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  • June 19, 2018 11:07 AM | Betsy Suda (Administrator)

    The Percy Beard Track will be closed starting June 25th for renovations and resurfacing.  Get out this week for one last workout!  Other tracks in town to check out while UF's is under construction: Fred Cone Park (University Ave, rubberized), Santa Fe College Track (3000 NW 83rd St., non-rubberized), Oak Hall School (8009 SW 14th Ave, rubberized. Call ahead, may not be open to the public.  352.332.3609)

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  • May 10, 2018 12:00 PM | Betsy Suda (Administrator)

    What were your original goals for Boston? (Before you saw the weather forecast).

    Soren: My goals were only to have fun.  I treated it from the beginning as just a fun run.  My Chronic Training Load had fallen from over 100 down to 37 during tax season.  When I became a CPA, I had to give up thoughts of running Boston and snow skiing.    During a conversation about aging, dying, and qualification times, Dr. Steven Detweiler was actually the person who convinced me to try and run it. I would not say I was running it for him, but it did feel like I was running it with him on just another 1st Magnitude Run; and to race it seemed at odds to that feeling--even if I could have. 

    Gretchen: A group of us from FTC had been trying to get into Big Sur for a few years. Last summer we found out that our dream marathon would be a reality. I had heard about the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge and since I had a Boston Qualifying time from the Albany Snickers Marathon in March 2017 decided the timing was perfect.

    So with a Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge on the horizon I was working with my coach, Enoch Nadler on my goal. I love racing but two marathons 13 days apart sounded like a significant challenge. To further complicate matters I injured my right ankle in February so my training, especially hill training suffered. Ultimately, I went into race weekend with the plan to try to race Boston and then take Big Sur from there. I was hoping to be close to my time from CIM in December a 3:10:02.

    Courtney: I had never run Boston before but heard it was a tough course so I wasn’t really sure what to set my goal at as far as time, especially after starting training pretty soon after CIM in December. About two months into training, I was feeling fit and figured I could set a PR and possibly go under 3 hours. Regardless, I had a race plan to execute more based on feel.

    How did you adjust your goals/mental state once you realized in what conditions you would be running?

    Soren: I adjusted them to my Florida winter attire—huge mistake.  We do occasionally have to run in the 30s in Florida, and I brought my clothes for a run like that.  I added an Under Armour Heat Gear long sleeve, Stio windbreaker, gloves, and Darntough knee-high socks.  I might have run in different shoes, but there was no way I was not going to run in my Saucony Boston Edition Shoes.

    Gretchen: With the weather forecast I didn’t reset my goal but I did try to mentally prepare for what could happen. The wind forecast was my biggest concern. I had run the race in 2015 which also had less than ideal conditions but nothing like what we saw this year. I planned on going out on plan and taking it from there.

    Courtney: I actually didn’t adjust much before, other than my mindset. I planned to start at the same pace, see how that felt, and adjust from there. I went into the race more relaxed and was more lenient on pacing, which I think worked well. Also made a goal of running behind the largest runners I could find!

    What was the atmosphere like in Boston in the days and hours leading up to the race?

    Soren: I would say the attitude was, Boston can have really bad weather, so just deal with it.  I don’t think anyone really anticipated the worst weather in the history of the race. 

    Gretchen: Boston loves the marathon! Everywhere you looked you saw runners and most of the chatter was about the weather. We went to the expo on Sunday and had to wait in a cold wind for the bus back to the finish line area. That was when I really started to worry a bit and noticed the concern on many runners faces. While the atmosphere was a little subdued it was still exciting and we saw many runners out and about during our Sunday morning shake out run. We made a quick stop at the finish line and everyone was excited for what was yet to come.

    Courtney: From the airport to the expo to the Goodwill (gotta buy extra throw away clothes), there were runners everywhere! It’s pretty cool how the whole city is aware of the significance of the event.


    What did you decide to wear to race in and would you have made any changes in hindsight?

    Soren: If there was any chance I would have been able to grasp the weather that was about to come, I would have brought a neoprene vest.  I am accustomed to wearing a long sleeve shirt and gloves in the winter and then after a couple miles heating up and being too hot; I thought that is what was going to happened on race day.  My biggest mistake though was to get rid of my clothes at the start.  I had two extra layers at the start but choose to get rid of them while waiting in line.   The clothes you got rid of at the start were going to be donated, and I hated the idea of just ditching them a couple miles down the road when they could go to good use.  There were people on the course that ran the entire race in full down jackets, and I envied them for miles.  As it turned out, those extra clothes were needed for others along the course.

    Gretchen: What to wear was probably our biggest concern. Courtney tried to convince me she would be fine in her sports bra and arm sleeves. I forced a Florida Track Club singlet on her….I hope she was glad J.  I kept debating about if I should go with arm sleeves and a singlet or if I should put a long sleeve under my singlet. I also debated shorts vs tights. With the power of Facebook I was able to look back and find what I wore in 2015. In 2015 I learned I wore capris, a singlet, hat, and arm sleeves. Knowing that Patriots’ Day 2018 was going to be colder and the rain would start earlier I decided on tights, singlet, arm sleeves, FTC visor, and an ear band. I also started with a fleece and long sleeve on. I wore a poncho to the start line but ditched it there as it had already bugged me so I figured it wouldn’t last long and I’d just be done with it at the start. Besides I was a few rows behind Meb and I saw him ditch his poncho…so I figured that was the thing to do.

    Courtney: I wore running tights, Gretchen’s FTC singlet (I had actually only brought a sports bra), arm warmers, a running hat, and a thick headband. For the first 4 miles I even wore a rain poncho, regular gloves, and rubber gloves. Up to the start I had on an extra pair of pants and jacket. In hindsight I would’ve worn a bit more. Maybe a light jacket. I also would’ve kept my gloves on-at least the rubber ones. My hands went so numb I could barely rip the gu’s off my pants!

    What was the high and low points of your 2018 Boston Marathon experience? 

    Soren: My high point was when I read one of the Wellesley College girl’s signs that said, “Kiss Me I’m Wet.”  It was not for the reason that you just thought of. I learned that day that the Maslow's hierarchy of needs is wrong, warmth is way below everything.  It was because in all this horrific weather, this was the first-time people were out screaming with excitement.  Up until this point everyone was just trying to make due.  The other reason was, that she clearly was not dwelling on the fact these conditions were miserable, she was one of the rare individuals that was doing what Boston said they would do in the days prior, taking a bad Boston day and Charlie Mike on.  I did not really have a low point; the entire day was really fun.  I was in a lot of discomfort from the freezing cold rain, but the race was good.  When I say discomfort, I mean it.  I at times as a child walked to school in -20 weather, and this was the coldest I have ever been in my life.  The lowest point though, I would say was after the race.  I was suffering from hypothermia to an extent that I could not remember the name of my hotel, the name of the street it was on, and I could not move my fingers to use my phone.  It could also be true that I just don’t remember the low points.  I have a very limited memory of anything after mile 16.

    Gretchen: Highlights were running into Rob Robbins at the pre-race tents, amazing who you can find in a sea of people, starting right behind Meb, Wellesley, seeing the Citgo sign, finishing the race, and finally finding out who won and learning it was Desi.

    Low points for me were right before Wellesley, the cold was really getting to me. I started to hear the ladies of Wellesley about a mile out and it really did keep me going. Also, the downhill and then subsequently uphill really got me. Due to my ankle I wasn’t able to do much hill training and I paid for it. Mentally the cold and hills were rough.

    Courtney: High: seeing my dad cheering in the crowds with about half a mile to go and all the people in the crowd that shouted “Go Florida” the whole way!

    Low: Right after the finish line/waiting in line for the bag check. It was about 45 minutes of waiting around in the cold rain in not much clothing. I’ve never been so cold in my life (and I’ve walked through -40F in Chicago winters before). I even thought about going to the med tent but I felt much better after changing into my dry clothes.


    When did you know that Desi had won the race? How did this affect your race?

    Soren: I found out almost immediately.  I think the information just rolled down the line as fast as someone could shout it.  It had no affect on my race, but I think it has a subtle affect on all of us.  In a day when women still struggle with fair treatment in sports we have had a year when women are making headlines, which is good for the sport, and hopefully good for their contracts too.  I think it also shows us how different women are in sport, and how much respect they deserve.  This year in Boston men had an 80 increase in DNFs, and women only increased by 12 percent.  Which in light of the history of women at Boston, is extremely apropos to my way of thinking.  The weather was the big news story, but in a race that women were once banned from because they were too soft, on this Boston, they just crushed the men in will-power.  The way she won also says a lot.  She won by helping others, I believe that it was her helping others that made her able to bring herself back and win.  All too often if a man can’t put turpentine or Duck Tape on it, we are lost for a solution. 

    Gretchen: I didn’t find out until I was almost out of the finishers area! I asked a few spectators along the way and they looked at me like I was nuts when I asked who won…it was almost as if it hadn’t crossed their mind that there was “a winner”. At the finish I kept asking volunteers who gave me about the same look and kept congratulating me. Finally there was a woman up something that looked like a lifeguard chair with a microphone. She was giving directions and then I yelled up and asked who won. The first thing she said was Desi!

    It didn’t affect my race but it did warm me up a little and put a smile on my face. I ran in 2014 when Meb one and now 2018 when Desi one. I feel really lucky to have been a part of both historic days.

    Courtney: I didn’t know Desi won until well after I finished. I hadn’t really been thinking about it but when I heard a volunteer announce it I was super excited! Made me forget about the cold for a second.


    What advice would you give runners looking to run Boston in the near future? 

    Soren: I am not sure I can give any advice, I doubt any of us will live long enough to see another Boston like that one.  The one thing I would say, is that it is worth taking this race easy, if you don’t have a lot of energy for the last 7 miles, you will miss out on a lot of excitement.

    Gretchen: Do it! I hear from so many people that they would love to run Boston but would never qualify. I truly believed that when I started running and am thrilled every time I know that I have a BQ so I can go if I want. So keep working, but also consider fundraising. The charity program is amazing and there are just some really wonderful causes out there. Boston is a race like no other, I just highly recommend getting there one way or the other.

    Also, once you have your entry train for hills….both up and down. Boston will always make you respect just how hard a marathon is and at the same time make you fall in love with the marathon all over again.

    Courtney: Be prepared for anything! As far as racing, I think I had a smart race plan that I executed well (thanks Enoch!). I’d definitely advise waiting to really race until after Heartbreak hill and not worrying too much about splits. With the rolling hills, consecutive miles will vary, so your average is what really matters. Learn how to run based on feel during long hilly runs. 

    Also, wear an FTC singlet! The crowds were yelling “Go Florida” at least every 5 minutes and it really got me pumped up

  • March 28, 2018 5:46 PM | Betsy Suda (Administrator)

    Now in its 45th year the FTC Junior Champs Program seeks to encourage children to become fit and have fun using basic Track and Field and Running skills.  Emphasis of the program is to have youth feel positive about fitness regardless of age or ability level.

    Click below or email Donita Higgins at for more info:

  • March 28, 2018 5:42 PM | Betsy Suda (Administrator)

    Book Review

    Running With the Kenyans: Passion, Adventure, and the Secrets of the Fastest People on Earth

    Adharanand Finn

    Review by Brady Holmer, FTC and TeamFTC member, Graduate Research Assistant, Integrative Cardiovascular Physiology Laboratory, University of Florida

     “In Kenya, do you have runners like that? People who are just running to get fit?

    … “In Kenya, there are only athletes.” “…if you are an athlete, you run. If you aren’t, you don’t”

    This dialog between author Adharanand Finn and Olympic 5000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot resembled an underlying theme of the book “Running With the Kenyans.” Namely, in Kenya, running is life.

    Finn, once a young runner himself, tells of his early fascination with Kenyan runners and provides this as the impetus for him moving his family of five to Iten, Kenya, one of the most well-known stomping grounds for the world’s best runners. He wants to live and train with the best. He wants to find out, “what the secret” is.

    “Running” however, is more than a self-indulgent journey of one writer to get faster. As Finn interacts with the locals and learns from them, readers too learn the Kenyan “secret:” that there is no secret at all. Iten is literally a 24/7 training camp for athletes young, old, fast, and “slow.” Local cross-country races held nearly every weekend where, yes, the children and adults mostly run barefoot. There are no running programs, we learn, only 5:30 a.m groups runs that you either show up for, or regret missing. In Kenya, running is quite literally, a way out, and this sense of urgency pervades their training and their culture.

    What makes “Running” interesting is the oddness of the author training with a group he doesn’t fit in with, yet is accepted by with open arms. The Kenyans, it seems, are willing to give anyone a try, anyone with the joy of running. Finn immerses himself in Kenyan running culture, and even when he falls back on long runs on the dirt roads, someone is waiting to give him a water bottle.

    The journey culminates with Finn competing in a local marathon, really, “26 miles of wilderness” as he likes to describe it. How often do you see a pack of Zebras on your run. Training, it seems, has been paying off, he’s the first mzungu (yes, white guy) to finish the race.

    The book makes one want to pack up their things and head to Iten, if only for a short while, just to see the goals that could be achieved if fully immersed in a lifestyle conducive to running success. The main route to success, however, comes in an off-hand conversation Finn has with his daughter before heading out on a run.

    “Why are you running?” She asks.

    “Because it’s fun.” He replies.

    Thanks for the book review, Brady! Do you have a running book you would like to see reviewed or have read a book you would like to recommend to the FTC?  Email us at

  • March 25, 2018 12:55 PM | Betsy Suda (Administrator)

    The FTC has scholarship money available to all club members to use for travel/race registration/lodging, etc.  If you have an upcoming race this spring for which you could use some financial support, please submit an application! The questions for the Steven Detweiler Florida Track Club Racing Scholarship is below. Please email your answers to the application questions and a budget in either a Word Document or PDF file to:  Deadline for submission is April 1st at 11:59PM.

    Florida Track Club Race Scholarship

    Goal: To financially support athletes within the Florida Track Club when representing the Club at races.



    Total Funds: $500 allotted biannually ($1000 per year)

    Maximum allotment per individual per term: $100-250 (Recipients per term: 2-5)

    Maximum allotment per individual per year: $250

    Timeline       Each applicant may submit one (1) application per bi-annual term. The application must be submitted by 11:59 pm on November 1st, for races in January through June and by 11:59 pm on April 1st for races in July through December. The application includes a Questionnaire Form and a Budget Form. The applicant will be notified approximately two weeks after each deadline.

    Reimbursement      The travel grant will be used to cover racing fees, transportation, and lodging. Other expenses, such as meals, souvenirs, etc. will not be reimbursed. The recipient of the award must keep all itemized receipts. After the event, they must fill out the reimbursement spreadsheet and submit all receipts through email to: The awarded amount indicated prior to travel is the maximum amount the recipient will be reimbursed. If the individual doesn’t submit receipts they will receive $0.

    Transportation        Plane fare can be reimbursed as long as the total funds for the trip do not exceed the allotment per individual per term ($100-250). Gas receipts from en route travel days and MapQuest/GoogleMap (etc.) directions to and from race will suffice for reimbursement.


    Lodging         Lodging expenses can be reimbursed as long as the total funds for the trip do not exceed the allotment per individual per term ($100-250).

    Expectations                        If receiving a sponsorship, the participant is required to:

    1) Give an oral race report at a FTC meeting within 6 months of the event

    2) Deliver a written race report submitted to the Executive Director, Betsy Suda ( for the FTC newsletter within 1 month of the event

    3) Represent the Florida Track Club! Submit a photo wearing the Florida Track Club singlet at the race.


    The application will be reviewed based on the following characteristics:

    1) Active membership in FTC

    2) The applicant’s prior service and involvement within the FTC and the Gainesville running community

    3) The significance of this race to the individual

    4) Competitive potential

    5) Financial needs of participant

    Questionnaire  for Applicants:

    Are you an active member of FTC? If so, how long have you been a member?

    What other activities (especially fitness, running, and community service related) you are involved in, within the community and the state?

    What are your running goals for this race, this season, and long term?

    Please share why you would like to run this race and how the funds from FTC are important.

    Are you able to do an oral (within 6 months of event) and written race report (1 month following event) and wear the FTC singlet for a photo at the race? (requirement to receive funds)


    Budget Spreadsheet (Application)

    Applicant Name



    Race Name


    (Race name)

    Date(s) of Race



    Dates(s) of Travel



    Location of Race



    Race Entry Fee



    Mode of Transportation



    Approximated Distance


    (x miles)

    Approximated Travel Cost



    Expected Accommodations



    Approximated Lodging Cost






    Total race cost



  • January 31, 2018 6:20 PM | Betsy Suda (Administrator)

    Book Review by Brady Holmer, FTC and TeamFTC member, Graduate Research Assistant, Integrative Cardiovascular Physiology Laboratory, University of Florida

    When I lace up a pair of Nike Air Pegasus, rarely do I think about the origin - the history, of what I'm putting on my feet. That all changed after reading "Shoe Dog" - in more ways than one. Nike shoes are not just pieces of rubber and cloth upper - but a story of a man who transformed an industry.


    From page one, Phil Knight took me on a journey with him, beginning with Blue Ribbon Sports and continuing with his many fateful and sometimes unbelievable interactions with international tycoons. His lucky breaks are sometimes unbelievable (some may call it fate?) Did you know the name "Blue Ribbon" was essentially plucked out of thin air by Knight - after he was probed by Japanese businessmen about the name of his company on a trip overseas?


    The best aspect of the book is Knight's ability to interweave his own love of running, his desire for perfection in sport and in life, with the shoe company he was similarly trying to perfect. Original shoe ideas came from experimentation literally, on his own two feet. Knight knew what runners and athletes would want from a sportswear company, and his memoir provides every last detail on how he made this a reality. It makes one wonder whether Nike would be the company it is today without a founder who was once as obsessed with his own performance as he was with that of his company.


    At many points, I felt Knight’s anxiety and fear for the future of his company, despite knowing the outcome. The times he was out of money, short on time. But that is the art of a true story teller; one who is able to take you deep into their story and make you forget about how it unfolds, just for the moment.


    Oh. And the little “moments of Zen” sprinkled throughout “Shoe Dog” provide only more reason to appreciate Knight for the wise man he is.


    “I remembered that the best way to reinforce your knowledge of a subject is to share it.”

    Thanks for the book review, Brady! Do you have a running book you would like to see reviewed or have read a book you would like to recommend to the FTC?  Email us at

  • January 28, 2018 8:21 PM | Betsy Suda (Administrator)

    I was excited and nervous as race weekend approached.  The week before the race, my knee began giving me some problems when running, and the hamstring continued to give me grief as well. I was not sure how my legs would hold up for the race, but I was determined to try.  Thomas Kipp gave me a “tune up” the day before we flew out.  He reassured me that it was all muscular, and that I was not going to injure myself if I just pushed through the pain. 

    The travel to Sacramento was uneventful.  I followed the nutrition plan.  I rested.  I felt cautiously optimistic.  Race morning, the weather was near perfect with temps in the low 40s.  I stayed on the shuttle bus for about 30 min after arriving to the start to rest my legs and stay warm.  I got off the bus about 30 min prior to the start to adjust to the outside temp and warm up my legs. 

    The race began right on time.  I did not see the other Team FTC athletes prior to the start, but I knew they were up ahead.  I made it to the start about 2 min after the race had officially started, as there were thousands of runners and no corrals other than for the elite runners.  The first few miles were extremely crowded!  I had never been so crowded in any of the other races I had done.  I was elbowed and pushed a few times.  My pace was determined by those around me as I could not get around anyone.  Almost immediately, my knee and hamstring started acting up.  I reminded myself that Thomas said I wasn’t going to really injure myself, so I ignored them and “accepted that challenge” (as Enoch had coached me to do ).  There were lots of hills during the first half of the course. I followed Enoch’s advice to keep same effort not same pace, and was able to get around some of the other runners on those hills.  I mentally broke the race into segments based on the timing mats (10k, half, 20 mi).  I zoned out mentally and did not pay attention to pace other than at the mile splits.  I ran based on feel, slowing when my legs acted up and speeding when they felt better.  I was holding fairly consistently between 830-845 for the first 16 miles.  I don’t remember much of the specifics about the race other than realizing at mile 17 (after stopping the first of 3 times to refill my water  bottles), if I could just hold a “recovery run” pace of under 930, I would BQ…and if I could push it a bit faster than recovery pace, I could break 3:55.  I began feeling hopeful that I could really actually do this.  I hit mile 20, and the legs were really giving me grief.  I again did the math in my head and told myself I could BQ if I could just keep it under 10s.  At mile 22, the 352 pace group caught up with me.  I tried to speed up and stay with them, but my legs were not having it.  I reminded myself I didn’t need a 3:52 and to just do the best I could, keeping in the mid 9s. A couple of miles later, I rounded a corner and realized I was on L street.  I had run this street with Laura the day before and knew I was almost there!  I knew the finish was off of 8th.  I began counting down the blocks…19th, 18th..17th…. Before I knew it my watch chimed mile 26.  I realized at that point I could break 3:55 if I hurried.  I picked up the pace to sub-8 and crossed the finish in 3:54:40.  A new PR…and finally BQ!! And there was Coach waiting for me! With the amazing news that he qualified for the Olympic Trials! 

  • January 28, 2018 8:19 PM | Betsy Suda (Administrator)

    Submitted by Steven Detweiler Scholarship Recipients, Georganne Watson and Kelly Griffin

    We raced the St. Petersburgh half marathon on Sunday, November 19th in downtown St. Pete. It was part of the St. Pete Run Fest that was held throughout the whole weekend which also included a 5k, half marathon relay and kids races. The race began at 7:00am and the course took us through historic neighborhoods of downtown St. Pete, through Tropicana Field and finished on the scenic waterfront. The flat course was helpful on a humid and sunny morning. The evening prior to the race we were able to get our families together for a pre-race dinner in downtown St. Pete. As you can imagine there was a lot of spectator planning for our husbands and families, which payed off as they were able to see and cheer for us several times throughout the race. Kelly debuted her first half marathon with an impressive 3rd overall female finish with a time of 1:23.39 (6:24 per mile pace). Georganne was just behind as the 4th place overall female finisher with a time of 1:25.52 (6:34 per mile pace). 

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