superadmin

USATF Athlete of the Week Sonja Friend-Uhl tells why she skipped shot at Malaga gold

The nationThe nation’s Capitol looms over Navy Mile, where Sonja set an age-group record. (She’s somewhere in back.)

On the final day of Malaga worlds, Courtney Babcock of Canada won the W45 1500 in 4:47.88. That’s the No. 3 time in the world this season, according to mastersrankings.com. No. 1 is the 4:39.15 by American Sonja Friend-Uhl last March. So where was Sonja? At home in Florida, getting ready two weeks later for the Navy Mile on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. Her road mile mark of 5:06.33 beat the old course record by more than 10 seconds, and Friday she was named USATF Athlete of the Week.

“She finished 11th in the elite women’s race as she added another national record to the indoor marks she set earlier this year,” USATF noted. In January, she ran an indoor mile in 4:59.99 (and was named USATF Athlete of the Week in February).

On Sunday, Sonja graciously replied to some queries, including why he wasn’t in Spain. She also shared news of a new Facebook group called Competitive Masters Women. (Stay tuned for my reply: Submediocre Masters Men.)

Here’s what she told me:

The 5:06 was not a surprise because I know that I can still run close to a 5:00 mile when I’m aerobically strong, even when I’m not focused on speed or mile specific work. (At least for the near future!).

I felt I was fit enough to run something between 4:59 and 5:03. I went out in 73, a few strides behind the lead group, which felt right on. When I lost more contact with that group in front, and had already pulled ahead of the women behind me, I fell off pace. I think that’s where not being sharp and having honed your speed/turnover plays in.

Aerobically I could have stayed on pace (was looking to come through 1/2 mile in 2:27-2:28), but instead fell asleep at the wheel a bit and ran a 79. So the half was 2:32. That woke me up, as well as the fact I could feel (and see) I was gaining on some of the women from the original lead pack.

I went through the turnaround and surged for 100 meters or so, catching a couple of runners by 3/4 mile, which I hit in 3:48. There was another runner about 20 meters in front that I targeted to try to beat to the line. I fell short by about a half a second, but I was grateful to have her there to push me through the finish.

Could I have won the 45-49 1500m at worlds? While I still have the world’s leading time for 2018 in that event, I am experienced enough to know that a race is a race — meaning that it would be presumptuous and unfair of me to say I could have won when I wasn’t there to compete.

I will tell you that I would have 500 percent been in the hunt. I know how to strategically race championship rounds and I have the fitness and turnover range to manage the volume and the surges. The Europeans are very skilled at this and I think in hindsight it’s something perhaps some of our U.S. athletes that do not have that experience could have benefited from (via a premeet round table, coaching, insight from others, etc).

Why I didn’t go to Malaga: I chose to end my 2018 track season at the Portland Track Festival in June, and not go to nationals or worlds for two primary reasons:

1) My family. My daughters are both at ages where they need their mom present, not just passing through, especially during the beginning of the school year. I travel quite a bit for my job (master trainer with Stairmaster & Nautilus) and when you add that time away to the meets I race in all year, plus the meets I coach with FAU, it can get to be a lot. My oldest leaves for college next and I made a commitment to put her first this year as much as I could.

2) My health. I had been struggling with overall fatigue and just feeling “off” somehow since May. When I raced that masters mile in Portland, I was so detached emotionally and physically from that race. By that point. my body was on autopilot, doing what it knew to do (mechanically), but with no fire or zeal.

I was burned out from trying to keep myself “up” and knew it was time for a break. What I found out after blood work a few weeks ago is that my thyroid is functioning well below normal. I had minor issues with this in the past and was being monitored, but it had taken a plunge since April (coincidentally the last time I felt good!).

I’m on new medicine for that and will be monitored via labs every six weeks for awhile to make sure it’s improving. I also started acupuncture, which I believe will be holistically healing, long term.

Masters female runners (mostly ages 40-55) deal with a tremendous amount of challenges via hormonal shifts. There really isn’t enough resources or info out there unless you dig it up. We are starting to talk amongst ourselves more and support each other, so I hope we can change this for the better for aging female competitive runners in the future.
For the rest of this year and early 2019: I have another XC meet I’ll race with FAU next weekend, then a road 10K in November, and a few more road races in December and January.

Indoor track is definitely on the schedule for January into March as well as USATF XC Nationals in Tallahassee in early February. Indoor worlds is a possibility, but it will depend on family and work schedules.

I am learning to take it one season at a time, so I don’t want to jump too much farther ahead than that!


Friend-Uhl runs record road mile to earn USATF Athlete of the Week

Sonja Friend-Uhl (Boca Raton, Florida) broke the masters women’s 45-49 road mile record to earn USATF Athlete of the Week for the second time in 2018.

Friend-Uhl, 47, clocked 5:06.33 at the Navy Mile on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., to trim more than 10 seconds off the existing record. She finished 11th in the elite women’s race as she added another national record to the indoor marks she set earlier this year.

Other notable performances from the weekend:

 

Ian Whatley — Whatley was the top men’s finisher at the USATF 40 km Race Walk Championships at Owego, New York, with a 3:52:42.

Lydia McGranahan — McGranahan was the top women’s finisher at the USATF 30 km Race Walk Championships in 4:02:16.

Joseph Gray — Gray was the men’s winner of the USATF Half Marathon Trail Championships in Wisconsin, covering the 13.1 miles in 1:13:16 for a 27-second victory margin.

Megan Roche — Roche led from start to finish to win the women’s USATF Half Marathon Trail Championship in 1:27:31, more than three minutes ahead of the runner-up.

Alicia Monson — Monson, a junior at Wisconsin, won the women’s 6K race at the Nuttycombe Invitational cross country meet in Madison in 19:33.3.

 

Now in its 17th year, USATF’s Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on USATF.org. Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.

2018 Winners: January 4, Brian Herron; January 11, Katelyn Tuohy; January 18, Molly Huddle; January 25, Christian Coleman; February 1, Sonja Friend-Uhl; February 8, Emily Infeld; February 15, Kendra Harrison; February 22, Christian Coleman; March 1, Sydney McLaughlin; March 8, Courtney Okolo; March 15, Da’mira Allen; March 22, Lesley Hinz; March 29, Caitlin Collier; April 4, Sydney McLaughlin; April 11, Maria Michta-Coffey; April 18, Desiree Linden; April 25, Twanisha Terry; May 3, Jenny Simpson; May 10, Galen Rupp; May 17, Tori Franklin; May 24, Robyn Stevens; May 31, Ryan Crouser; June 6, DeAnna Price; June 13, Michael Norman; June 20, Alyssa Wilson; June 27, Shelby Houlihan; July 5, Neil Howard III; July 11, Bernard Lagat; July 18, Eric Harrison Jr.; July 25, Courtney Frerichs; August 3, Sianni Wynn; August 8, Lopez Lomong; August 15, Taylor Ewert; August 23, David Angell; August 30, Ronnie Baker; September 6, Christian Coleman; September 13, DeAnna Price; September 20, Charles Allie; September 27, Katelyn Tuohy; October 3, Sonja Friend-Uhl.

We welcome your nominations!

To nominate an athlete for USATF Athlete of the Week, please send a detailed email about his/her performance to communications@usatf.org.

Fans can follow along with #USATF on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.


Sonja Friend-Uhl Wins USATF Masters 1,000

With a fast time of 2:56.65, Sonja Friend-Uhl won the Masters Women’s 1,000 meters race Sunday at the USATF Indoor Championships at Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Sonja, who lives in Boca Raton, Florida, races for the Atlanta Track Club.

About the race, she said, “I was conservative over the beginning. I just wanted to run even and kick with what I had left. I felt I could have run a little faster in the beginning, but I’m happy with the result. I wanted to go under 3 minutes and I did that. I was a little anxious about it. It is so great to be here as a masters athlete with all these open athletes. The track is amazing. I love this track – it’s a fast track.”

Article was Featured in The Running Journal. 

 


Sonja Friend-Uhl broke Joan’s American record for 3000 meters in the W45 age group.

Sonja is a strong favorite at ABQ nationals in the 800 and mile. She’s also entered in the 400.In the early summer of 1984, 12-year-old Sonja Friend ran a 400 meters in the ARCO Jesse Owens Games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Months later, she recalled watching Joanie Benoit on TV, winning the 1984 Olympic marathon at the same site. On Saturday, Sonja Friend-Uhl broke Joan’s American record for 3000 meters in the W45 age group. In response to questions, Coach Sonja graciously shared details of the sub-10 race at Boston University. First thing I asked about were injuries she suffered last year. (Sonja had to scratch from the masters 1500 exhibition at the Eugene Olympic Trials because of the remnants of a hamstring pull and plantar fasciitis in her right foot.)

Read more here!


Sonja Friend-Uhl thought 9:50 possible for 3000 before W45 AR

In the early summer of 1984, 12-year-old Sonja Friend ran a 400 meters in the ARCO Jesse Owens Games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Months later, she recalled watching Joanie Benoit on TV, winning the 1984 Olympic marathon at the same site. On Saturday, Sonja Friend-Uhl broke Joan’s American record for 3000 meters in the W45 age group. In response to questions, Coach Sonja graciously shared details of the sub-10 race at Boston University. First thing I asked about were injuries she suffered last year. (Sonja had to scratch from the masters 1500 exhibition at the Eugene Olympic Trials because of the remnants of a hamstring pull and plantar fasciitis in her right foot.)

Masterstrack.com: Feel any of your old injuries at Boston?

Sonja Friend-Uhl: Not the hamstring or the plantar. My left posterior tibial tendon has been a bit tender since the half-marathon two weeks ago, but it held up just fine.

Were others in the race aware of your record attempt?

No. My coaches were and members of the [Florida Atlantic University] team, but other than that just a private goal.
What does it mean to beat a Joan Benoit Samuelson record?

I didn’t realize that’s who held it previously until you sent me this! I am honored, of course. I remember watching Joanie on TV winning the Olympic marathon in 1984 in LA. I had raced in the coliseum earlier that summer for the ARCO Jesse Owens Games. I ran the 400 in 64 seconds as a 12-year-old in that meet.  She was a significant running idol to me and still is for all she has contributed to our sport.

Sub-10 is a barrier breaker. Was that your goal?   

Yes. I knew something around 9:50 was possible based on my workouts. [Two years ago, Sonja set the W40 American indoor record of 9:50.37 at Winston-Salem.]

How did the race develop?  What was last lap like?

I was careful to run relaxed and within myself the first mile. Ideally I was targeting 5:15, but the leaders were a bit off of that and I felt I was best to be patient. After the 8th lap or so, the pace had slowed to 41+ for the 200 so I knew I needed to pick it back up, which is when I took over the lead. Another collegiate runner came up on me with about 4 laps to go. Honestly, I was glad because this kept me pushing. The last 600 was tough, but I did feel strong the last lap.

Did you get recognition at the meet for record?

They announced it after the race, but it was pretty noisy in there!

How did you celebrate?

Cheered on my Atlanta Track Club teammates and the FAU women I help coach in the 5000!

What major meets or record attempts do you have coming up?

I will race at Penn State this coming Saturday. Then Masters indoor nationals and hopefully the Masters Exhibition 1000mat the Open U.S. Indoor Nationals. The mile and the 800 45-49 age-group records are also great targets. I’m taking it one meet at a time. 🙂

Anything else folks should know about the Boston run?

That is an extremely efficient and well-organized meet! There were over a hundred entries in some events and they still ran everything on time. The shape and surface of the track are also outstanding. Very fast! I highly recommend this meet.


Sonja Friend-Uhl Wins USATF Masters 1,000

With a fast time of 2:56.65, Sonja Friend-Uhl won the Masters Women’s 1,000 meters race Sunday at the USATF Indoor Championships at Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Sonja, who lives in Boca Raton, Florida, races for the Atlanta Track Club.

About the race, she said, “I was conservative over the beginning. I just wanted to run even and kick with what I had left. I felt I could have run a little faster in the beginning, but I’m happy with the result. I wanted to go under 3 minutes and I did that. I was a little anxious about it. It is so great to be here as a masters athlete with all these open athletes. The track is amazing. I love this track – it’s a fast track.”


Are you working harder or smarter regarding your training?

Are you working harder or smarter regarding your training?

Effective cardiovascular training (such as running!) is all about organization…also known as prioritization in the competitive training world. It’s a term used for following a specific, 4-cycle training plan for a set period of time followed up with another 4-cycle training plan with a different focus. The approach is bio mechanically and physiologically sound and has been proven to be the best way to progress in your cardiovascular (running) fitness.

A training routine following the periodization principle follows this path:

I. Conditioning Phase: This is all about building endurance. Aim for a target heart rate that is 65-75% of your max heart rate during longer cardio sessions three-five times per week.

II. Efficiency Phase: Focus on speed with short bursts (30-90 seconds) of acceleration twice per week during cardio training. Add incline and/or resistance for a challenge.

III. Stamina Phase: Here we work towards improved V02 max by replacing speed sessions with interval training (3-5:00 intervals with rest periods of 90-120 seconds) mixed with tempo training (lactate threshold sessions of 5:00-10:00 intervals or 30:00-45:00 steady state efforts with 1-2 minutes of rest). The duration of the rest intervals is crucial!

IV. Performance Phase: Mix it all up at a high intensity by introducing training from the different phases (i.e.: speed intervals in the middle of a long run) followed by a resting interval for a high quality workout.

Here is the bonus tip: When you’re done with this cycle, it’s time to reset. You will have a faster, more efficient “aerobic engine” and can use the same principles to work it harder and better during your next cycle.

Finally, don’t forget to change up your mode of cardio. Try switching from your daily run to swimming laps, using an indoor cycle or rowing machine or an elliptical, etc. a day or two each week to keep your muscles guessing and to add in additional aerobic fitness without the pounding.



November Client's of the Month

November Client’s of the Month

Sara Medrano ran the New York City Marathon right on goal pace and qualified for Boston 2017!

“I had an incredible race today! I was aiming for an 8:30/mile pace and did exactly that. I felt strong the entire way. Never slowed down!!
Best race I have ran in a long time! Thank you so much for being such an inspiration!! Best coach ever!!
-Sara Medrano

Jennie Johnson Sober (Masters Runner):

18:32 and a new 5k PR! 2nd overall Female in her Turkey Trot Race IT was a lot of work out there! But I did it! Thank you for all you are doing for me!
-Jennifer

img_0181Amye King: Rock n Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon
Amye completed her first half marathon in Las Vegas this month and went on two weeks later to run a huge 5k PR!

“Just wanted to tell you how thankful I am for you today. You trained me even better than I knew when I finished the half marathon! I just beat my 5k time from last Sunday by 35 seconds!

Tina Cartwright: Rock n Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon Tina trained for and completed this challenging event in honor of her 50th Birthday! She finished her FIRST ever Half Marathon in under 3:00. Happy Birthday and well done Tina!

Kerry Finley: Rock n Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon Kerry supported Tina by also training for and running in this event. A first half marathon for her as well. She battled MANY health and borderline injury issues along the way but she persevered and got the job done! Congratulations Kerry!

image1


October Clients of the Month

October Clients of the Month

RUNNING WARRIORS IN THE NEWS!!

Coach Sonja would like to recognize the following Running Warrior clients for their outstanding achievements in October:

Linda Bain – Completed her 2nd Chicago Marathon!
image

Laura Johnson – Completed 2nd Chicago Marathon with husband Steve!
image-1

Kelly Walsh Completed her 1st Chicago Marathon!
image-2

Corrie Anderson ran a Personal Best by over 17:00 at the Chicago Marathon!!!
image-3

Cheyenne Spinks – a high school freshman helped her team race a PERFECT score at their recent Georgia Regional XC Championships, placed 5th overall in the meet…and ran a personal best this season of 19:51 which is a 22 second improvement over last year!
image-4

Breanna Pina – another high school runner from Park Vista HS in South Florida ran a huge PR this season of 20:51 which is a 32 second improvement over last year. She finished 2nd overall in the 4A District Championships and is moving on to Regionals this weekend!
image-5

Congratulations to all of these amazing and hard working runners! This is what happens when you PLAN your WORK and WORK your PLAN!

Do you have a running or racing goal you would like to achieve? Contact me to see how I can help! #BEARUNNINGWARRIOR