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Yes, I am a runner!

By Sue Tait, Peak athlete

“I think that you would enjoy my running group,” said a workout friend of mine. “I do not think so, I am not a runner,” I replied. “But I see you on the treadmill and you have run the Monument Ave 10k a few times….” Hmmm—I do love working out with a group and I did want to run the 10k again with an improved time. So in the summer of 2014 I joined Brenda Averette’s Peak Running and Fitness training group. It has changed my life!

Brenda fully exemplifies what a healthy mind, body and spirit are. She is as passionate about life as she is about running. As a coach, she spends time getting to know each of her runners. She wants to understand where you are, both mentally and physically, and where you would like to be. She provides her runners with inspiration, encouragement and unlimited support. She will challenge you to be the best that YOU want to be. You will be successful.

When other workout friends found out about this new endeavor they all asked if I was going to run a ½ or full marathon. “Heck no! Not on my bucket list; no interest at all. Never!”

Brenda created a training plan for my 2016 10k. One of my training days was a mileage day and she gradually increased that distance from 6 to 8 to 10 miles. After I did the 10 miles, I thought to myself “Huh! Not that bad. Maybe I could and should run a ½ marathon.” Brenda was very enthusiastic when I shared this thought with her. She checked out the race I was thinking of doing and said “Sign up! I know that you can do it! “

I did! It was an inaugural race in November 2016 through Everglades National park. Brenda developed a training plan just for me to prepare for this distance and for this race. Her goal was for me was to be confident and successful and to enjoy the race. We communicated regularly throughout my training. She made sure that I was hydrating well, eating nutritiously, stretching and resting. She was always there to answer any questions I had and she ran with me on many training days, always smiling and encouraging me.

As I headed to Florida she said, “You are ready for this. You have trained well. Enjoy the experience.” As I was approaching the last mile of the race there was a pacer in a bright yellow jacket, just like Brenda’s, encouraging all of the runners. I immediately felt Brenda’s presence by my side. As I headed for the finish line I heard her saying “you are almost there. You got this! “

Now when asked I say “Yes, I am a runner!” Thank you Brenda!

Letting Go

On a recent rainy day run, I discovered something beneficial about running: No one can tell if the water dripping down your face is tears, sweat or rain. No one knows for sure if your ugly red face is caused by emotion or exertion. It’s the best cover up for a breakdown.

A few weeks ago my daughter Lindsay got married.  She is now officially a married woman.  I am now the mother of two married daughters. I knew this was happening when I first met her now husband, Phil. There’s something about a man who gives flowers for no reason except to say, I like you, that tells you he’s here to stay. But that Saturday made it official.

Is she really old enough to marry?  Wasn’t she just my little girl?  I can barely remember.  As I walk her down the aisle, my heart beating, my eyes full of tears, sweating profusely (did I mention it was outside on a cold February day?) my emotions got the best of me. I did not cry during the ceremony.  Not during the reception.  Not when Lindsay and Phil made their big exit, everyone shouting, with sparklers and noise makers, as Lindsay in her pink running shoes, and Phil in his red shoes sprinted out of the building.  “Just for you, Mom!” she said. But that night when I got in my bed, happily, exhausted, I reflected on the day and finally letting go. It hit me too when she told me “I can’t call you next week Mom…I’m on my honeymoon.” That night after her reception, she hugged me tight and said, “See you in a week when we get back from Dominican Republic.” I am learning. Babies grow up.

image by PhotoLadyLove

The morning before the wedding, I got up, on a drizzling, cold day, put on my running clothes and ran.  Not far, not fast, just ran, to wash away the tears of emotions for the day ahead.  I knew I needed it; some time a reset run is imperative regardless of the weather. That day my condition warranted it.  I started running and felt a tightness move from my legs into my heart.  Finally, when I was in a rhythm, I allowed myself to let go of everything I had so tenuously held together all week long.  The rain bore down on me; my thoughts consumed me and finally, after about two miles, so did my tears.

I thought about how my time with my kids is so brief.  I thought about every old lady who wistfully smiled and warned me that time would fly by.  I thought about the kind of mother I have been, wondering if I am giving them everything they need and knowing that I really won’t know for sure until the time has long passed to do anything about it.  It took a few more miles to make peace with that. I finished my run, red-faced and weary, but at peace and full of excitement. The cold made me gasp, bringing me back to the present.  It was time to head home, to shower and head to my daughter’s house to get ready with the bridal party. Coffee, bagels, breakfast casseroles and mimosas await.  The day will get happier and happier as we’re bubbling over with champagne and caffeine. My reset run worked, I was relaxed, happy and content and I had room in my heart and my soul for more moments and memories with my sweet family.

The amazing thing about kids growing up is that it mandates that parents grow up too. Loving and letting go is a fine art, that requires practice and patience.  There is no manual; we learn as we go along, simultaneously teaching it to our children. Everything is happening as it should, according to a force far greater than ourselves.  As runners, we get a little taste of that every time we work up a sweat.

To love and let go.


Birds of a Feather

It’s hard to get motivated when you look out your window and see cold, dreary, rainy, or cloudy days…for days. How can you “look on the bright side” when there is no bright side? Yesterday, I was looking out my kitchen window and noticed I left my bird feeder out overnight (usually I bring it in after dinner), and it was full of birds, who didn’t seem at all phased by the temperature. It made me wonder: why do we feel like we’re confined to the indoors when it’s cold or rainy? We start to feel depressed, pouty, and restless, like a kid stuck in a classroom for too long. The birds seemed to be having a good time–splashing around, eating, being happy together and not the least bit bothered by the weather. Funny, I always thought they flew south for the winter.

Birds flock together, as a team, like geese flying in a V. Let’s learn a lesson from this carefree flock. Staying motivated in the winter is a challenge for many people. We make ambitious resolutions at the start of the new year, only to fall short. Thus, we start out a brand new year feeling discouraged. Crummy weather is the cherry on top of this self-pity sundae. Remember: change doesn’t happen overnight.  Set realistic goals. If you get off the path, gently remind yourself of your intentions, get back on track and continue moving forward. Call a friend. Join a group. Staying connected through support systems, friendship, fitness goals, and fun is vital to the success of a healthy, lifestyle. Becoming a mentor to someone is a great way to challenge yourself and renew your fitness goals, as well as be a part of helping someone else reach theirs.

Peak Running wants to help people reach their fitness goals, of course. But we consider it part of our mission to bring people together. Our athletes are runners, teachers, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, coaches and more. We love to hear the variety of journeys people take as they endure the winter training to reach their personal goal. And we ask: what better way to form friendship than to go on a run together?

In time, you’ll see that your personal journey is a community journey. You don’t have to bear the hurdles, fear and hardship alone. Your personal commitment transforms into a commitment towards yourself and others who need your strength and inspiration…and you need theirs, too.

Cheers to you.  Cheers to another year together and all the miles we have shared.  May God bless you, your family, and your friends.




Peach Mango Salsa

This recipe is fast, easy, and most importantly healthy. It’s a great topper for grilled fish, chicken or your favorite tacos. For a snack that’s good for you try it with baked tortilla chips or with flax crackers.


  • 1-1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup chopped peeled fresh peaches
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet yellow pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped peeled mango
  • 2 tablespoons chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh cilantro
  • Tortilla chips


In a large bowl, combine the first nine ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Serve with tortilla chips. Make 4 cups.

Nutritional Facts

1/4 cup (calculated without chips) equals:
14 calories, trace fat (trace saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 2 mg sodium, 3 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, trace protein


The Little Things

Every runner I know wants to improve in some way shape or form, and each runner has some idea of how that feat is to be accomplished. This improvement is usually defined as the BIG thing — runners want to increase mileage, run faster miles, attempt hilly runs, run workouts, etc. Each of these aspects of running are usually considered big things, big pieces of the running puzzle that will lead to success.

However, most of the time, runners forget what can be the biggest thing of all: the little things. The little things comprise all the behind-the-scene routines that go unnoticed or undone. When you look at a professional athlete and you hear them speak about their training you think to yourself “wow, they work really hard–two runs a day and four workouts a week seems tough!” Well, I am here to tell you what you don’t see and hear: top level professional athletes work all day long, their job is not just running but doing all the little things after and before that can make the training they do possible. What you don’t see a professional doing is the ice baths or stretching or the technique drills that take up time each day.

Most of my athletes have a constant drive for improvement, so I often hear the refrain: “Coach what more can I do? How can I get better? I have tried everything!” While I know they’re trying hard, it’s almost certain that no one has “tried everything.” So I want to share some of the key “little” things you can do that will greatly improve your running.

  • Ice baths
  • Hip and core strength training
  • Recovery drinks
  • Proper stretching
  • Striders/form sprints
  • Upper body strength
  • Running on softer surfaces.  Ex:  Go and drop a golf ball on the pavement. Watch it bounce.  Now go drop it on the ground/grass.  Get the picture. Now imagine that the golf ball is your legs.  Running on softer surface, can not only improve your ankle dexterity, but it will help you be less injury prone and recover quicker.

While you may already sporadically participate in the above techniques, it should become a daily part of any runner’s lifestyle. This is why I classify these aspects of running as “little things.”

Ice baths and recovery drinks are the best tools a runner can have for sore tired legs and bodies. Hip and core strength along with upper body weights are imperative in running because you generate most of your power from your hips and core — when your legs die you only have your arms to rely on. Most runners claim that they don’t need arm strength, when in fact it is crucial. Lastly, strider or form sprints: with so much focus on endurance, our bodies forget how to run fast… Remind them! Striders and sprints are a great way to work on your form and technique which is the key element in injury-free running. Added benefits of striders are the speed and quickness you keep in your muscle memory.

Each of these aspects will improve your running efficiency if done on a consistent basis. Sometimes the biggest thing of all is actually many small things together. I challenge each runner to go out and attempt to complete regularly each of the little things listed and I can assure your body will show you the benefits and improvements over time.

Coach James

Running in the Heat

I just got back from a midday run and it was HOT! (especially for a person who loves summer). The heat of summer has arrived, and we must take precautions as we acclimate to running in hot, humid weather. Our bodies are far better designed to handle cold than hot and we have a difficult time in an environment that is even a few degrees above normal body temperature. Excessive temperatures can impair performance and lead to dehydration, fatigue and heat illness. Here are a few facts and guidelines that will help us better enjoy our summer training.

  • It takes 2-3 weeks of training in hot conditions to acclimate.
  • On hot, humid days, slow your pace from the onset rather than waiting until you body forces you to slow.
  • Many athletes experience fatigue and dehydration as they adjust to the hotter weather. Don’t worry, this is normal.
  • Runners perspiration rate differ, hydrate accordingly. In addition to fluids needed by daily maintenance, athletes need to replace fluids lost with exercise (weigh yourself before and after runs over a period of time). Drink 2 cups of fluid for each pound lost during exercise. If exercises exceed one hour, a sports drink will replace sugar and salt lost, less than an hour, water is adequate. However, don’t overdo it either. Some athletes adhere to the “more is better” theory, but drinking excessively, can lead to hyponatremia (low salt) which can be potentially dangerous.
  • Recent research has suggested that drinking ice cold fluids helps to combat the core body temperature rise.
  • An acclimatized person can sweat up to 4 liters per hour, while a person not acclimatized can only sweat about 1.5 per hour.
  • Vary time of day you run—morning is the most humid, but temps are cooler and evening is generally hotter.
  • Expect slower times for long distances.
  • Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing that allows moisture and heat to be lost from the body.Wear sun screen and a visor for protection from the sun

Using strategies like these can make a difference in hot weather training.

Happy Summer Running!

Anytime Smoothie

This green smoothie contains 4 servings of fruit, 1 serving of veggies, and 1 serving of dairy. And it’s yummy to boot!


  • 1/2 cup low-fat vanilla soy milk (or low-fat milk)
  • 6 oz low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 ripe banana, frozen and cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, washed
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, strawberries, peaches or any fruit you have on hand
  • 2 tbsp wheat germ
  • Handful of almonds


Combine soy milk and yogurt in blender. Add frozen banana pieces, spinach, blueberries (various fruits), wheat germ and almonds; blend on high until ingredients are thoroughly mixed together. For a thinner smoothie, add a little water.

Recipe adapted from this article on

How great can you be?

Need some inspiration? This video is amazing.

(They have disabled embedding into other websites,  but trust me,  it’s worth clicking through!)

A New Perspective

I love spring time. It’s a beautiful time to recognize the growth and blossoms in our lives, especially after a long, cold winter. Life is out there; changing, growing, renewing. Transitions are unavoidable.  Maybe it’s a new racing goal, maybe it’s handling an injury or illness, or maybe adjusting to an aging body.  Maybe it’s a job change, a child, or a new relationship; but change will happen. Spring time reminds me of how everything is evolving, unfolding. It’s like we get another chance—a fresh start. A do over.

Have you ever noticed how we pass the same sights and sounds so many times each day that we grow immune to them?  We know exactly how many minutes it takes to get from here to there.  If we run at the same place each day we know exactly how long it takes to complete the distance. We probably see the same people along the way. We struggle with the phenomenon of complacency and numbness.

I have been trying to look at my usual surrounding with fresh eyes…a new perspective. While life goes on, let’s remember to take the blinders off—expose our complacency, let in the refreshed air and light and really see.  Next time you go out for a run, alone or with a group, notice the beauty of the moment, your friends, the rhythm of your feet and how blessed we are to be out there, running with eyes wide open.

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting—a wayside sacrament.  Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.”Ralph Waldo Emerson

What’s blooming in your life?

Here’s wishing you happy miles this spring!

Coach Brenda

First 3-miler!

Tanner with Coach Brenda and Coach Jamie

Tanner and Coach Brenda

Tanner Brooks

Congratulations Tanner on running your first 3 mile race!  So proud of you!