JANICE SKLAR (LEFT) AND JANICE ENTSMINGER (RIGHT)
I first became involved with Team Challenge in August 2009 after receiving an e-mail about it from the CCFA. Because I have ulcerative colitis, I am well aware that exercise helps reduce stress and keep my colitis in remission so it was a no brainer to sign up and challenge myself to both raise much needed funds for research and push my body to run 13.1 miles. I was part of the National Team at first (meaning no local team, trained entirely on my own), and "attended" weekly coaching calls and occasional fundraising calls. The calls were very informative and upbeat. But the best part was meeting my "team" in Las Vegas! The whole weekend was something very special - making new friends who have similar goals, the pasta party and the race itself! I had NEVER run that far and it was exhilarating! I enjoyed it so much, I decided to continue my quest and became a mentor for the National Team for the June 2010 Boston 13.1 event. Boston was absolutely AMAZING - even better than I could have imagined! It was so rewarding to help my teammates fundraise and train - even from hundreds of miles away! I have made so many friends through this program.
In July 2010 they established a team in Central Florida - so I was a mentor for the Las Vegas December 2010 Half Marathon. During those three seasons I raised almost $10,000, and I am very happy that I have been able to do whatever I can to raise awareness and hopefully find the cause and the cure for Crohn's and Colitis during my lifetime. I became a coach for the Central Florida Team, coaching the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon in June 2011 and the Las Vegas Half Marathon in December 2011. I was planning to take a season off to recharge, but I couldn’t stay away and mentored again for Virginia 2012. I was very happy to coach again for Vegas 2012, Miami, Chicago, Napa 2013 and now for Vegas 2013 and Miami 2014!
Janice Sklar has completed many marathons & triathlons and is still amazed and overwhelmed with emotion each and every time she crosses the finish line. You are beginning an extraordinary journey.
Between marathons Janice runs races of all distances: 5k, 10k, and half marathons. About six years ago she joined a team to train for a triathlon, and now she is hooked. She is a USAT Level 1 Certified Triathlon coach, Certified Personal Defense Instructor,Heart Zones Level 1 Coach,AFAA Aqua Certified Instructor, Certified Spin Instructor,Certified Personal Trainer,CPRw/AED and Basic First Aid. She just finished her USAT Race Director Certification in Hawaii. Her passion is to help novice athletes become half-marathoners , marathoners, triathletes, & to help you complete your goal to cross the finish line.
She believes training with a team is extremely motivating, and often provides that little extra shove needed to get up and out when you’d rather stay in your warm bed. You will be working hard and making steady progress toward your goals. Her greatest reward as your coach is watching your athletic growth, and then crossing that finish line with you. She is honored that you choose to undertake this amazing journey with her. The fulfillment and satisfaction you will feel from setting and accomplishing your goal will be amazing.
Janice believes this isn't a sport of instant success and miracle shortcuts. Patience pays off, often in a very big way. At the beginning of our half marathon training program, many participants can't imagine themselves running more than 5 miles. Twelve to 16 weeks later, voilà: the cheering crowd and unbelievable exhilaration of reaching a half marathon finish line! Stick with the program. Repeat: Stick with the program. Prepare to be amazed.
Team Challenge National Head Coach Dave’s DECEMBER TIP
If you're planning on running or walking a summer half-marathon in 2015, the time to start training is NOW! The most important thing you'll need to get started is a good pair of training shoes, and the most important feature of a running or walking shoe is how it fits YOUR foot. Don't worry what the Olympic Champion wears, and don't think about what color the shoe is; the only things that matter are how the shoes fit on your feet and how they fit your personal biomechanics. (Of course if the shoes fit your personal biomechanical needs AND come in Team Challenge orange and blue, well that wouldn't be a bad thing!)
Happy feet = happy training!
Team Challenge National Head Coach Dave’s FAQ
Q: I’m not currently running or walking more than a mile or two at a time a few days per week. How will I be able to finish a half-marathon?
A: Your coach will design a program for you based on your current level of fitness, whatever it may be. You’ll gradually build your mileage over the course of the coming months until you can walk or run (or with a combination of walking and running) a ten-mile workout. From there, well over 99% of our participants complete their half-marathons.
Q: What kind of shoes do I need?
A: Everyone has different feet and biomechanics. The staff at your local running/walking specialty store will be able to fit you for these needs, as well as your mileage level, and the surfaces on which you train. To find a local specialty store, head to www.runnersworld.com/store-finder
Q: What’s a “GU”?!
A: “Gu” and other sports gels (PowerGels, Cliff Shots, Hammer Gels, etc.) are concentrated forms of carbohydrate about the consistency of honey. They are an alternative to sports drinks and are designed to provide athletes with energy for endurance activities. Each gel contains about 100- 110 of concentrated carbohydrate. Many half-marathons will provide gels in the later stages (around mile 10) to give runners and walkers an energy boost for the last few miles. Although they are generally pretty easy on the stomach, especially when taken with water, it’s always a good idea to try gels several times in training first before using them on race day.
Q: I had to miss three days of training. How do I make up the lost days?
A: You don’t! If you’ve missed anything less than a full week of training, just jump right back into the schedule. If you missed more than a week, talk to your coach about modifying your schedule to get you back on track.
Q: My fingers swell during my training walks. What’s going on?
A: Your heart beats harder and faster when you train, so blood is sent more forcefully to the extremities. Muscle action helps to return blood back to the heart, but many walkers don’t pump their arms very much when they walk (they should!), so blood pools in the fingers. Swollen fingers are more common with changes in temperature, during pregnancy, and when electrolytes are out of whack. Clenching and unclenching your hands, or shaking them over your head will help to pump the blood out of your swollen fingers.