There Aren’t Any Ref’s for Running: Rules of the track and running etiquette

There aren’t any ref’s in track or cross country, or road races for that matter, but should there be?

referees

Check out my little bro on the left, yo! ;)


I know there are plenty of elbows being jabbed in some of those tight, jostling packs of harriers. Sure there is a general code of conduct but truth be told some of those European and high stakes track races can get downright cagey. Runners fighting for their personal space, positioning, afraid of getting boxed in and a part of racing is being tactical and making sure that you ARE in the position to make a move if you need to be.

How far is too far though, and when is being an assertive or ‘defensive’ runner crossing the line into being just a downright boxer or ‘sketchy’ runner?We’ve seen runners go down during a race, of course there are the accidents, but sometimes there can be a few brow raises and fingers pointed.

track runner

Man down!! :P

Elbows and runners right up on your heels isn’t only relegated to world record paced runs and it’s something anyone at any age can deal with. The first time I got a swift elbow to the side on a high school cross country course I was a little shocked, then mad, but later realized that it wasn’t necessarily personal and that if you’re all in it to win it you need to be prepared to fight for your positioning.

There is a difference between being a running bully and carving yourself out a good position…you don’t want to be all set to dig for the extra gear but be stuck right up by the rail with no way to pass your competition!

* Defensive runner: the gun goes off and you get out fast enough so as not to get stuck at the back, naturally there is a bigger group at the onset so be prepared for a little hustle and bustle. The longer the race usually it’s not as crucial to establish a spot at the onset for fear of the ‘box in’, but here are times where you might have to have those arms swinging just a little wider and be extra aware of the people around you and how much space there is between you guys.

* Running bully: it’s down to a two person race, both runners are making a drive for the homestretch, and if an arm goes out to obviously stop from being passed…that’s not cool. The same might be said for the lead runner purposefully running extra wide to make it even harder to be passed. It’s not illegal, but not exactly something to be proud of.

Running and racing doesn’t really come with a manual and I’m sure we’ve all seen some things where we wish a ref could be called to order. Blow a whistle, toss a flag, or if nothing else point a finger to call the offender a poor sport. ;)

tough boy

Own your space but don't kick someone down to get it...hehe. :P

There are sometimes race short cutters who think they can pull a fast one…too bad these guys actually wound up in jail! hehe. Being a female I’ve had road races where macho guys refuse to get ‘chicked’ (I love this term, thank you Britt for teaching it to me!) and weave around so I have a doubly tough time passing them.

No, there aren’t ref’s for running and I’d say that’s generally fine for us genial runners but every now and again I think we all should be able to shout out FOUL on a particularly annoying offender…if for no other reason than to alert them that we know they stepped out of line and if they do end up winning maybe we can call it a ‘tainted’ win…hehe.

Okay, now is my little moment for being a proud sister…the referees there are at the top are my littlest brother and his date to the Sadie Hawkins dance. So that’s how this little sportsmanship tangent my brain went on came to be.

In running and in life there are often written down rules and the unsaid codes of conduct. Sometimes don’t you wish we could have a whistle and a flag in our back pockets so we could whip them out? How about an ear-splitting *toot toot* at the random runner you come up to on the sidewalk, you’re obviously going at a faster clip, but then they huff and puff trying to ‘race your easy run’…you could then let them know they are being annoying and it’s totally fine for everyone to run their own pace and just let you pass them! Then we could also toss the red flag up at the guy who obviously has 24 items in the Express Line at the supermarket. ;)

1) Have you ever had an encounter of a ‘mean racer’ or race bully? What’s the oddest or most unsportsmanlike behavior you’ve ever seen? And you don’t have to limit it to races, maybe something that’s happened on just one of your runs.
A woman in a baby jogger short cut a race to come out the winner. I mean, power to women pushing jogging strollers, but it’s a co-ed race and did she really think she’d get away with that one? Hehe.

2) Is there a tip you have for being an assertive racer and getting a good position in a race?
I guess a tip I have is to try and pass on a straight-away; that way if you have to just run extra wide to make a pass or a move you won’t need to be tacking on even more extra distance by going wider over a the curve or a turn.

3) What would you blow a whistle on in a recent ‘life’ situation?

4) Did you ever go to a themed dance and what did you dress up as?

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Pi Day the Runner’s Way: Adding a Sweaty Twist to 3.14159

Pi day. It’s nearly over and I’m late to catch on to this Twitter trending holiday but now that I have, how could I not do a post? Confession: in addition to being a running nerd I’m actually not too shabby in the mathematical geekdom. So you could in fact wake me up in the dead of night and I’d be able to rattle off 3.14159in a beat.

twitter cartoon

Speaking of Twitter...

Lots of people like to make the obvious pie parallel, so I’ll own up to being quite partial to the pumpkin or chocolate-anything variety. So for this oh-so-special Pi Holiday, I’ll share with you a few little tid-bits:

* I vividly remember the first time I ran a full 3.1 miles…it was a local fun run and I honestly thought it was an epic distance. Today I’ll be a greedy mile-grubber and hardly want to stop after merely 3 miles! ;) We all have to start somewhere and then let the running addiction take over.

* Technically it is .1 and thus a one hundredTH, but if you’re having a stale run inject some life into those legs with a quick 1 – hundred meter pick-up. Sometimes switching gears will help jolt you out of a ‘meh’ run.

* How can you not call to mind that it takes 4perfects laps to create the mile…just make sure that the laps are on an old-school yard track, otherwise if you make four laps around a 400 meter track you better add on those extra 9 meters! ;)

lonely track runer

What, no one wants to be my friend??

* 1 will be the number of friends I have left after my summer runs, when I’m a drippy salt-streaked mess but get hungry and opt to go get my grub on right away before a shower. Hey, gotta get in there before that crucial 30 minute post-run refuel window closes!! ;)

* For some reason there are always an odd 5 running socks that end up coming out of the wash. I hate losing a sock because the good moisture wicking and anti-blisterones cost so darn much! So I save that one spare and then just wait until another one mysteriously goes missing again and thus it has a new match.

girl in paris

Night time is obviously made for the hydrated runner's dash to the bathroom...hehe.

* 9 would be the number of times I seem to have to wake up and dash to the bathroom in the middle of the night! Hey, at least I know I’ll never be one to wind up dehydrated.

1) Pick one of the Pi numbers and give me a fun factoid!

2) Are you a math fan? Has being a runner actually helped your math skills? (ie: calculating time, paces, distances, etc.)
I’m definitely more schooled in all things metric thanks to running!

3) How are you when it comes to hydration, do you stay on top of it, and what is your liquid of choice?
I’m not kidding I know for sure I’m always fully hydrated, dorky water bottle toter over here! :)

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The Case of the 500 Mile Shoe: How Often Do You Really Need to Replace Your Shoes Before You Call Them Dead?

We’ve all heard that a shoe is dead once it hits 500 miles, right? But as with any ‘rule of thumb’ that’s a generalization and just as we are each individuals with individual running quirks, these rules need to be tailored to fit the runner.
running shoes
Keeping tabs on how many miles we have run in our shoes is important because it gives us a gauge of when we need to remember to replace them. As in we can remember to get a new pair of shoes BEFORE our body starts to send us reminders in the way of aches, pains, and injuries. As ‘small potatoes’ as it may sound, running in the wrong pair of shoes or a dead pair of shoes account for a high percentage of running injuries. One simple shoe change would solves so many maladies but this ‘minor detail’ often gets overlooked.

Shoes aren’t cheap, of this I know, but saving pennies will leave you paying with injuries. Even though a pair of good running shoes may carry a not so appealing price tag, do keep in mind that with our sport shoes really are the only necessary, big investment. We don’t necessarily NEED the Garmins,so if it comes between picking one or the other lest I remind you the Garmin will get no use if you can’t run due to injury.

be you

Be YOU. And with that, remember that YOU need to tailor the 500 rule to your running feet. :)

But getting back to 500 miles before you need a shoe replacement. This is an estimate and here are some factors that sway that number:

* Foot strike. How you run is going to impact how long your shoes will last. If you tend to be a hard heel striker, run predominantly on outside of your foot, shuffle in your stride, are a heavier runner, over-pronate a lot…all of these are things that will wear down the tread of your shoes faster and thus make it necessary to swap shoes earlier than the 500 mile mark.

* Shoe quality. If you’re serious about running you shouldn’t be running in a pair from the sale bin of Big 5…just saying. It may seem like a cheaper route to for a knock-off pair but it’s a case of quality vs. quantity and in the end you’ll pay double with a crappy pair of kicks: you’ll have to replace them more often and you’ll probably get hurt along the way.

* Minimalism shoes. The whole minimalism movement isn’t just a trending wave it’s like a tsunami by now; yes these lighter than air shoes are quite awesome and can make you feel like you’ve dropped 10 lbs in shoe, but depending on your foot strike they aren’t necessarily the best choice for everyone. Minimalistic shoes and barefoot running can strengthen your feet and lead to positives BUT you need to beware of some things first; you need to gradually integrate using them, think twice if you’re a heavy pronator or supinator, and then keep in mind that with less shoe you’ll probably need to swap them out more often.

* Manufacturers needing profits. Shoe companies make money off of selling shoes, fact. It’s a business after all and truth be told the running shoes of today, while they are advanced in oh so many ways over their decades’ old counterparts, they also wear out faster. The materials are designed to not last forever and over the years their lifespan has shortened. Hey, in the end everyone has to make their profits somehow.

So the 500 mile thing isn’t so cut and dry, it’s got to be adjusted to YOU. Just as with training, each runner is different so you need to learn how to gauge the lifespan of your shoes based on your history. Sometimes that’s tricky to figure out but you learn along the way and when in doubt err on the side of caution…replacing your shoes earlier isn’t going to leave you injured,but wait too long and you could wind up lame.

injured runner

Don't wind up injured when a shoe change could have prevented it.

Outside of counting miles run on shoes an easy way to see how much life is left in them is to just look at the treads on the bottom. Most running shoes are black or darker on the outermost bottom layer…if you start seeing white or areas where that black color is nearly shaven down, the shoe is dead. Even if the spot of wear is only in on specific area (ie: the outside heel) and the rest of the shoe looks brand new, the shoe is dead. Get to know your tread pattern and then you’ll know where to look to find out how much longer your shoe will last.

Some ways to prolong the life of your shoe:

* Buy two at a time and then swap out between the two. It may sound strange but alternating days between two different pairs will keep each one spry for longer.

* Orthotics and cushioned inserts. To a degree these can help eek out a bit more life out of your shoes if you’re blasting through them every 300 miles. Heavy pronators should think of supportive inserts regardless, but it’s actually the cushioning of shoes that breaks down the fastest and leads to you needing a new pair. It’s the cushioning materials in shoes that are eaten away by our miles much faster than the harder, supportive materials used.

Getting rid of a dead pair of shoes if it’s prior to the 500 mile mark might be hard for some to do because it feels like a ‘waste’ of a shoes. But put your running health first and here are some things you can do to recycle the dead ones:

* Use the old pairs for walk-a-around shoes or for when you’re working on the lawn or scooping up dog poop.

* Donate your dead shoes to charity. There are always people without any shoes who would love your old ones; toss the dead shoes through the wash to spruce them up, then offer them up to someone who needs them. I know Julius Achon was always happy to take old shoes and send them off to his children in Uganda, you can visit his site HERE. Nike also has their Reuse-A-Shoe program.

Wow, so much for the whole ‘easy 500 miles life-stamp’ of a shoe right?? ;)

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Thanks to Ali at Running With Spatulas for inspiring this post. If you haven’t signed up for her Spatula Runners Virtual Race and pledged to send in your awesome running pick, then DO IT! :) Then you can check out some yummy treats for your post-run refuel…heaven knows I can’t cook or supply and fun recipes. ;)
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1) How often do you honestly replace your shoes?
I try to stay right on top of that one, I’ve learned that my body gets cranky when that tread pattern wears thin!

2) What are some reasons you might keep running in a dead shoe too long? (ie: forget, don’t want to spend money, don’t know you need to, etc.)

3) Do you run in any shoe inserts?
Not any more because I’ve worked a lot on my form and my foot strike has changed; I used to need orthotics though for extra support.

4) Where does your shoe’s tread wear thin the fastest? Or do you have no clue…hehe.
Mine is on the outside heel, it’s gotten better over the years though. When I first started running, no joke, I’d burn through a pair of shoes on the heel in a month tops. And back then I’d be hard pressed to think I even kissed 25 miles a week. ;)

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I CAN’T Cook So Let’s Celebrate Frozen Foods Month!

I am not a food blogger. This much could probably be gathered in about five minutes of reading posts; I do love food, eat pretty healthy, know quite a bit about sports nutrition, but play by the ‘run hard, eat hard’ game as well…if I want me my Pop-Tarts I’m going to eat them by the package-full and have my Ben & Jerry’s by the pints.
eating cotton candy
The catch…I can’t cook. When I say I can’t cook that in itself is an understatement, I was told by my Ugandan friend, Grace, that I’ll never, ever get married because of this. (Oh, the beauty of the cultural gender gap.)

That said, I’m the microwave queen. I will find a way to nuke anything to avoid having to rope in the oven or any other appliance. Because of this frozen foods are my friend, and wouldn’t you know that March is Frozen Food Month! This itty bit of fooddom is closer to my arena so I thought I’d toss up a few beauties from the frozen food aisle.

* Frozen veggies. Fresh fruits and veggies are getting insanely expensive and interestingly enough because of advanced flash-frozen methods the frozen veggies in fact retain more of their natural micronutrients better than the fresh or canned varieties. Through other cooking methods some of the vitamins and minerals can be lost, one way to reduce how much is lost is to not over-cook things. Anyways, with frozen veggies you can toss them in a micro-safe dish, add some water, and nuke away. Tips to help retain as much vitamins while microwaving: don’t use too much water, just enough to fill the bottom of the bowl and then only heat them up until they are warm and edible, not limp and soggy.

* Frozen fruits. Same thing as above, but getting in these healthy staples are sometimes tough for people so having them in the freezer limits the excuses for not eating them. Strawberries or peaches are awesome with cottage cheese and lots of people go the smoothie route too. With frozen fruits you don’t have all the added sugars from canned versions.
shrimp
* Shrimp the Bubba Gump Way. I LOVE shrimp…but dang, those babies are expensive!! Getting them in the frozen bags is a little more economical and shrimp are LOADED with protein. I could litearlly eat my weight in shrimp…bring them on, just watch out for their poop veins. ;)

* Boca me, Baby. I’m not a huge meat person (I like anything under the sea but as for land animals it’s really only chicken or turkey for this girl.) but the faux meats these days taste quite yummy. We should all thank the trending vegetarianism and vegan lifestyles for making companies hop on that one…hehe. Boca Burgers are my top pick because they taste great and have more protein than similar fake meat patties. Their sausage links are also making my belly happy…along with some frozen chocolate chip waffles!

* Frozen Entrees. Like I said I CAN’T cook. I do eat my fair share and then some of frozen entrees. I know it’s not the healthiest, but I do seek out the healthier versions…I’m not downing the Hungry Mans or such…honestly in the end it’s more about being an informed consumer. I’ll toss out some of my fav’s and tips here:

Szechuan Style Stir Fry with Shrimp from Lean Cuisine: I told you I’m a sea food girl and you’ll get 11 grams of protein per box. Of course one is way too dinky so go with two at a time and the Lean Cuisine brand has come a long way, they now include lots of veggies too, reduced the sodium levels, and have some with brown rice and whole grains.

Chicken Santa Fe from Smart Ones: Here is where I ‘stretch’ my cooking fortitude. This is basically spicified chicken with tomatoes, onions, and zucchinis…so I nuke this and use it for the base of my burritos or tacos. With 20 grams of protein you can then add black beans, the tortilla, rice…anything else, go wild.

Amy’s Kitchen: The whole Amy’s line is a great one for the organic shopper or for anyone with certain allergies. I don’t think you could go wrong, I particularly like the Tofu and Brown Rice Bowl and she’s got some frozen pockets as well as fruit stuffed toaster pastries.

Watch the sodium: With the frozen meals usually sodium can be an issue so do be aware of that. I’ll admit I’m not a big sodium watcher because I sweat a lot of it out but if you’ve got heart or other health issues you should be careful.

Double time: Like I said, the healthier frozen meals can be too low in calories and portion sizes for us exercise obsessed so either go for two (or more…hehe) at a time or add in other sides.
frozen yogurt eater
* Frozen treats. Shout out to Ben and Jerry again, my top picks are the Half Baked or Phish Food flavors. If I can’t find the Half Baked then your standard Cookie Dough will suffice in a pinch…but if you leave even a droplet of it in the pint you are a weenie and need to start training your ice cream eating abilities like you do your running. ;) Hehe.

The thing is, for athletes and people who ask their bodies to DO things for them, you do have to fuel yourself right. I certainly urge you to live/eat outside of the frozen foods aisle but also know that can be tough for people; that’s why having frozen vegetables, fruits, meats, and healthy foods on hand can help.

I hope you can glean a bit from all that and for those who CAN cook, feel free to laugh at me, my friends and family do it already…or, even better come over and cook for me. ;)

1) What are some of the things that stock your freezer? Do you buy may frozen foods?

2) Are you a big actual cooker person and know how to work outside the microwave? What are some of your go-to dishes or meals?

3) What are some of the things you do look for in the foods you make or eat? (ie: protein, salt, calories, vegan, etc.)

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A Comic For Runners – Runner’s Strip: Meet Your Brain

Sunday is comic time!! All about the Runner’s Strip today…

running brain
(Click image to enlarge)

In case you missed our last comic, revisit Runner’s Strip: Twitter Addict.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

1) What’s the last geeky running thought to pulse through your brain?

2) How did you spend your Sunday?

3) Corny joke time…if you have one, spill it! ;)
Why did the elephant bring toilet paper to the party? …Well, he was a party pooper of course!

I like this one better: Why did the runner shove some toilet paper in their sock? ;)

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Missing Sleep and Cursing Daylight Savings For All I Could Have Done With That Hour

So tonight we lose an hour.Daylight savings, curse you for depriving me of those precious 60 minutes of sleep!! Sure, I’m not going to lie, seeing the sun past 4pm is going to be wonderful but I’ll still hold a bit of a grudge on the jyped pillow time.

track runner

She wishes she had had more sleep. ;)

Sleep is vital for recovery, though it’s often times one of the first things that people skimp on due to hectic schedules. It is during sleep that the body restores itself, releasing hormones to repair (growth hormone) and build back the muscles and other tissues stronger after we tear them down during training. Not only that but sleep patterns directly impact mood and a myriad of other bodily functions. Have you talked to a caffeine crazed college student during finals after day and night cram-fests?

I’ve read that Paula Radcliffe and Deena Kastor sleep upwards of 10 hours a night and still take a nap during the day. It’s not uncommon for naps to be an actual requirement for some elite training groups. Bust out the kindergarten sleeping mats and stuffed animals! ;)

Sleep is a tricky little bugger though and actually slipping into the deep REM cycles that you need can be difficult. Insomnia and other sleep disorders are very common; both professional runners Tera Moody and Bobby Curtis suffer from insomnia and have had to figure out how to handle that along with heavy training loads.

woman in dress

Hmmm...maybe I'd even have a sense of fashion with more beauty sleep?? Probably not though.

I’ve got sleeping issues myself and I can attest to how draining and maddening it can be to be staring at the ceiling unable to get to sleep. Or waking up every hour…you could be down in the sack for 10 hours but not having REM sleep makes you feel like you never really rested.

So I’m angry at you, Daylight Savings, just because you’re an easy target for tonight’s lost hour of sleep. A lot can be accomplished in an hour too, in those robbed 60 minutes just think of how much a person COULD have accomplished:

* An awesome run. Sure the distance covered will vary, but let’s say we busted our bums at the current World Marathon Record pace we’d come in just short of 13 miles.

* Caught up on what 700 of my Facebook friends have been up to the last 24 hours.

* Read a dozen blog posts. Wished I was funnier, wittier, and more exciting.

* Drooled over 25 recipes I’ll never be able to attempt.

* Wondered about 18 times why I’m not accomplishing more in this hour.

* Fully digested the results of the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships and the World Indoor Championships. Congrats to the Lady Ducks of the University of Oregon on their third team title win!

* Entertained myself people gawking while at the super market, caught up on the celeb gossip rags in line, and questioned why so much of my money is now being sucked away by my stomach.

* Created an entire new comedy show revolving around runners that would go on to be a raging success, I’d become a zillionaire, allow myself to never worry about money and institute daily naps, my running would soar, I’d then beat that 2:03 marathon time and then have all of my time sucked away by drug testing instead. ;)

runner at ocean

Oh well, let's just enjoy some extra sunlight at night. :)

Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to live with never having those precious 60 minutes. Let’s all do our best to really try and get the hours of sleep we need…aim for 7 1/2 hours at least (sleep cycles work in 90 minute increments) a night.

1) Do you always remember about the moving clocks forward and backward?
I wouldn’t unless I had a zillion social media sites alerting me to the change.

2) Are you looking forward to longer daylight? Do you plan to capitalize on it, and how so?
I will say for all those that have to run after work you’ll be much safer out there!

3) What ‘could’ you have done with that missed hour?? ;)

4) What are your sleeping patterns like, do you have problems getting or staying asleep? What are some of your best tips to getting a decent night’s rest?

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More Than a Sport: How running changes lives and gives hope to Ugandan orphans

I truly believe that running is much more powerful than merely a sport or, dare I even say, a hobby. It holds the power to transform lives, instill lessons for nearly all other areas of life, it connects people, and is my first choice of feel good drugs. (The Hungry Runner Girl just did an excellent post today about endorphins and running.)
happy rainbow
Running has impacted my own life quite a bit, it’s taken me places, it’s introduced me to people, it’s to the point where I know if I weren’t a runner I’d be a completely different person.

* Running instilled in me a new kind of work ethic and dedication. True, I’m a Type A kind of person and tend to me rather self-motivated but I know that running helped me take that drive and really apply it. Running will test you with so many bumps and bruises along the way that if you can outlast those other things comparatively seem easier.

* Running showed me there can be fun in the trials. Anything worth working for is going to make you, well, work for it. But with running, even the most excruciating of workouts are oddly ‘fun’ whether it’s because of your training partners or the twisted kind of satisfaction of feeling the rush of kicking your own butt.

* Running gave me hope and light. After my car accident I faced the possibility of a completely different life, one that potentially was without even walking. In my bones I knew I was a runner and that it was WORTH working and doing anything I could to get back to it again. If the doctors didn’t think it was possible, that’s okay, I did.

* Running’s a common ground. I feel connected to people the second I find out they are runners…it’s an insta-friend in the same community.
mad runner
I’m a nasty beast without my dose of endorphins from running, and if I’m injured then I at least have to do some kind of cross-training. Even on those days where I don’t feel like it, I force those first few minutes and keep going. Sometimes it’s only the first mile that stinks, sometimes the whole run isn’t exactly a glowing walk on sunshine, but when I’m done I always feel better.

Another story that proves running is much more than a sport. I met Julius Achon back in 2004 when we were both runners in the Nike Oregon Project. Julius is hilarious in so many ways but if you knew his past you’d be further amazed by his genial manner and quick smile. He escaped tumultuous Uganda to run on a college scholarship here in the US. He went on to win multiple NCAA titles and set records at George Mason University and then to run professionally.

Source
Had he not been a runner he would have been killed, that is a fact. He was captured by the Rebels in Uganda and was only released because they found out he was a fast runner and may bring pride to his country. He and Eloise Wellings (another dear friend and one of the selfless individuals I know; she is a professional and World Class distance runner from Australia) have set up the Love Mercy Foundation to improve the lives of those still living in Uganda.

Please read their story and help out if you can, it is truly inspiring. (There is also a Facebook page you can ‘like’.) Running to them, and those countless individuals in Uganda, is much more than a sport it is a lifeline and ray of hope.

I am a runner and know what it means to me, what does running mean to you?

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The Salty and Sweet of Running: Follow Your Taste Buds and Get Both

There were literally two things on my mind the entire time I was getting my workout on: pizza and chocolate chip pancakes swimming in syrup. Fact: that whole bait a horse with a carrot trick is true, I know I’m not the only runner who’s daydreaming of post-run foodage to get through the miles…only I do want to point out I’m sure none of us are thinking of carrots!
carrot
Back to my own little daydream, pizza and pancakes, how’s that for salty and sweet? Now I’m a sweets person in general, I live and die by all things doughy and sugary. The world is divided not only between runners and non-runners but sweet toothed runners and salty toothed runners. Which one are you?

The same comparison can be drawn to running itself: the sweets may constitute the long runs, the volume loving runners and the salty harriers would be those who crave the speed of the track, the actual whoosh of the wind rushing past their ears while in stride. As runners we need both of these elements but of course we each have our preferences.

Just as with my cakes and Pop-Tarts addictions I’m a sweet toothed runner as well. Tempo runs, long runs, long runs that turn into quasi-tempo runs…I have about one speed be it 200 meters or 10 miles. There are times where the crunchy, salted part of my running persona may poke through, a dim glimmer, the times where 800 repeats start to click and I swear that maybe, just maybe that was a hint of a kick on that last homestretch. These would be akin to the times where nothing will beat a face-full of burrito-y goodness. Still, even the best burritos and pizzas need to be chased by a little sweat pick-me up…can’t go to bed in salted mode.
pizza on head
Taste buds and running moods ebb and flow and we all need both; so even if you’re only in the mood for a sweet tempo run or bulk miles…think about adding on a few 150 or 200 meter strides at the end. Change gears to the salted side; doing 4 of these after an endurance heavy workout will simulate that extra level of fatigue at the end of a race.

You salty runners out there, have fun blasting out the 200′s but think about maybe, just maybe put a twist on the workout. Do instead 800 meter repeats where you push the first 600 meters of course but you rein it in just a bit, stay relaxed, and then when you hit the 600 let that last 200 really rip. Trust me you’ll still get the burn of a 200 and you’ll be building up your endurance as well. You’ll also be training your legs to adapt to speed shifts during a race and surging.
sweet tooth
So after my elliptical (lord how I miss you, running! Haha) I got my pizza on…but you can be darn sure I chased it by those chocolate chip pancakes too. (okay, truth be told they were actually waffles, but I’m lame-sauce in the kitchen so I got my Eggo on.)

1) Are you a salted or sweet runner? Are you a sweets craving or salty toothed person when it comes to food?

2) What was the last kind of nosh that had you day-dreaming during your workout?

3) How does your running appetite change; are there times you crave short intervals versus the long run? Do you end up going with the craving?

4) What do you get on your pizza?
Cheese, veggies, and chicken…but really it’s all about the crust for me.

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Running Through Time: Fashions, Records, and Harriers

Oh, to be running in the 70′s and 80′s.We should all do a collective moment of silence in thanks for technical fibers and moisture wicking clothing. The chaffage and sweat stains that some of those polyester shorts would inflict upon us almost makes my thighs burn just thinking about it.

70s workout fashion

Oh beautiful workout fashions of decades past. :)

I’m probably the least fashion savvy person, but being that I use any excuse to don sweats and workout clothing this is an area I can take a little more of a stance on. It’s interesting to watch the clothing and shoes change through the years…along with the records and times dropping.

Wow, running even got on People? Well, if they got Farrah to do it...

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Sure the athletes do all of the work but it would be naive to not acknowledge that a margin of the time drops are linked to better running gear. Lighter spikes, streamlined shorts, speedsuits, they make our sport not only more comfortable but allow harriers to get the most out of themselves or at least more ‘bang for their buck.’

I’ve talked to shoe developers that explained the logistics of just how much of a difference even a few grams make when it comes to lighter spikes and faster PR’s. If you’re capable of running XX for a 10k in trainers, toss on some near weightless spikes and you could be looking at slicing off up to a minute (maybe more depending on your pace and shoe comparisons) off that time. Appealing, no?

The fact that nearly all tracks now-a-days are all-weather and lightyears ahead of the old cinder tracks of the past, runners today are certainly ‘luckier’ than those of decades past.

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20% off your shoe weight

When all of this is taken into consideration, the question begs to asked, should we attach a little more weight to what was achieved during those decades past or the accolades of certain runners? Should we grant a more ‘baller status’ of some of the harriers that achieved such phenomenal feats off of what they were given?

We’ll never be able to compare it, we only have numbers to go off of and a record is a record. Sure, there will always be the ‘what if’ game to play; ‘what if’ we were able to go through time and even the playing field between today’s record holders and those of the past. But that isn’t a reality and you’d only drive yourself mad (or be running in circles…hehe) if you got into the debate too far.

Instead, let’s all be thankful that we are lucky enough to have access to shorts that aren’t polyester chaffage bombs. Let’s be in awe of the athletes of the past just as we are of today’s current running rockstars. Let’s look forward to what more is to come and further propel our own selves forward to reach for new, higher things. After all, if we’re running anyways me might as well run forward. ;)

1) If you were running in the 70′s or 80′s what are some trends that you think you’d be rocking while running?
If I’m going to be stuck with sweat stained shorts you bet they will at least be in a bright color. Though I don’t see myself ever getting into running with leg warmers. Hehe. ;)

2) What’s the advancement in running fashion/apparel/gear you’re especially thankful for?
Moisture wicking everything and split shorts.

3) Who are some of your favorite running stars of the past and present?

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Living to Answer the ‘What if’ Questions and ‘Chasing Ghosts’ Book Review

In talking about visualization in my last post, I also touched on goals. It’s important to have them, setting them can be tricky though. You don’t want to aim too low because where’s the satisfaction in that, but it can be scary to put yourself out there and voice a goal if you’re afraid it might sound insanely out of your reach.

girl on track

Visualize what you want to achieve.

Fear. Being afraid that others will think you’re diluting yourself and you’re goal is ridiculous. You yourself probably have a voice in the back of your brain laughing and telling you these same things, you sure as heck don’t need others to tell it to your face! Also, there is the fear that in the end you may fall short…it happens.

Fear holds us back, it’s a defense mechanism, but if you don’t try you’ll never know. I’ve set goals, I’ve achieved some but I’ve failed at hitting some plenty of times too. It’s the truth, not all goals will materialize for you but at the same time I’ve learned from the journeys. The people I’ve met, the times I had…the trying was worth it. Failure sounds like such a bad word, but there can still be successes in the failures.

The point is it’s still worth setting high goals; regardless of the outcome you’ll surely enrich your life in one way and there IS the opportunity of hitting them…then it’s time to set the bar higher. ;)

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In speaking of goals and following your dreams, I was given a copy of ‘Chasing Ghosts’ by the author Phil Reilly. Here is a review of the book; I’ll keep out any spoilers, after-all plenty of you may want to read it yourself. ;)

The book, of course it revolves around running, chronicles the journey of Joey McNeal as he thrusts himself back into hard training in an attempt to make it to the Olympics. He’s nearing 30, past the ‘prime’ age for his event for choice, the 800 meters…but he knows in his gut that he’s never really giving 100% of himself to training and wants to see what would happen should he put it all on the line.

He starts just short of 10 months out from the Olympic Trials a casual runner; easy 4 milers a few times a week with some friends. He’s balancing a teaching job, a social life, a girlfriend, and coaching for the girls’ cross-country and track teams as well. He’s afraid that this goal may be laughably out of place but he wants to at least see what the end result would be if he poured all he had into running.

Characters: Along with McNeal and his three other training partners make up most of the cast; I enjoyed the balance of characters and feel that they were all developed rather well. There is enough given to each that you were interested in their own little side-stories outside of the main character’s. Their coach is perhaps my favorite as he’s a straight shooter and adds in plenty of comedic moments, I think we all know someone like him and to me I could vividly picture a coach just like this guy. McNeal himself is substantiated well and is easy to resonate with and relate to.

Plot: Overall it had mini-climaxes leading up to the true climax; enough bumps along the way to keep it interesting and the book moving forward. It was a little rushed overall and I would have liked to see some of the obstacles fleshed out a bit more and see the characters struggle a bit more.
olympic runners
Overall: The premise of running with no regrets, and living with the pursuit of answering the question of ‘what if’ is of course something I like to pass on to others. Reilly is a runner and coach himself so there were enough ‘real runner’ references and soliloquies that runners will enjoy. He references specific elites, races, and details only runner nerds would get; I liked that as it also added more merit to the thoughts and perspectives McNeal explained or thought to himself. Reilly was certainly going for an inspirational story here which would be uplifting to runners and non-runners alike. However, I do feel that it bordered a bit on the side of too unrealistic at times or too much of a stretch. Perhaps if it had spanned a few years rather than merely 10 months of getting McNeal to the Trials and performing as well as he did it would have been easier to believe. Given that I’ve lived alongside Olympic and World Class runners and watched how they train and live it may make me a little biased, but I’ve seen how much work goes into going for a goal like this and it’s not something to take lightly. McNeal did make sacrifices but I’m not sure if it’s as much as would be needed to perform at the level he ended up doing especially in only 10 short months.

I really enjoy do reading anything that has to do with running so I did enjoy ‘Chasing Ghosts’; it would be a motivational read to anyone in the sport of distance or track running. I just would have liked to have seen it played out over years rather than months as that would have made it more realistic and easier, in my mind, to believe.

1) Do you believe in living, or running, with no regrets? How do you put yourself out there or are there any dreams that you have or are currently chasing to answer the ‘what if’ in your life?

2) How do you set goals? Do you tell people about them, only some of them, or keep them to yourself?
Depends on the goal I think.

3) What are some of your favorite running related books?

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