – she was always there to help and contribute. One year at the La Jolla Half marathon, one of the runners, Mary Storey, fell while heading down the steep La Jolla Cove Road. The EMTs arrived and, although 100 meters from the finish, they would not allow her to continue – loaded Mary into the ambulance and off to the hospital.  Ursula immediately went to meet Mary at the hospital and stayed the day with her until Mary was able to be discharged home. Mary always spoke about how very kind Ursula was – to the point of getting Mary’s shoes and helping her put them on. She then drove Mary home and got her settled in.

Ursula was also the Queen of Carlsbad 5K and ran every one until her death in 2006. Carlsbad 5K consists of 6 races over the course of a morning – at the 2006 race, Ursula was honored at the start of every single race.

Ursula was one of the world’s great chefs and gardeners – she could grow anything and she shared all the fruitful proceeds of her labor of love.
Ursula died )following an accident during a run in Balboa Park (she actually completed her workout and was running to her yoga class) – while crossing a road she was struck by a car and despite fighting for many months, eventually succumbed to her injuries.

With a love of the outdoors and adventure, Ursula climbed Mount Whitney multiple times and the plan at her death was to cremate and spread her ashes over Mt Whitney – so she could rest where she was so very happy.

It is not possible to communicate how very much we miss her smile, laughter, kindness and friendship. To know Ursula was something special and I treasure her friendship and my photo with her at her last Carlsbad 5K – she was an awesome lady.

~ Nancy Morris

This year’s Balboa Boogie 5k will also be honoring Eileen Waters Connolly who passed away in August. We will tell you more about her in our next blog post!!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Whatever Half Marathon Training Program

Whatever Half Marathon Training Program 

For those that wish to continue with us into the fall, or return after a summer hiatus, we have the Whatever Training Program. Like the summer version, we’re focused on regaining or maintaining fitness but for a wider variety of events. Group size is limited to around 100 runners and the program follows a similar format. The difference is there is no specific race we train for. Thus, we each train for “whatever” we want.
Maybe you aim to run the popular Silver Strand Half Marathon in Nov. Could be you want a couple of hours of support while working up to a full marathon. Maybe you are looking to meet other runners like you training for “whatever” – you define the goal and distance. Events in Nov, Dec. and Jan would be great fit for this program.
Once the weather starts to cool, we move inland more often to run trails in Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve and Mission Trails and San Diego Track Club fall cross-country races. The program ends with the annual Christmas Card Lane Run in December.
The program includes weekly Tuesday night group track workouts and Saturday morning long runs with aid station support, training schedules tailored for three running speeds (12:00 to 10:00 minutes per mile, 10:00 to 7:30 minutes per mile, and 7:30 minutes per mile and faster), seminar speakers, access to a half marathon training web site, and long run course maps/route descriptions and more.
At a Glance:
  • Program runs 9/17/2016 - 12/17/2016. 
  • Fee of $115* includes a technical T-shirt, program coaching, access to exclusive web site content and ‘closed’ group workouts  (Tue & Sat) and one year membership. Log in to see the member’s program only pricing of $65
  • The program is capped at 100 runners
One year membership and entry into the “Whatever” half marathon program together. If you are already a member, log in to see the discounted “Whatever” only price.

Hope to see you out there!


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Men's Teams Wild Duck 5K Recap

Men's Open Team
The San Diego Men's Open team was well represented at the Wild Duck 5K.  The Wild Duck is the opening race of the 2016 Dirt Dog Cross Country Series.  We had nine team members who were able to get the Track Club into 2nd place on the day.  Our first place finisher was Brian Valentini in 16:32 coming in at 14th place overall.  Just behind Brian was Alex Samarin in 16:39 and Charlie Gamble in 16:57.   We will be back racing next at our home course in Balboa Park for the Balboa 4 miler.

70+ Men's Team

 SDTC 70+ Dirt Dog XC Team at the Wild Duck 5K

I am happy and proud to announce that SDTC 70+ team members Gordon Lutes, Tom Sweet, Dennis Kasischke, Doug Kenyon, and Peter Stern ran their guts out at the Wild Duck 5K. 

Gordon Lutes ran a 22:43, Tom Sweet ran a 24:11, Dennis Kasischke ran a 26:02, Doug Kenyon ran a 26:04, and Peter Stern ran 26:32.  

San Diego beat the Florida Track Club by 1 point.  This race couldn't have been any closer!!

Way to go 70+ men!!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Dirt Dog Is Here!!!

Alex Samarin

"I love cross-country... on the track I feel like a hamster."
- Robin Williams

The start and end of any race are the same as every other. As I'm writing this, I'm northbound on a flight to San Jose.Tomorrow, a drive to Bodega Bay - and the next day, Humboldt. I'm accompanied by three friends and teammates on the San Diego Track Club: Charlie Gamble, Brian Valentini, and Bob James. Sunday we'll run the Humboldt Bay Marathon. We're shooting for a Boston Qualifier and although I've put in the long runs, I don't feel completely ready.

It's my first marathon, and Charlie's too.  Brian and Bob are seasoned and reassure us that it will be an "easy long run"... right. Though I'm a lifelong runner, my training and races have usually been geared toward shorter track and cross-country races, with the occasional 20-miler always being a mistake. The marathon training cyle has been a great experience that made me realize why a team is important. I couldn't do it myself.

A lot of you probably came to the Track Club through our marathon training program. You may or may not miss it, but I'm sure the marathon was something you are glad to have done.

I've decided that it's a little crazy since I really only started training two months ago. And again, that's why this start line is the same as every other. In my mind I'm not as prepared as I should be, but there's never a good time to tackle a new challenge. It will without a
doubt stretch my limits because it's something new that I haven't done before. And it's very close to the opening of our cross-country season (legs need time to heal!), so let me tell you a bit about that.

I'll start with a riddle:

There is a line on the grass in Balboa Park, and not everyone knows where it is. 
It doesn't divide lanes of traffic, or countries, or come at the end of a complex math problem.
It is a simple line. It is not particularly wide and no banner is strung along its short length. 
Unlike most lines, it doesn't separate; it brings together.
Though it has been there a long time, most days you can't find it - the line just isn't there.
You'll cross it going one way, but not the other. On one day a year if you know where it is, then you've earned         it -though in getting there you might fall apart. 

What is it?  

In this case, I'm talking about the start line of the Balboa Park 4-miler. But remember how I began: "the start and end of any race is the same as every other."  As I approach the start of my first marathon, let me encourage you to try something new and check out the Balboa 4-miler.  It's a race that the Track Club organizes, and it's part of the Dirt Dog cross-country series.  You may be looking for a new challenge, but you might not be sure that this should be it. Let me reassure you - you've been there before.  You may not have heard about the hills "Zig-zag" or "Powder", but I'm sure they're no worse than a marathon. At least I hope they aren't!

Whether it's at the end of 26.2 or after 4 miles and 3 hills, in the end we'll have crossed another line: difficulties overcome, lessons learned, decisions made. And that's how I approach every race, every new challenge - tackle it, and decide after if you should have done it.

See you at the finish.

-By Alex Samarin

Rockin’ ‘N’ Runnin’ 2016 (Part 2 of 2)

Rockin’ ‘N’ Runnin’ 2016 (Part 2 of 2)
SDTC Blog Post
By: Melissa Stokely

RNR Logo.jpgI joined the San Diego Track Club and the Rockin’ ‘N’ Runnin’ Training Program in early January this year with my husband Jerry. We heard about it from our friend Miyuki Takahashi who seemed to really enjoy it last year when she did her first half marathon. We’ve been triathletes since 2008, with approx. 50 triathlons, mostly sprints, a few Olympics and one half for Jerry under our belts!

I started running for the first time at age 51 when I started triathlons. I got plantar fasciitis right off the bat, was in a boot for 2 mos. and got out of it just in time to finish training for and compete in my first tri at the Mission Bay Triathlon. For the next 7 years, my longest run was 7 miles, between running injuries and a general dislike for running.
I did the least running I could get by with and be successful at sprint tri’s. I didn’t like running, but I loved tris! Last year I was introduced to trail running and did two XTERRA trail 10k’s - Getting a 1st place AG at Laguna (of one in my AG)!! and a 3rd place AG at The XTERRA World Championships in Maui in October! I was over the moon. We watched our coach, Lesley Paterson get a 2nd place in the XTERRA race. The whole podium thing was a blast! In Maui, we raced the same course as the XTERRA athletes, only just the run part! There were 9 in my AG! For the first time, I was really excited about running!

Throughout 2014 and 2015 I was coached by Lesley and I improved a great deal! It was during her coaching that I got the trail running bug! In July last summer, I felt like I was in the best shape of my life, was at my racing weight for the first time in 7 years of work! I was signed up for my first half marathon event in September and was training and having a great time.
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Then bam! We were on a week long cycling adventure in Montana and my doctor called with some scary news. They wanted me to come in the next day regarding the mammogram I had before I left on my trip. There was nothing I could do being on my bike tour, and not wanting to overreact, I made lemonade out of lemons and rode out the trip, no pun intended!! It was going to be our 1st ever 2 week vacation with plans to fish and relax in Montana after the bike ride.

We however rushed home at the end of the ride and I was at Kaiser the next morning being diagnosed with breast cancer. It was early stage thanks to the routine mammogram. Surgery and radiation followed, with my last radiation treatment the last week of December. I managed to train throughout the process, however at a much easier pace and mostly for fun and stress relief. All races got cancelled. I stayed coaching with Lesley through December, a decision I don’t regret; She kept me going and connected with easy training plans and trained me for the Maui race on Halloween. I decided in December though, during radiation, that it was just too much and needed a break and time to recover. I was also feeling like it was time to find more of a group training style of program. That’s when we decided to join the San Diego Track Club.
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At our first meeting at Balboa Stadium, we showed up not knowing what to expect. I quickly became very excited and felt like a kid again! It felt reminiscent of school days, in a good way! On the first sat run at Hospitality Point, Wendelien Anderson introduced herself and we became run partners for the entire 5 months and ran the race together, both of us doing our first half marathon! I also met other friends I already knew from tri club! The positivity and support was so great. We really felt the love!

We quickly realized what a commitment we had signed up for! Because I work from home, I set my hours and prefer to train later in the mornings! Getting up at 5am on sat after a long week was tough! We decided that the best way to handle this was to consider our early sat workout to be our last “job” of the week, and that our weekend would begin after the sat runs, around 10 am or so!! Tuesday nights were equally hard, getting off work in time and being tired! See, I’m not a morning or a night person, and I was recovering from 5 months of treatments! And was just starting a 5-year oncology regimen.

The Tuesday nights and Saturday AM’s were a big shock to my system! But knowing my new friends were expecting me made it very easy to be accountable. Having someone to run with was awesome. It was the first time in 7 years I had people to consistently run with and run on a coached plan together! So, rain or shine, happy or sad, feeling like it or not, off we went!!!
As the runs got longer, we found ways to make it fun: stories, being social and helping each other thru - there were days when one or another of us wasn’t feeling our best, but showed up anyway!! We quickly became very fond of Coach Paul and the other leaders and volunteers. It was an amazing program! We realized the benefits and value and couldn’t have been happier we found this program!

The feeling of amazement and satisfaction after setting records: 10 miles, 11 miles, 13 miles was awesome! I never thought I’d ever be running these distances! All the fun touches were so appreciated! The finish lines, otter pops, and Coach Paul out on the various courses! The pre- and post-run stretching, and the planks! OH those planks!!! The camaraderie was the best! The track workouts were challenging but really really fun with all the fun, inclusive, and helpful people! Again the positivity, and support was so helpful!
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Race day quickly arrived and we felt more than prepared and expected to have a great time! Since it was my first half, my goal was mainly to finish, but had specified a finish time of 2:30 in mind. We finished in 2:41, very happy.
So happy and excited in fact, Jerry quickly talked me into upgrading my Mammoth 5k entry to the Mammoth Half Marathon! I was very hesitant, as we have been making the trek to mammoth for the last 3 years for Jerry to run the half. I always did the 5k, no joke at the elevation and my lack of running ability! I did podium every time, though, with 8-10 in my AG! I wanted one more podium, so I really struggled and then I realized (the struggle is real) that I was trained for a half (this one is only 2 weeks after Rock ‘N’ Roll Half Marathon.) I decided that a finisher medal for a half was probably going to give me more satisfaction than a 5k Top 3 medal! So I upgraded, and as I write we are up here getting acclimated for Sundays race! I am so excited!

We are very grateful for the SDTC RNR program! Here I am starting to love running! You make a difference in my life!!!


Sunday, July 31, 2016

SDTC Website Upgrade

SDTC Website Upgrade
SDTC Blog Post
By: Pat & Jessie McBride

Some of you have heard rumors,
Others are hearing this for the first time:
SDTC is getting a website upgrade!!!

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The SDTC tech team has been working hard behind the scenes to develop a brand new SDTC website…and we need your help!

Temporary website:
Email feedback to:

We would love to hear your thoughts on and ideas for the new website. Your SDTC membership is already loaded on the new site; use the “forgot password” tool to set your password and access your account.  

Check it out at its temporary web address (eventually it will be and send us your feedback!

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Rockin’ ‘N’ Runnin’ 2016 (Part 1 of 2)

Rockin’ ‘N’ Runnin’ 2016 (Part 1 of 2)
SDTC Blog Post
By: Ellen Fleischman

RNR Logo.jpgWow!  That is what went through my head as I turned a corner downtown and heard music, the roar of cheering, and Coach Paul speaking to the crowd through his megaphone, excitedly saying something like, "you did it!" and "you make a difference in my life!".   How did he get there?  It seemed like I had just seen him in North Park around Mile 8!  Although it felt like the longest finish line ever, with many turns and blocks to go before the actual finish line, it was exhilarating!

My Rockin' N Runnin’ training journey started the summer before, when a guy came to our Tuesday night Balboa Park evening run with an offer to sign up for the San Diego Rock & Roll marathon or half marathon for $69.  You would even get a free Rock & Roll towel!  I had recently started running with San Diego Track Club (SDTC) regularly and didn't really know anybody.  I had been running on my own, with an occasional 5K for many years. The idea of doing a half marathon and maybe a marathon a year away piqued my attention.  When Jomel Fampulme said "you can always sign up for the full and drop down to the half later,"  I signed up!  I wasn't sure I could really do the full marathon, but I had a year to figure it out...

I did the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach in 1994 but had trained on my own.  I had tightness in the right iliotibial band (ITB) while training, but I ignored it.  So in that marathon my ITB completely tightened up at Mile 18, and I ended up having to walk a couple miles.  I was really disappointed and decided that one marathon was enough.  I was worried the same thing would happen again.

I did the SDTC's Half Mad summer program and the fall Whatever training programs and met some great people. By the time the Rockin & Running program started, early Saturday runs were part of my routine, and I was really enjoying the social aspects of training with a group.
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What a great experience the Rockin’ N Runnin’ Training Program was!  I signed up to have a mentor, and it was great to be able to email Tim Dock with questions that came up.   He was  always helpful and encouraging.  I really liked that the training schedule and courses were planned out for us - even warmups.  We just had to show up and (maybe) study the map to see where we were going. There were always cheerful, helpful volunteers at the water stations, which helped a lot. Training with a group was so different than doing long runs by myself!

I had a setback with an acute back injury about a month and a half before the marathon and had to skip several long runs.  I was really worried that my training was over, but I got a ton of support and advice from my fellow runners, my mentor, Robb Latimer the sports massage guy, and the various practitioners from whom I sought treatment.  I was so excited when I felt great in our last long run before the marathon- I was going to be able to do it!

At the Tuesday night workout after the Boston Marathon, it was really inspiring when Coach Paul had the runners line up and share a few words.  They looked so happy!  Same thing after the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon, the week before Rock & Roll.  Their smiles and sense of accomplishment stuck with me - I would (maybe?) feel this way in a week after Rock & Roll!


The Friday night spaghetti dinner was a great way to end the training program - food, fellowship, and speakers.  Coach Paul reminded us that less than 1% of the population could and would do what we were about to do.  I drove the course the next morning to prepare myself mentally.  I was ready!

Race morning I had everything lined up and ready to go, but when I got to my car at 4:30 am it wouldn't start!  I didn't panic and caught a ride with my neighbors, who I knew were going.  They were in a much later corral, so I ended up barely making it to the start in time to check a bag and go to the bathroom.  I squeezed into the corral, and only a few minutes later,  the gun went off and we started!  I got into a groove, using the advice I had received about not starting out too fast.  My mentor, Tim, had told me to break the race into segments and only think about the segment I was on.  That was great advice!  I broke the course into 9 mile segments.  The first segment was great - North Park, Hillcrest, and Mission Hills - so many enthusiastic people in the neighborhoods!  There seemed to be SDTC people everywhere also, cheering, and I even saw Doreen Karp snapping photos of all of us!

The part that I called segment 2 was tough mentally - Morena Blvd, Mission Bay, Friars Road - long, flat, not exciting.  Someone had a sign that said "if you aren't fainting or dead, keep running".  Although I was never really tempted to walk, I kept that in my head the rest of the race.
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We had heard from several speakers about the mental aspects of the marathon.  One said that the marathon is 50% physical and 90% mental - huh?  Anyway, the previous day I got a bunch of motivating messages from people who had done Mountains to Beach, including "you are strong" and "you got this".  I had these in my head like a mantra, repeating them to myself.  I had made a pace band that I laminated, and I was three minutes ahead of my goal pace for a 3:50 finish.  I was feeling great!

Then I got to Segment 3, which included the 163 freeway, starting at Mile 21.  I expected it to be hard, but it was so much harder than I expected.  I feel pretty strong on hills normally, but I got really discouraged when I saw the pace on my watch.  Somewhere near the worst part of the 163 I saw Jacob Fischer and his brother Nate Romero from SDTC.  Seeing them gave me a boost to push the rest of the way.

The part after the 163 was a blur.  I honestly don't remember anything until I got to the part where I could hear the crowds.  I didn't meet my goal of 3:50, but I was very happy to end up with 3:52:01  - a PR and a qualifying time for Boston!  I know that I could not have done this without all the support of SDTC.  I had fun and have met so many great people.  I'm happy to be doing the Half Mad and Whatever training programs again, and I am really excited about going to Boston.  It may feel corny when Coach Paul tells us to tell the person next to us that they make a difference in your life, but the SDTC people really do!

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